Friday, 8 November 2019


Another November-themed image! This one is now a major motion picture! (and a weirdly right wing political pundit)
It's going to be short and sweet today, as owing to work I'm very late with this, but it is technically still Friday on Baker Island in the US Minor outlying islands.

This is another instalment in a marvellous series, which interviews editors working within the OSR. Fiona has had her hands in an incredible array of projects (and has received two Ennies in the process) and her opinions are always worth listening to (on a wide range of subjects), and this joint interview with Moonrat Collective co-founder Jarrett Crader confirms that fact.

Emmy Allen has been working on esoteric enterprises for a while now, but followers on various media have been teased some good-looking spreads from the forthcoming core rulebook, due for publication by Soulmuppet Publishing this month. Suffice to say, a lot of people are very hyped about this. Throne of Salt blogger Dan had re-skinned Jeff Rient's classic 20 quick questions for your campaign setting.

A spectre is haunting the OSR, but don't worry follow this link to find satisfying solutions to your magical needs! So true! Enlightenment waits with this One Secret they don't want you to know: Pakistan male enhancement elephant elephant black magic ritual.

The best comment thread on any blog post ever ^.

I'm looking for weird settings to get together and this one fits the bill nicely: the giant turtle that carries the world on its back is dead, and a new civilisation is emerging from its corpse. Welcome to the Meatropolis! More mind-bending weirdness rendered completely normal by Lexi.

Imagine reading this blog and not already being a reader of Goblin Punch. Imagine not being a reader of Goblin Punch. There's only five minutes left of Friday on 8th November on this Earth (it's nearly Sunday where I am), so I shall keep this brief: this post is what I think about when I think about fantasy.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

City of Ghosts: Character Generator

Currently working on a character generator using for the ongoing City of Ghosts project. This  is hotlinked below, so changes will update here as they are made.

The main feature at present is the name generator, which I adapted into a vanilla fantasy name generator. The generator below currently just throws up a name, "true" name and the classic six stats, generated using 6 x 3d6.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Day 2, NaNoWriMo (apologies)


Jin proved to be neither as calm and collected nor as accomplished a driver as Mylar had originally surmised. The route which Jin had taken through the Steel City undulated up and down, and she seemed determined to drive the mule-rat just as fast on the upward slope as she did on the downward, causing the cart to lurch and jerk and stop and start and - occasionally - to pick up a great deal of speed. Whenever the beast reached the foot of a hill, it would slow down and pant, instigating frustrated lashings from its driver, as the cart seemed to become increasingly unresponsive to Jin’s desires.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Day 1, NaNoWriMo


It oozed out in a greyish-green cylinder before reaching a foot in length, whereupon it broke off and fell to the muddy path below with a loud splat. The stench of mule-rat faeces, while not unbearable, was certainly unpleasant, and Mylar wretched as she watched another cylinder of shit emerge from the creature’s anus. For the umpteenth time on her journey, she considered whether it would be more vomit-inducing to continue staring at the cart-animal’s rump or to look away and gag as the landscape around her rolled past at a steady trot. As the crown of yet another turd began to emerge from the mule-rat’s butt hole, she decided that yes, it was time to turn her face away.



by Ryohei-Hase

You don't follow the  tradition of praising the white rabbit at the beginning of each new month that contains the letter "r"? Well, now is as good a time as any to start: stare at the picture and say "white rabbits" and watch your worries wash away. When you're done, you may have a look at five blog posts I picked out as highlights this week:

Okay so one of the entries on my blog list is a list of blogs. What would really make this into a turtles all the way down type scenario would be if Monsters and Manuals then edited the list to include this post, and then some kind of toplogical paradox would be created, causing the internet to collapse in on itself and revert to its primordial form.
Failing that, this is a strong list: note that it contains Bat in the Attic's sandbox building post, which is perma-linked at this very blog (in "sandbox and worldbuilding resources" on the right-hand side), and has been since 2015, which is something like my own petty attempt to obtain some kind of validity in this ever-shifting landscape of creation and destruction.

Looking for Feedback: Anybody Made a Setting Using My 'Settings with Strata' Method?

Speaking of sandboxes, Gundobad games is looking for feedback for their "Settings with Strata" method of building a fantasy sandbox. I've not tested it out yet, and I certainly don't think incorporating history into the worldbuilding process is especially original (see Bat in the Attic's method, above), but I do intend to try this out and provide feedback for the author. Gundobad Games is a blog written by a professional antiquarian historian, and their RPG output is strongly informed by their academic background. 
The author also produced Brazen Backgrounds, which contains twenty-four "period-appropriate backgrounds" and accompanying random tables, some of which I incorporated into myown sandbox campaign.
If the opportunity arises (and time is precious, owing to NaNoWriMo), Iwill attempt a run-through of the process and make a post on this site.


This one gets a share because I'd be interested in seeing a few more people pick up this idea and run with it. I used to enjoy wargames, and it would be great to see it get the DIY treatment the way Old School D&D has over the past decade. I still have the chit-based wargame from Gazetteer Ten: Orcs of Thar (which I think may have used the same core mechanic as the naval combat game that came with Gazetter Four: The Kingdom of Ierendi, and no, neither of them used the BECMI mass-combat rules known as War Machine, although both gazetteers contained comprehensive army listings for their respective nations using War Machine Rules) and I may try to create a rip of that in the near future.
Anyway, have a look and see what you make of it. If it grants an extra incentive, this is the blog of the person who created Troika! which is suddenly ubiquitous, at least in the online spaces I currently patronise.


The random generation of dungeons has been at the forefront of my mind since my slowly-lumbering-to-completion project Keepers in the Dark began last month, and it was  with keen interest that I looked upon Was It Likely aka Screwhead McDuff aka Jones Smith's latest post about that very subject.
Unfortunately I have not yet been able to do a full run-through of the procedure (the author's example dungeon took more than three hours to create), but two facets that stand out are a) Jones Smith is keen for you to "...let... yourself become a medium [for/of] a creative process that exists outside of yourself " and b) the methodology pre-supposes a kind of user layering, which the author describes as a "force", and works in a similar way Gundobad Games strata method for sandboxes (in the very broadest sense).
Please have a look for yourself and let Jones know what you made of it. 


To conclude, this week's juiciest offering comes courtesy of Marquis Hartis' brilliant mind. Here' he dissects worship of Lolth, the drow spider-goddess, in a sprawling text exceeding 6,000 words. If something of that length doesn't appeal to you, let's see if any of the following whets your appetite:

    1. A fresh interpretation of the drow, drawing thematically upon real-world Aztec culture (and I wonder if there was any inspiration from D&D BECMI Mystara's Hollow World Shadow Elves) , Patrick Stuart's Veins of the Earth, other (A)D&D Drow canon and (one suspects) the author's research into Babylonian magic (look upon thy list of miracles and weep!)
    2. An erudite interpretation of divinity the divine in a fantasy multiverse, extrapolated from the top down into cultural practices of a fantasy civilisation.
    3. Cool pictures of sexy scary dark elf ladies.
    4. Some of the most evocatively named magic to ever grace a spell list (actually, the author calls them miracles,a s their specifically for divine casters)
The last item is probably what really crowns this stupendous piece of work: if you want a quick taste, have another look at the same author's Bronze Age magic list

Here ends the second Five on Friday. Have an inspiring weekend.

(DM in Exile) 

Thursday, 31 October 2019

November (National Novel Writing Month)

Samhain salutations!

A short announcement to warn you of what will be happening here throughout November.

Good new (If you enjoy reading this blog):
You will be treated to a post every day for the duration of the month!

Bad news (if you enjoy reading in general):
Each post will be the first paragraph of  that day's 1,666 word-splurge as I limp vainly towards the goal of writing my first novel.
Even worst news:
Most of the characters, setting and events remain undecided.

Slightly better news:
Many of those undecided factors will be determined randomly, using resources created by the OSR community! The "novel" will also be a dungeon delve, and though it's going to have a fairly vanilla arc (I'm not brave enough to spend a month writing everything completely randomly), it will have a hint of old-school flavour.

Not wanting to give anything away, I'll leave the obligatory see-how-the-sausage-gets-made post until after the event (December 1st). Until then, there won't be much gaming content here (apart from the Five on Friday and maybe the odd session report).


Wednesday, 30 October 2019

City of Ghosts - A New Project

While work on Keepers in the Dark continues apace, another project is beginning to take shape and I want to jot some ideas here and now, in full public view, because I feel a frisson of excitement and wish to share that.

This new project is called City of Ghosts (working title) and is built upon the following core themes:

  • Dawn of a fantasy neolithic: humans transition from nomadic subsistence to sedentary settlements, all the while pillaging the ruins of a lost precursor civilisation (the titular city).
  • Troupe Play: Players control a band of outcasts, and work together to build a new community with its own customs, traditions and even language. The community building aspect was inspired by this post by Humza Kazmi
  • OSR GAME: At a tactical and exploratory level, play is very similar to OD&D or B/X, with some modifications. Significantly, it is classless and level-less, inspired in part by Spwack's Die Tryin' and Cavegirl's lateral character progressions, notably the wounded daughter and also wendigo sickness. However....
  • MULTIPLE TIERS OF PLAY: ...there are other levels to this game, which connect to the tactical level but operate with semi-independent mechanics, so in a sense they exist as their own mini-games. This includes the aforementioned community building game, but also negotiating with the spirit world, epic vision quests, and more mundane things like training a fledgling workforce (or working towards a world without work). All of this was inspired by the briefest of exchanges with Luka Rejec during a conversation about the 48 Hour Mega RPG Jam
  • One Stop Shop: Goal is to create a one-book game i.e. ruleset and sand box all together.