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CASTLE OLDSKULL - Sword & Sorcery Book I
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - Sword & Sorcery Book I

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After decades of development, Kent David Kelly and Wonderland Imprints are proud to offer you the CASTLE OLDSKULL fantasy role-playing game system.  This first rules volume, OLDSKULL SWORD & SORCERY I:  BASIC PLAYER CHARACTERS features all the rules new players and Game Masters require to orient themselves in the fantasy world.  Here you will find rules, guidelines, and advice for creating newly-emboldened Player Characters in search of adventure in the unknown.  The Castle Oldskull Sword & Sorcery Adventure Game is designed in modular fashion, allowing you to progress and expand your realms with bold new challenges, wrought in a world of limitless imagination.  Additional volumes in this series detail character empowerment, level progression, dungeon adventuring, combat, Game Mastering, dungeon design, world design, and more.

If you are a new player, or a new Game Master, or you don’t even know which is which yet and you want to find out what old school fantasy role-playing is all about, this is the book for you.  And if you are a veteran player or GM, you will find that this book includes many useful features which you can use to create a new campaign or to add intricate details to your own existing world.  Herein you will discover over 40 optional rules systems and tiers of complexity, bridging the Basic and Advanced rules in seamless fashion with your own customization decisions; detailed basic spell descriptions and rulings; balanced empowerment options for fighter and thieves; sacred weapons for clerics, by deity and alignment; clarified spell book rules for magic-users; comprehensive undead turning and binding rules; sanity rules which balance old school play and free will in a world threatened by Great Cthulhu and other Eldritch Horrors; three different cohesive saving throw systems, depending upon your complexity preference; detailed demi-human rules which separate and unify Basic and Advanced precepts; optional thieving skills for non-thieves; and in-depth alignment principles for both Basic (Lawful-Neutral-Chaotic) and Advanced alignment matrices.

As both a supplement for existing games and a standalone comprehensive system, the Castle Oldskull Sword & Sorcery Adventure Game bridges divides by unifying schools of thought, without further separating players into a hundred warring tribes.  Choice within a universal framework is the key to system unity and customization.  This is a true basic learning guide to generating characters for fantasy role-playing, with fully explained paths and game design choices which any player or GM can uniquely command as his or her own creation.  Here you will find not just the rules and recommendations, but details revealing how to learn, how to gradually add complexity, reasons why systems are designed the way they are, and advice on how to play.  There is much lore and treasure to be had here, for both players and GMs of varying philosophies, whether they embrace Original, B/X, BECMI, or Advanced gaming at the table.

This book is your first horizon to a greater unveiling world.  Book two in this series features full details on weapons, armor, shields, equipment, encumbrance, movement, languages, skills, proficiencies, and character customization.  Book three features full rules (and tactical advice) for all the basic tenets of dungeon adventuring:  home bases, rumormongering, preparation, hiring men-at-arms, journeying to the dungeon, exploration, mapping, scouting, stealth, wandering monsters, searching, encounters, surprise, initiative, parleying, combat, and more.  Future volumes will give Game Masters detailed advice on running the game, generating dungeons, and creating an entire world for decades’ worth of play along with family and friends.

Castle Oldskull is not an upstart “me too” basic clone, merely repeating the rules without any original guidance or insight or innovative rules in play.  It is both a new game system and an established resource for existing fantasy role-playing-games, with seven years of publishing and thirty-seven years of play behind it.  It is enhanced with descriptive text, clarifications, comprehensiveness, modularity, design insight, freedom of choice, and flexibility.  You will decide what goes into your game, and what gets left out, and why.  And whenever you need further and affordable design assistance, be assured that there are already more than 20 silver-, gold-, and platinum-medal Castle Oldskull supplements ready and able to lend you a hand … with many more on the way.

So what are you waiting for?  This book represents the premiere of OSR S&S B/X Evolved, your own Gateway to Adventure.  Claim your kingdom from tyranny and dragons, and find your own true destiny in the dungeons which lie beneath.  Your fated fortune, in the dark or the light, awaits!

Another proud release from Kent David Kelly and Wonderland Imprints, Only the Finest Works of Fantasy.  (V1.0, 93,200 words, 345 pages.)

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Reviews (1)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Che W May 09, 2018 7:21 pm UTC
Any idea on how soon we can expect books 2-4? Slightly disappointed that I can only make a character but not yet do anything with him / her. I like the approach and options but really want to digest and try out the whole shebang.
Customer avatar
Kent K May 16, 2018 2:23 am UTC
Hi Che, the good news is that I needed to write books 2-4 in a very rudimentary draft form to be able to publish book 1, because everything is so integrated. The bad news is that these will probably be spread out because they're laborious to make ... probably book 2 later this year and book 3 in a winter or 2019 timeframe. My suggestion is that since this is basically B/X on steroids, it would be best to use existing free or cheap B/X resources as the primary rules system and regard the Oldskull S&S rules as supplementary advanced and optional rules compendiums informing that foundation. ;) ~K
Customer avatar
Che W May 16, 2018 5:58 pm UTC
Thanks, Kent! I appreciate your candid reply. I can certainly reference B/X for core rules, although I am curious to see how you integrated the obviously 1e elements too.

Wanted to also say how much I am enjoying the other books. I am designing a world with your tools in hand, and so far it’s been a blast! Game on!
Customer avatar
Chet C March 29, 2018 6:53 pm UTC
Kent, no expensive or complex manipulation is needed to make your books more readable. Just increase the font size by about 30% and you'll have ebooks which rolegamers can bring to the table via tablets or (less legible yet still readable) phones. You already know how much more likely the modern rolegamer is to carry a tablet rather than a plethora o' rulebooks. (Nasty things, rules. They make one late for junk food.)

This is why I pick up your books at the Kindle shop. I can actually see the words with their expandable fonts.
Customer avatar
Kent K March 30, 2018 1:42 am UTC
Hi Chet, I will try to add in plain text versions of each book in the future which should alleviate some of the issue there. :) I have a lot of readers who want different things that sometimes conflict, but I think that will help to alleviate some of the frustration.
Customer avatar
David C April 19, 2018 8:48 pm UTC
Kent, on this topic, have you considered selling utility programs to perform the dozens or even hundreds of rolls that are required in order to complete a generation from one of your books? The vast majority of what you produce consists of random-gen charts that are absolutely ripe for automation-- press a button on a tablet or a computer, and whoosh, you've got yourself a full quest, or an abomination, or what have you, rolled up entirely from the component charts of the book. It would really transform the books into aids for "give me five seconds and I'll be ready," off-the-cuff play-- your labors of love, made less laborious for your customers. If the data were formatted consistently, it could be as easy as creating a (moderately complex) Excel or Google Docs spreadsheet for each book.

Even if you have no interest in doing that...

I say it's on the topic because I've written up a couple of utility scripts for this purpose for a few of the charts in your books (personal use...See more
Customer avatar
April 19, 2018 9:23 pm UTC
@David, if you are interested in automated systems try donjon for a start:

There are no shortages of online/automated generators.

For many like me, I think the key ingredient to table-top gaming is the tactile nature of the dice, table, books, people, etc. Personally, I only use pdf/ebooks because it's so much easier to manage, store, and access the library at a lower cost.
Customer avatar
David C April 20, 2018 1:24 pm UTC
I'm very familiar with Donjon, Chaotic Shiny, Abulafia and dozens-- even hundreds-- of other online generators. What fascinates me about Kent's books is how exhaustive they are in the options they provide-- and what makes their use difficult is the amount of page-flipping I have to do, usually on a single screen, and the amount of time it takes just to roll up a single new monster, for example, in preparation for a session.

I'm certainly not advising Kent to switch his business model, nor am I saying that anybody should stop using books. I'm just observing that what Kent produces is largely random-generation systems, and there's an additional market he may be able to tap by providing a speedy digital adaptation of his work, since that's basically what computers are built for.
Customer avatar
Chet C April 23, 2018 6:18 pm UTC
That or the doc file would be outstanding! We could then format it to fit our screens with a font size readable by us ancient groggy grognods.
Customer avatar
Kent K May 16, 2018 2:21 am UTC
Hi, I've produced a new set of Oldskull Dungeon Tools which render a lot of the data in a readable table format if you need to convert materials for personal use. Moving forward I'll probably be providing supplementary tools in that format for those of us who like to generate dungeon and scenario data quickly :) Still testing formats and utility, but it's in the works to a limited extent. ~K
Customer avatar
David C May 18, 2018 3:51 pm UTC
As the kids are wont to say these days, "Shut up and take my money!"
Customer avatar
March 28, 2018 3:29 am UTC
First, I have read and evaluated all but three of your 29 products offered. Your products are improving so keep up that general trend.

That said, I will advise you that your formatting continues to be off for digital viewing. Unlike a document or school paper, your long (i.e. wide) unbroken lines of text with smaller fonts are not the most attractive (or optimal) for digital reading.

Consider breaking your wide lines into two columns and/or increasing your font sizes. Your audience should be able to easily view an entire line of text at a glance in a number of smaller viewport sizes.

You aren't writing a term paper or technical manual. It's time to for you to push beyond the "MS Word Template" format.

Remember the best techniques and metrics to use for digital books are not the same as a printed product. It's a lesson many publishers here have yet to master.

There are other improvements and optimizations to be made, but I think at the moment...See more
Customer avatar
Reg L March 28, 2018 12:21 pm UTC
I agree - Great content, but it would definitely benefit from improved layout.
Customer avatar
Kent K March 28, 2018 5:51 pm UTC
Hi there, thank you both for the feedback, much appreciated. :) Unfortunately, while I feel confident in game mastery, research, design, play testing, writing, and to an extent editing, with the occasional drawing and map making, layout is not one of my strong suits. I've checked in with various professionals and skilled amateurs in this regard - and also in developing titles for print, which is another area where my software skills are weak - but unfortunately the rates being demanded are not conducive to the prices I want to be able to offer to customers. The turnaround times were also not acceptable since I prefer to publish 10+ books a year with very short completion-to-publish ratios whenever I can. I'll try in the future to reformat books according to user preference, but in the current day it's just not in the cards. I'm a 1-person shop with a full time job and family. If someone has an easier and faster solution than InDesign, PageMaker, Publisher, or Scribus can offer, I'll look into it though!...See more
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This title was added to our catalog on March 27, 2018.