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Archive for the ‘Old School’ Category

Tomb of Horrors OriginalI recently had lunch with one of my players and we discussed the current state of our game (and he very kindly commented that I’ve been ignoring this site). Beyond the general consensus that people are having a good time and seem to be looking forward to each upcoming game session, the idea of momentum was briefly touched on. It got me to thinking. I’m currently running a lightly modified version of the 4E Tomb of Horrors. As a module, it plays quite a bit differently from what we’ve been doing. Over the past year or so of play, we’ve been very story focused. The mainline plot has gotten a lot of attention and has developed from a nascent threat against a few small villages into a full fledged regional destabilization. The group just reached level 11 and so far the threats they’ve faced feel about right to me. However, in The Tomb of Horrors, things are different. It’s not nearly as story driven. It’s really more of a set piece than a story, although there is some narrative behind it obviously. There is a reason for its existence and the powers behind it do create a sense of mystery (and a pretty serious problem) that needs to be solved. Now, keep in mind, this is a D&D “super” adventure. That means it’s one of those big, hardbound books, chock full of traps, combat, enemies and more. It’s meant to be run over a long period of time and across many levels. It ranges from Level 10 all the way to Level 22. The way we’ve been playing, that will take at least a year. (more…)

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Adventurer Conqueror King SystemAdventurer Conqueror King System.

What?

Being an old-timer means that I find lots of the OSR world interesting.  In most cases it’s not enough to make me ditch the new shiny(4E), but sometimes I wonder if that’s not simply because I have a group that consists of gamers with slightly more modern sensibilities.  To that end, I’ve always looked at retro-clones with the angle that I’d like to see not just a clone, but an actual modernization of the systems of the past. They had so much going for them that has been lost with the march of time, with the evolution of the modern gamer. Their themes are no less relevant, no less graspable than they were 30 years ago. Demonstrated by my repeated and successful attempts to introduce modern young people to classic RPGs. These RPGs don’t need to be wildly altered. They just need a fresh coat of paint and a cohesiveness that was lacking from a system that was essentially designed piecemeal by non-designers. They need more references outside of 1970s fantasy fiction combined with a liberal helping of myth. They need to approach the critiques of those systems without unmaking their brilliance. (more…)

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So I’ve been watching videos coming out of DDXP about the next iteration of D&D. I’ve seen activity on forums ranging from hysterical accolades to hate-filled diatribes. I’m curious if others out there are following the news. Sound out in the current Hunter’s Quarry poll.

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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

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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…)

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