Friday, 17 July 2015

Otherworld Fantasy Skirmish and Other Strangeness

It's been a busy couple of weeks in old school fantasy gaming land.

Firstly: brand new re-typeset (but using the same cool 1970s textbook design) PDF of the 1st Edition of AD&D Players Handbook has been released! Of course, PDFs themselves are horrible things, and you'll be wanting to print them out, and but it's nice to see one of the most significant pieces of gaming literature (and one of my favorite all time books) available again, and Hasbro confidently leveraging the legacy of it's assets. 

AD&D Players Handbook

On the downside, a few typos have crept in, and it doesn't feature the original cover, which is a shame, but nothing that seriously detracts.

Secondly: there is this...

Otherworld Fantasy Skirmish

Otherworld Fantasy Skirmish is up for pre-order! The pre-release offers make it slightly cheaper than the full set.

The interior features many of Paul Gallagher's character designs for the Otherworld Adventurers ranges, along with a few other spot illustrations, alongside several full-page Kevin Dallimore's amazing photography of the Otherworld range. It also contains page borders (expertly reworked to fit the design by Karl Perrotton), cards, maps and token artwork by myself. Needless to say I'm very proud of the work and really hope others enjoy it too.

Otherworld Border

Victor Perez Corbella's cover is an essay on the iconic imagery of Old School Fantasy games in itself. You'll notice it weaves together elements of Trampiers PHB cover above, and Sutherlands Basic (below). Although I'm not quite sure what Victor may be trying to tell me by having Andrew Mays awesome Red Dragon miniature destroy my rendition of the Demon Idol!

OFS is a skirmish game, not an rpg or wargame, and it's old-school legacy shows.  There is no 1:1 tie-up of mechanics to models, but rather a flexible a system based on archetypes and gasp an actual points system, albeit disguised in the ubiquitous fantasy economic term of Gold Pieces. Troops and heroes are built and armed by paying for weapons and upgrades, making it possible to take any dungeon denizen type miniature and game it.

Karl Perrotton of Crooked Dice has designed the game itself around the action:engine and it is apparently compatible with other 7TV titles, combat is fast and tactical and there are numerous statuses and events that come into play beyond simply slugging it out by rolling bucket loads of old dice. It's a fun and entertaining game, full of flavour, not a mechanical simulation of a fantasy world.

Thirdly: I finally got to see the Mazes and Mutants episode of the 2012 Nickelodeon reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.

Mazes & Mutants | Retroclone! Booyakasha!
Got to love that series, it's not consistently great writing, but there are more good episodes than dull ones. It's also really not child-friendly in parts, a certificate 12 perhaps. The homages paid to the entire Turtles legacy, from the original B&W comics through the 80s fad phase throughout the series are great, managing to combine humor, action, pop-culture references and the weird.

The artwork on the fictional Mazes & Mutants game the turtles find clearly makes reference to the Sutherland art on the Holmes box while the typography embraces both Mentzer Basic and the AD&D hardbacks. The name is a riff on infamous case of Mazes and Monsters - and the story itself plays on many of it's themes - confusing reality and fantasy, getting lost in steam tunnels, but unlike the original ultimately concludes that it's all just harmless. Clearly something made with a deep affection for the details and the subject matter, which equally holds for the other things in this post too.


  1. I've had Otherworlds offering on order since it went up a week or so ago, with postage discount too as I get to pick it up in person. I've been drooling over the cover for ages and it's good to know you have been doing work for it to. Otherworld is zhu style as far as I'm concerned.

    The Turtles series is a big hit with my two boys (both well under 12) as a toy completest I've collected myself, erm them, all the toys so far as well. We really enjoyed the Mazes and Mutants episode and the boys completely understood what the reference was, well they knew it was daddies cool game.

    I can't believe that the pdf for ADnD has only just come out. I thought it had been available for years. To be honest I'll stick with my advanced options Labyrinth

  2. Hey, thanks Erny! I hope you like the final product on Otherworld Skirmish when it lands.

    The only 2 parts of the new TMNT that really concerned me was Ice-Cream Kitty melting transformation sequence and the Squirrelanoids. I can't imagine what being a TMNT toy completist is like, but guess it involves a lot of storage!

    I think there were PDF releases of the AD&D books a while back, but they got pulled around 2010 when woTC started clamping down on piracy. These are digitally type-set rather than scans so much better on the eye.

    1. I almost mentioned the squirrelanoids, they really are only one step away from alien, even the toy has a little mouth that shoots out of it's mouth.

  3. God, I love Otherworld. I feel like I'm the only person that knows about them in Seattle. Almost done painting Troll II, just need that left arm to get to me (I was sent two rights).

    Anyways, that is extra cool that you worked on it, I definitely want to check out.

  4. A big congratulations on your work for the Otherworld game! I've been looking for a good excuse to investigate the 7TV system, and now you've given me a perfect one. I'm ordering my set today. I can't wait to see your work in real life.
    8 years ago, if a genie popped out of a bottle and allowed me to use my wish to create my own miniature company (no actual genie would be so cool of course), I would have wished for Otherworld. Their philosophy of gaming and aesthetic are spot on. How grand that you're a part of that.