Microlite5E (online version)

In HTML format so you don’t need to download the PDF (which is here).


Microlite5E

Third Release

Microlite20 was written by Robin V Stacey in 2006 with the goal of being:

… a trimmed-down, subminiature version of [Dungeons & Dragons third edition] that has been designed to be quick and easy to play. The goal was to create a simpler game, but one where all of the resources of [D&D] (monsters, spells, adventures and equipment) could be used without conversion.

Microlite5E is my attempt to do the same for Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition. It should make character creation very quick and reduce the number of fiddly bits that a player has to keep track of. Characters should be balanced with existing fifth edition characters and be able to complete normal fifth edition adventures.

Changes: Microlite5E keeps all class features, but simplifies weapon and armour choices, replaces skills with broader proficiencies, reduces races to a single feature, prompts an optimal ability modifier array and discards ability scores to use modifiers only.

It also comes with a two-page monster creation system that should make DMG-legal monsters.

Changes from Second Release: Added Inspiration rules. Changed how monster abilities are set and clarified that they do not modify attacks, damage, save DCs, etc. Added the Reserve Points and Starting Stronger variant rules.

Thanks to: The people of the SomethingAwful forums, who made many helpful suggestions. Reserve points are based on a house rule from gradenko_2000.

© Chris Sakkas, 2014, based on the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, fifth edition. The below licence applies only to the original components of this work.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.

Creating a character

Step one: Choose your class

At this stage, just note down which class you’ve chosen. You’ll write down the features of that class later.

Write “+4” in the key ability of your class and “+3” in the secondary ability. Where two are given, choose one.

You can distribute +2, +1, +0 and -1 among the other four abilities.

Class

Primary Ability

Secondary Ability

Barbarian

STR

CON

Bard

CHA

DEX

Cleric

WIS

STR, CON

Druid

WIS

CON

Fighter

STR (melee), DEX (ranged)

CON

Monk

DEX

WIS

Paladin

STR

CHA

Ranger

DEX (ranged), STR (two-weapon)

WIS

Rogue

DEX

INT, CHA

Sorcerer

CHA

CON

Warlock

CHA

CON

Wizard

INT

CON, DEX

Step two: Choose your race

The name of your race is the name of your first skill. For example, a dwarf has the Dwarf skill, which he or she can use to identify stonework, recall dwarflore and determine how far underground he or she is.

You also have advantage on saving throws applicable to your race. For example, dwarves get advantage to dodge boulders flung by giants and elves get advantage to resist sleep and ghoul paralysis.

You also get one racial feature.

Dwarf: +1 hit point per level. Resist poison.

High elf: You know one arcane cantrip.

Wood elf: No natural thing will restrain you. In addition, ignore difficult terrain from natural sources. In addition, you can hide in any lightly-obscuring natural surrounding.

Dark elf: You can be dazzled by sudden bright light, giving you disadvantage in those circumstances. You can cast darkness 1/day.

Halfling (Small size): You can hide behind any creature one size or more larger than you. Resist poison.

Human: 3/day, advantage on a roll of your choice.

Red dragonborn: 1/encounter, DEX save*; fail:2d6 (3d6 at 6th, 4d6 at 11th, 5d6 at 16th); success: half damage, 1d4+1 targets (DM chooses one, you choose the rest)

Forest gnome (Small size): You can talk to Small and smaller animals. You know the minor illusion cantrip.

Rock gnome (Small size): If you have tools and time, you can create Tiny clockwork devices.

Orc: Diehard 1/day (when you are reduced to 0 HP or below, set your HP to 1).

Tiefling: Hellish rebuke 1/day. Resist fire.

Aasimar: Healing word 1/day. Resist necrotic and radiant.

Duergar: Enlarge/reduce (enlarge only) 1/day.

Shadowfolk: Disguise self 1/day.

Frogfolk (Small size): Jump 1/encounter. Breathe underwater.

Gremlin (Small size): Automatically tell how any mechanical or magical device works and what it does.

Blue goblin (Small size): You never need to eat, drink or breathe.

Changeling: Your claws are always one-handed melee weapons that do 1d10 damage.

Dhampir: Detect evil and good at will

* All saves that you force creatures to make via your racial or class features use the same DC, which is your spell DC.

Step three: Class, again

Write down your class features, etc., on your character sheet.

You are proficient in a skill called your class name. For example, a barbarian has the Barbarian skill, which he or she can use to survive sub-zero temperatures, scare puny mortals, etc.

You get the class’s class features, as usual, including spells.

Armour indicates the heaviest armour you can wear; you can also wear lighter armours.

Class

HP at 1st

HP at each additional

HD

Proficient in

Armour

Barbarian

12+CON

+7+CON

d12/level

CON, STR

Medium, shield

Bard

8+CON

+5+CON

d8/level

DEX, CHA

Light

Cleric

8+CON

+5+CON

d8/level

WIS, CHA

Medium, shield

Druid

8+CON

+5+CON

d8/level

INT, WIS

Medium, shield

Fighter

10+CON

+6+CON

d10/level

STR, CON

Heavy, shield

Monk

8+CON

+5+CON

d8/level

STR, DEX

None

Paladin

10+CON

+6+CON

d10/level

WIS, CHA

Heavy, shield

Ranger

10+CON

+6+CON

d10/level

STR, DEX

Medium, shield

Rogue

8+CON

+5+CON

d8/level

DEX, INT

Light

Sorcerer

6+CON

+4+CON

d6/level

CON, CHA

None

Warlock

8+CON

+5+CON

d8/level

WIS, CHA

Light

Wizard

6+CON

+4+CON

d6/level

INT, WIS

None

Weapon damage by class

Class

Light

One-handed melee

Two-handed melee

Ranged

Barbarian

1d8

1d8

2d6

1d8

Bard

1d6

1d8

1d10

1d8

Cleric

1d4

1d6

1d10

1d6

Druid

1d4

1d6

1d10

1d4

Fighter

1d8

1d10

1d12

1d8

Monk*

1d6

1d8

1d12

1d6

Paladin

1d6

1d8

1d12

1d8

Ranger

1d6

1d8

2d6

1d10

Rogue

1d6

1d8

2d6

1d8

Sorcerer

1d4

1d6

1d8

1d6

Warlock

1d4

1d6

1d10

1d6

Wizard

1d4

1d6

1d8

1d6

* The monk treats unarmed strikes as one-handed melee weapons, as well as light weapons and dual wielding weapons (if the monk has both hands free).

Equipment

If you prefer, you can just go with the equipment choices in the Player’s Handbook.

Every character begins with an equipment pack of their choice (page 151 of the Player’s Handbook). They also start with the following:

Class

Weapons

Focus

Shield

Armour

Other

Barbarian

3

Bard

2

Musical instrument

Light

Cleric

2

Holy symbol

Y

Light or medium

Druid

1

Druidic focus

Y

Light

Fighter

3

Y

Light or medium

Monk

2

Paladin

2

Holy symbol

Y

Light or medium

Ranger

3

Light or medium

Rogue

3

Light

Thieves’ tools

Sorcerer

2

Arcane focus or spell component pouch

Warlock

3

Arcane focus or spell component pouch

Wizard

1

Arcane focus or spell component pouch

Spellbook

Shield: You can swap your shield for another weapon choice, if you prefer.

Focus: A focus allows you to cast your spells. If you want to mix it up, and have a musical cleric (a cantor) who casts with a lute or a herbologist druid who casts with a spell component pouch, that is very cool.

Weapons: Each choice allows you to choose another light weapon, one-handed melee weapon, two-handed melee weapon or ranged weapon. Note that ranged weapons come with ammunition and you might get multiple weapons if you choose light weapons.

Examples:

Light: Four javelins, 20 darts, two handaxes, two daggers, a shortsword

One-handed melee: A rapier, a scimitar, a longsword, mace, warhammer

Two-handed melee: A greataxe, a greatsword, a longspear, a halberd

Ranged: A crossbow with 20 bolts, a longbow with 20 arrows

Step four: Background

Choose a background.

Step five: Stats

Proficiency bonus: +2 (at first level)

Spells DCs: 8 + proficiency bonus + your primary ability. While called “spells DC”, this is actually the DC for any save that you force a creature to make through the use of your racial or class features.

Spell attacks: 1d20 + proficiency bonus + your primary ability

Attacks

Light weapons include thrown weapons and improvised weapons. They are one-handed.

Ranged weapons are always two-handed.

Your options for hands are therefore:

Option

Dominant hand

Other hand

Empty hands*

Nothing

Nothing

Empty Hand casting*

Focus

Nothing

Einhander*

One-handed weapon or light weapon

Nothing

Spells-and-sword”

One-handed weapon or light weapon

Focus

Sword-and-board”

One-handed weapon or light weapon

Shield

Shield-and-sorcery”

Focus

Shield

Two-hander

Two-handed weapon

Nothing

Ranged

Ranged weapon

Nothing

Dual wield

One-handed weapon or light weapon

Light weapon or one-handed weapon

* Suboptimal. Always better to dual wield. The one exception is if you plan to grapple. Even then, you can drop your weapon just before grappling.

Melee attacks: 1d20 + STR + proficiency bonus (if you’re proficient in that weapon).

Add your STR to damage.

Alternatively, if attacking with a light weapon in melee, you may substitute DEX for STR, for attacks and damage.

Ranged attacks: 1d20 + DEX + proficiency bonus (if you’re proficient in that weapon).

Add your DEX to damage.

Alternatively, if attacking with a light weapon at range (i.e. you are throwing it), you may substitute STR for DEX, for attacks and damage. You still do your light weapon damage, not your ranged weapon damage.

Duel wielding: If you dual wield, use your “two-handed melee” damage if you are attacking in melee. If you attack at range, use your “ranged” damage (you can only dual-wield light weapons at range, since they can be thrown).

If dual-wielding with one or two light weapons, you can choose whether to add your STR or your DEX to the damage.

Flurry of blows: Before you make an attack with your action, you can declare a flurry of blows. Your attack only does half damage (round down). However, you can make a second attack with your bonus action. This attack also only does half damage (round down).

If dual-wielding light weapons, it is possible with a flurry of blows to make one attack in melee and one at a range.

Armours

AC (in no armour): 10 + DEX

AC (in light armour): 12 + DEX + 2 (if shield, if proficient with shield)

AC (in medium armour): 14 + DEX (max. +2) + 2 (if shield, if proficient with shield)

AC (in heavy armour): 18 + 2 (if shield, if proficient with shield). Requires STR +2 or more. Also, gives disadvantage on all stealth checks.

Combat Advice

In general, you should wear the heaviest armour that you are proficient in. Clear exceptions are:

  • If your DEX is +3, you should wear light armour instead of medium (heavy armour is still better if you have that option).

  • If your DEX is +6 (outside normal ability), you should wear light armour instead of heavy.

What to roll

For most challenges, roll:

1d20 + the relevant ability + proficiency bonus (if your race, class or background are relevant)

DC 10 (easy), 15 (moderate), 20 (hard)

For saves, roll:

1d20 + the relevant ability + proficiency bonus (if you’re proficient in the appropriate save) OR + proficiency bonus -2 (if you’re not proficient in the appropriate save)

DC 10 (easy), 15 (moderate), 20 (hard)

Remember you get advantage on saving throws that your race should be good at.

Levelling up

Your proficiency bonus increases by +1 at levels 5, 9, 13 and 17.

At levels 4, 8, 12, 16 and 19, follow the table:

Level

Ability Score

4

One of your non-primary, non-secondary abilities increases by 1.

8

Your primary ability increases to +5.

12

Your secondary ability increases to +4.

16

One of your non-primary, non-secondary abilities increases by 1.

19

Your secondary ability increases to +5.

Character Creation Examples

Walkthrough

Step One: I’ve heard interesting things about the 5th edition bard, so I choose that class.

CHA +4, DEX +3.

What kind of orc doesn’t have terrific hardiness and forcefulness? I’ll go CON +2, STR +1. Orcs are a little stupider than they are rash, I think, so I’ll go WIS +0, INT -1.

Step Two: I like the idea of an orc, angrily banging on his elfskin drums.

Diehard 1/day

Step Three: Back to my class, bard. I copy down my class features from the Player’s Handbook, including spells. I also note down the HP and so on from the Microlite5E document.

Spellcasting (2 cantrips, 4 spells known, 2 1st-level spell slots), bardic inspiration (d6) (CHA/day; i.e. 4/day)

HP 8+CON (i.e., 10), HD d8, proficiency with DEX and CHA saves, proficiency with light armour

Damage: light, 1d6; 1H, 1d8; 2H, 1d10; ranged, 1d8

Phew, that’s a lot to take in. I’ll go with the quick build defaults for spells:

dancing lights, vicious mockery (cantrips); charm person, detect magic, healing word, thunderwave (1st-level).

I also get equipment:

pack (diplomat’s), light weapon (two daggers), one-handed melee weapon (rapier), musical instrument – drums, light armour (leather).

Step Four: I have to choose a background suitable for my orc bard. I think Criminal is a nice touch. As with Orc and Bard, Criminal is a “skill” for me – when it is appropriate to a roll, I add my proficiency bonus.

I also get the equipment listed in the Player’s Handbook

crowbar, set of dark common clothes (including a hood!), belt pouch (15gp).

I also get the background feature.

Criminal Contact

Step Five: This is the most daunting part, but I conclude:

Spells DC: 14 (8 + 2 + CHA)

Spell attacks: 1d20+6

AC: 15

Attacks with my rapier: +3 (2 + STR), damage: 1d8+1
Attacks with my dagger: +5 (2 + DEX), damage: 1d6+3
Rapier and dagger: +5 (2 + DEX), damage: 1d10+3 (melee)

I know which one I’ll be going with.

And that’s it! Here’s my completed character:

Criminal Orc Bard.
STR +1, DEX +3, CON +2, INT -1, WIS +0, CHA +4.

HP 10, HD 1d8, AC 15 (light), Saves proficient DEX and CHA (+2), advantage on Orc
Rapier and dagger +5 (1d10+3), dagger +5 (1d6+3)

Skills Orc, Bard, Criminal
SQ Diehard 1/day; bardic inspiration (d6, 4/day); Criminal Contact

Spells (cantrips) dancing lights, vicious mockery (2/day, 1st-level) charm person, detect magic, healing word, thunderwave

Equipment rapier, diplomat’s pack, elfskin drums, leather armour, two daggers, crowbar, set of dark common clothes (including a hood!), belt pouch (15gp).

Example characters

Entertainer Forest Gnome Warlock (Fey Pact).
STR -1, DEX +2, CON +3, INT +1, WIS +0, CHA +4.

HP 11, HD 1d8, AC 14 (light), Saves proficient WIS and CHA (+2), advantage on Forest Gnome
Light crossbow +4 (1d6+2), dagger +4 (1d4+2)

Skills Forest Gnome, Warlock, Entertainer
SQ cantrips (chill touch, minor illusion, mage hand); talk to Small animals; fey presence (1/encounter); By Popular Demand

Spells (2/encounter, 1st-level) faerie fire, sleep

Equipment arcane focus, scholar’s pack, leather armour, spear, two daggers, lute, love letter, costume, belt pouch (15gp)

Charlatan Orc Paladin.
STR +4, DEX +0, CON +1, INT –1, WIS +2, CHA +3.

HP 11, HD 1d10, AC 20 (heavy, shield), Saves proficient WIS and CHA (+2), advantage on Orc
Longsword +6 (1d8+4), javelin +6 (1d6+4)

Skills Orc, Paladin, Charlatan; disadvantage on stealth
SQ divine sense (4/day); diehard (1/day); lay on hands; False Identity

Equipment longsword, shield, x5 javelins, priest’s pack, chain mail, holy symbol, set of fine clothes, disguise kit, set of weighted dice, belt pouch (15gp)

Sage Tiefling Monk.
STR +1, DEX +4, CON +2, INT +0, WIS +3, CHA 1.

HP 10, HD 1d8, AC 17, Saves proficient STR and DEX (+2), advantage on Tiefling
Two unarmed +6 (1d12+4), dart +6 (1d6+4)

Skills Tiefling, Monk, Sage
SQ unarmoured defence, martial artist, hellish rebuke 1/day, resist fire; Researcher

Equipment shortsword, 10 darts, dungeoneer’s pack, a bottle of black ink, a quill, a small knife, a letter from a dead colleague posing a question you have not yet been able to answer, a set of common clothes, belt pouch (10gp)

Monster Creation

On a separate blog post.

Optional Modules

Languages

You know Common, your racial language, and a number of additional languages equal to your INT bonus. If you have INT -1, you do not know Common – only your racial language.

Custom Skills

Instead of getting your background, your race and your class as your three skills, you can choose three skills, one based on each of your background, your race and your class.

For example, instead of Human you might choose Raised by Wolves or Of the Steppe People; instead of Elf, Refugee of Rivendell or Elven Noble.

Feats

Instead of getting an ability score increase at level 4, 8, 12, 16 or 19, you choose one feat. This pauses the track for one step, so if you chose a feat at level 4, you get the level 4 ability boost at level 8. If you chose a feat then too, you’d only get the level 4 ability boost at level 12.

If a feat gives an ability bonus, ignore it. Instead, choose a second feat that also gives an ability bonus (ignore that ability bonus too).

Inspiration through Risk

Whenever you make life harder for yourself by acting according to your nature, you gain Inspiration if you do not already have it.

Inspiration through Action

At the end of every encounter, you gain Inspiration if you were not already inspired. You lose your Inspiration at the end of every long rest if you were inspired.

Starting Stronger

All characters start with additional hit points equal to their (CON x2) +10. They do not get additional hit dice.

Reserve Points

Instead of hit dice, characters have a pool of reserve points. Their reserve point maximum is equal to their hit point maximum. Whenever a character would have the opportunity to spend one or more hit dice (such as, during a short rest), they can instead spend any number of reserve points. They heal hit points equal to the number of reserve points spent. During a long rest, the character recovers half of their reserve points, up to their maximum.

Ability Score Flexibility

Instead of having your primary ability set to +4 and your secondary to +3, you can choose how to distribute your +4, +3, +2, +1, +0 and -1. Your primary ability is still your primary ability, even if you set it to -1.

In that case, use the following table.

Level

Ability Score

4

One of your non-primary, non-secondary abilities increases by 1.

8

Your primary ability increases by 1.

12

Your secondary ability increases by 1.

16

One of your non-primary, non-secondary abilities increases by 1.

19

Your secondary ability increases by 1.

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