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Showing posts from January, 2011

More Thoughts on my Campaign System

So, I’ve been thinking of my campaign world again and my magic system a lot lately. I’ve been reading a lot of Michael Moorcock’s Elric Saga and the Hobbit (what a strange dichotomy!) and they have both influencing my thoughts on magic systems. I’m becoming more and more intrigued of having only a single “class” and everything else being a trapping of that. For my campaign world, I’m steering towards an everyman approach were you purchase “disciplines” as you advance to create different character types. I’m not really interested in creating a whole new retro-clone system per se, but building on top of either the Labyrinth Lord or Swords and Wizardry White box. For what I have in mind, the S&W Whitebox might make even more sense. So I’m thinking that the normal adventuring type guy would have a base d6 hit die. You’d have some starting amount of experience to spend on disciplines to start down the road of customizing your character. So for instance, if you wanted brawny f

Review of Charnel Crypt of the Sightless Serpent by Jeffrey P Talanian

Charnel Crypt of the Sightless Serpent: An Adventure in Hyperborea by Jeffrey P. Talanian and North Wind Adventures is an adventure for characters level 4-7. Having appeared in Knockspell originally, the adventure in its stand alone incarnation is specifically aimed at the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea but is easily utilized with any old school D&D or derivative system. Weighing in at sixteen pages with the map on the inside covers and the OLG taking up part of page 15, this module packs a lot into a small package. The B&W cover art is by Ian Baggley and is very well done in a painterly style depicting he sightless serpent as well as the other main antagonist, the necromancer Ivgah. Ian has a piece on the back cover depicting a skull half buried in earth with a centipede crawling out of the eye socket. My. Baggley’s work is first rate and he does have a few more pieces inside. They are all well done and convey the feel of the module very well. Well

Review of Sanctum of the Stone Giant Lord by RC Pinnell

I’ve always been a really big fan of the 1st Edition AD&D G series modules. As a kid, they pretty much summed up everything that excited me about AD&D. And I’ve always felt that along with demons, devils, and dragons, giants are pretty damn kick ass antagonists. It was with a bit of surprise when I came across Sanctum of the Stone Giant Lord by R.C. Pennell. Not aligned with any of the clones, this module aims to be the next installment for AD&D G series modules. Weighing in at twelve pages with a monochrome cover (note, this is the Advanced Fantasy Adventure module labeled GS1 not the later G4 version), it certainly has the right looks and feel of the early printings of the giant series. The Later G4 version (I have the 1st anniversary edition) weighs in at 16 pages. In the original series, the individual modules themselves were small in page count but packed with giant bashing goodness. While both versions cover the same ground for the most part, there are definit

Latest Joint Art Project

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It runs in the family. I came home from work and found my wife colorizin' some of my art work. I gotta tell you, I think she nailed it too. Daisey is quite the artist in her own right. You can check out her web site here: Oxeyedaisey . Look for more collaborative work in the near future! Meanwhile, I've been working on some artwork for Blair over at Planet Algol and his Jewel Throne . As well as other miscellaneous stuff. I've got to head out to Indianapolis next week for a whirlwind business trip. I'd much rather stay here in Italy and draw, but oh well.

Weekly Creature Feature: Azeman

Get your Open Game Content moster fix for OSR stlye games. Wow, I've been so busy that I didn't get a chance to do the weekly creature feature last week. Well, time to rectify that. Any rate, once again, time to plunder, exploit, and reshape folklore, myth and legend for my ends and personal amusement. Today, I present the Azebill, perhaps one of the more well known creatures from folklore that I've used here. The Azeman is a creature from the folklore of Surinam in South America. Of course in the great tradition of our role playing heritage, I've shaped the legend to fit more in line with traditional fantasy roleplaying while trying to maintain much of the flavor. At any rate, like all my weekly creature features, the monster listing is designated Open Game Content. Any accompanying artwork is not open game content and is property of John Bingham (that would be me) and not for reuse unless given explicit written permission by me (and yes, I actually intend to i

A Brief Note on Charnel Crypt of the Sightless Serpent and other musings

I have not been as constructive with my blog posts lately as I’d like to be. It has quite a bit to do with all of the projects that I’m working on. That is not a bad thing, it just limits the amount of time I have to post more than just a few passing notes. In that vein, I just wanted to say that I recently received my copy of Charnel Crypt of the Sightless Serpent today by Jeffrey P. Talanian and North Wind Adventures. I eagerly flipped through and so far, I’ve been highly impressed. For a small press endeavor, the production values are very good. I particularly enjoyed the artwork by Ian Baggley. I think the cover depicting the sightless serpent is suitably creepy and conveys the feel of the module. While I’m only a few pages in, the descriptions are flavorful and extremely well done. This weekend, I’ll make a more thorough read through and give a complete review. I really appreciated Jeff’s handwritten note of thanks. I’m really excited about Astonishing Swordsmen and Sor

Kids Gaming or My Son's Landmark first character creation

I remember when I was back in the States, that there was a campaign for kids fishing and it had a slogan of "it's catching on". Apparently, family members would encourage ehir youngsters to learn fishing and it seems to have had some impact voer the years. Now I'm just guessing since I don't have any hard data (and frankly don't care enough to look it up - even though I applaud the campaign for getting kids fishing) but from what I can tell by the number of kids that I saw fishing in the sate of Missouri, it is indeed working. I'm interested in encouraging kids to roleplay (note I said encourage, not manipulate, coerce or force) as I think that it does have some good side benefits. My kids know I'm a gamer and are highly interested in what I'm doing. Today, I reached a landmark in every gamer's life. We created my son's first character. I took the morning off to care for my son who was home from school with a sore throat while my wife

Latest Art Commission

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Here's the latest art commission that I just finished up today for petespan's Amherth project over on the Goblinoid Games Forums . I've got a few spell pictures in the works for Blair of Planet Algol's Jewel Throne Zine . I'll be working on those throughout the week. Should be fun!

Project Updates

Wow, a lot going on here (although you guys obviously can't see it). Got several illustration projects in the works for various other (not mine) OSR projects. I have been reading through Zalchis. It promises to be a really cool setting and I'm pretty excited about it. I need to get in gear and finish my character so I can participate and I aim to get that done in the next day or so. I've also been working on Basalt Keep. It is going a bit slow due to Real Life events involving work and family. I have a review that I'm writing up for Sanctum of Stone Giant Lord (I'm going to actually be reviewing the GS1 version and G4 and comparing them). And to top it off, my family and I are going to try and get out and about a bit more and do some exploring. One of the nice things about life in Italy is that there are tons of castles, villas, churches, ruins, etc to explore and fuel the imagination. I intend on taking some pictures and posting them of our excusions. To

Arduin?

So what is the deal with Arduin? I know a little about it but to be honest, up until a few years ago, I never heard of it. I know there are some pretty hardcore adherents and also that Gygax was pretty hostile towards it. But I don't know anyone that has ever played Arduin. Looking through what I can discern online, it looks pretty gonzo (which is OK by me - after all, I actually really like the 1980's Flash Gordon movie and have a thing for digest sized books). So, I see Emperor's Choice is selling all the Grimoires as a set. $100 is a bit steep, but hell, I'm a big boy and have some discressionary income to spend. I've seen some of the art and it looks pretty good. I'm in a Flash Gordon kind of silly gonzo mood so would Arduin fit that bill? Let me know.

Weird Adventures Strange Trails Preview

OK, folks have been talking about their most anticipated gaming releases of 2011. For me Weird Adventures by Trey Causey tops that list. Pulp fantasy it it's finest, Weird Adventures promises to deliver a rather fresh take on the fantasy RPG genere. Trey just posted a free preview of the setting on his blog From the Sorcerer's Skull. In the interest of full disclosure, I did do a bit of art for Trey and you can see some in the preview. However, I think that this is going to be one of the coolest fantasy settings out there. If you dig Hollow Earth Expedition, the Goon Comics, etc, you simply owe it to yourself to go get the free preview. It is great stuff for sure!

Thought of the Day Thursday: Wild Speculation about the Health of Table Top Gaming

As happens from time to time in the gamer community, the topic of discussion swings around to the health of the gaming industry and the pack leaders within the industry. I think many folks have made many insightful comments on Mr. Ryan Dancey’s post on ENWorld about his views on the subject. Especially where it concerns Dungeons and Dragon, Pathfinder RPG, etc. I’m not really going to delve into that here. What I think is going to be interesting to see over time is how the gaming industry is shaped by the children of current gamers. I’m in my late 30’s and have been gaming since I was about ten. I have a six year old son and three year old daughter. They are highly aware of my love of RPGs and comic books (which is another area that experiences very similar death throw speculations). I have friends of similar age and background, with children roughly the same age and from what I can tell from many in the OSR demographic any way, I’m not too far from being a typical OSR gamer.

OpenQuest arrived today

I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday since I was off doing my day job and didn’t get home until late. So I didn’t get any time to really catch up on a few blogs I follow. I’m still busy today, but I wanted to take a moment to mention that I received my copy of OpenQuest and Mythic Russia today. I’m pretty excited about these two items because it shows that the hobbyist game developers and members of the OSR really have been successful not just in cloning older D&D properties, but indeed there is more going on out there than really gets mentioned. D101 games looks like it is the torch bearer for the RuneQuest/d100 game clone scene. I’ll admit, I’m not too much up on RuneQuest, never having played a game, but I’m certainly interested in it. I know for many European gamers, RuneQuest resonates more than D&D does and carries quite an impact over here still. I’d like to know more about that scene and I’m excited about going through OpenQuest and Mythic Russia. Right now f

A Little Follow Through

I started plotting my own Old School Gaming project back in 2006. Actually a little earlier due to some traffic at EN World discussing old school projects. With the advent of OSRIC, I really started to feel like things were going in the right direction and that I would really be able to create something and release it back to the community. I had a ton of ideas, but of course I'd always scrap them and move on. It is hard for me to really follow through on a project if I'm really the only driving force. I tend to move on to new shiny things. Yeah, I'm bad at that. However, today I actually finished the maps for Basalt Keep! I've also numbered the encounter areas. 160 of them total! The keep itself has four floors, a tower with six floors, and two sublevels. I'm actually quite pleased that I've maintained this forward momentum. Now I need to key the map areas. Like I said in my earlier post, not sure how long it'll take but I think with the curren

Shut up and color

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Zak over at Playing D&D with Porn Stars posited that game developers should grow adventures from illustrations or maps and see what comes of it instead of the traditional write the adventure and then illustrate it. Being a visual guy, I almost always work from a drawing or map first as inspiration for adventure. In fact, that is how I'm proceeding with my Basalt Keep Adventure. In that vein, I thought it'd be fun to post a picture and see if anyone could come up with some adventure ideas. This is an older picture I did about five years ago and it was the seed for an adventure idea that I haven't gotten around to writing yet, but keep meaning too (but as usual, life keeps getting in the way). At any rate, I'd be interested in seeing what you folks can come up with adventure seed wise. Have fun!

Basalt Keep Update and New Game of Thrones Trailer

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I finally finished hand drawing the maps yesterday. Much to my chagrin, my computer crashed so I had to start rekeying everything I had done so far. Not tooo big a deal. I just glad to have them finished and scanned in. So, I'll generate the map keys from there. I'm not sure how long that will take yet but I should have a good idea in a few days. I'm going to release a no art, map and text only Open Game Content version of the Basalt Keep once it is keyed up. For what I have in mind, it's probably going to be a fairly high level adventure, but we'll see once I start fleshing it out. It seems most adventures out there so far for the Old School Renaissance have been in the low to mid level range so I want to fill a gap that is not represented well yet. On another note, I just finished watching the new trailer for the HBO Game of Thrones series. I'm pretty darned excited about this. It starts in April, but of course that means I probably won't get to

Review of Skull Mountain by Jeff Sparks

Skull Mountain is a Labyrinth Lord Adventure by Jeff “Bighara” Sparks with art by Andy ATOM Taylor and Steve Zieser and published by Faster Monkey Games. The module is 36 pages long with illustrated player handouts taking the last two pages. The adventure is aimed at 4-6 characters of level 4-6. Disclaimer: this is not a play test review (unfortunately for me). There have been a lot of old school style modules coming out for the past few years. Most of those have been for AD&D 1e/OSRIC. It seems recently, B/X D&D/Labyrinth Lord has been gaining quite a bit of momentum. I’ll admit to being caught up in that wave to some extent. This is the first module geared toward Labyrinth Lord that I have picked up. The main attraction to me was the draw of the adventure being based off the wonderfully evocative skull map found in the back of the Holmes Basic D&D book. This adventure fleshes that map out and makes it into a fully realized adventure site. Of course there are m

Non RPG Interlude on Digital Comics

I was a bit skeptical about digital comics. I just much preferred the real deal. I'm a comics guy. I was a comics fan before I became an RPG fan. Much of my predelictions in RPGs, Lietature, and other entertainment are pretty heavily informed by comics. My life's goal at one point was to become a comic book artist/writer. That is until I found out that sequential art is serious work. Well, that and there are a lot of folks doing it that are a lot better suited to doing sequential art than I am. Alright, back on topic. Last summer I signed up for a Marvel Comics digital subscription. I have a tendancy to be a comic addict so I figured that at least I could get my fix without having even more boxes of comics taking up space. I didn't have much more faith in digital comics than that. I tell you, after the paying the $70 per year entrance fee, I found I now had access to an incredible number of Marvel Back Issues. Part of my compulsion in comics is that I'm a

Going Old School at GenCon

I have to admit that I'm pretty excited about the news of several Old School publishers setting up a booth at GenCon this summer (see link in yesterday's post for more info). I'll admit to not being much of a convention goer and I've never been to any of the big conventions. At most, I tend to check out the local cons and play a game and browse the vendors. This year, I'm going to make a concerted effort to get to GenCon. It looks like I might just be able to pull it off too. Getting from Italy back to the Midwest and back can be pricey. It will work out well too since pretty much everything shuts down in August here in Italy since everyone goes on vacation. Never thought I'd be excited to fly from Italy to Indiana. Ironically enough I'm going to make a business trip to Indy the first week of February so I'll try and get the lay of the land and scope out possible hotels and the like. Any suggestions from experienced folks?

Old School Gaming Goodness at GENCON Indy 2011

Looks like there will be some real Old School Gaming love at GENCON this year. Joe Browning of Expeditious Retreat Press will have a booth along with Brave Halfling, Goblinoid Games, Frog God Games, and Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I've never been to a GENCON but I'm thinking that this year might be the time to go. It'd be really fun to actually meet folks I've talked with on message boards, blogs and email. I think this is a great step for the OSR and am excited for all involved. Now, to check on air fare from Venice, Italy to Indianapolis and back...

Basalt Keep of Wilven the Yellow Update

I want to expand a little on yesterday’s topic of having shared touch stones in OSR projects. There is some really cool stuff going on with megadungeons like Stonehell as well as Zak Smith’s Gigacrawler shared world. I’m very interested in those projects. I’d like to have some shared resources as well. Think something like the Eternal city of Tanelorn that was open sourced so everyone could use it. It could make an appearance in Gigacrawler or in Stonehell or in whatever campaign. Again, I interested in people, places and or things that are free to use in other settings. I really like the idea of being able to pick up a module and seeing Baba Yaga’s Hut in Greyhawk as well as it appearing in someplace like the Wilderlands or someone’s mythic Russia campaign. I’m going to open source my Basalt Keep for just that purpose. I’ve almost finished with most of the maps of the Keep itself. What I intend is that the Keep is essentially a temporal/spatial hopping artifact. I’m going

Common Gaming Touch Stones and Free Flow of Ideas in the Old School Renaissance

I was just reading through some of the various blogs and message boards that I’m enthralled with and really basking in the glow of all of the creative energy that is out there. I’ve mentioned it before, but the thing that really keeps my fires stoked for hobbyist gaming/the OSR and participating is the sheer creative energy. It’s just an incredibly cool thing. Having said that, one thing I think I’d like to see a bit more of is a free flow of ideas BETWEEN people’s campaigns. Much like H.P. Lovecraft, R.E. Howard and the like used to do. It’d be cool to have a common set of place names, artifacts, etc that were developed for use for the hobbyist gamers to use as touch stones. I’m not necessarily advocating that people fully open source their projects, but man, it sure would be cool to see OSR/Hobbyist gaming versions of Carcosa, the King in Yellow, the Necronomicon (except, you know, developed by the current crop of OSR/Hobbyist gaming enthusiasts). They may appear to be a bit d

Fantasy gets the Bronze

If you’ve looked at my Appendix N, much of my influences are pre-medieval for the most part. I have a real fascination for post Roman pre-medieval era Europe. Otherwise known as the Dark Ages, there is some pretty interesting stuff going on here. I don’t know much about RuneQuest, but reading through the very first few pages of RuneQuest Second edition, they make it clear that Glorantha is a Bronze Age setting. My setting that I’m working on for my own Old School project will be very Dark Age/Bronze age (of course with the much loved anachronisms and such) world. I’d be interested in hearing good sources of Bronze Age Gaming material. I already have quite a bit of real world historical material so I want to see how things were handled by other fantasists out there. I know about Glorantha, but what would be the most valuable supplements. I’m only heard a little about the Slaine setting (I think there was some d20 material). Thoughts/suggestions?

I am Now Complete

Well, actually, to be more precise, my softcover copy of Swords and Wizardry Complete arrived yesterday. It is a very nice presentation and overall looks really good. Kudos to the Frog God. I still have to look through the text. At some point, I'm going to pull out all my retro-clones and comb through them and decide how I best want to cannibalize them for my own homebrew. I'll post more about it after I have a chance to look through it and digest the contents.

Weekly creature feature The Aspis

It is that time once again to plunder the riches of Myth, Folklore and Legend to present beasties for use in you campaign outside the usual suspects. Always keep them guessing. At any rate, I continue to utilize the wonderful resource Giants, Monsters and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth by Carol Rose. Today I present the Aspis, a small draconic creature similar to the wyvern. As per usual, I've modified it a bit to make it a challenging pack hunter. The Aspis had a big weakness according to folklore, which I've modified a bit to make it more playable. As per usual, the Weekly Creature Feature is designated Open Gaming Conent and uses Labyrinth Lord statistics. Any accompanying art is not Open Gaming Content. Withour further ado: Name: Aspis No. Enc: 1-6 Alignment: Neutral Movement: 90’ (30’) Fly: 120’ (40’) Armor Class: 5 Hit Dice: 3 Attacks: 2 (claw, bite) Damage: 1d4, 1d6, poison Save: F4 Morale: 7 Hoard Class: XVIII

On a positive note

Tim Brannan over at the Other Side Blog has a pretty good post about what is right about the OSR. It’s a good take after some of the negative floating around for the last few days. At any rate, what really appeals to me about the things going on with the whole hobbyist gaming thing is the energy. The DIY nature of it all appeals to me. It really reminds me a lot of my youth when I was really into the punk rock scene. There is a very vital and raw sense of energy, of anything goes, that is very reminiscent of that time for me. I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but I like the various takes, I like the raw and unpolished clip art and photocopy stuff all the way to the polished professional stuff. That’s not to say all of it is GOOD in the sense that it is something I’d dump my current game for; but in most cases, I’ll find at least one good idea or piece of art or something there that I can take away. I’m easily amused I suppose. Yeah, there’s a lot of wild stuff out there.

Review of Savage Swords of Athanor (Part 2)

Coninued directly from my last post: The next section is devoted to monsters and treasure of Athanor. This section runs from page 18 through 34. There are quite a few dinosaurs in Athanor along with a few familiar creatures such as the Anhkheg, dragons, and stirges. The rest are creatures unique to Athanor such as the tunnel stalker which is a large slug-like creature with a mass of tentacles with barbed stingers that it uses to attack prey. Overall, there are 32 monsters detailed. Next up are some technological artifacts from the ancients. Here you’ll find things like laser and needler guns as well as things as a technological invisibility cloak. The rest of the section details summoning and binding elemental spirits and random encounter tables for each terrain type. The next major section is dedicated to describing the campaign world of Athanor. Here you’ll find what you’d expect such as a history, climate, and religions. The city-state of Zamora is also detailed with a

Review of Savage Swords of Athanor (Part 1)

Considering the 77th birthday of Flash Gordon was the 7th of January, it seems rather appropriate to do a review of Savage Swords of Athanor. Granted, Savage Swords of Athanor is rally more in the vein of say John Carter than Flash Gordon, you’ll get the idea. So without further ado, let’s begin. Savage Swords of Athanor Rules Supplement and Campaign Setting for Swords and Wizardry White Box is by Doug Easterly. I picked my copy up at Lulu for $8.00 USD. Digest sized and weighing in at 64 pages, Athanor fits in nicely with your S&W White Box books or even better, your OD&D little brown books. The first page is the title and credits while the second page is a table of contents and introduction. The final page is given over to the open game license. So for those of you who are sticklers for that sort of thing, the rest is all devoted to the game itself. The front cover depicts a very nice silhouette cut out of what appears to be some pteronadons and an iguanadon in front

Game hate... what's it good for, absolutely nothin!

I'm not quite sure what all the hate is about for WotC, old schoolers, new schoolers, Palladium, middle schooler, er... really any of it? Well, I take that back, I know folks are feeling upset that the game they loved as a kid back in the 70's and 80's is (at least in their mind) being destroyed. I understand being upset (kinda) but the thing that outright blows my mind is the amount of rage that some folks seem to display. I'm far from a corporate appologist, but in this case, I just can't make the connection. I'm not a fan of collectable crazes. I've never played Magic or D&D minis. I'm pretty much an old school gamer, but I'm willing to play most anything to at least give it a fair shake. There are quite a few games I don't care for, many that I'm ambivalent about. But hate? For a GAME? Nah. Just seems as crazy as fighting over which is better, the colors mauve or tope. And the same goes for the other way around with any of t

Father and Son interlude

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Bear, I am your father. Nnnnnnnooooooooo!!!!!!! Hehe, sorry. I've mentioned before that I'm currently without a gaming group. To be honest, I haven't advertised around much yet, but as I grow my projects, I'll need some playtester and will be looking to start up a group probably bi-weekly. In the mean time, I'm growing my own crop of gamers right here at home. My son Bear is six and very interested in gaming. I've posted the movies of my family playing Dungeon overthe holidays here . He's also dedicated to following in my footsteps as a fantasy illustrator. Here's one of his latest works of some monsters eating an unlucky adventurer trying to steal their treasure. He's incredibly excited that I'm posting his work. At any rate, work continues apace on my magic supplement. I'll probably upload a free pdf version at some point for those of you who are curious so that I can get some feedback while I'm trying to assemeble a play te

My Personal Appendix N for my Campaign or: Everybody's Doing it so Why Shouldn't I?

Appendix N of the 1e Dungeon Master’s Guide needs no introduction for longtime gamers. I’ve been working away at my own hobbyist gaming projects and thought at this point it might be nice to list some of my influences in creating my campaign world as well as give the flavor and feel I hope I convey. This list is not in any particular order and is not all inclusive (I know I have skipped some things, this is more or less off the cuff). Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney Beowulf and Grendel: The Tuth Behind England’s Oldest Legend by John Grigsby Oxford World’s Classics: The Kalevala by Elias Lonnrot English translation by Keith Bosley Kalevala Mythology Expanded Edition by Juha Y. Pentikainen translated to English and edited by Ritv Poom The Mabinogion translated to English by Sioned Davies The Mabionogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton The Saga of the Volsungs translated to English by Eirikr Magnusson and William Morris The Nibelungenlied translated by A.T

Where's the new in the OSR? Well, it's right under your nose.

Chicago Wiz asks in is blog where the next step in the OSR is. Where is the OSR Blackmoor or Tekumel? I think it's out there. I think there are several folks coming up with all kinds of stuff like Trey over at From the Sorcerer's Skull or John Stater over at The Land of NOD or Shane at Swords Against the Outer Dark or Al at Beyond the Black Gate . Heck, that's not even mentioning some of the more talked about alternative rule sets that are out there in the OSR like Geoffrey McKinney's Carcosa or James Raggi's Lamentations of the Flame Princess. One thing that I've kind of noticed about folks in the OSR is that we tend to be clickish and hang on to our familiar little groups and not venture out too to check out new stuff. We may say that we want new stuff, but often it seems that if it diverges too far, then we get scared. I speak with some experience as I've been an active part of the OSR starting with OSRIC and the Knights and Knaves Alehouse gan

Old School Renaissance Projects

I have several hobbyist gaming projects in the works. My New Year’s Resolution of sorts was to focus. More specifically, bring focus to my OSR projects. Here’s a rundown of where I’m at with my projects and what I have in the works (and what I’d like to work on). Delve! – My reimagining of the classic board game Dungeon! I’ve got the classes and monster list down as well as spells and effects. Delve! Will use 2d10 instead of 2d6 but will play much like the original game with a few added rules; so not a direct clone but more a project in the spirit of the original. I intend on doing a full mockup of the board game to give to my son for his birthday. So that means the game will have to be completed or playable by 11 May 2011. I intend on publishing the rule set upon completion. Strange Magic! – Working title for now. This will be my rules supplement to Labyrinth Lord detailing ritual, summoning, pact, rune, divine/spiritual, and craft magics as well as supporting disciplines a

Disciplined Magic

I’ve been thinking about my approach to magic and I think there is one more element I need to add to the mix to really be able to pull it off. I don’t care for skill systems much. I find them just as restrictive as classes. It seems more natural to say someone has an aptitude for something and give them bonuses for a check against an attribute or a baseline success rather than artificially levy a skill construct with percentile scores that is restricted by class. However, I do think it makes sense that someone who has a background in say demonology, might be better at summoning these malevolent entities than say Jikara the Buxom who just happens to be leafing through the Tome of Three Hundred Secrets of the Occluded Soul and is trying to summon Gbrank Ywoldar the Crushing Fist of the Dread Mist. So instead of creating a whole skill set to support things like fishing, horsemanship, bowling, hair styling, etc, I’m thinking about using disciplines. A discipline would be a sort of

More on Magic

I think I’m pretty well sold on using two classes for my base in my campaign world. I think that with a fighting man and a magic user as a base, you can build some pretty interesting characters. What I’m thinking about doing is collapsing the cleric spell list into the magic user spell list. In addition, I’d make some priest spells along the lines of invocations. These invocations would be and appeal to the divine for aid and would fit into much the same pattern as the ritual magic I mentioned in my post yesterday. That would mean that theoretically an invocation to a god could be used by anybody. However, like the ritual magic, there would be a baseline that would affect the chance of success. Here’s an example of what I’m thinking: Vladamir the bold is agonizing over Carnelia the Bountiful’s grevious wound to her head. He is not a cleric or associated with the church, but has been a more or less respectful adherent to Yzul Haedratha. Vladamir appeals to Yzul to aid his lo

It's a Strange Magic

I want new magic. Not new spells, new systems of magic. For my Old School Campaign world that I’m building, I intend to build a different set of magic rules to be utilized. I don’t think Vancian magic is broken. I just wanted to state that up front. I think it does what it does quite well in game terms. I don’t think the mechanics behind D&D (and by extension the retro-clones) are broken. Again, I find them quite enjoyable and they have been quite consistently good for me as a gamer for many, many years. So, I got that couple of bits of information out there. I few months back I was reading Eldritch Weirdness by Matt Finch ( see my review ). It really sparked something in me that had been bothering me for quite some time but I could not place it. I realized that I do love D&D. I love the system. I think it is a brilliant game, lots of fun, etc. What had been putting me off lately is the presentation. There are many good fantasy settings out there from Greyhawk, t

What can hobbyist gaming and the Old School Renaissance do for you?

What we need now is a new game. Seriously, a new game. I think that all of the world building guys out there working away in their basements, crafting their kingdoms of excellence is a good thing. I think the greatest thing about hobbyist gaming is the sheer creative urge to build worlds, share visions, and just get stuff out there. Is all of it good? Perhaps not. But then again, how many movies need to be made? How many books need to be written? How many video games need to be created? Aren’t there plenty of excellent movies out there? How about books, there are probably more books written that are absolutely incredible and more than anyone can read in a lifetime. There are a ton of new games coming out all of the time. What I really want to see in these new adventures, rules compilations, addendums, add-ons, etc is some variety. I’d like to break the dungeon mold. It seems folks get stuck in a rut of building a marble run over and over and over, when it might be fun to

Weekly Creature Feature x2: Alicanto and Alkonost

I've been pretty non-content oriented with this blog since the holidays. I aim to change that this week. So I guess that's a New Year's Resolution of sorts. Today we have two creatures, the Alicanto and the Alkonost. The Alicanto comes from Chilean folklore and the Alkonost is from Russian Legend. They have of course been embellished by me quite a bit. As with all of my Critters, these are designated Open Game Content. The follow on illustrations are not open game content and are the sole property of myself. Enjoy and happy gaming! Name: Alicanto No. Enc: 1 Alignment: Neutral Movement: 60’ (20’) Fly: 150’ (50’) Armor Class: 7 Hit Dice: 2 Attacks: 1, special Damage: 1d4, special Save: M1 Morale: 6 Hoard Class: XII, XIII Description: Alicanto are incredibly rare creatures believed to be from the plane of earth resembling peacocks. These beasts are nocturnal and have an insatiable appetite for precious metals such as gold and silver. Alic

Happy New Year from the Folks at Ostensible Cat!

OK, really it is only me here at Ostensible Cat, but sometimes with all the things I've got going on (not to mention the voices in my head, wait...what?) sometimes it feels like quite a production. At any rate, I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2011. I've got quite a few projects I want to see to completion this year so my first task will be to prioritize things. Looks like Basalt Keep of Wilven the Yellow and the Delve! boardgame will be at the top of the list. Then my campaign to include some house rules (but of course) as well as another adventure entitled Sinister Sightings at Dustchaple Downs. Actually, that last one is one I'd been working on and off for years. But I mean it this time! Oh yeah, let me know what you think of the new look. I'm also going to beg and plead with my lovely bride to help update my art portfolio web site. It's been well over a year since I've updated that site and it needs some attention (as well as a place to show so