Monday, January 21, 2013

Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game

I don't point to other sites and say "Download this!" very often, but a recent post made by +Erik Tenkar over at his blog made me realize that I should post about Basic Fantasy here at the blog, and talk about it more. I think part of the reason that I don't push things more is that I'm not really an OSR person, so I don't feel the need to talk about games unless it is during play.

When I made my recent return to fantasy role-playing this year, one of the things that I really wanted to look for were games that were simple and streamlined. Not to knock those who like rules heavy games with a lot of crunch to them, that approach just doesn't appeal to me. Because of this, I starting looking more closely at a lot of retroclones. For my online game, I eventually ended up settling on Swords & Wizardry, but Basic Fantasy was a close second. A very close second.

This game is a retroclone, in a strict sense, but the game (and the community of fan developers that have sprung up around it) doesn't shy away from "newer" ideas, like skills, classes beyond the ones from old school games and the pages of old Dragon magazines. The people take the game into the directions that they want to go, and I respect that. If there were flaws to Basic Fantasy and its community, I would say that it would probably be that there hasn't been the branching into other genres for the game (like Goblinoid Games has done with Mutant Future). It isn't like that cannot be done with Basic Fantasy, but it is interesting that it hasn't been done yet. Maybe I just haven't seen it. I will admit that I don't spend a lot of time around forums, so I could have missed something on the site's forums.

What is amazing about Basic Fantasy and the fan community around it is the sheer volume of material that is available for free, in PDF and in the OpenDocument format used by LibreOffice. It has embraced open gaming and run with it. There are so many campaigns, modules and rules supplements that are available on the Basic Fantasy downloads page that you could easily run a game for years, and not have to pay for a single thing. You can buy print versions of the core rules, and some of the modules on, and if you like what you see on their site I really recommend throwing some monetary support their way. I've been thinking of picking up a print copy of Basic Fantasy as a birthday gift for myself. I really should get around to doing that.

Sort of like with my post about Warrior & Wizard, this is one of those retroclones that sort of slips through the cracks in discussions about these things. With Basic Fantasy, I think a lot of that is because the creator doesn't have all of his stuff up on RPGNow/DriveThruRPG, like some of the other retroclone/OSR publishers. I like the attitude of doing it themselves, it hits that DIY mentality that I like so much, but I thought that it would be nice to also give them a little bit of a mention outside of their circles. If you want a well-done free RPG that is every bit as good as any of the other OSR/retroclone stuff being sold (or offered for free) out there, and you haven't checked out the +Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, you really should check it out now. You're missing out.