Two Headed Otterkin Enigma

MiaPiper are one of the oldest and wisest of all Otterkin. Their wisdom has been hard earned by the magical accident that fused their bodies and granted them near-immortality. Over the centuries, they have learned a great many things and could prove a valuable ally or gruesome foe depending on how one treats them.

For Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG.

Based on another cool otter meme.

Two heads are cuter than one.

MiaPiper are one of the oldest and wisest of all Otterkin. Their wisdom has been hard earned by the magical accident that fused their bodies and granted them near-immortality. Over the centuries, they have learned a great many things and could prove a valuable ally or gruesome foe depending on how one treats them.

MiaPiper, Otterkin Enigma

Init +2; MV 15/20
Atk Weapon +4 Staff melee (dmg 1d6+2);
AC 14; HD 4d8 (28 hp); MV 30’;
Act 1d20, 1d14; SV (Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +4); AL N
Spell Check Bonus: +5
SA: Mia (Right head) breathes fire Ref 18, 28 damage or half with save. Line, width 10’, length 3d6 x 10’ Piper (Left head) Hypnotic Gaze. Will 15, On a failed save, target must act as a friend to MiaPiper for one day. Actions that contradict the target’s safety and well-being will break the effect.

Cast spells at a Level 3 Wizard.

Instruments: the Otterkin duo are capable of playing the fiddle (Mia) or Bagpipes (Piper.)

Giant Flying Spiders for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Picture if you will, a spider roughly the size of a horse with a massive skull on its back and wings like a locust. It paralyzes its victims with poison and cocoons them in a husk for later consumption in its lair. This carnivorous magical apex predator is a truly terrifying sight to behold.

Nightmare fuel, to be sure.

(More art to come.)

Picture if you will, a spider roughly the size of a horse with a massive skull on its back and wings like a locust. It paralyzes its victims with poison and cocoons them in a husk for later consumption in its lair. This carnivorous magical apex predator is a truly terrifying sight to behold. Worse yet, these arachnid beasts serve as consorts to the Spider Dragon.


Flying Skull Spider, Giant: Init +2; Atk bite +6 melee (1d8 plus poison)
or web (special); AC 14; HD 3d8; MV 30’ (climb any surface) or Fly 30′; Act 1d20; SP poison (DC 20 Fort save or lose an extra 3d4+4 hit points and 4 Strength temporarily; success results in loss of additional 1d4 hit points only), Web 1x/day (10’ range, DC 14 Ref save or –2 penalty on all actions until freed), stealthy (+10 to attempts to move silently); SV Fort +2, Ref +1, Will -1; AL C.

This creature is the unnatural fusion of demonic magic with an innocent forest arachnid. Afterward, nature took its course and a large clutch of baby monsters was born. Then they grew.

Raclings for Dungeon Crawl Classics

Small in size. Their fur ranges in color from grey to brown. They stand on two legs most of the time. They are adept swimmers and climbers. Their language is a series of clicks, growls, hisses, chitters, and the occasional laugh. Despite their reputation and mask-like markings they are not all thieves.

These adorable humanoid raccoons are fun to be around.

Small in size. Their fur ranges in color from grey to brown. They stand on two legs most of the time. They are adept swimmers and climbers. Their language is a series of clicks, growls, hisses, chitters, and the occasional laugh. Despite their reputation and mask-like markings they are not all thieves.

They are innately curious and highly intelligent. Their keen minds and animal senses are matched only by their dexterity. They do not cope well with captivity!

Raclings: SZ Small, Init +2; Atk dagger +3 melee (1d4+2 or 1d10+2); AC 15; HD1d8+2; MV 20’, Climb 25′, Swim 25′ ; Act 1d20; SV Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +1; AL C.
Abilities-
Infravision: Raclings are primarily nocturnal and can see in the dark up to 30’.
Small size: Raclings range from 2 to 4 feet tall. This small size allows them to crawl into narrow passages and through tiny holes.
Scamper A halfling has a base movement speed of 20’, as opposed to 30’ for humans while on two legs. However, a Racling with nothing in its hands can drop down to all fours and scamper at 30′.
Stealth: Raclings are naturally adept at sneaking around. They gain a +7 bonus to hiding in shadows and sneaking.

And other OSR compatible games.

More to come on these furry little guys. Possibly a full on class. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. Game on!

Photo by anne sch on Pexels.com

New Dungeon Creation for Dungeon Crawl Classics.

After pulling the dragon down and remaking it in her own image, the demon learned of arcane magic and its corrupting influences. She began making minions using crystals from the ground and common spiders and ticks from the surrounding area. Now, a terrifying subterranean structure lies in wait for anyone who unwittingly stumbles into it. Will you survive?

Working title: Warrens of the Arcane Spider Dragon.

Hundreds of years ago, a demon worked its way out of the bowels of hell itself and built a terrifying labyrinthine lair to begin hatching its horrifying minions. But it needed fodder for building its forces. Unfortunately for one dragon, it would lead to horrifying mutations.

After pulling the dragon down and remaking it in her own image, the demon learned of arcane magic and its corrupting influences. She began making minions using crystals from the ground and common spiders and ticks from the surrounding area. Now, a terrifying subterranean structure lies in wait for anyone who unwittingly stumbles into it. Will you survive?

For the Judge:

This dungeon is designed for advanced characters (DCC Levels 6-7 or higher.) There are a variety of challenges over three levels. Some parts of this dungeon will spell certain death for unwitting adventurers. Caution is recommended.

There are multiple points of entry into this dungeon. Depending on where the Player Characters stumble, choose, or get dragged into, it could be the deadliest encounter of the dungeon. However, with great danger comes fantastic magical loot from the dragon’s hoard and everything collected thereafter.

There are multiple levels to this dungeon along with secret passages, trap doors, and various arachnid-based monsters. Feel free to edit anything in this dungeon. It’s in your hands now!

The end boss herself may have actually tunneled away ages ago. The dragon has never hunted during the day for some reason. Is it just a terrifying myth? Maybe the arcane generator burned out and some of the sentries no longer function. The Judge is free to modify or even tone down some of the lethality as they see fit.

For the players:

Rumors and stories have been passed from bar room to tavern table for centuries about a creature so incredibly foul it could have only crawled out of the bowels of Hell itself. There is a dragon with six legs and two arms, a head with 8 eyes and a maw of terrifying mandibles and meat-rending fangs. Its leathery wings propel it through the air at frightening speeds and its webs resist even the sharpest blades.

The rumors may be true. Cattle on the edge of town have been going missing for the past few weeks. Woodsmen and hunters have been missing for days. It’s as if the earth itself swallowed them whole. An unwitting farmer stumbled onto several empty, exsanguinated husks on the edge of his field and now refuses to leave his home.

Lots more to come!

I hope you enjoyed this teaser. I’m working on what is sure to be a huge dungeon, well above and beyond the usual five rooms. This dungeon was loosely inspired by one of the maps on Heroes of the Storm and an episode of Orville. I’ve been wanting to do a larger dungeon for a while now. I think it’s going to be as much fun to run as it was to create.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you! Have a great day. Game on!

7 Demon Chest for DCC RPG

Characters discover a chest that will unleash seven very powerful demons along with untold treasure if opened. What else is in the chest? Are the rumors true? If they find it, will they open it? The renowned Demonologist, Priests, and Monks who captured the demon constructed an elaborate shrine to contain the chest and educate all those who enter about the demons inside. Unfortunately, it reads like a treasure map.

This most cursed chest contains 7 powerful demons concealed away in a temple and believed to be sealed away for all of eternity.

A series of dungeons/mini campaign for Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Monks, priests, and other holy warriors fought and gave their lives to seal these most powerful demons inside this chest. The chest is sealed away in a forgotten shrine, bound in blessed chains and ofuda. Scrolls detailing each demon and how they were first defeated line the walls of the shrine.

There is a rumor that seven items of incredible power are also contained in the chest. Relics used by those who captured the 7 Demons are rumored to be hidden within the shrine. The good news is the relics used by the original captors are present within the shrine. The bad news is the items within the chest accompany the demons when they disappear.

Judge’s Synopsis: Characters discover a chest that will unleash seven very powerful demons along with untold treasure if opened. What else is in the chest? Are the rumors true? If they find it, will they open it? The renowned Demonologist, Priests, and Monks who captured the demon constructed an elaborate shrine to contain the chest and educate all those who enter about the demons inside. Unfortunately, it reads like a treasure map.

The good news is the demons can be returned to the chest with great effort. It will become the quest of those who foolishly open the chest to retrieve all of them. If any adventurer refuses the quests, their existence will be cursed and will ultimately end in woe.

Balor: True name hidden in the shrine. No one dares speak it.
Demo-Dragon. Maybe not the Demodragon, but definitely one of them.
Ghost of Summoner Sorcerer Yamada Daisuke: Servant of the Hidden Lord
Oni Lord Shoko O Futen. (Divine Wind of the Underworld.)
Osyluthe: aka Splintered Demon.
Void Demon: The Ghost in Darkness
Twin-Headed Hariti-Baku. Servant of Sezrekan.

*Judge’s Note: If/when the chest is actually opened, the priests that sealed the demons away used many scrolls and spells to assure the demons all return to their original lairs from which they were captured. Each tale of where they were found except the Ghost of Summoner Sorcerer Yamada Daisuke who is bound within the shrine. He will be the first challenge any group who opens the chest must face. He is also one of the scariest and most powerful outside the shrine.

Some of the names and who they serve have been changed from my original adventure notes to reflect the world of DCC.
This series of adventures was loosely inspired by The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo.

And similar OSR games.

Hex Crawl Advances

Mapping by hand really brings back that Old School feeling.

I took the liberty of rolling up the next ring.

After this, I’m only rolling for the hexes as the party enters them. Should be entertaining. I’ve already rolled one hex from the Paraelemental Plane of Mud, two jungle hexes, and and a random desert hex. Mapping by hand really brings back that Old School feeling.

The Hex Map Round 2
  • (Home) The quiet town of Dunbury Glen and its immediate surroundings before they were flung across time and space.
  • C3 Mountains. Dungeon here.
  • D4 Forest
  • D6 Wasteland. Elementals present.
  • C7 Plains/Grasslands. No roads.
  • B6 Fresh water.
  • B4 Plains/Grasslands.
  • C1 Grassy hills
  • D2 Forest
  • E3 Mud from the Paraelemental Plane of Mud. Elemental Chaos!
  • E5 Eerily cold, some trees, some grass
  • E7 Forest
  • D8 Jungle
  • C9 Grassy Hills
  • B9 Jungle
  • A7 Fresh water.
  • A5 Desert/Sand
  • A3 Jungle
  • B2 Grassy Hills.

So far, the group has explored enough to discover the 6 hexes directly around Dunbury Glen. They have not, however, run into sentient beings or any signs of civilization yet. They made a note of the dungeon in the mountains north of town, but decided to come back later. They are currently working their way Northeast through the forest at D4.

Thank you for stopping by. More fun tomorrow. I appreciate you!

Wayward Chimera

Something large has left a trail of blood and disturbed the ground as it crossed the trail. A little while later, there is a rustling in the brush. It almost sounds as if three animals are nearby together- A lion, a goat, and a dragon. What do you do?

Short Scenario for Dungeon Crawl Classics

This encounter works best is a wooded environment, but can be adapted to most other terrain types. Suitable for Characters Level 2 and up. The Judge will have to create his/her own maps or make use of theatre of the mind.

Read to party: You’ve been hearing commotion in the distance for most of the morning, but the morning’s fog and dense brush make it hard to discern exactly where from other than somewhere up ahead. It sounded as if two great beasts where having at one another. As you travel onward, the noise dies down to the horrible sound of a great wounded beast occasionally yowling from pain off in the distance.

Optional: [Something large has left a trail of blood and disturbed the ground as it crossed the trail. A little while later, there is a rustling in the brush. It almost sounds as if three animals are nearby together- A lion, a goat, and a dragon. What do you do? ]

Behind the Scenes (For the Judge.) Earlier in the day an enraged Manticore and a Chimera engaged in a bloody battle in the sky above the forest. The two creatures came into dispute when the Chimera stole an egg from the Manticore’s nest.

The great beasts tussled in mid-air and the chimera got the worst of it. It is now lurking in the underbrush with a broken, torn wing, foaming at the mouth from a venomous sting, and waiting for an easy kill to try to recover some strength.

Chimera: Init +0; Atk lion bite +5 melee (2d4) or goat gore +4 melee (2d4) or dragon bite +6 melee (1d10+2) or claws +4 melee (1d3) or breathe fire; AC 18; HD 5d8+8 (Currently 24hp) ; MV 30’ or fly 30’; Act 3d20; SP breathe fire 3/day; SV Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +2; AL C.

The chimera is a winged creature with the body and head of a lion, a second head of a goat, and a dragon’s head. It is a flying predator that hunts the lowlands where the livestock it preys upon typically gather. Each round, it has
three attacks, one from each head. The lion head bites, the goat head gores, and the dragon-head can breathe fire 3/day in a cone measuring 90’ x 30’, causing 3d8 damage (DC 15 Ref save for half).

The chimera might wait, hiding out until it can take down a party member separated from the group or possibly one or two of the pack animals, horses, etc if there are any. If the group is too large or too dangerous-looking, it might attempt to limp back to its lair. It will take great care to avoid the manticore. (In which case- skip the second paragraph of the Read Aloud text.)

Meanwhile, the Manticore has gone off in search of its egg. It is only slightly damaged. It has gone to ground to search for the chimera’s nest. There is a 30% chance it will hear any combat the group engages in and come to see if there is an easy meal. It is watching from the not-too-distant treetops to see if the chimera attempts to return to its lair.

Manticore: Init +5; Atk bite +6 melee (1d8) or claw +4 melee (1d3); AC 16; HD 6d8+6 (Currently 41hp); MV 40’, fly 50’; Act 3d20; SP barbed tail; SV Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +6; AL C. The other 50% of manticores have barbed scorpion tails. In combat, they can use an action to lash out with a single tail strike per round at +8 melee (1d10 + poison). The poison requires a DC 16 Fort save or the target loses 1d6 Stamina with each strike.

Additionally, the group may wish to find the Chimera’s lair, a hole in the ground not too far from their current location, surrounded with rocks, sticks and assorted offal. A careful search will reveal a +1 shortsword, a potion of Strength, and a torn suit of +1 chainmail.

The manticore’s egg is also lying in a heap of bloodied rags and grass. It is undamaged. The manticore will continue looking as long as she is able.

Usable with other OSR games.

Please enjoy this short scenario. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it.

A Short Scenario for DCC RPG

Sir Ernest will answer a few questions and explain that his men once unearthed an ancient mound containing a very old demon and managed to seal it way before it could get loose upon the world. However, it cost him his kingdom and his fortune to build the crypts and the doors to seal the cave. As they sealed the demon away, it spat one last curse upon him- the curse of un-life.

A side trek adventure for 4th Level characters


The group has accidentally stumbled into a long forgotten burial vault.What mysteries lay within? What treasure might they find? What’s buried down here?
Quest: Explore the ruins.
Quest: Prevent the demon from escaping.
Follow-Up Quest: What ever happened to Bertrus the servant?

In their travels through uncharted lands, the group discovers a semi-circle of stones in the brush leading to a cave in the side of a huge hill. On each side of the entrance to the cave is what appears to be an old mausoleum.

The one on the right has caved in and appears to be in a state of ruin. The door fell off years ago and dirt, brush and fallen chunks of the mausoleum show what is clearly a burial vault in the center. The lid appears to be intact.

The one on the left is slightly larger and appears to be in almost perfect condition. The door appears to be made of black stone. It has a single bronze ring and a key hole beneath it. If checked, the entire mausoleum radiates faintly of magic.

The cave entrance is sealed by years of dirt, brush and debris. A pair of stone doors similar to the ones on the mausoleum solidly rest locked in the path. Whoever or whatever built these doors clearly didn’t want anyone getting in or perhaps something getting out?

1-1 The Clearing:

The clearing itself is home to 3 magically mutated wild boars. It is clear some sort of death magic permeates this area as they appear to be gaunt, almost un-dead.

3 Ghoul Boars: Init +1; Atk bite +3 melee (1d4 plus paralyzation) or charge +3 melee (1d4) See DCC Pg 96 for details; AC 12; HD 2d6; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP un-dead traits, paralyzation, infravision 100’; SV Fort +1, Ref +0, Will +0; AL C.

1-2 The Empty Crypt

The ceiling on this small, 15′ x 15′ stone crypt has long since succumbed to wind and weather. The door on this one and the very structure itself seemed to have been made from a different stone that the one still standing. Some investigation reveals a tombstone that says, “Here lies Bertrus, loyal unto death.” The casket is empty.

However, Bertrus concealed a small chest underneath his casket in a small chest. Inside the chest are some Cleric’s robes, prayer beads, and a holy symbol. There is also a book that contains ancient rites allowing one to seal doors to prevent evil from escaping. IF the group finds the book, they may make a DC 18 check to decipher the script for a proper incantation.

The book is called the Libris Daemonicum. It also talks about summoning rituals, but no banishment spell. It also details the confinement of demons and how to seal doors to prevent their escape. The book is written in an ancient elder language and will be very difficult to decipher.

The small chest is in a precarious position under the casket in the caved-in mausoleum. If the characters make too much noise or movement, the remaining bits of ceiling and casket might crumble and fall in on the chest.
Characters inside the crumbling mausoleum must make a REF Save or take 2d8 damage from crumbling debris.

1-3 The Sturdy Crypt.

This 20’x20′ stone crypt is locked with a solid obsidian door, sealed and locked. A Knock Spell can open it as a magically sealed door. A rogue may attempt to open the lock normally, at the risk of incurring a curse.

Inside the crypt is a sealed casket. If the characters disturb the lid, they will face Sir Marlin Hildebrandt. Please note he is wearing his +1 Half Plate and carrying his +1 sword. He will fight valiantly until destroyed and then rise as a Lawful Ghost.

Sir Ernest Hildebrandt, the Mummified Knight: Init +1; Atk choke +5 melee (1d4 / 2d4 / 3d4 /etc.) or +1 Longsword +4 melee (1d8+3); AC 17 (+19 with +1 Shield); HD 8d12+8; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP damage reduction 5, mummy rot, vulnerable to fire, un-dead traits; SV Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +10; AL C.

Sir Ernest’s Ghost: Init +2; Atk special (see below); AC 10; HD 2d12;
MV fly 40’; Act 1d20; SP un-dead traits, immune to non magical weapons, 1d4 special abilities; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +6; AL L. He will be grateful to have finally be free from the centuries old curse. He bears no ill will upon the party. He can grant a Boon of a +2 Dagger of demon slaying. upon a character he deems worthy. He was also buried with a small chest of 150 gold and a Cloak of Comfort. A Bowl of Porridge Conjuring, and A Ring of +2 Diplomacy 2x/Day

Sir Ernest will answer a few questions and explain that his men once unearthed an ancient mound containing a very old demon and managed to seal it way before it could get loose upon the world. However, it cost him his kingdom and his fortune to build the crypts and the doors to seal the cave. As they sealed the demon away, it spat one last curse upon him- the curse of un-life.

Bertrus, his valet and most faithful companion, was supposed to lock himself into his own crypt after Sir Ernest’s passing. He doesn’t know what actually happened since being sealed in his own tomb. It is possible Bertrus ran off in which case he could still be roaming the land as an un-dead.

Sir Ernest thanks the group and departs for the afterlife.

1-3 The Burial Mound.

The doors embedded in the side of the hill are solidly bricked in by whatever stone was used in the mausoleums’ construction. The doors are the same unearthly obsidian material and the locks require a Knock spell or a DC 20 lockpicking attempt. Even if the mundane locks are opened, a STR check DC 20 or found the book Bertrus stashed under his casket.

Torches line the walls of this deep cave. Two braziers filled with thick oil sit in the center on each side of a sacrificial altar. The air smells of moisture and decay. The ceiling is about 16-20′ high and covered in stalactites. Faintly glowing symbols surround the altar in a summoning circle. It is clear at a glance whatever ancient rituals took place here were for evil purposes. Small piles of bones litter the floor outside of the circle. It is clear several humanoids perished while worshipping something in the cave.

1-4 The Pit.

Farther into the room is a deep pit. It’s deep enough that something with wings would have no trouble escaping, but adventurers going down into the pit would need to tie multiple ropes together to safely reach the bottom. Around the pit are some markings similar to the ones around the circle with the glowing runes. Observant characters will also notice a circle of thick salt around the pit. IF one of the characters (accidentally) breaks the circle, the demon will be free.

The Pit Fiend– Type II Demon: Init +2; Atk: Claw +10 melee (1d8+3) crit 19-20 Rod +10 melee (1d6+3) and Paralysis ; AC 18; HD 8d8; MV 30’ Fly 40′; Act 1d20; Immunities: Immune to non-magical weapons or natural attacks from creatures of 3 HD or less; half damage from fire, acid, cold, electricity, gas. SV Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +4; AL C.

Anyone hit by the Rod must make a Fort Save or be paralyzed for 1d4 rounds.
The Fiend may expend an action to raise 1d10 Skeletons 3 times per day. The Rod is rendered inert if the Fiend is killed.

Skeleton: Init +0; Atk claw +0 melee (1d3) or by weapon +0 melee; AC 9; HD 1d6; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP un-dead, half damage from piercing and slashing weapons; SV Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +0; AL C.

1-5 The Treasure Alcove.

The cultists left tributes near the pit in a small alcove just inside the salt circle. There is a pile of 78 gold coins around a small chest. Inside the locked chest is a +1 Shortsword, a +1 AC Ring of Withered Healing that restores up to 1d8 hit points per day but drains 1 Permanent Stamina each time used (If a character dies from this Stamina drain, they become Un-dead and under the control of the Judge.) a +1 Cloak that grants an additional +1 magical bonus to Hide in Shadows and Sneak Silently checks. and a Circlet that grants +1 AC if no other headgear is worn and makes the wearer invisible to Un-Dead.

Suitable for use with OSR games.

Doing What I’m Passionate About.

I still love Role Playing Games wholeheartedly. I love writing. I like money, but we’re still working on that part. But a friend reminded me once that joy is a way bigger priority than money.

When last we left our hero…

July 19th was kind of a rough day. The day before was challenging because I went round with Imposter Syndrome yet again. I’ve had a bit of time to process. I’ve also had a TON of loving input from friends and and a certain amazing mentor.

Also, a huge shout-out to Space Freighter One on Twitter. He’s been encouraging the heck out of me before I’m even awake most days. I think it’s the benefit of being a sentient starship. Thanks!

Thanks always to Laura DiBenedetto as well. Without The Six Habits, I probably would have lost my marbles completely during the year that was 2020. Thanks for keeping me sane and reminding us it is possible to find joy. Laura on LinkedIn. If you ever need a Life Coach or just a good friend who’s unafraid to give you a swift but caring kick in the butt when needed.

Laura jumped right in with all kinds of suggestions and helpful ideas. I keep forgetting to mention, I own my failures. My successes I owe largely to The Six Habits and lots or great advice from its author.

I still love Role Playing Games wholeheartedly. I love writing. I like money, but we’re still working on that part. But a friend reminded me that joy is a way bigger priority than money. That feeling of being in my own zone every day is worth a million dollars and then some.

I knew it would be less than a day before I became inspired again.

Laura responded to both of my prior posts that went to LinkedIn.com. This amazing, talented, CEO with God-knows-how-much going on took time out to respond to my posts. Knock me over with a feather. Holy crap.

I watch a lot of YouTube when I’m not doing anything else. Or at least listening to podcasts while I’m in the shower. I shave my head while listening to Russell Brand talk about how messed up the world is or my friend @jedion357 talking about Star Frontiers and old D&D. Tom’s YouTube Channels are Table Top Taproom and Star Frontiers Gamer.

The thing I admire most about Laura, Russell Brand and Tom (aka Jedion) is their passion for what they do. Admittedly, Brand has something akin to 5.7 million followers. Tom has maybe 135 total? But regardless of follower count both of these talented and passionate individuals put out phenomenal content almost every day.

Tom is especially passionate about Star Frontiers and just listening to him talk about the game makes me want to run it. He’s been into the game a very long time and I admire his dedication to what is definitely considered part of the Old School Rules family. If he can stand so firmly behind this older game, I can certainly write about/run/play Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Let’s talk about Old School Rules.

Disclaimer: I want to clarify this is not about a specific product, but a category of RPG products. OSR and OSRIC are a line of RPGs that closely mimic rules of original fantasy and other games from the 1970’s, 1980’s and early 1990’s. Dungeons & Dragons is the main focus of many of these games, but not the only one.

My goal in life is not to refresh the infamous Edition Wars of D&D past. Some of us are very passionate about games gone by. Whether it’s Basic, B/X, White Box, 1st Ed AD&D, Star Frontiers, Gamma World, or even something slightly more obscure- you can still find a solid fan base for it somewhere on the Internet.

The #RPGTwitter sphere covers all sectors of the RPG spectrum from OSR to 5E, and more Indie designers that ever. Unfortunately, a lot of the OG, Old Grognard, bitterly jaded, spiteful OSR crowd lurk all over social media. On any given day it depends on who you run into as to the reaction you might get. Some of us are pretty darn friendly.

Huzzah!

I’d run AD&D 1E or Basic from the Rules Cyclopedia tomorrow IF I had players and those players had a copy of the rules. Obviously a fresh 5E PHB is much easier to pick up. But, Dungeon Crawl Classics is firmly rooted in the OSR tradition and it is widely available.

I’d love more opportunities to run DCC. The potential for unexplored territory and old school huzzah! moments is great. But, I ran into my fears of imposter syndrome at the sheer amount of material that exists for this game already. Goodman has been going at it steadily since the 1990’s. Third Party publishers who came over from D&D 3rd Ed or Pathfinder 1E have been putting out their own material almost as long. How can anyone compete?

Competition.

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

This is also why I’m not trying to cash in on the D&D 5E market. Yeah, it’s hot right now. But that’s also why some third party publishers are selling at $.99 or less. Many times it’s Pay What You Wish. Or even free. I can do free here on my blog. Easy.

I firmly believe there is still plenty of untapped potential in DCC and OSR in general, really. Sure, there’s plenty of well-trodden territory out there. But, I think I have some things that maybe haven’t been done as much in mind.

There’s a well known Law of Attraction saying, “There’s no such thing as competition.” I’m a fan of the saying, “There’s plenty of room for everyone.” Quips aside, I believe it’s possible to still create even in a crowded market as long as I’m having fun. The goal becomes having fun. Money is a very welcome side effect.

With that having been said, I’m going to keep making DCC stuff here on my blog for sure.

Love you, Family!

I’m going to stop looking at other third party publishers’ material, though. Just because someone else has done a thing, doesn’t mean I can’t do it differently or maybe better. Right now I just want to have fun with it and strive for personal growth.

Would I like to be the next Gygax or Arneson? Yes and no. Popular to the point of other writers and game designers quoting me regularly- heck yeah! Would I like to be dragging around some serious ethical and philosophical baggage long after I’m dead? Aw hell naw!

Update: New avenues of discovery.

After conferring with some very wise people, I’m going to start looking at >gasp!< non-TTRPG work again. Like it or not, my skill set does apply to more that one occupation. Now if I can stave off sheer terror and existential anxiety, I’ll be fine. Keep on keepin on til then.

Thank you for being here on my journey. I’m staving off the imposter syndrome again. Folks like Laura, Russell Brand and Tom have inspired me to keep going. I am grateful to all of you every day.

Does OSR Create Imposter Syndrome?

I mean, nothing new here, right? The RPG industry isn’t the first to run into this particular dilemma. How many truly original plots are there for movies, TV shows, YouTube podcasts, video games, comic books, and cartoons can there possibly be? The RPG industry is just one of the fresher faces on the block compared to other print media, radio, movies and TV.

Man, I thought this was going to be a gaming article.

Looking at the many various websites that have converted the old D&D material into Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC.) I was looking for old D&D modules from B/X and AD&D 1E that had been converted to DCC. I was also on my side quest for OA material that had been converted to Old School Rules. Turns out there’s a LOT of stuff out there. Like, a shockingly large amount out there.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m just wondering what am I even doing here any more? OSR already felt a bit like we were reinventing the wheel. Now it’s more like I’m trying to reverse engineer a Lamborghini. It’s like I’m way in over my head AND it’s all been done before only better. I feel like I showed up late for the game, in the wrong season, for the wrong team, not even the same sport.

I get that the definition of “retro clone” means it has been done before.

Photo by Rodrigo Chaves on Pexels.com

But, I was really digging DCC RPG anyway. I still do. I will probably even put some stuff up on the site here. But getting paid for it?

I feel like I’m barking up the wrong tree, in the dark, in the neighbor’s yard, three blocks over, and I’m a canary. Imposter syndrome? This is like a whole freaking plague of imposterism. Imposterishness? Imposteritis? Imposterior?

The idea was simple at first. Find a game I like. Find an OGL I can work with. Create material. Put material up for sale. Advertise and promote the material. Get paid, even if it’s a pittance in credit on DriveThruRPG. I mean, I can still do all of that, I guess.

I don’t remember the part where I discover new information, and then mentally trip, fall, stumble, and hit my head on the wall repeatedly.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Pexels.com

I mean, nothing new here, right? The RPG industry isn’t the first to run into this particular dilemma. How many truly original plots are there for movies, TV shows, YouTube podcasts, video games, comic books, and cartoons can there possibly be? The RPG industry is just one of the fresher faces on the block compared to other print media, radio, movies and TV.

There are probably over 100 different fantasy RPGs alone. Sci-Fi RPGs, Supers, Cyberpunk and Post Apocalyptic games are not far behind. I really feel sorry for folks operating in the Horror genre in any medium, much less RPGs. (Horror- literally competing with campfire stories in verbal tradition since man began creating stories. Yeesh.)

Retro RPGs are not entirely new, either. GURPS and Mythras are two examples of games born from much older roleplaying engines. GURPS isn’t new, either. The RPG industry is chock full of examples of people taking older games and repurposing/rebranding them to make money for themselves. D&D itself was an outgrowth of the miniatures wargaming hobby.

Disclaimer: I want to clarify this is not about a specific product, but a category of RPG products. OSR and OSRIC are a line of RPGs that closely mimic rules of original fantasy and other games from the 1970’s, 1980’s and early 1990’s. Dungeons & Dragons is the main focus of many of these games, but not the only one.

So, why am I here, exactly?

I’ll be in a better mood later.

The whole thing makes me wonder what do I have to offer? Like, at all? Should I go back to mopping floors or pumping coffee? (My back can’t really handle either, but sometimes I speculate. ) I’ve been at this for almost a year now. The self doubt has gone from creeping in to a flash flood. I just don’t know right now.

I’ve been posting daily to this blog in one form or another for almost six months solid. I’m not making a ton of money off of it. (Read: none whatsoever, much to the chagrin of my missus.)

Do I stop writing material for RPGs and about them? Do I just go back to running a game or two on the weekend for a few close friends and family members? It’s frustrating, it’s uncomfortable, and it likely means positive growth is coming in some way, shape or form.

Tonight, I’m upset. Tomorrow, I’ll meditate and be in a better mood. My inspiration will return. It’s just a small setback.

Back to the original question.

Why do we have OSR, anyway? I mean, I know a lot of well-meaning Old Grognards have a hard time accepting new editions of D&D. Okay. Back when reprints weren’t as commonly available, I can see that. But now? I own originals, reprints, pdf printouts, and digital copies of lots of old rulebooks. I also have a ton of bookmarks to sites that still rock the old game.

So, why is OSR a thing? It’s much the same idea as a throwback basketball jersey or reproduction Air Jordans. The idea is to take an old concept or product and alter it slightly and sell it for money. In RPG terms, same old rules, same old game, new title, art, and trade dress.

Where does the creative license come in?

Where’s the creative freedom in copying/rewriting the same old rules and slapping a new coat of paint on it? People like classic cars, too. I’d drive a rebuilt 1984 IROC-Z if I could. BUT… I wouldn’t be able to haul my family in it. In RPG terms, many of us run a current system/ruleset because it’s more widely available, popular and accessible to find a game.

If I walk into a FLGS on a Saturday and say, “Who wants to play in my 5E game?” I’m far more likely to get some takers than if I walk in and ask, “Who wants to play Tunnels & Trolls?” Many times, old fashioned bulletin boards or online groups/apps will help someone find a game for a specialized RPG such as Lancer. Likewise, it’s easy to walk into a club meeting full of Old Grognards and find a AD&D 1E game, Castles & Crusades, or White Box Swords & Wizardry, because those guys probably won’t need any explanation.

Why do I love DCC so darn much?

I chose that particular retro clone of D&D because it’s flexible, reminds me of multiple editions, and is a lot of fun to run. There’s nostalgia, cool dice, and lots of fun charts for everything/anything. It’s like Warhammer Fantasy and Rolemaster had a love child.

I love DCC because I can (re)create classes and concepts that I used to love. I can pump out new and different monsters or port them over from other games, D&D editions, etc. I own a sickening number of old monster books, especially from D&D 3rd Ed. They happen to work very well with DCC/MCC. So does Gamma World, strangely enough.

I’ll admit, I also have a strong sense of nostalgia and that’s present in DCC more than other games. I would still run Basic D&D per the Rules Cyclopedia if I didn’t have to come up with 5 copies of the game to distribute to my players. DCC is relatively cheap and easy to find, so is D&D 5E. Either works. One is easier to explain thanks to Critical Role.

The “Old Grognard Effect” does more damage to new players than Matt Mercer ever could.

Old Grognards of the world, OG roleplayers of the world, hear me please. There is a very ugly tendency amongst older gamers to exclude or act as gatekeepers to the hobby. The ugly act of discrimination affects the gaming table the same as anything else. Simply put- please treat people with kindness and understanding?

I hear a lot of stories about OGs gaming in public. Why do you go play at a game store with the same old group and the same old game if you’re not going to let other people join or even watch? Go hang out in the DM’s mom’s basement for five hours and continue to ignore the new players entirely.

Part of the appeal of D&D 5E is its current popularity. Please, let them learn about the “good old days” elsewhere after they’ve had a few sessions under their belts. Keeping new folx excluded from the hobby is ultimately self-destructive toward the hobby and industry. Please, don’t do it. Gatekeeping is unnecessary and kinda stupid.

The homebrew factor.

People have been hacking the rules and creating their own material for games since the dawn of D&D. B/X and AD&D 1E were a glorious and wonderful proving ground for funky new game mechanics, previously unseen or unheard-of monsters, and freakishly cool magic items. Some of us feel like D&D 5E is tied very heavily to the rules, even when they’re broken and dysfunctional.

We never needed a “Rule of cool” back then because all you ever needed was DM approval. It was the DM’s table, his rules. (I use male pronouns because unfortunately ladies were rare in the hobby back then.) Likewise, DMs could cook up some new, weird idea for a class, spell, magic item, or monster they could run it. If it flopped, it could be gone the next week or revised.

Heck, back then we didn’t have “Based on X Edition” mechanics. If someone built a game based on D&D, but set entirely in space? It was a “NEW” game. Most designers had the sense to rename the attributes, classes, abilities, magic and add spiffy rayguns. They wouldn’t rip the game off directly, but they could definitely steal concepts to make money. Sounds like what OSR games do. Hmmm….

Plenty more to discuss next time. Thanks for letting me rant. Feeling better now. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you.

%d bloggers like this: