Friday, April 15, 2011

Open Friday: What Are You Using?

While there's no question that there have been a lot of great new old school products created and made available over the last few years, for me, the measure of true greatness when it comes to an RPG product is how often it's used at the table. In my case, that places Labyrinth Lord, Original Edition Characters, and the Advanced Edition Companion at the head of the pack, since I kept all three of those volumes close at hand when running my Dwimmermount campaign. I've also gotten a lot of use out of Stonhell Dungeon, parts of which I've swiped and modified for use in my own megadungeon.

So which of the current crop of old school products have you gotten the most use out of at your gaming table?

76 comments:

  1. I'm using Labyrinth Lord and the AEC quite a bit, supplemented with the Fiend Folio, Monster Manual II, and the Rules Cyclopedia (which has my favorite rules for evasion). I've also stolen "specialists" from LotFP:WFRP as a replacement for thieves.

    That glosses over some of the particulars, but is more or less accurate.

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  2. Gobinoid Games also looms large at my table. Along with LL, OEC and AEC I also have used Realms of Crawling Chaos a lot.

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  3. Stonehell, hand down. We've gradually migrated away from anything that's recognizably Labyrinth Lord, which is what we started with before houserule creep, but the kids are still exploring the first few levels of Stonehell.

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  4. Labyrinth Lord, Stonehell, Village of Larm. I have some ideas for Realms of Crawling Chaos, but haven't put it to use, yet.

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  5. Stonehell. Other than that, I don't think I've ever used an OSR product for any significant length of time.

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  6. Labyrinth Lord, all day, every day

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  7. Labyrinth Lord, the AEC, Idol of the Orcs, and Stonehell. Also Michael Curtis's Dungeon Alphabet and Jim Pacek's Wilderness Alphabet.

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  8. For running my city, I've found that mixing Christian's Haldane booklet with Mythmere's City Encounters and Flying Buffalo's City Books works surprisingly well.

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  9. Tomb of Horrors, Gamma World, Paranoia, Traveller.

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  10. Does Chaosium's BRP count as old school?

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  11. I don't currently have a gaming table to give a straight answer, but I've been looking hard at S&W Whitebox as an option for my next game. However, I've been getting pretty involved in my "road not taken" homebrew game based on the "what if" idea that instead of Chainmail, the first RPG was based on WRG Ancients/Medieval (I'm going with the 6th edition for two reasons: I have a copy, and it includes a fantasy supplement of sorts). So, conceptually similar to Mazes & Minotaurs. As third, fourth, and fifth options, I've been looking at my copy of The Arcanum from Bard Games, Swordbearer, and Fantasy Wargaming, in that order.

    In my history of gaming? The old school product that has seen more use than any other at my various gaming tables has been overwhelmingly The Traveller Book. The OSR product that I read more than any other is Savage Swords of Athanor, though I suspect that it would be The Dungeon Alphabet if I owned a copy.

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  12. Although I haven't been actually playing the system I have been using the excellent and free mazes and minotaurs as a idea reference.

    http://mazesandminotaurs.free.fr/revised.html

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  13. Does it count if it hasn't really been released as a product yet?

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  14. OSRIC would have to take the top spot. While I find myself constantly referring to the original core books for nuances and just my preference over how the monsters and spells are laid out, OSRIC has been my mainstay at my AD&D game table since Jan 2009. I recently purchased the Black Blade Publishing print and it is an excellent book - heavy paper, great art and the book binding/cover is *solid*.

    My second "go to" is Jeff Rient's Cinder Tables. The carousing tables have given me at least 4 plot hooks, two of which are taking a huge center stage right now in my AD&D campaign. I use the cheater treasure tables from time to time as well as other tables for inspiration.

    This is a shameless plug, although I don't own the product anymore, I do use my own S&W Reference Sheets for quick/easy tabletop reference. D&D is D&D and the treasure generator is one I understand (having tweaked Matt's original text/flow) and use most often. If I'm at a convention, I use these sheets for my DM reference.

    Finally, Kellri's CDD#4. It's an amazing product, easily the best builder product out there and the price is right - free. I rely on this so much that I made my own Lulu private project and printed the damn thing. It was worth the cost.

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  15. I am playing 3.5 but I would use Labyrinth Lord. My choices in games to play in is sadly limited.

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  16. Does Chaosium's BRP count as old school?

    Of course =)

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  17. I'm not running any OSR yet (still finishing off my Star Wars Saga, and D&D 3.5 games) but am planning and preparing to run a campaign using the Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy rules, the modules, and Stonehell. Going to be adding to them over the next few months.

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  18. I'm not running a game at the moment, but, were I, and were it a class-and-level game, the core would probably be Labyrinth Lord, the B/X Companion (which has a wonderful alternate rule on weapon damage), several Brave Halfling products (e.g., their pamphlets on Rangers and Paladins), Flying Buffalo's Citybooks, and Chaosium's Cities book.

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  19. Does it count if it hasn't really been released as a product yet?

    Sure, why not? :)

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  20. Finally, Kellri's CDD#4.

    Yes, that's a terrific product. I can't believe I didn't think of it, as I've used it on more than a few occasions.

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  21. The BECMI version with all is bad rules... It's not a ongoing campaign with huge background. It'S replaying old modules and just trying to survive! We laugh a lot knowing what now is a broken rule in our mind. We are not 16 anymore thinking the writen rules is holyground! But we played Labyrinth Lord just before that... Great book! I am gonna go back there right after finishing Rahasia again...

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  22. At the risk of shameless self-promotion (a two-fer, in fact), I'm currently relying on the Adventures Dark and Deep rulebooks, which have taken over from my old AD&D books. And I'm running Castle of the Mad Archmage with them.

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  23. I reference regularly:
    LL, or at least my bastardized version of it.
    Kellri's CDD#4
    Jeff Rient's Miscellaneum of Cinder (at least the carousing rules page)

    I put Stonehell into my campaign world, and my players flirted with it briefly, but ultimately decided it was not for them.

    On the other hand, I also dropped Skull Mountain into my campaign, and my players are incredibly intrigued with it. They've tackled a good portion of it, but there are areas in it that still confound them and they very much want to figure out. I expect to get quite a bit more play from it.

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  24. For my last campaign I have been using LL, AEC and the GAZ1 module. With a sprinkle of Realms of Crawling Chaos. Though I admit I have regretted introducing AEC elements, and some things in LL I did not like at all w.r.t. Mentzer D&D. All in all it has been a nice experience, but I am not sure I would use LL/AEC again.

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  25. LL + Stonehell + Al Krombach's Megadungeon Resources.

    Although I'll happily magpie ideas from anywhere; I ain't proud. ;)

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  26. I like all the retro rule-sets, but S&W Whitebox is what get used at the table. It has a separate players book, so all the behind-the-curtain stuff is kept out of the hands of the players, and it's saddle-stitched instead of perfect bound, so I can open a book and lay it flat withough breaking the binding.

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  27. For fantasy gaming, I've been using Dragon Age. I think it fits in the growing group of games which are Old School in sensibilities, but are willing to use innovative mechanics and break away (which Mr. Gygax was more than happy w/, by the way). I have Shadow, Sword, and Spell which fits into the same niche but haven't run it yet. It's very focused on expanding the original D&D endgame, which i'm not really interested in.

    I have heard that the "Random Esoteric Creature Generator" is a must have for wierd fantasy gaming.

    I plan to start running the Grindhouse Edition of LotFP soon.

    BTW - not only is the RPG hobby NOT dead, it's so not dead that the Old School movement, which started as re-discovering and performing housekeeping on the original D&D games, is now spawning its own innovations! Happy times.

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  28. Mostly Labyrinth Lord; I haven't really got much Old-School gaming done at all but the couple of one-shot sessions i have run with LL have been excellent. I expect that Vornheim will be a fixture at my table in the near future as well.

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  29. I was using S&W white box, but I've house ruled it literally beyond recognition.
    I made a dungeon for my kids using the Dungeon Words thingy from Risus Monkey.

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  30. I've used quite a bit. ere's the list of stuff I've used in my AD&D campaign:

    0One Games:
    - Andwan Legacy

    Expeditious Retreat Press
    - Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom
    - Conqueror Worm

    Fight On! Magazine
    - Nature's Nasty Node (FO! #1)
    - The Darkness Beneath
    - Upper Caves (FO! #2)
    - Spawning Grounds of the Crabmen (FO! #3)
    - Warrens of the Troglodytes (FO! #5)

    First Edition Society
    - OSRIC
    - Monsters of Myth

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  31. LL is the only thing that's ALWAYS at the table. But several issues of Fight On! and the Random Esoteric Monster Gen get used in some way about 50-75% of the time. I use the FO! issues for some awesome random tables and bits from some of the adventures/settings: Pentastadion and Khosura from Gabor Lux's Fomalhaut, some NPCs and dungeons by Lee Barber and Geoffrey O. Dale, etc.

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  32. I've run an old adventure using slightly-expanded Microlite74 rules. For my current campaign, I've found the free Basic Fantasy Roleplaying material to be a great resource. And I use Fight On! to get my brain in the general FRPG mode...

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  33. I'm thinking of running a campaign with S&W Whitebox or LL OEC, perhaps Delving Deeper whenever that comes out. Additional resources would be Judge's Guild Ready Ref Sheets and the Monster and Treasure Assortment Sets 1-3.

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  34. If I'm completely honest, the OSR product of which I've made most use is Death Frost Doom, as it's the only thing I've used at the table. I do often find myself flicking through both Swords and Wizardry and Labyrinth Lord, but I've not played either.

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  35. ADnD 2nd edition. My players have been crawling around the Temple of Elemental Evil for about three months now. Eventually they will learn that sometimes a gazebo is just a gazebo.

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  36. Labyrinth Lord, Mutant Future, Stonehell Dungeon and various issues of Fight On for me.

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  37. Saturday Game: OSRIC, Stonehell, Realms of Crawling Chaos, Points of Light II, various Fight On! and Knckspell issues

    Wed Game: C&C Players, C&C CKG, C&C Monsters and Treasures, City State of the Invincible Overlord

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  38. It's not all OSR, exactly, but I'm putting my latest session together with The Welsh Piper's Hex-Based Campaign Design, Raggi's Random Inn Generator from Fight On! #2 and Green Devil Face #4, Mythmere's Adventure Design Deskbook, and DungeonSlayers Dungeons-2-Go.

    FOr rules it's Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing crossbred with Risus.

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  39. All the time: James Raggi's Random Esoteric Creature Generator

    When I referee Carcosa: Supplement V: CARCOSA

    My current games: Matt Finch's spells from Eldritch Weirdness

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  40. Rules-wise, my current campaign started utilizing the actual OD&D white box rules. Much hilarity ensued. And we referred to Swords & Wizardry to help with some ambiguities. The Arduin Grimoire critical hit chart was also used (more hilarity). After a while, though, our group decided to switch over to Labyrinth Lord, in order to have a definitive rules set that everyone could get a copy of... except, we didn't ever get copies, and instead have been using the old Moldvay Basic/Expert books that I happened to have, which is fine 'cause none of the PCs are higher than 4th level.

    Other OSR product appearing at the table: Raggi's The Grinding Gear was a lot of fun. And right now the players are exploring The Tomb Of The Iron God (a S&W module). We also used the dungeon from the S&W Quickstart rules. And I ran an adventure from an issue of Judges Guild's Pegasus magazine.

    Plus I've used some stuff from Fight On!, also, and dungeon dressing charts from Stonehell, some random charts from the Dungeon Alphabet, etc. as well.

    Would still like to fit Carcosa in to the campaign somehow, and run Death Frost Doom! And more things from Pegasus...

    Previous to this campaign, with a different group of players, there was a brief flirtation with T&T. And I ran a few sessions of High Fantasy.

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  41. I'm using Mutant Future right now.

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  42. While I use B/X exclusively (for D&D), I've been having my players pick up Labyrinth Lord for reference. Personally, I use the B/X Companion for its charts and tables (attack, saves, spells) and some of the combat rules, but I haven't run any games at Companion levels...yet.
    ; )

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  43. We've used core LL extensively during our game but have now switched to Swords & Wizardry Complete.
    Up to now, seems everyone enjoyed both.

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  44. I'm running that retro clone of DnD 3.5, Pathfinder. My group uses the Core Rules book and the Advanced Players' Guide. It's a good system, but I probably won't buy any new books. They have the Ultimate Combat and Ultimate Magic books coming, and they just seem to add classes that do things that you can already do in Pathfinder by multiclassing with existing classes and selecting certain feats. It's getting a little bloated.

    Well, if they release another Bestiary, I'll probably get that. Can't resist a Bestiary.

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  45. I pretty much use the original rules for old-school games I want to play. For example, I am running first edition Gamma World right now and have downloaded Mutant Future for added embellishments, but I really haven't needed to crack it yet. (My old 1E AD&D books work great for additional content as well.)

    As far as actual OSR stuff that I own and use, The Dungeon Alphabet and Gygax's Living Fantasy both get perused for ideas fairly frequently.

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  46. Lamentations of the Flame Princess get used a lot, both as it is and as a set of rules for my Dark Heresy campaign.

    Sword & Wizardry Freestyle when I'm working on my own OSR projects.

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  47. Basic Fantasy, with bits and pieces of Labyrinth Lord, Arduin Grimoire, Tunnels and Trolls and BRP.

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  48. I try not to use rulebooks at the gaming table. It seems to spoil the pace. My player's eyes glaze over.

    When I'm creating at my desk, I use 1st Edition DMG, PHB, MM 1 and 2, Holmes, Caverns of Thracia, Handbook of Tricks and Traps, Dungeoneer vols 1-6, Best of White Dwarf Scenarios.

    Stuff from the OSR that I like are Dungeon Alphabet, Kellri's #4, Realms of Crawling Chaos, Goblin's Tooth 1 and 2 (on Dragonsfoot), Mines of Khunmar, Turgenev's Map Thread (on Dragonsfoot), the "Year of the Dungeon" site, Stater's NOD stuff, and the Castle of the Mad Archmage. All of these are top notch, A+ resources, some for atmosphere and inspiration, others for fantastic content.

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  49. I've been running Lamentations of the Flame Princess for a nice sandbox filled with my own adventures and a few published. The players unleashed horror from Death Frost Doom and are currently on the way to the Tower of the Stargazer. I also make good use of the original AD&D Monster Manual and Fiend Folio.

    Not long ago a ran a fun sandbox style superhero game using GURPS Supers 3rd edition that worked out really well.

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  50. Swords & Wizardry

    White Box is what I started running my latest PbP game under but it has morphed into Core. I might bite the bullet and make it complete if PCs start dropping.

    White Box is what I run at home with my kids.

    And White Box is what I'll be running at NTRPG Con this year.

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  51. I am using Lamentations of the Flame Princess as my rule set, with Death Frost Doom as the kick off for the campaign. So far, session 3 is about to begin, and the players are either level 2 or level 1, and they are fleeing the Undead hordes they unleashed.

    I am using the world map from the World of Xoth (http://xoth.net/blog/) for the sword & sorcery sandbox setting. So far the players have simply fled south away from the mountains, warning the home town of what they unleashed, then fleeing another town without any warning. Wandering bandits, a mysterious tomb, a brief stab at exploring the moathouse from Village of Hommlet (they only explored a few rooms before running on)and now at a river town where they hope to keep moving south to safety.

    The joys of a simple set of OSR rules compared to the 4th ed game I am playing in.

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  52. We use the Hill Cantons Compendium with our current Castles and Crusades game. Great stuff. Does it count if it's free?

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  53. 'Old School' products I use that have been produced within the last five years or so:

    BRP:
    RuneQuest II (Mongoose)
    OpenQuest
    BRP Goldbook

    D&D:
    Swords & Wizardry
    Matt Finch's Eldritch Weirdness
    Kellri's CDD#4
    Jeff Rient's Miscellaneum of Cinder
    Various issues of Knockspell and Fight On!
    'Akratic Wizardy' house rules (soon to be part of Crypts & Things)

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  54. Definitely Swords & Wizardry Core. There's "something" in these rules that work miracles for me. Also S&W White Box and (a lot less than I thought) S&W Complete.

    Lately OD&D itself and a fair amount of CHAINMAIL (due to the excellent PLATEMAIL).

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  55. Ok, if BRP counts then I'm in... just started a new fantasy campaign with it. My first non-CoC implementation of it in quite a while.

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  56. OSRIC...just has that lovely 1st Ed AD&D smell to it.

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  57. Things I've used a lot:

    1. Labyrinth Lord - numerous online campaigns, PBEM & chatroom
    2. OSRIC - a substantial long-term CSIO online chatroom campaign, plus two tabletop sessions running 'Endless Tunnels of Enlandin'.
    3. Mutant Future - a fun PBP on rpgnet, plus a 'City of the Apes' PBEM that didn't work so well; not quite the right ruleset.

    4. Endless Tunnels of Enlandin - a free old-school dungeon on Dragonsfoot I've used several times.
    5. Castles & Crusades - used several times, inc to run Enlandin, but not found it wholly satisfactory; I don't like the SIEGE Engine mechanic for saving throws (it turns high-level Wizards into gods, 3e style) and it's heavily hardwired into the system. Maybe it could be tweaked to work - CL +1 per 2 caster levels instead of per level might do it.

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  58. X-plorers with Terminal Space, and Carcosa with Labyrinth Lord are the staples at my table.

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  59. None of the retro-D&D clones really do anything for me, I'm afraid. I'd much rather use the original rules, probably heavily customised (I generally don't run anything straight). But it is closer to the LBB than anything else, at least philosophically, especially in the sense that there are rather large amounts of wargaming elements involved. And it's been heavily modified through play.

    Although, that being said, I like a lot of what Lawrence Whitaker has done with Mongoose's Runequest II. If I wasn't already running my Glorantha game with Ironclaw (1st edition!), I'd probably use that. [It was originally a 2nd Edition (Chaosium) game.]. The first edition of MRQ was a total waste of time though, and reminded me of some of the worst parts of the 3rd edition (Avalon Hill) era.

    Otherwise I much prefer to use the original editions of anything I play. And detest those companies that keep bringing out "new editions" of the same game.

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  60. I see to be the outlier since I've been using OSRIC (soft cover purchased off Lulu) for our Friday night AD&D game (which sadly recently just wrapped up).

    I've been supplementing it with just the actual products from back-in-the-day: Monster Manual, the module I was running (S3), and occasionally the DMG for rules not covered in OSRIC.

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  61. BlUsKrEEm said: "...Carcosa with Labyrinth Lord..."
    Interesting. How do you do this? Do you use the LL classes, or do you just use the Carcosa Fighting Man and Sorcerer with LL rules for combat etc.?

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  62. I notice that there is quite the recurrence of LL in the responses. I wonder: is this because LL is indeed the most popular "OSR" product, or is it just that it's the most popular on this blog (maybe since James identifies it as "What I'm Playing")? Just a curious observation.

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  63. Dunno if this counts: Great Pendragon Campaign. Our campaign has drifted considerably from the published material; but, the fact that the published setting is just as relevant to our sessions speaks to its appeal.

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  64. At the table, I use the Rules Cyclopedia, Michael Curtis' New Basic Classes for LL, and a binder with selected excerpts from most of the OSR.

    Mainly the skill rules from Majestic Wilderlands and the encumbrance rules from Flame Princess, and a metric shitton of tables from Fight On! AND Jeff's Carousing table...

    And of course I also use Kellri's CDD#4 and the Welsh Piper's Hex-based Campaign Design tips. Very useful that. I also anticipate using Zak's Vornheim book when I get it; the .pdf looks incredibly useful...

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  65. Toddroe - AIR a poll on rpgnet d20 forum did show Labyrinth Lord as by far the most popular OSR game. Although I suspect LoTFP sells well outside the OSR mainstream, it looks so pretty!

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  66. I use character classes, skills, attribute bonuses, weapons and armor from my own game in progress--a version of OD&D in a sort of 16th century Elizabethan setting. LL and S&W have been my chief inspirations, as has the creative and fascinating (though perhaps unplayable?) Maelstrom. I actually used a modified Call of Cthulhu module for my first "mystery" adventure, but am looking forward to using Stonehell and some of the "B" D&D modules, particularly The Lost City.

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  67. I'm running a Flashing Blades campaign right now, which is old school without the Renaissance.

    However, I recently saw a reference to an OSR product, Backswords and Bucklers which piqued my interest - combine this with the setting material in Maelstrom and that's a fantasy game I'd be willing to play.

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  68. BRP and T&T.

    Although, I've liked a lot of the adventures that have come out from LotFP.

    I'm considering picking up the Grindhouse edition but I'm more interested in a setting, or ideas on how to play a weird fantasy setting than buying a bunch of OD&D inspired rules. So I'm not sure whether I should or not.

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  69. We're playing Cyclopedia D&D with enough 1st ed AD&D thrown in not to spoil the game. As the DM, I realize that if I don't remember a rule after 20 years of playing, then I shouldn't look it up, and just move on.

    Books include Rules Cyclopedia, AD&D PH & DMG. Players are invited to use anything else on a rule by rule DM approved basis. For the most part I want to keep the dice rolling and roles being played. Half my campaign story are of my design/old school modules, and the other half is created using character backgrounds.

    Our campaign city is Lankhmar in a world where a Toxic Jungle exists, as in Hiyazaki's Nausicaa.

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  70. Trying to get a game of ZeFRS going, with some friends from out of town, but otherwise nothing.

    Unless rolling up Traveller characters by myself sometimes counts as old-school gaming?

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  71. Crusaders of the Amber Coast and the main gold BRP book were the last thing I had used.
    Getting ready to start a Hackmaster 4e campaign.

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  72. Miscellaneum of Cinder - Jeff Rents

    Dungeon Alphabet - Michael Curtis

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