Microlite20 — I Think I’m in Love

The more I fiddle with Microlite20, the more I like it. It’s an extreme simplification of the 3.5 edition fantasy system that lets one use most of the interesting material (adventures, monsters, etc.) with little effort, but without all the work or most of the annoying features like battle mat combat and feat chains from hell. The basic rules are 2 pages. Microlite20 is VERY easy to modify to fit your view or your campaign world — much like Original D&D was.

Combats are abstract and fast so they don’t get in the way of the adventure. Combat-oriented adventures can fit in many more combats in a 4 to 6 hour session and non-combat-oriented adventures can still have a few battles without taking up lots of time needed for roleplaying. Like older versions of D&D, Microlite20 does not have long lists of skills and feats. Instead, players are free to have their characters try just about anything the DM considers reasonable without needing to have a specific skill or feat. It’s a very nice system. The main Microlite20 site (which is unfortunately down a lot) has a large number of user-written options and alternative rules. This site has copies of the core rules and early/major expansions if the main site is down.

There are several interesting threads at EnWorld (long original thread, second thread) and at RPGnet. These threads show how easy the system is to use and modify.

I think I’m in love with a set of RPG rules for the first time since the Mentzer boxed sets of D&D came out in the 1980s. (Before that it was Original D&D in 1975).

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Randall is the author and publisher of a number of old school games (Microlite74, Microlite81, BX Advanced, etc) through RetroRoleplaying.com. Randall's main job, however, is being caregiver for his MS-afflicted cancer survivor wife. You can support Randall with a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. Gates & Glamours RSS Feed

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Robert FisherJames MaliszewskiRandall Recent comment authors
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Robert Fisher
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There’s a lot to like about Microlite20.

The bothering with d20 compatibility amazes me though.

I don’t think I’ve found any d20 material that I’d want to use so much as to care about compatibility.

And besides, when you’re using a system as light as Microlite20, you can use material from any system because it’s so easy to ignore the given stats and just make up your own on-the-fly.

But, like I said, there’s a lot to like there.

James Maliszewski
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Microlite20 is a very fine game. I like it a lot and plan to pillage ideas from it as I cobble together my “pulp fantasy D&D” based on OD&D.

Randall
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Robert,

D20 compatibility is not that important to me as the D20 D&D modules I’ve seen are of the “lead the players by the nose to tell the story” variety so, like you, I have no interest in using them. However, D20 compatibility is a apparently major positive point to Microlite20 for many players.