Monday, February 10, 2020

Gangs, Tramps, & Thieves - Rogue To Rogue - The Use of The Rogues Gallery By Brian Blume, Dave Cook, & Jean Wells In Old School & OSR Campaigns

"No longer will you the Dungeon Master need to spend precious time laboring over the task of generating non-player characters.
This valuable booklet contains hundreds of pre-rolled non-player characters of all classes and types, complete with alignments, sex, personalities and much more.
The Rogues Gallery is specially designed to be compatible with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. It will save you time in creating your non-player characters, thus allowing you to pursue the other interesting aspects of your campaign."

Alright let's talk about the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition 'The Rogues Gallery' by  Brian BlumeDave Cook, & Jean Wells for a moment. The low down on the  'The Rogues Gallery''s publication history goes something like this according to the Wiki entry on the booket; "The Rogues Gallery was written by Brian Blume with Dave Cook and Jean Wells, with a cover by Erol Otus and interior illustrations by Jeff Dee and Otus, and was published by TSR in 1980 as a 48-page book.[1] TSR Stock # 9031. ISBN 0-935696-18-0."

 This book is a slice of another era of gaming, seriously this book is stat block after stat block of NPC's but its from an era when the internet didn't exist & many other companies were putting out similar books especially Runequest. The Runequest rpg had several titles in the rpg line that included stat blocks of NPC's & encounters most notably Scorpion Men and Broos (1978). But it was really Trolls and Trollkin (1978) that was the first of the Runequest rpg publications. The whole cloth point
& purpose of the 'Rogue's Gallery' was to give the dungeon master access to hundreds of NPC's. Said it right on the back spalsh page; "The Rogues Gallery was a supplement listing hundreds of pre-generated non-player characters for use by the Dungeon Master, including characters from all the standard first edition AD&D character classes, plus other characters such as sages, caravans, and city guards"

The thing that's really off the chain about 'The Rogues Gallery' is the fact that it contains NPC  stats for Ernie Gygax, Gary Gygax, Tim Jiardini, and Rob Kuntz that originated in the Lake Geneva campaign. And that means that you get stats for all of the big names of  Greyhawk & Kaliburn's  original PC's such as Bigby, Mordenkainen, Riggby, Robilar, and Tenser plus getting a bit a peak behind the curtain of  Rob Kuntz's world of Kalibruhn  & Gary Gygax's world of Greyhawk. Or did we? According to certain folks these famous NPC stats are mere fictions but that doesn't take away from their usefulness. 
I always used 'The Rogue's Gallery' in conjunction with 'The Dragon' magazine  issue #24 which included a ton of stuff on lost civilizations. If I need an NPC sage with information on a lost city or dungeon the 'Rogue's Gallery' is right there.

But when I need rival big boss NPC's & bad guys well that's when the 'Rogue's Gallery' comes out with  the big names of Greyhawk & Kaliburn's  original PC's such as Bigby, Mordenkainen, Riggby, Robilar, and Tenser taking center stage as the stand in NPC bosses stand ins. The Rogues Gallery is a title that I often use when I'm playing or DMing Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea rpg. Why? Because AS&SH has its own version of the 'Rogues Gallery' called funny enough 'Rogues Gallery II'.

Using both the original AD&D 'Rogues Gallery' & AS&SH's 
 'Rogues Gallery II' with any OSR game & suddenly the DM can populate a town or adventure location with Sword & Sorcery NPC's in no time flat. A tactic that I've recently used with several locations for my own Cha'alt/Godbound rpg campaign.

The same tactic can be used with other OSR games especially Castles & Crusades. Remember the apple doesn't fall far here. The idea is that NPC's are easily within the offering but its the fact that old school & OSR systems are cross comparable. 

By default the 'Rogues Gallery' is perfectly suited to work with Adventurer, Conqueror, King, rpg system. The stat blocks should work quite well. But why use such a relic of the old school especially first edition AD&D? Because its a relic that's why! The fact is that most modern players even the OSR ones have forgotten all about the Rogues Gallery & it gives the DM ample opportunity to bring another tool from their tool box into play again. Here are ten reasons why the 'Rogue's Gallery' is still useful at the table top level: 
  1. An NPC for every situation & especially in the old school Sword & Sorcery vein of AD&D first edition. 
  2. On the spot role playing opportunity for the DM to make up some weird or interesting NPC. 
  3. An excellent NPC book use to create some important bit of campaign information that you forgot to impart the players with. 
  4. Treasure opportunity for the players when a minor NPC appears. 
  5. Rival NPC adventurer party  generation book! 
  6. The 'Rogues Gallery' used with the Advanced Dungeons & Dragon Dungeon Master's Guide random dungeon generator can create an entire dungeon & its NPC's in no time flat. 
  7. Sage NPC's are always handy for really screwing with the player's PC's. Perfect time for a side quest in the campaign. 
  8. Rival suitors or girl friends for the PC's to deal with can be converted right outta of the Rogues Gallery. 
  9. The Rogues Gallery's famous Lake Geneva NPC  party stats are perfect for replace Slave Lords from A0- A4 Against The Slave Lords 
  10. 'The Rogues Gallery' has a number of NPC assassins that are perfect to send after the player's PC's! 

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