Sunday, September 20, 2015

Review & Commentary On The OSR Resource - The Dungeon Dozen For Your Old School Campaigns

The Dungeon Dozen collects over 200 system-agnostic random tables designed to fire the imaginations of GMs and players of fantasy role-playing games, offering answers to such eternal questions as "What's in the Giant's Lunchbox" and "Why is there an Underworld". This book is loaded to the gills with black and white dungeon art by Chris Brandt, John Larrey, Stefan Poag, and Jason Sholtis. Each table in this PDF edition is bookmarked for ease of use

 So lately I've been doing a bit of DYI D&D of my own, and last night a review copy of The Dungeon Dozen showed up. Where do I begin with a mammoth two hundred and twenty-five page monster of a book containing every possible random dungeon and adventure design table you as a dungeon master will need.I'm late to the party of for the Dungeon Dozen by Jason Sholtis and reading through this book fills me with dungeon master angst. Its that good of a tool kit filled with wall to wall weirdness. This is the type of book that sort of forms the corner stone of the OSR. This book clocks in at two hundred and twenty five pages of sheer OSR lunacy. The book is part tool box, part random generator, and wall to wall creative generator that covers every possible mental exercise that a DM could possibly think of. Seriously this book is that well done.
The pdf is book marked and massive in its way dealing in table after table of random adventure generation. Taken on the whole and this book can be used to construct adventure encounter one shots and fully thought out adventures for a whole twenty years campaign.
There are tables literally on every page and there is art to go with each and everyone of those tables; art by Chris Brandt, John Larrey, Stefan Poag, and Jason Sholtis himself. The whole book is like some vomitous  mess of awesomeness but there's rhyme and reason for the material; used carefully and this is a massive adventure construction set of epic proportions. But its awesomeness is also its downfall, its hard to tell where one bit of awesomeness begins and another epic element crops up.
After a nerve wracking night of research and ruin through the Dungeon Dozen, I suspect that the book is simply the author's sheer insanity and creative output with his blog's output. The sheer amount of detail and tables is truly overwhelming and well worth the price of admission.  The spirit of the book is definitely old school and there is so much of it that it's awesome in its own way but let's say thank God for an index for this pdf. Had I this book when I was younger the players would have been paste in three rolls or less or mutated, or turned into any number of weird or strange results. Do I think that The Dungeon Dozen is worth your time and your efforts to purchase? In a word yes,there isn't a better resource for building your worlds, settings, adventures, adventure encounters treasures, underworld encounter, over arching mythology for a campaign full on hand tossing a roll of dice and getting on with your OSR campaigns.

Basically the Dungeon Dozen seems like a crazy, over the top OSR resource but it actually isn't. With a bit of restraint on the dungeon master's part this book makes an excellent system agnostic resource. A perfect blend of old school random chart excellence and adventure design madness. 

Actually Using The Dungeon Dozen In Designing

Your Old School Adventure or Campaign

All right after reading through the Dungeon Dozen more then three times over the past twenty four hours, I can safely come up with more then a few ways of actually using this product. There are two words that come to mind here, randomness and restraint. You as a dungeon master could take the book and a whole handful of dice and toss them then cherry pick what you want for a campaign and end up with a boat load of cool material to pick from. Or you've got to show yourself some real restraint and choose the category that you'll need for your campaign.

I've never even seen a game book that so closely fits the Dungeon Crawl Classics game like this one. Seriously you can end up with a handful of dice with everything your ever going to need for a DCC game in one book. Even though this book is marketed for the any OSR game system. This is the book to get for a DCC game campaign. I have never seen a book more ideal suited to the DCC ideal then The Dungeon Dozen. The book exudes in spades every gonzo and over the top sort of idea and echoing weirdness that a DCC DM could want. This is the same ideal that could easily echo its way to any gonzo DYI D&D style of campaign. I love, love, love the Dungeon Dozen for putting together a fast Saturday night get together or a convention set adventure. Its perfectly suited to keep players guessing and a DM with an imagination on the boil for old school play. 

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