BareBones Fantasy Goes Gold

Barebones FantasyBareBones Fantasy RPG has gone gold over at RPGNow. BareBones Fantasy RPG is a “rules-lite” fantasy RPG that uses d10’s for action resolution. I have posted about it several times here at The Iron Tavern.

BareBones Fantasy packs a whole lot into an 80-ish page rulebook. Enough to get a person rolling with the game and play for quite some time. The fact it is a “light” system helps ensure fast play.

It is good to see it getting some of the attention it deserves over at RPGNow!

BareBone Fantasy RPG On-Air Tutorial

Barebones FantasyI have mentioned BareBones Fantasy a few times here at The Iron Tavern. The game is a “rules-lite” fantasy game that contains everything you need to start playing in one 80-ish page book.

My first experience with it has been quite fun. With that said there are a couple of things that take just a little bit to wrap your head around when you first get started. Two of the big things for me were how multi-actions played out and resistance checks to avoid taking damage and how that worked with multi-actions. Now that I have played it makes perfect sense and is really an elegant mechanic.

Larry Moore has posted a short actual play session online at YouTube to help cover some of these frequently asked questions about the game. The video specifically seeks to cover the following game rules

  • Multi-Actions
  • Initiative
  • Resistance Checks
  • DR
  • House Rules
  • Spells (Repel, Offensive Strike, Dispel

The video is worth a watch if you are curious about BareBones Fantasy RPG.

A Look at BareBones Fantasy RPG

Barebones FantasyBareBones Fantasy RPG is a game from DwD Studios, written by Larry Moore and Bill Logan. The game has become quite popular over on Google+. The system comes in a small package with 80-some odd pages that include character races, character skills, monsters, magic, and more. BareBones Fantasy RPG is currently available in PDF, softcover, and a hardcover is in the works.

I ended up picking up the PDF of the system late last year to see what it was all about. The system is intended to be a ‘rules-lite’ system using only d10’s for dice and trying to keep out of the gamer’s way allowing them so spend time having fun rather than held back by a heavy set of rules. They call the system the d00Lite system.

The welcome to the game page does introduce a golden rule – “The GM is in charge!”. After playing and running many rules heavy systems over the years, I have been finding myself drawn to systems with fewer and simpler rules and back to the days where the GM is responsible for figuring out the gray areas and running with it. I was quite happy to see this golden rule, it seems more and more of the games I am attracted to these days include something along these lines.

The Rules

To play this game you only need two 10-sided dice. Things such as damage rolls and the like are indicated by using the notation of 1D (one 10-sided dice) or 2D (two 10-sided dice). Checks are done by trying to roll under a percentage. If you roll under you are successful, over and you are not. If the two 10-sided dice come up the same number (i.e. both 2’s) and the roll was successful then you scored a critical success. If they come up the same number and you were higher than your percentage then you had a critical failure. The game’s mechanics revolve around this simple mechanic.

There are four ability scores for each character. Strength, Dexterity, Logic, and Willpower. Ranges for ability scores tend to range between 35 and 80, though there are exceptions.

Instead of choosing a character class in BBF, you choose skills. There are eight skills to choose from. From these skills the player selects a primary skill (netting a +20 in that skill), a secondary skill (a +10 in that skill) and you choose one skill to assign a level in. Some skills require a “level” in them in order to be used. This method of building a character allows a player to build their character they want without being tied into a particular class. It is a very flexible system.

There are four races in this book to choose from – Human, Elf, Dwarf, and Halfling. The player’s race choice will affect starting ability scores and provide other racial abilities depending on choice.

The Game Guidelines section adds a little detail for the GM running the game on success modifiers, damage, healing, and more. The book also contains spells for the caster-types, magic items, and monsters for the GM to use in their game.

Putting even more into this book, there is an included random dungeon generator and adventure idea generator. If you are ever stuck for an idea, these generators alone are sure to get your brain going with some ideas.

The final 7 pages of the book include a brief look at the campaign world Keranak Kingdoms to act as a backdrop for all of your adventures. If you purchase the PDF version of this product you also receive a free adventure called Maidens of Moordoth to help get you started.

BareBones Fantasy Map and MinisThe Play

I finally had the chance to take this system for a spin the other weekend. I used a combination of the NPC Generator and the sample characters in the rulebook to get some pre-gens ready. I used the Trouble at Karam’s Claim from the Keranak Kingdoms Fantasy Setting for the game as my first adventure. I ran the adventure for my kids, who do pretty well at playing new RPGs. They play Pathfinder quite frequently, my son runs some Pathfinder games for us, and I’ve run a quick run of DCC RPG with him as well.

I handed out the pre-gens – my son wanted a couple of dwarves, my daughter wanted an elven ranger type. She has a crush on Legolas. I had characters that fit those ideas and I spent a short amount of time going over the basics. That did not take long to explain and it seemed to set in after the first round or two of combat.

Trouble at Karam’s Claim was fun. There are a lot of one type of creature in it, though the module warns of that ahead of time. It can get just a little repetitive unless the GM plays it up a bit. The overall concept of the adventure is a good one though.

The play was quick and very easy to get the hang of. The concept of being able to do more than one action in a turn is very nice. Essentially, your first action in a turn is not penalized at all. The second takes a -20% to the score you are trying to roll under. The third takes a -40% to the score you are trying to roll under and so on. It really allows a character to decide just how much they want to risk not being able to defend well because they took too many attacks.

In the end the kids vanquished the primary threat at the mines and were successful for the day! My son liked it and has been poking around the softcover book a bit and studying some of the reference sheets I had printed up for the game. He ranked it above DCC RPG (he has a bit of a problem with all the randomness in DCC RPG).

Wrap Up

My experience with BareBones Fantasy RPG has been a very good one so far! I will definitely be looking to get into a few more games of it and will likely seek some out at conventions this year. I am sure I will find myself running a few here and there as well!

If you are looking for a “rules-lite” fantasy system for a low cost investment that includes rules to play, spell, monsters, magic items, a glance at a campaign world, and more – BareBones Fantasy is well worth checking out! BareBones Fantasy RPG is currently available in PDF, softcover, and a hardcover will be coming out in the near future.

BareBones Fantasy in Print

My print copy of BareBone Fantasy arrived today. I ordered it from RPGNow and this is actually the first time I have ever ordered something in print from RPGNow. I am not sure if every experience is like this, but I received my print copy in a very timely manner. Looking back at my order history, I just ordered this on 1/21 and I had it in my mailbox today. Great turn-around in my opinion.

If you hang out in some of the same social media circles I do, you have likely seen mention of BareBones Fantasy. I will be doing a write-up of my initial thoughts on the system based on running a game this past weekend. But for those unfamiliar with the system it is a complete fantasy role-playing game contained in 80-ish pages. It uses a d00Lite system in that it is based on 10-sided dice. Attack rolls, skill checks, weapon damage, and more are all based on rolling under a certain percentage. One golden rule covers the gray areas – “The GM is in charge!”.

I’ve had the PDF since about mid-December. Since I wanted to play this with my son, I wanted to pick up a paper copy. He is not a fan of PDFs and if I want him to read the system he wants to have it in print. Plus the print copy is easier to hand around the table while I run off of the PDF on the iPad.

More in-depth commentary will be coming later this week, but I couldn’t hold off on posting up the pictures of my soft cover copy. hard to believe the whole system is packed into this lightweight book!

Until later this week, enjoy!

Mini-Review: Decahedron

Decahedron Cover Issue 1Decahedron is the first issue of its free fanzine from DwD Studios. The inaugural issue supports their recent RPG release BareBones Fantasy, a rules-light fantasy genre roleplaying game. Haven’t heard of BareBones Fantasy yet? Don’t worry, we will be taking a closer look at that system in an upcoming post at The Iron Tavern.

Decahedron is a short 10 page fanzine and is available for free. One of the driving goals is to provide a location for fans to get their content published and out to the community.

The first issue weighs in with six articles and a high resolution map on the back cover. The map is a typical dungeon map with 25 rooms for the crafty GM to populate and drop into his campaigns. The inclusion of a map is supposed to be a regular feature for future issues. So even if you aren’t a BareBones Fantasy RPG player or GM, it could still be worth your time to grab a copy of the fanzine just for the map.

First up in this issue is a table of 100 descriptors for use with your character in BareBones Fantasy. A portion of creating your character in BBF is to note a descriptor, or short phrase that describes a focus or trait of your character. Something like “follows a strict diet” or “drinking songs invariably evolve into sacred hymns”. This table has 100 such descriptors to either get your creative juices flowing or to roll randomly on.

A new spell called Commune is included in a feature called Grimoire. The entry contains plenty of crunch to be dropped into your BBF game if you are looking to add new spells to your game.

The next article was Game Options. This article covered the process that evolved into coming up with the rules for two-weapon fighting in BBF. I found this article particularly enjoyable for a couple of reasons. First, I still envision being able to play a dwarven berserker type that wades into battle with two axes. It is sort of a test as to how well a system is going to suit me! This optional feature looks promising, striking a balance between offense and defense. Second, I enjoyed reading the thought process of what discussion went into crafting the crunch for this optional mechanic. Definitely a good read!

A short adventure from Matt Jackson makes its way into the pages. Only taking three pages of print, a map, adventure hooks, and encounter descriptions are all included. It looks like a fun adventure to drop in as a side encounter for an ongoing BBF campaign or perhaps as a one-shot to demo the game for folks at a convention.

And finally the issue closes out with a new creature from Larry Moore and a new character race by Mike Wikan. Both are one-page articles that seek to add more options to the BBF game.

The art in this fanzine is excellent. DwD Studios is picking up the tab on the art contained within to help keep the fanzine free for people.

Check the fanzine out even if you are new to BBF. Even if BBF isn’t your game, the map at the back is sure to be useful. The adventure within could always be adapted to your game of choice as well.