Thursday, January 27, 2022

10 QUESTIONS TO: Andrea Sfiligoi

Andrea Sfiligoi is a man of many talents: designer of miniature games, RPGs and solo games; fiction writer, illustrator, translator, and also publisher, with his Ganesha Games brand, of his games as well as other authors’.

One feature I love of his miniatures games is that they are generally simple and accessible, and can be played with any minis you have around.

His games include the acclaimed Songs of Blades and Heroes skirmish/war game, the astoundingly successful Four Against Darkness game line, and also my favorite skirmish game Battlesworn.

He’s also recently tried his hand at children's books with the recently published What To Do When Mr. Blue comes to Town, which he created together with his wife Anna.

But who is Andrea? I’ve known Andrea personally for about 10 years now, as we’ve met in several gaming cons in Italy, and I’ve known him as a designer since the ‘90s, when I was a teenager reading gaming magazines, and he was just starting his career as a game designer writing gaming articles and adventures on those magazines.

He is a gentle man, and a vegetarian and cat lover; a gaming enthusiast in the broadest sense of the word, always happy to share ideas, collaborate, or just discuss gaming.

He moved to Kharkiv, Ukraine a couple years ago, and he got married last summer!

Ok, so let's start with the questions!

1 Hello Andrea. Let’s talk about your work as a designer and publisher. How did you start? What was the first game you released? Have you ever tried working for other publishers, or has self-publishing always been your only preference?

My first self-pub game was Song of Blades and Heroes in 2007, which actually was designed as a short filler between games of DBA. But many years before that, I wrote and illustrated a supplement about demons called Inferno for the French rpg Simulacres, which was published in Italy by Nexus, and I wrote several articles for GURPS on Steve Jackson Games’ Roleplayer and Pyramid Magazine.

After my first few games were successful, I was contacted by Osprey and wrote three titles for them: “Of Gods and Mortals”, “A Fistful of Kung Fu” (which got nominated at Origins) and “Rogue Stars”.

2 We can say Song of Blades and Heroes is your biggest hit among your miniatures games, with dozens of supplements derived rulesets. Why do you think it has been so successful? 

I guess it was the first miniature-agnostic system that became very popular because it was published at the right moment, and because it tried to solve the many little obstacles that people have when playing miniature games.

What have you learnt about design since its release?

I think I didn’t really learn anything major – I fly by the seat of my pants and just use my intuition. I just try to design games that I would like to play. I am lucky that there are many gamers with exactly the same taste.

 And what about publishing?

Oh I learnt about formats, distribution, and how to save money. The most likely mistake that a new publisher can make is to spend too much money. This business is small and you need to watch your dollars.

 (Bonus question: How many miniatures have you got?)

Painted? I think about 5000. Unpainted: better not ask.

3 You told me Four Against Darkness is, by far, your best selling game, with several thousand copies sold, lots of expansions and spin-offs, and a bunch of localizations. What has been the key to such a glaring success, in your opinion?

It’s a solo game that puts together some of my favorite games: the simplicity of Tunnels & Trolls, the collectability of Fighting Fantasy, and a simplified version of the Red Box.

4 What’s your advice for aspiring or beginning designers and self-publishers?

Read and play what has been done before!

5 Kickstarter, and crowdfunding in general, has become more and more important for tabletop games. What has your experience been with the crowdfunding campaigns you ran in the past?

We used crowdfunding when we needed to produce expensive stuff like miniatures, but probably I am not going to use the platform anymore. It’s too crowded, too easy to make financial mistakes, and, for books, I really don’t need it. I just write, illustrate and publish.

6 Do you see the whole crowdfunding scene changing anytime soon? How would YOU like things to change? 

I don’t have any special ideas about crowdfunding. I continue to support original, grassroots ideas as a backer, and I hope this will continue. I would like a new platform that worked together with paypal and filtered out big companies, but I understand this is not going to happen because money talks…

7 I know you are always working on more and more games. What can you tell us about your future gaming releases?

4AD will be released in many different languages, thanks to the excellent work of MS Edizioni in Italy that acts as my agent for international rights. This takes a bit of my time. 2022 will see both new releases and new editions of old titles. For sure there will be a new revised “all in one book” edition of Song of Blades and Heroes, and we have no less than 25 books for 4AD in the pipeline.

8 As your online shop shows, you are very open to collaborations. Should anyone reading this interview be interested in working with you on any of your games, what should they do? Are you currently interested in content writers, illustrators, designers, playtesters?

Playtesters always. Illustrators no (I do art myself to keep the costs down). We have so many games in different stages of production that any proposal will have to wait for a long time, but we do accept new writers now and then. The best thing is to study what we do and send me a short synopsis (DO NOT WRITE THE WHOLE THING!) and email it at .

9 “What To Do When Mr. Blue comes to Town” is a completely new type of thing for you. How have you come to this? Are you planning more children books?

I studied children’s illustration and book production and I have been somewhat active in this area, occasionally painting illustrations for other writers. My wife has plenty of fresh ideas and is learning illustration so we just decided to try something together. She writes a story, I edit it, she paints some illustrations in gouache that later I refine digitally, then I do layout and we send the whole thing to an external editor. We want to produce a catalog of about 10 picture books and a game-book for children and see how they sell. We want to diversify and try different niches.

10 How do you see the future of miniature games and rpgs, let’s say in 10, or 20 years?

If I knew I would write games for the future :-) I think the current trends will continue, and 3d printing will be a powerful factor that should be considered even in rules design. For example, I think of games allowing players to print their own equipment upgrades to their figures.

11 I know, they were supposed to be 10, but I have one more question before we say goodbye. Please point us to a song you think we should listen to.

I like songs that tell a story. For people who love cats, “In Dreams of Mine” by Faith and the Muse is just perfect

Thank you Andrea! Hope to see you again soon at some gaming con!

Friday, January 21, 2022

Primeval Wasteland Areas for OSR Games

 New weekend, new table from Lands of Legends!

Winter has become really cold here, and I hate the cold, so I chose to go with some frozen (or otherwise horrid) wastelands!

Here's a d10 table with ten primeval-themed wasteland areas for your OSR sandbox campaign with simple stat references for your classic game of choice, wether it is Old-School Essentials, Labyrinth Lord, Sword & Wizardry, or any other clone of OE, B/X, or BECMI Dungeons and Dragons.

Use them to spice up your sandbox!

These are straight from the Areas section of Lands of Legends Primeval. Check it out for hundreds more!

So here's the table:

Wastelands - Primeval Areas

  1. Death by Water. Dragged by the currents underneath, huge icebergs move through this ice pack, cracking and splitting it. The cracks can suck explorers into the icy waters (Save vs Death or d6 cold damage per round).
  2. Smoke on the Water. This desolate plain is crossed by slow streams and pools of lava that spring from underground. The snow that constantly falls instantly becomes puddles of snow and ash and a mist of hot, toxic vapors. Traveling here is extremely difficult, as new lava pools and springs often appear without notice, and the only creatures explorers may meet are wild elemental creatures of fire, earth, and ice. 
  3. Razor Rocks. This barren land is made only of sharp black rocks of all sizes, from tiny to colossal: movement is very difficult and it is impossible to lie down or sit comfortably. Advancing is like climbing (STR check every day), even if explorers cannot fall but just slow down. Sleep is always uncomfortable and does not allow to rest fully unless specific equipment is employed. There are no animals, plants or water around.
  4. Freeze Wood. The trees of this land magically absorb the power of the cold. There are enough trees and fallen branches to light a fire, but its bluish flame emits cold instead of heat, freezes food instead of cooking it and causes cold damage in case of contact.
  5. Purple Blur. This region is barely illuminated by an eternal twilight: a purple aurora shines in the sky, the trees lean in all directions and all devices and magnetic compasses do not work. Because of the bizarre anomalies of this place, normal vision and darkvision are blurred and greatly reduced, and all spells of divination, enchantment and illusion, as well as those related to light or electricity, don’t work and the others have a 50% chance of failure.
  6. The Wurm. Buried in the depths of the world, between the sea and the earth, the Great Wurm lies under this iced land. It is the worm of the world, a primordial creature of frost, destruction and power who once caused an ice age. Its magnitude is unimaginable and only the gods can confront it. Little of what mortals can do can awaken it, but if someone casts a spell of level 5 or higher or uses powerful artifacts in this region, it might writhe in its sleep (50% chance), causing sudden ice storms and earthquakes that can create crevices and avalanches.
  7. Heart of Ice. This land hosts a primordial crystal whose roots sink into the center of the world: it is a fulcrum of the magnetic, telluric and magic energies. The frozen wind that blows through the land carries its influence: explorers must Save vs Paralysis or their muscles and tendons will stiffen and ache (-2 to most action, movement halved). Those under this effect must Save again every day vs Spell or fall prey to bleak despair (further -1 to most actions and rolls, cumulative for each failed roll). After failing this save for a number of times equal to the character’s level , each new day requires a new Save vs Paralysis to avoid becoming a block of ice from within (and die). The iced figures of other explorers are the only warning of this danger! The only way to get rid of the first two effects is to leave the region. 
  8. Bocochos. Huge, flightless birds roam this tundra. They are also known as Brontorniteri, or Fastclaws. They love beef jerky and tubers and can be easily tamed and employed as fast mounts, but their health will suffer from leaving their cold home region, and they’ll require special care to keep them fit and lively.
  9. Ifirnia, the One Year City. Every year, at the end of summer, the nomadic people of this ice-kingdom choose the new place for their city and build it with ice-blocks. In the time of a moon the new town is finished, with a frozen circular wall to protect it and an ice tower standing over the other buildings (stores, temples, theaters and arenas). The ice princess dwells in the tower and the city comes to life with courtiers, shamans, skalds and traders until the next summer.
  10. Wendigo Wastes. This desolate region is haunted by the Spirit of Cold and Loneliness. Every time the sun is covered by the clouds, there is a 10% chance of hearing the fearsome cry of the Wendigo: those who hear it must Save vs Spell or run screaming in terror in a random direction, dropping every burden they might be carrying, and they must keep running until they pass the Save (check again after 10 minutes). The cry of the Wendigo is always heralded by a cold, violent gust of north wind. The nomadic tribes that inhabit this land are immune to the howl, and worship the Wendigo as their god.

If you enjoy this type of content, check my upcoming Kickstarter: Axian Library!

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Want Cthulhu? Stay Away from Cthulhu

A couple days ago a friend of mine recalled a conversation we had in the '10s or something, about how, if you want to run a game of lovecraftian horror, you should stay away from Lovecraft.

The idea is not original, and probably came from some blog that we read at the time. Let me expand on that.

Running a horror campaign (whatever ruleset you use) with Deep Ones, Mi-Go, Shoggoths, and the other canonical creatures and gods of the Cthulhu Mythos, is not going to make your players experience lovecraftian horror at all. All those entities have become pop culture icons, so widely known and, in the nerdsphere collective imagination, they are domesticated to the point of becoming the subjects for plushies, funkopops, cool t-shirts, mugs, political satire ("Vote Cthulhu"), board games and comical stories.

They are, quite literally, a comfort zone, which is quite literally the opposite of lovecraftian horror. 

If you achieve to have your players experience even just a bit of lovecraftian horror with such set pieces, you probably are a great GM running a great scenario.

The point is, the canonical pieces of the Cthulhu Mythos can't surprise. Cosmic dread, madness, and the horror of the unknowable and incomprehensible is gone.

The only way to truly make an attempt is to create your own Mythos. Your unique creatures, entities, gods, and books. Or even better, no creatures, gods and books at all. Go for unprecedented, or at least less abused, categories. One of the points of lovecraftian horror should be: facing something that can't be fully understood, and being able to categorize it is a big step towards understanding... The other points should be: something that threatens you, and that the more you understand it, the more it questions your understanding of reality itself.

I know, it sounds daunting! Even if what you come up with is a half-botched attempt, it still has much better chances of disturbing your players' imagination a little bit.

And potentially, there's more. If you propose your group to play Call of Cthulhu, Trail of Cthulhu, Tiny Cthulhu, The Cthulhu Hack, Realms of Cthulhu, Cthulhu in Space, Cyber-Cthulhu (and the list could go on and on AND ON), well, you've already lost them. You are already telling them "We are going to play a game with the cliche of cosmic dread, madness, and the horror of the unknowable and incomprehensible, so play along".

And they might. I mean it will be a game of lovecraftian horror, except the horror.

What to do in order to pull it? In theory, the best way would be to let that horror seep into something else, just like it crawled into the lives of Lovecraft's protagonists without a warning. Let those themes (and your own cosmic Mythos) creep into another game. In theory, the further away the starting setting is from lovecraftian horror, the more impactful it becomes.

That's what they did with True Detective season 1 or, to a lesser degree, with Archive 81,  or Annihilation.

But is that ok, ultimately, with RPGs? There is a final, and not trivial, conundrum.

In my opinion, players should not be sold an epic fantasy campaign, only to see it slowly become a horror campaign. Not fair at all. They signed in for A, not for B. They might hate it, and lose trust in you as a GM. The campaign might feature themes and topics some people don't want to see in a game: body horror, mental illness, religions, you name it. Not fair at all to have those things dropped on players who expected to play college drama, space opera, western action, or whatever.

So what? Probably, the best way is to inject lovecraftian horror into games that already are supposed to be horror, but belong into very different horror niches. Zombie apocalypse games. Vampires. Gothic horror. Heck, even most Sword & Sorcery rpgs might do. You'll avoid pulling a very bad trick to your players, but may still have a chance to go lovecraftian. An Apocalypse World game starting with zombies and slowly turning cosmic horror sounds like a great campaign to me.

So am I saying all those Cthulhu-branded games are worthless?

Naaa. They are fine, good games in their own way. Just know that horror, the way Lovecraft tried to convey it, will hardly be part of your campaign. You're still in for a lot of fun, with so many great adventures and campaigns available.

I'm absolutely in favor of playing within one's comfort zone. I even enjoy vanilla fantasy and will probably write a post about its merits soon!

I think most of the times gamers just want to have fun, not to experience negative emotions such as actual fear, inquietude, uneasiness, doubt. Let alone questioning their understanding of life! Sometimes it's fun to just blast your shotgun into a Deep One's face, and send the inhuman temple into orbit via dynamite... or end up squished to bits or locked at the asylum for trying.

Monday, January 17, 2022

d12 Nighttime City Encounters and Events for Old-School Essentials

New week, new random table!

This time, it's d10 nighttime city encounters and events for Old-School Essentials, and easily portable to similar rulesets such as Labyrinth Lord, Sword & Wizardry, or any other clone of OE, B/X, or BECMI Dungeons and Dragons.

Use them to spice up your campaign!

This table also is a preview of the extended version (with d20 results!) that will be featured in Candle, a special zine project I've gladly joined!

Writing these entries was a lot of fun. As usual with my other encounters/events tables, I've tried put enough meat to have a decently fleshed-out encounter, while keeping the text short enough to be read in a minute.

Some are fairly simple and may resolve in a few minutes, while others may spring a few hours of adventures, or even develop into a large plot. Just how I like it!

d10 Nighttime City Encounters and Events for Old-School Essentials

Roll 1d10 for an interesting night-time encounter for when the heroes stay up late in the streets of a large city.

  1. A naked young halfling (level 3) climbs down a rope from a window on the second floor of a rich building. He’s fleeing from the bed of an important local NPC’s wife, but will say he was the victim of a miscast teleportation scroll, or something... and he would gladly use a cloak. He is the son of the leader of the nearby halfling enclave, and their ambassador in the city.
  2. The group hears a 6 years old boy sobbing in a back alley. He got lost chasing his cat Smirk after sundown. He lives “near the temple” (can’t specify which). His father, a well-to-do tailor, is looking for him and might not like the looks of the group with his son (Reaction roll) and might call out for the guards. And the boy hasn’t found the cat yet! The father might as well offer to pay the group 50 gp to find the cat so as to convince his child to come back home.
  3. A group of 1d6+2 wererats have just pilfered from a weaponsmith’s shop a sword and shield for each of them, plus all the silver daggers available (12, now inside their bags). They are running in humanoid rat form to get back to their lair in the sewers, where another 1d6+2 wererats await. If they hear unusual noise, they set up an ambush (surprise on 1-4). In their lair, a large chest holds 9,000cp, 2,000sp a gem (500gp) and a piece of jewellery (1,200gp), but is trapped: six metal pipes can be seen at the bottom. Unless disarmed, opening the chest shoots d6 darts (1d4 damage) in front of it.
  4. A group of 1d6+6 cheerful, drunken young nobles (treat as normal humans, each with a jewel worth 900gp and 1d100gp in a pouch) are having a tavern crawl, accompanied by 4 sober bodyguards (level 3 fighters with chainmail and swords). Roll for Reaction, as they might invite the group to join the party, or find their mere presence and looks “offensive”.
  5. The nearest manhole begins to tremble as a pack of rats crawls out and bolts away in all directions, terrified. Seconds later, a carcass crawler emerges from the manhole! Down in the sewers is its lair, with the skeletal remains of a few humanoid victims and, under the dirt and goo, a necklace worth 700gp and a battleaxe +1.
  6. The group sees a large bat entering an open window. It’s a vampire looking for a midnight snack! If disturbed, it flies away and out of the city to leave the interlopers behind. If undisturbed, he returns to his hideout: a crypt hidden behind a secret passage inside a mausoleum in the city cemetery. The secret passage is protected by 4 gargoyles, and his coffin is guarded by 2 wolf-shaped iron living statues. A secret compartment inside the coffin holds 3,000ep, 2,000pp, 8 gems (200gp each), Potion of Giant Strength, Wand of Illusion.
  7. Two beggars are chatting and drinking wine near a fountain. If befriended, they may reveal interesting rumors about the local criminal underworld, or the not too distant dungeons.
  8. Four groups of 1d6 acolytes of a chaotic cult are sneaking to the hidden entrance of their secret underground temple, where a level 5 cleric is holding a midnight ritual. The temple includes a golden idol worth 10,000gp.
  9. A girl cries “Stay away! help, HELP!” in a back alley. She’s baiting the group to an ambush, as 2d4 bandits (leather, clubs) are waiting to surprise the group (1-4 on d6). They request the group to leave their gold so that no one gets hurt. If they don’t obey, the girl (and bandit leader, a level 3 magic-user) can use her spells: sleep (to knock out uncooperative victims), detect magic (to take any magic items from the victims), and invisibility (in case she needs a quick escape).
  10. A tiger prowls the streets! It has a jewelled collar worth 5,000gp, with the seal of an important local family. It is semi domesticated, so its Reaction roll is at +2. If captured and brought back unharmed to the rich owners, the group might receive a 500gp reward or some other benefit.
  11. The PCs are mistaken for someone else, as a robed man greets them and takes them to a secret meeting in a basement where 2d6 conspirators (treat as nobles) plot to overthrow the local ruler(s).
  12. A level 5 cleric warns the group to stay away from the area, as accounts of a ghost appearing at night around those streets have circulated for three days. What’s going on: the ghost is a wraith, the spirit of a librarian haunting his house and shop and wandering around it at night. He died five days ago after finding and accidentally reading a cursed scroll inside a book, which is still open on his desk, in front of his corpse (but its power is depleted). Inside his shop a chest holds 5,000gp and seven scrolls: spell scroll (knock, hold portal, wizard lock), spell scroll (dispel magic) spell scroll (haste, wizard eye, ventriloquism), spell scroll (ice wall), protection scroll (protection from lycanthropes), treasure map (the chest with “the treasure of the black bandit is buried under the oldest oak” of a not too distant forest, contains dozens of gems and jewels for 20,000gp, but is guarded by a spectre!), treasure map (“an iron coffer with the Djinni’s gold is inside the at the Azure Oasis”, and contains 37,000gp).

If you enjoy this type of content, check out my upcoming kickstarter!

Monday, January 10, 2022

d20 Curses for OSR Games, and Some Zine News!

What with the holidays and my baby girl being sick, I've missed a couple of my usual Saturday tables, so here I am to make amends.

In the meantime, though, a lot has happened! ZineQuest4 has been officially postponed to August, but the creators' community has organized an alternative for this February: ZineMonth, or ZiMo!

And that's not all! I've set up the pre-launch page for Axian Library, my contribution to the ZineMonth! If you've enjoyed my random tables and OSE-licensed electronic/print-at-home zines, the project is definitely for you: more information in Axian Library post.

And that's not all, again! My friend & designer Danilo Moretti has launched his very first Kickstarter with a cool OSR offering: a series of Pamphlet Islands, which just got funded!

I think that's enough for today, whew!

So here's the table: d20 curses for OSE and other OSR games. These are also a preview of my upcoming Pious Prayers & Powerful Prodigies.

  1. Hands tremble (-4 to attack rolls).
  2. Crippled, movement halved.
  3. STR halved (minimum 3).
  4. INT halved (minimum 3).
  5. DEX halved (minimum 3).
  6. CON halved (minimum 3).
  7. Painful sores: 20% of the character’s total hp don’t heal in any way.
  8. Bad luck, -2 to saving throws.
  9. A permanent Blight spell on the character.
  10. The character cannot lie and must always tell the truth.
  11. Vision is obfuscated past 40’.
  12. Daylight imposes -4 to all attack rolls.
  13. Nightmares disturb the character’s sleep: healing from rest only works after a successful WIS check.
  14. The character can no longer read (includes scrolls).
  15. The character’s spoken words become an unintelligible gibberish.
  16. Magic items don't work for the character. Cursed items are not affected.
  17. All retainers, followers, hirelings, specialists, etc, turn their back on the character.
  18. All shields and armor fall off from the character, who can no longer use them.
  19. The character’s words are only understood by creatures of the same alignment.
  20. Roll and combine two results, or devise something based on the character’s story and current situation.
If you enjoy this type of content, check my other random tables posts, and my OSR stuff on DrivethruRPG: the Land of Legends series and my pwyw e-zines for Old-School Essentials: Wondrous Weavings Warped and WeirdMysteriously Missing & Merrily Metand Notable Novices & Notorious Newcomers!

My next pwyw Old-School Essentials e-zine will be released this month! To find out what it'll be about, and grab it as soon as it's out, follow me on FacebookTwitter or Telegram!

Thursday, January 6, 2022

New Year New Game Sale: Savage Worlds Recommendations!

  The New Year New Game sale is on at DrivethruRPG, and here's the offers I recommend.

Whether you've never played Savage Worlds, or you're a veteran looking for something cool, here we go!


Well, the core game is on sale and if you were on the fence, this a great time to grab the PDF for a reduced price. The latest edition, released three years ago, is a distillation of almost 20 years of gaming, and is my go-to rule system when I'm looking for something different from OSR games. I love the modularity of it, and the potential to bring to the table any kind of action-oriented adventures and settings I can think of.


Despite the promotion is supposed to be about new games, a lot of supplements made it through the mysterious DrivethruRPG automatic selection and are on offer:

Savage Worlds Adventure Edition: Mini Settings - If you missed this, it's worth checking at a special price: four mini settings complete with setting rules and savage tales! 

Deadlands the Weird West - Arguably Savage Worlds' most popular setting. This is the latest edition, released in 2020, and features a retconned version of a setting that is incredibly rich and deep, combining horror, steampunk, and alternate history into an exploding mix.

Rippers Resurrected Players Guide - Victorian era monster hunters, willing to pay the ultimate price and sacrifice their humanity using rippertech in order to win the war against the forces of darkness. Gothic horror meets Van Helsing action, with one hell of a plot point campaign.

Crystal Heart - The fantasy setting with heroes changing their hearts with crystals to gain more power, includes a full plot point campaign.

Burning Seas of Hell - A mini setting (30 pages) with pirate, swashbuckling action, in hell!

Tropicana - A contemporary setting of action heroes, special agents and troubleshooters in San José, a (fictional) Caribbean state consisting of a tropical metropolis, its wild jungle hinterland and a small archipelago of paradise islands. Written by Mauro Longo and me, Tropicana is currently yours for less than $3!

Toy Troopers - War action, but with animated toys, fighting inside a house! A title that has received little attention so far, but worth considering for fun games!

Titan Effect - A superhero/spy thriller setting with lots of high tech gadgets and pyschic powers to fight against global conspiracies in the present day, as part of the SPEAR (Special Executive Assault and Recon).

Heroes of Terra: The Mushroom War - A Super Mario-inspired fantasy setting!

Nothing caught your interest? Well, you can still browse the 4270 titles included in the sale, and the 122 in the Savage Worlds category!

Into Savage Worlds? Check out my other Savage Worlds posts!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

New Year New Game Sale: OSR Recommendations!

 The New Year New Game sale is on at DrivethruRPG, and here's the offers I recommend.

Whether you've never played OSR games, or you're a veteran looking for something cool, here we go!


Old-School Essentials - Classic Fantasy Rules Tome - The best retroclone around, a faithful reproduction of the B/X D&D rules, with an exceptional work done on the text to make it clear and user-friendly, with an egregious layout. Recommended if you're new to the OSR and want the distilled, simple experience of the original B/X rules. Everything you need to play in one book. Also, my favorite OSR game.

Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Core Book - A glorious OSR game that is not a retroclone but captures the feel of old school games, with unique mechanics that build on a solid d20 system, generally compatible with other OSR stuff. Recommended if you want a more modern cut, while true to the spirit of OSR... and you like crits and fumble tables.

Worlds Without Number - Kevin Crawford's masterpiece, and one of the most successful games on the whole DrivethruRPG platform. A great game in itself, and a book with tons of tools to generate everything, from world building to adventures, whatever game system you prefer.

Sword & Wizardry Complete Rulebook - The 1974 Original D&D rules are the root of this great retroclone, currently priced $0,33! 

Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, and Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells - Both of Diogo Nogueira's original games are a blend of OSR and modern sensitivity, with streamlined rules and inspired tables.


Despite the promotion is supposed to be about new games, a few supplements made it through the mysterious DrivethruRPG automatic selection and are on offer:

The Gardens on Ynn - A point-crawl adventure set in an ever-shifting extradimensional garden, with a system to generate content while you play.

The Stygian Library - Gardens of Ynn's twin, this time a dungeon set in an infinite, extradimensional library.

OSR Solo - One of the many best-selling Parts per Millions supplements to play your favorite game without a GM. And most of them are included in the current sale.


The New Year New Game sale is on a lot of actually old titles! Here's a few titles I recommend:

Rules Cyclopedia - The BECMI D&D rules combined in one volume (except for the Immortals set).

The whole B1-B12 series of adventures is on sale, with some must-have scenarios for the Basic D&D set. Note that the current sale makes them cheaper than the regular bundle with the all series!

So if you want to only pick up a few, I'd go with those that are the best in my view: B1 In Search of the UnknownB2 The Keep on the Borderlands,  B3 Palace of the Silver PrincessB4 The Lost CityB7 Rahasia, and B9 Castle Caldwell and Beyond with its five mini adventures.

And then there's a little less known supplement that's worth checking:

AC10 Bestiary of Dragons & Giants - Despite the "Bestiary" in the title, this actually is an adventure anthology, with a dozen or so quick scenarios involving, of course, dragons and giants. A great pick for sandbox campaigns!


Nothing caught your interest? Well, you can still browse the 4270 titles included in the sale, and the 238 in the OSR category!

Into OSR? Check my other OSR posts!

Kickstarter, Blockchain, ZineQuest 4 and Zine Month - Whaaaa?

UPDATES! See end of post!

February is coming, and February means ZineQuest. Or does it?

It seems there we'll be no ZineQuest this year:

Anya is Anya Combs, director of games at Kickstarter, so we can assume she knows what she's saying. Let's take a closer look:

"Officially", yeah, but all we have for now is Sam saying Anya said... That's not my definition of "official". If anything, this proves that KS doesn't care much about ZQ anyway.

 Note the specifics: it is not happening in February... which leaves the door open for another time frame.

Other sources say ZineQuest 4 might still be a thing, but in August:

And that's Tony Vasinda of Plus One Experience, one of the most important voices in the zine/indie rpg scene. (I interviewed him some time ago). He's been encouraging creators to try different platforms instead of Kickstarter for a while now, such as GameFound, which he's been working with when crowdfunding Down We Go.

So where are all the zines going? Tough question.
The indie/zine rpg community truly is a community: Charlie Fergaves is already setting up Zine Month, a site to showcase all zine projects on any crowdfunding platform. And the RPG Zines Facebook Group is always there. 

And yet, many creators are reluctant to leave Kickstarter. Even now that ZQ4 isn't a thing! 

The acclaimed Old-School Essentials zine Planar Compass is crowdfunding their third issue on KS next month, ZQ or not ZQ. And they are not the only ones. Project pages are being filled and activated as I write.

I have a zine project for next month too. Haven't made up my mind 100%, but I think it will be on KS anyway. If you've enjoyed my electronic/print-at-home OSE zines, and the Lands of Legends series, you might definitely be interested.

I'm the smallest creator. I've only run one crowdfunding last year during ZQ3, and it well very well, because yes, KS and ZQ give you a lot of momentum. Besides that, I only have a bunch of zines on Drivethru. I believe Kickstarter is still my only option for now, ZQ or not.

But all this commotion about Kickstarter is not only because of ZineQuest 4!

At the root of the general disaffection towards KS is their announcement on December the 9th of their intention to move to the blockchain technology, in partnership with Celo.
The news only mentions blockchain, but has been generally received as bad news because 1. blockchain is the technology associated with cryptocurrencies and NFTs, which are generally viewed as scams, and 2. this type of technology seems to have a terrible environmental impact.
It must be noted that the KS announcement doesn't mention cryptos nor NFTs at all, so the association is a bit arbitrary, for now at least. It must also be noted that very little information has come after that, regarding when the new technology will be implemented, and how.
Tech-savvy people have spent hours on social medias to discuss and explain the details of blockchain, and the difference between proof of work and proof of stake blockchains, which have largely different consequences on the environment.
But as of now, there is very little to discuss as facts are scarce.

My friend Alan Bahr of Gallant Knight Games has just launched their own "GallantFunding", after deciding to stay away from KS. Their original plan was to crowdfund both War of the Magi and the awesome Kosmosaurs (both by Diogo Nogueira) in a "double-feature" Kickstarter, but things have changed. War of the Magi is being crowdfunded now on their own web store, and Kosmosaurs is temporarily on hold.

Even before that, Pinnacle Entertainment (a veteran on Kickstarter) has experimented with other platforms (East Texas University on GameFound), and even on their own platform with the Super Powers Companion for Savage Worlds.

So there is that. Creators are skeptical about the blockchain change, and ZQ4 isn't happening. Is this going to be the end of ZQ as we know it?
One thing I'm sure is the community that has grown around will go on and prosper!

I've made this post to collect the info I've found so far, and to help other creators (small, big, aspiring!) to figure out what's going on. If I've missed some important piece of info, drop it in the comments!





ZineMonth site is live!


My zine Kickstarter is coming!

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