Tag Archives: tabletop

REWIRED: July Progress Update

Touching base with everyone to share the current progress on REWIRED.

First off, thanks to the handful of you guys and gals who’ve delivered some feedback. Typos are getting caught, numbers are getting tweaked. I am listening and I am in debt to everyone who’s checking the play test!

I got a couple really good sessions in this month. Combat seems to be hitting a sweet spot for pacing and lethality, rules for vehicles and drones are pretty rock on.

The Core Rule Book

The complete main book has been outlined, and I’m happy to say the past month has seen the beginning of work being done on it. I’m about 40 pages in, and so far pretty happy with how Mercer Smokingit’s coming along. I’ve negotiated terms for some professional cover art to be done for the book, and I’m pretty stoked to be having this particular artist on board. Meanwhile, I’ve been working on some graphics myself. I’m not going to hide this: I’m using a lot of public domain stock photos and artwork to fill the pages, but I find that exciting. Everything about this book is being built off open licensed work: LibreOffice is my main forge for crafting this game, OpenClipart.Org has provided a lot of base images (and I plan on returning any remixed work to their site for public use, plus providing some extras of my own.) A good chunk of the original images being used take advantage of freeware/open programs like GIMP, Blender, Paint dot NET, and other software provided free to the public. Not to mention, the game itself has roots in Creative Commons gaming….which I intend to continue and support.

The book itself is being formatted for an A5, 6×9 “digest” sized style. It’s not going to be a big book on your shelf, but the point is to keep it portable and easy to toss into a bag or notebook for your game nights.

Here’s some sneak peaks of the Equipment section, and some of the artwork I’ve been whipping together for the main game:





REWIRED Diary: Where We’re At, and Where We’re Going

So last post, I typed your eyeballs off about the different projects leading up to REWIRED.  Today I want to babble for a bit looking at where the project currently is, and where I’d like to go with it.

The Tenets

What follows are the design goals I’ve had since WYRED, and that continue into the new game:

  • “Quick & Dirty Role-Playing”
    There is a difference between rules “lite” and what I refer to as “Rules Necessary”: It’s a balance of crunchy details and speed of play. I want them to play fast and hard. If looking up a rule during game play takes longer than 8 seconds on average, I’m failing.
  • Character Creation: Get In, Get Moving.
    I don’t want players to have to read through hefty tomes and do complex mathematics in order to fill out a character sheet for the first time. I want everything lined out and in as plain of English as possible for them. I want them to have options, exciting ones, but not a condemning list of arbitrary nuances and stat nudges to make them feel they’re building their character “wrong.”  I want every perk or tag they write down on their sheet to be easy to remember. And I definitely don’t believe in flooding them with a catalog of equipment with crazy names and similar stats.
  • Combat As Fast as it is Deadly.
    Maybe it’s because I’m older, and now finding time to schedule and run RPG groups has become sparse, but combat sessions that last an hour have become tiresome to me.  I’m also tired of players scoffing at a hand pistol or a knife and thinking there’s no threat.  I want combat to be resolved in just a few turns, and part of that is I want combat to be deadly. Any punk with a gun and an attitude is a threat; playing stupid and not taking advantage of things like cover results in your stat crunched monster being dropped in a single shot by a sniper in the wings.
  • Run It On the Fly:
    I pride myself on showing up to a game armed with only a single page of notes, a few note cards of NPC’s and being able to run a complete 5-hour session. Statting out opponents by the seat of my pants should only take a minute or two, and the system is streamlined enough that it should be easy to decide what kind of dice checks are needed when.

So Why a New Game?

WYRED pretty much sprung up as “How can I modify the WyRM system to run a cyberpunk game?” I wanted it to be compatible with WR&M and RAG as much as possible, while offering some new mechanical twists and tweaks. I plan on keeping it that way; the WyRM rules is a fun system.

REWIRED, on the other hand, is an overhaul based on personal preference. It’s still rooted in its predecessors, but has forked off into its own mechanics and systems. There’s a lot of stuff still held over: a lot of terminology used in WYRED remains in play here. But a lot has changed, too:

  • Core Mechanic has been changed from a d6+Stat+Skill system to a 3D6+Skill or Stat system. There’s also no more exploding dice. I found the original system to be “feast or famine” with the results….either tremendous failures or ridiculous successes went down, rarely did we see a middle ground.
  • Skills are now flat ratings instead of bubbled in skill ranks. They’re also separated by Combat, Action and Knowledge Skills.
  • Augmentations are now treated as Perks instead of being bought. I like this because it makes enhancements a bigger deal, and makes players who’d rather focus on natural skills and talents shine just as much as chrome junkies.
  • Wealth is now a rated Perk, evolved from WYRED’s Lifestyle rules. Pretty much, this leaves the only “bean counting” in the game to an economy based on XP.
  • Damage is now tracked differently. Instead of using “wound” points, all characters have the same condition tracker. Damage is still derived from the base attack roll; now players use a Toughness rating to determine the threshold that roll-over damages the character by.
  • Combat is still a single-roll based system, but now takes in modifiers considering range, movement, cover and the like in more detail. Also, the system now uses ranged measurements instead of the abstracted Range Bands from RAG for more tactical play.
  • Other Stuff includes reworked Hacking rules, more detailed Vehicle and Drone rules, equipment modifications and even psionics.

WannaRideOilSketchWhere We Go from Here:

Draft v.12 is pretty much the completion of the framework for the REWIRED rules. This makes the core game system broken down into 5 PocketMod booklets, easy to distribute at the game table and broken up for quick reference. What it needs now is play testing, and lots of it.  Numbers need to be vetted, typos need to be reported. A good example is cybereyes in the Augmentations and Enhancements Guide….still references additional upgrades for $500 (a carry over from WYRED) that needs to be fixed for the new Wealth system.

Moving forward, as the rules get tested and tweaked, I’m beginning to work on a full fledged Core Rule Book. It’ll feature the same rules found in the PocketMods, but will be written in more detail to help new players get into the game. Character concepts, campaign ideas, a sample setting, guide lines for GM’s to keep things interesting, so on and so forth.

And once again, the game will continue to be published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.  This means you’ll be free to distribute the game and modify it for your own projects.

Want to help the project? Biggest help I can ask for is feedback.  Download the game and feel free to leave some comments here. You can also join the playtest community on Google Plus.

REWIRED Diary: Why We’re Here, Where We’ve Been.

Version .12 of REWIRED is a huge milestone for me on the project. It’s a fleshed out skeleton of the system I’ve been wanting to run for a while. It’s the expanded ideas from WYRED, some loose ideas we had floating around when discussing a “WYRM-SF” project that never really got tackled (in part to real life goings on,) feedback from players who wanted a little bit more than what WYRED offered in 2 booklets, and even some concepts I brewed up previous in a cyberpunk hack for another published gaming system entirely.

Why We’re Here.

Let’s rewind to the very beginning.  Talk to most role-playing game enthusiasts, and when you ask them what game they started with you’ll often get the name of the “world’s most popular fantasy game.” They may have started with different iterations of it, be it a particular edition or heart-breaker clone. While I was exposed to it, my first real entry into the hobby was a different game with Elves and Mages in it. This one also involved computer hackers, cyber samurai and took place in a near-future Seattle. Yes, I’m talking about Shadowrun, of which I will always be a fan and will devote too much of my disposable income to.

I’d also begin picking up other titles over the course of my youth….GURPS Cyberpunk, Cyberpunk 2020, Ex Machina (for BESM), and to this day the number of various cyberpunk-flavored RPG’s I’ve acquired in PDF and print grossly outnumbers my collection of D&D books. These games, of course, were the gateways that exposed me to novels like Snow Crash, Neuromancer,  Holy Fire and a crap ton of inspired comics, anime and movies at an impressionable age.

So long story short….I’m a pretty big fan of Cyberpunk, especially in my RPGs.  But damn if it’s not a tough genre to game for complete newcomers! I grew up and live in a small college town in Texas, known for its agriculture. A lot of times, when folks around here are exposed to anything cyberpunk, it’s because I (or my older brother or one of his friends) introduced them to it. And the bulk of the games I listed above aren’t the most newcomer friendly, no matter how much they try to streamline the process: Outdated scifi from the 80’s and 90’s, using terminology and pathologies long extinct in modern tech jargon. Huge skills lists, entire catalogs of weapons and cybernetics, bloated game mechanics…it’s overwhelming to the first timers, as well as the GMs trying to run them!  You get into the overly detailed and complex combat systems; in concept they sound simple, but in execution it never fails we have scenarios that bog down the game play with GM’s having to look stuff up and players proposing absurd rules like rolling for every round fired from a light machine gun. 

This is where my journey began: to set out to brew up what I now refer to as “Quick and Dirty” rules where the character creation, the combat, and the rules referencing flies at a pace to keep up with the genre’s gritty, cut-throat feel.


Where We’ve Been

The first stop in this journey was actually, of all things, a homebrew modification for the New World of Darkness rules set.  After taking a hiatus from Shadowrun in my early twenties, I got involved with a group of friends to regularly play Vampire and other spin-off titles.  After NWoD came out, I think I found myself enjoying the core mortal game book the most and started bashing together game crossovers and alternatives with its mechanics. We had a few good games with it, but it was still a bit complex to teach and had some nagging flaw issues that I never resolved. I eventually lost steam for it after WW put out their own Mirrors: Bleeding Edge, which I had a lot of mixed feelings on (and continue to this day to.)

The spark would later return to me after I fell in love with the WyRM system, starting with Warrior, Rogue & Mage and then again with Resolute, Adventurer & Genius. The later in particular really struck a chord with me, being that it was fast-action pulp, with an expanded skill system to WR&M and streamlined into a single-roll system for combat. Also, these titles were my introduction to Creative Commons licensing, which floored me with the beautiful simplicity of sharing and remixing.  It was a refreshing change in pace from the legal jargon of OGL, and the (at the time) restrictive nature of the White Wolf “Dark Pack” fan guidelines.

WYRED was born of this. Originally the first concept draft was titled something like “Solo, Face & Hacker” — but then I saw Mark Meredith at Dice Monkey working on a project titled “Pointman, Hacker & Thief” (which, sadly, appears to have gone to the ether…) and decided to break the mold on naming schemes. The name itself was an homage to the WyRM Rules System that it used for the core mechanics.

Interestingly enough, some of the earlier drafts of WYRED were pushing 40-60 pages. Our 6th draft even converted to a d12 system, which worked but was ultimately scrapped in favor of the d6 mechanics for various reasons. But around the time of the later drafts, we (being myself, my buddy Matt Bryant who became part of the game development, and our play group) discovered a title I picked up on a whim: Weird West.  This was my first venture into PocketMod style gaming; and while it was a bit minimalistic for my tastes I immediately saw the advantages of tiny booklets to print out and give to players.

The final iterations of WYRED got trimmed down to two PocketMod booklets:  One for rules, one for augmentations and equipment. For the most part, the final versions received positive feedback from folks looking for “rules lite” cyberpunk game play, and the decision to go PocketMod was equally praised. I even got fairly positive feedback on 4chan’s /TG/ boards a few times — only complaint I really saw was over a lack of setting.  Though it’s no indie blockbuster, to this day I still get the occasional emails and PM’s from players who’ve discovered it and inform me of their successful game nights with it.

Spin-Offs & Stagnation

WYRED took ideas from other WyRM games, tweaked them and ran wild. From there, it was cool seeing how others would continue to take our little gaming project and continue to adapt it into their own. My favorite reports came from a player who was using it for a Steampunk setting. We adapted the rules for running other properties at our tables — I ran a WYRED adventure on Old Republic Coruscant, while one of Matt’s friends ran us through an amazing TRON one-shot. Probably the coolest off shoot from all of these variant setting ideas was Matt’s “Star WYRED” which ultimately became MAIN SEQUENCE.

It was becoming apparent how flexible the WyRM system could be taken, and we began to explore future projects to expand it. At the time, I had taken some opinion polls and had received a large margin of feedback from players stating that they were interested in alternate setting booklets and rules over expanded cyberpunk stuff. We began kicking around all sorts of brainstorms on things like mutations, magic systems, alternate period settings and what not. Eventually, we were even tapped by Michael Wolf (creator of Warrior, Rogue & Mage and the WyRM system) to work on “WYRM-SF,” a complete science fiction rules set for the system.

We shot out the door with all sorts of concepts we wanted to play with: expanding the “tags” system we’ve been kicking around, varying scales of game play (from regional/planet play to entire solar system/galaxy games) to even all sorts of different types of powers and options. There was a lot of potential there….and probably still is, but the truth is: Reality is a bitch. Matt had moved on to Oklahoma to work full time at a pretty important job, I had been returning to college and getting over a breakup from a long-term relationship. For a while, I took a complete hiatus from gaming for some more “real time.” I was also working on my actual writing, having started another blog for poetry and beginning to work on fiction submissions. Eventually, my old gaming blog was hacked, and I ended up merging my writing blog with my domain name. All said, I just simply lost steam for a while.

Relighting the Fire

Inevitably, I’d get back into the gamer swing of things. And with that, I’d begin to tinker with some new ideas. Some of these ideas came from one of my current room mates, who’ve brought up points about thinks like dice mechanics using bell curves, keeping things tactical while also simplified, and degrees of realism in RPG mechanics. After a while of bouncing these ideas back and forth, as well as revisiting some of my old favorite RPG systems, we ended up drafting around Christmas break what became the REWIRED “Rough Sketch.”  Now, as you may see, I’m back in the throes of building up a game that I really want to play. REWIRED has a hell of a foundation of inspiration behind it. And I’m hoping the direction I’m taking with it will be appreciated by other gamers. If not, no big deal — I’m already getting good feedback and support from the folks at my game table.


In the next REWIRED Diary, I’m going to talk about the direction I’ve taken with the new system, and where I want to go with it.


REWIRED: Draft version .11 available!

A small update for the playtest of the new “Quick & Dirty Cyberpunk Dystopia” RPG in development is available now.

One major change, a few alterations, and some minor fixes:

  • No More Wound Points.  The game has been changed to a fixed health system for damage. Now, every character has four levels (or boxes) of damage they can take: Hurt, Damaged, Injured and KO’d / Dying.  These are tracked both for Stun and Wound damage. Needless to say, this changes how damage is dealt and figured.

  • Toughness Rating Added: Based off the character’s Chrome rating, Toughness is the threshold of damage a character takes before taking another box of damage in an attack. Short version of it: The attack rolls are still one roll. Roll the opponent’s Defense to score the first hit, and each value of Toughness rolled over deals an extra box. Sounds more complicated than it really is;  played awesome in play testing.
  • Slightly More Points: At the begging pleas of my players, we’ve bumped the starting Skill Points to 15, and the starting Perks at 7.
  • Consolidated PocketMods into a single PDF, currently at four pages.

Please feel free to download the current version and report back any feedback.

Also, feel free to join our playtest community on G+

Hands On Review – BareBones Fantasy

This review originally appeared on our tumblog. 


A few weeks ago, I put out a request on G+ to seek out some more Creative Commons licensed tabletop games. From that post, I learned about the upcoming game BareBones Fantasy, and was given an opportunity to hop in over G+ Hangouts and try out the system. I have about 3 play sessions under my belt already, have lurked for a few character generation gatherings, have spent time gabbing with Larry Moore (one of BBF’s authors)…and now I have a review copy loaded up on my phone and Nook Color that I’ve been reading over the last couple days.

I almost didn’t need the PDF to write about it. Play a session or two, and you quickly get the bulk of the system down. This far from a fault: the core game mechanic resonates across the game and is easy to scale and judge for just about any situation. It gives a lot of control over to the GM, but allows for game play spent mostly on actually playing the game, and not having to look up esoteric rules decisions.

An Overview:

Know this: this is NOT a D&D retro clone. This is its own beast, built using the d00Lite rules system. And don’t let that “Lite” title fool you: while the game mechanics are pretty simple and fast to run, there’s a lot of meat in this product.


Let’s just get one thing out of the way: BareBones Fantasy follows a lot of the traditional themes and concepts of fantasy gaming. Elves, dwarfs, magic, goblins and dungeon crawls…all of them are here. But that’s okay! This isn’t about bringing anything new to the genre, but offering another outlet to play in.

To quote the authors in their introduction:

“Tired of hauling around heaps of heavy books (which cost lots of money), DwD Studios embarked on a mission to create a comprehensive, playable and complete fantasy game…”

“A lot of lite game systems are out there, so we wanted to make sure ours was distinguishable in its own way. We opted to add a lot of stuff (while keeping things “lite”) such as magic items, creatures, systems for adventure and dungeon creation, a broad brush-stroke setting, and more. This is a lot of game in a small amount of space, and we didn’t do it by making the fonts tiny… we did it through application of categorical thinking and by making certain assumptions about the level of gaming experience of GM’s and players.”

The book is 84 pages, with a very professional and aesthetically pleasing layout. The format appears to be perfect for “Booklet Printing” at home, and also renders quite beautifully on mobile devices. Matter of fact, I was impressed by how easy it was to read on my smartphones.

The game itself is very straightforward. Assuming the reader has a modest amount of tabletop RPG experience, it wastes no space telling us “How to Role-Play” or give us lectures on tabletop etiquette. Instead, the authors delivered complete gaming package in a single booklet. As someone who has become a stickler for what I call “Table Economy” (the amount of elbow room available at the game table), this is a welcomed design philosophy.

The Core Mechanics:

As you can probably tell from the name, the d00Lite system is a percentile based system. There are two types of die rolls called in this game: Percentile/d100 based rolls (where success is based on rolling under the target percentage) or standard “D” rolls (rolling a number of d10’s and adding the results.) Task resolution is percentile based; the D rolls are usually for stuff like damage, healing, generating stats etc.

An interesting take that makes this system stand out from other percentile systems I’ve played: 00 is counted as Zero, and is the best roll to make. 0-5 always succeed, 95-99 always fails. Also different is the Critical Success/Failure mechanic: while the extreme ends are automatic success/failures, a Critical is determined whenever doubles are rolled. So, let’s say my difficulty for an action is 45%. Rolling an 22, 33, or even 44 is a critical success. 55, 66, 77 and so forth are critical failures.

Character Creation:

Making player characters for BBF is a pretty quick affair, taking only about 10 minutes or so. Players roll 5d10+30 for four ability stats (Strength, Dexterity, Logic and Will). From there they pick one of four races (Humans, Dwarfs, Halflings or Elves) and then pick their skills.

The skill system is a unique flavor for the system. Instead of ordinary skills like you’d find in other games, the base game uses seven skills named after particular classes/archetypes you’d expect in fantasy games: Warrior, Thief, Scout, Cleric, Enchanter, Leader, Scholar, & Spellcaster. All skills have a base value equal to half of their related ability score (although only Warrior, Thief & Scout can be used untrained.) At character creation, the player gets to choose a Primary and Secondary skill (which grants them a bonus 20/10 percent) and then gets to assign one level of training to the skill of their choice (each level of training grants an additional +10).

After skills, the player then chooses Descriptors for their character, both one beneficial and another hindering. These are traits intended to flesh out the character and aid role-playing, and in return for using them in-game the GM may reward additional Development Points (the BBF’s version of experience) to the character.

The next step continues in the actual role-playing development for the character: Moral Code. This is, in my opinion, an awesome alternative to Alignment systems found in D&D and other RPG’s. There is a column of Aspects, and on each row the player must choose one of two for his character (Kind or Cruel, Focused or Unfocused, Selfless or Selfish, Honorable or Deceitful, Brave or Cowardly.) After the Aspects are chosen, they are then rated on a scale of Somewhat, Very or Totally.

A couple things I really enjoy about the Morality system: it’s not hard lined to be used as a means to railroad a character personality. It’s flexible, but also helps a player define and assist their role-playing in decisions. The only major mechanical aspect tacked on to it is if the GM feels the player is performing an action contrary to the Aspects of the character’s morality, he may call for a Will check in order to perform the said action. Also, I like that “Good and Evil” are concepts reserved for NPC/Creature descriptions, but not aspects/descriptors of the characters.

Moving on, the next step is equipment acquisition. PC’s choose any 6 items (weapons, armor, equipment, mounts etc) under 100 GP to start with, in addition to 2d10 gold pieces. Lastly, they fill in details like Body Points (essentially Hit Points,) Initiative, Damage Reduction from Armor and other such traits.

A Bit More Info on Skills:

The skills offer a bit more than just a percentage to perform actions with. Each skill has a list of abilities the character can use the skill for. Warrior is pretty much your combat related abilities, Thief is your typical stealthing and trap/lock disarming type stuff. The real juicy stuff comes in with the skills that require training for use: Clerics get favored weapons from their Deity, learn spells, and detect moral auras. Enchanters, who use spells to imbue items, can also craft potions and runes and obtain familiars. Leaders can perform cool battle cries and offer some nifty tactical advantages to their allies. Spellcasters (being the token Wizard/Mage skill) not only gets its picks of spells but also cool “Low Wizardry” abilities (similar to D&D Cantrips) as well as the ability to detect and read magic. I’m actually pretty happy with the Scholar skill, giving the character the ability to not only pick up career paths but also give them bonuses to Diplomacy, recall historical events, and even inquire information from the GM.

Combat (Because We Kill Things!):

Combat runs amazingly well in this system. Characters perform actions based on initiative order, and are given the standard one free movement plus an action. They’re allowed to perform multiple actions, but acquire a cumulative -20% difficulty for every action after the first. What makes this interesting is order to attack a target, you’re rolling completely against your own skill level (armor in this system is purely Damage Resistance and soak.) A character is free to attempt to dodge the attack, rolling against their own Dex scores, but this counts as an additional action on their turn and thus generate the accumulative penalty.

This creates an interesting battle economy…even starting characters with the right skills and stats can make the choice to go headstrong into battle and perform multiple attacks, but must consider that in doing so they leave themselves open to multiple opponents and over extending themselves could prove fatal very quickly.

The game uses an abstract measurement of distance, simply measuring things out in “Spaces.” What each space is can be scaled by the GM if they so choose, but plays just as well without it. What’s really neat is while this system can support miniatures with no problem, the abstract measurements also help keep things easy to gauge in more “theater of the mind” based game play.

Magic System:

All spell casting skill sets have access to the same list of spells in BBF. What separates them is function: Spellcasters get more spells per level, Enchanters cast them upon items through runes or imbuing, Clerics are granted them as favors of their deities, etc. What really makes the magic tick is although there are only 17 spells to choose from, the players get to define the flavor and environmental nature of the spells when they cast them. For instance: Offensive Strike (the only real direct damaging spell in the game) can be a bolt of fire, a ball of ice, even a swarm of locusts…whatever the player comes up with. The catch is whatever they choose the spell to manifest like can have an effect tacked on by the GM — that burst of fire could set wood and oil aflame. This can be used against or in favor of the players pretty easily, especially when it comes down to criticals: A crit success could result in an ice blast freezing the opponent in place, while a failure might result in frostbitten fingers on the caster.

Another interesting aspect of the Spells in BBF is that they take sort of a middle road of “modern” spell systems and classic “Vancian” magical systems. The usage of the spells is on a per-spell basis: Offensive Strike can be used over and over, Divination can only be used once per hour, Summon can be used a number of times per day equal to the level of skill training, so on and so forth.

Character Progression:

Now, the game measures character development in terms of “Ranks.” This along with “Levels” in skills named after eerily familiar character concepts might mislead players into thinking it’s another one of “those” fantasy games. Truth is, “Rank” (measured in ratings of 1-7) isn’t a level of achievement to work your way up to as it is a measure of how much that character has advanced in order for the GM to gauge challenges. Character rank is determined by consulting a chart and factors in their highest attribute and highest skill level (not rating, but level of training.)

Players earn Develop Points as they play the game by role-playing their Descriptors. After each session, the GM goes through a checklist with each player for additional DP to reward. Combat and treasure is not the main motivator for advancement here; at best, you only get 1 DP for being able to say you survived a combat encounter any time this session. Role-Playing, things your character has learned about the game world, deeds and accomplishment of story goals is what rewards and advance PC’s here.

The GM Goodies:

The actual game mechanics and player information that I’ve being going on about this whole post only makes up about 30 pages or so in the book. The rest is GM Guidelines, full of not only handy rules and options for various conditions, effects, difficulty modifiers and the like….but also tools Magical Item generation (with plenty of pre-made items,) a full Bestiary  an Adventure Idea generator, random dungeon generation, a complete “Brush Stroke” campaign gazetteer at the end. I’ll be honest, I normally don’t read over implied settings but I did enjoy this one and intend on using it. The “Keranak Kingdoms” setting is provided with a nice map of the continent and the many regions of it, in which each are described in a few sentences.  It also runs with a quick run-down of the Pantheon, and then it’s left to the GM to fill in the blanks as they wish.

The GM section, in my opinion, is where you get your money’s worth. A GM who is busy but still wants to come up with memorable gaming sessions can quickly whip up a night’s worth of gaming (or more) in relatively quick time. The charts and tables don’t necessarily shoe horn specifics, but offer ideas and guidelines to inspire ideas in the GM for the story they want to craft.

The Tools to Build Your Game On:

The game as presented in this book is complete and stands fine on its own. The mechanics are solid and sound enough that in the event the GM wants to discard a rule, or bring in additional house rules to compliment their style of gaming, it’s very easy to do so without breaking the game.

For those who do find themselves wanting more (perhaps more spells? Skills? I myself have contemplated more player races) it’s easy to eyeball over the existing material and scheme up your own additions to the game. Matter of fact, being that it’s released under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license, you’re free to publish your own modifications for non-commercial use. The guys at DwD Studios have been pretty supportive of early fan material, and are planning on future publications to help spread and promote new ideas.

Final Thoughts:

BareBones Fantasy hits many sweet spots: Solid core mechanics, a quick and flexible character creation system, fast-paced combat that is easy to pick up but still offers plenty for tactically minded players to enjoy, and minimal paper work while still offering plenty of options for the GM to make their game as simple or complex as they want. The book itself reads easy, is aesthetically pleasing and has appropriate artwork throughout it. Not to mention, they’ve taken advantage of their digital release and references to page numbers are hyper linked, as well as providing the standard bookmarks you’d expect for a PDF RPG.

While there are plenty of fantasy RPG’s out there, both premium and free, Larry Moore and Bill Logan have created a solid gaming experience and succeeded in providing a stable foundation for any fantasy campaign in a single booklet. While relatively “lite” on the rules (I got more of the “Rules Necessary” vibe,) the additional adventure and item creation tools they provide make an excellent springboard.

And while it may not have AAA production value, I honestly cannot find any faults in this product. The editing is top notch, the art compliments the game well, and the rules and guidelines were explained quite clearly. It may be tough to sell your gaming group on yet another Fantasy RPG, but this one was an obvious labor of love for the folks involved and deserves some recognition in the indie RPG scene.

This game is available in PDF format via RPGNow for $9.99. Includes both regular and printer friendly versions, character sheets, handouts, a map of the setting and even a free adventure! 

Keep up with DwD and future BareBones Fantasy releases at http://dwdstudios.com/barebones/

This article has been edited for corrections in terminology.