Posts Tagged by Old School


Back in the days when I was still coloring in my dice numbers, we primarily used group initiative to determine combat order. There were no modifiers; a player and the GM each rolled a die. If the player scored the highest result, the PCs acted first. If the GM scored the highest result, then the enemies acted first. This was determined every round, so it was possible for either side to get two complete sets of attacks in before the other side acted. While this […]


For my Bleakstone hex crawl, I decided I wanted a random encounter system that met the following criteria: Simple Conforms roughly to the baseline 1/6 chance of an encounter/day in Basic D&D Can be weighted by terrain, region, PC activity, etc. Not entirely predictable by my players I couldn’t find a system like that in any of my books, or online, so I built one. The spectrum My baseline was Labyrinth Lord’s system (which is the same as Moldvay Basic D&D, which LL clones): Roll […]


I recently created a calendar for my fantasy hexcrawl, Bleakstone, and since it was a fun process and I’m pleased with how it turned out I thought I’d share it here. I wanted a calendar that was largely similar to the one we’re used to (the Gregorian calendar) without being identical, that evoked the flavor of the world, and which didn’t have any fussy bits — no leap years, no months with varying numbers of days, etc. Divide up the year After doing the math […]


In preparation for the release of the upcoming DCC RPG from Goodman Games, I recently acquired a set of GameScience dice. If you’re not familiar with GameScience, Col. Lou Zocchi, or why these dice are different from the dice you’re probably used to, these two GenCon 2008 video sales pitches by the colonel himself are a good place to start: part 1, part 2. Here’s the short version: GameScience is most famous for making precision-edge dice — razor-sharp, very lightweight, and with flat faces. The […]


Ever since Troy’s article about running red box D&D for his kids at the end of January, I’ve been immersing myself in the OSR (Old School Renaissance). It’s been a ton of fun, and one aspect in particular has been some of the most fun I’ve had as a GM in years. Even though I started gaming with the Mentzer red box, I never fully experienced old school play in the most classical sense (a group of treasure hunters/tomb robbers go on dungeon crawls to […]

As a GM, wandering monsters and other random encounters can be difficult to utilize without being a burden on the game. The best illustration of this point I’ve so far seen is in Rich Burlew’s excellent comic, Order of the Stick. But is it true that the wandering monster is nothing but a boring waste of time? Where did they come from in the first place, why did they seemingly disappear from modern games, and are there valid uses for them? In the early days […]

Get your bull’s-eye lantern, a 10 ft pole, and some spikes, because we are taking a journey into the dungeons of yesteryear. For those of you who did not battle the  Slavers, wander the Borderlands, defeat the Giants, and stood in the Demonweb Pits, you are in luck. Goodman Games provides you an old school Sherpa, in the way of The Dungeon Alphabet. Disclaimer—Goodman games was kind enough to provide a PDF copy of The Dungeon Alphabet. What Do You Get? The Dungeon Alphabet is […]