Almost three years ago I wrote a post about some great system-neutral RPG resources. I wanted to follow-up and add a few more I’ve discovered since then.
D30 DM Companion
First up from Richard J. LeBlanc, Jr.’s New Big Dragon Games is the D30 DM Companion, a 40-page book filled with many, many charts that utilize the fairly-rare D30 die (while other dice or an app could be substituted, I think the D30 is a neat die and recommend purchasing one). Before getting into the charts there’s a couple of other useful things presented first: a dungeon mapping master key (very handy if not playing Moldvay D&D Basic, as those games don’t include many or any mapping symbols), a dungeon crawl worksheet (a very detailed sheet for elaborating exactly what’s in a room), and a classed character attribute generator (I admit this page is pretty confusing to me and doesn’t seem that helpful).
D30 Sandbox Companion
Similar to the prior entry, the D30 Sandbox Companion is another handy book from New Big Dragon Games, this time to help the DM with outdoor/expert-level adventures. This book also starts with some handy pages before getting into the charts: a wilderness mapping key (again, helpful if not playing Cook/Marsh Expert D&D), a hex crawl worksheet (a little handier than the dungeon crawl worksheet as it covers a larger area), a settlement worksheet (this is very handy for detailing a village or town, but may not provide enough room for a larger town or city), and an NPC record sheet. What I really like about this book is that it provides so much helpful charts and information to elaborate and build up an outdoors/wilderness adventure. Pretty much every fantasy RPG, from Cook/Marsh Expert D&D to every OSR RPG I’ve read so far, throws in a few pages of rules and maybe some charts to use for outdoor/wilderness travel, but still maintains such a focus on dungeon adventures and encounters that it always feel like an afterthought. In my games travel is pretty much “OK you arrive at the village”, and maybe 1 key encounter or notable event happens along the way. With this book, I can run a much better and more engaging game.
The Dungeon Dozen
Compiling many entries from his Dungeon Dozen blog, this book by Jason Sholtis (you may recognize his artwork from Swords & Wizardry as well!) is an incredibly useful resource of tables utilizing the D12. Sorted alphabetically, the range of subjects and ideas these pages and tables present is almost incomprehensible, it’s that wide-spread. And at 225 pages, there’s a LOT of content here! Luckily Jason has a 2nd book in the works, I can’t wait!
The Starship from Hell
After having owned Rafael Chandler’s Roll XX and Roll XX: Double Damage, I’m not sure why it took me so long to finally purchase his similar resource for sci-fi games, The Starship from Hell. Like many of his works, there’s some twisted and crazy stuff in here, so while it may not be quite the tone for your Star Trek or Firefly game, it would be perfect for Alien(s), Eclipse Phase, etc. There’s not just handy tables for creating starship details; the second half of the book is for creating detailed NPCs on those starships. The PDF is free, so there’s no reason not to check this out!
Your Whispering Homunculus
Another PDF that I purchased on sale on DriveThruRPG, Richard Pett’s Your Whispering Homunculus is written for Pathfinder but can be easily used for any RPG. At 169 pages this book has a lot to sift through and absorb, so don’t feel bad if you only use a little bit at a time! Based on how much I liked this book, I will likely purchase Richard’s More Whispering Homunculus. And if that’s not enough, as this book is published by Kobold Press there are many more guides available from them.