Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day, lubbers.
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Saturday, September 18, 2021
I remember this fanzine coming out a few years ago and I was super impressed by the great cover art by Matthew Ray. It's nice to see this collection includes all of Matthew's covers plus a new one for the main book cover.
I didn't pick this zine up or read it before now. I MIGHT have it in PDF and just never got around to looking at it?
Anyway, it's a very nice looking book. The cover is hard and heavy and the whole book feels weighty and substantial in your hand. This is probably because the paper stock is decent and it's on glossy paper... kind of like a glossy magazine but heavier.
The binding is glue, so that's a downside. I feel like some of these pages are eventually going to come loose. Plus it means the book doesn't lay open. It wants to close when you open it up. Not a huge downside - I'm just spoiled by all these mega deluxe boutique hardbacks I've seen over the years. Still, even really nice, solid hardbacks don't always lay open flat. Old School Essentials Rules Tome is very nice and sewn-bound but it won't lay open, generally.
The title on the spine is not aligned so it's hovering close to the bottom edge. I suspect either a mistake in layout of in printing. Of course, duh. But it's really not a big deal unless you are super OCD about that stuff. Which is fine.
The layout is uber-basic and Thom Wilson, the publisher and author, uses the classic B/X Souvenir font (or perhaps Soutane, a similar knock-off?). This two-column look is immediately nostalgic. I do like that quite a bit in a "let's watch Andy Griffith" sort of way. But the full justification of the paragraphs is a bit jarring - not much use of kearning or adjusting the space between words. A bit awkward, which is kind of lovely in fact. I'm kind of a fan.
I also noticed some typos and other errors. I see that a lot in small press books. Again... I'm not going rag on that. These are labors of love and I am here for it. Editors and layout geeks may cringe but if they love old school gaming and small press publishing they also gotta smile.
Of course none of that matters if the content is no good. In this case that's not a problem. Again, if you're into old school RPGs and B/X D&D in particular, this is a tasty dish of yummy. Each of these short 10 issues is chock full of adventures, monsters, NPCs, magic items, spells, maps! And an interview in each issue with some old guard of the hobby.
And it is a zine. Like... proper zine. It has ads and want ads and product spotlights.
Here's my takeaway: If you like B/X D&D, you will enjoy this book and you will get some use out of it. There are plenty of little adventures to run in here and lots of simple new magic stuff to play with. If you like small press TTRPG books you will dig this. It's got a lot of cool bits.
So don't let any of my criticisms of the physical book or layout deter you. I do kind of adore this book. I honestly wouldn't want it to be any other way! This is in my wheelhouse.
Monday, September 6, 2021
Sunday, August 29, 2021
|Even the back cover is rad.|
Cool as these things were, they pale by comparison to some of today's slick productions. I'm not talking about large publishers here, either. I don't even know what is happening with the bigger RPG publishers these days. But in the DIY scene (OSR, Sword Dream, story games, whatever) there are books being produced that are jaw-dropping in their beauty and scope. Some of these productions are so wild, so artistic, so delicious they may even go too god damn far. I dunno. YMMV. I like 'em, but I don't aspire to them.
example. It's 48 pages long and presents a robust romp of a setting you can play on its own or as part of some other campaign. This one is system neutral so you can apply your flavor of RPG rules to it. But if you're not into that, don't let it deter you. This book contains lumberjack stuff, cool new gear, poison plants, familiars, squirrels, and sasquatches. It's delicious.
|"Conan is the damnedest bastard"|
I stumbled upon something buried deep in my file folders, lost and forgotten. Perhaps for good reason. Who knows?
This is a link to a file on Drive. It is a file created in Mod Plug Tracker, I believe. It's a music file. You can play it in WinAmp, for example.
It's a mix of Vincent D'Onofrio talking about Conan the Barbarian from the movie The Whole Wide World with some ambient drums and sounds I mixed in.
The file extension is ".it", which I think was for some tracker software from the early 2000s. I have no idea if the tracking scene is still a thing or not. I got into it in 2000ish and made a dozen or so tracks. This one and another called Mandarin Slice were my crown jewels, such as they are. I can't locate Mandarin so it is probably lost to the void. Possibly for the better.
Saturday, August 28, 2021
Thursday, August 26, 2021
Old school Magic-Users have a tough row to hoe at low levels. The payoff is that when they gain higher levels nobody can fuck with them.