Sunday, April 23, 2023

The OSR server bingo!

I'm an active participant of the "purple" OSR discord server, and there are a handful of topics or phrases that come up often... So here's a little bingo game you can play at home!

Download the PDF with four sheets!

With contributions from Jenx, vilecultofshapes, Sylvanas_iii, Tomes, DustyHalo & HiveMindfullness.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Piles of Downloaded Files... #2: a deeper delve

Time for another installment of Piles of Downloaded Files, where I go through my folder of unsorted RPG-related PDFs. We all have that. Here's the first delve.


Adventures on Mars: An Addendum to Doc’s Excellent Warriors of Mars, Rules by gloriousbattle

This file is named “MARS WITH LARGER FONT NEATER LAYOUT” in the folder. Did I rename it to aid myself in the future? It’s still not a very informative title… Anyways, this is “Adventures on Mars: An Addendum to Doc’s Excellent Warriors of Mars, Rules” (sic!). If you don’t know it, Doc’s Warriors of Mars is a cool homebrew amalgamation of OD&D and the old TSR Warriors of Mars ruleset, for Barsoomian adventuring. Available on Grey Elf’s website! Now, this is a supplement for that. Some searching shows that I found it on the ODD74 board, and it was created by user gloriousbattle. Then a file with larger font was created by Bastet1002. The document contains Barsoomian gazetteer tidbits, but also brings in other pulptastic science fantasy monsters as well, like the Leeches of Yoh-Vombis and Mi-Go and Star Vampires. There is a 4xd12 random table for Indescribable Martian Artifacts, so now you can find a Circular Ceramic Orange-and-Silver Intelligent (as a magic sword) object while “groping through black pits”. There are also mass combat rules. This is a useful grab-bag for sword & science OD&D gaming!


Conrad’s Fantasy Free-Style Role-Play by Better Games

From 1990! I got it from Drivethru. Offered as “a companion to HUGO (original underworld’s generated by computer, no two alike)”! But also a system on its own. Promises free-style rules with “Quick and Dirty” combat. Attributes are not measured numerically, you either have them or don’t. Advance on the Progression Path from Bumpkin to Delta Zaire (a high-level wizard)! There is, however, a plethora of skills. The combat mechanics are maaaybe quick and dirty once you learn them, but there are several charts, so I’d need more time to really understand it. This is a wonderful artifact or old-school gaming, complete with DIY art.

Stuck under a pile of unread PDFs.

The Cuboid Prison of Joanna Cahb by Mariuswasright

A short little adventure, I downloaded it from Free PDF. It’s a cube-shaped prison for a Dwarf singer. The cube is now “half-submerged in the magma of Mount Thal’s caldera”, that’s always a good thing. The volcano is not part of the adventure document, though. The dungeon has 7 areas, laid out on one level (there’s no multi-level cube shenanigans). Science fantasy stuff, guardian constructs with eyebeams, anti-metal artifacts. Barebones layout, some highlighting and bulletpoints. Monster stats are included in each room description, which seems like an overkill, because there is a stat appendix too. No biggie. It’s pretty cool as a last-minute drop into your setting’s volcano adventure!

Go on, open your unsorted PDFs folder! If you dare!

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

The Universal Random Table

The OSR thrives on random tables. *I* thrive on random tables. I have books of random tables. Print-outs of blogposts. I've written a couple. I respect the prolific creators of random tables, let's chant their names together: ktrey, Konsumterra, Jason Sholtis, semiurge and many more. Meticulously crafted lists of infinite random inspiration for any situation. But ultimately, there are a set archetypical results one might find on a random table of any kind. Without further ado, I present thee...

The Universal Random Table (d10)


Predictable stuff


Outré/gonzo stuff


Annoying curse, trap or mutation


Delayed effect that has to be tracked or forgotten forever


Quirky or whimsical thing


Meta-gamey element or campaign-breaking bullshit


Painful pun or pop culture reference

That's it. The only random table you'll ever need!

Okay, maybe this and the Amazing Inspirational Animal List.

PS: Idea for next post: a random table of the greatest random table creators of the OSR blogosphere.

Monday, April 17, 2023

[Map] LEG DAY! The Dungeon of Stairs

I drew a slightly ridiculous dungeon map - a level chock-full of stairs leading up and down. Ridiculous as this map is, I do like certain parts, like the bridge/tower above the water caves in the north-east corner (#32-32).
I don't have keys or even a particular concept. I guess this dungeon was built by creatures who just LOVE stairs. So, this isn't a great fit for Barsoom (where they use ramps instead of stairs). 

Or for certain areas of Jane Gaskell's The Serpent:

'Now we should like to see our rooms,' Zerd said.

The governor led him over to the staircase - the more menial of us followed closely, the rest trailed behind or simply didn't bother - and the governor stood aside to let his guests precede him. I ran up, two steps at a time, and only when I was at the top did I realise that everyone else was still at the bottom.

They all stood quiet, with upturned faces, then gasped.

'What's the matter?' I said, feeling appallingly self-conscious alone at the top there. T'm sorry, I thought we were supposed to come up here - ' and I began to descend again, feeling the blushes rising up my throat and scorching my cheeks.

'How do you do it?' 'Where did you learn?' said several voices.

'Learn what?' I asked, most embarrassed.

'She ran up, two at a time,' said someone.

I was now at the bottom and a crowd of winegirls ran forward cheering me, and Isad came up, dripping wet, hooting on his pet horn. Lara looked sour.

'Do it again, do it again!' cried the winegirls to me.

'What is it?' I said.

'You're so fast, could you do it again just as fast?'

'Of course, my country is full of stairs. Our houses are often four-storeyed - aren't yours?'

'No,' Zerd said. 'We don't have stairs in the North. Do it again, Cija, it's fascinating to watch.'

So I ran up and down the stairs for them twice more, and they cheered me and chanted compliments, and at last all trooped up after me.

This version has the relative depth of areas:

Friday, April 7, 2023

Wizard duel/Counterspell house rule

A quick house rule for magical duels!

A Magic-User character can try and counter an opposing caster’s spell by entering into a duel. Depending on the combat/initiative system in use, this must either be declared first or the declared action must be cancelled in favor of counterspelling. The countercaster has to be aware of, or at least anticipate that the enemy is about to cast a spell.


Both duellants roll d6 and add their character level.

Caster’s roll > Countercaster’s roll

Caster’s initial spell works as intended, Countercaster must roll on the Effects chart

Caster’s roll = Countercaster’s roll

The two wizards are locked in duel! Repeat the procedure next time, unless one participant decides to withdraw or is distracted or takes damage (in which case this duellant must roll of the Effects chart)

Caster’s roll < Countercaster’s roll

Caster’s initial spell is cancelled (and the spell (slot) is lost)


Effects chart (d6)

  1. Suffers the effect of Feeblemind for a full day
  2. Falls unconscious for 2d4 hours
  3. Loses spellcasting ability for a full day
  4. Causes an eruption of uncontrolled arcane energy, everybody in a 20’ radius must save against Breath weapons or fall to the ground
  5. Suffers d6 damage
  6. Is thrown back 10’ and must spend the next round getting up