Looking over my many old RMAs, I see that I've now covered every golem from BX except this one. I'll be honest. The wood golem has never seemed that impressive to me. They are, to be sure, the weakest of the golems; both in terms of puissance and any special abilities. Let's just jump into the stats first, shall we? Since it's so brief, I'm including the full write up of this variety for reference.
RSA: Questioning the Questing
While I have seen NPCs use Quests on characters as a plot hook (or just to mess with them), I don't know that I have ever seen it used by a player character.read more
I thought I'd spend a little time looking at some of the more "fairy tale" creatures in the monster listings. Many are lifted right out of classic folklore and I think can be a real plus to giving a setting more of a fantasy/fantastic tone.read more
I think that sprites are seldom used because they often viewed as more of a nuisance than an encounter. While it's true they are pretty harmless in combat, I think that they could make for a very interesting roleplaying encounter and/or noncombat challenge. What's strange to me ...read more
As I mentioned in the Random Spell Assessment for the cleric spell quest, I felt that -while they share similar purposes- geas is different enough to warrant its own discussion. First of all, consider its peers. Sixth level MU spells include such things (among others) as death, disintegrate, control weather ...read more
While dryads are a bit more mythology than fairy tale, their sylvan nature makes them a good fit for theread more
Rounding off the BX fairy-tale types is the pixie. This one is probably closest to the classic "fairy" that many people think of. They are small (1-2' tall) elfin humanoids with insect-like wings. They can be encountered in dungeons (Level 2 wandering monster) or in wilderness on the Flyer subtable ...read more
Curious Objects: Staff of Command
Welcome to the first in a new category of posts on this blog. I've decided to call it "Curious Objects." In these posts, I will take a look at some of the more obscure and/or interesting items in "Classic" (e.g. Basic/Expert) D&D.read more
Curious Objects: Ring of Djinni Summoning
Magic rings in BX are pretty powerful. They usually don't have charges, and most are usable by a variety of classes. This one has –to my knowledge– never shown up in a game I've run or played. Maybe other folks have different experiences, but it's a stranger ...read more
Curious Objects: Treasure Maps (scrolls)
Now, maps are hardly unheard of in fantasy role-playing games. They are a classic trope as well as an essential dungeoneering tool. Treasure maps in particular are a staple of both fantasy fiction and adventures. What I want to talk about for a bit is the random treasure result under ...read more
Stories vs Adventures
I ride the subway to and from work every day. Since I don't tend to obsess over my iPhone's screen and I don't like carrying "extra encumbrance" e.g. books, this leaves my mind some time to roam freely. Of course gaming is a common subject.read more
I was reading through the monsters sections of Moldvay & Cook a few days ago (Shocking, I know!) and was reminded of several references to "Lost World" areas and settings. Prehistoric mammals, dinosaurs, etc. Of course this is all presented in a fantasy world/"Appendix N" manner, not with an eye ...read more
RMA: Crocodile Rock
I think any discussion of crocodilians and their ability to intimidate is best summed up by the World's Greatest Secret Agent,read more
Curious Objects: Protection Scrolls
I know in my personal gaming history, scrolls were nearly always spell scrolls. Even though over a third of random scrolls results in BX (using the Cook table) are protection scrolls, I don't think one of these ever came up when I was younger. After coming back to the ...read more
Hathluu (a Pale House for Opherian Scrolls)...
This week, we're serving up a NEW PALE HOUSE for BoP: Opherian Scrolls for use in your own campaigns: HATHLUU is a lesser-known house, being concerned with torture and interrogations, but also ritual sacrifice, which figures prominently even in Youngling culture. As such, they serve Uku Utargarath, a demon ...read more
Not the OSR's Middle Ages...
OK, maybe this isn't relevant to some (most) of you. But we hit the forums sometimes, and we occasionally run into those who mischaracterize old-school gamers (us) as grumpy relics resistant to new ideas. But it's just not true. And it never was. Consider...read more
We're Still Not Convinced That RPG's Were Originally Converted Wargames (Braunstein Edition)...
Several months ago, we posted our assertion that modern role-playing games weren't really converted wargames after all, and it met with pushback given that D&D billed itself as rules for fantastic medieval wargames, and that the hobby's pioneers were all wargamers and simulationist of some stripe. And ...read more
The Braunstein Experiment: Wesely Weighs In...
Last week we talked about howread more
When Gaming Went to War...
OK, so I was ambushed. Only it wasn't my first time... In April, 2003, I was deployed to Iraq as OIC of a small combat weather team embedded in the 159th AVN BDE of the 101st ABN DIV (sorry, the contractions stick with you). We were part of a ...read more
The Real Roots of Role-Playing...
With the release of "Dave Arneson's True Genius" by Rob Kuntz, we have a book asserting that Arneson did something special. Well, no disagreement here! In fact, that's probably an understatement. Arneson pretty obviously did something incredible and for which our entire hobby is rightly indebted. Glad to ...read more
The Diceless Dungeons Are Here!
Inside every old-school game is a diceless system waiting to get out, and so we're proud to announce the release of our digital version of Diceless Dungeons! Because diceless gaming is just about as old-school as you're gonna get. After all, decision-making, exploration, and role-playing are the foundations ...read more
The Tale of the Type (and Why We Love It)...
In the 70s, there were no personal computers, so anyone who wanted to make nice-looking manuscripts at home needed aread more
Archworld (or How OD&D Was Made)...
Yesterday, we talked out manual type as the poor-man's typesetting, and while we rarely post any kind of next-day follow-up, we had to today. I talked a little about local game designers who typed up their rules, photocopied and stapled them, and sold them in Ziploc baggies at the ...read more
Death by (Game) Design...
OK, so at this point we all know the drill. Old-school characters are free to try just about anything and stand or fall on their own merits, unlike those entitled new-schoolers who get a trophy just for showing up and can't even think of trying something not on their ...read more
No, the DM Is NOT Your Peer...
Some (more than a few?) gamers are profoundly uncomfortable with the greater agency and judgemental authority referees are given, especially in old-school games. Or, as my brother observed way back in 1979: "But the DM could say anything and the whole thing just breaks down and becomes unfair over time ...read more
The Sad End of a D&D Era (in Art)...
In my 39 years of gaming, I've seen a lot of artwork. And as far as D&D is concerned, I've identified discrete periods that define the illuminations of the game: THE CORE RULES (1974): To call the art in the original D&D rulebooks amateur is an ...read more
On the Origin of the (Demi-Human) Species...
Face it, most of us in fantasy games (sci-fi is another matter) imagine humanity, and the various non-human races, as products of aread more
Victims of Torture (Gaming Edition)...
Ok, so death happens in games. That's a given. But maybe there are fates worse than death, at least while it's happening. And maybe instead of death, your character isread more
A Barons of Braunstein Update!
So first off, the new and improved Appendix II (Tactical Combat) offers alternate rules for greater lethality reminiscent of what we attempted in Opherian Scrolls, but also a table of situational modifiers tied to specific weapons when wielded in certain ways. Now combat is faster and more deadly. But only ...read more
The Methodological OSR?
So there's this ongoing discussion (and one fairly recently) about the OSR (Old-School Renaissance) and what it means or should mean, or whatever. And sometimes, it devolves into horrifying exchanges by people who I can only assume labor under the delusion that gaming, however fun, is, well, important. That ...read more
That Rule Ain't Old-School! (Not!)
Nothing too big, folks. Yours truly is sleeping off a weekend at KantCon, where we play tested an upcoming adventure for Diceless Dungeons. We had a great table with aread more
My First Time (Toys Without Tots)...
Remember your first time? The excitement? The sweat? No, not that first time. The other first time. I mean, when you first realized that you were a gamer. So, testimonial.read more
Homunculi (for Diceless Dungeons)...
OK, no dissertation this week, just a little something for Diceless Dungeons; a sorcerous companion that can be magically fashioned, albeit with difficulty, from a forbidden tome that will only be found on adventures (a dragon's hoard perhaps)...read more
Tekumel and the Power of "Maybe"...
We're back from a much-needed break - and maybe we go to a monthly format again. But until then, weread more
The Sprawl: Hacking It for Night's Black Agents
I’ve run seven sessions of The Sprawl this year. The rules for this cyberpunk PbtA rpg grabbed me when I read them. But when I went to play the actual game differed greatly from what I had in my head. That discontinuity left me unsure. A few months later ...read more
HISTORICAL OGRE GATE CAMPAIGNS
I realize there have been a lot of blog entries today, so I promise this is the last one until tomorrow. Someone asked me about running historical Ogre Gate campaigns in the Song Dynasty on google and I decided to post my response here as well (since others might find ...read more
Review: Module G123 Against the Giants
Review: Module G123 Against the Giants Want to get some more reviews in. I figure since we just finished this one it was a great choice. Getting to play AD&D at the height of its popularity was one of the best things about growing up in the 80s. Even ...read more
#RPGaDAY: What Has Been The Best-Run RPG Kickstarter You Have Backed?
I picked +Peter Regan's OSR Character Sheet Pads as my choice for best-run RPG Kickstarter as symbolic of all the great Kickstarters he's run (you may know him as the publisher of the hugely popular Black Hack, for instance).Peter's Kickstarters are always small, well-organised, and punctual ...read more
Star Trek Adventures – Sean’s Pick, 082917
With the disaster befalling much of Texas and the Gulf Coast, I am declaring the rest of this week Uplifting Games Week. Let us look at the games and material that urges us to greatness and just being better heroes. Yes, this is a recent Pick, but I cannot think ...read more
The Villain's Handbook: The Barbarian Chief
A true villain doesn't sit back and wait for evil to happen, and neither should you! The Villain's Handbook series will detail a master villain, and provide plot and adventure ideas for you to use. The barbarian chief rules through strength and rage. Inside you'll find plots ...read more
One Page Woes - Mother Haggle's Lost & Found
A one-page expanded location for the City of Eyes, free for the taking! You could drop Mother Haggle anywhere, but she's much happier in Elysium (she likes the rain). Why not take a look, and decide for yourself? dmsguild.com/product/219619/read more
MOTE32 Happy Jacks RPG Actual Play – Mote of Sin – Vampire 20th
MOTE32 GM: Stu Players: Stork, Samantha, Jessie, Mac, Kimiread more
The False Tombs (with video)
Lord Dranoel was the kind of mad king that of course would get buried with all his entourage, advisors and …read more
Sword & Sorcery Hex Crawling, Campaign Comprise & Vault of the Dwarven King From Maximum Mayhem Dungeons Actual Play
Sometimes you've got to go back to basics & in this case its working out the internal adventure elements of our 'Old Solar System' campaign. So last night I popped a couple of beers with a friend & watched Ralph Bakshi's Fire & Ice.
When your getting into Fire & Ice your ...read more
Weekly World News: Another Dozen Gameable Hooks From Faux News Stories...
Is Bat Boy a hero or a villain, a monster, mutant, or simply misunderstood?This week's collections of headlines from back issues of the Weekly World News throw up a mixed passel of gameable story hooks, NPCs, settings etc for the gamesmaster willing to inject a bit of the ...read more
Invisible Sun: All the Components
This is everything you get in the Black Cube. The Books: The box contains four beautifully, intricately presented rule and setting books, called The Key, The Gate, The Path, and The Way. These contain everything you need to get an Invisible Sun campaign started. You’ll also find them to ...read more
Ruination of Bran
"I will never accept a halfbreed bastard into this city"-Prince Theuderic Lord Laudus-"Your exile from the capital is as unjust as your father's new laws Gilbert." "A strong crown means a weak vassal and I swore to never be weak. "-Lord Aregisel "Surely madness has taken hold ...read more
INTRODUCING… THE TOMB OF ANNIHILATION GUILD ADEPTS!
The Dungeon Masters Guild has thousands of products available from hundreds of Dungeon Masters. You might be asking yourself, “Which of these are the best?” Well I’m here to introduce you to 10 of the most exciting authors to grace the guild with their work. That’s right. These ...read more
What has been the best-run RPG Kickstarter you have backed? One I’m currently in the throes of, the Reaper Bones 4 Kickstarter. Every time Reaper runs a Kickstarter for their new Bones line of miniatures, it is is like getting a birthday present that keeps getting cool stuff added ...read more
#RPGaDay 2017: Day 30
In this age of plenty in terms of the number of game companies producing record numbers of games, the thirtieth question for #RPGaDay may seem like a real challenge. The question asks about a mash-up of genres you would like to see in an RPG. There are already so many ...read more