Tuesday, January 17, 2023

In Case You Missed It, volume 2

 In Case You Missed it is an irregular feature I intend to use to draw your attention to older OSR creations that, if you are a late-comer like me you may have missed  some pretty amazing content. Here's a couple more that I recently picked up that I wanted to share.

The Dungeon Dozen

One of the earliest Hydra Cooperative projects, Jason  Sholtis' The Dungeon Dozen is a massive book of  gonzo random d12 tables with titles like "Intercepted from the Underworld Courier...", "This monster has a charming side...", or "Manifestations of the Sorcerer's Derangement..." Each geared to help you add a weird, unexpected, or strange twist. A couple of rolls on these tables can inspire a better, stranger adventure. There are 200 or so tables, all of which are system agnostic. 

This book us meant to inspire new ideas. And both the tables and the art do a great job of it. I recognized a few pieces from earlier OSR classics like Petty Gods, with a great set of artist including Jason Sholtis, Stefan Poag, Chris Brandt, and John Larrey.

This book is not just a hit with me, but with my family who have played several rounds of a game where I choose a random page, then get someone to pick a number between 1 and 12, and I read off the result and we come up with a way I could use it.


Microlite20 is freely distributed on Donjon, which has Microlite20 system-specific versions of all of its relevant random generators.  It is a supremely stripped-down version of D&D3e. It prefigured other light systems like KnaveCairn and Into the Odd by reducing D&D3e's stats to Strength, Dexterity,  and Mind and reducing races to a single racial bonus. It also has only four skills, which gain bonuses from a character's  class. Levels, traps, monsters, magic, and leveling are all compressed into a simple, abstract format and expressed in as few words ax possible,making it one of the tightest written games I have ever seen. A rulebook including OGL, 43 monsters, 119 spells, a large equipment list in the Basic rules, plus additional classes an spells in an Advanced section... all in 17 pages. 

I rarely hear Microlite20 mentioned, despite appearing around the same time as  Labyrinth Lord and OSRIC, and being readily available on one of the best online resources for old-school games. I think it is historically significant as a template for rules light games that came after.

World of Dungeons 

WoD was designed by John Harper  (of Blades in the Dark and Lasers & Feelings) as an ultra-light take on Dungeon World, that removes all of the traditional Powered by the Apocalypse structure such as "moves" and bonds, and strips it down to the bare bones of a three-stat character with a class, and an abstracted version of the 2d6 core PbtA mechanic, essentially turning it back into a traditional TTRPG. This is the base game on  which Skullfungus' Down & Out in Dregeburg is built. It is hosted on the Dungeon World homepage, and it can be downloaded on itch.

Princess of the Silver Palace

I keep this one on hand and dip into it once in awhile just because it is scuch a pleasure to read. Princess of the Silver Palace was a projected headed by Zak Smith (I reveiwed his Frostbitten and Mutilated a year ago) but included contributors from all across the Google+ driven OSR sphere of the time.

They took the strange, offbeat, and surreal Dungeons & Dragons module B3: Palace of the Silver Princess, and decided to see how much wierder they could make it. The resulting surreal adventure reads like an acid trip, and includes so many bizarre details and flourishes it sometimes feels like one.

Every element of B3 is reimagined to be even stranger. The town of Dead Mule, damed in B3 because a dead mule forced the settlers to stop and hunker down in B3 becomes a town built on and around the skeleton of a Cloud Giant's colossal mule, for example. the Peddlar and His Daugher who serve as simple guides in B3 become hawkers of objects they collect from a time rift while travelling in an ox-drawn winnebago.

Featuring encounters such as spell-casting skeletons, orange oozes that just want a friend, an immortal wizard who has spent several centuries buried under rubble, A library of books so engrossing that they will enthrall anyone reading them, and so the books have been rendered invisible for safety, the Princess of the Silver Palace offers one of the most gonzo experiences you could ask for.

I have not been able to find a site that still hosts this old module, so I am rehosting it on my own google drive until I am told to knock it off.

No comments:

Post a Comment