Get Your BareBones Fantasy!

Nov 7, 2012

I was one of the lucky people to get to play BareBones Fantasy prior to public release. The system mechanics are simple enough for anyone to pickup within a few minutes notice but complex enough to allow for nearly any action. Every roll is a d100 or a d10 along with modifiers.

Wait, the d100 is actually a d99 because everything is from 0-99 rather than 1-100. The distinction is an important one. Low rolls are successful so having an extra 1% is important. Especially so when you roll as poorly as I do. At least I did during the early play-test. I even died.

What I really like about the system is the lack of tossing characters into the class bucket. The heritage of the class is now a Skill that any character can pick up and utilize with appropriate placement of Development Points. The idea is like multi-classing from early D&D on speed. Even without levels in a particular area, you still have the ability to perform as a thief, warrior, or scout. For extra bonuses you cherry pick where to put a level, and primary (+20) and secondary (+10) bonuses during character generation. Essentially, you can be a jack of all trades or very specialized if you prefer to do so.

The mechanics reinforce the idea of just acting. You may or may not have particular skills but that doesn’t stop you from attempting an action. The imagination can come to life when you have to solve problems. Game master’s have complete discretion on the ease of checks and the abilities involved but the players are empowered to drive the story forward without simple attribute or skill limits.

Want to go all out and attack 3 times? Go for it. Tired of being limited by spell choices? Tweak the descriptions to fit your ideal. The core concept supports anything and everything. Its up to the players to choose who they are, how their powers might appear, and react in the world around them. You can eliminate the cookie-cutter, power-planning bits at the door. BareBones is a system for playing.

BareBones is one of the systems I’m really looking forward to playing more — enough that I might start a G+ Hangout campaign.

BareBones is a $10 purchase for the PDF. Well worth the cost just for the amazing art.

I like it enough that I’m working with the creators Bill Logan and Larry Moore on some generators. Prototype NPC and Adventure Idea systems are done.


1 Comment

  • The more I read about this, the more i want to play it. I’ve not played a class based fantasy RPG in a very long time, much preferring the freedom to play the character you want without worrying about class restrictions and boundaries.