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Spaces of the Unknown
by Marc D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/24/2018 03:06:00

Brent Newhall has done it again, and this may be his best yet. Brent has been creating OSR -inspired, simplified, stripped-down old school D&D systems for some time: Dungeon Delvers, Dungeon Raiders, Murderhobos, and now Spaces of the Unknown. Designed for play by post games with streamlined mechanics, this system is based on the minimalist ruleset Searchers of the Unknown. The basic concept here is that the PCs get the same stats as the monsters: AC, Mv, HP, etc. - and that's it.

PCs are limited to fighters (with an interest in thievery, of course) who do the adventuring at the request of wizards, clerics, etc. Clear, concise rules are provided to cover all the situations: combat, skills checks based on AC, and saving throws. A very interesting and dark magic system is provided that allows PCs to become limited spellcasters (if they find a wizard to teach them), and this is linked to treasures. Rules for leveling up are included as well as tips for play by post. To complete the package, the game comes with adventures with maps and monsters.

Although Brent had play by post in mind, there is nothing to prevent one from using this rule set for in person gaming as well. I can see this being a game to run at a convention, as PC creation is a snap and play is simple.

Being an OSR game, it is a breeze to add stuff to tweak to your liking. I am running a PbP sword & sorcery flavor game right now and this system adapts well to any change I want.

Spaces of the Unknown is a fine addition to the OSR.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Old School Renaissance Handbook
by Ray S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2018 23:57:57

This has some interesting information and provides a quick over-view of a number of different systems but the issue is that some of them are based on out-dated versions which is completely useless for someone who is interested in a particular system and would like to look into it further. Case in point - Castles & Crusades. It says it is based on the 2004 edition which has not been available for years so if someone was to pick up the currently available version it will be completely different and virtually unrecognizable to the version that is reviewed. Basic Fantasy Role-Play as well, is based on the 2nd edition which has been updated to 3rd edition years ago. It may have some use if you are interested in the history of these games but as it is marketed as a 'Handbook' I don't feel that it offers much information on the current state of the OSR due to the out-of-date information on some of the systems. If you are looking for current information on a certain game system or are wanting to research new systems to try the information will be hit and miss depending on the system. I feel this would be much more useful if information about the currently available edition(s) was included.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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Old School Renaissance Handbook
by Michael R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/09/2017 16:50:40

Ho much use you get out of this guide depends on what you are looking for from it. It's a pretty generalized guide and comes in multiple formats in a zip file so you are sure to find a format that works for you.

It's pretty hard to get a strong feel for the games mentioned in the guide. But I would say that is perfect for telling you the kind of thing you don't want. I would use it as a jumping off point for research. You can eliminate some games outright and by comparing the sample characters get an idea of what system you want to explore. For example, if youa are looking for something that reminds you of AD&D or BECMI you can use teh guide to tell you write away what to skip and what to focus on.

The massive Big OSR Matriix Chart is not very useful if you read this on a eBook like Kindle. It worked much better for me as PDF on my widescreen monitor.

It would be a much better value if it included a more indepth review of the games themselves. In fact, it practically begs for it. The guide makes no qualitative judgements as far as I could see, leaving that up to the reader.

There is almost no discussion of the production values or what the OSR community in general is thinking about these games or which ones are being played or how they are played.

It's a nice beginning but needs a lot of fleshing out to be definitive.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Delvers
by notKlaatu L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/02/2016 21:57:43

This is a great little rule set, designed to be simple and portable. I love the idea that a core rulebook can fit in my back pocket. There are other simple rule sets out there, but the fact that Dungeon Delvers is designed for portability (it even provides a system for d6 rolls without die) means there's just no excuse to be without it.

I do wish the sources were included in the download; there are a few rules I'd like to clarify for myself, and I might even like to add a few attributes to character stats. It would be easier to extend if the source (maybe as a scribus document, or similar) were available.

Over-all, though, if you're looking for a quick and dirty ruleset that you can always have tucked in your wallet or backpack, this is it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Ability Score
by Michael J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2016 14:05:36

A good way to make a rpg, as many of the games following D&D did actually use the attributes as the main, or only mechanic. Though you will have to do a lot more arbitration than voluminous sets that spell out every minor detail in microscopic detail.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Steel & Flame
by Michael J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/10/2015 12:06:49

A very rules lite combo of the FATE ladder for doing things and the old Barbarians of Lemuria game. This adds degrees of success and failure, without all the aspects and other personalization of Fate. Very quick combat oriented.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Ability Score
by Sean M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2015 03:05:20

Super simple rules than can be used to create a very effective game without giant rule books. Includes a useful list of what skills are available for whatever genre you want to play. Great for whatever game you want to play. It's free!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Dimensions, the RPG
by Michael S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2015 07:09:38

Wonderful game. Harkens back to RISUS: The Anything Game, but (in the opinion of this player) much more playable. Have been dying to dig out my Fudge Dice and play a system without all the complexity of the deluge of FATE systems on the market. The DIMENSIONS rule-base is extremely easy to expand and the system is quickly adaptable to virtually any genre of combination of genres.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dimensions, the RPG
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Old School Renaissance Handbook
by Sophia B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/30/2014 10:19:52

Original on my blog: http://scriptogr.am/sbr/post/rezension-osr-handbook

This is a review of the 1st iteration of the OSR Handbook. The new edition contains more systems but otherwise haven't changed much. This review will still be helpful!

OSR, was ist das überhaupt? OSR steht für Old School Renaissance und bezeichnet eine Richtung des Rollenspieldesigns, die wieder "back to the roots" geht, also auf den ersten Editionen von D&D beruht.

Als Gamer jüngerer Generation sind mir die ersten Rollenspielwerke fremd. Mein erster Kontakt mit D&D erfolgte mit der Edition 3.5. Daher ist die OSR-Bewegung auch bislang an mir vorbei gegangen. Ich weiß jedoch, dass es gerade in der Bloggerszene viele Anhänger dieses Genres gibt. Als ich auf Google+ über Brent Newhall's Werk gestoßen bin, war ich daher neugierig. Ich habe ihn daher gefragt, ob er mir ein Rezensionsexemplar zukommen lassen kann - und er kann!

Was ist also das OSR Handbook?

Das Old School Renaissance Handbook hat es sich zum Ziel gesetzt, einen Überblick über 16 Systeme des Genres zu bieten. Beginnend mit einer Tabelle folgt eine Anleitung zu jedem der Rpgs, welches einen Kurzabriss über das System, die Regelmechanik sowie die vorgestellten Ratschläge für Spielleiter und Spieler bietet. Anschließend wurden fünf Standardcharaktere für jedes der 16 Spiele erstellt.

In der Printversion wird es noch Bilder und Interviews mit einigen der Autoren geben. Grundlage dieser Rezension ist die PDF-Datei.

Übersicht

Das PDF findet auf 86 Seiten Platz. Es ist voll indiziert. Das Layout ist einfach gehalten. Man merkt, dass es in LibreOffice gestaltet wurde, es ist jedoch alles gut lesbar.

Nach einer kurzen Einleitung erklärt der Autor den Begriff OSR und die Kriterien für die Charaktererschaffung der Beispielcharaktere (1.-Level-Charaktere mit 0 XP, Archetypen: Zwergenkrieger, Elfischer Bogenschütze, Halbling-Dieb, menschlicher Priester und Magier).

Die Systeme

Folgende Systeme stellt Brent Newhall vor:

Adventurer Conqueror King System BareBones RPG Dungeon Crawl Classics Dungeon Raiders Dungeon Squad Dungeon World (Basic) Labyrinth Lord Lamentations of the Flame Princess Mazes & Minotaurs Microlite74 Old School Hack OSRIC Searchers of the Unknown Stars Without Number Swords and Wizardry Warrior, Rogue & Mage Näheres hier.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The Good

Das OSR Handbook schafft es, eine breite Palette von Systemen vorzustellen. Neben regelleichten Rollenspielen gibt es auch Werke mit über 400 Seiten. Man kann die Systeme vergleichen und durch die Beispielcharaktere gewinnt man einen guten Überblick.

The Bad

Eine kleinere Kritik: Dungeon World wurde in der Basic Edition vorgestellt, die m.W. gar nicht mehr erhältlich ist, da es sich um eine Vorab-Version während des Kickstarters handelte. Das fertiggestellte Dungeon World hat wesentlich mehr Klassen. Auch die Github-Version, die Brent hier herangezogen hat, besitzt schon mehr Klassen. Ich habe ihn darauf aufmerksam gemacht und habe es so verstanden, dass er das noch ändern wird.

The Ugly

Das Layout der PDF-Version ist graphisch nicht besonders ansprechend. Zur Verdeutlichung wären vielleicht Boxen anstatt Auflistungen sinnvoll gewesen.

Fazit

Wenn man sich mit OSR beschäftigt, wird man feststellen, dass es massig Systeme gibt. Die Auswahl kann einen schier erschlagen. Umso schöner, dass sich jemand die Mühe gemacht hat, ein Handbuch zusammenzustellen. Das OSR Handbook gibt dem interessierten Neuling einen Einstieg in das Genre und dem Veteranen eine Möglichkeit, seine Lieblingssysteme anhand der praktischen Übersicht zu vergleichen. Gestandene OSR-Recken werden vielleicht wenig Neues finden, haben dafür aber einen Haufen von Informationen in einem handlichen Dokument. Streng genommen ist das OSR Handbook kein Muss-Kauf, aber für $2.99 (PDF) macht der Rollenspielfan m.E. nichts falsch!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Old School Renaissance Handbook
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Bounty Hunter Blues
by Joseph E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/09/2014 22:42:39

I've played this Fiasco Playset a few times now and every time it deliveries a fun and dark session that you could see taking place in the world of Cowboy Bebop. If your looking for a new Fiasco playset and like Anime and Cowboy Bebop this is a great choice.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bounty Hunter Blues
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Steel & Flame
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/10/2014 15:56:01

A combination of Barbarians of Lemuria (which I love) and Fate (also...love), Steel & Flame is is quick and simple with very light mechanical crunch and only a few hints of world detail fluff.

I would say it is perfect for an evening's pick up game, or a quick side story in a world that the play group (or at least the GM) is already familiar with. I'm not sure if it has enough "heft" to support a longer campaign, but the rules are concise enough that they can easily be built on.

I would have loved to see one more page of content - either a quick bestiary or even a "one page dungeon" style adventure.

Nonetheless, for the price I am well satisfied with the value received.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
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MurderHobos
by J. G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/28/2014 08:44:36

bloody love it! a delightfully basic mechanic allows for more inventive creations, setting wise and creature wise.

for what its designed for it is rules lite dungeoneering fun.

but with some meddling (a couple of extra stats and seperating experience and currency) I've now got the perfect rules system for running quick 'filler' games between my groups full on gaming sessions.

my only addition would be, that it could be good to add some tropey monsters to guide those less creative in what the average abilities of such creatures is as a guide to people coming up with their own?

so far ran one session with this, was a good balance of giggles and 'serious?' roleplay. Many thanks.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
MurderHobos
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MurderHobos
by Jeremy H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/19/2014 20:36:11

I dig it. Lots of great design ideas here.

Cool stuff... 1.) Your characters have special things they can do something somewhat akin to 4e but without any bloat whatsoever. This rocks. 2.) Simplified and streamlined die mechanics that remind me a bit of Dungeon World... very cool.

Not so cool stuff... 1.) Healing potions can blow up and make you sick, etc. Kinda funny but also might get in the way of a serious game. However, if you're going for a beer and pretzels kinda thing, watching your party throw up blue chunks and emit noxious gases could be pretty awesome. 2.) The bit about everything having gold, gold, gold! Well, this reminds me too much of being in Legend of Zelda or some other type video game. Not necessarily a bad thing, but in a more serious game it could stretch the suspension of disbelief too far into gonzo-land. And that being the experience system as well isn't quite my thing.

But yeah, in general two thumbs up for this one!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Steel & Flame
by Wolf B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/13/2014 14:25:32

This is a very simple system, but at that it is very flexible that allows you to run any kind of character. A great game for an evening of Sword & Sorcery!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Steel & Flame
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Ability Score
by Ron T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/07/2014 03:07:32

It is a very very simple system, it is a one page game system.

It does not however have any specific guidance for combat systems; just a very loose interpretation. An update utilizing a little more of the 1 page real estate with combat options would be GREAT. Experienced gamers can make it work, I think with a little more information, this would be the perfect introductory game system.

EpicRPGBlog.blogspot.com



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