Archive for the 'OSR' Category


shemp development: yet another oracle

Following on from the previous article on shemp development (see Uncle Bear for definition and origin of shemp), I mused on the possibility of doing this by random generator based on a lifepath system. By freakish coincidence I was looking into fortune-telling using playing cards and then I thought of the oracles at Abulafia

The result is an open-source, system-free way to add flair to your baseline shemp. Use to taste – there are multiple options for the system depending on inclination and there are multiple systems of card divination courtesy of Google to use if this method isn’t to your taste. Without further ado, The Oracle of Shemp.

(Token Disclaimer: Fame & Fortune discourage using this as a divination tool even if there were cartomancers using this in 17th century courts. No challenge to any kind of copyright intended – what do you think I’m crazy? C’thulhu fthagn! ia! ia! Must be this tall to ride. )


giving back to the community: the twisted spires

Another in the series of Adventure Fillers; this one takes place in deep caves where stalagmites protrude out the ground like church spires. The monsters are twisted, there’s flammable oil for the taking and food is scarce. What could possibly go wrong? As always – made with open-source software for your playing pleasure: The Twisted Spires.


even more gaming tools

Inkwell Ideas has some wonderful tools; while some people have pointed at the magnificent Hexographer, the Coat of Arms Visual Designer deserves it’s own mention for those of you who need a heraldic coat-of-arms stat. And if you’re a GIMP mapper, you’ll love these brushes that draw on the icons from D&D’s classic Mystara setting.

Dungeon Mastering have created a 4E monster database. This provides ready-made cards for your monsters and importable code into Obsidian Portal and HTML (for Epic Words, blogs and other wikis). There is also a database of shared monsters that will certainly grow over time with contributions. Potluck can be fun.

You may also find the Magic Set Editor (lets you make your own trading cards) of particular interest (and it’s open source too) – this is just dandy if you have a card system for contacts/ stuff you can pass to players. Speaking of 4E, an epic labour of love can be found in the Universal Card Set that could be used with the above.


giving back to the community: shrine of horned justice

Another bit of open-source 4th edition goodness for you hurried DMs!

An abandoned shrine created by dwarves that offers the secrets of dead criminals in return for their bodies. It’s now guarded by troglodytes, vine horrors and cave bears. Did I fail to mention the snaketongue cultists and the undead who just won’t stay slain? Well, I knew there was something odd about that place.

Welcome to the Shrine of Horned Justice. Tread carefully.


giving back to the community: the black midden

An opportunity for those harried 4E DMs who have just discovered that they can’t buy any replacement PDFs if their laptop goes phut. Now available for your downloading pleasure. Otyugh, Orcus cults and shadar-kai, oh my! Made with open source software, the latest Adventure Filler – The Black Midden.


giving back to the community: iron guard bridge

Another 4E item. Adventure Filler 5 – Iron Guard Bridge is about a bridge to the Underdark guarded by an alliance of dwarves and warforged against all comers. Included is a skill challenge for Underdark navigation and the special heavy shields of the Iron Guard as well as numerous other challenges for those 5th level parties who need a quick adventure.

It’s made with open source software so enjoy!


gaming for all

Have been away seeing the fruits of my labours blossom at a live-roleplaying long weekend that so far has been very well-received indeed. It was been a blast (almost no sleep for three days with stuff to do) so now I’m back to the blog with a vengeance. OK, so you probably didn’t even notice I was gone (cunning things, these scheduled posts).

6d6Fireball provoked a discussion about the pricing structure of roleplaying games and posits a provocative question about Dungeons & Dragons. In the background there is a vocal call to return to old-school retro-clone gaming. There is a classic dichotomy about play style as well as edition wars going on. You can find a sound-bite summary on the style issue at Penny Arcade.

I’m currently in the process of setting up my own publishing house (as it seems easier than going through a proxy, plus I’ve been curious about how you’d actually become a publisher after reading old Dragon editorials). Yes there are overheads – though this is true of any business an quality of output is always something you need to consider.

The traditional publishing model is undergoing a culture shift in an age of ubiquitous, on-demand information; whether you consider it reasonable to publish PDF only copies and let the customer decide what they want to print with your own backup regime or embrace the Book philosophy and need never worry about the cost of electricity at a slightly higher cost.

Newspapers are being replaced with websites and RSS feeds, traditional media packaging and distribution is being much more demand-driven by consumers. There are concerns about loss of value for such assets – after all if you’re only being paid pennies per copy rather than turning the denomination of your choice, that’s a tough market – good luck with it.

The ultimate game is like snow. It transforms the environment and encourages play yet there isn’t much evidence of this kind of behaviour. Digital distribution is something that gaming firms are still having some difficulty with – despite the successes made by people like Nine Inch Nails and Coldplay, you’re still looking at a propietary regime and subscription-based services.

Does it have to be this way? Probably not. Can the hobby survive the change? Definitely.