Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dead Simple One-Page RPG: a review that barely escapes being longer than the rules…..

In all honesty, I’m not a classic OSR guy –in fact, I never stopped playing  Oe since about 1975 ; I’m a living fossil.  What I am entirely enthusiastic about is the minimal rules component of RPG development that OSR has shined new light on. I think I found the OSR sites thru searching for microlited20 stuff.  I love the idea of minimal rules.  My son does, too, and getting kids interested is  about the best thing a rules set can do. 

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.



Anonymous said...




John Higgins said...

Heh. Great minds, or something. I just blogged about a minimalist, rules-lite RPG that I'm really into now:


---Signed Jack Higgins, that guy who wrote Engines & Empires. (PS, thanks for the review on that. You're, like, the first person who seems to have noticed that I was going for a Napoleonic / early 19th C vibe. And you had many other insights that made me go, "hey, somebody actually *gets* what I was going for! awesome!"

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing those out, I had not been aware of that site.

aamedor said...

I've never really liked minimalist rules attempts I've always felt they were OK for a quick game with people who don't know anything about role-playing but ultimately are lacking somewhere. I've not looked at this set and will see if it defies my expectations.
nice blog followed