So, what ones do I like ? my current favorite is the Dead-Simple one page FRP rules developed by the creators of FUBAR , itself a great set of one page miniatures rules. The author clearly cut his teeth designing an excellent one page future/ultra modern miniatures set, and did a marvelous job; unsurprisingly, the same general zeitgeist carried over to an honest to god FRPG. I say unsurprisingly, because, as we all remember, D&D is the mutated offspring of lead pushing miniatures rules ; in all honesty , dead simple does tread the line between a skirmish game and an RPG, but, especially in the latest iteration, it is clearly on the RPG side (character focus, persistent game environment, experience system etc) . It is a simple rules-lite classic RPG in the old school tradition– in one page.
It has spells, combat and experience progression, items and a skill system all on one page. Revisions have been aimed at making more room for progression/advancement, and making initial builds They have done a marvelous job of catching all the necessary tropes for a D&D experience, in a very elegant set of rules. And note: the rules are concise, not compressed. Compressed rules often assume a more than basic knowledge of the topic (RPG or miniatures); whereas concise requires clarity and ease of access. The fit clearly in the latter case;
It comes in at least three variant versions, covering different genres: space Opera ,Oriental adventures, steam punk and reformation)…four, sir. Well, five including Busiris, which is the version set in a homegrown setting. And six, a gonzoish goblin world version. Really very portable. Also available are a series of one page supplements that allow one to expand the framework beyond the bog standard elf/dwarf/hobbit/human/fighter/mage/cleric and barbarian/ranger, which are a pretty good set of guides on being a DM in general. The whole site is good stuff, and includes lots more than dead simple.. Check it out.