Category Archives: News, Rants & Reviews

Occult Moon’s Toys for the Sandbox

I’ve been meaning to pick up a few of these for a long time and like a fool I didn’t put it down on the good old shopping list. Yeah, I just juggle too many things. But good old Erik from Tenkar’s Tavern had a little contest to create some fun 0 level Dungeon Crawl Classics characters and I was one of the winners. My bit of loot Toys for the Sandbox 6 to 10.
Damn. What the hell was I thinking when I didn’t scrawl these down in big red letters. Buy them! One thing I look for in RPG products these is bang for the buck. The Toys fit right into. What these give you is a location and myriad of possibilities and inspiration complete with plot twists, encounters and rumors. And it’s pretty darned easy to find ways to use one of the locations in multiple ways.
Even more bonus. They are system and setting neutral.
Even more bonus. They are inexpensive.
So go check out Occult Moon’s site or check out their stuff on Drivethrurpg. You won’t be sorry.

Dungeonslayers 4 In English!

OK, seems I’m rattling on about products but there’s just seem to be a string of stuff that just keeps popping up. (Note: Yeah, that’s going to continue next week.) But dang. Dungeonslayers 4 in English. Way cool.
I’ve always been a fan of Dungeonslayers. It’s got some great simple mechanics and all the fun of the old school stuff. It’s always on the very top of my list when a potential gamer asks about for a suggestion on a first game. The cost is awesomely low. Like free and released under a Creative Commons license. There’s minimal for a new gamer. Just need a d20. And if the new person is nice, I might even just give him one. Mini’s. Yeah, we all know they are useful but you can get by with tokens or whatever when you’re first starting out.
Now if that ain’t enough for you to check it out. There’s plenty of fan made adventures, settings and supplements. So just go check it out already.

Realms of Crawling Chaos for Labryrinth Lord

OK, so I admit it. This one slipped under my radar and it shouldn’t have. But I have no qualms about doing a rant about a product that isn’t brand spanking new.

This little product is pretty damned cool. Hell, everybody loves a freaky Mythos adventure. Realms of Crawling Chaos is all about Lovecraftian horrors. There’s good advice and background info for twisting your campaign and there’s some Mythos inspired races. Cool. The usual (or maybe I should unusual) array of monsters and spells presented. Once, these are really cool. And there’s a psionics system ala the Old School way.
But there some places where this really just stands out in my mind. These are things that could be added to more normal campaigns to spice things up.
Formulae are alchemical processes akin to spells. Not just brewing up a Cure Light Wounds potion. We’re talking the weird and just a bit disturbing stuff that comes along with messing with Things Man Was Not Meant To Know.
Eldritch Artifacts chapter is just fucking awesome. Like a lot of folks, I’ve grown weary of the Magical Wal-Mart stocked full of generic items. Anything that breaks out of this mold is a welcome addition. Hell, even if you aren’t running a Mythos based game this is some good inspiration. A need I say that there’s also a nifty random artifact section. Good way to keep those players guessing at just what kind mystical bauble they’ve picked up.
Finally, there’s a section on studying tomes of forgotten lore. This is something that should happen pretty often in a game. Wizards are always poking around on the edges of what is possible and what should just be left alone. Here’s a good little system for that. Yet another good tool for the game master.
For just under $5, it’s a damned good buy with plenty of tools and crap to throw into a campaign. Realms of Crawling Chaos is available from Drivethrurpg. Enjoy!

Catching Up & Building Worlds

Yes, I have neglected this blog for too long. I have this little weakness. When I’m not playing a game sometimes I just don’t feel like writing about it plus I’ve been busy running my Dresden Files campaign. So the best thing I can do here is use to start building my “perfect” world. Hell, I’ve got the time, it’s not there’s a deadline looming over my head. Plus I figured it would fun to drag along a few readers through what passes for my creative process.
To put it bluntly, I’ve grown a bit weary of thinly veiled Middle Earth (Tolkien) inspired fantasy worlds. I want something a little more warped. More Sword & Sorcery than High Fantasy. I want a world that’s dangerous, exciting and just a bit frightening. I not want to tear a part some of the tropes and tweak a few things that have always bugged me deep down. I want to make a world of my own that isn’t just another cookie cutter fantasy world.
For the crunchy bits, I’ll turn to my holy trinity of OSR games. Castles & Crusades, Swords & Wizardry and Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I also plan on throwing in some healthy inspiration from other great games like Arduin, Empire of the Petal Throne and ACKS.
How long will this take? Damned if I know. How far will it go? Don’t know that either. But it should be pretty fun. So stay tuned, kids this is going to get interesting.

So Many Games, So Many Choices

OK, that’s really common complaint but when it comes to OSR stuff a lot of quality stuff is good.I don’t think that there ever will be that Holy Grail of the perfect game or One Game To Rules Them All. Now, every game has its own feel and nuances and everyone has their own tastes. And that is why we kit bash.
And this may really silly but kit bashing let’s you sort play more than one game at time. Pull a chunk here, a juicy bit there and mix thoroughly. So let me guide you through the insane maze that is my mind. I happen to like Swords & Wizardry (And Crypts & Things) but also there’s a certain fondness I have for Castle & Crusades and Lamentations of the Flame Princess. The single Save Mechanic from S&W and the basics of C&C make these two pretty much kissing cousins. One of the nifty things about C&C is that there’s a butt load of classes, almost too many for some folks tastes. So take the surgeon’s scalpel to them, trim the fat and slide into S&W core mechanics. What about Lamentations? I really like this game. Lamentations is about the feel of Weird Fantasy. Much of that comes from the totally awesome spells. Tweak them around and make them fit into your world.
And there you go.

Adventurer Conqueror King is in my hands!


Yeah, I’ve had the PDF of Adventurer Conqueror King for a while but I just my book the other day. Sorry, kids but nothing quite replaces the feel of a dead tree version. So I took the time last night to sit down and give it another look.
First, the basic core rules are pretty much your standard OSR game. Nice, simple, tidy. You’ve got the usual four classes (fighter, cleric, wizard and thief). In ACKS, they went with racial classes. I’m not a big fan of that but I do like that they added variation and options from the standard demi-human classes.
Monsters are pretty much your usual fare (But I do suggest looking at the dragons. They got a nice little trick.) and the same goes for spells. It’s just that the higher level spells are considered rituals and as such take longer to cast. Meaning you ain’t going to do it in the middle of a fight.
Now, there are a few things that just made me say, “Wow, that’s pretty cool”. I like the Proficiencies for characters. It’s a nice little tweak. Basically, it’s a little system that combines skills as well as bonuses similar to Feats from 3.X. Some may say that Feats aren’t Old School but I think they did a fine job of making a simple system that still has the feel of older editions. The system works very similar to Castle & Crusades or Saves as Skills in Swords & Wizardry. No keeping track of skill ranks and all that. Just a bonus and roll higher than a target number on a d20. Simple.
The cornerstone to ACKS and what really sets apart is all the other stuff. I’m talking about all those that usually aren’t normally in covered in detail in a core book. We’re talking ships, hirelings, mass combat and most importantly kingdom building. It’s not just you build a keep. It’s a whole system. I just finished playing through Paizo’s Kingmaker so I can’t help but make a comparison. My vote goes to ACKS, it’s much detailed and less abstract. And bonus you don’t have to build a whole mighty kingdom. Clerics can form their church or cult. Thief player characters can start their own guilds.
The real strength of Adventurer Conqueror King is that there’s plenty of awesome tools that you can use for whatever happens to be your rule system of choice. It’s going on the shelf of honor.
Just head on over to Autarch’s site and check it out.

mortal wounds and tampering with mortality