Category Archives: News, Rants & Reviews

Book of Lost Lore & Book of Lost Beasts

I backed the Kickstarter on these but I’ve been waiting until they are publicly available before I posted this.

These are both supplements for Adventures Dark and Deep (AD&D, get it?) But hey I throw all sorts of things together and supplements are always handy for any old-school game.

The Book of Lost Lore is all about options and optional rules. We’ve got new races (Half-Drow, Centaur, and Forest Gnome) and a bunch of new classes plus many optional rules. For classes there’s the old favorites of Bard, Jester, Skald, Mountebank, Mystic, and Black Guard. If you’ve been around for a while then you’ve seen these before. If my memory serves correctly these emulate those classes from the old days. There’s also the good old secondary skills rules and more advanced combat rules that once again go back to some of the concepts of the early days.

My favorite part of Lost Lore is the GM Section (maybe that’s because I’m usually the GM). There’s some great random tables for generating special items for treasure (rather than just coming up a bunch of coins). And of course more magic items. All in all, the Book of Lost Lore is really great for reference and seeing how a lot of things roughly worked in the old days. Now, if you’re into tweaking your favorite old-school game it gives you lots of ideas and inspiration on how to approach things in a manner closer to those old games.

The Book of Lost Beasts is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a monster book. Much like dice, any GM needs more monster books. There’s a few more optional rules at the beginning but the meat is really more monsters. There’s a ton of monsters so I won’t go through the list. There’s variations on old favorites plus some new ones to through at your players and keep them guessing. And for me that is worth the price of admission. As I mentioned before this is designed for Adventures Dark & Deep but that shouldn’t slow down because that stat blocks can be pretty much used for whatever old-school game you are running with little or no conversion.

You can grab up the Book of Lost Lore and the Book of Lost Beasts over at DrivethruRPG. And if you’re curious about Adventures Dark & Deep check out BRW Games’ other titles.

Navel Gazing Part 2: Blog, Patreon, And More

I said I was going to do more with this and here I go.

Well, the blog does well enough more when it comes to interaction and traffic. I don’t really spend a whole lot time looking at stats but I do keep an eye on it to get a good feel for what’s going on. As I mentioned before I basically stopped cross posting to Facebook Groups since it was pretty much a waste of time. I still post to the blog’s page but thanks to Facebook if you’re even following the page doesn’t mean you’re going to here about it. So I’ve been thinking about either creating a MeWe group or maybe even take that deep dive into setting up a Discord Server but both of those plans are way down the line and put it into the “Let’s see what happens” category.

The Playing It Wrong podcast is basically dead. Anchor was a flash in the pan and few folks still regularly post. Nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, (IMHO) podcasts get all lumped together. Search engines and the podcasting ecosystem makes it difficult for a user to hunt down an episode or even a whole podcast on a specific topics unlike videos.

And speaking of videos. I haven’t posted anything to the Youtube channel in a long time. I had some plans for episodes and then COVID threw everything into chaos. I think I’m going to get back into that a bit but only when a topic is more geared towards a video format. You really don’t need to see my ugly face when I rand and philosophize on various gaming topics. And I’m going to do a bit of weird approach to this and post across platforms rather than throwing all my virtual eggs in one basket.

Patreon and Buy Me Coffee. I use these basically as tip jars as I’ve said before. Neither has been a great success. I’m going to take some time to sit down and rebuild the concepts and goals of the Patreon. How knows get enough Patrons and may run with the Discord idea. We shall see and I know the success or failure of it depends on me.

DrivethruRPG and others. I publish a few PDF’s on Drivethru and do the POD stuff via Lulu. Early on I tried to mess with POD on Drivethru but it turned into such a pain that it wasn’t worth it. I’ve been thinking about putting a few of my PDF’s on Itch.io and I’ll probably move ahead with that after the New Year. I’ve just so many of these things on my plate right now. I’m working on two projects for Cepheus, a class supplement for Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery, and my YARC old hack on the to do list. And I know that more ideas will pop into my head as I’m working on that stuff to keep me busy.

Actually gaming. Yes. I finally did manage to get a virtual group together. We get together every other week or so but I’ve been thinking about a second game. Oh yeah. And then there’s all those mini’s that I still need to paint.

So there it is. What’s on my plate now. What I’m planning to add. Wish me luck. I think I’m going to need it.

Thank Goodness for New Gamers

Half of my current group consists of new gamers who only have a passing knowledge of Fifth Edition but that’s all they know. So they always have questions and they want to learn.

Unlike many places on the Internet, these are sincere questions from folks who have no other agenda than learning the game. I know that sounds negative but I’ve seen so much negative crap on the Internet. Trolling. And just down right laziness. Call me jaded.

Of course, this gets me thinking about doing the old-school game spiel. I mean without new folks, I wouldn’t think about what are the differences and what I like about those games.

I usually start off with “If you understand 5th Edition then you’re really not going to have to learn anything new. Just unlearn a few things.” So yeah. The games generally are simpler and play is quicker with that simplicity. The basic things are there Hit Dice, Hit Points, Armor Class, and Saving Throws. That’s the easy part.

Then you get into play style. A few things they are learning any way just because of the way I DM. Encounters aren’t always balanced. The answer may not be on your character sheet and so on. The story and character development happen during the game. But there’s another big thing.

In Fifth Edition, most classes get some pre-programmed pseudo-magical/cinematic power as they gain levels even if they aren’t spell casters. I think this is a place where a lot gognards like me say that it makes the characters seem more like superheroes than heroes.

Now, I’m not saying characters in old-school games don’t get weird things. Well, at least, in my campaigns they do. But it isn’t something that’s part of a character’s class. That character needs go out do something. Usually, something dangerous (drinking from the mysterious pool) or making a pact with some dark “stranger”. These abilities happen because of play not just because you chose a class. There’s risk and there’s usually a cost involved. And it may be something that’s not even optimized to go with that character’s class. It’s up to the player to make it useful. And it makes characters even more unique.

So yeah. Thank goodness new gamers who want to learn and make us think.

Cepheus Light: Upgraded Thoughts

Who doesn’t love free stuff? Stellagama Publishing is offering up Cepheus Light: Upgraded as a free PDF on DrivethruRPG.

So where does this take my little mind? Well, Cepheus Light is a lighter version of the full Cepheus Engine rules but not any where near as light as Cepheus Quantum games like Barbaric! So why not start with something like Barbaric! and tack on more of the details skills and some other the other mechanics from Cepheus Light plus more tidbits from Sword of Cepheus. I will say this the Quantum games offer much less complex monster stat blocks and thus makes the referee’s life much easier.

And yes. I know Cepheus at its heart is a SciFi RPG and I keep ranting about Barbaric! and Sword of Cepheus. SciFi is sort of my GM blind spot. For some odd reason, I’m just not good at it.

I’m still gaming via VTT’s so anything that is more rules light with quick character generation is the sort of thing that I’m looking for right now. I’m still brainstorming this whole idea which is why I’m posting. I’m sure folks have an opinion out there.

First, Quantum games don’t really have Attribute scores for the characters. This is handled via Skills and Traits. So add Attribute score. Now, working via a VTT (and with gamers who have never played a Cepheus (or it’s progenitors) normal character generation would (IHMO) really bog down. Quantum games just give a pool of Skill points to distribute. Much quicker but there’s a very limited number of skills. So my initial thought is to run with a template approach for skills. Pick this career and boom there you go then use discretionary Skill points for additional terms in a career. I’d limit to only three terms and have something for changing career paths. And just do one big Events Table for anything interesting that could happen.

This is just the kernel of an idea that’s bouncing around inside my head. I don’t how far I’d run with it or maybe change up the whole thing. Just throwing it out there.

The Cthulhu GM’s Nefarious Tentacle

I have no qualms about reviewing an “old” product from DrivethruRPG. Sometimes you can little known gems that never got that much coverage and so here we are with The Cthulhu GM’s Nefarious Tentacle. It’s from 2015 but, heck, it’s also only $2.

So what’s The Cthulhu GM’s Nefarious Tentacle? It’s a short, 17 page, PDF with 25 Random Tables. Sure there’s a few pages taken up licensing, legal stuff, and the good old “also available” ad. First, the whole thing is system neutral. There aren’t any game mechanics here at all. So I’ve no idea why they added the OGL. It’s a plain and pretty simple PDF. Nothing flashy but to the point. I mean the actual words are what you would be using any way.

This is mostly geared to folks who are running a Call of Cthulhu game set anywhere from the the late 19th Century to Modern Day. Sure I have been thinking a lot about CofC recently but that’s not why I picked it up. I’ve also been thinking about weird fantasy too. And in that case, The Cthulhu GM’s Nefarious Tentacle is still useful because many to the tables or the results are also pretty genre neutral as well. And those that do have some sort of modern touch can be easily changed on the fly. Table says “Businessman” change to merchant. Now there are few that just won’t work but that’s still workable depending on the details of your setting.

The random tables use either a d20 or a d12. I’d say for my primary goal to use this for inspirational (or I just need to make up something really quick because the PC’s went off in a weird direction) material for a weird fantasy game and with a little creativity I can do that.

So yeah. I think it was $2 well spent for yet another little tool to add to my DM toolbox.

And you can pick it up over at DrivethruRPG.