Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Landsknecht Link Round Up, 2021

While I try to put together two actual posts of my own, here are a few recent(ish) OSR blog posts that I thought were interesting/compelling, and a little bit about why I thought that they were worth checking out.

  • All Dead Generations: So You Want To Build a Dungeon: This is a series of tips on how to construct the epitome of the Classic Dungeon Crawl, with discussion on some major features that designers ought to consider. Gus has been thoughtfully discussing some of the components in this process for a while, but it's nice to see a one-stop codified "best practices and design tips" location. I'm definitely going to be checking this out when working on my next dungeon.

  • Realm of Zhu: Some Ludological Influences on the early adoption of Dungeons & Dragons Etc.: Hopping into the Jon Petersen Playing At The World/The Elusive Shift zone of assessing influences on proto-D&D, Zhu looks at the influence of Tony Bath-style wargames and the board game Mastermind. I've been interested in the Tony Bath school of play for a while, ever since Hill Cantons blogged about it a while back, but I hadn't expected the connections that Zhu is drawing re: Mastermind. My preference in selecting these blog entries is generally more towards "building forward" than retrospectives, but I think that this entry is worthwhile because it generates some fruitful questions: are there still useful tools to be gleaned from the wargaming side of things? Are there changes in game design on the adversarial boardgame side that can provide some useful frameworks for bringing into OSR-style play?

  • Le Chaudron Chromatique: Some advice to represent trans characters in game: Evlyn M has some thoughts about how to portray trans characters in one's gaming and worldbuilding, both tropes to avoid but also areas that she recommends making a point to think about and fill in.

  • Le Chaudron Chromatique: Setup of my new OSE campaign: Hey, while you're at the Chromatic Cauldron, also check out this post regarding the setup and framework for a new campaign Evlyn's putting together. I really like these sorts of posts - they let you see a fellow GM's worldbuilding and design framework. It's always interesting to get a feel for how other GMs are approaching their campaigns, and getting a brief taste of the ideas they've got percolating. In this particular instance, Evlyn's put together a neat setup envisioning adventurers picking through the ruins of a vanished Elven civilization as their forest enters a perpetual autumn, while a dread wizard-king takes over the world in the background.

  • Mazirian's Garden: Injury and the Abstract Combat Round: Ben's been putting together a new OSR ruleset, Jorune: Evolutions. In the course of this design process, he's been dropping some absolutely great posts looking at various subsystems and facets of play, and thinking seriously about how they can be improved for what he wants at the table. This entry deals with the traditional combat round of OD&D and presents an alternative to try and increase flavor/dynamic feel of combat by abstracting out some of the details and stepping further away from the "one roll = one stab" zone.

  • Gundobad Games: Dressing Your Monsters: Raging Swan Press Monstrous Lairs I & II [REVIEW]: I was really impressed by this review, because it actually does the work to examine "can this help me put together better ideas than what I'm coming up with on my own?" and provides some extremely useful thoughts on how a GM can use this to help prep their own material.

  • From The Sorcerer's Skull: Guns of Middle-Earth: No, people haven't gone back in time to arm Sauron's armies with AK-47s (at least in this entry; Mary Gentle's 'Grunts' might beg to differ). In Guns of Middle-Earth, Trey takes a look at some of the Victorianisms of Middle-Earth and muses on how to heighten the 19th-century feel. Middle-Earth feels very much like a 'closed setting' to me, so I do very much appreciate seeing takes on how to remix it and present a fresh setting to engage with.

  • DIY and Dragons: Tolkienian Science Fantasy -- Replacing the PC Species: In a similar vein to Trey's post, Anne's take on replacing trad Tolkien species with some more traditional SF species (from Trek and Babylon 5) and imagining the changes in tone that would come from this. Anne coins the brilliant term 'French vanilla setting' here -- something that clearly draws upon the basic format of Trad Fantasy, but simultaneously brings something new, extra, and unique to the table.

  • DIY and Dragons: Advice from the Blogosphere in 2020: I'll close out my survey post with this survey post from Anne, which catalogs some of the best advice posted on blogs in 2020.
So! What have y'all been reading or working on in the OSR sphere? Anyone planning on participating in the Megadungeon Jam over on

(Crossposted from

1 comment:

  1. I feel honored to make your list twice! The links you've collected here are all really thought-provoking.