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CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dungeon Tools
by Brian B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/30/2018 09:02:34

I just wanted to say that I was thrilled to find this item. I have almost all of Mr Kelly's Castle Oldskull books and truly treasure them. I was considering creating an XLS just like this to save time. I think being able to generate a few ideas on the fly and then be able to decide which go together best would be a great way to find solid material quickly. So I am very glad that Mr Kelly has taken the time to do this himself. Thank you, Mr Kelly for the Oldskull books. I really do enjoy them and look forward to each one as they are released. You've saved me much time and many headaches!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dungeon Tools
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Creator Reply:
Hi there Brian, good to hear from you and thank you for the review. :) I will be making additional toolkits a bit later this year for the adventure and game world supplements. There will be new books as well. Stay tuned! ~Kent
CASTLE OLDSKULL - City State Encounters
by Don K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/08/2018 20:51:24

While not every table result will fit into the flavor of your game, I have none the less found it to be helpful in developing city/urban encounters. The suggestion to pregenerate a set of encounter tables (rather than use the book on the fly) was excellent. I took one star off of my review as the pdf really should be properly bookmarked.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Book of Dungeon Traps
by Jesper U. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/31/2018 08:56:55

There are a lot of good ideas here. BUT - I think a lot of what you buy is the artwork, and I don't feel that I get that. Every card is imprinted with Castle Oldskull - major arcana. WHY? As a DM, I'd like to think that my players are playing in my campaign, not listening to me reading from the supplement of the week. Please include the artwork without the advertising, so it can be organically incorporated into any fantasy setting.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Book of Dungeon Traps
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
by Jean M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/15/2018 12:47:53

I've been a gamer since the late 1970s, and a "table geek" for most of that time. As a result, I've developed a real appreciation for good, logical, well-written sets of tables for detailing anything and everything in the classic-style dungeons that I love. And if I had to pick my top three books of tables and game enhancements, this would unquestionably be one of them. Like most of the Wonderland Imprints products, even if you don't have a specific use for the exact things it's set up to create, you'll get endless inspiration from reading through them.

And if you read this while it's still on sale, grab it! I paid a lot more than 99 cents for my copy, and I don't regret if for a moment. For that matter, grab everything they sell. You'll thank yourself later. This is just plain good stuff.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Treasure Trove
by Lincoln W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2018 22:32:08

Very Well Done. My greatest weakness is in adding value to a room, with the non magical, and preferably non-precious metals type of goods. When the Player's want to loot the bedroom of the king, for example, I generally have no idea what to do, except to throw in a lot of silk clothes and bedding and such.. but surely there should be a bunch of "valuable" things in various places through-out the room; and that is where I start drawing a blank.. lol.. So this sort of resource is exactly what I need to shore up my game..



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Treasure Trove
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HAWK & MOOR - Book 1 - Deluxe Edition - The Dragon Rises
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/29/2018 09:11:49

A well-researched history of D&D. This book has taken the highlights of numerous podcasts and interviews with key people and condensed them into a solid history of the formation of D&D.

Provides a great complement to other histories that have already been written.

If you liked Of Dice and Men or Playing at the World, you will like this book.

Highly recommended!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HAWK & MOOR - Book 1 - Deluxe Edition - The Dragon Rises
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dungeon Bestiary
by Mason M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/23/2018 10:10:25

This product wasn't quite what I'd anticipated. It doesn't include statistics of any monsters other than hit dice. It is; however, an extensive toolbox for generating encounters and populating dungeons. It provides notes on adapting most monsters to different settings, suggestions for powers of aforementioned monsters, showcases their origins, and offers a wealth of other, legitimately useful, information.

There's a huge trove of monsters here though, but much of the work seems to assume that the abilities of the monsters should come to a GM implicitly. The task of populating a monster's special abilities; while given the aforementioned suggestions, may still be difficult to the GM who doesn't come prepared with sets of abilities to give to their monsters.

There are also methodical design techniques presented, along with system-neutral categories which aid you in finding exactly where the monster may exist in your world, and what its role is compared to its peers. It presents two methods of stocking dungeons and setting up encounters (one quick and one more granular), each of which is quite useful for capturing the mentality of the "old-school" methods of gameplay.

Much of the wording is personal; the author speaks to you throughout in an informal manner. The paragraphs become conversational, and at times they seem somewhat too wordy and dotted with the occassional boast. These boasts; however, really do seem to be quite justified as this book must have been an absolutely herculean labour.

To let the author speak of the pros of the contents himself: "Make no mistake, this resource is huge. It is intended to overwhelm you. The book you are holding now represents the most detailed, thorough and exhaustive review of classic dungeon monsters for your reasonable type of dungeon encounter highlighted in [Fantasy Role-Playing Games] published from 1974 to 1977 [...] The result is a coherent, system-neutral mythological bestiary which features over 450 monsters, 1,000 subspecies and 5,000 random encounters spread over 79 calibrated random tables."

Certainly, this worth the (full) price, but at first blush it seems like a very justified buy at the discount.

There are some major formatting issues, however: all text is single-column for formatting, the headers and footers of each page are quite unpleasant aesthetically (for me), the entire text is single-column with single spacing, a space between each paragraph (paragraphs are justified), a double space after each full-stop and some other quirks that may get on the nerves of those of us who care about those kinds of things. The encounter tables also...aren't tables at all. It's just a paragraph of information with a roll-number preceding.

Seeing this republished with an editor's touch (and correction of the aforementioned issues) would be very nice, and secure a second purchase from me most likely. I'm giving this book a rating of 4 stars, which I believe it fully deserves. To me, this rating represents that; despite possessing problems which I find to be quite major, the result overcomes these by presenting itself in a place of sheer usefulness.

Finally, I would close on a more informal note: a brief read through this has completely convinced me that Kent David Kelly is a scholar of his chosen field and a master in his craft. I've since bought his Game World Generator, but have yet to crack it open, for reviewing this.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dungeon Bestiary
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HAWK & MOOR - Book 1 - Deluxe Edition - The Dragon Rises
by Andrew J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/31/2017 17:06:21

Being born after the founding of D&D, I have never thought of myself as someone who is interested in the story of the game's creation. (I started playing 2nd Edition AD&D in the early 90s.) Having said that, I really enjoyed how the author was able to transport me back to a time that I had never lived through, and make me feel like I was a fly-on-the-wall seeing the story play out before me. Though he probably takes more than a bit of artistic freedom to narrate the details of game nights that happened 40+ years ago, I totally loved how it felt like I was there. He also does an awesome job of describing the personalities of the founders of D&D and then illustrating how their quirks had an effect on defining how the game came to be what was when I started playing.

I'm not a historian on the subject, or even a faux historian, blogger, forum commentator, etc. so I can't comment on how accurate the picture is that the author creates. He does take the time to reference all of his info, though, and comes out and admits it when he is filling in the gaps (with the game-night details, for example). The end result is a well-crafted story that smoothly scuttles its way across the pages from factual bits to descriptive narratives.

The book is also an interesting read from a game designer perspective as it shows how play-testing results in changes to rules and codification of recurring themes. The creators of D&D went from a loose framework of large-scale mass battle rules and filled in just enough details to be able to describe a dungeon-delving adventure through tables, rolls and sloppy penmanship on scratch-paper character records... Literally, from mom and dad's basement to the world's best-selling fantasy RPG.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
HAWK & MOOR - Book 1 - Deluxe Edition - The Dragon Rises
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Adventure Generator
by Heather M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/22/2017 20:07:38

There are LOTS and LOTS of good ideas here. Plenty of tables to come up with an endless supply of adventures, only requiring a little creativity to put together. However, this book is miserable to read. Font, layout, and public domain pictures which don't actually add anything interesting, make this a HUGE CHORE to wade through. Adding printer-friendly (or screen friendly, even) tables at the back would have made such a huge difference. The artwork isn't at all necessary and makes spacing issues even more obvious. Even the worksheets have huge amounts of wasted space.

If the author were to make the format cleaner, I would recommend this in a heartbeat. The information is extremely useful, but right now it's just too hard getting to it.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Book of Dungeon Traps
by RN M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/24/2017 14:16:18

A categorical reference when building a dungeon for your players, full of good ideas for various levels of incapacitation all the way to murder.

In short, I liked it



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Book of Dungeon Traps
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
by Sean M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2017 00:56:22

This book brings every dungeon building technique together to show you how to make a mega dungeon down to room to room detail. You just have to get through all the random tables to get to the real techniques and theory of dungeon building.

I already had random room generators. I already knew how to create themes for my different dungeon zones. But this book showed me how to put it all together.

And it only costs a dollar!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Oldskull Deck of Strangest Things
by Ijustwant T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/03/2017 19:34:58

The varying effects and challenges provided by the deck are pretty neat and honestly do make me want to throw it at my current group - although they are aware of the Deck of Many Things and might be too wary to actually draw anything, but hey, it's still worth a try.

That said, I am a little disappointed that inverted results are always negative, while upright results positive (or at least the best thing possible to get from the card). A real Tarot deck can divine good things even from inverted cards and bad from the upright one - the Devil being a good example of such.

Also, you should open up the Dragon Magazine issue 77, which features a Tarot Deck of Many Things. This deck pretty much defeats the #1 purpose of your supplement, on account of having also the Minor Arcana in it. At the moment I have to say that I still prefer this Deck, although if you do indeed make new supplements for Minor Arcana, I will buy those and might well come to change my mind once I have them all.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Oldskull Deck of Strangest Things
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Creator Reply:
Hi there, thank you for the review. :) There's actually a metagame reason for why the inverted cards have negative effects universally ... in my campaign the players were blaming me whenever a negative card was drawn, and I got accused of poor shuffling, favoritism, etc. whenever another player drew good cards and someone got jealous. (Yes, players can get petty sometimes.) The fix in my campaign was to make it so that every card was good, and every card was bad, with the draw being performed by the player from a blind draw in a pouch. After the draw (with symmetrical card backs) they decided which way to position the card in a tray before it was flipped over. The inverted part came in because originally I was rolling (or a player was rolling) after the card was drawn to see if it was the good effect or the bad one, and then there was yelling again. Players didn't want me to punish them "arbitrarily" with a die roll after they drew a card. So I've made it be that the card drawing player draws a card and determines its position whenever possible, so that they only have themselves to blame, so to speak. I originally had a more Gygaxian version of the deck that was 50% good cards and 50% bad cards, but it always caused the arguments and the current design is a compromise, keeping in mind player reactions to what they regard as unfair or arbitrary treatment. That may seem a little convoluted but since this is a high stakes item, it has lots of built in restrictions and meta-effects based on what has caused trouble in the past. I do have a lot of notes on the Minor Arcana too but it will take some time to refine those into a clean format with additional play balancing. Enjoy! ~Kent
HAWK & MOOR - Book 2 - Deluxe Edition - The Dungeons Deep
by John K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/01/2017 09:09:00

I received the Kindle version (the Trilogy with the first 3 books combined) for my birthday and have read the first two volumes. I got the pdf versions here while they were on sale. This version (the PDF) is better in that it has the illustrations and footnotes at the bottom of each page. The Kindle version has footnotes at the back of all three books with no hyperlinks to/from the footnotes, which makes for difficult navigation. Both versions (Kindle and PDF) could benefit from an active table of contents and hyperlinks to/from footnotes. Overall the author shows excellent research into the history of D&D, with documented citations. There are a few typos throughout but not to the extent that it is unreadable. In fact, while very detailed, it reads quite fluidly. Also I found the author to be quite objective about the various people and events involved.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
HAWK & MOOR - Book 2 - Deluxe Edition - The Dungeons Deep
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HAWK & MOOR - Book 1 - Deluxe Edition - The Dragon Rises
by John K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/01/2017 09:08:06

I received the Kindle version (the Trilogy with the first 3 books combined) for my birthday and have read the first two volumes. I got the pdf versions here while they were on sale. This version (the PDF) is better in that it has the illustrations and footnotes at the bottom of each page. The Kindle version has footnotes at the back of all three books with no hyperlinks to/from the footnotes, which makes for difficult navigation. Both versions (Kindle and PDF) could benefit from an active table of contents and hyperlinks to/from footnotes. Overall the author shows excellent research into the history of D&D, with documented citations. There are a few typos throughout but not to the extent that it is unreadable. In fact, while very detailed, it reads quite fluidly. Also I found the author to be quite objective about the various people and events involved.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
HAWK & MOOR - Book 1 - Deluxe Edition - The Dragon Rises
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
by Emily B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/21/2017 02:55:26

Dungeon design guides are fairly common, but most of them dwell on minutae already covered in Dungeon Master's Guides. This product is especially useful because it ignores most of that stuff in favor of things that haven't been adequately covered. It also presents some easy organization techniques to manage information overload and streamline the dungeon creation process. Some highlights of the product are:

-Advice on making semi-realistic caves, tombs, castles, and manor houses. "Semi-realistic" is explicitly stated as the goal here, as opposed to completely abstract or restrictively realistic designs.

-Random inspiration and idea tables that are both evocative and flexible. Most random tables don't work well for me because they either assume a very specific setting, contain a bunch of really bland concepts, or both. But this book has long tables with lots of genuinely creative ideas.

-A streamlined method for figuring out the dungeon's history and construction. I usually minimize or avoid this issue because most products make dungeon histories sound dreary and irrelevant, but this book's method is faster and more interesting and changed my mind on the subject.

-A streamlined sector-based method for laying out dungeon levels. The writer suggests going back and doing the typical intricate graph paper designs afterwards, and gives a little advice on that, but the book doesn't really dwell on that and works well for those of us who prefer simpler flowchart dungeons.

-Overall, almost everything in the book seems designed to make dungeon creation more efficient and less intimidating, rather than simply introducing more complications than I'd have if I did it by hand.

The art is mostly classic public domain stuff, but it looks pretty good in this context. The layout is decent enough and works especially well on a tablet, since it's single-column and uses a large font. The only downside is that the index is located 11 pages in and takes up several pages, and there's no bookmarks. Furthermore, as of this writing, the PDF is locked down so that new bookmarks can't be added, though that might be changed in a later version.

As an aside, this is an OSR product, but doesn't have two of the more infuriating traits that some OSR products import from the worst products of the old days.

One, it doesn't have a bunch of stupid puns and "hur hur this game is so silly isn't it" stuff a la Mystara or some Greyhawk products; it takes the subject matter reasonably seriously. If you're looking for a more serious OSR product, this is a great one.

Two, it doesn't have big issues with sexism or racism. There's only two problems that I found; one is that it mentions "African" under "primitive themes" on one table, and another is that it occasionally uses "gypsies" as a concept, though it's generally much better than most products on that subject. Fair warning there, but it's pretty solid and comfortable on the subject. It's overall better than the average TSR or Wizards of the Coast product when it comes to the subject.

In conclusion, I've found this product very inspiring and useful, so I'm giving it 5 out of 5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
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Creator Reply:
Hi there Emily, thank you for the kind review! I appreciate it. I'm hoping to work on this book again in the early summer with some more formatting and content improvements, so I will add your notes to my growing list :) ~Kent
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