The OSR Pit Appendix N

The OSR Pit Appendix N

Let’s build an Appendix N for Inspirational and Educational reading that has inspired you in your roleplaying games!

If you’d like to contribute, please only include authors or works you’ve personally used. To limit chaff, please write a short sentence or two for each resource about how they’ve impacted you and your table. In addition to a link to the product, I’ll also link your post so that future visitors can review your thoughts on that product. Feel free to recommend a product already listed - there will simply be more links available for users interested in that specific resource.

I know we have a lot of content creators here so please refrain from linking your own stuff. Remember, this is what inspires you, not the result of said inspiration.

Since this isn’t the 70s any longer, feel free to include resources outside of traditional media. Video games, movies, and blogs are fair game!

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I’ll start:

Kobold Design Guides - I started with the Kobold Guide to Plots and Campaigns and I’ve found it’s really improved my table in a drastic way. The information is diverse and very dense. The essay format is fantastic as it gives you a wide range of perspectives and tips in a tight format. I find myself rereading some of my favorites from time to time if I ever get in a rut and need to recenter myself.

Morrowind - The first western style RPG that truly gripped me. I never realize a world could be so dense and packed with little stories. Every time I have an NPC interact with my players I think back to this game and remember how some NPCs were unreliable or even malicious. Incomplete instructions to find locations and sham rewards were par for the course at times. It made the world truly feel alive. Not always getting what you wanted (or needed) made it feel that much better when you finally did.

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Neverwinter Nights

This game was more or less a toolset, with an example module passed off as a campaign. I won’t lie, the original campaign doesn’t hold up well (it kind of didn’t back then either), but the later expansions really improved on this. What it really gave players was the tools to build their own modules, campaigns, and so much more.

I never finished the campaign as a kid, I was instantly sucked into the sandbox of creating my own adventures. Neverwinter also had a mind blowing feature (for me) at the time, Persistant Worlds. These PW’s were usually online 24/7 and often had fully fleshed out custom content including settings, either homebrew or recreations of past settings. In MMO style, large amounts of people could play persistently on these servers and very quickly many amazing roleplaying community popped up. Neverwinter also had a robust DM feature, where a player could spawn in objects, NPC’s, monsters, etc - then basically control any of those things to push dialog or actions forward. To this day, it’s the only game that gave me the same feelings I’ve had while sitting an actual table playing D&D with real people.

There’s still a huge community for Neverwinter, including custom single player / co-op modules you can play, and some of those Persistent World’s are still up! The game even received a remaster, available through GOG or Steam. If you can put the clunky combat aside, it can be an amazing experience.

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Thanks @Bluiss for the contribution to The OSR Pit’s Appendix N. I’ve updated the OP.

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This blogpost on Held Kinetic Energy. This right here changed how I run fights. It’s short, sweet, and works great. Boss-fights, set-pieces, random encounters, whatever you’ve got it’s always worthwhile thinking about terrain and moving parts, otherwise you end up standing in a line and just whacking at each other.

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Thanks for contributing to the OSR Pit Appendix N! I’ve added this blog post by @pjamesstuart to the list :slight_smile:

The Souls games. For me, that’s Bloodborne, specifically. I love how the game forces you to take it slow and observe the environment to stay alive. The challenge of gameplay actually increases immersion, doesn’t subtract from it. There’s so much to these games, the way lore is drip-fed, the looping structure, how death is integral to the game, the brilliant writing.

I’ve included your submission to the Appendix N. Bloodborne is an incredible game and my favorite of the series as well. The worldbuilding is fantastic.

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Added @KnightOwl’s contributions to the Appendix N

I like Cyrano de Bergerac’s take on interplanetary travel in Voyages to the moon and sun. Collecting dew in bottles to leave Earth, the empires of the Moon and Sun – all that!

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The CRPG Project book was helpful to me! The essays on the differences of simple computer dungeon-crawls taught me more than I believed was possible about how to invent adventure from the bottom up.

@marat I added your contribution to the OSR Pit Appendix N.

Also, welcome to the community!

@Spitsdale thank you for your contribution as well, I’ve added it to the OP

I started writing adventures loosely based off movies. First was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the second was Jack Frost (the horror one).

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Sounds awesome, do you have some examples of the work you produced or can you elaborate on how the movies influenced your games? Once provided I’ll add them to the Appendix N!

Mike Mignola’s Hellboy (the comics) and its spin-offs. It’s the perfect combination of folklore, horror and action. Dark cults, strange entities, great monsters. It oozes with flavor, pretty much every arc could be adapted as a tabletop RPG adventure.

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Thanks for you contribution danzag! I’ve included it in the OP

One movie, A Field in Englad, by Ben Wheatley.

Set during the English Civil Wat (mid 17th Century), and filmed in black and white, it portraits a group of player characters (well, they certainly look like player characters), Whitehead (magic-user), Cutler (fighter), Jacob (fighter) and Friend (thief or fighter), as they travel through the English countryside, and out of curiosity they release a sorcerer, Whitehead’s rival, called O’Neill, who takes control of the group for his own purposes.

The hapless party must find a way to collaborate to break free from O’Neill’s spell.

It’s a film that inspires me a lot as a player (although for OSR games I am always a referee, none of my friends wants to be one), but also as a referee, as it inspires me to use interpersonal conflicts as a source of adventure and problems to solve, without having to turn only to the monster of the week.

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Thanks for the excellent contribution VBD. I’ve updated the OP

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Here we go, got a couple of things that I can add to the list.

C.S. Friedman - Black Sun Rising (Coldfire Trilogy #1) - suggest 1-3 This series gives a living world feel to magic and has a pseudo science fantasy vibe towards the end - link
Jesse Bullington - The Enterprise of Death - alternative history, what if witchcraft was real and the inquisition finds an actual necromancer - NSFW -link
**Brent Weeks - The Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1) ** - assassins and urban based adventures, starting in a small world and building outwards. Recommend all books in the series - link
Gail Z Martin - The Summoner (Chronicles of the Necromancer #1) - alternative take on the necromancer (white/gray), what I read as an unwanted power, and what happens when the world loses a key power. Recommend all 4 books in the series - link

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Thanks for your contribution Lahzael, the OP is updated