As is the case every year, DriveThruRPG has a great big sale for the first couple of weeks of the new year. It’s lucky that it happens to be a long-ish duration, too, because I completely blanked on it the past few days due to some other stuff going on elsewhere in life. Luckily, my attention has returned to fun blog stuff, and so I figured we could dive into some great games and supplements that offer noteworthy savings. As always, the list is based on my interest and attention span, as well as objects of particular note or discount (though most of these are 35% off or thereabouts); it’s hardly exhaustive but hopefully it is of some help nonetheless!
Systems or Major Documents
Worlds Without Number – Kevin Crawford’s beloved OSR-compatible (broadly, anyway) game, companion to Stars Without Number.
Hyperborea Player’s Manual – The PHB, so to speak, of the third edition of Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea (AS&SH). The name has been truncated in the third edition, but it’s still a fascinating Howardian Conan milieu of fictional fantastic history. Unfortunately the Referee’s Manual is not also on sale, but it’s just a few dollars’ difference.
Old School Essentials (OSE) Classic Fantasy Rules Tome – Everything you need to play B/X D&D and a zillion OSR supplements and games, with fabulous presentation and formatting.
Old School Essentials (OSE) Classic Fantasy Player’s Tome – The PHB alone for OSE, if you prefer a more manageable document that separates referee advice from the nitty-gritty players will need.
Old School Essentials (OSE) Advanced Fantasy Player’s Tome – The player-facing half of the OSE supplement that hybridizes B/X rules with AD&D1E elements such as splitting race from class and so forth. Unfortunately the Referee’s Tome is not similarly on sale.
Old School Essentials (OSE) Advanced Fantasy Druid & Illusionist Spells – Expansion document for OSE’s AD&D1E expansion.
Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) Core Book – Probably some of the most fun you can have in a D&D sort of game with plenty of the weirdness and joie de vive that evades many corporate products nowadays. Easily the best art in a major publication, too!
Troika! Numinous Edition – A wonderfully imaginative, fun, occasionally-as-gonzo-as-you’d-want game derived from Advanced Fighting Fantasy books.
Blueholme Journeymanne Rules – Holmes Basic, but expanded up to 20th level while retaining the mechanical hallmarks of that 1977 version of the game! How can you not love it?
Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook – S&W is Matt Finch’s seminal work and probably one of the hobby’s best books. It completely captures 1974 OD&D while simplifying the save system into a unified saving throw mechanic that has been copied/borrowed/adapted widely.
Wolf-Packs and Winter Snow – Emmy Allen’s weird stone age D&D setting/game. Anyone who is a longtime reader of this blog knows my love affair with stone age and bronze age history and how much it informs my games; this is right up my alley. I feel like it maybe never got enough love and attention, for how good it is, probably because it strays a bit into directions that many mainstream-ish gamers are uninterested in. Who cares about dire wolves attacking your hunter on a melting glacier when there’s a super cool elf warlock over here rolling with advantage? I don’t know, I am probably just bitter because I love this subject matter and I like this game a lot.
Best Left Buried: Cryptdigger’s Guide to Survival – Zachary Cox over at SoulMuppet has worked fairly tirelessly to bring this game to greater audiences and polish. Where it is not directly compatible mechanically it is compatible with the ethos of dangerous play where characters are poking around in the dark that pokes back and survival is unlikely. This game takes on a supernatural horror bent, ensuring that players think twice about trusting things and testing their luck.
Best Left Buried: Hunter’s Guide to Monsters – What’s a game without a bestiary? This is the Monster Manual of BLB.
Supplements, Adventures, Etc
The Gardens of Ynn – Emmy Allen’s procedurally-generated, never-the-same surreal fantasy pointcrawl. One of the most appreciated and acclaimed adventure frameworks out there. I’ve accidentally purchased it twice now somehow and I’d probably grab it a third time.
The Stygian Library – Emmy’s other procedurally-generated dungeon, this time a spooky library. Another excellent work by a woman that only seems to make good stuff.
OSR Solo – Sort of seems like I ought to put this in the top section, but I’ll leave it down here. A rulekit for playing OSR D&D alone, without a DM. Also available from the same folks are Hack Solo, A Lonely Knave, Maze Rat, Dungeon Crawl Solo. I haven’t gotten to play either of those just yet, but I have purchased them.
The Bone Age – Weird fantasy from ZineQuest 2020. One of the projects I was most excited for and most impressed with; tight production in a very old-school way. It’s very weird science fantasy in the vein of Expedition to the Barrier Peaks and many other early pulp fiction that informed D&D. It’s got fantastic bizarro Jim Henson vibes in the art throughout.
Fever Swamp – From the fertile mind of Luke Gearing comes one of the best hexcrawls in the OSR. It’s a fantastic, dangerous, threatening swamp of muddy despair and disease. Andrew Walters’ art is sublime; the guy is a treasure and the fact this hobby gets to enjoy his work is a great wonder indeed.
Fronds of Benevolence – Speaking of Andrew Walter, one of the best Troika! supplements out there is on sale too. Melsonian Arts Council is just fabulous.
That should about do it; a quick and easy post for the most part that I hope is useful to somebody out there. I always want to see great creators get paid for their work, but I know most of us are also perpetually budgeting out new acquisitions and weighing our spending money against “unknowns” when we consider books and hopefully these sorts of sale posts help relieve some of the barriers to trying out new options.
Make sure you get while the getting’s good if something on here tickles your fancy – the sale ends in about 12 days!