New OSR Releases
Faster Monkey’s tribute to a classic dungeon crawl gives you tons of old-school goodness — rooms and tunnels, wandering monsters, traps and treasures — in a fast-playing modern form. "The Hidden Serpent" pits low-level Labyrinth Lord™ characters against a secret complex full of varied foes, some working together and some at odds. More than other Faster Monkey products, this dungeon emulates the humor and zaniness of modules from the hobby’s golden age, hitting the party with plenty of classic risks and rewards.
The PDF is $6.00, but, if you head over to RPG NOW between now and March 8th, you can still take advantage of their GM’s Day sale and snag it for $4.50. While you’re there, Wheel of Evil is also on sale, for the same price! James Maliszewski, recently wrote a very positive review of WoE, so be sure to check it out!
A shaft has been discovered below the old watchtower outside of town. Worse yet, a boy has fallen into it! Your party must race against time to save the boy and sift through the remains of the watchtower on the hill!
This is an OSRIC/1e module, the color version is 32 pages and the B&W is 28.
Trollzine, a free Tunnels & Trolls fanzine from Flying Buffalo is available from Drivethru RPG. 57 pages of articles & art from Ken St. Andre, et al. Atom Kid turned me on to this, so a big thanks and check out his original post, for more info. Let’s have another blurb, from the sellers site:
TrollsZine is a new magazine created by and for fans of Tunnels and Trolls. Issue 1 has all new material and includes a short solo adventure, new magic items, The Troll Chefs Cookbook, original fiction, articles on T&T stunts, the dice issue, running T&T solos with other systems and a number of locations for the busy Games Master to use in their campaign. Ken St Andre has contributed a piece and there is art by Jeff Freels, ME Volmar, Chad Thorson, Kevin Bracey, Alex Cook and Mike Hill.
The Village of Larm
by Moritz Mehlem
with art by Andy Taylor
An Detailed Village and Three Small Adventures
Every RPG needs a small village as a starting point and safe haven for the adventurers. It should include a smaller dungeon and some opportunities for role-playing, too.
This 26 page accessory does exactly that for LABYRINTH LORD. Larm is a small village of just over 100 inhabitants (112 to be precise) located on the borderlands, descriptions of all the major inhabitants, a lot of smaller tasks the characters can do for the village, with 2 mysterious places to be explored and a goblin camp nearby… The Mill (Appendix 1) is designed as a small starter dungeon to introduce the players to the mechanics of the game. The Abandoned Temple (Appendix 2) is a somewhat bigger dungeon where the players are confronted with various types of undead and the necessity of drawing a map. The Goblin Camp (Appendix 3) is set to test the tactical skill of the players, having to fight a group of weak, but organized humanoids.
If you purchase the print version, you get a free pdf! Otherwise, you can go to RPG NOW and purchase the pdf alone, for $8.95. The pdf runs 28 pages. If you previously purchased a pdf of Larm, your RPG NOW download has been updated with the revised version, so BONUS! Woo-hoo!
Fantasy Adventure Studios, has released World of Onn: Core Rules, following up on World of Onn: Supplement 1. That last, is a setting and rules supplement for Swords & Wizardry. In the just released today, Core Rules, James Bobb has expanded his Onn material and written a complete set of rules, still based on S&W. From the Lulu sales page:
Party up like it’s 1979 again! Enter the World of Onn™, a land blasted by a mysterious cataclysm long ago that still affects the land and people thousands of years later. The lands of Ossus and Var-Ultar are laid out for you to set your adventures in, with maps of the lands provided as well as information on the major places and realms. The World of Onn: Core Rules™ is a complete game system expanding on the award-winning Swords & Wizardry Core Rules™ system and is compatible with Original, ‘Red’ Basic, ‘Blue’ Expert and Advanced Edition old-school games and the Swords & Wizardry line. Inside you will find new races, classes, spells and equipment for players to choose from and a wealth of monsters and treasures to make exciting adventures, as well as guidelines and advice for Referees. Players and Referees will find rules to take adventurers from 1st to 15th level, found their own personal holdings or become wandering legends.
Clocking in at 228 pages, the print version is available for $14.96, with the pdf running $7.50.
In case there’s any confusion in the above, I’m appending a comment from the author:
It should be noted that World of Onn Supplement 1 is meant as an add-on product for Swords & Wizardry, while the World of Onn: Core Rules is a stand-alone game that is S&W compatible and incorporates slightly more ‘advanced’ elements.
Thanks Mr. Bobb and Good Luck with your new release!
Ye Olde Games has released Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox Reference Sheets! Available in print for $5.25 from the author, or you can pick up the pdf for $1.99 from RPG NOW. Time for another seller page blurb:
Speed up your game!
The Swords & Wizardry Reference Sheets provide ready access to the charts, tables and summary information for a Game Referee to run wilderness and dungeon adventures. No need to flip through a rulebook when you can have all the information you need in an easy to use digest format!
These sheets, formatted for convent digest printing on 8.5×11 (US letter) paper, combine existing Open Game Content from Swords & Wizardry Whitebox – 2nd printing, David Bowman’s Monster by CL lists, and brand new content for wilderness encounters and revamped Treasure Generation tables. The PDF also includes basic booklet printing instructions.
This accessory is inspired by the set of Reference Sheets that came with the original 1974 fantasy roleplaying game.
List of tables included:
Class Info/Statistics up to 10th level
Attack Rolls for Characters and Monsters
Basic Equipment List (including weapons/armor)
Magic User Spells
Monsters (all from Whitebox plus a couple of new monsters)
XP Values by CL
Monster Dungeon Encounters
Monsters by CL Levels
Wilderness Encounters (new content)
Wilderness Encounter Types and subtables (new content)
Treasure Tables and Generation (revamped/simplified/clarified)
Print these sheets, stick them in your pocket or book bag and go play some games!
Congratulations to all and thanks for your dedication to creating cool stuff for your fellow gamers!
And Speaking of Miniatures…
…instead of hiring sculptors and commissioning new production molds, we’re going to change focus and buy a bunch of old production molds from vintage minis that barely saw the light of day before they disappeared again. Right at the golden age of miniature sculpting, back in the 1980s, the market collapsed and several fantastic sculpting companies went under. As a result, a staggering number of production molds for excellent miniatures have been sitting in storage for decades, unseen and gathering dust or were released only in limited quantities. Since giant 30mm figures became the new “standard” when the market for miniatures re-emerged, these older 25mm figures weren’t ever re-cast. And because those figures are hidden out there, and can be produced at far less expense than new ones, we’ve decided to go back in time for the first several Swords & Wizardry miniatures, a time machine into the lost and unseen part of the 1970s and 1980s miniatures market.
Check out the full announcement, on the Swords & Wizardry forums, here!
And Speaking of Upcoming Releases…
And Speaking of Kick-Ass Gaming…
If you’re not following Planet Algol, here’s yet another reason, you should be!
The OSR is Growing!
And, it’s quite impossible for one person, to keep up with it all! Johnny Rook announced their new product, two weeks ago. There’s no telling, what I might be missing. So, if you have any news, please send it my way!
Send anything you want to share to:
And Speaking of not having enough Time…
Don’t have time to keep up with ALL the OSR blogs? Not to worry! Help has arrived!
“ONCE UPON A TIME, long, long ago there was a little group known as the Castle and Crusade Society. Their fantasy rules were published, and to this writer’s knowledge, brought about much of the current interest in fantasy wargaming.
But those whose imaginations know no bounds will find that these rules are the answer to their prayers. With this last bit of advice we invite you to read on and enjoy a “world” where the fantastic is fact and magic really works!
– Men & Magic (D&D, Vol 1, 1974)
– E. Gary Gygax (July 27, 1938 – March 4, 2008)
Thank you, Gary. We miss you and we game on in the worlds that you opened the door to.
With just twelve days left, I’m proud to announce that we hit our $300 goal! We will be able to give GaryCon/Gygax Family Memorial a significant donation towards future conventions and (assuming things go well) the Gygax memorial.
Thank you to everyone who’s donated an item or money, so far… but we have some time left! I know I have one more item donated by the ever-cool Jeff Rients to auction, and I’ve been told of at least one more item from our ever-helpful Victor Raymond. If you want to stand up and help us out, please do so. I’ll auction the darn item for ya, as long as you ship it out… come join us!
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!