Sunday, February 28, 2010

Black and White and Red All Over

Over on Grognardia, James Maliszewski recently made a post lauding the look of Labyrinth Lord. (Ahh, alliteration!) I have to agree with him. Though they lack the slick, glossy look of most RPGs these days, they really are striking books, and look especially good if you have both the core rules and the new Advanced Edition Companion.

Tough Steve Zieser's artwork certainly has its charm, I think the real strength of these covers is the color scheme; or rather, the lack of one. The choice to go with red type on top of high-contrast pen-and-ink work was a good one, I think. Though I doubt it was the intent of the creators, they remind me of the gritty, DIY aesthetic of early punk album sleeves, like something the Subhumans would use as an EP cover.

Interestingly, the image I posted here is the only RPG cover my wife, who is something of an ex-punk, has ever said anything positive about. Makes me think that Zak Smith might have been on to something when he suggested "DIY D&D" as an alternate name for "old school" or "homebrew" games...

Friday, February 19, 2010

I Have a Dream

Goblinoid Games' Labyrinth Lord is a retro-clone of "basic" Dungeons & Dragons.

Goblinoid Games' Mutant Future is a Gamma World-inspired RPG that is fully compatible with Labyrinth Lord.

Mutant Future has stats for laser guns.

You realize what this means, don't you?

Brothers and sisters, at long last, the age-old dream can be realized.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lorded Over

The siren call of which I spoke almost a year ago is something I'm hearing again. Back then, it spurred me to set up a Dragon Warriors play-by-post, which has been a lot of fun to run, but has its own problems.

With my recent acquisition of quality old-school style products like Labyrinth Lord, Stonehell Dungeon, and The Dungeon Alphabet, I'm back to seriously considering running a Dungeons & Dragons campaign again, but this time using the Labyrinth Lord rules (based on the "basic" version of the game) rather than 4e. Specifically, I want to run a game focused on a megadungeon, the boomtown surrounding it, and rivalries among the bands of adventurers delving into its depths. I have some neat little ideas that I think will give my own spin on an well-worn concept.

What I'm currently trying to figure out is how to do it. I could try running it at the local comics and games shop, but I'm about to start playtesting something that will take at least a few weeks (that's literally all I can say regarding that subject), and I also want to give the new Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space game a fair shot. I wouldn't be running Who, but it's difficult to see how I could finagle running a game on one night and playing on another in the week. Players have enough difficulty pulling off one night a week, myself included, and that's assuming they'd even be willing to give something so old and crusty a shot. I doubt they'd be interested for even a short game, let alone a setup that would require as much long-term investment as I'd hope to be able to get.

What to do...?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gamma Gamma Hey

I've seen a good deal of buzz around Wizards of the Coast's upcoming D&D "red box", which apparently attempts to simplify 4e for new players and will follow a release strategy similar to that used by TSR with the Mentzer-penned version of basic D&D.

This October, Wizards of the Coast is releasing a "D&D Genre Setting" boxed set for Gamma World, using the 4e system. Oh, and there will be booster packs of randomized Mutation and Tech cards.

Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin!

But hey, it's nice to see the boxed set making its long-delayed comeback, right? And between these boxed sets and the impending release of Dark Sun, it sure looks like WotC is trying hard to win over fans of the TSR era.

(Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of this announcement. On the one hand, if you were ever going to make a game with randomized player abilities on cards, Gamma World would be the one with which to do it. I will admit it appeals to my love of randomness. On the other hand, I have never been a fan of "booster packs". I also wonder how, and if, this card-based character generation would integrate with the D&D Insider online tools.)