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Free-Style Role-Play

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Conrad's Fantasy Next Millenium

During an age of inspired fury, following the fall of the last arcane emperor, yet before a twisted deal forged by goblins brings gunpowder to the barons, heroic warriors wander – north, south, east and west – to discover nothing but adventure. These are the tales of the one later heralded as the True King.

Dragon Magazine #179 said of the original: “Considering how many new role-playing games simply follow in the footsteps of those that have gone before, the game is amazing in its inventiveness. The result is a very rich storytelling battle with characters. The advancement system...I have never seen its like in any other game, and I find it completely intriguing.”

Shannon Appelcline in Designers & Dragons noted that free style roleplay games in the early 1990s, were an early indie effort that tried to break free of the old clichés of RPGs and instead offer more story-oriented games.

White Wolf #26 probably said we were illiterate slobs, but there was some genius in all the typos. Content = 5 w/ Production Value = 2

Right up front let it be known that this is not another version of Old School Role-play (OSR). I suspect some returned to original designs because they did not enjoy where their favorite game was heading. Rather than regress, maybe you just needed a Better Game.

Conrad’s Fantasy began in Fall 1989. It debuted at GenCon the next Summer. That was a blast, being ignorant of all-things business but believing in our design. We ran games at the LA conventions. In three years, there were more attendees that played Conrad’s Fantasy than RPGA® sponsored events.

Over thirty years later, on and off, the partnership is still improving our designs. It was superior then. Superior now. Plus slightly better edited.

The play uses character Skills. Those are the GM’s requirements in the test, an encounter. Do you have those or do you free-style explain how a different Skill might suffice? All of play is an exchange of ideas, a progression of the story and dice rolls. Got to have dice. This was never diceless role-play as some critics have asserted.

Here’s why the system is called free-style. The character performs the action, as the player sets the context, builds-on the tale. You now improvise, ad hoc, in the moment. You tell me what happened during your success or failure. You are not changing the impact.

The rules will dictate when enemies are slain in battle. When the event is over and done, the incident passes. But you will tell me how each enemy died from player character damage. How you suffered harm. Gruesome for sure. Your style will vary. Your group will self-regulate, even set the maturity rating.

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