Attronarch's Athenaeum


Return to Perinthos: A Memorial Book Fundraiser in the Memory of Jennell Jaquays has just launched. It contains over 80 “one-spread” dungeons that can be used together or standalone, unpublished Q&A with Jaquays, and a mini-setting by Luke Gearing.

Pre-publication contributions can be seen here. Some of the OSR systems included are OSE, S&W, Cairn, and Shadowdark. There are also OD&D and AD&D contributions as well.

I've donated the Halls of Viridian Mist, a dungeon level for 4 to 6 Swords & Wizardry Complete characters levels 3 to 5. This challenging adventure features many tricks Jaquays used in her dungeons like non-linear loops, multiple elevations, interactive factions, and secret doors hidden behind other secret doors.

You can learn more, support the fundraiser, and get the book here.

#News #Crowdfunding #OSR

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Running a freewheeling city adventure can be hard work, but this book gives you a powerful resource for handling interactions with non-player characters — their names, objectives, abilities, and quirky activities! City Encounters provides 200 daytime encounters and 200 night-time encounters for your characters to run into while exploring the city. Plus, each of the encounters has several alternative possibilities involved, so you can adapt the encounter to your players or use the same encounter more than once with a different alternative. Encounters that can lead to adventures are cross-referenced to let you find the other NPCs who might be involved in an ongoing situation, and there are several possible “recurring” villains, heroes, and weirdos to battle, assist, and befriend.

Enter a city filled with anarchists, arsonists, sorcery, skullduggery, factional conflict, and necromancy!

This is the OSR version of City Encounters, written for Swords & Wizardry but easily usable with systems including OD&D, AD&D (1E), B/X, OSE and others!

It's great to see City Encounters once again available. It's a great utility for running urban adventures on the fly. You can get it in PDF and print at DTRPG.

#News #OSR #SW

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Charlie Mason, of White Box: Fantasy Medieval Adventure Game fame, has just released a Player's Guide for OSRIC:

This is intended to be a table copy for players. Use it, write in it, spill soda on it and get cheeto fingers on the pages. Then when it falls apart, get another one.

You can get print version, at-cost, from Amazon.

PDF is available for free from here.

Thank you Charlie!

Old School Reference and Index Compilation (OSRIC) is an OGL retroclone of the AD&D 1E. It restates PHB, DMG and MM in a single book, with minor modifications for legal reasons.

Version 2.2 was released in 2013, and is freely available on Lulu and DTRPG. Knights & Knaves Alehouse hosts a thread for tracking and cataloguing latest known errata.


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Jennel Jaquays needs help due to sudden medical complication:

Jaquays is a well known RPG author whose work includes brilliant modules like Caverns of Thracia, Dark Tower, Griffin Mountain, and many others.

Even $10 helps.


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How to Make a Fantasy Sandbox by Robert Conley of Bat in the Attic Games is coming to Kickstarter soon.

This book is a collection of 24 updated and revised articles published by Rob since 2009. It follows a 34-step process for creating a fantasy sandbox that should take around 24 hours to complete.

Rob has four decades of experience playing, running, and designing fantasy sandboxes. His credentials include:

He is currently working on Majestic Fantasy Realms, a spiritual successor to the Wilderlands of High Fantasy.

I hope it will be crowdfunded right after How to Make a Fantasy Sandbox!

#News #OSR #Wilderlands

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Adventurer Conqueror King System Imperial Imprint (ACKS II) is coming to Kickstarter on October 24th. It will consist of three books: Revised Rulebook, Judges Journal, and Monstrous Manual.

ACKS II Revised Rulebook will be everything BECMI and Rules Cyclopedia wanted to be.

ACKS II Judges Journal will be the contemporary OSR Dungeon Master's Guide.

ACKS II Monstrous Manual will set the standard for OSR bestiaries.

Here are five reasons why I will back ACKS II on day one:

  1. If you ever read early issues of Dragon Magazine, you have surely spotted various letter and articles proposing various tactics to cheese the game and one-up the Dungeon Master. A lot of Gary's rule modifications were his responses to players attempting to break the game. That's how we went from original Dungeons & Dragons booklets to the legendary Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. We wouldn't have had the game we had, hadn't it been for all the players that tried to break the game. ACKS II went through more than a decade of brutal play-testing. It survived players trying to break dungeons, economies, kingdoms, and planets.
  2. Basic D&D was about dungeon delving, Expert D&D was about wilderness exploration, Companion and Master D&D were about domains, warfare, and rulership. BX/BE procedures held up extremely well, as attested by a deluge of retroclones built on them. I attribute that to all the play-testing these rules were subject to. Domain and war machine rules, on the other hand, were mostly penned by a single man (probably a small team to be honest), and briefly tested. D&D was never known for tight economy. Some try to fix it by introducing the silver standard, i.e. switching all costs from gold piece to silver piece. ACKS II is built ground up to have tightly integrated economy which works. It is based on thorough research of historical data, followed by careful modelling and simulation, followed by playtesting above. “Oh no, is this a spreadsheet simulator?” Only if you want it to! ACKS II summarises everything in gameable tables. You know the numbers work—you can roll and play, being confident in the results given.
  3. Common complaint (lament?) in OSR circles is that player characters rarely go over 10th level, hence a lot of cool higher-level BECMI stuff doesn't get played. ACKS II fixed the problem by building everything from level 1 to 14. There is domain stuff you can play with from level 1; there are warfare rules covering small gangs as well as whole armies; there is something to challenge character of every level and every class.
  4. It evolves and builds on decades of gaming experience. Innovations it brings are firmly in the spirit of TSR's D&D, while fixing many, many small issues. Linear fighters, quadratic wizards? Fixed. Monsters of myth and legend that have very little to do with actual monsters of myth and legend? Fixed. Thieves that suck? Fixed. The list goes on (really, campaign description has 40+ bullet points). And the best part? Everything is presented and explained in such a way a Judge can simply lift part of ACKS II they like and use it.
  5. Because Gary Gygax would've been proud.

I'm very much looking forward to Adventurer Conqueror King System Imperial Imprint.

#News #ACKS #OSR

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Wonderful news:

After years of turmoil, the Estate of Gary Gygax was taken over by a court assigned estate manager. As part of the agreement to raise money to secure the debts of the estate, Troll Lord Games was granted the right and privilege to reprint several of Gary Gygax’s works. To wit, The Gygaxian Fantasy World Series, Castle Zagyg: Yggsburgh, and The Hermit are each coming back into print.

We hope to bring each of these to you table as soon as possible. Our current plan is to release a Castle Zagyg: Yggsburgh retro print immediately. This is a reprint of the book as it was released in 2005. Following this, we will release The Hermit as a Kickstarter campaign. The Hermit will be updated for Castles and Crusades; the Fantasy Roleplaying Game, laid out in full color with new maps and illustrations, contain notes on its development and all original material as well. The Gygaxian Fantasy World Series will be launched on Kickstarter in the first quarter of 2024. The eight plus volume series of works is one of Gary’s prides and joys as well as a treasure trove of information for anyone wanting to create a comprehensive fantasy world setting.

Read the full statement from Troll Lord Games here.

#News #TLG #OSR

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US Copyright Office issued US Copyright Registration TX 9-307-067, which was the only thing left for Open RPG Creative (ORC) License to be considered final.

Here are the license, guide, and certificate of registration:

As a brief reminder, last December Hasbro & Wizards of the Coast tried to sabotage the thriving RPG scene which was using OGL to create open gaming content. Their effort backfired and led to creation of above ORC License as well as AELF (“OGL but fixed” license by Matt Finch).

As always, make sure to carefully read any license before using it.

#News #OGL #ORC

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Matt Finch of OSRIC and Swords & Wizardry fame has been working on an OGL replacement ever since Wizard of the Coast tried to go nuclear on the OGL.

The license formally know as Mythmere Games Open License (MGL) is now titled Alternative to Existing Licenses for Fantasy (AELF).

Those who have used OGL before will find it quite familiar with few very welcome clarifications and improvements. You can find the license guide at Mythemere web page.

Without further ado, the license text is provided below.




Defined Terms are listed in Section 13.

  1. CONSIDERATION AND GRANT: In consideration for Your agreement to abide by the terms of this License, Mythmere Games LLC and each other Contributor grants You an irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide, royalty‑free, non‑exclusive license to Use the AELF Open Gaming Content that such Contributor has contributed under this License. By Using AELF Open Gaming Content under this License, You accept the terms of this License.

  2. CONTRIBUTION OF OPEN CONTENT: AELF Open Gaming Content may be contributed by any Contributor, and if so contributed may be Used by You, under the terms of this License. In connection with the contribution, Distribution, or Use of any AELF Open Gaming Content under this License, no terms or conditions may be added to or subtracted from this License except as expressly described herein.

  3. OTHER USAGE BY CONTRIBUTOR: Material that any Contributor contributes as AELF Open Gaming Content may also be released by that Contributor under one or more other licenses so long as it does not include AELF Open Gaming Content that was created by another Contributor without such other Contributor’s separate consent. However, such other licenses must be independent of this License: they may not add or subtract terms or conditions to the use of the AELF Open Gaming Content under this License, nor may they affect the validity of the contribution or the rights of Use of such AELF Open Gaming Content hereunder.

  4. REQUIREMENTS FOR CONTRIBUTING AELF OPEN GAM- ING CONTENT: If You are contributing material as AELF Open Gaming Content, You represent that Your contributions are Your original creation and/or You have sufficient rights to grant the rights conveyed by this License (which may include, without limitation, through a Creative Commons CC-BY or CC0 license grant or another permanent licensing arrangement that allows any use of the intellectual property without any restriction on use other than attribution). Once the material is contributed, it is subject to the grant included in Section 1 and all other terms and conditions of this License. If your material is derived from a Creative Commons CC-BY License grant, you must require the proper attribution to this upstream material by those using your material under this license. Material derived from a Creative Commons License that includes the designators SA, ND, or NC, which restrict the use of the material by downstream users, may not be contributed as AELF Open Gaming Content under this License.

  5. NOTICES: In order to Use any AELF Open Gaming Content under this License: (a) You must include a copy of this License in any material in which you Use such AELF Open Gaming Content; (b) in that copy of this License, You must update the COPYRIGHT NOTICE in Section 14 below to include (i) the exact text of the COPYRIGHT NOTICE from any AELF Open Gaming Content contributed by anyone else that You are Using, and (ii) the title, the copyright date, and the copyright holder’s name of any AELF Open Gaming Content you are contributing, and (iii) any attributions required under a Creative Commons License or similar permitted open license for the use of any content under either clause (i) or clause (ii); and © You must prominently (immediately before the copy of the license required under (a) above, and also on the title page of the work, if possible) include in your work the following statement: “This work includes AELF Open Gaming Content, which may only be used under the terms of the AELF Open License version 1.0a. This product is not endorsed or reviewed by Mythmere Games LLC or any other contributor of AELF Open Gaming Content and does not represent the views of Mythmere Games LLC or any other contributor.”

  6. USE OF PRODUCT IDENTITY: This license does not grant to You any rights in any Product Identity, and the owner of any Product Identity shall retain all rights, title and interest in and to that Product Identity. However, where rights of fair use or other exceptions or limitations on copyright or similar law apply to any Product Identity, such rights, exceptions, and limitations supersede a claim of Product Identity under the terms of this License, but do not exempt You from any notice requirements in Section 5. The inclusion of any Product Identity in any work that includes AELF Open Gaming Content does not constitute a challenge to the ownership of that Product Identity.

  7. NO NEED TO CONTRIBUTE: Using AELF Open Gaming Content under this license does not require you to contribute any new AELF Open Gaming Content. If you do contribute new AELF Open Gaming Content, it must be clearly identified as such.

  8. USE OF CONTRIBUTOR CREDITS: You may not market or advertise AELF Open Gaming Content using the name of any Contributor unless You have written permission from the Contributor to do so. You may include a statement of compatibility if the Contributor has set forth terms for statements of compatibility or if your statement complies with relevant law regarding trademarks.

  9. PRIVITY OF CONTRACT: In any dispute hereunder, only the Contributors of content Used by You are considered to be in privity of contract with You. No other person shall be deemed a third-party beneficiary of this License with respect to You.

  10. INABILITY TO COMPLY: If it is impossible for You to comply with any of the terms of this License with respect to some or all of the AELF Open Gaming Content due to statute, judicial order, or governmental regulation, then You may not Use any AELF Open Gaming Content so affected.

  11. TERMINATION FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH LI- CENSE: This License (under all versions present and future) will terminate automatically, but only as to You (and to all of Your affiliates and subsidiaries), if You fail to comply with any of the terms hereof and You do not cure such failure within 30 days of becoming aware of it. If the License has so terminated with respect to You, it may only be reinstated if all Contributors of the relevant content Used by You, who were adversely affected by Your failure to comply, waive such failure in writing. However, no such termination shall affect the license of any AELF Open Gaming Content (whether contributed by the person as to which this License has terminated or by any other person) under this License to any persons as to which this License has not terminated.

  12. OTHER PROVISIONS: (a) If any provision of this License is held to be unenforceable, such provision shall be reformed only to the extent necessary to make it enforceable. (b) You agree that before you use this License, you will seek such advice, including legal counsel, as you deem appropriate, and will take such advice into consideration before using this License. As a result, the interpretation of this License shall not be construed against the drafter. © This License shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Texas.

  13. DEFINED TERMS: This License includes certain defined terms, which may be identified by the use of a capital letter. (a) “AELF Open Gaming Content” means any content clearly identified as AELF Open Gaming Content by a Contributor in any work covered by this License and any material that is purely numerically or game-mechanically derived from such content; (b) “Contributors” means Mythmere Games LLC and each other copyright and/or trademark owner who has contributed AELF Open Gaming Content under this License; © “Derivative Material” means material based on pre-existing copyrighted material, including translations (including translations into computer languages), modifications, corrections, additions, extensions, upgrades, improvements, compilations, abridgments, or any other form in which the pre-existing work may be recast, transformed or adapted; (d) “Distribute” means to reproduce, license, rent, lease, sell, broadcast, publicly display, transmit, or otherwise distribute; (e) “Product Identity” means any trademark, any tradename, or any material subject to copyright, in each case in any work covered by this License, that is not clearly identified as AELF Open Gaming Content by the Contributor that owns such intellectual property; Product Identity may include such things as product and product line names; logos and identifying marks including trade dress; artifacts; creatures; characters; stories, storylines, plots, thematic elements, dialogue, incidents, and language; artwork; symbols, designs, depictions, likenesses, formats, or poses; concepts; themes; graphic, photographic and other visual or audio representations; names and descriptions of characters, spells, enchantments, personalities, teams, personas, likenesses, and special abilities; places, locations, and environments; equipment; and magical or supernatural abilities or effects; (f) “Use”, “Used” or “Using” means to use, Distribute, copy, edit, format, modify, translate and otherwise create Derivative Material of AELF Open Gaming Content; and (g) “You” or “Your” means a licensee under this License.


[Insert both (i) the exact text of the COPYRIGHT NOTICE from any AELF Open Gaming Content You are Using, together with any required attribution under Section 5(b)(iii), and (ii) the title, the copyright date, and the copyright holder’s name of your product, together with any additional required attribution under Section 5(b)(iii).]



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This was a good week for open gaming and TTRPGs.

First Matt Finch released the MGL, then Azora Law finally made ORC public as well.

Notice: comments in this post do not construe legal advice.

Mythmere Games Open License

Mythmere Games has released Mythmere Games Open License.

Quick commentary:

  • Very similar to OGL.
  • Clearer than OGL.
  • Easier to distinguish Open Content.
  • Explicit that one doesn't need to contribute any Open Content even if using other's Open Content. That was already possible under OGL, and in fact was relatively common during d20 days when mostly statblocks were designated as Open Content. I think that is good since it allows more freedom.
  • We finally don't need to do bullshit like “First Edition Compatible” but can flat out say “Compatible with Dungeons & Dragons®” and similar.
  • Cleared instruction regarding notices.

Matt did a point-by-point livestream. Watch the recording here. You can provide feedback to Mythmere via their contact page or email.

Open RPG Creative License

Azora Law, the entity created to steward the Open RPG Creative (ORC) license, released the first public license draft and FAQ:

Quick commentary:

  • Much denser than OGL. Plenty of legalese.
  • Quite comprehensive in its definitions, although still some ambiguity that has to be resolved.
  • Seems to assume all content is Open Content unless stated otherwise.
  • Does not require full license replication in the publication.
  • Attributions are structured similar to the Creative Commons attributions, which I find double edged sword. On one hand it is easy, on the other we are likely to see upstream contributors simply not attributed. For example, let's say we have ten people releasing a monster on their blog and designate it as ORC Content. I gather them into a Bestiary and attribute all of them. Then someone write an adventure and decides to use some of those monsters in their work. They attribute my Bestiary but not necessarily the people who created the monsters (unless I specifically wrote in my attribution how each specific monster should be attributed).
  • I expect a number of people to misattribute works until a good practice forms.

You can provide feedback on ORC License at their Discord.

Current thoughts

Both are better than OGL.

Both seem promising.

At the moment I like MGL slightly more than ORCL.


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