Monday, September 9, 2013

Heading to the Manor

I have had these wonderful zines sitting around so I thought I would share some thoughts with you all.

The Manor is the digital zine from Tim Shorts over at Gothridge Manor.  I have always enjoyed Tim's blog. He began his blogging around the same time I really started blogging in earnest. Plus he is a fellow Tim and our sites both use a dark marble background, so I am inclined to like it.  He also posts some great stuff too so even better.

The Manor #1
The Manor #1 is the first of the quarterly (or so) issues of the fanzine from Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor.  The zine takes on the feel of old-school zines from the late 70s and early 80s. Though one could argue that the art and layout are better today.  The inaugural issue has a quick dungeon, a random table of various items found in a Troglodyte dung heap, a modern day encounter location (with some monsters), forest enocounters and an NPC and his wares.

The Manor captures the feel and the spirit of the old school zine quite well. The only thing that is missing really are ads for local gaming groups!
If you enjoy old-school style new  games or the original games they are based on.

All in all you get 24 pages of material.  Not a bad deal really.

The Manor #2
The Manor #2 keeps right on going with another 24 pages of material.   This one is setup to allow you to print it out and then fold it over and staple it for that "real zine feel", nice, but sometimes I prefer to read these things on my computer. (Edited to Add: There is a "regular" version as well).

In this issue there is Hugo's House of Healing. An encounter/resource.
An inn which would be great to use anywhere and a random table of 20 things you find under the cot.

The inn and Hugo's house (that is Hugo on the cover) take up most of this issue.
One other minor quibble, and this is more me than the zine itself. There is no OGL license.  Granted, it doesn't really NEED it (and I am not taking off for it's omission) but it would have made it play nicer with the likes of Basic Fantasy, OSRIC and Labyrinth Lord.

Still though. Top notch effort and results.

The Manor #3
The Manor #3 increases to 32 pages. Though it feels like there is more here than that.
The main article is the Mine of Rot and Disease, a great little old-school adventure.  Stats are 1980s era D&D, but easily converted to anything.
The art is fair, but perfect really for the feel of this issue.  The maps though are quite nice.

Another poetry slam.  It is what makes The Manor unique and I hope it does not go away.

Pog Nog the Goblin is a great little NPC/resource and one I am going to use in my next adventure with my kids.

There are some, self-admitted, dumb jokes. Again, perfect for a zine.
Ending with a new god of Monster Hunting.

If you remember the zines of the 80s (and some of the best ones I remember from the late 80s even) then this a very nice stroll down familiar, yet new, territory.  If you were not around then but enjoy oldschool games, then this is also a great find.

I have not picked up The Manor #4 yet, but here are some Tim's other books.

The Mini Manor: Faces Without Screams
The Mini Manor is a free adventure made specially for Swords & Wizardry appreciation day.  If you are familiar with the adventures found in the Manor zine.
The adventure is somewhat reminiscent of a horror movie setup but works well.

If you want a good free adventure then grab this.
If you want an idea on how the adventures in The Manor feel like, then grab this.

Note: this publication DOES include the OGL.

Knowledge Illuminates
Knowledge Illuminates is a 28 page (24 pages + 1 cover, 1 toc and 2 end pages) adventure for Swords & Wizardry complete, though it could be used with any OSR game.

This adventure is designed to be the start of a campaign or the first S&W adventure.
There is quite a lot of information here in case the players want to go off exploring on their own.  There is also a fairly detailed XP allocation chart in back, helpful for new GMs.

This adventure is also released under the Pay What You Want feature.  So if you have some spare change and need a good starting S&W adventure then this might be exactly what you are looking for.


Gothridge Manor said...

Hey Tim thanks for taking the time to write this up. Hope you enjoy the #4.

The Happy Whisk said...

Thanks, from me as well. Always nice when people review my husband's stuff.

Cheers and boogie boogie.

Unknown said...

Great stuff. I am still digesting it (much like The Great Sarlacc digests Boba Fett) and love the feel of it all. Great job Tim!