Monday, September 30, 2019

Saving Throw — a fundraiser fanzine to help James D. Kramer

This information was also in my email when I checked it earlier today.
The OSRIC "Saving Throw" zine project is announced and live on DriveThruRPG. Details are @

I have some personal reflections about Jim on my blog @ as well.

Some news and updates on _Saving Throw_:

1. Thank you for your generous support of this project!---Saving Throw has been as high as #3 on the best sellers list this week, outpacing both Eclipe Phase 2nd Edition and Legend of the Five Rings! That wouldn't have been possible without your support!
2. Please continue to spread the word---Saving Throw isn't even a week old yet, so many old-school gamers won't be aware of it: mention it in your gaming groups, your local game stores, and in your social media channels! Your primary link should be back to the DriveThru project page at
3. Bryce "" Lynch's very positive review is at and user Guggy Z on DriveThru commented as a verified purchaser that "What a great zine! Just skimming I think the hours of solid play to page count ratio looks immense, and I appreciate the chance to support a good cause. This stuff is going right to my table ASAP!"

More news and updates on my blog (including about the forthcoming print edition) @

Thank you again, and please continue to share the project to amplify its visibility---the more gamers who are aware of it, the more support it will bring to Jim and his family!

Saving Throw — a fundraiser fanzine to help James D. Kramer

You may know Jim Kramer from his Usherwood Publishing modules & supplements, or his work helping produce works like OSRIC and Knockspell. You probably didn’t know Jim had multiple brain surgeries to remove tumors, and the battle has gotten much harder. To help Jim and his family during this difficult time, a group of his friends, collaborators, and first edition enthusiasts banded together to make this fundraiser fanzine, where all royalties go directly to Jim and his family.

This 60+ page issue of Saving Throw contains:

    •Introduction by Ron Redmond
    •Island Tables - random generation and inspiration tool by Steve Smith aka “EOTB”
    •Sorcerer’s Stone - dungeon level by Keith Sloan
    •Trolls of the Simpolo Swamps - leech-mated trollish variations by Joseph Browning
    •Perladon Manor - adventure module by Gabor Lux
    •By The Runes - fiction by Dan Rasaiah
    •Magic Item Intrinsic Material Values - variant magic item value rules by Guy Fullerton
    •Goblin Garbug Cavalry - new monster by Andrew Hamilton
    •The Tiled Labyrinth - mini-dungeon by Guy Fullerton
    •Lotus Blossoms - magical and special properties of these exotic flora by Keith Sloan
    •Burly the Baker - ready-to-use NPC and cantrips by Gary Francisco
    •Darkworld Troll - new monster by Bryan Fazekas
    •Offig’s Tomb - treasure map by Steve Smith aka “EOTB”
    •Lizard Man Lair - outdoor module and new monsters by Steve Smith aka "EOTB"
    •Mephitic Geysers of the Intaglio Rift - treasure map by Allan T. Grohe, Jr. (“grodog")
    •The Mere Beneath - dungeon level by Guy Fullerton, Allan T. Grohe, Jr. (“grodog"), and Henry A. Grohe
    •Sarendra’s Crew & Kelurrin’s Crew - ready-to-use NPC parties by Allan T. Grohe, Jr. (“grodog")
    •Rescue from the Sanctuary of the Leopard Goddess - dungeon module by Matthew Riedel
    •Featuring illustrations by Jimm Johnson, James D. Kramer, Wind Lothamer, Gabor Lux, Denis McCarthy, Peter Szmer (soon), Del Teigeler, and Alex Zisch.

For the lucky price of $13, you get two treasure maps, three referee tools, five new spells, six modules, at least nine new monsters, twelve ready-to-use NPCs, and more. Plus the knowledge that your purchase helps a family during a difficult time.

Thank you!

Note: We plan to make a print version available soon. When it becomes available, will send drivethru coupon codes to everyone who purchased the pdf so they can get a print version at a discount.

Note #2: We are still in the process of gathering artwork for some of the articles, so don't be surprised by any of the blank spots. We will notify everybody when we update the pdf with new art, and you can download the latest version from your library.

NEW KS begins Oct 3rd by Jason Vey of Elf Lair Games

I checked my email this morning and this info was sent to me a couple of days ago.

By thegreyelf widely known as Jason Vey of Elf Lair Publishing
 Hoping you guys will follow and back when this comes out:

Coming Soon

Night Shift is a modern urban fantasy, horror, and supernatural game designed to cover just about any style of game in that genre you like. It uses a new system that mimics the mechanics of OD&D, B/X D&D, and AD&D, but streamlined and smoothed out. I'm calling the new system O.G.R.E.S. just as our original house system was called O.R.C.S. While not a clone of any existing system, the mechanics are close enough to make your classic O/B/X/A games and resources compatible with it.

We're Kickstarting next week, on October 3, and the campaign will run until October 31 at 11:59 P.M. Yes, Halloween.

It's designed by myself and Timothy Brannan. The two of us have worked together on a lot of games over the years, and our names appear in publications such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ghosts of Albion, Doctor Who, Castles & Crusades, Amazing Adventures, and many more.
What makes it different from Amazing Adventures? AA (both the C&C and 5E versions) does a great job of emulating Urban Fantasy.
So, AA is built to be a multi-genre game in the pulp tradition which can handle any kind of play you can imagine. It also in both its iterations uses pretty definitively modern rules systems (even though both SIEGE and 5e seek to emulate an old school style of play).

Night Shift is very specifically built to emulate a horror/urban fantasy game rooted in things like Buffy, Angel, Forever Knight, Ash vs. Evil Dead, Charmed, Supernatural, Wynona Earp, Van Helsing, Lost Girl, and the like. In Tim's and my mind, it's a replacement for the Buffy RPG, which is no longer (technically) in print. We're including a range of "Night Worlds," or mini-settings to get you started.

The system, also, is what sets it apart. It's based on my blog and thread here about how there were actually 3 systems in old school play. In hashing that out, we've got a system with 3 sub-systems: combat, saves, and ability checks use a d20 system which is a sort of mashup between SIEGE, OD&D, and Target20. Class abilities use percentiles. The GM then uses the Rule of 2 to adjudicate just about everything else.

The system is called O.G.R.E.S., and is meant to replace my original O.R.C.S. system in the second edition of Spellcraft & Swordplay, which I hope to release next.

Here's a bit of a more formal press release about Night Shift:

Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars
Debuting the new Elf Lair Games house system, O.G.R.E.S., Night Shift is an urban fantasy, horror, and dark modern supernatural game that uses old-school mechanics derived from the original, basic, expert, and advanced versions of the World's Most Famous Role Playing Game. It allows you to mimic all the tropes of just about any film, TV series, or novels you like.

All of the following are possible with Night Shift:

    •Cheerleaders that are chosen to slay vampires, granted with extranormal powers to accomplish their destiny;

    •Sisters imbued with the power of chosen witches;   

    •Worlds where Fae of all manner battle in the politics of light and dark;

    •The great-grandniece of a famous gunslinger inherits the legacy of the demon hunter;

    •A world where two brothers armed with knowledge and weapons hunt the supernatural in their father's name;

    •And more!

Night Shift is built to handle just about any sort of urban fantasy you can dream up, using the tropes of classic horror-based television, motion pictures, comics, and novels.

Designed by industry veterans Jason Vey and Timothy Brannan, whose names have appeared in such products as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ghosts of Albion, Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space, C.J. Carella's WitchCraft, All Flesh Must be Eaten!, Nightbane, Amazing Adventures, Castles & Crusades and more, this game brings together two noted designers with decades of combined experience.

Within its pages, you'll find:

Complete character generation using familiar stats

Major character archetypes, including the Survivor ("I've seen something weird"), Veteran ("I hunt something weird"), Chosen One ("I am the weird thing that other weird things fear"), Theosophist ("I see weird dead things"), Psychic ("I sense and control something weird"), Sage ("I study weird things"), and Witch/Warlock ("I am something weird")

    •Complete rules for magic, psychic powers, and necromancy/spirit channeling

     •Customizable supernatural character race--play a werewolf, vampire, succubus, or fae

     •An optional skills system to expand what your character can do

     •A simple rules system comprised of three basic mechanics, designed for fast and intuitive play

     •Variant styles and levels of play that modify the system to represent gritty, realistic, and cinematic styles

     •A GM section with tips and tricks on creating a series, seasons, and more, as well as guildelines for building custom character classes

     •A full bestiary with all of the classic monsters like werewolves, vampires, demons, devils, zombies, mummies, and a few new surprises

     •Several complete mini-settings you can use to get up and running right away

    •Conversion rules to use the game with Original and B/X, and O.R.C.S (Elf Lair's Spellcraft & Swordplay) systems

    •A complete alternate combat system, which hearkens back to the very earliest days of the hobby, before the publication of the first version of the World's Most Famous RPG.

What Is O.G.R.E.S?
O.G.R.E.S. stands for "Oldschool Generic Roleplaying Engine System." It's the new house system for Elf Lair Games, which will run alongside our current O.R.C.S. and Cd8 Systems. It's another step forward in presenting a new approach to the definition of a "unified system" for running just about any kind of game, using mechanics that will be instantly familiar to players of "old school" fantasy games, specifically those that powered the Original, Basic, Expert, and Advanced versions of the World's Most Famous Role Playing Game.

What O.G.R.E.S. does, however, is streamline and codify these mechanics, to remove what many view as arcane and confusing elements, and break the system down into a fast-playing, fun, easy-to-understand, and open presentation, adding a few modern design elements to improve the smooth play.

This also means that the majority of products which are compatible with any of these editions of the game, are also compatible with O.G.R.E.S.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Day One - Blackmoor Week 2019

Today, September 24th, 2019 is Day One of Blackmoor Week and eight day week celebration of the creation of Blackmoor by David "Dave" Lance Arneson culminating in celebrating his birthday on October 1st, 2019 (Dave Arneson Game Day).
This is an Annual Event and honors the creator of the Game Engine that all Role Playing Games use. While the Game Engine is used for all role playing games, it was first used for Table Top Fantasy Adventure Games such as Blackmoor from which the published game Dungeons and Dragons was derived.

The differing mechanics of each of many role playing games, when used with Arneson's Game Engine, can be used to play many different games from Dungeons & Dragons, to Traveller, to Gamma World to Tunnels & Trolls and hundreds of other games. All of these games, no matter how much the mechanics differ, use Dave Arneson's Game Engine.

Over at the Secrets of Blackmoor Blog a recent post gives a streamlined summary of the gist of the book "Dave Arneson's True Genius" By Robert J Kuntz.

Streamlining Dave Arneson's True Genius This is a short, but clear and concise explanation., by use of an analogy, of one of the main points of the book. You can purchase the book at

Secrets of Blackmoor produced and recently published the documentary movie SECRETS of BLACKMOOR - The True History of Dungeons & Dragons (Volume One) making it available first to the Kickstarter Backers and then to the general public. If you follow the link you can watch the entire two hours plus of the movie at vimeo as a streaming video for a small fee. The entire video will also soon be available on DVD and IIRC also on BlueRay. This first film sets the background of how the Game Engine was created. There are additional planned films in the series and the taped interviews and documents have already been gathered, they just need to be assembled in the meticulous way that this one was. Excellent visual and sound quality.

So join me in celebrating Dave Arneson and Blackmoor Week! More to follow tomorrow.