Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review & Commentary on The Free OSR Gnome Resource - CX1 Extra Gnomes For Your OD&D and Retroclone Campaigns

Grab It Right

Richard J. LeBlanc, Jr. has turned out some damn fine quality retroclone system's material and I became familiar with his work on Petty Gods and his damn fine Creature Compendium.  Now he's released his free eight page preview of gnomish goodness titled CX1 Extra Gnomes perfect for both BX,OD&D, and Labyrinth Lord based games. This is an eight page PC based supplement perfect for back introducing in your old school campaigns includes: deep gnomes, forest gnomes, rock gnomes and tinker gnomes, as well as 3 pages of supporting spell descriptions. This is according to the RPGNow description.
This is eight pages of race as class with a gnomish flare to the product, there racial abilities and little touches that give these gnomes a bit more of a distinct touch to each one. The powers and abilities reflect the mythology and legends that surround their type. There is a nice balance and flare for each.
   For example the Svirfneblin (deep gnomes) can appraise gems, have the ability to determine sloping passages, figure out stone works and has several abilities usable once per day including rendering creature blind if they fail their saving throw, the ability to cast an illusionary disguise around themselves, and blur. Then there is the Forest gnome described as stewards of nature who possess druid-like magical abilities, but are also versed in the underground skills common to most gnomes. Mature forest gnomes often find themselves in the role of woodland sages. The rock gnome is one of my favorites and features many of the common abilities seen in AD&D 1st and 2nd edition. Rock gnomes are the most common type of gnome, easily distinguished from other types of gnomes by the size of their noses. They are miners, fighters and illusionists.The final type offered by the CX1 Extra Gnomes is the Tinker Gnome;  'Tinker gnomes are experts in a variety of mechanical devices. They are focused and purposeful, and they revel in their personal accomplishments, often congratulating themselves for a job well done. Tinker gnomes, like rock gnomes, are slightly larger than halflings' Tinker gnomes play fast and loose with many of the second edition conventions of mechanical objects, systems and weird contraptions associated with gnomes. The release of CX1 Character Class Codex is coming soon and this free download serves to wet the appetite of the OSR public. Is it worth the download for your OD&D, BX, Labryth Lord, Swords and Wizardry, etc. retrclone games? In a word yes!
                          Using CX1 Extra Gnomes For  OD&D and Retroclone Campaigns

Lately I find myself drifting back toward more OD&D and BX retroclone systems. This preview of the Character Class Codex gives me great hope for this up coming product. The CX1 Gnome product has a ton of uses as a basis for a far more mythological based PC type and yet has the compromise to the old second edition AD&D tropes that seem to permeate the OSR pop culture base. That's fine because CX1 is a really solid comprise between these two allowing a DM to pick and choose as they see fit for they're needs as far as NPC design or players to get in a solid playing experience with a PC with lots of potential to enjoy.
 I can see using CX1 to design some very weird NPC's for PC's to encounter and the gnome types pull as much from myth and legend as they do from the vast D&D style pool of unconscious player culture  knowledge making CX1 unique in this regard.
The very elemental nature of the gnomes brings to mind the blog entry by James Mishler about
Spontaneous generation of life in the dungeon, perhaps gnomes are even weirder then then what was hinted about in the nature of gnomes in the OD&D material or the 1st edition Monster Manual.
  I can see taking CX1 and using it along games such as Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea where the sword and sorcery bits pull from the legends of Fey and gnomes having an elemental magickal  birth rather then simply another racial class to play. This gives the DM more sword and sorcery bits to play with, something that A.Merrit's Ship of Ishtar hints about, the survival of ancient secrets 
to convey a sense of the marvelous and mysterious. All in all I see lots and lots of uses for CX1 Extra Gnomes in OD&D,BX, and other retroclone systems. So if you haven't downloaded CX1, what are you waiting for? The gnomes are waiting to invade your games!


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