by Ramanan Sivaranjan on September 18, 2013
Just another attempt for a very minimalist D&D set of rules. Please playtest and critize. — snorri, Aug 23, 2009
Searchers of the Unknown is a role-playing game whose rules fit on a single piece of paper. I’m not really sure what the pedigree of such minimalist rule sets is, but Searchers of the Unknown probably wasn’t the first of this breed of game based on its tag line: “Another minimal way to play D&D”. That said, it seems to be the most popular. It has spawned its own sub-genre of “Searchers” minimal D&D games. The original announcement thread on ODD74 collects some of them, such as MUTANT SCAVENGERS of the RUINED EARTH, Witches of N’Kai, Re-Searchers of the Unknown, etc. What’s interesting is that the thread has chugged along for the last 4 years. Though most of the activity came in the months following the initial posting, every so often someone would jump in to share some new mini-D&D development. This week someone posted Call to Adventure, which looks to be another interesting take on a minimalist D&D game. If you find most versions of D&D too overwhelming, these minimal games might be your cup of tea.
Update 2013-09-19: Shortly after posting this I was tipped off to Lurkers of Carcosa, which are minimalist rules for play a game set in Carcosa. That Carcosa setting book basically suggests you throw away lots of the basic rules to D&D, so it lends itself well to this sort of minimalist game.