Dec 31, 2019

Pine Treant

Treant, Pine (Coniferous)
Giant (28’ tall) humanoids that look like pine trees and live in subarctic forests. They are concerned only with protecting the plants of their home. They speak their own long-winded and labyrinthine language. Far taller and more powerful than their warmer, southern cousins, a Pine Treant is a cantankerous secretive creature. They spend most of their time hibernating in the cold, but if stirred by fire become enraged and dangerous. They will chuck their unusually large and spiky pine cones at enemies.

AC 14, HD 10 (48hp), Att 2 × fist (2d6), Ranged Att 2 x pine cone (1d8) BAB +6, MV 60’ (20’), SV 12, ML 9, AL Neutral, CL/XP: 6/1200

  • Surprise: On a 1-3, in a forest, due to being mistaken for a tree. Encounter occurs at 30 yards or less.
  • Animate trees: Each individual can animate 2 trees (within 60’; may switch trees at will). These fight as treants with movement rate 30’ (10’).
  • Immune to cold.

Dec 1, 2019

Complete Original Dungeons and Dragons set for sale including Chainmail

Alright, I know I'm pushing a lot of stuff to sell lately, and it's Christmas time so you are being bombarded. My wife had me clean up the home office and I'm using the classic "Keep, Sell, Toss" method. So, lots of great old gaming stuff going up on ebay. A great present for that gamer in your life! (or yourself)

I'm selling my original white box set and all the expansion books for it. Chainmail through Swords & Spells. They are all in very good condition, with Chainmail having the most wear because it's been played a lot, it's still pretty good.

Original 1974 White Box Dungeons and Dragons Set




Eldritch Wizardry

Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes

Swords & Spells

Nov 29, 2019

Colonial Troopers: Knight Hawks Starship Combat Print Edition

A tad late with this one, but Knight Hawks has been set to Available for General Audience on Lulu. There is a Black Friday 25% sale going on today so you can get it for a good price. You can see a preview of what the book looks like inside here.

Nov 25, 2019

The DUNE RPG for Sale

I'm selling my near mint copy of the DUNE ROLEPLAYING GAME. Yes, the one and only super rare hard to find official Dune RPG.

With the new Dune movie well into production I pulled this book out of storage to reread it. It is a really well done book for it's day. Gorgeous art and layout. Well written. The ICON system by Last Unicorn Games was well designed. My gaming group played a lot of their Star Trek RPG, but we never got a Dune game going. So I only got to read it and imagine how fun it would be to play.

It is a great relic for any Dune fan, and rarely comes up for auction. If you are interested check it out:

It sold for US $162.50
There were 402 page views. 10 watchers. 15 bids.

Blog Roll

Some blogs I've been reading this week. These come via a dive into J. Eric Holmes epic Blue Book Basic D&D the first and original "retro-clone". This week's adventure started with watching Capt. Corajus' RPG Retro Review of Tower of Zenopus, which led me to hunting down map revisions of the Tower and wandered across several excellent blogs. These aren't all necessarily focused on Holmes' Basic, they just happened to be what I stumbled across.

And of course the boss daddy of Holmes' Basic:

Nov 20, 2019

Bionic Blade

Bionic Blade
Lara Parsifal Sierra
Human Gadgeteer
Level: 5
HP: 50
EP: 7
AC: 17
DR: 8
Str: 25 Dex: 19 Con: 17
Int: 18 Wis: 14 Chr: 14
Class Abilities: Repair 1d8 per turn
Gifts: Hacker
Powers: Armored, Constitution, Super Striker, Super Strength
Gadgets: 5 body, arms, legs
Issues: Disability (no limbs)
Equipment: Data pad, wireless modem, Long Sword (right arm), Daggers (left hand)

Lara Parsifal Sierra, known as the Bionic Blade is a cybernetically enhanced human.

She was a top research scientist for the Mintal Corporation researching prosthetic limbs when a terrorist attack blew up the facility she was in. She was found barely alive, her colleagues used their advanced tech to rebuild her body and save her life.

Once she uncovered corruption in Mintal as they were manufacturing weapons for nefarious groups around the world, she left to do her own private research. She uses her advanced knowledge of robotics, electronics, and engineering to make the most advanced prosthetics in the world which she uses on herself to fight corporate corruption and crime.
This is a new feature where once a week or so a new NPC for the Guardians Super Hero RPG is described.

Nov 19, 2019

Blog Roll

Some blogs I've been reading over the past week:

Akratic Wizardry
I like the terse and to-the-point posts the author (who goes by Akrasia) makes. It's a good mixture of pulpy fantasy old school goodness. He also has an excellent collection of Swords & Wizardry house rules:

OSR News
An oldie, but a goodie, keep up to date on the latest products being released on DriveThruRPG with some slightly snarky commentary, which I enjoy immensely.

The Metal Earth
A sword and planet Mars themed blog. A genre that is near and dear to me, as you may know. Check out the B/X Mars RPG while you're at it.

Vintage RPG
If you're into Pendragon, and I am, this blog is for you. Alright, I know it's Tumblr. But as an artist I really like Tumblr, yes it can be annoying if you just want to read. Why read when you can look at pictures though? Hardy har (it does have plenty of text).

The 9 and 30 Kingdoms
Because you can never have too many geomorphs and tutorials how to make them. There is also a lot of nice little OSR oriented tidbits to enjoy and coop for your own games.

And here's a really light and fun one:
Dungeons and Drawings
Fantastic silly drawings of old DnD monsters you know and love. Simplified and brimming with personality.

Oct 29, 2019

Weapon Class - Armor Class

What if Armor wasn't represented by a number, but by a code? To some degree that was the original intent of Armor Class.

Page 38 of the 1st edition AD&D Player's Handbook has an interesting artifact left over from Chainmail that is the Weapon Types and "To Hit" adjustments system. I don't recall ever actually using this in play as it is too cumbersome and didn't seem worth the complication for whatever game play it is supposed to add. Today we think of Armor Class (AC) as an ascending (or descending) number representing improved defense against weapons, and that is true to an extent. More specifically AC represented a specific type of armor which some weapons were better or worse against as shown on the Weapon Types table.

This concept comes from the Man-to-Man Melee Table in Chainmail

Here is a cleaned up version of that table:

Taking notes from that idea here is a further extrapolation of the concept, grouping weapons into classes by their similarity called a Weapon Class. So the number does not represent offensive or defensive strength so much as a short hand or code for the weapon/armor it stands for. They could just as well be called A, B, C instead of 1, 2, 3.

I discuss this idea on the OD&D forum here:


Oct 28, 2019

Inspiration, Swiping, and Copying

This full page illustration by Darlene in the original Dungeon Master's Guide always fascinated me. It represented a type of fantasy that was being replaced by darker, heavier fantasy by artists like Frazetta and that is more of the norm these days. Now, I loves me some Frazetta. I have almost every art book, and am constantly on the lookout for every Frazetta image I can find to add to my inspiration folder. However, I sometimes wonder what books would look like had this more classical type of fantasy become the norm in gaming. Oh, we still see plenty of classic stuff, but it is definitely in the minority.

This drawing Darlene made reminds me of the great late 19th century illustrator Aubrey Beardsley, and he drew a composition that is quite similar. I wonder of she got some inspiration from this?

Composition by Aubrey Beardsley for The Lady of the Lake telleth Arthur of the sword Excalibur, from 'Le Morte d'Arthur' by Sir Thomas Malory.
1893-94 (lithograph)

In the illustration field being inspired, or what is called "swiping" is common and not frowned on by professionals. Everyone does it, even the legends like Norman Rockwell. We all stand on the shoulders of giants, as the saying goes, and there are hundreds of years of art history we learn from, draw inspiration from, and add our little bit to. In fact you can learn a lot about the artists you most admire by looking at the artists they admired.

This post almost belongs on my art blog, but D&D fans are most likely to be familiar with this illustration. Also, I do occasional fan art here that is my interpretation of old school illustrations that inspired me when I was a kid learning how to draw. This is quite different from literally copying or tracing other artist's work and calling it your own.

Oct 26, 2019

The Ultimate Blog of RPG Blogs

I found this out courtesy of the DM In Exile It is a truly impressive collection of over 450 RPG related blogs, mostly of the old school flavor. It isn't just a list, but each features a thoughtful paragraph describing the blog. If there isn't enough gaming stuff on the internet for you to read go check it out.

Oct 16, 2019

Re-Imagining the DMG Cover

One of the items on my "would be fun to do someday" list is re-imagining the original ADnD covers in a modern style, but not too modern. When doing fan art or re-envisioning something a few questions come up. How far can you push it? What has to remain the same?

I've collected some references and done some sketches to answer these questions. I don't know if I'll go through with this and actually do full fledged paintings, but I might. One of the first things I sketched were the characters on the DMG and how they would look from the front. I've done a lot of character designs over the years in video games and in tabletop so I took the same approach to these designs. This first attempt is pretty safe and quite conservative with the characters. Not really changing anything. As I was doing this it occurred to me that it is not clear what the girl's character class is. Is she a thief? Or a magic-user? She seems to be holding her hand in a gesture to cast a spell, and a dagger isn't out of place for either class. I think I'm going to go with magic-user, though I suppose making her a thief would round out the party better.

The efreeti as cool as it is, has some opportunities for some really fascinating designs. Especially in the jewelry and its face.

Probably the most interesting part of this would be creating the city of brass floating over a burning ocean of oil. That could be made to look exceptionally brilliant. I haven't done any sketches for that part yet, but I am thinking how the front and back could be better integrated in a wrap around cover.


Oct 14, 2019

Blog Roll!

Some cool blogs I stumbled across in my recent journeys across the internets.

Nuclear Haruspex is an interesting hodge podge of stuff. Some random generators, which are always fun. Some OSR stuff, and some other ramblings about RPGs in general and GLOG (The Goblin Laws of Gaming) in particular.

Cratered Land has a variety of RPG stuff from OSR to Mechwarrior and more. And I appreciate the artists are given credit.

Whimsical Mountain. Primarily an OSR blog.

And Goblin Punch is the source of GLOG.

Here's a rotting pumpkin that looks like a face. Happy October!

Oct 11, 2019

3D-printed Lamborghini

3D printed Lamborghinis are hardly related to this blog, but it does relate to a post I made on predictions for 100 years from now. That post was a bit half baked and was merely a collection of ideas that had been bouncing around in my head and I wanted to get them down. Nothing new or revolutionary in those predictions, they were only my take on some likely outcomes.

One that I'm fairly certain will come true is that car bodies will be 3d printed and you'll be able to order any style you want. It'll probably have an electric chassis. An example of this becoming true is this article of someone 3d printing a Lamborghini. It is only a matter of time before this becomes widely available commercially from auto manufacturers. And they'll drive themselves. Allowing humans to actually drive a metal and glass death machine at high speeds will seem crazy to future generations.

Oct 4, 2019

D&D and Pop Culture: Feast of Legends

What does Wendy's and Dungeons and Dragons have in common? The Fight Against Frozen Beef!

What a surprise this was to see Wendy's published a roleplaying game. Yes, Wendy's. Even more surprising is it is really good! It's not exactly D&D, but close enough that it is unmistakably 5th edition-ish. They've even included a little campaign setting and adventure. This is so weird and remarkably cool for a fast food ad campaign.

I have fond memories of eating at Wendy's as a kid. I can't eat fast food as much nowadays, my taste buds like it but my body doesn't. Also, the one near us closed down and the nearest one is almost an hour away. This makes me want to go get one of those square burgers and a frosty and play some Feast of Legends with my kids.

You can download the free PDF, check it out:

Oct 3, 2019

Bookmark Adventure: Deathly Cell Of Xangarius the Berserk Princess

Deathly Cell Of Xangarius the Berserk Princess
Princess Xangarius was cursed by a vampiric sorcerer, and she was imprisoned in an impenetrable cell deep below Fendal castle.

A bookmark adventure for 2-5 characters of 5th-7th level.

  1. The entrance appears nondescript with a large plain wooden door. It is barred with an iron lock.
  2. Foyer. Two 5th level guards (common fighters) on duty armed with short swords.
  3. Guard Barracks. 2-5 5th level guards are resting here. Alerted if combat occurs in room 2.
  4. Storage room. Various kegs of wine and olive oil, crates of rice, beans, and flour.
  5. A 900gp gem can be seen under the water. A water weird guards it.
  6. Gallery of atrocities committed by Xangarius. Horrific scenes of people and animals torn apart.
  7. Five 6th level sentinels heavily armed with battle-axes and crossbows stop anyone entering. 7A. If outmatched in 7 the sentinels retreat to these alcoves to fight behind cover.
  8. Xangarius, she seems like a meek little girl, but when upset she transforms into a Vampire Spawn. If restored to normal her father will pay handsomely.

Sep 30, 2019

The Sentinel

35 years ago in the September 1984 issue of Dragon Magazine #89 appeared an article describing the Sentinel character class. Back then Dragon regularly published non-player character classes; unofficial characters classes meant only as NPCs. Of course most of us tried these out as player characters and often found them either way over, or under powered, but that didn't matter. Was the class cool or not was all that did.

The Sentinel wasn't exciting by any means. No unusual powers or spells. No weird or exotic flavor. Just a straight forward guard who took his duty seriously. And I always liked them! Maybe because Judas Priest had a cool song called The Sentinel released that same year on their seminal Defenders of the Faith album.

I've done a few revisions and updates to the class over the years, including one I blogged long ago when I first dived into the OSR. Now with the Sentinel's 35 year anniversary here is a new O5R version, optimized to fit on a bookmark similar to the Bookmark Dungeons I've been drawing lately.

Here is the text if you want to copy and paste and fiddle with it to your own taste.

The Sentinel
An alert fighter class.

LVL XP PB Features
1 0 +2 Hear
2 1,750 +2 Defense
3 3,500 +2 Find Hidden
4 7,000 +2 Ability+
5 15,000 +3 Veracity
6 30,000 +3 Ability+
7 65,000 +3 Detect Invisible
8 140,000 +3 Ability+
9 295,000 +3 Gut Feeling
10 455,000 +4 Wary

(PB = proficiency bonus, Ability+ = gain 1 point to put on any ability)

HD: d10 Armor: All armor, no shield Weapons: Simple weapons, Martial weapons Tools: None Saves: Strength, Dexterity Skills: Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception

Hear the sentinel has keen hearing, +2 and advantage to all rolls involving hearing.
Defense +1 bonus in armor
Find Hidden +1 bonus to find hidden objects on a person or in a room.
Veracity can tell when a prisoner is lying in interrogation.
Detect Invisible can sense where an invisible creature is within a 10’ radius.
Gut Feeling can tell when something is wrong or doesn’t make sense, even if they don’t know exactly what it is.
Wary cannot be surprised.

If the class feels underpowered you could change Veracity to Extra Attack, like a regular fighter has. And/or give it access to Martial Archetype features, but then it is just changing into a regular fighter.

If you're curious about the art, I stumbled across an old sketch of a knight I did many years ago, and recently did a repaint on it for fun.

As a side note, the cover of Dragon #89 was one of Den Beauvais' epic Fantasy Chess covers. Here is as high resolution image of it as you'll find anywhere. The original sold a while back for nearly $4000.

Sep 23, 2019

Tower of the Moon Free OSR Adventure

The Tower of the Moon is a monster-haunted ruin, its shadow falling over dark forest and desolate wilderness. Only the brave or foolish dare its secrets. A classic style adventure of Gothic Horror for three to five 3rd-6th level adventurers.

Those familiar with the Original Edition line of RPGs I've been developing over the years will recognize David Pulver's work. He is a well known long time writer in the RPG business, most of his work was for Steve Jackson games on their GURPS line. We've been talking for a while about publishing a line of books from his own personal writings and gaming.

This first one is a test to see if Pay What You Want would be the best pricing for an OSR adventure.

As you can imagine writing for RPGs is demanding work with minimal compensation, and I thought it a good idea to create some products that could provide some royalties for him later in life. He get's royalties from each purchase, your generosity is appreciated. If this does well we'll try to publish more of his books.

Check it out here:

Sep 16, 2019

My First 10 RPG's

I've seen some recent discussions of people talking about their first RPG's, and it got me to thinking about it. These are the first 10 RPG's I ever owned.
  1. Keep on the Borderlands
  2. AD&D/D&D (Moldvay edition)
  3. Gamma World
  4. Star Frontiers
  5. Marvel Super Heroes
  6. Indiana Jones (TSR)
  7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  8. Top Secret SI
  9. GURPS
  10. Dragonquest
Keep on the Borderlands
While not a stand alone RPG it was the very first RPG product I ever owned and it had those invaluable combat matrix and equipment tables which allowed me and a friend to fumble through playing the game. This adventure is a classic, and considered the best adventure module ever written for beginning play.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 1st Edition
The first AD&D books I got were: Player's Handbook, DM's Guide, Deities & Demigods, and Fiend Folio for Christmas in 1982. I didn't get the original Monster Manual until a year later. So the FF was my monster manual, which might explain a lot of my weird tastes. Despite its warts AD&D 1st Edition has a particularly great flavor. Reading the DM's Guide is still entertaining and informative, almost a train of thought straight out of Gary Gygax's imagination and extensive knowledge of the fantasy and historical genres. I make it a point every few years to read the DMG from cover to cover. I mentioned the Moldvay Red Box in the list, and it's a bit fuzzy as to timing when I got the Red Box set, so I lumped them together.

Gamma World, 2nd Edition
I own just about every edition of Gamma World, actually, I think I have them all including the awful White Wolf version. I recall some kids on the bus in middle school having a copy of 1st edition, but I didn't get a chance to look at it then. I got Gamma World 2nd edition right when it came out, and in hindsight I consider it the best version. They took some of the best things about AD&D and applied it to the post-apocalyptic genre. And your characters started out super powerful, it's almost a super hero game. Each edition does have its own charm, though I'm hard pressed to find anything I like in the White Wolf edition. The last version has a card based mechanic I liked in theory, but in practice had some clunkiness. One thing Gamma World shows is that if TSR had any sense or awareness of the market they should have turned the AD&D system into a universal roleplaying game before GURPS took that title.

Star Frontiers
It says a lot that this game still has a small but loyal fan base. You can find resources still being created, blogs, and discussion groups. I recall liking Star Frontiers when it came out, but being disappointed that it didn't have spaceship combat so was glad when Knight Hawks came out. (A mistake I oddly repeated with my own Colonial Troopers RPG, and fixed with the starship supplement, though that is another story I'll tell at a later time)

In hindsight Star Frontiers was just too safe and mundane of a setting. It was very generic sci-fi. If it'd taken a more kitchen sink approach like D&D did, throwing in every cool idea from every science fiction novel from HG Wells to Frank Herbert, Larry Niven, Philip K. Dick, Heinlein, and so on then Star Frontiers could have been a really compelling setting. I do like the cover art by Elmore, I might like his Sci-Fi work better than his fantasy.

The Adventures of Indiana Jones Roleplaying Game (TSR)
The Indiana Jones RPG gets a lot of flack for being the worst RPG ever, and probably deserves that moniker if you only consider the boxed set. I've written before my fondness for this much maligned set. Once you add the Judges Survival Pack it's a pretty nifty game that captures the spirit of the genre. The production values and art were very high quality for its day, and the adventures are quite well written and playable. Someday I'll finish my in depth review of the system itself.

Marvel Super Heroes
I don't care what anyone says, Marvel Super Heroes is the best superhero roleplaying game. Yes, I've played Champions and appreciate that system, but measured for shear fun playing super powered characters the FASERIP system is the best. If you were familiar with the comics you could instantly stat out any character. The addition of the advanced set was remarkably well done, they could have gone crazy with complexity (yes Champions, I'm looking at you) but instead Jeff Grub maintained the integrity and simplicity of the system.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one of my favorites, and the first non-TSR RPG I owned. I still get a warm fuzzy feeling when I think about it, even though the Palladium system isn't the greatest. All the supplements for this game are just great. I was looking into getting the GM's screen, since it's the only item of this game I don't own but yikes are the prices high on it!

DragonQuest was feared by TSR as a potential DnD killer. Looking back their fears were a little silly, Dragonquest is ok but was never a threat to DnD's throne. They bought the game, published like one book or something, then left it to quietly wilt away unsupported. I should do a review of this game, it has some things that were innovative in its day, but are dated now and represent a different direction from where the RPG industry went.

Top Secret SI
Not much to say about this. I got this on a whim at the game store, read the books, but never got anyone to play it. Sometime later I did play the James Bond RPG, and that game is so good it's hard to imagine playing spies with anything else.

After high school I played way too much GURPS while in the Army. It was during the 2nd edition era of AD&D and I didn't care for what TSR did to the game. GURPS had a fully skill based system, crunchy combat, and no classes or levels. Everything I thought was wrong with D&D at the time, funny that now I think the opposite.

Looking back at 2nd edition DnD it's not all that bad, just some aesthetic decisions that were a turn off. It didn't go far enough in redesigning and improving the game. The cover art wasn't as cool as it could have been. 3rd edition is really what 2nd edition should have been, well except the covers I'm not much of a fan of the non-illustrated covers.

During the 90's I didn't play or buy that much RPG stuff. Then 3rd edition DnD came along, rekindled my interest in gaming and I went a little crazy buying and playing all the games I missed like Champions, Call of Cthulhu, Pendragon, Deadlands, and many others.

Aug 27, 2019

Bookmark Dungeon: Shrine of Odolric the Cruel

This is a mini adventure that fits onto a standard 2"x6" bookmark.

Shrine of Odolric the Cruel
Deep in the jungle a lost shrine to a forgotten goddess bodes ill will.
A bookmark adventure for 2-5 players of 4th-6th level.

  1. The entrance is covered in detailed sculptures of snakes. Staring at them too long they seem to writhe.
  2. Three columns each in the form of a naga. They have 6 jeweled eyes worth 50gp each.
  3. The ceiling has partially collapsed. To the left the passage is completely blocked. There is a 50% chance some rubble will fall when exiting causing 1d6 points of damage.
  4. A Bone Naga lurks here. She is a guardian who will attack any trespassers.
  5. Chimes hang from the ceiling covering the entryway here, they are easily passed through, but will be noisy.
  6. Four small worship chambers are here. Searching each of them can uncover up to 200 gp, but will alert the Yuan-Ti in room 7.
  7. 2d4 Yuan-Ti are worshiping a demonic statue of Odolric the goddess of cruelty. She is in fact a Marilith demon. Reading the inscriptions on the statue will open a secret space with a bejeweled +3 dagger, and summon her within 1d6 rounds, she is not pleased.

Jul 29, 2019

Dungeoneer Review

A rather positive review of Dungeoneer by the writer/director of Bone Tomahawk (a really well done independent film staring Kurt Russel!).
"A clever dungeon crawler that focuses on quests, exploration, resource management, and battle.
Dungeoneer is smartly done and really enjoyable, though an undervalued boardgame...
Generally speaking this is a clever dungeon crawler that focuses on quests, adventuring/exploration, character modification, resource management, and battle. Leveling up occurs quickly, altering playing styles, and during the course of a game (approx. 40-60 minutes for 2 players), characters will explore rooms, escorts prisoners, take skill tests, alter the shape of the dungeon, challenge other players, fight monsters, deal with traps, boost skills, build a pack of monsters, and do many other things.
That so much memorable and creative adventure comes in two decks of cards rather than a 20 pound box of stuff is to be applauded."
Read the full review here:

Clip Art for your Small Press Book

Do you need artwork for that really cool adventure you wrote? Need an old-school style cover layout for your OSR inspired roleplaying game? On my store are several images you can purchase as clip art to use. The prices are very reasonable, especially compared to the cost of commissioning art.

Each image includes a license and full resolution image. Some of them are even layered PSD files and have suggested color schemes and fonts for layouts you might want to use. Check it out on

If you need adjustments to the layout, or minor changes to the art you can purchase additional graphic design service to customize the image to your needs.

New images are being processed and continually updated. If you'd like a particular image you've seen on my art blog or portfolio you can ask if licensing rights are available. Thanks for checking it out!