You know that blank face in people when they ask you what you'd like to get for your birthday and you give them some OSR/RPG titles you always wanted to own? It's just a little bit more irritated than when you tell them that nothing comes to mind right now. The result is the same: you won't get what you wished for. Well, not so for me this year! I had to make a list of wishes and the girlfriend took care of the organisation. The result is worth a big "Thank you!" to all involved and a post with 10 (!) mini-reviews and first impressions. Here are the first 4 ...
This is a wonderful book. What an achievement! It's crazy. Almost 400 pages chock-full with ideas and creativity written by the community and put into form by +Richard LeBlanc over at the Save Vs. Dragon blog. Just skipping through it gave me 20+ ideas to use in the game.
With all this talk about the Ennie-Awards, I'm starting to wonder why this book wasn't nominated (or even discussed) for Best Free Product or Best Supplement or something. It's a shame, really. [edit: as Richard explains in the comments, the release of was too late for this year's Ennie Nominations, I didn't know that, obviously, so I hope there will be a campaign for next year ...]
Well, anyway, here you have it: one of the greatest community efforts of the OSR (and friends) I know of. It's big, it's raw, it's beautiful, the pdf is free and the lulu prints are at cost (and one of the best OSR-lulu deals you're most likely to get ...).
It's highly recommended.
Have you heard of Pars Fortuna by John Matthew Stater over at the Land of Nod blog? I don't know where exactly I encountered it first, but I somehow never managed to get it out of my system ever since. The premise is sweet and simple: What if you made a fantasy setting by exclusively using random generators, complete with a set of alternative rules variants of our most beloved D&D? Pars Fortuna is the result of this effort and it's very much worth checking out (the pdf with the basic rules is free, btw).
The lulu print is the complete set of rules, as it comes with more of everything and includes a sandbox setting and an adventure. This is some seriously weird stuff all around. And in a good way! For me it somehow always had the same vibe as Morrowind, just couldn't exactly tell you why (maybe because it hits the same spot between strange and familiar as Morrowind does).
My impression is that it would be a fun game and setting to play raw and a great source of inspiration in every regard otherwise. With the basic rules being free, there's no reason to not check it out.
This has been on my wish list ever since I had read this great review by +Kelvin Green from the Aiee! Run from Kelvin's Brainsplurge! blog.
Damn, this sounds like a great game! Players don't play characters, but entire families. The passage of time is an integrated part of the game ... it's the one true game to play a knight and all of it sounds absolutely like I'd enjoy playing or DMing it. I'm very much looking forward to give Pendragon a closer look.
What I got here is the German translation of the first edition (I think).
You can get the print or pdf versions of the 5th edition here and here is a link to a resource page by the author Greg Stafford. I'll sure write more about this book some time in the future ...
Another game that could get a bit more love in the community. Encounter Critical by S. John Ross is a satirical take on the kitchen sink role playing games in the early years of the hobby (it's the second edition of a fictive game published in 1979). Wookies go on adventures with dwarves, amazons and "Klengons", with
ugly great fan art, bad classic lay out and design and all you would expect from a game like that. You get the picture.
Anyway, it's a fun read, but the
most shocking best thing about it is that this game, crazy as it might seem, works! It also has a strong community support (although they went a bit silent nowadays). Just read the whole story here.
This was one of the first games I encountered in the OSR. If you've never heard of it, you couldn't go wrong in checking it out. It's a free pdf, after all.
So much for Part 1
That's it for now. I'm happy as a nerd could be. Even if I owned the pdfs of those games long before I held the actual print versions in hand, it's way more satisfying to have this physical evidence of our hobby. For me at least, it makes a difference.
There will be another post like this in the near future with even more games from our corner of the internet. Until then, happy gaming to you all!