Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Get Your Own Woodgrain 1st Printing of Dungeons & Dragons!

For the low low price of $5800 (as of the time of this post) you could get your very own copy of the original Dungeons and Dragons, the rarely seen woodgrain edition. It looks to be in very good shape, and the seller has been verified though this is his first eBay auction. So it's legitimate. Hurry and bid now, only 3 days left.

Check out Original Dungeons and Dragons Set - Woodgrain Box - First Printing #TSR http://www.ebay.com/itm/-/172430642326?roken=cUgayN&soutkn=PTF9zO

Update: several other blogs have picked this up, some of them before I did. I spotted it when reading the Acaeum forum. Here is the thread discussing it:

Monday, December 5, 2016

Beastie: Miniature Neo-Otyugh

Neo-Otyugh, Miniature
HD 4
AC 18
Atk ML 1d6x2 (tentacles), 1d4 (bite)
Save 12
Move 6
CL/XP 6/400
Special disease

Miniature neo-otyugh are related to the common otyough, but can be far more dangerous because of how difficult they are to detect, 1 in 6 chance of spotting during a search. These tiny creatures, about the size of a chihuahua pup, are scavengers that live in dark, damp environments, often lurking in piles of garbage and excrement.

These strange creatures have stubby elephant like legs, a mass of wrinkled flesh, two eyes on flexible stalks, two razor sharp tentacles, and a mouth full of craggy teeth.

Anyone bitten by an otyugh’s mouth has a 5 in 6 chance of contracting a fatal disease, save or die in 3d6 days unless cured.  Unlike their larger counterparts they are wickedly smart and will work together to bring down large foes. Miniature otyughs use an emotional empathy to communicate with each other which they can send simple messages like danger, attack, and flee.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Beastie: Ridgeback Manticore

Manticore, Ridgeback
HD 7
AC 16
Atk ML 1d4x2 (claws), 1d6 (bite), RNG 1d4 (tail spikes)
Save 12
Move 12/18 (fly)
CL/XP 9/850
Special: paralyzing poisonous spikes

A ridgeback manticore is a horrifying feral beast with bat wings, the face of a grinning mad man, a mouth full of sharp teeth, the body of a lion, and a spine ridged with poisonous spikes down to its tail.

The ridgeback manticore can hurl up to 3 of the spikes from its tail per round, at a maximum range of 180ft. On a successful hit the victim must Save or be paralyzed unable to perform any actions for 1-6 rounds. It only has 7-12 (1d6+6) spikes which will take 2d6 days to grow back.

A ridgeback manticore haunts rocky highlands and prefers to keep to itself. They create eccentric lairs where they collect the remains of those unfortunate enough to fall prey to it. They are also extremely intelligent and will speak the common tongue of the region they live in. Their thoughts, however, are dark and disturbing. To have a conversation with a ridgeback is to converse with madness.

Dungeon Grappling + Guardians

Just 3 days left in the Dungeon Grappling Kickstarter. One of the add on items is a copy of Guardians. Douglas H. Cole, creator of Dungeon Grappling, wrote up a nice informative review of Guardians you might want to check it out.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Savage Sword of Conan!

Dark Horse comics has been publishing reprints of the entire run of The Savage Sword of Conan. It is now complete with the publication of #22 (just that book is over 600 pages!). I sporadically collected the original magazines in my youth, and loved them, so it is a special treasure to be able to have the entire collection on my bookshelf!
They almost all fit!
I minor gripe, the reprints are smaller than the original, and they are printed on cheap newsprint. It would have been preferable to see it reprinted on higher quality whiter paper so the artwork could stand out better. I would gladly pay a few bucks extra for that.

I was thinking of doing a retrospective, as this type of fantasy greatly influenced D&D, and I'm sure many of you collected and were inspired by these barbaric tales.

There were so many great, truly amazing, artists whose work filled the pages of Conan. Where else could you see such impeccable draughtsmanship and fine detailed inking on a monthly basis? Not since the hey day of the golden age of illustration, before color printing became the norm, has there been such a bounty of ink drawings of this caliber being produced and printed without color. Just the raw black & white inks!

In this story Iron Shadows in the Moon master penciler John Buscema is having his drawings being graced with the stunningly skilled Alfredo Alcala, arguably the top, or at least in the top 3 inkers of that era. The result is jaw dropping.

The story itself is ok. It runs in 3 parts. In the first part Conan is the lone survivor of a massacre and he unintentionally saves a slave girl. He actually shows himself to be a bit of a gentlemen - to contrast with the barbarism of the "civilized" slavers. Part 2 delves into some ancient ruins, and there is an encounter with a wizard. The last part they run into pirates and Conan does what he does so well. I won't spoil the ending.

This could very easily be converted into a fun little three part D&D adventure.

I highly recommend this series.

Raiders! Another McGuffin: Crocea Mors

Crocea Mors

Another legendary sword is Crocea Mors (“Yellow Death”). It is a gladius - a Roman shortsword. It was wielded by Julius Caesar at the time of his conquest of the Celts. The sword itself was one of the finest blades in the Roman arsenal, and in the hands of a skilled fighter like Caesar was said to slay anyone it struck.

According to British legend as recorded by the scholar Geoffrey of Monmouth, during Caesar’s invasion of Britain, one of his hardest battles was against the ancient British prince Nennius. The prince’s chariot broke through the roman lines, and Caesar found himself fighting hand to hand. He stabbed right through his enemy’s shield and dealt the prince a fatal wound, but in so doing Crocea Mors became stuck in Nennius’ shield. Amazingly, despite his wound, Prince Nennius managed to stagger away from the battle and escape on his chariot. He continued to fight on for another 15 days - using Caesar’s own sword - before finally succumbing to his wounds. He was buried with the sword at his side in a tomb whose location is now lost.

Crocea Mors is a potent blade (+2 to hit) but its association with Julius Caesar , the original great dictator and emperor, that makes it of immense value. In the 1930s the person who would most like to find it would be the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, who fancies himself a modern incarnation of Julius Caesar and the leader of a renewed Roman emperor. Mussolini would stop at nothing to acquire this symbol of Caesar’s military prowess for himself, even sponsoring covert archeological missions on England’s soil.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Blog Shout Out

Some excellent OSR blogs I've been reading lately:

Nice hand colored maps at

A lot of Pathfinder content, but also a good general mix of OSR stuff.
Also be sure to check out his White Star blog! https://whitestarcantina.wordpress.com/

And one more, not a blog, more like a news portal: