Tag Archives: OSR

OSR Retrospective: Why I’m doing this

It’s a short week and I know that everyone is really busy so I figured I’d take a little aside and explain a little more why I’m doing these posts.

If you’ve been around the old-school any length of time then you know there are more games than you can shake a stick at. It can be kind of pain to keep what all is going on and what games are available. The popularity of games ebb and flow. A game can be the darling of the day and then fade off into obscurity. Plus if you happen to be new then the choices are almost overwhelming.

The OSR Retrospective posts aren’t meant to be reviews. A single Internet search can give you a whole bunch of reviews for just about any game you happen to be looking at. What I want to do here is basically get folks to at least look at these games that may or may not a hot commodity right now or just may have fallen by the wayside.

And if you want the opinion of someone smarter and prettier than me then check out this video from Questing Beast.

Thanks for stopping by the blog and go out there and have a happy and safe holiday.

Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery: Archetypes & Vices

I know it’s a short week for most folks and that they’ve got a lot happening this week. So we’re doing only a little preview this week.

If you’ve been keeping up with the previews and looking at the example characters then might have notice a couple of “odd” things; Archetypes & Vices.

Archetypes: This is another way that characters are customized. We’ve to name them as adjectives that are added onto a class like Savage Warrior or Lucky Sorcerer. Each one of the Archetypes is codified in the rules and kept as simple as possible. For example, Savage means the character gains an additional HP each level. Lucky means the character gains a +1 bonus to all Saving Throws. The Archetypes are completely independent of the character’s class. So you could have a Savage Sorcerer or even Lucky Warrior or a Learned Warrior and so on. Another way to look at it is that Archetypes are a little bit like Feats in later editions but there some major differences. There is no long chain to get better and better bonuses and the player chooses one Archetype for their character at 1st Level and that’s it.

Vices: Sword & Sorcery tales and heroes tend to morally gray. The villains and monsters are just down right evil or alien. Because of this, we decided to completely drop Alignments but still felt we needed something to fill that void. There is no set list of Vices and the “Vices” don’t even have to actual vices. It can be an adjective or even a short phrase. A character’s Vice is what gets them into trouble or what urges them to make those decisions that may not always be in their best interests. There isn’t any codified game mechanic around Vices but a GM could award some bonus XP for good play. The Vices are intended as a quick and easy guideline for the player about how the character might act in certain situations. The GM could remind a player or suggest but still the final decision is still the player’s.

Thanks for stopping by and more previews are coming up.

OSR Retrospective: Blood & Treasure

This week I’m looking at Blood & Treasure.  This is a really interesting game.  What make Blood & Treasure so interesting?  Well, let me tell you.

Blood & Treasure is a real Franken-game.  It doesn’t try to emulate or recreate a specific older edition.  It takes the better parts of many editions including 3.x.  It includes Feats and Skills similar but still simpler than 3rd Edition. It includes the full range of races and classes including things like the Sorcerer.

These are all good things and makes things easier to introduce more of the old-school vibe to players who aren’t accustomed to it.  Also, if you’ve already got your old-school game of choice and want to add some of those things to your game then this is a good source of inspiration.

I do admit that I haven’t played Blood & Treasure that much but this is a game that I wouldn’t mind playing more.  Like I said, this game is a good bridge between those simpler old-school games and the 3rd Edition style game without all the excessive crunch.

It’s worth taking a look. You can get the PDf’s of the 1st Edition Blood & Treasure Complete Rules and Monster Tome for free. You can also pick the 2nd Edition of Blood & Treasure in a handy little bundle.

Krshal Trilogy

Over the years, the old-school community has changed and things and people get moved around. G+ died, you forget about previously discovered gems, and things just weird.

I was just browsing on DrivethruRPG and stumbled up the Krshal Trilogy by Albert Rakowski. I didn’t think much of it at first then I looked further. Oh yeah. Bandits & Battle Cruisers, and Terminal Space. So I dived right into Krshal.

The Krshal Trilogy is actually three small PDF’s; The Towers of Krshal, Legends of Krshal, and Tombs of Krshal. The PDF’s are pretty system neutral but are squarely rooted in old-school goodness. They each offer random tables or inspiration about the City of Krshal plus a couple of mini-dungeons.

Krshal falls into the weird fantasy territory. But the good thing is that it isn’t over done. Just enough weirdness so things aren’t your run-of-the-mill fantasy world . And sure there’s weird and disturbing things but once again it doesn’t go over the top just for shock value. If everything is weird then nothing is weird. Same goes for shock value. Or to put it another way , if you’re running something like Mork Borg then it fits right in.

So what kind of stuff is in these PDF’s, Here’ some of my favorite: Ten Magical Skull, Six Bizarre Vampires, Features of the Ghoul Mothers, 12 Sinister Sorcerers, 20 Cthonic Gods, and Bizarre Pets and Animals of the Goat Market.

Now these aren’t “new” products and I’m not sure how they slipped under my radar but they did. And I’m glad I’m stumbled across them. These are relatively small PDF’s that filled with inspiration to add some weirdness to a campaign. Oh yeah. I’m already throwing together stuff in my head.

You can pick up the bundle of PDF’s on DrivethruRPG pretty cheap and you can keep with Albert’s blog over at the Word of Ortix.

And note to self. Pick up the Underworld Kingdom books too.

Mork Borg

Looks like Mork Borg is the current fascination with large sections of the OSR  so like a moth to the flame I decided to poke nose into it and see what the hubbub is.

I’m not going to go into a detailed review here.  That’s all pretty much been done and my thoughts are the same.  A simple rules lite OSR-style game with crazy layout that makes it at times difficult to use. But I’ve got other thoughts as well.

What I really like is that the setting/tone isn’t afraid to color outside the lines.  I admit that I’m no metal head but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like the vibe.  And well, I like to run/play in a variety of styles of campaigns. Sometimes I want your standard fantasy type world. Sometimes I want something more like Conan/Sword & Sorcery. And then sometimes I want weird and well something like Mork Borg.

I can’t help but the vibe of some of the early Lamentations of the Flame Princess stuff before it became shock for just shock and “It goes to 11”. You know what I mean.  Also, (IMHO) the tone of game is set more by the GM and players than the actual rules.  Sure those can help and guide you but when it comes down it you can take the dark themes of a game and easily transplant them into whatever other rule set you want. With that in mind, I’m looking at Mork Borg as more of a setting and inspirational rather than a game which means it still a cool thing to have and use.

And I guess that’s my biggest problem with Mork Borg. While the rules are simple and kind of neat, it’s not one of those games that it will be easy to convert on the fly to other old-school games. It’s very much it’s own thing. It’s not bad, it’s just different. It’s probably easier to convert stuff out of Mork Borg into your rules of choice rather than try to convert an adventure on the fly.

Yes, Mork Borg is useful and a good thing to have. Sure there’s some yucky stuff so to speak.  And it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The rules are a solid old-school style alternative.  But the real gem is the inspirational and setting material hidden in the pages.

And there’s a couple of cool Kickstarters out there, Strange Citizens of the City and The Masticator Gate.

You find out more and all sorts of resources and links on the Mork Borg site.