the wonder of role-playing games: reviews, solo rpgs, old-school & narrative games

18 Jan 2018

Friday Grab Bag: Spores Of The Sad Shroom, Dungeon World Playbook List, Game Mastering Advice, A New Solitaire Game, Tournament of Daolu

This week offers tons of free/PWYW stuff for old-school gaming, Dungeon World and story games material, brilliant game-mastering advice and some tools.

Bookkeeping Notes: Some of the links below are affiliate links 1.

Old-school, OSR, and D&D 5e

Funky Potions from the Slime Pits is a free random table by Dyson Logos.

Do you like Wuxia? Then take a look at The Tournament Of Daolu for Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate (both are PWYW):

[It] is an adventure and setting supplement for Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate. Inside is a complete description of the city, a time-bending scenario through the chronicles of history, and many more opportunities for adventure. Also included are two maps of the city of Daolu: one from the present era and one from its dark past during the reign of the Demon Emperor.

Check out the free one-page encounter collection Toads Eat Toads! by Max Vanderheyden with art by Lu Quade.

Gerald Williams offers advice on Quick and Dirty NPC Stats.

Chris Tamm’s free Goblin Mine Dungeon Zone is full of random tables and looks incredible.

Here is a 3 Hex Map based on Gygax’s “Sturmgeschuetz & Sorcery” by Michael “Chgowiz” Shorten.

Nautilus Prison is a free adventure by Elven Tower Cartography:

This is a short adventure for level 8 characters about a wizard who kidnaps sentient nautili and does experiments on them. Hope you have fun playing it or getting inspired by the lore.

Spores Of The Sad Shroom ($6.66) by Karl Stjernberg: 16 pages, over 20 illustrations, full of spongy weirdness.

Here is a Google+-post with Resources for Swordfish Islands, the system-neutral island hex-crawl.

Jack Shear published his OSR products on DTRPG. Pay What You Want: Gothic Fantasy supplements by Dolorous Exhumation Press.

Dungeon World

Yochai Gal created a website with links to more than 176 playbooks: The Big List of Dungeon World Playbooks.

The ACE Adventure Design Method by Brian Holland is Pay-What-You-Want.

Rules-Lite and Story Games

Norbert Matausch updated his free games Future Punk (Cyberpunk) and Simple Feng (Hong-Kong Action) (note: links are broken). They now use his minimald6 system.

Plus, he made a free supplement called Creatures & Classes (note: links are broken):

[It] is a supplement for classic fantasy games. It offers players 6 new races and 30 new character classes to pick from. It was written with Ben Lehman’s Deeds&Doers and my own minimald6 system in mind.

Minimalist Gaming Doesn’t Exist! is worth a read if you are interested in lightweight gaming.

In the Hell of Jade is a module for Swords Without Master - PWYW.

Bizarre & Adventure is a free hack of Lasers & Feelings by Ewen Cluney:

The world is a bizarre place, full of adventure! It’s a lot like our world, except there are people with strange powers out there, and some of them do bad stuff! […]

And if you’re looking for more L&H goodness, check out this list on Matthew Schmeer’s blog.

Triumph of Death (PWYW) uses the narrative Free Universal (FU) engine:

Triumph of Death is a roleplaying game set in a medieval world broken by plague. Driven from their homes, the player characters must travel the ravaged land, looking for a new purpose and home.

Sounds gloomy but I like FU so I might give this a try.

Game Mastering

I recommend reading Justin Alexander’s advice on his blog. Here is the latest installment: Art of Rulings 13 – Hidden vs. Open Stakes. (First post is here.)

Rob Donoghue’s article about potential risks for a situation is pure gold: Risks.

When I run a game like Blades or Fate, I keep an internal checklist of potential risk categories which might complicate a situation, so that I’m prepared to complicate a mixed or narrow roll in a manner that’s consistent with the fiction.

This Method of Room Description Layout, for Dungeons in Adventure Modules takes inspiration from Blood in the Chocolate and Deep Carbon Observatory.

Solo RPG

You can use this Modular 5-Room Dungeon: The Dark Castle by Eric Bright for solo play.

Tarcisio Lucas has some ideas on how to play The Shotgun Diaries solo: Solo Shotgun Diaries.

Todd Zircher has a neat free plot generator you can use: Tangent Zero Random Plot Generator.

All We Love We Leave Behind is a solitaire writing game inspired by Quill and Apocalypse World:

Focusing on themes of isolation, abandonment, independence, and the passing of time, AWLWLB is a unique solitary emotional experience. The game uses a standard deck of playing card to randomize events in your writer’s life and give you more things to write about to your absent party.

Runehammer’s video is not new but if you missed it, watch it when you have time: Build AI for your Monsters!.

And here is a 47 min video that explains the Best Solo Adventure & RPG Tools for Your Campaign (via Kent H on G+).


Here is a free Stars Without Number: Revised Sector Generator.


You can get the Cypher System Rules Primer for free.

Bodie Hartley released a new zine: A Guide to Taverns Zine ($10 print):

This guide to fantasy taverns features illustrations and descriptions of fantastical beverages, food, amenities and regular tavern visitors, as well as a comprehensive listing of taverns that you might come across in your fantasy travels.

The New Year, New Game Sale is still running. I enjoyed Hubris and Beyond the Wall, so that might be worth a look.

15GB of maps and assets I have collected per the years. removed because of copyright violations

The Dark Times Fanzine Issue #2 is out.

DTF is the newest online free gaming magazine with a focus, still, on the “horror-conspiracyweirdness” sphere along with Modern, Post-Apocalypse and Realism genres.

Here is a free Printable Cipher Disc. It could be a fun gimmick for your game.

Jennifer Fuss does us an excellent service by listing the current crowdfunding projects here: Crowdfunding Collection #64.
I’m not sure if it’s for you, but I’m pondering getting in on the John Carter of Mars - The Roleplaying Game Kickstarter. It gives us the famous Barsoom setting with a stripped-down 2d20-ruleset by Modiphius. Still, the Momentum System not a lightweight game engine. But I heard good things about the 2d20-system from players who enjoyed a more crunchy game.

Do you need some free text graphics for your game? Here are some recommendations.

And don’t forget the free Stars Without Number: Revised Edition Art Pack.

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