Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's New Year's, I Kick-Off a Campaign Arc in Two Weeks and Once Again, Gamer ADD Assails!

While pressing concerns continue to push-back plans for a Home Campaign, my Birmingham Meet-up Group twice-monthly game, resumes in two weeks.

I promised the guys that later in the year I'd run Dark Heresy. But, for now, I have a four session stint of D&Dish gaming on the calendar. I'm not planning to pick-up from where I left things. I expect several new player's anyway. Though, anyone from last autumn's games can bring in their character, if desired. 

The Meet-up Group is a groovy little set-up. Around 20 or so gamers show up, two Friday nights a month. Two games are featured, each session. Chaosium's system is usually being run in the living room, though Pathfinder, 4e and WoD have made appearances. I run in the dining room, usually Old School D&D. 

It's an Open Table kinda thing, which has its advantages and disadvantages. Combined with the cyclical schedules (they like to switch up games a lot) it's hard to really focus on a long-running Campaign.

During the Autumn, I ran my Old School Homebrew, but I've put that on the shelf for re-tooling and I want to do something a little more traditional this time. 3 pages or less of houserules. ;)

So. I'm leaning towards OSRIC, but GAMER ADD rears its ugly head and I'm all like:
  • "Maybe I should take Castles & Crusades for a spin..."
  • "I got a print copy of Barbarians of Lemuria for Christmas! Something utterly new would be a nice change of pace."
  • "Fuck all of that! I'll run AD&D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
  • "Swords & Wizardry Whitebox may be the most Sublime version of the game ever published!"
  • "I wonder if the Grindhouse art would freak anyone out?"
  • "The more I think of it, the more I really like Labyrinth Lord."
  • "You know, I've never ran a straight LBB campaign."
  • "OpenQuest. Everyone at the meet-up likes d100..."
Heaven help me, if Delving Deeper ships in January.

The fact that it's a four session stint, at least initially, makes things worse. No long-term commitment. Come spring, I'll be doing a Dark Heresy run and after that, who knows? I'd like to come back to whatever I start in January and if everyone's cool with that I will. Unless, you know...
Well, I'm going to decide tonight! Somewhere around the time I'm watching the new Conan flick, and snacking on the enormous batch of Chex Mix my wife made. 

As someone who enjoyed Arnie's Conan and Mr. Sorbo's Kull (yes, goddammit, Kull was a fun movie!) while still being painfully aware how far from R.E.H. those movies are, I expect the new Conan to be at least watchable.

Speaking of which, I got Del Rey's The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane for Christmas, as well. Some inspirational reading, may be in order. 

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The OSR News - Monday, December 26, 2011

So, What's James Raggi Been Up To?

Carcosa by Geoffrey McKinney. Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Available in a Print/PDF combo for 32.11€. PDF only for 13.00€. 288 pages.

Avail. from RPGNOW for $21.25. Given Mr. Raggi's stote note:
"All PDF-only products are charged the 23% VAT, no matter where the order originates from. The Finnish tax office was quite clear about that."
I think PDF only customers will save a few pennies by ordering from the LotFP store. At current exchange rates, at least.
Warning: For Adults Only! Contains explicit descriptions and illustrations of vile black magic and violence
Carcosa is a science-fantasy role-playing game setting with a sandbox approach: whether heroic or opportune, adventurers of all stripes will find freedom and consequence worth their mettle in a horrifying milieu mixing adventure fantasy, the Mythos, and comic book sci-fi with no punches pulled.
Carcosa is compatible with Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird FantasyRole-Playing game and other old school fantasy adventure games. This expanded edition details 800 encounters on the 400-hex map and includes the starter adventure Fungoid Gardens of the Bone Sorcerer.
The included PDF version of Carcosa is fully and extensively layered, bookmarked, and linked - truly a state of the art piece of PDF technology.
Isle of the Unknown by Geoffrey McKinney. Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Available in a Print/PDF combo for 22.94€. The PDF alone is 9.35€ ($15.30 at RPGNOW.) 128 pages.
A Setting Designed to be Placed in Any Fantasy Campaign!
Formatted as a hex-based adventure location, the Isle contains 330 unique challenges and locations, including over 100 new monsters and dozens of spellcasters with unique abilities.
The book contains over 120 full-color illustrations, including every single monster found on the Isle.
Compatible with Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role-Playing and other traditional fantasy role-playing games.
The included PDF version of Isle of the Unknown is fully layered and bookmarked.
It looks like the Poster and Map Extras are still available on both of these, for 5.00€ each. Also:
Through December 31: If ordering at least 50€ worth of stuff (pre-shipping, pre-VAT amounts), say the new Carcosa and Isle of the Unknown books, you can get 12,50€ off the price of the Grindhouse Edition in the same order with coupon code ULFIRE.
And there's still time to get in on this Contest! 

One of the Coolest Settings to Grace the OSR Blogoverse, Sees Publication!

Weird Adventures by Trey Causey. Armchair Planet. Available in PDF for $10.99. 165 pages.
Welcome to the City...
The streets are mean--and what lurks beneath them is even meaner. Only the most hard-boiled adventurers make it in this town. You think you got what it takes? Grab your gun or grimoire and find out.
Weird Adventures is a setting where traditional rpg fantasy meets the Pulp era. It's a world where hobogoblins hop trains, gargoyles nest on art deco skyscrapers, and celebrity sorcerers hawk cigarettes on the radio.
Weird Adventures includes:
  • A guide to the City, greatest metropolis in the world, including its five baronies, numerous neighborhoods, and points of interest to adventurers.
  • An overview of the Strange New World beyond the City, including the mysterious jungles of Asciana, the zombie-haunted streets of Cujiatepec, and the hidden moonshine stills of the hill-billy giants in the Smaragdines.
  • Thirty new monsters from the Black Blizzard to the Skunk-Ape.
A Print edition is forthcoming. If you're unfamiliar with Trey's work, head over to From the Sorcerer's Skull!

Finally! A Module featuring a Quest that's Actually Important!

The Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz by Dylan Hartwell. Available in PDF for $2.99. 17 pages.
Something has happened to the delicious beer in Shattenberg! None of the residents have seen the brewing monks for weeks and the tavern masters are oddly silent. Where once it was a delicious and creamy blend of mountain mushroom-based stout, it now offers an odd coppery taste and costs twice as much. For a small mining and farming town on the edge of the wilderness, this is a tragedy. Now rumors have begun circulating that hideous creatures gathered to the north are somehow the cause. The players are hired to investigate and, if possible, remedy the problem.
The Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz is written as both a stand-alone old-school fantasy adventure and, if you take a liking to the town of Shattenberg and its locale, a rich source for subsequent adventures. Contained within are maps of the Pilz Monastery and region, background information, multiple adventure plots, a new spell, and new monsters.
You can check out the author's work at his blog, Digital Orc!

Congratulations, Mr. Maliszewski!

Thousand Suns: Rulebook by James Maliszewski. Grognardia Games. Available in a Hardcover Print/PDF combo for $30. A Softcover/PDF combo for $25. And in PDF alone for $15.00. 275 pages.
It is a time of wonder.
Humanity has reached the stars and created a society of glittering sophistication and diversity on hundreds of planets. Poets declaim, lovers rendezvous, and rakes duel with wits and monoblades. Colonists settle virgin worlds, merchant princes vie for emerging markets, and free traders hawk their exotic wares. The Navy rules the jumplines, putting down pirates and charting new star systems. Scientists uncover startling new truths on long-dead worlds and posit revolutionary theories dizzying in their implications. Technology advances at a rapid pace, each year improving the lot of all who accept its boons. None dare deny the bright destiny Man has seized for himself.
It is a time of upheaval.
The inhabited galaxy-the Thousand Suns-teeters on the brink of chaos. Half a millennium since the Concord, and a generation since the bloody Civil War, the dynamism that ended the Age of Warring States is sorely tested. Diplomats try new gambits, shifting their ground for an unknown future. On dozens of worlds across known space, the lights are going out again and the process of decivilization begins anew. Despots and tyrants who would rather lord it over benighted backwaters than bend their knee to even a distant authority, arise once more. At the edges of explored space, rivals-both human and alien-watch and wait.
It is a time of glory.
Victorious fleets smash enemy armadas in distant star systems. Soldiers parade through liberated planets to alien cheers. Sector governors draw up breathtaking visions of terraforming and orbital cities. New jumplines open to the heart of unex- plored space, daring the bold to venture into the unknown for profit and peril. Surveyors stumble upon lost colonies and puzzle out the mysteries of inscrutable clades. Captains with blazing eyes save worlds from barbarism-and rule them as gods. Daring thieves turn new technologies to unexpected ends or sell them to shadowy cartels on the fringes of known space.
Meanwhile, bold operatives seek out these criminal plans for reprisal. Everything is possible with enough beauty, brains, or blasters, and it's all within reach of a single jump.
It is a time of adventure.

Loviatar #6 by Christian Walker. Available in Print for $3.00.
The first issue of 2012 is ready for your stocking! The old style D&D hex crawl continues with the aptly named "Hex 002." This hex features a mystic who has channeled a powerful spirit that embodies the most aggressive aspects of a wolf. He will attempt to recruit anyone he meets into his cult. Indoctrination results in a complete transformation into a lycanthrope, while refusal will be met with tooth and claw. Also present in the hex is a wicked murderer. The PCs might very well encounter the ghost of one of his victims, which happens to be his very own daughter. Maps, stat blocks and random encounters are included.
"Thursday Night Fight Club" is next. It's an article for Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying. You'll meet Reg Cramer, the founder of a fledgling (and largely inept) group of supernatural investigators. This is the first article in a series that will explore colorful characters and creatures living in Los Angeles.

Finally, the "Lonely Dance on a Cold, Northern Shore" series for Vampire: The Requiem continues. This time you will meet a Daeva succubus and her childe. Their biographies, which include detailed stat blocks, will provide a deeper look into Kindred politics in the city of Santa Fina. The pair adds to the growing number of vampires that can be recruited for your own chronicle.

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Kickstarter!

Cover for the upcoming Astonishing
Swordsmen & Sorcerers
of Hyperborea RPG
Astonishing Swordmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea by Jeffrey Talanian. See the Kickstarter page for more info. A $50 pledge gets you a physical copy of the boxed set, plus the PDF. Shipping Included. $10 gets you the PDF alone. More Goodies comes with higher levels of support.

Here's a few excerpts from the Kick-Starter page:
About the Game:

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (AS&SH) is a forthcoming role-playing game by North Wind Adventures. It is played with paper, pencil, dice, and imagination. Participants include one referee and one or more players. The referee prepares and presents the adventure material, and the players create player characters, such as the principal classes of fighter, magician, cleric, and thief; or a subclass, such as barbarian, berserker, cataphract, illusionist, necromancer, pyromancer, druid, shaman, assassin, legerdemainist, scout, and more!
About the AS&SH Boxed Set:
The AS&SH boxed set includes a full color cover by fantasy and horror artist, Charles Lang.

Contents to include:

Manuals* fully illustrated by fine artist Ian Baggley.
Vol. I. Swordsmen & Sorcerers (features 4 classes, 18 subclasses)
Vol. II. Sorcery (features over 400 spells)
Vol. III. Adventure & Combat
Vol. IV. Bestiary (features of 200 monsters)
Vol. V. Treasure
Vol. VI. Hyperborea Gazetteer

Dice (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20)
Poster Map of Hyperborea by cartographer, Andreas Claren
Character Sheets
The projected retail price of the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea = $50.00
* The final format of these manuals is yet to be determined; i.e. the individual volumes may be bound as two manuals: Vol. 1-3 and Vol. 4-6. Regardless of format, the total page count will number approximately 400+ pages, depending on final layout.
I've got Jeffrey's KS widget over on one of my left-hand columns. As you can see, he's almost there! Many folks, myself included, have been looking forward to this game. Good luck Jeffrey, on meeting your goal!

A Freebie from Al!

Beyond the Black Gate Compendium 2011 by Al. Available in PDF for Free. 28 pages.
This year's compendium features new magic items, monsters, abilities, class, adventure locales, random charts, and an all-new, never-before-seen adventure set in the Wilderlands of High Fantasy.
Another Old School Game is Making a Comeback!

Chivalry & Sorcery Essence by Colin D. Speirs. Brittania Game Designs Ltd. Available in PDF for $6.00, in Print for $9.99 and in a combo for $13.99. 44 pages.
In this first product in the "Essence" Line we introduce the spirit and "essence" of what the Chivalry & Sorcery game is all about.
Chivalry & Sorcery Essence is the first in a series of independent stand alone rules combining a specific background with a set of fast play rules.
These rules are easy to learn and versatile,designed to give players and referees a feel of the "Essence" of the atmosphere and spirit of a magical, Medieval world.
Inside this 44 page booklet is everything you need; Character Generation, Character Sheets, Rules (of course) and even a campaign setting and introductory adventure.
Let Chivalry & Sorcery Essence be a map to a world you only thought you knew.
A couple of freebies are also available from the publisher's page, above. A full version of C&S is forthcoming. A review of the new game may be found at Mark Rolls Dice.

Oubliette #7 is now in Print!

Oublieditor fills us in, here.

A SWN Collection

Mandate Archive Collection 2011 by Kevin Crawford. Sine Nomine Publishing. Available in a Print/PDF combo for $9.99. PDF only for $2.99. 50 pages.

A Year of Interstellar Enigmas for Stars Without Number Now in Print!
For the benefit of those world-hopping freebooters who prefer their adventures in unpowered formats, Sine Nomine Publishing offers you this convenient 50-page printout of all the Mandate Archive entries published in the year 2011. Within these pages, you'll find...
  • Bannerjee Construction Solutions- Frontier space stations for those worlds with nothing but gumption, resolve, and a cheerful carelessness with human life!
  • The Bruxelles-class Battlecruiser- Stats and plot seeds for these ancient emissaries of the Terran Mandate's will. Will you find one before your world's enemies do?
  • The Cabals of Hydra Sector- A list of sinister conspiracies and dark cabals in Hydra Sector, along with detailed writeups of two organizations compatible with Darkness Visible!
  • The Dust- Nanite clouds from the Mandate's latter days lie in wait in long-lost installations, along with details for randomly-generated pretech super-science!
  • Martial Arts- Want a campaign where lighting-handed unarmed warriors are a match for gunslinging space marines? Try out these ten martial arts styles and tips for creating your own!
  • The Qotah- For six centuries, these avian aliens have kept an honor-bound peace with humanity. Learn about their warlike culture and brooding integrity; is their word strong enough to bind the tempests of war?
  • The Red Sangha Mercenary Corps- Cursed from birth with bloodless calm, these Buddhist warrior-monks sell their implacable courage to support their world. What ends can drive an army without passions?
As a special bonus for those patient souls who have awaited a print format, this book also includes details on The Judicators- heirs to the ancient Bureau of Rectification and its ruthless policing of Mandate officaldom, these psychics wield a unique and subtle psionic discipline. Their arts allow them to use a victim's own sense of guilt and duty to mold their choices, goading them on with the fires of their own burning shames.
You never know when the blind exertions of cosmic law might annihilate all traces of our advanced technology, so buy now and mock uncaring destiny with your foresight!
A Christmas Gift from Brave Halfling Publishing

Go see John at his blog for a cool Brave Halfling Bundle O' Gaming Goodness!

Free Stuff from Chris

Chris at Hill Cantons has a freebie: By This Axe. He's asking you to email him for it, which I haven't had a chance to do, so you'll have to visit him for more info.

Ho, Ho, Ho!

Secret Santicore 2011. Various Authors. Edited by Jez of Giblet Blizzard. Available for Free. 104 pages.
Here it is... in all it's warty, unwashed, typo-riddled glory: Secret Santicore 2011!

104 pages of generous creativity for your game, and it's all totally free. Not a cent.
BUT... if you do end up using some of the material herein, take the one minute out of your day to shoot an email over to the guy who wrote the article and let him know how it played out. He'll get a kick out of it, guaranteed.

I know I will. And that's worth something.
Jez put out one hell of a PDF! Do yourself a favor and check it out! :)

Love the Cover!

Fight On! #13 ed. by Ignatius Umlaut. Available in Print for $9.99 and in PDF for $5.00. 122 pages.
Amidst the gathering darkness, Fight On! returns to give battle once more! Packed tighter than a Bag of Holding on the way out of Acererak’s tomb, this issue has everything you need to make your next saving roll vs. lame gaming! Dedicated to Ken St. Andre, Fight On! #13 features new rules, new settings, TEN new adventures, and the slew of tables, classes, races, NPCs, magic items, humor, and so much more you’ve come to look out for in every issue. With art and articles by Ken St. Andre, Liz Danforth, David A. Ullery, Makofan, Patrick Wetmore, John Larrey, Ndege Diamond, Toren Atkinson, Calithena, Alex Schroeder, Erin Bisson, Richard Rittenhouse, Baz Blatt, Daniel Boggs, Michael Curtis, Ravi Shankar, Mark Mena, Gabor Lux, John Laviolette, Jason Vasché, Jeff Rients, John Linneman, Kelvin Green, Kevin Vito, Patrick Farley, F.C. Brandt, Jason Sholtis, Katje Romanov, and many more. What are you waiting for – pick issue #13 up today and keep fighting on!
 Two New Print Releases for Basic Fantasy

Fortress, Tomb and Tower: The Glain Campaign by Chris Gonnerman. Available in Perfectbound or Saddle-Stitched softcover for $7.03. 61 pages.
Fortress, Tomb, and Tower: The Glain Campaign is a multi-module for use with the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game. This module includes adventures for low to mid level player characters. The book includes: Fortress of the Iron Duke, an adventure in a castle which has been taken over by an evil force; Tomb of Karsma Megalos, an expedition to the last resting place of a great barbarian chieftain; and Crooked Rock Tower, an adventure which sees unlikely allies raiding an old wizard's tower.
The Chaotic Caves by J. D. Neal. Available in softcover for $6.60. 44 pages.
Fell monsters inhabit a network of caves on the borderland between savage wilderness and frontier civilization. Can the heroic adventurers root them out and save nearby towns and villages from attack? The Chaotic Caves is an adventure module for the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game. It includes a town setting, a small wilderness area with a number of keyed encounters, a set of underground lairs for various monstrous creatures, and an abandoned manor house. The Chaotic Caves is suitable for a group of first to third level characters, and a number of pregenerated characters are provided for those who wish to get underway quickly.
Free PDF versions of the two adventures above, now in their final version, may be downloaded for Free at the Basic Fantasy website.

BRW News

Joseph Bloch of BRW Games has a new blog for his Game Company. From the Designer's Desk. Joe opens the new blog, with an Optional Rule for Human Sacrifice.

Something to Read

The Jovial Priest is publishing his fantasy novel, Mandorla: Gods and Elves on Scribd. Details here.

New Woodland Warriors Stuff!

Woodland Warriors at Sea by Simon Washbourne. Beyond Belief Games. Available in PDF for $4.00. 59 pages.
Where you get to play the bad guys! Yes, the player characters are Vermin this time: They are called Sea Dogs - raiders, pirates, marauders and rogues. New classes, player character Vermin types, and rules for swashbuckling piracy and ship battles.

New Stuff from the Frog God!

The Black Monastery by Mark Shipley and Scott Stabbert. Frog God Games. Available in a Hardcover (stitched) Print/PDF combo for $33.99 (pre-order) and in PDF only for $15.99. Swords & Wizardry and Pathfinder versions.
The Legend of the Black Monastery
Two centuries have passed since the terrible events associated with the hideous cult known as the Black Brotherhood. Only scholars and story-tellers remember now how the kingdom was nearly laid to waste and the Black Monastery rose to grandeur and fell into haunted ruins.
The Brothers first appeared as an order of benevolent priests and humble monks in black robes who followed a creed of kindness to the poor and service to the kingdom. Their rules called for humility and self denial. Other religious orders had no quarrel with their theology or their behavior. Their ranks grew as many commoners and nobles were drawn to the order by its good reputation.

The first headquarters for the order was a campsite, located in a forest near the edge of the realm. The Brothers said that their poverty and dedication to service allowed them no resources for more grand accommodations. Members of the Black Brotherhood built chapels in caves or constructed small temples on common land near villages. They said that these rustic shrines allowed them to be near the people they served. Services held by the Brothers at these locations attracted large numbers of common people, who supported the Black Brotherhood with alms.

Within 50 years of their first appearance, the Black Brotherhood had a number of larger temples and abbeys around the kingdom. Wealthy patrons endowed them with lands and buildings in order to buy favor and further the work of the Brothers. The lands they gained were slowly expanded as the order’s influence grew. Many merchants willed part of their fortunes to the Black Brotherhood, allowing the order to expand their work even further. The Brothers became bankers, loaning money and becoming partners in trade throughout the kingdom. Within 200 years of their founding, the order was wealthy and influential, with chapters throughout the kingdom and spreading into nearby realms.
With their order well-established, the Black Brotherhood received royal permission to build a grand monastery in the hill country north of the kingdom’s center. Their abbot, a cousin of the king, asked for the royal grant of a specific hilltop called the Hill of Mornay. This hill was already crowned by ancient ruins that the monks proposed to clear away. Because it was land not wanted for agriculture, the king was happy to grant the request. He even donated money to build the monastery and encouraged others to contribute. With funds from around the realm, the Brothers completed their new monastery within a decade. It was a grand, sprawling edifice built of black stone and called the Black Monastery.
(More info and blurbage at the product site.)

What I'm Pimping Right Now!

Carcosa. See above.

About the 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. The OSR News is produced as a service to the community and is entirely a non-commercial endeavor on my part. I have received no remuneration for advertising or reporting on any of the items appearing herein. Occasionally, the News might feature an item, which the author has sent me a complimentary copy of, for purposes of writing a review.
As always, the What I’m Pimping This Week section of the OSR News and its accompanying blog widget, feature products which I have purchased (or items which are available for free download) and wish to support. At times, the item I'm pimping may be one which I received a complimentary review copy of, from the author or publisher. No one has asked me to spotlight their material in this section and I have received no payment of any kind for doing so.
Please feel free to send me information on any new releases, events, or other items of interest, which you would like to see mentioned.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas is in my hands this year

Sorry for the lack of posts. I'm rather behind on everything.

Unexpectedly, my wife was scheduled for surgery this week. Said surgery was very minor, took place this morning and she's doing fine, thanks to a skilled medical team and a Percocet prescription.

But, the surgery was on her shoulder. One whole arm is out of commission.

Not to mention the fact that she has a very, very low tolerance for any and all drugs.

This means I'll not only be busy as a bee, cleaning up the house for the holidays, but I'll be in charge of all culinary duties, as well.

I only started seriously exploring my interest in cooking, about three months ago. So, very much still an amateur, I've suddenly been called up to the big leagues! And my son wants a Turkey on Christmas Day, so it'll be my first. I yoinked a recipe from Gordon Ramsay, so we'll see! Then there's Christmas Breakfast and Christmas Eve, the latter of which is always an appetizer thing at our house.

I'm gonna try to get the News finished tonight or tomorrow. A whole slew of stuff has come out over the past couple of weeks!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Archive Thursday: On Friday - Let Men Worship what Gods they Will!

Forgot about this! I'm hoping to have the News up Tomorrow. Maybe Sunday. There's a few other things, I'm getting ready as well.
Here, we have an experiment in random god-making, utilizing Kellri's CDD 4. I've always liked the results of this particular experiment, so here it is, with very minor editorial revision.
Let Men Worship what Gods they Will! 
"God does not play dice with the universe."
- Albert Einstein
If you go to Kellri's blog, then, to the PDF Downloads section, you will see a free file named CDD #4 – Encounters Reference.pdf. If you haven’t yet downloaded this gem, then by all means, do so! It is beyond merely useful. It’s something you’ll utilize for the rest of your life, assuming that is, you never stop gaming. There’s 160 pages of encounter charts, random tables, etc., covering just about any person, place, or thing, you might imagine. Encounter, is here used in a very broad sense indeed! As soon as I had the chance to peruse the file, I knew I had to print it out! Which, brings us to the subject of this post. But first, a BIG thanks to Kellri, for taking the time and effort to produce this marvelous item, then giving it to us for free!

“Crom's devils! Let men worship what gods they will."
- Conan, “The Hour of the Dragon,” by R. E. Howard

The religious landscape for my upcoming campaign, is going to be wild & woolly. All kinds of folks, worshiping all kinds of things. The player’s can, if they wish, create their own god for their character, or bring one in from whatever source they want. The real nature of the divine is going to be unknown and perhaps unknowable. I’ll still need to create a lot of religions for the campaign myself though and I’m going to start by rolling up some random gods. So, let’s turn to page 141 of Kellri’s tome and make-up a religion!

Here’s what I rolled-up:
  • Type of Deity: Deity (Three types here, god, goddess and deity.)
  • Deities Power: Minor.
  • Domains: One.
  • Artifacts: Four.
  • Specific Domains: Plunder.
  • Alignment: LN – LE.
  • Deities Following: Medium, Local Cult.
  • # Followers: 4,000.
  • Deities Relationship with Followers:
  1. Racial Preferences – Social Subset of Race.
  2. Involvement – Concerned.
  3. Enemies/Allies – Deity & Worshipers only.
  • Deity’s Demeanor: Hateful.
  • Deity’s Appearance: Animal – Lizard.
Going up to the Temples section, we can roll for a Holy/Unholy symbol and Artifacts.
  • Holy/Unholy Symbol: Either Crossed Scimitars or Flame.
  • Artifacts: There are four of these, as rolled earlier. So, let’s see what kind of relics we come up with.
  1. A Gem.
  2. A Ship/Boat.
  3. A Ship/Boat.
  4. A Sacred Place.
There are some obvious places to go. A Pirate divinity, a Lizardman god. But, let’s try something a little different, fleshing out some more of the campaign world in the process. If you want to understand, or create a society, look at its myths; religious, political and scientific.

Ithshiz – Halfling Deity of Plunder. Minor Deity. LE. Symbol – Crossed Scimitars.

In the years following the Second Apocalypse, a Halfling tribe, which called themselves the Orin-Kam, or The Pig Farmers, found themselves dispossessed and driven into inhospitable lands. Clashing with several different societies, forced to fight and struggle to survive, they eventually made a home for themselves in the marshes and swamps of a region, which has not yet been created by the DM. Over the years, they made many adaptations to their beliefs and values in order to survive.

They began to raid the settlements of their neighbors, learning many of their tactics and brutal practices from a nearby tribe of Lizardmen. After wiping out this tribe, the Halflings gained control of the swampy area, but the violence done to their psyche’s had warped their mentality in a strange and horrid way. They developed an intense hatred of all sentient life, which were not of the tribe, blaming their victims in a trick of transference, for what they had become and what they felt they were forced to perpetrate. They began to see themselves as the spiritual and temporal successors of the Lizardmen, borrowing many of their symbols and even snippets of language.

One of their priests, a Halfling named Geed, was a servant of the tribes’ old agricultural god, Ithhob. The Grower. Worship of this god had waned dramatically, during the Halflings’ ordeal, but that was soon to change. 

Geed began to teach that the Halflings’ transformation was the divine will of Ithhob and a mirror of the gods’ own change in nature. Now known as Ithshiz, The Taker, the deity had assumed the form of a Lizardman, just as the Halfings’ own characteristics had become like that of the swamps’ original inhabitants. Or rather, like the way the formerly peaceful tribe perceived their vanquished rivals. The Halflings’ melee weapon of choice, the Scimitar, was utilized as their god’s symbol.

The tribe invented many taboos, rules and a rather strict society both as an attempt to insure survival and as a way of dealing with and covering up, the guilt and horror at what they had become. The priests of Ithshiz lead the tribe, which now numbers some 4,000 Halflings. Today, they call themselves the Oogra la Shiz, the Devil-Spawn of the Taker.

The relics: since there’s a double entry, let’s take these down to three. The gem is the legendary first item plundered by the Halflings, when they began their life of raiding. The sacred place is the last stronghold of the Lizardmen, razed by the Nasty Little Hobbits. The ship is a canoe, probably the first such vessel dedicated to The Taker. I’m not sure what these really do yet. Or, whether or not they’re still in the tribes’ possession. It’s getting kind of late, so I’ll have to work it out later. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to share!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A TOAD from the Frog God

A Quote from Mr. Finch: "The pre-order page (you get the pdf NOW) is here. The price is $42 for the book/pdf. It's a hardback sewn in 16 page signatures (ie, super high quality). 300 pages of tables, 7 pages of indexing material."

Tome of Adventure Design by Matt Finch. Frog God Games. Per the FGG page, HC's are still available. I've been waiting for my Hardcopy to arrive, to really dig into this thing (it actually arrived several days ago, unbeknownst to me, but I digress.)  I'm going to go read now! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Asmodeus: On the Nature of Lies

A Letter, sent by carrier Vrock , intercepted by three different spies, copied by two, the copies filed, the original arriving at its destination.
Lovely Glasya,

No doubt, the current weather in Minauros is to your tastes. The little fetch devils, scurrying about your divan. Your Lord Mammon, bedecking you in scintillating jewels and rare perfumes. And as the armies of Hell wet their teeth on the blood of angels, you dutifully set about the task I set before you, for the sake of which, you sought council from your wise Father, writing:

"How is it, that forbidding the Priests and Clerics to engage in sexual dalliances, while secretly encouraging them to do so, is supposed to further our end of forcing them to forsake emotional ties with their fellows, reserving instead, all loyalties for their church?"

Your lack of perception in this area is, in the main, due to your ignorance of the nuances of human emotion.

Yet, you also write:

"...that Lie of Love, which we devils entertain, but sparingly."

Which, is nothing more than the sort of romantic twaddle, you ostensibly disparage!

A Lie is nothing more than the creation and relating of an idea about Truth.

Now, Truth is what one accepts, pretends, or models to be Actual, from one or more perspectives. A Lie may be made to oneself, to others, or to all parties involved.

Facts are not Truth. Facts are verbs and are usually Expressions and Manifestations of a conceived Truth, subject to the perceptive field of any given consciousness. In short, Facts are Lies, or events which may only be perceived by way of Lies and are another form of relating Truth.

Any Fact can only be interpreted by way of a subject's Imagination and Ideations, both mental and emotional, some of which are biologically based. Thus, Facts are subject to manipulation by further Lies.

Now, Truth may only be related, or apprehended by a Lie. An idea about the Truth. This idea, which is merely a Lie, then masquerades as Truth in the consciousness of those who fail to separate conceptions from actuality.

Thus, so-called Truths are Lies, some of which are more useful and amusing than others.

Perhaps, it would help you to see "Love," as a verb, instead of a noun.

Your "Loving" Father in Nessus,


Friday, December 9, 2011

Final Revision: Grimoires of the Pact Insidious

I started working on a final revision of this, several months ago, as it was in need of some tweaking and tightening. While being awake for most of the night, I decided to pull it out and finish. 
Grimoires of the Pact Insidious

Upon discovery, these will appear to be a very handsome set of blank Spellbooks, of the sort Magic-Users use to permanently record spells and research. 

Also known as The Key to Darkest Destiny, the set will number from 9 to 12 identical volumes. Each will have a locking clasp on the side, and the set will come with a matching Key. If some means of checking for magic is utilized, the set will evince Alteration, Divination, Conjuration, and Summoning. Possession, if used as a type of magic in the GM's milieu, will be present, but not detectable.

If an attempt to analyze the magic is made, the caster may discover that the Key, which is attached to a gold chain and intended to be worn as a necklace, will grant a +1 bonus to all of the MU's Saves and doubles his capacity to memorize 1st level spells. Also, that the Key's magic will not activate until the MU has inscribed at least one spell into the Grimoires. Nothing else may be discovered by the more usual magical means, as the Grimoires are a Cursed item. 

The Key, which is where the true power of the item resides, cannot be destroyed by anything short of a Wish.  

If the character opts to use the Grimoires, the next time he gains a level, any unused slots in his Maximum Number of Spells bank will be filled and the new spells will be inscribed into the Grimoires, independent of the MU’s actions or wishes. This will be for the slots up to and including those gained by his level increase. There will be no need to determine whether or not the MU is capable of learning these spells and so long as the Grimoires are in his possession, he will always have and be able to utilize the maximum number of spells, which his Intelligence allows. 

During the MU's initial experience with the Grimoires, the spells which begin to appear within (to be chosen by the DM) will be comprised of some of the more popular choices, some utility spells and one or two of a dark or evil nature. Furthermore, research entries will begin appearing, apparently written in the Character’s hand, which will include information on some of the darker aspects of the art.

The MU will also discover, that any spellbooks that were previously in his possession, as well as any obtained from this point onward, transform, so as to conform to the Grimoires in all respects. If any or all of the Grimoires are destroyed, the replacements will also transform and so long as the Key is intact, 70% -90% of any spells lost and nearly all of the research notes, will re-appear in the new book, as if he had set about to reconstruct the lost data.

At this time, the MU may be rid of the Grimoires, by availing himself of a Remove Curse. If he does so, it will be as if he never saw or attempted to inscribe, know, etc., any of the spells from the Grimoires, save for in the case of those spells which the MU memorized at least once. All other phenomenon associated with the books will cease. Otherwise…

When the MU again, gains a new level:

1. A higher percentage of evil spells will begin appearing. Necromancy, conjuration/summoning spells, bindings, etc. The strange research notes will take an even darker turn.

2. A weird Augury like experience will assail him up to once a day, wherein profitable, albeit unscrupulous opportunities will be made known. Such as, he might suddenly become aware that the local Lord's wife is adulterous and with whom she is cavorting. Or, the location of that Lord's hidden treasure vault, along with information on what's guarding his wealth.

3. The MU will begin sensing the presence of another consciousness while he is studying his spells. Once per week the MU may communicate with this entity. It will have the knowledge and experience of a 16th level MU. The Other Awareness will not answer any questions regarding its origin or identity, nor will it reveal anything about the Grimoires. It will promise a great destiny, wealth, power and proffer useful advice to this end. 

There is a 1% cumulative chance that instead of the usual communication, the MU will suddenly be assailed by a feeling of dread and a desire to destroy the Key. This impulse will seem to come from both himself and the Other Awareness, and the MU may make a Saving Throw at -3, with the penalty decreasing by one for each time the dreadful experience has previously occurred. If successful, he will instantly know the nature of both the Grimoires and the awareness with which he has been in communication. Otherwise, the chance for this occurring resets back to 1%

4. There is a 5% per day, that the MU will spontaneously recall a spell to memory that was cast within the past 24 hours. This will only happen once, but afterwards, one time per day, the MU may try to recall a spell of his choice, with a 10% chance of success.

5. If a Teacher is necessary for level advancement, then the information garnered from the Other Awareness will suffice. Much of this will begin occurring in the dream state, or as entries in the Grimoires. Also, any costs associated with level advancement will be halved.

Images and Dreams of attaining great wealth and power will assail the MU constantly and specific, usually wicked ways of attaining power will be revealed, via the Auguries and aforementioned communications, as well as other avenues. As the MU continues to gain levels, the following additional phenomenon will occur:

1. The new spells which appear will be of the sort a truly evil magician would prefer and choose. Disturbing spells of the GM’s creation or taken from appropriately themed RPG supplements are encouraged. The notes appearing in the Grimoires will feature such items as formulae for Lichdom, Devil's Talismans and True Names of demons.

2. Strange coincidences and synchronicities will bring potential henchman, followers, associates, lovers, etc., across the MU's path. These will, of course, be rather nasty people. Some will be fanatically loyal. Weird priests of obscure sects might try to cast the character as a figure of prominence in their prophetic scriptures, seeking to aid or destroy the MU. Powerful Wizards serving the cause of Good, Paladins, Priests, etc., will begin hunting the MU, claiming him to be a champion of evil forces.

If the MU still retains the Grimoires when he reaches 12th level, he will be stuck with the spells known, regardless of what he does with the key. His memories will begin to alter, accounting for the discovery of the spells within the book, the research, etc. The MU may make a Saving Throw, to notice this happening.

If the MU hasn’t figured things out yet, the DM should offer enough clues to insure that he does. The Other Awareness is an evil, probable variant of the Character, one possible version of the MU amongst many. This consciousness exists in the future, in a parallel dimension, in the realms of potentiality and within the timeless psyche of the MU (all of which are true, from differing perspectives.)

The Character has slowly been transforming into this future version of himself. By this point, the MU has no doubt started performing in a rather vile manner, considering that most of his spell options are rather unwholesome. The auguries will still be useful, if less frequent. The communications will provide little new information, as the MU now has much of the knowledge and experience his future self was sharing. 

The process will continue until the MU reaches 16th level, at which point it will cease, along with most of the other weirdness, as he will have attained his destiny and become that evil manifestation with which he has been communicating. The Key will still provide the +1 bonus to saves and the doubling of 1st level spells, but all of the other powers and phenomenon will end. Henceforth, the MU will learn spells as normal.
More notes for the GM:
At all times, the MU's powers of choice remain. Even if he decides to follow the path of evil, he may not choose to do so in precisely the way his future self is advocating.
At the end of the process, he will most likely not become the Exact variant version of himself, with which he was in communication with at the beginning. The character's choices will ultimately determine the self he becomes. The magic of the Grimoires is such that it will create a link with the vilest, most powerful variant possible, but a synergy is at work, as the MU's Will begins to influence the events. He may gravitate towards a different variant, or create changes in the future self, with which he is in contact. Since it is himself, both statements will be true from a certain perspective. As the process progresses and then nears its end, the GM should gradually bring the future self into alignment with where the MU seems to be taking the character. Instead of “Evil,”  mere “evil” may be called for, or variations, such as Law, Chaos and Neutrality.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Archive Thursday: My Fantasy Library - The Sleeping Dragon

There's a few posts I want to move over from the Gazette, so I've decided that Thursday is Archive Day. I don't want to overload you guys with reposts, though some of these will be old enough, that many of my current readers will be unfamiliar with them. Keeping it to one day a week, until I'm done, seems to be a decent solution. On occasion, I'll also update/tweak/revise some of these as well.

Recently, Joel Rosenberg passed away. His Guardians of the Flame series was smart, funny and action-packed. Violence in Mr. Rosenberg's series is scary, ugly and not glorious, at all. It's how these characters deal with that fact that makes them heroes.
My Fantasy Library: The Sleeping Dragon - Book 1 of The Guardians of the Flame Series

“So, let me get this straight. A group of college-aged gamers are transported to the fantasy world their GM has been running, transforming into their characters in the process?”

As old and jaded as I am today, I would probably give Joel Rosenberg’s The Guardians of the Flame series a pass. Fortunately, I was still a teenager when The Sleeping Dragon was published. When I read the review of the novel in Dragon Magazine, I thought the premise was cool as hell and picked up a copy on my next trip to the bookstore.

I’m glad I did. Mr. Rosenberg skillfully handles the difficulties inherent in the setup for his series and instead of the schlocky, juvenile story one might expect, we are treated to an intelligent and edgy fantasy adventure, with depth, humor and gritty violence.

I would imagine that most of us, at some time or another, has had a conversation with friends where someone said “Wouldn’t it be cool as hell, if we lived in a D&D world?”

When it actually happens to these gamers, they’re smart enough to know that they’re in deep shit! This point is quickly brought home, when one of the characters doesn’t even last the day, participating in their first full on “party vs. monsters” battle, where the fear and trauma of having others out for your blood and having to reciprocate the sentiment, slaps them square in the face.

The reality of mortal combat and how the protagonists cope with that challenge is an ever present theme in the series. There’s no glory, but there is heroism. Whether dealing with melee, magic swords, or wizardly combat, the action is always grounded in the chaos and blood of the battle-field. The characterization is excellent, throughout, but never more-so than when the author is presenting his character's choices, in the face of violence and its presence in their lives.

They learn, quickly, that they’re going to have to be very hardcore if they’re going to survive.

Back in the day, when my friends and I used to enjoy debating the particulars of alignment, questions like “Is it evil to kill a sleeping enemy?” would often arise. One of the main characters, Walter Slovotsky, would probably answer with one of his famous Slovotsky’s Laws. Something like:
“Slovotsky’s Law no. 123 – So long as he’s careless enough to let me sneak up on him, the bastard doesn’t have to be asleep. But it helps!”
That last was my attempt at writing a Law. Walter’s wisdom runs throughout the series, often during the character’s dialogue, sometimes as introductory quotes at the beginning of chapters. Walter’s quips provide wry humor, as well as insight into how the former college student copes with the fear and turmoil of a violent career in a dangerous world.

While still at the Student Union, Professor Deighton announces that he’s starting a new campaign, the “Quest for the Gate Between Worlds.” The player’s are each free to choose whichever character from their notebook they wish, as the new campaign is not intended for low-level play.

Walter Slovotsky starts off as a large, cocky, jock, but not stereotypically so. He’s smart, human, empathic and he games. 

I’m reminded of a friend, who played with us a few years ago. He would tell stories of how in high school, he was a jock and a “closet gamer,” never letting his jock friends know he played D&D. Not a problem for Walter, as he’s far too confident to be ashamed of his doings. Though Walter takes others’ feelings into account, he still has a problem with seeing himself as the center of universe. When he finds himself in the Eren Regions, as a Thief, still large, but with incredible dexterity and skills, the challenges he faces force him to reassess a few things.

Karl Cullinane, dilettante, unfocused, prone to lose things, is transformed into a mighty Warrior. Karl is forced to choose what kind of man and warrior he wants to be, learning to express both his will and passion. As the story progresses, he becomes a true and very human hero.

Doria Perlstein, in many ways the least equipped to deal with the situation these young men and women find themselves in, is immediately hit with a crisis that endangers the whole party. She’s the Cleric. Professor Deighton’s character levels start at “A” and run through the alphabet. At level “K,” Doria is the most powerful character in the party.

Jason Parker is the party’s second Thief, Einar Lightfingers. Alas, never choose a character who’s missing a hand, just in case…

Andrea Andropolous is the woman of Karl’s dreams. Interestingly enough, she finally agrees to accompany her would-be suitor to a game, on that particular night. Using d4’s, they roll her up a “C” level Wizard. Andrea, the person, has charisma and guts. Like the others, she has to find that which is most noble and human inside of herself, in order to meet the ordeals which lay ahead.

Lou Riccetti is an Engineering student and decides to play his character Aristobulus, a “J” level Wizard. He’s one of only two of the former gamers who actually want to stay in the world in which he finds himself. He learns soon enough that as a fairly advanced wizard, their new political environment will guarantee him a life of privilege and prestige. If, that is, he can solve one little problem.

Lastly, James Michael Finnegan plays the Dwarven Warrior, Ahira. He’s the other player who has no intention of going back. His reasons are every bit as selfish as Lou’s, but far, far more sympathetic. Not to mention, obvious. Before he and his fellow player’s cross over, he’s unanimously chosen to be the party leader.

Travelling across land, by sea, and through the desert, the party meets new friends, visits famous Pandathaway, learn secrets, encounter dangerous enemies and make tough decisions, some of momentous and far reaching importance. Ahira, as he chooses to call himself, vows to get the others home safely and ensure they find the “Gate Between Worlds.”

As the series progresses, the adventurers take on the task of changing their new world. They start a war. They also learn, that all is not as it seems and new information regarding Professor Deighton and his motivations comes to light. While much of import is going on behind the scenes, we get only tidbits and glimpses. Like the protagonists, we see things from the point of view of the trenches. Our heroes, in the theater of the campaign, are at ground zero, as it were, wading through blood and politics. We’re privy to very little of what the major Wizards, Priests and powerful, inhuman entities are really up-to. So far, after the nine books of the series I’ve read, very, very, little of what’s going on behind the scenes has been revealed.

Here and there, we get some interesting gaming tidbits. One thing the player’s never knew, until they crossed over, was that a Wizard has to “reign in,” and control the spells he has memorized. They constantly push at the back of the mind, insisting upon release. As a plot device, this is used to rather important effect, fairly early in the book. As interesting flavor for D&D games, it has some possibilities.
“He let his remaining spells cycle through his brain, making sure each one was ready and complete. Not that that was necessary; an incomplete spell wouldn’t make his mind pulse, wouldn’t push at him night and day to release it, as though it were some sort of huge sneeze, backed up in his nostrils. He could live with that, easily, in exchange for the power.”
There’s much in the series that will no doubt please old school gamers. The heroes are human, not super-heroes. The author is definitely an “Old School DM.” Even those who haven’t read the Guardians of the Flame, may have heard of Joel Rosenberg’s reputation for being willing to kill his characters. Even major ones!

As to the writing, Mr. Rosenberg’s prose is packed with style, humor and depth. I found it to be felicitous and quick.

The series runs to ten novels. If you’ve never read them, I heartily encourage you to do so. For entertaining, intelligent, violent fantasy, that’s an absolute joy to read, the Guardians of the Flame series is one of the best choices out there. It’s the first I would recommend to anyone wanting to read some D&D style fiction.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Template Woes, That Map in the Background and The Incomparable Dejah Thoris

Minor Irritants

I received several complements on the look of the new site. Alas, there was a problem. The Simple Template seems to have a bug and my Follower Widget kept freaking out. You guys were disappearing on a regular basis.

After researching, tinkering, hacking my HTML, etc., I switched the Template to Awesome, which seems to have fixed the problem.

Edit: NOPE. It's freaking out again!

The Black Mete

The map in the background is a low-res version of this one:

Click for an Expandable PNG

Available in PDF, from my widget on the right. I need to start map-making again. I still intend to make a color set of map Icons. And there's always the fight to improve my non-icon mountain-making skills, in GIMP.

Because You Demanded It!

More Dejah Thoris:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The OSR News - Monday, December 5, 2011

$1.35 will buy you some Awesome LotFP Stuff!

The LotFP sale is on through the 10th! Each PDF, including the Grindhouse Edition, Vornheim, Death Frost Doom and many more, can be had for $1.35 Each!

Happy Birthday James Raggi! Happy Anniversary to both you and your spouse! And Happy Independence Day to everyone in Finland!

While We're Visiting Mr. Raggi

PDF previews for Carcosa and Isle of the Unknown are up. If you've neglected the LotFP blog, you'll find several posts, detailing the contents of these two publications, along with various pics and other info. We are now, patiently waiting for Mr. Raggi and his printer to clear up a snag.

This provides a few more days, for the Dollar to gain a few pennies against the Euro.

I can dream, right?

And I've been quoted, in the PDF preview for Carcosa:

Whatever one may think of Carcosa, 
there’s no denying that it has proven itself 
to be a seminal work of the burgeoning 
Old School Renaissance.
—The Underdark Gazette

While some of my thoughts about Carcosa have changed, since that old essay was written, the sentence above remains as true now as it was then! Carcosa continues to prove its relevance. Continues to inspire and influence designers.  It is indeed, a seminal work of the OSR.

And it gave me occasion to use the word seminal.

Special Deal for Gardening Society Members

A quote from Mr. Raggi:
Oh, my store software won't let me apply the Gardening Society discount to the extras, so Gardening Society members will get 2€ off Carcosa and Isle of the Unknown, even if not ordering the extras. After the extras sell out, the discount will go back to the usual 1€ off.
That means if intend to buy both, you could sign up for the Gardening Society today for 10€ and be saving 4€ next week - and membership gives you 1€ off every print product in the store, always, so you could theoretically turn around and save more money than the cost of membership right away. And you get a kickass membership card!
Sounds like a good time to buy the hell out of some LotFP stuff!

$1! That's Legendary!

What? You want more cheap PDF's? Mongoose has put out their successor game to their Runequest II line.

Legend by Lawrence Whitaker and Pete Nash. Mongoose Pub. Available in PDF for $1.00. 242 pages.
Using the core rules from RuneQuest II, Legend is a new fantasy roleplaying game that serves as the basis for a multitude of settings and worlds. 100% compatible with all previous RuneQuest II books, including Elric of Melnibone, Deus Vult and Wraith Recon, Legend repackages the rules into a new digest-sized format.
I checked Mongoose's site and they list the book for £9.99  which I think is for a print copy, given the ISBN given. Amazon's page for that ISBN show's the book, but says it's out of print. (shrug.)

$1 Will Get You Started

Tim Shorts of GM Games and Gothridge Manor has put his module, Knowledge Illuminates on sale for the holidays. $1.
Grab your dice and hire some henchmen, you're going to need them. Knowledge Illuminates is a campaign starter adventure full of possibilities. Explore a dark fantasy world in search of an unending treasure. But within this adventure lurks a horror that will haunt the players for years. So buckle up that helmet, sharpen that sword, and bring an extra pair of iron spikes, this adventure is for the big boys.
The Labyrinth Lord Screen Kick-Starter

Is on for 6 more days! The goal has been met and $15 will get you a copy, while $21 will get you a signed copy!
With the Labyrinth Lord fantasy RPG having been available since 2007, the need for a referee screen has never been greater. Hunker down behind your Labyrinth Lord screen, rolling dice secretively and plotting the fate of your players!
Steve Zieser, artist for the covers of Labyrinth Lord and the Advanced Edition Companion returns to illustrate the cover of this three-panel portrait screen. The same old-school black and white style is used, so that the screen will look great with your copies of the rule books.
Each panel is approximately 8.5" x 11", with an outer illustration spanning all three panels. The screen is 14 pt card stock, with a UV gloss coating on the outside and an aqueous coating on the inside. The inside is filled with useful tables for reference during play, and the screen is equally usable whether you play with the core Labyrinth Lord rules alone or use the Advanced Edition Companion along with it.
A New Release from Mythmere

Demonspore: The Secret of the Shrooms by Matthew Finch. Mythmere Games. Available in Print for $16.99 and in PDF for $6.99. 84 pages.
Establishing themselves in the cyst left by their dead god, a zealot band of Shrooms, a race known for bizarre projects and subtle objectives, have now been working for decades on the strangest task in their strange history. They are growing themselves a new god. A Swords & Wizardry adventure (levels 3-6) also usable with OSRIC, 1e, Labyrinth Lord, and other old-school RPG rules.
More Cheap Gaming Stuff!

Trouble at Karam's Claim by Bill Logan. DwD Studios. Available in PDF for .50 cents. 3 pages.
When the miners at Karam's Claim depleted the hills, they set their sights on deeper wares. They dug too deep, and uncovered an unusual orc clan lead by an exiled ogre lord. The characters are in the right place at the right time, and must rescue the miners from the clutches of evil.
Trouble at Karam's Claim is a 1-sheet adventure designed for a party of four to six low-level Labyrinth LordTM characters, though it can be easily adapted to any old-school fantasy role-playing game. This adventure is combat-heavy. If the players lack sufficient front-line fighters, consider having miners they rescue take up swords from fallen orcs and fall in line with them.
What? You want more Cheap, Awesome Deals? Expeditious Retreat Press, Delivers!

Expeditious Retreat Press has just announced a 50% off sale, at Steve Jackson Games' e23 store!  Go snag some Advanced Adventures, or some other cool PDF's!

I'll recommend The Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom by Matthew Finch!

Because it Rocks!

Because I wanted to include a picture, so Joseph's sale doesn't get lost in all the News Items and I needed to make some room to do so. I still need some room.

Because Matt Finch is my favorite living designer and boosting his profile might translate into him making me more cool gaming stuff!

This is Terrifically Gruesome!

Devestation Drive-In by Justin S. Davis. 57 page PDF available for Free Download at A Field Guide to Doomsday. 
A Spooky Celluloid Supplement for the Mutant Future Role-Playing Game.
If you look in the right-hand column of Justin's blog, you'll not only see the download link, but a few other Mutant PDF's, for your perusal.

Any supplement that stats up the baby from It's Alive, is worth checking out!

There's this Con. It's Constantly Going On!

Check out the Constantcon Blog, for a list of upcoming Google+ games and to add yours to the list! There's 17 entries for the month of December, so far. We can do much better than that!


LOVIATAR #5 December 2011 by Christian Walker. Available in print for $3.00.
Hex 001, an article for Basic D&D, gets things started. If you want to run a hex crawl/ sandbox style campaign you're going to need a place to start. Hex 001 provides that beginning. The article offers maps, illustrations, adventure hooks, planned encounters and suggestions for future play. With this article you will be able to get your campaign off to a great start.

Next up is a GURPS article that continues a series describing the bizarre world that the passengers of a colony ship now find themselves trapped on. In this installment, the enigmatic aliens referred to as the Masters have taken a bold step in controlling human reproduction. They have rendered their test subjects sterile and have begun placing genetically engineered babies with selected families. Adding to the horror is the fact that the aliens have experimented with gender, creating a third sex to live among the colonists.
Finally, zombies invade the pages of Loviatar! Inspired by AMC's hit show "The Walking Dead", a zombie for the World of Darkness is presented. It can be used as part of an encounter or as the feature enemy in a chronicle dealing with an undead outbreak.
Greyhawk Goodness!

Check out this interview with Joseph Bloch, from Mortellan's Greyhawkery!

Constantcon Utilities

Jez over at Giblet Blizzard has made the DungeonFu 1.0 Mapmaker for G+. It's cool! Check it out!

Bundle Price on BRW Games' Darker Paths

$8.00 for both The Necromancer and The Witch. And if you purchased the former, before the latter was released, Joe Bloch has you covered. He's also got a Cafe Press store, which you can get more info about, here. 

I Missed This

The Book of Elder Magic by D. H. Boggs. Available in Print for $10.00 and in PDF for $5.25. 77 pages.
The Book of Elder Magic is a handy reference designed for use at the gaming table. It contains all the spells found in the Original Edition of the worlds most popular fantasy adventure Role Playing Game, and all compatible spells developed for the Dragons at Dawn retro-tribute. A select number of spells from Dave Arneson's Open Game sources have also been adapted and added along with adaptations of other spells developed by members of the original Twin Cities gaming group. In all, there are 57 pages of spells for use with Classic, Original, and Retroclone rulesets of the worlds most popular RPG, including our own Champions of ZED. As if that is not enough, there is also another 10+ pages detailing the effects of magic addiction, a new magic wand, the Alchemist character class, the relationship of iron and magic, more comprehensive rules for the cost and time of creating magic items, and J. E. Holmes inspired rules for spell books.
Oubliette #7!!!

Oubliette #7 by Peter Regan. Art by The Marg. Available in PDF for Free, for a limited time only! 43 pages.
OUBLIETTE - A magazine for old school fantasy roleplayers.
FREE for a limited time only!
40 jam-packed pages!
Written for Labyrinth Lord, but also ideal for use with any Basic/Expert/Advanced original or clone, with little or no adjustment required.
Full Contents:
  • Editorial
  • Tales from Hell Cartoon
  • Monster Club #11: The Naughty Step
  • Miniatures Special: An Interview with Richard Scott of Otherworld Miniatures
  • Monster Club #12: Dungeon Random Encounter Tables: Levels 4-6
  • Newland Campaign Setting Part II: Raiders
  • Monster Club #13: Newland Bestiary Part I
  • Tomb of the Snake King: A Labyrinth Lord Adventure for 3rd to 5th Level Characters
  • The 10-Foot Pole
  • Found Familiar: The Toad
  • Goblin Quest Cartoon
  • What's in the Oubliette? Reviews
  • Mouse Watch Cartoon
  • The Song of Sithakk Part 7: A Dream of Blossoms
Warning! Oubliette may contain content that is suitable for adult audiences only. Persons 18+ only.
Oublieditor also put out a special issue, # 6.5, which you can find out about, here.  

Some More Freebies

Matthew of Rended Press and Greg of Gorgonmilk brings us Stuff You Might Find at a Goblin Market. A 34 page PDF available for Free Download.

Matt has also teamed up with the Old School Heretic, to bring you Old School Heretics Motivational Dysfunctions. A 7 page PDF available for Free Download.

the venemous pao and G-man Do it Again.

Bring you another Barbarians of Lemuria adventure, that is. The Homecoming of Count Inchiostro. A 16 page PDF available for Free Download. Set in the Hyborian Age!
In addition to the usual adventure-y goodness, G-Man has once again given us all some excellent new spells and some optional rules for a slightly crunchier approach to BoL combat. So really, why are you still reading my words when you should be downloading?
There May be Some Legal Wrangling...

But, you can get the first six pages of Bludgeons & Flagons, here. As Brad puts it:
As a teaser of great things to come, I am making the first six pages of BLUDGEONS & FLAGONS available to download and read FOR FREE! TODAY! Once you see these rules you will plead with me to preorder the published copy. Your gaming life has been made much brighter today, by me, for I provide the FUTURE IN FANTASY WARGAMING!
In fairness, the words of the alleged co-author will be of interest.

Hex Gear

Jed McClure of Albatross Press has a line of Hex & Graph & Dungeon Notebooks for all you harried DM's, in need of organization! Available in a variety of sizes, he's got ten different ones loaded up on Lulu, so follow the link above for more info!

News from Tekumel

Head over to Skein of Destiny, for some updated Tekumel News.

Time for Another Freebie!

Old School Hack by Kirin Robinson is now available on RPGNOW as a Free PDF Download.
A table-top roleplaying system that's a hack of a hack of the original Red Box version of a certain popular hack-and-slash fantasy game.
That's a lot of hacking.
Something for that Newfangled Kindle Thing

Paul Fini of The Warlock's Home Brew has put out a Kindle version of his pulp digest, Tales of High Adventure. Available at Amazon for $2.99.
Thrilling pulp adventure fantasy returns with Tales of High Adventure, a quarterly book of prose stories and illustrated tales as published in the pulp magazines of the 1930's and 1940's such as Weird Tales, Astounding Stories, Spicy Mystery Stories, Amazing Stories and Startling Stories!
 Akrasia Keeps us Up To Date

On the new Runequest 6! He posted the cover art for the upcoming release, from The Design Mechanism along with a blurb:
We're delighted to share with you the stunning cover art for RuneQuest Sixth Edition.
By Pascal Quidalt, the picture is, of course, an updated version of the iconic original RQ cover (originally painted by Luise Perrin). Pascal, who has done some outstanding covers for roleplaying games, has taken that original and created a beautiful and unique take on the imagery.
The artwork depicts Anathaym, a Meerish warrior of the Cult of Theera, under ambush by a cunning, predatory, Slargr (pronounced SLAR-guh) when she mistakenly wanders into its hunting territories. The hulking creature tears away her shield - a typical slargr tactic - leaving the shocked Anathaym to rely on her spear and its Bladesharp matrix.
Will she survive? The RuneQuest rules, using Anathaym as our example heroine, will give you the answer...
And Finally, The Advanced Adventures Compendiums

Advanced Adventures Compendium 1 and Advanced Adventures Compendium 2. Expeditious Retreat Press. 186 and 158 pages, respectively. $50. Each. Hardcover.
Compendium One contains (levels):
The Pod-Caverns of Sinister Shroom by Matthew Finch 2-4
The Red Mausoleum by James Boney 12-15
The Curse of the Witch Head by James Boney 6-10
The Prison of Meneptah by Alphonso Warden 8-10
The Flaming Footprints of Jilanth by Andrew Hind 3-5
The Chasm of the Damned by James Boney 6-10
The Sarcophagus Legion by Andrew Hind 2-4
The Seven Shrines of Nav’k-Qar by James Boney 8-12
The Lost Pyramid of Imhotep by Alphonso Warden 4-7
The Lost Keys of Solitude by Joseph Browning & Suzi Yee 6-10
Compendium Two contains (levels):
The Conqueror Worm by Alphonso Warden 10-14
The Barrow Mound of Gravemoor by Andrew Hind 5-7
White Dragon Run by James Boney 2-4
The Verdant Vault of Malakum by Alphonso Warden 8-10  
Stonesky Delve by Joseph Browning 4-7
Under Shattered Mountain by James Boney 9-12
The Frozen Wave Satsuma by Joseph Browning & Andrew Hind 3-5
The Forsaken Sepulcher by Alphonso Warden 10-14
The Secret of the Callair Hills by Geoff Gander 3-5
The Riddle of Anadi by James Boney 6-10
What I'm Pimping Right Now

Tome of Adventure Design by Matt Finch. Frog God Games. I'm not sure if pre-orders have been cut-off. There's reports of some folks receiving their copies. I still await patiently for my own hardcopy, but have the PDF in hand. Or hard drive.

Here's some words from Matt on the subject (follow this link for directions to a free preview PDF:
At long last, my Tome of Adventure Design (originally the Adventure Design Deskbooks) is up and ready for sale at Frog God Games. It's a quarter century worth of tables and a couple of places where I fleshed out some "Notes to Self" that were in the 3-ring binders along with the tables. People who have seen Deskbooks 1 and 2 know how it's presented -- the Tome of Adventure Design (ToAD) contains books 3 and 4 as well. The tables are what I think of as "deep design" rather than being short and weighted toward normal results as you have to do in a book of tables designed for rapid use during an adventure. This book is for when you're working ahead of time. There are a couple of exceptions - the first internal "book" can be used to generate the general concept of an adventure pretty quickly, either based on location, mission, or a villain's objective.
It's system neutral (for the D&D family, anyway, some of it uses concepts that were abandoned in 4e). So it's totally usable with AD&D, OSRIC, Original D&D, 2e, all the retro-clones, etc., etc.
The pdf is available immediately, and if you are pre-ordering the book you get the pdf right away.
It's 300 pages of tables and 7 pages of index (I worked hard to get a really good index).
About the 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. The OSR News is produced as a service to the community and is entirely a non-commercial endeavor on my part. I have received no remuneration for advertising or reporting on any of the items appearing herein. Occasionally, the News might feature an item, which the author has sent me a complimentary copy of, for purposes of writing a review.
As always, the What I’m Pimping This Week section of the OSR News and its accompanying blog widget, feature products which I have purchased (or items which are available for free download) and wish to support. At times, the item I'm pimping may be one which I received a complimentary review copy of, from the author or publisher. No one has asked me to spotlight their material in this section and I have received no payment of any kind for doing so.
Please feel free to send me information on any new releases, events, or other items of interest, which you would like to see mentioned.