SWITCH TO ANCHOR
Down in a Heap
By Rob c
A big pot of old school RPG stew.
Cover art photo provided by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash:
Where to listen
Pick Your Poison
A look at handling poison in your game, and what I’m using in my B/X hack, Wasteland Wanderers. Save or die? Hit point damage? Ability score damage? Pick your poison.
August 4, 2020
This Old Book: Evaluation of OD&D from the Complete Book of Wargames
Calls from Jason & Joe and the evaluation of OD&D from 1980’s The Complete Book of Wargames. Get the bandages - it stings :)
August 3, 2020
Please Hold: A look at Hold Person in B/X & 5e D&D
I reply to and noodle about Colin Green’s episode of Spikepit where he discusses changes in design philosophy in versions of D&D; specifically the Hold Person spell and players missed turns.
August 2, 2020
A mistake acknowledged plus the Boot Hill evaluation from this Old Book
I found an error in my B/X Deep Dive plus Jason’s request to read the Boot Hill RPG evaluation from The Complete Book of Wargames.
August 1, 2020
This Old Book: a reading from The Complete Book of Wargames
I read the intro to the RPG section. What did some groggy old Wargame designers have to say about the new fangled RPG scene back in 1980? Listen to find out :)
July 20, 2020
Call-in Bonanza 8: B/X Encounter Discussions
Calls reacting to the B/X Deep Dive on Encounters: from Joe of Hindsightless, Jason of Nerd’s RPG Variety Cast, and Evil Jeff of Minions & Musings. Settle in!
July 5, 2020
Call-in Bonanza 7: 24 Calls!
A true bonanza of calls from Roy of Chaoses Limb, Jason of Nerd’s RPG Variety Cast, Joe from Hindsightless, ShandyAndy from Unguarded Treasure, and Evil Jeff from Minions & Musings. Thanks everyone!
June 19, 2020
B/X Deep Dive 7a: Reading the Example of Combat from Moldvay Basic D&D
I read the example of combat from page B28 of the Moldvay Basic D&D rules. What does it tell us, directly and indirectly?
June 14, 2020
B/X Deep Dive 7: The Encounter
After a long hiatus, I resume the series: This time a deep look into the micro elements of the B/X D&D game: reactions, combat, evasion, morale, etc.
June 13, 2020
How much is too much? Lore vs. Fluff in your setting.
Inspired by some episodes of Random Screed by Jason Hobbs - a ramble about moderation in setting design and an example from Wasteland Wanderers.
June 6, 2020
Incentivizing what matters in your RPG
How does your game incentivize the themes and activities you want emphasized? Do you try to incentivize out of game activities? If so, how? And does it work? Please call in with your experiences.
May 19, 2020
Cabin Cast! Spellcasting in Wasteland Wanderers
A quick cast from a north woods cabin about Spellcasting in my reimagining of B/X D&D: Wasteland Wanderers.
May 12, 2020
Roll for Random Thoughts Saturday 7: A Taste of Wasteland Wanderers
A quick taste of my post apocalyptic reimagining of B/X: focusing on determining ability scores, hit points, death & dying, and healing.
May 2, 2020
Ettin Cast - Because 2 Heads Are Better Than One: Froth of Thought Eater!
Legendary Anchorite Froth joins me to talk about our personal Appendix N’s, but we ramble on a range of topics, including...what side of fries means!
April 25, 2020
Roll For Random Thoughts Saturday 6
Our foray into online gaming, a turn to the Post Apocalyptic, and casting a wide net for inspiration.
April 11, 2020
Call in Bonanza 5: Champions, Clerics, Cereal, and Player Feedback
Calls from The Lonely Adventurer, Jason, Joe, and Evil Jeff. Hope you enjoy the Anchor Conversation!
April 10, 2020
Roll For Random Thoughts Saturday 5
Conversation with Jason & Lonely Adventurer about my B/X Champions concept plus random thoughts about Lost Plains and player feedback.
April 4, 2020
We Are the Champions!
I outline the concept of Champions for a reimagining of B/X D&D. Goodbye Cleric - Hello Champion...:)
April 3, 2020
Roll for Random Thoughts Saturday 4
A combat option for OS games, Prairie Dogs of the Lost Plains, Cool Game Theme Tee, and a couple calls from Jason of Nerd’s RPG Variety Cast.
March 21, 2020
A Trip Through the Back Catalog with Rui Lourenco of Chaoses Limb
An Anchor conversation with Rui of Chaoses Limb about my back catalog. Hopefully it doesn’t come across as too self indulgent:)
March 16, 2020
Roll for Random Thoughts Saturday 3
Four calls plus: Generosity, a trio of thematic dressings for Lost Plains, and showing appreciation.
March 14, 2020
Roll for Random Thoughts Saturday: 2
Lots of calls, musical talk, reimagining B/X, Clerics vs. Champions, Campaign Musical Immersion, 16 Horsepower
March 7, 2020
Roll For a Random Thoughts Saturday
A new short form series where I share random thoughts and half baked ideas about gaming.
February 29, 2020
Call-in Bonanza 5
d12, Languages in Game, Minnesota Dwarves, and likely inadequate responses to Lieren
February 28, 2020
Call in Bonanza 4: R.E.H., Gaming Art, Swedish Dwarves, & B/X Talk
Calls about Sinister Red Kickstarter, Time & Place determining character, Robert E Howard, Art in older RPGs, Swedish Dwarves, and a continued discussion on B/X with Evil Jeff.
February 18, 2020
B/X D&D Deep Dive 6: The Adventure!
A look at the macro elements of the B/X game system: the procedures of dungeon and wilderness exploration. Plus some Kickstarters I’m interested in.
February 11, 2020
Call-in Bonanza 3: B/X Spells and further conversations about OSR.
Another big call-in show with continuing conversations about B/X spells and defining the OSR and OSR games.
January 23, 2020
Is the term OSR meaningless? Only if you’ve made it so.
My take on what OSR means, and how some have redefined it and watered it down to make it meaningless.
January 19, 2020
B/X D&D Deep Dive Pt 5: Spells
Back after holiday hiatus with part 5 of my deep dive into B/X D&D. This time, a look into the spells.
January 17, 2020
B/X D&D Deep Dive Part 4: Spell Casting
Lots of calls and discussions, so the Spell Deep Dive is covering the basic casting principles. Specific spells in the next installment.
December 16, 2019
A Year of Blathering
It’s the 1 year anniversary if Down in a Heap. I’ve spliced together some of my favorite segments from year 1. Thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to listen and call in since I started this project!
December 9, 2019
Another Call-in Bonanza!
B/X call-ins featuring Jason, Joe, Spencer, & an in-depth discussion with Evil Jeff.
December 6, 2019
B/X D&D Deep Dive Part 3
Exploring alignment, equipment, languages, and more in B/X.
December 4, 2019
B/X D&D Deep Dive Part 2
The 2nd episode of a close look at Moldvay/Cook, Marsh B/X. This time, attributes and character classes.
December 3, 2019
Discussions continue with a flurry of calls from Josh, Joe, RFED, Jason, and Evil Jeff.
November 22, 2019
B/X Deep Dive: Part 1
Calls from Spikepit, Joe, and Tim plus the first part of a deep dive into B/X D&D. The intro & setting the stage for its place in time.
November 18, 2019
Setting Flourishes: Holidays & Festivals
Do you create holidays and festivals for your game settings? Some ideas for spicing up the game.
November 11, 2019
One if my white whales: Initiative
Take two: My endless (hapless) quest for the perfect initiative system and sequence of events. Pointless or worthwhile?
November 9, 2019
One of my white whales: Initiative
The endless (hapless) quest for perfect initiative system and sequence of events. Pointless or worthwhile?
November 9, 2019
No train, no pain, no gain: Leveling Up
Do you require any procedure or narrative cost in your game for leveling up? Or is it all abstraction?
November 6, 2019
Is there a magic-user in this village? Setting demographics.
Do you use any sort of demographics model for settings in your fantasy adventure games? How easy is it to find someone to remove that pesky curse?
November 5, 2019
A look back to 1981 through the lens of the D&D Basic Box by Tom Moldvay.
October 13, 2019
Dedicated to Dave Arneson on his birthday.
October 1, 2019
Lord I Was Born a Ramblin’ Man
I try not to ramble about rambling in gaming casts. This isn’t an offended rant - rather a call to appreciate a good ramble.
September 26, 2019
Hand Waving & d6 Discussions
Lots of calls and Jacksons from Froth, Spikepit, Cody, & Pete about hand waving & d6 damage in D&D.
September 19, 2019
How does abstracting or hand waving rules & physical realities affect your game? Where do you draw the line? Why do these things become conflated with the idea of story?
September 2, 2019
It’s Hip to be Square?
d6 Damage vs. Variable Weapon Damage. Is a straight d6 for everything really a good game feature?
September 2, 2019
The 1st Record with Friends Episode: Handouts & Props
I test the Anchor record feature with Bill as we talk about handouts, props, minis, and player aids in table top gaming.
August 25, 2019
The Anchorites Respond!
Lots of calls about podcasts and the potential of Anchorite collaboration.
August 24, 2019
A Podcast about Podcasts
What factors determine what you listen to? When and where do you listen? more podcast collaborations please!
August 17, 2019
The Discussion Continues about new game editions...
Calls from Colin, Spencer, and Froth expand the discussion.
August 5, 2019
New Game Editions - do you get excited or dread them?
Some thoughts on new game editions prompted by Electric Bastionland, Thought Ester, and Random Screed.
August 3, 2019
Return to The Odd
Talk about a return to Into the Odd by Chris McDowall and some of my house rules for it.
July 25, 2019
Stick a fork in it!
A commute-cast pondering about campaign endings, and potential causes. Chime in with your views.
July 12, 2019
World Building 101
An email asking me to give tips for world building from Agorok Doomington provides the topic for the day.
July 7, 2019
Rip-off Wednesday: My Top 7 Songs for Gaming
The top 7 songs that put me in the mood for fantasy adventure games. Be sure to listen to this one with Anchor app to hear song snippets :)
July 3, 2019
Movie Chat & Neglected Drummers
Call-ins from my top movies plus a look at the drummers discussed by Froth & Co on Thought Eater. One notable omission really sticks in my craw :)
July 1, 2019
Rip-off Wednesday. ;)
Topic stealing time: my top movies.
June 19, 2019
Calls, ANA, job crap, and adventure recap.
Calls from Froth & Whisk, a question, and adventure recap: another 1st level MU goes Down in a Heap.
June 3, 2019
Take a little trip; take a little trip with me.
A look at The Fantasy Trip from Steve Jackson Games, plus calls and replies about the worst podcast ever.
June 1, 2019
A couple lead balloons.
May 31, 2019
Xpts & Advancement: Incentive & Rewards
Answer some calls with a ramble about cultures plus experience points and PC advancement.
May 27, 2019
Endangered PC Species: Humans
Why are humans so unappealing in fantasy adventure games, and how can you change that?
May 22, 2019
Movement, Encumbrance, and other physical realities in games.
Why does everyone move at the same rate in most games? Plus a Jackson from Tim Shorts.
May 8, 2019
Turning the Preference Dials: Role Playing
A call from Rich sends me on a tangent talking about role playing and adventure - two aspects of the game.
May 7, 2019
Game Design Feedback 1: I get lots of calls...even some “Jacksons”!
Feedback from Tim, Ray, Froth, and Cody. Thanks!
May 3, 2019
2d12 Game Design Pt 3: Class vs. Skills
Third installment of the 2d12 game design series. Class based PCs or skill based?
May 1, 2019
Game Design series 2: Attributes
Part 2 in the game design series. I do a recap and go into which attributes PCs will have.
May 1, 2019
The Logan Howard Challenge! Top 3 monsters!
Calls from Froth, Ray, Tim, and Rich and I list my top 3 monsters.
April 28, 2019
5e D&D Analysis - Part 3: “The Ugly”
I finish the 3-part 5e Analysis with the Ugly - aspects that are a mixed bag.
April 23, 2019
5e D&D Part 2: The Bad
The 2nd episode in my 3-part examination of 5e. This time Lee Van Cleeve takes the stage - The Bad.
April 20, 2019
First in a series about the pros & cons of 5e D&D. I start with the “Good”.
My opinions about 5e will be covering the good, the bad, and the ugly.
April 19, 2019
The Ray Otus Challenge!
Ray on Plundergrounds suggested a podcast topic for all the OSR Anchorites to tackle. Here’s mine.
April 12, 2019
Game Design: the first steps.
My initial foray into designing a new game. Many considerations and decisions to make...let’s have a conversation.
April 10, 2019
Island of Misfit Games 2: Searching for Atlantis
A look at another largely forgotten game system from the hazy crazy 80’s.
April 9, 2019
A lunchtime cast with calls and pondering balance vs. broken game elements.
April 5, 2019
Calls x4 plus new game series?
Call ins and pondering about starting a series of episodes that walk through the process of creating a new game.
April 3, 2019
Punk Rock Podcasting and Comfort Zones.
My podcasting philosophy and noodling about comfort zones in gaming.
March 27, 2019
What’s a DM to do?
What should a DM be doing in adventure games?
March 20, 2019
Decoding the song.
I try to explain what old school gaming means to me.
March 20, 2019
Gaming Grab Bag
A grab bag of game topics: board games as RPG settings, B2 Redux, a list of podcasts I listen to.
March 13, 2019
A quick mention of one house rule for magic-users that I forgot this morning.
February 28, 2019
Poor Old Magic-user.
A look at 1st level Magic-users and my house rules for them.
February 28, 2019
Tinkering 2, Electric Bugaloo
Calls, and more thoughts on tinkering and house rules; including more for B/X.
February 20, 2019
Poor old d12. Why is the d12 so neglected in DnD?
I ponder about why this one die is overlooked and what it actually is used for and could be used for.
February 15, 2019
Tinker, Tailor, Molder, Why?
Tinkering with games, and my own B/X house rules for Fighters.
February 8, 2019
Background or Baggage?
How much backstory and background is too much for a PC? When does it become baggage for a game?
February 7, 2019
Healing in old school games - the fine line between loss and recovery.
February 3, 2019
Clarifying the rant?
I (hopefully) provide more clarity to my recent rant on DM Expectations. Maybe not...
January 31, 2019
A look at the OSR survey results posted on Necropraxis.com.
January 31, 2019
DM Expectations - when is enough?
An impromptu rant - maybe the real balance we should strive for is game responsibilities between players and GM.
January 30, 2019
Call ins and Wrestling my Inner Grognard
I answer a few calls and ramble about self reflection.
January 25, 2019
We go Into the Odd
A smaller gathering prompts a go at a rules lite game, Into the Odd. A walkthrough and thoughts on it.
January 23, 2019
Morale - another easy (and perhaps essential) way to have that old school feel.
Morale mechanics in B/X. How they work, how to use them, and why they’re important for capturing the old school vibe.
January 18, 2019
Reaction rolls in RPGs
Reaction rolls: an important aspect to getting an old school feel. How I use them and mechanical tweaks.
January 14, 2019
Luck mechanics revisited.
Colin Green from Spikepit has a great idea and a silent commute helps to get my imagination going...and jogs my memory.
January 12, 2019
Luck, Bennies, Fate plus a call from Colin Green of Spikepit game!
Some quick thoughts about Luck mechanics in RPGs and what I’m currently using for Whispered Tales of Gore.
January 11, 2019
The Isle of Misfit Games: Thieves’ Guild
I take a look at one of my old games from the 80’s that doesn’t get much discussion: Thieves’ Guild from GameLords, Ltd.
January 6, 2019
Who are you? Character generation.
What’s this? Singing?!? A call in? Character generation: rolling vs. building.
January 5, 2019
The 3 “E’s” of being a great player.
My 1st call in! Plus, I describe the three “E’s” players can focus on to make the game more enjoyable for everyone at the table.
December 17, 2018
0-Level Hit Points
One simple house rule for old school RPGs.
December 14, 2018
Rob’ Rules of Gaming
I outline 12 “rules” to follow for happier game play.
December 14, 2018
Tastes and Time
Rambling about how tastes in gaming are formed, and what will the future be like?
December 13, 2018
The Name Game or...Game Name
My intro to the Down in a Heap podcast. Topic - names in RPGS.
December 10, 2018