Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Drivethrurpg OSR extravaganza

 Back to blogging after several changes in my life ( I retired and moved back to my hometown). What am I talking about? Shopping of course.

Drivethrurpg is having an "OSR extravaganza". 1302 Items are listed on the sale page. Of interest to me is the list of game systems: Apocalypse World Engine, BRP (Basic Roleplaying), Dungeons & Dragons, Fate, Old-School Revival (OSR), Pathfinder-OGL, Savage Worlds, Storyteller / Storytelling, Traveller. Only a few of these I would consider OSR (Like OSR, BRP and maybe some Dungeons and Dragons).  The OSR is broken into some more sub catagories: Castles & Crusades, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, Swords & Wizardry. Limiting the items to just OSR cuts the count to 816 items. Selecting core rule books drops the count to 48 items most of which I own (however "Apes Victorious" keeps tempting me even though I hate "Planet of the Apes"). Selecting Adventures yields 368 items (I may pick up "Hubris" even though post apocalypse is not really my style). Although the main sale is not that much of a discount (only 15%) several bundles at deep discounts have been offered. Annoyingly the bundles are not listed on the main "OSR extravaganza" page. However a search for bundles turned up the following:

Planescape Megabundle (2e) [BUNDLE]

Planescape Megabundle (2e) [BUNDLE]

Date Added: 2017-05-24
This special bundle product contains the following titles. Dungeon Master Guide, Revised (2e) Regular price: $9.99 Bundle price: $1.87 Format: Watermarked PDF Here is the essential manual for the AD&D game Dungeon Master. All the information you need to create and run thrilling, swords-and-sorcery adventures is clearly laid...   [click here for more]

AD&D Core Megabundle (1e) [BUNDLE]

AD&D Core Megabundle (1e) [BUNDLE]

Date Added: 2017-05-24
This special bundle product contains the following titles. Dungeon Masters Guide (1e) Regular price: $9.99 Bundle price: $1.99 Format: Watermarked PDF The 1st Edition Dungeon Master's Guide is Back! Dungeon Masters everywhere, rejoice! Too long have you had to suffer along with crucial charts and tables spread through many works....   [click here for more]

Known World Megabundle (BECMI) [BUNDLE]

Known World Megabundle (BECMI) [BUNDLE]

Date Added: 2017-05-24
This special bundle product contains the following titles. D&D Rules Cyclopedia (Basic) Regular price: $9.99 Bundle price: $1.76 Format: Watermarked PDF Whether you're a player or a Dungeon Master, the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia is now the comprehensive sourcebook you need for the original fantasy roleplaying game!...   [click here for more]

The OSR(IC) Extravaganza [BUNDLE]

The OSR(IC) Extravaganza [BUNDLE]

Date Added: 2017-05-24
This special bundle product contains the following titles. Advanced Adventures #10: The Lost Keys of SolitudeRegular price: $7.00 Bundle price: $1.37 Format: PDF Advanced Adventures #10: The Lost Keys of Solitude is an OSRIC(TM) m

Fortunately for me I own the original books offered in the AD&D megabundle and most of the Planescape as well so I didn't go for those bundles. I only have four of the known world gazetteers and this bundle is priced at the cost of one hard copy of a less popular one if you could find it, so I was happy to pick it up. The Rules Cyclopedia included in it is one of the better written versions of D&D so picking up the .pdf may help, although I already have the hardback book (still can't get onboard with race as class though). I also bought the OSR(IC) Extravaganza as I have found most of the Advanced Adventures I have purchased well done and the only one I own in this bundle is the "Frozen Wave of Satsuma".

This next bundle also showed up with a deep discount in my search. However it appears to be for memorial day rather than the "OSR extravaganza" so if you are interested act fast. I do not know much about this publisher.
Shattered 2017 Mega A  [BUNDLE]

Shattered 2017 Mega A [BUNDLE]

Date Added: 2017-05-26
This special bundle product contains the following titles. Belly of Rot The Whispers of the Dark Mother continue! The party tracks the cult of Shub-Niggurath's activities to the capital city of Brynndell, but what they find is not what they believed they were l... CC 1: The Fester Lion's Den 5E Introducing Casual Confrontations! This product is for game masters who would like to use...   [click here fo


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Into the City of the Frog

The continuing adventures of my Tuesday night game.

The collector show the party his gemstone gate in the basement. Using the gemstone gate the party teleports to a location the collector assures them is near the City of the Frogs where the last remaining artifact, the sphere, is hidden. After stepping through they enter a 20x20 room with no obvious exits, and lament the fact that no asked the collector for the correct gem stone combination to return to his lair. A quick search reveals a secret door to the north. The door opens into an ancient frog man tomb (please note my frogmen are much closer to the eldritch las pistol wielding slann  of  old warhammer fantasy, than the obnoxious but not very powerful bullywugs of D&D). After defeating the mummy within they solve a devious puzzle to open a secret trap door in the two step pyramid. This of lead to five foot hall ending in another secret door which entered into 30 wide vaulted tunnel associated with the great underground road. There was also a drow hit squad waiting for them. Clever use by the Druid of a wall of ice from the staff of cold he borrowed from she-who-must-be-obeyed (she-who-must-be-obeyed is on break until we find another Tuesday sitter) cut down the range advantage and the fighter made short work of the assassins in melee. Following the road north lead to its end in a pair of double doors.

Opening the double doors leads to a six chamber room complex with no apparent further exits until umber hulks Kool-Aid man through the walls (or maybe its Kool-Aid man umber hulks through the walls, umber hulks have been a D&D staple since 1976, I was bit surprised some of my players has not seen this before). Its pretty touch and go (the tank kept staring into those googly umber hulk eyes) until the sound of a flute is heard in the distance and one of the two umber hulks wanders off. They dispatch the remaining umber hulk,and begin to follow a trail of broken walls left by the umber hulk which wandered. They cross a long corridor only to hear the bwang of a ballista being fired leading them to hurry across before it reloads. After following the broken walls parallel to the long corridor, they catch up with the umber hulk and a small blue kobold with a flute who have just  broken through the wall to attack the frog man ballista crew, A wild three way melee ensues. However, while the melee between the party the frog men and the umber hulk continues, the kobold slips past to the double doors and the end of the long corridor that the ballista crew guards. The kobold sets up a tripod holding a small red gem, picks the lock on the double doors and slps into the chamber beyond.
More later....

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Game of the North Review

Note this is a friend of mines fantasy heartbreaker, so I may not be unbiased. I am also reviewing the deluxe Lulu print edition so it may not be same as the drivethrurpg .pdf (although the table of contents in sample file seems the same). The game is very old school in including a number of random roll charts. The game back story and name derive from travelers from the southern continent exploring a newly discovered northern continent. The book is illustrated with out-of-copyright clip-art. The author has graciously placed the work in the public domain. Things I liked best about it are its sense of whimsy, its random roll-up charts, and the experience point buy system. The parallelism between character, party, stronghold, and god attributes is intriguing. Things I like least are the free form negotiation for spells and the subdividing of the chapters.  I would have also liked a bigger map of the northern continent. Take a look! The drivethrurpg .pdf is only five bucks. Check out the Book of Ten Trillion Things as well. Chapter by chapter review bellow:

Act one Origins
This is a series of random roll-up charts to generate facts about your place of origin followed by a series of questions to answer about how you feel about your country of origin.

Acts Two Creation
This starts with the basic statistics (the standard six) number of dice you roll is determined by your race nominally 3d6. If you roll more than 3 dice you just keep the best 3. Stat descriptions are pretty standard although bonus cap out at +3 and there are no entries above 18. Next are race descriptions the standard lot plus orcs and goblins. Each race has experience point buy numbers to activate racial abilities. Next are adventuring skills everyone gets to pick seven of these. Mixed amongst the standard fare are a few intriguing ones including eat anything, overlooked, whistling, and my favorite atavism (the ability to build items out random trash and have them function as normal items). Alignment follows choices are chaos, law, neutrality, evil, and good. Astrological signs are next. Every One has five signs one sun sign and four moon signs. Experience is required to open each of the signs. The effect of the signs is undisclosed, but left to GM discretions. There is a long section of languages which is an interesting read, but kind of campaign specific. Wealth is based on a silver piece standard. Starting gear is based on random roll up charts. Although the charts themselves produce some interesting results, I am a bit concerned that random nature may leave some characters rather handicapped.

Act Two part b Rules System
This is a new section in the tab system but no new act heading. Attack is a d20 roll versus armor class. Damage is based on weapon rating from none (1d4) to heavy (1d10). Confidence is a charisma save. Defend determines armor class. Encumbrance is based on constitution, 1 equipment point per point of constitution. Impairments include blindness, deafness, lameness, fear, poison, unconscious, defeated. Mostly standard stuff ,but defeated allows you to accept permanent lameness, deaf or blinded instead of being killed. Initiative is based on your dexterity plus a d6. Influence determines your ability to persuade NPCs 2d6 plus charisma. Leadership determines how many henchmen you can have and their loyalty. Maneuvers introduced here but covered later, no more maneuvers than hit dice. Reactions base attitude of encounters to players, like Influence also 2 dice but ranges from 2d4 to 2d12 dependant how much they like you to begin with (I’d have lumped it with influence and used a d20). Spellcasting more later, note that’s spells take a full round to cast and don’t happen until the beginning of your turn after you cast them. Survival, how long you can last without food, water or sleep con based. Travel and speed, table by race speed in hexes per day. Visibility normal value is two hexes, obstruction of vision adds to ac, determines awareness, unaware characters when attacked must make a death save. More on maneuvers here, a negotiate with GM system ( I hate that).

Act Two part c Magic
This is a also new section in the tab system without a new act heading. Five types of magic prayers, shamanism, wizardry, tinkering, and glammers. Access is restricted by race. Dwarves and Halfings don’t get anything. Each section has base spells plus level modifiers and some samples. Glammer bas spells include:  Phantasms, and Compulsions. Prayer base spells include: Supplications, Invocations, and Benedictions. Shamanism includes: Shaping and Callings. Tinkering includes: Augments, Endowments, and Inventions. Wizardry includes: Transformations, Cures, Curses, Summoning, Animations, Motion, Perceptions, and Imbuements. Some alternates to the main magic include dwarfsmithings and whistling.

Act Three In the Party
A bunch of reputations and traits based on the overall party. Party reputation is gained in Glory, Reputation, Secrecy, Influence, Membership, and Devotion. Party reputation and alignment allow it to gain traits which provide some advantage in the game. Badges, Banners, Codes, Emblems, Initiations, Mystery, and Rites may be purchased to gain special features.

Intermission Followers and allies.
The usual stuff.

Act Four the stronghold
Build a base. Bases have the following: Diplomacy, Fortification, Reconnaissance, Development, Might, Justice. A good list of hirelings is here as well.

Act Five Apotheosis
Ascent to Godhood. God attributes include Compassion, Patience, Grace, Authority, Wrath, and Peace. Once you are a God you must act indirectly through other characters
Coda Alternate Character types
A bunch of Character archetypes (best for NPCs and Quick Characters). Rules for monster adventurers including Vampire, Werewolf, Zombie, and Elementals. A series of monster abilities similar to adventurer skills.

The book ends with a bunch of character sheets.

Friday, March 3, 2017

GMs day sale at Drivetrhurpg

Having successfully procrastinated my February post of my November games into March, I figured what better thing to do than procrastinate further. My fellow blogger Tenkar pointed out the sale at Drivethrurpg and mentioned the over 900 Old School Renaissance (OSR)  products on sale (Use the link at Tenkar's Tavern to help a fellow gamer out). I, of course, had to check it out. Using the keyword OSR and sorting by price I discovered a cache of free and pay what you want products (if its already free, is it realy on sale?). Although I own a great deal these I was able to add 73 more to my collection (that's even with skipping character sheets, pod casts and foreign language products) before Drivethru suggested I checkout before my shopping cart exploded. Will have to download them tomorrow. My "to read" stack gets even larger. I am mastering the art of "Tsundoku" (it's Japanese look it up) although she-who-must-be-obeyed insists that the bulk of my stacks remain virtual.

P.S. Might even get around to looking at the OSR products which cost money but are cheaper.
P.P.S. had to finagle Tenkar's link to get to drivethurrpg instead rpgnow (I like red better than blue). Not sure my spending exactly $0.00  put much in the tip jar anyways.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

New Game New Year versus the Rulenomicon

A list of games for sale at DriveThruRPG in their "New Year, New Game" not listed on my Rulenomicon page. Count is 175 after filtering for Fantasy and removing expansions and supplements. At an estimated cost of $5.00 my completionist heart is breaking. Hurry sale ends tomorrow.

A Party of Wizards
A Week in the Life of a Lv. 1 Slime [Solitaire RPG]
Abney Park's Airship Pirates
Abstract Dungeon
Adventuring! Company
Against the Dark Yogi: Mythic India Roleplaying
Age of Sorcery RPG
Alien Worlds
All About th' Booty
Ancient World (EGS)
Annalise Final Edition PDF
Argor Fantasy Role Playing Game
BARBAREN! (English)
Barbarians, Booze, & Battle Axes!
Barons of Braunstein
Beast: The Primordial
Belly of the Beast RPG
Black Books: Tomes of the Outer Dark
Black Death
Blade of the Iron Throne B&W Edition
Blood & Honor
Brass & Steel: A Game of Steampunk Adventure v1.5
Brute Squad
Cairn RPG
Cards & Quests: An Innovative Fantasy Role-Playing Game
Carmine: A Role Playing Game of Alchemical Fantasy Version 1.1
Centurion: Legionaries of Rome
Clockwork: Dominion Core Rulebook
Cogs, Cakes & Swordsticks Collected Edition
Control: The Game of Absolute Corruption - Revisionist History Edition
Crestfallen RPG
Crimson Blades 2: Dark Fantasy RPG
Crone Manual
Crying Blades: volume one
D6xD6 RPG Expanded Edition
Dawn of Arcanus RPG
Dead Age
Demon Realms
Deviant Decade
Dies Illa
Digital Heroes
DnDizzle: Dragons in the Hood
Do: Fate of the Flying Temple
Doodle Dice Monsters
Dungeon Romp
Dungeon Scum
Early Dark Role-Playing Game
Ehdrigohr: The Roleplaying Game
Eternal Contenders
Eternity Realms
Fae Noir
Fantasy Adventures For Kids
Fantasy Dice
Farewell to Fear: A Progressive Post-Fantasy RPG
Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok
Fiend Wake Elite Rulebook
Fight! The Fighting Game RPG
Fortune's Fool
Hero Kids - Fantasy RPG
Heyoka Core Book
Honor + Intrigue
Honour Core Rules
Hoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game
House of Cards
Hunters of Alexandria
Hyperborean Mice
Intrepid: A Storytelling Adventure
Kevin and Kell the Roleplaying Game
Kids, Castles & Caves
Kiss My Axe
Labyrinths & Lycanthropes
Lair Of Sword & Sorcery Core Rules
Leagues of Adventure - Core Rules
Little Wizards
Lost Days of Memories and Madness
Magical Kitties Save the Day
Magic'Pocalypse - Full Game
MajiMonsters: The Monster-Catching Role-playing Game
Manbot Warriors
Masks of the Mummy Kings
Mechanika: Empires of Blood & Steam
Melee: Culture Crafts Combat
MIGHT-Fantasy Role-Playing System And Setting Guideline Manual
Mistborn Adventure Game Digital Edition
Mundus RPG
Mystos: The Role Playing Game
Nefertiti Overdrive
New World: First Era
New Years Fray 2016
Noggle Stones
Of Dreams and Magic
Of Gods & Heroes
Ogres and Underworlds
Once Upon A Time: The Fairy Tale RPG
OneDice B Movies
OneDice Pirates & Dragons
Open Fantasy
Other Worlds
Perfect Unrevised
Pirates & Dragons Core Rulebook
Polyhedral Dungeon
Project Paradigm
QADD: Quick And Dirty Dungeons Deluxe!
Quactica: Battles for the Soul of Middle Aesopia
Quest of the Wizards
Questing Heroes Role Playing Game
Realms of Adventure
Reign of Terror
Retrostar Rulebook
Roan - Role Playing Game
Rocket Amoeba
ROLF: The Rollplaying Game of Big Dumb Fighters
Savage Kingdoms core rulebook
Scarlet Heroes
Shadow, Sword & Spell: Basic
Shadows of the Ninja: Lite Ninja RPG
Sharded Fantasy RPG
Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells
Sinister Stories
Sins of the Father
Sojourner's Quest A Fantasy Role Playing Game
Spaces of the Unknown
Spark Roleplaying Game
Spelldancer; Revised
Steam World (Core Book)
Swashbuckling Adventures Core Rulebook
Sword Noir
Swords & Sandals
Swords and Savagery
Tephra: the Steampunk RPG
The Crying Hack
The Dance and the Dawn
The Daughters of Verona (Print and play)
The Glory of Kings 7th edition core rules PBM / PBEM
The Rabbit Playing Game
The Runed Age Corebook
The Veggie Patch
The Zero Edition (Zebra) Hack
The Zorcerer of Zo
Titan Killers
Umbra & Mirn
UnderWorld: An Adventure Game of Subterranean Fantasy
Usurper - Claim to power: A game of lords, rogues and adventurers
Valhalla Adventure Game
Valley of Eternity (English)
Voodoo Pirates
Vow of Honor RPG
Waverley - Ash Can Edition
Westward Premium Edition
Wizards of the Three Moons
WIZARDS' WORLD (Original 1983)
Wolsung: Steam Pulp Fantasy
Word Wizards
World of Dew
Wormwood, A Game of Angels
Wreck Age: A Post-Collapse RPG and tabletop game
Wu Xing: The Firebrands

Monday, January 9, 2017

Kickstarter End-of-Year report 2016

Thought it be a good time to review the kickstarters I have signed onto and see how they are doing. Need to do this every so often as I always find something that was e-mailed six months ago I forgot to download.

Gold Star Medal of Honor

Adventure Quarterly: A Pathfinder Periodical. (Rite Publisher Steve Russell  killed in a car wreck. Kickstarter was completed by his estate. Now there are no excuses!)


Advanced Races Compendium
Bards Gate
Scarred Lands
Dungeon Solitaire
Heap of Creeps and Peeps
Tome of Beasts
Aihrde (I was sweating bullets on this one. Signed up for the create your own by pledging a $1 and adding things through Backerkit, However, this seemed to put me off the delivery schedule radar. Fortunately a quick e-mail put things right.)

Chugging away (not done but not overdue either)

Operation Unfathomable
Salt in the Wounds
Barrow maze 5e
Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying
The domes of Ishaq-Zahur
Holy Crap
Widower’s Wood

Getting there

Symbaroum Thistle Hold (Core complete stretch items to come)
Storypath Cards (Have Hope, Horror and Intrigue missing adventure Morality and Whimsy)
Robert Howards Conan (Pre-Print pdf of core Adventure book still pending)
Death & Taxes (Have the OSR version, Pathfinder still pending)
Rhune (a couple more story arc adventures to go)
Slumbering Ursine Dunes (I think there's one bonus adventure still owed)

Never ending Story

Ryuutama (basically done but pledge contains permanent electronic updates)

A bit late

Kurt Hills Fantasy Atlas
The Blight
Marmoreal Tomb

Long time coming

13th Age in Glorantha (original date July 2015)
Whats O.L.D is N.E.W (original date August 2015)
Five Moons (original date August 2015)

Please come home, I still love you baby(way past due, I still want the item).

50 sHAdes of VORpal (just grab the 100 pages of notes and doodles and slap them on the scanner, that's all I ever wanted)
Throne of Night (What you sent out was cool! Wish you'd write some more)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

El Raja Key Archive review

Rob Kuntz has finally published his collection of maps and notes from the early days of D&D. It is available from Three Line Studios as the El Raja Key Archive. From the blurb on the website:

The El Raja Key Archive is an interactive, searchable, fully indexed, virtual museum of roleplaying game artifacts from the dawn of the Dungeons & Dragons game! Contained within the Archive are over 1,000 high resolution scans of adventures, maps and keys, campaign notes, character sheets, and manuscripts from the Original GreyhawkKalibruhn, and Blackmoor Campaigns. That's right, from the very creation of Dungeons & Dragons! Includes all maps & some keys for Rob's Castle El Raja Key, the dungeons where Gary Gygax cut his teeth as Mordenkainen; Rob's manuscript for his lost Dungeons & Dragons Supplement V: Kalibruhn; maps, keys, and notes for over 40 adventures from the Original Greyhawk and Kalibruhn Campaigns including, maps & some keys for 16 of Rob's Original Greyhawk Castle levels, the map for the first ever D&D demo, the Machine Level, at GenCon VII in 1974, and the map for the first ever D&D tournament, Sunken City, and notes, NPC cards, and adventure maps and keys for the Original City of Greyhawk!
Given my love of old maps from the seventies, this was a purchase I wasn't going to pass up. I ordered the DVD standard edition, which showed up promptly in my mail box a few days after my order. I chose the standard because it contained all the old maps which were my primary interest, although i am missing out on the new adventure included in the Deluxe and Collectors editions. I have posted a sample copy of  a typical map at the top of the page (so as not to reveal too many secrets I have used the same map Rob posted to his webpage). True to its billing it provides large quantities of maps and notes from Rob's early days. I liked finally seeing at least some of the actual Castle Greyhawk (Rob only includes the levels he drew), including the infamous Black Reservoir (subject of a Gary Gygax play report). I am not that enthused with the woodgrain/notebook paper .html interface, but much of the material is directly accessible as .jpg files as wel. I wish more of the levels had the key as well as the map. After looking at Castle Greyhawk I was a little disappointed  to discover that El Raja Key is most of the same levels just arranged in a different order. It will require some intense study of  Robs scratchy handwriting to decipher the contents of the El Raja Key supplement. It seems to be in the floating charts and tables style of the original books, as well as the Greyhawk and Blackmoor supplements. I am grateful to Rob for getting this stuff out in his lifetime, rather than taking his secrets to his grave like Gary did. I much more interested in seeing stuff as it was in the day, than waiting for a modern polish to suck the life out of it (TEKUMEL SOCIETY LISTEN UP!!). For me this purchase was money well spent.

P.S. The job of cross indexing these scans with clandestine photos of Gary's notebook, and the other pieces of Castle Greyhawk in published  modules is left to others for now. I can tell you the levels presented do not match the maps of Greyhawk Ruins at all, and although the style is somewhat similar to Grodog's Greyhawk the levels are different.

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