You can still find it at archive.org here.
…since I’ve posted anything. In that time there’s been some big OSR news.
Lots of reprints. The 1e reprint hit the shelves and a 2e reprint on top of that! Unearthed Arcana. Two collections of classic modules. 2e (core only) is actually a thing of beauty. Highly underrated. The Monstrous Manual is spectacular. It’s the most complete old school monster list I can think of. Full color illustrations too.
Lots of OSR blogs have gone silent. Some of the biggest names and my personal favorites: grognardia, jeff’s gameblog, joeskythedungeonbrawler, planet algol. Underdark Gazette isn’t doing news anymore. I don’t want to purge them from my blogroll entirely. I think I need a blogroll graveyard.
Swords & Wizardry Complete is now free! I think this represents a major change in the OSR balance. It’s shifted away from Labyrinth Lord. S&W is now the most complete, free, brief ruleset kicking around out there! I’d recommend it to anyone looking for classic D&D.
It turns out classic Traveler is still in print (who knew?) so I added it to the ‘old school and in print’ section down there.
It’s nice and cheap too. Good value. Nabbing it is kind of a no brainer.
Wait-….OH GOD WHY IS THERE A FURRY ON THE COVER!
Then I had to google to make sure Traveler wasn’t actually this game. It’s not.
Seriously though, that’s a bit of an unfortunate cover for a classic RPG in a post internet world.
If the reprints are a huge success (fingers crossed!), what should they publish next? A few guesses / ideas:
1. 2e or oD&D. Maybe even B/X. Corebooks seem like a safe bet.
2. Gygax’s classic modules. It’s a damn shame that they’re out of print and I’d fork over for a set of them. There’s some big names in that list: Keep on the Borderlands, Barrier Peaks, Tomb of Horrors, Temple of Elemental Evil… I’d be equally interested in Arneson’s modules but I think that’s less realistic.
3. Deities & Demigods, cthulhu included. That would be an interesting choice. It’s nearly core, highly sought after and cthulhu is very popular lately. A lot of people who said “who cares, I still have my old books” about the reprints would spring for this.
Traditional wisdom is that PCs are more powerful in later editions. They certainly throw around more damage and have higher hit-points. It turns out they’re seriously nerfed in other ways if you’re paying attention.
Charm Person: In LL it can last for months. In pathfinder, just hours.
Invisibility: If you don’t make an attack, in LL it lasts forever! In pathfinder, only a few minutes.
Knock: In LL it always opens locked doors. In pathfinder the odds of an ‘average’ door opening is less than 50%. Much less if the lock is ‘good’ and there are some that wont open at all unless your level is ridiculously high.
Cleric’s Turning ability: In LL the cleric has infinite uses. In pathfinder it’s very finite.
Food for thought.
It’s been unchanged since 1979 and I missed the last copies by less then 30 days!
I was on the fence before but now that I can’t have it, of course, I want it even more.
Additionally, they hiked the price of the new version from $35 to $50. That’s more than double what they were selling the classic rules for ($20).
I case you were unaware, here’s the timeline:
1975 – 1979: First to Fourth Editions
1979 – 2005: Fifth Edition
2005 – 2012: 5.5 Edition
So Fifth is obviously The One True Edition. I forgive 5.5 for being different because it’s not really. It’s just a reprint of Fifth with a handful of extra pages.
There’s a 7th edition kicking around but it is different and there’s promises of a ‘deluxe edition’ on the way. It’s anyone’s guess what that could be.
‘Save or die’ can be removed from the game but not the way you think.
Once upon a time, I read a little about the making of the Tomb of Horrors. It talked some about how people were trying to talk Gygax down from ‘death no save’ traps to ‘save or die’ traps. Compare that to the recent talk about saves and realize how much softer things are now.
Every time someone talks about removing ‘save or die’ effects from the game, remember the alternative: death without save!
PCs can’t just auto-survive everything! Does anyone seriously expect to look at a medusa or get bitten by a poisonous animal and just live? Without even danger? There’s some talk of only making saves under a certain HP threshold.
“Don’t look at that, it’s a medusa!”
“Don’t worry; I have full HP.”
There’s always a strong push to make things softer and easier. Someone needs to push back in the opposite direction. This is part of the role of the OSR. To that end, consider this house rule:
All saves fail.
Whenever the manual calls for a save it fails, automatically, without a roll. If you see a medusa, you become stone. If you get bitten by a poisonous snake, you die. If you hear a harpy’s song, you’re entranced. Etc. Why wouldn’t you? These things are lethal!
It shouldn’t have a huge impact on game play because PCs shouldn’t be relying on saves anyway but it will make things a little tougher. The upside is it should really drive home two messages:
1) It’s not about the numbers on your sheet, it’s about the actions you take in game.
2) There’s nothing wrong with a tough game.
No guts, no glory!