Monday, October 09, 2006

Reviews of OSRIC modules

I have posted two reviews of some of the first OSRIC-compatible modules over at Dragonsfoot. Have a look at my reviews of The Red Mausoleum and Smuggler's Bane and let me know what you think.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I'm Back! and OSRIC is Cool

I'm back after neglecting this blog for many months. I will try to update more frequently in the future...

If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and go download OSRIC. What is it? OSRIC is basically an attempt to recreate 1st Edition AD&D within the framework of the OGL. It is also intended to be used by publishers that want to release adventures and other material that is compatible with 1st Edition AD&D. RPGnow has a pretty good summary of what's currently available HERE. Check it out.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Building a Campaign World: Part One

An obvious first question about campaign building is where do you start? One way is with a top-down approach. Draw a map of your world and detail every aspect from the names of countries and mountain ranges down to how many men are in King Edmund’s personal guard. Of course, the time and effort involved in such an approach is pretty daunting. The opposite is a bottom-up approach. Draw a dungeon, drop in some monsters and turn the PCs loose. Details like the names of nearby towns or local deities can be made up as needed. A drawback of this ad hoc approach is that it usually results in a pretty ‘unrealistic’ world.

A traditional approach that compromises between top-down and bottom-up is to map out a hamlet or small village and a nearby dungeon. You fill in enough details to keep the PCs occupied for several sessions of play and then expand from there. You can read an overview of this approach starting on page 86 of the DMG. Classic ‘village and dungeon’ modules include T1: The Village of Hommlet and N1: Against the Cult of the Reptile God. Both modules are available from RPGnow. Hommlet is also available as part of the larger module T1-4: Temple of Elemental Evil. Either could neatly serve as the basis for a homebrewed campaign.

An excellent source of campaign building information is Ray Winninger’s ‘Dungeoncraft’ series of articles from Dragon magazine. The first article appeared in issue #255 and continued for 30+ issues. Most of the back issues are still available from Paizo Publishing, but they are quite expensive. Fortunately, you can get the whole series as a zipped file HERE. I highly recommend snagging it. It’s a good read.

In our next installment, we will try and answer a few initial questions about your campaign world. After that we will get down to the nuts and bolts of drawing the maps for and populating our little village and dungeon.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Note About Covers

Be aware when you are looking for 1st Edition books that the Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide were all produced with two different covers. One cover was used in early printings and the other was used in later printings. I am partial to the early covers, but the later printings do have errata that some of the early printings do not and they can usually be had for a little less money to boot. If you want to see what both covers look like, check out these links to the Acaeum, which has pictures of both covers for each book.

Player’s Handbook
Monster Manual
Dungeon Master’s Guide

In my next post, we’ll start getting down to the business of campaign creation.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

AD&D Downloads from Paizo Publishing

If you want electronic copies of your 1st Edition AD&D books, head over to the Paizo Publishing website. They are offering the 1st Edition hardbacks for only $4.00 per book. They also have classic modules and campaign material. Check it out.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Books You Will Need

Now that you have decided to enroll in our little Introduction to Dungeonmastering course. You are are going to need the required reading list. I recommend the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide and the Monster Manual as your essential texts. There are other 1st Edition hardbacks like Unearthed Arcana available, but I would recommend that if you have never played 1st Edition AD&D before or if you just want a simple, but still complete game, that you stick to these three.

It goes without saying that you cannot walk into your local bookstore or your Friendly Local Game Store (unless they have a pretty good used section) and pick up your 1st Edition books. Unless you already own a set, I would suggest that you turn to the web to pick them up. The best choice IMHO is good old eBay. Here is a LINK to the Role Playing Games category, where you can start your search. I usually use search terms like 'advanced', 'player's handbook' or 'lot' in my searches, but I don't claim to be an expert. Especially if you get them in lots, you can usually get pretty good copies of most 1st Edition books for $5-10 apiece (except for rarities like the first printing of Deities & Demigods.)

Another option is to search the websites of used game stores like Titan Games and Troll and Toad. I find those sites a bit expensive, but they might offer you a little more security in your purchases than buying through an auction site. Yet another option is to purchase the books as PDF downloads from RPGnow. I still prefer the physical books in my grubby little hands, but I did want you to be aware that the books are (legitimately) available in electronic form. A word of warning for you, however. I have heard at least some of the 1st Edition PDFs are not of the greatest quality and so buyer beware.

What This Blog is All About

The purpose of this blog is very simple. I want it to be a guide for anyone that wants to create and run a roleplaying campaign using the classic 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game rules. Over the coming weeks and months, I am going to try and give you a (hopefully) complete guide to everything from finding the books to creating a campaign world. I hope you enjoy reading what I have to offer and most of all, I hope it helps make you a better Dungeonmaster.

The question you might want to ask now is - why use 1st Edition? There is a new 'third' edition of D&D, right? While it is true that there is a new edition of D&D currently being published, I would like to offer you a very incomplete list of some reasons that you might want to give 1st Edition a try:
  • It's nostalgic. This is probably the game that you played in your youth.
  • It's easy to learn. Even if you don't know how to play, there are many, many adults that still remember and love the game.
  • It's simple. 1st edition is arguably MUCH simpler than the current edition of the game.
  • It's cheap. You might already own the books! Even if you have to buy them, you can find them online or in second hand bookshops for a very reasonable price.
  • It's complete. Since AD&D is no longer being published, you don't have to worry about keeping up with the 'book of the month'.
  • It's well supported. There are many supplements and adventures, and there is plenty of online support to boot.

In my next post, I am going to give you some tips on finding new copies of the rulebooks if you have never owned them before or if yours have been lost with the sands of time. Stick around. It's going to be a fun ride.