Advanced Search

Conrad’s Fantasy Next MillenniumClick to magnify
Quick Preview
Full‑size Preview

Conrad’s Fantasy Next Millennium


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 other 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.

Example of Gameplay

The party suspects the passage ahead has monsters, and these wait in ambush. The GM decided that three Easy Actions must be completed for the players to pass. The encounter is being run as a set of challenges, and the Tactical Result need not apply. There could still be swordplay and injury.

The Gamemaster will continue to roll D20, until the group is successful at three events or decides to retreat and take what they believe is an even more dangerous route, one that’s unknown. Skip an event or fail to meet the requirements and the group receives Harm.

The group: Richard (Mariner, Berserker, no Glory Pips left), Jane (Scout, Spy, two Glory Pips) and Sally (Scholar, Sorcerer, one Glory Pip). A party of this size has Task Resolution of Eight (2D8).

First D20 reveals: E#20. Skills: Mariner & Mystic.

Richard makes his Mariner roll of eight (4-4). It’s doubles but he did not fail. No Harm, simply success. Half of the challenge is complete. Jane’s Scout and Spy play no role in the obstacle presented. She opts to pass. There is no Mystic in the party, but there is Affinity. Sally has Scholar which gives her the ability to try the Mystic roll at two harder in Task. She fails without doubles. Her roll of Six (3-3) does not meet the Ten threshold; that’s at two higher for Affinity.

Should we roll Harm now? Sure. But is it Combat table or Encounter Table? The GM may still inflict Combat Harm even if the situation is being handled by a set number of challenges. But we’ll use Encounter Harm. The result from a single die is 8; Sally would lose a Skill for the rest of the adventure. She decides instead to spend her Glory pip and turn the roll to a seven, just a fail. Right now, the encounter would end, and the GM would still require three. For this one, the group collectively failed to complete both Skills.

Jane asks to use magic and cover for the Skill Mystic. By the way, she has seldom used magic in the campaign. She did pass, but the GM let’s her try. We’re all learning. Her magic is a form of Fundamental Test.

At First Acts she might change a Specialist Skill in-play to a Professional; however, the Skill downgraded should seem similar. Her Skills of Scout and Spy do not seem very mystical? Nor do her Affinity Skills of Armsman and Tactician. She might argue that being a Tactician is kind of like having premonitions like the Mystic. It’s a stretch. The GM says she might instead alter a Professional Skill in-play to a different Professional Skill. If she can roll Task Scout. She can roll a second time with magic and turn Scout to Mystic.

What if she doesn’t want to try two rolls, even if both as mere Eights? Is there another option? The GM says on Safe Limit she could supply the second of two Skills needed for an Easy action. But the GM comments that she has not used enough magic to allow that; she is just at First Acts.

Jane roll thirteen for Skill Scout (success). Jane rolls ten for First Acts breaking Law IV (success). She has turned her Scout ability into a Mystic ability. The first of three GM rolled encounters is complete.

Narrative example Richard: “I think something is clinging to the ceiling, in the slight depression. I see skat on the wall.” He’s right, obviously.

Narrative example Sally: “I can’t see a damn thing. This is madness; we know there are critters there. Could be more behind them.”

Narrative example Jane: “It’s a goblin.” She added to the plot, identifying a common enough enemy. Did she do so because they are one HD. No, it’s a mortal monster, deadly as any other, not Great, not Beast, not Undead and not Demon. If she named a spider that too would be fine, even if that suggests a Beast. Beasts are as Beasts act. There would be mortal spiders.

Every Spider does not have the Immunity of a Beast. Is it the size of a dog or an SUV? But she wanted Goblins, having read Tolkien and played lots of D&D®.

Gamemaster: “Of the many and twisted shapes of the goblin, these are rust colored, six-inch long claws on both feet and hands. That’s why they do what they do. They hope to drop down on you should you pass.”

Richard: “I don’t think they see us; we made our rolls.”

GM: “They smell something is coming. There’s only two.” All this is done right on the spot. The GM did not have to draw a map, mark the two goblins or note what they look like or how they fight. Free-style allows content to enter play by imaging and building the story.

The actions capture the spirit of the event. “Describe your action where you try to keep the enemy at arm’s length.” Here the enemy is being brought into focus so it might be directly battled. Is it an exact letter reading? No, the player narratives matching the booklet guideline is seldom a deal breaker. Do your best and work toward mood. Here one of danger and anticipation. Sally’s misstep using her skills suggests they want to know exactly what they might face; the unknown is what’s causing fear.

The GM might want to know a bit more of Jane’s magic. She’ll violate Law IV – All planes of existence are separate and distinct; they do not cross or meet.

Narrative example Jane: “I send my eyeballs down the corridor without the rest of my body.” That could be seen as more physical, maybe Law II or Law V. The GM was thinking that Jane would just open a window in reality and look through. But he likes Jane’s concrete example. There’s no need to backtrack and repeat rolls. Play should not become an intellectual exercise in the universe distilled into six laws (dull).

This was just First Acts, and it sounds fine. Could Jane run her eyes all around the world, send them everywhere ahead of her all the time? No. Each magic event happens in the moment. The intent is designed for fun not to game the system. She would not add that she found the goblins loaded with packs of treasure or the monsters ahead were all bound with rope. She did not try magic at Overkill! Anything attempted is regulated by the GM. He has made quest elements and is helping tell the story as well.

Free-Style Role-Play uses a Quick and Dirty system. The players are not going to always control precisely what happens in combat. The player selects a broad action, and a result is generated from a set of outcomes. Yes, there are dice rolls. Wouldn’t be a game without such.

Yet instead of rolling D20 ad nauseum, you take actions in free-style fashion and compare your abilities against the generated event.

Watch the play tester videos.

Ask your questions about free-style role-play at our VOX public forum,

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (0)
Discussions (2)
Customer avatar
Conrad T April 26, 2023 10:44 am UTC
Great ideas. Amazing content. Expect something different than the normal d20 content.
Customer avatar
George R April 22, 2023 11:54 pm UTC
Here's a video of my solo play:
Browse Categories
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!

Product Information
Rule System(s)
File Size:
3.19 MB
Original electronic
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Last Updated:
April 21, 2023
This title was added to our catalog on April 21, 2023.
Better Games
Publisher Average Rating