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Sunday, 2 October 2016

A quick round-up of things

So, news. 
Patrick Smith (of False Machine) did a review of Wolf-packs and Winter Snow recently. He said some very nice things about it, too (and sales shot up as a result afterwards, which was nice). The bit which caught my interest, though, was this:

"What does it mean that random weirdos are now creating perfectly interesting games in the OSR style, on their own, and apparently just dropping them on the internet?

I have no idea, its a kaleidoscope community and I've never seen more than a fragment at any one time? Is it getting bigger? I couldn't tell you. The core OSR-type personality is an odd combination of flinty and arty and there are relatively few people who are like that so I doubt it is growing at any speed."

Which got me thinking somewhat. There's definitely something consistent to the design choices and tastes in a lot of OSR gamers and writers. You get this wonderful darkness in the games. Not bombastic grim darkness like in warhammer 40k, or melodramatic angst-ridden darkness like in Vampire the Masquerade. OSR darkness is very much more dirty and primitive. A lot of the best stuff I've read - Deep Carbon Observatory, The God That Crawls, and basically everything from Goblin Punch - has this sense of decay and forlorn-nes to it. Things break, people die pointlessly from their own mistakes, and nothing has a grand meaning behind it. Things just happen, and often those things are bad.
I love the contrast in OSR stuff. On the one hand, you get these pretty mundane, familiar PCs, using old familiar mechanics. By this point, basically everybody knows what fighter-cleric-thief-wizard means, and how stuff like hit-points and saves work. It makes your little 'self' in the game world feel normal. So then when you get all this weird shit thrown at it (A game I'm running at the moment has featured trees that bleed like humans and moan when you cut them, giant barnacles in a cave with three-foot razor-sharp tongues, and the Great God Vorm - the bird who eats snakes.) and that contrast really highlights the scary otherness of the stuff you come up against. 
I dunno where I'm going with this.

I don't like the book for WP&WS enough. I'm working on a new version. It's gonna be hardback. It's gonna have actual art in it (public domain art, admittedly, but it's still a step up from only silhuettes). I'm adding some new content, too. Extra monsters (now you can fight glyptodons, severed hands and walking mushrooms!), new hazards (because one of my favourite bits in the book were the example slimes and spores and stuff, and more of them is always fun) and stuff like that.
Also, a new class; Neanderthal Apothecaries are a little squishier than normal Neanderthals, but get pretty good at Medicine. Plus, they can brew potions that mimic the effects of spells. This brings the classes to a round ten, so now you can pick your class by rolling a d10, if you're hardcore.

I might put some of the extra bits up on the blog once I like how they look.

I'm getting interviewed by the guy who writes Vacant Ritual Assembly. Mr Krausse is a lovely bloke, and the back-and-forth of emails has been pretty enjoyable so far. Everybody should get interviewed at some point, it's very satisfying.

I've been rubbish at updating the blog recently. Stuff in my real-life, and so on. But I'm gonna try and change that.

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