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/





Sunday, September 29, 2019

I wish all political news was delivered thusly.  https://princeofnothingblogs.wordpress.com/2019/09/29/the-doom-of-king-james/

It's like social science fiction. Couching subject in veneer of alieness (or "fantasy epic" babble here). Which short circuits (all but fanatics) knee jerk "two minutes of hate" reaction. Allowing thought, reflection and the composition of a deliberate reaction. Whatever that may be.

I also find it entertaining.

Friday, March 15, 2019

3/15 Friday Trivia Travisty




A question a week, answer the following week, until I get bored or forget. All questions from the 2ed AD&D Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, Monstrous Compendium Volume I, and Monstrous Compendium Volume II. Even setting aside 2ed is one of my least favorites, most the questions are troll piss. Rule math minutiae. Aspects of 2ed I find too stupid to endure. Quite a few that are common knowledge to any player these days. Mostly in regards to iconic monsters that were relatively new and unknown back in 1991.


First up last week's answer; When Kendor drinks a potion of speed, he can move twice as fast and perform twice as many actions as usual. What ill effect does he suffer?

DMG, page 144. He ages one year.

Age is a tough thing in RPGs.  It's mostly doesn't add much (too little for the cost of tracking), unless it is dramatic. That is enough age to enfeeble or kill.  Or, going other direction, make you a child or baby. Having to lug around the "baby paladin" looking for cure sounds like fun. Except for the paladin who is probably spending 90% of session being a passive observer. Used sparingly, a cool short-term effect (like a curse). Otherwise, meh.

Aging could be a less FU effect than Level Drain. But, I've been convinced that Level Drain should be a complete FU.  It's good to have more axis some creatures that just are not worth messing with. See also rust monster. Even when you are powerful enough to defeat them. XP loss is one of the very, very few things that actually scares players. Undead should be scary. The corollary is that level draining undead should not be randomly encountered or at least have way to run away from them. When you create bad choices for players, you had best be sure they have the chance to choose.


Question (3rd lvl)

Who role-plays a PC's henchman, and who keeps track of that henchman's possessions and statistics.

I'm not sure if 2ed continues the AD&D distinction between hirelings (roughly employees) and henchmen (probably still payed, but more akin to followers, sidekicks, proteges).

Friday, March 8, 2019

3/8 Friday Trivia Travisty




A question a week, answer the following week, until I get bored or forget. All questions from the 2ed AD&D Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, Monstrous Compendium Volume I, and Monstrous Compendium Volume II. Even setting aside 2ed is one of my least favorites, most the questions are troll piss. Rule math minutiae. Aspects of 2ed I find too stupid to endure. Quite a few that are common knowledge to any player these days. Mostly in regards to iconic monsters that were relatively new and unknown back in 1991.


First up last week's answer; On a clear plain, how far can the silhouettes of characters at a campsite be seen due to the brightness of the fire?

1,500 yards DMG, page 118.  Sure, whatever, like I even have a map or know scale or distances to that precision. And every possible creature, magical or not, has the exact same night vision?  I'd rather abstract everything and leave it to chance; 1 in 6 something curious wanders close enough to see their fire. Also known as Wandering Monster Check.  Maybe increase/decrease chances if party is lax or cunning in not being detected.  Or, if I'm bored and the first 3 hours of session has been all role-play and exploration and there is just enough time for one battle before everyone goes home; DM fiat, monster night raid!  Fun, pacing trumps simulation. And no matter how comprehensive you try to make your simulation it will never cover all situations. So, why bother with anything but the barest of simulation at all? All that energy remembering and following overwrought rules is better expended on being creative, inventing cool encounters, developing interesting foes, in a word; being a DM.

There's a saying from Software Development, a mantra against over-engineering, over-complicating things. YAGNI - You Aren't Gonna Need It. Sadly it is easier to sell books full of rules than it is to sell "Just play the damn game."



Question (3rd lvl)

When Kendor drinks a potion of speed, he can move twice as fast and perform twice as many actions as usual. What ill effect does he suffer?

Hmmm, I;ve always treated magic items are proper nouns and capitalize them. Nobody remembers this nor similar effect with Haste spell and in 1st ed (not sure if it carried forward to 2ed) there was an obscure to find but nasty combination with System Shock.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Commissioned Conan The Barbarian Artwork

After seeing the work of a local artist, Wiley Ross, at my local cafe. I asked if he'd be interested in doing a commission based on my favorite still from "Conan The Barbarian" movie.



This was his answer.



It is huge, larger than life size, about 5ft x 5ft.  The quotes are from the movie ("Grab him and take him" is a, probably mangled, Grace Jones line from CtD). I love it.

I've bought a fair bit of original art, mostly from "RPG" artists. But, this was first piece I've commissioned. Probably not the last.

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