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

11 Jan 2018

Friday Grab Bag: Runaway Hirelings, Games for Kids, Publishing Material, Random Generators

I found some excellent resources for D&D gaming this week. Plus, some new story games and games for children are out.
And I’m not sure if it’s for you, but if you’re interested in publishing RPG material, I have some links for you, too.
Don’t forget that you can support these weekly posts on my patreon. Thank you!

Bookkeeping Notes: Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no extra cost to you. But please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them.

D&D (OSR & 5e)

Here is a free PDF by Chris Tamm from Elfmaids & Octopi: Murder Hobo Manual.

Swordfish Islands Flash Sale [BUNDLE]: $10.00 for both The Dark of Hot Springs Island and A Field Guide to Hot Springs Island. I’ve heard good things about it, so you might want to give it a look.

Getting Players Used to OSR Attrition Rates is an insightful discussion on Reddit.

Some cool hand-drawn character sheets by James V. West: OSR Character Sheets Demonic Edition - PWYW.

Here is a post I found on Reddit: A Guide for DMs Running or Considering a Campaign of 6+ Players.

THREE HEXES THE RIP - AN INTERSTELLAR CAMPAIGN is a simple sci-fi campaign starter. This starter comes in handy as the new Stars Without Number: Revised Edition was just released last week - free version here.

Need some plants? There is a free 160+ pages Fantasy Plant Compedium - via Reddit.

And get this inspiring (free) one-page adventure by Max Vanderheyden: The Young Queen. I can see fascinating implications with political intrigue here.

DNDSpeak is a website with lots of d100 lists, e.g., d100 Side Quest Hooks or d100 NPC Character Catch Phrases - via Tarcisio Lucas on G+.

And here is an NPC and magic item generator: NPCbase - found via Reddit: I made a random character generator, and it can now generate over 5.2 million unique background stories. The NPCs have cool backgrounds, so that seems like a neat tool.

Mayim Bialik from The Big Bang Theory tells us about how it is to play D&D with her kids: D&D Therapy.


This is an enlighteing read if you want to release stuff for established settings that are part of the OBS Community Program: OBS Community Content Program is terrible (with one exception).

And here’s a video by Matt Finch, Guy Fullerton and Zach Glazar about How to Publish D&D Resources 1: Getting Started.

Story Games, Freeform Games, Gaming For Kids

Runaway Hirelings in PDF for $6 - a zero prep RPG by Thomas Novosel:

Runaway Hirelings is a tabletop role-playing game about hirelings escaping a dungeon, where the dungeon is created as they are escaping it by all the players and the dungeon architect (aka Dunarch, but gamemaster works as well). These hirelings have specific skills which are useful in specific instances, but fighting isn’t even an option they are so bad at it. So the trap-poker may just have to set off some traps as they go rolling down the staircase if they want to stop an ogre from pursuing them into the next room.

This might be useful if you want an RPG for kids: Amazing Tales (PDF ~$6):

It’s a simple and flexible system, written for parent - child sessions. Setting and characters can be whatever you want, and the book comes with four sample settings, the Deep Dark Wood, Magical Kingdoms Long Ago, the Pirate Seas, and Adventures beyond the Stars.

Unlike many of the kids games out there this isn’t about providing a D&D lite experience for kids. It’s focused on creating stories together, building on each others ideas and telling Amazing Tales.

Or you could use something extremely uncomplicated: Heroes and Danger: A Role-Playing Game for Pre-Literate Children is a gratis freeform RPG that uses a single d6. A high roll is preferrable, a low roll adds a complication. The article offers a lot of advice on how to create a good gaming experience for younger children.

Solo RPG

Aerzyk Thomas writes about Solo Gaming: Dungeon Crawl Classics! I like how he includes maps and screenshots of his Rory Cubes. And Aerzyk uses my own Miso system for the solo part.

Don’t forget to check the resources listed above in the D&D section. These are also useful for solo gaming.


Melodice offers music playlists for boardgames. Awesomesauce!

Crowdfunding Collection #63 by Jennifer Fuss informs us about current new projects. Frankenstein Faktoria, a lightweight RPG, sounds like a fun idea:

In Frankenstein Faktoria you and your friends play a Frankensteiner. One of the tortured creations of Doctor Victor Frankenstein, created out of a composite of body parts from cadavers and reanimated through science and electricity.


Brian Holland is another wonderful patron. Brian creates the world-building RPG zine Session Zero. Take a gander, folks.

And a heartfelt welcome to Matthew Gushta and Harrison Swift!

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