At current count, over 525 fellow gamers have asked me for emailed copies or downloaded Swords & Wizardry Complete from the DropBox link to the right of this post. 525+ copies in just over 5 days just from this blog alone.
Personally, I think the best thing +Matt Finch could have done was what he did Tuesday morning, when he announced that folks could and should email and share the file to their friends and fellow gamers. Peer marketing on some level, but genius on another. Would the distribution have been the same if the only place one could have downloaded a copy were at the Frog God's webstore? I doubt it.
The best folks for selling something, especially something that is "free", are the folks that are currently enjoying said something. You want to know "why Swords & Wizardry" or "why play OSR games", you need to go where folks are playing them, enjoying them, running them and writing about them.
Swords & Wizardry Core and Swords & Wizardry Whitebox are also free, but I'm not sure if peer to peer distribution of the PDFs is allowed. Maybe Matt will clarify, and if they are, I'll gladly add them to the download folder for those that are interested.
Labyrinth Lord, LotFP Weird Fantasy, OSRIC, Delving Deeper, Basic Fantasy RPG and others are available in free versions, but again, I'm not sure where they stand on peer to peer sharing. Imagine if you could visit a blog (this one and many others) or a forum and have a link that leads to a folder of free OSR RPGs and resources legally shared. No need to go all over the place to get the rules, but links in each product that lead back to the publisher's homepage for further products and the purchase of dead tree versions.
In a sense, crowdsharing becomes the distribution method of introduction to and expansion of the OSR.
Or maybe I've had just a tad too much Jack Daniel's Winter Jack this evening - God help my players in tonight's S&W Complete session ;)
October was not a good month for gaming, at least on my end. Actually, it wasn't much of a good month at all with all of the crap going on on my end, but such is life.
Tonight, however, there shall be gaming, and the gaming will be Swords & Wizardry. Three confirmations, two possibles and one no answer yet, but I will run tonight's session even if it kills the PCs ;)
Working on finalizing the sessions days and times for the "B Group" later this month, so hopefully November will allow me to catch up on my gaming ;)
I went a bit in depth on the "OSR Bundle of Holding" with a post earlier this week, but there is now more. So, quick recap and then I'll touch on the new stuff.
First, the basics, which you can get for as little as $3.95. This originally included:
- Swords & Wizardry Complete, the Monster Book and Eldritch Weirdness
- Tomb of the Iron God, a low level S&W Adventure
- The "OSR Toolkit":
- Labyrinth Lord No Art Edition
- LotFP Weird Fantasy No Art Edition
- Philotomy's Musings and Quick Primer of Old-School Gaming
- One-Page Dungeon Contest winners 2013
- Knockspell issue 1
- Dyson's Dodecahedron issue 1
- Graph paper (A .ZIP archive of 8.5x11" .PDFs lined in a variety of useful ways)
- And Now including 10% off your next order at the Frog God Games Store
Then we have the "pay over the average" add ons:
(average purchase price is just over $14.50 as I post this)
- Adventurer Conqueror King System
- Stonehell Dungeon plus Supplements 1 & 2
- The God That Crawls
- The Monolith From Beyond Space and Time
and now also includes:
- Demonspore, a mid level S&W Adventure
- Cyclopean Deeps 1 - the beginning of a subterranean high level S&W adventure series
I posted this originally back in April, right before the Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day, but in light of the release of S&W Complete for free in PDF, I think it bears repeating (and updating ;)
Believe me when I say I have them all in dead tree format. I have OSRIC in full size, trade paperback and the Player's Guide. I have LL and the AEC (and somewhere OEC, but I can't find it at the moment). Obviously I have Basic Fantasy RPG. Actually, I have the whole available line in print. Way too much Castles & Crusades. We all know my love for the DCC RPG. I even have Dark Dungeons in print, the Delving Deeper boxed set, Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (thank you Kickstarter) (edit) BOTH editions of LotFP's Weird Fantasy and will soon have some dead tree copies of the Greyhawk Grognards Adventures Dark & Deep shipping shortly in my grubby hands awaiting a review..
I am so deep in the OSR when I come up for breath it's for the OSR's cousin, Tunnels & Trolls (and still waiting on dT&T to ship).
So, out of all that, why Swords & Wizardry? Why, when I have been running a AD&D 1e / OSRIC campaign in Rappan Athuk am I using Swords & Wizardry and it's variant, Crypts & Things, for the second campaign? (Actually, now running a S&W Complete campaign, soon to be with multiple groups)
Because the shit works.
It's easy for lapsed gamers to pick up and feel like they haven't lost a step. I can house rule it and it doesn't break. It plays so close to the AD&D of my youth and college years (S&W Complete especially) that it continually surprises me. Just much less rules hopping than I remember. (my God but I can run it nearly without the book)
I grab and pick and steal from just about all OSR and Original resources. They seem to fit into S&W with little fuss. It may be the same with LL and the rest, but for me the ease of use fit's my expectations with S&W.
Even the single saving throw. That took me longer to adjust to, but even that seems like a natural to me now. Don't ask me why, it just does. Maybe it's the simplicity of it. At 45 46, simplicity and flexibility while remaining true to the feel of the original is an OSR hat trick for me ;)
I've had no time to devote to the Unofficial OSR Zine over the past few months, between increasing work responsibilities and the impending loss of my mother-in-law - they had said 4-6 weeks last week, but it's now day by day. So yeah, little time and many distractions.
This is the current plan for the zine and such:
1 - The Unofficial OSR Zine is officially on hold. I need to block out some major time to get it organized and I need focus - both of which are at a premium these days.
That being said, I have a collection of work, both articles and art, that were submitted. If you submitted to the Unofficial OSR Zine, drop me an email at tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom so I can send your beer money your way. Even if the zine is on hold, you should still get paid. I'll be going through my records to find who I owe, but nudging me at this time is best.
When work on the zine picks up again, I'll pay again in beer money to use your work if you wish to submit again as well as paying for new submissions.
2 - I'll be starting a new feature here at The Tavern in the meantime. The Unofficial OSR Column will (hopefully) feature guest authors and artists. Again, I'll pay in beer money (5 bucks in RPGNow Credit or Paypal per used submission). Stuff that would have fit in the zine would fit well in this feature. Stuff that has been submitted to the zine may also work well, and will get paid for both the original submission and use on the blog if you decide to post it to the blog.
Email me at tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom with your inquiries and ideas. You retain all copyright, I just get to use it on the blog until hell freezes over or some such. This serves the purpose of mixing things up, frees up some blog time for use otherwise and (hopefully) should be fun. Aiming for once or twice a week, but we'll see how it goes.
Remember, there are some awesome OSR zines out there right now, in print and PDF. Support them and they will reward you with some awesome reading :)
In any case, if you can spare some kind thoughts or prayers for my wife and her family, they'll gladly take it.
This is not an exact science, as my initial DropBox downloads were not tracked for the first 24 hrs.
Still, this is what we have:
130 email requests fulfilled. The blog page for the email requests got 650 hits and 75 pluses.
Estimating 92 downloads prior to tracking. Arbitrary number based on 825 hits for the blog page announcing the link and 92 pluses. Using the 92 pluses as the number. Could have gone with 20% of the page hits (that's how it worked for emails) which would make this 165, but that seems high.
26 downloads since the tracker went live at 4ish yesterday afternoon.
Makes 248 copies distributed, give or take 10%.
Not bad for 48 hrs ;)
Swords & Wizardry Complete - my current gaming go to rules
Now THIS is a gaming lineup. Look at the Old School Revival graphic up above. But what is an "OSR Toolkit" anyhow?
Glad you asked, because this toolkit rocks!
Labyrinth Lord (Fourth Release, 2009) - no art version, which is free but it's nice to have.
Philotomy's Musings and Quick Primer of Old-School Gaming
Two useful guides to the principles and values of the Old School Revival.
Knockspell issue 1
Magazine of the Swords & Wizardry 0e Project and old-style Original D&D gaming. This 61-page issue was the first of six issues released starting in 2008. Editor Matt Finch says, "The issue is much rougher in terms of layout than the later issues, but it epitomizes the fire and energy of the early OSR."
Dyson's Dodecahedron issue 1
The first 12-page issue of an irregular magazine by Dyson Logos focusing on Labyrinth Lord and B/X D&D clones.
A .ZIP archive of 8.5x11" .PDFs lined in a variety of useful ways.
We also have:
Swords & Wizardry Complete - my OSR ruleset of choice and just went free for all yesterday
Swords & Wizardry Monster Book
Eldritch Weirdness for S&W
Tome of the Iron God, a S&W 1-2 level adventure.
All of the above for as little as $3.95
Add about 10 more bucks and you get the following:
Adventurer Conqueror King System - the first ruleset I ran upon returning to RPGs
Stonehell with Supplements 1 and 2 - a very well done OSR style megadungeon
The God That Crawls - a disturbing adventure from LotFP
Vornheim - if my opinion on this isn't known yet, I'll leave you with a video link ;)
It's an amazing gaming value, whether one is in for 4 bucks or 14.
In the summer of 2012, Swords & Wizardry Complete was given away for free to over 17,000 supporters of the Reaper Bones Kickstarter. Think of that number for a second. Pretty huge, right? Sure, but it's a passive number. None of those 17k asked for the ruleset, so how many actually downloaded it, let alone read it or used it?
We have no idea really.
I do have some numbers from the Free Release of Swords & Wizardry Complete PDF yesterday. 116 PDF copies emailed and a bakers dozen waiting to be sent when i get home later this afternoon. Oh, and an unknown number that have downloaded from my DropBox link.
All in a bit more than a day. Just here at the Tavern. Others are spreading the love too.
These copies will be read and probably used at some point. These required interest and minimal effort to obtain, but effort none the less. Folks wanted their copies of S&W Complete and I can't blame them - it's my OSR ruleset of choice.
Now is the time for the Frogs to get the books into the hobby shops and on Amazon. The interest is there.
I need you lads to email me at tenkarsDOTtavernATgmailDOTcom so we can hook you up :)
let me know the addy you use with RPGNow, as I'll be gifting your accounts with a PDF copy - unless you plan on getting it in print - in which case I'll issue you credit you can use towards it, as the PDF is free with a print copy ;)
I've sent out over 75 copies via email thus far and more to go. I am most certainly NOT saying "don't email me". Some of your comments have put a smile on my face and I've tried to answer some of the many questions posed.
So yes, email me if you want to converse, shoot the shit or just say hello.
If you want to be impersonal, just click the awesome Erol Otus cover above and get your free Swords & Wizardry Complete rulebook in PDF. Oh, clicking is also instant gratification, and that is cool too ;)
As I've mentioned earlier, once The Lost Lands: Swords of Air Kickstarter hits 400 backers, Swords & Wizardry Complete will go completely free in PDF format. Currently my OSR ruleset of choice, this is a great gift back to the community by +Matt Finch and Frog God Games.
With 10 days left to the Kickstarter, I think it's more than a given the number will be hit and surpassed. I suspect the free S&W Complete offer won't take place until AFTER the Kickstarter has completed funding, as you haven't locked anyone in until the funding part comes to an end.
Still, a very nice gift to the gaming community at large should be coming our way fairly soon.
(We'll, I already have my copies in HC and PDF, but for the rest of you out there, this will soon be free)
I think it's just a coincidence that tomorrow, November 5th, sometime in the afternoon, Bundle of Holding is going to be offering an OSR bundle of goodness. There is no way it could be happening to coincide with my wedding anniversary, could it? ;)
What's being offered? If I told you, I'd have to kill you. Seriously. Or something. I've been sworn to secrecy.
That being said, I expect a ruleset that I've used to run a decently long campaign, possibly a megadungeon that I really need to run some day, some monsters and other goodies. Do I know anything for sure? No. But if the lineup comes close to what I expect, it should be an excellent package.
That being said, if you could put together a Bundle of OSR Goodness, what would be in it?
I submit to you that Dungeons & Dragons, The Original Boxed Set, is Amber from The Chronicles of Amber series by Roger Zelazny and all other RPGs are shadows of this original. Some shadows are closer to the original than others, but all can trace out their heritage to the OBS.
The question than becomes: If D&D is Amber, than what is the RPG based on the Chronicles of Amber. Is "Amber the RPG" itself The Courts of Chaos?
(posts that spawn a post that spawn a post that...)
Swords & Wizardry begot Crypts & Things and perhaps X-plorers and others.
+Joe D is working an an awesome houseruling of LotFP Weird Fantasy (I've seen it and played in it and it is good). In the end, it I suspect it will be a combination of houserules and setting, more of it's own thing than the rules that it is based on, but time will tell.
I play with a houseruled version of S&W Complete, which is close enough to the core rules that my house rules can fit on a single page.
At what point do houserules stand on their own as a separate set of rules?
The Minotaur for Old-School Essentials
*Requirements:* Minimum STR 9, Minimum CON 9
*Prime Requisite:* STR and CON
*Hit Dice:* 1d10
*Maximum Level:* 8
*Armor:* Leather, including shield...