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Rules light Fantasy RPG

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So I have an itch for a Fantasy RPG but will likely have the majority of the players as brand new to roleplaying. I looked at Fantasy AGE and asked for some feedback but it's been silent so i'm thinking maybe that is not the best choice. I don't want to get bogged down with endless tables/rules or have to break the bank to get started. Any suggestions for a good light rule set? 

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Labyrinth Lord from Goblinoid Games.  It mimics the Basic/Expert D&D rules from the magenta and blue boxes.  All the rules you probably know, none of the stuff that slows down play.  I believe the no-art pdf is free.  Print versions aren't very pricey.

 

I like Swords & Wizardry; the pdf is free.  And if you do a search for "Swords & Wizardry Light" you should be directed to Tenkar's Tavern, where Swords & Wizardry has been condensed to 4 pages (or so).  Really light, designed to get the lapsed gamer back into the fold.  And it's free.

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Dungeon World. It's more work on the DM, since it's mostly improv, but it's SO rules-light.

 

The downside to this game is, depending on what backgrounds your new roleplayers are coming from (say, crunchy board or video games), the reliance on GM permission for everything that happens can be frustrating and off-putting.

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Dungeon World. It's more work on the DM, since it's mostly improv, but it's SO rules-light.

 

The downside to this game is, depending on what backgrounds your new roleplayers are coming from (say, crunchy board or video games), the reliance on GM permission for everything that happens can be frustrating and off-putting.

 

That is literally nowhere in the book. You tell the GM what action you're taking, the GM tells you what move it triggers (if any). If the GM is making you ask for permission, they're doing it wrong.

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Basic Fantasy RPG. The old Basic/Expert/Companion/Master rules with some simplification. Levels 1-20, uses d20 rules and ascending AC, and separates race and class. Four classes and four races. Free rules to download which include monsters stats, or you can pay the huge sum of $4 for a print copy from Lulu if you like it enough. Loads of supplemental stuff on the web site if you want more.

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Dungeon World. It's more work on the DM, since it's mostly improv, but it's SO rules-light.

 

The downside to this game is, depending on what backgrounds your new roleplayers are coming from (say, crunchy board or video games), the reliance on GM permission for everything that happens can be frustrating and off-putting.

 

That is literally nowhere in the book. You tell the GM what action you're taking, the GM tells you what move it triggers (if any). If the GM is making you ask for permission, they're doing it wrong.

 

 

I was too brief with my answer.  What I meant by "permission" is the move structure of the game itself.  Anything you attempt to do generally requires a roll that invites the GM to eff with you.  You don't get to say things like "I cast Invisibility" or "I pick the lock" without a roll that gives the GM opportunity to insert shenanigans.  You don't get to build your character in ways that let you become selectively immune to things in the game that personally annoy you--no spending character resources to become immune to mind control or death magic or spell failure or whatever.

 

So "permission" is something like, "Hey GM, I'd like to pick the lock on this door without a poor roll spawning an ogre or breaking my lock picks or whatever."  Given that you will have, probably at best, a +2 to whatever roll you make, you need an 8 on 2d6 to land in the GM can't screw with me on this territory.  About 58% of the time you're fumbling around in the dark, with iterative probability compounding your failures, wondering why you agreed to this game in the first place. 

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My vote goes with Sword & Wizardry. Got introduce to it by a fellow forum member & his wife at one of the early ReaperCon. Adapted it a couple years ago to run a all Mouseling PCs version of Village of Hommlet at ReaperCon.

 

There is also Pathfinder Lite. I've never tried it but it's super simple.

 

https://sites.google.com/site/microlited20/pathfinderlite

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Swords and Wizardry is an OD&D clone/0E game, so if that's what you're looking for, it's great.

 

There's also FATE, which I know is built to be a rules-minimalist RPG. It's entirely OGL, setting agnostic, and has a ton of third party settings covering just about every style of game, from fantasy, to noir, to sci-fi, etc, if you don't feel like building your own. FATE Accelerated strips it down even further for faster play, without compromising compatibility.

Edited by Unruly

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I should also point out there's Swords & Wizardry White Box, which is an even closer emulation of 0-edition (and free via pdf), and which has White Star (sci-fi) and WW2 settings available.

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I haven't played "Fantasy Age" but I have played the "Dragon Age" RPG that it's a generic version of, in a convention one-shot.  It's a fun game, with an interesting mechanic for turning your dice results of doubles and such into "stunts" for bonus effects, rather than a generic critical hit.  I wouldn't exactly call it rules light, though.

"Savage Worlds" is a great one, and very simple in its core mechanics.

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