New OSR Releases
The Highlands are aflame with the fires of rebellion! Barely submissive at the best of times, the restless clans have risen up in arms against the rule of good king Oldavin. What began a few years ago as local disturbances has flared into widespread revolt that saw Oldavin’s rule over the Highlands, always superficial at any rate, crumble away like ancient masonry.
A Highland rebel named Richard Dirkloch has rallied hundreds of bandits, ne’er-do-wells, and restive humanoids to his banner and wages war on the forces of good king Oldavin. He promises booty and freedom from the constraints imposed by law and order, but Dirkloch intends to deliver only death to his followers. Indeed, such is his only goal, the initial step in an insidious plan that could destroy the kingdom of his mortal enemy and restore his beloved bride to life. As his plot reaches fruition, what began as a minor uprising becomes serious, deadly serious.
Expeditious Retreat has been releasing a steady stream of very well received, Old School Goodness. Congratulations on their latest offering!
Delve at The Delve has released his Holmes Treasury, available as a free download. There’s still a lot of love out there for this edition of Dungeons & Dragons and a hearty thanks to Delve, for sharing this with everyone.
In the photo to the right, we see a grey-haired Mr. Holmes, leaning over his gaming table, which sports a blackboard paint finish. Now, that’s an idea!
The Maiden’s Blackmoor
"A short written companion, containing information on our past games, on the concrete changes we made to our setting, AND the big "Maiden’s Timeline", the backbone of the setting we use, containing about all information about our game that we can spare."
The Grim Winter PbP Backup Files
"The complete transcript of the "campaign that started it all", from December 2005 to April 2009. Docs come in txt and rtf format."
Thanks a bunch, guys!
Od&dities 13 is out and available at RPG NOW for $2.00. This issue has some stuff about Keep on the Borderlands, which means I’ll probably pick it up, this evening. I’m a sucker for KotBL.
If you missed the early issues, they’re archived on at least a couple of websites. Try this one.
Events & Happenings
The Escapist has announced a Read An RPG Book In Public week. This coming week, take something cool around town and show it off! Here’s the official page, for more info. Thanks go out to Norman at the Troll and Flame, for turning me on to this event.
If you’re one of the folks, who got in an order for the Swords & Wizardry White Box, Boxed Set, then you’re in luck! They began shipping, this week! Congratulations, to Brave Halfling Publishing and to everyone who helped make this release a success! If you missed out, don’t fret. The Publisher will be taking more orders, next month.
Robert Conley will be running a panel on Swords & Wizardry and the OSR in general at Eriecon, 2010, today. If you’re in Erie PA, the con runs from Feb. 26 – 28. Have fun, Robert. If you get nervous, just imagine that everyone is in their Chain-mail bikinis.
In Other News
James Raggi has released the latest preview version of LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing. If you want to help in his efforts, give it a read and let him know what you think.
If you head over to the Aeons & Auguries blog, the author has posted a color version of the Carcosa Hexmap! It looks nice! This is the second week in a row, that we’ve had some free goodies, from the Carcosa community. Keep it coming, guys!
That’s it for now. I’ll be back, with more news from the Old School Renaissance!
With just under three weeks left till the end of our Pledge-An-Auction fundraiser (March 15th), TARGA has to date collected over $260 for the Gygax Family Memorial and GaryCon. We’ve had (and have) some great items up for auction, including:
- Classic Traveller books and box sets
- Rare fanzines (Dungeoneer #2)
- Modern OSR publications (LotFP bundle)
- Rare RPGs (Bunnies & Burrows – still taking bids!)
If I had a personal goal to set, I would have said $300 or $400 dollars – it looks like we might be able to make that $300 mark. That’s fantastic!
If you have any old school items you’d like to auction off and give to a good cause – the 2010 GaryCon and future GaryCons and possibly the Gygax statue, please – please – please, we’d really like you to donate the proceeds. The GaryCon list of guests is a who’s-who of old school TSR alumus and people who enjoy old school, traditional gaming. There will be a wide variety of games there, including sci-fi, board games and of course D&D.
I know that auction-wise, we have a near mint copy of the reprint of S2 on deck… it would be great to get more up there.
For those of you who’ve donated so far, or bid and contributed, thank you!
Edited at 2:56 PM, to remove reference to an event that everyone has agreed, never happened.
Pied Piper Publishing, has released Black Festival, by Robert J. Kuntz. Available in Softcover for $9.95, this 36 page chapbook, is available in a signed and numbered, limited edition of 150 copies. The author has some more info, posted at his blog. Congratulations, Rob!
Events & Happenings
The author of Chirine’s Workbench, has announced the David L. Arneson Memorial Maritime Mayhem, scheduled for April 10th, 2010 at The Source. The game will be set in Tekumel and you can follow the links above, to check out the details. I’m new to this author’s blog and not very familiar with Tekumel, but the Aethervox Tekumel Collections, will be on display and that certainly sounds pretty darn cool!
- a streamlined, deadly, 1st Edition D&D throwback with some D&D 3.5e influences.
There’s been no official announcement and I’ll keep an eye on this, as it develops.
Goblinoid Games, is currently #1 in the February Lulu Sales Contest! With the release of the Advanced Edition Companion and the boost provided to the original Labyrinth Lord core rule book, Daniel Proctor is in first place, as of the 19th. Congratulations, Dan!
News From Around the Blogosphere
I ran across a new blog, recently. Old School Rant – Heckling Old School Out of Spite. The author is reporting the daily goings on in the OSR blogosphere, along with some acerbic, though not hostile commentary. I’m a little curious, to see what he’s up to and invite him to visit my own blog, The Underdark Gazette. I’ve gotta be honest, I could use a good heckling.
Zak at Playing D&D With Pornstars, has given us a few more details on his upcoming internet based show. Titled “I Hit It With My Axe,” the show will be hosted at The Escapist. Good luck to Zak and his players, in their upcoming creative endeavor!
That’s It For Now
Kind of a lite news-week, this go-around. I’ll be back and as always, feel free to send news my way.
I can be reached at dmkastmaria(at)g youknowwhat(dot)com, or you can leave a comment.
OSR News: Mid-Week Update – Brave Halfling Publishing is Soliciting Articles for a New Whitebox Product
Brave Halfling Publishing has made a post to the Swords & Wizardry forums, calling for articles to aid in putting together an introductory Whitebox product. John is asking for several articles, with instructions to post submissions to the relevant thread.
The Introductory Product will contain a mini-setting, adventures and some introductory articles, as well as a basic version of the Whitebox rules. Click the link above, to check out his original post, with all the details.
That’s it for now. I’ll be back Saturday, with more news.
(reprinted with permission by finarvyn and dubeers – original discussion thread can be found on the OD&D Board here.)
Thoughts on Old School – by finarvyn
There was a thread on Dragonsfoot talking about the “problem” with Old School gaming. I created a lengthy reply there, and thought I’d post it here as well to see if it generates any discussion here.
A few semi-random thoughts on this:
1. Classic games are classics for a couple of reasons. One is that they are great games. A second is that they get printed and reprinted. If the 1974 OD&D boxed set was continually being reprinted, it’s possible that it would have become a classic like RISK or Monopoly and might be for sale in every Toys R Us in the country. Sadly, we’ll never know for sure since the publishers took a different direction and tried to evolve the game instead of keep it the same.
2. Imagination isn’t dead, it’s just different. Kids nowadays have access to movies with better CGI and video games so realistic you’d freak. This means that their imaginations tend to be more visual. When I listen to my kids and their friends talk they are still very imaginitive, but it’s different than what I did when I was younger. I used to play cops with toy pistols or solider with toy machine guns, and they play jedi with light sabres that light up and make noise. Not really that different to me, and I would have played with the light sabre had it been around back then. In the same way, I love old B&W movies but don’t think I’d want all of my movies to be redone in B&W.
3. Games versus books. This is an interesting topic, as I do think we need more introductory games that have a rulebook, a map or so, dice, and a pad of character sheets. (Heck, I helped create one; the S&W Whitebox rules were actually for sale in a white box.) But then some would argue that “old school” was make-your-own maps and notecard character sheets, not those fancy pre-printed things. You can’t win either way.
4. Game evolution, and D&D in particular, is a touchy subject here and on most OS boards. The problem with most games is that as they evolve they tend to become more complex, and the more complex a game the harder it is for a newcomer to gain entry without extensive prepping. Star Fleet Battles was a simple game in 1980, insanely complex by 2010 as it has undergone multiple changes to the rulebooks, different packaging of the game, and so many alterations to the quantity of things you need to know in order to play the game. Almost all games go through this process, and D&D is worse becasue it does encourage creativity and begs you to tinker with it. (At least, the early versions did.) That’s why Dragon magazine was so popular, but if you didn’t read Dragon you were out “of the loop” and didn’t know about the newest advancements. If a person moved from AD&D to 3E to 3E to 4E at roughly the same pace as they were developed it wouldn’t be that hard to keep up, but if you try to just hop onboard it’s a rough ride.
So I’m not sure that Old School is dying or anything like that, but it takes a certain kind of person to enjoy it. You tend to strip away the glitz and super powers and settle for something more streamlined and pulpy. It’s the NBA with tight shorts. It’s the NFL with leather helmets. It’s something different than the modern game. I’d hate to say it’s better or worse, but different.
There are a number of products trying to modern-up the OS movement, and in general I think they are doing an excellent job. Labyrinth Lords has newfangled rules for Original, B/X, and Advanced, only without the eye-popping artwork. S&W does much the same thing, only with Original only. C&C is a neat blend of 3E with AD&D. There is also OSRIC and others. They could package those rules with super art but choose to keep an older philosophy because most of the current OS players like it better that way.
Maybe this is the error in our ways, that if we could take OS rules and package them with full-color art on sterroids, maybe we’d bring in more of the younger croud. Take Warhammer and 4E as examples on how it should look, then provide simple and smooth OS mechanics behind the scenes to make the games run faster and smoother.
Just me thinking out loud. :)
Comment by dubeers:
Another problem with the so-called “old school” gaming movement is its own fan-base. We’re often so busy bayoneting our own wounded that we don’t have much free time to spend growing the hobby.
New OSR Releases
Mythmere’s Adventure Design Deskbook Volume 1: Principles & Starting Points, is now available in pdf. The price is $5.00 and the digital version runs to 44 pages. Published by Black Blade Publishing, visit their store for all kinds of nifty gaming stuff!
Pacesetter Games, has released RC3 Eruptor’s Vengeance. This is an Expert Rules module, available in print, for $6.95. Pacesetter has also released a pdf version of one of their earlier modules. RC1 The Thing In The Valley, a Basic/Expert Rules module is available in electronic form, for $5.98, via the Publisher’s Lulu store. The print copy is still available for $9.95 and I’d better also mention RC2 The Screaming Temple, also for Basic/Expert Rules available in print for $6.95.
Wheel of Evil
It’s up to your brave heroes to fight off the invading kobolds and save… the cheese?? Well, a job’s a job, and things underground are seldom what they seem. Wheel of Evil is a 16-page adventure for old-school characters of levels 3 to 5, plus a full-color cover with classic maps and handouts. Compatible with Labyrinth Lord™ and similar games, including the Advanced Edition Companion.
Kobolds, Cheese and the Advanced Edition Companion. What more could you ask for?
Well over a century ago, six noble houses from the dark elf city Dar Multai grew tired of the incessant, petty political maneuverings of the seven other noble houses in the city. Moreover, they were experiencing a profound loss of faith in the patron deity of their city, the capricious and largely uncaring Spider Goddess. In spite of their chaotic natures, representatives from these six frustrated noble houses spent several months concocting a plan to leave Dar Multai permanently and seek their fortunes elsewhere. They eventually discovered a long-abandoned dark elf city organized around the worship of an elder, largely forgotten god in the direct opposition to the Spider Goddess. It took these dark elves several decades to rebuild the city to its former glory, and they are now poised to declare war on all of the cities of the lightless realms beneath the earth.
Designed for OSRIC and other First Edition systems, check out the page at RPG NOW for more information. Hey, it has Drow!
Darkwood Tower Publishing has several free adventures and supplement available, which utilize the Labyrinth Lord rules. They also have a forum and have opened a Lulu storefront. Nothing in the store yet, but I’ll keep my eye on the site.
Conventions and Happenings
Be sure to check out the TARGA International Traditional Gaming Week page, for updates and information!
Tavis Allison recently announced the 2nd Annual Dave Arneson Memorial Gameday, on his blog, The Mule Abides. The day is set for March 27, in NYC. Check out the post, for more details. The TARGA International Traditional Gaming Week page, has also been updated to reflect this event.
Calcon, the Calgary Games Convention, is running March 26-28. Patrick Armstrong from the Ode to Black Dougal blog, is reporting that he’s running some Old School events there, this year. Sounds Groovy!
The Dreamation 2010 convention is running February 18-21. I wish I lived near NJ this month, as my favorite Greyhawk Scholar, Joseph Bloch, will be running The Castle of the Mad Archmage. Man, I need to move to a different state.
While there hasn’t been an official announcement, Otherworld Miniatures is working on a line of minis for Labyrinth Lord! Reported by Richard on the Otherworld Miniatures forum, 8-10 sets are planned, each containing a mini-adventure, featuring monsters from the set. All the sets are planned to tie together, so they can be utilized in a larger adventure. The LL sets will feature miniatures which are already available from the company, or future releases from already established lines of product. Coming in August 2010. There’s a thread on the subject at the Goblinoid Games Forum, here.
Rob Kuntz and Pied Piper Publishing, is getting ready to release Black Festival, a fiction Chapbook. The author has reported that the book has been received from the printer and should be available shortly. I checked Noble Knight Games on Friday and didn’t see it listed, yet.
If you’re looking to make a Lulu order, the President’s Day code, WASHINGTON, will get you 15% off. Good till February 15. Thanks to Norman at the Troll and Flame blog, for reminding me, of this.
That’s it for this week!
Be sure to send me any news you may have. Your comments are always welcome! Happy Gaming!
The TARGA Pledge-an-Auction fundraiser is doing very well! As of this morning’s item ending, we’ve collected over $100 for the Gygax Family Memorial. Thank you!
We still have plenty of time if you’re interested in making a donation or submitting an item. Joining the auction is simple:
- Find some RPG item (hopefully old school related, but not necessary) and put it up for auction, or on sale at Craigslist or some other venue.
- When you sell the item, decide on a portion (or all, if you are so inclined) to donate and go to our Auction page and donate it.
- Sit back, enjoy your favorite beverage and let the TARGA trolls do their hard work in collecting funds and then donating it to Luke Gygax at this year’s GaryCon!
We’ve had some interesting items go already – a copy of Outdoor Survival, 2 original RPG works of art and a rare copy of the Dungeoneer fanzine. Right now, we have some Traveller items up for sale, including 2 original box set adventures. And there are more items going up for sale this weekend and early next week.
Thank you again for your support and game on!
This Week’s OSR Releases.
The big news, this week, was the release of the Advanced Edition Companion, from Goblinoid Games. If you missed the Mid-Week Update post, you can click the link to check out the details. As of last night, the new addition to the Labyrinth Lord rules-set, was still #1 on RPG NOW and The Dungeon Alphabet, is still #2.
Basic Fantasy, now has their Wandering Monsters – Release 1, available for free download. They also have available, Release 5 of The Dungeoneer’s Almanack. If you haven’t checked out their site, in a while, you may be pleasantly surprised, to find that there’s been a ton of support material, uploaded of late. It’s well worth checking out!
If you’re fortunate enough to be on Christian Walker’s Mailing List, you may have already received your copy of The Freecity of Haldane, a supplement for Labyrinth Lord. Credit to ze bullette, for letting everyone know that this has gone out. I keep meaning to send Christian some snail mail, with postage bucks, but, haven’t managed to get around to it, yet. If you’re like me and missed out, no worries. Just head over to the Iridia web page and you can download a pdf of the supplement and cover. A fantasy city, ruled by a Dragon, is a football I can take and run with for a good, long while. Haldane was previously presented, in issue # 87 of Iridia and a review of this earlier edition, by James Maliszewski, can be found here.
Relative Entropy Games has released the Elegia RPG. Here’s the blurb, from their storefront:
“ELEGIA is a free fantasy RPG based on the tropes and mechanics of eight-bit console RPGs. Inspired by the "old school renaissance" and "neo retro" clone games, ELEGIA is at once familiar and brand-new.”
The print version is $7.99 and a free pdf version is also, available. Be sure to check out their Labyrinth Lord setting, Empires & Engines, which is available for purchase, or free pdf download.
If you head over to Robert Pinnell’s storefront, you can download a copy of his latest free release, The Assassins of Abu-Dala. The author has several supplements, both for purchase and for free download, which you can check out, while you’re there.
From their storefront:
“PESKY PLAYERS… The average player writes "torch" or "rations" on his character sheet exactly once, at start of play, and never thinks about it again. But as an old-school referee, it’s your job to make the players think about the details. An ill-equipped party must suffer the consequences. Still, who can remember to keep track of all the torches, lantern oil, wandering monster checks, and rest periods? Well, you can, because now you can get Faster Monkey’s simple yet brilliant TURNTRACKER game aid. Download the PDF for less than the price of a latte, print it once on sturdy cardstock, and use it forever. Tick away the turns with ease and watch those light sources burn out, PCs succumb to fatigue, and monsters come looking for the adventurer buffet. It’s all at your fingertips, and those sneaky players will never get away with their hijinks again. Available in both LABYRINTH LORD™ and OSRIC™ versions, to suit your choice of old-school style. THE TURNTRACKER: Making Dungeons Scary Again.”
Available for $3.00. I couldn’t find anything, regarding the page count.
Recent and Upcoming Events and Happenings.
Earlier this week, Havard announced the Grand Opening of The Comeback Inn, Blackmoor forum. The new site already has 175 members, which, bodes well for the future of this community. Congratulations to Havard and “The Regency Council,” along with a hearty thanks.
The One Page Dungeon Contest, 2010, is underway, with a submission deadline of March 1, 0:00 GMT. The Judges and Prizes lists are up, along with all the info you need, to create and submit your Dungeon Masterpiece! If you missed last years contest, you can check out a pdf compilation of the Winner’s, with Runner-up entries, as well as one featuring all the submissions. Just visit the Chatty DM, Here.
OD&DITIES is returning! For 12 issues, the original run of this Old School zine, helped keep the flame of Traditional Gaming alive. If you want to catch up on the back issues, you can do so, here. Richard Tongue, has stated on his blog, that he’s utilizing Labyrinth Lord, as a default rules set. I’m looking forward to seeing what he has in store.
Norman, from Troll and Flame, has sent me some news, on a couple of upcoming events! First, there’s the North Texas RPG Con, a specifically Old School Gaming Convention! June 3-6, in Irving Texas. Here’s the Con Webpage. So far, they have the following confirmed guests: Rob Kuntz, Tim Kask, Paul Jaquays, Dennis Sustare, Steve Winter, Jim Ward and Jason Braun. From looking at the events, scheduled, it’s going to be a blast!
Gary Con II is scheduled for March 19-21, in Lake Geneva, WI. Event registration is now available, online. The event catalogue, is online, as well, so, if you’re able to attend, head on over and check it out! If you’re unable to attend and would still like to support this and future Gary Con’s, please check out the TARGA Pledge an Auction site. Proceeds go to the con, as well as the planned Gary Gygax memorial statue. If you don’t have anything to donate, you still might be interested in the gaming related items, up for auction.
Speaking of Gaming Events, International Traditional Gaming Week is March 21-27. If you would like to join with TARGA, to promote the games we all love, click here, for info.
More on the Publishing Front
Usherwood Publishing is looking for a few gamers, to edit and proofread an upcoming Advanced Edition/Osric, release. Contact Kramer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s a link to the publisher’s post, on the Swords & Wizardry forum.
If you’ve been keeping up with the Greyhawk Grognard, then, you know that Joseph Bloch, is hard at work on his latest project, Emprise!™, a version of AD&D, based upon Gary Gygax’s plans for a revised edition. Joseph has been keeping us up to date and asking for reader’s opinions, so, if you haven’t been following his blog, now’s a good time to start. While you’re there, you can catch up on his many insightful posts and download the latest update of The Castle of the Mad Archmage.
And so, until next time…
I hope I’ve managed to turn a few of you on, to some things you missed. I’ll be back next week, if not before, with more Old School Renaissance news. If you have any news to share, please leave a comment. Or, shoot me an email, at dmkastmaria(at)gmail(dot)com.
Greetings and Salutations, to all you gamers, out there! My name is James A. Smith and I’m the new guy on the TARGA team. As your humble correspondent, I’ll be bringing you information from around the OSR, working assiduously to provide the latest news and to promote the Old School Renaissance!
Some of you may know of me from my blog, The Underdark Gazette, where, amongst other postings, I’ve been passing along information on new releases and happenings, for the past few months. I had recently been thinking about where I wanted to go, with that particular aspect of my blog, when, Chgowiz sent me an email and offered me an opportunity to work with TARGA as their news guy. Of course, I accepted and am very proud to be able to do something for TARGA and my fellow gamers!
I’ll be posting a “This Week in the OSR” series, on Saturday’s, which, will be exclusive to the TARGA blog. I’ll also be offering, as the occasion warrants, mid-week updates, covering such things as major OSR releases, time sensitive material and anything else I’m too excited about to wait until the weekend to post. I scour the net on a daily basis, but don’t hesitate to send me any news, especially if you’ve got an OSR release, whether free, or for sale. I can be reached at dmkastmaria(at)gmail(dot)com. And now, your Mid-Week Update!
A One-Two Punch On RPG NOW!
Goblinoid Games, has released their Advanced Edition Companion – A Player and Referee Guide of Advanced Edition Options for Labyrinth Lord!
Here’s a blurb from the back cover:
“The advanced first edition game as you remember it.
Labyrinth Lord gives you the play experience of the old editions of the world’s most popular fantasy roleplaying game! The Advanced Edition Companion is a handbook of advanced player and referee options. Play the race and class possibilities from the "advanced" first edition 1978 rules. Introduce the essential first edition monsters, spells, and magic items to your Labyrinth Lord game. All of these options are fully compatible with the core Labyrinth Lord rules, so that you can continue to play race-classes right along with all of the advanced classes and races.”
Daniel Proctor has done a fantastic job, here! The game content will please anyone, who appreciates Old School games, but, trust me, you don’t want to miss out on the illustrations! Between Dan’s design work and art from Steve Zeiser, Sean Aaberg and Jeremy Pea, this is the most aesthetically pleasing OSR product I’ve seen since, well, Labyrinth Lord! Congratulations to Dan and everyone else, who helped make this possible.
If you head on over to RPG NOW’s main page, and look to the right, at their Hottest Items list, you’ll see that the Advanced Edition Companion is #1! What’s #2? Why, it’s The Dungeon Alphabet! One of the most celebrated releases from the OSR, The Dungeon Alphabet is now available in PDF, for $7.99. Congratulations to Michael Curtis and Goodman Games! Now, is that a cool, one-two punch, or what?
That’s it for now. I’ll be back Saturday, with news, links and all kinds, of information, so, be sure to come back. Until then, Happy Gaming!
We’d like to welcome James, author of the blog The Underdark Gazette, to the TARGA blog. He’s graciously agreed to write “News from around the OSR Blogs” articles for TARGA and we thank him! There is certainly a lot of news to talk about these days.