Thursday, July 23, 2009
James Raggi’s “Death Frost Doom” adventure sold out at Noble Night Games. I’m not sure how many copies they had on hand, but it is a very encouraging sign for the OSR. Luckily, I ordered a copy from Noble Night Games yesterday and it shipped last night, so it looks Like I’ve come in under the wire. I am quite pleased with Mr. Raggi’s “Green Devil Face” offerings and am looking forward to this latest offering. He has definitely been keeping up the Old School hobbyist ethic that I find so appealing. I’d suggest you go check out his blog at: http://lotfp.blogspot.com/2009/07/death-frost-doom-sold-out-at-noble.html. You can order all of his offerings through that site. Also, check out Grognardia’s review of “Death Frost Doom” here: http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2009/07/review-death-frost-doom.html.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
It looks like BHP is going to continue supporting Labyrinth Lord. This is great news as I’ve been pleased with their products. I think People of the Pit turned out great (even though it is designed as an OSRIC product – it is for the most part extremely compatible). I know that BHP had built up a following for their Old School products and a lot of folks were saddened by the news. I think the diversity of small publishers supporting the OSR is a good thing. These folks are by-and-large true fans of the games they support and it show in how well crafted the majority of these products are. Especially when you stop and consider that for the most part, this is fan created material, not professional designers/writers/artist who do this for a living (no knock intended).
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I’ve often wondered why henchmen and hirelings are not stressed more in adventuring. Everything seems to revolve around a party of four to six intrepid adventurers braving the unknown. At the same time, things like wondering monsters and random encounters have seemed to fall by the wayside as well. For me, henchmen and hirelings always were an integral and fun part of the game. I’ll admit that when I was younger, we did tend to treat these folks as cannon fodder and throw them under the bus with abandon (heh, that does bring back some funny memories). However, as we matured in our play style, they enabled us to adventure longer and farther as we had more resources to draw upon and survive random encounters. When playing with my last group, we initially did not utilize any hired hands, but it soon became apparent that it would be prudent to do so unless we wanted to limit the adventure to one encounter and then stop to lick wounds. I’m not quite sure why current designs shy away from this (of course it could all be just a misperception on my part). Especially with the current statistic obsessed incarnation of the game, it seems that this aspect would be much more highly stressed over the four player model (I guess folks view them too much as XP sinks).
I’ve been lurking a bit at ENworld and RPG.net and it seems that folks are getting interested in the Old School Games and the retroclones. The hard core hobbyist and old schoolers has remained fairly consistent, but the wider exposure seems to be growing on these non-old school sites. I don’t know if that can be attributed to a novelty or nostalgia factor, or if really is catching on. Regardless of the cause, I think it is a bit early to say for sure. I think it is vital for the old school movement and hobbyist gamers to go beyond nostalgia and pastiche. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great works out there, but I think nostalgia can only go so far and is ultimately not sustainable. As for me, I’ like to stick to the spirit of the Old School while continuing to evolve it. In particular, I try to portray this through my artwork. I’m a big fan of verisimilitude in my work or at least a believable fantasy feel (if that makes any sense) while playing with and evolving my style. I don’t much care for tattooed and mohawked characters with big spikes and chains. Just not my cuppa. I prefer more traditional fantasy tropes when I work. I think that this can be done without pandering to nostalgia and remain fresh and viable. If anyone has seen Wayne Reynolds work for Osprey Publishing and compared it to his fantasy work, then you know what I’m talking about. Mr. Reynolds is a fantastic artist, no doubt about it. However, the thematic elements that appeal to me the most are his historical pictures rather than his fantasy works. His style and color palette remain the same, but the subject matter and portrayal is strikingly different. One works for me, the other – well, not so much. A matter of taste, but I think it really captures the direction of where I’d like to go.
I just finished placing my order for the OSRIC 2.0 hardcover and Malevolent and Benign Bestiary on Lulu. I’m pretty excited about these two works. OSRIC especially is the result of many man hours of volunteers dedicating their time to create this project. I really see this as a love letter to 1e AD&D from a core of dedicated volunteers. That at least is how I view my artistic contributions to this tome. The PDF looks great, but there is nothing quite like having a hard copy. It is quite amazing at over the past three years, how much momentum the Old School and hobbyist gaming movements have gained. There are several web sites dedicated to the movement, not to mention countless blogs. New product keeps coming out. And you know what? most of it is pretty darned good. And it probably should be since this is the work of folks who have been sharpening their craft for 30+ years in basements, garages, kitchen tables, etc. They have waited and hoped for a time that they could create and share their passions, and it would seem that time is upon us. And I only see it getting better.