Monday, November 12, 2012

The Hobbit

In a little over one month the new Hobbit movie will be released to drooling Tolkien fans all over the world (myself included).  My friend is driving up from North Carolina so we can go and nerd out at the theater together, we are both very much looking forward to the new Peter Jackson directed joint.  

I was perusing ticket options today, I plan on seeing it in IMAX but there are several choices leaving me a bit confused as which version to see it in.  The first choice is IMAX 3D in High Frame Rate, this version is running at 48 frames per second instead of the standard 24 fps.  Its supposed to be much smoother and more lifelike although reviews are mixed.  Some love it and some hate it.  IMAX 3D is the second version offered, same as above minus the HFR.  Regular old 2D is the final version offered, I think I'll pass on this.

The decision for me is HFR or not?  Have any of my readers seen anything in HFR?  I would hate to have a movie that I have been looking forward to for so long be ruined due to a newfangled technology.  On the other hand it could be a mind blowing experience.  

Choices choices, how are you going to see the new Hobbit movie?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Car Wars T-Shirt Arrived!

Who's that giddy nerd pictured above?  

That's me, I received my "I made Steve Jackson work on Car Wars" t-shirt today!  It was part of the Ogre Kickstarter rewards and guarantees that SJ will be coming out with a new version of Car Wars, my favorite board game of all time.

I could not be more pleased and am going to have to bust out my Car Wars gear and teach the wife how to play.  Drive Offensively!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy has arrived!

Hey folks,

I hope everyone on the east coast is doing well despite Sandy's worst intentions!  I am hunkered down at home and have yet to loose power, so its been a good day.  Luckily I live away from any flood zones and have few trees close to my house so I have less things to worry about than some.

It looks like the storm just made landfall which means we are probably around halfway through this "storm of the century", fine by me I just wish it would hurry up and blow itself out already.

Take care, keep an eye out for your neighbors and stay safe!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chris Roberts is back with Star Citizen

Hey folks, I haven't been around here is a while but I figured I would drop a quick post about another juicy Kickstarter campaign!  Chris Roberts, creator of Wing Commander, is back with a new space based PC game.  He is creating a whole new universe with both military and privateer type campaigns.  There are going to be single player, co-op and multiplayer space battles, it looks pretty awesome.

Head over to his kickstarter page here: Star Citizen

Thursday, May 31, 2012

From Role Playing game to Video Game

The company that created The Witcher video games, CD Projekt RED, has announced its next game in production will be based on the Cyberpunk 2020 role playing game by Mike Pondsmith.

I've never played either of The Witcher games but they have been well reviewed which makes me excited for a video game version of Cyberpunk.  I guess the big question will be what era will it reside it?  The 1980's version of the future or a new and updated version that more closely matches our own possible future?  Either way I will probably be happy though I could not stand Cyberpunk V3 and found it to be a little to far out there to be a proper cyberpunk game.  Lets hope Pondsmith doesn't push this version!  Above and below are the only two pieces of concept art that are available so far and they look great!

You can see the announcement over on Actiontrip: Cyberpunk video game official

Friday, May 25, 2012

Barrowmaze II Update

Barrowmaze II is close to completion of funding, make sure you stop by and support this project.  Right now its $200.00 shy of meeting the Barrow Mounds Generator goal, and if we can get $7000.00 (or another $1200.00) then there will be a separate Tomb of Horrors style illustration booklet!  Lets not miss out on this!

If you do decide to pledge take a careful look at the pledge options as most of the good stuff starts at Crypt Knight or higher level ($65.00).  If you do not already own the first Barrowmaze (and why not?!), then pledge at the $100.00 level, you will get BM2 and signed copy of BM1!  

Crack those wallets open people, lets get this thing funded! CLICKY HERE!

Back from vacation!

Hey folks, my wife and I got back from New Orleans today (at 5:00am).  We drove straight through the night, twenty hours of driving so I'm pretty exhausted.  We had a wonderful time, I completely fell in love with the city, its an amazing place filled with great food, art and music.  If you have not had a chance to visit I highly suggest it!

I'm off from work for the next couple of days so expect a few posts on various things, I will also be posting a link to some photos of our trip in case anyone wants to check them out.  I hope everyone is doing well, I'm off to bed soon, I have a lot of sleep to catch up on!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Its Vacation Time!

Hey guys and gals (I'm guessing mostly guys though), I'm heading off on vacation for a week to wonderful New Orleans!  My wife and I are celebrating our first anniversary there, we both desperately need time away from work.  While there we are going on a swamp tour, visiting the World War II Museum and exploring as much of the city as we can!

I'm going to be taking my sketch pad along, I hope to do a few sketches while there.  I'm sure there will also be plenty of pictures to share when I return.  I hope everyone has a great week, see you all soon!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Games I Love - Pendragon

Today I wanted to post about one of my favorite role playing games, Pendragon.  This is a game I have been following since the fourth edition in the mid 1990's.  Its a game of chivalry and romance, knights and ladies and the tales of King Arthur and his companions.

This is a game created out of a great love of the source material.  Greg Stafford has spent years perfecting the game and has lavishly researched the material.  The current version is 5.1 which was recently updated, I have not had a look at it yet but I plan to purchase a print on demand version off, but a bit more on that later.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lazy Sunday

Hey folks, I was planning on doing a review today, but I was to lazy to get any work done on this blog (see sleeping dwarf above).  Instead I spent the day watching Chelsea destroy QPR, going grocery shopping with my wife, working on my final project for my Methods and Materials class and just generally being a lazy bum.  

More stuff coming this week including several reviews and at least one Artist post.  I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kickstarter Updates

I just received an email from Kickstarter requesting shipping and other information for Dwimmermount Mega Dungeon, so if you supported the project check your email inbox!

Also the OGRE Designers Edition recently hit $321,000 with additional funding levels at $325,000 and $350,000.  Its already the highest revenue producing board game project ever on Kickstarter and it seems to keep on rolling.  Head on over and throw a few dollars in the pot, its going to be an amazing product, the entire game weighs fifteen pounds so far.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My other Blog

For those of you that do not know me personally, I am a very enthusiastic Chelsea F.C. fan.  They recently booked their place in the 2012 Champions League final against Bayern Munich.  If your interested in soccer (or football if you live any place other than the United States) stop on by in my other blog An American Blue and say hi!  

Manchester United fans are not welcome! (kidding)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Favorite Artists - Stephen Fabian

I am a long time fan of today's feature artist, Stephen Fabian.  I was first introduced to his work in the Manual of the Planes, as I'm sure many of you were.  His pieces for the Fire and Earth Planes were personal favorites. He's also created much of the art in the Ravenloft line, with his gothic pieces beautifully illustrating the dark, somber setting.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Finding my muse

Once upon a time, many years ago in a galaxy far far.....OK, let me start again.  A long time ago I used to create art.  I say I USED to create art because I have not done anything artistic since I left college in the late 1990's.  Even during my college years I really was much more interested in friends, drinking, parties and pretty much anything besides my major, which was Graphic Design.  Needless to say my first attempt at college was not super successful.  I am currently back at school part time and am enrolled in an Architecture Drafting program and am enjoying it greatly.

Being back at school in a drafting program has pulled me back into the creative/artistic world that I left behind so many years ago and I have to say that I am completely loving it.  Over the years I have felt the lack of art in my life but have never really done anything about it, I was always busy with work or other projects.  Since starting this blog I have been involved with interviewing some great artists (with more on the way) and I have become inspired to start creating again.  I dabbled in pen and ink, watercolors, acrylic and oil painting when I was younger and am going to start back with pencil and pen and ink.  At the top of this post is a small piece I did back in early high school, my parents dropped it off at my house a few weeks back when they came to visit.

I just wanted to say thanks to all of the great artists that I have interviewed so far for the inspiration.  I'm on the lookout for other RPG artists to interview, so if anyone has suggestions please feel free to contact me via email or just post in the comments section!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sword +1 Tournament

Sword+1 is running another joust starting on 04/30/2012.  There is still time to enter your knight in the Spring Faire of Xemes tournament.  Head on over an sign up, don't miss out on the fun!  

I just entered my knight:

Ahd ar-Rahman ibn Nassr, fighting man of eastern decent.  His shield design:

Clicky HERE for a direct link to the post.

Questions about OGL

I am planning on writing a short adventure called Valley of the Umber Hulks but I have a question about the open gaming license. I believe that Umber Hulks are one of the monsters that do not fall under the OGL as they are considered to be an icon of the D&D system. Does this mean that I am not allowed to use them in an adventure created for another system, let's say Labyrinth Lord? If I only plan to distribute the adventure free of charge does this change anything?

I'm a little confused on how this would work, any help figuring this out would be much appreciated!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Origins of Labyrinth Lord

The Black Gate has a nice interview with Labyrinth Lord creator Daniel Proctor up HERE.  Head on over there to find out how my favorite retro-clone was created and the inspiration behind it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Barrowmaze II funding is up!!!!

Hey folks, the Barrowmaze II funding project just went up on Indiegogo.  Head on over and check it out and help get this project completed!

Linky is HERE.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Dungeon Alphabet - A Review

The Dungeon Alphabet by Michael Curtis (designer of Stonehell Mega-dungeon) is a fun and informative book that would be worth twice the listed price.  Its forty-eight pages long, comes in hardcover only and is published by Goodman Games ( There is wonderful art though out the entire book, almost every page is illustrated with beautiful black and white images created by the likes of Jeff Easley, Erol Otus, Stefan Poag, Jim Roslof and a number of others.  

Every letter of the alphabet is given a meaning, always relating to dungeons.  A is alters, B is for books, C is for caves, etc.  Flip to the according page and you will find a short paragraph on each subject followed by a table of random versions of that item.  For example, H is for hallways so when you flip to the hallways page there is a list of twenty random hallway descriptions, each different and varied.

What I love about this book is not just that you get all kinds of fun tables and charts to roll on, it really ignites your imagination and gives you so many ideas and suggestions that can make your dungeon unique and varied.  

For $9.99 this book is a steal, I had a very enjoyable time reading through it, I found it both fun and useful.  The book is written so that it's system free, it can easily be plugged into any retro system of your choosing.  Unfortunately it seems to be out of print, the copy I purchased from Amazon was at the list price, but all the copies left seem to be way above that.  If you can find it cheap, pick up a copy, its a great read and great addition to any DM's toolbox.

Kickstart my Heart

Hey again everyone, 

I just wanted to plug two additional Kickstarter projects.  The first is Jeff Dee's Melnibonean art recreation project from Deities and Demigods.  Jeff is redrawing all of the art work that was trashed by TSR back in the day.  There are 64 hours left on the project and it's a few hundred dollars short of it's goal, so if you have a few spare dollars head on over HERE and get involved!

The second project I wanted to plug is the very exciting OGRE Designers Edition!  I'm sure many of you are familiar with OGRE, it was a very simple, very fun pocket board game that came out in the the late 1970's.  Steve Jackson has decided to do a huge new super sized edition and its blowing away the funding goals, over $100,000 in two days!  As much of an OGRE fan as I am, the real reason I want to plug this is that Jackson stated he is going to look at bringing Car Wars back from the dead if this OGRE project goes well.  Car Wars is my favorite board game of all time, it holds a very special place in my heart.  So if you like OGRE and have any love for Car Wars, head on over and pledge your hard earned money HERE.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dwimmermount: Kickstarter Project - 60 hours left!

Hey folks, I just wanted to give a shout out to James Maliszewski's Dwimmermount project.  I'm sure many of you are aware of this upcoming product, but for those of you that are not, James has created a huge mega-dungeon that is currently being funded on Kickstarter.  Head on over and check out the project here:  Dwimmermount: An Old School Fantasy RPG Megadungeon.

There are only sixty hours left on the pledge drive, and the project is a little less than three thousand dollars short of the $40,000 bonus goal, so if you have not put your money in, now is the time to do it!  Also check out  Grognardia one of the best Old School Blogs out there and home of James Maliszewski's old school musings.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Favorite Artists - Jeff Dee

Today I have a very special guest for our favorite artist post.  None other than the great Jeff Dee!  Many of you will know Jeff from his early work with TSR, some of his work includes the Norse and Egyptian gods in the Deities and Demigods handbook as well as the cover of the Isle of Dread (one of my favorites)!  Jeff is a busy many with many ongoing projects but he was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.  Take it away Jeff!

  • First of all, thanks for taking some time out of your day to speak with us here at The Drunk Umber Hulk, please introduce yourself and give us a brief bio: 

I'm Jeff Dee; I was an artist at TSR Hobbies in the early AD&D days. Since then, I've done art for several different game publishers, a little comic book work, and artwork on a number of computer games - most notably Richard Garriot's Ultima series from Origin Systems. I'm also a game designer; I co-created the Villains and Vigilantes tabletop superhero RPG with Jack Herman in 1979, and I've published several other games through my own small company 'UNIgames' ( since then. I've also done computer game design work; I was the lead designer of The Sims Castaway Stories in 2009.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

New banner!

Hey folks, sorry for the lack of updates, my parents are visting from out of state and my wife and I are playing host/hostess. I hope everyone is doing well, I will be posting some new updates this coming week. I have a couple of new products I picked up and will be reviewing over the next few days.
Also The Drunk Umber Hulk now has a new logo/banner at the top of the page created by Stefan Poag! Check out the PBR on the stein, classic stuff! Thanks so much Stefan, I could not be more pleased!
Take care everybody, I'll be back in action once I have a bit more free time this week!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Favorite Artists - Steve Zieser

I am pleased to announce that for today's Our Favorite Artists post I had the pleasure of interviewing none other than Steve Zieser.  Steve has created most of the art for the Labyrinth Lord books, including the covers of the main rule-book, the Advanced Edition Companion and my personal favorite the LL Referee Screen.  Steve was nice enough to take a few minutes out of his busy day to answer a few questions for us at The Drunk Umber Hulk.  Without further delay here is the man that illustrated my favorite retro clone, Steve Zieser!

  • First of all, thanks for taking some time out of your day to speak with me, please introduce yourself and give us a brief bio:  

Thanks, Jason. I grew up on a farm outside Cedar Rapids, Iowa and was the middle of 5 kids. Growing up on a farm, there wasn't a lot to do other than farm work, so I had time to do a lot of reading and doodling. I was an okay student, but would rather have been drawing or reading fiction than doing schoolwork. I loved art classes, and would have rather stayed there all day than work on other subjects. My father fully supported my artistic endeavors, and encouraged me to go to art school. I , however, was young and decided to go to tech school for Radio/TV Broadcasting instead. Afterwards, I worked at a tiny country/western station in southern Iowa for a few years and learned exactly how poorly paid people in the radio business could be. So, I decided to go back to school, and ended up at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, and entered the Roman Catholic Seminary program there. (Can you tell I can't do things the easy way??) However, since I kept dating girls the whole time, I had to make a choice and I ended up transferring to Clarke College, where I majored in Studio Arts focused on Printmaking and minored in Religion. I spent a number of years kicking around after college, doing a lot of odd jobs such as working record stores, photo labs, and even selling knives door to door. I eventually settled down building furniture with my Dad for a few years, getting married to my lovely wife in the meantime. Eventually, my Dad decided to retire and I needed a more steady job, and I ended up working for Van Meter Inc, where I have been working happily for the past 7 years.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Premium 1st Edition Books

Wizards of the Coast will be releasing new versions of the original 1st edition core rule books some time in the future. When I first heard the announcement I was very pleased that 1E AD&D would be available to a whole new audience. I like the cover art that they designed, they are a nice nod to the original covers with an updated look, I think they look sharp. The books are going to cost $34.95 for the Players Handbook and Monster Manual and $44.95 for the Dungeon Masters Guide. I was initially going to pick up a set but at those prices I cannot justify spending close to a hundred dollars on books I already own, especially if they are not going to be updated in any way.

Hopefully with their release a whole new generation of players will be able to enjoy the version of the game that I started with so many years ago. Personally I am going to stick with my favorite new retro clone, Labyrinth Lord. The days of spending my hard earned money at Wizards of the Coast are a thing of the past.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Campaign Length

Today I want to pose a question to my readers (the few of you that there are!) I have been running an ongoing campaign for the last three years. My players and I do not have the opportunity to play very often, we live in different states so our gaming time is limited, maybe a couple of times per year.

Whats the longest you have ever run a single campaign, do any of you have campaigns that have been ongoing for more than five years? How often does your group get together to play? I'm been very interested in all the buzz surrounding G+ and the ability to play online, I may setup a Google+ account just to try it out, if I do I'll make sure I keep you guys updated!

So whats the longest campaign you have run?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Stonehell Dungeon - Review

Stonehell Dungeon is an old school mega-dungeon by Michael Curtis. When I say mega-dungeon, I mean MEGA-dungeon, this is one huge adventure packed into a 134 page book. Stonehell is a fantastic product that can be purchased at, there are also a number of other suppliments available for it which I will discuss a little bit later on.

The first eleven pages start off with some general information on Stonehell which give the GM a bit of back story and get him caught up to the current situation, there are also sections on customizing the dungeon and dungeon rumors, then the a dungeon proper starts. Each area or level is shown as a whole and then divided up and dealt with separately. For instance, there is a Surface Level master map and on the following page is the Surface Level overview which provides basic information regarding the maps and then a Surface Level monster list. The next few pages take that master map and break it into separate sections, now instead of the Surface Level Master Map we have levels 0A-Canyon East and 0B-Canyon West, each a smaller section of the master map reproduced and shown with more detail and additional notes, new monsters and new magic item stats. The levels are divided into four quadrants, so you get one overall map that shows how everything fits together and then four small maps that include all of the details you need to run the dungeon. Quadrent example:

The layout is certainly not pretty, it fact I found it to be very cramped and a little tough to read in some sections. That said, I cannot image any other way that this could have been put together without it being 300+ pages, there is SO much information crammed into this book. There is enough material in this book to run a campaign for years, it really is am amazing product. The art is sparse but good, I don't think they had much room for art, this book is all about content. There is a very handy Dungeon Dressing and Container Contents Appendix in the back of the book with 100 separate entries, it seems very useful especially for a dungeon of this size. There are new monsters and magic items sprinkled throughout the book, it would have been nice to see them all pulled together under a New Monsters section, but they are all referenced in the Index under Monsters, New for quick look up.

As I mentioned earlier, there are several suppliments for this dungeon, they can me found here: Michael Curtis Lulu Store. They include a free Stonehell Dungeon Preview, a free Brigands Cave adventure with new monsters and the $2.99 Buried Secrets supplement, which includes adventures for low level characters.

This is honestly one of the best OSR products that is available right now, its packed with information and lots of usable material. Even if you do not intend to run the entire adventure, the individual quadrants can be broken off and used separately in any campaign of your own design. If you do not own this product go out and get it now!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Work in Progress

I just wanted to let people know that I will be changing the look of the blog around a bit over the next few days in my quest to find a format that I like.  Please stay tuned, more content is on the way!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Favorite Artists - Stefan Poag

Our Favorite Artists is going to be a recurring interview with some of the best and brightest RPG artists out there.  To start things off we are speaking to artist Stefan Poag, you may have seen some of his recent work in the fantastic Labyrinth Lord mega-dungeon, Barrowmaze.  Stefan has also done work for a number of other projects including books and magazines published by Kenzer & Company, Goodman Games and Expeditious Retreat Press.  His artwork has a great retro style that brings me back to my younger years.  I'm glad he was able to take some time to speak with us!  Without further ado, here is the man himself!

  • First of all, thanks for taking some time out of your day to speak with me, please introduce yourself and give us a brief bio:

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, after a childhood in (what was then) West Germany. My mother is German and my father was a teacher of German and a Medievalist, so we always had lots of books of medieval art around the house. At some point, I think my mother started buying a series of illustrated Time-Life books through the mail on different cultures through history --- 'The Neanderthals,' 'The Norsemen,' 'The Byzantines,' etc., and I spent a lot of time looking at those as well as the books of medieval illustrations, plus I loved the Japanese monster movies and TV shows like "Johnny Socko" and "Ultraman" that they used to show on the local UHF channel. A grade school friend of mine, Eric Piccione, and I used to draw our own 'comic books;' his favorite subject was "The Pirate" (a swashbuckling superhero with a cutlass). I don't think the Pirate had any special powers; I think he was just really bad-ass and would swing around on ropes, dodge bullets, etc. My favorite was a hero called (cough) "Ivanhoe." Ivanhoe was secretly an ordinary dude who worked in an office, but he had a special ring with a secret compartment in it that contained a button. When things went bad, the office guy pressed the button and thunder struck and he turned into a guy with a cape and a weird-looking octagonal helmet and a sword and a big "I" on his chest who could fly through the air and shoot bolts of lightning from his eyes. I don't think I had any explanation as to why he was called 'Ivanhoe' or where the powers came from --- my friend Eric, however, was having a great time drawing "The Pirate" and I wanted to do it, too. I barely graduated high school and slacked my way through college and have worked a series of menial jobs, usually doing some kind of creative thing on the side, then got into doing commercial photography (mostly shooting pictures of stuff for newspaper advertisements). My significant other, Annie, got a teaching job in Michigan and we have been up here for years. The bottom fell out of the local commercial photography scene and I got burned out on that, after doing a few other things I am now a literacy tutor in Detroit Public Schools, trying to help high school kids improve their reading skills. Given what a bad student I was, this is kind of ironic, but I always enjoyed reading so this is a good fit for me.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Games I Love - Cyberpunk 2020

As a role player I have dabbled in many systems and games over the years. There was always a few games that stood out for me, ones that I usually stuck with for extended periods of time due to theme or system. I'm going to spend some time over the next few weeks taking a look back at the games that ignited my imagination in one way or another.
First up is Cyberpunk 2020. This game was by R. Talsorian Games and was first released as a box set in 1988, the name at the time was Cyberpunk 2013, but was changed to Cyberpunk 2020 in its second release in 1990. The world has gone to hell and mega-corporations have taken over for much of the U.S. Government. These corps have no oversight and do pretty much whatever they please. Characters play mercs called Edgerunners, people living on the edge of society looking to score the next big deal. Cybernetics, gear, netrunning, artificial intelligence and cloning are all part of the landscape.
I think what I found so appealing about the game was its darkness. Drugs and addiction were were a regular part of our game play, after coming from D&D and always playing the heroes it was fun to play someone with questionable morals. The combat system was brutal and very lethal, If you pulled a gun you had better shoot first and straight or you were on a one way trip to the county morgue. If I remember correctly the system included rules for blowing off body parts, gruesome stuff. I believe the combat system went by the name Friday Night Firefight.
Despite being based heavily on William Gibsons Neuromancer, we never really spent much time netrunning, the system felt tacked on to me, we were much more focused on playing shady scumbags living in the shadows. One of my favorite parts of the game was the cybernetics; want to swap out your arm for a stronger one, sure! Want to scoop out your eyes and get nightvision add to your new cybernetic eyes, you can! There were pages and pages of all kinds of hardware that you could add to your body. The only problem was the more you added the less human you became, eventually succumbing to cyberpsychosis. It helped to balance the gameplay and make sure everyone did not become a hulking machine that could dish out and absorb tons of damage.
If you've never had a chance to play this game, check it out. Its still avalble out there, just stay away from the newest version CP 203X, its a steaming pile of junk.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Barrowmaze - Mega-Dungeon Extraordinaire

To my surprise and pleasure, Barrowmaze arrived in the mail yesterday. I purchased it from in hardcover format, but its available in several different forms, softcover, hardcover and both soft cover and hardcover including .pdf's for a few dollars more. Barrowmaze is an old school dungeon for use with Labyrinth Lord or other comparable OSR products. The first thing that struck me was the cover, its of a group of adventures in a crypt/dungeon looking area, and they all seem to be in a bit of trouble (except the mage). Its a great looking piece by artist Stefan Poag who also did a large number of the interior black and white illustrations. Really great art that's reminiscent of some of my favorite old school products.

Barrowmaze is a mega-dungeon, it contains over three hundred encounter areas and eighty four pages of adventuring goodness. New monster stats, spells, random encounter tables and several pregenerated characters are all included. Its a lot of adventure of a decent price. Having recently also picked up StoneHell mega-dungeon I must say I prefer the format of Barrowmaze, it seems a bit less crowded and easier to read.

Another reason to love this dungeon is the enormous amount of undead included, if you don't like undead this adventure is not for you! Clerics are a must here, more than one would be very beneficial. Being an old school dungeon it's tough and deadly, expect to be running from some encounters and expect death and mayhem from others. A party of careful adventures should do well here though, plan ahead and have the right tools for the job and you can get far.

Make sure you stop by the Barrowmaze blog: Barrowmaze They have lots of added content on the site, including hex maps of the Barrow mound, session reports, character sheets and my favorite; Meatshields! The Classic Fantasy Hireling & Hernchmen Generator. All good stuff that is quite useful.

Overall I'd give Barrowmaze a solid 9 out of 10, its a great product any Labyrinth Lord will love!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Oubliette Magazine - Lots of Gaming Goodness for a Great Price

I recently purchased and received Oubliette Magazine and I could not be more pleased with my purchase. I received issues one through four as a single compiled book and separate issues five through seven. This is a wonderful fanzine put together by Peter Regan that focuses on old school role-playing (with a particular focus on Labyrinth Lord). Each issue is filled with wonderful hand drawn art and a number of articles:

Monster Club - All manner of monsters, tricks and traps.

Various adventures for characters of all levels.

Mouse Watch - A Mouse Guard-esque comic.

Tales from Hell - A comic following the exploits of several Kobolds and their buckets

Goblin Quest - A larger paneled comic following several nasty little goblins.

Articles - From the the various of uses of a 10ft pole or how to grief a Paladin, really great stuff, the meat of the magazine.

The Song of Sithakk - An epic dwarven story.

I would highly recommend Oubliette Magazine to anyone interested in old school gaming, its a great purchase thats loaded with goodness! The eighth issue should be out this spring, once its available you will be able to purchase issues four through eight as a compiled book (like current issues one through four). I'll post a link on the left of the page so eveyone can go check them out, don't forget to support their blog while your there!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Russians Are Coming!

As a child growing up in the eighties my imagination was captured by a little action film called Red Dawn. I recall not being able to watch it in the theater as I was only eight years old when it came out, but I saw it several years later at a friends house on VHS (yes I'm old). I also remember running around the yard after watching the movie playing USA vs Russians.

Last night my wife and I watched the movie and it was the first time she has ever seen it. For anyone who has not seen the movie it is about Russians/Cubans invading America (specifically a small town in Colorado) and a group of young high school kids who form the "Wolverines" and fight back using guerrilla style warfare. The movie has stood up pretty well over the years. Some of the acting is a bit over the top, but Patrick Swayze did a decent job as the lead character. John Milus (the director) has always been able to direct a great action movie and Red Dawn still delivers on that front. I think the most memorable scene for me was the group finding out out that they had been betrayed by a comrade and the repercussions of that betrayal. Another reason to love this movie was the inclusion of one of the great low budget 80's actors, Powers Booth. He turned in a great performance as the shot down f-15 pilot Lt. Col. Andy Tanner.

After watching the movie I was looking online and was shocked to discover that there is a remake of the movie coming out in November of this year. It will be interesting to see how the movie is updated to fit in with the current world political situation as the first movie was at the height of the Cold War and really catered to the average Americans fears.

Hopefully the new version will do justice to the original, it was originally slated to be released in 2010 but was delayed due to financial issues at MGM. The main protagonists have also changed from the Russians/Cubans to the Chinese and then most recently the North Koreans (which was done after shooting using digital effects to change Chinese symbols to N. Korean). The change from Chinese to North Korean was due to pressure from the Chinese after a version of the script was leaked, I cannot imagine all these last minute changes are a good thing.

If you have never seen the ORIGINAL Red Dawn, go out now and pick it up, its a good action movie that's still enjoyable to watch.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


So I finally decided to start a gaming blog. The reasons are many but I'll stick to a few. I love gaming, in all its many forms. I've been playing board games, role playing games and computer and console games for many years now. I intend for this blog to be a cornucopia of gaming related stuff, I will cover whatever my current interest is. This is a way for me to reach out and connect with other gamers as well explore different types and styles of gaming.

My current obsession is OSR, or Old School Renaissance. I have been playing versions of D&D for many years now, I started with the 1st edition set and played through second and third edition. I never quite made it into fourth edition as I was so tired of purchasing the same core books over and over. I have enjoyed every edition that I have played, but lately something has changed. The rules heavy third edition has started to seem clunky and over complicated. I longed for the earlier days of simple gaming, a stripped down system in which the story is more important than the rules. I discovered that there are many other gamers out there that also pined for the good ole days of gaming and that there are a number of systems that support the old school rules. OSRIC, Swords & Wizardry and Labyrinth Lords are the three I looked into. Ultimately I fell in love with LL. it's such a beautiful and simple system, but the addition of the Advanced Edition Companion really sold me. I love that the AEC is completely optional but adds most of the stuff I loved from 1st edition AD&D. Paladin, check. Rangers, check. More spells and equipment, check and check. Crazy weapon speed factor rules and rules for specific weapons vs different levels of armor class, nope. Its a simple system that includes just enough but not to much. I'll be posting more on this later though!

I hope you all enjoy this blog as much as I am going to enjoy writing it. It is probably going to be a bit eclectic, covering old school gaming, board games and the newest video games. Take care and roll high!