I prefer to spell this as "rules-lite" and not "rules-light" since using lite indicates this is a simpler variation of another object - in this case the standard d20 SRD. Lite indicates something lacking a substance usually present like salt or fat, or in this case rules. Rules-lite is tougher to define, it could mean that there are few rules, and some RPGs do go in that direction. It can also mean that there are a few simple rules that can be applied in a common way across game concepts, and this is more the definition I have applied. I use it also because Beacon is a derivation of Microlite so there is lineage implied in the term. The Microlite system was an eye opener as it managed to boil down the basic d20 rules and present them in an incredibly compact way. By adding skills to emulate most class based abilities a huge amount of class and level rules were condensed into a tiny rules space. Much of the material I've added to Beacon is based on this one concept as I've tried to extrapolate the whole system out from that base.
There are now currently a whole set of Microlite variations to emulate different styles of game from Microlite74 which emulates the original D&D, Microlite81 which mimics B/X and even M20 Fifth which tries to emulate 5th edition. My first D&D was AD&D so that level of complexity is the pinned expectation I have for fantasy gaming. So its not a surprise that the development of Beacon is my personal attempt to redevelop a level of rules similar in scope to first edition AD&D from the core Microlite rules, but not to mimic AD&D. Like other Microlite variations I've tried to model a style of play by adding features or modifications to the core system while trying to keep that system consistent. The main areas of customization in Beacon are:
- Finding formulas for game mechanics like penalties/bonuses, leveling costs and class abilities instead of relying on charts;
- Defining race and class abilities as Stat and Skill bonuses with fewer special rules;
- Simplifying base damage and damage bonuses to prevent monster hp inflation and long combats;
- dealing with spell effects vs spell casting costs in a point based system.