Whenever I get the D&D itch and don’t want to play one of the original games or popular OSR variations, my Number One choice is Rattlemayne’s MoldHammer (or, as the latest incarnation is called “Accidental Deaths in Horrible Dungeons“).
It’s Basic D&D, boiled down, with a Dash of Whitehack roll-under, and I love it.
This here is a basic character:
chainmail (covering torso and arms)
to hit: 10
Now get this:
- Determine initiative any way you like.
- To attack, roll on or under your to-hit number. If you hit successfully, the enemy tries to roll on or under his Armor. If this armor save is successful, the armor deflected or negated any damage.
- If not, the enemy loses 1 ♥ (or ♥♥ when hit with a huge weapon).
- At 0 ♥, you’re down (and have to roll a d6 if you are in danger of serious bodily harm or death, with anything above 3 meaning gruesome consequences).
What else is in the system?
A lot, really, especially because it’s just one page long.
You get x-in-6 chance rolls for anything risky: “X starts around 1. +1 For Each Relevant skill/trait – Appropriate tool/item – Fun/clever idea”
Healing, encounters, reactions, morale and escape.
As I said before, this game is D&D. It feels like D&D, and it certainly plays like D&D, only faster. And, just like in pre-D&D roleplaying games, you can add stuff on the fly: Why not grant a +1 to hit for fighting-men?
Where can you download this underrated gem?
There are several supplements for it: Warhammer 40k weapons, Basic D&D magic items, and even Warhammer Fantasy.
Oh, I forgot to mention it’s pay-what-you-want.
Alrik (♥, to hit 10, sword, armor 4) is being ambushed by a dirty orc (♥ , to-hit 10, rusty sword, armor 2).
The ref says the orc gets a +1 to his to-hit because of the successful ambush.
Ref (playing the orc): rolls a 7. Hit.
Alrik (makes an armor save): 11. He gets hit, armor doesn’t deflect anything.
Now, Alrik is down to 0 ♥. Because this is potentially deadly, he rolls a d6 and gets a 2. This means: “2. WICKED SCAR. You learn a valuable lesson! Gain +1 maximum ♥ permanently.”
Ah! A wholesome shock, so to speak!
Alrik now has ♥♥ max, and ♥ right now.
Alrik’s turn: he rolls a 7! Hit.
The orc rolls his save: 19, his armor does nothing to prevent the hit.
The orc is down to 0♥, and because it’s just a monster, the ref rules the fight is over.