Thursday, May 9, 2013

Some goings on in the OSR

I will probably not be posting anything major until after this weekend, although I should have some fresh thoughts on OD&D from after the setting post series and the PDF up in tomorrow's posting. Today I wanted to get a little bit into the OSR and things that I find interesting ... or not.

As an enthusiast of monster books, I want to point folks over to Joseph Bloch's Kickstarter for the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary. This KS is really important to me, looking at a 450 page book with over 900 monsters. Every $25 pays for a piece of black & white art that will go in the book. We're up over 200 illustrations, but I want this thing to be lavish with every monster depicted. Joseph is really top-notch in terms of handling his publications and got the Adventures Dark and Deep Players Manual out early, so please consider backing this one.

Second, I think folks should check out Geoffrey McKinney's Dungeon of the Unknown. This was one of the rewards for Jim Raggi's LotFP Free RPG Day Kickstarter, but it's now available in PDF for money. It's another dungeon inspired partly by B1 In Search of the Unknown, as was Caverns of Temeluc in Dungeon Crawl #2. It features goop monsters, chimeric creatures (monsters in the vein of Isle of the Unknown, treasures, weird locations, and human factions that the referee is then to stock in a 2-level Geomorph style dungeon. Everything in it scales pretty well up or down in level, except for the values of the treasure - which I think are a bit skimpy.

Geoffrey has also published a third module in his Psychedelic Fantasies line, The Fungus That Came to Blackeswell. I've been picking up each of these unique modules, and this one is an interesting underground village that has some really cool monsters lurking within. I'd recommend checking out at least one of these, if not all three adventures.

Finally - the OSR got mentioned on BoingBoing, in this article. Unfortunately it's crap, and tries to pawn off old school gaming as a simple obsession with "how things used to be" - when an objective glance at the community shows that it's actually a riotous diversity of people whose games have starting points from editions of D&D released sometime between 1974 (OD&D) and 1991 (Rules Cyclopedia).

I think at this point our community has more to do with exploring the roads that could have been traveled but weren't, from S&W Complete and LL/AEC making the "AD&:D Lite" that a lot of people would have preferred, to Joseph Bloch creating an extrapolation of "2e if Gary did it" to games like ACKS that explore the endgame. Even megadungeon publications focus on a style of module that never got done well rather than rehashing. There are some middle of the road modules, and there always will be, but I think the OSR has evolved into something far beyond nostalgia and it's a shame that it isn't really understood.

Of course all of these feeds back into why I think OD&D still matters, and why I still think its re-publication in PDF form was an important event in the OSR. But that's for tomorrow.


  1. Thanks for the heads up on the new Psychedelic Fantasies - I loved the first two!


  2. For an outsider's perspective, I thought the Boing Boing article wasn't too unfavorable. I also didn't know about the 3rd Psychedelic Fantasies module. Thanks!


  3. Peter Bebergal's article is uniformed, misleading and downright insulting. Very disappointing stuff, but sadly predictable at the same time.


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