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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Indie, Meanie, Minie Moe...

So, I've been sidelined with the virus from hell since Friday. Yep, I'm actually home sick from work. Go figure.

It's also made me a bit dopey. Dopey enough that I'm going throw this question out to my overwhelmingly OSR rooted readers:

What "indie" game would you recommend to an OSR styled gamer?

With my ongoing low grade fever I don't see myself returning to work until next week at the earliest, so I figured I'd throw this question out to the masses.

Yes, I'm in need of reading material ;)


  1. I really enjoyed The Riddle of Steel, though not quite sure if it qualifies as old school. It certainly has the crunch and lethality that tends to be present in OSR games.


  2. https://www.fanfiction.net/u/5882955/ Feel free to check my profile and my stories. When I am feverish I take some Wick Daymed or Medinite and a good tea with honey. Indie Games; I only know what Steam offers as PC games right now, as I actually came here to learn more about "all I missed" myself. Get well soon!

  3. http://www.ffproject.com/anyport.htm as one of the playable as online-html (and as downloads) solo-adventures, old school fighting fantasy. Check left side of main page for over 20 more adventures, all cost-free!!! Didn't I note that before? Hm...

  4. Itras By, as I mentioned in an e-mail a few weeks ago. Also, Psi*Run, I think it'd tickle you.

  5. My money's on Dungeon World, but that one might be a confusing read. Much better to actually try it out to see how it works. The "fiction first" is very OSR. Also, it encourages players to alter the rules to their needs.

    1. "The "fiction first" is very OSR."

      That's an interesting statement to me, since one of the reasons that I lost interest in the story games and "indie games" community was the idea of "story first". I was pleased to find the OSR, where "story" was relegated to the rear in priority if it were even considered at the table at all, with events and actions taking first priority. I would be interested to know why you'd say that "fiction first" is something that is in common with the OSR (though I am not demanding anything - this is a curious inquiry, not a passive-aggressive attack).

  6. 1. octaNe and InSpectres, by Jared Sorensen


    Two games with very similar core mechanics. The Blood & Steel variant looks like a great way to run Conan, and I've run the UnSpeakable variant of InSpectres and pronounce it the best rules for Lovecraft Horror.

    2. Donjon, by Clinton R. Nixon


    He's one of the two people who created The Forge... but he also defined RPGs as "games you can use to play D&D". Donjon is very much designed to play D&D with.

  7. If you're looking for an indie game that plays like an old school game, then I think you're barking up the wrong tree. On the other hand, I have played a few that I think might appeal to others with old school sensibilities.

    I only played a one-shot at a con, but I found Dungeon World to be very entertaining and there are some familiar things there for old schoolers (I wouldn't say it feels old school though): death is possible (not likely, but possible), character creation takes only a few minutes, you can pretty much try anything, just say what you want to do and the GM will identify the "move" you're invoking. I really enjoyed the simple mechanics and the built in partial success mechanic (the "Yes, but") - something I'm trying to incorporate into my b/x game.

    World of Dungeons - This one I haven't played but is high on my list to play. It's a stripped down version of DW that, I can only guess, in play, must heavily on GM rulings, as there are hardly any rules at all. Character creation is fast and there are only a few skills to worry about.

    Cthulhu Dark / Cthulhu Grey - Simple mechanic, only 1 stat in Dark (Sanity), 2 in Grey (Sanity and Harm), no constant looking at the character sheet, just describe what you're doing. The GM can then automatically grant success if it's something your character can do (based on profession or background) or if they aren't sure, require a roll.

    Ganakagok - again, only played once, but it was the most enjoyable game I've played in awhile. It's two games in one, an RPG and tactical wagering game where you assign dice to a pool to try and either save the world or your village (according to the GM who ran it, you almost can never save both).

    Character creation is simple, the story is character driven (the GM gets things started but where it goes depends on the player characters), player agency is insanely high, the map is created collaboratively (the fact that there's a map at all is points in my book), and it's a sandbox.

    Uniquely, I think, it's very much explicitly Players vs GM, something I wouldn't expect from an indie game. It does rely on some concepts I think of as being more common in indie games which some people might find off-putting: pre-defined inter- character and NPC relationships (by pre-defined, I mean generated prior to the role-playing starts) and "invoking aspects" of your character in a meta-gamey way in order to get points to spend to defeat the GM and save either the world or the village. The latter part is part of the tactical dice pool game. Oh, and it uses a special tarot card deck for character generation -no 3d6 here.

  8. “Torchbearer” might scratch that itch. It’s an indie rpg based on the “Burning Wheel” ruleset. But slimmed down to emulate that old timey dungeon crawl feel.