Reading Original Dungeons & Dragons Part 3: The Underworld and Wilderness Adventures

Note: Sorry for the way-too-long delay on this. It quite simply got lost in the shuffle!

Herein lies the final section of my thought experiment of reading D&D as though I did not have the 40 years of experience with gaming I do, or that as a reader, I didn't have the benefit of an entire generation of gaming scholarship or the Internet to look to for guidance. This is a look into what a brand new player of D&D may have thought upon attempting to run their first game way back in 1975. To that end, some of the observations and assumptions I'm making herein have been roundly disproven in the decades of scholarship and play that have followed.

So why do this? Well, I've covered that in the first two sections, but in brief, it's to take a fresh look at the game and its rules. It's to see things through an innocent set of eyes, and maybe challenge some of the assumptions we have, or at very least come up with some ideas about different ways to try and interpret t…


Sorry for the delay in posting the good news, folks...busy weekend.

I'm pleased to announce that at 11:59 PM, on October 31, Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars officially FUNDED ON KICKSTARTER!

This was a huge deal for me and I'm super excited to announce that this marks what I hope will be a prosperous new era for Elf Lair Games. We started strong back in 2010 with the release of Spellcraft & Swordplay, which was honestly rather cobbled together. I should have gone head to the ground and plowed forward at that time, but I had little ambition of becoming an actual company then, so I let it run its course. It's still selling to this day, which is a testament to the game itself.

Now, I'm taking everything I've learned over the past 22 years of game design and ten-plus years of OD&D study at places like the ODD74 Forums, and applying it to a brand new house system for Elf Lair Games. O.G.R.E.S., or the Oldschool Generic Roleplaying Engine System,…

Final Hours for the Night Shift Kickstarter

Well, folks, I'm in the final hours of my Kickstarter and we're about $404 shy of funding. I'm hitting my networks in a last ditch effort to raise that final few hundred bucks. It's frustrating being so close, and knowing that it's all or nothing.

All I can say is this: if you've been a fan of my work in the past, you'll love this game. If you're a fan of Tim Brannan's work in the past, you'll love this game. Our DNA is all over it. It's a great game for the old school crowd. It's a great game for the modern design crowd. It's a great game for anyone who loves modern gaming, and it's intended to launch Elf Lair Games to the next level as a real publishing company.

The rules are lightweight, fast-playing, intuitive and fun. It supports multiple play levels and styles, from normal/realistic to over-the-top cinematic to grim and gritty. It offers a toolkit to let you build exactly the world, monsters, and game you want. And it's…

My Company Launches Our First Kickstarter!

Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Debuting the new Elf Lair Games house system, O.G.R.E.S., Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars is an urban fantasy, horror, and dark modern supernatural game that uses old-school mechanics derived from the original, basic, expert, and advanced versions of the World's Most Famous Role Playing Game. It allows you to mimic all the tropes of just about any film, TV series, or novels you like.
All of the following are possible with Night Shift: Cheerleaders that are chosen to slay vampires, granted with extranormal powers to accomplish their destiny;Sisters imbued with the power of chosen witches;Worlds where Fae of all manner battle in the politics of light and dark;The great-grandniece of a famous gunslinger inherits the legacy of the demon hunter;A world where two brothers armed with knowledge and weapons hunt the supernatural in their father's name;And more! Night Shift is built to handle just about any sort of urban fanta…

Powers & Paragons: Superheroic Role Playing with OD&D - Part One

(This may form an eventual PDF (much like my Star Wars rules did), or it may actually morph into a complete game that I will release through Elf Lair Games. I'm not sure. For now it's a few thoughts I had.)

If there's one genre out there that is as popular with the sci-fi/fantasy community as high fantasy, it's superheroes. Since they first debuted in the pulp magazines in the 20s and 30s with characters like The Shadow, Doc Savage, The Bat and the like, super-powered masked vigilantes have held the fascination of the world. Eventually they made their way into comic books, where these powered men and women have formed a new take on mythology, the modern gods and goddesses of our popular culture. It occurred to me, in thinking about it, that OD&D, being a stunningly flexible system, can easily handle superhero games, so I wanted to put some notes down regarding how it works.

Approaches to Power and Core Rules
The first thing we need to do, to figure out…

Now on Kickstarter! Amazing Adventures 5e!

Hey, all, my newest project is now on Kickstarter: Amazing Adventures 5e! We funded in just two hours, and in 6 days we've smashed through 7 stretch goals, with lots more to come!

So what is Amazing Adventures 5e? 

Amazing Adventures is the modern multi-genre RPG that lets you take your game to any time, any place, and any genre. This new version is completely compatible with the 5th Edition Rules of the World’s Most Famous RPG and brings it firmly into the modern era without a ton of new and altered rules.

Within its pages you’ll find:
•New character classes, and new takes on existing classes
•New Sub-classes, paths, archetypes, etc.
•A new approach to Inspiration which allows you to build points for greater player agency
•Cinematic unarmed combat
•Modern vehicle rules
•Firearms rules
•Psionics rules
•And more!

Grab hold of the wheel and take on the bad guys from the 16th Century to the 51st Century and beyond with Amazing Adventures!…

NEW ELF LAIR GAMES RELEASE: Chutzpah! A Certain Je ne Sais Quoi

Chutzpah! is the bare-bones role playing game with a certain je ne sais quoi! It's a firmly tongue-in-cheek game that nevertheless can handle any kind of game you wish to run, no matter how serious. From one-shot over-the-top lunacy to long-term deadly-serious campaigns, this game has the gumption to make it happen. With stats like Cut of My Jib, Childlike Wonder and yes, a Certain Je ne Sais Quoi, you'll be able to take your character building to the next level. 
It's a simple stat and skill die pool system using d8s. Why d8s? I just decided on d8s. There's literally no other reason. You'll throw your dice and count Fist Bumps to succeed at tasks. Included in this simple, 44-page book is everything you need to play a game, including:
Complete character generationRules for combat, skills, vehicles, magic, psionics and moreRules for building weapons, vehicles, equipment and monstersRules for fear, terror, horror, and madnessBenefits and Bugs to customize your charact…