On Innovation in the Old School Renaissance II

As you look over these items, some of which won multiple awards, keep in mind the number of people who aren't even exposed to this way of thinking. Excepting of course that which trickles down to the larger releases seen by the public at large.

It's good to have the industry leaders chasing your avant garde curve.

Posts of Singular Utility

Rob walks us through the creation of the feudal system he uses for the Majestic Wonderlands. Getting these kinds of things down and in print is an important aspect of the usefulness of blogs, and i love reading about the creative process of other people.

Pierce talks about elves. Your brain melts.

Another interesting development in 2015 is that kellri began posting to the blog again after a six year hiatus, though the content is much less earnest then it was in the past.

It is no joke how good this interview about Fire is between Dungeon Smash and Patrick

Alex had created the rapidly expanding and useful face generator as a super useful tool for role-playing games. There's almost half-a-dozen artists already and it takes just a few minutes to join and get started making your own faces. Of course you could use the millions of faces the generator already makes in your games, I suppose, if you were into pure, unadulterated, utility. This definitely gets my vote for best new automated role-playing game tool of 2015.

Among the erratic, yet consistently good stream from blog of holding, we got one page Spelljammer rules which is totally useful, both as an artifact and as an examination of a process on how to simplify something.

Dyson Logos is creating an artifact of power.

Releases in 2015

Last year started with an amazing release, Strange Stars by Trey Causey. It is kind of a revolutionary setting book, providing an entire universe of interplanetary adventure in about 20 full color pages. It was a good start to the year.

James Spahn's White Star came out to some glowing reviews, and some not.

Kabuki Kisers release this year was Castle Gargantua, the "Largest" (Sic) megadungeon ever released. It uses preset rooms, along with random generation, to allow your characters to move through the dungeon on a snakes and laddersesque board to generate a functional fascinating fun megadungeon crawl.

Richard Leblanc's released several important volumes last year, Creature Compendium and B/X Psionics. Richard spent some time with Steve Marsh talking with him about how psionics was originally envisioned for Basic/Expert, and then he spent approximately forever playtesting it. Personally, I'm super excited about B/X.

Yoon-Suin finally saw the light of day and it was glorious. What a strange renaissance to have. Both unannounced projects and the ones we know about years in advance that we long for meet our high expectations.

Petty Gods, that long maligned, oft forgotten albatross was finally released. 400 pages of instant at-the-table goodness. It's a pretty amazing work, available free or at cost for the print version.  There were various grumblings about how some of the gods weren't serious enough, but only by those people who are completely ignorant of the origins of the hobby.

The second amazing release from Chris Kultilk, Fever Dreaming Marlinko was released continuing to expand on our glimpses of the marvelous Hill Cantons. We expand into urban territory and tiger wrestling. Tiger wrestling. Just saying that again. Wrestling tigers.

Kevin Crawford release a free design guide to classic TSR layout and style If you're looking to emulate early works such as Basic/Expert or old modules, this is a fantastic resource, It comes with an indesign source file making it even faster to layout your work.

Wonder and Wickedness is possibly one of the most important spell systems ever published. It is a replacement for magic in a fantasy setting and does so by creating a magic system that is actually magical. No, not magical like Blackleaf hanging herself because she learned real magic, but magical in that it makes spell-casters feel like dabblers in the actual arcane.

If you're not into Vacant Ritual Assembly you should be. It's a Lamentations of the Flame Princess zine put together by the people you figured out were actually cool after you discovered that the people you thought were cool, weren't. I mean, who doesn't need more information on the culture and magical powers of the flesh-sewing of the Oolai people? Issues 2-5 came out in 2015!

John M. Slater of Nod fame continues his prodigious output with two versions of Bloody Basic, The Mother Goose Edition focused on fairy tales and The Sinew and Steel edition focusing on brave knights, storming castles, jousts, and other medieval events.

KDJ of Echelon Game Design continues quixotic task of collected every character option in pathfinder. It is a layout puzzle to challenge the ages: How do you take a four page wide graph of all the feats related to unarmed strike and fit them in a book legibly?

There were more releases that I'm less familiar with, Dark Albion: The Rose War (), an alternate historical setting by Pundit, Inventory v.1 a 70+ page book of illustrated items. Zzarchov's Gem Prison of Zardax which received high praise.

Oh. Although it wasn't released in 2015, Red and Pleasant Land did manage to snag 4 Ennies in a year a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons was released. Much to some people's chagrin.

This isn't a release, but Wizards of the Coast shuttered their forums. Much of the talk was how it was about time, but there was an incredible amount of content on those boards. Some of it was saved, but much was lost. Time marches on.


I was playing Dungeons & Dragons like I do several times a week, and one of the players said "I look on the beach for anything that has washed ashore." I picked up my ipad, entered "things on beach" as osrsearch, and within seconds got a list of 100 things you find washed up on the beach.

Here is what I know. I am involved in several games every week. There is so much good, new, material that the games I'm playing are more fun then ever. Dungeons & Dragons and old school type games get played and they are changing and better than ever.

Look over the last two posts. That's just this year.

If you're telling yourself there's no innovation in the old school, or that the old school renaissance is dying, then a 3000 word list of all the products and development in the last 12 months isn't going to change your mind. As to why, you'll just have to ask yourself that.

Hack & Slash 

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