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randalls
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New? Introduce Yourself Here!

Post by randalls » Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:19 am

Why are you here? To introduce yourself and tell us about the RPGs you like and all that other fun intro type stuff. You know you want to....

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RandallS
Playing and Gamemastering Tabletop RPGs Since 1975
Designer: Microlite74, Microlite75, Microlite78, Microlite81, Microlite20 OSS, and others
Compiler: The Microlite20 RPG Collection
Administrator: Microlite20 Nexus


randalls
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Re: New? Introduce Yourself Here!

Post by randalls » Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:16 am

I'm Randall, the host, webmaster, and chief clean up person of Mircolite20 Nexus. I've been playing and GMing RPGs since I started college in 1975. Yep, that means I started playing OD&D when I was 18 years old and the Greyhawk and Blackmoor were the only supplemental material available. I GMed my share of rules-heavy RPGs in the 1980s -- with 100s of pages of hose rules and supplemental material no less. By the 1990s, however, I was fed up with crunch for the sake of crunch and started moving toward more rules light games. I even wrote one: FAST (Flexible Adventure System, Task-oriented) -- its available for free here.

I had never liked long combats in my RPGs. Even in the 1980s in my high crunch phase I tried to keep combat encounters to 10-15 minutes total (assuming 4-6 players). Games whose combat system failed my "10 Minute Combat Test" either did not get played or had their combat system house-ruled until the average combat encounter took 15 minutes or less. Needless to say, while I was at first enthused when D&D 3.0 came out, I quickly lost interested because combat (and character creation) took far too long for me -- and some of the changes to the game (like dropping all the restrictions on casting for spellcasters) seemed poorly thought out. It looked like a cleaned up version of the Player's Option stuff from the mid-1990s and I thought that far too fiddly and time consuming.

Side Note: I play RPGs for the fun of experiencing playing my character and exploring the GM's world through that character. I want rules that guide the GM in resolving what I want my character do, not rules that limit what my character can try to do to what the game designers thought of/wanted characters to focus on. As you might guess I was never a fan of computer RPGs -- I found them too combat-oriented and even more limited to what characters could do as they were limited to doing what the programmers could program into the game. I'm still not a fan of computer RPGs, and seldom am able to play one for more than an hour or so before getting bored enough to go read a book. I tried a few MMORPGs and liked them even less than single player computer RPGs. Too much combat, too much grinding, and little actual exploration or roleplaying.

When Microlite20 came out, I fell in love with it. It returned D&D gaming to what I enjoying: exploring a campaign world though my character instead of exploring the rules and wasting time looking things up in countless books. Microlite20 captured what I had tried to do with my first rules-like RPG in the late 1990s. As the introduction to FAST said:

FAST (Flexible Adventure System, Task-oriented) is a simple role-playing game. In the early days of commercial role-playing games, game systems were relatively simple. Their rules did not fill multiple 100+ page volumes with rules and fine print. They depended on the gamemaster to interpret the rules in the manner that best fit the style of the group of players and the world he or she had created for those players to play in. Simple gamesystems had another advantage. The gamemaster and players could easily remember and understand the rules. This made it much easier for the gamemaster to modify and add to the rules when needed for the campaign world, without having to worry that the modified rules might interfere with a rule in a footnote in the second column of the 343rd page of the ninth volume of the rules. FAST has been designed to recapture the simplicity of those mid-1970 RPG rules, but with more modern (skill-oriented, build your own character) game systems.

As variant versions of Microlite20 started to appear, someone (exactly who I no longer remember) told me they were trying to do a Microlite20 version of OD&D. They showed me a draft of it and I pointed out that it really would not play much like OD&D did. The author said that was probably right and suggested I write the a Microlite20 version of OD&D. At first, i didn't see a need for such a game, but people getting interested in retroclones like ORSIC and Swords & Wizardry, I decided that it would be niced to have a very simple game that used 3.x mechanics to allow people to play old school OD&D. So I wrote the first version of Microlite74. I did not bother to playtest it beyond 3rd level as my original thought was that if players found they liked Microlite74, they'd just buy PDFs of OD&D and play it. An online friend of mine pointed out that the game fell apart after 3rd or 4th level -- at least if it was supposed to play like OD&D. That lack of playtesting I mentioned bit me in the ass. I soon published Microlite74 1.1 which fixed the problem. Microlite74 took off -- especially when WOTC pulled all their PDFs. I went on to produce a large number of Microlite20-based games based on 0e, B/X, 1e, etc. I also published The Microlite20 RPG Collection (now in its third edition): with all the Microlite20 material and variants I could find.

A few years ago I started microlite20.org as an unofficial home page for Microlite where people could go to download Microlite20 and its many variants. The official homepage for Microlite20 was often down or simply gone and i wanted something that would stay up. This brings us to today and Microlite Nexus. The official page is gone again and may never be back. I've retired and have a bit more time -- although taking care of my wife (cancer in the past and now MS) is almost a full time job. I've decided to actually try to make a Microlite20/Rules Lite RPG community out of this site instead of just a passive download site. There used to be a vibrant community of Microlite20 fans and I'd like to see it return.

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RandallS
Playing and Gamemastering Tabletop RPGs Since 1975
Designer: Microlite74, Microlite75, Microlite78, Microlite81, Microlite20 OSS, and others
Compiler: The Microlite20 RPG Collection
Administrator: Microlite20 Nexus


sycarion
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Re: New? Introduce Yourself Here!

Post by sycarion » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:51 pm

I'm John Payne.

I have been playing RPGs since 1982 that started with the B in B/X and ended in high school with an amalgamation of B/X, BC, 1e DMG, MM, MM2, and Spelljammer. I also played TopSecret SI, Renegade Legion, and Shadowrun. In college, I played ARS Magica, TSR Marvel, more Shadowrun, and Champions. I then took a hiatus from gaming until I found the first rtf of Microlite20.

With Microlite20, I enjoyed playing games that moved quickly. I wrote a couple of modules (Conan, Psionics, Four-by-Five Magic, and a couple others.) and enjoyed the old forums.

Currently, I play older editions of D&D and clones based on them. I enjoy White Star for outer space action. I also play 5e.

I love making things and I use M20 to mashup genres. I also enjoy talking about RPGs in general and rules-lite games in particular.

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Desdichado
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Re: New? Introduce Yourself Here!

Post by Desdichado » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:32 am

Desdichado; name is a literary reference to one of the greatest works of literature in the English language (and tradition) although the author is actually Scottish. There's a lot of reasons why that particular name fits me, most of them subtle or personal in-jokes. The work in question is Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.

Anyhoo, I've been a fantasy fan for a long time. My favorite movie for many years of my young childhood was Sleeping Beauty, mostly because it had a Dark Queen, magic, swordfighting and a big dragon. Errol Flynn's Robin Hood and Robert Taylor's Ivanhoe are two other of my favorite Medieval swashbuckling favorites, and the first movie I remember seeing in theaters (I would have been five years old) was the original Star Wars. The first book I ever remember getting at the library; before I could even read even, was a book on dinosaurs, and some of my very early favorite cartoons were Filmation's Tarzan and Flash Gordon and Ruby Spears Thundarr the Barbarian. I've always loved the fantastic, the exotic (gratuitously so, even) and the swashbuckling romance. I was primed to be a fantasy fan before I was really old enough to be one for real. I played my first game of D&D in the late 70s or early 80s, I think; it would have been OD&D in the brown box, I think. The concept didn't really gel with me until a couple of years later when I simultaneously discovered J. R. R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, and the Moldvay boxed sets, which would have been pretty newly minted at that time. At that point, the promise of the premise of the RPG hobby was immediately obvious to me, and I've been a fan ever since, although often a hybernating fan caught up in too many real-life pursuits or other hobbies to be too actively engaged.

That said, D&D itself always struck me as very odd, and it didn't provide to me what I thought the basic promise of the premise was; the ability to adventure in a world not unlike that of Alexander or Tolkien in a mode not unlike that of Alexander or Tolkien. I became a prodigal son, playing first other TSR offerings like Star Frontiers or Top Secret. Later, after an interlude of being too involved in high school to care about RPGs, I came back in and got briefly enamored of White Wolf, before deciding that that was a bit of a bait and switch, that offered little of what it actually promised—and was served with a generous helping of pretentiousness to boot.

Finding myself flitting about the fringes of hobby yet again, not yet sure I'd be able to find something that really did what I wanted, I got involved again, and most fully, following the release of 3e. I rather quickly got involved in houseruling it, and found the premise of d20 more intriguing than D&D itself, and eventually my interest in the game sagged under the combined weight of 1) the inherent D&Disms baked into the game, and 2) the poor playability of the system at mid and high levels, as well as the irritating need to stop roleplaying and hold combat as a separate game within the game.

I consider myself not old school, but definitely old fashioned. I've always had trouble with D&D back, in the old days, because it didn't provide the experience I really expected, and it was too mired in its roots as a fantasy tactical wargame meant for the exploration of "dungeons"; both pursuits that I had little real interest in. When reading, for example, Matt Finch's article on what he believes old school gaming to be, I find myself often nodding in agreement with the concept expressed, but then when he gives an example of how to apply it, he loses me big-time.
(And I don't really nod in agreement on everything anyway.) That said, my tastes were formed in an earlier iteration of the hobby, and much of what has followed is as alien to me and my tastes as the actual details of D&D are, if not moreso.

On the verge of leaving D&D again, probably for good this time, especially when 4e was announced and it seemed like everything about it was going the opposite direction of what I wanted from the game, I discovered Microlite and realized that here was a solution that worked for me. As an inveterate tinkerer, I was also enchanted with the ease with which m20 could be modified to suit different needs and settings while still being exactly what it was; a super rules lite game that plays like a familiar d20 game without any of the baggage. When I found the huge collection of games and houserules already present for the game, it was even better, because rather than design from scratch, I could simply "kitbash" what I wanted without having to invent anything new myself; just arrange elements cherry-picked from other sources.

Over time, I've made a few modifications that are unique to my evolving systems, but I've got basically three m20 games that I see as my go-to games; a space opera game, a fantasy game set in a specific setting, and a more "generic" D&D-like version of the game too.

As an aside, generic is a misnomer. There's nothing generic about D&D, and in fact, many, many elements of D&D are highly specific (hence my frequent dissatisfaction with the game, which never really managed to work for the kinds of settings I'd prefer, which tend to be more literary in style. D&D is broad, but not generic, and those are two very different things. Also, as alluded to somewhat obliquely, my playstyle, or "stance" or mode of play is one that I consider to be collaborative, improvisational and authorial. If you ever read Chris Perkins run of The DM Experience column, and remove all of the references to 4e (the game he was running at the time) that's a pretty decent approximation of the kinds of things I like in my games. Ray Winninger's Dungeoncraft column is pretty good too. Although both of them played D&D in a dungeoneering mode fairly often, and I have little to no interest in dungeon exploration; my bread and butter is skulduggery, intrigue and stuff like that—a fairly significant departure from my days of wanting to emulate Tolkien or Alexander, but still one that the D&D paradigm didn't serve very well. Imagine something like Robert Ludlum or The Godfather translated into dark fantasy with a heavy helping of horror genre tropes and conventions and that's a much better approximation of my favored type of game than anything happening in a dungeon, interspersed with cowboys and indians and other western tropes and conventions out of town for a change of pace. Urban wretched hives of scum & villainy and frontier regions that resemble the American west—except with early medieval swashbuckling characters such as you'd find in Robin Hood or Ivanhoe. My space opera is derivative of Star Wars—especially the original Star Wars (which in turn is derivative of Dune and the Lensmen and Flash Gordon in particular, with a plot that's a hybrid of The Hidden Fortress, Where Eagles Dare and The Dam Busters or 633 Squadron.)

Anyway, my setting specific fantasy game; the core of my m20 efforts, really:

My "D&D-like" slight modification to it:

My space opera m20 game: https://sites.google.com/site/adastram20/

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pug
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Re: New? Introduce Yourself Here!

Post by pug » Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:39 pm

Hey, I'm Ray.

Just an enthusiast really. My lack of game experience is partially because my background is mainly academic philosophy focusing separately on Ancient Greek early on and ethics education later. Tabletop and game design are lifelong sources of joy for me but I'm an amateur at best. Happy to be here. I love the Microlite material and the site(s). I hope to contribute substantively over time. :)

I've run or played in a few thousand hours of d20-based games over the years. I've also spent some time with the other editions of D&D and a few other systems like GURPS and Burning Wheel. I collect and read other source books as well. I became a fan of Microlite and SotU around the same time last year after stumbling into them while researching rules-light tabletop roleplay and storytelling systems.

Anyhow, brief intro is brief. I'll be kicking around in case anything cool happens. :D

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randalls
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Re: New? Introduce Yourself Here!

Post by randalls » Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:54 pm

Desdichado wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:32 am

Anyway, my setting specific fantasy game; the core of my m20 efforts, really:

I really like Dark Heritage. It's one of most interesting Microlite20 variants out there. Great work, IMHO.

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RandallS
Playing and Gamemastering Tabletop RPGs Since 1975
Designer: Microlite74, Microlite75, Microlite78, Microlite81, Microlite20 OSS, and others
Compiler: The Microlite20 RPG Collection
Administrator: Microlite20 Nexus


randalls
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Re: New? Introduce Yourself Here!

Post by randalls » Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:05 pm

pug wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:39 pm

Just an enthusiast really. My lack of game experience is partially because my background is mainly academic philosophy focusing separately on Ancient Greek early on and ethics education later.

I minored in philosophy many, many years ago, although I was and am more interested in the Enlightenment-era. I doubt this comes across in any of the games I've design, although it has strongly influenced one of the homebrew settings I created in the early 1980s. Not that any of the people who played in it ever noticed.

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RandallS
Playing and Gamemastering Tabletop RPGs Since 1975
Designer: Microlite74, Microlite75, Microlite78, Microlite81, Microlite20 OSS, and others
Compiler: The Microlite20 RPG Collection
Administrator: Microlite20 Nexus


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