Back To The Barest Basics

I’m coming to the conclusion that, for my solo play, I need to find only the barest of basic rules to support my sessions. While I might have a lot of love for detailed and pretty crunchy mechanisms, the reality is that my penchant for such games is eating up far too much time that could otherwise be spent playing.

An example: I had a day of solo play during which I switched back to running my fantasy game with Mythras. It’s an excellent D100-based system that is the spiritual (and actual) descendant of the RuneQuest game of my youth. The system offers a rich character creation process, deep options for customising your world’s magic, and loads of great advice on play.

Having spent some considerable time in the pleasant task of re-building characters in that game engine, I then set to engaging with the situation in play.

Due to a classic miscalculation, I promptly watched a giant spider kill one character and maim the other. Effectively, the game was a TPK. The total play time was probably less than two hours before my beloved heroes were out of action.

While I love rich character creation – which Mythras offers – the time spent building characters is disproportionate to the time spend in-world playing. In retrospect, I am learning the wisdom of other solo gamers who have recommended playing with lighter and simpler sets of rules.

While I am somewhat jaded in regard to the classic D&D games, I do think that rolling some quick characteristics, choosing a basic role, and gearing up is something that leads to quicker start-up.

For me, as a fan of D100 systems based on BRP, I am minded to engineer my own minimalist version of Basic Roleplaying inspired by that original 1980 booklet I was thinking about last week.

Rolling characteristics, assigning some basic skill values based on a profession, and grabbing a gear package is all it really needs. Once we’re playing, then we can embellish on-the-fly as necessary.

Game on!


  1. Ya know, since you like BRP, RQ, Mythras and Leary’s Mythras version of Classic Fantasy, I have an observation to make. BRP can certainly be less crunchy than Mythras. Are you aware that the first edition of Classic Fantasy that Leary released was a BRP monograph? That’s the one I have, and I would imagine it’s less complex than a Mythras version. I would suggest that you might give it a look. Here’s the entry on RPGGeek:

    Liked by 1 person

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