All posts by Chuck

I've been a gamer, a geek and nerd for about 30 years. Any questions?

Dungeon Delving Brown Box Edition

And another fun little game hits my radar. Yes, it says Brown Box but it’s largely compatible with your White Box games.

I know what you’re saying. Do we really need another one? Well, of course we do. As long as it adds something new. The bulk of the book has all the stuff that you would expect so there’s nothing new there. It’s the back of the book that is the real gem. There’s a ton of options, extras and tools to add to your game no matter which specific rules you happen to be using.

So let me go over some of things in the back of the book. There’s some interesting things there like Advantages and Disadvantages to the characters a little more character, Backgrounds and Talents, alternate advancement, and character generation options. Then there’s the Class Special Abilities. These are little buffs to each of the three core classes to give them a little more umph and flavor. For example, Clerics get a nice little Minor Divination ability. Fighters choose a special combat ability like Cleave or Brutal Attack. Magic-Users get a neat little Minor Magic trick which is a lot like Cantrips. You noticing there’s no Thief? Well, there’s an optional Specialist class plus Class Variants. But wait. There’s more. Sanity rules. More optional Combat and Magic Rules. And Alternate Wounds/HP rules.

I’m not done yet. Then we hit the Appendices. There’s a good little essay on old-school play. I know there’s a ton of those out there. Plus a good section on GM Advice and dealing with all sorts of special situations. And Random Tables because you can never have too few of those.

Overall, I’m really glad that I picked this up. It’s really useful for both inspiration on house rules and additions to your game or setting. Plus, like I said, Random Tables. Some of those are going to end up in my GM notebook.

You can grab Delving Deeper Brown Box at DrivethruRPG. There’s the standard version and a PWYW Art Free Version.

OSR Retrospective: Accessorize

One of the great things about the whole old-school gaming scene is the volume of supplement that are available. It really doesn’t matter which set of rules you may be using there’s plenty of “generic” supplements to help you out. Plus some of these are totally system neutral that you could use no matter what game you happen to be using.

Let me start with one that’s original. That is the best damned City supplement you’ll find and it doesn’t come from the modern era. That’s the 3rd Edition City Supplement from Chaosium.

Far as I know this isn’t available any more. So you’ll have to do some searching if you want to drum up a copy. It’s got random city encounters, building cities, and the infamous “Catch Up” tables. That’s for when the player is out but still wants some XP and stuff. Roll on the charts to see what you were doing. Of course, your character could die but that’s a risk you take. This book is standard in my GM bag when I’m running game.

The Tome of Adventure Design: This is pretty damned big book and isn’t meant to be used at the table. This is filled with inspirational charts and tables to design dungeons, villains and all sorts of things to throw into your campaign. Heck, just sitting back and reading it will start the ideas flowing.

Engineer Dungeons: This one is another aid with tables for creating dungeons. Like the Tome of Adventure design, you may not want to use it at the table but is filled with inspirational material. Sitting down with these two will let you design an adventure in an afternoon without lots of headaches.

New Big Dragon Games Unlimited Supplements: All of their stuff is pretty damned good but there’s three of them are a must haves. The d30 Sandbox Companion, d30 DM Companion, and the Creature Codex. These are great to have the table. The d30 Companions give you a wide range of random tables at your finger tips and who can’t use even more monsters to throw at the party.

Yes, I know that there are many, many more out there. Heck, I have even more on bookshelf. But I wanted to showcase what I consider the best of the best and those books that I end up using most often.

Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery: Inspiration

I didn’t do many blog posts last week. I was still recovering from the catastrophic computer failure. But good news. Files are recovered and I’m starting the editing and layout for Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery. So I figured it’s a good time to share some inspiration.

One of the things that I said early on is that I’m not trying to emulate the literary works. I’m going back to what first grabbed my attention in my youth. And that’s the tales of Conan, Thongor, Red Sonja, Marda the She Wolf and many that graced the pages of many a comic book.

And there was also a slew of movies. Let’s face it the original the original Conan the Barbarian with Arnie, was great.

There’s even more movies out there including Beastmaster, Kull, and even the Scorpion King. And don’t ever forget the classic Harryhausen Jason and the Argonauts and Sinbad movies. But those low budget flicks were fun too and yes many were very bad too.

I don’t keep this post just to inspiration from media. There’s gaming inspiration too. And some great resources out there that are worth checking out and mining for inspiration for your game.

Barbarians of Lemuria: This is the granddaddy of all Sword & Sorcery RPG’s. Just about every “What’s a good Sword & Sorcery RPG?” thread you see on the Internet mentions Barbarians of Lemuria. There’s lots of versions of this game, the Mythic and Legendary editions are the latest. And the BoL Hack is pretty darned good too.

Crypts & Things: The original edition of Crypts & Things was very close to Swords & Wizardry. The Remastered Edition does make some changes. And there’s some fine adventures especially Life & Death Zarth Edition is a good source.

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea: There’s a lot here to inspire you. All of their adventures are great. As a bonus there’s a host a free resources that are really handy. I regularly use the Drunken Debauchery table and the Random Adventure generator in my other games.

The World of Xoth: Originally, this made for Pathfinder but there are some other conversions out there. The adventures and setting material are so solidly placed in the Sword & Sorcery genre. On the Xoth website, there is slew of resources and many of their titles are available on Drivethru. Really, check these out.

I know that there are many more resources and inspirations out there but I think I’ve ranted enough here and given you enough to ponder in one day.

Hacking Mork Borg

I’ve been re-reading Mork Borg because you just really can’t get this game with one reading since it’s got all that crazy layout. I can’t help to get the vibe of much of the early Lamentations of the Flame Princess stuff. Maybe because in my free time, I’m also reading Womb Cult and Black Blade of the Demon King. Of course, my next thought was why not hack this thing. I’m going to look at this two ways.

The first thought was grabbing the underlying game mechanics which aren’t bad and use those without any of the setting material as an old-school style game. Keep the basic classes and their HD. Weapons would be no problem to convert. Armor just compare to the Mork Borg armors with standard armors. Do a little mod on the spells. And pretty much there you go. Yes, converting monsters would be the biggest pain. So while a fun project probably something better left to someone with lots of time on their hands.

The second thought and the more interesting one is take all the setting material and take it over to your rules of choice. I mean that’s easy. Most of the setting material is in the form of random tables. Random tables for starting money and equipment. That’s a time saver. The crazy optional tables for Terrible Traits, Broken Bodies, Bad Habits, and Troubling Tales add that weird twist to characters. Maybe play around with the magic spells and tables. The optional Mork Borg classes kind of have direct correlations to your basic classes. So give those a little hack.

This is just some crazy thought that popped up in my head. Maybe I’ll play around with more or maybe I’ll do something else with it. I dunno. Only time and warped imagination can tell.

OSR Retrospective: Micro-Lite

Back when I first got interested in the OSR, I stumbled upon MicroLite. Like games that I’ve written about it doesn’t emulate a specific old edition but has such a strong connection to the play style and overall philosophy that it deserves some attention.

The Microlite20 system breaks down the game mechanics to the bare minimum but no such much that everything is abstract. It’s still that standard 3 to 18 spread for attribute scores and uses the score modifiers more along the lines of 3.x. And yes, it’s got all the usual classes and races and then some. With it’s simple but familiar d20+modifier system, it’s easy for anyone used to d20 game to pick up quickly. Not only the simple system is a breeze for a GM to run and convert stuff into since it aligns well with most d20 based games.

Not only is Mircolite a simple system (only two pages of basic rules), it’s got a ton of supplements for various editions and genres. This is the gem of Microlite. Pretty much, no matter what you are thinking of running, there’s already a Mircolite version of it. And if you don’t like it then like I said, it’s so easy to convert stuff. It’s great for a con game, a one-shot, or even the “Oh crap, the regular GM can’t show up” situation. And yet despite the simplicity of the system. it can still stand up to a regular campaign. Personally, I should have included it on my list of possible online games in my New Year, New Game post.

So what about the price? That’s where it shines too. It’s PWYW on DrivethruRPG but only as a tip to the creators. That may sound sweet but it’s even sweeter. Like I said the basic rules are two pages, the Microlite RPG Complete Collection clocks in at around 2700 pages. Yes, that’s right. 2700 pages of various setting and genre rules. I don’t think that you can do better than that.

You get more info on Mircolite Nexus or on the RetroRoleplaying Site. You can pick up all these goodies on DrivethruRPG.