A monster on the verge of eating an adventurer.


The Monster

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on February 03, 2022

Tagged: OSR

Every so often Nate will pop into the discord we’re both in to chat about his super-high level D&D 5e game: it’s totally bananas and inspiring. He made this off hand remark about the Red Dragon in his game:

The red dragon Vlaurung lives in a palace in space and is the consort of Tiamat.

One of my favourite parts of Dark Sun was that there was a singular Dragon: it made the monster more mythic in my mind. Sean felt the same way about making monsters unique:

I feel like almost any game could be made better by taking the monster manual and just writing The before every monster.

And then Brendan reminded us that he figured this all out many years ago: Sui Generia.

Some creatures feel like they maybe aren’t as nice a fit for this treatment, your D&D mooks: kobolds, orcs, goblins, etc. Alex suggested “the Goblins being a single band of six (6) named assholes is as good as if not better than a monolithic Goblin.” Chris followed up, “I feel like you could have The Kobold, but still have a Kobold society that he’s built down in the mines with stolen children or whatever and the kids all paint themselves blue and make shitty traps or whatever else kobolds do.” I love it.

This feels like such a simple and compelling way to create a unique setting from a collection of very common elements. You could pick 10 of your favourite monsters and create a unique world for you and your friends. These conversations always have me thinking about running OD&D again.

I didn’t want this conversation to disappear into the ether that is random peple on a random discord, so here we are. Blogs are for remembering.


The Brazilian OSR

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on August 15, 2020

Tagged: OSR Brazil BOSR

Scott Malthouse, the author of Romance of the Perilous Land, started a cute thing on Twitter where he encouraged people to share retro gaming books from Britain with the hashtag #BOSR—British OSR. It’s fun seeing pictures of old Games Workshop books and art, Fighting Fantasy, Russ Nicholson art, etc. I posted a picture Grail Quest, a serious #BOSR deep cut. But, what if the #BOSR was the Brazilian OSR?

I’m not sure how I stumbled on the OSR scene in Brazil, but it’s there and it feels like it’s having a moment. I think I started following the artist and designer Diogo on Twitter first. He’s made several games and will share his work in progress artwork. He also shares the works of other people in the scene, and slowly I have found more artists and designers working out of Brazil making games, or doing graphic design and art.

I picked up Pacts and Blades first, by Lucas Romlin. A minimalist RPG for you to play Moorcockian inspired fantasy stories. I don’t think I need more RPGs, but this one has stunning graphic design, and makes effective use of public domain art and paintings. Lucas tweeted about his friend Guilherme Gontijo’s game Into the Bronze. Gontijo was the graphic designer for Pacts and Blades, and this game shared its sharp design. I saw he was using Hex Kit to make funky maps and was obviously intrigued. Into the Bronze is a complete reimagining of Into the Odd as a game for playing Sumerian’s during the Bronze Age He has lots of games that look interesting, but I must pace myself!

The next thing I picked up was Escape from Station 52, a solo card game, by Emanoel Melo. I don’t think my printer is nice enough to print the cards, but it looked cool. Again, I’m not sure who shared the game with me, but I shared it joking I could get far just tweeting about Brazilian games. Emanoel tagged their friends in a reply, and I learned of the artist’s Bakto and Alex Damaceno. Alex is redoing Keep on the Bordlands, one page at a time, and the results look amazing.

Alex shared the work their friend Victor Amorim was doing, calling it Hollow Knight crossed with Into the Odd. I love Hollow Knight, and know many other gamers that enjoy that video game, so I let them know this game called Carapace exists. A friend replied, “Carapace has the most direct built in RPG goal I’ve ever seen (without being something like Lady Blackbird): you are getting Marble to build a cannon to shoot a Marble Titan.” It’s true!

Who knows what I am missing. I don’t speak Portuguese. There is likely a whole world of Brazilian gaming I haven’t seen or found yet. Still, it is interesting for me in Toronto to have this small window into what’s happening far from my home. Hopefully for you too.