Monday, October 7, 2019

New OSR Products at DTRPG — October 6th, 2019

On a semi-related note, I also came across the existence of DMR Books, who publish sword & sorcery fiction, both actual old school stuff and modern stuff that feels old school. I just read Heroes of Atlantis & Lemuria which collected several stories by Manly Wade Wellman about Kardios, a swordsmen and bard from Atlantis, and some not so great stories by Frederick Kummer Jr. Actually the first one was great, but in the later stories, the character was somehow changed from a Cretan to an American that uses slang of the time.


Adventures



Hide in Plain Sight, Mystery at Morfurt, A Trick on the Tain, etc - Old C&C adventures pretending to be new OSR ones. $5 each.

Plague, Famine, & War 1 - Beginner OSRIC module about evil insect invaders. $2.99, 14 pages.

Shipwreck at Har's Point -  1st to 3rd level module for OSRIC. 12 pages.

The Haunted Mansion of Baron Astrophel -  1e/OSRIC adventure from Joseph Mohr that seems like it might be a murder mystery.

The Misty Halls of Kalavorka - The third "Dungeon Delve" title for OSRIC, levels 5 to 7, about a clan of mysterious giants who have disappeared. $9.99 and 44 pages with a lot of original art, looks like.

The Mud King of Stoney Creek -  5th to 7th level S&W adventure about a blues musician. Or trolls. $1.99, 19 pages.

The Psionic Crucible of the Fat Cannibal - Not to be confused with the similar titled Orson Wells biography. PWYW, 28 pages

edit:

AA03 Purging Woth Nrld Oekwn's Muddy Hole -  Not entirely sure if this is in English or not.  40 pages, $3.99

Rules


Class Ideas 1e (Art Sketch Version) -  No, no Bob Ross class added, but instead an illustrated version of a past product. PWYW, though money will go towards future illustrated products

RPPP: Alternate Material Planes -  Random tables for same. $2,99 and 19 pages.

Sword & Spell Core Guidelines - Compilation of yet another White Box clone PDFs. $15.95.

Misc


Friday Enhanced Map 10-4-19 -  If you squint hard enough, it could be a truck stop, but looks more like an underground temple. $2

Olde Skill Back2basics Monster Counters #1 - With a name like that you'd expect parachute pants and giant clocks around their necks.  $2.50. 

Paratime Design Presents...Multi-Dungeon -  Now that is an old school dungeon map. Only thing missing is an interior lake and island. $5


Sunday, October 6, 2019

Hide in Plain Sight Review — Bait & Switch? Old C&C module advertised as New OSR

Hide in Plain Sight by Bill De Franza is one of the new modules in the new "Ballista" line of OSR modules from Arcana Creations, meant for 1st to 3rd level cahracters. At least that's what the line purports to be. In reality, it's a 10 year old Castles & Crusades module repackaged and re-released. I don't normally cover Castles & Crusades here because I don't think it's particularly OSR-ish, even though you could argue it started things off, it still does a lot of things differently, like the "SIEGE" system and the ability scores as saving throws.

However, since I just spent $5 on the 36 page, single column PDF of it (not knowing its history), I will break that rule. It's got a fairly complex plot. Basically a doppleganger wants to free his imprisoned master, an evil wizard, whose prison is guarded by a couple of former adventurers who have become rulers of a small domain.

The doppleganger somehow managed to murder one of them, taking his place, and then rather than murdering the other and just freeing his master directly, comes up with a complicated scheme for the adventurers to do it for him. He's kidnapped the living ruler's daughter and asks the PCs to rescue her, then pretends to be the kidnapped daughter and as her, tells the party that her uncle (the one the doppleganger killed) killed her father (who is still living) and is pretending to be her father. However, her father is being hidden in an ancient enchanted sarcophagus and they need to open it to rescue him.

I suppose it makes some sense, if the doppleganger can't touch the sarcophagus. But I'm not sure why he couldn't hire people to directly. Or why the two brothers didn't just bury the bad guy under tons of concrete. So presumably the PCs go rescue the doppleganger pretending to be the daughter, then come back and storm the castle (well, manor) and free the doppleganger's boss. Who then murders the surviving brother (the father) and then runs off, instead of killing everyone, even though he's unkillable.

Then they have to go back to the doppleganger lair, look deeper this time, and rescue the real daughter. Which somehow redeems them for their mistake in the eyes of the manor butler. In any event, there's really not much of a reward, with the base pay being 150 gp each and maybe a horse if they bargain hard.  There's virtually no loot, either.


The dungeon designs are fairly straight forward, with one exception of sorts. The secret lair where the real daughter is hidden is guarded by a gelatinous cube (named Gladys). However, its movements can be controlled by a number of potions and concoctions they can find. So they can avoid it, if they realize it's there.

As mentioned, it's 36 pages, but single column. Easy enough to read, but the maps are in the interior, which I find cumbersome to use while running the module. There's a smattering of art.

Hide In Plain sight is not a bad adventure, but it aside from the system, it doesn't feel very OSR-ish. It feels like something you'd find in the 2e era in Dungeon magazine, when the adventures eschewed dungeon crawls and focused more on plot based adventures. And even then, it doesn't seem like it plays very fair.  If this evil guy is so important, why is he guarded in a place where low level adventurers can stroll in and release him? And while experienced players might catch on to the scheme, if someone is actually new to the game, they'll be completely baffled. And the doppleganger villain basically has plot armor.





While I don't think there is anything wrong with taking older modules and republishing them, I do think if they are advertised as OSR or in this case, specifically name dropping Swords & Wizardry, then they should at least be modified for those game systems.  It would have taken, what, maybe 2-3 hours at most to change the stats, references to game mechanics (like saving throws or opening locks), and add loot, something key to character advancement in virtually all OSR games.






Monday, September 30, 2019

New OSR Products at DTRPG — September 29th, 2019

Another not so busy week in the world of RPGs, OSR or not.


Adventures


A Doom to Speak: Like Family -  Seems to be one of those one page dungeons. $2.44

Ragnar's Keep -  This seems to be a Keep on the Borderlands style thingie, sans dungeon, just the keep. $2.95, 36 pages, and vague on system.

Rules


RPPP #94: Medieval Authentic (TM) Bestiary -  14 new critters, mostly just variations on cows. 18 pages, $2.99

Misc


Friday Enhanced Map 9-27-19 - Sort of intestinal looking. $2

Monday, September 23, 2019

New OSR Products at DTRPG — September 22nd, 2019

There's an old school bundle at Humble Bundle. Most of it is stuff you've seen before (Necromancer and Troll Lord stuff almost 20 years old at this point), but there's some AS&SH stuff and what seems to be a new module from iThrow games.

Not much new this week.


Adventures


Hexed Places - Shimmering Coast -  Hex Crawl from PBE. Apparently that's just the tourist name, actually name is the Bone Beaches (though to be fair, that could be a beach for swingers). 16 pages, $2.69

Rules


Sword & Spell - Supplement 1 -  Like seemingly every other "White Box" clone, they then sell you the stuff for later editions in later supplements. $9.95 and 42 pages.

Misc


Friday Enhanced Map 9-20-19 -  Underground something or other, looks sort of like a honey bun. $2

Mountain & Hill Encounters -  Random tables. PWYW

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Hobgoblin Bride Review — 5 Hobgoblin Brides for 17 Hobgoblin Brothers


I like adventures and I like short, cheap adventures, since they tend to be easier to use. Aegis Studios has put out a line of those for their Basic Fantasy RPG based Odysseys and Overlords, but for the most part, they have been unspiring and formulaic.  Get a Dyson Logos map (a tiny one at that), slap down a few encounters with standard low level monsters, pad the page count with a long cut and paste intro about the setting and the system licenses and boom, you have a module.

The Hobgoblins Bride by Megan Irving sticks to that formula, but manages to transcend it, at least somewhat, it's still limited in scope. The premise is that a bunch of hobgoblin women have been kidnapped by an all male hobgoblin band. One of the lady hobgoblins manages to escape and seeks help to rescue the remaining ones. Which the party is asked to do. Here it's somewhat assumed the PCs will do it because they are good and a church asks them to. I'm not sure that's a good enough motivation for typical old school players.

Monday, September 16, 2019

New OSR Products at DTRPG — September 16th, 2019

What with my new completely erratic and random work schedule  I'm losing track of which day is what, and Buster (my kitten) is taking up a lot of my free time (they don't seem to sleep much and when they do, it's on your lap).

In the spirit of Halloween and the worst fad in the history of mankind (except eugenics) comes the pumpkin spice hardcover (so print only) edition of Advanced Labyrinth Lord. 
 

Adventures


The Elven Tomb -  Medieval Authentic (tm) Adventure from the RPGPundit. 16 pages, $2.49.  Although elves aren't authentic, medieval or not. Best you get in real life is some people having pointy ears.

The Hobgoblin Bride - Lowish level adventure for Basic Fantasy RPG about freeing kidnapped hobgoblin women. $1, 11 pages.


Misc


A bunch of small pdfs/forms for A Ghastly Affair -  PWYW material for the really excellent gothic OSR game.

Friday Enhanced Map  9-13-19-  $2

Saving Throw Fanzine for James D. Kramer -  I am actually not overly aware of the Usherwood stuff for OSRIC, I guess it mostly came out in the very early days of it (when I was out of gaming), but apparently its creator is suffering from medical problems. This is meant to help his family.  62 pages of misc stuff for $13

More Wilderlands Stuff - I'm not sure which gets remade more often, B/X or the maps for the Wilderlands.

Wealth by NPC Level - Tables to accurately calculate the wealth an NPC should have at any given level. What's the fun in that? 50 cents.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Old School Class: The Necromancer — Solid Addition to First Edition, But Does It Have a Niche?

The Necromancer is one of those fantasy archetypes that really didn't exist in mythology or folklore (the name really just means someone who talks to the dead), but something everyone knows immediately what is.  As far as I know, there wasn't one for AD&D 1e, though 2e had a whole book devoted to introducing the class (Complete Book of Necromancers) and one described in the Diablo adaptions. Old School Class: The Necromancer from Charles Rice (a notable d20 author who also did many supplements in the early days of OSRIC) is aimed to fill that void for 1e in a 20 or so page PDF priced at $2.50.

It's built along the lines of the illusionist, having 7 levels of spells, which are a mix of existing ones and original ones just for the necromancer.  The descriptions of these new spells (almost 40) make up the bulk of this PDF, though there's also a small section on new monsters and magic items for the necromancer.