Mar 31, 2017

New Favorite OSR Blog

Old School FRP pretty much just posts art from the early 80's and 70's related to fantasy roleplaying games. Also along with interesting trivia and bits of comparative images to source the inspiration for some of the art.

In particular I like this post about David C. Sutherland III's Iron Golem illustration from the original Monster Manual and how it resembles the statue from Ray Harryhausen's animation from Jason and the Argonauts, 1963.

Mar 30, 2017

Monster Manual Unwrapped

Here is a scan of the original Monster Manual fully unwrapped. I never noticed the giant spider in the tree before until I saw this. I've been searching for a higher resolution version of this image, but this was the best I could locate.

And a scan of the printed cover.

Mar 28, 2017

D&D is more fun to play than to watch

Even Vin Diesel, one of the coolest guys on the planet, can't make a D&D session uncool. I still enjoyed this, but was keenly aware of how completely nerdy I must look playing the game.

Mar 23, 2017

Beastie: Watery Death

I've been so busy finalizing Raiders! and Freebooters as well as promoting those books that I've missed making a Beastie of the Week post for a while. Wait no longer! Here is a horrific monster to befuddle heroes who would dare enter the dark damp realms this creature awaits them in.

Watery Death
Enchanted Trap
HD 4
AC 18
Atk ML 1d6 +1d4 per round
Save 13
Move 0
CL/XP 6/400
Special: entangle, paralyze

Stagnant water left in the dark too long in the presence of evil and black magic can become enchanted and give birth to a watery death.

This tentacled aquatic horror lurks just under the stagnant pool. It has scales that shimmer and look like pieces of gold which it uses to lure adventurers to it.

When players see the dark, oily, eerily still water they can make an attempt to detect the horrors that lurk underneath, but it is extremely hard to see; only a 1 in 10 chance. If they fail to detect the watery death the beast will have the initiative and catch the characters by surprise. And those who fail to detect the watery death must make a save at -2 or they will notice what appear to be gold coins under the water and will be lured to move into the water and attempt to collect the coins. Once they are within striking distance the watery death lashes out with its paralyzing tentacles and entraps the victim. On a hit the target must Save or be paralyzed for 1-4 rounds. While paralyzed they are helpless as they are pulled under the murky water where they will drown in 2-8 rounds if they do not break free and get air. Breaking free from entanglement requires a save vs. strength.

Mar 21, 2017

Raiders! Organizations - Rules that almost made it in

There were quite a few rules ideas I dabbled with that didn't quite make it into Raiders! through play testing, final writing, and editing. At one point I wanted to have each character beholden to a larger organization, like how our favorite archeologist taught at a University which helped to fund his adventures. At some point I realized it took too much autonomy from the players and also was covered well enough in the backgrounds section for the kind of game play that Raiders! encourages.

If you're curious though, here was the initial write up for Organizations. Not much detail here and it would need a lot more fleshing out to be a real game system. Still, I think it has some intriguing potentials and in the right gaming group could work out well.


Each character may choose one organization that sponsors their adventurous activities. This organization will provide funding, support, and information that may help during the adventure. But they must also abide by the demands and restrictions of that organization. A player who chooses no allegiance is a free agent, but will not benefit, or may even be hindered, by these organizations when their activities conflict with the agency's goals.

  • A Secret Society, consult with the GM
  • A Museum
  • A University
  • A Government

Raiders! of the Lost Artifacts available now at DriveThru RPG and Lulu

Mar 18, 2017

Star Trek: Red Shirts

The new Star Trek television series was in the news, and I'm mildly curious. I may have gotten Star Trekked out like a lot of people did when Star Trek Enterprise was on the air. However, it made me think of my pitch for a new Star Trek series that I think would be really fresh and work with a modern audience.

The show is centered around the peons working in the engineering section of a Federation starship making the impossible demands of the captain and the head of engineering possible. Imagine a tone like the IT crowd or Office Space. You have your incompetent boss who grovels to the head of engineering and always agrees to his ridiculous repair time estimates. The rest of the cast is filled out with a jokester, a nerd, a hottie, and so on. Casting is critical to get that right mix of chemistry, which is true of any show. The idea is to hit that right tone of humor and seriousness, not to totally make fun of Star Trek, but to have fun with it.

Every episode a couple of them get called on an away mission with the captain. They don't return.

This may seem like a joke post, but I'm not even joking. I think it'd be great.

Mar 14, 2017

Remember Fractured Dimensions?

I was following the blog of Fractured Dimensions for some time, then they stopped posting. I stumbled across their page today and see that they have made several new minis - fantastic looking old-school minis.

Has anyone purchased any of these? If so, how are they in person? The photos look pretty good.

2 Lulu codes are currently active!

Got a great tip that 2 Lulu codes are currently active! A great time to pick up the new Raiders and Freebooters RPGs. :)

MARMAIL - Free shipping
SAVENOW30 - 30% off all print books

Mar 12, 2017

Warriors of the Red Planet BUNDLE

I've put together my first Bundle package on DriveThruRPG.

Includes Warriors of the Red Planet RPG, and the Sword & Planet style adventure: Mechanized Men of Mars. Both PDF and print editions. Original retail price was: $31.97, the bundle is only $23.53

It's a great deal at 21% off the original prices!

Also, when I eventually get around to putting up some Character Sheets and other GM resources the bundle will be updated, and you'll get those PDF extras for no additional charge.

Mar 10, 2017

Freebooters and Raiders! PDFs arrrr available on DriveThruRPG

The PDF version of Freebooters and Raiders! are available now on DriveThruRPG. The Print + PDF combos are still in the works as the printer has to approve the print versions of each file.

Drawings Inspired by Old-School DND

Now that Freebooters and Raiders! are in the bag, what's next for Night Owl Workshop?

A project idea I mentioned last year a "sketchbook" filled with drawings with original edition stats that could be used as a reference book at the gaming table is in the works. Here is a preview of the cover:

It took me a while to figure out the right format for it, then when I was at a convention someone made a comment to me when they flipped through a  Book of Drawings I was selling they said "if these drawings had stats on them I could use in my game I'd buy it." And it struck me exactly how the project should look and feel. It is going to be an eclectic menagerie of stuff that will be useful for a variety of gaming styles and campaigns. The closest analogy is probably the OSR fanzines like Wormskin or Knockspell, but even more varied with some sci-fi and sword & planet action in there. At any rate, I am deep into writing the descriptions and working out the stats for weird creatures, martian princesses, pirates, space ships, and the undead!

Update: I've put this project on the back burner and set it for slow simmer. It turned out to be more time intensive than expected as well as a challenge to write. I don't know if I'll ever finish it, but as ideas come to me I may write them down and complete this book.

Mar 9, 2017

Common Ground: A Frontier Fantasy Story

Deadlands is one of my favorite RPG's of all time. I haven't gotten to play it as much as I like, but I have enjoyed reading the books. The wild west is far enough in the past now that it is mythologized, and the idea of introducing fantasy tropes, like magic, monsters, and undead, kind of works. One of the project ideas I'd been batting around in my head was a fantasy frontier western setting, sort of Tolkienizing the old west with fantasy races, creatures, and magic. It was tentatively called Lords of the West, with despotic warlords controlling regions, and various factions vying for precious resources.

Then I saw Ryan Pancoast was developing a much more interesting version of the idea. He's written and illustrated a book that looks fantastic called Common Ground: A Frontier Fantasy Story. I've backed it on Kickstarter, and if it looks cool to you, you should to.

Raiders! Available for online sales

At last, got the edits completed, exported the files and got them all loaded up on Lulu! This is the most ambitious Original Edition RPG yet, absolutely packed with information. Yet, still light and easy to play.

You can join the Raiders! community and tell us what you think and how your adventures are going.

Mar 8, 2017

700-year-old Knight's Templar Giant Cave Found

It's like an adventure straight out of Raiders!
The cave, beneath a farmer's field in Shropshire, was used by the medieval religious order that fought in the Crusades
What kind of hidden treasures might be found there? Deadly traps? Some mighty holy artifact best left alone?

Mar 1, 2017

Freebooters is now available!

Edits are completed, all the layout is done, and the book is now available on Lulu. It will be about another week or so before I get it on DriveThruRPG, but I'm working on it (that's when the PDF will be available too).