Over the last year, I’ve grown to like zines. They generally offer adventure that cumbersome, extra little tools and tricks, magic items, and other neat things. Stuff that I’m actually going to use and get a bigger bang for my buck. So when I saw Torches Zine No 0 on Drivethru, I grabbed it up.
So what do you get in this little zine? Well, a dungeon, a city, a monster, an NPC, and a magic item. Now, I’ll say that dungeon (The Ancient Library of Aghma-Toth) is more of place. Sure there are monsters but it’s more of useful as a place for the characters to go because they need something (probably magical).
Looking for a monkey scorpion hybrid? Well, there’s the Mandricolas. There’s a small city in the zine too and it’s laid out with only the barest of details and I think some may be missing. As I mentioned before there’s an NPC (a mean anti-paladin type guy) who’s thought out pretty well. And finally a magical artifact, Lovan’s Artifact which offers some minor benefits on the scale of artifacts.
Torches is designed for use with Old School Essentials so it can be easily converted to whatever old school rule set you happen to prefer. I’m 90% sure that the authors are not native English speakers so there are few confusing sentences in the zine so the few confusing sentences here and there are things that I’m will to overlook. The material is inspirational but you as the DM will have to do all the heavy lifting in most cases.
Torches Zine 0 is available on DrivethruRPG for free so it’s worth a look and will worth you time to keep an eye these as they come out in the future.
This week, I figures I’d yack about Old School Essentials since they’ve got a Kickstarter going for a couple more Advanced books to add to the series. I started using/playing Old School Essentials when it was still BX Essentials. The name changed had nothing to do with the content of the game. It was to make the game more appealing to those who have no idea what BX means. And in case you are wondering it goes to the very old Basic/Expert sets of early D&D. Basic/Expert. BX. Get it?
Old School Essentials (OSE) is a clone of the old Basic/Expert sets like I said. Like most clones, it cleans up and organizes the material and fills in any gaping rules holes. The material is laid out clearly and easy to read and reference. As a bonus, it breaks down the material into separate books (Rules, Spells, Classes, Monsters, Treasure) for easy reference at the table. (Yes, it also consolidated into a Rules Tome as well.)
At first, I was really “meh” on it. Another BX clone? Yawn. I really don’t need this. I’ve got plenty of clones. Heck, I even have copies of my originals. So why in the world would I consider getting this? Well, I have to give credit where credit is due. One review changed my mind.
At that time, I was running Labyrinth Lord and decided to grab up a few of the books for reference at the table. Yes, I know there are many differences between the two. But I’m really laid back and just hand waved any differences in exchange for faster play at the table by having much of the material in an easy to reference format. I know I keep saying that but that’s real selling point on OSE, easily referenced material at the table.
If you’ve stopped by this blog more than once, you probably know that I really love house ruling and rules tweaking. Like most of the old school games, OSE isn’t any different. Any house rules that you may like or something cool from another clone, you can add to your game. Plus most of that old school material from around the web will easily work with little or no conversion. Last week, I said that Swords & Wizardry is my favorite of the old school games, OSE comes in as a close second. If you want to experience the game like it was back in the day and have it presented in clear and easily understood format and packed so it’s easy to reference at the table. Well, kids. OSE is there for you.
You can grab up Old School Essentials all over the web; DrivethruRPG, Necrotic Gnome’s site, and Exalted Funeral. Oh and I should mention that there’s an online SRD and generators available.