Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Forgotten Gems

This is gonna be a low-effort post: a discussion on Reddit reminded me of all the forgotten little games of the OSR. They aren't necessary revolutionary, but at the time of their release/annoucnement, they offered something cool and/or fresh, and it's weird that they are so rarely - if ever - mentioned nowadays.
  • Adventure Fantasy Game (a simple but robust d6-based D&D-variant by none other than Paolo Greco; most notable for the 5MORE and EXPERT systems)
  • Avatars & Annihilation (I don't think it's ever got released, but I always thought the bits and pieces found on the author's blog heralded something extraordinary)
  • Cascade Failure and Errant (beautiful full colour D&D variants for sci-fi and fantasy, respectively; you can still find Cascade Failure on DTRPG, although Errant I believe was succeeded by Novarium)
  • Champions of ZED (I believe it was plagued by a late Kickstarter; still, best to read the KS page for a good summary; available on DTRPG)
  • Chanbara (a complete Japanese-themed fantasy B/X variant; I'm especially fond of the social interaction rules; available on DTRPG)
  • Epées & Sorcellerie (a French D&D-variant; first edition available in English for free; it's nothing extraordinary, aside from using d6s only, but it's still good craftsmanship)
  • Faerie Tales & Folklore (a re-imagination of D&D based on myths and Chainmail; a preliminary version is freely available along with lots of notes from the author; the finished product would be Kickstarted and incorporate my extensive editorial notes; alas, I haven't heard from Morgan in a long time)
  • Five Ancient Kingdoms (already reviewed it here)
  • Humanspace Empires (an EPT-based sci-fi game; sadly incomplete; lots of stuff on the author's blog, though)
  • Mazes & Minotaurs (although there's lately been some chatter regarding M&M, it's still relatively rarely discussed, even though it's obviously the best and most hilarious old-school game that isn't a clone of D&D; and it's completely free)
  • Platemail (a re-imagination of D&D based on Chainmail)
  • Renegade and Corruption (probably the most complete S&W-variants; available on DTRPG)
  • The Big Brown Book (another d6-based re-imagination of OD&D)


  1. Awesome, lots of things to look up!

    The link to The Big Brown Book got cut off in the process, though. I think it is this? http://fossilbank.wikidot.com/work:the-big-brown-book

    Also, insert my obligatory "M&M 4 EVER" remark here :) Where have you seen chatter about it?

    1. Yes, that's the one!

      There's a fresh (and pretty desolate) reddit sub for it: https://www.reddit.com/r/MazesandMinotaurs/
      (I could've sworn there was more, but maybe I was only remembering your blog posts.)



  2. So much to love here. I've grown an appreciation of Chainmail-based D&D variants in recent years; Chanbara does the old-school "Oriental Adventures" thing even better than the original for Japanese-flavored fantasy (and for Chinese-flavored wuxia, you can't do better than Dragon Fist/Flying Swordsmen); and of course Mazes and Minotaurs is perennially awesome. It struck just the right tongue-in-cheek love-letter old-school tone even before the OSR was a glimmer in anyone's eye.

  3. Some neat gems in there, as always. Then again there's plenty of forgotten gems in OSR and OSR adjacent spaces.