Monday, February 10, 2020

VR Digital Table Top

Been lot of OSR / Nostalgia posts here recently. Just to show I'm also hip to new fangled things too.

Virtual Reality isn't as smooth and effortless as other digital tools / aides.  But my neither was my IBM 286 clone nor was my high school's Apple ][ I used to program a robot arm.

Friday, February 7, 2020

[Guest Post by my friend and game buddy, Steven Clark]

I've spent the past two weeks exploring an old PLATO mainframe that is publicly run, called "cyber1". Not sure if any of you are familiar with these, but these system were created in 1960, and widespread through Universities throughout the 70's. They finally went away sometime in the late 80's.

Why you might be interested in getting a log-in and trying out this system is that some of the earliest D&D games were written for them starting in 1974, up until about 1984. The graphical simplicity hides some pretty complex and deep simulations going on as well; and the way these games approach their subjects is novel in many of the same ways as OD&D is novel compared modern RPG's; the most successful elements have been rehashed and reimagined to death in modern games, but there is some true creativity in this old stuff.

I made a video on PLATO Terminal to pique interest.



The mainframe functions much as a BBS would; the "notes" lesson (program) is used as a bulletin board. It can be access through the internet via a PLATO terminal emulator.




Steven Clark

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Gallery of Dungeon Magazine Covers

After posting the Gallery of Dragon Magazine Covers and then a Gallery of White Dwarf Magazine Covers I thought I was done!  But gentle reader Ancalagon_TB inquired about same for Dungeon Magazine. And being the slave of vanity that I am, I could not deny such a request.

This right here, opening a door and seeing this is why I D&D.

I'm missing several covers. Annoyingly issues #1 and #100.  I could maybe fix.  But I don't have the nostalgia for Dungeon like I do for Dragon. And pretty quickly the covers devolve into being splattered with "huge shocking text" and other attention whoring graphic design.  Making it look like those trash celeb rags in the checkout line. Which saps my motivation. But here's most of Dungeon Magazine Covers Issues #2 to #150.

I remember this circus, bunch of assassins or something.

And here is an index, not created by me, to the Adventures in Dungeon Magazine.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

How to Get Started with Old-School D&D

Links and information to support Austin, TX Birth of D&D Celebration.

Email me, njharman@gmail.com if you are looking to get into a local game. Or, if you want to run a game and are looking for players. There is a relatively large community of players in central Texas.

How to get started playing old-school for free has already detailed this better than I can. I will reiterate two links that attempt to explain what old-school style of play means.

A Quick Primer for Old School Gaming by Matt Finch - The first of the popular guides to old-school D&D, by someone who has been instrumental in the popularization of the hobby in recent years.

The Principia Apocrypha by Ben Milton, Steven Lumpkin, and David Perry (with Evlyn Moreau) - The most recent guide to the principles of old-school gaming, lovingly illustrated and filled with elements of wisdom collected in the years since Matt Finch wrote his.

Rules


Old School Essentials Basic Rules Free PDF. I recommend these for people who do not know where to start. They are reformatted B/X.

Original Rules PDF I do not recommend for typical play. Only for historical interest or for those wishing to recreate the first ever D&D experience.

Blogs


Look to the right -> "Explore!" lists most recent post from scores of blogs I've Favorited. Most are OSR related.

This blog's OSR labeled Posts.

Youtubes

Questing Beast - Reviews of new products, learn about all the great things you didn't know exist.

Bud's RPG Reviews - Reviews of (mostly) original out-of-print games and products.

and so many more.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy PDF Sale Today





Not affiliated, etc. Just selfishly want the world to play the version of D&D I like so I have more people to play with :)

There is also free Basic OSE Rules if you want to check out before you put cash out.

B/X Essentials (the previous to Old-school Essentials) is by far my favorite B/X rule set. I wish the softbound printed booklets were still available.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Celebrate the Birth of D&D, January 26th

Celebrate the Birth of D&D



On January 26th 1974 (or thereabouts) the first rule books for D&D were published for sale. Come celebrate and rediscover the original edition of the game with experienced referees from the local area.

Several referees will be available to run games, using the original rules, house ruled or not, OD&D, AD&D, B/X, BECMI, or their retro equivalent.

No materials are needed. Pencils, paper and dice are optional. Characters will be rolled at the table or provided.





Currently scheduled referees:
  • Steven Clark (and the event organizer)
  • Jimm Johnson
  • Tres Churchill
  • Lawson Benett
  • Norman Harman (me)
  • Kevin Searle
  • Nathan Jennings
  • Anthony Huso

More information and to register interest (as a player or referee) visit the Austin D&D and Tabletop Meetup page.



[While googling for the above LBB image I found this blog, Why OD&D is my (sometimes) favorite RPG. Which, hey, I wrote! Rereading it, other than cringing at my writing style/voice, I get the same craving for hunk of open fire roasted meat. Although now, B/X is my system of choice to satiate that hunger. It sharpened my understanding of what I enjoy in this style of game. Quoting from the designer notes of my Wilderlands Campaign Book;
I really enjoy how B/X leans more towards “a game” than towards “story time” or towards “tactical battle simulator”. Players move their game piece around a “board”. Rather than being their game piece. A subtle distinction. Backgrounds, goals, character growth are emergent rather than preconceived and related. B/X is play over narration.
B/X is built to be a game of exploration and acquisition of mechanical power (levels, items, gold). Which is what I often want. When I don't I use some other rules. They all have a place.]

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Gallery of White Dwarf Magazine Covers

Unlike Dragon Magazine I was never aware of White Dwarf magazine, nor Games Workshop. Which is too bad as being exposed to early Warhammer RPG would have greatly shortened my journey to grim and perilous, gritty, grim dark RPGs. I had an WH40K dwarf army I never painted. My wallet thanks me for not liking miniature wargames.

Those first six covers, those are rad! I know they couldn't stick with them. Old, dated looking monochrome comes off as cheap, fanzine. And I'm sure very few contemporaries dug them. Such is the nature of nostalgia.

Gallery of White Dwarf Magazine Covers Issues 1-90.

 


And if you missed it, Gallery of Dragon Magazine Covers #1 to #250

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Gallery of Dragon Magazine Covers

I have fond memories of running home from school to check the mail box for the brown paper sleeve that meant another Dragon Magazine had arrived.  Ordering and having the magazine addressed to me, was the first / most "adult" thing I can remember. I had paid for it myself, filled out subscription card and magically, every month, this thing appeared. Full of art and stories and adventures and Giants of the Earth, Ares sci-fi section, Wormy, Gods of Oerth, and those totally rad dragon chess covers!

I can still remember articles, "Even Orcish is Logical", "All Games Need Names", one about the mass of giants and how their bones wouldn't be able to support their own weight. Adventures "Can Seapoint be Saved", "Forest of Doom".

Here is the Gallery of Dragon Magazine Covers #1 to #250 from my CD collection of Dragon Magazines.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The First Monster Manual

The contents and structure of medieval bestiaries are very similar to Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manuals. Sans stat blocks.  I know because I just looked at several at the Blanton Museum special exhibit Medieval Monsters.



It was extremely hard to get good photos (dark, no flash).  View full Medieval Monsters Picture Gallery.



I was most amazed at the age of the books. Firstly, I did not realize bound books "technology" was so old.  Secondly, how have these things survived 700-800 years! There was samples of three types of vellum, from thin and fine (I forget what animals, deer?) to the thick, robust, indestructible feeling goat hide. Pro tip, scribe your spell book on goat vellum!

Check out this multi-headed camel leopard thing.



The rest of the pictures I took are over on my friend or foe site, under medieval monsters.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

2020 Central Texas RPG Conventions

OwlCon Feb 28th - March 1st, 2020

On campus, Rice University in Houston, TX https://owlcon.com/
I've been to this great little convention several times



ChupacabraCon VII May 1-3, 2020

Wow! Hard to believe this is in its 7th year. I remember backing the (failed) Kickstarter for the first one. Right here in Austin (well Round Rock). https://tabletop.events/conventions/chupacabracon-vii



North Texas RPG Convention June 4-7, 2020

The Texas Old School convention. Really, really great. Meet and play with folks who invented this hobby. Always interesting auction. Many great artists attend. In Dallas/Ft Worth area https://ntrpgcon.com/





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