Category Archives: News, Rants & Reviews

Class Compendium

classcompendium
James Spahn is a very busy man. While many of us are waiting on White Star to come out tomorrow, there’s over cool stuff that just came out. Mainly, the Class Compendium.
How does 50 classes for your old school game sound? That’s right 50 classes. There’s a wide range of things here from what you would expect like Friars, Knights, Burglars, and Acrobots to the really odd like Alienist, Familiar, and Lost boy. There’s a bunch of racial classes too to get your game going in that gonzo direction like a Treent, Eidolon, and Fairy. Yes, even dragons. Added on are some Victorian/Steampunk type classes like the Automation, Metaphysisian, and Investigator. Bonus, there’s additional rules for firearms and a decent compendium of spells.
If you like your games pretty vanilla then this probably isn’t for you. But if you like having a few crazy options for the players (or even non-player characters, of course) then this is great. For me, I like throwing a bit of crazy into the game so this right up my alley.
Yeah, highly recommended as an addition to whatever old school you happen to be playing. You can grab it up at Driverthrurpg [AL].

Tales of the Space Princess

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Yes, I’ve been on this Space Opera crazy of late. I thought I had the OSR front covered. I’ve got Stars Without Number, Hulks & Horrors, Bandit & Battle Cruisers, X-Plorers and even Machinations of the Space Princess (which should not be confused with Tales of the Space Princess).
The thing is I knew about Tales of the Space Princes all along. It just happened to slip my mind mainly because of my own silly shopping patterns. It ain’t on Drivethrurpg. It’s on Lulu. (Yeah, I know there’s all sorts of cool stuff on Lulu.) And my oversight was my loss.
This is a darned cool game. While not exactly a retro-clone, the mechanics are so close to the old-school games that any conversions would be easy. And that’s an awesome plus. Tales of the Space Princess is very much a retro-space/dungeon crawl in space type game. Enter the Dark Lord’s Space Fortress and rescue the Princess. OK, before anybody gets on a soapbox here. It’s not literally “rescue the princess”. The “princess” is the goal of the crawl whether it be a prince, a relic, technology or whatever. Got it.
The best points on the game for space opera folks. A simple alien generation system. A good skill system that’s easily hackable. Good and evocative classes (although it’s doesn’t have your usual level type progression). Star ship combat that doesn’t require a slide ruler (if you even know what one of those is).
So over all it’s a good investment whether you just want to run it as is or mine it for ideas and use a different set of rules (and that’s my favorite thing about the OSR).
So head on over to Lulu and check it out.

Announcing Outer Space Raiders for Swords & Wizardry

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Well, it’s Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day and I had really big plans for a really cool preview. I wasn’t happy with what came I out so I decided to give a good introduction rather than a crappy preview.
What’s Outer Space Raiders?
It’s a Retro Space Opera supplement for Swords & Wizardry. It’s not hard sci-fi and it’s not Spelljammer. Think of it as Flash Gordon and Conan fight Skeletor. The main inspiration is the old serials, pulp comics, crazy Jack Kirby art, and B science fiction movies. It’s fantastic but not fantasy. But heck if you want space elves then just add them. The line between science and magic is really blurred. Heck, just don’t think about modern science too much at all. Set your brain back 90 years. I’m going to rewrite huge sections of the rules. There really isn’t a point. The main focus is on classes, races, monsters, gear, and various other tools to grab the feel. There’s only going to be implied setting but heck if folks really want it, I’ll do more for it.
I know there’s lots really fine OSR space opera games out there like Bandits & Battle Cruisers, Hulks & Horrors, and X-Plorers. (Just to name a few.) There’s nothing wrong with them. Heck, there damned good. There was just something more I wanted to add. And since it’s OSR stuff, it’s really easy to convert.
Here’s the classes that are planned right now to give you good taste for the tone of the game.
Astormancers use Quantum Formulas to alter reality and navigate the spaceways.
Galaxy Rangers are the law in lawless space. Protect the weak and all that stuff.
Noetic Knights trained their minds for years to become deadly warriors.
Scoundrels are daring swashbuckling heroes.
Starbarians plucked from primitive worlds and thrust into adventures in space. Tough and deadly warriors.
Star Warriors are soldiers trained in all manner of weapons.
Techno-Priests build and repair advanced technology.
Warp Ninjas are deadly assassins who draw their power from a black hole.
Now I’m not 100% sure what the final goal is going to be on this. Sure, there will be some cool updates in the coming weeks. I might just throw it up for free or maybe PWYW on Drivethrurpg. We’ll see how it goes. So stay tuned for that.
Lastly, I really to mention a couple of folks whose work has really gotten me excited about this. There’s Jay over at the Exonauts! Blog and Trey Causey of From the Sorcerer’s Skull and most recently and darned awesome Strange Stars.
So there it is. This is my current Swords & Wizardry project. Stay tuned and hang on to your rocket packs!

Lusus Naturae WTF?

Really, I can’t even pronounce that. Let me just call it Chandler’s Book of Stuff That Will Give You Nightmares.
lususnaturae
Lusus Naturae is a bestiary of monsters designed for Lamentations of the Flame Princess but it’s pretty easy to convert it to whatever OSR game you want. This isn’t your run of the mill collection of demons, forgotten horrors, or orcs and goblins who have an additional odious habit. These are wild, weird, eat your face, swallow your soul, ruin the rest of your day type monsters. Like I said, it’s designed for Lamentations of the Flame Princess so if you’re experienced with any of those adventures (like Death Love Doom (AL)) then this is right up your alley.
There’s lots of cool stuff in there. There’s actually a connection between many of the monsters. Some created others. Some like or hate others. It all just depends. Also there’s a neat little thing that some of them have. “Killing Blow” He who kills the monster gets something. Maybe something good. Maybe something bad. But this is for Lamentations so take that as you may. And you get away without having a cool crazy monster generator.
I think my two favorites (so far) have to be Doctor Volt and the Gelatinous Hypercube. Yes, Doctor Volt. A supervillian teleported to a fantasy world. Hehe. And the Gelatinous Hypercube. Well. I think the name pretty much says it all.
I can’t not mention the art. I usually don’t bother mentioning art but in this cast I will make an exception. Gennifer Bone did a great job making bring these these nightmarish creatures to life. The art is cool and disturbing as it should be for this book.
So this gets a big thumbs up from this guy. Now I’ve got about a half dozen ideas bouncing around inside my head.
You can grab Lusus Naturae at Drivethrurpg. (AL)

Hugh Rankin: Oldest School Sword & Sorcery Inspiration

Before Frazetta and Boris, there was Hugh Rankin. I can’t find much out about him other than he was an artist who did many pieces of the original pulp artwork. I think he’s the first person to draw Conan. From what I can tell the works have also passed into the public domain. Pretty cool. The art does have a completely different tone than what us modern folk are used to. But it’s refreshing to see the original works.
I’ll a picture be worth 1,000 words. Enjoy and be inspired.

Queen of the Black Coast
Queen of the Black Coast

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People of the Black Circle
People of the Black Circle