Monday, January 31, 2011

Please Stand By's that time format hard drives and try to install a more perfect system...and realizing that your dreams will be dashed against the bloat of new software on older hardware. Between waiting on gear and life events piled high as Everest this has brought everything to a grinding halt.

Fear not. Things will be on track soon.

Until then, play hard, have fun and pray I can keep my hands off the sledge hammer. :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Microlite20 OSS and Advanced Microlite20 OSS RPGs Now Available (and FREE)

He's done it again. My god man, you are smokin'!

From the man himself:

I'm happy to announce that version 1.0 of the Microlite20 OSS and the Advanced Microlite20 OSS roleplaying games are finished and available for free download. "OSS" stands for "Old School Style". Where Microlite74 and Microlite75 attempt to recreate old school games from the Microlite20 rules, the Microlite20 OSS games were written to encourage the "old school style" play using the much more standard 3.x edition base Microlite20 was written for. Microlite20 OSS is a Microlite20 variant designed for old school style play with a modern game system and nearly any 3.5 fantasy adventure module or setting you can pull off your shelf.

Friday, January 28, 2011


For all the talk about the origins of role-playing little time is spent on the actual catalyst-the wargame.

Most people tend to envision large amounts of space time and money building up armies to battle. But wargaming is scalable in either direction.

So for someone who would like a taste I offer the following:

Battle For Moscow

This is a great little free game to try out.

The intro is brief and informative

And if you find the basic game to your liking they have included extra rules you can print for a longer game.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This Is Probably Old News-One Monk Miniatures

But I just found this last night. Most of their minis are now free to download. The left most column has the links. If you've been needing a hoard lately or a band of heroes you can't beat free :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Binders Aren't Just For GMs & A Few Other Thoughts On Roleplaying

As much as a GM finds it still an absolute necessity to have a well stocked and organized binder I find that players often skip the fact that they will accumulate paperwork, albeit not to the degree of a Game Master, but it's great when you can have your material organized, have pockets to insert play aids into and a even placing an image in the 'view' sleeve of the front of the binder.

Playing a Barbarian and want Conan as your icon? Do it!

My style has never been one to dress the part of the character or act to far into the characters but if players like it go with it. For those not into the CosPlay style a well painted miniature is great for displaying the uniqueness of their character.

Even voice inflection can distinguish a character. I rarely take on the vocal aspect unless it is vital to the NPC such as Orcs or other humanoid races or 'Yoda Speak' if you are dealing with creatures who are alien or have 'Common' as a second language.

Play what you are comfortable with.

And build that binder. It will be an asset in no time.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


For World of Greyhawk fans The Oerth Journals can be found here for download (free):

25 issues and still going.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Religion in D&D-Dragon #01-50

Recently I have commented and posted on religion in the world of D&D with sources seeming to be in short supply.

After trying several online indexes to look up material printed in the magazines I have found most lacking. So I decided to index my collection and was amazed at how much material is available.

I don't know how deep I will get to go down this rabbit hole but I'll start here.

From the first 50 issues of The Dragon:

Dragon #12 The Persian Mythos

Dragon #12 The Druids

Dragon #13 The Japanese Mythos

Dragon #16 Near Eastern Mythos

Dragon #17 Angels in D&D

Dragon #19 Mythos of Australia

Dragon #28 The Politics of Hell

Dragon #29 Of the Gods

Dragon #29 The Mythos of Oceania in D&D

Dragon #29 Origins of the Norse Pantheon (added-03-20-11)

Dragon #32 The Druid in Fact and Fantasy

Dragon #33 Clerics & Swords

Dragon #35 Angels in Dungeons and Dragons (2)

Dragon #39 Try this for Evil: The Anti-Paladin

Dragon #39 Next Time, Try a Cleric

Dragon #41 Reflections of a Real-Life Cleric

Dragon #42 Demons, Devils and Spirits

Dragon #42 The Possessors

Dragon #42 Patron Demons

Dragon #48 The Druid and the DM

Dragon #48 Druid in a Dungeon? Why Not?+

If I missed something let me know so I can include it. Now I just need time to go through #51-100

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Story Time - Twilight of a Wizard

When I met my first DM he had already been in the game for some time and had played a single character the entire time. The name now escapes me but his 18th level does not.

I had watched as this Mage had created some of the most astounding uses of magic I would ever see in the game.

And one day he dropped by my home and said he had decided it was time to retire the character and he wanted me to run the session. He wanted me to challenge him one last time.

Even though we never could get everybody together to play all the time this time everyone and their family turned out. There were more observers than players and I had never seen that before. To say I was shook is putting it mildly.

So I put together the absolute best thing I could muster. A battle that he might not survive. I told him that much and he said he was fine with that...he was going out on his feet one way or another.

He stopped mid-way and dismissed the party who had accompanied him to the bottom level of a death dealing dungeon, thanking them for their support but not wishing for them to die he told them to turn back and live to fight another day.

Everyone thought it was the end. The tension in that room was incredible.

His suspicions were confirmed when he entered the lair of Tiamat.

The battle raged. He was so close to dying when he finally managed to send her back to her own plane, away from the human settlements that she and her minions had terrorized for far too long, that he was almost to weak to make it back to the surface.

People actually applauded. I had never been in a game session like this and I would never see the likes of it again.

I had not just planned up to the battle, but beyond. His reception into the Emperor's court, the recitation of his deeds before the court, the deeding of castle and land for the services he had performed. The ceremonies lasted as long as the build up. I had written it for success or failure (trust me, the funeral scene would have been something to behold-but I am happy it worked out the way it did).

I have never seen so many people emotionally affected by something as simple as a role playing game. His wife actually cried. I'm not kidding. He had built this character for years. He had survived so much that he had become a fixture, an anchor, that new players looked to as how they wanted to play the game.

There are other stories that I will share, but that one is my favorite.

If you have a story to share please do so. I can't speak for others, but for me it's not about how cool your dice are or how many books you can buy or what system you play. It's about stories. It's our primal instinct finding traction in the modern world where story telling is disappearing.

It's why I will be a gamer until the day I die.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

M75 -1.01 (proofreading update)

If you haven't had a chance to d/l the latest M75 now is a good time.

Randall has just posted a 1.01 update with corrected text.

Get it now!

Not Quite PaleoBlogging or New But Interesting Nonetheless- WOTC and the pulling of Crystal Keep

Just a bit from over at 5 Stone Games on WotC tactics that everyone knows isn't going to turn sales around and continues to alienate potential customers. Well put post:

WOTC and the pulling of Crystal Keep

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wow-Awesome Creature Art

I only just skimmed this and already ideas were poppin'!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Three For Free From Brave Halfling Publishing

Everybody deserves a little goodness after the holidays. Treat yourselves to some of the gracious free offerings of Brave Halfling Publishing:

First,fresh off the press

Swords & Wizardry: WhiteBox
Prepare to be introduced to the old style of free form gaming! Swords & Wizardry: WhiteBox is inspired by the original 1974 fantasy role-playing game created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. These rules are flexible and open to interpretation - designed not to cover all conceivable situations, but to allow good Referees and Players the freedom to create and play games of their own design. Third Print Edition - December 2010

Reference Charts & Monster XP Calculations
Here are some really handy reference tools put together by talented and dedicated Labyrinth Lord gamers. I am sure you will find them quite helpful in your gaming as well!

Original Edition Options - The Halfling Adventurer
By the time they reach fourth level, most Halflings will want to be back in the comfort of their home, enjoying their loot and weaving ever-expanding tales of their exploits. However, a very rare few will make adventuring their life-long occupation often exceeding beyond the typical abilities of most, if not all Halfling leaders. This short pdf has been created to allow gamers to play a Halfling character beyond fourth level in original edition rpgs. Included is a rationale for the class, details and description of the class, some suggestions on Halfling Adventurer tactics along with Experience Level, Attack and Saving Throw charts. Come and see how challenging and exciting running a Halfling Adventurer can be! Furry feet await you.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

As Long As I'm At It

These are just some fine blogs:

Axe & Hammer

Greyhawk, grodog style

Greyhawk Grognard

The Underdark Gazette

Phase IV playing on the media server, back-ups proceeding and good reads from the blogosphere...not a bad afternoon :)

Back to the E.G.G.

So I'm sitting here doing maintenance and reading in between today and ran back across this (I am notorious for having the largest bookmark file of anyone who knows me...I might bookmark 100 places a day just so when I have 35 years I can catch up :).

For fans of not only the OSR but GreyHawk this is good stuff straight from the well of history.


(In Brief)

Back to the E.G.G., Part 1: Campaign Setting

While creating my own "Gygaxian" Greyhawk, I found myself looking back to E. Gary Gygax's Europa article from 1975. In it, he explains how one can set up a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Although his series of articles were leading towards the examination of a "dungeon expedition", it provides a very nice blackboard for developing my own Greyhawk City. (READ MORE)

Fungeon-Masterless Dungeon Crawling by Zak Arntson

Fungeon-Masterless Dungeon Crawling by Zak Arntson

Just ran across this and looked fun.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer-The RPG?

Now this is what I love about this community:

Where’s Our ELP? An Outline for a Destined-to-be-Classic Campaign Setting...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dark Sun Comic Preview

The folks at IDW have made the following preview available:

Dark Sun #1 (of 5)

From The Fringes-New Twists On Old Themes

Two Hour Wargames

We make entertaining immersion games playable in two hours or less.

Fan Creates Impressive Killzone Card Game

Killzone 3 may be gaining pace for launch, but some gamers simply can’t wait. Instead of returning to Killzone 2 for another playthrough however, why not make something of your own from the established rules of the franchise? Well, that’s exactly what one plucky gamer has done, with the creation of Killzone 2: Card Game.

(And you can actually d/l it...for now :)...Is it just me or are the videogamers getting bored :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Realm of Zhu

Female Armour

The Tao of D&D-Disrespect

Dungeons and Digressions-Your Own Personal Blipdoolpoolp. Part 1

A Character For Every Game-Dyson’s Delve

Don't Know How This One Slipped By Me

The Death of Heroscape?

And in other news:

R.I.P. D&D Minis 2003-2010

WotC to Discontinue Plastic Minis (Also has news of other product cancellations)

Forgotten Bard

Clark Ashton Smith would today be 118 years of age. Instead, this year will also mark the 50th anniversary of his death and, unlike his fellow Weird Tales writers, Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft, Smith's star has not much risen outside the small circles that have always lauded him and his unique imagination.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Maybe We can Say Thank You Ahead Of Time-Timothy Kask

Timothy James Kask (born 1949 in Moline, Illinois) is well known for his work on the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy role-playing game, as a developer and editor.

Kask was the first full-time employee of Tactical Studies Rules, soon thereafter known as TSR, Inc., in Fall of 1975 and was hired by Gary Gygax to be editor for the company product line and eventually spin off what became TSR Periodicals, which he started in early 1976.

Kask’s first assignment at TSR was editing, developing and contributing to the Blackmoor supplement (1975) of the original Dungeons and Dragons (OD&D) game.

He then took over The Strategic Review at Issue #5 (Tactical Studies Rules, later TSR Hobbies Inc). He stayed on as editor of The Strategic Review, which transitioned into The Dragon magazine. He resigned from TSR in 1980.

He was editor of The Dragon Magazine (named later changed to Dragon Magazine)starting in 1976, devoted to fantasy and fantasy gaming, he edited the first 33 issues and parts of 34, 35 & 36.

Kask is an ardent proponent of the “old school” of RPG'ing, where in terms of rules, “less is more”; D&D was originally intended to be loose, free-wheeling and not strictly bound by the parameters of the rules.

He returned to gaming in 2006 as “Celebrity Auctioneer”, with Frank Mentzer, at Gen Con Indy and then in 2007 and 2008, he joined Mentzer as an honored attendee to the Lake Geneva Gaming Convention (LGGC), sponsored by Troll Lord Games.

Having been enticed back into the gaming and publishing industry, rumor has it that he is hard at work on writing new adventures and campaigns for RPGs.

Kask has also just reunited with his good friend and long acquaintance - James M. Ward, managing editor of The Crusader magazine (published by Troll Lord Games) to write a monthly column.

Read more at:

(All quotes courtesy of Wikipedia)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Microlite 75 1.0 Released

What a way to start off a Snow Day - Randall Stukey's release of M75 1.0...and for free at that.

Go check it out. He's done a great job on this project and I stayed up way to late just trying to do a first read through. :)

This is also the first post over at Misc Debris - Home To All Things Microlite. It's a bit rough around the edges right now but will cover the full spectrum of Microlite game systems and supplements. I will be putting in a a blog roll to keep readers up to date with all the various sites that deal with the M-series.

I Could Die For This

But I have to take the chance considering the number of times I have ran across the subject recently:

Mid-level player games are always the best.

And the real world analogy:

It's like sports.

No one likes to watch a rookie get beat down and pulled from a game. And on the other end there is nothing more boring than watching a lazy player, gold chains dangling from their necks, make half-hearted attempts at plays because hey, they done made bank-a multi-million dollar contract - and they certainly don't want to pull a muscle and screw that up.

But it's that up and comer who has got his / her chance at making it big who goes that extra mile, runs a little faster, jumps a little higher. Go big or go home. And those are the athletes that keep fans interested.

Gaming is the same way. The mid level player knows his / her chops, has some good gear and is hungry...hungry enough to take that extra risk and make a big score. Willing to face down the darkness, conquer their own fear as they enter the abandoned temple that locals won't go near even when they just know there is treasure to be had.

That's the reason also that I'm against so called 'balance' in a game. You want a safe bet? Stay home and tend bar. Be a blacksmith. Lock your doors at night and never, under any circumstances, go near those ruins.

That place is reserved for heroes who are willing to risk it all and take the shot at the brass ring.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lest We Forget-Don Kaye - June 27, 1938-January 31, 1975

Donald R. Kaye (June 27, 1938 - January 31, 1975), co-founder of TSR, Inc., was the childhood friend of Gary Gygax, and shared an interest in war games and tabletop miniatures with him during their youth. When Gygax was co-developing the game that would become known as Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) in 1972, Kaye played in the second-ever session; his character Murlynd was one of the first D&D characters created as well as one of the earliest explorers of the dungeons under Gygax's Castle Greyhawk. Kaye and Gygax became convinced that D&D and similar games were an excellent business opportunity, and together they founded TSR, Inc. in 1973. However, only two years later, just as sales of D&D started to increase exponentially, Kaye unexpectedly died of a heart attack at age 36. With no provision made for a partner's death, the stage was set for Gygax to lose control of TSR and ultimately be forced out of the company a decade later.

Read More At:

Friday, January 7, 2011


This brings to a close (at least for the time being) the series on young folk and role playing. I hope that it has helped to open the door to understanding the unique experience that is role playing.

The imagination is the most important part of a child that adults can help to nurture. Call it make believe or creative play time, but role playing games are one of the best tools we have to develop social skills and communication skills in young people that will last them and benefit them throughout their lives.

I will return to this topic as material appears. Please feel free to comment or email if you have questions. I have 30+ years as a role playing gamer and have not only played the games but have been a retailer in the hobby as well. I am currently working as a designer and am finishing a system designed for young people which I will be offering to schools and organizations as well as individuals.

Now, without further adieu:

Running D&D For Kids

Star Wars-Galactic Heroes- A simple Tabletop game for Star Wars action figures

My 16 Year Old Niece is a DM!

Gaming with Kids: In Search of the Unknown

ChicagoWiz's RPG Blog: Where's our EPT and Blackmoor? Is the "OSR" doomed to retreads?

A lively debate over at ChicagoWiz's RPG Blog on the current state of the OSR.

ChicagoWiz's RPG Blog: Where's our EPT and Blackmoor? Is the "OSR" doomed to retreads?: "ChicagoWiz's RPG Blog"

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Religion in RPGs

JDJarvis over at Aeons & Augauries brought my attention to this post by JB and confirmed I wasn't the only one thinking on this subject.

In my early days of gaming religion played a large part in the game. The church and the state were the 2 most powerful entities affecting the world through smaller groups like Assassins Guilds and what not.

In notes for a sub-campaign in my own Forsaken Souls : StoneGate Sagas religion is set to play a large part in the proceedings. So I started looking for source material and even though I have lots of historical matter to draw from (I have studied The Crusades since I was a child and always fascinated by the Knights Templar-who were all but eradicated on my birth date in 1307) but noticed a lack of game related material.

This then is what I have found and I hope it helps others.

For me it started over at Inkwell Ideas with the excellent Worldbuilding: Fantasy Religion Design Guide and Worldbuilding: Fantasy Religion Design Example and his list of resources to which I added:

“Choir Practice at the First Church of Lawful Evil (Orthodox) the Ramifications of Alignment” Dragon #24

“Of the Gods” Dragon #29

"So Many Gods, So Little Time" Dragon #140

“Made-To-Order-Clerical Orders” Dragon #142

"Gods, Myth and Faith" Dragon #258

"Gotta Have Faith, Part 1" Dragon #283

"Gotta Have Faith, Part 2" Dragon #284

And finally, although not a strict cleric sub-class the Necromancer covered in the White Dwarf #35 is an interesting read.

Any information readers have please feel free to leave in comments. I will be collecting for the follow up post to this one any material GMs / Designers can use in their own settings. I am particularly interested in obscure ancient religions and their rights and rituals.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Back at last with more links concerning children and young adults in the world of role-playing.

This is an awesome set of articles from the blog The Mule Abides:

Starting a Dungeons & Dragons Afterschool Program

Afterschool D&D Mad Libs: Monsters and Dungeons

super awesome lets pretend time (pt1)

super awesome lets pretend time (pt2)

Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Dungeons & Dragons

Kids These Days, Mixing Editions of D&D

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Free Custom Card Deck Creator

A big thank you to Troll and Flame for this one...think of the possibilities.

Go Deck Yourself

Cross it with this and see what you get :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

RPG Dumping Ground-The Best Of series

Next up:


This steel three-quarters helm is sized to fit a normal human. It is ornately worked into the likeness of a rearing scorpion, tail coiled above the rear of the helm. The scorpion's legs form a border along either side of the face while the claws protrude above the brow. A pair of rubies and six small diamonds represent the scorpion's eyes. The base helm is dull gray in color, while the scorpion's form is enameled in black and red. Despite the rather overwrought decoration, the helm is fairly lightweight.

Attempts to identify the magical properties of the item will reveal:

* Superb physical protection
* Superb protection against poison
* Good poison magic
* Good vision enhancement
* Epic cursed nature
* Ironhead radiates neither good nor evil

When donned the helm will instantly come to life. The eyes will glow with inner fire, while the scorpion's claws, legs and tail all animate. The wearer can take exactly one action before Ironhead strikes. Any action other than pulling the helm from their head will allow it to complete its attack, impaling the wearer with claws, legs and tail. The tail lashes down the character's back, burying itself in their neck and spine. The legs lash forward, digging in to cheek, temple and brow. The creature's main claws impale the wearer's forehead. The strike does an Epic damage and incapacitates the wearer. The magical nature of the damage inflicted makes it difficult to heal (Great healing required). Once Ironhead has attached itself it can only be removed by cutting off the wearer's head, a wish or similar Epic magic.

The helm imbues the wearer with the following:

* Terrible modifier to appearance and charisma. Most people will avoid the wearer if possible. The helm's gemstone eyes might be tempting to a thief, but the fact that they seem to shift and watch anyone that speaks with the wearer will deter all but the boldest.
* Superb protection from physical harm. Attacks seem to slide off the wearer without any effort on his or her part.
* Superb protection from poison. Most poisons simply have no effect on Ironhead's wearer. Very deadly poisons might make him or her ill for a short time.
* Good vision enhancement. The wearer can see in low light conditions as if it were day, and see faint outlines and shapes even in total darkness.
* Once per week Ironhead can spew forth a jet of Great contact poison, striking one target in front of the wearer. This poison is both damaging and painful. The wearer can control this effect, but it great anger may cause it to fire unintentionally.

Over the long term the helm's terrible appearance is likely to weigh heavily upon the wearer. They may be driven to great lengths to find a means to remove the helm. The somewhat uncontrollable nature of the poison spray may also cause problems for the wearer.

-Mark A. Thomas -

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.