As my friends and I entered high school, we really diverged in our interests and reading habits. Ryan read Douglas Adams and the Robotech series. Michelle read Doctor Who. I read all of the fantasy stuff like the Dragonlance series.
This would have been around '84 to 1986.
Almost every game session started with The Great Book and Mix Tape swap. In that spirit, I'll share a mix for you: The Great '86. This one year was amazing for music. (Editing note: You don't need a Google Music account, you can simply go on Youtube and listen with this link.)
Anyway, back to the books. In swapping books, I lost more books than I will ever own. I also read more than you can imagine. Many of these books were yellow, pages dogeared and in some cases missing covers.
I've been feeling nostalgic lately and picked up a Dragonlance book at Barnes and Noble. I am only 100 pages in and it fills me with both wonder and nostalgia. Clearly, I read it nearly 40 years ago. All of the details are gone, but it is strangely familiar.
I think I'll add this series to the review list, Dragons of Autumn Twilight is pretty cool and clearly made an impression on me because I freely stole ideas from it.
This is the odd part, decades ago things moved with glacial slowness. I had this book from a used bookstore before I ever saw the Dragonlance Modules. I had no idea it was related to D&D until I saw DL-1 in about 1990. Bookstores were wacky like that.
Since I ran down this memory hole, I've also returned to watching Doctor Who. The whole D&D gang watched the show, the old-school stuff. It was shown out of order, the local PBS station only honored the serial order, so at least you could see a whole story. But we had no idea what was happening in the larger Doctor Who story as they would happily skip from Doctor to Doctor, willy-nilly.
I didn't care. It sort of matched the way I read the novels. Here is a silly bit. I had to go back to 2017 to pick up where I left off. The Master became Missy and slightly more and less diabolical. I was vaguely aware that Jodie Whittaker took over as The Doctor and I wondered how that would work.
The transition reminded me of the novels I had read in the 80s. Remember, I mentioned that many of the books I read had no covers? The Doctor Who novels featured the image of The Doctor appearing in the story, so if you are missing the cover and the first couple of pages, you have no idea which Doctor features in the story.
I thought that Whittaker was pretty great until I reached the episode, "Fugitive of the Judoon". In that story, The Doctor really shines. The series owes its success (and failures) to the author. The Doctor and the actor who brings these stories to the screen has be spot-on in translation from mere words on the page to funny, scary, and amazing stories to life.
In a strange collision of real life, check out The Other Side Blog. He is doing an A to Z of Doctor. Totally love it.
I'm tired tonight. I glanced over at my bookshelf an noticed a set of books by Dunder Mifflin.
On closer inspection, that was wrong. Very wrong. These books are by the amazing David Macaulay and published by Houghton Mifflin Company or HMCo. Each one illustrates a historically themed location, such as Castle, City, Mill, and Pyramid. The pen and ink drawings are spectacular.
I received Castle from my parents as a birthday present. The other three I picked up on Amazon, very cheaply. I plan on buying one every few months to complete the collection. I prefer the black-and-white editions, on paper, but he has updated the series in color and has many titles available for readers.
Fast forward to something I didn't know. Some of them were adapted into documentaries by Unicorn Productions. Even better, they are on Youtube.
I have yet to find a better streaming source, but if I find these elsewhere, I will let you know.
I was going to watch a little Netflix, but this is much better.
Last month, I pledged to take all ads down from These Old Games with the exception of DriveThruRPG ads. In that process, an informal poll revealed that most people didn't know that the text links to AbeBooks were ads at all. It kind of explains why this ad format received no traction here. As an experiment, I will continue to offer Abebooks ads and label them like so:
As you have probably noticed, there have been changes to the front page of These Old Games. Gone are some of the ads and they have been replaced by a Support Me on Ko-Fi.
Rather than looking at my blog as a revenue stream, I would like to fund a project that does not yet rise to the level of a Kickstarter while being slightly more developed than These Old Games can support. This project is called:
I had originally intended it to be D&D campaign book, but in light of the OGL 1.1 disaster, it has been pared back to a rule system agnostic Campaign Handbook. A fictional travel log for adventurers. I have posted sample maps here plus some background information. I am currently in the process of moving that data over to my Ko-Fi project page.
The benefits of this are two-fold. I have been running ads on These Old Games for years and that has become problematic. First, ads interfere with the reader's enjoyment of the site. Second, ads cannot fund a project of this scale. Most readers are likely to click an ad for DriveThruRPG while ignoring ads for other websites.
To this end, I will be working to eliminate all Non-DTRPG links. This is a big project in and of itself. I wish I could say "this blog is ad-free," but I am not there. In fact, I think that completely removing all ads including the DTRPG ads might not support the gaming community. I like to push people to great products, which is difficult when DTRPG hosts so many great projects.
So, what is up with Ko-Fi?
I guess this is the portion of the blog where I sadly admit that I'm not quitting my day job to produce content. That is not the intent of this project.
I am using Ko-Fi to get this project off the ground by raising a modest amount of support while being accountable to a community. This is not an exchange of funding for specifically targeted content. It is to keep on track to complete a PDF that will eventually be sold. Ideally, if this project is successful, it could become a Kickstarter for physical books. That is my goal, but it all seems very far away. There is so much content creation between now and then that I have a hard time picturing the end. You are not funding a book, you are funding me to write a book. Or three.
To that end, I have five-ish different "levels" over on Ko-Fi. Following me is the first step and level. There is no cost to following me on Ko-Fi. You will not see every post, but I hope you see enough to decide to hit that support button. The next level is a one-time tip or donation. This is where you throw some change in the tip jar. Like a follower, it really confers no Ko-Fi benefits beyond knowing you chipped in to make this happen.
Next are the paid tiers, at $3, $5, and $10. Starting at the bottom, The Southern Tier (yes, a pun), you will be joining my Community and will receive a shout-out here on These Old Games and get Discord access to my little server. In the next level, The Central Tier, you will receive everything The Southern Tier receives plus some behind-the-scenes content. This behind the scene content will be things that probably won't fit in the book, but may be of interest to you as a DM and gamer. The final tier will include everything listed before plus the ability to Direct Message me on Ko-Fi plus a pre-release PDF of sections and chapters that will ultimately end of the book.
In sharing this post, I would hope that some of you would take a moment to join Ko-Fi and click that free follow me button.
There is no TL:DR version of this. This new idea is wildly outside my comfort zone. I am creating a fantasy campaign predicated on a time-traveling Elf stealing a nuclear weapon and a cool pair of Raybans to overthrow a god, only to settle on being a travel blogger. That is nuts enough. But the reality of this project is, simultaneously committing to start a community, raise funds, delete a bunch of completed blog posts AND write as many as 3 books.
That's crazy. The part that makes me most uncomfortable isn't all of the hard work, it's the request for support. I've gotta tell you while getting this project off the ground, I've been hearing this song non-stop.
And I don't mean in my headphones or on Youtube. I hear it when I'm sleeping, too.
Yesterday, I shared a throwback post about a cool product on DriveThruRPG called The Basic Witch: The Pumpkin Spice Tradition. I really love this particular add-on for B/X or OSR. I've reviewed a ton of books and this one is a favorite.
It sort of makes me jealous, as I already have my own products on DriveThruRPG. Here they are, in no particular order:
Of the six, I feel that only two don't need an update. The Character Sheet is a scan from one of my first AD&D campaigns, it's not getting any better so I can leave it be. The Hex Pack is exactly as labeled. It's a pack of hexes. The booklets are laid out for A4 or 8"x11". Again, they can't be improved.
The remaining 4 titles need improvement. I feel like Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners needs an update specifically for OSE. This book details how to make NPC's with specific abilities or give a regular PC a set of professional skills for that side hustle no one wants.
These characters are much weaker than traditional PC, they max out at 6 hit points if they are lucky. But if you need armor or buckets or rowers, these are the characters and the book you need. Each profession is limited to level 5. Many classes are based on historical descriptions, so you get a touch of reality with your fantasy characters. Zero to Hero also covers some unusual circumstances such as tools as weapons, improvised weapons and shields, plus it offers a system that prioritizes healing. It's a great world-building title if only I made it more harmonious with the OSR.
The Swashbuckler character class needs to be completely reworked. It should be OSR compatible but fails. It is too heavily based on AD&D. That needs to change. I am working on a collection of character classes that will form the basis of all changes to this title. Once complete, I will have a seventh title called "The Monomachos" or "he who fights alone". Of course, I will keep the price of the updated Swashbuckler exactly where it is - free or PWYW.
"The Monomachos" will be a new book that includes The Swashbuckler class and will be good for all types of campaigns, AD&D, B/X, and OSE. Character types will include Archer, Gladiator, Swashbuckler, Handgunner, and perhaps a couple of others. I am uncertain of the price point as I have only started pricing out artwork.
The last two are mini-maps of specific places that I have used in various campaigns. I would like to use them as the basis of plug-in modules for your campaigns. The Compass Rose Inn is a tavern, inn, and hunting lodge with an attached temple populated with a crazy collection of characters. There are stories to be made and shared here. The Kobold's Folly details the coming of a tribe of almost civilized Kobolds on the frontier of any convenient town or city. They are needly and pesty, but excellent hobellers and shady fences for those who need to unload illicit goods.
I meant for this to brief reflective post, so let me end this here.
I've been sidelined by real-life lately, but I had an alarm set for this Kickstarter project. This one is the Old-School Essentials Fantasy RPG Box Set. I missed it the first time around a few years back but managed to score just one book from one of my favorite local gaming stores, Iron Buffalo Games.
As much as I wanted to go all-in on this Kickstarter project, I had to limit myself to the $100 level. If this set is anything like the last set, it's going to be excellent!
I love the digest size of these books. They have a nice solid feel with a good text size for my aging eyes. Having picked up some of the PDFs, I knew that a physical book would frame the artwork better than any home-printed copy.
This post reminds me, I must review the OSE Rule Tome, Iron Buffalo Games, and my new HP Printer. I'll be looking to post on those in the near future, as real-life permits.
Author's Note: Sometimes, life kicks you in the balls. Sometimes it just doesn't stop. If you don't laugh some or all of it off, you'll go nuts. This post is in that laughing spirit.
It pokes fun at my situation, skewers my reviews and pays homage to a spammer that used my 52 Weeks of Magic series to promote a consignment shop by implying items sold were possibly magical. It also promotes a pair of titles by Todd Leback.
This morning, I found a package on my porch. I also noticed that it was snowing, which is odd weather before December. This is Buffalo, NY, so we are no strangers to snow, but snow before December is unusual. Typically, we get all 47 feet on one day and it stays no longer than January 2nd.
Since it was unusually cool today, I knew this package contained a new book from Todd Leback. How do I know that? All of Todd Leback's books are magical.
In defiance of all FTC rules, I told all of my readers Todd Leback's books are magically protected from fire. In all seriousness, it's totally true that one of his titles, Into the Wild survived a housefire. So clearly, there is some unknown physics happening here, if not out and out magic.
Snow this early in Buffalo New York is so unusual, I find it hard to believe that a single book could possibly cause it before December.
Well, it turns out that is correct.
In order for me to cause it to snow so early in the year, I had to order two books from Todd Leback. I ordered both A Guide to Thieves Guilds and Basilisk Hills Ultimate Hexcrawl. This order was placed back on November 11th and arrived the morning of November 27. I know DriveThruRPG is urging people to order early to allow time for Christmas delivery, so I might have just been lucky.
What do these two series have to do with one another?
My winter posting series will be about superhero games, Marvel Superheroes to be exact. I'll be reviewing all three series of books as they have inspired me to select this topic for my winter post series.
Today, I'd like to talk about H. M. Hoover's books. Helen Mary Hoover (1935 to 2018) was an American children's writer.
Or was she?
I'm not a child and I enjoy these books. The Delkon is my favorite. They are slightly more mature than C. S. Lewis or Tolkien. And many of them are science fiction themed. It occurs to me that many would make a excellent setting for the Traveller ruleset.
Because as "children books" they don't have much violence. The potential is there but it never seems to get that bad. Which is great when you're using Traveller rules.
Gunfire is deadly... very deadly. I think this is my hangup with the ruleset and since I would like to learn to play, I need to learn "To Violence Or Not To Violence". I didn't think of that, I totally stole it from SAFCOcast. Episode 23 to exact. I've listened to this one episode like 3 times and the more I listen, the more I think H. M. Hoover's settings would be perfect for the Traveller game system.
The tech is there. The potentiality of a quick and final end when violencing is there. The not so obvious or completely obvious solution is there. It's built into the atmosphere of the setting. Ms, Hoover does an excellent job of hiding whether or not the solution is going to be the tricky one or the obvious one.
Traveller has a very different science fiction atmosphere than what I am used to participating in. It seems to live in that space between tricky and obvious, with violence leading to just one of many obvious solutions. Other obvious solutions is tailoring responses to skills and talents of the players. It places far more emphasis on all of the skills available rather than just the ones that give immediate results.
As I amble my way down to Traveller way, I'm gonna read a few books before I give it another try.
I had epic luck today. I found a bunch of things for my gaming garden.
First up, solar lights.
The flower shaped ones are from the Dollar Store. The really bright ones are from Ollies. I paid about $21 for 13 of them. I have no intention of leaving them in the raised bed, I'll probably arrange them around the hot tub and along the back of the garden.
The raised bed is almost complete, I need to put up a center rail and some screens or chicken wire to protect the cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, basil and thyme from the bunnies. The goal is canning pickles and gardenia all from my own garden.
I should have done cauliflower, onions and hot peppers, but I am out of space. This bed is 4 feet by 8 and everything that can go on trellises will. The problem is, I have 52 seedlings ready to go.
That is where the garden hooks and random pots come in. I want the herbs to come inside at the end of the growing season, so I'll need to put them in pots. That covers about 12 plants. I figure I can squeeze 24 plants into the raised bed. I want to grow some under the arrowwood tree, which will be another 2. I need to find space for 14 more plants.
I went a little crazy.
In other news, I picked up a great book for a dollar. Swords' Masters is an omnibus by Fritz Leiber including three novels:
Swords Against Wizardry (1968), The Swords of Lankhmar (1968), and Swords and Ice Magic (1968).
He is one of my favorite writers and I can't believe what a great deal I got on this hardcover. The cover is a bit... 80s? I don't know. The stories are better than the cover art, so I'll ignore it. I guess you now know what are the next three books I review will be.
My final find was a length of rope. What adventurer doesn't have some rope? This one is in blue so I don't hit it with the lawnmower. The dog was very excited when I cobbed together a lead for her out of it. She loves being outside and will probably be a part of game night in the garden.
For the longest time, I have run a side panel ad for Dibaggio's book, The Ascension Epoch series. I'm doing a refresh of the blog and moving them here. Very shortly, I will be running reviews as many of them as I can. So moved but not forgotten.
As of this moment, I'm spending a lot of time trying to get the garden complete so reviews are momentarily on hold. I can't wait for this brief burst of lawn activity to be done so I can get back to reading and blogging.
Be sure to check out these and all of the other great titles by Mike and Shell Dibaggio at your favorite retailer.
For the longest time, I have run a side panel ad for Rick's books, The Minus Faction and Feast of Shadow series. I'm doing a refresh of the blog and moving them here.
Very shortly, I will be running reviews of all 8 of them. So moved but not forgotten.
As of this moment, I'm spending a lot of time trying to get the garden complete so reviews are momentarily on hold. I can't wait for this brief burst of lawn activity to be done so I can get back to reading and blogging.
Be sure to check out these and all of the other great titles by Rick Wayne at your favorite book store.
This a throwback post. This entry was originally posted on November 28th, 2019.
As a social studies teacher, I like to tell people that I know everything... just not all at once. :)
The fact is, while I can't know everything, I have complied a list of resources so I can get an overview of a vast variety of subjects rather easily. Today, I found a new resource:
From the desk of Dr. Oskar Seyffert. this 1895 illustrated dictionary runs from Abacus to Zosimus. I'm sure it's horribly dated, but you have to love a dictionary that ends with a Greek historian and an Index. The first seems perfect to me, but the second is most definitively wrong in my internet addled brain.
Title: SM00 A Traveller's Atlas of Dunromin and the Land of the Young
Author: Dunromin University Press (Simon Miles)
Rule Set: OSRIC
Number of Players: N/A
This is supposed to be a full color map folio of the Free City of Dunromin, but the work goes so much further. In addition to the beautifully drawn Free City, Mr. Miles killed it with amazing details of the surrounding area, political and physical maps of the Land of the Young, barony maps, maps of the continent and of the world.
The artwork is incredible, a great addition to any old school gaming campaign. Being a set of maps designed for OSRIC, it is generic enough to fit into any fantasy game system.
I just can't get over the art. The cover and some other images are wholly digital, but others look hand drawn. It's a near thing, I can usually tell the difference, but not in this product. Many of the pages are on a graph, but I can't tell if it's pencil on graphpaper, or digital work meant to look old school. There are a few pages where I think I can see blowthrough, like a scanner picked up information from a page behind the scanned page, but I can't be certain it isn't photoshopped to look like that.
I probably won't use this in my campaign, but I am already looking to see which pages I will print and frame. Simply put, it's awesome!
Priced a pay what you want, you can't go wrong with this title. I can't wait to check out the rest of the series.
If you need a Christmas gift and you have a nice printer and paper, this is perfect.
If I were to suggest a resource or two for John's campaign, I would pick the book "Everyday Life In Early America". I've always meant to do a review of this book as it paints a highly detailed picture of common things the colonist would have done or encountered in a day. I totally use this for my D&D campaigns to get the brain juices flowing.
Red Dice Diaries also has a link to an excellent resource called "30 Days of Worldbuilding: An Author's Step-by-Step Guide to Building Fictional Worlds" by A Trevena. He will be using this book to build his campaign, so now is a great time to either follow his blog or add the podcast to your podcatching software.
A couple of months ago, Wendy's launched thier game Feast of Legends. And I wasn't totally surprised. Some lost memory tugged at me, but I wasn't able to put my finger on it until this morning. This little tug of memory had me categorizing a burger joint's RPG as "normal!".
While cleaning up for a game session this morning (already underway), a chance find refreshed my memory. I stumbled across a chapter book of the Spiderwick Chronicles. My daughter told me that it was part of set given away by Wendy's with their kids meals.
Ah, innovation and creative has always been a part of the Wendy's brand. Those are strange attributes for a burger chain. But what better prize is there than reading? I love to read to my kids, and Wendy's was right there with me. My son tells me that McDonalds also jumped in on the bandwagon with Big Nate books.
I feel funny singing the praises of fat food companies, but I do want to share that the things you give and read to your children have a massive impact on them. So read on to those kiddos.
Title: Population of Loss
Author: Michael DiBaggio and Shell "Presto" DiBaggio
Illustrator: Shell "Presto" DiBaggio
Pages: 46 Rating: 5 of 5 stars.
I hate big screen or small screen characters render in novel form. It's always horrible, little better than the second Star Wars book, Splinter in the Minds Eye. I want to tell future readers that this is a mashup of comic book characters set in the science fiction worlds of 1880s and 90s.
It is, but it really isn't. The prose reminds me of the classic adventure of The War of the Worlds, which it should because it is implicitly set with in that world. Each of the four short stories captures that time period perfectly, no accidental or intentional anachronistic parts at all. The Signalman does remind me of Iron Man, but he is not remotely a superhero in that vein. In fact, I know that he should be a comic book character because that is what he was designed to be, but somehow, he isn't. Nor are any of the other characters.
Its hard to describe what the Celestial Paladin is, but I can tell you where these characters came from. There are hints of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien fused with H. G. Wells. The story "In Hoc Signo" starts in Well's world of Tripod invaders and ends with a taste of Lewis's Out of a Silent Planet. The writing is more than strong, it is powerful. Reading older works is often difficult due to the changing of styles. But Mr. and Mrs. DiBaggio do not struggle with this. They capture the flavor of these works, but also give it a style all their own. The easy comparison is to the past, but the authors manage to infuse this style with a more modern frantic-ness, in the vein of Dagberto Glib ("Love in L.A.") or Louise Erdrich ("The Red Convertible"). Perhaps it is the vignette style of these 4 short pieces that capture a tiny bit of introspection by the authors, which echos through each piece.
Regarding the illustrations, they are from a very different artist from the Shell "Presto" DiBaggio, who engages with her audience on social media. They have tiny reflection of the work of Kahlil Gibran. What is most interesting about the images of the Signalman and The Cyclone Ranger, is that they show an evolution of style over 2 years. The second is more like Mrs. DiBaggio's current artwork, but still reflecting the style of that old era. Like the writing, the illustrations have a touch of modern, frantic energy, while still embodying the works of arts from the past. Instead of being caught in between eras, they are great enhancements to the stories told. They fit perfectly.
I was only vaguely aware that the book contained artwork, and I would suggest to the reader that they obtain a paper copy as paper will always render the artwork closest to what the artist intended. It is an inherent flaw in all ebook technology.
I will give this book one more read, maybe two before purchasing the next title. It was an excellent primer for the world of Ascension Epoch.
Some of the best monsters are people. And some of the most intriguing people are villains.
Jon Wilson, of Appendix M put the bug in my head to steal a villain with his post on The Rival Party. These characters are decidedly different, with incredibly cool powers and abilities. I love the idea of a rival party as adversaries.
I immediately thought of a character I want to steal for a campaign. He is the Monomach from Stephen R. Donaldson's Mordant's Need series.
The Monomach is the villain's right-hand man, the most skilled swordsman in the land. As a villain, he is totally one-dimensional. He's given a target and then the target dies. Or at least that is how he should work.
He is actually simple enough to build an AD&D character class with little adaption. First, he is a fighting man so he has all of the abilities of a Fighter. Second, he has the disguise abilities of an Assassin. Third, he has some ability to heal himself like a Paladin. Finally, he will gain the damage bonus of a Monk. His prime requisites are Strength, Constitution, and Intelligence. To get a +5% bonus to exp, he must have at least a 12 in each of those skills. To get a 10% bonus, he must have a 15 in each.
In framing the villain as a character with a class, he can scale with the Player Characters. He can start relatively weak with the PCs and grow from there.
Let's assign those abilities by level.
On creation - +1 to Strength or Constitution regardless of race.
Level 1 - Disguise as an equal-level Assassin.
Level 3 - Laying has as Paladin of equal level.
Level 5 - Damage adjustment as per Monks +1 per 2 levels.
What are the Monomach character's limitations?
They are limited to two magic items plus one magic weapon and one magical piece of armor. They are limited to only equipment they can carry, even at home. They cannot backstab as Assassins do. They do not fight weaponless as Monks do. They do not have the variety of weapons of a fighter, they tend to stick to one main weapon and one backup. They don't often use bows. They can ride horses, but can not care for them. They work alone and are likely to strike at "friendlies" as they get in the way like a berserker. This berserker tendency is not a special skill or ability, it is just a ruthless and bloody methodology. They are relatively poor in day-to-day skills, unable to cook, care for animals or hunt making them reliant on their master's staff for self-care.
This lack of people and daily living skills prevents them from having followers, retainers, or constructing a keep, tower, or another base of operation. When assigned to retainers by their master, they tend to follow the retainer until a target presents itself.
What would make this type of character too overpowered? A crystal ball and a ring of teleportation. Yeah, I would totally give my evil Monomach a ring and crystal ball.
When I found this title, I fell in love with the concept of a procedurally produced adventure. I meant to write a review of The Gardens, but I never could capture the core idea. What struck me most was the author's (Emmy Allen) desire to break out of her writer's block. Wow. That was an amazing idea and the end result is spectacular.
Anyway, I have collected up 3 reviews of The Gardens of Ynn and added a bit of commentary on each review.
The Gauntlet Blog, called the book "evocative" and praises the use of all five senses in the area descriptions. (Edit - You can also read part 2 here.) The Gauntlet takes the point of view of White Hack players, which is a step removed from typical D&D. This perspective enhances the review as it leaves the typical D&D archetypes out. While I don't play White Hack, Fraser Simons' review of The Gardens makes me wonder if I should.
Bryce over at Ten Foot Pole, stress the Gothic Horror aspect while digging right into the mechanics of how to use this setting. Bryce is right that this is a setting book as opposed to an adventure, which something that the reader could overlook, something that Emmy Allen took a moment to confirm in Ten Foot Pole's comment section.
d4caltrops calls The Garden "elegant". d4 praises the binary aspect of "go deeper/go back" to control where the adventurers go in The Garden. Even better, he suggests easy ways to use this book as a means of transport for your characters. Talk about taking a great idea and making it better.
I was surprised to see that no one commented on the artwork of this piece, which I totally enjoyed. Its Gothic simplicity is wonderful. I love this style of art.
You can pick up The Gardens at DriveThruRPG for just a couple of bucks. You can also go and add the three blogs above for free. Why not do both?
This has been a hectic week. What should be updated hasn't. What didn't need updating was. Let me take a moment to explain what is happening.
First and most importantly, my kids are off for the summer at the exact same time the school where I work has kicked off it's summer school program. Work-life balance is out of wack, but in an entirely pleasant and wonderful way. I work with special needs students and we kicked our program into high gear. Not only are teachers getting ready to accept new students come the fall, we are doing some of the greatest outings and STEM stuff in and out of the classroom. We do it all, from building roller coasters out of tubing to taking the entire school to an amusement park. And there is even better stuff in the works.
This is the finest "job" I've had and confirms that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.
Speaking of loving what you do, all this makes my kids at home jealous as hell, so my wife and I are stepping up our game.
To that end, I don't have time to produce new books or maintain 4 websites. From here on out, I will be focusing everything on These Old Games by pulling in everything of value from the other three sites. Much of it will be tabbed along the top of the page, so as to be unobtrusive as possible. I'm sure my readers will understand that I am both a D&D nut and amusement park fiend with a thing for technology. Its weird. We're all a little weird.
And now the third and final use of the word love. I love writing campaign setting information. So what products can you expect from These Old Games? Let's start with what's already available:
Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. A set of rules to create both NPC characters with professional skills which can be resused to flesh out D&D and AD&D characters with non-heroic skills.
The Compass Rose Inn Minisetting. A set of maps created in Worldographer of the Compass Rose Inn, the associated shrine and premade characters. The three maps, historical description and characters are ruleset agnostic.
Coming in the first week of August is the Expanded Compass Rose Inn Setting for D&D and AD&D. This is a set of maps for all 5 floors of the Inn, several outbuildings, and detailed sheets for every character for use in your campaign. This will retail for $4.99.
My next goal is to release a mini map of the Lake Forge, a mysterious business venture across the lake from the Compass Rose Inn. Like the Inn, it will have multiple levels and buildings visualized in Worldographer, plus new characters and more history of the Peninsula of Plenty game setting. It will be released in the same format as the Inn, first a PWYW ruleset agnostic version with a suggested price of $1.99 and a more complete version tuned to AD&D and D&D which will have fixed price of $4.99.
Each and every thing I have published should be small potatoes in the grand scheme of gaming, but I cannot tell you how excited I get when I see one more person has taken the time to download one of my products. I hope that they add quality and wonder to your campaigns.
As I roll through this year, I'll be looking at added two mapsets a month. I am also investigating creating a podcasts and perhaps a Patreon account.
I wanted to do a bookshelf shot, but then realized I needed to reorganize my shelves to look presentable.
This is the result. The shelf is full from just a few things from DriveThruRPG in binders. No room for my "real" AD&D books or all of the palladium products. I only pulled out one module and the old D&D Basic Sets. No more room on this shelf.
As I look over at the old shelf, I see over a dozen modules, a Call of Cthulhu game, BattleTech, Star Frontiers, Interceptor, Traveller, Striker, Starfleet Battles, Car Wars and a few others I can't read.
More than a new bookshelf, I need to make a pledge to play all of these games again.
In the image below, you can see my Illustrated World War II Encyclopedia and The New Junior Classics set. These are some of my favorite books for brainstorming gaming ideas.
While organizing my desk, I happened upon a book by Robert Pearce. It is an incredible set of ship plans for Traveller. Sure, it says "Traveller", but it could be used for any game system. The detail and scope is amazing. It is campaign fuel for sure.