dustinian.com: Starter Set 

Starter Set

I made some BFRPG (Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game) "cards" for a friend of mine. He expressed interest in my tabletop RPG game, but he lives several hours away, and his infrequent visits are consumed (and rightly so!) by family activities. I gave him the BFRPG core rulebook, but I know from experience- how opaque a core rulebook can be to the uninitiated. I wanted to send him something to get him started on his own. My wife had been telling me about this "Happy Mail" trend&emdash;sending hand-crafted, hand-written letters and notes&emdash;and I thought: Perfect! RPG Happy Mail!

Cards at the Table

Here are the finished cards, laminated and staged for play. I should note that while I've been a minor contributor to the BFRPG project, I benefit in no way from it. Nor does anyone. It's a not-for-profit endeavor; the creator sells the books at cost. Seriously, they're cheap. Look them up on Amazon.

Graph Paper Index Cards

I'd had the happy mail idea for idea for a few weeks before I saw these babies in Staples. Best buck-ninety-nine I ever spent.

NPC Card: Osric the Barkeep

Each card is a combination of sharpie and magic marker. All the lettering is done by hand. In a lot of ways, I'm not terribly happy with these; I could have done a lot better laying them out on a PC. In fact, I think I'd like to do more of these electronically. But I will admit it felt good to do something like this totally by hand. It took me back to middle school.

Map Card: Inn

I did not include a map key. I tried to draw well enough to get the point across. Part of the point of this was to get my friend playing with minimal reading and table-consulting.

Map Card: Cellar

Again, no key. I hope the bins of fruits and vegetables are obvious, as well as the brewing kegs. The maps were the most fun to draw.

PC Card: Fighter

I gave each player character the same ability spread: 18, 16, 14, 11, 11, 8. Results in a pretty beefy net +5 character. I also went easy and maxed out each PC's first hit die. I know, I know, but I figure the players will be first timers....

Errata: I forgot to take the fighter's attack bonus into account. It should say: "Longsword: +4, 1d8+3"

PC Card: Cleric

For each character, I made sure the picture matched the weapon and armor. Again, keeping things really easy for first time players.

Errata: The Cleric's DEX modifier should be -1, not +1.

PC Card: Thief

I also tried to highlight each character's best and worst ability in their description. I'm hoping it's specific enough to spur some role play, but general enough that players can take it almost anywhere.

Monster Card: Rat Swarm

Even though I beefed up the PCs... this guy does a d6 damage. A couple of lucky dice rolls by the Dungeon Master, and, boom, PC down.

Monster Card: Giant Rat

I play-tested these with my wife and 4-year-old daughter... the Giant Rat was a WAY easier fight than I figured.


My wife bought me some faux parchment paper some years back; I hate the way it feels (like really lightweight printer paper), but I LOVE the way it looks. The page numbers work for BFRPG 2nd and 3rd edition (editions are more like "revisions" in BFRPG).


I love my wife; she custom made this envelope for me out of a piece of leather-textured scrapbooking paper. I printed the address in the "Lucinda Calligraphy" font and used a light table to trace it onto the envelope with a brush-tipped sharpie. The effect was great in person, and the thick envelope with the laminated cards and letter had great heft!

Back of the Envelope

I drew this at the last second on a whim. I shudder that the hilt and the blade don't line up... amateur hour. But I did want to show the back of the envelope because it shows off the great paper.