Microlite-FW musings

I’ve pretty much given up on the idea of cobbling together a better organized version of FW. I love the book, and have found the investigation really fascinating (not least because the two gentlemen involved in the game’s creation who I have been able contact have relayed such interesting, funny, and human stories). But the fact is that the game is much more complex than I really would want to run, and more importantly I am not altogether enthusiastic about running a more “logical” game. I want to run a dungeon crawl, more in the tradition of D&D (a tradition that FW mostly rejects).

Still, there are some really great ideas in FW, and they seem worth porting to a house-ruled D&D type game. My brother has been pushing Microlite20 a bit and although I was initially turned off by it, I suddenly see some interesting possibilities. Microlite’s great strength is that it has shed many of the worst aspects of 3/3.5 edition D&D and is fairly malleable. So how about adapting Microlite20 to incorporate some of the better elements of FW?

The standard Microlite spell-casting system, where your Hit Points serve as spell points, would work out to be reasonably close to the mana system, but you could just as well create a “Mana” pool instead. I could also eliminate divine spells and just cook up Appeal/divine intervention rules, which could be a roll of, say, (Religious Level + CHA) vs some target number based on the level of the spell effectively being cast.  Maybe add Piety points as well which are burned up in appeals and turning.

Microlite seems to encourage players to advocate for when they think an attribute should be added to their skill checks (I may be reading that into it; maybe the intent is for GMs to always decide). I would similarly require players to advocate for the bonuses they believe thy are entitled to on spell casting and appeal rolls (which would inject the FW flavor of correspondences and areas of favor but keep it simple).

For skills, the basic five skills of Microlite20 (+ Expert) are Physical, Knowledge, Communication, Survival, and Subterfuge. These would be based on the character’s background (Social Class score and social background –urban, rural, warrior, or clergy). I’d envision these setting the limits on which skills the character can spend an initial 3 or so points improving. Clergy could start with the option to improve Knowledge and Communication; warriors with Physical; rural dwellers might get to add to Survival; lower Social Classes that qualify to be Thieves in FW get Subterfuge, etc.).

Which reminds me — the three attributes in stanard Microlite seem too limited. I’d probably throw them all back in, and adjust the system so Endurance sets base HP, Faith is used for magic and religious rolls, and so on. Also, adding the “vice” stats would give a basis for rolling versus temptation, which is an important part of FW‘s flavor. An unguarded purse may be a DC 10 or 12 temptation (roll under with d20 + Greed adjustment + Bravery adjustment?). Maybe berserking is a DC 15 Anger roll (d20 + Bravery bonus – Intelligence bonus?). I suppose I’d have to work out a way to make all rolls over or under though, which should be easy enough.

I’d probably keep the Zodiac and gender modifiers, but give female PCs a bonus of 2 levels or so. Likewise if I allowed non-humans, all humans would have to get spotted a couple of extra levels to counterbalance the fairies’ 2 magic levels from self-conjuration.

This all seems workable.
Of course if I’m dropping the SRD spells, classes, races, and abilities, maybe I don’t need to stick in the OGL either? I guess it could stay in just to be safe.

Published in: on September 20, 2010 at 10:00 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have been looking over the various editions of Microlite lately, and I like a lot of what I am reading. I have not run across Microlite-FW as of yet. Can you post a link? Thanks!

    • Well, it’s basically a document I’m working on that incorporates ideas from Bruce Galloway’s Fantasy wargaming and puts the mechanics in a Microlite kind of system. At this point it has diverged so far from Microlite it’s its own thing in most ways.
      I doubt I’ll finish it because it is getting almost as complex as FW. It’s kind of an experiment — can I put together a coherent game that keeps the flavor of FW without the multitude of factors calculated for each roll…
      That is, keep mana, piety, appeals, active and passive magic, etc. But in a d20/Microlite framework.

      • Got it… I should have made the connection. I enjoyed your overview of Fantasy Wargaming, which I have long considered an under rated book. For some reason when I read “FW” I had a brain fart and did not make the connection. 🙂

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