Showing posts from October, 2023

The OSR Should Die: Basic Edition

This is a revision of my 2022 blog post , shortened for publication in Knock! and also for clarification. Is the OSR dead yet? If you asked some, they would say yes. There was a body of cultural knowledge which has been rendered inaccessible (for some reason) to hobbyists who are working in the same space. What is old is new again, so people are talking about random encounters and reaction rolls as if they had discovered them themselves like Christopher Columbus discovering the Americas. They weren’t the first ones there and, if you were to ask Ramanan Sivaranjan from the Save Vs. Total Party Kill blog, no one had left either. The OSR is not dead because he’s still there, as are others from the time of G+ who are also still doing their own thing. How can something be dead and alive at the same time? It could be a difference of definitions. It could also be a zombie. An authoritative definition of the OSR is difficult to arrive at because any one definition is sure to attract conten

Cleaves vs Multi-Attacks

The cleave rule is pretty common for fighters: after defeating an enemy, you get to attempt a free attack against another. How effective is this rule, especially when compared to getting additional (guaranteed) attacks per turn? I wrote a script to simulate the cleave rule, assuming a couple parameters: the enemy would be an orc (HD 1, AC 13), 1 hit die equals 4 hit points , 1 hit lands d6 damage, and fighters improve their attack chance by +1 per level. I ran this script for level 4 and level 8 fighters, since those are typical comparison points. The results were shocking. The level 4 fighter, on average, dealt 0.85 hits and killed 0.43 orcs per round; and the level 8 fighter dealt 1.33 hits and killed 0.67 orcs. When adding a +1 bonus to attack and damage, assuming a B/X fighter with a strength score of at least 13, these values increased slightly to 1.00/0.66 and 1.70/1.10 respectively. If we use d10 for the damage die, the values became 1.00/0.71 and 1.79/1.24. If both the bonus a

Working on a Workbook

The evolution of my bite-sized dungeons blog post! Won't publish it quite yet, since I want to give it a spin. :)

LOL XD Random Dungeon

My friend Alex from To Distant Lands wanted to run an off-the-cuff game of D&D , generating a random character for OSE ( B/X ) using his cool webpage and then generating a random dungeon. It was low-prep on his end, and on my end—although I had my OSE book out for fun—I was basically adlibbing how I interacted with the dice. Low stakes, low effort. Perfect to hang out and enjoy an otherwise uneventful Saturday morning (my lunch plans were canceled)! I generated (sort of) two characters: Jane the mage and Joan the fighter. I say "sort of" because I did use Alex's generator for Jane at first, but then I closed it out and lost track of her scores and everything. I realized a while back that my favorite way to play old D&D is to keep it simple, and assume the default because it doesn't make much a difference. Basically, as if to treat B/X like OD&D except dropping even more pretenses. Alex didn't mind! Easier on him as it was for me. Session Summary

Random Reflections

Miscellaneous things I’ve been thinking about. Halloween I have been envisioning my Halloween costume for months: sexy vampire Elizabeth Holmes . Bought a cunty black dress with vampiress vibes and a dirty blonde wig. The problem is that, now that I’ve made it this far, I don’t want to figure out how wigs work. Right now this mass of fake hair is sitting in a bag on my dresser and I’m terrified of opening it. Maybe I should just be a regular sexy vampire instead of trying to scam people out of their blood. At the same time, learning how to wear a wig will increase the slay potential of future Halloweens. We'll see. J Balvin I’m really not into J Balvin. Every time a song with J Balvin comes on in my car I’m like, “We can just skip this once his verse comes on.” I’ve always felt like he was only ever carried by other reggaeton artists and was never the best part of any song he is in. Take “6 AM” where he is straight up overshadowed by Farruko on his own song! He’s not a producer eit

1 Week of FMC!

Extremely humbled by the reception to my OD&D + Chainmail retroclone, Fantastic Medieval Campaigns , released last Monday on 10/9 . Within the first week, there were 1,629 downloads and 84 purchases of the print versions. To reiterate my mission statement or whatever, I am not seeing a single penny out of this. My work was for the satisfaction of seeing this project through to its completion, and to offer something useful, interesting, and provocative to the public. To that end, I wanted to give thanks again to everyone who contributed to this project: artists, readers, and encouraging voices. FMC would not have been possible without all y'all. I really hope y'all in particular enjoy the final product. It didn't take long for word of FMC to spread beyond my circles, so I wanted to acknowledge explicitly that FMC might be a 1:1 retroclone of the 1974 manual, but that is ultimately a medium for the message it contains and the questions it poses. It's not without

Fantastic Medieval Campaigns, Out Now!

Some dedicate the second Monday of October to Italian explorer Christopher Columbus who, in 1492, stumbled upon the Americas and initiated the European colonization of that New World. Others mourn the 56 million native lives, about 90 percent of the indigenous population, slaughtered by the European conquerors in the name of God, gold, and glory. This, obviously, has nothing to do with the book I am publishing today. FANTASTIC MEDIEVAL CAMPAIGNS is yet another version of the original 1974 ruleset for fantasy wargaming campaigns, about foolhardy adventurers slaying monsters and extracting treasure from their lairs to establish their own city-states in the uncivilized wilderness. I started working on this project over two years ago, and am relieved to have finally seen it through. The just-about-final version is now available digitally for free on Itch , and in print on Lulu at cost. The latter comes in four varieties: black & white softcover ($11.66), color softcover ($16.21),

Releasing FMC in Two Days


Interfacing Between Different Hex Sizes

I'm really sick. Stuck inside. Bored. If we assume that an adventuring day is like 8 hours, we can interface between four different hex sizes as requiring different binary fractions of the day. Below, 1 league equals 3 miles or 5 kilometers. Terrain 1 league 2 leagues 4 leagues 8 leagues Regular ⅛ day ¼ day ½ day 1 day Difficult ¼ day ½ day 1 day 2 days The length of an exploration turn would equal the time it would take to traverse one regular hex. This means, regardless of scale, difficult terrain has double the movement cost of regular terrain and always requires two turns to traverse. Hourly time-tracking feels kind of appealing to me lately, for some reason, so I want to try using 1-league ( 3 mile ) hexes sometime. At the same time, I don't want to assume I'll always want to use 1-league hexes. Hence the table.

Abstraction & Elision in Trophy

Before I get going, check this: DISCLAIMER The author wrote this article out of her interest in this hobby, and also to synthesize this with her other interests in literary, mathematical, or political theory. Any criticism in this article was written in pursuit of that interest, and it is not intended as ammunition in factional disputes nor as a personal denouncement of the individuals whose work are criticized. The author also has no interest in petty arguments on any topics discussed in this article. Are we good to go? Okay? Okay. Everything I write about is because it interests me, so all I ask is for some empathy and open-mindedness. Thank you! I wanted to dialogue with a blog post by Jared Sinclair, " 'Rules Elide' and its Consequences ", because it's popped up a little in conversations with friends. I've also seen it cited by Noora Rose to criticize Trophy on account of it being too abstract, even as far as to gloss over the fun of a dungeon cra