Category Archives: OSR

Collaborative Sandbox Design

I am a participant in the Tenkar’s Landing Crowdsourced Sandbox Setting. It is an interesting concept and it is cool to see all the ideas and how people consult their neighbors to sync up features like rivers and roads and adjust maps to flow with the ideas of others.

I picked a swamp hex. In my campaign I don’t have players running around near a swamp, so my ideas are limited in application to my game. However, other’s hexes have ideas and terrain more in line with where my players are running around, so I can glean ideas.

I see this growing and becoming a very thick book, even a series of modules.

I can’t wait to see how it all plays out and fits together.

Original Modules

I wonder why WotC hasn’t released more of it’s original modules to PDF via D & D Classics?

The answer is most likely the bean counters and management at the VP and higher level have revenue targets that must be met and the percentage of expenses to revenue must be low so that profits are higher. They probably also have a “lean business model”. This means doing more with less and teams are made as small as possible to get the work done. Of course, that is just a guess based on my experience working for a publicly traded company in an unrelated industry.

Of course, from my perspective in the trenches, the bean counters often count the wrong beans.

So, I get it, WotC, now a part of Hasbro, is a publicly traded company and the stockholder’s expect lots of dividends for their investment. I have often wondered why the boards of publicly traded companies don’t further increase their profits by paying their presidents and CEOs less? I am sure that market forces have an influence on this, but why does anyone need more than a million dollars a year in salary, stock options, and benefits?

The problem for the fans who want these out of print items, who can’t afford the gouging on eBay, so they can’t get things they want. A good example is Chainmail and the original LBBs for OD&D. Yes, I know you can get the basic D&D rules, which I have, but it is not the same as having the originals. Also the Player’s Handbook is not available in PDF for 1st Edition AD&D, like the other rule books. It was before WotC’s meltdown a few years ago over a handful of people sharing their PDFs with others. I don’t recall if Chainmail and OD&D were available or not. I spent a lot getting PDFs to rebuild my manuals lost to the great water leak incident before I managed to get hard copies of them all.

It would be very helpful to have the Player’s Handbook available in PDF for those wishing to conduct 1st edition games online, so their players could buy it, thankfully, OSRIC helps with that. The Monster Manual (MMI) is another I don’t see available now, this would only be needed by DMs, but again OSRIC helps.

For any of the old manuals, modules, etc. that were once in PDF, it is not that hard to make them available for sale again. Unless there is some technical aspect about the watermarking process that DriveThru RPG, RPGNow, and D&D Classics that require re-working the PDFs. I know that the Player’s Handbook is not as high a quality of the other manuals that were re-released. Yes, a cleaner scan, etc. would be nice, but I would pay WotC for a legible and usable scan before I would spend tons of money on eBay for something I would be reluctant to use at the table.

Yes, I could scan an expensive hard copy and make my own PDF, but I would have to use a flat bed scanner for one sheet at a time, and based on what my company charges customers for my time (I only wish I made $150/hour), it would be very expensive. Plus, I could do a lot of game prep in that amount of time.

Since WotC turned to members of the OSR for help with D&D Next, it only makes sense to me that WotC turn to fans with skills. I am sure there are D&D players with technical skills that would trade their time for a hard copy of the original rules or at least a free copy of the PDFs they helped create. This would minimize the expense in time for WotC that only requires putting the PDFs on D&D Classics. Granted, they wouldn’t make millions of dollars, but they would make more than enough to cover the salary of the person(s) who coordinate getting PDFs of old resources on D&D Classics.

Problem Solved! I don’t have the skills or the equipment to make decent PDFs, but I am sure there are lots of others out there who do. In the world of publicly traded companies, having a solution for a problem or complaint that you bring, is a big step in getting action.

I don’t know anyone at WotC or personally know anyone who knows anyone at WotC. I’m just a 36+ year player and lover of the game who would like to buy copies of the modules and other things I didn’t have the money to buy when I was in high school.

Does anyone else think this is a good idea?

Alliteration Though The Monster Manual, A to Z.

I play in a Roll20/Google Hangout AD&D first edition game. We recently started back and forth strings of alliteration in our online comments about write ups of our sessions, etc. I took it much farther than the others.

One player posted a link to a poster of a blind monk on a blind beholder, to which I posted: “Blessed Battling Blind Beholders, Batman! ;)” To which I must now add, “Robin retorted, rhetorically.”

I have the bug bad. So bad, in fact, that I am going to inflict it on the internet at large. I’m sorry, but not that sorry. 😉

So while in the shower the other day I had the idea to do alliterative phrases for an A to Z listing from the Monster Manual. This was initiated as I was reflecting on my post on what the OSR stands for.

Without further ado, here is the list and a couple extra at the end. Yes, I know I have two for B. B for bonus! Hmm…. This just may be my list for next years A to Z challenge….

  1. Angry ankhegs attacking artichoke agriculturalists assiduously.
  2. Bespectacled bald baby basilisks bouncing beautifully.
  3. Barbaric bugbears beheading bullywugs.
  4. Caterwauling catoblepas callously casting cats.
  5. Devilish druidic dervishes dancing defiantly.
  6. Eager ettins eradicate elves enthusiastically.
  7. Fancy famished frogs feasting furiously.
  8. Giant gorgons gobbling goblins greedily.
  9. Hungry harpies harpooning harried hippos. (Get where I got this one?)
  10. Inquisitive imps investigating intrigue.
  11. Jacked-up jackalwere jousting jauntily.
  12. Killer kobolds kissing ki-rin.
  13. Lazy lycanthropes lounging longingly.
  14. Manic misanthropic minotaurs minting mounted miniatures.
  15. Naughty nymphs nuzzling Norman. (Who wishes they were Norman?)
  16. Obtuse owlbears overbearing orcs.
  17. Perspicacious pixies painting pegasi.
  18. Quick quassits quietly questing.
  19. Raging rocs routing rangers.
  20. Silent skeletons slink surreptitiously.
  21. Tough trolls trick troglodytes treacherously.
  22. Uniformed umber hulks undulating under ungainly untied unicorn umbilicus.
  23. Violent vapid violet vampires vamping.
  24. Weird wraiths wriggling wildly.
  25. Xylophoning xorn.
  26. Yellow yeti yelling, yet yearning.
  27. Zombie zoning.

And the two bonus phrases:

  • Master’s multitudinous machinating minions menace marooned mercenaries manning mantlets meekly, masticating meat.
  • All alliteration alludes allegorical alternative alertness, allegedly.

And another….

Flying flaming flamingos fleetly fling flagons flung flatly.

My plea:

Help harried honest human halt horrendous haphazard haranguing.

This is terrible, the tune to “R-O-C-K in the USA” came into my head with the words, “Alliterate in the OSR”.

Will this post never end? Will the puns and assault on the unwary link clickers continue???? …. Tune in next week, same OSR time, same OSR channel.

What is the OSR?

Three little letters seem to cause such a fuss. Here is a list that I will add to as my brain spits out new words and phrases to fit the acronym. When I get enough for a table or two, I will post a new article. (Be afraid, be very afraid.)

I invite others to submit their O.S.R. words, please submit them in the comments, in three word groups in order as seen in my examples below. NOTE: It doesn’t have to relate to RPGs, or at least not in an obvious way.

Obstinate Stinky Referees

Old Senile Roleplayers

One Shot Roleplaying

One Save Rule/Roll

Only Singing Roleplaying

Odiferous Slimy Raconteurs

Ornery Statistics Regulators (My personal favorite so far.)

Original System Resolutely

Obtuse System Rules

Obtuse Seething Revolutionary

Obverse Signage Regulations

Onomatopoeia Serving Rhetoric

Oranges Simmering Resolutely

Obtuse Seething Ridiculousness (A recent Kickstarter comes to mind, in addition to many other efforts to define three letters.)

Overpaid Senior Regulators

Ostracons Scoured Regularly

Ostrogoths Serving Romans

Ovulating Soothsayers Ruminating

Oscillating Sonorous Regurgitation

Ossified Spider Riders

Order Shiny Rings

Orthodontists Skewering Rodents

Overt Slimy Renters

Oysters Salaciously Rotated

Ossuaries Shattered Regretfully

Ancient Greek Tomb – Alexander The Great’s Mother?

An interesting find was in the news at the end of September, 2014. An ancient and well preserved Greek tomb was found that dates to the time of Alexander the Great and some suspect it might be that of his mother.

This applies to this blog because of the pictures and sketches and how they illustrate such things for extrapolation into game play. One gets a sense for how a 2,400 year old tomb would really look, and the condition of its contents. Of course, magic and technology in the game world can change that.

One article here with a picture of sphinxes guarding the entrance, the caryatid columns and a sketch of the layout of the tomb in 3-D.


Tomb Entrance
Tomb Entrance
Tomb Sketch - 2 Chambers
Tomb Sketch – 2 Chambers

Another article on Yahoo, here, with a video and a the same sketch as above but showing the third chamber.

I grabbed a screenshot of it below.


Tomb Sketch - 3 Chambers
Tomb Sketch – 3 Chambers

Tenkar’s Landing – OSR Crowdsourced Island

I took the plunge and signed up for a hex in the Tenkar’s Landing Crowdsourced Island. There is a G+ community for the endeavor.

It will be interesting to see how this all comes together.

So far, it is decided to use 6 mile hexes, any flavor of the Swords & Wizardry Rules, but keeping it light on the “crunch” for easier use by any rules set.

Erik has given the general background of the island and will provide some other information.

One person has already done a map of their hex with fishing villages.

There are still several hexes left.

I claimed a swamp hex, so it will be interesting how the whole thing meshes with the rest of the island and map.

What is the OSR?

The perfect answer from Greyhawk Grognard, it even has a d20 table! He does mention that it could easily be a d100 table. It should at least be a d30 table so I can use the d30 I bought at GenCon.

Now everyone should be happy, or not, probably not for some that just can’t let it go. Sounds like a younger me who just couldn’t let go of a fine point of distinction lost on the majority of the world. Get over it, IT’S A GAME! If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong!