The Manor Collection – Great Content for the OSR and other games

This update definitely falls along the lines of “shameless plug.” Nonetheless, as part of any pledge level to the Dungeon Grappling Kickstarter that includes the basic Dungeon Grappling PDF, you can add to it The Manor Collection (1-8). You do this by adding the cost of the product to your pledge. This will give you a credit when the Backerkit survey comes around, and you can then add it to your “email/ship it to me” shopping cart. This is a digital only product, so instant gratification is where it’s at.

The Manor is a ‘zine published by Gothridge Manor‘s Tim Shorts. I became aware of it when I joined Erik Tenkar’s “B-Team” playing Swords and Wizardry on a more-or-less monthly basis. That was my re-introduction into DnD after a long hiatus, and my actual introduction to the OSR (Old-School Renaissance).

It’s got some great stuff in it, and the nice thing is how, well, digestible it is. A lot of this stuff can be simply dropped into existing low-level campaigns.

And it’s at a pretty steep discount. Adding all eight issues to your cart will run you $12, which is $1.50 per issue, 40% off the usual $2.50 (and way less than the original price of each ‘zine, which could be as much as $4 each). Each issues has an eclectic mix of adventures, adventure seeds, random tables, characters and NPCs, and poetry. Yes, poetry.

Below you can find the contents of each issue. There are plenty of ready-to-play adventures, interesting folks, and exotic locations. It’s definitely worth your time.

Manor #1

The first issue features the following:

  • Introduction…..3
  • The Salt Pit……4 – 8
  • Something Shiny in the Troglodyte Dung Heap…..9
  • Rural PA: Ghoul House…..10 – 12
  • Poetry Slam: Umber Hulk…..13
  • 20 Random Forest Encounters…..14 – 20
  • Street Vendor: Oren’s Boots…..21 – 23

The Salt Pit is a micro-adventure. A short piece that is more than an “encounter” but not something you’re going to necessarily explore over an entire campaign. The Manor is filled with these sorts of cool diversions.

Something Shiny gives you a 1d12 table for what you find if you dig through the turd pile of a troglodyte. Hope you’ve got your CON saves ready, ’cause Ewwww.

Ghoul House is a neat blend of modern day (it’s a real place) and fantasy creatures (the threat is severe: a 14HD lich and 200 dire ghouls). Note that a Balrog/Baalroch is only 10HD!

20 Random Forest Encounters is exactly what it says on the tin – roll 1d20 and have a bit of flavor show up as a group travels from place to place. Some violent, some benign.

Oren’s Boots provides three NPCs and some adventure hooks.

Manor #2

  • Introduction….2
  • Hugo’s Healing Potions….3-16
  • Smugglers Inn….17-23
  • Strange Things You May Find Under the Cot….24
  • Poetry Slam: Orc…25

Hugo’s Healing Potions is a set of NPCs and a shop location for that most necessary of consumables – the healing potion. This is a remarkably complete little location, with NPCs, a map, complete room descriptions, and adventure hooks.

Smuggler’s Inn is another location with good detail attached to it. An isolated and somewhat horrific location with secrets, sitting on the other side of a lake that has no small amount of treasure at its bottom. The adventure ends with a tongue-in-cheek table of random stuff you can find under a cot in the inn.

Manor #3

  • Mine of Rot and Disease….3-16
  • Poetry Slam: Black Dragon – A Haiku…17
  • Pog Nog’s Cart….18-20
  • Adzeer: God of the Monster Hunt….21-25

Mine of Rot and Disease is a Swords and Wizardry adventure that Tim wrote and designed to be completed in one session. A village exercised the better part of valor in dealing with an undead threat . . . and now is paying the price. The source of the sickness plaguing the village must be removed, and the PCs are the ones to do it.

Pog Nog’s Cart continues the “merchants make great flavor” theme from Manors 1 and 2. It’s a short article and adventure hooks featuring a goblinoid merchant.

Adzeer: God of the Monster Hunt is a complete OSR-based character class which combines the abilities of Cleric and Ranger. Levels 1-12, and complete with spell list.

Manor #4

  • Introduction
  • One-Shot Adventure: Incident at Butcher Creek….2-12
    • Hamlet of Low Ridge
    • Shadow Panther Cave
    • Lair of the Or’Drog
  • From Beneath the Manor….20-34
    • Basitrice
    • Beer Ooze
    • Boglings
    • Corpse Flies
    • Linen Golem
    • Molten Spiders
    • Sneachta Kin
    • Temple Guardian

Issue #4 contains a fairly substantial one-shot adventure, Incident at Butcher Creek, which contains a worked-up small village suitable for nearly anywhere, and two challenging encounters that can be tackled in any order.

From Beneath the Manor contains eight new monsters for OSR-based games. They’re written up for Swords and Wizardry, but would be portable into any game with some work.

Manor #5

  • Introduction….1
  • Vineyard of Villainy….2-6
  • Cursed Concoctions….7-9
  • 400 Tavern Names….10
  • Doors….11-15
  • 20 Random City Encounters….16-26
  • Random Hand-drawn Map….27

Vineyard of Villainy gives you four NPCs – evil NPCs – of 4th through 13th level to harass your players.

Not all potions are beneficial, and even the tiniest sip of one of these Curse Concoctions will have baneful effects.

Roll 1d20 twice, and you have the potential for 400 Tavern Names to choose from when you’re in a pinch. From the Jolly Banshee to the Jade Vixen.

Kicking down a door gets accessorized, packaged and sold in this article presenting four different models of Doors to populate dungeons and deathtraps.

If you’re wandering through a city, what diversions do you stumble across? 20 Random City Encounters provides you with a paragraph of description and GM notes for adding extra flavor, fun, and danger to your stroll.

Manor #6

  • Introduction….1
  • The Brothel at Wargumn….2-10
  • The Guard….11-13
  • Guard Greetings….14-15
  • Getting from Point A to Point B….16-19
  • Witches of the Dark Moon….20-26

They don’t call it the oldest profession for nothing, and for those with odd tastes, The Brothel at Wargumn features odd staff, from an elf to a dryad to a succubus. And more. “Bring protection” was never so important.

Speaking of a wholly different kind of protection, The Guard details a character class for those whom guarding others is a way of life, while when you stroll through the city gatehouse, Guard Greetings tells you what he might say. Not all of the greetings are terribly friendly, either . . .

Getting from Point A to Point B gives three unusual rooms and portals to spice up, well, going from place to place. A teleporter, a dangerous swim, and a lift tube.

Witches of the Dark Moon is a return to the one-shot adventures from the first Manor issues, and is somewhat of a detective story – witches have killed two boys, and it’s up to the PCs to sort them out.

Manor #7

  • Introduction 3
  • Boltswitch’s Mobile Potion Emporium by Boric G. 4-7
  • Skinwalker (Coyote) by Johua De Santo 8-9
  • Mirror, Mirror by Chris Coski 10-13
  • Trouble Down the Well by Simon Forster 14-15
  • Horrid Caves by Garrison J 16-25
  • Mind Flayer Haiku by Ken H. 26

This issue began Tim’s efforts to secure mostly third-party content for his Manor ‘zines.

Boltswitch’s Mobile Potion Emporium is a long speech by an impassioned merchant, with descriptions found inside of his wares.

The Skinwalker is a short OSR class for a lycanthropic race-as-class character type, with stats up to 10th level.

Mirror, Mirror presents eight magical mirrors, some beneficial, some baneful, some merely odd.

The local blacksmith went to investigate the village’s dried-up well. He did not return. There’s Trouble Down the Well, and they need the PCs help for a short adventure.

Finally, a longer adventure, the Horrid Caves, in which low-level PCs discover a long-lost network of caves, of otherworldly origin and occupation.

Manor #8

  • Introduction 3
  • Grappling Old School by Douglas Cole & Peter V. Dell’Orto 4 – 12
  • Strange Stars Data File: Ibglibdishpan by Trey Causey 13 – 15
  • Hirelings by Tim Shorts 16 – 21
  • Torchbearer by Tim Shorts 22 – 25

The article that started it all, Grappling Old School, appears as the lead article in this issue. You can see where Peter and I made our initial design decisions, as well as how the subject matter was expended for Dungeon Grappling. Not everything is exactly the same from this to the big book, but you can clearly see the foundations.

A departure not just from fantasy, but from the earth itself, Strange Stars Data File: Ibglibdishpan presents an alien race playable as a character for the Stars without Number OSR-based RPG.

Need a bit of help? Tim’s got you covered as you go looking for Hirelings. You get prices, some unique knacks and talents, and a few worked examples. Good for quickly generating some folks when the PCs need some extra manpower.

For higher skilled lackies, consider the Torchbearer. Tim takes one of the examples – a hireling who goes with the PCs to literally carry their torches and provide light as they delve and fight – and turns it up to 11. You get balanced torches, reinforced torches, and torch-based skills. Not a character class, but an example of how fleshed-out an NPC hireling can be.

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