Tuesday 31 December 2019


With the year drawing to a close in less than one minute (if you're on ICT, that is) it is perhaps germane to round things off with a summary of the blog posts that have really made me tick this year.

In case you haven't clocked it yet (and alarm bells should be ringing if you haven't), I'm making a number of "amusing" horological puns (in comedy timing is everything). There will be more: watch this space.

So here follows my top five blog posts of the 2019 OSR blogosphere.

First though, a disclaimer: this year marked a return to the hobby after a three year absence. My 2015 blogroll hadn't aged so well: some of them had become obsessed with making ill-mannered attacks against those with a passion for social justice, some had built paywalls around their content, others had simply given up. It took me a while to catch on, and I've still got a lot of catching up to do.

None of the blogs listed below were on my reading list at the start of the year, though this is obviously indicative of my own ignorance, as each is considered an OSR luminary. Indeed,  some even possess shiny awards.

Special mention should be made for https://www.google.com/amp/s/dragonsneverforget.wordpress.com/2019/10/16/3063/amp/ as it was their insane dedication to the art of RPGs in compiling this list if over 450 blogs. Incredibly, each entry has a description and, where possible, a current posting frequency. Such a labour of love can only inspire those who gaze upon it: it was this post that made me realise that I too should be doing my bit to develop the OSR blogging community, hence the birth of these Library of Babel posts.

But if we're going to talk about people with sincere dedication to the OSR blogosphere, it would be remiss of me not to mention Froth's Humpday Blog-o-Roma. Froth scours the blogosphere and records a weekly podcast summarising his own personal highlights, which are extensive to say the least. What's more, each episode is accompanied by a very thorough blogpost, with links to the material covered in the episode. The man is a champion of the hobby and deserves our respect and adulation! Or you could follow the blog and  also follow him at THAT OTHER PLACE

So, now that's all said and done, here are my personal highlights from the blog-o-sphere this year: no doubt you have your own, and I'd be delighted if you would share it with me below:

SECRET SANTICORN - A gift from Mr. Screw-on-Head to all of us....

Joining the OSR discord was definitely one of the best decisions I made this year, at least in this particular sphere of my life: it's been a wellspring of inspiration. Opportunities to cooperate and collaborate are constantly presenting themselves, most recently in the form of the Secret Santicorn: participants were invited to record their (RPG) heart's desire on a spreadsheet, then were randomly assigned other participants, for whom they attempted to fulfil said desire. As you may remember, I prepared not one but two GLOG classes (the JAzz Bard and the Aviator) for the (un)lucky Sherlock Hole, and you can catch up on all the enties thanks to Ancalagon, who has prepared a comprehensive (and still being updated afaik) list of this year's submissions here

The Saxons are coming! Argh!
So what did I ask for and which poor sap ended up with my ludicrous request? Well, one of my current "experimental" games is a mash-up of Spwack's Die Trying and my own OD&D house rules: sessions are short, and often disconnected forays into alien worlds (so far we've tried Ynn and the Stygian library and that's about it), and I thought it would be interesting to have them run around dark age Britain, prior to the Saxons but after the Romans fucked off: y'know, Arthurian times, but less shining armour and more wyrd faeries and mudmen (neither of which I mentioned in my request, because I'm perverted like that).

Mr Screw-on-Head did not disappoint.

Friday 27 December 2019

X Edition of Library of Babel's Five on Friday

I say this each week without fail, in service to the greater blogger gods: read Froth's Humpday Blog-O-Rama and also Dragons Never Forget for the greatest OSR blogrolls currently available!

The Green Man. He is a man and he is green, which was fortunate for his parents who named him before he was born.
Yes, it's that time of year again, when we huddle together in our caves and praise the Green Man that the vengeful Ghost of Christmas Past has not risen from his grave to assault the Flying Spaghetti Monster with his heretical proclamations. You may have drunken the blood of your vanquished enemies from their own skulls, or you may have invited them for tea, biscuits and frank discussion: all told, this is my flippant way of saying that whatever faith (or lack thereof) you possess, I hope your celebration (or lack thereof) of the midwinter solstice (or the birth of Christ, or Hanukkah) has been suitably joyous!

The passing of one year and the advent of another is a time for reflection and contemplation, and I hope to submit a summary of my top five favourite posts of the year. For now, here is what I have been reading (and most enjoyed) this week:

Monday 23 December 2019

Secret Santicorn 2019: 2 GLOG CLASSES

I entered the OSR discord secret Santicorn and was drawn Sherlock Hole of The Mimic's Nest. Their request was as follows:
Either a Jazz Bard (if Jazz is your thing) or something steampunk-y for a GLOG game- maybe an aviator class
Now, I don't run GLOG (I am, however, a public shill for its progenitor, Arnold Kemp), nor am I massively into jazz: nonetheless, I thought this would be a fun challenge.

Aesthetically though, I think I'm getting decopunk/ diesel punk vibes... apologies in advance Sherlock, Merry Christmas!


You've seen their type before: always getting described as "handsome" or "dashing" regardless of their gender, in a tight fitting leather aviation suit, complete with goggles and flight cap. You've watched the facility with which they elide from one social situation to another. You've seen all the things that those others have seen, yet you don't swoon nor do you fawn over them; you have, however, seen something different in them... something that could be useful to you...

Friday 20 December 2019

IX Edition of Library of Babel's Five on Friday

I say this each week without fail, in service to the greater blogger gods: read Froth's Humpday Blog-O-Rama and also Dragons Never Forget for the greatest OSR blogrolls currently available!

I googled Winter Solstice and got this.
Yule will soon be upon us (the winter solstice will be on the 22nd December). Just remember, it's always darkest before the dawn: a new year is coming. This is good: 2019 was the new 2016 for a lot of people...


Part 2 continued: Spirits in a Semi-Material World
series of posts about primeval spirits

I'm still looking to strike the right tone with all this animal spirits stuff, and I don't think I've cracked it yet, so brace yourself for some very rough around the edges stuff. As ever, your feedback is most welcome.

This is a follow up to my recent post about animal spirits. I thought I'd focus on a few individual animal spirits that PCs might encounter, corresponding with the kind of animals they will encounter in the fertile plains of the river valley.

There are just two entries, the Hyena Queen and Cat, with more to come. I've included stats and "dynamic" abilities to make them suitable boss monster encounters, if that's the kind of campaign you are running, but they might make better allies than foes for most parties.


This is a Magic the Gathering card designed by Winona Nelson

Of course, the spirit of the hyenas is female, though she is often worshipped as an androgyne  (owing to humans' poor understanding of biology, they often mistake the female hyenas terrifying clitoris for a penis). The hyena queen is aware of humans' clumsy categorisation and is indifferent: what she wants is for her pack to feed.

Thursday 19 December 2019


Part 2: Animal/Anima
A series of posts about primeval spirits

A drawing of a fox in a cave in France from a really long time ago, before artists had patreon accounts.
Everything has a spirit, everything has alive: even the cold, apparently dead rock has a soul. The pace at which the mountains move might be imperceptible to you, but to the sun and stars it is barely an eyeblink. Even the empty blackness of space has some kind of consciousness, it is said, by those who stare into the void for long enough to hear it speak.

So of course animals possess anima, it is barely worth mentioning. But the collective consciousness of dumb beasts can manifest as something much more interesting.

Tuesday 17 December 2019


Part 1: Spirits in a Semi-Material World
A series of posts about primeval spirits

Real world animism: Dogon, an indigenous people of Mali,
Everything has a spirit, everything is alive: and not merely in the way that you are used to thinking of things being alive. The stars move and respire, grow and reproduce: do they have life? Probably.

Friday 13 December 2019

VIII Edition of Library of Babel's Five on Friday

Before we go on, just a public service announcement to say that Jeff Rients has let a lot of people down. I doubt that you have any idea who I am, but I've been a casual reader of your blog for about five years now and I'm incredibly disappointed in you. You're cancelled, Merry Christmas. 

You know who you DO need to read? That's right, Froth's Humpday Blog-O-Rama and also Dragons Never Forget for the greatest OSR blogrolls currently available!

It's Friday 13th! This is scary coz it's metal! This logo is Helsinki groove/thrash metal band XIII. I have no idea if they are good, but I'm 99% sure they're not fascists, which is good, right?
Here is the blog content you've been searching for. Little skewed towards classes this week...

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Ritual Magic - The Chosen Arrow - City of Ghosts

I have a lot of posts relating to City of Ghosts that are teetering on completion, sitting in the quantum draft state, neither alive nor dead. If this blog is not flooded with a surfeit of material over the festive season, may the spirits strike me down. One of them has to go first, and I decided it was going to be this one, probably the least complete of the lot.

It's about ritual magic, specifically the ritual of the Chosen Arrow.

Before Simba's dad became Darth Vader, he was a wicked shot.
It's super effective!

A ritual

Friday 6 December 2019


As ever, big shout out shout-out to Froth's Humpday Blog-o-rama and Dragons Never Forget's Great Blog Roll Call. Check them out if you want a more thorough example of what constitutes the vast osr blog-o-sphere.
Continuing the themed pictures, today is the day of St Nicholas.
St Nicholas was a 4th Century Greek Magic-User, pictured here with his spellbook.

Happy December, everyone... here's your weekly helping of steaming hot old school blog highlights:

Thursday 5 December 2019

12 Reasons Your Tribe Doesn't Want You

Blogger, you officially suck. Luckily, this 19th Century female Fin warrior from the real-life historical Kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin) does not:

Play in City of Ghosts focuses on a band of pariahs forced to the very fringes of burgeoning human society by virtue of their exile. They are forced to seek shelter in the titular City of Ghosts, recently claimed by an individual calling himself "the first king of men", but shunned by many as it is believd to be haunted by the ghosts of its prior residents, the precursor civilisation of The Others.

Players control multiple characters, each one a pariah: after chargen, they have the opportunity to roll on this table to find out why their character was ostracised:

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Dawn of Worlds - Actual play, First Age

Dawn of Worlds is a world-building RPG available for free at the following link http://www.clanwebsite.org/games/rpg/Dawn_of_Worlds_game_1_0Final.pdf

HAVING RUN SEVERAL GAMES OF DAWN OF WORLDS, though never to "completion", the format has always struck me as being eminently suitable for play-by-post, and I had a few ideas about how that could be facilitated. I was fortunate in that Garblag Games graciously agreed to host one such game on their discord server, and was even joined by YouTube stars (!) Pete and Ben of Garblag.

The game fizzled out around the beginning of the third phase, but we managed to squeeze a lot out of the initial two phases, and I thought I would share some of those experiences here. The intention of this post is to detail the manner in which the game's rules were applied, as inspiration for others intending to run a game of Dawn of Worlds online, and also to initiate some discussion about the game.