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OSR News Roundup for January 1st, 2024

Welcome to the first news Roundup of 2024, and the start of the third year of this newsletter. I have not had a chance to do a year in review of previous roundups, but I'd be interested in hearing from readers about your favorite releases from 2023.

I've been getting ready for ZiMo24, the upcoming coordinated crowdfunding month in February when small press creators raise money for their projects. If you're one of those creators, and would like to answer some short questions about your project to be featured in an interview, please send me an email and I'll get you questions.

It's hard to believe that roughly a year ago, WoTC threw the 3rd party publishing community into turmoil by proposing a revision of the OGL; the community rebelled, and not only did WoTC back down, but a number of competing OGL licenses have been/are in the process of being created.

One thing I've noticed in the last year is the absolute proliferation of AI technology in the creation of materials. I've made a decision to exclude AI-generated products in this roundup, but it is requiring more and more vigilance, both for Drivethru and Kickstarted products.

One of the things I've really enjoyed this year is watching people post their progress on the Dungeon23 challenge, and I've seen at least two people post finished results.

This is going to be a pretty short roundup; releases were pretty (understandably) scarce in the past two weeks, with folks focusing on the holidays. I hope everyone has a great start to the new year!

  • The Wyrd has released FEUD, a system-neutral, 60-page fantasy adventure where the characters take the roles of ordinary people caught in the middle of a blood feud between two villages.

  • I've mentioned the artwork of Exeunt Press before, and they've just released Rabbits & Demons, a collection of traced woodcuts from public domain sources. I really like these because they convey a certain mood instantly upon seeing it, and it's really nice having a source that someone has curated and uploaded as high resolution files these cool old public domain woodcarvings. It's pay-what-you-want, and they've made it CC-BY-4.0, which means you're free to use them in commercial or personal projects.

  • 24XX is one of those systems that seems to fly below the radar but gets a ton of stuff written for it. One of the newest releases is SOL, by Zotiquest Games. It's billed as a retrofuturist sci-fi game set in a future where the space race never ended.

  • Seth Ian has released Scaly Gods, a modern remix of the classic Cult of the Reptile God module.

  • Cairn is another system that, like 24XX, is a bit under the radar but is hacked and used by a bunch of folks. The Rock Face is an adventure for Cairn written during the Adventure Calendar jam. It is good for a one-shot or to add it as a location in a point or hexcrawl.

  • Brian Sago has released Sisyphus Die, a one-page Sisyphean game about playing Sisyphus.

  • Beyond the Wall is another system that gets tons of critical acclaim but seems to be played less than it should be. Flatland Games have just released Beyond the Wall: A Kingless Realm, a 180+ page setting and sourcebook for Beyond the Wall.

  • One of my favorite "weird" OSR zines is Black Pudding, by the author and illustrator James West. They've just released Issue 8 of Black Pudding. It's got its usual assortment of bizzare and unique character classes, items, and spells to add a bit of absurd fun and danger to your games.

  • Scoundrels, Xenos, and Cyborgs is the new release by Stellgama publishing, and includes a ton* of expanded material for the White Star sci-fi game.

  • Hugh Lashbrooke has been putting out some consistently great content for Mausritter, and has just released Away in a Manger, an adventure set in the nativity stable after all the humans have left.

  • Dragons Beyond is a clone of 0e rules and notes, many of which never made it into the original three box release. It imagines if the original focus of the game was more on domain play and patronage, rather than dungeon exploration.

  • We've gotten restocks of Stars Without Number and finally got Worlds Without Number in stock. Kevin Crawford is producing some of the best content in rpgs, and his books are consistently top-notch.

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