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Introducing the Beta test of a new fantasy roleplaying game ... MAGES & MONSTERS!

MAGES & MONSTERS is a hybrid of Old School Renaissance retro-clone design and modern d20 mechanics created using the Open Gaming License.  It is designed to evoke the nostalgic feel and streamlined play of classic RPG gaming with the simpler consistent mechanics and greater freedom of choice of modern game design.  It is a complete game allowing 20 levels of campaign play

Download the pdf, check it out, and give us your feedback!  We intend to continue to improve the game.

Our latest update is an alpha test release of the MAGES & MONSTERS Expanded Rules! This partial release contains a selection of new races and classes to provide more options for playtesting.

Adventures to support the MAGES & MONSTERS rules can be found on the MAGES & MONSTERS Adventures page.

Please give us feedback! Email your input via our "Contact Us" page, or post in this discussion thread at EN World.

More information about MAGES & MONSTERS:

Q: How is M&M different from other OSR RPGs?
A: M&M uses the classic OSR design basis of other retro-clones, but combines them with modern d20 mechanics.  Compared to the classic basic, expert, or advanced fantasy RPG, you have more consistent mechanics (example: ascending Armor Class and higher-is-always-better rolling), simplified combat process and saving throws, fewer restrictions on races and classes, and greater choice and customization in class abilities.  Compared to other d20-based games, you have a more streamlined game that doesn't overload players with choices and offers easier rules adjudication, simpler stat blocks, and easier adventure design for the Game Master. Plus, it's free!

- The initial pdf release has four races (Human, Dwarf, Elf, Halfling) and five classes (Cleric, Fighter, Mage, Thief, and Swordmage -- the latter is a fighter/mage hybrid). Any race can take any class; all classes are 20-level progressions with class abilities "built in". You can fully replicate the classic basic/expert class system with this document.
- Classes allow choices of skills (a simplified attribute-based system -- proficiency or no), weapon proficiencies (with an option to increase in proficiency), and some classes have a fighting style proficiency that allows other fighting options. However, there is no feat system as in d20; choices are internal to the class.
- There are no restrictions on skill choice, or weapon choice, so that players can more readily tailor to a concept (these things are balanced in otehr ways to keep classes distinct).
- Classes have a base attack bonus and three-save progression (Fortitude, Reflex, Will) and the d20 mechanics of "roll high against a DC" is used, with a fixed DC progression (Easy, Average, Difficult, Very Difficult, Nigh Impossible)
- Classes use a unified progression; no balancing classes against each other by using XP advancement.
- Math is flatter than the base d20 system (max BAB for a 20th level fighter is +6). Attack rolls and AC stay very flat with relatively small increases over time; damage and hit points scale more.
- There is no multi-classing; it is "built in" to hybrid class designs like the Swordmage which allow an equal progression in fighting and spellcasting (but are not quite as capable in either as a single class). The plan is to increase the number of hybrid classes significantly in the Expanded rules.
- Spell lists are more limited but spell descriptions are more flexible and spells allow power scaling to compensate for fewer choices. Spell power does not depend on caster level in the majority of cases ... yet a more powerful mage can still throw a more damaging fireball than a low level mage.
- Monster stats are "one line" stat blocks like the old basic game.

Q: Is the game complete?
A: The rules set for 20 levels of play with races and classes that correspond to choices from the classic basic and expert games is all there in the Beta pdf.  We are working on additional rule options, and will refine and finalize the rulebook based on the feedback we receive on the Beta version.

Q: I see a reference to Expanded rules. What are they?
A: We're working on a list of expanded choices and optional rules to allow you to easily adjust the game to your playstyle as well as to allow for a much wider range of options in races, classes, spells, and other features.  Our goal is to give you as much, if not more, choice as you has with the advanced version of the classic fantasy RPG.  We hope to have an Expanded rules document available in a month or two, with racial choices like the half-elf, half-orc, gnome, redcap, and lizardfolk, and classes like the animagus, warden, templar, illusionist, skald, and beastmaster. An Alpha Test version of the Expanded Rules is available on the site.

Q: Where's the art?
A: We try to keep things pretty simple here at NNP, and our AFATT philosophy means we don't have an art or layout budget.  There are lots of good OSR games out there that have great artwork if that's what most interests you.

Q: Will hard copy books be available?
A: Our AFATT philosophy will ensure we continue to provide free pdf distribution of whatever we produce.  We might consider making hard copies available, for a price ... but that would require an art and layout budget and some expertise we really don't have in house.  So ... never say never; we'll see how this initial Beta is received.

Q: How about an adventure or two to support the playtest?
A: Glad you asked!  We've just converted Raiders of Oakhurst Reloaded to M&M format.  It is available on the MAGES & MONSTERS Adventures page.
Jeff Caird,
Jan 1, 2014, 4:30 PM