Thursday, February 22, 2024

Deal of the Day - Carcass Crawler: Issue Three (OSE)

I've really enjoyed Carcass Crawler thus far, but then again I like zines in general. With short articles that pack a punch, value for money is usually pretty high for zines in general, and Carcass Crawler proves the point.

The current Deal of the Day at DTRPG is Carcass Crawler: Issue Three for Old School Essentials. Normally 7.50 for 32 pages in PDF, but until tomorrow morning it is on sale for 3 bucks.

The third issue of Carcass Crawler — the official Old-School Essentials zine! Each issue is packed with new material for your games, including new character classes and races, new spells and magic items, new monsters, optional and expanded rules, referee advice, previews of in-development products, short adventures, and more!

In This Issue:

  • New classes: Five new character classes. The beast master, the dragonborn, the mutoid, the mycelian, and the tiefling.
  • New races: Four new character races for Advanced Fantasy games. The dragonborn, the mutoid, the mycelian, and the tiefling.
  • Expanded equipment: More adventuring gear, weapons, and armour, to increase adventuring options and character customisation.
  • Woodland monsters: 8 brand new monsters that lurk in the deep, shadowed glades and sacred groves of ancient forests beyond the reach of civilisation.
  • Creating monsters: Referee guidelines for creating new monsters for Old-School Essentials games. Keep the game fresh (and players on their toes) by devising your own new horrors and foes.


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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Crowdfunding - Saethor's Bane: A Dungeon Fantasy RPG Solo Adventure

It looks like several creators have moved to using BackerKit over Kickstarter. Douglas Cole/Gaming Ballistic is just the latest, and it's a topic I'll be bringing up with Doug on tonight's Talking Crit Live!

As always, I'm letting you know that I consider Doug a friend. He was part of my infamous B-Team about a decade ago, making their way through Castle of the Mad Archmage. Doug has been a guest on prior Talking Crit Lives! as well as the Random Party Generator Livestream.

I've been a fan of the GURPS System since first finding Man to Man and OrcSlayer in the mid-80s. Dungeon Fantasy sits on my bookshelf as a game I really want to be a player in, and Saethor's Bane solo adventure may be just the way to finally accomplish that goal :)

Saethor's Bane is 10 bucks in PDF and 20 bucks in Print plus PDF. Those are good, honest prices for the material you get.

You won't need a GM - you follow the branching pathways as you make choices. If these choices lead to violence, resolve conflict using the Dungeon Fantasy RPG rules.

You can still use a GM! This "solo" adventure follows the path of four mercenary soldiers who have signed up to oppose Saethor, the titular Dark Lord, by force of arms. One person can play all the roles, or several can play through the scenario, dividing roles as needed.

Use Saethor's Bane to:

  • Keep gaming when you can't get together with your usual group
  • Learn the Dungeon Fantasy RPG game rules at your own pace
  • Run players through a scenario with near-zero prep - they can experience roleplaying within moments of sitting around a table. 
  • Great for bringing in new players, or even stress-free convention play.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Free OSR - Low Fantasy Gaming (Original)

There was a period in time when I gamed on Saturday Nights. The last campaign I played with the old Saturday Night group was Low Fantasy Gaming, and it was a blast. Played well and fast, with minimal referring to the rules after getting the hang of it.

Low Fantasy Gaming (Original) is available for Free in PDF.


Low Fantasy Gaming (“LFG”) is a tabletop role-playing game built for sword & sorcery adventures in low magic worlds.

Rules Light

LFG is rules light (184 pages), with a heavy emphasis on Games Master (“GM”) rulings. It’s a hybrid of old school and modern game design, based on the 1d20 Open Game Licence.

Fast & Engaging Combat

Combat is designed to be fast and engaging, with minimal waiting between turns. Creativity is encouraged via martial exploits and magic.

Dangerous & Gritty  

Battle is genuinely dangerous and every skirmish takes a toll. The threat of serious injury or death is never far away.

A “Realistic” World

LFG worlds tend to mimic our own classical or medieval periods. Humans are the default player race. Magic and fantastic monsters exist, but are very rare. The Midlands Low Magic Sandbox Setting supplement is an example (also on DTRPG).

Dark & Dangerous Magic

Magic is not only rare, it is dark and inherently dangerous. Sorcery is a power not meant for mortals, and adventurers engage with it at their peril.

Riches & Glory

LFG is about exploring the unknown; delving into the lost places of the world to unearth new mysteries. Player characters are not epic heroes charged with saving the world; they are bold adventurers seeking riches and glory.

Open World

LFG is made for short, episodic adventures in an open world. Mechanics and random tables support GM improvisation, empowering the referee to handle any situation or side trek.

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Monday, February 19, 2024

Free OSR - White Box: Eastern Adventures

White Box: Eastern Adventures is a ruleset that had escaped my radar before today. It is essentially Oriental Adventures built on a Swords & Wizardry chassis. Freaking awesome and a great way to keep your Swords & Wizardry campaign fresh.

White Box: Eastern Adventures is free in PDF, and 4.99 in print.

Welcome to the days of old… to a time when adventurers were ordinary people, who took up this dangerous calling to accumulate hordes of treasure from monster filled dungeons.  But be warned, adventuring is truly a dangerous profession here; dungeons are filled with deadly traps and even deadlier monsters.  Most adventurers will perish on their first few adventures; those that survive have learnt the importance of knowing when to fight, when to run and when to rely on hirelings to get the job done.  Take a step forward, if you dare, and enter a world of exotic dragons, talking cats and hungry ghosts with unending appetites… take a step forward and enter the world of ‘White Box: Eastern Adventures.’

‘White Box: Eastern Adventures’ is based on the simple and creative game play mechanics of the first incarnation of the ‘World’s Most Famous Role-Playing Game’.  This game is set in a world inspired by Japanese mythology and folklore; a setting where social status and prestige are just as important as treasure and gold.  Thus, the goal of adventuring is more than accumulating wealth; it is also about gaining merit and honour in a status conscious society.


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Sunday, February 18, 2024

Do You Use Training Rules?

Do You Use Training Rules?
I really wanted to write about this new TV show I've started enjoying and introduce the d30 chart the show inspired, BUT &%$#!ing Adobe InDesign (the version I own) doesn't work with the newest version of Windows I have and I'm not subscribing, especially at the rate they want ($240 a year?!) I haven't fully evaluated it's replacement (I'm thinking Affinity Publisher 2), so that bit will have to wait a week.

Aside from this post, the only other thing I had to do is finish some homework for an online college course I'm taking. It's been a hot minute since I've been to college, but I do have a few degrees, but not anything worthy of bragging about. I've been considering a shift in my career and this course is a relatively cheap way to get some intel on that new career path, see if it feels right.

Like everything else I blather on about here, my Sunday deadline (as it was) tends to take what I'm doing and filter it through a RPG lens. The schoolwork, and my so-called-attempt to "better myself" made me think about PC's "leveling up". Most of my experience with a formal training process for PCs is with HackMaster (I'm sure someone here just groaned), and I never recall any training with my 1st or 2nd (hell, even 3.5) edition PCs. Since HackMaster is basically 50% 1st Edition, 25% 2nd Edition, and 25% the D-Team's home-rules*, I really thought that maybe formal training was part of that 25% home rules.


There isn't a lot there, but the 1st Edition DMG has less than a page (page 86 to be precise) on the level-up training process and it's little more than a quick formula for cost and if you played your PC "excellently", according to the GM you can pay twice as much and train yourself or go find a mentor and pay the set amount.

2nd Edition has even less about training, maybe half a page and is quite a bit vague. All of it is an optional rule, but there's so little to work with you might as well just do you're own thing.

Now, the HackMaster (4th Edition) GMG has the same base information, maybe explains it a bit better, but adds maybe four more pages about the types of school/mentors PCs can use. Personally, I think it's a great resource for role-playing and I'm... disappointed that it isn't available (at least legally) unless you get a second or third-hand copy. The splat-books are great too, but they tend to detail the training of PCs before they start adventuring.

Now I get it, training rules can be seen as "too crunchy" by some, I'm assuming most since they went from a robust single page, to a half page, to (checking 3.5....and I don't have a copy of that) nothing (I'm guessing)? I don't think training rules are too much myself, and they can add a lot of role-playing possibilities. Making contacts, using up PC/Party resources, and possibly even introducing more opportunities for adventure.

Hmm....I think I could probably do a d30 table on that, but right off the bat I don't think I'd improve what's already out there......

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Humble Bundle - Paranoia 25th Anniversary RPG MegaBundle

I have many fond memories of the Paranoia RPG, such as: not getting dice in my 1st Edition boxed set and writing West End Games a request for the missing dice. Instead, I got a letter written by Ken Rolsen with The Computer telling me to turn myself in for termination and a secret society transmission interrupting the letter. I remember playtesting Hill Sector Blues one summer evening in the WEG offices in Manhattan, wondering whose desk I was sitting at. I remember my group passing dozens of notes per game session. Those were the days :)

Over on Humble Bundle, they are offering Mongoose's Paranoia 25th Anniversary RPG MegaBundle. 32 Paranoia releases for 18 bucks, including many classics updated to the 25th Anniversary ruleset. Needless to say, I'm all in. Heh. 

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Friday, February 16, 2024

Free RPG - Tomb of the Serpent Kings - (OSR Dungeon Adventure)

Need an adventure for new players to the OSR genre? Need something for a new DM to wet their teeth on? Tomb of the Serpent Kings is what you need, and it's free in PDF and at cost in print.

People keep asking for "beginner" dungeons. Everyone can name "classic" dungeons - Tomb of Horrors, Barrier Peaks, The Temple of Elemental Evil, etc. - but for those adventures to make sense, there needs to be some sort of introduction.

It's like all the adventures we have are Bach concertos. People keep writing amazing works of staggering genius, but someone needs to write a book on how to play the piano.

I had the same questions, and since I couldn't find anything satisfactory, I decided to write the kind of dungeon I would have loved to find. I wanted to write the best basic old-school dungeon for new players that I could, and I also wanted to show the design process. And since people keep referring to it, I figured I'd put up a fancy print version.

Tomb of the Serpent Kings is designed to be easy to adapt to your system of choice to create an old-school dungeon-crawling tomb-robbing experience.

The PDF is free and licensed under Creative Commons NC-BY-SA. Hack it, share it, and translate it (there are French, German, and Spanish translations available on my blog). 


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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Free RPG - Classic Traveller (Facsimile Edition)

Yep, it looks like I'm diving neck-deep into DTRPG's Free Games Section. Not sure when I'll get a chance to come up for breath ;)

Today's Free RPG is none other than Classic Traveller, Facsimile Edition. Yep, the very game you could die in character generation, yours for the amazingly cheap price of FREE! :)

This is the original text of the 1981 edition of Classic Traveller based on page image Scans.

It includes Books 1-2-3, with errata and corrections inserted (where possible; and additional material in an errata appendix). This text is essentially an errata corrected edition faithful to the original Classic Traveller of the early 1980's.

The PDF has been OCR'ed. Margins are upgraded to 6x9 (from 5-1/2 x 8-1/2) for better margins.

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Bundle of Holding - Knock! Zine

For the uninitiated, Knock! is technically an OSR zine, but it is damn near textbook-sized, even if it is also digest-sized. As an FYI, Knock! is 22.50 in PDF at DTRPG, so 17.95 for three issues of Knock! is damn amazing!

Knock knock, adventurer! This all-new KNOCK! Magazine Bundle presents three digital issues of KNOCK!, the Merry Mushmen's magazine for old-school tabletop fantasy roleplaying games. Dubbed "an Adventure Gaming Bric-à-Brac and a Compendium of Miscellanea for Old School RPGs," KNOCK! showcases kickass layouts, dazzling color, and a barrage of articles, essays, tables, rules, maps, monster stats, and adventures that range from weird to – well, no, they're all uniformly weird. Every overstuffed 200+-page issue features the most audacious designers in the Old School Revival. Keep these lavish ebooks close by for perusing, daydreaming, and prepping your next session.

For just US$17.95 you get all three magazine issues in our KNOCK! Collection (retail value $69) as DRM-free ebooks, including KNOCK! Magazine issue #1, KNOCK! issue #2, and KNOCK! issue #3.


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Tuesday, February 13, 2024

DragonSlayer - Bard Class - Work In Progress

Artwork © 2015 Dean Spencer, used with permission. All rights reserved.

I've been wanting a Bard Class for DragonSlayer since Greg first passed me a Beta Copy of DragonSlayer in late 2023.

Note, the Song/Spell list is NOT complete and needs third through fifth level Songs to be added.


Ability Requirement: Int 12, Dex 13, Cha 15 

Race & Level Limit: Human U, Elf 7, Halfling 6, Half-Elf 8

Prime Requisite: Dex and Cha

Hit Dice: d6

Starting Gold Pieces: 2-120 (2d6x10)

Bards, often also known as Skalds, are the storytellers and lyrists of the world. They are well-traveled, as you never want to perform at the same establishment two nights in a row. 

Role: Bards are secondary fighters and competent spell casters.

Expo Chart: As Per Assassin

Attack Bonus: As Per Thief

Languages: All Bards speak a language which is known as Bardic Cant, a form of poetry and rhyme their songs are cast/performed with. Bards gain a new language at every odd level, starting at 3rd level. The language chosen must be one that the Bard has encountered during their travels.

Weapons and Armor: A Bard may not use two-handed melee weapons. Bards may wear chain mail, leather, or studded leather armor. They may not use shields.

Thief Abilities: A Bard may Pick Pockets and Hear Noise as a Thief of the same level. A Bard may only Pick Pockets when wearing leather armor or no armor. Bards may also use the PickPockets skill for sleight of hand, such as magic tricks on stage.

Font of (Useless) Knowledge - Bards learn things during their travels. This knowledge may or may not be useful, and is often esoteric in nature. The chance for the bard to have relevant knowledge is equal to a Thief's Appraise Skill for that level. So, at 1st Level the chance is 2 in 6, at 3rd Level it is 3 in 6, at 6th level it's 4 in 6, and at 10th level, it's 5 in 6.

Read Languages - Bards have an innate skill with the written word, and pick up bits and pieces of various languages and common phrases during their travels. This skill is similar to the Font of (Useless) Knowledge ability and progresses in skill in the same manner. It can be used to comprehend street signs, store signage, dungeon graffiti, and most warning language, but would likely not reveal much more than the title of a book without hours if not days, of study (DM fiat for the win).

Charm: A Bard may attempt to charm a person, like the Magic-User spell, once per week at 1st level. At 6th level Bards gain a second attempt per week.

Inspiring Performance: Once per day, the Bard can perform a song, poem, or dance that grants a +1 bonus to attack rolls and saving throws to all allies within earshot for 10 minutes. While performing, the Bard can fight, but not cast any songs/spells without prematurely losing the bonus for their allies.

Bards Songs (Spells), Scrolls, and Memorization Limit: Bards can cast songs or chants from the Bard Song List starting at 3rd level, and follow the Spell Progression Chart of the Monk Class

Bards can cast Cleric or Magic-User Scrolls of spells on their song list, with a 20% chance (+5% per spell level) of a miscast or lost casting, due to incomplete knowledge of the source material.

Bards start with two known songs or chants of first level upon attaining their level as a Bard. Bards gain one additional song for their repertoire with each additional level, and may learn additional songs from other Bards (for a fee) or songbooks they may find during their career.

Bards do not memorize their songs or prepare them ahead of time. Instead, they perform songs from their known repertoire at will, up to their limit for that day, without repeating any song during that day.

Bards do not get Bonus Songs for high ability scores

Traveler: May only keep what they can carry.

Bard Song List:

Level 1

Audible Glammer

Charm Person

Comprehend Languages


Dancing Lights

Faerie Fire


Remove Fear 



Level 2

Darkness (15')


Detect Charm


Magic Mouth



Silence (15')

Level 3


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Monday, February 12, 2024

DragonSlayer - A Look at Languages (finding the unexpected)

Languages play a major if unsung part in the Dragonslayer RPG. I noticed this as I read. Unlike most traditional OSR RPGs, not every playable race speaks common by default. Additionally, an intelligence of 13 is required to learn an additional language.

Here are the languages in DragonSlayer spoken by playable race:

Humans – Common

Cyclopsmen – Suul

Dwarves – Dwarven

Elves – Elvish & Common

Gnomes– Gnomish

Halflings – Halfling & Common

Half-Elf – Elvish & Common

Half-Orc – Orcish & Common

So, Cyclopsmen and Dwarves are likely isolationist by nature. Gnomes, I'm not so sure. In any case, as written, PC's of these races will need an Intelligence of 13 or more to speak common.

Integrated parties have some potential issues...

For me, I'd assume that PCs of Cyclopsmen, Dwarven, and Gnomish background have spent time in a human-majority society and have learned common, likely with a noticeable foreign accent.

Sorry, I play most of my RPG sessions via VTT and I'm not a fan of pantomime ;)

Additional languages are spoken by certain classes:

Clerics, Druids, and Monks speak Ancient Common (akin to Latin). Although Paladins and Rangers get Clerical and Druidical spell access at higher level, they do not learn Ancient Common as a bonus language.

Magic-Users and Illusionists have Black Tongue as a Bonus Language.

Thieves gain Thieves Cant.

So, a Halfling multi-classed Cleric/Thief with an Intelligence of 10 (no bonus language slots) would have Common, Halfing, Ancient Common, and Thieve's Cant as their starting languages.

It's similar for a multi-classed Magic-User/Thief, starting with Common, Elvish, Dark Tongue, and Thieves Cant.

Yep, giving Dwarven, Gnomish, and Cyclopsman PCs access to the Common tongue won't unbalance the game, but making it so most characters of those races don't speak common, especially in their own closed societies, makes sense and likely fits most settings.

Time to dig some more...

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Sunday, February 11, 2024

Does the Stat Rolling Method Really Matter?

Does the Stat Rolling Method Really Matter?
This last few weeks I've been seeing a lot of reposts of this picture, almost a meme(?) and it really got me thinking about all of the ways I've rolled up PCs and how much it actually matters.

My conclusion is that it really depends on the game, but players generally want higher-statted PCs, which makes sense because who wants to play a nobody?

Now with the older (I'm thinking B/X) having less than optimal stats weren't a big deal and the difference between a low stat and a high stat wasn't worth getting too worked up over. Of course it felt like there was some stat-creep in later editions and even that made sense to me. With all of this different classes coming out that had specific high(er) stat requirements. It seemed to me that the straight 3d6 (in order) soon moved to a straight 4d6 (drop the lowest) to 4d6 (drop the lowest) arrange as you want. I'm not going to look it up, but I also recall AD&D having alternate rolling methodologies (in the DMG perhaps) to help possibly get players the types of PCs they wanted.

When I migrated to HackMaster (4th Edition) stats went back to straight 3d6, but there was an additional fractional added (so a 3d6 + 1d100%) and you could buy fractional rolls with building points. Of course there was a cost that you maybe didn't want to pay, but it could help you get into that PC class you wanted. Knowing that as you leveled you'd get some fractional increases helped as well and there were some odd circumstances that could build you up as well. For example I really lucked out with my Double Specialist Invoker in that my school results gave me a +3 Intelligence, so I was rocking a 21 Intelligence.

Actually having a PC much, much smarter than me wasn't all it was cracked up to be as I couldn't actually access that intelligence as much as you'd think. Have to answer a riddle? Eff me man, I can't figure it out, but my PC is likely the smartest dude on the continent, if not the planet....he should be able to figure it out.

With the newer version of HackMaster gives you options, but you pay for them: straight 3d6 +1d100% gets you a nice bump in Building Points, swap two stats of the "straight 3d6" for only a 25 Build Point bonus, or just arrange the "straight 3d6" as you like for no Build Points. It also has a rule about if two of your stats are 5 or less or none above 13 you can start over (Shopkeep Rule) otherwise any other valid set of rolls have to be played/used for one session before retiring the PC from play.

For one of my PCs I had just about a set of Gawd-rolls. That kind of sucked actually. I do not remember what the straight 3d6 rolls were, but with the options given I could have conceivably chosen any race/class I wanted. The rolls were good enough that if not for the fact that two other GMs actually witnessed the rolls, I don't think I'd have been allowed to play that PC at someone else's table for fear of being suspected of cheating. The part that sucked about the rolls is that I just had too many options. This was pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I had a bit of decision paralysis about it. Ultimately I didn't make that choice myself. Instead I queried the group as to what they think we needed most, which was a tank. I ended up making the tankiest tank I could: Dwarven Fighter.

I haven't gotten to play this PC in years (kind of sad about it because I had a helluva lot of fun playing this PC, and not because of his ability scores!) but his current stats (mind you he gets some % bumps when leveling) at 9th level are off to the side.

His CON has a +4 bump from race that is offset by -2 bumps to Looks and Charisma. 

Now I'm not bragging about this PC or anything, just I think that there's a lot of range on what can be rolled, methodology-wise and there really isn't a good reason to hate on any particular method. I think the options given are usually there to make playing a PC one wants to play, viable. The simple straight 3d6 worked great when it didn't really matter too much.

Hell, lately...especially at a convention, I've just been rolling some d30's to quick generate stats based on the d30 DM Companion. I think the method used doesn't matter unless it results in too-high of a power level than what the players & GM want to see.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Kickstarter - The Lair of the Bog Lich (OSR/ZineQuest)

A boggy OSR micro-adventure Zine for 1st-level characters.

Tis the most abundant time of year for OSR - ZineQuest is here! For about 9 bucks shipped, you can snag a physical copy of The Lair of the Bog Lich Zine.

The Lair of the Bog Lich is a micro-adventure zine made for all manner of OSR and OSR-adjacent systems. It is set deep within a bubbling swamp in the hinterlands of the realm where an unseen menace is stealing villagers away in their sleep.

What's Inside?

  • The Lair, an underground heap where the bog lich goes about its sinister machinations.
  • Adventure hooks to allow for easy integration into any campaign.
  • Random encounters to spice up the journey to the Lair.
  • Hand-illustrated map of the Lair.
  • 8+ random tables to provide some suitably swampy flavour.
  • 3 mud-encrusted foes to fight, including the titular bog lich.
  • Sinister Illustrations by Simone Tammetta.


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Friday, February 9, 2024

New Release - City Encounters for Swords & Wizardry

In my experience, city adventures are some of the hardest to run. It's like a mini sandbox, with something potentially happening around every corner and in every storefront. There is so much that COULD happen, you seem to either over-prepare for the session or are woefully underprepared for it.

City Encounters is just what I need. I just ordered the Print plus PDF for 25 bucks. The PDF only is 10 bucks.

I'll add a review after I get my print copy.

Running a freewheeling city adventure can be hard work, but this book gives you a powerful resource for handling interactions with non-player characters — their names, objectives, abilities, and quirky activities! City Encounters provides 200 daytime encounters and 200 night-time encounters for your characters to run into while exploring the city. Plus, each of the encounters has several alternative possibilities involved, so you can adapt the encounter to your players or use the same encounter more than once with a different alternative. Encounters that can lead to adventures are cross-referenced to let you find the other NPCs who might be involved in an ongoing situation, and there are several possible “recurring” villains, heroes, and weirdos to battle, assist, and befriend.

Enter a city filled with anarchists, arsonists, sorcery, skullduggery, factional conflict, and necromancy!

This is the OSR version of City Encounters, written for Swords & Wizardry but easily usable with systems including OD&D, AD&D (1E), B/X, OSE and others!


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Thursday, February 8, 2024

Kickstarter - Gary's Appendix: Issue 5 (OSE/Zine Quest)

Jeff Jones is the main man behind Gary's Appendix Zine. Jeff is a friend of mine, and he laid out the first two issues of Torchlight (and the only issues thus far) as well as the as-yet-unpublished Continual Light RPG - Digest Edition. Simply put, Jeff does good work.

Gary's Appendix: Issue 5 is the fifth entry in the series. It's 3 bucks in PDF, and 16 bucks - plus shipping - for print plus PDF. If you need to catch up, all five issues can be snagged for 5 bucks in PDF.

Investigation Themed Adventures, by Travis Miller

The old school play method that encourages players to engage with the diegetic elements of the game world makes games like OSE perfectly suited to investigations even though it isn’t obvious looking at the rules. This is my method of creating investigative adventures.

A Case for Using Wandering Monsters, by John Kaniecki

In the good old days, the DM rolled the die six every three turns, and when a one came up, he smiled as it indicated wandering monsters. The Dungeon Master's Guide had a collection of monsters that were potential candidates for running into. The selection of these monsters and the number appearing were all determined by random. Over time the game improved. It is more fun-oriented as well as complex. In light of this, let us turn our thoughts to wandering monsters. What is the purpose of wandering monsters?

Legends of the Supernatural Pt. 2, by Dave Semark

We return to the supernatural history of Britain and Ireland, with another look at myths and legends that have fascinated me and have often been the source of role-playing hooks and scenario ideas. As with the first installment, these legends are all based on an established history, myth, or legend—or combination of all three—and I have taken a big pinch of artistic license to add to the role- playing game feel.

Hiring a Spy, by John Kaniecki

Spying is a murky world of shadows, or so we are led to believe. In a fantasy role-playing game, it opens the door to intrigue and adventure. How are we to handle spies? 

Governments: Part 1, by Hannah Wolfram

Since the dawn of time, humans have created social structures in order to survive. While these small societies likely started as family groups, they continually evolved and expanded as humanity’s needs changed, eventually developing laws and moral codes under which members were expected to live. To enforce these standards, humans created governments.

What is in a Cube?, by Zac Goins

As go-to dungeon and sewer sweepers, gelatinous cubes spend their days, nights, and weekends picking the bones of an area clean. Since dungeons and sewers are also the favorite haunts of the worst ne'er do wells and the adventurers who stalk them, there’s bound to be a bevy of bodies and gear in near constant supply. Fortunately for adventurers, ne’er do wells and other adventuring parties just so happen to often carry the best sorts of loot. 

The Bestiary, by Jeff Jones

Each issue, Jeff works his way through another section of the OSE bestiary and expands the information and GM toolkit for each entry. For this issue, the following creatures are covered:

* Centipede, Giant  *  Dryad  *  Crocodile  *  Driver Ant  *  Gelatinous Cube  *  Gnoll  *  Harpy  *  Hydra

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Wednesday, February 7, 2024

New Release - DragonSlayer (OSR RPG)

DragonSlayer is Greg Gillespie's new OSR ruleset. It's a bit of Basic D&D, mixed with some AD&D, flavored with pure Gillespie. Greg had been kind enough to give me a pre-release copy of the rules to review in December, and I was floored. 

Dragonslayer is the OSR ruleset that I want to run OVER my own Swords & Wizardry Light. I want to run it AND I want to play it :)

Now to await my hardcover from the DragonSlayer Kickstarter.

Hearken back to the Golden Age of Role-playing Games!

Journey into a realm of myth and magic, where ancient legends and terrifying monsters come to life, and adventure awaits...

Inspired by the timeless role-playing tradition of the 1980s, this ruleset seamlessly integrates the simplicity of B/X with the chrome of First Edition. The book includes every you need: races, classes spell, monsters, and treasure, combined in a single volume. 

The book includes cover art by Jeff Easley and interior art by Darlene, Diesel, Kennon James, Peter Pagano, and many others.

Welcome to Dragonslayer!

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Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Kickstarter - Wizard Van (James Spahn)

I've known James Spahn for over a decade. He is one of the most prolific, talented, imaginative creators in the RPG industry. He's worked on IPs including Star Wars, Star Trek, The One Ring, Swords & Wizardry (and variations thereof), Labyrinth Lord, Pathfinder, 5e... the list goes on. James co-wrote Swords and Wizardry Continual Light with me and I am forever in his debt. Just so you know where I stand with James ;)

Wizard Van is James' first Kickstarter. Seriously, unheard of these days for someone that self-publishes NOT but it's true. Wizard Van is a psychedelic rockin' RPG. Print plus PDF is 10 plus shipping, PDF only is 5 bucks.

Wizard Van is a 22 page 'zine and a complete roleplaying game. Character creation can be done in seconds, whether you scrawl it down on a bar napkin or use the Liner Notes in the back of the book.

You will choose your Band, the music group or solo artist that is your guiding star. Their music will be your inspiration as you play the game and when the right song is playing, your dice rolls will get bonuses. 

Your love of Rock n' Roll impacts how the game is played. If you, the player, are wearing a shirt featuring your Band, have a ticket stub from an old show, or even a tattoo, you get bonuses in play!

Got a t-shirt with The Band on it? Wear it for bonuses in game! Got some rad ink etched on your flesh to commemorate your love of The Band? Well, that counts for a helluva lot in the world of Wizard Van. Got some ticket stubs or a guitar pick you got at one of their concerts? That talisman of rock will be your guiding star as you play!

Designed for one-on-one play and traditional group play. 

Sound Both Inspired and Original

In addition to the zine, whether you back for a PDF or a physical copy of Wizard Van you will get a digital download of the latest single from prolific rockers and gaming devotees Loot the Body. This original song (aptly titled "Wizard Van") was specially commissioned for the game and will get you rocking whether you're at the table or simply headbanging to your favorite mix tape.

Wizard Van also includes a list of bands that inspired the game. You can choose one as The Band that inspires your Rock n' Roll Hero, or simply expand your musical horizons with some amazing tunes that you've unearthed like an alien aural treasure.

DTRPGAmazon, and Humble Bundle are affiliate programs that support The Tavern.  You can catch the daily Tavern Chat cast on YouTube - Tenkar 

Monday, February 5, 2024

Bundle of Holding - Early Champions

The first Supers RPG I picked up back in the 80s was Champions. Sure my friends owned V&V and Marvel Super Heroes. In truth, we could never settle on a Supers ruleset, not even once I picked up Mayfair's DC Heroes. So many rulesets and we never played more than a session of any single ruleset.

One of the bundles on Bundle of Holding is Early Champions for $14.95. It includes all first three editions of rulesets, adventures, GM screens, and more. 

Be a Hero! This revived November 2018 Early Champions Bundle once again presents nearly three dozen tabletop roleplaying game .PDF ebooks featuring the groundbreaking early rules, supplements, and adventures for Champions, The Super Roleplaying Game from Hero Games. This giant revival (one of two now in progress) presents every book for the First (1981), Second (1982), and Third (1984) Editions of Champions.

For just US$14.95 you get all thirteen titles in this revived offer's phenomenal Core Collection (retail value $73.50) as DRM-free ebooks, including the Champions core rulebook in its First (1981), Second (1982), and Third (1984) Editions (plus the introductory adventure "Viper's Nest" and the original "Rose's" combat map); the jam-packed rules expansions Champions II First Edition, Champions II Second Edition, and Champions III; no less than five collections in the popular Enemies series (Enemies First Edition, Enemies Revised for Second Edition, Enemies II, Enemies III, Enemies: Villainy Unbound, and Enemies: The International File); the Gadgets! book of weaponry and equipment; and the Gamemaster Screens for First Edition and Third Edition, the latter including the insert booklet with the Third Edition version of the famous Champions scenario "The Island of Doctor Destroyer."

And if you pay more than the threshold price of $28.35, you'll level up and also get this revival's entire Bonus Collection with fourteen more titles worth an additional $110:

  • Three famous genre sourcebooks: Strike Force and Super-Agents by Aaron Allston and The Golden Age of Champions (the version for Champions Third Edition) by Chris Cloutier
  • Five Organization Books: PRIMUS and Demon, The Blood & Dr. McQuark, The Circle and M.E.T.E., CLOWN, and Red Doom
  • Early adventures for First and Second Edition: Deathstroke, Escape From Stronghold, and The Great Super-Villain Contest
  • Adventures for Third Edition: Atlas Unleashed, The Coriolis Effect, Neutral Ground, Scourge From the Deep, Target: Hero To Serve and Protect, VOICE of Doom, and Wrath of the Seven Horsemen
  • Autoduel Champions, the licensed supplement from Steve Jackson Games that combined Champions and Car Wars.


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Sunday, February 4, 2024

I'm on the Lookout for a new PC Sheet

I'm on the Lookout for a new PC Sheet
This last week I started my spring cleanup of files on my computer(s)....which is a HUGE chore because I have a few computers...and by a few I mean I never bothered to count, but I'm sure it's upwards of 40+. Yes, I have a bit of a problem....add it to the list.

Anyway, I noticed I have a lot of PC sheets. While I'd say half are my various PCs from across a wide berth of game systems (mostly OSR or OSRish) and the other half are various pregens I've had to come up with over the years. Thumbing through the various files....I have excel PC sheets, PDF Sheets, Word sheets, "paper" sheets that have been scanned, you name it.

I've tried my hand a few times at making my own sheets, even going so far as to create a "artsy-fartsy" PC sheet for what was more of a one-off character that lasted maybe three sessions before a TPK. While I can do a technical sheet (like an Excel sheet or a PDF form) when I need to, I'm not very good at the "pretty" or "artistic" PC sheet. I'm just not that type of creative (although I have tried, although I cannot find evidence of those efforts.....yet) and I get a bit jealous of those who can. Folks like JV West and ...JV West (I didn't realize he did several of the PC sheets that I thought were from different artists). Every once in a while I search for new, "cool" PC Sheets, but I usually go back to the simpler, more technical sheets I have most of my PCs on.

It took me a long-assed while, but I figured out I prefer to use a physical sheet, but I WANT/NEED to have electronic copies of my PCs. What usually happens is I find an acceptable sheet, and tweak it so that it is a PDF form. I'll either use a blank sheet then transfer to the PDF and save an electronic copy, giving me the best of both worlds. I like being able to look back at the level progression of some of my PCs....I say "some" 'cause I'm only counting the ones that are allegedly still alive somewhere......

I'm currently on the lookout for a new PC sheet, hopefully something a little more....colorful. I'll probably still use my old standby sheets for long-term record keeping, but I'd like to have something...."fun" for use at the table. I'm totally open to suggestions.....

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Humble Bundle - Cyberpunk RED and Classic Mega Bundle

I first came across Cyberpunk 2020 shortly after it came out in the late 80s. Although I didn't read much science fiction at the time, I had seen the covers of various cyberpunk novels at B. Dalton's, and the concept intrigued me. I don't believe I ever had a chance to run Cyberpunk 2020, but that was more due to the plethora of games my gaming group already owned that lack of interest.

The current Cyberpunk RED and Classic Mega Bundle over at the Humble Bundle Store should scratch all of your Cyberpunk needs. With the core books for Cyberpunk RED, Cyberpunk 2020, as well as the Cyberpunk Red Jump Kit and a total of 20 more supplements for both systems (price at 18 bucks), the cyberpunk in all of us should be satiated ;)

Calling all solos, netrunners, and rockerboys—it’s time to bring the edgy allure and explosive excitement of the legendary Cyberpunk pen and paper RPG to your table! This bundle is bursting at the seams with all the rulebooks, sourcebooks, and more that you’ll need to play both Cyberpunk RED —the latest edition of the seminal RPG—as well as Cyberpunk 2020, the classic that started it all. You’ll get over 20 books and game aids for both editions, including the Interface RED Volume 3 sourcebook, packed with new weapons, gear, rules, and more, and available for the first time anywhere as part of this bundle! Pay what you want for all the tools you need to take Night City by storm, and help support Children's Miracle Network Hospitals with your purchase.

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