Monday, May 2, 2011

A Thanks for the Basic Fantasy RPG

Note: Be sure to read to the bottom to retrieve your reward!

One of the first OSR-type games I came across was Basic Fantasy RPG. It is not a retro-clone, per se, but it is it's own thing, based on the d20 SRD and injected with the simplicity of B/X D&D. It is a very cool and easy to learn game, is 100% open (except for the art, I think), and 100% free. It is available on Lulu in 3 different formats at cost. In addition, it is hosted on a well-maintained site, which also includes tons of free user-created adventures, rules supplements, and other stuff like reference sheets, character sheets and GM screens.

Out of all of the "open" games available, I'd say that BFRPG is the most open. All the documents are available in both PDF and OpenOffice format, so it is a great platform for creating a customized game of your own design, with most of the heavy lifting already done for you.

Mythmere's post brought my attention to the fact that I have never thanked Chris Gonnerman, and all the others associated with the project for all the hard work they've done in bringing a very high-quality free game to us. Matt started a thread over on Dragon's Foot to thank Chris, so if you've made use of his work, head over there and drop him a note.

I've used BFRPG to play games, and also as reference material for personal projects. Below is a photo from a BFRPG game I played with my sister and brother-in-law, in which they were assaulting a mommy dragon and her two brat children that were causing trouble in the region.

Crazy zealot cleric just charges right in!
They won the battle by the skin of their teeth - one or two guys were lost in the battle. They were rewarded with much wealth, a flying carpet, and an efreeti bottle. They just happened to get lucky on the roll for the efreeti bottle and were granted 3 wishes. I'd tell you what the wishes were, but they're not really appropriate for public consumption!

Below is a pic of my homemade copy of BFRPG. I printed it at home on my laser printer, included a few supplements, made a custom cover on cardstock, and had it spiral-bound at Office Depot.

Acetate cover flipped over to reduce glare
The cover features the art of Kevin Mayle (used without permission), a favorite artist of mine. I tried to make a cover that would reflect the clean simplicity of the game itself, and I believe I accomplished that. If you like the cover, you can download your own copy here. Consider it a small token of my thanks and appreciation to the folks that brought us this most excellent game!


  1. Hey, thanks for the kind words! Nice to see good press for the game (not that I've seen a lot of bad press, but still).

  2. This was probably the first retro-clone type game I got, had printed and bound. Then, for a reason that still baffles me, I went and bought almost every other retro-clone. Yet this one resonates on almost every cylinder I look for, except it isn't on the shelf at the FLGS.

  3. Indeed, it is a great game. I love tinkering with rulesets, and any time I take a game and start fiddling with it, I basically end up just making it more like BFRPG.


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