Principia Apocrypha file updated

Just a quick note that the booklet version of Principia Apocrypha now has outlined fonts, which may fix issues with printing that some folks were experiencing.

Principia Apocrypha Is Here

Principia Apocrypha is a free Primer for Old School Style RPG Gaming in the form of a collection of Apocalypse World-style GM (and player) Principles.

Find It Here

along with some further reading and recommendations

Right now it utterly baffles me how anyone ever feels like they can know they have actually finished making a thing they care about.

It has been more than a year that I started working on it (first private GDocs version says April 7 2017). Since then, I've gone through many sinusoidal phases of in/active development of seemingly endless iterations, and actually ran some damn games (still only about 25 sessions but at least I feel like I can walk most of the talk). I commissioned art from Evlyn Moreau, and a few weeks ago started learning layout in Scribus (I actually thoroughly enjoyed making GDocs jump through hoops to make things look good-enough, which I might make some posts on... Scribus less so. Thankfully we now have Affinity Publisher).

And I started this blog, partly just to have a place to put PA. I'm still anxious, but I'm forcing myself to put my finger over the big red button. The next step may be to get this up on DTRPG (for free)... I'd love to hear opinions on whether it would be worth the hassle. And, you know, any other opinions.

Here goes...

A Nigh-Perfect OSR Content Post

On his blog Anxiety Wizard, David Wilkie wrote this post about treasure-detecting dream-shrooms. After reading it, I immediately had the opinion that it's a "nigh-perfect OSR content post". By that, I mean it's a great example for what OSR (and DIY RPG) bloggers and creators should strive for in presenting gameable content in a blog post or similar format.

Bob Gibbons / Alamy Stock Photo

A quick aside: A while back I decided to try my voice at reading for Blogs On Tape, and this post was an obvious choice. I was a bit stuffy at the time so my voice is a bit more nasal than usual, but it turned out alright and went up a month ago. Anyhow, the rest of this may benefit from reading or listening to the post first.

Undoubtedly, it isn't a universal skeleton for all good content posts. But whether David was aiming for it or not, I think it epitomizes a lot of what makes content "gameable", and other desirable qualities that seem to increasingly define good OSR/DIY D&D content. Here's what I think is great about it:
  1. It isn't tied to any sort of mechanic, so is system agnostic. Anyone reading this post could use it in their game, OSR or not.
  2. It's an object that can be plopped anywhere in any world, literally growing on the ground (bonus, it has a justified reason to indicate a good camping spot), so is campaign/setting agnostic.
  3. It acts as a customizable Hook; a way for the GM to point the players toward something they have prepared. It may be a deus ex machina if used this way, but it is well-veiled and couched in the game world. And it is otherwise a great kickstart to an un-prepared/improvised adventure, too.
  4. It is interactive, the players can poke at it, and we know what happens when it is interacted with. PCs are always putting things in their mouths, and if yours aren't, they will undoubtedly hear rumors of it, being a treasure-hunter's delicacy.
  5. And when they do interact with it, it doesn't become an afterthought - it's now an aspect of the character; it changes them, at least for a time.
  6. It's a double-edged sword, presenting its own drawbacks while it promises potential fortune.
  7. It won't feel dry or boring on repeat "encounters" (in fact the characters may start seeking them out proactively), and gives us tools (tables) to manage that.
  8. It oozes specific, weird, evocative flavor. It might not have an ideal Terse-to-Evocative ratio, but I think the prose-y-ness is a good purple and doesn't overstay its welcome. It was fun to read aloud, and implanted a great seed for relaying the experience to players.
  9. In a way, it embodies a GM tool as in-game artifact in a way I haven't recognized before. This is just really cool to think about. I suppose Summon Wizard Tower is similar.
  10. It's by someone whose name I didn't recognize when I read it, on a blog with less than 50 posts. That's one of the things I love about the OSR, it can seem like a bottomless well of amazing stuff. And it contributed a bit of a kick to finally start this blog. 

I haven't posted much original content in the wild, so I don't want to presume to define an ideal rubric here - I think some more analysis and distillation can be done to work toward that (not to mention I'm sure something like it probably already exists in the bottomless well), and I'd love for others to add to this list or create their own. But in any case, I hope to live up to this post with my own work.

Why can't I hold all these wizard towers

Ardmore Round Tower

Summon Wizard Tower
Magic User, Level 1
Duration: Until sunrise
Range: 500’ on ground under open sky

A wizard tower that has been placed under the “Bind Wizard Tower To Summoning” enchantment (which one exactly depending on the vagaries of cosmological fate) erupts from the ground 500’ away from the caster. At the next dawn, sunlight causes the tower and anything summoned with it to dissolve, returning whence it came. If someone who enters the tower writes up a session report describing their explorations, tribulations, and likely death and shares it with the OSR community and/or creator of the tower, they receive XP equal to 500 multiplied by the (lowest) character level intended for the tower.

Bind Wizard Tower To Summoning
Magic User, Level 5
Duration: Permanent
Range: Touch

The creator of a wizard tower writes it up as an adventure module and shares it with the OSR community. The tower then becomes summonable by the Summon Wizard Tower spell. Details of session reports from explorers of the tower via the Summon Wizard Tower spell may alter or add treasure or magic items to the tower in the creator’s world, and subsequent summonings.

Some pre-bound Wizard Towers ripe for the Summoning:

Word Mine

Watching a stream of Caves of Qud, an engraved item was looted that featured a "carnivorous geode", which is an amazing concept, and thus I googled the term. I did not find any relevant results, but the one result that did appear is far better. It is a spam site for a generic drug, containing some of the most beautiful machine-generated language I've read. It is reproduced here to save the innocent from malware, and scrubbed of the embedded mentions of the drug.

Best read aloud. Mine it for inspiration or simply bask in its glory. Then, please return to the Library of Babel.