Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Appreciation

Real life almost got in the way of my posting about this, which would have been ironic since I was the one pushing for more talk about this RPG. In case you missed my previous post about the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, just click there and get the basics. In case you're wondering why a bunch of bloggers are suddenly talking about this game, that isn't unintentional. This has rolled out of some G+ discussions on unnoticed free role-playing games. That's right, free.

The Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game is part of the retroclone movement, using the Open Gaming License (OGL) and various open gaming content (OGC) to create a "clone" or "emulator" of older, out of print games. One of the reasons that I like Basic Fantasy is because the creator (+Chris Gonnerman) didn't just make a clone, he also made Basic Fantasy his own with his own tweaks and changes to the material. Since I already talked about the game itself, and I am sure that some of the other bloggers on this project will do the same, I am going to focus instead on talking about some of the supplemental material that has sprung up around the game, and point out some of the bits that I particularly like. Basic Fantasy has developed quite a prolific community, a community that has  developed enough supplements and adventures (all available for free off of the Basic Fantasy website linked about) that you can get a campaign off the ground and go for (and this may or may not be hyperbole) a year or two without having to spend any money (except maybe your printing costs). This is DIY gaming at its finest.

While Basic Fantasy is available in at cost print editions on Lulu, the community is pretty much self-contained around the game's site. You aren't going to find Basic Fantasy over at RPGNow, and I think that is a strength. It does mean that it can be a bit harder for people to stumble onto this game, but that is what blog posts like this are working to overcome.

So, let's talk about some of the supplemental material that's available.

I like skills. Not having them is, for me, one of the weak points of old school gaming. Omer Golan-Joel came up with a short supplement that give you rules for skills, working off of the Ability Roll rules that are in the core rules of the game. I like the simplicity of the approach, and I like how the rules are robust despite this simplicity. If you're like me, and I know I am, this supplement is something that you will be attaching to your set of the core rules.

Chris Gonnerman, the creator of Basic Fantasy has a cool supplement for Sentient Weapons for the game. Stormbringer, anyone?

And, speaking of Stormbringer, or RuneQuest, Joe Carruthers has put together a supplement called Basic Fantasy Questing that merges some of the concepts of d100-based role-playing games with the core Basic Fantasy rules. There are some neat ideas in this supplement that creates a fusion of two different approaches to fantasy role-playing games.

Who doesn't like have more magic? Libram Magica by R. Kevin Smoot and various other contributors, gives you a whole parcel of new spells and options for your spell casting characters.

Honestly, these four supplements are just the tip of the Basic Fantasy iceberg. Check out the Downloads and Showcase pages for a lot more stuff. Even if you don't use the Basic Fantasy game, all of these things (new spell options, new classes, campaign settings and modules) can all be used with your existing old school games with little to no conversion work. That's just a small part of what makes all of these games so cool.

Like what you see? Tell me about some of your new or old favorite stuff from the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game.