Sunday, February 28, 2010

Theives Can... or Cant

Thieves' Cant. It was one of two secret languages mentioned in the 1st Edition AD&D Player's Handbook. Dragon Magazine, somewhere in the late issue 60's or early 70's even published a dictionary of the Thieves Cant suitable for removing from your Dragon Mag, folding along the lines, and having a pocket reference of sorts. But really, what is Thieves Cant? Another language? A dialect of Common? Choice coded words? Probably more of the later then anything else.

I came across A Hairbag's Guide to Cop Speak for the NYPD today, and it is pretty much Thieves Cant for cops, localized. That is the way I expect Thieves Cant would work in game... a local coded speak for the Thieves Guild.

Below is the Hairbag's Guide to Cop Speak for the NYPD, added to and edited by me to add omissions as I recall them (it is the lingo of my job). It is extremely regional... Police Departments neighborng NYC may use some of the same terms and may use different terms... as I said, it is extremely localized:

Adult Beverages: Alcohol

Back in the bag: An officer who is demoted from a plainclothes to uniform detail

Bag OF Shit: A miserable, no-chance-of-being-solved case

Boss: General term for any police supervisor

Bus: Ambulance

Bracelets: Handcuffs

Choir practice: A drinking party

Cocktails: Manhattan detectives are fond of this term for getting drinks

Dee Wee: Driving While Intoxicated

DOA: dead person (literally, dead on arrival)

EDP: crazy person (literally, emotionally disturbed person)

The Farm: Rehab

Flopped: Bounced out of a detail

Fly: to move from one command or detail to another

Gentleman: What cops call a stand-up boss. Top commanders, however,
sometimes think this means the boss is a pushover who doles out too much OT

Hairbag: An old-timer who thinks he knows everything

Highway Therapy: Transfer against will to a command furthest from one's residence. An “Unofficial Punishement”
The House: Stationhouse

Housemouse: A cop who is afraid to leave the station house and go on patrol; a sissy

It is what it is: A euphemism for a screw-up with political overtones

In the wind: At large, said of a suspect

The Job: Working at the NYPD

Job: A radio run or assignment

Loo: Friendly term for a lieutenant

Mope: Criminal

One Way / One Way Street: Cop out only for themselves

Perp: Perpetrator of a crime

On a Personal: Bathroom Break

Puzzle Palace: A derogatory term for NYPD headquarters in lower Manhattan

Rat Squad: Internal Affairs Bureau

RMP: A squad car (literally, radio motor patrol)

Rumproaster: Vice squad term for a perv who rubs up against an unsuspecting person

Sarge: Sergeant

Skel: Criminal

Snitch: Informant

The Squad: Beat cop’s term for a precinct detective squad

The job is on the level: Sarcastic phrase meaning the job is unfair

Tool: Asshole

Tune Up: To beat someone up

Wood shampoo / Bronx Party Hat: To beat an unruly suspect about the head with a baton

Think how this would work in a D&D Campaign:

"Man the Loo is a tool. He's all bent that I gave a skel a wood shampoo. What did he expect, the guy was an EDP. He's even sicked the Rat Squad on me!"

You don't need a lot of words or phrases to make your own Cant... a dozen or so choice ones will keep your players on their toes and you can add more as you find the need.

Carcassonne - The First Step to Assimilation?

I mentioned last week that I was picking up some Euro-Family games to replace the weekly Friday Nite Uno / Other Card Games my girlfriend and I play with my mother.  The ladies love the bonding and knitting talk, I get to cement the future family relationships.

The game plan, so to speak, was to break out one of the newly acquired games this past Friday nite, but Thursday's 21" of snow put a damper on that.  So, yesterday afternoon we pulled out Carcassone.  My girlfriend was excited about trying the new game ( and was only moderately disappointed it didn't use any "funky" dice ) and my mother was willing to humor us.

By the end of the first game all 3 of us were hooked.  It's a simple game with unexpected depth.  The pieces are high quality.  It plays fast.  You're never quite sure who is going to win until the end.

We played three games before we pulled ourselves away to watch a DVD.  My girlfriend is already talking about breaking the game out this afternoon, although Catan and Ticket to Ride are also tempting here.

Before you know it I'll have them playing Decent, then a game of White Box Swords & Wizardry ;)

Friday, February 26, 2010

I Kill Trees - Sometimes

I am very Pro-PDF.  Not because I am a left wing, save the snails, recycle toilet paper kinda guy, but because I am running out of space to store my dead tree / paper printed gaming materials.  It's pretty much a given that most folks that play RPGs don't get rid of too much of their "old stuff".  I might never read another Rifts Sourebook in my life, but if I see the cover of the Core book I get flashbacks of playing in an awesome campaign back in the day. Roleplaying makes memories, and the products we played with can invoke those memories.

Suffice to say I have lots of memories.

To combat the lack of storage for future memory enhancers, I've turned to buying most of my RPG goodness in PDF format.  Its not a perfect solution, but it doesn't need any storage besides a hard drive or two, and by transferring the PDFs that I want to read to my Kindle DX I get an extremely portable way to carry around part of my RPG library.  The thing is, its kinda awkward to read certain gaming PDFs on the Kindle.

We'll start with my latest dead tree (previously purchased in PDF), Stonehell Dungeon.  It looks fine on the Kindle DX, but at 130 or so pages, with maps that one likes to flip back and forth to reference, it just isnt the perfect solution.  It's fine if I want to read thru while away on vacation, but not so great when one is trying to prep for a game.  Besides, you can't notate on the Kindle DX - I can mark up my dead tree Stonehell as much as I need (in pencil - no desecration here;)

It's pretty much a similar reason I bought LL and S&W in print on demand from LuLu.  They look fine on the DX, and if you are looking to do a straight read thru its a sweet way to read, but as a reference at a gaming table I need it in paper please.  With LuLu, it's tree killing on demand.  I should probably feel more guilt than I do when considering that fact.

Now all I need to do is find some storage for those old memories.  Maybe those clothes I swore I'd fit in again... can always donate to Goodwill and reclaim that space.  I'll just buy new if I can get back into shape.  Damn things are probably outa style anyway.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

OD&DITIES Issue 13 is Here

OD&DITIES Issue 13 has hit the pavement, or at least the virtual shelves of RPGNow.  At 24 pages (OGL statement would make it 25) its bang for your buck ratio isn't bad.  OD&DITIES uses the LL rules, but most of the articles are not system specific, and those that are can probably convert to other OSR rules without too much trouble.

The Table of Contents are/is (i need a grammar checker) as follows:

 Building the Keep on the Borderlands
 Table: Twenty Reasons That Guard is on Patrol
 Designing the Keep on the Borderlands
 Table: Twenty Things Found in a Kobold's Pocket
 'A Touch of Class': The Illusionist's
Introducing New Classes to the Campaign
'Man's Best Friend'
'Surviving the DM's Wrath': Party Formation
 Magical Miscellany
 Mr. B's Last Word

As it just released today, and I just purchased it a mere hour ago, I've just given in a quick read thru.  You get a decent amount of articles (and a promise that OD&DITIES will be monthly) .

Timing is everything these days.  The version of the Illusionist Class presented here has a few new spells but a very small spell list compared to the class presented Advanced Edition Companion.

Surviving the DM's Wrath rates classes on their party value.  It includes classes not present in the LL Core rulebook (they are the versions published by Brave Halfing. Again, timing is all.  I expect future issues will reference the AEC.

The rest I just skimmed at this point.  So far, it looks good.  Not perfect, but not bad at all for a reboot after a seven year absence.  Looking forward to Issue 14.

I'm Even More Board... Games

Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride arrived today.  Damn but my girlfriend is pumped about Friday nite.  Of course, as fate has it, we are getting yet another snowstorm here in NYC Thursday / Friday, so the first game nite might be a cancellation.  The city is damn big and we live on opposite ends of it.  Well, that and her poor little doggy will leave poops little doggy poops all over her apartment if she doesnt make it home Friday nite at some point.

Tried a little Catan via the catanplay.com website.  Caught on to the tutorial after a bit.  Not a bad way to play the game, decent looking for being flash based.  I lost tho.  Go figure.

Sheep wasn't the problem.  It was the stone/granite dealie.  Live and learn.

Oh, did I mention I ordered Descent?  Figure I'll work the girlfriend up to that on the way to turning her to the Drak Side (RPGs).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm Board...Game

For some reason I've steadfastly avoided picking up any new board games.  Its not that I never played them.  Talisman, Amoeba Wars, Risk, Blood Bowl (first edition), Chaos Marauders (more of a card game), Nuclear War (definitely a card game)... I played these all when we had less then a full group to sling dice back in the day.

I have the OOTS game (never played it) and Adventurer (card game I really should play)as the recent games I've added to my collection, but I've had a major hole in all this... none of the above lead to getting my non-gaming girlfriend and possibly my parents involved in playing.  Friday nites my girlfriend actually enjoys playing cards or Uno with my mother and me... she likes the "family bonding".  So I broke down and ordered some recent (well, for me anyway) board games that should add some variety to Fridays.

The first to arrive is the Settlers of Catan.  Haven't even read the directions yet.  I guess I better start.  Hmm, even includes a limited trial PC/Mac game.  Time to learn me a new board game it seems ;)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The OSR - How Big is it?

There are some great comments to James' latest post at Lamentations of the Flame Princess.  You probably should read it.  I'll wait...


Alright then.  Anyhow, just how big is this "niche of a niche" we call the OSR?  Even better question might be "does size even matter"?

I would guess that 4e, 3.5e/Pathfinder and WoD are the big three in terms of this hobby of ours.  Barnes and Noble, B. Daltons, Borders... hit the major book stores and its probably 60% 4e, 20% WoD, 10% Pathfinder (give or take)  and the rest a remainders from lord knows when.

I haven't seen a single OSR product in the retail bookstore chains.  Which is a shame, as probably the easiest way to grow our corner of this hobby is to bring back those that left gaming around the time of the TSR implosion.  Work, family, school, careers, responsibilities cause many folks to leave behind this hobby.  They are also (i'm willing to guess) easier to bring back with an Old School Game that they can browse then a a New School Game that resembles little of their nostalgic memories.  Besides, these people already know how to game. 

What about those of us already enjoying the OSR?  Are publishers at risk by offering too many choices?  Can we be oversold?  I don't think so.  I would guess (its an assumption...  right or wrong) that those gamers that enjoy the OSR are older than the average 4e player... most of us started in the 70s or 80s or early 90s... we have our families, our careers, and most importantly disposable income.  We fall for the nostalgia of our youth, and there is nothing wrong in that.  We will buy quality products that will succeed or fail by word of mouth. 

I do find at this point in my life that finding time for a weekly game is much more difficult then when I was younger.  Playing 4 or 5 times a week wasn't all that unusual during summers in college.  Playing twice a month can get hairy to schedule these days, and that's with the convenience factor of using a Virtual Table Top.  (as an aside, Old School publishers would be well advised to get their rulesets converted for use with Fantasy Grounds 2 - only Labyrinth Lord and Castles & Crusades have such at the moment).  Still, I find time to purchase and read OSR products that are well done.

The OSR is a "healthy niche within a niche".  There is nothing wrong with that.  Its something to be proud of.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Get Some Free Stonehell

One of the advantages of trying to organize my PDFs is that I find myself going back to the sources that I made the purchases at  and discover new goodness in turn.  Such is the case with Lulu. 

Among my Lulu purchases was Stonehell Dunngeon.  Little did I know that Michael Curtis had released a free Supplement for Stonehell - The Brigands Caves and a free preview of Stonehell itself..  Download the free products and you'l be back for the full Stonehell... trust me.  Its that good.

Now back to my regularly scheduled disorganized organizational attempt ;)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Organization Frustration

Following on the heels of yesterday's rant, I am sitting with my netbook and the external HD that I started dropping my gaming PDFs into/onto/unto.  First offender that I am calling out is... Goblinoid Games, publishers of my Rules of choice at this point.  I can get over the naming of the core books by letter and number code, but I feel strongly that adventures especially, should be labeled with a file name that is somewhat descriptive.  "GGLLM1" doesnt mean diddly to me as I scour my HD for an adventure for a nite's game.  It certainly doesnt come close to "Idol of the Orcs" which is the name of the module in question.

Yes, I can guess that GGLLM1 stands for Goblinoid Games Labyrinth Lord Module 1 - but trust me, that will not occur to me as I scan a file listing trying to find something suitable to run.  It's F'n frustrating.  There is no need to name the file anything other then a descriptive title.   Heck, even "Labyrinth Lord Mod 1" would be more intuitive.

See what happens when I get vacation time and make organizing my PDFs a project?  This crap is going to take weeks.  Sadly I'm back to work on Monday.  Sigh.

I'm not picking on Goblinoid Games, they just happened to be the publishers of the first code named module I was trying to organize.  I've got many more offenders.  That being said, I've got alot of material to review for LL alone.  I'm sure everyone is waiting with baited breath for the review of GGLLM1 ;)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Disorganized Adventure

(Be advised... there is a Rant below)

This afternoon I started prepping myself for the last part of my vacation... heading back to the Poconos and hoping to get even more reading in then last weekend.  Part of that prep was scouring my hard drive for LL and S&W adventures.  I've made PDF purchases from RPGNow, Lulu, Yourgamesnow, publisher sites direct, downloaded from Dragonsfoot... and they are all over the friggin HD, named things like "GR6657" which tells me absolutely nada.

I am not an organized person by nature.  I try at times, but the sustained effort frequently escapes me.  So yes, I have files here, there and everywhere.  Which is bad enough.  But with the advent of modern day operating software and such, there is no need to have some random esoteric file name for "The Big Ass Dungeon From Hell".  Why name it "IS66494e" when you can simply name it "The Big Ass Dungeon From Hell, or "Big Ass Dungeon" or even "Bigassdungeon".  For the love of all that is Holy, can we get some files that actually have descriptive names?  Is it really that hard?  Am I missing something?  Cause I KNOW I'm not the only disorganized schmuck that purchases PDFs.

Anyhow, my new portable 500 gb HD is the proud owner of new directories, such as "LL Core Rules", "LL Adventures", "SW Core Rules", "SW Variant Rules" and such.  The files I'm finding I'm renaming to say what they are, not some random binary code.

I'm trying to be organized.  Really.  Maybe some more publishers could help by doing the same.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

No More Destination Unknown

Its the end of the blog Destination Unknown.  The RPG Corner was nice enough to post Christians farewell before the blog went down.  I missed it myself, so I'm lifting it from the RPG Corner for a repost here.  I hope no one minds.

Hello all,

The blogging has been a lot of fun, but I've decided it's time to head back to zines forever and for good. I've really enjoyed the experience and plan on following your blogs for a good, long time.

For the new year I've been trying hard to get back to basics: gaming, cooking, surfing and writing. The writing part has been a huge challenge because of how much time I spend online. I really want to cut down and that and focus on face to face or at least reaching out to people with print media.

We'll see how it goes!

I will be sending you (well, some of you ;) ) stuff in the mail soon, so be on the look out.


Anyhow, if you like Christian's stuff, you can find his current zine, Iridiazine and downloads of his older zines here.  Christian's zine is a print, dead tree, delivered to your mailbox zine.  Send him a donation to get the paper version, or DL the zine for free from the site.  In any case, its well worth your time.

All the best lad.  :)

P.S.  Gonna miss the Cooking blog too

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

LL via Which VTT...

I'm a big fan of what the guys at iTabletop / Silvetable are working on.  When Silvertable is complete I'll have a VTT that supports pretty much everything that Fantasy Grounds 2 does (although with far less automation) with voice and video built into the software.  Heck, you can even link sound effects to play in certain locations of the map.  Silvertable is still in Beta and will be for an unknown amount of time, and I'm itching to get a game going of Labyrinth Lord.

So, my foot dragging must come to an end.  FG2 will be the tool, using the LL ruleset.  I'll dig up a short PDF adventure for it, rip the map, scrub the room numbers and see how it plays.  I've been meaning to do this for a while... tooling around trying to design my own One Page Dungeon has got me itching.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Grown Geeks - The Reckoning

Watching the the Dungeons and Dragons documentary last nite got me thinking about my old gaming group.  The core of the group are still close friends and we aim to get together about once a season (The Gathering of Fools).  Of course, we rarely get close to any type of gaming in these gatherings... we distract ourselves by ac ting silly and watching stupid, but gaming related, movies.

Looking at the group I'm not sure if any of us found the career we expected to find when we gamed multiple times a week:

Dave and Bri - managing techies for a large international firm (also known as the Stormbringer Brothers)

Tony - VP at a major American bank

John (Tony's brother) - physical therapist for the stars

Erik (me) - Sergeant in a major metropolitan police force

Paul - lost on 9-11 but not forgotten - the first of us to find success and inspiration for all

None of us became rock stars, or got to make a living off our love for gaming.

But we did find our way.  We did maintain our friendships.  In the end, that is what has always made gaming such a huge part of our lives... the friendships we found and strengthened.  It why I've never been able to fully step away from the hobby.  One can never have enough friends :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

D&D Experience - Video Documentary

I wish I could find the blog that posted this link to the Dungeons & Dragons  Experience.  It's a decent documentary on D&D, its players and a bit of the history of the game.  It includes interviews gamers, writers and with members of the gaming industry, including EGG.

There where more then a handful of cringe inducing moments, quite possibly because I could relate to them.  The last part in the series has a nice EGG interview after the credits.  Altogether the 7 parts add up to about 70 minutes of viewing.

The Valentine's Day Post

So, I'm on my weekend getaway to the Poconos with my girlfriend, my son, and the g/f's dog.  Needless to say I had to pack light, but I wanted to bring a good amount of reading material with me.  Therefore I loaded up my kindle DX with all my recent RPG PDF purchases, packed up the mini-notebook, a change of clothes and here we are.

How much reading will I get in?  No idea.  My son is eager to get every possible minute of driving in (16 with a permit - and he's a fast learner).  The g/f will give me some reading time, but will I have all the time I want?  Probably not.

Anyhow, on the top of that list is the World of Onn.  I want to borrow and steal for my upcoming LL game, and although World of Onn is written for S&W I know I can find some gems.

Crap.  Looks like its time to be driven to Pizza Hut for a late lunch.  I need a longer day )

Thursday, February 11, 2010

After-Snow Day

So, I left the house with the intention to take the subway and get some reading in... but then I noticed my car was barely snowed in.  So I brushed it off, shoveled a little bit, and drove to work.

There went my idea to get some commuting reading time in on the DX.

Still, I was drawn back to The Dungeon Alphabet during my lunch.  I'm amazed at how well the DX reproduces the artwork from the book.  Might have to use the included table in my One Page Dungeon if I ever get closer to finishing it.

Oh, JoeTheLawyer has twisted my arm, so I will be at the Compleat Strategist in NYC on March 27 (damn, though it was in 2 weeks for a bit there).  Joe has the details here.  Not that my showing up is all that big a deal, but maybe a few more will show up and make it a BIG deal ;)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snowy Reading Day

Otherwise known as the Blizzard that wasn't.  I hear the wind right now, and there is some blowing snow, but its not the 15+ inches they were all harping on.  I'll be surprised if I wake up to 8 or 9 inches in the morning.

All that being said, I still had to drag my lazy ass to work today.  It was one of the rare times I wasn't driving into Manhattan.  Nope, today I enjoyed the wonders of the NYC Transit System.  Not to be confused with the NYC Transient System (although I think I did spot one homeless person keeping warm and dry and sleeping on  the train) it is better run then it was in my college days.  Probably safer too.  Probably.

Now, there was one advantage to not driving in to work (besides saving on gas):  I had about an hour to and from that I was able to read some gaming goodness on my Kindle DX.  Yes, I gripped it tight, but use it I did.

Finally got around to giving The Dungeon Alphabet a good read.  I am truly amazed at how well the artwork is reproduced on the Kindle DX.  I did have to rotate the screen orientation to make the viewed page large enough to be read comfortably, but that is a minor quibble.  I kinda lost myself in the tables and art and before I knew it it was time to change trains from the express to the local... nice little time warp.

Tonight I need to move some of my more recent  PDF purchases to the DX.  Tomorrow looks to be another train day.  I plan to make it work for me ;)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

LL Advanced Edition Companion in Hand

Lulu is a much better, if more expensive, option when I pay for FedEx instead of USPS.  My Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion in was awaiting me at my front door when I arrived home.  Which is really good, as depending on the weather report I listen to the "snow event" that is going to be arriving in NYC is going to deposit anywhere from 6 to 16 inches of the white stuff, and that will probably mess up any deliveries.

I must say it looks "damn purty" in hand.  Excellent match to the Revised Labyrinth Lord book.  I already know the contents are great... can't wait to put this pair of books to good use.

Have Carcosa in my "digital" hand.  Definitely formatted to be printed and used as a digest sized book.  Just 2 classes in this setting: Fighting Man and Sorcerer.  Sorcerer does everything a Fighting Man does, plus all the extras.  So, why be a Fighting Man?  Anyhow, need to do more then skim this.  It's only 40 odd pages so it shouldn't take too long.

If only I had the type of job that allowed one to stay home on "snow days".

Monday, February 8, 2010

Reading Time - Bedtime Stories

My Lord but I am beat today.  This should be a good nite to slip into bed early and read some more of The Majestic Wilderlands.

Just sent off my 6 bucks Supplement V: CARCOSA, The Expurgated Version   Yes, I'm mature enough to read the un-edited version, but as the initial reaction from all sides had me disregard this release back in the day, I figured I'd order the Neutered version.

 The World of Onn is going to get a re-read from me soon too.  Hmmm. wonder what kind of bizarre setting I'll be able to get from melding the three?

Damn, and Savage Swords of Athanor  Just 2 bucks for the PDF on Lulu.  Wow, 4 supplements for Swords & Wizardry.  Next week's vacation will lead to lots of reading and reviewing.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My Latest Lulus

I was feeling very anti Lulu for a while.  Back in November I ordered 5 copies of Chgowiz's Swords & Wizardry Quick Start.  Either Lulu screwed up or the postal service lost it, but I never got my shipment.  Truth to tell, it was probably the USPS... my local postal office sucks.

 Anyhow, with the coupon code floating around last month for Lulu, I figured I'd give it a shot with a more expensive (and trackable) shipping option.  Boy, I'm glad I did.

Got my 5 copies of Swords & Wizardry Quick Start, a copy of the new Revised Labyrinth Lords Rules, Swords and Wizardry White Box Edition, and Supplement VI The Majestic Wilderlands for S&W (but I'll probably borrow stuff for LL instead.  Still waiting on the Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Characters to Arrive.

I own all the above in PDF, so to purchase again in dead tree version means I plan to get much use AND bathroom reading out of them ;)  All are top notch on their own.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

When did the OSR Assimilate Me?

I'm really trying to figure out when the OSR became my style of gaming.  I cut my teeth on AD&D back in 80 or so... never really played the boxed D&D sets even though I owned most of them.  AD&D 2e was awesome... except the books fell apart way too quickly, splat books multiplied like rabbits on fertility drugs, game balance went further and further out the window...

Next thing I knew we were playing Rifts, Battlelords and other such unbalanced games... because AD&D 2e showed us that balance didn't matter.  Power mattered.  Munckin mattered.

3/3.5 was supposed to clean up 2e, but the explosion of splats and the power inflation was even worse.  I bought books and more books, but played little.  It was overwhelming and unsatisfying at the same time.

At some point I found Castles & Crusades.  It seemed damn close to AD&D of old, close enough that I didn't have to relearn all of my gaming instincts from years of AD&D gaming.  The editing was horrid tho'.  Sorry Trolls, it wasn't and (to a large extent) still isn't your strong point.

Then I heard word of something called OSRIC.  AD&D re-imagined.   Labyrinth Lord was fairly close behind.  Basic fantasy Roleplaying appeared.  Swords & Wizardry.  Holy crap, but there or some amazingly great reincarnations of the original D&D and AD&D rules out there.  Most of the rules in question were available free, or real cheap in PDF format.  And I was hooked.

4e had interested me before release, but couldn't compare to Old School gaming for me.  Pathfinder is a nice evolution of the 3.5 OGL, and Paizo's Adventure Paths are simply incredible, and I find myself reading and converting in my head to LL, and I never really was drawn to Basic D&D back in the day.

Ah well, I'm a convert.  I've been assimilated... and happy at that.

OD&DITIES - Relaunch Forthcoming

Bat in the Attic earlier today announced that OD&DITIES, a classic fanzine of OD&D, is about to relaunch at the end of this month using the Labyrinth Lords rules and the OGL.  More OSR goodness is quite simply awesome.

The plan appears to be a monthly magazine in PDF format for $2 an issue via RPGNow and quarterly compilations via LuLu. First issue should arrive around the end of February.

You can find the first 12 issues of the OD&DITIES fanzine for free here. (published and reproduced there by permission from R.E.B. Tongue)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion

Greyhawk Grognard: Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion Now Available!

Thanks for the scoop GG. I just ordered it in print from LuLuand a digital copy with art from RPGNow. You can downloaded it for free without the art too.

I had the advance copy that Labyrinth Lord Society members were given access to and I'm really psyched. Great stuff for a great game.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The OSR - Niche within a Nich

Sometimes we forget that the Old School Renaissance (OSR) is a small movement withing a relatively small hobby we call Roleplaying.  Its easy to lose sight when one forgets to look beyond their immediate surroundings.  My guess is that those interested in the OSR are involved, either actively or passively, in forums, blogs, and other online knowledge sources.  Most of out hobby isn't.  They know little beyond what they see in their game store or Amazon.

The OSR has many options for play (in no particular order):
Labyrinth Lord
Swords and Wizardry (and all of its different flavors)
Monsters and Mazes
Basic Fantasy Role Playing Game
Raven Crowking's Fantasy Game
Mutant Future

I'm sure I missed more then a few (and them as a response and I'll edit to fix) , and this isnt counting the games that are currently in the works.

Yet for all this, WotC's forthcoming Gamma World with it's noxious collectible power cards aspect will not only outsell (and I'll count free downloads as sales) Mutant Future by many powers of 10, it will also outsell our little niche IN TOTAL by a huge factor.

There is one thing WotC doesn't have tho, which our niche has in abundance:  love of the game before the bottom line.  Most of the OSR is available in PDF for free, or damn close to it.  Most of the print books are damn near close to cost.  This hobby of ours could crash and burn around us, and yet the OSR will remain.

The OSR.  It's small, but resilient.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Review - The Hideout for FG2

Short and Quick review, as the module itself is short. 

The Hideout is a Savage Worlds mini-adventure for use with the Savage Worlds Ruleset and the Fantasy Grounds 2 Virtual Table Top (VTT).

The Hideout details an encounter with Poachers (think evil Ranger types and you get close to the type) that the party might stumble between adventures.  Its a combat encounter at its heart, which will require tactical play on the part of the PCs.  A head on assault will probably be... less then successful.

It is set in White Haired Man's Kith’takharos setting, which is available in a rule agnostic format for free at White Haired Man's website.  It is very much set in the setting and is not really a stand alone encounter.  It's purpose is to fill the gap between two adventures, and it fill that gap well.

PCs can earn themselves a new enemy and might even find themselves a fairly unique magic item if they survive the encounter ;)

It might be a bit light ( the PDF, which is very well done, runs  2 pages) compared to the amount of material you get with other White Haired Man products but it packs a lot into the smaller package.

So, after all that, how does it rate?   I'd say the encounter itself is a strong 4, FG2 programing a solid 5, value is a 3.  It's a short but complete adventure that accomplishes its goal, which is to serve as a viable drop in (or intermission)  between larger adventures or story arcs .  Which averages out to a strong 4 for The Hideout, Savage Worlds Edition (just noticed they released it in OGL/3.5 too).

Thanks again to White Haired Man for giving me the opportunity to dig thru their stuff ;)
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