Saturday, May 31, 2014

Adventurer Conqueror King System Review—Companion D&D With Some Changes

I was one of those people who backed the Dwimmermount kickstarter, which has had something of a rough ride (though not as much as some others). As a way of apologizing for the problems (which weren't of their own making), Autarch gave out $10 off coupons for their products, which let me pick up this, the Adventurer Conqueror King System (ACKS) and the ACKS Player's Companion for free (the PDFs being $9.99 each).

Simply put, ACKS is like the old Basic and Expert D&D (generally called B/X D&D) by Moldvay and Cook with some stuff from other editions, including 3rd, grafted on. It does some things of its own, like using a different to hit method in combat, and has a focus, at least in theory, on ruling domains (either a kingdom or a criminal or commercial enterprise), though it's not all that much deeper (or different) than the rules found in the Companion and other D&D sets.

Friday, May 30, 2014

New OSR Products at RPGNow—May 29th, 2014

Fairly busy week.


FN8 - Codic Keep from Adventures in Filbar. $3 and 15 pages. Every week like clockwork they have something new. Uses AD&D rules, no level range given.

Under the Waterless Sea doesn't have a system (or level range) listed, but I think is OSR. $3.68 and 36 pages

Spectres of Usarm is a Sword & Wizardry adventure for 4th to 6th level characters.  $1 for 7 pages


Class of Fantasy: Faun is a new class for Labyinth Lord or other B/X games. $1 and 2 pages

Dagger: House Rules for Labyrinth Lord is just that. Pay what you want, 8 pages.


Castle Alderstein and Environs Map Pack. Another pay what you want, this is maps made in Hexographer from James Mishler

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Print version of The Inheritance available at IPR

The print version of Mischief's Inc's module The Inheritance, is now available for purchase in print form from IPR for a surprisingly reasonable $6.99 for 40 pages. That's cheaper than the TSR modules back in the day, I think , though shipping of course will probably add a lot to that.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Classic Review—Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (ASSH) is a recently released retro clone from North Wind Adventures. I say retro clone, but it's one of those games that is based on old school D&D, but also tries to do its own thing, like Adventurer Conquerer King, Blood & Treasure, Adventures Dark & Deep, or Crypts & Things. The term for these is generally "neo-clone", and while some don't find that adequate, their proposed terms haven't caught on.

Whatever you call them, they still more or less play like an old school verison of D&D. So why should you play this (or any other retro/neo clone) over actual old school D&D? Well, some are meant to fix problems that existed in the old games, like unbalanced or broken classes, or the lack of a single skill system. Some try to get the best parts of the various old school D&D games. Others are meant to emulate genres or do some specific task. ASSH does all three.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Gutenberg—Myths & Legends of Japan by F. Hadland

Pretty neat book, with lots of full color illustrations

Warriors of the Red Planet still alive!

Honestly, yes, there are so many retro-clones that it's hard for me to get excited when a new one is announced or is released.

But there is one big exception to that, Warriors of the Red Planet, a OD&D style retro clone set on Mars (or Barsoom) of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

According to a recent post, it's not only alive, but beta copies will be sold at KublaCon, a gaming con in California.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

New OSR Products at RPGNow—May 22nd, 2014

Hmmmm, looks like slim pickings this week.

Already mentioned is the Adventures in the East Mark "Red Box", basically a BECM clone from Spain recently translated into English thanks to a Kickstarter

Then there is the obligatory Filbar module of the week, Tomb of Delekin the Fallen. $3, 18 pages, for high level characters.

Then there is a slim Tekumel product, Notes from the Thursday Night Group. I never was into Tekumel, so I have no idea what it is, honestly. $5, 24 pages

And lastly is a freebie, Across the Realms: Artifacts and Items 0: The Bracers of Barakus. That's the line of magic items for a $1 each. Guess they figured they need to give an example before getting people to buy it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Adventures in the East Mark out!

Maybe a few days late, but it's up on RPGNow/DTRPG (why does that have two sites when it's the same company?)

It's a retro clone based on Frank Mentzer's BECM D&D, originally released in Spain, but last year there was a KS to translate and print it in English.  $12.99, 144 pages for the "Red Box" in PDF.

The print version isn't out yet, but I think you can still pre-order it.

Classic Review—Blood & Treasure (Retro Clone by John M. Stater)

I pretty much burned out on D&D right in the middle of the transition from 3.0 to 3.5. I liked many of the ideas of the "third edition" of the game, but found it more and more cumbersome in practice the more I played, especially past tenth level. So eventually I just got fed up and quit playing.

Then when the fifth edition of D&D was announced, I was excited. But the more I learned about it, the more I realized I just wanted an old school version of third edition, all of the improvements and not the headaches. Blood & Treasure from John M. Stater is essentially that, taking almost everything from the d20 SRD and converting it into an older style of D&D.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Gutenberg—Myth-Land by F. Edward Hulme

This is an late 19th Century book about various mythological monsters. Notably, it has pictures of a unicorn, manticore, and lamia (a very D&D like lamia).

The Lamia, too, is an extraordinary creature, and one that our not remote forefathers seem to have thoroughly believed in, for though the author says that there are many fictitious stories respecting it, he goes on to describe it, and gives an illustration. It is thought to be the swiftest of all four-footed creatures, so that its prey can seldom or never escape it. It is said to be bred in Libya, and to have a face like a beautiful woman, while its voice is the hiss of a serpent. The body is covered with scales. The old author tells us that they sometimes devour their own young, and we may fairly hope that this cannibal propensity of theirs is the cause of their disappearance. In earlier times men believed in a monstrous spectre called an Empusa. It could assume various forms, and it was believed to feed on human flesh. The Lamiæ, who took the forms of handsome and graceful women for the purpose of beguiling poor humanity, and then sucked their blood like vampyres and devoured their flesh, were one form of Empusa. The belief in some such creature seems to have been widespread; the myth of the Sirens is, for example, very similar in conception. In Mansfield Parkyns’ “Life in Abyssinia” we read—“There is an animal which I know not where to class, as no European has hitherto succeeded in obtaining a specimen of it. It is supposed by the natives to be far more active, powerful, and dangerous than the lion, and consequently held by them in the greatest possible dread. They look upon it more in the light of an evil spirit, with an animal’s form, than a wild beast; they assert that its face is human.” We learn, however, from the rest of the description, that this creature possesses itself of its prey by force alone; the human face is one further feature of terror, but does not, as in the previous case, serve to beguile mankind and lure them by its beauty to their fate.

New Issue of & Magazine Available

Woops, a few days late, but the 9th Issue of & Magazine, an AD&D fanzine, apparently came out on the 13th. It's free, so worth a download.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Gutenberg—Ancient Cities of the New World

This is a fairly interesting and illustration laden book about the old cities of Mesoamerica

New OSR Products at RPGNow—May 15th, 2014

Looks like something of a slim week.

There are a couple of new adventures.

F9 - Quest for the Golden Rose - Is an Adventures in Filbar modules, $3 for 14 pages

A Single, Small Cut - Is a Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure from Michael Curtis. $2 for 11 pages

And a couple of tiny supplements from New Realms Publishing.

Across the Realms: Artifacts and Items #1 Helm of the Nightrazer - $1 , 2 pages

Across the Realms: Artifacts and Items #2 Doomrak the Ogre Crusher - $1, 2 pages

I dunno about you, but it has to be one hell of a creative magic item to be worth $1 each...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bottle City Reprint Progressing...

Sporadic publishers Black Blade picked up the rights to publish products from the even more sporadic Rob Kuntz.

First up is a reprint of Bottle City, which is apparently going to go to press this week.

Advanced Adventures #23: Down the Shadowvein Review—I Hope You Like Dwarves

Advanced Adventures #23 Down the Shadowvein by Joseph Browning

The first module in the Advanced Adventures line, The Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom by Matthew Finch, is generally considered to be among the best modules the OSR has produced. It was essentially a cavern crawl, but at the end the PCs could decide to sail down an underground river, the Shadowvein. This module, Down the Shadowvein by Joseph Browning, describes what the PCs find if they choose to do so.

It's something of an underground hex crawl more than anything else, reminescent of the classic D1-D2, Descent Underneath the Earth, only much more geared for lower level characters (3-5 is the recommended level range). There is a large map of the caverns, on a mile scale, with some areas detailed in keyed entries. (Half the cave system in this product, half in the sequel, AA#24 Mouth of the Shadowvein).

Some of these keyed entries are relatively simple, but most are quite large, describing lairs or dungeons. The highlight is probably a dwarven hold and a mini-dungeon, The Snide Dungeon of the Mad Mage Hallach. Besides the keyed locations, there are random encounter tables.

Some new monsters are introduced, most notably a friendly variant of the bugbear called the Noja, who go around the underground trading with various races.

It features the usual layout in the AA line, somewhat mimicking the look of the old AD&D modules. The art is rather sparse though, only a few pieces, most of which are pretty generic.

Down the Shadowvein is tricky to review because  despite being 24 pages, it's essentially half a product. It's a decent value, especially if you want a very detailed description of a dwarf hold, it's also somewhat bland.

As a stand alone adventure, this gets a C, but the two Shadowvein adventures together would get an B+.

Blackmarsh Print Price Dropped to $4.99

Rob Conley's excellent Blackmarsh setting is now only $4.99 in print. (And in case you didn't know, free in PDF form).

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Classic Review—Menagerie of the Ice Lord

(Note: Classic Reviews are old reviews I wrote before I had this blog)

Menagerie of the Ice Lord is a low level adventure for Labyrinth Lord (basically Basic and Expert D&D) from Dylan Hartwell of the Digital Orc blog. It's digest sized, about 40 pages plus the cover and the map, so about the equivalent of a 20 page module in normal format. It was $3.99 in print (now sold out apparently) but also available from RPGNow in PDF form for $2.99 I think. This is a review of the print version.

The premise is one of the classic setups of the fantasy genre - a wizard has vanished and probably died, so it's time to go and loot his tower. There's also something of a side plot about the weather, since he vanished, it's gotten worse. And as you can tell by the name of the module, he was a collector of strange animals, which of course have gotten loose.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

New OSR Products at RPGNow—May 8th, 2014

This week seems fairly busy

The biggest item seems to be Mad Monks of Kwantoom from Kabuki Kaiser (who has done a few notable OSR items), an Asian themed sourcebook in the vein of Oriental Adventures. It's for Labyrinth Lord/Advanced Edition Characters. $10, 228 pages

Every week seems to have an Adventures in Filbar product, this week is no different. FT - Corsair Bay is a free download. 17 pages.

The Tao of Ato is an adventure apparently for BECMI D&D. Seems Asian themed. 16 pages

Issue #6 of the Manor, a fanzine for LL (mostly), $2.50, 28 pages

The Spell Stealer is a new class for OSRIC (or 1e AD&D). 99 cents, number of pages not listed

The Field Guide to the City of Clocks is a Swords & Wizardry supplement of some sort, I guess for a setting I'm unfamiliar with. 60 pages, $7

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fantastic Heroes & Witchery now on sale at RPGNow

One of the better (IMHO) retro clones, now is available at RPGNow. There's a free version, but this presumably has an index and hi-res art.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

1A The Inheritance getting a price drop

Mischief Inc put out a freebie OSR adventure last year (The Tomb of Rakoss), then earlier this year put out a paid product, The Inheritance.  At $11 for 40 pages (in PDF) it was a bit pricey, so apparently they are dropping the price to $6.99 and having a short sale (starting the 7th) with it being $5.

Fight On! #4 Free for a while

A little bit late (my allergies have been bad the last few days), but over on the OD&D forums, the Fight On! editor mentions that issue #4 is free for a while (at Lulu).

Has a couple interesting dungeon levels among other things.

Friday, May 2, 2014

GP Adventures Website open

At least they put out a press release for it. It's the company of Ernie Gygax and Benoist Poire (which I probably spelled wrong) but is the guy who does really nice colored pencil maps.

Basically they have two products, a "preview" of an adventure (38 pages and $5) and a children's book.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Free Adventure from Save vs. Dragon

This is one of those posts you could have read on my blog feed on the right (where I noticed it), but in case you didn't, Save Vs Dragon has released an expanded version of his 1 page dungeon contest entry.

New OSR Products at RPGNow—May 1st, 2014

Hmmm, pretty slim pickings this week.

An Adventures in Filbar module, F11 - Prison of Oxidosus  $3, 26 pages

A system agnostic mini-setting Kuddum: Sister City - Pay what you want, 6 pages

An adventure for a pirate RPG that I am unfamiliar with (Yarr! it is called), but claims to be OSR.  The Baron's Gold. $3, 32 pages

And possibly a retro-clone of sorts. Knights of the All Mind. $16, 500 pages (presumably mostly from the SRD).

Fight On! gets cheaper

The print issues of one of the best OSR magazines, Fight On!, have gotten cheaper, down to $6.99.

Each issues is sort of a grab bag of stuff, crazy and somewhat incoherent, but awesome.