Monday, 2 December 2013

Traveller, the epi-character and a very long game

First go read this. Epigenetics focuses on the idea of meaningful genetic change being passed down the generations by means other than DNA. Lamarckism is the supposedly discredited thinking that change to an organism in a single lifetime can also be inherited.

The article suggests that life has developed methods to transfer by reproduction not only genetic information, but even the experiences of the parents, a form of actual knowledge.

The significance of this is difficult to downplay, and the ramifications are going to keep people occupied for a long time. This is something traditionally fantastical, hard sci-fi at best. Before I come back to what this could really mean, a quick detour through gaming.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Expected inquisitors (1) - Inquisitor Badnut, Xenocog

A natural element of the 40K setting is the Inquisition, a kind of 41st millennium NKVD, or early KGB. Trouble is, inquisitors aren't always as weird as they could be given their reach and the wide-ranging role they have, and their recent codex isn't what we might have expected of any post-RT approach, or even a sixth edition version of the institution.

So this will be an occasional series just for inspiration, adapting some homebrew ideas for rules-light roleplaying to suit the mainstream wargame, but for no edition in particular.

Inquisitor Badnut, Xenocog
Struck by a shokk attack gun in the depths of Bea IV, Inquisitor Mercutio Rex found himself with all or part of a snotling literally on the brain. Initially believing himself possessed, but failing by apparently freak chance to take his own life, he came to accept his debilitating fate as the will of the Emperor and a gift in the struggle, refusing surgery and turning his training to communion with the creature. The ceaseless scratchings, whispers and roars have lent the inquisitor a knowledge of the Orkoid mind and allowed him in the years since to usurp the overlordship of multiple warbands, gaining great fame as a warboss while turning base greenskin drives to the work of the Emperor as well as Gork and Mork, for he acknowledges their power too, and invokes them. In the meantime reproductive spores have passed into Badnut's bloodstream and proven mutagenic, enhancing his constitution and improving his luck still further. His former colleagues are divided in their counsels. Is not the Ork a mighty ally? Perhaps by this means may the green tide finally be turned..? And all the while the spores which escape in his breath, perspiration and, yes, his foul soils sow the seeds of the Waaagh! in the very highest of imperial inner sancta...

Possible wargame rules, various editions: +1 T, but -2 Cl or -1 Ld; may take up to 75% Ork allies, or Orks as battle brothers, with Badnut and any retinue affected by the Waaagh!

I'll post more as I write them up. In the meantime, take a look at the grimdarkling detail project: Lasgunpacker has a massive 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 800 options to my relatively poor 400.

As for roleplaying 40K rules-light, you could start here, and there's a simple ruleset here.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Up and at 'em = down and out?

Thanks to the film Gravity the Kessler syndrome is getting plenty of discussion at the moment. That's the idea that objects colliding in orbit could trigger a cascade, with the mass of debris produced potentially rendering spaceflight very hazardous, keeping us on the ground, grounded.

It's easy to imagine it used as a weapon, but for sci-fi and fantasy it could make for a strange new world - one not so far from the world we're in now.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Zone-age Rumours (1d30)

If you've read Roadside Picnic or seen Stalker, you know how inspirational they can be.

John at Fate SF is running a creative project, open to all: add a Zone-inspired work to the gaming canon, for any system. Just write it up and post - maybe using the funky image by Hereticwerks up top - and leave the link at John's, to go into the master table.

Here's my starting point, for narrative skirmish and tactical roleplaying especially: a d30 table of rumours from a Zone-struck world, for some context and large-scale campaign seeds. Feed them into a weird, modern or near-future setting or use them for inspiration.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

What scares the snakes and spiders?

Dogs aren't so fond of fireworks - quite a few might panic tonight in the UK. But some of them have been bred and trained to hunt with human masters, and accept their physics.

Beware of scrolling below this point unless you are an adult who is willing to be discomforted, possibly offended, and scared. There will be spoilers for Alien too.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Cthulhu waits dreaming... of Cthulhette?

Go read this. It's light on detail for a science bit, but oddly Cthulhic. There's more on midshipmen here - look at the relationships to our physiology.

A few passages for the essence of the thing:

A mysterious hum has been keeping people in Hampshire awake all night ...
Male Midshipman fish let out a deep, resonating drone which attracts females and acts as a challenge to other males. ... once they get going can keep up the distracting hum all night. 
... the noise created by the Midshipman is of such a low frequency and long wavelength that it can carry through the ground, walls ...
... "I thought I was going mad at first. ..."

The question then: what else might be disturbing our sleep we don't yet know about..?

Monday, 21 October 2013

Review - Stalker

I don't do enough reviews these days so I've decided to post my thoughts on intriguing things as I find or revisit them. Anything relevant to the blog that seems worth looking at.

Here's a classic to start. Incredibly, John Till at Fate SF just posted his own review of it.

Stalker (1979)

A film adaptation of a Russian SF novel, Roadside Picnic; directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.

One man leads two others into a mysterious, militarily quarantined Zone - an overgrown ruined landscape, possibly struck by a meteorite, possibly the site of an extraterrestrial stopover, a form of roadside picnic - hoping to reach a chamber believed to grant wishes.

This is one of the most old school D&D films I've seen, without being related to D&D in any overt way, and it has a rich, dense terrain that might surprise and inspire wargamers too. The central location - the landscape of the Zone - is arguably at the heart of the film.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Wolf tickets and pack tactics, and man's best friend

A fairly well-known blogger who withdrew from the online community after a problematic Kickstarter has started posting again. Not everyone seems to have noticed yet. Those that have noticed seem divided, and some seem to think it inappropriate he's back at all.

I'm not going to defend what happened, partly because I don't know all the details - and who does? - partly because a solution was found to move the project forward regardless.

But precisely because none of us do know all about it, and because rumour can take on a life of its own, and because the herd mentalities are still a factor in human behaviour, even ours, I would say we should slow down. I'd guess most of us agree that legitimate criticism is reasonable, even healthy, but witch hunts aren't. In our hobby, we know that.

It's not just a bit of harmless fun either. Gaming seems to be a big part of the life of this person and has been a source of income in the past, possibly a major source. If we do stigmatise now, we may even prevent him earning a living in the only way he readily can.

Gaming is no totalitarian system. Ever heard of the wolf ticket? We don't have the right to judge who eats. If you're not ready to forgive yet, or just won't give a second chance full stop, don't read his posts or buy any of his products. Just step back: live and let live.

The same with Mike Nystul. He's not a punchbag. Maybe he messed up, but he could well be homeless now. How long should he suffer? And who decides? If we don't know the whole story, we can't be sure it won't one day happen to us, despite best intentions.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Deep thought Friday

Resolving line of sight through areas like forest is a challenge in tabletop gaming. Trees? Or wood?

Heard of mycorrhizas? Turns out most plants are bonded at their root
with a fungus, symbiotically. The fungus sends minerals up from the earth; the leaves send sugars down. Can these be divided?

We thought a tree was a tree - now we know it's more. But we still say 'tree', as if it's one, alone. How much interconnection does language hide..?

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Choose-your-own-annihilation and cheese with peas

Pegboard left an interesting comment at Faeit 212 yesterday. Here's the essential part:

Tzeentch book has a table on every page. You start by rolling a d6 per page number and comparing it to the table. Your army then takes that many hits. Your opponent gets that many models back. If you roll an even number, you go back a page, odd, forward a page, roll more dice and then your opponent gets the special rules haywire and feel no pain.

It's a joke of course, presumably aimed at GW and a certain thinking on randomness and fun, but there's a radically conservative idea in there. Wargaming and roleplaying have long used tables for resolution, but they've fallen out of favour in the mainstream even if a business model based on large books of rules hasn't. Games like DCC still get good mileage, and there are the funky system-neutral tables at the The Dungeon Dozen.

Imagine this: a choose-your-own-adventure-style book of tables for use at the table, for gaming without randomisers like dice, but with more potential effects and less linearity, at least as many outcomes as table entries. Choose your action, check for contexts and apply the results, maybe jump. But not Student's-t-like distributions: there could be nested tables, option trees and 2D or 3D charts, even close-the-eyes-and-point pictures.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Ban tabletop gaming..?

Following that post on banning Warhammer from last week, look what's just turned up at Slashdot.

A request for details of the web filter that may be introduced in the UK reveals it could also block "esoteric material". What does esoteric mean..?

Choose your dictionary. From the entry at Wiktionary:

  1. Intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest, or an enlightened inner circle.
  2. Having to do with concepts that are highly theoretical and without obvious practical application; often with mystical or religious connotations.
  3. Confidential; private.

That's pretty open. Could it cover niche interests - like wargaming and roleplaying - not always shown so positively? Or dungeons, dragons and made-up worlds, god-emperors and grimdark sci-fi? Could it just collect them up accidentally? Or not so accidentally..?

That's even before we get to "violent material".

In fact, it looks like it could be extended to cover any non-mainstream interest. Blocking an interest could mean it vanishes or declines. It could mean whole areas of knowledge being hard to find or access, maybe lost. With a tool like this you could remake a world.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Ban Warhammer?

Back at the wheel here, briefly at least, to share with those who might otherwise miss it the thinking of a blogger at the Telegraph, supposedly a 'quality' daily British newspaper.

It's arguably not much of a paper today, but UK national media may have gone off a cliff, or been pushed, with just one less-flawed gem pushing back to keep us better informed.

Anyway, as far as I can tell, the blog post itself skips a fair few reasons for banning the hobby, if anyone did want to make the case. It seems to be a joke piece. A few tasters:

... The whole experience is pitched at teenage boys, but some of them never quite grow up and you’ll find men with dank pony tails still collecting well into their thirties. Emphasis upon "boys" and "men" - this underworld is no place for a lady.
Although it now makes me sick to my stomach to think about it, I can’t deny there was some joy in my Warhammer problem. Boys get a unique kick out of collecting and owning things that other boys don’t have, in beating them in wits or being able to show off a magnificently painted griffin. But it did function like an addiction. Once you get hooked, you find that the price of the models creeps up and up with every year. New ones are always coming on the market, and every five years or so they change the rules completely - which necessitates buying a whole new bunch of stuff. ...
... Lonely and gripped by self-loathing, I succumbed. A few days later, unshaven and sleepless, I found myself sitting amid a pile of skeleton warriors - looking on at the ruination of my life. A little while later, I threw it all in a dustbin and tried to get my stuff together. I’ve been clean ever since.

More here.

Don't forget that gem, the Grauniad. They may be the last looking out for us globally too.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Crewbrew (2) - tertiary functions & compartment use

Seeing the new troop variant of the Dragonfly from puppetswar, partway between thunderhawk, valkyrie and Squat gyrocopter, I got to thinking more about that underslung compartment and how small a role vehicle interiors still have in play.

So this is the second in the crewbrew run of supplementary homebrew, with suggestions this time for 40K. The first section below is a set of actions not so commonly covered in wargaming, the second an approach to compartments for systems that don't offer one.

Tertiary functions

Once per turn a crew member may perform one of actions 1-7, in addition to any usual role. A passenger may do so instead of moving, shooting or performing another action. A friendly passenger does so automatically, while an unfriendly passenger must attempt to do so, succeeding on a 4+ on 1D6. None of the set may be performed in any other way.

  1. open/close either one adjacent hatch, doorway or ramp, or all simultaneously
  2. turn interior/exterior lighting on/off - if either type of lighting is on, but not both, units firing in and/or out are one degree more accurate; in 40K, under nightfighting, the first band is 24", not 12"
  3. communicate with another compartment over the intercom - if the compartment has at least one exterior portal currently open, this turn the vehicle is able to move up to one unit of measurement further or perform one other task one degree more accurately; in 40K, +1" or +1 to hit
  4. patch into a local, aerial or orbital relay - so as to send a message as described in entry 7.
  5. send a message over standard frequencies - if the compartment has at least one exterior portal currently open, next turn any one friendly unit is subject to the effect described in entry 3.
  6. disable a device enabling any one action 1-5. - the action may no longer be performed
  7. repair a device disabled by action 6. - roll 1D6: on a 6, the action lost is available again

* No hatch, doorway, ramp etc. may be opened and closed in the same turn, even by different individuals.

Compartment use

Each closed, crewed vehicle is assumed to have at least one compartment, but may have many, e.g. for transport. If unclear, before the game the players agree the number, distribution and capacity, as well as access: the hatches, doorways and ramps leading to each. Compartments are assumed to be connected internally by single doors.

Width in human-sized models is for a hatch 1, single door 2, double door 3 and ramp 4.

This is the number who can attack or be attacked through it when open, at range or in close combat. The player controlling the passengers decides who is visible; blast attacks into a compartment affect all within. An attacker may only enter a compartment if number of occupants falls below the width of the portal attacked; for each full turn in which at least one unfriendly passenger is within the vehicle, crew cohesion falls by one.

A crew member cannot perform a usual role if a) engaged in close combat, b) firing a non-fixed ranged weapon or c) outside the proper compartment; distraction then applies.

How would that affect your game? If you're using point values, they might need tweaking.

Linked with all of this, and that Dragonfly too, you might be interested in the release of Khurasan's Polecat and Caiman, two vehicles in both the 15mm range and the 28mm.

Monday, 22 April 2013

The wombull - a possible new character class?

I read this. And with Saturday's round-up still fresh in my mind, it all started to happen.

Picture the scene. Late '80s, the UK, a temple of gaming near a rambling common. A creature looking rather like a Womble elopes with one looking a bit like a Citadel ambull into the folds of what could be a BECMI box. They dig a lair and start a character class.

If I was going to write up that character class - and why would I? - I might do it like this...

Motivation  Likes holes in the ground. Drawn to the intolerable waste in forgotten spaces; prefers not to steal, but will to put a thing to better use.
Requirements  Strength and Wisdom of 13+

Nature  Wisdom is the prime, with dice, saves and levels as per the dwarf.

Equipment  May use any; has jaws and claws (1d4 dam.), and paws only a little clumsier than human hands (-1 with missile weapons and devices).

Abilities  Digs twice as fast as a human. Has infravision, the dwarven feel for structure and a 1-in-6 chance of identifying inconsistencies or later changes in the contents of a space. May combine suitable items into a new form given that form's gp value in minutes; the new form is one degree poorer for its type and has a 1-in-3 chance of failing with each use.

Knowing the creativity of the people round here, someone's already done it, but I think I'd be happy to play any version. Now, where could a party with a wombull go adventuring..?


Saturday, 20 April 2013

40K OSR? (22)

It's been yonks since the last 40K OSR? update.

Not sure what a 40K OSR? is? If you know what a 40K is, and an OSR, you're pretty much there.

If you're part of it, feel free to use Colonel Kane's logo, here to the right, and consider linking to a superb example: their Tales from the Maelstrom.

Since that last update, they've set up and run a multiplayer Rogue Trader game, posted the photos and mused on the nature of old school.

And there's been plenty more going on too, for various systems and scales, and none.

I've probably missed a huge number of posts so feel free to leave links in the comments.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Then they came for the lizards with guns...

Check out this post at Faeit 212 for a look behind a curtain of fear. This time it's Blight Wheel Miniatures daring, it seems, to be inspired by what may be the same old ideas.

Have a read of this bold claim: "There are an infinite number of ways in which an armed mutant komodo dragon could have been depicted". There's one for the metaphysicists...

And get a load of the demands. The question may be: what doesn't GW potentially own?

If this is the best they can do, how will they cope when major opportunities come along?

Update: If that's not enough big boy bodyslamming for one day, there's this thing now too. Following up the thinking at Aldeboran yesterday, resistance ain't futile - it's fertile.

Update: And if this decision and this one reflect a wider trend, the tide may be turning.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Why I appreciate S&W and you might - even for 40K

Today it's Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day.

Lots of readers of the Expanse will know what S&W is - a rules-light tactical roleplaying game, and more especially an Original D&D 'retroclone'.

But quite a lot of people reading have probably never even heard of S&W: this is for you.

I'll look at what I appreciate about it, then what you might, then finally a way of using it to do something it's not explicitly designed to do: run 40K. There's a discount today too.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Universal soldiers and a past and future polycosmos

Thanks to John Till and Chirine ba Kal I recently found Bronze Age Miniatures. They have some real gems in 32mm, but the models that stand out for me are the three here.

They're up as 'space adventurers', but beyond maybe the trousers and a possible pistol on one hand they could be in many times and places. Are they sci-fi, fantasy, modern?

For 40K they could cover hive gangers, mercenaries or renegades, or some unknown faction, and they'd probably fit Infinity too. They could be D&D adventurers old school or new. They'd also work for pseudo-historical gladiators and Earth-bound post-apocalyptic.

Lightly armed? Maybe that facewear could be a kind of mandiblaster or banshee mask.

It makes me wonder...

Why do so few producers make near-universal models? Or, rather, what happened to the wide-open worlds of the past, the '60s, '70s and '80s? Have our minds closed..?

Friday, 12 April 2013

Noircana - a new spell sextet

Time for more noircana. Most of the discussion on this project is going on over at JD's blog, The Disoriented Ranger, and there's a brief intro here.

This time it's a modular set of six new spells for the toolkit we've been developing, for various worlds and various game systems, not least the simple tactical roleplaying ruleset here.

They're for working with magical energy, including creating sources of power and magic items, as well as manipulating magical signatures. This builds on my last contribution and should also tie in with the work JD is doing on wider landscapes and world histories.

In what seems to be the most useful order to introduce them, the six spells are Conjure Reservoir, Channel Power, Beget Source, Bind Spell, Reinscription and Filter Signature.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Creating a new codex for fun, but not profit

Still haven't had your favourite codex updated? Or seen your favourite 40K faction get a codex ever, even after all these years - if not decades? Never been offered a simple method for making a whole new one? After all, the galaxy is a very big place.

Here's an idea to experiment with while you wait.

First, think about the faction's nature, then their motivations, means and methods. Write a bit of background, draw a unit or two, convert some up.

Then for each entry in the list do the following...

Friday, 5 April 2013

Noircana - magical signatures

This is a first contribution to the noircana project I posted about yesterday, a possible campaign toolkit that JD, Garrisonjames and I are talking about below this post at The Disoriented Ranger.

This system covers magical signatures for users of magic and sources of power in a landscape, for a sandboxy, oracular-dicey campaign.

Key elements are size, signature, generation and strength, for casters and sources.

Counts-as master lists?

Quite a few people seem to be moving away from GW's aesthetics and prices, and away from the company in general. Even where players carry on with a GW system, many seem to be looking to alternative model producers. So I'm wondering...

Does anyone know of any master lists being kept that recommend options for counts-as?

I'm thinking of lists at blogs or forums with ideas for any or all of the standard units or a faction as a whole - a place to point people when they ask.

Update: Given the flood of traffic this post is getting and the lack of suggestions so far, I'm taking it there aren't too many lists. Maybe I'll start collecting up links for a series of posts. If you have any recommendations, feel free to leave a reference in the comments.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Noircana - a campaign toolkit?

Imagine a world where magic bleeds out raw, and infuses all within. Where arcane is mundane and lines between living and dead thin. A civilisation of sorcerers all the way up, from the newborn to gods that pass unseen, a landscape gone mad, and now MAD - with Mutual Assured Destruction.

Conventions, contracts and pacts abound, but out where the rules don't apply there's radicalism and exponential growth. Ever more subtle forms of power and means to exercise it. Mysteries in mysteries, but faint trails back to puppeteers for any who dare look, and know how - or can learn.

A world where wealth is redefined and anything really will be possible. If it isn't already...

This is one possible take on a project JD and I have been talking about here at his blog, The Disoriented Ranger. It's essentially a themed toolkit for tactical roleplaying*, but could also go beyond, into other game types too: imagine a wargame where units are unnecessary and battles fought with arcane power only, but orders of magnitude greater.

It started with JD's subsystem for personal magic weapons and my mind still on Read Magic. One of the major ideas we've been discussing is the near-universal magic item, formed naturally, and the concept of a magical signature unique to a particular source, and linked with that the idea of casters having a magical fingerprint and leaving it behind.

Not a noircrawl so much as a noircana to deepen a campaign, building on lesser-used spells like Detect Magic and maybe leading to whole new sets like those in Space-Age Sorcery. It plays to dark classics, but also more recent reference points like The Matrix and the so-called singularity. Hereticwerks and others already work with material like it.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

On those missing xeno/form/s

I'm not talking so much about the Tau delay. If I had to guess, I'd guess that's GW paring down its initial commitment to a release. If sales are falling, they might feel reducing that risk will help.

I'm talking most about the new post at Future War Stories: Where The Frak Are All The Aliens? It goes wider than many in its thinking, and it's still a pertinent question, maybe more so than ever. I recommend reading it. And thinking. Plus if you need the answer to Fermi's Paradox for any spacefaring campaign, just roll 1d10 on William's list.

Also, re the post title, I feel 'xenos' is almost a derogatory term, but 'xenoform' is a little fairer. After all, to talk about other lifeforms is to colour them with our view of what life is.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A defence of Read Magic, and battlefield power gain

This is for D&D, and any game with magic, psionics etc., including wargames like 40K.

A defence of Read Magic

The prompt is the discussion here at Like Being Read To From Dictionaries on the point of the Read Magic spell, and possibly a lack of clarity in the rules. I think Nagora gets it.

What's Read Magic? Put simply, in OD&D etc. just looking at magical script - at the text of a spell on a scroll say - isn't enough for a spellcaster to read it, and, if it's a spell, to learn it: it needs to be deciphered first, i.e. translated from the system and even the scrawl of the writer, a little like understanding a prescription maybe. There's a spell for that - Read Magic - but it means forgoing another potentially more useful spell to learn it.*

Friday, 29 March 2013

Quick ruinedcitycrawls - and Conan on Necromunda?

For a little background for this post, go read this one at The Tears of Isstvan then this one at Hill Cantons. It's aimed at tactical roleplaying, but you can find an introductory ruleset for that here.

It's all about managing the complexity of a ruined cityscape that's occupied and prowled, and the key elements are the map, faction territories, depth, locations and activity.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

200 grimdarkling personal features, minor mutations, gifts, devices, body mods and stylings (arms /1,000)

Yet more entries for the character detail project, which is an open project to produce a large range of options for figures in a grimdarkling world like 40K's. The whole thing was set off a couple of weeks back by Lasgunpacker's random warband creator for Inquisitor.

Since my last batch, Lasgunpacker has posted 200 each for bling and equipment, to make 700. With zhu bajiee's 60 minor mutations and my first batch we have around 950.

This is my next batch of 200 then, this time for the arms, which gets us to around 1,150.

If you don't have a d20 and/or d10, just roll 1d6: on a 1-3, roll for 1-100 as described in the fifth paragraph here; on a 4-6 roll for 101-200 the same way, adding 100 to the result.

To decide which arm it is, assuming two, roll 1d6: on a 1-3 it's the left, on a 4-6 the right.

Beware: there's some weirdness, a fairy tale-bad dream darkness and light body horror.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

A question for (potential) diemakers

If the probability of rolling each of the individual results on a given die is influenced by the weight of material removed from each face to create the specific pips or numbers that face has, why not:

a) cut seven pips in each face to a three-by-three grid then ink only those pips actually needed, or

b) cut the pips or numbers on different faces to different depths, i.e. cut the one six times deeper than the six, to equalise the weight of each face?

Monday, 25 March 2013

Casting on weird frequencies

This caught me napping: out from under the transplanar radar throbs Space-Age Sorcery - a free pdf resource.

It's a collaboration between Hereticwerks and Needles at Swords & Stitchery, with me along for the ride. The pdf has over 100 'spells', weird ones blurring the line people keep seeing between sci-fi and fantasy, with whole sacs of horror thrown in. There's a quick note on the tone here.

You should be able to plug them all fairly easily into your old school tactical roleplaying game, but if you don't have one of those yet, you could use the simple ruleset here.

Go download one, and show your appreciation to Hereticwerks and Needles if you like it.

Update: Just uploaded is Version 1.5, with enough tweaked to make it worth switching.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Petty Gods and trivial concerns

With the fair range of readers this blog seems to enjoy, from various areas of gaming and beyond it, not every reader with a potential interest might know about the status of the Petty Gods project.

Short version: Greg Gorgonmilk is taking over and calling for submissions old and new.

Long version: Petty Gods was a project inspired by Blair here at Planet Algol and set moving by James Maliszewski here at Grognardia. The idea was to source descriptions of obscure gods with game stats suitable for old school fantastical roleplaying. In simple terms, a bit like The Unknown Gods meets Terry Pratchett's Small Gods. There's an example here. Entries were sent and art created, but it seems layout was never finished.

Grognardia is one of the oldest blogs associated with the OSR, a movement of gamers interested in early forms of roleplaying, and especially early Dungeons & Dragons. For a few years the blog was one of the major hubs, a source of information, reflections and arguably revisions on the early years of D&D and tactical roleplaying as a whole. A significant part of the structure of current thinking in the OSR, and therefore quite possibly also the next official edition of D&D, may well lead back to, or through, one or more of James' posts.

James has been quiet for some time, apparently for personal reasons, leading to debate on the exact status of his as yet unrealised Kickstarter megadungeon, Dwimmermount.

It also seems to have contributed to a fin-de-siècle sense the OSR is out of steam, but this analysis seems not to recognise the breadth and depth of the movement. To judge by the response to Greg's first post, compared to James' say, the concern looks off the mark. It's a transfer: not an end, more an End. Petty Gods seems to be a rallying point.

Once again then: Greg Gorgonmilk has stepped up and is now accepting submissions.

If you feel this old school aesthetic and have a petty god worthy of praise, or can draw one, you can play a part. Start a religion, get published and change history in one move.

Update: A stop on gods for now, but various items are still needed - see Greg's sidebar.

Update: Greg has just linked to what he's calling Original Petty Gods, the first edition.