Saturday, September 27, 2014

The OSR for the Lapsed Gamer - Send in the Clones, There Ought to be Clones

So, the more I looked the more I found OSR RPGs that use Swords & Wizardry as their core (as well as RPGs that used other clones as their core, and a whole boatload of clones and derived systems.) A whole lotta games.

Where did I find such a listing?


Never heard of it? Neither had I. But my, it is a site of link goodness for clones and derived games of ALL editions of D&D. Yes, even 4th.

It includes a list of 16 RPGs that are built upon the Swords & Wizardry Rules and 3 built off of the Labyrinth Lord rules

Then there are the clones built directly off of OD&D, Basic and AD&D 1e and 2e. About 60 or so. not including the games listed at the end that branch off a bit further but still have solid roots in D&D mechanics.

There is a lot to dig through, some of which is totally new to me.

I'll be cherry picking some of the free ones for the final parts of the first section of the OSR for the Lapsed Gamer series of posts, but I see no reason why one couldn't jump ahead and find a gem or two on their own.

The OSR for the Lapsed Gamer - Free PDFs - Swords & Wizardry

What can I say about Swords & Wizardry that I haven't said before?

It seeks to emulate the original edition of D&D - the White Box. Depending on the flavor you choose, it also grabs inspiration from the various OD&D supplements.

Swords & Wizardry White Box emulates what it says on the tin - the original edition of D&D without digging into the supplements. Biggest shock to most gamers? No thief class, just clerics, fighters and magic-users.

Swords & Wizardry Core was the first of the Swords & Wizardry "trilogy" to be releases. It includes the thief class and will be more familiar in feel for those that played Basic D&D.

Swords & Wizardry Complete was the last of the "core" rulebooks to be released. The PDF went free last November. This includes all of the classes AD&D players (or those that played with all of the OD&D supplements) would be familiar with, with the exception of the illusionist.

Probably one of the attractions of Swords & Wizardry is that both the Core and White Box rules are available in RTF format - which means one can design their own game using the S&W rules in an editable document or create a house ruled document to distribute to your gaming group.

Here's a short list of S&W derived games (and I know I'm missing more than a few so help a brother out and add them to the comments below):

The World of Onn, Crypts & Things, Renegade, Corruption, Woodland Warriors, Ruins & Ronin, Blood & Bullets, Ancient Mysteries & Lost Treasures, Sabres & Witchery and Pars Fortuna(these will get covered to a lesser extend further on in this series of posts)

Probably the biggest change in Swords & Wizardry from the originals it seeks to emulate is the single saving throw. I wasn't a fan of the change when I first found S&W, but after having run and played with the single save for well over a year, it's fine in practice. Another noticeable change is that Armor Class is expressed in both ascending and descending order, so you can use either depending on the preference of your group.

Swords & Wizardry is strongly supported by Frog God Games.

Swords & Wizardry White Box Rules (free PDF / RTF, print $9.99 SC, $18.99 HC Lulu)

Swords & Wizardry Core Rules (free PDF / RTF, print $14 SC, $24 HC Lulu)

Swords & Wizardry Complete (free PDF, print $34.99 Frog God Games)

Friday, September 26, 2014

No Good Deed Goes Un-Pundited

Apparently, The RPG Pundit has taken offense to my series of posts about The OSR for the Lapsed Gamer. Somehow, I'm involved in revising history and defining the OSR in lieu of his own definition of it.

I figured I'd explain my thought process for those like the Pundit that feel it's necessary to assign me motivations that aren't my own.

Lapsed gamers from the "golden age" of gaming, roughly prior to 2000, the year D&D 3e released, are most likely (not all, obviously, but those that have found The Tavern after years away from gaming aren't likely to have been VtM players) to have been players of 2e or earlier. These are the editions covered by the basic "retroclones."  Strangely enough, this is what I blog about.

The retroclones are generally rewrites of the originals that are, at the very least (and IMHO), better organized and easier to digest. Initially, I'm highlighting the retroclones of the various D&D editions that are free in PDF. Afterwards, I'll mention "other old school" RPGs that are free in PDF, like the free Tunnels & Trolls quickstart, Stars Without Number, Legends (Fantasy Trip) and similar titles.

After the free in PDF RPGs, we move on to the clones that are only available at some sort of cost, like ACKS and DCC. Then, we'll move on to the other clones and / or still in print RPGs, like Tunnels & Trolls, Traveller, Runequest, OpenQuest and others.

As for Encounter Critical and Mazes & Monsters, they would fall into the "other old school RPGs."

Why am I doing this? Because there is an interest in it and I enjoy doing it.

For those that aren't interested in this series of posts and find it offensive that I may leave out your favorite but obscure game, so be it. It's not for everyone and it is not intended to be a history lesson of the OSR. It's more like individual snapshots in time and space.

The Brainstorm Podcast #4 Released Today - And it's now on iTunes

Yep, you can now listen to the Brainstorm Podcast via iTunes.

So, what are you waiting for? Listen to +Vincent Florio , +Glen Hallstrom and myself talk about gaming shit stuff.

The OSR Gaming Forums Take it up a Notch - Now I Might ACTUALLY find a use for a Forum

Over the past weekend the OSR Gaming forums were down. Whether it was a DOS or just an internet hiccup, I don't know. I do know that it prodded +Vincent Florio to take another look at his OSR Gaming Forums set up, and from what I can tell, the revised forums turned it up to eleven (yes, obligatory Spinal tap reference included.)

So, what's new?

- a real time IM system - so I can harass those that are currently reading the forums when I log in. Huzzah!

- dice rollers - so you can run games in the forums, use it for character generation for your non-forum game, play some craps, etc.

- all posts have +1 Google plus feature - I'm sold - G+ is my social media method of preference (although I am expanding my friends on Facebook recently) - I'll need to try this feature

- RSS Features for all forums - cool for those that use such features - I don't, cause I'm generally too lazy

- The ability to use Tapatalk from any smartphone to use the forums - I'll judge this once I've used it enough to have an opinion

- An Articles section to post up adventures, hooks, characters, etc - cool, as it kinda make the forum into an online magazine, at least in part, without calling it a magazine. Vince, how about OSR Gaming Mag for the new forum site? ;)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Taking a Look at ENWorld's Hot Roleplaying Games (Hint - the OSR places fairly well)

I stumbled across this earlier today while bouncing around the web. Very interesting numbers. I'm not surprised to see 5e having over half the the attention of gamers / posters / bloggers online, but I am surprised to see where the OSR places. A solid 5th place, right after FATE.  The thing is, if you add in OD&D and 2e to the OSR numbers, it comes it at #3.

And folks wonder if the OSR has a voice these days (well, I assume some folks wonder.)
Over 1000 sites and counting! What's the current zeitgeist? What are the hottest games being talked about right now? This isn't a list of sales figures; it tracks what's currently being talked about using a top secret algorithm. Each game is also conveniently linked to a search for discussion about it right here on EN World, should you want to find out more. The spotlight list changes from time to time. The red and green arrows show a game's general trend over the last 90 days - is it being discussed more or less than it was in the previous 90 days?

How important are Taverns in Your Campaign?

Taverns. They are a staple of fantasy roleplaying.

"You are in the tavern when a mysterious man approaches you."

"Sitting down at a table in the local tavern, a man bursts through the door and crumbles in a lifeless heap. In his right hand he holds an envelope addressed to (some random PC)."

You know the spiel. You've payed it or run it or read it in a commercial adventure countless times.

So, do you detail the taverns that get used in your games? Do you name the tavern, it's workers, the patrons, detail the food and drink and pricing? Or is it just a backdrop to kick things off for the night?

Tell us your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

and the Free Basic Fantasy RPG Print Package Goes to...

Alright, I broke out my Gamescience percentiles and ignored any results above 57.

Rolled a 05

Which means +Peter Schweighofer , you win the Basic Fantasy RPG collection of books in print.

Peter, I'll need you to contact me at tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing so I can get this sent to you via Amazon.

Thanks to all that commented. There wouldn't be a blog without the community that's has formed around it. I can't thank everyone enough.


THIS is Why I Blog

I don't blog for the money, as there is little to none to be made. If anything, it costs me money.

I don't do it for fame, because really, what fame is there to be made?

No, I do it for moments like this:
Good Morning Erik (Morning at least on the USA East Coast),  
I downloaded the free BasicFantasy and Field Guide items this morning with great delight. 
OSRIC is excellent and indeed, as you recommended, the BF array closely tracks with the feel of OSG (old school gaming? I don't know my acronyms yet).   
Both systems collectively turn my old lapsed gears and it is a wonderful feeling.  A feeling of simple joy.  What an elusive condition, simple joy: an ice cream cone when you're a kid, or tossin' the ball with your Dad, or a new bike.  New houses don't do it, fast cars don't do it, beautiful women don't do it (though we can make a strong case for them), exotic vacations, power and promotion in our careers . . . it's a long list.   
Just fucking give me simple joy.   
And I was going to buy a vineyard.   
Please tell the primary parties at OSRIC and BF how they have touched a man many miles away.  A different kind of sorcery.  I don't have a gmail account or whiddle with Facebook so I can't contribute to your comment sections.  Supply those men my email address if you like.   
I owe them money.   
Thanks again for everything.  Looking forward to Pod-2 from Tavern Radio.  
"Gnoll fritters for EVERYBODY!"
Alright. I'm done. Can't top this. Time to turn out the lights ;)

I think Swords & Wizardry is up next...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The OSR for the Lapsed Gamer - Free PDFs - Basic Fantasy RPG

Basic Fantasy RPG is pretty much a bridge between 3x and the older editions of D&D. It was the first OGL based game that was meant to emulate Old School play and be used as such (OSRIC was originally written to make it easier for publishers to write old school adventures).
What Is Basic Fantasy RPG
The Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game is a rules-light game system modeled on the classic RPG rules of the early 1980's. Though based loosely on the d20 SRD v3.5, Basic Fantasy RPG has been written largely from scratch to replicate the look, feel, and mechanics of the early RPG game systems. It is suitable for those who are fans of "old-school" game mechanics. Basic Fantasy RPG is simple enough for children in perhaps second or third grade to play, yet still has enough depth for adults as well. 
Basic Fantasy RPG is an Open Source game system, supported by dedicated fans worldwide who have contributed hundreds of pages of rules supplements, adventure modules, and other useful and enjoyable game materials...
It succeeds in this goal of replicating early D&D based RPGs very well, not just in the look, feel and mechanics but in presentation too.

Probably the most amazing thing about the Basic Fantasy RPG is the quality of the supplements and adventures, available for free in PDF and at cost in print.

How inexpensive?

Less than 11 bucks for the rules and two campaigns with multiple adventures in each. Personally, I really like BF1 Morgansfort: The Western Lands Campaign. It has a B2, Keep on the Borderlands feel while still being different

Here's what I'm going to do. One random commenter on this post will get the above three books in print sent to their home. US residents only, as this will be shipping via Amazon Prime. Don't fret, everyone can grab the above and more for free in PDF directly from the Basic Fantasy RPG website.

You need to comment by 930 PM Eastern Time, September 24th, 2014 to be considered.

Magic Shops - Do You Use Them?

There are times that I think magic shops (and their inclusion or exclusion) are one of the more controversial aspects of a campaign.

If you have one (or more) it makes magic common and no longer as special. If you have none, where do the player's sell off their excess magic (assuming they have any) or spend their gold in bulk?

I have no problem with the apothecary or scrivener adding an occasional permanent magic item to their inventory of wares, but I shudder at the idea of magic shops popping up like used car sales men:

"This here wand of fireballs was just used by the mage Bobulast to clean vermin out of his storage cellars. Hardly been used. Command word? Oh, that's an extra 50 geld."

If I did have a magic shop, I'd want it to be more like an antique shop with perhaps an anti-magic effect over the shop, preventing items from being misused against the proprietor.

"That there is a rare piece. One of a kind even. Look at the patina on that blade, shows it's age and it's heritage it does. You'd want to leave the patina. I wouldn't clean it more than a slight buffing or you'll ruin it's value. Yep, might only be a blade of minor power but it has a history well worth it's weight in gold. Er, careful with that snow globe. Iffin it drops we may find ourselves in the midst of a snow storm, magic protections or not. Remember, you break it, you bought it."

So, do you use magic shops? To what extent?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Brainstorm Podcast Episode 3 - Let's Talk Alignment

Join +Vincent Florio , +Glen Hallstrom and myself, +Erik Tenkar as we talk about alignment in your favorite editions of D&D.

Find us at the BrainStorm Podcast.

Kickstarter - Broken World - A Post-Apocalypse Tabletop RPG

Let me see if I have the lineage correct: Apocalypse World, the game without failure, just complications, begat Dungeon World, and there was much rejoicing as the hordes of fantasy role players could now play a game without failure, just complications.

And so it was that Dungeon World begat an offspring, one that would climb the no longer so high gates of the land of Kickstarter, and the offspring it left unto the Worlds was a broken one. A Broken World to be exact.

This Broken World was to be a post-apoc RPG.

Say what?

Didn't this all start with Apocalypse World, which is by it's very name "an apocalypse world?" Did we come full circle so soon? No one wanted to do a Star World or Cthulhu World or even Land Before the World?

A retread of the game that started this line of gaming? Which has already hit over $9k against a $3k goal.

Shit. I need to quit my job and roll out some games written with the Apoc Engine. Maybe tack on some fate. FATE World. Ka-Ching!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Wayward Kickstarter - CHUGS, a Collectible Drinking Card Game

What could be wrong with a collectible drinking card game?

Well, perhaps we'll start with the graphic above, where apparently they can't spell. What exactly is a "Collec Table" game anyway? I guess it's CHUGS. (edit: maybe it can be spelled both ways, but the spacing of the graphic is STILL wrong, and the "i" is more proper than the "a".)

Hey, shit happens, even when one is looking to raise $18k Canadian for a drinking game with misspellings right on the tin.

19 backers - $3,000 raised. Basic buy in for the game is 20 bucks. So, where did all of the extra money come from? Well, having a $1k backer and a $500 backer does that pretty well. That's half the current funding right there.

So, how many are in for the basic buy in of 20 bucks? 4 backers. Yes, 4.

Oh, and first created, zero backed.

Now, we only get glimpses of backers in groups of 10, so with 19 backers, we only get to see the first 10. Two of those 10 have supported previous projects - for 8, this is their first. Two have the same last name. Gee, it's like stuffing a tip jar, right? Need to put some money in so others follow.

I actually liked The Chugs CDCG Starter Kit: Includes: 1 – Starter Deck, 1 – Chugger, 6 – Chug Shots, 1 – Ugh Chug Shot Glass/cards. Estimated retail: $74.00

Guess how much it is if you want to back the project? $100. Is that some new sort of math they're teaching up in Canada?

And it's collectible in that each deck has a 31% chance of having a rare, ultra rare or autographed card in the deck. Yes, that's what makes in collectible. Or rather, "collec table."

Steer clear of CHUGS for your drinking game needs. I'd rather point you to Drinking Quest.

The OSR for the Lapsed Gamer - Free PDFs - OSRIC

OSRIC - Old School Reference and Index Compilation

Doesn't sound all that sexy when you actually break it down, does it? Well, it wasn't supposed to.

OSRIC was initially envisioned as a safe harbor for publishers that wanted to post "old school adventures." As it was a reimagining of AD&D 1e, it would allow publishers to use it as a reference for their "old school adventures", without stepping on the toes of WotC and falling back directly on Wizard's 1e IP.

It's was officially released 1/20/07 (with a preview that had released on 6/23/06)

OSRIC v2, which is the version one is most like to encounter online (or at Lulu) is written with the idea of actually being used as a reference in play, whereas OSRIC v1 was written with the idea of it being used as a reference for published material. OSRIC v2.2 is the latest version available.

It includes the usual AD&D 1e classes with the exception of the Bard (who never fit in the first place system wise) and the Monk (who was usually out of sorts setting wise). Strangely enough, Swords & Wizardry Complete includes the Monk but drops the Illusionist. Just an observation.

OSRIC is the 1e Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual rolled into one comprehensive volume. Even if you still like running with your original 1e rules, having OSRIC as an additional reference at the table doesn't hurt.

It drops Weapon Speed (which I don't recall ever being in a group that used the rule, let alone understood it.) It retains segments as a time measurement in combat and spell interruption if hit while casting.

OSRIC plays close enough to AD&D 1e that I was able to run a campaign with both 1e books and OSRIC being used at the table interchangeably. Sure, the experience point tables are tweaked a bit to change the math, but all in all, it is simply a much easier to read and understand rewrite of the original AD&D 1e rules.

Some history about the Why's and Wherefore's OSRIC (as supplied by +Guy Fullerton )

...plus the post immediately following it.




+Stuart Marshall , OSRIC's Editor in Chief, would prefer you play with your original AD&D 1e books when possible  http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1306092#p1306092

OSRIC Pocket SRD (Free PDF and OBS $13.50 POD)

OSRIC v2.2 (Free PDF and Lulu various prices POD)

OSRIC v2.2 (Black Blade Publishing $21.00 HC)

add reviews, reflections, impressions, experiences, corrections and the like to the comments below.

next up will be Basic Fantasy RPG

The OSR for the Lapsed Gamer - The Timeline

I figure if we are going to present the OSR RPGs in some sort of order, actual release dates should have some sort of influence on that order. Then the question became: "has anyone done such a list?"

The answer is yes. Thanks to +Rob Conley mentioning it on his Bat in the Attic blog a few year back, I found out that +Guy Fullerton had put together an amazingly comprehensive list - with a spreadsheet no less, that offers an OSR timeline until June of 2012. For the sake of our needs, I've filtered the list by system releases.

I'm going to use "full" release dates, not previews and such, so the initial order of the free OSR releases that are being highlighted will be:

OSRIC - 1/20/07

BFRPG 2/17/07

Labyrinth Lord 8/4/07

Swords & Wizardry 10/15/08 (note - S&W comes in 3 versions and a number of rule sets use it for the base of their variant. Each version of S&W will get it's own post. The variant rules will get a post at the end where applicable)

Dark Dungeons 5/26/10

LotFP Weird Fantasy Roleplaying 7/26/10

Mazes & Perils 8/7/12

Delving Deeper 3/18/13

BLUEHOLME Prentice Rules 1/9/13

Seven Voyages of Zylarthen 6/1/14

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