Friday, July 29, 2022

Axian Library is available! And Falkrest Abbey Is Coming! And More!

 Five months after a stunning Kickstarter, the Axian Library zine collection PDF has been sent to backers and is available for everyone at DriveThruRPG

I've got to say I'm very happy with the result, and hope all the backers will enjoy it.

Next step is preparing the file for the print version and getting the print proof from DTRPG. Once the proof is ok, all print level backers will receive their vouchers for the printed book, and the print version will become available for everyone too.

New Projects!

In the meantime, I've already started working on new projects! I've teamed up with Andrea Mollica to design a bunch (2? 3? 4?) of new dungeon adventures for Old-School Essentials.

The first one is Falkrest Abbey and the text is already pretty much finalized. If you're in the Old-School Essentials Facebook group you might have had a chance to grab an early playtest PDF.

Falkrest Abbey is an Old-School Essentials dungeon adventure for characters level 1-3, and features about 20 rooms with non linear exploration, puzzles, decision making & problem solving, a bit of faction play, and a bunch of new monsters and magic items.

For Falkrest Abbey I've decided to ask my friend Zaira Diana to draw the cover and interior art. Zaira, Andrea and I have already worked together on Guardians of Sol-Tau, and I'm very happy to have her again with us.

This is the cover art she's concocted for us: meet Grusom the cursed abbot. I love this piece!

And since the Abbey is already written and playtested, Andrea and I are already at work on another adventure: The Mouth, based on the ideas from this post.
We're in the middle of fine-tuning everything, but most of what's in that post has found a place in the adventure, and can't wait to begin internal playtest!
We'll also probably offer a public playtest version in the next weeks on the official Old-School Essentials facebook group...

Sunday, July 24, 2022

About Temple of 1000 Swords

 Temple of 1000 Swords is a dungeon adventure for Old-School Essentials by Brad Kerr, the same author of Hideous Daylight. If you play OSE, go grab it now because it's so good I'm stunned.

It is a 25 page adventure featuring a 19 rooms dungeon of intense fun. It is statted for Old-School Essentials so it's also ready to use with BX D&D and similar rulesets. It states being designed for "approximately level 3 characters", which probably means a level 2-4 range would be ok. I think level 5 characters would find it too easy, and with too little loot.

I bought the PDF and had it printed and stapled locally into a nice little black and white A5 booklet.

The writing is short and sweet and fully functional to run the adventure. Flawlessly structured and well laid out for easy running.

The temple of Gladio the forgotten sword god has interesting things going on in every single room, with situations that require problem solving, lateral thinking, one or two optional "regular" puzzles, a sort of moral dilemma, and even faction play. I think I couldn't ask for more!

You have Gladio's magical forge, capable of turning anything that is put on it into a sword-hybrid: a coin, a book, a torch, anything. And that's why one room contains crazed sword-persons...

The magic forge is also the source of the d100 table of peculiar swords that can be found scattered around the place among the piles of hundreds of swords that clutter all the rooms. These are made of stuff someone put on the forge to see the result. These include nonsense pieces such as the linen sword, papier-maché sword, and egg sword; some that are simply treasure such as swords made of silver, gold, rubies, mithral and dragon scales; some that are more conventional magic swords (light; masterwork; adamantine) and some very cool pieces such as a magically stretching sword, a functional blowgun sword, a rattlesnake sword, and my favorite: the intelligent, mustached, grandfatherly, +1 Grandfather sword (possibly a Diablo reference, and also meaning someone put their grandfather on the forge, which I find hilarious).

You have a legendary sword that is divided into nine pieces scattered in the various rooms, and one has been used to pin a vampire against a wall. You want to collect them all? You'll have to free the guy.

You have two factions battling for control of the place (treacherous merfolk and bloodthirsty duck people).

You also have a bunch of interesting hooks and and possible outcomes impacting the campaign outside the dungeon. 

The only two little quibbles I have are that one of the secret passages is marked on the map but there are no real clues to motivate the players to look for one, and one NPC, Piotr, has no game statistics. That's because players are not supposed to kill him, evidently, but still, players being players, you never can tell...

Of course these are very small flaws, more like two bits I'll have to remember fixing before running it (can't wait!). Seriously, this is one of my all time favorite OSR adventures along with Black Wyrm of Brandonsford!

(And it's currently included in the Christmas in July sale!)

Monday, July 18, 2022

Christmas in July Sale: My OSE Recommendations!

 The Christmas in July sale is on at DriveThruRPG. For the next 14 days, more than 70.000 rpg titles are available at reduced price!

The list of OSR titles currently discounted counts a big 3716 items, which is still a lot.

And to those, we must also add 109 official OD&D/BECMI titles, and 135 AD&D1stEd titles

The sheer amount of titles available makes it hard to create a list of OSR recommendations, so this time I'll focus on some of the 169 titles listed for Old-School Essentials as it is my current go-to ruleset.

OSE Rulebooks

As with other large DTRPG sales, the core OSE books are discounted, both the Classic Rules Tome and the Advanced rules (Player's tome and Referee's tome). If you're reading this, you're probably already a fan (like me), but don't forget sales are a great occasion to spread the word. Tell your friends!


Well, the whole Old-School Essentials line is part of the sale, which means you can get some great adventures too, like Incandescent Grottoes, the Ennie award winning Halls of the Blood King, and Isle of the Plangent Mage by Donn Stroud.

The Palace of Unquiet Repose - An acclaimed level 3-5 dungeon adventure that got some stunning reviews.

In the Shadow of Tower Silveraxe - A regional module in zine format written by Jacob Fleming, with lots of dungeons and lots of hours of play. Reviewed here.

Ominous Crypt of the Blood Moss - is a very good 10 room dungeon which develops the cliché theme of "crypt with undead" with interesting twists and consequences. I've reviewed it here.

The Black Wyrm of Brandonsford - An exquisite, sandboxy point-crawl adventure for characters level 1-3, very easy to run, with lots of interaction between locations, and guaranteed to offer a huge number of hours of play. I can't wait to run it. My review here

Puzzle Dungeon: The Seers Sanctum - Another very good 10 room dungeon with, well, a lot of well conceived puzzles. I've reviewed it here, and if this dungeon is a great opportunity to connect your existing campaign to the setting outlined in the best seller Planar Compass zine series which, by the way, currently is on its own sale and is less than $1!

Hideous Daylight and Temple of 1000 Swords - Two third-party Old-School Essentials adventures by Brad Kerr with awesome reviews. I've reviewed 1000 Swords here.

Bottomless Pit of Zorth - Another acclaimed adventure, with a slime theme and insane art, for  characters level 3-5, which is a less frequent level bracket in comparison to level 1-4, and makes it definitely worth checking.

Tannic - A just released level 1-3 adventure set in a haunted forest, by Amanda P., that looks pretty cool (seriously, check the preview).

The Frost Spire - An excellent fairy-frosty level 3 dungeon adventure with an interesting moral dilemma. Reviewed it here.

Sourcebooks, Supplements & Zines

The Dungeon Dozen, collecting over 200 system-agnostic d12 tables full of awesome inspiration, from the blog of the same name.

The whole Third Kingdom line of hexcrawl supplements is out there, including the great Filling in the Blanks guide.

The unusual A Groats-worth of Grotesques bestiary, which I've reviewed here.

The Delver Magazine zine series, full of awesome random tables, along with its Tavern spin-off.

My very own Lands of Legends zine series, with the five zines also currently bundled up in PDF + Print on Demand.

The Old School & Cool zine series by Knight Owl Publishing. Reviewed issue 3 here!

Bonus Offerings

While not part of the CiJ Sale, I'd be a very bad person if I didn't point you to the Classic Gaming Negative Space Bundle which collects the three masterpiece supplements for classic OSR play by Courtney Campbell: On Downtime & Demesnes, Artifices, Deceptions & Dilemmas, and Bestial Ecosystems Caused by Monstrous Inhabitation. Cool thing is, this is a PoD bundle!!

If all those sales don't whet your appetite, you can check some free or PWYW titles, such as The Prison of the Hated Pretender adventure (reviewed here), my own Old-School Essentials e-zines, or the stunning Black Pudding zines by James West!


Into OSR? Check my other OSR posts and reviews!

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