Friday, March 5, 2010

Issue 13 of OD&Dities

After some debate on what to buy next I decided on the one I was sure I wanted to take a look at, Issue 13 of OD&Dities. I'm sure you've all seen it hanging out at the #1 spot on RPGNow for the past couple of weeks. In the editorial R.E.B. Tongue plans to release OD&Dities monthly. Being an Old School oriented magazine he has decided to use Labyrinth Lord as the default system.

A few notes on the magazine itself. Issue 13 comes in at 24 pages with a price tag of two silver pieces or two bucks for the uninitiated. But wait! It's DM week and it's 25% off. So this happy read always glad to indulge in a sale got it for only 15 copper pieces or a buck fifty for the uninitiated. I don't even know what that means so I'll stop. The art is from one of my favorite sources The Forge Studios. The art is minimal, but meshed in well with the text. The layout is simple and clean. Easy to read without any clutter. And since there are no big black spaces it is printer friendly.

Okay, now let's get to the articles. And I have to say the name of the first article is really what got me interested in seeing what was in there pages. Building the Keep on the Borderlands is an advice article on how a GM can handle players building a stronghold, what obstacles they might run into and should run into. There is a lot of solid advice here that can help build a storyline/plotline around the building of that fortress, tower, keep, or castle. This is a no crunch zone. You'll find no stats here just advice to consider. I liked it and will be placing it in my GM notes for later use.

The next article is a follow up to the first, Designing the Keep on the Borderlands. An interesting read, but I didn't feel it was as strong as the initial article. There were some interesting thoughts I would have liked to see more details developed. Again, no crunch here. This is another advice article to assist a GM who has players wishing to build their own dream home.

Touch of Class: The Illusionist. This is a rehashing of the illusionist class for Labyrinth Lord. I have to start off with my own bias is I've always found illusionist boring. With that said this article didn't change my view on them. I think if you write an article about a class the reader should come away thinking, wow this is cool I want to play this. It is however a great template for an OD&D campaign for those who enjoy the class more than I do.

Man's Best Friend is my favorite piece in the magazine and one I will definitely be scarfing for my GM Notebook. Lots of good crunch on different types of dogs, training times and costs and by the gods there is a good equipment list so you can pimp out your dog. I think dogs get overlooked a lot in campaigns when I think they would be utilized much more. If a party has a couple of war/guard dogs with them as the travel through the wilderness no one needs to stand guard those little pups a detectors of damn near anything. This article is worth the price of admission alone.

Surviving the DM's Wrath: Party Formation I thought was the weakest entry. Basic advice that anyone who has been playing for more than a couple of month would know already. It discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the classes and which classes are better for small party. Everything in the article is on the mark, but it's just been said many times before. I guess I would have liked to have seen a different approach to the article. Such as example parties that are missing a class and what monsters or situations they would be weak against.

And the next article is for all you magic item junkies out there, Magical Miscellany: The Rings of Altar Perraine. There is a short backstory in the beginning about Altar which was good, but I would have liked to have read about how he got the rings or made them included. There are three rings and all of them have interesting effects. They are no simple ring of this or that they are rings that do stuff. I won't go into detail you'll have to buy the magazine to find out what they do, but I like them.

And the final entry is Mr. B's Last Word. A bit of a rant about how it sucks to be 1st level. Again I was hoping for something a little different. I was hoping for a fire rising rant against the Xvart or Xorn or any monsters that begin with X. But in the end it tried to make me feel special and I don't like that. I don't want to be special I just want my pizza delivered on time and my pops cold. I think this could be a fun article in the future as long as it stays away from being didactic.

Finally estimation is it had highs and lows for me, but over all I thought Issue 13 of OD&Dities was excellent. The stuff I mentioned that wasn't for me you might find rocks your world. For the price tag of two dollars (or if you by it this weekend you can get it for $1.50) I think it's a no brainer. Zombies will buy it. Go to RPGNow and get a copy.