Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The implied setting of OD&D LBB + Blackmoor

 Greyhawk may have been a mistake

You may have heard about the OD&D Implied Setting, an interpretation of the implicit setting of the original edition of Dungeons and Dragons based on a close reading of encounter lists et cetera. This post is about what setting is suggested when you only use the Little Brown Books (Men & Magic, Monsters & Treasure, Underworld & Wilderness Adventures) and Blackmoot; It's not in-depth.

Races aren't different: Dwarf, Elf, Halfling, and Human.

Classes are different: Assassins, Clerics, Fighting-Men, Magic-Users, and Monks. While the core trio (Cleric, F-M, and M-U) suggest a European milieu while Assassin (if interpreted as a ninja) and Monk suggest an Asiatic milieu.

Combat uses the Alternative Combat Rules + Hit Locations. An interesting aside but combat is a bit different (and not necessarily better)  with Blackmoor, acting almost like a proto-I.C.E. system.

Monsters are a bit tl;dr but for completeness: Androids, Aquatic Elves, Bandits, Basilisks, Berserkers, Black/Gray Pudding, Brigands, Buccaneers, Cavemen, Centaurs, Chimeras, Cockatrices, Cyclopes, Dervishes, Djinn, Dolphins, Dragons (Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Red, White), Dragon Turtles, Dwarves, Dryads, Efreet, Elasmosauruses, Elementals (Air, Earth, Fire, Water), Elves, Fire Lizards, Floating Eyes, Gargoyles, Gelatinous Cubes, Giants (Cloud, Fire, Frost, Hill, Stone), Giant Beavers, Giant Beetles (Bombadier, Boring, Fire, Giant Stag, Rhinoceros), Giant Crocodiles, Giant Crabs, Giant Eels, Giant Fish, Giant Frogs, Giant Leeches, Giant Octopi, Giant Otters, Giant Sea Spiders, Giant Sharks, Giant Squids, Giant Toads, Giant Wasps, Gnolls, Gnomes, Goblins, Golems, Gorgons, Gray Oozes, Green Slimes, Griffons, Hippogriffs, Hobgoblins, Horses (Draft, Heavy, Light, Medium, Mule), Hydras, Insects or Small Animals, Invisible Stalkers, Ixitxachitl, Juggernauts, Kapoacinths, Koalinth, Kobolds, Lacedons, Lampreys, Large Insects or Animals, Living Statues, Locathah, Lycanthropes (Wearebear, Wereboar, Weretiger, Werewolf), Manta Rays, Manticores, Mashers, Mermen (Blackmoor), Mermen (OD&D), Minotaurs, Minotaur Lizards, Morkoth/Morlock,Mososauruses, Mottled Worms, Mummies, Nixies, Nomads, Nymphs, Ochre Jellies, Orcs, Pegasi, Pirates, Pixies, Plesiosaurus, Poisonous Coral, Portuguese Men-of-war, Pungi Rays, Purple Worms, Robots, Rocs, Ropers (no stats), Sahuagin, Salamanders, Sea Hags, Sea Horses, Sea Monsters, Skeletons, Spectres, Strangle Weed, Titants, Treants, Trolls, Unicorns, Vampires, Weed Eels, Whales, Wights, Wraiths, Wyverns, Yellow Molds, Zombies

The monsters deserve more discussion based on certain trends. Namely, there are a lot of very tough aquatic monsters and very few people (or demi-people) out there. On the flipside, there are very many relatively weak terrestrial creatures. Many monsters are derived from British or Greek legends.

The way I interpret this is that setting of the LBB + Blackmoor is one in which wealthy coastal cities (which are vaguely British, Mediterranean, or Asiatic) flourish while the landlocked interior is home to poor and desperate people fighting for survival and wealth. Almost anything in the interior has been plundered; there are no more tombs to plunder or dungeons to find. But in the seas, oh, in the seas! Every island, reef, and shipwreck hints at treasure and terrors.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Three-Pack of New Free Stuff

Been a minute but I've got some new material for y'all. Affiliate links ahoy although I'm not sure I even know how to link them correctly.

First is Abomination Appendix Volume I which converts several D&D 3e and Pathfinder to OSR stats. I wanted to make a more elaborate Monstrous Compendium-style write-up for each monster but I got writers' block. The appendix features:
  • Burrowers from Bastards & Bloodlines
  • Cave giants from Bestiary 3
  • Kongamoto from Nyambe
  • Merrow from D&D 5e (one of the few "new" ideas the 5e SRD made OGC)
  • Miasma serpent and avesa rakshasa from 101 Variant Monsters
  • Tunnel brutes (lawyer-friendly umber hulks) from The Iconic Bestiary
Volume II will probably tackle Green Ronin's eye kings.

Next is one that needs explaining. A guy called Skerples wrote this thing called the Monster Menu-All with rules on what happens when you eat 1e Monster Manual creatures (unfortunately he uses some homebrew hipster trash for his rules so it's less useful than it could be). We run in similar circles and someone half-jokingly dared him to do something similar for Supplement IV: Gods, Demi-gods, and Heroes. He backed out but I seized upon the idea. Now with Gods, Demigods, & H'orderves Volume I with your PCs can get cool powers from eating the Olympian gods. Incidentally, my opening blurb is an homage to this line that prefaced the RTF download for Legends & Lore on the WOTC Previous Edition Downloads page:
"There comes a desperate moment when every hero looks skyward in search of divine favor, when he raises his arms to the heavens and calls upon the cruel fates to spare his life. Who hears him?"
Last but not least is a Human racial class for B/X and Labyrinth Lord, the fruit of a old post I made a while ago. The art in the PDF is by Luigi Castellani and it's from the Scarlet Heroes Art Pack. I recommend it and all the other Sine Nomine art packs to anyone looking for free art, although there's a lack of "traditional" medieval European subject matter.