Wednesday, June 5, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #67

July 1985 brings us White Dwarf #67.  We start the issue with something new, a cover from Mark Bromley. I don't believe I have seen him before, but I could be wrong.  Given the size of the door, I am guessing this is a dwarf, but not the eponymous one.  Still though a nice cover.

In the editorial Ian Livingstone talks about how Britain is catching up to the US in terms of Fantasy RPGs.  While hindsight tells me that this is partially correct (the entire industry was hitting the mid-80s slump) it had always been my perception at the time that the best things were coming out of Britain.  Sure it was my perception as a young anglophile, but the games I saw from Britain seemed "grittier" to me and that meant "better" in my 16 year old mind.

Haunters in the Dark brought non-mythos monster to your CoC game.  I had bought this issue for this article alone back in the day.  Though I had forgotten I had until rereading it this week.  I remember wanting to convert the Black Dog to Chill and use some of the other information for D&D.  I was always looking to expand undead and the first house rule "notebook" I put together included some of this information.
Interestingly enough I never cared for Will-o-wisps as undead, thinking them more like some sort of evil Fae creature.

Open box covers Pacesetter's StarAce (or Star Ass as we used to call it) and some Dragonloance modules. StarAce didn't get enough credit from me then, I still prefer Chill and TimeMaster for my Paesetter fun. It barely got any credit though from Marcus Rowland, giving it a 5/10.  Graham Staplehurst covers DL2, DL3 and DL4 from the Dragonlance Modules giving them 7, 8 and 9/10 respectively. He praises the amount of information in modules and says there is plenty for DMs to do with them.  I reread them recently myself, I did find them to be fairly rail-roady, even moreso that I recalled.  Oliver Dickinson wraps us up with 6/10 review for Monster Coliseum from Avalon Hill. It gets knocked down I think due to the price.

Critical Mass has an embarrassment of riches, claiming that by 1987 there will only be enough room in the column to list the names of the books and authors and that's it.   I am not sure if the out of Sci-Fi/Fantasy books ever reached that, I do know it began to wane though soon after.  For my part I had moved over to the darker stuff like Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith.  Insights anyone?

RuneRites covers Barbarian magic.  Useful for any FRPG with Barbarians in a magical world that distrust magic.  Odd thing really.  Is this trope from Conan?

A Champions/Golden Heroes adventure is next, "Peking Duck".  Phil Master wrote this so I am likely to to like it.  But I know so little of Golden Heroes it is hard to judge.

Starbase covers "Wordly Wiles" or Social Customs in Traveller.

Michael Heaton brings us A Murder at Flaxton, an AD&D adventure for low-level characters. Pretty simple and straightforward, but easily dropped into any game.
There is also an article "Parlour Game" about the Arachnid Assassin.

Fiend Factory takes an odd turn this issue.  First it is now listed as Bi-monthly.  Also it presents an NPC.  I say its and NPC, but it could be a type of "monster" or a PC class with some work.  The vivimancer or a spiritual helper.  I am not happy that FF is going to every other month.  On one hand it was my favorite feature, on the other the quality has been suspect for a while.

Tabletop Heroes covers photography of minis.
Treasure Chest has a collection of useful backpacks for AD&D.

We end with ads and the notice board.

In general the quality of the issue is up even if the amount of useful material to me personally was down.

Threshold Mystara Magazine

I am a big fan of Mystara, aka The Known World from the "Basic" versions of D&D.

So I am very pleased to see on the Piazza that there will be a Mystara fan-zine. and

Details on Threshold are here:

Don't know if I have anything yet I want to contribute, but I'd love to find something uniquely Mystara.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

OSRchive updates

I have a couple one more games to add today and need to tweak the background image a bit.

After that I am going to be looking for some serious feedback.  The OSRchive blog is really only a "draft", the idea is to get the files onto a physical medium.

On my to do list:
- Banner image
- fix the background image CSS
- figure out if I am going to link other sites
- figure out what other games we need
- look for cheap flash drives
- something else that I just forgot...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Announcing the OSRchive

So I have spent the last few hours putting together the new OSRchive.

The first two games are now up providing free copies.

Spellcraft & Swordplay: Basic Set
Lamentations of the Flame Princess Rules & Magic

More as I get the permissions to add them.
Once I get a decent amount I can start putting together a CD-Rom/zip/archive for you to download and share.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

OSR Distribution CD-ROM, Part 2

I have a new proof of concept up at

I will add more games as I get the permissions (and remove the Witch since that is not free).

OSR Distribution CD-ROM?

So I was posting this comment over at Once More Unto the Breach!:
I have run plenty of demos in my time.
The thing about running a demo game is if you are good then the players will want to go out buy that game. If I do it in a game store (my prefered place to run demos) then I like to take them to the product.

The problem with the OSR is that often the product is not there. I have taken books before and sold them at cost, but I am not a retailer so it's an as-needed/as-I-think of it thing.

I suppose what would be nice is if had permission to redistribute the free OSR books on a CD. Maybe build some nice interface and have the PDFs.

Pop in the CD-ROM and it runs on any machine.

Hmm. That sounds like an idea.
And that got me thinking.  What about a FREE OSR distribution CD-ROM?
We put on the most popular free products that we have the permission to use, build a front end (HTML) that has the links to the PDFs on the disk and then links to the various sites and links to whatever else.

Each game would need some promotional "Ad" copy written.

The idea then is we, you, me, whomever demos the game then gives out copies of this disk to the players.

Off the top of my head I think we should include:
There could be and should be more.  Plus I want to state right now I have not sought permission for ANY of these yet.  This is just a crazy half-baked idea, but it is one I have done before.  In the pre-WiFi, pre-HiSpeed, stuck in the dial-up days of the Internet I put together a lot packages like this, so I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do.

Would anyone be interested in such a thing?
Would anyone out there be interested in contributing to something like this? (Free PDFs to redistribute not money!)