This is a collection of Dungeons & Dragons-like role-playing games that are 1, 4, or 5 pages.
None of these games claim to be D&D. Legally, of course, they cannot. But they are all attempts at boiling D&D down to its essence. To provide a minimal RPG that still—to some extent—looks and feels like D&D.
Microlite20 is a minimalist role-playing game designed to be usable with the majority of the OGL/d20 supplements, rules and adventures with little or no advance preparation. The basic rules for character generation, combat, magic and level advancement take up a single sheet of paper, meaning it is perfect for introducing role-playing to new players, gaming oneshot adventures or tailoring into your own game system.
Microlite20 has a ton of spin-offs including some that seek to appeal more to old school gamers than the original may have.
Searchers of the Unknown is a one-page roleplaying game where player characters are entirely defined by a minimalist old school Dungeons & Dragons one line stat block (e.g. “AC 7, MV 9, HD 2, hp 9, #AT 1, D 1d8 mace”) something like monster stat blocks in early editions of D&D.
Searchers likewise has a bunch of spin-offs. Including...
1974 Style™ is a set of free, familiar, and easily modifiable role-playing game rules suitable for Fantasy, Pulp, Horror, Western and Sci-Fi Adventures.
A typical old-school RPG module stats list for a monster looks like this: AC6, MV9’, HD 1, hp 4, #AT1, D1-10 by halberd. The 1974 Style rules use these same stats for player characters (PCs).
Character stats can fit on a 3×5 or 4×6 card, and all the rules for a given game and setting can fit on a single sheet of paper.
You remember, don’t you? The sounds of battle heard through the clatter of dice? The shuffling of character sheets? The war stories shared with your fellow campaigners? There is a longing in the soul of every adventurer and though it sometimes fades to a whisper, you still hear it. Swords & Wizardry Light marks your return to fantasy roleplaying—or if you’re curious what fantasy gaming is all about, this is the perfect introduction. This folio, a twenty-sided die, and a few six-sided dice are all you need to return to the gaming table, recall those halycon days of heroism, and forge brand new legend. Welcome back to Swords & Wizardry Light!
I greatly appreciate that they actually spelled in “light” instead of “lite”.
Honorable mention—Original Edition Delta: OED is really just some house rules for original D&D. But it isn’t far from being everything you need. Lists of spells, equipment, monsters, and treasure are missing; although there are plenty of sources for such things. The XP per level tables are also missing, though you could certainly get by with the S&WL rule there.
Honorable mention—Risus: Risus is in no way D&D. Though it can certainly do a good spoof of D&D. But it may be the best minimal RPG ever written.
Others? Please leave a comment about any other minimal D&D-like games I missed.