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

19 Oct 2017

Friday Grab Bag: BuJo, Free Rules-Lite Games, Chromatic Soup 02, RPG Layout

This week is full of free, lightweight games, most of the OSR vein. I also found two uses for the Bullet Journal method, a nifty solitaire game, layout advice and some articles that I did enjoy.
On a sad note, Zach Best from Conjecture Games has passed. He contributed many neat solo gaming tools to the community, and we are sorry to hear of his death.

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.


A Bag of Holding Spreadsheet. Because why not?

The Bullet Journal technique is a method to organize your life in a notebook. RPG Tinkerage adopted this style for a Game Mastering journal: Bullet Journal for scenarios.

The free BuJoRPG – The Bullet Journal Role Playing Game uses gamification and the BuJo method to help you to improve your life.

Do you need some music? D&D Classical Background Music Playlists might be worth a look. (note: broken link)

Recipe for Adventure might be worth a try as game prep.

Story Games

Here’s Only the Food, a free horror adventure for Dread by David Schirduan.

Forthright Open Roleplay Core Rulebook was just released for $7.99. I haven’t heard of it before, but it looks like a genre-blending indie game. If you buy it till the end of October, you can get a free PDF copy of the Spark Roleplaying Game by Jason Pitre. Here’s a review of Spark. And there’s also a free CC edion of Forthright (without artwork). So you can check out the game before you buy the full-color version.

D&D (Old School and 5e)

1pot: rules system & house rules for old-school RPGs (PWYW) is a kitchen-sink gritty D&D game. I have skimmed it, and it has some compelling stuff (character creation with random gimmicks, Wizard familiars & magic schools, cool species abilities, a pantheon, lethal damage table).

Slashers & Victims Light is a free slasher-themed hack for Swords & Wizardry Light.

Swords & Wizardry Continual Light (PWYW) is a lightweight 24-pages ruleset, an expanded version of S&W Light.

So It Looks Like You’re Gonna Die (free) is a neat little pamphlet you can throw at your players when they are at 0 HP. With death tables!

Get some free excellent-looking Character sheets for Swords & Wizardry by Karl Stjernberg.

Here is an interesting article about The OSR in Brazil.

Chromatic Soup 02, the illustrated 117-page setting book full of weirdness, is available as a free PDF or at-cost-print.

Norbert Matausch released Tatzelwurm ($3.49), the 2d6-OSR-freeform game with German roots. The game has a magic system, rules for mass combat and skirmishes and a complete setting. It skirts the border between a role-playing game and a wargame.

Laminations of the Flame Printing Press (free) by Paul C.:

A game where office workers MacGyver things and delve into demon-haunted, inter-dimensional office dungeons to do the bidding of a demonic printer.

Shane Ward’s Old school awesome - Oct 13 Edition and Old School Awesome - Oct 20th Edition collect new OSR releases (contains affiliate links).

And people are Curious About Dave Arneson’s Rules.

Lightweight Games

Bento Dungeon by Jesse Cox is a free game for a D&D-esque experience. It has a “lightweight core that needs to be combined with 1-3 supplements to create a full game, but the core and each supplement fit on a double-sided sheet of paper.”

MicroCrunch Universal RPG is a free ultra-lite RPG by David Johnston.

Dungeon World

Navel-gazing: I’m a judge for the Gauntlet Contest.

Brian Holland wrote a One Sheet RPG based on DW, Fate and The Indie Hack. It has a flow chart!

World of Adventures “is an ongoing project to present a simplified, tightened ruleset for Dungeon World that builds on the strengths and themes of the original game, while incorporating newer ideas and designs made popular since the game’s original release.”

The Fourth Page - Monsters is a free random monster generator.

Game Design

Keith Hann looks at the layout of OSR games: The Natural Starting Point and Layout Part II: Send In The (Other) Clones.

Here is David Schirduans’ excellent article about doing the layout with Google Docs: Jalopy Design. Must-read.

Joe Banner pointed out an article about Stock photos that don’t suck.

Solo Gaming

The Ennie-Award-winning blog GnomeStew is looking at Running a Solo Game GM-less.

Sole - An Exploration Game for One Player is a beautiful free journaling game by James Mullen:

You have left the world behind on an almost-fully automated, one-person spacecraft, with the mission to scout the galaxy and see what’s out there. Your craft will navigate you to places of interest and record everything it can via its sensors: your job is to provide the human touch by means of a commentary on how each discovery makes you feel.

Zach Best, the author of fabulous tools like CRGE or UNE, has passed away. Zach’s Book (no affiliate link), is still available as PWYW if you want to support his family. All proceeds go directly to them.

Video games

The Loot Crate Problem is an insightful article about how publishers monetize their games and what it means for you as a consumer.


On the Shoulders of Giants: An OSR RPG Setting might be worth a look for fans of Scrap Princess and Lamentations of the Flame Princess or The Black Hack.

The booklet will describe a setting for The Black Hack and Lamentations of the Flame Princess where man is forced to live on the corpses of dead gods, devoid of metal and with scarce food.

James Shields creates Fantasy Stock Art & RPG Minis.


A shout-out to the wonderful Dylan Ross, Shane Liebling and Andrew James Huffaker for supporting me on patreon.

Andrew has a podcast that combines two interests of mine: psychology and RPGs. Check it out at The Psychology of Gaming.

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