Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Blog Watch: Lone Wolf Game Books, the Many Dials of GURPS, and Early Eighties Gaming Photos

I don’t always go with a retro-look, but when I do… I use cassette tapes and the Deluxe Car Wars font just to make sure everyone gets the message.

Gamebooks (Sandbox Empire) Lonewolf fan? Look no farther… — “Project Aon has pretty much every Lonewolf-gamebook related thing you could ever want, all in excellent, bookmarked ebooks, all for free, and all with the express permission of the author himself, Joe Dever. Awesome. Of particular excellence is the Magnamund Companion, a classic example of Gold Age gamebookery. Though, given what PA is offering, we may indeed be headed towards a Platinum Age….”

GURPS (Dungeon Fantastic) Changing the Dials in GURPS — “GURPS starts with a fairly realistic approach. Generous, yes. Punches to the skull don’t hurt your hand, you get unlimited Dodges, you can suck up a lot of damage just short of crippling without problems. But not so generous it strains the bounds of reality or versimilitude. It then lets you set the dials to much harsher levels (punching the skull hurts, cumulative Dodge penalties, partial crippling) or much more generous ones (swords can’t parry punches, access to Enhanced Dodge and even Cosmic defenses, Flesh Wound rules).”

Old School Mass Mind (Tower of the Archmage) Synthexia – Gygaxian Democracy in action — “Crystal swords, laser beams and synthetic 80’s fever dreams. This is the map of ‘Synthexia’, the last fragments of a shattered world within the void held together by forgotten remnants of the oldest magics.”

All About the Benjamins (Troll in the Corner) A month of Pay What You Want – this is what you all wanted to pay — “For me, at this time, moving to this model makes an awful lot of sense. Even if I have a month where I don’t make a single cent ‘selling’ my products, at least I’m seeing them move into more hands. The more people who have them, the more potential that they’ll actually read them. A certain percentage of those folks will play the games, and a certain percentage of those folks will talk about them. At my level, that’s the best form of advertising I can get.”

BECMI D&D (Semper Initiativus Unum) Rules Cyclopedia – Now in PDF — “You just have to wonder – did WotC stop from reprinting it because with a printed Rules Cyclopedia, there’s really no need for a ‘D&D Next’?”

Gaming History (Akratic Wizardry) Old School Cred — “The failure of Castles and Crusades in the eyes of many fans of TSR AD&D and D&D was what prompted the retro-clones.  It led initially to OSRIC, intended at first simply as a tool to enable people to publish 1e AD&D material without fear of legal retribution.  OSRIC was soon followed by other ‘retro-clones’, such as Labyrinth Lord (B/X D&D) and Swords and Wizardry (0e D&D).  Even more retro-clones and quasi-clones came along … And 8 years later, here we are.”

GURPS (Dungeon Fantastic) Shields for Wizards — “It was only my next group that realized what ‘no classes’ meant in a full sense. We ended up in very short order with wizards with leather armor (mail was too heavy, and would slow down a weak wizard too much), one-handed staves (usually a 3-4′ jo), and shields. Once the first guy took a shield, I’m not sure I’ve seen more than one wizard without one since.”

AD&D (Roles, Rules, and Rolls) Gygax’s Treasure Obsession and Mistake — “If by-the-book OD&D can be impossible to figure out, by-the-book AD&D is impossible to play and enjoy.”

Gaming History (Beyond the Black Gate) Nostalgia Overload — “Check out the blog 2 Warps to Neptune for some classic pics of young folks in the 70-80’s playing D&D. Its great stuff, and there’s some good info on the infamous Summer Adventure Camp from days of yore.”

Gaming Theory (Semper Initiativus Unam) Integrity, Randomness and Improvisation — “The assumption of PC success is basically illusionism. If failure is not an option, there really is no skill – players are going to succeed whether they are good or not. I think this is honestly one of the reasons that OSR gaming has the appeal it does. Since character death is up-front and entirely possible, it makes it clear that integrity is more important than your PC. And players respond positively, by becoming very conscious of what their characters are doing, and it leads to the development of player skill.”

The Game Critic (Monsters and Manuals) On Explicating System Preference, Systemic Blandness, and Alienating Nebulousness — “Pre-3rd edition D&D is charmingly inelegant. In the abstract it is stupidly overcomplicated and messy, but it doesn’t matter because it could not be more charming. It is lovable.”

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3 responses to “Blog Watch: Lone Wolf Game Books, the Many Dials of GURPS, and Early Eighties Gaming Photos

  1. Charlie Warren July 7, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Those old pictures of young people playing D&D were the best thing ever!

    • jeffro July 7, 2013 at 7:08 am

      I like the ones of the not-particularly-nerdy regular-guy kids. Back then… just about *everyone* played some kind of D&D.

      • Charlie Warren July 7, 2013 at 10:47 am

        Yeah, that’s the biggest difference between now and then. It was pretty common for most everyone to at least try some form or another of D&D. I remember having a group of kids from school that were starting up a playing group but I never was lucky enough to have an actual D&D Club or group in the yearbook or anything like that.

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