I’ve been an on-again off-again reader of an OSR gaming blog called Tenkar’s Tavern for close to two years now. Erik Tankar, the proprietor of Tenkar’s Tavern came to my attention due to his blogging about ACKS or Adventurer Conqueror King System, one of my favorite rulesets based loosely on Labyrinth Lord and rewritten to create a world building end-game that previous versions of D&D always aspired to but never really achieved. Like me, he really seemed to like the game. In reading his thoughts on that ruleset, and finding them similar to my own, I realized we had many gaming ideas in common. He also commented quite postively on another ruleset close to my heart, Castles & Crusades. And thus, a bookmark was born. Over the last 2 years, I’ve read ruminations on so many aspects of the OSR. Tenkar’s Tavern really does walk the walk, supporting multitudes of OSR Kickstarters and keeping readers up to date on many of the happenings in the community and around the web.
One of those happenings was one I really thought sounded like a great idea. It was the Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day Blogfest. Basically, just a way to maintain momentum for the OSR in general and Swords & Wizardry in particular, the blogfest seemed like a good opportunity for me to contribute and participate in something I’ve enjoyed for quite a while now. (more…)
I recently had the opportunity to take a look at a new Castles & Crusades adventure conversion. It’s called Interludes: A Brief Expedition to Bluffside. It was written by Jeff quinn, converted by Peter J. Schroeder and published by Samurai Sheepdog. For those who are not familiar, Bluffside is a mini setting originally designed and written for OGL D20 systems. Here is the marketing blurb from 2002:
“Civilization is still picking up the pieces from an asteroid strike hundreds of thousand of years ago. The epicenter? Bluffside. Only 200 years after being rediscovered, Bluffside is a boom town boasting the most precious metal in the known world adamantine. From the ancient ruins, to the vast Undercity, to the floating port of Sordadon, Bluffside: City on the Edge is a city that promises to become the home port for thousands of adventures.”
Sounds pretty cool right? I’d certainly want to have an adventure or two there. And in the Castles & Crusades ruleset? Even moreso! Ok, so let’s see if this adventure lives up to the promise of both Bluffside the setting and C&C the game. (more…)
It’s summer. In the midwest, it’s been like a thousand degrees every day for the last 3 weeks. Lawns are turning brown. People are hiding indoors. You’d think this would be a great time to play some D&D, to just hang out in the cool basement and roll some dice while chugging a cold beverage. Yet somehow, it seems like D&D always catches a shaft in the summer time. Families go on vacation. People move. Kids have more quirky commitments as things like swimming lessons, babysitting and drivers education make scheduling more bizarre than ever. So how does one get the D&D fix in the summer? (more…)
Troll Lord Games, the publisher of The Castles & Crusades Roleplaying Game are always working on new products. Anything in the process and not yet completed is considered to be “on the anvil“. Well, one of the biggest projects on the anvil this year has been Classic Monsters: The Manual. It’s a new monster book for C&C that is pulling in many of the most classic monsters from the 1E Monster Manual and Fiend Folio. It will feature more than 100 monsters statted for C&C (which is compatible with 1E AD&D) with new flavor text, ecology information and beautiful artwork by Peter Bradley. They’ve recently revealed they’ll be publishing it via kickstarter. They’re soliciting buy-in for the next 30 days and if they hit their target, all participants will get some pretty sweet loot. Head on over and take a look. If you’re a fan of the game, this is a great opportunity to get what looks to be a solid product as well as helping it move along through the process. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676918054/castles-and-crusades-classic-monster-a-monster-man/widget/card.html
I may have mentioned before that I’m slowly but surely trying to coax my current 4E group to give Castles & Crusades a try. We’re currently very happy with 4E but we all agree it’s a good idea to intersperse other experiences just to make sure neither the game, nor the group starts to feel stale. For my money, C&C is the perfect option. The rules-lite system and streamlined game mechanics line up nicely with the goal of getting a good experience in just a single night of gaming or over the course of a short “vacation” campaign. Since there’s not a lot of rules overhead and because what rules ARE there are based on previous editions of the game, familiarity should come pretty easily. I’m confident that a good session could be had right out of the gate.
To this end, I’ve started some pre-prep for when that happens. I’ve started boning up on my C&C rules and resolution. I’ve been familiarizing myself with the old-school stat blocks and spell mechanics. It’s been a real blast. Recently my preprep has included the search for some published material to run. Since this won’t likely be a long term campaign, I’ve decided not to customize too much, or put a large amount of design time into the game. The first adventure I’ve had the opportunity to take a look at is Shadows of The Halfling Hall by Mike Stewart. I chose this adventure for two reasons. First is that I’ve seen it in many places, including Amazon, Ebay and the Troll Lords site. It seems to be a successful module for entry level play. Second is that I listen to a podcast called SaveOrDie and Mike Stewart is one of the hosts whom I very much enjoy listening to. The podcast is dedicated to Old School D&D boxed sets, specifically, the Holmes set, Moldvay and Mentzer. Mike appears to be a guy who knows his stuff. Keep reading for my review of this very old-school C&C adventure. (more…)
I was recently involved in an online conversation. A player relatively new to 4E was asking a group of more experienced gamers, myself included, about a situation he encountered and how we would have adjudicated it. I gave my answer and was surprised at some of the answers that came back. I’d like to throw this out there and see what others think and why?
So here’s the pertinent info for the scenario:
The player in question was a Psion. He was outside a window of a small dwelling. An enemy combatant was inside the building and adjacent to the barred window. The Psion opted to use his Kinetic Trawl (Augment 2) power as he had line of sight and arguably line of effect to the enemy he could see through the window. DDi Compendium explains Kinetic Trawl thusly:
The Psion made it clear his goal was to do damage to the enemy while trying to pull him, smashing him into the bars of the window, possibly doing more damage. The Psion successfully scored a hit and normal damage was dealt for the attack. But how, as a DM would you rule on the forced movement? Please answer below and explain in the comments.
This is an interesting question. I don’t mean the players at your table. I mean their characters. Do they have family? I know it’s common in RPGs to have a mostly deceased family. Afterall, we need someone to avenge, or someone to redeem, etc. Backstories are great and using them to create campaigns is what great D&D is made of. But what of friends? What about that annoying cousin who always needs to borrow money? Do your players have these……..in game? (more…)