The Best In Old School Roleplaying

The Best In Old School Roleplaying
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Monday, November 30, 2015

U-Con OSR Track Retrospectives

Well, both U-Con and Thanksgiving are behind us. U-Con was great this year. The OSR track did tremendously well. I'm not doing a full retrospective this year, but I'll let some of the attendees and guests give you their experiences, via links below. First, I would like to give many thanks to some of the folks that helped to make it a great weekend. I'd like to thank our guest of honor +Bill Webb for coming out and our insider +Jim Wampler as well. It was great having the both of you. I would like to thank both +Bill Barsh and returning panelist +Tim Snider for coming out and sitting on the OSR panel, which is now ready to be downloaded over on Save or Die! The panel/round table format did well again this year. I would also like to thank the Refs/Judges/GMs that came out, and I know I might not have everyone here, but here's a try. Thank you +Adam Muszkiewicz, +Clayton Williams, +Laura Rose Williams, +Andrew Moss, +Follow Me, And Die!, +Forest Ray (doubly so for making OSR Swag for the refs.) and all of the other OSR GMs. We can't run the track without you. I would also like to thank +Roy Snyder and +Doug Kovacs for coming out and setting up an awesome booth in the vendor room (and also for a fun time for the short while I played in Dougs spur of the moment game on Friday night.) Last, but not least, I would like to give a big thank you to our track sponsor +John Reyst of Open Gaming, without whom we wouldn't have had the funding to bring in Bill and Jim. Thank you all!
 
 
 
Below is a series of links to get an idea of how the weekend went!

Tales of Aeril

Tim Snider - Day 0

Tim Snider - Day 1

Tim Snider - Day 2

Tim Snider - Day 3

Larry Hamilton

From Clayton Williams G+ post:

We made it back from our first U-Con! We are exhausted, but fulfilled. U-Con left us with a warm sense of satisfaction and community provided by those who brought a wide breadth of personality, creativity, and kindness. I was impressed and glad to see the turnout from the OSR community at large.  It will be hard to summarize all the great experiences and people, but I will try!

1.) I was very happily surprised to join an impromptu session run by Bill Webb the night before the convention with comrades such as +Adam Muszkiewicz  (with support from mini Muszkiewicz), +Nicole Lindroos, +Tim Snider, +R.J. Thompson, and +Laura Rose Williams. It was a good time with a lot of laughs. Not every game features naked beetle riding checks and glow in the dark goo.

2.) A HUGE highlight of my day on Friday was being able to see a panel of OSR leaders and icons (Bill Webb, +Jim Wampler, +Tim Snider, Bill Barsh, +John Reyst) talk about past, present, and future RPG topics as they relate to cities and towns. The gleeful way in which they described how concepts have evolved over the years provided for both an interesting listen as well as a wealth of GM tools and resources. It made you want to be a kid again as they remembered old stories and players from the early days of gaming. Bill also subtly let us know there is a kickstarter that just started that relates:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/froggodgames/the-lost-lands-the-blight-richard-petts-crooked-ci. I would also like to thank the hosts +Adam Muszkiewicz  and +R.J. Thompson  for the event.

3.) I was able to participate in a playthrough of Titansgrave as GM’d by the talented +Nicole Lindroos  (Blue Rose -
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/504269797/blue-rose-the-age-roleplaying-game-of-romantic-fan). There was plenty of adventure, intrigue, and doughnuts to be found in the wastelands that day.

4.) I was also able to be a player in a game with +R.J. Thompson  He pitted brick, mortar, alligators, and much more against us in ..... It Lurks Below. You know it gets exciting when your thief kills your cleric (+James DeYonke)

5.) I made room for other players in a game ran by +Pete Schwab. I was happy to see his table overflowing with players. I will catch you next time Pete. This did allow me to jump into a Cryptworld game (Unquenchable) run by +Tim Snider . It was a great horror adventure that had us all on our toes for what was around the next corner. I would also like to think myself and +Follow Me, And Die! - Larry helped to keep Tim on his toes too. I mean who throws wolf carcasses. I also was happy with the d100/percentile roll system the game used. 1 chart and a pair of d10s is all you needed. If you like horror, post-apocalypse, and a simple mechanic system please check out more from Tim at
http://savageafterworld.blogspot.com/.

6.) We Hate Bards (
wehatebards.blogspot.com), what more can I say?! These are a great group of GM’s that put together fun sessions for all and bring PERSONALITY to the table. You will be challenged, You will probably die, but you will be smiling. I played 3 games (wished there was time for more), D20 Space Marines with Matt, Kobolds with Cris, Random Dungeon of Death with Luke.

7.) I got to check out Games-on-Demand, a new feature to U-Con that has potential. Roger introduced me to BEAR FORCE a Fate game that combines my love of the 80s cartoon GI-Joe and Bears!

8.) Every CON needs that crazy time, that time when you are pulled into something new. Something weird or strange and definitely out of your comfort zone. The CON AFTERDARK. Where you drink your drink and enjoy the ride wherever it goes. I had that (and look forward to it again).  I had an impromptu DCC session run by +Doug Kovacs  . I say run by, but what I really mean is Doug placed us in a world, a scene, too hardcore for HBO or anything you could or should film, but we rose to the challenge. We pulled up our pants (some of us) and faced off against the slutvonians and dredd sexbots to party another day. Doug also allowed for several GM swap ins by +Roy Snyder and +Andrew Moss. It was great! Fellow trippers included +Pete Schwab,  +Laura Rose Williams, and Kevin W. (See more into the mind and inspiration of Doug here
http://www.dougkovacs.com/ or in numerous DCC adventures.) (http://www.goodman-games.com/)

9.) I was able to run 2 playthroughs of my own DCC module, High Tide at GonGoLoor Bay. It was a great time! I was challenged, my players were challenged, and there was a lot of death. My highlight as a GM was when one of my players decided he wanted to go into the cave that was barred and locked tight with plenty of narrative that said this not the place to go, but when he rolls a natural 20 with a strength bonus as a peasant, you let him go. My players entered the sucking pit of nastiness (yes, title needs work, or maybe it doesn’t) where they we set upon by several leeches and I almost had a TPK which would have been great. So.. ok moving on….no wait... same player “I want to search”. (I have nothing written for the room to be found. It is just suppose to be a room of death) Ok, give me a search using your luck….1….its a 1 ….he beat his luck by 13... I roll up a  +1 intelligent short sword for him that is a holy sword to turn undead. This is all before the final big baddy battle. GM wipes forehead.
Players included +Edward Kabara

It was a great CON and I hope to see you all again there next year!





Thursday, November 19, 2015

Swords & Wizardry Compatibility Logo Now Avaialble As A Free Download

In celebration of U-Con, today we are unveiling the downloadable version of the Swords & Wizardry Compatibility Logos, for publishers. All four versions now available for free, right here, at One Book Shelf.
 

Once U-Con is over, I will begin talking about 2016's Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day!
 

Friday, November 13, 2015

U-Con Special Release From Goodman Games!


Good afternoon! U-Con is one week away! Online Registration is now closed, but you can still show up and register at the door!
 
I'm happy to announce that we have a special U-Con release from Goodman that will debut at the convention. Dungeon Crawl Classic #84.2: Synthetic Swordsmen of the Purple Planet by our Goodman Games Industry Insider +Jim Wampler! The module will be available for purchase, and Jim will be available for autographs! Note that this is the same DCC game that Jim is running as Skymasters of the Purple Planet, so if you are playing Skymasters, you are playing this special release!
 
 
 
From Goodman Games:
 
Hello, Purple Planet fans!
There are many adventures still to be had on the Purple Planet. Such as this one! Visit the Goodman Games booth at U-Con (Nov. 20-22 in Ypsilanti, MI) to pick up your copy and have it autographed by author Jim Wampler!
Dungeon Crawl Classics #84.2: Synthetic Swordsmen of the Purple Planet
When even the native lifeforms of the Purple Planet begin to wither and die under the weirdling sun’s punishing rays, you and your party of interplanetary freebooters quickly conclude that something is going wrong with the very sky above your heads. What ancient mysteries lie in wait for you at the planet’s northern pole, as you explore the timeworn and failing biosphere plant found sprawling there amongst the ice peaks? Will you save your harsh but adopted home, or hasten its eventual doom?
This adventure features new background material that expands the campaign setting, including a new House of Ascended Masters, new weapons and ancient technology to plunder, and a surprising new species of Kith warriors.
 
 
 
Don't have a copy of DCC to play with? Check it out:
 
DCC RPG Core Rulebook Kickstarter: If you aren't already aware, you can get SIX free modules with the purchase of the DCC RPG core book in our current 4th printing Kickstarter. That's $100 in product for a $40 pledge. Even if you already have a copy of the core book, pick up an extra copy for your players just so you can get the free modules! Check out the Kickstarter here.
 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Goldenrod Guide To Combat Reviews, Designer Notes and Simulationist Rules


So, back on Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day 2015  +John Reyst of Pathfinder SRD and Swords & Wizardry SRD fame released my Goldenrod Guide: A Guide to Swords & Wizardry Combat (now available for purchase on DriveThruRPG/RPGNow) and it hit with little fanfare. Since then I have become aware of some reviews of the product, and feel that I should probably give some notes on my thought process in creating the guide.
 
First off, the reviews. I'm pulling the first from PFSRD itself, where the product was initially made available:
 
"Deadeye" wrote:
 
A good add-on for additional martial flexibility
This guide presents some new rules for Swords & Wizardry that are both useful to S&W GMs and also enticing to players of more mainstream fantasy games who might miss some of the granular nuance of modern d20 systems when they play retroclones. It's a great buy for the price if you enjoy the streamlined ease of play S&W offers compared
to D&D 3rd Edition or Pathfinder, but still want to include elements like individual initiative, more in-depth rules for two-weapon and two-handed fighting, combat styles that simulate the abilities of OGL martial classes, weapon specialization, and rudimentary attacks of opportunity. There is also a section on running archery and jousting tournaments. The editing of the product could be better, but the content is solid. If you want a slightly crunchier S&W experience when steel is bared and initiative is rolled, it's well worth the price.

 
+Follow Me, And Die! had a review directly on the blog:

Follow Me And Die!

Just yesterday, +Eric Fabiaschi wrote a great review. I think that Eric really gets the angle that I was coming at this thing from. You can read his review here on his blog:

Swords & Stitchery



Now to share a bit of how I came at this thing. Not much, but just to give a little taste of my process, which might help you to understand the work itself. It is likely clear that I don't like anything too crunchy in my games. My favorite RPG at present IS Swords & Wizardry, so it should be apparent. That said, I like my games to be somewhat simulationist. See, I'm that guy that actually likes the idea of encumbrance rules (I just don't think they have been done quite right... yet) and keeping track of consumable equipment. I like my games to simulate an adventurer's life in the setting that it is being run in. Therefore I like my rules to have a "real feel" to them. While combat overall would get too bogged down by feeling overly real (thus taking to long to resolve) I felt that it could feel a bit more simulationist in areas. Of course a feeling of simulation can come from descriptions in play by both referees and players, I like the mechanics emulate the action, in a way. This may be a part of why I was never quite comfortable with the mechanics of the D20 system. It was all the same, nothing was different, nothing felt like an emulation of what was happening in a game. It was too gamey and not simulationist enough.
 
As for common rules that already have this, one of the best examples is the ability to turn undead. Nearly all editions and clones have some variant on this, and it is almost universally it's own mechanic. The mechanic works differently than the mechanic for hitting a foe or the mechanic for picking a lock. It says "You hold up your holy symbol and..." You make your checks, and the mechanic has it's own "feel." You know and "feel" that you are holding up your holy symbol to avert evil when you make these checks, because they have their own little system. I borrowed this for using the elder sign, as the two are similar, and thus should feel similar mechanically. As for another rule I made free to the public, my lycanthropic ritual rule uses existing rules in concert with "fluff" to give a feel that a diabolical ritual is actually being performed.
 
So when it came to the Guide to Combat, I drew upon similar ideas. When you lock shields to form a shield wall, it should feel like you are in a shield wall. When you joust, it should feel like you're jousting, or tilting at rings or shooting at a target or anything else you can think of! Similarly, this is why I streamlined the AD&D idea of weapon proficiencies. They are slightly less fiddly than what TSR produced back in the day, but they give a real simulationist feel that your character has trained with something. As for the aforementioned jousting rules, I liberally borrowed from Chainmail, which already presented a great system for simulating jousts, and gave it a few tweaks. I believe that it is a very solid jousting simulation as it stands now.
 
So, if adding a bit of simulation to combat appeals to you, click the link I supplied above to DriveThruRPG and pick up a copy from John. It's less than $3.00 and I can almost guarantee that I have something in there you will be interested in lifting.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

U-Con OSR Track Guest of Honor Spotlight! FINAL DAYS OF PRE-REG

 

Hey there! Just in case you've missed it, +Bill Webb will be the Guest of Honor at the OSR Track at U-Con in just a few short weeks! Bill got really ambitious with his two evening games and opened them up to UP TO 20 PLAYERS PER GAME! That leaves a lot of room! If you're a fan for Frog God Games, and want the chance to play with Bill, get thee to the registry now! We are still in Pre-registry mode right now, and that means CHEAPER PASSES than you will get at the door. Pre-reg is open through Friday Nov. 6th, so now is the time to register, if you have not done so! Check out Bill's events below, along with some special news regarding AUTOGRAPH SESSIONS! Bill doesn't get out to Michigan ofter (er... ever) so this is a great opportunity if you can't get to the cons that he typically attends!
 
OSR Discussion Panel: Old School City Scapes Roundtable Panel, GM: Ryan Thompson, 60 players, No XP/Simple, Friday 6p-8p. Come gather round and take part in a round table style panel with the OSR Track's Guest of Honor Bill Webb (Frog God Games), Industry Insider Jim Wampler (Goodman Games), our track's sponsor John Reyst (PFSRD.com), along with Tim Snider (Goblinoid Games) and Michigan's own Bill Barsh (Pacesetter Games). We will discuss cities and their importance in old school gaming from the earliest days to the OSR as it is today. Time permitting discussion and Q&A will be allowed with the audience. Hosted by Gamers & Grognards' Ryan Thompson and RPG Podcaster Adam Muszkiewicz (Drink Spin Run). Family Friendly (7+) Free!
 
 
Swords & Wizardry Invades Michigan - The Maze of Eternity, GM: Bill Webb, 20 players, Some XP/Simple, Friday 8p-2a. There is no school like the old school! Late Night Swords and Wizardry with grognard GM Bill Webb of Frog God Games. Travel back to the dawn of the game where character generation took 2 minutes (which is good, because you die a lot!), there was no such thing as a spot check, dwarves and elves were classes, not just races, and a +1 sword was a wonder! In this session, expect a dungeon crawl adventure where you better bring your imagination and your thinking cap. Drawn from Bill’s devious mind, expect lots of puzzles, traps and unkillable monsters. The adventure this year is focused on solving a chess match of riddles of a lich’s tomb complex, hopefully defeating it and claiming the treasure. Oh yeah—most of the player characters are first level! You can roll up characters at the table. Rules (the very few that there are) will generally follow those in Swords and Wizardry White Box and Bill Webb's book of Dirty Tricks (available online at the Frog God Games website--and the rulebook pdf is free!). All character generation is 3d6 in order, although stats cap at +1/-1 on bonus and penalty, and are thus, mostly irrelevant. Bill's games are well known for having high fatality rates and extremely difficult puzzles and traps. If you play in both sessions, experience points and treasure carry over to the next night. If you have a character from Dallas or PaizoCon’s events (or bring yours from this year next year), the same applies. You never know who might show up at Bill's table. There are occasional special guests with names you just may have heard before. Games start promptly at 830 (800 if you need a character), and run until Bill falls over or runs out of whiskey. Kids are welcome (there will be a couple there already), as long as they can handle the time of night and have basic skills. Bring a 20-sided die, a few 6-siders and a miniature or three. All other materials provided (BYOB). Prizes: First to die, MVP (voted by players), Best Roleplayer, Best Rollplayer. Family Friendly (7+) $4.50
 
Dinner with Bill Webb, GM: Bill Webb, 10 players, Some XP/Simple, Saturday 6p-8p. It is our Guest of Honor's Birthday! Come celebrate with us. Attendees are responsible for their own meals/drinks. Family Friendly (7+) Free!
 
Swords & Wizardry Invades Michigan - Ragnarok?, GM: Bill Webb, 20 players, Some XP/Simple, Saturday 8p-12a. No school like the old school! Late Night Swords and Wizardry with grognard GM Bill Webb of Frog God Games. Travel back to the dawn of the game where character generation took 2 minutes (which is good, because you die a lot!), there was no such thing as a spot check, dwarves and elves were classes, not just races, and a +1 sword was a wonder! This session is a wilderness adventure that starts with the players landing their longship on a strange island for repairs, having been blown off course by a storm. What they find is beyond the worst terrors of anyone nightmares. What evil lurks in the heart of the forest? Dark shadows and stone beasts from the end of time lead the way! You can roll up characters at the table. Rules (the very few that there are) will generally follow those in Swords and Wizardry White Box and Bill Webb's book of Dirty Tricks (available online at the Frog God Games website--and the rulebook pdf is free!). All character generation is 3d6 in order, although stats cap at +1/-1 on bonus and penalty, and are thus, mostly irrelevant. Bill's games are well known for having high fatality rates and extremely difficult puzzles and traps. If you play in both sessions, experience points and treasure carry over to the next night. If you have a character from GenCon, Dallas or PaizoCon's events (or bring yours from Friday night's game), the same applies. You never know who might show up at Bill's table. There are occasional special guests with names you just may have heard before. Games start promptly at 8:30 (8:00 if you need a character), and run until Bill falls over or runs out of whiskey. Kids are welcome (there will be a couple there already), as long as they can handle the time of night and have basic skills. Bring a 20-sided die, a few 6-siders and a miniature or three. All other materials provided (BYOB). Family Friendly (7+) $3.00
 
Additionally Bill will be popping into the Open Gaming/D20PFSRD Booth to do book signings (free of charge is the word on the street) throughout the weekend! +John Reyst will have a huge catalog of Frog God Games product, and Necromancer 5E product available for sale at the booth!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Swords & Wizardry Compatibility Logo - Retouched!

Alright folks. Short post here. I retouched and made new versions of the Swords & Wizardry Compatibility Logo that we released back on Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day 2015. I intend to host the logo, in it's various formats, over at DriveThruRPG.com under the same Creative Commons Attribution we originally released the logo under. I've already gotten the seal of approval from +Matt Finch and we are ready to go. I'll have them hosted by the end of the week. Here's a preview of what will be hosted. Personally, I'm a big fan of the pencil and colored pencil look. Seems like I might have drawn something similar on a folder back in junior high while thinking about the campaign rather than algebra.
 


 






Creative Commons LicenseSwords & Wizardry Compatibility Logo by Christopher Arendt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.