Category Archives: News, Rants & Reviews

OSR Retrospective: For Gold & Glory

Most of the games that I’ve written about before were clones of Original, Basic, or Advanced Editions. This makes For Gold & Glory a little different.

For Gold & Glory is clone of the the so-called “2nd Edition”. I know it’s that common and some folks have a love-hate relationship with 2nd Edition. Since it’s (as I would call it) the last of the old-school editions, it has all the races and classes that you would expect. It also has the 2nd Edition skill system which I personally thought was really weird. Since this is a core book, it doesn’t have what I really enjoyed in 2nd Ed, the class kits. In case you don’t know, the kits were sort of like the Prestige Classes in 3.x. The main difference was that for the kits, you started at 1st level as the kit class. You were a specialized version of that class.

Well, what have I done with it? Not really anything. I’m being honest here. I have much more fun messing around with something based on White Box or Basic. That doesn’t mean I haven’t sat back and read For Gold & Glory. It is a good trip down memory lane.

So should you grab it up? Well, sure. Like said, it’s a good trip down memory lane. If you want to play a game based on the 2nd Edition rules? Then here’s chance because the PDF is free on DrivethruRPG.

Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery: Monsters

This week I’m going to talk about monsters a little and where I took a couple of twists and turns on them.

First, I want to talk about game mechanics. You already have a lot to handle as a GM so I wanted to make monsters as easy to run as possible. I played a lot of 3.x but vowed never to run it and the main reason was those crazy monster stat blocks.

If you remember back to the early posts, I mentioned that I was taking inspiration from Swords & Wizardry Light and Continual Light. These two games have some of the simplest monster stat blocks around. A monster’s HD not only determines HP but also attack bonus and Saving Throw. And it does it without having to reference a table. It also codifies the common monster special abilities so you don’t have to add an entire explanation to each monster plus you can combine similar effects into one special ability. I like that.

Second, I dropped many of the standard monsters from the core book. So I dropped orcs, goblins, trolls, giants, unicorns and bunch of others. Sure you can add them to your game but I really don’t think you need another set of stats for them. I did focus on monsters I felt had a more Sword & Sorcery vibe. Serpent folk, lizard men, giant snakes, giant spiders, and undead.

Every one knows about the connection between Robert E Howard, HP Lovecraft, and Clark Ashton Smith. So I decided to add some Mythos and Mythos inspired creatures. But they are monsters. Remember, this isn’t a game about cosmic horror or existential dread. This is about brave adventurers hacking their way through an indifferent world. It’s a bit cinematic. So while those monsters are there, they aren’t mind wrenching horrors but they still are things that can rip you limb from limb.

So here’s a Shoggoth.

Armor Class: 4[15]

Hit Dice: 9

Attacks: 2 Pseudopods (2d6)

Move: Slow

Special: Regenerate, Damage Resistance, Engulf, Confusion Aura*

*Confusion Aura: Any character within 10 ft of the Shoggoth must succeed on a Saving Throw or come under the effects of the Confusion Spell.

And in case you are wondering, I am working on “Supplement 1” and that will contain optional rules for Insanity (plus a bunch of other cool stuff).

You can grab up Swords & Wizardry Light on DrivethruRPG and on Frog God Games site for free. You can get Swords & Wizardry Continual Light on DrivethruRPG for dirt cheap.

Godstar for Cepheus Engine

As I’ve mentioned before I’m getting back into some old-school Traveler and thanks to Cepheus Engine I’ve got more options than ever. Godstar is another cool option.

Godstar is a new setting from Zozer games. To put it at it’s most basic, Godstar is Dune. Sure it files off the serial numbers and makes some minor adjustments but the setting information is basically Dune. That’s a really cool thing. I’ve always had it in the back of my mind to run a Dune-style game but I’ve grown to dislike so many of the licensed RPG’s. They often feel like they just had the fluff tacked on to an existing system. And also as GM you have to face the fanboy who just may be in your gaming group. And you’re free to change up stuff without someone complaining about canon. You can really make it your own.

I like the simple layout of Godstar. It’s pretty easy to read and reference. It covers the main NPC’s and cultures that inhabit the setting. There really isn’t that much new crunchy material. There’s some good desert survival rules. The shield technology that makes archaic melee weapons important. It’s well worth the price for the inspirational material alone. Like I said before this is a setting so you’ll need to grab up one of the core Cepheus Engine rules books like Cepheus Light. This is a really good addition to your gaming library. Since it’s mostly fluff material, you could also easily convert to whatever game system you happen to prefer.

As I was reading through Godstar, I started thinking about what I would want to do with this setting. Then it hit me. Combine Godstar with Sword of Cepheus. Sure that takes out the whole shield thing and much of the other hi-tech stuff. Cut out much of the magic from Sword of Cepheus. Make a few fluff adjustments here and there. And what do you get? A bizarre cross between Dark Sun and Spelljammer. Now that might be fun to run. Hmmm. Sounds like another project I need to add to that ever growing list.

You can grab up Godstar over at DrivethruRPG.

Predictions for 2021

Because I can and I think it might be a little fun to look back at this in a year.

What’s going to happen to D&D? There’s been some talk about a 6th Edition or even WOTC selling off D&D. I don’t think they will sell it. I think Hasbro will turn out D&D toys and board games. On the RPG side, my guess is that they are going to do a 5.5 or revisionist edition. Basically, resell as much content as possible. That’s what I think is most likely to happen. I really doubt they will sell it off but they might license out the RPG side. If they decide to go to a 6th Edition. It will suck. Even Editions generally suck. Overall, I think we should start calling it McD&D.

Diaspora & Division: The second D&D of RPG world. I think people will continue to scatter to various social media platforms. The big one’s are just getting too toxic and too people enjoy being an Internet Witch Hunter and Thought Police. Politics and other crap will continue to rear their ugly heads.

The OSR/Old School/Whatever You Want to Call It: For along time I felt the old school was really thriving but last year it just didn’t feel that way to me. I think part of it is the spread of people across various social media platforms and 5E just sucked the air out of the room. But I do think there will be a bit of a revival. WOTC will continue its Corporate Nanny attitude and alienate even more consumers. People will look for an alternative.

LOTFP Ref Book: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Yeah right. I really doubt that 2021 will finally be “The Year”. Based on the financial troubles from last year, there might not be an LOTF by the end of the year.

Despite these being mostly doom and gloom predictions, I do expect 2021 to be good overall from most folks. There’s going to be hiccups along the way but there’s also going to be a lot of successes. Much of this depends on what we as individuals make of it.

Happy New Year! 2020 in Review and Plans for 2021

I don’t have to tell you that 2020 sucked but for this post I want to stick to a few more positive things.

Let’s talk about the money side first and get it over with. I admit that I’m not in this for the money. But actually made a little this year. After web hosting and other minor expenses, I made enough for pizza. I know not much and nothing to brag about but at least it’s positive. Digging down into the numbers a little bit more, my three main sources for income were (in order) DriveThruRPG sales, Lulu Sales, and Patreon/Buy Me a Coffee. Amazon was hardly anything and, for me any way, hardly seemed worth the effort.

The blog did really well this year. Better than I had hoped for. Blog traffic increased 37% over 2019. I hadn’t expect that. Oddly enough, it seems that more traffic is coming from MeWe rather than Facebook.

The Youtube Channel and Anchor Podcast. Oh this part is a little depressing. I admit I hadn’t posted a video in months. I had plans but everything in the world seemed to go to hell and I just didn’t bother. Then Google changed the terms of service. Basically, if I wasn’t monetizing the videos with their ads then they would, just not giving me a cut. Sigh. We see enough ads online. I don’t want that extra annoyance on folks. And on the podcasting side, the audience size just isn’t really big enough to warrant the time put into it. This doesn’t mean that I’d done with these. I’m just planning on taking a slightly different approach. I can post and host videos and podcast audio right here on the blog plus I can post some of these things directly on MeWe and Locals. It might be worth the effort just to see what happens. I haven’t solidified a plan yet but it’s mulling around in my brain and just might work.

Patreon/Buy Me A Coffee/Tip Jars. All was going well on Patreon until they decided they needed to start charging sales tax. Sure fine it works great for material goods but they got really vague about things like early access and PDF’s. I personally felt that the way they were going about it wasn’t in the best interest of Patrons. I’m still going to use Patreon as a sort of continuing “tip jar” and I’ll post some exclusive content, free stuff, and special deals or something. I’m also considering adding a PayPal Tip Jar on the blog. I know it sounds like I’m begging but I’d rather do that than have a bunch of ads. As I’ve said before, I ain’t out to make a bunch of money. But I do want to at least break even.

Locals/Discord/Social Media. So Locals is a little bit like Patreon but more focused on building a community. So I could put my Locals behind a pay wall but haven’t done that. I’m not sure if I will. That will depend on how many folks head over there and how far it goes. I do plan on putting some exclusive content up there too. Like some of the other things in this post it’s a plan in the making. As far as Discord goes. Well, I belong to a bunch of servers but I don’t spend much time over there. I really should and don’t have any one to blame on that but myself. So in 2021, it’s time to have some fun on Discord. I doubt I’ll do my own server but may hang out regularly on a few. Social media is really becoming a cesspool. Twitter is where brain cells go to die. The last couple of times I stopped by there it was a total and complete dumpster fire. Facebook is getting just down right annoying. I really like MeWe but sometimes it seems like there isn’t a lot going on . Like a lot of things, I don’t have a solid plan. Part of me wants to ignore Facebook for a month just to see what happens. Another part of me is thinking about posting more gaming stuff to direct Facebook feed. On MeWe, I plan to be more out going. Comment more and interact with folks more.

Projects and Gaming. Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery is my main project. I’m working on it now and it’s going well. I’m already putting some notes down for two supplements for it. So I’d say that’s going to be my main project for 2021. And gaming. Hell, I really need to get some more gaming done in 2021 but about that in another post.

Thanks for sticking around till the end of this and thanks to all who have supported me one way or the other over the crap fest that was 2020. Let’s get some stuff done in 2021 and make it great year.