About Newt

Games Designer, Publisher, Web Developer, Dad.

Labyrinth Lord 2nd Edition

In my mind, Labyrinth Lord was one of the first wave of OSR games in the late 2000s/early 2010s, along with OSRIC (AD&D), Swords and Wizardry (OD&D) and Basic Fantasy (early D&D using D20).  It was the first retro-clone, a faithful replication within legal limits of the Basic/Expert style of D&D from the 80s, that I ran, all the way back at Furance 2010 twelve years ago! So it was my reintroduction to playing the World’s Favourite Fantasy Game back in the early 2010s. Its licensing model greatly inspired me to get off my arse and start writing stuff for publication.

While I’ve not run it since that brief glorious game at Furnace or engaged with it much in recent years, I took a hard pass when they did a very reasonable Kickstarter for a revised edition, I was slightly worried when the Goblinoid Games website went dark a couple of months ago. I get it all the B/X kids are going crazy about Old School Essentials, and its clean, clear presentation with lashings of old-school style art, but man this is our old friend LL.

Turns out that I need not have worried. Creator/author Dan Proctor has taken some time out to reflect and regroup and a proper 2nd edition of Labyrinth Lord is coming out next year.

Labyrinth Lord powering the fun

Labyrinth Lord powering the fun

Links!

Over morning coffee I readded my selection of links to the right hand side of the blog. I cleaned up the dead links, which saw a sad bye-bye to the inspirational Fighting Fantastist and fuckyeahbritishrpgs blogs. Also, the retro-clone section got moved into “publishers” because that’s what the ones who are still going have mutated into over ten years.. The selection is also a bit more personal, so sites everyone knows about like company sites for Cubicle 7 got dropped. But the main reason I even touched and brought back the Links section (which needs constant checking and updating) is to add two very fine blogs to the blog.

Old Scouser Roleplaying. Old Scouse is an enthusiastic member of the Grogsquad, a lose but very friendly association of returnees to the hobby after a break during the 90s/00s, He’s an especially big fan of Old School Essentials, and his blog has actual plays arising from his campaigns and one-shot convention games of this and other games. The blog also features reviews of UK conventions, such as UK Games Expo, Owlbear and Wizard Staf, Grogmeet (read on for more about that) and of course his own “I’ve dropped me daughter off at Manchester Comic Con, so I may as well make a con of it” Burrito Con.

The Grognard Files. Run by fellow Mancunians Chris “Dirk the Dice” Hart and Steven “Blythy” Blythe this multimedia experience is not only a regular blog, its a convention – the annual Face to Face Grogmeet and its biannual virtual Grogmeets, a thriving discord channel, with book club, and occasional fanzine. It tends to cover a lot of OSR stuff, because the theme is very much gamers from the 80s returning to the hobby after a break, but they’ve branched out and covers stuff that grabs their attention. They recently did a couple of podcasts about Savage Worlds for example.

 

Final day of funding for From the Shroud Issue 3

At the time of writing, we are about to enter the last day of funding of the From the Shroud #3 which is a Crypts and Things/OSR zine, as part of Kickstarter ZineQuest 4.  The zine is now fully maxed out content-wise as a 64-page full-colour zine. It will have sixteen tales of cosmic horror, each featuring a different alien Other World, the demonic Others that live there and adventure ideas.

The campaign also funded a second twenty-three-page zine, Mancuria an fantasy version of my home-city Manchester, an OSR sandbox setting that every backer will get a copy of.

 

Weird Fantasy and Cosmic Horror?

These are two terms that are bandied around lots when it comes to the Old School Renaissance (OSR),

A quick Google looking for a definition of Cosmic Horror, sends you straight towards HP Lovecraft and his Mythos. The rather nihilistic idea of alien beings, and their incomprehensible actions being the source of alarm and anxiety, rather than blood and gore. To be fair that’s were I came in with the term, with the Games Workshop printing of Call of Cthulhu (2nd edition + Companion with all manner of new art, in a lovely hardcover instead of a bunch of pamphlets in a box which was the US Chaosium offering at the time). Actually, I was more interested in the idea of using it as a Gothic horror game, since rather than Lovecraft I had been brought up on a diet of Hammer Horror films, with a dash of the bizarre and creepy 70s/80s British TV Series Tales of the Unexpected (which sometimes went into the realms of the supernatural). I didn’t really get Cosmic Horror until I read the work of Lovecraft’s peer Clark Ashton Smith a couple of years later. CAS is the master of dry, almost sarcastic, delivery of “oppps man has wandered into an encounter with the supernatural almost outside of his comprehension, and suffers badly because of it”. I personally think he’s a much better writer, than Lovecraft, and he certainly got across the sense of how to use Cosmic Horror effectively.

Weird Fantasy? Again a quick Google brings you to a broad church of pulpy, supernatural, dark fantasy, swords and sorcery, titles and stories, that have their origins in the 1920s with the familiar circle of HP Lovecraft, CAS and Rober E. Howard.  For me as a Brit, brought up on a quaint diet of Tolkien and CS Lewis, it means anything that is genuinely strange and somewhat dangerous by its very nature. Moorcook’s Eternal Champion stories (Elric, Hawkmoon, Corum, Von Beck among others) which I drank deep off in my teens come to mind in a happy way here.

Both flavours are covered by the zines I’m offering as part of the From the Shroud ZineQuest 4 Kickstarter.

From the Shroud #3, is cosmic horror in a big way. The Tales that describe the adventures on Other Worlds and their alien inhabitants are the first proper look at the genre that has previously been heavily mentioned and referenced by some of the otherworldly fiends that are the monsters of Crypts and Things. Now I give Crypt Keepers (C&T GMs) a bucket full of ideas to inflict upon their players, whose characters now can visit the worlds beyond the Shroud.

The nearly funded second zine, Mancuria covers Weird Fantasy. It’s an alternative history take on 21st Century Manchester, with an airpunk theme, with flying airships, steam-powered weapons, and dangerous elements in the form of a zombie workforce that sometimes gets hungry, visiting barbarians on unicycles and pirates who prey on the airships.

Both zines are available on Kickstarter now until Monday 29th August.

 

 

Recommended Fantasy RPG books on Kickstarter now

One of the joys of running a Kickstarter is that you get a lot of spam from other anonymous creators, offering “you mention my KS and I’ll mention yours” deals. I delete and move on. But over the last couple of days, the deluge of spam got me thinking of what I’d actually recommend.

First up is another BOSR zine running as part of ZineQuest 4,  The Medieval Margin-agerie Zine “A 24-page zine of the grotesque, the weird, and the bizarre for OSR games. Featuring eight strange creatures written by Richard August.” This is from my good friends at Just Crunch Games/All Rolled Up, who are just down the road from me in Stockport, Greater Manchester.  It’s already funded with nine days to go.  Just Crunch, who put out Cthulhu Hack and The Dee Sanction recently, put out high-quality products and delivers them timely, so I have no hesitation in recommending this.

Only running for one week is Handiwork Game’s Maskwitches of Forgotten Doggerland. This is Jon Hodgson’s storytelling game, The Silver Road, mixed with his use of midjourney as a veteran industry artist to produce “a psychedelic Mesolithic role-playing game, placing your stories in Forgotten Doggerland – the land that lies drowned beneath the North Sea.”  Again Handiwork Games produces high-quality products in a timely manner, and after receiving A|State 2nd Edition and Beowulf recently, I think they are my new favourite RPG company 🙂  But be fast on this one, there are only six days to go!

From the Shroud #3 now live on Kickstarter

Live now on Kickstarter as part of ZineQuest for two weeks until Mon, August 29.  Fully funded within an hour, currently smashing through stretch goals, From the Shroud #3 is a zine focusing on the cosmic horror of the Other Worlds for Crypts and Things and other OSR/Fantasy games.

From the Shroud issue 3 on Kickstarter until Mon, August 29.

Also, everything that I’ve done for Crypts and Things, including previous issues of the zine, is available as an add-on, so it’s a great way to either catch up with the releases or get into the game.

From The Shroud #3 coming to ZineQuest on Monday 15th August

For Crypts and Things, other OSR games, and fantasy games in general, the third issue of From the Shroud, now in Hellish full colour is coming to Kickstarter’s ZineQuest for two weeks, on Monday 15th August.  Sign up now to be told when the campaign goes live.

Also here’s a short nine page preview, with one of the six tales that is included with the basic zine, and two of the illustrations from two of the other tales. As stretch goals fund, I’ll be adding additional tales of terror.

A Bit of a Dust Off

This is one of those, omg I’ve just updated this site not realising how out of date some sections are, sort of posts.

If you are a long-time visitor, the Products page has had a big update, since it was about four years out of date and didn’t reflect the large number of books I’ve put out over that time. Oh and it was still showing OpenQuest 2nd edition as a thing, and we are comfortably one year into OpenQuest 3rd edition being out.  So if you are not sure what I do as D101 Games in the fantasy tabletop space check out the following page.

The links to Fiendish Friday and UK OSR category pages have gone since I’ve not been creating content for either for an embarrassing amount of time.  This has got me thinking about what I should be writing for the blog. I think the most obvious one, apart from talking about my own stuff is things like the series of reviews I’m planning for Mythras. Also, the BOSR review seems to have fallen by the wayside over the last couple of months. Also, I think a general where I’m at with the OSR sort of blog post is in order.

Looking at the archives, The Sorcerer turns twelve this coming September, and its heartwarming to see there’s life in the old blog yet 🙂

 

Poll: Which Mythras Book should I Review?

It struck me the other day, It’s been a while since I’ve read any of the Mythras books I’ve been quietly buying and putting away on my shelves. So to give me a push and vote now!  I’ll check back in a week or so 🙂

Which Mythras Supplement should I review next?

And if you missed my review of Mythras.