Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gravelands: Behind the Scenes

There is a generally different approach used when playing a game that has very abstract and open-ended rules from the approach taken when playing a game with a more comprehensive set of rules. In both cases, the task is to bring life to the imaginary situations that arise in the game, but the tools are different...
Matt Finch, Mini-Interview November 22nd, 2011

What are The Gravelands...
This is our non-official, non-canonical, open-source and open-ended setting-by-implication underlying a series of mix-and-match adventures we've been building for Swords & Wizardry (Complete). The six adventures in the series may or may not fit together as you decide. Each adventure is set within a single hex that can be plopped down into any Old School campaign map. The Series can be explored in any order, even at random; just roll a d6, and you're good to go.

What we're building is not setting agnostic, but rather deliberately setting-porous. We have designed The Gravelands Series to be easily combined or connected into any other OSR adventure or Megadungeon or campaign with a minimum of bother, but with plenty of unique opportunities and flavor.

Swords & Wizardry (Complete) clocks-in at around 140 pages and it delivers a lean, mean imagination machine for dungeon-delving and wreaking mayhem upon monsters firmly rooted in the best of the old school traditions. It does an excellent job of capturing and conveying the essence of the old game and makes it fun to tinker with things all over again. The Gravelands Series is built upon the Swords & Wizardry (Complete) rules as its foundation and springboard. Everything we provide in each of these adventures builds upon those rules and is completely compatible with that one rule book, but will take things farther, just like it was the good old days all over again.

We're wrapping-up work on a Player's Intro, Gravelands Character sheet, and a few other handy resources, as well as the selection of Pre-Generated Characters we'll be bringing along with us to Con of the North. You should be seeing more of this stuff appearing here at the blog in the next couple of weeks, barring any unforeseen disasters or whatnot.

What Can You Expect?
Take a look at the two free Mini-Adventures we did for Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day; Taglar's Tomb and The Not-So Empty Tomb of Baljessor. Both of those have been revised and slightly expanded and ported into a pair of handy pay-what-you-want PDFs. The original, freebie versions will remain in-place at the blog indefinitely.

Two more adventures in The Gravelands series, Grave Robbing in Xanibet & Shifting Sands (and Black Cairns of Loshimur) will make their debut at Con of the North in February as we mentioned in a previous post.

The whole series of adventures will be made available as pay-what-you-want pdfs via DriveThruRPG fairly soon. Look for our announcement later this week or early next week. Fingers crossed.

There will also be a few posts here at the blog that offer some optional/supplemental stuff, new critters, and so on. If there's enough interest, and enough material generated, we'll see about making that into another pay-what-you-want pdf as well.

So, if you liked the free mini-adventures we did back in April, this series might interest you.

And yes, there will be a cross-over that involves stuff from Space Age Sorcery in one of the pending consider yourself warned.

The Gravelands Series

GL1: Tagler's Tomb (Revised) - COMING SOON!
Grave-Robbing in Xanibet
GL3: Shifting Sands and Black Cairns of Loshimar

GL4: The Not-So-Empty Crypt of Baljessor (Revised)

GL5: The Low Mounds of Gorl Hazik

GL6: Flooded Graves of Old Pazwin

The Gravelands: Behind the Scenes
Player's Intro |  Player's Resources  |  DM's Resources
Swords & Wizardry (Complete) | S&W Free PDF | S&W SRD | S&W G+


  1. Sounds cool! Enough of an overview to whet the appetite.

    1. Thank Trey, we're hoping to get at least one of the pdfs out to DriveThru, but we're running later than expected. I'm still not back to 100%, but we'll get it done as soon as we can. We'll post a couple of new monsters for this series next week, maybe some other bits, even if we need to take a few more days to get the first pdf out.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks. We're really looking forward to running some of these scenarios at Con of the North...

  3. This is solid in just the right way, in line with that thinking on what the OSR could be, but it goes beyond as well, based on the two you've posted so far - open, flexible with the benefit of new ideas, but rooted in the themes with space to grow.

    1. Thanks. We're getting the scenarios prepped for Con of the North, the pdfs can come out after that. This is a fun project, we hope people enjoy it.


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