Sunday, May 31, 2015

Creature Compendium Review—Must Buy Monster Book

 You can never have too many monsters, or for that matter, too many monster manuals. Some say you should always make up your own original monsters, but to be honest, I think most people's creativity is naturally limited in scope. At least I tend to think along certain lines, and one of the reason I like other people's monsters, characters, and places is that they are things I wouldn't have thought of.

When creating new monsters, the catch is, all the easy monsters have been created. D&D borrowed quite a bit from folklore and fantasy fiction, not always describing things true to the source, but the inspiration is often recognizable. It also had many original items that really captured the imagination, despite being somewhat silly in nature. The owlbear and gelatinous cube for instance. It can be a hard act to follow, as Fiend Folio showed...

Creature Compendium from Richard LeBlanc and New Big Dragon Games is a really good try, featuring 200 new monsters for old school D&D. Some are taken from folklore (some pretty obscure), one is from a movie, but I think most are original. It has an almost ludicrously low price of $2 in PDF, which is even more astounding given that it has a lot of original artwork by the author.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

New OSR Products at RPGNow/DTRPG—May 28th, 2015

Fairly busy week, looks like the White Star stuff is tapering off


Adventures


FS11 - Wedding Days -  This week's Adventures in Filbar product is back to being old school. 20 pages, $3

The Day the Moon Ran Away with the Spoon -  A new adventure from the Gagmen. While their modules are for Basic Fantasy RPG, they often have non-fantasy themes. This seems like a space opera type module so probably worth a look if you are a White Star fan. PWYW.

The Massive Mushroom Missive - Short encounter from The Frugal GM. PWYW

The Witch of the Tarriswoods - This is a generic OSR adventure that includes pregens, has a home base town, new monsters,  and maps for virtual table tops. $2.49 and 24 pages

Rules


Blades of Myth and Lore - This is a collection of magical swords for old school RPGs, including som from real world legends and mythology. 37 pages, $2

Hyperspace Messanger 02: Robots - Another White Star product. Hopefully the rules including dancing robots. Bida-bida-bida. 16 pages, $1.

Mead & Mayhem Booklet Edition - This is a supplement for running bar fights. Warning: requires a d30. $1.79, 30 pages.

Star Sailors: The Magical Girl Supplement for White Star - Because nothing says White Box like Magical Girls. $1.99, 9 pages


Misc


Black Box Books - Tome Six: Fomorians and Faith -  Mini setting for Swords & Wizardry White Box. 99 cents, 16 pages.

Metamorphosis Alpha: GM's Screen -  Not sure how a PDF of a screen works, seems what you pay for in a screen is the cardboard bits. Anyway. $5.99

PM2 Basic Monster Set 1 - This is a set of printable figures for old school (basic) monsters. $5



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

LotFP looking for monsters

Originally the referee book didn't have any monsters, because the idea was that the GM should make their own. But I guess that has changed, as they are looking for submissions for monsters for the new referee book. At 25 Euros, pretty decent money if you get accepted.


Tranzar's Redoubt Review—No Doubt About It, It's Good

One of the things that has puzzled me about the OSR (and old school D&D fans in general) is the love of randomly generated dungeons (or wilderness). I've never found those particularly appealing because D&D is far more than just monsters in rooms and killing them for their treasure. Oh sure, some of that is fun, but it's also about exploration and encountering weird and unique stuff, which gives a sense of wonder, a sense of the unknown.

Tranzar's Redoubt, a Labyrinth Lord module by Joe Johnston and Task Boy Games, has exactly that air of mystery in its encounters that I think is essential to D&D. In its 20 locations, players will encounter an ettin salesman, a casino full of undead, a dragon who talks in his sleep, and a tea party among other things, like traps and riddles. Just exactly the sort of thing you can't generate randomly. Yet it doesn't descend into silliness, all the things are there for a reason, and are plausible and rational given its design.

Friday, May 22, 2015

In Defense of Thuil Kickstarter

This is for a "multi system fantasy RPG adventure", which apparently includes OSRIC and two other systems

Swamp raiders from the jungle province have been raiding the small border towns of Wynhelm for years, with the village of Thuil being a frequent target.  Raiders no longer attempt to invade Wynhelm over the many small bridges spanning the Black River, but have taken to rafting large groups of warriors through the calmer sections of the water.  Raiding parties of a dozen or so desperate bandits have turned in to organized troops of lizardmen and red cloaked priests.  The snake god Sshanasa is surely behind these recent attacks!

$5 gets you a 20 page PDF (with really nice maps) or $25 for a printed copy.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

New Products at RPGNow/DTRPG—May 21st, 2015

Lots of adventures this week, more junk for White Star (sorry, but it looks like a lot of slapdash, cash in products, I know people are excited about it, but put some effort/polish into them...), and the long awaited release of the Petty Gods: Revised and Expanded Edition.

Adventures


Betrayal at Lucir - This is a Swords & Wizardry adventure, and a description of a town. $2.99 and 30 pages

Colonial Civil War - This is a short, Battlestar Galactica (new one) clone for White Star. 8 pages, $1

FP10 - Church of Scakla - An Adventures in Filbar product for mid to high level characters. $2, 13 pages

Metamorphosis Alpha: Warden Adventures - 8 mini adventures by Jim War and featuring art by Jennell Jaquays (who has gotten a lot better at art since her JG days). Somehow they can put out a new MA product every week for the last what, 3 months, but can't support DCC without a Kickstarter. Curious. 20 pages, $5.99

Roadside Respite - An OSRIC adventure, apparently featuring an owlbear. 34 pages, $5

RT1 Palace of the Vamp Queen - Actually for Hideouts & Hoodlums, which I am not familiar with, but presumably it's inspired by the original Palace of the Vampire Queen (aka the first D&D module). 26 pages, $2.50.

The Bogey of Swindle - An OSRIC adventure. 21 pages, $4.

The Purple Lotus - A Lost Age Adventure - Actually for Swords & Wizardry, Lost Age being the setting. For 3rd and 4th level characters. 16 pages, $3.99

Rules

 

Celtic Bard - a new class for Adventure Conqueror King System and Laybrinth Lord. $1.49

Hyperspace Messenger 01 - Stunners. This is a rules supplement for White Star. 10 pages, $1

Scout - a new class for ACKS/LL. $1.49

Wild Elven Shaman - another new class for AKCS/LL. $1.49

Misc

 

Planetary Transmission #1 - This is a fanzine for White Star. 24 pages, $2.99

Petty Gods: Revised & Expanded Edition - This has a long tortured history, first by James Mal (I can't spell the rest), then Greg Gorgonmilk, then finally New Big Dragon Games. But it's a big sourcebook of gods, taken from submissions from the OSR community (including one from me). Free

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hyperborea Three Pack Adventure Kickstarter

Sigh, I always seem to find about these after they are already funded. But from North Wind Adventures comes a Kickstarter to fund 3 adventures for their Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea game, which is more or less completely compatible with any OSR games.

They are all site based adventures, my favorite type, too.

Bard's Tale IV hitting Kickstarter June 2nd

When I was a kid, I didn't get the early Ultimas or Wizardry, because they were (originally) on the Apple II and I had a C-64. So my first dungeon crawler was basically Bard's Tale (though I had a prequel to Bard's Tale from Hesware whose name I can't remember. Maze Master? Something like that, from the creator of The Bard's Tale and came on a cartridge).

Anyway, I was a big fan of them, beating all three (second needed a hint book), and it looks like there is going to be a new one, hitting Kickstarter June 2nd.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ruins of the Undercity updated

I don't usually mention updated files, since if you've already bought them, you get told when they get updated.

But I thought this would be a good exception (for one, I have nothing else to post) but also because I really enjoyed his Mad Monks of Kwantoom. Ruins of the Undercity is essentially the prototype for that product, essentially a solo way of playing (generating dungeons and visiting the town).

The original Ruins was solid, but he Kwantoom was really, really well laid down (and apparently done in Open Office). The update brings Ruins up to Kwantoom's standards. If you don't have it, it's well worth the $5. (I thought so, anyway)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

New OSR Products at RPGNow/DTRPG—May 14th, 2015

Fairly busy this week, with some third party White Star stuff and even a computer game!


Adventures

 

City of the Lich - This is an expansion to Ryubix Manor, which I never got around to getting (well, waiting for a sale that never came, $5 is my limit on adventures). 40 pages, $6.99

Gobs o Trouble - Short goblin themed adventure from Three Sages Games, meant for Swords & Wizardry and scalable. 8 pages, $1

Gods of Air and Water - A 1st level adventure for White Star. 14 pages, $1

Metamorphosis Alpha - The Long Hard Mile - Short solo adventure by Jim Ward. 16 pages, $5.99 

Star Temple of Saturngalia - This is a short adventure for White Star. 6 pages, $1

Tranzar's Redoubt - A wizard's lair based dungeon for Labyrinth Lord, levels 4th to 6th. 44 pages, $1.99

Rules


Additional Racial Classes for Basic And Expert Style Games - That's a long but very descriptive name. One of the downsides of race as class is that you need a different racial class for every archetype. B/X and BECMI eventually filled these in via the Gazetteer series, but I don't think LL has that, and they are scattered through several costly books. This though has it all in one place, $2 and 22 pages.

Elven Dervish - new LL/ACKS class. $1.49

Elven Shadowmage - new LL/ACKS class. $1.49

Outer Space Raiders Volume 1: Classes - This contains even more classes for Barrel Rider's "White Box" in space game, White Star. $1.49, 20 pages.

The Space Monkey Player Character -  A new, monkey based class for White Star. Pay What You Want. Ook.

Wild Elven Ranger - new LL/ACKS class. $1.49. Ook ook.

Misc


Old School Computer Game - This is a game written in Java based on the Dark Dungeons (and thus BECM) rules. $1. Looks like the games from SSI before the Gold Box AD&D games.

Osd Tiles: Ice Caves - Geomorphs of icy caves. 22 pages, $6

Monday, May 11, 2015

Dreams of Ruin released early (for free)

The old school sourcebook from the author of Exalted was slated to be freely released on May 15th, but perhaps because of the lackluster Kickstarter, it's been released a few days early.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Larry Elmore Kickstarting black & white art book

While perhaps more associated with the 2e era, he did do a lot of artwork in the early 80s as well.  Last year, I think, he had a book full of his color art, now he's going to release one with his black & white art.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

New OSR Products at RPGNow/DTRPG—May 7th, 2015

One of the things about getting old, is that only you get physically older, so do your parents. I've had to work on my father's garden, since he can't really anymore (he's almost 80) and I'm worn out. I nearly fell asleep at my keyboard typing this up...

Adventures


Metamorphosis Alpha: The Level of the Lost -  New adventure from Michael Curtis. 20 pages, $5.99 (on sale for 15% off due to it being Sci-Fi month). At those prices, I can see why he's not working on Stonehell Dungeon 2...

Midnight Oliviah -  This OSRIC/1E adventure is from Lloyd Metcalf who did the art on something or other (I think Lesser Gnome's stuff?) and has the PCs working to guard an auction (I think there was a Dungeon adventure about that). 28 pages (single column), $4.

The Children of Blackweb Bog -  Another OSRIC/1E adventure from Lloyd Metcalf, this one is for character levels 3-5 and has the party saving a small town from an evil bog. 30 pages, $4

Rules


Beyond the Wall - The Elders - This is a free supplement on playing The Elders in the Beyond the Walls rules. Which in this case is not monstrous alien beings from Beyond, but older people, as the core game has a focus on playing young adult characters. Free! 28 pages. 

Divinities and Cults -  This is a Labyrinth Lord supplement from OSRDAN games (new company?) detailing 15 new gods and 4 demon lords.  Rather pricy at $10 and 51 pages, it also seems to justify that cost with a fancy (and presumably custom) cover. Edit: They have a website with more info

Goldenrod Guide: A Guide to Swords & Wizardry Combat - More options for use with Swords & Wizardry. But if you find having more than one saving throw too complicated, do you really want more combat options?  (I just don't understand Sword & Wizardry fans). 18 pages, $2.99.

White Star: White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying - I don't get what is "White Box" about it, seeing as it has 7 classes, but I'm sure it's a pretty decent SF game, given that Barrel Rider puts out quality stuff. $9.99, 132 pages

Misc 


Dungeons in Blue Triple Pack - Classic style maps, $8.79

L’œuf du dragon  #2  - This is a French fanzine, apparently. Seems to have some AD&D content. PWYW

L’œuf du dragon  #5 -  Another inssue of a French fanzine. Seems to have an AD&D adventure and a new class. Pay What You Want.

The Manor, Issue #8 - OSR(ish) fanzine. 26 pages, $2.50.

The Undercroft Bundle - The first 4 issues of the Undercroft, a fanzine devoted to Lamentations of the Flame Princess.  $10, compared to each issue price of $3.79, so you save $5.16...

The Undercroft Issue #5 - A new issue of the LotFP fanzine. 32 pages, $3.79

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Issue #11 of & Magzine now available

Yeah, it's on my blogroll, but in case you missed it, the eleventh issue of & Magazine is now available, This issue is devoted to humanoids.  It's free, so worth a look.


And unrelated (I'm too lazy to make a separate post for it), but also free, there is a new adventure on Dragonsfoot called Cold Drake Canyon. Which sounds like a beer name in a fantasy world...

Hawk the Slayer sequel announced



If you were a 12 year old kid playing D&D, Hawk the Slayer was the coolest thing ever. Now, 30 years later, it's apparently finally getting the sequel, according to a recent announcement (from May 3rd).

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

March 1934 issue of The Fantasy Fan available at Gutenberg

The Fantasy Fan being a fanzine which published authors such as H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert Howard among others. The March 1934 issue is pretty short, but features a Conan story, better known as The Frost Giant's Daughter, but here called Gods of the North and Conan having a different name (Amra). There are also a couple of short joke articles.

I would love to see Gutenberg get more fanzines...

Free B/X Cosmonaut Class

From AOS, by way of the RPGSite, comes the Cosmonaut class (or download here).

It's meant to simulate something like a Planet of the Apes or Buck Rogers (the TV show) scenario. Includes some new items and a couple of monsters. Definitely check it out.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

White Star now available from Barrel Rider Games


Whether a noble Star Knight protecting the universe from galactic tyranny, a hot shot pilot in the cockpit of the fastest stunt fighter in space, or an enigmatic Alien Mystic, classic science fiction adventure awaits you with White Star: White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying.
Based on Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox, White Star brings all the simple elegance  of WhiteBox out of the dungeon and into the stars! This complete roleplaying game includes seven new classes as well as rules for advanced technology, laser weaponry, space combat, and so much more!
Honestly, I think this has to be perhaps the most tortuous use of "White Box", but Barrel Rider puts out some good stuff. $9.99 for 132 pages in PDF, with a print option coming soon.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Dreams of Ruin Kickstarter now live


I can never get the Kickstarter embed thing to work right, but The Dreams of Ruin is a project from the author of the original Exalted game (which honestly, I've never played and only vaguely heard of, I think it's a Wuxia game?) that uses the Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future rules

The Dreams of Ruin is a 224+ page roleplaying game sourcebook, initially published in pdf format. Its author is Geoffrey C. Grabowski, developer of the first two editions of Exalted, as well as a writer for dozens of RPG sourcebooks.
The topic is a dark, haunted magical forest, the Forest of Woe. In addition to being a location of adventure, it is also a world-threatening infestation whose growth threatens the very heart of reality. The Dreams are both a source of quests and danger, and a campaign-spanning enemy suitable for challenging parties of even the highest level, including even young demigods, heroes and other lesser immortals.

The Dreams of Ruin is an “event book” compatible with Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future and usable with almost any old-school gaming system. It details a threat multiple worlds in scope, that can easily destroy nations and destroy even the most powerful party of adventurers.
The Dreams of Ruin is the result of mixing Geoffrey’s interests in gardening, accounting and his love for Moldvay’s version of the rules for classic fantasy gaming. It’s a gaiden of a larger project, Eumenides, that Geoffrey has been working on off-and-on for about a decade. However, Mr. Grabowski felt that The Dreams of Ruin had enough substance to merit a treatment of its own, and offers it here for the discerning gamer.
This is art done for its own sake, whose purpose arrived from the heart. An expertly crafted and uniquely personal effort, drawing inspiration from the ruined heart of America’s industrial northeast.

So something different anyway. And apparently it's going to be released under a creative commons license.

OTOH, I'm not sure if you get anything for pledging. Seems to be basically just be a donation deal, a high profile Pay What You Want...