Into the Midderlands

A quick recommendation/preview here from me.

OSR Map maker supremo and all round nice guy Glynn Seal of Monkey Blood Design is Kickstarting his Midderlands Book.  This is a setting/creature book with a short adventure, which comes bundled with a gorgeous large map of the setting. The Midderlands is a fictional medieval fantasy version of the lands around were Glynn lives in English Midlands region.

Here’s the preview vid in all its green glory.

This book is going to be a 300+ hardcover, comparable in content and form to such OSR classics like Lamentations of the Flame Princess’s Carcosa and Red and Pleasant Land. But that a lazy comparison once you start delving into the content itself.

And what content it is. First, of its all clearly and logically presented, despite the spiky green theme that runs through the book. It would have been very tempting to present this as a ‘messy’ thing, especially with the huge dollops of Monty Python/Black Adder (tending towards the black humour of the later) that pepper the text. No Glynn has resisted that urge and has kept everything tidy and neat. It’s both highly enjoyable read, from what little I’ve have had the pleasure to read of the ‘nearly done’ draft he was so kind to provide me with for this preview. It’s also, and this matters at my gaming/scenario creation table, an easy to use reference book.

I’ll refer you to the Kickstart itself for a breakdown of the book itself. Since Glynn does a much better job than I could myself (with full page spreads), but my highlights from my skim so far are the numerous race as character classes, that cover the various species of goblins and other slimy/spiky things covered in the creatures chapter.  I can easily see myself running a short campaign or convention game based upon an adventuring group of these monsters.

As a Kickstarter project, I can firmly recommend this. It’s logically consistent, the price is right for what you are getting, and the stretch goals are focused on the book itself rather than endless additional supplements, which delay delivery. This book is ready to go, and the funds go straight funding production of a print run.


Beyond the Pit

Like Monster Manuals?

Want the sequel to the seminal Out of the Pit?

Want another 250 Fighting Fantasy beasties straight out of the pages of the classic FF books?

250 original images from the likes of Russ Nicholson, John Blanche, Martin McKenna, John Sibbick, David Gallagher and Terry Oakes?

Then this my friend is your Kickstarter, already funded so completely no-risk.

Also Graham’s a good lad who ships quality product on time, with good communication along the way. I know this from the Blacksand KS earlier this year (which I must review at some point).
Beyond the Pit cover

Bundle of Holding Old School Revivial – what would a UK version look like?

With the recent Bundle of Holding – “Old School Revival” Pdf bundle just gone, and what a fine thing it was, my mind could not help but think what would a UK version look like.

Remember this is pure fantasy on my part, and uses the idea that the UK OSR encompasses more than D&D.

The main bundle:

Advanced Fighting Fantasy Quick Start  – Complete no-brainer this one.

Dragon Warriors, this is us brits taking the basic D&D idea, putting it through a folklore looking glass and coming up with something quite special and unique.

OpenQuest Basics – ok so I’ve not pulled this together yet, the link goes to OQ Deluxe (why don’t you check it out 😉 ) but a free low page count intro to D100 system you can’t go wrong.

A UK Old School primer – a selection of Coopdevil’s Fighting Fantasist articles about what the UK OSR is about 🙂

Oubliette Magazine issue #1 – because us Brits also do Fanzines too 😉

Crypts and Things – Blood of the Dragon A Swords and Sorcery sandbox!

Small but Viscous Dog – A B/X Warhammer hack by Chris Hogan.

As add ons:

Woodland Warriors – Simon Washbourne’s ( author of Barbarians of Lemuria) excellent child-friendly striped down d6 using version of Swords & Wizardry with Mice.

BRP Rome – OK published quite fittingly by an Italian company, but written by a Brit (Pete Nash) and would fit nicely alongside some of the historical setting pieces written in White Dwarf & Imagine magazine back in the day.

RuneQuest 6 – Its heritage may be Californian, but this implementation is pure Brit Old School ( remember us Brits owned RQ via Rune Rites in 80’s White Dwarf 😉 )

Anything I’ve missed out?

12 Days of UK OSR: Day 5 Woodland Warriors

Hootin’ Heck is it June already? Then I better press on with the 12 Days of the UK OSR, with day 5.

Based off Swords and Wizardry, WoodLand Warriors is a nice little book by Simon Washbourne published by his Beyond Belief Games. It’s introductory D&D for Kids and big Kids of all ages. Substituting Orcs n Elves for Stoats and Mice and dungeons for wild woods and meadows.  Six is the magic number in Woodland Warriors, as in 6 being the max level and D6 replacing D20s and the other standard polyhedrals.

It  packs alot into its 96 pages*.  A complete system, GM guidance, Bestiary a small setting “The Alder Vale” and an introductory adventure.  If you are familiar with the Swords and Wizardry rules alot of the text will be immediately familiar, seeing as the game like Crypts and Things is built on those rules, but copious modifications to model the genre its emulating and be much more accessible version of D&D.  In my view it achieves both these goals admirably.

Why this book is important to the UK OSR?

It carries on the fine UK traditions of innovation and approachability.  Coming after the grandmasters of the Hobby, Gygax et al, early UK writers built on what had gone before taking the Fantasy milieu in new directions away from a pure dungeon bashing.  Also there was a strong introductory stream of rpgs, mainly based of Fighting Fantasy, but even in  Warhammer 1st Ed and other Games Workshop RPGs there was a strong ethos of keeping systems and straightforward, taking time to explain fully at every stage of the book what was going on to the newcomers.

Its an OSR product we can point people to who don’t want a pure Dungeon Bashing game based off typical fantasy troupes.  This the game I can play with my missus (a non gamer who likes animal stories ) and my children when they grow up in four-three years (currently they are nearly 3 and 5 respectively).

Overall can’t recommend this one highly enough:)

Also worth noting Simon is highly prolific and the following games from his ever growing portfolio are of direct interest to the Old School Gamer:


*I’m reviewing the standard edition here. There is a Complete version which includes all the  supplements that Simon has put out since the game’s initial release.