Wondering Monster

Some Simple Black Hack Races

Recently while using The Black Hack for a one-shot, my players expressed a desire to get their teeth into race-based mechanics, which are absent from The Black Hack. To that end, here is an extremely simple set of racial rules for The Black Hack (and most OSR games). It’s nothing remarkable, but it scratches the itch of racial mechanics which feel D&Dish. Tell me more

d12 Things the Dungeon Takes Away

Off the back of my post on encounter dice in the living dungeon, I wanted to expand the list of things the dungeon takes away from the party. After all, the dungeon has a 1:3 chance of taking something away every dungeon turn, and a 1:6 chance of taking away double. It’s worth thinking about what we are prepared to lose. This table can be used when a 2-3 is rolled on the Encounter Die, but also any time you want something unfortunate to happen to the party. Tell me more

Tweaked Encounter Dice In The Living Dungeon

I’m a fan of the ‘overloaded encounter die’ introduced by Necropraxis, fine-tuned into the beautiful, integrated Hazard System, and extended in other directions by Jones Smith, Meandering Banter, Ten Foot Polemic, and many others. Every OSR rule is a homebrew of someone else’s homebrew, so here’s the encounter die tweaked to my own sensibilities. The D&D dungeon is not just another location, but a living thing, a liminal space slunk down between the rational aboveground world of fealty, farmland, and feudalism, and the inhuman, alien chaos of the worlds below and beyond. Tell me more

A Per-Session Treasure Calculator

When I was recently organising a mega-dungeon adventure for BECMI D&D, I was trying to come up with a simple way to think of the contentious subject of treasure. My issue with treasure is mostly that in XP-for-coin systems like BECMI, B/X and their clones, it’s hard to reconcile a ‘simulationist’ perspective (as espoused by Gary Gygax and the wonderful Treasure by Courtney Campbell, which a lot of the generated items below are derived from) with a balanced perspective which makes players feel like they’re moving forward at an even keel in their adventures - the perspective closer to the XP-for-monsters setup of later D&D. Tell me more

Briar Priest

The sages have many tales to tell of the Vorhvex, that vast and ancient magical forest marking Riverie’s south border. Once, it is said, people and the creatures of the woods lived in harmony amongst those dark and brooding trees. Roads ran the length of the forest, and a monastery to the forest god Yaqun sat somewhere deep in its groves. But those times are long past. Nobody who enters the forest now ever comes out. Tell me more

Lessons: A Levelling Mechanic for Class-Less Games

An untested concept for adding a little bit of character specialisation during advancement for class-less games like Knave. When the players are levelling up, ask them: “What one lesson has your character learned from this adventure?” The answers might be along the lines of “turns out dragons can hear real good", or “I must not run into the room without checking the ceiling first”, or “do not make the Dwarf Princess angry”. Tell me more

A Sack of Resources for Old School Adventures

This weekend I’m running a one-shot adventure for a group of friends, and in pursuit of a D&D-esque system which would get out of the way, but also give that feeling of weird glorious number-crunching corner-peeking treasure-hoisting spider-escaping potion-slurping joy I remember from my first games with D&D 3rd Edition in high school, I discovered Ben Milton’s perfect confection Knave. Milton seems to be a big name in the OSR community, to which I am only a newcomer. Tell me more


Luposwoops are monstrous wolves with the wings, claws, and tail feathers of hawks or magpies. They tend to roost in towers and mountain caves, from where they can descend upon unsuspecting animals and people and tear them apart. Tell me more

Moon Imp

Moon Imps are tiny misshapen orbs of moon rock with small clawed legs and twisted faces, resembling miniscule rotund gargoyles. They tend to circle around the heads of worshippers of Obarax, with more powerful beings attracting more Moon Imps. Tell me more

The Geron

The Geron is an elemental demon made of evil moon dust, appearing most often in the form of a seven-foot-tall humanoid with long, tapered arms and legs, floating a few inches above the ground, with a blank dark space instead of a face, where a strange silvery light occasionally flickers. Tell me more