Old Steel Ruins

In three months time I’m off to the 7 Hills Convention (tickets still availble), in Sheffield 18-19 April.

The con has a general theme, last year it was Sci-fi this year its Steel (Sheffield was a major Steel manufacturer). I also traditionally do an OSR game on Saturday night, which this year brings me onto:

Old Steel Ruins (Newt Newport)

System: Crypts and Things

In days of yore hot molten metal poured from the wounded Zarth. Mighty Sorcerers melded it into buildings of glittering Steel. They enslaved the land and the people. Until the Gods themselves were moved by the evil wizards hubris and buried them and their city under hot scolding sky fall ash! So the Steel Empire came to end, its treasures buried for millennia, its location a mystery.

UNTIL NOW! Brave scouts have discovered the City of Steel and have shared its location. Join the expedition to explore the Old Steel Ruins and discover THE SECRET OF STEEL!

An adventure for up to six 5th Level characters, using Crypts and Things a distinctly British Old School game, based upon the classics from the late 70s/early 80s, of Swords and Sorcery Adventure.

Tags: OSR, D&D, Swords & Sorcery, Foul smelly Khaos, Hair caked with the ash of ages, Lightly Gritted Sinews.”

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Happy Birthday Clark Ashton Smith

The Patron Saint of Crypts and Things Crypt Keepers everywhere :)

Read the master at The Eldritch Dark.

Sculpture/Photo montage by Andrea Bonazzi

Sculpture/Photo montage by Andrea Bonazzi

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Fiendish Friday: The Sorcerer

A rough draft (warning there may be typos) of something that will be revealed soon ;)


Grey Sorcerer by D.M.Wright

Grey Sorcerer by D.M.Wright

Sorcerers are characters who use Magic to bend reality to their will. They cast spells, memorised from dusty tomes, to perform such wondrous feats as summoning demons, healing wounds through the words of the kindly ones, fly through the air and throw fireballs from their hands at their foes. Normal people shun and fear them, even if they practice only kindly White Magic, because of their ability to weave magic which is misunderstood and much maligned.

They’ve seen the Other Side, what lies beyond what their mentor calls the Shroud. They’ve seen the unnatural things that would tear into this reality and suck out its life force. They’ve dabbled in the dark arts, summoning these things for your Master’s ‘profit’ and gain. They’ve played the Dark Game either willingly or through force. Finally they escaped their Master’s suffocating influence, and found Freedom. Sorcerers express this freedom by being able to learn a wide variety of spells that fall into three colour categories: White, Black and Grey.

Continue reading

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Magicians of Zarth

Sorcerer by David Micheal Wright

Sorcerer by David Micheal Wright

The following is from a little something I’m working on for Crypts and Things.

Sorcerers are solo sorcerers who have recognised their own power and bow to no demon or deity.

Other forms of magicians who may be encountered in Zarth are as follows:

Vivimancers. Practitioners of the foul and depraved art of Vivimancy, which creates such blasphemies as the killer man goat of Zorx! This was originally the magic of the Serpent Men, who in their tyranny saw all others as their property and slave. They were always looking to create better servants by hybridising different races under their control.

Shamans. They practice an aboriginal type of magic that arises when humans worship their ancestors and the powerful sprits that exist in nature.

Necromancers. They speak with the dead and summon them from the ashes of Zarth to do their bidding.

Priests. Slaves to the Other Gods or Elemental Lords. They in turn use their magic to enslave their followers in secretive cults.

Sorcerers may learn their magic; they may for example learn the Ritual to Summon the Great Other which a cult worships, or the Fireball spell that is traditionally taught by the worshippers of the Elemental Lord of Fire. They may also find in old sorcerer’s stash of scrolls spells to summon Ancestor Spirits in a ritual that a tribal shaman would recognise. Such spells are often stripped of any reverence or dogma that the native traditions have, the Sorcerer achieving results through sheer force of Will. This is another reason why Sorcerers are hated by other magicians, because they can so easily ‘steal’ their magic and not have to follow the rules.

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River of Heaven released

Hi there, we interrupt your regularly scheduled fantasy of dragons n stuff, to bring to your notice that D101 Games has finally released its Science Fiction Adventure Game….River of Heaven.

river-of-heaven-coverPowered by the same D100 rules that form the basis of OpenQuest, it’s 240+ pages of hot sci-fi action inspired by John Ossoway, author of Cthulhu Rising and co-author of the Savage North.

Available in pdf, print and pdf/print bundle from DriveThruRpg.com.

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Free D100 Games

OpenQuest-basicsIts official the D100 Renaissance has caught up with the D&D OSR as far as free rulesets are concerned.

I’ve added a new link category “Free D100 Games” on the Right Hand Sidebar, for quick reference;

Note: I’ve not included Legend, because its not free and RQ6 (which is basically the updated version) supersedes it, or GORE because that’s incomplete and unsupported.

So there’s now no excuse not to download one of the above and give D100 a whirl :)

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Seasons Greetings from the Outer Dark

Have a very Awesome Mid-Winter break and I’ll see you on the other side with big announcements about D101’s Old School output :)

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Dungeon World at the Bundle of Holding

Another promo post from me but this time its for a worthy cause – the lastest Bundle of Holding this time for Dungeon World.

Dungeon World is my current go-to system for quick one shots if we are missing players for my Home game, or if we are between games. Its quick and fast, creating characters is a breeze (a five min tick box experience). Although its firmly from the narrative/storytelling/indie side of design its written with enough love for old school gaming that it captures the essense of that style, without dealing with some of the more tedious elements of old school rules.

I did a quick review about it earlier in the year:

The basic bundle comes with the rules + 4 adventures, and if you stump up more groats you get the amazing , Adventures on Dungeon Planet (Planetary romanace), Class Warfare (DIY Class creation manual) and Terrors of an Ancient World (Monster Manual) plus another adventure (Servants of the Cinder Queen) and Funnel World (rules for using Dungeon Crawl Classic’s Character Funnel).


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Old School Call of Cthulhu

The comes a time in any Old School Renaissance blogger’s career when one fondly looks at Call of Cthulhu. Especially relevant to me as a UK OSR blogger since back in the 80s it was one of the Big Four – D&D, Traveller, RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu. Those were the games that got regular coverage in White Dwarf, and I remember reading fantastic scenarios like the Watchers of Wablerswick.

I first picked up CoC courtesy of Games Workshop, who did a very nice hardcover which like their version of Stormbringer collated both the contents of the 2nd Edition Box Set and the Keeper’s Companion. This meant that it was absolutely chock block full of content. The rules themselves only took up 100 pages, the rest was all scenarios (about five including my favourite The Secret of Castanegro) and supplementary material (such as the section about tying the Lovecraftian Mythos to Mesoamerican deities).

I jumped right in playing it and that perhaps was my downfall. Inspired by author Sandy Petersen Keeper’s advice I created a series of scenarios which could at best be described as Old One in A Cave. This style of play has the characters turn up in a remote town/village/abandoned house, find out something is a bit wrong very quickly from the creepy atmosphere, then ask questions of the locals (Fast talk roll), consult the local Libary (Libary Use roll) before heading off to confront the monster with or without the required banishing spell. My players at the time being 15 and used to solving problems with violence would either die or run away :) It was a fun and atmospheric play style which unfortunately didn’t go the distance. In all fairness we discovered RuneQuest next, which suited this style of play down to the ground.

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Looking forward not back

The announcement of the  RuneQuest 6 Bundle of Holding really got me excited about running a RQ6 campaign. In fact everytime RQ6 gets a big burst of publicity I’m there notebook in hand scribbling away and dreaming up my ultimate RQ project. As an RQ fan boy I’d love to have an RQ Gateway project out there.  Ultimately I’d have to clone myself with the number of projects I’ve already got on the go. As a publisher if I do anything in the D100 arena I have to push OpenQuest and its spin off games.

Also there’s a dull thud of realisation that I would simply be retreading old ground. Because as much as RQ6 is a new iteration of the game, its RuneQuest. All the familiar structures are there, Cults, tactical combat, the four types of magic (even mysticism reminds me of the KI powers from Sandy Petersen’s RQ3 era Land of Ninja).   That to get the most out of it me and my players would have to commit to along weekly campaign, which due to my personal circumstances just isn’t going to happen. I get the same feeling from mainstream D&D, 5th Ed and vanilla Retro-clones (like Labyrinth Lord). Its a sinking feeling that it will be a long learning curve, working out that certain rules don’t work for us as a group, and involving heavy prep for me personally. These days I’m happier with rules light iterations of these games, which take me and my group in new directions at a much faster pace.

So sorry RQ6 you are going back on the shelf next to your old and glorious forebears. Nothing personal (you are a damn sexy game) just a bit too heavy and involved for my tastes these days.

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