Halls of the Dwarven Kings (1984)

Catacomb librarian delivers a great gift today for all you out there, fans of forgotten lore for AD&D 1st edition.


"great set-up; lots of atmospheric small corridors; claustrophobic. Halls of the Dwarven Kings is an adventure I owned back in the 80s and repurchased from Noble Knight recently. I was quite pleased that the work lived up to my recollection. This is a well rounded adventure with a scenario booklet, an NPC booklet, an illustration booklet, tiles that can be used to construct the entire layout, including many unique tiles for special rooms, and various "artifacts," special notes, handwritten maps and other graphics players may come across".

You can buy it at NK website (here) for 125 $



The Obscurantist age of fantasy role-playing games

It is known that i decided some time ago not to list any blog in my blogroll, and many persons and bloggers out there took this decision as meaning that i was a somehow arrogant guy or something like that, someone who wanted to live in his "ebony tower", feeling superior if compared to others.

This post marked this transition.

I was even "accused" of "hipstery" on G+ (see here). I honestly didn't know the meaning of this word in english before it being addressed at me, i had to find out in the "urban dictionary" on the web.

Now, let us think.

Look here.

Thoul on his blog unveiled (for the first time, as far as i know) in great detail a huge amount of information about an old-school fantasy rpg, called High fantasy. I have it, i know what it is like. Anyway, i  currently am aware of no other more reliable source than his blog for anyone wishing to collect info on this game of the past.He collected no more than five comments for each post that he wrote about this game (and as you can see he devoted himself to this task, and he wrote many)

Then look here.

Faoladh wrote a lot about another old-school fantasy role-playing game called "Lands of adventure" (an awesome game, published by Fantasy games unlimited , the same company who bestowed C&S as a gift to this world). He did not collect any comment for this post,except for the exchange of words i had with him, and my congrats. look at the bottom of that post to find out.

I turned to Grognardia (1420 followers, arguably the most respected and read among the osr blogs)-and took a look at the retrospectives to see if things were better.

In order:

Powers & Perils (here): a total of 26 comments

Adventures in fantasy (here): a total of 22 comments (AIF was co-written by a titan of the rpg industry, a man named Dave Arneson)

The Fantasy trip (here): a total of 25 comments

Stormbringer (here): a total of 21 comments

Dragonquest (here) : a total 25 comments

Swordbearer (here): a total of 16 comments

The average number of comments for all these posts and retrospectives is around twenty. It is quite a low response and number.

This is not a post against Dungeons & Dragons, similar to the ones i wrote some time ago and that you can easily find on my blog. I'm not interested anymore in attacking that game, those who follow my blog already know my position.

If the history of a discipline, or of a field of study (let us consider and regard the multitude of fantasy role-playing games that appeared since 1975 as a field of study, for a while)- if this history and development does not arouse much or enough interest among those who play old fantasy rpg's, we can only accept that. And i am not intentioned to do anything in order to change or attack this state of things.

That would be futile, pointless.
But at least we should recognize this state of affairs.
And i think it is not enough to say that the reason is just and simply that AD&D has always been and always will be the 800-lb gorilla of our hobby (as Grognardia pointed out some time ago). The reason lies in ourselves as well, in our approach to all this.

Try to think for a moment about a person engrossed in the reading of the official manuals of 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons who refuses to read any issues of Dragon magazine, stating that the articles contained therein just aren't enticing to him. So, staying, so to say, "on the surface", i certainly can play AD&D just like this.

But each one is different, and there is another guy who is eager to devour any Dragon magazine issue, perusing them, pondering them page by page, certain to find hidden treasure and wisdom in those articles. So he begin reading "The Sage advice" column, finding answers and so forth, and all the articles which goes deeper in the treatment of the rules.

The case for the lack of interest in the other fantasy role-playing games is somewhat similar.

But as i said, i accept that, i take it for granted.

To sum it up: i am not interested in stressing the possible causes of this lack of interest (the 800-lb gorilla, and such).

I am not even interested to fathom the consequences of this attitude, nor to pontificate if this attitude causes a sort of "mental paralysis", or something similar.

The only thing i want to say to my readers and to my future readers is that i am not part of this attitude because i am not for it, i do not endorse it and never will; my interest does not lie in understanding its causes, i am just interested in what this attitude stands for me.

I think such an atitude could produce spiritual harm, and i know for certain that it would make spiritual harm to me, that is- in other words, it is false that such a way of seeing the world is harmless, for a person who is in love with this "hobby".

So, at least it would make harm to me, a spiritual harm. That is why i decided to stay aloof.

I despise it all only from this point of view. You may be certain that this place will become more and more the refuge for those who are sick of Dungeons & Dragons and are searching new, shining shores.

You will be able to come here and breathe a different air, and behold another horizon.

But AD&D has really always held the sceptre, without any doubt, blazing like a sun in the sky?

Whenever i turn to forums such as the Chivalry & Sorcery community, or the Powers & Perils website and others, and i read how they heartily describe what they have always loved, the words they use to convey their feelings, i find myself so hesitant to declare it did.

This is the obscurantism to me; the passing thought that- instead of a shiny, blazing sun, something sheds darkness all around it, and layers of darkness. Hence my nightly nightmare where i see a black sun.

But forget, it is just a cry of an hermit in the desert.


A Lovecraft rarity

Ok, some time ago i already wrote about this on my blog, and someone insistently asked me to re-post it again.

It is a rare VHS dating back to 1990, titled "Favourite haunts". If you are into Lovecraft stuff, you should totally check this out.




OSR 2.0 is here. A sevenfold proof.

What is 0SR 2.0, exactly?

I would like to call it "the re-surfacing and re-publishing of old and lesser known (and lesser played) fantasy role-playing games after the first wave of OSR has come to a point of saturation".

1- HEROES by Dave Millward (here)

2- BEASTS, MEN & GODS(here)



5- HEROES AND OTHER WORLDS (here) (clone of "The Fantasy Trip")

Other Worlds await!

6- PERILS ETERNAL (a Powers & Perils simulacra currently under construction- cover in development)

7- (tentative release, base on statements made by its original author, namely John Corradin) A republishing of "MELANDA" (read at the bottom of this post if you still are unaware of that)


The poverty of D&D spellcasting philosophy

I have always declared that AD&D spellcasting system is childish.

Let us compare.


Magic-users draw upon arcane powers in order to exercise their
profession. While they have mighty spells of offensive, defensive, and
informational nature, magic-usersare very weak in combat. They have but
four-sided dice (d4) to determine how many hit points of damage they can
withstand, and magic-users have the least favorable table and progression
as regards missile and melee combat. Furthermore, they can wear no
armor and have few weapons they can use, for martial training is so
foreign to magic-use as to make the two almost mutually exclusive. Magic-
users can be of any alignment (explained hereafter).


[...]Yet mighty as it· was, Magic was never easy to learn nor to .perform.
Magicians had to go through years of study and austerity to scale the
heights of their art. To such scholarly mages, it was the mastery of
Magic that was their chief ambition. They went forth to adventure
not for excitement nor for riches, but to gain the wealth and rare
materials they needed for the further advancement of their studies

[...]And don't forget that casting a spell is not a simple, fool-proof pro-
cedure. The mage must do more than wave his hands, utter mystic
words, and expend fatigue points; He must have mastered the spell
(or be able to remember a partially mastered spell); he often has to
target his spell against the area or beings it is to affect (and be pre-
pared to have it go off elsewhere or even backfire against himself if
he fails to target successfully). Also spells of Illusion and Command
can be saved against by those of Intelligence and Wisdom-at the
cost of fatigue point loss.


 If Magick is a form of knowledge, then the Magician should be seen as a seeker after knowledge. He is not a mere weapons technologist, as presented in some FRP games. He will not serve gold or power hungry individuals. Nor will he act as a heavily armed magical escort for glory-seeking adventurers simply because they need a compact magical S.W.A.T. team to take care of really dangerous foes. He has little interest in gaining possession of the magical devices of other Mages, because he can produce his own. His sole passion is to learn all of the secrets of the Arcane Arts -- the very secrets of the universe as he sees it. He is curious. He has to know the Truth! That Truth will most certainly give him great Powers, but it is in the knowing, not the exercise of Power, that the Magician finds his fulfillment ...

This does not rule out the excitement of an adventure. Only the Magician has some deep motive for going. He stands to learn something new or is attempting to forestall some terrible disaster. He doesn't go for ordinary reasons; for he is not an ordinary man.


Vikings and Valkyrs returns!

After "Heroes" (link), "Wizards' world" (link), and others, now the time has come for a new release of "Vikings and Valkyrs", the obscure fantasy/historical rpg self-published in 1985.

see this link for info.

The Rpg Encyclopedia says:

Vikings & Valkyrs
1st ed by Laurence Gillespie (1985) self-published
A game based on the Icelandic Eddas, which uses a class-based system with six stats rolled on 3d6, similar to AD&D. However, there is an original skill system and magic system. According to the back cover, the designer had done "eight years of graduate level research of Old Icelandic sources". Volume I was "Character Classes, Skills, Magic"; Volume II was "Combat, Runes, Songs of Power". An advertisement suggested that a third volume was coming soon, to be called "Monsters and Treasures of Middle Earth" -- but it is not clear whether this was ever published. 
If you  make a google search using the game title, you will see the new website (still under construction), presumably built by the author himself, which states: "The cult roleplaying hit of the 70's, reborn".

Ok guys, this is really OSR to me, namely, old-school renaissance, this is what i am tempted to call "OSR 2.0", that is, the re-publishing of the others old-school fantasy rpg's after the first wave has come to an end (Osric, Swords & Wizardry, and the like). 
Now the time has come for OSR 2.0, but, alas! not many authors are still alive nowadays. I mean, "Heroes" has been republished by its author (Dave Millward), the same for Vikings & Valkyrs (Laurence Gillespie, i contacted him some months ago so i'm pretty sure it's him who brought about that website), and if i recall correctly even "Beasts men & gods" (Bill Underwood) was republished some time ago by its original author after someone made an online petition on the web.
Finally, if you remember i was contacted by John Corradin some time ago, he said to me he was planning to a possible re-release of Melanda but then i didn't hear from him anymore.

"Wizards's world" was republished by Goblinoid games (i'm unaware if the original author is still alive), but nonetheless something huge has already happened in my humble opinion if you take into account all of these games that i cursorily cited above.

OSR 2.0 or not, i foresee a future going towards this direction. Made by fans through scanning of the old products or by the original authors themselves, i cannot say. But Excavations into AD&D are more or less come to an end (we should dig up the old and untraceable fanzines from the seventies, maybe, and peruse them), so it is normal that the remaining fantasy rpg's now are approaching on the horizon. With the aid of technology all this can happen.

Melanda, a couple of scans

My cyber-friend over at UNDERWORLD KINGDOM seems quite interested in knowing more about "Melanda", released in 1980 (see the RPG ENCYCLOPEDIA here) and about which i wrote other posts in the past (just make a search on the left top of the blog to find out). He contacted me and asked to give insights around this game.

Now, it seems i managed at last to fix my scanner (i am under Ubuntu now and i am still practicing), so this evening i scanned the first four pages (not counting the cover).

Keep in mind that i own a 2nd edition of this game, though i crave for a 1st ed...

More will follow. www.ImageBanana.com - Image0002.jpeg www.ImageBanana.com - Image0003.jpeg www.ImageBanana.com - Image0004.jpeg www.ImageBanana.com - Image0005.jpeg

The five old-school obscure fantasy rpg's that are still missing in my catacomb.

 Yes, i know, i should not talk anymore, in fact i am not entitled to speak and utter my opinion anymore, nay- maybe i should even refrain from posting again in forums and so on.

I am not here to talk about Dungeons & Dragons, and you know it all too well, i'm here to shed light on those works which are unknown to the masses.
But today i realized that there still are FIVE old-school role-playing games i know nothing about, it stems from here my dissatisfaction with myself. I leave to others the proud and joy of knowing each and every page of the AD&D Dungeon master's guide.

I'm not interested in this common knowledge. It fails to deepen my soul.

So, without further ado, here they are, in no particular order.

Keep in mind that i am about to put my hands on several of these, it is just a question of time (and money).


PHANTASY CONCLAVE (Soooo elusive) (link)

NIMOLEE (link)

FANTASY WARGAME RULES (this gives me troubles sleeping at night..) (link)

RWTG (I purposedly omitted the full name of this, for fear of someone grabbing it before me. There are just 2 copies around as far as i know, i will talk about this soon). (link omitted, i apologize)

When these five old fantasy rpg's are in my hands, i will be able to say i have everything and my collection is complete (but maybe at that point i should add "Spawn of Fashan", seriously).

And when my collection is complete (after years of struggling), i will feel competent and enlightened.

Not only i need to know Rolemaster, Chivalry & Sorcery, Powers & Perils and so on, i felt the urge to grab and comprehend these as well.

And who knows, at that point it would be beautiful to analyze and ponder each of these gems separately, one at a time, slowly. 


Rare stuff for AD&D, part IV

Another gift today that i took down fom the dusty shelves here in my catacomb.

Here you can find plenty of old and quite good adventures written for AD&D 1st edition.

In order to grab it, you just need to google this: "tortured souls  7chan catacomb librarian", and be a little smart in following the first couple of links.


40pp UK A4-size book with glossy card cover + A2 Colour Mapsheet.

Published in 1984 by Beast Enterprises Ltd., Oxford, England.

A magazine showcasing 'selected scenarios for role-playing games', these magazines are heavily focused on AD&D with a cursory nod towards Runequest.

The Thing in the Attic - AD&D/Basic Beginner's Scenario

The Trollball Trophy - Runequest Wilderness Scenario

The Zhalindor Campaign - Introductory Suppliment

Galizhard - Zhalindor Campaign Module

Brohar's Bane Part II - AD&D Wilderness Solo Adventure


How could i miss this marvellous fanzine?


Altar, the turkish Conan

So, it has been a long time since i posted something about a fantasy b-movie, (here the first post), a since this blog deals with obscurities of any kind (be it a fantasy rpg or a fantasy unusual flick), i decided to start talking again about these odd rarities which not everyone might be aware of.

Ever heard about "Altar" movie? Well, it is the turkish version of "Conan the barbarian" character, and thank heaven someone uploaded it in its enirety on youtube.

 Unfortunately, english subtitles don't exist anywhere, as far as i know, but i think one can enjoy this movie even without them.

And if you dare, you could go on watching not only "Altar", but the turkish version of "The Exorcist", called "Seytan".

Love these both.

Rare stuff for AD&D, part III - Tortured souls I

This issue of Tortured Souls! contains the following scenarios:

The Chevalier's Shrine: Something is amiss at the memorial shrine, and the party are hired to investigate further - will they discover the sinister secret in time? Contains alternative versions for beginnins or experienced players.

Tomb of Qadir: Explore beneath the goblin lair in a search for the hidden tomb! The first of the scenarios in the Zhalindor Campaign: these pull out modules are independently playable or can be used as a challenging series for the experienced player.

The Rising Tower: The second scenario from the Zhalindor Campaign. A stronghold of fire giants pose initial problems for a higher level party, but the survivors must face a greater peril!

The Crystal Keys: A complete ready-to-play solo adventure. The penniless party must scour a forbidding wilderness to locate the dungeon containing Zamhardrar's legendary hoard with its fearsome guardians!

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