Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Review: Fight On! #1

I read Fight On! because I’m curious as to what serious old school gamers have to say even if I’m not going to play exactly like they do. As to stuff I can actually use, at the moment I mostly want straight-ahead material suitable for low level Labyrinth Lord (ie, Moldvay Basic) games. I also really like information on how to set up old school campaigns. This inaugural issue delivers the goods on both these points even though there’s a good chunk of OD&D type material that is almost incomprehensibly different from what I’d otherwise expect. (The gaming tastes I began to acquire back in the Electrum Age of the mid-eighties have perhaps left an indelible mark upon me.)

Classes and Hirelings:

  • The Devil’s in the Details — This is a set of tables to roll on in order to get a set of hooks for role playing a dwarf character: “Many Dwarves…”, “Some Dwarves…”, “Your Dwarf…”, and “Common Travelling Gear.” Kind of nifty for anyone interested in moving beyond just detecting sloping passages.
  • The Swanmay — A character class for the swan-person-thing from Swan Lake. I assume this is for OD&D.

Wilderness Design:

  • Setting up your Sandbox — The OSR community makes a lot of noise about various aspects of old school play, but these things were never particularly explicit in the original rule-sets that I had. The people talking about this are often hard to understand by outsiders to boot. (It’s almost as if the only way to understand these things is to be personally initiated into strange tribe of people who can trace their gaming associations directly back to the original Lake Geneva gamers.)  This article, however, explains a major plank of old school play in a way that even I could understand. Nice!

House Rules:

  • Flexible Sorcery — These are some options for monkeying with the magic system in old school D&D games. It’s by Jeff Rients, so it is stupid, gonzo, and funny. The bit on Magical Duels is actually kind of awesome, but this is pretty far from how I’d ever play the game.
  • Puissant Priestly Powers — These look like new cleric spells for OD&D with a distinctly Old-Testament-as-read-by-Samuel-L.-Jackson vibe to them.
  • Enchanted Holy Symbols — Here are a few tradition-specific holy symbols each with their own perks and gimmicks. (Odd that this was never really covered back in the day….)

Rants:

  • In the Time of the Broken Kingdom — Okay, not really a rant; more of a slightly nostalgic editorial. The bottom line is, Fight On! welcomes material from all games and all styles of play. (Wow, not quite what I expected, really.) Fight On! is especially interested in material from GM’s that run open games that welcome out-of-town vistors for a session or three– they’re even offering space to advertise games and maybe having brief session reports! (I wonder if this thread of the magazine got dropped later on as I don’t recall seeing more about this.)

Adventures:

  • The Ruined Monastery — I first read this before I knew who James Maliszewski was and my initial response was, “not bad for an amateur.” (He is, of course, one of the top bloggers in the OSR scene. Heh.) The map is in the retro-luddite style of pencil-on-graph-paper. It’s actually a pretty good straight-ahead game for level one characters, though it is intentionally incomplete. Like the Haunted Keep example in the Moldvay Basic Set, game masters are expected to flesh out additional levels in the dungeon. I can easily see this location getting placed in my sand box and then fleshed out only after the players choose to adventure here.
  • The Tomb Complex of Ymmu M’Kursa — I normally find Gabor Lux’s material to be so inscrutable, so frightening that I wouldn’t dare run it. This tomb complex is small enough that I can wrap my head around it– and it’s generic enough that I could adapt it to my game. I couldn’t tell you what level party should try this, but if people want to come here despite my warnings and partake of a total party kill, they’re welcome to it.
  • Nature’s Nasty Node — This is a nice, small, adventure scenario for parties ranking levels 4-7 that could be used to explain why the woods around the Caves of Chaos in module B2 are all twisted and scary. As a bonus, this article includes some tables for rolling up your own variation on this premise.
  • The Space Wizards — This is a mind-numbingly bizarre premise for a “high level” game.

Monsters:

  • Creepies & Crawlies — These monsters are silly, weird, and hurt my brain. Somebody, somewhere is running a game that is way more fun than mine…!

Magic Items, etc:

  • Artifacts, Adjuncts, and Oddments — These miscellaneous magic items are actually quite good. I’d even let some of these into my game….
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3 responses to “Review: Fight On! #1

  1. Peter December 20, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Thanks for reviewing these. It makes it easier to determine if I’d pick it up or not.

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