Well, how better to get back in the swing of things than to return to the ways of old on my blog and post about some cool tabletop role-playing game sales? There seems to be quite a few going on around the great wide internet this weekend. I’ve often done these sorts of sale posts and I find they’re rather fun, in a tedious, orderly sort of way.
Generally I tend to focus on old-school games but if I happen to see some other stuff I like along the way, I’ll include those as well. Additionally, the DTRPG and Amazon links are, as always, affiliate links (see the footer of every page on my blog for details). This will also be the first time doing it on a WordPress blog versus the Blogspot I used to write them on; I am still getting used to the “blocks” style of post composition. A final piece of info is that, as usual, there’s generally a deadline for these Black Friday sales so expect them to end by the 29th.
Anyway, let’s see how it goes!
Far from being exhaustive, as they have over 600 items categorized (for better or for worse) as “OSR” with special sale pricing this week. I want room to add links from elsewhere, so I am gonna keep the DTRPG part pretty short and sweet.
Old-School Essentials – Classic Fantasy Rules Tome: ($13.40) It’s B/X D&D, but with modern layout sensibilities and none of WotC’s “brand identity”. If you have a few dollars in your pocket and want to start playing OSR D&D with a pretty document rather than any of the free rulesets that lack the nice pictures, this is a great way to start!
Old-School Essentials – Classic Fantasy Player’s Rules Tome: ($8) It’s the other half of the above. Great-looking, fast to reference B/X D&D with some cleaned-up math. Great use of ~$20 to grab the pair if you can spare it and want a beautiful and useful B/X clone.
Old-School Essentials – Advanced Fantasy Player’s Tome: ($12) If you’re around my age, it’s pretty likely you grew up playing a weird mish-mash hybrid between the B/X or BECMI basic sets and the assorted AD&D hardcovers you could find. Gavin made this into an actual book where the rules and math make a bit more sense and spawn fewer food fights and arguments.
Old-School Essentials – Advanced Fantasy Referee’s Tome: ($12) Here’s the motor to make that work. This is the Dungeon Master’s Guide for OSE Advanced, which merges B/X and AD&D in the way a lot of us played, with faster B/X rules but with the character options and bits and pieces from AD&D.
Old-School Essentials – Advanced Fantasy Reference: ($3.02) Besides the bizarre non-round price, this is a quick-reference guide for playing OSE with the Advanced rules bolt-on features. Timesaver, at least while your table is picking things up; probably skippable otherwise especially for experienced groups.
Old-School Essentials – Advanced Fantasy Druid & Illusionist Spells: ($5.03) If playing your own B/X-D&D-meets-AD&D mashup a la carte, and you want a mathematically-sound spell list for these AD&D specialty classes, here you go! If you have the above Advanced Fantasy Ref Tome and Player Tome, you can skip this – you already have it.
Old-School Essentials – Advanced Fantasy Treasures: ($6) Another of the booklet format option of collecting OSE, where the component chapters are split for faster table reference or for those building their own tinkered-together system perfectly suited to their group. If you don’t know what to buy, you’re probably better off with the above Ref Tome & Player Tome duo, as they contain this.
Old-School Essentials – Advanced Fantasy Monsters: ($6) Again, from the “booklet” format of OSE, for those playing Lego with their old-school gaming rules. If you’re just getting into these games, buy the Ref Tome and Player Tome above; this is contained within!
Old School Essentials – Classic Fantasy Referee’s Screen: ($4.02 for the PDF, or printed DM screen inserts also available!)
Old-School Essentials – Classic Fantasy Rogues Gallery I: ($3.20) Art by the wonderful Sam Mameli and plenty of NPCs to go around any B/X table. Great to drop memorable characters into your game quickly and easily.
Old-School Essentials – Carcass Crawler Issue 1: ($6) Why not add this official OSE zine to the mix? Races, classes, and so on, and so forth.
Old-School Essentials – The Incandescent Grottoes: ($6) An adventure for OSR systems by Nate Treme and Glynn Seal.
Old-School Essentials – Holy Mountain Shaker: ($6) An adventure for OSR systems by Luka Rejec.
Old-School Essentials – Isle of the Plangent Mage: ($6) Another of the four OSE Kickstarter modules, this one by David Hoskins and Glynn Seal.
Old-School Essentials – Winter’s Daughter: ($5.03) One of Necrotic Gnome’s pre-Kickstarter modules. An extremely good introductory module that extends beyond a simple (or simple-ish) first dungeon; includes surrounds and many elements of a game world besides.
Old-School Essentials – The Hole in the Oak: ($5.03) Another of Necrotic Gnome’s award-winning modules. Fabulous work by James V West and Karl Stjernberg, both of whom I have mentioned all over this blog. Terrific creators and a very good module.
Old-School Essentials – The Weird That Befell Drigbolton: ($5.03) A lovely Necrotic Gnome piece from back when OSE was “B/X Essentials”. As with everything on this page, this will work neatly with your choice of old-school D&D clone – this began life as a Labyrinth Lord module, I believe, which is an altogether separate B/X clone!
Wormskin Zine – Issue 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8: ($3.35 each for PDF; POD available too!) Necrotic Gnome’s first in-house setting was the extremely popular Dolmenwood. Inspired by fairytales rather than Tolkein or heavy metal or whatever, it is a more whimsical, reserved, uniquely European setting. These zines are currently the best way to get a grip on the setting.
Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook: (THIRTY-FOUR CENTS!) If you prefer your OSR even older-school, then OD&D clones and their spinoffs may be for you. Still broadly compatible with all the B/X and AD&D modules and accessories out there, but hewing a little closer to the very first 1974 role-playing game Gygax and Arneson wrote up. The big schism from that game to this variant is the unified saving throw system, which is a “love it or hate it” sort of thing. Say what you will, it does speed up a lot of things!
S&W – Monstrosities : ($8.38) You always need monsters. Always. Maybe more than anything else! These are useful no matter your system.
S&W – Grimmsgate: ($1.68) If you’ve ever heard (and enjoy) of the Points Of Light philosophy of setting, where an untamed and dangerous wilderness is barely held at bay by settlements, Grimmsgate should fit right into your world.
White Box Omnibus: ($6.68) If the OD&D-inspired gameplay of S&W is your jam, this is a huge collection of add-ons and adjustments you may get some great use from. Mr. Spahn is prolific and accomplished in this space.
Stories from the Slough: ($4.79; print available too!) From ZineQuest 3. I backed this then and I am happy I did. Tight little book with a rich and dense hexcrawl that I enjoyed. While you’re at it, Slough: Beasts and Beauties and Slough: Survival Guide are expansions with further content.
The Dungeon Alphabet: ($5.35) A classic writer’s block buster, easy-mode stocker for your dungeons and hexes, and generally lovely bit of old-school D&D ephemera.
Dungeon Crawl Classics Rulebook: ($16.74) Depending who you ask, DCC is not truly old-school, but I also recommend those people chill out and enjoy the wonderful art and imagination on display here. It’s technically based on d20 math at its core, but it is doing its damnedest to sprint backwards in a wizard mural van from that starting point. Roll up a dozen ill-fated normal farmers and artisans and pitch them at a funnel dungeon designed to brutally winnow the crowd down to the lone surviving character you’ll play from then on, using all manner of bonkers dice. Not completely sold (somehow)? There’s also the very inexpensive Quickstart Rules. Very sold, but prefer your games a little more Gamma World or Mad Max? Try Mutant Crawl Classics.
Be aware that Itch.io is doing Creator Day all day Friday and therefore creators get 100% of their sale; Itch doesn’t take a cut at all. Great time to get what you’ve been considering!
An Ecological Study of Fortles: ($10) I have abused my power with wanton abandon. This game is neither on sale (it came out, like, yesterday?) nor strictly old-school as it is for Troika. But this is my blog and I think Sam Mameli is a really cool dude who makes good art and now you’ve had to see this. So there. Update 26 Nov 2021 – Sam made a Black Friday sale happen; now it’s $20 to get 5 books from him on Itch.io and this is included; it’s a great value!
Everything Troika Bundle: (28GBP) 1. Speaking of Troika, here’s an official bundle. 2. It’s on sale, technically. 3. I’ll be damned if Daniel is gonna make me copy-paste or otherwise type the libra character for pound sterling.
Liminal Horror: ($5.02) Derived from games derived from the OSR – two jumps away from original B/X or whatever your preferred flavor of TSR D&D. This is a game of unknowable horror played on a framework borrowed from Yochai Gal’s Cairn, which comes from Ben Milton’s Knave and Chris McDowall’s Into the Odd. Physical copies can be purchased in the Exalted Funeral sale (see below!)
Over on Twitter I asked for people to give me some more sales, especially itch.io links. Yochai Gal went one step further and gave me an entire new category! All credit to him for finding this information and bringing it to my attention.
To use it, head on over to Lulu.com and use code save30 at checkout to get 30% off your order.
Below is a list of some OSR/D&Dish stuff for sale (Lulu was used by many OSR types especially in the G+ era), but feel free to explore and get whatever catches your eye over there while your discount code works! The list below was definitely borrowed wholesale from Yochai Gal but the links and any errors therein are my fault.
Prices below are their list value BEFORE you enter the code!
Whitehack Third Edition: Don’t let the number fool you, it’s very much old-school. It’s a rules-light derivative of the original white box (or little brown books) from 1974 and is broadly compatible with whatever OSR stuff you like. Very popular. Several variants exist: Hardcover ($25), Softcover ($15), Wide Softcover ($15), Notebook Hardcover ($30), Wide Hardcover ($35)
Basic Fantasy Third Edition: BFRPG by Chris Gonnerman is old-school but gives the players some of the easier things we get from modern editions, like race/class and ascending AC. Sold for cost just about everywhere it is sold, meaning Chris has always put games ahead of money. Still works with old-school modules. Perfect Bound ($7.35), Softcover ($2.65), Hardcover ($16.50), Coilbound ($9.75); many supplemental books available here besides.
Fire on the Velvet Horizon: ($35) Patrick Stuart and Scrap Princess’ artpunk OSR supplement of monsters. It’s practically impossible to read this and not be inspired in some way. What happens from there really depends on you and your tables.
Anomalous Subsurface Environment 1, 2, 3: Perhaps one of the most beloved OSR weird fantasy dungeons. Highly rated, a great fun romp. Doesn’t take itself too seriously. ASE 1 PDF, Paperback; ASE 2-3 PDF, Paperback.
Spores of the Sad Shroom: At $6.66 Hail Satan before discount, Karl Stjernberg’s lovely little book is a great deal. Add it on to whatever else you buy and it’ll come out somewhere in your campaign sooner or later – a side dungeon.
The Dreaded Amazon.com, Lair of the Vile Worm Bezos and His Hoard
D&D 5th Edition Starter Kit: ($10.63!) This was 5th Edition’s first “zero to hero” packaged set. It has a 7pc polyhedral die set, it has a softcover 5E-in-Brief rulebook, it has an adventure with a town and a dungeon or two and a villain to tie it together, and it can be fun – especially if you’re a tinkerer. It’s how I introduced my kids to D&D and it wasn’t perfect but it made for a fantastic couple of evenings. It’s basically $10 and makes an amazing holiday gift for a new fan, young or old, especially if their in-road to D&D is via Critical Role or something like that.
D&D 5th Edition Essentials Kit: ($10.93) This is 5th Edition’s second “zero to hero” packaged set. It features much of the same: dice, adventure, softcover rulebook. But, it’s a little but more focused on on-ramping new players with lessons learned by the 5E team from the Starter Kit (which really is good on its own!). Most crucially, perhaps, it has much better assistance for solo play with a DM and a player, so smaller groups of new players are much more easily facilitated. It’s also like $11 and would be an amazing holiday gift or a donation.
Disclosure: Matt at EF owes me roughly a million Martian kroner due to a bet made on the recreation deck of the Space Shuttle on the 7th of Never, 2001, when we were in the Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force together. This doesn’t impact these links, I just want everyone to know not to gamble on ANY form of coelacanth racing with him because he will never pay up.
Quoted verbatim from the EF Discord, because I am lazy and because they did a good job of keeping the rules clear, though the emphasis and links are my doing:
30% off everything in store all weekend long, some exclusions apply.
FRIDAY ONLY you can get the Old School Essentials Classic Fantasy Players Tome for $11, or 50% off
FRIDAY ONLY we have 50% off all in house made zines by us (Exalted Funeral)
Ultra Violet Grasslands will be bundled with a set of dice for only $25
Disciples of Bone and shadow will be $10
Seekers Beyond the Shroud will be $15
The Mothership PSG will be bundled with Picket Line Tango for $15
Wet Grandpa will be $9
Escape From Skullcano Island will be $28
Mystic Punks will have a bundle of both titles for $20
Bonus: Bundle of Holding
The current (at time of writing) Bundle of Holding contains several things of interest to me, including Against the Darkmaster, Electric Bastionland, and Ultraviolet Grasslands! The full list for just $25 is below:
Impulse Drive Playbooks
Against the Darkmaster
I think this is all the Black Friday links I know of for sure, but if you know of some other good ones I may enjoy featuring here, especially those by independent creators, especially OSR stuff, let me know!
I also need more itch.io links especially as I have no idea how to browse that site effectively to track just the tabletop offerings with sales for this weekend. I can’t tell if it’s me or them that are deficient in this regard, but your help is appreciated patching this hole nonetheless.
I can be found on Twitter at @dungeonspossums, though I may be slow to respond because I must begrudgingly brave this consumer hell-paradise weekend in person and work through it all. Nonetheless, hit me up with hot tips and I’ll do my best to incorporate them here before the weekend’s over and time is up. Until next time, take care of yourselves!