Friday, March 25, 2011

My Son's Birthday

satan by steelcaress
satan, a photo by steelcaress on Flickr.
It was my son's birthday Thursday the 24th, and on Saturday the 26th we're going to have his party -- at our place. So I've spent the past few days cleaning the heck out of the townhome, and should be resuming normal posting in a few days, after I recover.

Regrettably, unlike Paladin, I probably won't be doing any gaming for my son's birthday party. His cousins are usually invited, and my sister is a hardcore Christian who believes that D&D, Pokemon, Harry Potter, and other assorted things are Satanic.

It truly saddens me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hot Elf Chick, Slightly NSFW

I thought I'd post the pic first  :)  

As part of James Smith's fiendish plan to attract more followers to the Old School Renaissance, he suggested we do this.  Many bloggers have taken up his suggestion already, and I'm following suit. 

I realize some people don't particularly care for Larry Elmore's art, but I'm not in that camp.  I think, barring some of his later paperback covers, he is an incredibly talented artist, easily up there with Joe Jusko, Frank Frazetta, Luis Royo, and others. 

Welcome to my blog!  :)

To the point, however, you are now on a site of a rabid pre-Y2K gamer, one who prefers the older flavors of D&D to the new stuff.  However, the current owner, Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro, has seen fit to pull all their reasonably priced PDFs of their old games down, so it would be hard to find anything other than at Ebay collectible prices.  Fortunately, the work of a few talented individuals has made this much easier, and many are free.  If you have ever had a hankering to be a wizard and cast earthshaking spells, a mighty warrior cleaving your way through evil hordes, or even a freebooter exploring dark labyrinths where danger and treasure lurk, then check these out:

Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game

Made to emulate Basic and Expert D&D books by Moldvay and Cook published in the very early 80's, with more modern innovations

B/X Companion 

This is an imagining of what could have been, if the Companion volume for Basic D&D had been released for the Moldvay/Cook version. 

Big Brown Book
A supplement to D&D-as-wargame. Every roll is made on a d6.

Dark Dungeons
Based on a later iteration of Basic D&D, the one authored by Mentzer and organized and edited into the "Rules Cyclopedia" by Aaron Allston.

For Gold & Glory
A pretty incredible version of 2nd Edition D&D.  If you played D&D before 2000 and after 1987, this was likely the version you played.

Labyrinth Lord
Another Basic D&D clone, this one hews more closely to the original rules.

Labyrinth Lord: Advanced Edition Companion
This "updates" Labyrinth Lord to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (first edition), which many prefer. 

Lamentations of the Flame Princess
Aimed at more Lovecraftian and Clark Ashton Smith influences, but still D&D.

Microlite system
Randall has designed many free iterations of D&D, all trimmed down and made very easy to play.

Myth & Magic
This is a clone of 2nd Edition D&D, updated with more modern rules to replace what the author wanted to fix.

This is a clone of first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.  It is nearly identical to the original. 

Swords & Wizardry
Mythmere games has designed a few brilliant clones of OD&D

I'm sure there are some that I missed, but this will get you started!  Now, if I've reignited the fires of your youth (or if the pic did it), go forth and grab a rulebook, grab some dice, and reclaim the golden age of roleplaying!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Celebrating Gygax

Today is the anniversary of Gary Gygax's death.  If anyone doesn't know what a Gary Gygax is, you need to look it up.  Jeff Rients on his blog mentioned some homework:

"Start with a core set of rules, the older and crappier the better.  You can use an RPG but some half-baked wargame works even better.  Produce a two or three page document with suggestions for improving the rules/adapting them for RPG play and an outline for a campaign.  Expand this to a 50-100 page book.  Use the latter document as the basis for all your campaigns for the next decade or three.  Run one to six games a week, refining your work as necessary.  Publishing any of it is entirely optional."

Done and done.  Except for publishing any of it.  I'm still in the process of writing a clone, but it's not finished as of this writing.  A short blurb:

I wrote this because I want a different "feel" for D&D, one that I don't believe the mechanics support well in their current form.  I want to bring the violent action and feel of Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and David Gemmell to the mix.  I want the otherworldly horror of Clark Ashton Smith and H.P. Lovecraft.  I want to renew a sense of wonder to the player, when you sat down and played your first game of D&D.

Choose from 10 unique races, not just another variation of elf.  Some are the same as you're used to (shaken and stirred a bit), others are very different.  Humans are now distinct by nationality and race. 

You are not your stuff anymore.  Your damage increases by class and level, not by acquiring a higher-damage weapon.  This is logical and consistent with the pulps we are emulating.   

No skills!  Your character is unique and does have abilities all his own, and the rules allow anything to be attempted without fiddly rules.  The Thief class is now more useful and fun than in earlier iterations of That Fantasy Game. 

Experience points and Treasure are more logical, consistent, and reward actually doing things.  Magical treasure is now something to be truly in awe of -- not because of raw power, but because of the effects.

New combat mechanics allow for any action to be taken, with instant effects -- not just “+2 to Armor Class!”  Unhorse your foe!  Throw your opponent into a group of enemies and bowl them over.  Hurl your sword at someone and have it pierce him like a spear!  Shatter weapons and shields!  Simple, quick grappling rules allow you to wrestle with your enemy in style!  46 Combat Maneuvers make the Fighter class fun again! 
Almost infinite variety.  We have 43 character classes with different types of Spellcasters and Priest-types.  Unique mechanics allow selection to be a breeze!  Get a character up and running in 10 minutes!  Variety like you've not seen in either kit or prestige class!  Yet easier than any edition!

New spells, contained in the same Vancian spell slot system, but now with full power over your spells and how they're cast!  Options for variants allow for a richer magic system!  Eight different schools of magic are detailed, and clerics now have access to “Prayers,” instead of spells.  It works the same, just renamed!

New monsters!  Old monsters with a unique twist! 

All this together with a unique fantasy setting.  Make a name for yourself in the magical land of Andurantha!

Not Old School, not New School, but rather Alternative School.  Backwards compatible with most editions of D&D. 

Optional rules allow you to play it your way! 

Getting anyone to playtest this might be interesting.  Most people have fallen under the sway of WotC or Paizo, and have little patience for anything else.  A weekly game?  I wish!