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CASTLE OLDSKULL - City State Encounters
by Don K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/06/2019 18:40:05

While not every table result will fit into the flavor of your game, I have none the less found it to be helpful in developing city/urban encounters. The suggestion to pregenerate a set of encounter tables (rather than use the book on the fly) was excellent. I took one star off of my review as the pdf really should be properly bookmarked.

Also, the Event Table is missing an entry for 55-56 (see page 27) and 551 (see page 85-86).



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - City State Encounters
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Adventure Generator
by Heather M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/29/2019 18:47:57

Updated 6/29/19.

I had previously given this product a less than stellar review based on how miserable this product was to get through. Since then, the publisher has gone to what is obviously an extensive effort to reformat the book. It is SO MUCH better!

The content is still there and still amazing. There are LOTS and LOTS of good ideas here. Plenty of tables to come up with an endless supply of adventures, only requiring a little creativity to put together. It also seems very system-neutral. If you play in a traditional fantasy setting, you will be able to use it. I have even mined it for ideas for quests in an urban fantasy setting, although it suits a more medieval fantasy type much better.

Thank you to the publisher for listening to feedback and making a great product so much easier to use!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Adventure Generator
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - Sword & Sorcery Book I
by Sean P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/29/2019 10:51:44

Read the DriveThru product description three times. If you think it a bit wordy and explicates the obvious, then stay away from the 345 page TLDR hell that is CASTLE OLDSKULL - Sword & Sorcery Book I. 163 pages in and it still hasn't finished the basics of character creation. Here is a clue from the foreword: "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. "

There may be some fresh idea needles in the logorrhea hay stack, but I couldn't bear the verbosity to look for them. A clutch of self-proclaimed grognards who revel in tedious detail might love this title, but with the many OSR clones all promising to honor the Gygax, don't you think a nice summary of what sets your system apart should be the lead story?

It is very clear that the author has has thought about roleplaying for decades. I am sure he has insight from which I would benefit. I submit that he would benefit from Googling "writing less is more" and whittling this overblown text into something readable. Here is a starter link: https://writingexplained.org/idiom-dictionary/less-is-more.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - Sword & Sorcery Book I
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SERPENTINE - Oldskull Serpent Folk
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/04/2019 12:27:28

Serpentine - Oldskull Serpent Folk from Oldskull, aka Kent David Kelly is a nice RPG for adding and using Serpent Folk, known as Serpentine here, in any old-school like game. The book is 41 pages with cover and OGL statement. Everything is 100% open minus the usual trade dress and some names. The book is full color, but mostly public domain black and white art.

The purpose of this book is to bring together various mythos and stories together to present a cohesive whole narrative of a primordial race of serpent people. In this respect, it works rather well.

History and Pre-History of the Serpent Folk. Drawing on the works of Dunsany, Lovecraft, Howard, and Smith Kelley weaves a history (or Hisssstory!) that combines the Hyborian Mythos and the Cthulhu Mythos, with other myths of the world added for good measure. While overtly for the Oldskull world it can be added and modified as any game master needs. One of the reasons it works so well here is that Kelley draws on some primordial myths and legends. The same that influenced the authors of the stories being used. Quotes from those authors are found throughout this book.

Up next we get a Serpent Folk Truename Generator. A useful tool to help you name all those NPCs (or even PCs) you plan on using. This is followed by Description or what your serpent folk looks like. A section on Ability Minimums, Maximums and Modifiers is next. After that are sections on Behavior, XP modifiers, and views on Alignment.

There is a list of serpent folk deities from other myths. It is a good list, but I have a few issues with some of the gods on it; for example Brigid. But the vast majority I see why they are there. Mostly Serpent Folk are going to worship Yig and/or Tsathogga, though Set is a close runner up.

We get into a section now on Class Options for Serpent Folk. Most are going to fall into the various fighter classes and thief-related classes. Also presented here is the new Soul Slaver class, which combines Cleric, Shaman, and Necromancer all in one serpent-related class. It's a good class and it adds a lot of flavor to the Serpent Folk. I might tweak it to be less Necromancer and more Shaman myself, but that is only personal bias, not a shortcoming of the class. Basically, the class draws on the souls of the deceased to perform magical feats. There are spell lists, mostly from the classical B/X and Advanced sources. They advance as Magic-Users, but have their own spell progression and, in a nice old-school touch, level titles.

There is also a section on Racial Powers serpent folk get and what kinds of snakes they are likely to summon. This also included specail attacks and special limitations.

There is a nice section on how Serpent folk get along with Dragons (spoiler, they don't) that really sealed the deal for me. I have been using various serpent-like races (Yuan-ti, Naga) as the ancient ancestral enemies of the Dragonfolk (Dragonborn) for years.

We end with a recomended reading list.

Plays Well With Others

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea has been my obsession over the last few weeks. Given the background of both AS&SH and Serpentine, it should really be no surprise then that I see the two of them working quite well together. With the addition of Serpentine you can really "punch up" the stats for Sanke People in AS&SH. Already an interesting monster, now with this addition Snake People go from "just another monster" in the Bestiary section to potential Big Bad material. Growing cult activity? Serpent People. More dinosaur sightings? Serpent People. Increased slave trade? Yup. Serpent People. Plus AS&SH and Oldskull Serpentine draw from exactly the same sources. They just rearrange things in a different order. Both books feature Yig and owners of one book should find it to be of positive use when used with the other book.

Serpentine features the often used Clark Ashton Smith god, Tsathoggua. Here he is considered to be a god of the Serpent People. AS&SH has the god Xathoqqua, which is the same god. There are some differences in how they are portrayed in each book, but gods are supposed to be mutable. Of course, the best source for Tsathogga (yet another spelling) is from the Frog Gods themselves in their Tome of Horror Complete. Here he is presented as a demon, but that is perfect for me really. The same book (and the Tome of Horrors 4) have the Inphidians, which are their versions of the Yuan-ti, save Open for the OGL. Speaking of the Frog Gods, in their Monstrosities book feature Ophidians, a name I have also used in the past, as snake men.

The OSR games Blueholme and Adventurer Conqueror King System both have rules within their systems to allow Serpentine player characters. All you need really is the Serpentine book.

So for just $3 and a little over 40 pages this book packs a lot in. There are so many cool ideas it is hard to figure out where I want to start with it. I think that since Kelley tapped into some primal myths here that all gamers have an idea of these creatures, he just put it down in writing for us.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
SERPENTINE - Oldskull Serpent Folk
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Monster Generator
by Jarrett W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/14/2018 12:55:22

A really fantastic work. It does exactly what it says on the tin. If you want a steady supply of wierd monsters this is the book for you. You could roll up 1000 diffrent monsters and each would be unique. Worth every Penny.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Monster Generator
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dungeon Tools
by Brian B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/30/2018 09:02:34

I just wanted to say that I was thrilled to find this item. I have almost all of Mr Kelly's Castle Oldskull books and truly treasure them. I was considering creating an XLS just like this to save time. I think being able to generate a few ideas on the fly and then be able to decide which go together best would be a great way to find solid material quickly. So I am very glad that Mr Kelly has taken the time to do this himself. Thank you, Mr Kelly for the Oldskull books. I really do enjoy them and look forward to each one as they are released. You've saved me much time and many headaches!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dungeon Tools
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Creator Reply:
Hi there Brian, good to hear from you and thank you for the review. :) I will be making additional toolkits a bit later this year for the adventure and game world supplements. There will be new books as well. Stay tuned! ~Kent
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Book of Dungeon Traps
by Jesper U. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/31/2018 08:56:55

There are a lot of good ideas here. BUT - I think a lot of what you buy is the artwork, and I don't feel that I get that. Every card is imprinted with Castle Oldskull - major arcana. WHY? As a DM, I'd like to think that my players are playing in my campaign, not listening to me reading from the supplement of the week. Please include the artwork without the advertising, so it can be organically incorporated into any fantasy setting.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
by Jean M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/15/2018 12:47:53

I've been a gamer since the late 1970s, and a "table geek" for most of that time. As a result, I've developed a real appreciation for good, logical, well-written sets of tables for detailing anything and everything in the classic-style dungeons that I love. And if I had to pick my top three books of tables and game enhancements, this would unquestionably be one of them. Like most of the Wonderland Imprints products, even if you don't have a specific use for the exact things it's set up to create, you'll get endless inspiration from reading through them.

And if you read this while it's still on sale, grab it! I paid a lot more than 99 cents for my copy, and I don't regret if for a moment. For that matter, grab everything they sell. You'll thank yourself later. This is just plain good stuff.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Treasure Trove
by Lincoln W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2018 22:32:08

Very Well Done. My greatest weakness is in adding value to a room, with the non magical, and preferably non-precious metals type of goods. When the Player's want to loot the bedroom of the king, for example, I generally have no idea what to do, except to throw in a lot of silk clothes and bedding and such.. but surely there should be a bunch of "valuable" things in various places through-out the room; and that is where I start drawing a blank.. lol.. So this sort of resource is exactly what I need to shore up my game..



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Treasure Trove
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HAWK & MOOR - Book 1 - Deluxe Edition - The Dragon Rises
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/29/2018 09:11:49

A well-researched history of D&D. This book has taken the highlights of numerous podcasts and interviews with key people and condensed them into a solid history of the formation of D&D.

Provides a great complement to other histories that have already been written.

If you liked Of Dice and Men or Playing at the World, you will like this book.

Highly recommended!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dungeon Bestiary
by Mason M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/23/2018 10:10:25

This product wasn't quite what I'd anticipated. It doesn't include statistics of any monsters other than hit dice. It is; however, an extensive toolbox for generating encounters and populating dungeons. It provides notes on adapting most monsters to different settings, suggestions for powers of aforementioned monsters, showcases their origins, and offers a wealth of other, legitimately useful, information.

There's a huge trove of monsters here though, but much of the work seems to assume that the abilities of the monsters should come to a GM implicitly. The task of populating a monster's special abilities; while given the aforementioned suggestions, may still be difficult to the GM who doesn't come prepared with sets of abilities to give to their monsters.

There are also methodical design techniques presented, along with system-neutral categories which aid you in finding exactly where the monster may exist in your world, and what its role is compared to its peers. It presents two methods of stocking dungeons and setting up encounters (one quick and one more granular), each of which is quite useful for capturing the mentality of the "old-school" methods of gameplay.

Much of the wording is personal; the author speaks to you throughout in an informal manner. The paragraphs become conversational, and at times they seem somewhat too wordy and dotted with the occassional boast. These boasts; however, really do seem to be quite justified as this book must have been an absolutely herculean labour.

To let the author speak of the pros of the contents himself: "Make no mistake, this resource is huge. It is intended to overwhelm you. The book you are holding now represents the most detailed, thorough and exhaustive review of classic dungeon monsters for your reasonable type of dungeon encounter highlighted in [Fantasy Role-Playing Games] published from 1974 to 1977 [...] The result is a coherent, system-neutral mythological bestiary which features over 450 monsters, 1,000 subspecies and 5,000 random encounters spread over 79 calibrated random tables."

Certainly, this worth the (full) price, but at first blush it seems like a very justified buy at the discount.

There are some major formatting issues, however: all text is single-column for formatting, the headers and footers of each page are quite unpleasant aesthetically (for me), the entire text is single-column with single spacing, a space between each paragraph (paragraphs are justified), a double space after each full-stop and some other quirks that may get on the nerves of those of us who care about those kinds of things. The encounter tables also...aren't tables at all. It's just a paragraph of information with a roll-number preceding.

Seeing this republished with an editor's touch (and correction of the aforementioned issues) would be very nice, and secure a second purchase from me most likely. I'm giving this book a rating of 4 stars, which I believe it fully deserves. To me, this rating represents that; despite possessing problems which I find to be quite major, the result overcomes these by presenting itself in a place of sheer usefulness.

Finally, I would close on a more informal note: a brief read through this has completely convinced me that Kent David Kelly is a scholar of his chosen field and a master in his craft. I've since bought his Game World Generator, but have yet to crack it open, for reviewing this.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dungeon Bestiary
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HAWK & MOOR - Book 1 - Deluxe Edition - The Dragon Rises
by Andrew J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/31/2017 17:06:21

Being born after the founding of D&D, I have never thought of myself as someone who is interested in the story of the game's creation. (I started playing 2nd Edition AD&D in the early 90s.) Having said that, I really enjoyed how the author was able to transport me back to a time that I had never lived through, and make me feel like I was a fly-on-the-wall seeing the story play out before me. Though he probably takes more than a bit of artistic freedom to narrate the details of game nights that happened 40+ years ago, I totally loved how it felt like I was there. He also does an awesome job of describing the personalities of the founders of D&D and then illustrating how their quirks had an effect on defining how the game came to be what was when I started playing.

I'm not a historian on the subject, or even a faux historian, blogger, forum commentator, etc. so I can't comment on how accurate the picture is that the author creates. He does take the time to reference all of his info, though, and comes out and admits it when he is filling in the gaps (with the game-night details, for example). The end result is a well-crafted story that smoothly scuttles its way across the pages from factual bits to descriptive narratives.

The book is also an interesting read from a game designer perspective as it shows how play-testing results in changes to rules and codification of recurring themes. The creators of D&D went from a loose framework of large-scale mass battle rules and filled in just enough details to be able to describe a dungeon-delving adventure through tables, rolls and sloppy penmanship on scratch-paper character records... Literally, from mom and dad's basement to the world's best-selling fantasy RPG.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Book of Dungeon Traps
by RN M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/24/2017 14:16:18

A categorical reference when building a dungeon for your players, full of good ideas for various levels of incapacitation all the way to murder.

In short, I liked it



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Book of Dungeon Traps
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
by Sean M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2017 00:56:22

This book brings every dungeon building technique together to show you how to make a mega dungeon down to room to room detail. You just have to get through all the random tables to get to the real techniques and theory of dungeon building.

I already had random room generators. I already knew how to create themes for my different dungeon zones. But this book showed me how to put it all together.

And it only costs a dollar!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Oldskull Deck of Strangest Things
by Ijustwant T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/03/2017 19:34:58

The varying effects and challenges provided by the deck are pretty neat and honestly do make me want to throw it at my current group - although they are aware of the Deck of Many Things and might be too wary to actually draw anything, but hey, it's still worth a try.

That said, I am a little disappointed that inverted results are always negative, while upright results positive (or at least the best thing possible to get from the card). A real Tarot deck can divine good things even from inverted cards and bad from the upright one - the Devil being a good example of such.

Also, you should open up the Dragon Magazine issue 77, which features a Tarot Deck of Many Things. This deck pretty much defeats the #1 purpose of your supplement, on account of having also the Minor Arcana in it. At the moment I have to say that I still prefer this Deck, although if you do indeed make new supplements for Minor Arcana, I will buy those and might well come to change my mind once I have them all.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Oldskull Deck of Strangest Things
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Creator Reply:
Hi there, thank you for the review. :) There's actually a metagame reason for why the inverted cards have negative effects universally ... in my campaign the players were blaming me whenever a negative card was drawn, and I got accused of poor shuffling, favoritism, etc. whenever another player drew good cards and someone got jealous. (Yes, players can get petty sometimes.) The fix in my campaign was to make it so that every card was good, and every card was bad, with the draw being performed by the player from a blind draw in a pouch. After the draw (with symmetrical card backs) they decided which way to position the card in a tray before it was flipped over. The inverted part came in because originally I was rolling (or a player was rolling) after the card was drawn to see if it was the good effect or the bad one, and then there was yelling again. Players didn't want me to punish them "arbitrarily" with a die roll after they drew a card. So I've made it be that the card drawing player draws a card and determines its position whenever possible, so that they only have themselves to blame, so to speak. I originally had a more Gygaxian version of the deck that was 50% good cards and 50% bad cards, but it always caused the arguments and the current design is a compromise, keeping in mind player reactions to what they regard as unfair or arbitrary treatment. That may seem a little convoluted but since this is a high stakes item, it has lots of built in restrictions and meta-effects based on what has caused trouble in the past. I do have a lot of notes on the Minor Arcana too but it will take some time to refine those into a clean format with additional play balancing. Enjoy! ~Kent
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