Wednesday, January 22, 2020

4 Amazingly Useful Websites for Old-School Games

               I am old school in the sense that I do not like electronics at my gaming table. I prefer that my players not bring computers and keep the cell phone activity to a minimum. I do not use a computer when acting as a Dungeon Master for my Old-School Essentials game, but that does not prevent me from using the occasional website when needed. I have a selection of websites that I keep bookmarked because they have an extreme amount of utility for me. They generally save me boatloads of time and effort and I wanted to share them with my audience in hopes of getting more people to use them. Each has a different focus, but all are the same in that they provide valuable content to speed up my play or prep. In no particular order we will begin.

                This website is the home of the One Page Dungeon contest. If you are not familiar with the contest each year applicants compete in creating various dungeons that completely fit onto one page. You would be surprised at how much information, including a map, can be crammed into a single page. I find this website very useful in having to either run something on the fly, or if my characters go off in an unexpected direction. I can take one of these pre-made dungeons and stick it wherever is needed. There are dungeons in these collections that span to gamut of the types of dungeons out there. Some are extremely traditional and others are extremely experimental, with many falling in the middle. The dungeons are also not limited to fantasy, as you will find the occasional modern or sci-fi elements thrown in as well. The contest has been going on for years, so there are plenty of entries to go through and find something that you want. I advise to find one that suits your game, print it, and stick it in a folder for that time that you need it.

                This website is designed purely to create hirelings for your adventurers. You can determine whether you are in a town or city, and whether you want to hire a town crier or not, then just hit generate and see who is available. You get a small summary of each character with all the basic information needed for the hireling, including any weird equipment or quirks. You could possibly hire Men-At-Arms, Non-Combatants, Demi-Humans, or even 1st level Henchmen. It gives some guidelines as to possible pay for the hirelings and even a small background. What more could you want? I use this almost every time I am at the table and cannot recommend the site more. So hire on some camp followers, it will be the best 10 GP you can spend.

                This is more of a collection of pages, but the one I use the most is the treasure generator. This has both Labyrinth Lord and BX Treasure Tables that can be selected and rolled upon. This is great for people using OSE/BX and running Barrowmaze, because many of the monsters are in the OSE/BX books, but some are exclusive to Barrowmaze which uses LL. This speeds up the treasure phase by leaps and bounds. Also, just the fact that it totals the amounts for you can save a load of time. The second part of these sites I use the most is the random scroll generator. Just plug in what type of scroll you are looking for and hit go. If you are playing a strict OSE/BX game, some of the spells will not be appropriate, but it only takes a single click to generate a new list. You should be able to quickly get something that works for your game. Plenty of other generators on the site, I suggest you take a look and click around a bit.

                Last, but not least, is the Total Party Kill character generator. This generator is great to make some quick NPC/PCs if needed. I have used these characters at conventions and one-shots more than I can count. You have the options for 0E, Holmes, B/X, and Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Select which one you want, click refresh to get something new. Be careful though, once you hit refresh, your previous entry is gone. I usually generate the characters, use the snipping tool in Windows to grab them, paste into Word, and print. You can even get a plain text version if that is more appealing to you. You might be able to piecemeal copy and paste into another format. If you are headed to a convention, or have an unexpected guest show up and wanting to play, this site gives you everything you might need to get playing fast.

                There are even more of these that I have, but this seemed like a good place to stop. If you have any great site, drop them in the comments below. I also did an article on 4 Great Out of Print Books for Old-School Gaming, if you did not see it try here.

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  1. These are great. I'll add them to the bookmark folder that is currently home to my favorite online RPG tool site,

  2. My recommendation: The campaign-management wiki site called Obsidian Portal. It's the single best GMing tool I've found in my 38+ years of gaming. Seriously.

  3. I love Obsidian Portal, I have a few great games on there.

  4. Medieval fantasy city generator isnfun for if you're lazy like me and don't like mapping city after city.