Friday, May 24, 2013


First off, I scored a copy of Cook's Expert Rulebook yesterday at Half-Priced Books (I swear, I could spend an entire paycheck in there!).  It's in very fine condition, and for a $8, it was a steal.  At the same time, I had enough cash to pick up the Expanded Rules for Star Frontiers - Alpha Dawn for about $4.  Another game that I loved as a young gamer.  I know it's very unlikely that I will ever get to actually play it again.  But, these days I'm as much a collector as I am a player.  And that game holds a special place in my heart, right next to the Moldvay Basic Rulebook.

So, I've gotten a little bit of feedback on Basic Arcana over at, and it's been generally good.  The person who gave me some commentary was an "old grognard" so he was reticent about using some of the more 3e-influenced rules changes, but even he admitted that he could see the benefits.  Overall, based on that one post, it sounds like my work might be a decent first outing.

Yesterday I started work on my next OSR project: the conversion of Life of Rage to a version compatible with the Moldvay and Cook books.  It's going relatively quickly, as most of the flavor text could be copied directly over from my original work, with very little modification.  Leaving me able to concentrate on the nuts and bolts of the actual game-play rules.

In my original version, Life of Rage uses a classless system derived in part from the "Roll/Keep" system of AEG's Legend of the Five Rings and 7th Sea RPG's, along with some elements from other games, as well as some ideas of my own.  I had originally considered converting to 3.xe.  However, I find that the OSR method of making races a class actually lends itself better to Life of Rage

From its inception, my game has always been about simple rules, fast play, and a high degree of flexibility for GM and Player ideas to be incorporated.  This is also easily translated to the OSR way of things.  There is a certain amount of freedom that OSR games offer that is missing in the latest editions (especially 4e).  This is mainly due to the simplistic presentation, but I think it's also a product of the times in which these games were written.

One thing that majorly differentiates OSR form post 3e is the sheer volume of supplements.  In the old days, there were only a few basic books you needed, and most of the extra stuff created up through 1e were adventure modules and campaign settings.  This was great because most DM's I have known prefer to write their own adventures that take place in their own worlds.  So, there was no need to buy anything beyond the rulebooks, and maybe a module or two to kick things off.

With 2e, and even more so with 3e, the focus seems to have shifted from the rules to the accessories.  This may not actually be the case, but that is my perception.  With book after book of player options, new classes, feats, skills, weapons, prestige classes, monsters, deities...the basic three rulebooks are almost drowning in a sea of material.  There's so much out there for each new edition (3e, 3.5, Pathfinder, 4e), that I think players and DM's seem to lose sight of the fact that it's all smoke and mirrors, and that the only thing they actually need are the PHB, DMG and MM.

All of that being said, I LOVE 3.5 and Pathfinder.  I like the options, and the flexibility.  And I am quite comfortable cherry-picking rules from the various supplements for use in the games I play (currently one).  But, I also enjoy the simple charm of OSR games, and the nostalgia that comes with just reading the books (and if you read my other blog, you know what a big place nostalgia has in my life).

So, I guess it's safe to say that most of the stuff I create for OSR will be my efforts to combine those two styles of game.

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