If there’s one thing playing through older games on Retro Roleplaying® has begun to illuminate is that video gaming has leaked into tabletop games quite a lot. In some ways, this is a good thing: many games have become a little more automated, leaving more time for roleplaying; however, in many other ways, not so much. On the screen, as much as tactics to overcome them can and do vary, adversaries outside of the main-plot villain are little more than a hammer. Their sole purpose of existing is only to drain party resources, provide gear, or as fodder for an experience grind. Unfortunately, this has translated to the table in the way of stale monsters. As exciting as the art is, and some of the descriptions, many creatures suffer from Videogamitis – useful only to grind levels and gear. Goblins, as an example, are used as a way for squishy characters to advance rapidly then are rarely encountered again. However, these low level encounters can prove the undoing of even advanced groups, if the strengths of the monsters are polished to shine. Three real world examples will be used show how deadly burrowing and trapping monsters can be to any character.
The Underworld has forever been a place of mystery and unfathomable distances. Impossible to map, this week's map selection is a representation of the journey souls take. Distances are not given, neither are labels. The map is perfect to drop into any game.
Two weeks ago, the post talked a lot about what a historical revenant was. However, because the nature of blogs, the internet, and not wanting to waste too much time for people, we didn’t include everything we wanted in the original article. There's such a wealth of information regarding this topic, it was so hard to pick and choose what we thought were the essential elements to tabletop gaming. Which is why we decided to break up the post into two section: one section focused more on describing what a revenant is, and the other on how they might behave at a game table. Hopefully, we give you enough insight and inspiration to use a historically-based version of this monster at your table. Suffer with us a little while longer as we return to this topic to discuss how a traditional revenant can be used in a tabletop game with a little more depth.
But first, the ten points found at the end of the previous article will be repeated for quick review:
This week's blog post won't be nearly as long as last week, but we do have some updates. First, here's your Map of the Week: The Goblin Warrens! Enjoy all the hand drawn goodness. Posted below the picture is a file, in case the picture has problems loading.
A revenant is more than just the title of a recent Leonardo DiCaprio movie; it’s also the name of a frightening kind of enemy more terrifying than any zombie, even most vampires. It haunted medieval lives and destroyed entire villages. It caused plagues and death. It was accompanied by the dead or packs of baying hounds. It caused so much mischief that special rites and rituals at burial were developed to keep the fiends buried. Unfortunately, those didn’t always work and pain and suffering followed in their wake (a nice little double entendre) – other than the undead baker who tried to help his wife with the business after his passing but rolling out the next day’s bread (some people just can’t let their business go). Within the framework of tabletop roleplaying, or even video gaming, this creature that was so evil whole villages were deserted out of dread has now been reduced to little more than a glorified zombie. This is not only a gross disservice to the historical myth of revenants but our ancestors’ terror. Appealing to history, a small recounting of the definition and its etymology will be presented, as well a few short stories to illustrate the power of “The Returned.” Finally, a short analysis of these elements will follow to come to a consensus on the most important elements of this particular walking corpse (because the tales are all over the place with abilities and motivations). To conclude the article, we’ll give a few general guidelines on how to incorporate a historic revenant into tabletop sessions.
Happy belated New Year! It's been a pretty busy one for us, mostly because of the prviously mentioned illnesses, but we're starting to get back into the swing of work. As mentioned last week, our posts with alternating free maps and story hooks will begin again. At the end of this post, you will find your free map: the Desert Map by James Curwen.
We at Skinner Games had a ton of fun last year with our first sessions of Retro Roleplaying. We started out fumbling through the First Edition retro clone called OSRIC to play through the original I6 Ravenloft adventure. We continued with a change of pace and played a Superheoes game for several sessions using R. Talsorian's Fuzion system. And we began our live-play review of Cubicle 7 Entertainment's 5e Lord of the Rings campaign setting, Adventures in Middle earth. We hope you're having as much fun as we are and that our experiences with the games inspire you to try them out yourselves.
We have big things planned for the upcoming year. Although our schedule is subject to change, this is what we hope to bring to the proverbial table!
Okay. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but it certainly felt that way sometimes. Our families have had flus, sinus infections, pink eye, fevers, vomiting, contenancy issues and all manner of varying illnesses since just before New Year's. We're surprised none of us were hospitalized. As much as we wanted to, we didn't get a whole lot done. I promise, we're still alive, even if it hasn't felt like it recently. On the bright side, one of us was able to jump off the unemployment wagon and snagged a new career. Hooray! However, all the plague and efforts to have a job that can actually support one's family has sort of thrown off our schedule. By a lot. it's tough to keep your consistency during the holidays and when you're struck down by death-plagues.
Woo hoo! We have a brand spanking new release for everyone today: 100% hand-drawn dungeon tiles fashioned after your old 1970's style dungeon maps: OSR Tiles. That's right, folks, we're kickin' it old school.
I haven't exactly made it a secret that I have a serious crush on the OSR movement. It's fantastic. Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of modern games, too, but there's just something amazing about OSR materials. I dunno, maybe the nostalgia trip just appeals to my inner grognard. Good thing, too; he can finally stop bellyaching about that arrow to the knee and go kick some trash again.
In honor of this most amazing time to be alive in tabletop gaming, we're proud to offer the following eight pages of OSR tiles found in our DriveThruRPG store. Here's a small gallery of a few of the things you'll get in the pack, a suggestion for how to cut up one of the large floor sets, and an example of play (we printed the tiles off on 110 lb card stock -- we have plans to glue these double layer, corrugated cardboard, DM Scotty 2.5D dungeontile-style).
Greetings, Gamers! Here is the first update in a new push we're making to release content on a more regular basis for all of you. In this effort, We'll be making weekly updates to this News blog. Shock and awe. This plan involves alternating posts between Map of the Week and #RPGHook posts. This week's map is a hand-drawn map made entirely using the appendices in the 1st Edition Advanced version of the world's most popular roleplaying game! The image below was drawn on an 5.5 x 8.5 sheet of graph paper and has a resolution of 300 pixels. The rooms are intentionally left blank of items or descriptions so gamemasters can customize as they please. Flaws in the lines and design are intentionally preserved to give the map that 1970's after school feel.
Just a small update this week to show we're still alive. We've been working hard on cobbling together some articles and other new material for everyone. We're also building up some stock for a shop we hope to open, making some of our most popular items more widely available. So far, we're looking to provide our adventurer's currency, wands, Inspiration tokens, brass rings, and hand stitched journals. We've posted pictures of these items before, but will drop a small gallery below for everyone to view. If enough revenue can be generated from these few items, then we'll add a bunch of other things. Other products we hope to include some day are dwarf keys, elf brooches, Celtic torqs, runic inscriptions, hand drawn maps on leather, scroll tubes, puzzle tubes, fairy doors, dice trays, dice holders, dungeon set pieces, various bits of other terrain, dragon eggs and whatever else strikes our fancy, really. All of these pieces are in various stages of development so we can quickly produce quality pieces on demand.
Niklas has been a dreamer for many years and has recently decided to join with long term his associate, James Curwen, to bring their dreams of cheap, fun games to the masses.
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