Sunday, January 1, 2023

Taking Stock - Part Two - The Reality With a Preview of Things to Come

As you can probably guess, I am really excited about Old School Essentials. It's an OGL product and they have a handy instruction page right here. So this year, I will be looking at all of my products and reworking them into OSE-type products. 

Two of my works are perpetually frozen because they are too specific or too generic: 

1. The Hex Pack is too generic to rework in any meaningful way. It is what it is, a pack of colorful hex templates. It cannot change much, if at all. Unless someone asks me to change something, I won't. 

By the way, this title was changed based on feedback from a single person, so by all means, mention your needs. I do like feedback.

2. My Character Sheet for AD&D is linked specifically to Unearthed Arcana. The charm is that it's a scanned image of a character sheet created in the 80s. It is immune to change. 

Because they cannot change, I gave them their own little corner to the left side of the blog. 

That leaves my other 4 works that I would like to revamp. These are the two rule-agnostic mini-settings, Kobold's Folly and The Compass Rose Inn. These two don't have to change so I have also given them a less prominent spot on the left. I would like to flesh them out into actual modules for OSE. 

My first book should also get the OSE treatment, Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. Ironically, it was written before I saw Old School Essentials. The professions listed in it are almost a verbatim match for the list that appears in those books. Realistically, it just needs editing down and to conform to the ability check mechanics as per those rules. Easy to say, but a rather lengthy project in execution.

The last title, The Swashbuckler Character Class bothers me. I am tempted to delete it. It is too heavily based on AD&D 1e, it is less than useful for B/X. Altering it would be like polishing a turd. 

I also have a couple other ideas. First, I am going to sit down and play some games. I have OSE, Battletech with some nice figures, and a couple of others I would like to feature here. Assuming I can get in the swing of this, I should have time to produce other content. 

Second, I have recently acquired a 3d printer. I need to learn how to produce models using it, mostly to supplement my games, but also to produce products to sell.  I might be doing terrain, robots, cars, characters, etc. I have no idea what I am doing, so we will see what happens.

Speaking of other content to sell, my OSE campaign will feed into a completely new project. 

Currently, I am reading a series of books called: A Handbook for Travellers in Northern Italy. It comes in 3 parts, northern, central, and southern Italy. Not only is it in the public domain, but it was also written in a strange time period before Italy unified into a single country. It was published in the mid-1800s, so it was only accurate for a decade or two. The editor goes out of his way to mention the publisher indirectly and never mentions his name or the names of the writing correspondents. 

This gives the whole thing a very odd but familiar vibe. Here are 3 books about a place we all know with passing familiarity, but it gives details that are not current, accurate, or even the whole story. On purpose... Probably because the publisher and editor realized the world was changing too fast to be a useful reference and didn't want to slap their names on it. They hide this with an air of humility.

It sounds like a D&D module. Theoretically, all modules exist within your homebrew campaign world with references to the goings-on of people who you don't know, but also theoretically exist in your campaign world. 

I hope to use these three books as a framework to produce modules and a campaign book for my homebrew campaign. It would come in two parts, a lore book which is directly modeled on those old handbooks of Italy, and the campaign book which would reframe the lore into specific modules and setting details that DMs with find useful. 

The funny bit is this stuff almost writes itself. Where the real-world handbook is cloaked in humility to sell copies, my version is written by an evil, selfish person working on heavy self-aggrandizement. As a sample, I offer the preface of this work: 

Volume One


═ ═ ═ ═ ═ ═ ═ ═ ═ ═ ═ ═

The length of time that has elapsed since the first publication of this (1274) Handbook has made many additions and alterations necessary.  The extension of roadways, trails, and ferries in several nations of the Northern portion of the Peninsula, important changes in the distribution, and descriptions of several Routes became indispensable. Some new Routes have been added. 

It has been the Editor’s endeavor to render this New Edition as a complete guidebook of the region that it professes to describe, as Drowishly possible; in doing so, I, Magarven the Great Traveller, must acknowledge my obligation to numerous kind Correspondents, Spies, and those who I have lavishly interrogated on numerous occasions, who have transmitted to me valuable, practical information for the purpose. These lesser people and contributors, second always to me as the Great Traveller, allow the author of this work to claim perfection. I must solicit from those who use THE HANDBOOK FOR TRAVELLERS IN THE NORTHERN PENINSULA, any additions, or forsooth, corrections, founded on personal experience, they may be able to transmit to me or any information generally of a practical character, useful to travellers on the Peninsula. Assuming, of course, that they are more correct than I am. Which is unlikely.  

I, Magarven the Great Traveller, the Editor Extrodinare of this work think that it is proper and just to leave out the name of the author who penned the first edition of The HANDBOOK FOR TRAVELLERS IN THE NORTHERN PENINSULA. That lesser person has had nothing to do with the six subsequent editions, except as regards those portions which were appropriated and rewritten, to an exceptional standard, through the hard work of myself and perhaps the few minor and lesser contributors who I have righteously selected as better correspondents than the original hack.

I warn the reader that any mistakes or misinterpretations of this guidebook must be attributed to the scribes or a failure of the reader’s intellect. As mentioned before, this is My greatest work, a simple and humble Perfection. 

Porto di Nazza, Juno, 1361

2023, I hope will be a very good year. While I doubt I will be able to meet every goal I've listed, having them spelled out will help me attain a couple of them. 

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