Saturday, 30 April 2011

Z is for ZAT's IT: Digging for Gems in the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide

I have done it. Blogger Challenge - yeah, yeah yeah.

What have I learnt?

Well firstly, what have you learnt? Has anyone gone out and purchased / found / dug out a copy of the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide because of this series?

I've learnt a number of Gems
1. Without the discipline and motivation of the AtoZ challenge my copy of the DSG would have sat in a darkened loft space, for another decade unread. Like my copy of the Wilderness Survival Guide. Or Greyhawk, Dragonlance and many, many modules I have purchased in the last decade from eBay. So I thank the AtoZ organisers for the inspiration.

2. I never purchased the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide, in my day. I was still playing, but it was expensive, and I would have bought the Wilderness Survival Guide instead (all those weather systems). After exploring it for a month, I can't say I have learned to love the DSG. In the end, it's too verbose, rules for the sake of rules, too campaign setting (alluding to TSR's future publication obsessions - Forgotten Realms, campaign world after campaign world); but still their are moments when the DSG lifts one's imagination. The art certainly helps. And for that I am glad to have spent the last month with it.

3. We have yet to escape the fact that RPG companies be they LotFP or WOTC, must continue to make new products to make money. This is because in my opinion, they must sell, more to the converted. Because new sells, and old dies on shelves. The Dungeoneer's Survival Guide was part of that mentality. Publish or perish. What if we merely expanded the numbers playing, using the same old but trusted books. The world becomes your oyster, and we almost become a club trying to get new members, their membership fee, the classic books. The business model - support your current fans, encouraging them to find new fans.

Okay it's a dream. And one destined to poverty.

I have another dream.

An Adventurer's Survival Guide (produced by the OSR Community)

You see, I like rules. And I'd love to make a rules supplement to deal with different settings.

Wilderness (horse rules, carts, roads, mud, quicksand, weather)
Waterborne Travel (ship to ship combat)
Underwater Adventures
Aerial Adventures
Spelunking - because as we learnt the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide has precious little to do with dungeons. Deepearth and the Underdark are probably TM. Could we use Caves and Caverns, The Adventure/ Journey Beneath, Underearth (used by Douglas Niles in his Intro to the DSG, see below)

But all in OSR style.
Short, sharp, house ruleable, adaptable. With great OSR art.

Heck, Links to Wisdom wiki, almost has all the material we could want.

I can't do this alone. I don't want to do this alone.

We need a team - editing, graphics, setting out, computer skills.

We would need to get the material into the blogosphere for comment and play test it.

Is anybody with me?

I leave the final word for this April AtoZ 2011 series on the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide to Douglas Niles and his forward to the DSG. Thanks for staying with me.

Go on WOTC, release the PDF or republish. You might just get some sales.


  1. Very interesting...we'd love to see an OSR-itized Adventurer's Survival Guide.

  2. Well thanks guys and gals of Netherwerks.

  3. yes, I went and repurchased a copy of it because of your posts :)
    I have all the AD&D books again. any were lost due to moves :( but I have them all, except the Dragonlance one, once more.

    I will try to contribute to the Adventurers' project as I can.
    I should become more active in the Links to Wisdom, also.
    Now that the A-Z is over and my classes are almost done, I will have some time for real projects.

    Keep on doing what you are doing... it isn't lost on those of us new to the OSR community... and keep encouraging us to get more involved.

  4. I don't have the DSG yet, but am seriously considering tracking it down as a result of enjoying your series.

    I would be happy to help with an OSR Adventurer's Survival Guide project, especially in an editorial capacity. I am good at copy editing and could help make decisions about what to include, etc., but I do not have the software skills to do decent layout or anything. No visual art skills either.

  5. An OSR Adventure Survival Guide? That's just about the coolest thing I've ever seen proposed! I want to contribute!
    : )

  6. @ retrorpg: glad to harness your enthusiasm. Sorry I have made you spend your hard earned cash to repurchase AD&D books you already earned.

    @ Carter: Great stuff. Go on spend that money.

    @JB: You honour me - look at my blog, you have your own tag! But as for spending money, you have cost me a fortune this last year: Recon, Boothill, B/X Companion, your next project.

    It looks like there might be some enthusiasm for an OSR Adventure Survival Guide. I'll mull over how best to approach the project over the next few days while I take a well needed break after the AtoZ challenge.
    Thanks for stopping by.