Friday, January 15, 2010

Swords & Wizardry is a big fat sell-out!

And congratulations to them for that!!!

It's nice to see the OSR doing well, even if it's in limited numbers. The quality has all been pretty top notch in just about everything I've read, which has made reading it worthwhile.

On that note, I finally finished reading Michael Curtis' Stonehell that I ordered from Lulu.   

Wow. 

I doubt that anyone reading this is unfamiliar with Stonehell, but here's the basics - this volume is the upper 5 levels of his 10 level megadungeon.  Each level is given a 2 page introduction, which includes an overall map of the level, a brief introduction and a list of all the monsters that inhabit the level.  Each level is divided into 4 quarters, and each is given a 2 page introduction with overall notes about the quarter and it's population.  The next 2 page spread shows the map for the quarter, keyed notes to the map, and the keyed entries to each of the rooms using a modified one page dungeon template.  There is next to no flavor text in the keyed entries, which works for this format.

Overall in appearance the book is clean black and white.  The text is in an easy to read 2 column format interspersed with occasional line drawings.  The maps are grey and white with black text, making them very readable.  I'm very impressed with the quality here, having ordered it from Lulu.  This was the first (and so far only) product that I've ordered from Lulu and I was a little apprehensive about it, but as soon as I had it in my hands all fears evaporated.

The content of the book matches both the quality of the printing and the format.  It's chock full of useful stuff!  There tends to be an over all theme for each level, including some dungeon or level spanning events.  The history and ongoing developments of Stonehell seem to be pretty internally consistant with lots of neat things for players to discover and puzzle over, and while there is plenty of quirky "old school" flavor, it never asks you to strain your suspension of disbelief. 

It's specifically designed for use with Labyrinth Lord, but it would take very little effort to use it with any other fantasy RPG.

I'm really impressed with this product, and I can't wait to play with it myself, or to get my hands on volume 2 (it's already on my Christmas wish list).  For those of you who are planning on delving into Stonehell, be sure to say hi to Coal.  I hear he likes fresh mutton and a skin of mead.

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