Friday, September 23, 2016

Happy Birthday to Robert "Rob" J Kuntz

Happy Birthday to Robert "Rob" J Kuntz. He was there when Chainmail and the Original Dungeons & Dragons were created. He was a play-tester of both and more. Game Designer, Author and much more, you can read his bio here. The creator of Kalibruhn and much more. 

At  the beginning of Volume 1 - Men and Magic of the Original 1974 Dungeons & Dragons it says (with emphasis added):

Dedicated to all the fantasy wargamers who have enthusiastically played and expanded upon the CHAINMAIL Fantasy Rules, with thanks and gratitude. Here is something better! Special thanks to the Midwest Military Simulation Association, the Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association, Rob Kuntz and Tom Keogh (in memorium).
Yes, his influence is throughout the original game.

Best of all, he is my friend. Join me in celebrating his birthday today!!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11 National Day of Remembrance

Today is the day that we all remember - 9/11 and the cowardly attacks on the everyday people who worked in the Twin Towers, our Military Personel at the Pentagon, the innocents on the planes that were hijacked for the attacks, the heroism of our first responders who did everything they could to rescue the people and many of whom gave their own lives in that attempt and for the members of Flight 93 who stormed their hijacked plane’s cockpit preventing the deaths of potentially hundreds or thousands of people at the immediate cost of their own instead of just waiting to die. 

 I will just mention two events that are happening today. One is in Zarephath, New Jersey where
 "Todd Beamer, who famously yelled, “Let’s roll” as the members of Flight 93 stormed their hijacked plane’s cockpit",
attended the Zarephath Christian Church. Radio station’s tribute to 9/11: Shoe memorial
Star 99.1-FM, a Christian radio station based in the town, began collecting shoes on July 4. It has amassed 2,996 pairs, to symbolize the 2,996 victims who died in the terrorist attacks.
Saturday those shoes will be on display at the Zarephath Christian Church, with a small American flag placed with every pair.
The empty shoes, symbolizing those who no longer walk among us, will be on display through Sept. 16.
When the memorial has finished on Sept. 18, the station will donate all the shoes to the charity Soles 4 Souls, which collects shoes for those in need across the world.

The other one I want to mention is in the town of Gander, Newfoundland in Canada. The Town of Gander and Wounded Warriors Canada to Host 9/11 15th Anniversary Commemoration  I post about this to remind us that we are not alone and without friends in the world. 

Thirty-nine planes landed at Gander International Airport that fateful day carrying over 6,600 passengers unaware of the ongoing terrorist attacks. As passengers remained stranded on the tarmac, the Town of Gander and surrounding communities worked tirelessly to provide accommodation and nourishment. The population of Gander effectively doubled as all community halls, churches and school gymnasiums were transformed into temporary lodging. It was an extraordinary response highlighting Canada's resolve in the face of terror. 

Let us remember what has happened and what can happen and do something each day for you loved ones, for your friends and neighbors, for your community and to make the world a better place.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

ENWorld - Unfortunately this not a surprise!

I am going to present these posts without much comment simply because I think they speak for themselves and as bad as it is, it is unfortunately not a surprise.

On September 1st +ErikTenkar posted the following: 
Adamant Entertainment 2.0 - Someone Does Not Know the Definition of Stalwart
Then a little later he posted:
 Does ENWorld Publish ANY Sean Fannon "News Articles" That AREN'T Stroke Jobs? (Follow Up Post - Rant)
And then on September 2nd he posted:
 Down the Rabbit Hole - ENWorld's Sean Fannon Thinks "it's a fine, fuzzy line between news, promotion, and outright advertising" (Rant)
Also on September 2nd +Kasimir Urbanski posted this:
ENWorld Reviews are Payola, Probably Broke The Law!
Then on September the 6th +Venger Satanis posted this:
Should ENworld keep stroking itself? 
 Does anyone know of an ENWorld response to all of this, other than:
IMO the above posts are not abusive and are not mean-spirited. IMO they are pointing out something that needs to be pointed out. If you are making money from something that you are promoting, then you should say so. I am not making money from anything at this time or previously, if that changes I will post that info when it does. Being paid does not invalidate what you say, but it does identify that you might be biased. On the other hand hiding that you are being paid, that does invalidate what you say IMO.

And finally on September 6th Eric Tenkar also posted this:

I do not like to dwell on the negative side of things, I would much rather post about things that are inspiring. This is not one of those things, other than it is inspiring that people starting with Eric Tenkar had the guts to say something.

New Product in the Works from Three Line Studio!

Over at the blog of Robert J Kuntz he just posted about this new product called Into the City of Brass.  He says  the following:
This will be another offering in our Three Little Books™ line from Three Line Studio.  The two color maps were finished over a month ago. Now comes the fun part...
 This is another long awaited product. It, and I am sure many other surprises, are now in the pipeline to be done.

Monday, September 5, 2016

UnSung Heroes of the OSR World! - Part IV

I have two new nominations for UnSung Heroes of the OSR World! One of them comes from this thread where the subject of UnSung Heroes of the OSR World! - Part III credits Jimm Johnson as being the guy that got him back into D&D. And the other one I nominated.

The Contemptible Cube of Quazar ...In the 66th æon of Eris by Jimm Johnson aka austinjimm who also hangs out at Knights & Knaves Alehouse. Jimm Johnson is one of the really great guys in Old School Roleplaying. The blog has been around since 2010 with 32 posts and you may say that is not much activity, which appears true, but there is more to it than that. For instance in his only post this year he says
 NTRPG Con 2016 kicks off this Wednesday evening. ....I will be running 3 games at the con this year. Thursday morning is my semi-annual OUTDOOR SURVIVAL hex crawl using the original 1974 wilderness rules. Saturday morning I'll be running Kids' D&D using my popular Knights & Wizards kids' rules, and Saturday night I'll be running the Odboxx itself.
You can see additional details at his blog. In his first post to the blog he says:
I'm titling this blog after my recent submission (and winning entry) to the 2010 One-Page-Dungeon contest: The Contemptible Cube of Quazar. Here's the backstory/teaser to the adventure:

Quazar, a powerful evil magic-user from planet Eris has accidentally transported himself and his cube-like stronghold to Earth. He is trapped in his Inner Sanctum until he can be freed by The Four Sacred Keys. In the meantime, the uncontrolled denizens of his fortress venture forth at night to feed and plunder the local villages.
His campaign resulted in his publication of this supplement for the Original Dungeons & Dragons:

Planet Eris Booklet 1 House Rules My House Rules... Rules Additions and Modifications for the Skull Mountain Megadungeon, the Sparn Empire and the Wild Lands of Oros.
Or aka the Planet Eris campaign, published by The Scribes of Sparn. Here is a link to his Books and Publications Spotlight on Lulu. Yes I think he well deserves to be recognized.

Now we also have my nomination for this designation as an UnSung Heroes of the OSR World! and this is this blog:

3 Toadstools My little blog about the OSR & RPG's by Shane Ward. This blog has been around since 2013 with 601 posts. He covers a wide range of subjects and here is his list of popular posts:

Popular Posts

  • I posted briefly about this on G+.  I was doing some google searching that somehow managed to lead to "VENOM" from Spiderman.  I t...
  • I acquired a copy of the world map of Basq, and its super friggin cool!  The nice thing about this adventure/module is that there are secti...
  • A few weeks ago we gathered everyone together for another Old School session.  Unbeknownst to the other players in the game, Kurt and I deci...
  • Even though 5th edition was a welcome fresh set of rules, The wizards have decided to put out 6th! Not 5.5, NO...... 6th Edition! And from t...
  • Here we go again, I'm sitting in front of my trusty slow as heck laptop.  Rather than doing a whole post on everyday, or a daily version...
  • A little more information regard "the Pyramid of the lost king".  This time a introduction of a new race.  "The Form".  ...
  • I've been working on an adventure, in which the PC's basically fall thru a wormhole into a Demon's dungeon.  It's a rescue s...
  • A bunch of cool stuff has cropped up lately!  I'm sure you are aware of it, but if your not here it is!  First and foremost, Brave The...
  • I had originally posted day 1, and had thought to do this as a daily blog post, but alas I'm on vacation and for the most part away fr...
  • Once again, to not have a blog a day, I'm doing these in batches.  Side note, I also have to do a old school session report, which I sho...
He also has these additional pages and other things as well:
 Do you have any nominations for UnSung Heroes of the OSR World!? If you do then please send them to me and I will endeavor to let the world know about them.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

UnSung Heroes of the OSR World! - Part III

I have a nomination of my own for an UnSung Hero of the OSR World! Now at first you may say why is this guy an UnSung Hero Of Old School Roleplaying, I will point out a few facts and then cover why in total I think he qualifies. Consider these things when you make your nominations.

First a little bit of background which ties in with my first post in this series and with some other previous posts. As I built my forum, he was a great source of advice and suggestions and contributed in large measure to making the forum what it currently is, he made my job a lot easier because of his assistance. Over at my forum The Ruins of Murkhill (OD&D) (yeah the blog and the forum have the same name) I recently created a new area called Rules/Campaigns Projects (Both Joint & Singular) about a third of the way down the page and the first project is called Space: 1977 (the Traveler/OD&D mashup) which I have already shared about.

My friend tetramorph (aka Nathan) (you can read his About page) posted this thread in General Discussion titled idea: a shared "mini-module" project  in which he outlined a project and he is looking to see who might be interested in participating in it. I asked him if I could quote him and he granted permission. When I indicated that I was going to highlight him as an UnSung Hero of the OSR World! he said:
Well, that is really nice.

I'm psyched about the exposure and geting the word out about the project idea.

I'm not sure if I'm an OSR hero - so I am not unsung! I'm exactly proportionately sung to my actual output!
The point being that he does not think he has done that much. I beg to differ. So let me talk about him a bit and then about his idea: First of all his blog is called Campaigns Playable . . . with paper and pencil and traditional legendaria . . . and it has been around since November of 2013 and over that time he has contributed 26 posts - yeah that does not sound like a lot - until you look into it and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. His third post is about the house ruled OD&D campaign that he is developing and he writes:
 Dun Kells names a wargames campaign set in a fantastical medieval Christendom. 
It is the dawn of the sixth age of the world and “Middle Earth” (Mitgaard) has now fallen down to mere “earth” in almost all its regions. The free and rational races continue their losing battle against the forces of chaos while the church spreads its gospel of a universal Law not derived from earth but heaven. The “Eldar” have long since departed to the uttermost west and now only dark elves lurk in wooded glens in dispersion and shadow, barely and listlessly maintaining a mere handful of far-flung woodland realms. The dwarves too now feel the urge to seek their promised slumber at the roots of the ancient mountains but some still wander, trade and maintain their hidden vaults. “Hobbits” now live by wits and in hiding. 
The Forests of Dun Kells form a wilderness that separate various scattered kingdoms and grand duchies of Christendom from unknown lands beyond. Dun Kells is situated somewhere in an imaginary and vast temperate continental European region. To the west the shattered and scattered lines that claim descent from Charles the Great maintain their Lawful estates of Christendom and the lonely isles of Britannia maintain their Lawful Christendom in memory of the long departed Once and Future King. Far to the south and east the various Slavic tribes have only recently adopted the new religion and its Law. Further east lie unknown mystical and barbarian lands. To the direct south lies much of the remains of the various empires that once ruled the great Middle Sea. Finally, to the north lies the mighty icy sea. Beyond that sea are lands of barbarian pirate-people known as the “Norse,” or Vikings with their powerful neutral and chaotic gods. 
So imagine King Arthur and Beowulf meet in a low-magical post- “Middle Earth” Christendom. Turn the dial a bit up on the Tolkien and a bit down on the Howard, then mix in a bit more of the “Three Matters” (that is to say, Arthurian Legend, the Roland Saga and the medieval reception of classical myth and legend) and add just a bit of the ballads of Robin Hood and some of the Brothers Grimm and you will get the “feel.” Magic is waning, the church is waxing, but they are not necessarily at war. The Archbishop and Merlin both consult with King Arthur, etc. 
Will your characters bring law and order out of this chaos and loss, or at least die trying? Fight on!
  Through the next few posts he says this following in the introduction:
These campaign specific rules seek to do three things: to engage a legendarium of a fantastical medieval Christendom, to build into the mechanic reward for more heroic, “high fantasy” play-style and to build more obviously into the core rules the conquering, building, ruling and keeping, not only of strongholds, but their concomitant realms as home-bases for more large-scale wargaming.
and in the "forward" (I trust you know the reference) he says:
Dun Kells names a wargames campaign set in a fantastical medieval Christendom. The published rules, additions and modifications are designed not so much as a “retro-clone,” but as a “retro-supplement” to the original edition of the first published rules for fantastical medieval wargames campaigns. So, just as that game had several supplements that still relied upon the core three digests, so too the rules for Dun Kells do not stand alone but require the same three, or their “retro-clones” and simulacra. In this document I provide a description of the “campaign world” for which I designed those rule additions and modifications.

Eventually as the project developed, he renamed the project from Dun Kells to A Supplement for Perilous Realms. Since I am The Perilous Dreamer, I am rather fond of that name. He posted this when it was completed:

A Supplement for Perilous Realms
After many conversations over many fora my first old school project is finally available!
A Supplement for Perilous Realms: Suggestions for Pick-up Sessions and Otherwise Rollicking Fantastic Medieval Wargames Campaigns Playable with Original Edition Rules and their Various Simulacra
The Lulu version is currently $4.15
If you buy it you will help contribute to my becoming a hundredaire through old school self-publication!
Otherwise, a free PDF is also available
Share, enjoy, let me know what you think!

And that brings us to his current project idea: a shared "mini-module" project that I mentioned above and here are a few tidbits:
A shared subforum where we build "mini-modules" together.

I love how TSR called them "modules," not "adventures." Use of the term "Adventures" seems like what I am getting is going to be self-contained and goal, if not narrative oriented. "Module," sounds, to my ears, well, modular. And here I mean not only something that could be dropped into a sandbox setting (their original implication, I think) but droppable in relationship to each other in terms of a multi-layered dungeon.
But here is my other idea. What if each map was keyed three times: once for normal leveled characters, then for heroic and finally for super heroic and beyond. So, for example, a kobold lair for normals, a hobgoblin for heroic and a troll for super-heroic. Thus many birds are killed with one stone. Or, again, a wight borrow for normals, a mummy's tomb for heroes, a vampire's undercroft for super-heroes.

Not too much standardization. But just enough that the modules would be "modular," that is to say, mutually compatible.

New monsters and new magic items for sure. But especially unique tricks and traps.

So I am imagining something like the Travel sub-forum in the group work on many different "locations," but unlike that sub-forum we would not need a shared setting "map," but mutual compatibility across "levels"? Does that make sense?

Okay, so this is just a list of possible "mini-module" titles based upon the monster list and some magic items. Namely, those monsters that clearly constitute the mythic underworld (vs. wilderness) in my loose estimation and the misc. magic items (some, not all of them).

I just went through the lists and tried to give a fun, youthful, pulpy adventurous title based upon each.

The Bandit’s Lair
The Brigand’s Redoubt
Berserker’s Mountain
Revenge of the Mad Dervishes
Nomads of Wasteland
Pirate’s Cove
Buccaneer’s Bounty
Cavern’s of the Lost Cavemen
Mermen’s Hidden Mere
Tucker’s Kobolds
Night at Goblin Mound
The Minions of Orcus
The Gnoll Knoll
The Ogre’s Horrid Banquet
This is just a few titles, he lists many more as examples. And just a bit more:
Okay, so one of the directions I am traveling now (and assumed in my proposal for "mini-modules") is something like the following for a setting:

I want to combine Wayne Rossi's account of the "Original D&D Setting" of The Outdoor Survival Board (or some equivalent wilderness) as a "Demon Haunted Land" with Philotomy's Musings about the "Dungeon as Mythic Underworld." I imagine doing so by filling up the wilderness with lairs and "dungeons."
 There is quite a bit more, but this should be enough to whet your appetite. But I believe you can now see why I think he is an UnSung Hero.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Updated Information on the El Raja Key Archive, RJK Collected Works on DVD

Over at Lake Geneva Original RPG Campaign there is a new update titled El Raja Key Archive, RJK Collected Works, DVD Cover Wrap, Near Final that gives an inspiring update on the project. I will leave most of it for you to go read yourself and view the images; however, I thought a couple of things were worth quoting:
But this is the layout, with Three Line Studio logo, TLB (Three Little Books) wizard logo (purchased from the Roslof estate) that is an original Jim Roslof did for TSR's logo hunt BitD but was rejected in the final pick for the TSR wizard logo holding a wand.  Pretty excited about this!
The adventure module being released with the DVD is "The Sunken City" which was the first tournament convention module in the history of D&D by yours truly(Rob Kuntz). 
 There is other exciting information in the post (including a comment about pricing), I encourage you to check it out. We have already set aside the funds as this will be an early Christmas present from my wife.

Edit: Update on the pricing Rob posted this in  comment:
 The pricing is set at four levels, 2 beneath 100.00 and two above 100.00. This launches a new line of products "Little Books Line" associated with the DVD contents and includes in 3 versions the entire 1,100 files scanned from auctions 2005-present and as supplemented by my own un-auctioned files. 2 years of work and several thousand hours of endeavor on five people's parts have been expended to organize, describe, resize, amend and categorize the contents. These are htlm-hot-linked and we have a built in cascading view as well for easy file access and viewing.

UnSung Heroes of the OSR World! - Part II

Hello to all Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic Refs, DMs, GMs and players of D&D and other RPGs, the series of highlighting some UnSung Heroes of the OSR World! continues because I did receive nominations of blogs that belong on that list and with your help I will receive more and go on to highlight additional blogs and resources.

Again in no particular order, this is not about who is best, but about letting you know who some of the creative people are that others have found useful to their games, their campaigns and to spurring on their creativity.

Quickly, Quietly, Carefully . . . wherein Paul Gorman plays with ideas for old-school fantasy roleplaying games. This blog has been around since 2010 and yet I did not see it until very recently (following links to links to links as I sometimes do and I am happy that it was nominated).  This blog has 385 posts over that time but has been relatively quiet the last couple of years which is why it is a bit under the radar. Just one example of what he has done is this Retro-Clone Comparison Chart v0.6 that he first created back in July of 2010. He also has "A Bunch of Crap for Old-School Fantasy Roleplaying Games. The Devil Ghost blog is temporarilty down, but our software and publications are still available. The link on the blog does not work, but these links do work. I have spent some time digging through the posts on the main blog and was really pleased with what I found.

Dungeon of Signs  (Gus L.) and has been around since 2012 with 474 posts and has also been relatively quiet the past two years. He covers a wide range of topics and I have enjoyed immensely the 20 or so that I have read so far. In addition, he has the follow pages that you can visit:

 I have already found this site to be useful and I expect that many of you will also! In addition, there is the project that he calls a retro-clone of sorts. HMS APPOLYON PLAYERS GUIDE PART 1 - Combat and Exploration and here is the Link to the Guide.

Halfling's Luck by James Spahn: This blog has been around since 2014 and has 123 posts and appears on tracks to double the number of posts this year to have more posts that the first two years combined. This six winners of the 12 Days of OSR Christmas and gave out some really nifty prizes. A lot of good things on this blog and I have just barely started to scratch the surface. This blog has a number of products reviews and to top that off he wrote The Hero's Journey Fantasy Roleplaying which is based off of Swords & Wizardry and is over at RPGNOW.

Please keep those nominations coming in for the UnSung Heroes of the OSR.

Now for a link to a Sung Hero of the OSR and one obvious choice is the well-known and the long running Jeff's Gameblog  by Jeff Rients. This blog has been around since 2004 and has 2040 posts even though he has been pretty quiet comparatively the last 4 years. He covers a wide range of topic and is not shy at all. Here are his own choices for the Best of the Gameblog:
 Again please keep your nominations coming for both UnSung and Sung Heroes of the OSR World!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

UnSung Heroes of the OSR World!

Unsung Heroes of the OSR World! How did that topic come about? Is this the first of a series? How does one get designated as a Hero of the OSR World, Sung or UnSung?

First I will tell you how the topic came about; however, the rest is up to all of you. If people contact me with nominations for this list, then it will become a series, and you will have to let me know if you agree with the picks.

Over on my forum, Scott Anderson (of the Treasure Hunters HQ blog and author of several OSR games) started a thread titled One-Step Equipment Generation  and in it he said:
I want to relate to you a great document for equipment generation at an open table or otherwise starter-friendly 0D&D.  They provide equipment lists by character class with just one 3d6 roll.
He provided links to two documents one formatted compactly for DM use and one formatted for handouts to the players. Being a modest and honest fellow he did not take credit for it, but notes that it originates with Brendan of Necropraxis (Traditional fantasy roleplaying games). 

This led to a little bit of discussion and Scott commented:

Brendan S. is one of the unsung heroes of OSR. He just keeps pumping out gameable material week after week.

(In my opinion, the unsung five-star heroes are Brendan, Courtney Campbell, Roger G-S, and Chris Tamm. They all toil under the radar with little self promotion, and each one delivers oodles of original and elegant content all the time.)
I agreed with this saying:

Yes, great guys and great blogs:

Necropraxis - Brendan S

Hack & Slash -
Courtney Campbell

Roles, Rules, and Rolls -
Roger G-S

Elfmaids & Octopi -
Chris Tamm
These are presented in no particular order, I am not ranking them (nor was Scott) in regard to each other. They are all great blogs with a long history of turning out a lot of gaming materials. 

Elfmaids & Octopi has been around since 2012 and currently has 921 posts. This site also has several pages besides the blog alone and they are filled with links. It would take my all evening to try to describe everything that is available on this site. The additional pages are

 Hack & Slash has been around quite a while, I am not sure how long since the extensive Blog Index is organized by topic and not by date, additionally some posts are part of the Trick & Trap Index and the Hoard of the Dragon Queen Index. This forum is subtitled "Home of the Quantum Ogre, Agency, Theory, and Fun". The Quantum Ogre is a great series and that does not even scratch the surface.

He says:
The complete series is worth a read: The coda explains all the most common misunderstandings regarding the series. If you haven't read it, you should.
On How an Illusion Can Rob Your Game of Fun On Slaying the Quantum Ogre On Resurrecting the Quantum Ogre and Having Him Over for Tea On the Corpse of the Quantum Ogre
Necropraxis has also been around quite a while, since 2011 and currently has 658 posts split into the categories:
He also has a very useful Downloads  page, an OSR Search page with an indexed list, a Suggested reading list, the Hazard System gameplay engine and a link to his product titled Wonder & Wickedness.

Roles, Rules, and Rolls has been around since 2010 and has 824 posts and he has a section called Rules and Tools:
Like the other three blogs there is a ton of things to read and to use and it  will take quite a while to look at it all. I am just getting started, as I have read some of them, but it took Scott to point out that I was missing a lot.

Now in the thread at my forum, another poster put forth Delta's Blog Delta's D&D Hotspot as another candidate for this list. This blog is subtitled Math, history, and design of old-school D&D. This blog is a classic Old School blog and it has been around since 2007 and has 685 posts. I do not think this one is an UnSung Hero, I think this one is a Sung Hero, because this one is well known and widely recognized and I hope you have been reading it. An Excellent blog that sets the bar high. I think the other four blogs mentioned above have met that bar and deserve to be recognized. Delta's other site is called  OED Games - Original Edition Delta brand supplements.

So there it is, what do you think?  Do you want to nominate someone? Who are your UnSung Heroes and for that matter, who are your Heroes?

Pre release update on the DVD Collected Works the El Raja Key Archive

Rob Kuntz, lets us know today that:

Here's a final pre-press update on the DVD Collected Works with a lower res sample of the colorized FC by Atom Taylor (minus trade dress).
You can see the art here:

He tellls us that:

The DVD itself has tested successfully under MAC, Windows and Unix systems and will be sent off to the DVD completion business. 

The release is almost upon us and I am enjoying the anticipation of the event!