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Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game 3rd Edition Paperback – November 21, 2014
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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I don't recall exactly how I found the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game 3rd Edition, but it was nothing short of a life-saver. The rules are almost exactly like I remember the first rules we used when I first started hanging out with the math and chess nerds after the Friday night high school football games. (In Texas even the math nerds go to every home football game.) We used to play from 11:00 pm until 4:00 or 5:00 am every Friday for six years. (I started in junior high.)
I created a cheat sheet based on the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game rules. Everyone that came to my son's party also received a small bag of dice because these books were so inexpensive. They quickly grasped character's making, which allowed us to kick-off our adventure in less than an hour. It was nice to see this group of boys that are usually playing Minecraft or League of Legends until the wee hours of the morning most weekends lay down their phones, not even pull out a tablet or laptop, and start scratching all over a character sheet with a pencil. They did not realize that they were using their imaginations, doing math, and reading. Crazy, but true!
If you are trying to introduce a young person to the wonderful world of imagination-based Role-Playing games, I highly recommend getting them and their friends copies of this book. It may change their addiction to their screens. I know this group of boys is frequently coming over for marathon gaming sessions now...
The book has a great Monster section and has tons of the monsters that will be used on a frequent basis (the goblins, bugbears, dragons, undead, lizardmen and all the others we grew up hacking away at), and at over 70 pages of just monsters... Believe me, this book contains enough to keep you going for quite a while. Some optional rules are included as well and some are pretty cool. Rules for creating magic items that cast their own spells (we're talking about weapons as well as wands), a few different ways on how to handle characters dropping to 0 hit points (death, the -10 hp option, and a few others), and these are just two examples. The book also includes wandering monster tables for various terrains and dungeon levels, several examples of magic items and weapons, and various spells. There really isn't anything that feels missing from this book to be honest.
This company makes all of their products available for free from their website (as a download), and also offers them in print form for a very affordable price. Now, I know some people will read this and think that it doesn't offer enough races or character classes. So, I have to mention that the company's website offers downloads on at least ten different races (Gnomes, half-elves, 1/2 orcs, 1/2 ogres, and various new races like dog men, and many more). The site also offers rules on a few new classes including Monks (Great Adepts), Illusionists, Necromancers, Paladins, Rangers and Druids as well as a couple of character kits you can add to various classes (such as Bard, Barbarian, Sage, etc) which add cool new traits to your existing class at a cost of needing 10% to 25% more XP points per level. Skills are introduced if you want to add them to the game and several new spells are added as well (for both Cleric, M-U, and specialty spells for Druids, Illusionists and Necromancers).
The cool thing is that you can use any or all of these options as part of your game. The adventures I've checked out so far include The Glain Campaign and Morgansfoot and they are both well written with nice story lines. So this seems to be an RPG that will be supported with new product for a good while to come. One parting thought is for anyone who still has their old 1st edition AD&D books or basic (expert, companions, masters, etc) set is that you can use basically any spell or monster from those games as the stats for both monsters and spells match up nicely with this system.
A last final thought is for those who are only familiar with D20 RPGs. The Armor Class system is derived from the D20 RPG which means that the higher the AC the better (as opposed to wanting that -10 AC from the early D&D/AD&D). There is also a download available from the company's website that allows VERY EASY adaptation of any monster from any D20 monster manual.
So for anyone that misses the old school feel... This game is for you! For anyone that only knows D20 RPGs and who want to experience what old school D&D was like (without having to pay collector prices)... This game is for you too! Do yourselves a HUGE FAVOR and use your search engines at least check this game out on the company's website. It is well worth the $8.49 (inlcuding the $4 shipping charge) for it here on Amazon.
On to the rules themselves: This is basically a compilation of Basic/Expert D&D with a few tweaks (separate race & class, ascending AC) and basically nothing else. This is by design, but if you're looking for things like multi-classing, feats, or other "modern" RPG stuff, you're going to be sorely disappointed. Characters are differentiated primarily by role-playing and shared experience, not mechanics. The notion of a character "build" is essentially non-existent. For some, that's a bonus. Just know what you're getting (which is easy to do…the PDF is free at basicfantasy.org).
So that's the "what"; now for the "how." The presentation of the material is clean, clear, and functional. The editing is top-notch. The artwork is sparse and a bit spartan, and of so-so quality, but frankly the art just *fits* the work perfectly. That some of the pieces are loose re-creations of classic D&D art is a nice bonus.
If you're looking for a fast, rules-light game of D&D that just gets out of the way, this is a great choice. If you're looking for something like D&D 3E, keep looking. This isn't -- and doesn't want to be -- it. For my part, this is by far the best $5 I've ever spent on entertainment.
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It’s compatible with old AD&D and B/X material so dust those off.Read more