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.
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