Guide to the OSR for the Perplexed

Currently making the rounds is a questionnaire from Zak S. Not someone I follow personally, but someone known to make a good random table.

1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me:

Pricipia Apocrypha
2. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark:

Not every encounter is going to be your level
3. Best OSR module/supplement:

Kabuki Kaiser’s Ruins of the Undercity The very first OSR item I purchased.
4. My favorite house rule (by someone else):

I cannot remember who wrote it, but there was a great ruling for choosing to let shields  break to absorb the damage of a hit that would otherwise  bypass the armor class. It Jives well with The Thirteenth Warrior.
5. How I found out about the OSR:

W.J.Walton’s RPG Advocate @the Escapist.com where I encountered links to my first retroclone: Dark Dungeons
6. My favorite OSR online resource/toy:

OBS
7. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers:

G+ for the longest
8. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games:

MeWe, This blog, Facebook, Discord, anywhere you find me in meatspace.
9. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough: 

Henchmen make awesome backup characters
10. My favorite non-OSR RPG:

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. OSR sensibilities, built on an engine I like better.
11. Why I like OSR stuff:

I get work from it. I love the feel of games that remind me of the early eighties, when I had the magenta box and the phb, and I have always wanted to draw like Tramp, Sutherland and Russ. Now I do, and my work is featured in quite a few product lines, B&T, Blueholme, S&WCL and a number of zines.
12. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven’t named yet:

James Garrison’s truly weird gaming blog, Hereticwerks and John Stater. He is insanely prolific, writing for Swords & Wizardry, and Blood & Treasure and dozens of Bloody Basic Variants, including Grit & Vigor. I love his stuff, and that is not just because he is my primary art patron. Buy his stuff, I am all over it.
13. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be:

Peter Dell’Orto’s Dungeon Fantastic. It is what got me gaming again.
14. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is: 

Beneath the Fallen Tower. It is published for S&WCL, and I blog a bunch about it, including actual play and conversion notes to my prefered system.
15. I’m currently running/playing:

I run a GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game play by post here, and have since 2013. I am always taking on new players.
16. I don’t care whether you use ascending or descending AC because:

I grew up on THAC0. I prefered to use Len Lokafka’s 5% tables, because  THAC10 was better at describing how low HD critters were; most of them hit AC3 on a 20. I can do the math, it goes either way.
17. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice: 

Orc Fight0001.png

This one is exclusively to be found here, I got paid double for exclusivity, but I can draw you one a lot like this one if you want.

I can be reached for commissions at Gwythaint.ny@gmail.com

you can support my patreon here

and get a quick prospectus of my work here

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Hall of Judgement, The Nun and progress on Heritage Mini’s

My kickstarter rewards for backing Douglas Cole‘s DFRPG supplement The Hall of  have arrived: Dungeon Grappling (which had its genesis in an article he wrote with Peter Dell’Orto for Tim Shorts‘ zine The Manor) I got these not only because I am a GURPS DF completist, and because I want to support 3rd party GURPS products, so that there will be more of them, but also because of the art. Doug had reached out to me at the beginning of the DG project, but I wasn’t able to work for him because I only digify black and white; I am not proficient enough in illustrator and its ilk to do digital color. (I will paint in acrylics for you (with very little editing possible), but give me specific proportions. I messed up a commission for Charlie Mason by painting it 8×10, and he needed 6×9) The art he chose to use is pretty damn good. He got Gennifer Bone, Michael Clarke, Juan Ochoa, Rick Troula, and Christian Villacis and also John Blaszscyk, Gerasimos Kolokas, Rick Toula, Roland Warzecha, Cornelia Yoder, and Dan Roy. Both books have a nice polished, high end feel to them.

Being largely norse in theme, here is not a lot I would use directly in my faux 14th century France clone game, but there a quite a lot of nice critters in the bestiary that  I do intend to use, and a very thoughtful implementation of humanoids as Fay creatures rather than rival hominids that makes me think of  Alan Gardner’s handling of the svart-alfar in The Weirdstone of Brisingamen.  I also have to implement the Damage Resistance trait from DFRPG for my creatures that are resistant to non-magical weapons, instead of making them all unkillable… like these.

Now, I just blew a couple of Black Tickets to see The Nun, which is Super-Catholic B-Movie Schlock in JamesWan’s shared universe of The Conjuring and Annabelle. Every haunted castle trope was used, but the set! The set was the thing that kept you from imagining that this was an old Hammer Film. It was a terrific castle with dungeons and a backstory that screams for gamification.  Scooby doo style splitting of the party at the worst possible times, innovative use of  (limited number of uses) Artifact, good boss monster, heavy Ravenloft atmosphere, and a bullshit excuse of why their Romanian guide spoke English. If you plan on running a game with these elements, it is worth watching for that alone.

The Miniatures that I deeply indebted myself to obtain are now primed. These are the 8 minis from the Crypt of the Sorcerer on the left ( fighter, wizard, dwarf, hobbit vs orc, skeleton, troll and sorcerer in the back row) and Caverns of Doom on the right (Back row: imp, vampire, skeletons, spider, rats, Dragon, ooze, Hobgoblin vs cleric, barbarian, elf, a different wizard, that same fighter and a thief).  I will update (infrequently I am sure) as I continue painting them.  What I wouldn’t give for the paints that came with the old heritage sets, their chainmail color was great, one of the closest matches I have found is Aquatec’s  pewter paint, but the consistency is different. I may have to use silver ish craft paint and use an ink wash to get the right effect.

Converting Alex Mayo’s Gwendolyn to GURPS Dungeon Fantasy

Alex Mayo is an artist known to many in the OSR, and you can find his patreon here

He recently posted a patrons only character and weapon combo for 5e, Gwendolyn and the Sword of Rectitude, essentially a Holy Avenger that got tired of waiting for a suitably pure bearer and created its own paladin.

Here is my version

If you like this, support my patreon!

 

 

Session Play Report for Manhattan Minicon Beneath the Fallen Tower using 75pt GURPS Dungeon Fantasy

I cut down on startup time by assembling a stack of illustrated pregens using my stock art. We had seven players, one of whom was in the InfiWorlds game I participated in earlier this summer. He built an elf using my template (I will be eventually attaching a pdf of the pregens and his character) and there were a couple of people with prior DF experience.

Noah Green, who had played a cleric of Nodens for the prior playtest using Swords and Wizardry Continual Light, did so again, using a custom character; igave him the off-template characteristics of Weirdness Magnet and the perk Weird Dreams from DF14, and Dreaming Skill as his patron deity is the god of the Dreamlands. I outfitted him with an Errol Otus grade horned helmet, a shield emblazoned with a Nightgaunt, and an Elder sign as a holy symbol. The others played a brigandine clad halberdier, who was excellent in the few combats we had, an apprentice wizard who served as a powerhouse with both Mass Sleep and Diplomacy. Our oversize barbarian woman managed to avoid going berserk, and employed her size enhanced intimidation more than her gigantic greataxe. We rounded out with a knife weilding thief, who did a fair amount of climbing, an adventurer character who used her double dose of luck to shoot up goblins with her crossbow, and sadly, the low strength of the elf made some of his attacks less than effective.

Their primary opponents, wolves and SM-2 goblins were largely cut down by the halberdier (who took out the wolves and a giant centipede) and by the use of Mass Sleep boosted in frequency of use by paut and Lend Strength from the cleric.

Along the way, they encountered the tinker, and glommed some information about the woods from him. they met the patrol, and directed them towards a purported campsite of the bandits, met the Death Vision addled bandit who had run afoul of the necromantrix, and hastened him on toward his envisioned death at the hands of Mama ogre. They actively sought her out after finding her lost son, and reunited the family, much as the first group had, although they did that before getting to the ruins, instead of taking him along to bash wolves with. They ran into the elves, had a neutral engagement with them, and almost headed to the lost shrine in search of pilgrims, but were working on rescuing Wyatt for the reward money.

After knocking out goblins and slaying wolves, they negotiated for the release of Wyatt and the other prisoners, offering a trade of the only treasure they had found, magic arrows and a silver knife.

Like the previous group, they frequently showed people the wanted pister, while covering up the part about the reward.

They also found the bugbear’s well entrance, but instead of coming in the back way, they used Magelock on it and went in the front door. (Someone must have played Rappan Athuk). They saw the skeletons, and like the goblins, did not engage them.

Lost of scrounging, search, some cartography, diplomacy and intimidation used.

Spells used: detect magic, detect illusion, mass sleep, magelock, lend energy, and lend health.

Not a bad run for four hours. If we had had six, they might have gotten to the south end of the map.

The alchemy room has a no mana area, as demonstrated by the “broken” continual light object, and can be used to open the magelocked chest.

The lab has an assortment if potions, and books (primers) typically worth $50 on Alchemy, Thaumatology, and Thanatology. The actual spellbooks are wieth several times that amount.

The skeletons are programmed to ignore those wearing amulets, which all have Melchiir’s mystic mark.

 

Get Beneath the Fallen Tower Here for 2.99

Get the DF lite templates

Get the conversion notes, and the actual pregens Used and prepared here

Like any of this? Support my Patreon!

I had originally intended to run a second session, using leveled up 125 pt versions of the pregens – get that here

 

 

Crypts of Doom and recent play of low level GURPS DF

I just got these (minus the paint, and the Crypt of the Sorcerer box. These Heritage Dungeon Dwellers Paint ‘n’Play sets were where I started back in 1979, although I only had the Crypt of tne Sorcerer and the Level 2 Monsters and Treasures assortment. Due to lead content and small children in my house, and a fifteen year hiatus from D&D, and a lack of ability to keep up my storage unit, all of my minis and 1e books went to a friend, and I fear they were all lost forever when he and his wife divorced. Things happen, and my midlife gaming is nostalgic driven for the abe of wonder when I was reading Lieber and Moorcock and painting minis without an actual gaming group. These were my grail to acquire, and I will be paying for it for some time to come (Nostalgic ain’t cheap). Some unboxing/ painting pists should be forthcoming in the months ahead.

I also got to run Beneath the Fallen Tower using 75pt GURPS Dungeon Fantasy characters as originally intended. No casualties, lots of scrounging, search, diplomacy, and lore rolls! Slaughter of centipedes and wolves, some goblins, and effective double teaming of Mass Sleep and lend energy. More to follow!

Disasters with Lidocaine and an upcoming Con

So, earlier this spring, I developed a pinched nerve in my shoulder, which caused me to have shooting pains and numbness in my left arm. I had about six weeks of physical therapy, and was pretty well cured… until last Saturday evening, when a sudden Spasm in my shoulder set it off again, only worse. This led to an urgicare visit, where they shot me full of Toradol and sent me home with a hit of Valium, and a script for lidocaine cream.  I was working on something for one of my patrons, Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor. (join my patreon too and I might do the same for you!). So I was preparing to scan it, and went to erase some pencil lines.  Who knew that the lidocaine I had just applied to my arm would make the gel pen run like that?  I was able to scan the image in, but got it a little canted,  which I did not realize until I was halfway through my usual Photoshop and MS paint cleaning combo,so I rescanned it. I then went to do this again, and accidentally opened up the tilted image, and worked on it for about an hour before I caught on.  After a good long break, I went in and did the same edits on the non tilted image.  My methods for drawing are particular; Pencil, followed by G2 0.38 and 1.0 gels, usually on copy paper. I will try to avoid making contact  to my art with analgesics from this point.

Coming up this August 25, at the Same Con where I ran my adventure for SWCL, I will be running my adventure Beneath the Fallen Tower using my  Low Level Dungeon Fantasy rules, which I am going to build some pregens from.  I discuss the development of this adventure on a number of posts, just click on the tags below.

My art strives to be inclusive in representation, and as I had planned on including my character art on the pregen characters, I realized I needed to step it up, so I am working on more. This will probably be in a bundle soon…