Jan 062015
Magic Pig Media

I dunno. I’ve been thinking about what makes certain types of games different and as usual my little grognard brain wanders into OSR territory.
First off, if you haven’t read Matt Finch’s Quick Primer for Old School Gaming then you really should. It’s free. You ain’t got anything to lose.
Now on to my own rant. Newer games five you lots of choices. Skill choices. Point builds. Advantages/Disadvantages. You get the idea. Generally, this comes down to players building the character they want to overcome the expected hazards of the setting. Every decision in character creation and advancement boils to making the best tool (the character) to get the job done (the adventure).
On the OSR side of things, it’s different. Totally random character generation. Sometimes even random character advancement. Many times there will even crazy random things happen that can change a character for ever. So when you’re down in that dungeon facing off against whatever crazy horror the DM has dreamed up, you don’t have the best character for the job. You didn’t even get a lot choices about the character. You don’t have the best tool to get the job done. You’re stuck working with what you have at hand and making the best of it. This becomes part of the challenge of the game.
Instead of always taking a gun to a gun fight, you just may end taking a screwdriver to a bazooka fight. You get the idea. It’s time to MacGyver up what ever crazy plan that pops into your and make the best of it.
So there you go. Another little tidbit of thought fodder for you.

 Posted by at 10:45 am  Tagged with:
Dec 092014

Here we go, another gem by Zak S. When I think of Zak, I think of the winding streets of Vornheim, snakes as books, crazy imaginative tweaks to old school rules, and a mind like a steel trap. Red and Pleasant continues this trend with another mind blowing product.
So just what is Red and Pleasant Land? At the very basic level, it’s an adventure/setting that’s a crazy mash up between Alice in Wonderland and Dracula. Yeah, you heard that right. It’s a strange place with warped realities and a battle ground for a few very powerful vampires. It’s a whole area where you could base an entire campaign, it’s a place that you could put into your own world, or even add it as an odd pocket dimension. You got lots of options.
I like RPG products that are more than just use it once and then put them aside. I know most adventures are like that but not this one. There’s plenty of little rules, charts, monsters, and a new old school class (The Alice) to keep you coming back to this. Did I mention charts. Plenty of handy random charts you can use again and again. So it’s not just an adventure you run and then put aside. That’s one of the primary reasons I really like Zak’s stuff. He not only writes stuff that gets your imagination going, he makes amazingly creative tools for DM’s to use.
Zak does have one major advantage over the rest of us who scribble down various gaming projects. He’s his own artist and a damn good one too. The words and pictures on the page come from the same brain. Like Vornheim, the artwork isn’t just something to give a visual representation to the reader. It is part of the product. Not only functionally but it blends with the words to create a consistent and unique vision.
Red and Pleasant land is designed for Lamentations of the Flame Princess but can easily be converted over to whatever you old school game of choice would happen to be. Heck, with a little more work you could translate it over to 5th Edition if that was to your liking. There’s already one write up of the Alice class for 5th Edition.
You can pickup Red and Pleasant Land at Drivethrurpg or at the Lamentations of the Flame Princess web store. And don’t be frighten on the price tag. It’s worth every penny.

 Posted by at 10:16 am  Tagged with:
Nov 172014

This post is part spreading the word and part reminder for me to back it. Yes, things have been way too hectic around the old household.
So here you go the Class Compendium for Labyrinth Lord. Heck, what DM couldn’t use 50 more classes? OK, that does sound like a lot but hey, you could just use them for NPC’s so don’t immediately dismiss it. It’s already funded. The pledge levels are fairly priced. And it’s already reached it’s funding goal. So go for it.

If you still have a little bit of reservations then go ahead check out my rant about the Swords & Wizardry Player’s Companion. It’s darn handy little book. Or you could go and check some of Barrel Rider Games’ other titles on Drivethrurpg.

 Posted by at 10:35 am  Tagged with:
Oct 272014

I’ve been pretty much enamored by Fifth Edition for the last few weeks like so many folks (plus been really busy). But it’s great to see something come out for one of favorite retro-clones.
The Swords & Wizardry Player’s Companion from Barrel Rider Games is pretty handy little PDF and it’s only $2.99. And you guys know what a cheapskate I am.
Basically, it’s a few little add-ons for Swords & Wizardry.
Chapter One: Attributes. Cool things here are the modifiers for race. And (I know some don’t like it) the optional addition of Luck and Appearance Attributes. Those can be useful depending on your game. There’s also an extended chart for Attribute scores higher than 18.
Chapter Two: Classes. OK, now this is very handy! Alternate/additional abilities for the standard classes (from Swords & Wizardry Complete). This could be a real good add on for your game. There’s also the write ups for Anti-Paladins and Bards.
Chapter Three: Races. This chapter adds gnomes, half-orcs, and dark elves. They’re pretty standard and fit with the other races mechanically. Of course, fluff-wise in your campaign world it might be a little different.
Chapter Four: Equipment. You’ve got some stats for more types of weapons and armor. Because, the player characters want more ways to kill things and not get killed. Plus there’s some handy magic items in this section also.
Yes, I know. It’s a short little review. But hey, it’s a short book, only 35 pages. But it’s got a lot of things I like in product. It’s simple, inspirational, reusable, tweakable, and affordable (Do I need to say only $2.99 again?). So go ahead and pick it up.

Sep 302014

Yeah, there’s a new revised edition of Death Frost Doom out. Some might say that isn’t a “Classic Dungeon” and I know when I ranted other times about classic dungeons it was always something from the ancient days of gaming. But Death Frost Doom is special.
This is adventure that launched a 1,000 screams. Not only from the unfortunate characters who foolishly entered its unholy halls but also from the Internet. Let’s see Death Frost Doom became the iconic Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure and when the rule book for it came there were screams. I remember that? OMG! Boobies and gore! People argued and flamed. Blah. Blah. Also, Death Frost Doom played a big part in Zak S’s Vornheim campaign. (Which if you don’t have Vornheim get it.) But in certain corners of the Internet, if you say like Zak and his stuff. Well, that’s a lynching offense. So yeah. Death Frost Doom. It launched probably more than a thousand screams. And probably a thousand more just because Zak revised it.
The revised Death Frost Doom has some totally awesome and creepy new art from brilliant Jez Gordon. I don’t often comment on art in RPG books. But this stuff is has style that leaps out of the page at you.
As far as the adventure itself. (Don’t expect any spoilers.) The new format is much easier for this aged grognard to read. There’s more options and details than the original. The general plot is pretty straight forward. Big mountain. Lost temple. Bad things happen. Really bad things happen. I mean world changing bad things happen. This is still a challenging and very dangerous dungeon. If you have a bunch of players who expect perfectly balanced encounters and a happy ending then they’re in the wrong dungeon crawl. There’s a very good chance that not every character will make it out alive and maybe the dead one’s are the lucky ones. And bonus points for the Evil Dead reference. (OK, that’s as close to a spoiler as I’m getting.)
Death Frost Doom was already a great adventure. This revision takes it up to 11. Really, it goes to 11.

Sep 202014

This is product that epitomizes all that is cool and good about the whole DIY OSR gang. A simple thread on Google+ that leads to collaboration, creativity and just down right crazy goodness. So what is it? Mix Ambrose Pierce with Hunter S. Thompson, add a pinch of William S. Burroughs and Timothy Leary for good measure and you get a gonzo psychedelic trip of fantasy supplement for any old-school game. So really, you have nothing lose because it’s free.
So go check it on Drivethrurpg.

 Posted by at 12:51 pm  Tagged with: