Monday, February 29, 2016

OSR Freebies from the Library Part 2

And here we are, back again talking about "lost" gems of the OSR community. The things others did and nobody really talked about or that didn't get enough exposure. I already did one of those here (with more words about the how and why of this series and some stuff you might not have seen yet). This is totally subjective, of course, and I'm more often than not left wondering how it is that so many people stay (almost entirely) unnoticed despite the great work they are doing for the hobby. Especially when they are doing it just out of passion and not for the buck. It's strange. But on with it ...

For Gold & Glory (RPG by Justen Brown)

Have you heard of this one? You haven't? Same here. I happened to stumble across this by accident and I got to say: a huge oversight! This is the only free and complete revision of that advanced 2nd version of the game we all love and talk about. 382 pages and it's all in there, nicely packaged in one fine volume.

Where to get stuff & opinions from others: There is a free pdf on lulu and/or over at drivethrurpg ready for the download. Opinions? None. I kid you not. Some positive comments here and there and Tenkar shows the way in the right direction. Other than that? Nothing I could find, I'm afraid.

My thoughts: This is big. Someone took the time to condense the pinnacle of early D&D development into one sweet rulebook and somehow no one seems to care. I don't get it. Well, be that as it may, the thing exists and seems to work as it should. I'm a huge fan of HackMaster 4e, AD&D 2e and friends for many, many reasons, so finding out that FG&G exists, does what it aims to do and is readily available (free even!), made me happy.

So if your old books are falling apart or you always wanted to check out what those games are about, this is your opportunity to do something about it before you start hunting for out-of-print material. I'll take a closer look in the near future, review and all.

Small But Vicious Dog (RPG by Chris Hogan)

Not the cover, but it could be ... [source]
Not as hard a case as FG&G above, but published in 2011 and easily missed, since it didn't get a broad distribution, I thought it's worth mentioning here. SBVD is a B/X-Warhammer Fantasy RPG hack and 36 pages long at that. So it's basically old edition D&D with mutations, diseases and mohawk-sporting dwarves building death machines ...

Where to get stuff & opinions from others: Links to an introduction, the rules and additional material can be found here. I couldn't find a review, but I found some house rules for the game here (about advanced careers) and here (about greenskins).

My thoughts: This is a lovely little game about a grimdark fantasy world, with some great ideas and it's funny as a bonus. And it's compatible to all things D&D, of course. What's not to love? So if you haven't checked it out yet, you can't go wrong in doing so. In a worst case you'll have a good time and see something you'd like to use in your own game. It's like it says in that post linked above: Small But Vicious Dog Steals Heart, Humps Leg.

More of the same ...

As I wrote in that first post linked above: there is a wealth of games to be found online and if I find someone collecting it, I'll share a link. I have found that page. It's not all free, arguably not only games you could summon under the label DIY-OSR (some missing, some more, all D&D ...) and "only" (complete) role playing games, but damn, it sure is a lot. And up to date (I think). So if you need to get an idea what could possibly be out there, go and all the entries for D&D Retroclones over at the Taxidermic Owlbear blog (which obviously comes with four more games of its own). It's amazing! Again, not all of them are free, but many, many are, so I'd say it counts for Freebies from the Library :)

Anyway, there are many more things than complete games to be discovered. Adventures, zines, you name it. The DIY-OSR scene is diverse like that, so one more for the road ...

The Castle Triskelion (mega-dungeon by Tim Stypinski)

Look at it! Tim started  at the ground level and is filling
Upper Dungeon Level 3 right now. [source]
This is a sprawling, eight publications thick (since 2013) and still growing mega-dungeon about a giant castle full of crazy wizards and their experiments, new monsters, new items, new spells ... all you could expect in a project like this, really, all D&D compatible. And of course this description isn't doing it any justice at all. It's massive.

Where to get stuff & opinions from others: You can get all the published material for free here over at & Magazine. Tim also has a blog where he publishes the whole thing room by room, almost on a daily basis (or more .. is it more?) and you can find it here. I couldn't find any reviews out there and think it's a shame ...

My thoughts: I love it. This is so much material right there, you could play for years without seeing an end of it. You have traps, monsters, treasure, factions, puzzles, dozens of maps and hundreds of rooms to explore, a little bit of humor sprinkled here and there ... it's all there and it is completely free. Add a classic  and a printer-friendly layout to that and you really get a lot for free. People should not only check it out, people should play this! So take a look and give the guy some feedback and nice words for the great work he is doing here :)

Enough for today, folks

I'll leave it at that. If you where looking for something new (even if it's been around for some time now or is still partly in development) there should be plenty to go with at this point. I will update the page where I collect all of it and there might be another post or two like this in me. Some time in the future, of course.

If you know of any other old material that could need some more exposure or have any opinions about the games (and games material) I wrote about here, feel free to share them with us in the comments section below or on g+.


  1. I like what you are doing here, Jens D. It's been a long time since I heard anybody talk about For GOld and Glory! The OSL has been pumping stuff out for years now, it is nice to see somebody talking about what has been long after the original authors had taken a bow. There is probably a ton of stuff out there, we weren't always so organized, and I know that the order that we see now is an illusion. People have always worked independently, and then never advertised it because they were shy or just didn't want to deal with any rejection. For some reason, others like to go after people who put themselves and their work out there.

    1. Thanks, Ripper! And you are right on all accounts. I have tons of materials on my hard drive, might have missed tons more. And there is so much good stuff out there, it's uncanny. I have at least one more post like this in store and hope people spread the word. I can't understand the silence, especially with FG&G. I mean, come on, a complete revision of AD&D 2e in print, the pdf for free, no less?! That's so awesome, it hurts to see people do ... nothing. Anyway, I hope it spread the word a bit and maybe even made someone happy :)

  2. My usual way of finding blogs is to go to and just open up sites from his blogroll on the right. It is amazing how much stuff is out there.

    1. Yeah, you are right, it's sprawling all over the place. And it's a good thing, too :)

  3. These are a lot of fun to read. Thank You for taking the time to find these games and write these posts!