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Gary's Appendix: Issue 4


Written for Old School Essentials, Gary’s Appendix is a collective effort by a creative menagerie to create a memorable zine for fantasy gamers. This is a series of zines that explore the curious and fascinating parts of our beloved hobby in a way that is thought-provoking and useful.

 The inspiration for this zine is the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide. Gary wrote and collected a vast amount of information, rules, and guidance. Its haphazard nature and perplexing subjects makes it as fresh today as when he penned the work almost fifty years ago.

Here's a preview of the content packed into the upcoming issue:

1) Creating Sword-and–Sorcery Adventures, by Travis Miller
Your scheduled game session is canceled. But two members of the group still want to play. So do you, but running the normal session will not work. You want to run something but have little time to prepare, and don’t have time to read through a published adventure. You could pull out a one-page dungeon or make one with a random generator, but you want to try something different. A fun option is a short session using a classic sword-and-sorcery, short-story framework.

2) The Forge of the Weaponmaster, by David Semark 
Weaponmaster Akanthu’s travels are over, and he has settled within the palace of the Sultan to stoke his forge and create weapons. For what Weaponmaster Akanthu doesn’t know about weapons of war is not worth knowing. He is a man now at peace with the world, and with himself, as he accepts the passage of time and the arrival of the twilight of life. He welcomes students with promise, and former enemies with honor, to sit at his feet and learn, so the ancient arts, the beauty in archaic and arcane weapons of war, will not die with him. Here are some of his favorites.

3) Welcome to the Pleasuredome, by David Semark 
The Pleasuredome is the one place in the realm where any person can find any entertainment and enjoy it at the Sultan’s expense. The place isn’t really a dome—it’s a city of domes, towers, amphitheaters, gambling halls, recreation complexes, stadia and open fields where every entertainment imaginable is available. But a word of caution—the tastes of some people, from some times in history, can be pretty grim. You have been warned.

4) Encountering Weather, by Zac Goins
In the Referee’s Tome (OSE) and the Dungeon Masters Guide (AD&D 1e), there are virtually no mentions of weather. The only exceptions are details about waterborne adventures and how wind can affect the length of your voyage. And while I don’t think storms, blizzards, flooding, and other natural phenomena should be the backbone of your adventuring career, I do believe they put the so-called meat on the bone. 

5) Adding Ingredients to Your Game, by Oliver Brakenbury
This article presents easy elements to add to your campaign to give it a sword–and–sorcery feel. It provides various mechanics that work with any game system. These will add swagger to sword–wielding fighters and unpredictability to magic. We don’t stop there; we provide a system that gives characters access to supernatural patrons.

6) That Distinct Flavor, by Oliver Brakenbury
You’ll find several definitions online and in print for Sword & Sorcery. A favorite is an excellent book on the history of the genre, Flame & Crimson: A History of Sword & Sorcery, by Brian Murphy. Murphy lists seven commonly encountered elements of the genre then, without giving a specific threshold, basically says that if there’s enough of these present for it to feel like Sword & Sorcery to you, then it’s Sword & Sorcery. Here are those common elements.

7) D&D and the Sword–and–Sorcery Genre, by Oliver Brakenbury
S&S and Dungeons & Dragons have had a round-about influence on each other, starting with the very creation of D&D. Though that happened in 1974, it wasn’t until 1979 that the Appendix N Reading List would be published in the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide. Many similar lists have been published in the backs of later editions of D&D, as well as other TTRPG rulebooks, but only the Appendix N Reading List is Gary Gygax’s personal list of reading which influenced him during his co-creation, with Dave Arneson, of the world’s first TTRPG.

The Bestiary, by Jeff Jones
Each issue, Jeff works his way through another section of the OSE bestiary and expands the information and GM toolkit for each entry. For this issue, he covers the following creatures:
*  Cave Locust
*  Chimera
*  Giant Crab
*  Cyclops
*  Dervish
*  Doppelgänger
*  Dragon Turtle
*  Dryad

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File Last Updated:
February 11, 2024
This title was added to our catalog on February 11, 2024.
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