Tuesday, October 23, 2018

I Swear Upon Your Death

I Swear Upon Your Death - Bastard Sword +2
Minor/Major Powers: None
Special Purpose - Vengeance

Special Purpose Powers - Wielder need not sleep, drink, or eat and Regenerates 1 HP per Turn. Wielder is immune to 1st and 2nd level Illusion/Phantasm (Type) Spells. Geas (upon wielder.)
Int:13   Ego:13

This Bastard Sword appears as an archaic, well made blade with a slightly reddish tinge to the steel and a handle wrapped in blood red leather. The pommel is a smooth green stone, half recessed. A few sigils adorn the blade, near the hilt and a read magic will reveal the following: I Swear Upon Your Death.

To all appearances the sword will appear to be nothing more than a +2 weapon and will function as such. Unless and until the phrase written upon the blade is uttered with hatred, intent and a specific individual in mind. At which point the sword will awaken, be able to communicate by empathy and the Special Purpose powers will activate. The sword will be relentless in its intent to slay its target and will Geas the wielder, if it feels he or she is dallying.

Upon the consummation of the oath, or a condition of irrevocable failure, the sword will disappear, placing itself near a recent battle site or large treasure hoard.

Friday, October 19, 2018

The OSR News - October 18, 2018

With the impending G+ apocalypse and my own, as well as others', return to blogging, I think a case can be made for a revival of my OSR News series. So, I'm doing it. If you have any new Print and/or PDF releases, feel free to send me a link. While I don't usually list individual blog posts, I do make exceptions for adventures, reviews, maps, or more involved random tables. I sometimes include an occasional review of my own as well. 

New Releases

Through Ultan's Door Issue 1 by Ben L. Art by Huargo. Available from the Publisher in Print/PDF combo for $9.00 and in PDF for $4.50. 36 pages.
Go through Ultan's door in this inaugural issue into the Ruins of the Inquisitor's Theater, a 30 room dungeon replete with oneiric puddings, delicate shadow puppets, giggling white swine, and much more. This zine contains everything you need to launch a D&D campaign in the Zyan, flying city of the dreamlands. The issue is printed on deluxe paper, and comes with a detachable cover that has a map printed on the interior by Gus L., and a separate card for encounters. Brought to life with stunning art of Huargo and brilliant layout of Matt Hildebrand, it is an object that may itself have come from beyond the veil of sleep. 
The zine ships on Fridays. When you purchase a print copy, you will be emailed a zip file of the PDF of the zine when the order is fulfilled.
36 page interior + standup cover with map on interior + encounter card +PDF

Murder Knights of Corvendark by Glynn Seal. Art by Glynn Seal, Steve Punter. Published by MonkeyBlood Design. Available from DriveThru RPG in PDF for $5.21 and in Print for $9.77. Combo for $11.72. 48 pages.
A location and adventure for old school roleplaying games.
 Written specifically for Swords & Wizardry, but usable with any retroclones or old school games.No one knows from where they came. All feathers and spite. Their vile beaks spit angry screeches, and beneath their wing beats, acrid miasmas swirl. 
Within the subterranean caverns beneath Wychington — on the shores of Lake Grimwater — a small part of a region from long ago, or maybe a time yet to pass, has come into existence. Malign and abhorrent half-men, half-crows inhabit this harrowing place. Standing menacingly, clad in the darkest armour, or on their pitch-black wings protected by lighter, piecemeal leather armour, they murder men and feast on their flesh. Strangely resentful of their barely-feathered gods, they despise other living creatures for taking their breaths. 
Since the coming of this otherworldly realm, the Grimwater Lake region has been plagued by the atrocities of the ‘harpies’ — as they have been incorrectly named — regularly raiding the surface lands. None have been ravaged more so than Wychington, a small town on the northern lake edge at the mouth of the Lesselling River.   
This is Corvendark, and under the sign of an inverted, five-skulled star, the Murder Knights dwell.
It is now that heroes are needed. Who will destroy this menace, or send them back whence they came?
The Lord of Wychington, Corben Truss, has sent out word of the need for aid and assistance to any that will heed it. Maybe, just maybe, that is you?
This adventure is intended for low level play and can be scaled up or down accordingly. It should work best with 4× Level 4 player characters with access to plenty of healing.
Totally Random Tables by Venger As'Nas Satanis. Art by Glynn Seal, Bojan Sucevic. Published by Kort'thalis Publishing. Available from DriveThru RPG in PDF for $2.00. 13 pages.
A couple years ago, I started coming out with these completely random d6 tables on my Draconic Magazine website/blog. They were fun to do and, because they were only 6 results deep per table, I could come up with wild, funny, thought-provoking, or stupid-on-purpose entries every month or so. 
Once I had 30 of them collected, I decided that was a good point to self-publish what I had, sharing my gonzo d6 tables with the gaming world. 30 d6 tables... who knows how many invididual results that actually comes to. I don't have a doctorate in advanced mathematics or anything... but it's quite a few. 
Totally Random Tables can be a challenge for those who want to test their Game Mastering mettle. It can be inspirational for GMs looking for spontaneous ideas. Or it can inject your game with a travesty of gonzo the likes of which even Hunter S. Thompson has never seen. 
Ideally, you'll be using this in your utterly irresponsible and horrifyingly inappropriate mash-up game of Crimson Dragon Slayer, Alpha Blue, The Outer Presence, and Blood Dark Thirst. 
Venger As'Nas Satanis
High Priest of Kort'thalis Publishing
The Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box by Timothy S. Brannon. Art by A.E. Short, Anna Marine, Luigi Castellani, Larry Elmore, Earl Geier, William McAusland, and Bradley K McDevitt. Published by The Other Side. Available from DriveThru RPG in PDF for $4.99 and Print/PDF combo for $9.99. 120 pages.

"Witches are far more complex and far more wonderful than you have been told.
But for this wonder we serve the Goddess."
- "Old" Gezzie, Crone of the White Witch Tradition
A complete set of rules for the witch class for the Swords & Wizardry
White Box RPG. Inside you will find:
  • The Witch Class
  • The White Witch tradition
  • 183 witch spells
  • 76 brand new spells
  • 18 monsters
  • New treasure and magic itemsAll for your Swords & Wizardry White Box old-school games.
The Book and The Spring - Encounters & Sourcebook by Christopher Letzelter. Art by Ian Baggley,
Christopher Letzelter, Matthew Ray, Del Teigeler. Published by Anachronistes Press. Available from DriveThru RPG in PDF for $5.99, in Print for $14.99 and in Print/PDF combo for $17.98. 52 pages.
Dungeon Delving In The Desert! 
PC’s get more than they bargained for when they undertake a quest to destroy a recently-captured tome of black magic. Standing in their way are an unforgiving desert, a cursed and ruined city, an ancient tomb, and a dried-up spring. Oh, and lots of unexpected foes and tricky situations, of course. This adventure features many challenging scenarios for 4-8 PC’s of 4th through 7th level. Designed for use with 1st-Edition and OSRIC rulesets, this module is easily adaptable to 2nd-Edition, Adventures Dark and Deep, and similar rulesets. The module consists of two volumes - this Encounters sourcebook, and a Maps & Supplementsbooklet:https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/253077/The-Book-and-The-Spring--Maps--Supplements, featuring a multi-location, challenging quest in a Mesopotamian-style setting.
The Book and The Spring - Maps & Supplements. Available from DriveThru RPG in PDF for $9.99 and in Print/PDF combo for $11.98. 36 pages.
Blood & Treasure is the fantasy role-playing game for people who want to spend less time arguing over rules and more time playing, and the new 2nd Edition continues this tradition. 
In this volume you get over 500 monsters drawn from folklore, fantasy and mythology. Eight of these creatures can be used as player characters with the help of the Blood & Treasure 2nd Edition Rulebook. You also get encounter tables that combine these new monsters with the monsters from Blood & Treasure 2nd Edition Monsters.

Mudwarren Alley By Evlyn Moreau. Available from Lulu in Print for $2.02 and at the author's blog in PDF for Free. 36 pages.
Surprise! I found back all the files of the Void Beaver dungeon we crafted on G+ a loooong time ago and I assembled everything together.

This was originally a initiative by Karl Stjernberg and Jfur Moonpoison.
Karl drew the cover and the map while Jennifer assembled everything together and edited the text into something gameable. I then contributed more than a dozen illustrations.

Enjoy and beware of the Void!
Cosmic Crawl By Evlyn Moreau. Available from Lulu in Print for $4.45 At the author's blog in PDF for Free. 36 pages.
and in
A cosmic map composed of 12 locations, each locations contains a description and events and discoveries random tables.
Doodle Maps - First Series by Evlyn Moreau. Available from Lulu in Print for $4.32 and at the author's blog in PDF for Free. 28 pages.
A doodle map with 40 locations. Each location contain a description and a set of encounters and treasures random tables. This is the first map of a series of nine maps that forms a 3x3 grid of maps.

Pollute the Elfen Memory Water by Michael Raston. Published by Gorgzu Games. Available from DriveThru RPG in PDF for PWYW. 19 pages.
A fantasypunk shadowrun set in Infinigrad. Much of the details within were generated using the The Blasphemous Roster. 
Included in the PDF are:

  • Client and Job Description.
  • Facility Random Encounter Table.
  • A Random Weird Flower Table.
  • NPC statistics.
  • Facility Map and room descriptions.
  • Leopetera Banks Suburb Map.
  • Elfs that use worms and milk to retain/abuse their memories. 
Dungeon Crawl Classics 2018 Halloween Module: The Corpse That Love Built by Stephen Newton. Art by William McAusland. Published by Goodman Games. Available in Print/PDF combo from the publisher for $9.99. Available in PDF from the publisher for $6.99. Available in PDF from DriveThru RPG for $4.82. 16 pages.
A level 2 adventure for DCC RPG – specially themed for Halloween horror!
The perfect October release!
The town of Portnelle is living in a state a fear. Several citizens have been abducted – some never to been seen again, while others are found as corpses, often with missing limbs. 
When a senile town priest warns that he’s received a vision that the geriatric recluse Dr. Lotrin Von Geisterblut is behind the abductions, there are many who do not believe the accusations. However, when the town is set upon by wicked fiends foretold in his vision, attitudes quickly change, and swords are raised. Perhaps it’s time to storm the castle after all… 
This level 2 adventure is a story of Gothic horror which pits the characters against monstrosities created by an ancient madman. Will the characters be able to survive the macabre horrors found in the laboratories that spawned The Corpse that Love Built!
ZA7: Temple of the Ice Gods by Joseph A. Mohr. Published by Dragonsfoot. Available from Dragonsfoot in PDF for Free. 37 pages.
Strange lights and sounds have been heard in the skies over the Barbarian Lands north of Zanzia. Long ago the Ancient Dunars settled this continent. It has long been believed that buried somewhere beneath the ice in the arctic wastelands of the Barbarian Lands there might be clues to their existence and why they disappeared so long ago. This adventure is a possible sequel to ZA5: Flayers of the Mind. It is for six to eight characters of 8th to 10th levels of experience.
ZC2: Barrowmar: City of Adventure by Joseph A. Mohr. Published by Dragonsfoot. Available from Dragonsfoot in PDF (presumably) for Free. Zip file. Pagination unknown. 
Welcome to Barrowmar, the capital city of the the land of Zanzia. This download contains all the information a DM will need to bring the city to life, and includes the main city resource, a map pack and a separate supplement of shops and businesses. This download can be used to supplement the "ZC1: The World of Zanzia" campaign resource, plus the Zanzia adventures (indicated by the 'ZA' code), which are all available here on Dragonsfoot.

Library Generation Tables
by Larry Hamilton. Art by Daniell F. Walthall. Published by Follow Me, And Die! Entertainment LLC. Available from DriveThru RPG in PDF for $1.00.
In the following pages you will find ideas for creating descriptions of various types of volumes, the libraries that house them, the librarians, a few relevant magic items, and a new creature. These tables can be used in order from front to back, or just pick from the tables that suit you. There is a page with a d30 table to assist in quick generation and has 30 sample titles. The title generator is a guide, and does not suggest exact names or authors. There are many excellent random name generators one can use for authors. Add in your list of random names and the species, peoples, nations, and locations from your campaign world to make your own book titles with authors. If you use a published campaign setting use the names and places from that setting.
Adventure Module A1: Beginner's Luck by Aaron Frost. Published by Shattered Pike Studio. Available from DriveThru RPG in PDF for Free. 42 pages.

"A Beginning Adventure for Ten Year Olds of All Ages" 
This short adventure was designed for kids, or to help new players learn about role playing games. The characters find themselves chasing after a master thief within the tomb of Feargus the Drowned. 
The adventure includes printable geomorph dungeon tiles so that the tomb can be mapped out as the characters explore. There are also printable double-sided magic item "loot cards" with game stats for the weapons, armor, and items. 
Links to two audio tracks that can be played during the course of the adventure are also included. This adventure requires The Black Hack by David Black to play.

Monster_N_Treasure Challenge by The Gamers on MeWe. Ed. by Mark Hunt. Available from DriveThru RPG for Free. 20 pages.
This is a collection of Items shared by the gamers on MEWE! We hope you find a use for it in your games! 
City of Illanter: Kellerin's Rumble by Malrex. Art by Jack Holliday, Peter Temesi, Maciej Zagorski, Jlonnee, Rick Hershey, V-shane, Robert Hemminger. Published by The Merciless Merchants. Available from DriveThru RPG in PDF for PWYW. 27 pages. 
Congratulations!! Someone in your party won/found/bequeathed a deed to a warehouse inside the protective walls of Illanter, City of Broken Swords. Another bonus, while visiting said warehouse, you are invited to the mysterious Kellerin's Rumble, an annual gambling event. Your group is the talk of the town! Gossip and rumors are flying around the city about the event....and YOU. Let the games begin! 
Jarkoon: Adventures on Planet X! by Simon Washbourne. Published by Beyond Belief Games. Available from Lulu in Print for $9.84 and from DriveThru RPG in PDF for $3.00. 20 pages.
Astounding! Amazing! Incredible! Non-stop action using familiar rules! Who wants to read through reams of text just to get to the action? No-one right? These rules assume you know how to role play. They assume you know about “Golden Age” comic book space fantasy adventures. (Sword & Planet rules through a retro lens). They assume you know how OSR products work. There, it’s done. You know how to play already. Just get on with it. Ray guns set to kill! Flash! Bang! Zoom! 
Dungeon Zine 6 Arcadia by Konsumterra at Elfmaids & Octopi. Available for Free in PDF. 3 pages.

Echoes From Fomalhaut #03 by Melan. Available in Print from the Publisher for $8.00. PDF available at a later date. 44 pages.
A 44-page fanzine featuring adventures and GM-friendly campaign materials for Advanced old-school RPG rules, with artwork by Stefan Poag, Denis McCarthy, and more. This issue contains... 
* The Great Wheel: A mighty 50’ wheel rolls through the wastelands of Fomalhaut, destroying all in its path, and followed by a ragged host of raiders, fanatics, desperate camp followers and wily opportunists. What purpose drives this great device, and who are its followers? 
* Terror on Tridentfish Island: A sword&sorcery module set on a formerly wealthy resort island, dotted with ruined pleasure palaces, enigmatic caverns, and the relics of a bygone age. 17 keyed locations plus two mini-dungeons. 
* Monsters of Wizardry: a collection of monsters adapted from the excellent CRPG, Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant. 
* Erillion, East: an article describing the eastern half of the Isle of Erillion, from the city of Baklin to the island kingdoms of the Northmen, and from gloomy highlands to enchanted forests. 
* Also... a detailed fold-out GM’s map of the Isle of Erillion! 
Please note that your print order also makes you eligible for free PDF copies of your ordered items when they become available (should be a few months after the print edition). PDFs will be delivered via RPGNow to your regular e-mail address, unless you request otherwise.
White Box: Vigilant of the Midnight Gourd by James M. Spahn. Art by Jeff Freels. Published by Barrel Rider Games. Available from DriveThru RPG for $1.00. 4 pages.
White Box: Vigilant of the Midnight Gourd puts a dark twist on a modern Halloween classic, reshaping it into a terrifying and twisted class for use with Swords & Wizardry White Box and other OSR roleplaying games. 
Children who wait in the pumpkin patch sometimes receive strange gifts and become known as the Vigilant of the Midnight Gourd. Entice new followers to your dark master with sweet treats, stand sleepless and untiring in the pumpkin patch, and cut down those who would dare doubt the existence of the dark gourd that is your master with this 10-level class! 
Swords & Wizardry, S&W, WhiteBox, and Mythmere Games are the trademarks of Matthew J. Finch. Barrel Rider Games is not affiliated with Matthew J. Finch or Mythmere Games™. This product is compatible with the rules of Swords & Wizardry: WhiteBox rules. 
The Oneiromancer by Vance Atkins. Published by Leicester's Rambles. Available from DriveThru RPG in PDF for .99 cents. 5 pages. 
An arcane student of sleep- and dream-manipulation, the Oneiromancer dwells in the unreality of the unconscious, effecting dream manipulation, recuperative spells, augury and the potential manipulation of outcomes... 

New Editions and Re-Releases

The Black Hack Second Edition by David Black. Art by Karl Stjernberg, David Black, Sean Poppe, 

Jeff Call. Published by Gold Piece PublicationsAvailable from DriveThru RPG in PDF for $6.00. See the publishers website for Print info. 126 pages.

Black is Back!

New expanded Second Edition rules now include a wealth of extra material and tools for every Black Hack GM. The main rules still only take up 30 pages, but the full edition adds over 90 more pages of NPCs, monsters, dungeons, traps, magic items and much more.

The Black Hack is a super-streamlined roleplaying game that uses the Original 1970s Fantasy Roleplaying Game as a base, and could well be the most straightforward modern OSR compatible clone available. If speed of play and character creation, compatibility, and simple - yet elegant rules are what you yearn for. Look no further!

The Black Hack is a fast playing game and the rules can be picked up in minutes.

Print copies of The Black Hack Second Edition may be ordered from the Squarehex website and will ship directly after the Kickstarter copies have been sent to backers.

Labyrinth Lord (Pumpkin Spice Edition) By Daniel Proctor. Published by Goblinoid Games. Available from Lulu in Print for $26.15 (HC).
 All of the great Labyrinth Lord you've come to love for the last ten years...now in pumpkin spice! 
Take a sip, and role a save vs. poison! 
2018 Pumpkin Spice Edition for a limited time!! 
Gamma World (1e) by Gary Jaquet, James M. Ward. Art by David C. Sutherland III, David A. Trampier. Published by Wizards of the Coast. Available from DriveThru RPG in PDF for $9.99, Print for $19.99 and Print/PDF combo for $21.99. 63 pages.
Can you survive in a world gone mad? A world where civilization as we know it has been
destroyed in a cataclysmic holocaust? What is left in this world? Find out and encounter such bizarre things as mutated plants and animals more terrible than you can imagine, radiation wastelands that stretch as far as the eye can see, and fearless machines gone uncontrollably beserk . . . 
This is the setting for a GAMMA WORLD™ campaign, with players taking on the persona of an individual character somewhere in this forbidding locale. In a quest for survival and in search of a better future, the players adventure across the land, enduring hardships and encountering dangerous obstacles and mysterious foes - never knowing quite what to expect. The result is a game which can go in many directions, but which will be challenging and fascinating no matter what the outcome. 
The GAMMA WORLD™ Set includes all the basics needed to set up your own "world": game booklet (packed with terrible mutants, as well as guidelines for creating additional ones of your own), a large campaign map (designed to be easily modified by individual gamemasters), and a full set of polyhedra dice. The only other things necessary are a good imagination and a spirit of adventure! The GAMMA WORLD™ rules are also suitable for use with the ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONSTM rules.
The GAMMA WORLD challenge awaits you - are you ready?
This digital edition includes the PDF version of the book, and a ZIP file containing printable JPGs of the campaign map. 
Note on the print edition: The maps and other elements have been added as bonus pages in the print book. If you plan on using the map at your table it is recommended that you purchase the "Multiple File Formats + Softcover Color Book" combo and print the digital version.
The Class Hack - Second Edition by Mark Craddock. Art by James Shields. Published by Cross Planes Game Studio. Available from DriveThru RPG in PDF for $2.99. 20 pages.
Do you enjoy THE BLACK HACK SECOND EDITION but wish you had more classes to add to it? 
THE CLASS HACK SECOND EDITION includes 16 additional Classes inspired by the Original 1970's Fantasy Roleplaying game for the THE BLACK HACK OSR SECOND EDITION. 
Add the Assassin, Acrobat, Barbarian, Bard, Cavalier, Dragonborn, Druid, Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Halfling, Monk, Orc, Paladin, Ranger and Tiefling Classes to your campaign.
The Chaos Gods Come to Meatlandia-Vivimancer Edition by Wind Lothamer and Ahimsa Kerp. Art by Wind Lothamer. Published by Knight Owl Games. Available from DriveThru RPG in PDF for $9.99. 80 pages.
All the inexplicable madness and gruesomeness of the original version, updated and improved to blend perfectly with the gross horror of Gavin Norman's masterpiece, the Complete Vivimancer. 
Still compatible with all OSR systems, just as bloody and horrific as before, and even more insane than ever! 
More bards than you can handle--including the Chaos DJ, Raconteur, and Nexus Bard!
Meatimals, Meat Men, and Meat Mechs!
Worms Galore!

Some Misc. Other Stuff!

Saker Tarsos of Tarsos Theorum has a Rambunctious Apocalyptic Outlaws generator for you. As well as one for Disreputable Wasteland Wizards

Lawful Neutral of Unlawful Games has a D100 Post-Apocalyptic Loot table here. 

Some Reviews from the Blogosphere

Tamás Illés from Vorpal Mace reviews The City That Dripped Blood.

About The OSR News 
Unless otherwise noted, all links to products and files are to the individual authors sites, pertinent posts, or sales pages. I don’t link directly to files unless that is the only link available. 
I have received no remuneration from any publisher for reporting on their releases, nor is such a requirement for a product to be included in these posts. At times, an author or publisher may send me a complimentary copy of an item, for purposes of review. This is not a requirement for a product's inclusion in these posts. Some of the links, such as to One Bookshelf sites, are affiliate links and do provide compensation from the pertinent site. 
Please feel free to send me information on any new releases, events, or other items of interest, which you would like to see mentioned.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Adventures Currently in Progress...

Welcome to the Dungeon. Peter Mullen. Delightfully cheeky and reminiscent of Tom Wham's meta level D&D illos. Descending into the Underworld is barmy on the face of it. That's humanity for you, though. 

Peter Mullen's cover for Swords & Wizardry core. The rest of the party seem to be trying to stop or deter the halfling from grasping the sword, or the pommel. Maybe they just think he's going to fuck it up. The guy in the helmet and red shirt appears to be reacting to something else, off to the left. The Wizard on the right might be egging the halfling on. There's a lot of skeletons in this room. Their fingers are all clawed and they have horns. Something ancient, pre-human, even anti-human is represented. Green is everywhere, even on the red clothing and flesh of those present. The party is descending into depths of time, history and creation. They are in the Underworld. For Gold. And Power.

Maybe my favorite Frazetta piece. Conan's aggression and energy is so explicit in his face and even more so, in his hands, preparing to grasp the sorcerer with their indomitable strength. Demons meander about the edges of the scene in indistinct gloom. The smoky cup is dropped and cocked on it's side. The sorcerer's fist clenches the chain of the thurible. He seems utterly unaware of Conan's presence. Perhaps he is too caught up in his invocations to pay attention to anything other than the ritual working he endeavors to complete. The green, reptilian crocodile and alien octopus at the bottom. Very inhuman, primordial, Lovecraftian. The unclean nature of magic and trafficking with dark powers is a common theme in Howard's writing. There's very few examples of "good" magic. The sorcerer, like the adventurers in the previous illustration, has descended into the underworld and moves in the depths of hell! And Conan has followed him here. To rescue his queen, though he's certainly undertaken similar adventures for not so different reasons than the sorcerer. For Gold. And Power.

Sanjulian's depiction of Conan standing before Yag-Kosha in Howard's Tower of the Elephant. One of the strangest and most ambitious of the author's Conan stories. This highly evolved and powerful being is trapped in a hell devised by the sorcerer Yara. Here, Conan does not find the treasure he was seeking. But, he does leave this adventure with a little more knowledge and wisdom than when he began it.

Is that an Otyugh? More tentacles. And notice the snake on the right.

I've always thought this dude was totally fucked!

The cover to Matt Finch's Primer. More green, nasty things trying to eat adventurers. Notice the slime, dripping from the ceiling. I've always wished Matt would do some more illustrating.

The naked greed on the face of the dude on the right is almost obscene.

There's an art term for when someone in a picture seems to be looking at the viewer, but it escapes me at the moment and Google wasn't any help. His face seems to portray relief, as well as encouragement and satisfaction. If someone were making recruitment posters for dungeon delving, this is what one would look like. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Another Tidbit from my Greyhawk Campaign

I posted this on G+ some time ago and wanted to make sure I didn't lose it, since G+ is shutting down. This took place close to a year ago, I think. Brisco's PC was probably around 9th level at the time.

So, my son's Evil Magic User discovered and sneaked his way into the small, hidden dungeon beneath a temple dedicated to an obscure Spider God, located on the Wild Coast. Long forgotten by the priests above, the secret sanctuary below had once been the domain of the sorcery wielding masters of the cult.

After dispatching the guardians hidden therein, he discovered what he thought he was looking for. A sealed, silver door, glowing fiercely with red sigils of protection and binding. Flashes of flame, occasionally erupting from the lines of power traced into the metal.

A radically dismembered mage, the forgotten leader of the cultists, begged for help in achieving a long awaited death as flames licked at the many separate parts of his gore covered mortal coil. With tortuous gasps and whispers, the damned creature told him what lay beyond the door. And that the Bindings had been weakened by their prisoner's decades long attempts to win free, though the efforts exerted were still too paltry, thanks to the inhibition of her powers.

Still, my son's MU was fairly certain that the dark magic he sought was within the sealed room. One of the lost Doctrines of Darkness.

Leaving the cursed mage to whimper in agony, he went back to the fiercely heated door to attempt to dispel the wards.

"Allright. After your conversation with the dismembered mage, you can definitely see where the wards have been strained and made threadbare in places. I'm giving you a 50% chance to finish unraveling them with a Dispel Magic."

"Can I try again if I don't make it?"

"Sure. Next time you level up."


He rolls some ridiculously low number and grins in triumph!

"The door cracks and shatters as the wards disintegrate and stepping out of the doorway, surrounded by smoke and flame..."


Friday, October 12, 2018

My Response to Zak S.: His OSR Guide For The Perplexed Questionnaire

Zak posted this here.

Thanks Zak for giving me something to blog about today.

OSR Guide For The Perplexed Questionnaire

1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me:
Good gravy, that's a tall order. There's hundreds of things I could list here, but I don't have the time to be overly pedantic, so I'm going with what I thought of first: The Unexpurgated Dragon Generator

2. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark: 

How to Awesome Up Your Players by the incomparable Jeff Rients. 

3. Best OSR module/supplement:

Module: Death Frost Doom. 
Supplement: The entire run of Fight On!

4. My favorite house rule (by someone else): 

Class based weapon damage. Here's Akrasia's version.

5. How I found out about the OSR: 

Fiddling about online one day several months after my last 3.5 campaign wrapped up. I ran AD&D 1e till about 2001, then ran 3e till 2009. WotC had put out 4e and I wasn't interested. I was looking about online and wondering what I was going to run for my next campaign and stumbled onto Grognardia. And thought, "Oh, yeah. Right. I'll run 1e again, or maybe one of these clone thingamajigs." By the end of the day I had a folder full of retro clones and associated OSR stuff. 

6. My favorite OSR online resource/toy:

7. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers:

Up until last week, this was Google+. MeWe has the heat and the numbers, at the moment. It's decent.

8. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games: 

Every once in a while I might drop by the OD&D Discussion forum. This and the Swords & Wizardry Forums are the only ones I keep up with at all. The Goblinoid Games forum used to be pretty cool, though, but I haven't peeked into it in years and from a quick look see, it's not very active.  

9. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough:

High level play rocks! DMing high level play rocks! Crank the dial up to 11 and embrace the chaos!

10. My favorite non-OSR RPG: 

Not sure how to define this. I'll go with Deadlands. 

11. Why I like OSR stuff: 

Well, I have really, really liked TSR era D&D my whole life. I really, really like seeing new, creative material for these games, as well as new interpretations, off-shoots, hacks and the like. I like making stuff for games. I like using stuff other people make for games. I love running D&D. And the OSR is where it's at for creativity, pushing the envelope and coming up with ideas I hadn't thought of, or wouldn't have thought of. OSR stuff is fun. 

12. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven’t named yet:

Anything by Matt Finch. The Tome of Adventure Design and The Spire of Iron and Crystal, for instance.

13. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be:

Playing D&D with Porn Stars, but that's almost too obvious an answer. Grognardia and Planet Algol are pretty much defunct, but if you haven't read them go do so. Jeff's Gameblog, but he doesn't post very often.

14. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is:

The Random Planetary Angel Generator. Link to the PDF is over there on the left. And right here.

15. I'm currently running/playing:

A 1e campaign for my son. Set in Greyhawk. We play every Sunday. Merlin is 13th level now and really, really trying to stay alive to see 18th.

16. I don't care whether you use ascending or descending AC because:

This is such a bizarre hill to die on. I'll use either. In my 1e campaign we use descending. A few months ago, I ran a side campaign using my own OSR rules hack and ascending AC.
To which my son immediately replied in the mildly put out tone teenagers sometimes evince with their parents, "Why haven't we been doing it this way the whole time?"

17. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice:

Umm... I think I'll go with this Robert Altbauer piece. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Things I've Used in my Greyhawk Campaign and Reports on Some Recent Events in the Central Flanaess

I've been DMing by son, Brisco in a Greyhawk campaign for the past two years. Aside from the core 1e books, here's most of the published sources I've made use of and a little of what happened during play.

OSRIC - A handy quick reference for 1e. If I don't feel like lugging around a lot of books and I'm not expecting anything out of the ordinary, I'll sometimes just take my 1e PH and OSRIC A5 along as my basic ruleset. Available at RPGNOW in print and in pdf for free. 

The World of Greyhawk Folio - I've got the boxed set as well, buy I like the compact nature and layout of the folio. For me, the only thing of value the box set adds is info on the gods and I'm using the Dragon magazine articles for those. Now available at RPGNOW in print or pdf. Also, still very findable on the second hand market.

Mad Irishman's AD&D 1st Edition Character Sheets and NPC Sheets - The TSR goldenrod sheets for AD&D were the best. And these replica's are just what the DM ordered. The NPC sheet replica's are really cool, as well. Available gratis.

Classic Dungeon Designer's Netbook #4 - Old School Encounters Reference - This thing. This thing is very, very good. If you don't have it, get it. It's free. Perfect for running a 1e Hex Crawl, doing your normal prep, or for quickly rolling up virtually anything at the table. ANY THING. The word is: Comprehensive as Fuck!

Monsterless Manual - Al from Beyond the Black Gate posted a lot of good stuff back in the day and this free PDF of NPC's is something I always keep on hand. 

Things About Villains from Playing D&D With Porn Stars - An excellent random table from Zak S. Free on his blog. 

Tower of the Stargazer - James Raggi's classic OSR introductory adventure. When playing, my son is sometimes brazen as all hell and often incredibly... judicious. Upon confronting the "star gazer," he snatched the star crystal, did a quick appraisal and said "That's good enough! I'm outta here!" and made his way out of the tower, with the occupant's curses screaming after him, thus avoiding many of the module's nastier traps. Brisco later ran this module himself, DMing OSRIC for his friends. I set the tower in the Cairn Hills, not too far from the city of Greyhawk. Available in PDF from RPGNOW and in Print from the Publisher.

Under Siege - A Labyrinth Lord module set in Larm, this one is kind of interesting. Its main selling point is the battlemat and counters it comes with and if you don't mind printing these out and maybe gluing some cardboard backing to them, you've got a nice wargame set up with which to play out the Battle of Larm. A host of Goblin and associated critters, about 60 if I recall correctly lay siege to the small village of Larm. The PC's are expected to lead the defense and save the village! Bonus: the spider-goat encounter with associated game counter. 

I've been meaning to do a full review of this. I've ran it twice. The first time was a resounding success and the heroes saved the day. The second time was in this campaign.

Brisco's PC and his hireling fighter Thomas found themselves in Larm, located where the Need River is just about to cross into the Cairn Hills, some miles SE of the City of Greyhawk. In the early hours of the siege, Thomas is rudely dispatched and Brisco's Merlin decides to bug out, but not before stealing a few choice scrolls from the now dead village elder's office. 

Leaving the module and its doomed inhabitants behind, he uses his magic to turn Invisible and heads into the Cairn, northwards, running out of food, water and in serious trouble. A fortunate roll on the encounter tables finds him meeting up with a couple of gnomes, who offer him succor. In what is possibly his darkest deed, Merlin murders the Gnomes, taking their supplies and heading west. He later runs into a lone Mynock. This creature was an agent of Iggwilv, spying for her in the area. Brisco decides to attack first and ask questions later. 
The DM thought Merlin was going to die at this point, but the dice gods decided otherwise and Merlin unexpectedly triumphed, earning a Crystal Ball for his efforts and the attention of Iggwilv for the next several months of the campaign. 

It should be noted in his favor, that while he still sometimes prefers bold actions, Brisco quickly passed through this, shall we say, highly chaotic phase of his early D&D career and now seldom slaughters innocents, or attacks something for merely looking at him funny. He is still prone to betrayal, however and sometimes frets that his PC isn't being evil enough. 

Monsters of Myth - A book of monsters for OSRIC. One of the best alternative, or secondary monster manuals out there. And its Free in PDF

T1 The Village of Hommlet - A lot of the action in the campaign has taken place in and around the Kron Hills. Even after killing that bastard Lareth the Beautiful, Hommlet was the center of the campaign for several months. Rufus has been called back to Verbobonc and Burne is currently in Nulb, working against the surviving members of the Cult of Elemental Evil. Only available in pdf from RPGNOW, I'm sure you can find a copy on ebay. One of the most celebrated modules of the TSR era. 

B2 The Keep on the Borderlands - I replaced the dungeon but kept the keep and the basic setup. Baridel Keep is located in the Principality of Ulek, near the border with the Pomarj. An ambassador from Ulek traveled to several nearby areas, recruiting adventurers to help stabilize the area in and around the border with the Pomarj. My son's PC Merlin decided to check out the situation and while he was away from the Kron Hill area, a group of ne'er do wells went into the Temple of Elemental Evil and unleashed all manner of vile darkness. A few stray bands of cultists, as well as the occasional demon or two can still be found roaming the area, though good aligned forces have gotten the situation mostly back under control. Available in PDF from RPGNOW, but easily found on ebay

Highlights from the period include a 7th lvl Merlin taking on a mercenary band some 200 strong, alone, after they confiscate his horse and satchel of gold. Also, the Quest to recover The Horn of the Edge of Time, where Merlin earned the trust and respect of the dwarfs in the Kron Hills. . 

Fight On! - Various issues. The Darkness Beneath. I replaced the caves of Chaos in B2 with the Fight On! megadungeon. Only a few levels actually saw use, as play shifted back to the Kron Hills. If you haven't checked out any issues, I encourage you to do so. Fight On! was a staple of the early OSR and probably the best bang for your gaming buck. 

G 1-3 Against the Giants - A slaughterhouse of a module series. Available in PDF from RPGNOW. Second hand print copies can still be found, but you might have to do a bit of digging for this one and prices have been going up, last I checked. A party of doughty dwarfs, and one somewhat evil MU cleared up the Giant uprising. 

D 1-2 Descent into the Depths of the Earth - Things got weird with this one, as at the end of the Giants series, Brisco decided to descend into the depths at Eclavdra's side and traveled with a party of drow, down to Erelhei-Cinlu. Available in PDF from RPGNOW and of course, on the second
hand market.

D3 Vault of the Drow - After a bit of exploring the Vault, Brisco and a duergar henchman he picked up along the way, found themselves in Lolth's temple and face to face with the earthly avatar of Lolth herself! The duergar was quickly dispatched, but Brisco managed to sneak in a Disintegration spell at the beginning of the battle, before Lolth could extricate herself. Brisco watched nervously as I rolled the dice. Lolth failed the MR roll and her save, as well! This precipitated open war between the drow factions, further complicated by the arrival of several hundred Dwarven warriors from Balak-Tor. Available in PDF from RPGNOW and ebay, etc. 

DF16 Skein of the Death Mother - Published by Dragonsfoot, this is an alternative dungeon for Lolth's lair, meant to replace the Spider Ship in Q1. Curiously, I couldn't find this on DF but did find this link to a copy. I didn't use Q1 at all, choosing instead to expand this module with some appropriate abyssal scenery.

Merlin the MU - L 12,
his henchman Elimon the Fighter - L 10, 
associates Theron the Dwarven Fighter - L 11, 
Horos the Dwarven Cleric - L 11, 
Gozman Voz a hideously scarred servant of Zagyg - MU L7, 
and two L 7 Dwarf Fighters serving Horos, 

All descended into the Abyss to slay Lolth. For shits and giggles, apparently. It's been said that Q1 really doesn't follow logically from D3 and there's no reason for the PC's to go after Lolth in the first place. True. But I bet they do, 99 times out of 100. After a few skirmishes and one major pitched battle in Lolth's lair, the PC's quickly hunt down the demon queen and the final confrontation is over fairly quickly.

In round one, Elimon dies from Lolth's poisoned bite and the dwarves are struck with confusion, or fear. Someone manages to slightly wound Lolth. By about eight points. Not enough that she feels the need to invoke her thrice daily Heal power. Brisco has no idea how many Hit points she has, but he gets initiative and being now alone against Lolth, decides to take a gamble. He's been carrying around a scroll of Power Word Kill for several months. As always, I roll the dice in the open and Lolth totally blows her Magic Resistance roll! With 58 remaining HP, she dies!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Save vs. G+, Blogging, Killing Lolth, the Greyhawk Campaign and Other Projects

With the announcement of the impending death of G+, the online OSR & DIY gaming community seems to have quickly and largely settled on MeWe as its tentative new hub of activity. While there have been some concerns raised about the alt-right presence on the site, I don't see an issue as you don't have to friend or see anyone you don't want to and the goddamn alt-right is going to have a presence anywhere. You can friend me on MeWe at: mewe.com/i/james.smith227

There's been a lot of talk about revitalizing the blogosphere. Also, some people are certainly choosing other venues than MeWe, or none at all. With an OSR diaspora on our hands, my former OSR News post series might be of use again. I'm considering revising it.

The links to my gaming stuff should all be valid again. Somewhere over there, on the left.

I'm also currently looking into starting a YouTube channel, as there isn't enough OSR content available over there, yet. My son and I have been talking about starting a Podcast, which might be an interesting venture. He's been DMing for some of his friends, as well as for me on occasion and I think his fresh perspective combined with my own middle aged one might make for a good show.

I'm also currently working on a module. No expected arrival date. Maybe next month. Maybe next year.

On the gaming front, my son's MU, Merlin killed Lolth last week, with help from those shady
dwarves from the Kron hills, he hangs with. On the way back to the Prime Material, they accidentally got side tracked in Arcadia for a few minutes and one of the dwarves, Theron, saw Mount Clangeddin and is now convinced he has to atone for his many and varied sins. After days of soul searching, he was reminded of the dwarven bastion he saw when on Lolth's plane and has decided Clangeddin wants him to go to their aid. He demanded that Merlin aid him in this endeavor, in return for the many times he has fought at the MU's side. So, we'll see how that turns out.

Running a Greyhawk campaign has been a lot of fun. I've picked up so many bits and pieces of the lore over the past 35 years, but this is the first time I've actually ran a game in the setting. All of that material got reshuffled and properly organized in a rather enjoyable process. Most of the campaign has taken place in the area in and around the Kron hills. Merlin has convinced the Chief of the Dwarven stronghold of Balak-Tor to allow him to build a Tower in the mountains near their demesne, so once his latest adventure is over he gets to plan out his tower and pay through the nose for dwarven architects and builders. So, my son will get a proper introduction to the AD&D endgame and we'll start moving towards retiring the campaign. He wants to make it to 18th level before ending it, of course, so things aren't going to wind up too soon. He's 13th level now, so I can see the current campaign running for another year, or close to it.