Monday, October 29, 2018

OSR on Reddit

With the imminent demise of G+, where much of the OSR had found a home in, a lot of the discussions have been moving to other platforms. I've been checking many of these out such as MeWe and Discord, but I'm not sure I have room for yet another Social Media in my busy day.

I've been on Reddit for a couple years now, and it has a great community, looks to be a healthy growing platform with a bright future, and really excellent discussion and chat tools. So I want to try out a new subreddit dedicated to OSR discussions. I've created one inspired by the classic catalog that shipped with the original basic sets.

https://www.reddit.com/r/GatewayToAdventure/


Monday, October 1, 2018

Dungeon Module ZX8 Abandoned Glacial Rift of Blurut of the Crepuscular Claw


In September I wrote a little Twitter bot that randomly generates Adventure Names and posts hourly. It has come up with some wild ideas, a lot of silly and wonky ideas, and a few that were very cool. I said I'd create an adventure out of the name that was most liked and retweeted. The results are in and Dungeon Module ZX8 Abandoned Glacial Rift of Blurut of the Crepuscular Claw is the name that won!

It's not going to be very long, probably only a bit longer than a one-page dungeon, but it will be a fun one. It will be available for free on DriveThruRPG when it's done.

Some of my favorite other adventure names it generated are:

Dungeon Module E15
Fetid Grove of Gunthar the Boneless Blight

Dungeon Module KP11
In the Moon of Vulframn the Sunless Stalker

Dungeon Module KT16
Sunless Abyss of Eberwulf the Red Princess

Dungeon Module YA2
Strange Fort of Adalbert the Dark Duke

I'd like to figure out how to make this bot run on Google+, so if anyone knows how to do that let me know.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Beasties 2 Heading for the Finish Line

I'm so close to getting this freaking book done! Just a couple more NPC's to flesh out, and some refinement of some of the monster stats. These monster books are more time consuming work than the other OSR books I put out because they require so much art, each entry has to be unique, interesting, compelling, and useful for the DM. But they're so much fun! I mean designing and drawing monsters is a blast.

The table of contents is likely finalized, barring any last minute inspirations.




Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Adventure Names Bot

I made a Twitter bot that creates a new Adventure Name each hour. If you're on Twitter be sure to follow it. At the end of the month the Adventure Name with the most likes I'll turn into an actual OSR adventure with Original and 5th edition stats.

Some examples:

  • Apocalyptic Castle of Tugark the Last Devil 
  • Corrupt Bastion of Crosdo the Desolate Warlord 
  • Chaos Bastion of Braakurk the Trickster Queen 


https://twitter.com/AdventureNames 

@AdventureNames

Monday, August 13, 2018

Patreon

I have started a Patreon in order to develop more projects. Currently I develop OSR products and my big new project Valkyria: Shieldmaidens of Asgard between working on freelance commissions, so the going can be a little slow sometimes. I have exactly 12 OSR books that are all in various stages of completion, as you can see in my previous post. If any of them interest you consider supporting this work on Patreon.com/thomasdenmark

The first goal is to get 50 patrons. Each of these first patrons will receive a little bind-rune painting representing health and wealth, as well as a cool little iron-on patch. There will also be other great rewards like 15% off products, sneak peeks, advanced copies and more.


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Products in Development



Patrons will gain early access as well as sneak peeks and up to 15% discount on all products.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Dungeons and Dragons the most important gaming franchise in the world

Forbes has written an article about the upcoming book Dungeons & Dragons Art and Arcana: A Visual History an illustrated guide to the history and evolution of the beloved game, told through more than 700 pieces of artwork from each edition of the core books, supplements, and modules; decades of Dragon and Dungeon magazines; classic advertisements and merchandise; and never-before-seen sketches, large-format canvases, rare photographs, one-of-a-kind drafts, and more from the now-famous designers and artists associated with the game. The book's authors had unparalleled access to the archives of publisher Wizards of the Coast, as well as the personal collections of top collectors and the game's original designers, allowing them to compile the most comprehensive collection of D&D imagery ever assembled.

There are some real gems from the archives.


You can read the full article here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidewalt/2018/05/10/these-exclusive-images-reveal-the-art-and-arcana-of-dungeons-dragons/#6560c2da5810

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Landsknechte

Some time ago I cut my copy of Chainmail apart, typed up all the text, and reformatted it into a more legible book.

One of the stand out elements of the book is how much Landsknechte are mentioned with their stats and abilities scattered all over the book. I took all the mentions and combined them into one super entry to see it all together. With how much reverence and attention is paid to these famous troops you'd think they were the greatest fighting force since the Great Heathen Army invaded the British Isles.


Landsknechte
Point Value: 2 + Weapon value
Attack as: Light Foot
Defend as: Light Foot
Move 12”
Charge move 15”
Morale Rating: 8

Takes no prisoners (treat prisoners as kills).

Only half penalties for facing.

Fatigue in 6 melee rounds (not 3).

Landsknechte armed with pikes or pole arms facing the enemy automatically stand any charges.

Form Hedgehog: If ten or more of these troops are in a square-type formation, pikes or pole arms facing outwards in all four directions, a “hedgehog” has been constituted. A hedgehog can be moved at one-half speed. It may never charge. A Hedgehog will never be drawn into neighboring melees. It may be attacked only by troops armed with like weapons (pikes or pole weapons).

Close Formation: Landsknechte attacking in close formation (5x2 figures minimum) fight as Armored Foot, with extra die for weapons. For every two men so attacking an additional “mass shock” die is added. When defending in close order (1” or less apart), with pole arms facing the enemy, they are treated as Heavy Foot. If attacked in flank or rear, or when in open order, they are treated as Light Foot.

Pike Charge: Because of the reputation and ferocity of these troops, an enemy charged by Landsknechte pikemen (other than like troops) must roll two dice and consult the Loss table, just as if they had suffered excess casualties. However, if the unit being attacked fails to score high enough it is not removed from play; rather, it retreats 1 1/2 moves, backs to the enemy, and must rally. If they are followed up by pikemen before they rally, the unit is totally eliminated. Note: The charging pike formation must be eligible to receive “max shock” dice (at least 10 figures in 5 x 2 formation) in order to force enemy units to check morale.




Friday, April 20, 2018

Norse Bestiary Alphabet

It's been another one of those dry spells on this blog. I've been juggling several projects all at different stages. A couple of the OSR things I have in the works are very close to being ready and they will be getting some sneak previews here quite soon.

Right now I want so show you a little project I did in January and recently compiled into a book and published. It probably falls well within the interest of readers of this blog. A long time passion of mine has been Norse mythology and I've always wanted to do some projects with that theme. Then an idea struck me and I started a project called Valkyria: Shield Maidens of Asgard. It is coming along quite nicely and if you follow my Instagram you might have seen a few images from it. In the course of research I did a little art challenge where I drew a creature from Norse mythology for each letter of the alphabet and posted it each day. The images struck a chord with some people and I was urged to make a book. I'm happy to announce it is available on my Gumroad store. It's a charming little book full of factoids and (I hope) cool art.


If this is something you might want check it out at the link below:
https://gumroad.com/thomden


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Hawkmoor Map Work in Progress

I've been trying to draw the Hawkmoor map in a "Tolkienesque" style. This is my second attempt.
There are 10 zones on the map. The corner zones are Dungeons (you can see the one classic "Skull cave" in the top right), the side zones are wilderness. The middle is for the village of Hammlette. Just above the village is an area to put Fate cards which are drawn each turn the party is in the village and usually give some slight advantage or bonus, but occasionally increase the Doom. Doom is a measure of power of the forces of Chaos the party is contending against. That's how the game currently plays anyways.

I wasn't satisfied with how the Skull Cave came out, so redrew it on a separate sheet. It looks much better, but didn't match well with the rest of the map when I tried to stitch them together in Photoshop. So I'm considering just redrawing the whole map again.


The game is making progress little by little. Playtime is still a little too long, trying to crunch it down to under 90 minutes without losing any of the flavor or fun. I'll post and share more as I complete the components.

Monday, March 19, 2018

D&D Had its Biggest Sales Year in 2017


Dungeons & Dragons had its best sales year since it was acquired from TSR Inc. by game publisher Wizards of the Coast in 1997, the company confirmed to SYFY WIRE.

What I find most interesting is how D&D has moved from being perceived as some weird hobby that nerds played in their parent's basement to an activity anyone can enjoy without being stigmatized.
The game gained an international stage with the release of Netflix's Stranger Things in the summer of 2016, as its main characters play Dungeons & Dragons regularly. Tito calls the show "another data point in the zeitgeist." It has also shown up on other popular TV programs like The Big Bang Theory and The Goldbergs. Even Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon hosts a show called HarmonQuest, which is heavily inspired by Dungeons & Dragons. His former show, Community, also had two episodes solely devoted to playing the game.

Sauce:
http://www.syfy.com/syfywire/dungeons-dragons-biggest-sales-year-2017

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Fantasy Map Drawing Practice

I've been practicing my fantasy map drawing skills in a sort of "Tolkienesque" style for upcoming projects (including Hawkmoor and Graymoor among others).

For the names I used a little technique that I had a whole post planned for about using Google translate for generating your own fantasy language, but as I was writing it out I realized there wasn't really enough there for a full post. Basically just choose a language on Google Translate you think sounds interesting and appropriate for your world and type in the English word you want translated and taduh! You have a language to use for your fantasy world. Tweak a few of the consonants and vowels if you like.

What I did here was chose Icelandic and just typed in things like "Mountain Peaks" and "Water Port" to get names for my map. Sounds so Viking!


Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018

Beastie: Pegasoar


Pegasoar
Magical Beast
HD 4
AC 13
Atk 1d8x2 (talons)
Save 13
Move 24/60
CL/XP 4/120
Special: flying
A distant relative of the pegasus, a pegasoar is a horselike creature with wings instead of front legs, and eagle like talons on it’s back legs. They are extremely graceful in flight and more swift than most other large winged beasts.

They are even more difficult to train than a pegasus and not as large or strong, they can only carry a light unarmored rider. Even though they are generally peaceful animals they can be trained to be fierce. Once they bond to an owner they are exceedingly loyal and protective.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Beastie: Miniature Ogre


Ogre, Miniature
Giant
HD 6
AC 15
Atk ML 1d6x2 (tiny fists), or by weapon type
Save 11
Move 9
CL/XP 9/1000
Special: Surprise opponents on a 1-5 on d6

Miniature ogres have been ensorcelled and shrunk to a tiny size, yet they maintain their strength. The strange sorcery that miniaturizes them also compacts their brains into a more organized and intelligent manner making them relatively smart for an ogre.

Miniature ogres measure only a few inches high, so can be difficult to spot, particularly when they are hiding. At best there is a 1 in 10 chance of spotting.

The occasional wizard may have a token miniature ogre as a novelty, more often they are found in small packs of 2-12.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Beasties of Norse Mythology

Over on my other channels where I promote my artwork on Instagram and Facebook I've been posting these fun little explorations of creatures from Norse mythology. I'm creating a little alphabet book, the style is a tad more whimsical than I normally draw. I'm also experimenting with a coloring method that is similar to how the Hellboy comics are colored, with my own style added to it.

I haven't written up any gaming stats for them, but I'm considering it. Just takes time and I'm already spinning a lot of plates right now.

A is for Aptrgangr. The 'again-walker' also known as druagr are viking undead, who may have come back for vengeance, or to fulfill a pledge, or if he is a son who has disappointed his father.


B is for Brunnmigi. In Norse mythology, a troll like being who defiles wells. It is also a kenning applied to foxes.


C is for Changeling. A changeling is a fairy child left in place of a human child stolen by the fairies.


You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram if you want to see more stuff like this of my art that is not directly OSR related.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Introducing Hawkmoor the OSR Game!


For the past few years I have been working on a game combining elements of old-school rules and boiling them down into a single game night experience for family and friends. Basically the goal was to be able to play the original fantasy RPG without the commitment of a long term campaign, and without complication so that everyone could fit it into their schedule on game night.

Hawkmoor is the original edition rules you know and love, condensed into a quick simple cooperative game experience.

The first goal was to make set up very fast. Whenever starting a new campaign everyone sitting around creating characters takes up most of the first game session. This is one of the longest steps other than the dozens of hours of thought and labor the GM puts into creating the adventure setting in the first place, but I'll get to that in a bit. How do you speed up character creation? You can only simplify the stats and options so much before you start losing flavor, so the fastest way is to use pre-generated characters.

I know, not everyone loves pre-gens, so the Hawkmoor RPG book does have complete character generation rules for those interested. For fast set-up the game has a selection of six basic characters. This led to one of the first big design decisions, putting the characters on cards in a deck that could be shuffled and dealt out randomly or use an alternate system which allows players to choose.

This was version 1.0 of the character sheet. You can see a lot of simplification, like ability scores only have their modifiers not their base number. Other stats have been boiled down to Initiative (the boot), Hit Points (the heart), Armor Class (the shield), Melee Attack Bonus (the sword), Ranged Attack Bonus (the bow), and Saving Throw (the star), and everything is baked in; for example no rolling for hit points each level. Also levels have been capped at 5. But why would it need up to 5 levels if the game is only designed to be played in a single evening?

Fast advancement was key to keeping the game engaging and have casual appeal. Most of the play testing was done with my kids and occasionally with my game group. And my kids definitely were much more into the game when they could advance their characters quickly. Also, I found older players enjoying it too.

Looking at this character sheet you can see how you could take this card and play it as is in most of your favorite OSR games, like Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, Adventurer Conqueror King, or those published by Night Owl; Warriors of the Red Planet (a little elf action on Mars!), and others. This started out as a generically useful card.

And that is character selection. There are six in total: Human Paladin, Dwarf Fighter, Elf Magic User, Hoblet Burglar, Human Cleric, and the Elf Ranger.

Hoblet is the new character race included in the core RPG book. You might be able to guess what they are like.

It's not enough to have a great game system, it should be coupled with a compelling world. I've been developing a high fantasy setting as well to go with it. A world once dominated by a great empire that is now falling into ruin. Skies sundered by dark sorceries and an aerial kingdom ruled by knights on winged beasts. A land that has seen much of its oceans drained leaving vast canyons and deep underground chasms filled with beasts from an ancient time, and their treasure. But, more on that later.


I'll be posting more previews in the coming weeks on this game up till publication. Let me know what you think in the comments section below, or join the Hawkmoor group by clicking here and get advance notice and access to other goodies as they are made available.


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Beastie: Lurking Arachnid


Lurking Arachnid
Vermin
HD 4
AC 18
Atk ML 1d6, RNG 1d4
Save 13
Move 12
CL/XP 6/400
Special: poison, web
The lurking arachnid is superb at lurking in the shadows and camouflaging itself. They cling to ceilings of dank, dark areas like dungeon passages.

They are difficult to spot, only visible on a 1 in 20 when actively searching.

It can shoot out its web in a 30’ stream, anyone in its path must Save (add Dex adjustment) or be trapped for 2d8 rounds. Each round a Save (add Str adj.) can be made to break free of the web.

Unlike common giant spiders the lurking arachnid is semi intelligent and can coordinate with other lurking arachnids to surround a party and subdue them. This communication sounds like disturbing hisses and whispers.

They have two kinds of poisonous bites. The first paralyzes a victim for 1-4 days, unless a Save (add Con) is made. They use this to cocoon their prey. Their most poisonous bite is deadly unless a Save (add Con) is made, they only use this when it is necessary to kill a victim.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018 Projects

I keep a Vision Map as my desktop background of mock covers for books I'd like to make. I recently updated it with a schedule for one book per month for 2018.
To produce one book a month is my goal anyways. That was my goal each year for the past few years, but I haven't quite been able to hit that rate. Maybe this will be the year!



Beasties II is the first book I hope to get out at the end of this month. You've seen a lot of the Beastie of the Week posts here, those will be compiled, cleaned up, and several new unseen creatures and characters added. Also some useful random generation tables in the back.

Knight Hawks is the followup to Colonial Troopers. It adds in depth space combat to the basic rules of the core book. This book can be used with any game compatible with the original edition, with some tweaks. It will also have a catalogue of planets and encounters to add adventure locales to experience.

Relics & Ruins is the first supplement for Raiders! and will have, as the name implies, lots of relics for your archaeologists to search for as well as ancient ruins to explore.

Hawkmoor is the high fantasy world I've been hinting at on occasion. I'll have a more in depth reveal of what it is about, but in short it is a simplified and streamlined original edition inspired game system and a high fantasy world that is more than just a sandbox. This book is a supplement to the main game.

Graymoor is a what-could-have-been exploration of the original edition game system that takes things into a different direction. The game will be familiar, in some ways its a little like Unearthed Arcana except that it is a complete core book. If you want a taste of what it is like check out this post about Gygaxian Systemization I made way back in 2010.

Other Books
Some of the other books you get a tiny peak of in the image above are a Chainmail homage, a few more world settings in unique genres that haven't been overly explored in the OSR (as far as I know), and some useful game supplements that flesh out some classic adventure environments that can be dropped into just about any fantasy campaign.

Left over 2017 Projects
These are some books that are pretty far along I've worked on, but didn't quite finish. First a version of Warriors of the Red Planet in the Basic Edition style. The other is a mini-campaign setting that uses the Colonial Troopers rules, it is based on an adventure I used to run at conventions so it's been fairly well play tested, the hold up is converting the stats to Colonial Troopers and making art.




If any of these look interesting to you, or if you have suggestions for a book I should make let me know in the comments section below. Cheers.

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 Year in Review

The top posts of 2017

This is the part where I write some hyperbole about how wild and crazy the year was. How all these amazing things happened. Well, 2017 was actually just kind of ok. Not particularly bad, or good. I mean the news had plenty of bad to report, but as far as the OSR gaming world there wasn't anything earth shaking to me, its all been fun and games as usual.

One thing I've noticed for this blog is how much the comments section has quieted down. Hardly a peep every once in a while. I don't know if that is because the world is moving away from blogs over to social media, or I haven't written compelling enough, or controversial enough, material to warrant much discussion. Perhaps I'll start offering giveaways and special rewards to random people who post (meaningful and productive) comments.

Looking at the top posts of 2017 there was some interesting and entertaining entries that are worth taking a second look at.


5. Three-Volume Rules Cyclopedia
News to many of us, this find on eBay of a unique 3-Volume Rules Cyclopedia that was only published in Japan stirred some interest. The art gave it such a different flavor than any edition published in the USA. How cool if it had been published in English as well? TSR was just too conservative I think, which is partly why it went under. Completely tone deaf to it's customers.
https://originaleditionfantasy.blogspot.com/2017/08/3-volume-rules-cyclopedia.html


4. Beastie of the Week: Colonel Redcap
Of all the Beasties of the Week I've posted why has this one gotten the most hits? Are there that many gnome lovers out there? I guess the idea of battle gnomes does have a certain appeal to it. Maybe the contrast between peaceful gnomes and war is interesting.
http://originaleditionfantasy.blogspot.com/2017/04/beastie-of-week-colonel-redcap-battle.html


3. Gen-Con 50
Not too much of a surprise. For those who couldn't make it to Gen Con 50 it was probably a treat to see the retrospective. Seeing the original 1e Dungeon Master's Guide cover art was something I'll never forget. And that contract Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax signed for the rights to Dungeons & Dragons was interesting in how naive it was on the part of both parties, Gary in particular.
http://originaleditionfantasy.blogspot.com/2017/08/gen-con-50.html


2. Alternate Red Box Cover
This was a lucky find! And wow, what a blast of nostalgia and what-could-have-been all in the same image.
http://originaleditionfantasy.blogspot.com/2017/04/alternate-red-box-cover.html


1. A Princess of Mars Adventure
And we get to the top post of 2017. A little mock cover I made as a lark. This one hit a nerve and I think a lot of ERB fans would like to see this one become a reality. I would make it, but my concern is how litigious the ERB company is known to be. I believe that the book being in public domain means it is fair to develop it into products like all the Alice in Wonderland, and Dracula, and Grimm's Fairy Tales, etc. we see made into games, animations, movies and toys. These early ERB books belong to the public and our culture now. Time to set them free.
http://originaleditionfantasy.blogspot.com/2017/10/a-princess-of-mars-adventure.html




Runner Ups
Other popular posts were the free character sheets I made, which you can access through the Free Stuff tab at the top of this blog. I want to do more free downloads in 2018. Perhaps maps? Monsters? One-page dungeons/adventures? If you have any requests let me know.

Biggest miss of the year
One last item. The one book I was really hoping to finish in 2017 now doesn't look like will ever be done. It's just too much, too much variety, too much content. There's a reason magazines hire multiple writers each issue, that's basically what creating the Old School Art Book has been like. I even tried to rally the community but just got crickets. Which is a good thing, it lets me know there wasn't that much demand for it. I'm not bummed about it or anything, it came out of a comment someone made to me at a convention when they flipped through a sketchbook I was selling they said "if these drawings had stats on them I could use in my game I'd buy it." Which I thought was an interesting idea. I know even as an artist and fan of art I don't buy that many artist sketchbooks, but if it had more practical use I probably would.
http://originaleditionfantasy.blogspot.com/2017/08/what-about-that-old-school-art-book.html

Thank you so much for those of you who regularly read this blog. It can be lonely out here in the blogosphere and you don't know if anyone is reading. And when you check your stats you wonder if it is humans or bots? Or how much of each?

So long 2017, hello 2018!