Monday, February 28, 2011

The purpose of this...

Well, I've had a bunch of ideas for serious OSR projects I'd like to get into, some of which are pretty cool. Rather than making an abortive strike at a huge personal publishing effort of my own, prior to properly re-acclimatizing myself to 1st edition rules*, I intend, and hereby solemly commit to:

1- Putting my money where my mouth is, and getting an oldschool game running via the local gaming society, at least once per fortnight.
2- Getting my avid, long-time, and, by this point, rather flabby and arthritic, love of Greyhawk into fighting-shape with some serious research, as per Grodog, Grendelwulf or the Greyhawk Grognard. My first campaigns in AD&D were there**, it resonates perfectly with E.G.G's books, and is, well, bloody great. :)
3- Running a proper open ended hex/dungeon crawl, where the plans and actions of the PCs, noble or ignoble, cunning or foolhardy, direct pretty much everything. 
4- Using a megadungeon designed by one of my online role-models, a much more experienced and disciplined practitioner of the DMing artform than I am, as the centrepiece. This is for the purpose of (with any luck) learning how to go about designing a truly awe-inspiring megadungeon of my own.
5- Inserting smaller lairs/dungeons/ruins, plundered from elsewhere or designed by myself, around the Free City, for changes of pace. Rumours will abound at the Green Dragon...
6- Fleshing out a detailed numbered hex-map for overland crawling.

Point 4, at the heart of everything, gives my blog its name, and of course refers to Joseph Bloch's awesome ode to Gary and Rob's big dungeon: Castle of the Mad Archmage (found on Joe's page). I cannot begin to express my love for this wonderful project. The devotion that has gone into it, its scale, its sense of fun is a gift to the OSR. Thanks Joe. Consider this blog of mine a fanpage of yours. It will map out my journey on this awesome learning curve, and hopefully record the development of a new oldschool gaming scene in my area. No one seems to play these games around here now. Hopefully I can mess with that...

I don't have Castle Zagyg: Upper Works. Not many people do, sadly. I've been going through everything I can find, and at this point plan to use Richard Grave's The Mad Demigod's Castle (found here) for the Storage Rooms. I love that very much too. Thanks Richard.

As for the Castle Ruins, well, I want to work on those myself. I'm looking at real world ruined castles, like Heidelberg (on a slightly smaller scale), or the once-ruined Castell Coch. Heidelberg has an appropriate sad grandeur ( I particularly love the painting The Ruined Tower of Heidelberg Castle, which I modified for my blog-header), but Coch is concise, has three towers and plans of its ruined state available, and in many ways better serves my modest purposes.

For point 6 I'll be using Judges Guild products like Village Book I and Ready Ref Sheets. Also, Kellri's Old School Encounters Reference Book will also prove indispensible. Other awesome bits and pieces will be used and recorded here along the way.

The core of my game will be Labyrinth Lord using the AEC, but I have all the 1st edition books, including a spare Player's Handbook, so that stuff will be prevalent. There will also be a big fat d30 sitting on the table.   :)

I'm planning to make regular postings here, but will intentionally keep things concise. My goal is really to get an awesome game of D&D up and running, and that is where the bulk of my endeavours shall be expended.

Well, I guess I'm blogging again. A big thanks to all those in the OSR who have inspired me to do this! You'll find yourselves in my blogroll. Cheers!

Organized chaos at the DM's desk...

* I ran AD&D last year for a few sessions last year with some friends. It was great, but the long commute for yours truly (two hours each way) killed that campaign dead. I have run all sorts of stuff in recent years, but my actual playing experience with 1st edition has been on hiatus since about 1988...

** In the Theocracy of the Pale, of all places. My PCs were somewhat frowned upon as ne'er do-wells by all of the local religious conservatives, despite their various heroic deeds! Late in the campaign my PCs were in the Crystalmists getting thumped by giants. Can't quite recall how I fudged that Flanaess-wide relocation...


  1. Great to see another Aussie blogger. Looking forward to reading this blog.

  2. Desk clutter like that=damn good start.

    Word verification "suble": almost "subtle" but even more.

  3. Great blog!

    If you're interested for a peek at Upper Works, I put the map of Gygax's storerooms at the end of this post. It's followed by a very brief description of encounters.

  4. Thanks Grendelwulf! I've had your Storerooms cheatsheet for a while, and I'm actually attempting writing up my own Storeroom level adhering to those notes- I might use that instead of Richard Graves' level. Thanks for the encouragement man. I've been ill all week, but kind words and new friendly followers is hauling back to the old grindstone... :)

  5. You can still use Richard's level in some fashion. There's always room beneath Castle Greyhawk. There was supposed to be a bunch of side levels in addition to the main levels.

    It's a wonder the whole hex doesn't collapse with all of the digging and tunnelling there.

  6. Good point- I like Richard's level a lot- but it doesn't seem to deal with certain elements I want to incorporate- the Wide Staircase being one of the main ones. But, duh- I don't know why I didn't think of just sub-levelling it to begin with... :)