Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hacking Barebones Fantasy

Recently, I purchased Barebones Fantasy (hereafter BBF). A lightweight system that's deserving of a review. But a review will have to wait until Finals are done and gone. But in brief: I enjoy the game, it's a lightweight system that's easy to modify, it's complete in one slim book, and it steps away from D&D sensibilities in most areas. I love my retroclones, but familiarity is starting to breed contempt.

One thing that BBF DOES provide, however, is something I'm not really a fan of these days. The Tolkien Quartet. By design, the authors chose to make those staples of modern fantasy (The Elf, the Dwarf, the Halfling and the Human) the available player races.

While I respect that, and understand it's an easy, familiar concept for even non-gamers to get into (Thanks Jackson!), I'm wanting something a bit different. Being a big boy with big boy sensibilities, I got out my glue stick, crayons, and construction paper before getting to work.  Click through the jump to see what I've done to make Barebones Fantasy mine.

First, let's take a look at the way races are set up in BBF.

Each of the races is tied to one of the four attributes in Barebones, Strength, Dexterity, Logic and Willpower. They follow a format like this:

+10 to attribute score
Ability One
Ability Two
Ability Three (For dorfs and elves)
Movement Rating

Easy enough! Now, after some thought on the matter, here's the first pass at the new races for my particular flavor of BBF.


The Giants claim they were born from the first stones, and to look at their slate skin and bald heads, it would not be hard to believe the boast. Long-limbed and gangly proportioned, the Giants stand 14-20 feet tall, with the females of that race being taller than the males. Some rare exceptions have been known to near 25 feet in height. Nomadic, the Giant clans follow the Aurach herds that provide the Giant livelihood. Workers of stone, Giants will trade for metal goods and armor, but in their native lands make due with stone and obsidian.

 Long lived, slow to take a mate, the Giants are a dwindling race in this day and age, seeking lost glories to revitalize their line.
  •  Add 20 to starting Strength.
  •  +10 to Resistance Checks
  •  Giants add 1D to all attacks with Melee weapons, and their Unarmed attack is treated as 1D+5
  •  Movement 10 spaces (5 in urban environments or dungeons
  •  Languages: Giant, Tradetongue


The first Sprites were stars. All Sprites know this, even when they lose all other memories. Sung down from the night sky by Giant shaman to light the path for the clans, the Sprite are fond of the oversized race, and make their homes among the forests in the highlands.

Sprites stand two to three feet tall on average, and boast wings reminiscent of a Dragonfly's. Curious by nature, the short-lived race seek out new experiences and new sights, eager to share their stories with anyone who'll listen.  Sprites live 20 years, almost to the day. Should they die of natural causes, Sprites leave behind a crystalline egg that eventually hatches into a younger version of the Sprite. This younger self retains no memories of their past life, and is eager to explore the world anew.
  • Add 10 to starting Dexterity.
  • Sprites are capable of flight, able to obtain a height equal to their movement. This height can only be maintained for 1D turns, however, before the sprite must rest for another 1D turns.
  • Glimmerdust (Sprites may, once per day, cause their wings to glow.  This glow produces a soft blue light equal to a torch in brightness. This effect lasts 1d+10 minutes.)
  • Movement 8 spaces
  • Languages: Giant, Tradetongue


Squat saurians, the Trisk resemble brightly colored anthropomorphic ceratopsians. Heads crowned by by heavy ridges of bone, the Trisk are an arcane race, delving into the various occult mysteries of the world. Trisk stand 4-4.5' tall, and weigh four hundred pounds on average.
  • Add 10 to starting Logic
  • Saurian Resistance (+10 to resist poison and magic)
  • Keen Nose (+10 to Enchanter checks to determine ingredients, can 'sniff out' locations where there is no light)
  • Polyglot (1 bonus language at character creation)
  • Movement  6 spaces
  • Languages: Triskerii


The lost children of another era. Once the people of a mad god-king, the Unhomed are all that remains of a fanatical people. Cursed by their emperor for some perceived slight, the Unhomed have wandered for millennia. Unliving, but not after the manner of ghouls or zombies, the Unhomed do not age, do not die of natural causes. Nor do their wounds heal. Unhomed appear as blue-skinned humans, the more damaged of their brethren donning cloth wrappings and elaborate masks to hide their faces.  

Having spent the better part of their unlives attending a petulent immortal, the Unhomed find themselves to be natural diplomats, charismatic and charming to a fault.

  • Add 10 to starting Willpower
  • Unliving (The Unhomed do not suffer from natural death. They feel pain, but do not die until reduced to -10 BP. Further, the Unhomed are immune to disease and poison)
  • Charming (+10 to any check to persuade, seduce, etc)
  • Languages: Tradespeak

This is getting a little long in the tooth, so I'll cap it there. A bit of weird, a bit of setting in the description, I'm rather pleased.


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