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Topics - Mercurius

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What the subject says. Think the fiction of Howard, Smith, Leiber. Games like Conan and Hyperborea. Of this kind of thing is all over the place, but I'm especially looking for ones with a classic feel. I don't care about rules, just want adventure and location ideas.

The one book I'm fairly sure I'll pick up is Jeweled Thrones of the Earth for the Conan game. I've also got the Hyperborea book, so am looking at that. Any other suggestions?

Read it and weep:

Consider, first, the missing authors: Howard, Smith, Lovecraft, Dunsany, Merritt, Blackwood, MacDonald, Eddison, Leiber, Moorcock, Wolfe, McKillip, Donaldson, Erikson, and many others.

Now here's what y'all will love. Scroll through the list and find Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind, a bit over halfway down. That was published in 2007. After that, 45 books remain (meaning, according to Time and the authors on the panel, 45% of the greatest fantasy books ever were published in the last 12 years!).

Those 45 books were written by 37 authors. Of those 37 authors, 7 are male, 6 are white, and 1 is a white man. Meaning, of the 45 books written from 2008 to the present that this article deems as among the 100 greatest of all time, only one was written by a white dude. Meaning, according to this list, white dudes stopped being able to write great books about 12 years ago.

Oh yeah, icing: the panelists all have at least one book on the list - a couple of them have 3 each.

Caveat: Unlike some here, I have no issue with trying to represent, advocate for, or prop up diverse groups and individuals. But why use such a list that is meant to represent the greatest fantasy books of all time as an opportunity to do this? It becomes yet another act of ideological proselytizing. An act of willful exclusion and bias. Why not, instead, write a different article, say "Some Great New Authors, Most of Them Not White"? Why not just be honest about it? I'd have no problem with that whatsoever, and would even approach it with interest. But this masquerade is disingenuous, transparent, and frankly, shameful.

Two of the panelists, NK Jemisin and Tomi Adeyemi, have three books each on the list. Imagine being a well-respected fantasy author and realizing that you have three books on a list at the exclusion of Lord Dunsany, RE Howard, Michael Moorcock, Stephen Donaldson, Patricia McKillip, etc. How could you sleep at night?

I can usually tolerate some degree of wokism, and even agree with some of the underlying goals of inclusivity, giving under-represented groups their due, combatting bigotry, etc. But this...display...just really irks me, probably because it is an instant of its own complaint, and because it makes a mockery of the fantasy tradition.

What the subject says. Starting a new campaign soon, and want to take a mostly sandbox approach: PCs explore landscape, find stuff to do. I'll be dropped some major adventure sites throughout the map - such as Rappan Athuk, Barrowmaze, Castle Xyntillan, Earthdawn's Parlainth, and maybe others - but am looking for resources for small locations to just populate the landscape, and wanted to see what folks here suggested. 1-2 page locations would be great: the type of stuff I can just plop down and run with little prep, as needed. I want to focus my prep time on world-building and reading the mega-dungeons and larger sites.

As it says, I'll be running 5E and would prefer 5E stuff, but it is only a mild preference - easy enough to convert.

Not that it hugely matters, but the setting is a homebrew - post-apocalyptic (magical), with somewhat of a sword & sorcery. I'm drawing from pre-published settings like the Hyborian Age, Midgard, Hyperborea, Forbidden Lands, Symbaroum, Talislanta, Earthdawn, etc.

Anyone familiar with this product and world? I ran across it on Grognardia, and was very impressed with the world map:

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / The State of OSR
« on: October 04, 2020, 06:26:52 pm »
I've generally mostly played the current edition of D&D, whatever it is--from AD&D back in the early 80s to 5E in recent years--so never really dived deep into the OSR, beyond a peripheral awareness of what came out. But for a variety of reasons, my curiosity has recently been piqued. I've been doing a bit of research, but thought I'd evoke the erudition of the grognards here: What is the current state of the OSR (to the degree that it can be envisioned as a distinct movement/group of games)? Which games have separated themselves from the pack and which are dead and gone? How much did the overall positive reception of 5E effect the OSR? Etc. Pretty much any relevant meta-discussion of the OSR is what I'm looking for.

And, in your view, which is the "best" of the OSR games and products? Which is your favorite and why?

For reference, I've included a list of some of the major OSR releases. I've taken liberties by adding a few borderline cases, or those that have an "old school feel" but aren't properly retro-clones of previous editions of D&D, like Forbidden Lands and Conan. Thus "OSR+." But it is my thread, so whatever.

Anyhow, I partially include these non-OSR old school games because I think the timeline illustrates the view that not much new is coming out in recent years; most old schoolish games released in the last half decade or more aren't actually retro-clones, but diverge a bit.

That said, the big retro-clones still seem to have solid fan-bases, perhaps culminating in Hyperborea (which is one of the ones I hope to pick up, at least when the new revised printing is out in 2021), which in my limited knowledge almost seems like the crown jewel of the OSR. Some publishers are still churning out books, while others are relegated to a small group of diehards.

So, commence discussion...

OSR+ Major Releases (Partial List)
2001 Hackmaster
2004 Castles & Crusades
2006 OSRIC; Basic Fantasy
2007 Labyrinth Lord
2009 Swords & Wizardry; Lamentation of the Flame Princess; Barbarians of Lemuria
2010 Dark Dungeons
2011 Mazes & Perils
2012 For Gold & Glory; Dungeon Crawl Classics; Adventurer, Conquerer, King
2013 Blueholme; Dungeon World; OD&D Deluxe (reprint of 1974 box); Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
2017 Zweihander; Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of; Lion & Dragon
2018 Forbidden Lands
2020 Old School Essentials

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Forbidden Lands?
« on: October 02, 2020, 05:39:09 am »
Any experience with this game? I'm probably going to buy it, both because it just sounds like a great product, and because it sounds like an excellent source of ideas for my sandboxy-campaign-in-planning.

Some great games coming out of Fria Ligan: Forbidden Lands, Coriolis, Symbaroum, etc.

$110 for the hardcover is a chunk of change (and pdfs suck). Tell me about this book. What is the setting like? Quality of the book? I take it is in the lineage of Wilderlands and Greyhawk?

I've noticed people speak highly of DCC, which seems to be the crown jewel of OSR games. Being a quasi-grognard, I am of course familiar with the DCC line from back in the OGL era, but never checked out the RPG. I just downloaded the quick start rules and will browse through that, but I'm wondering about play experience.

Specifically, what edition of D&D does it play most similarly to? Specifically, how does it compare to 5E? How would you summarize DCC in a sentence or two? Etc.

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