Wednesday, January 15, 2014

DieHard GameFAN Table-Top Game Awards Are In!

The DieHard GameFAN Gaming Awards have been handed for 2013 and I placed in them, not once but twice! One was for my old pet project that was play-tested and worked on for over two decades in various incarnations and titles (Tir nAille, Tir na nOg, etc) and the other based off of one of my favorite Medieval Metal Songs of all time. So this was a double whammy of amazing! it is and the link to the awards site as well. I guess this makes me an award winning writer now...


The Codex Celtarum just might be my favorite Castles & Crusades release ever and considering I’ve been getting pieces here and there since first edition, that says a lot.Castles & Crusades had a fine year, with releases like To Kill a King and Tome of the Unclean, but I fell in love with the Codex Celtarum when it was released and it’s been hard to get out of my mind sense. The codex is part sourcebook and part campaign guide, but all masterfully done. The book is a one stop shop for all things Celtic Mythology-wise. Everything from creation myths to new character classes is covered here. It’s simply a fantastic piece and it can easily be used with other retro-clone system like Swords and Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, Mazes & Perils and so on, with little to know work by the GM.

The Codex Celtarum one of the oldest and best OSR systems available. Whether you want to run a Celtic themed campaign in this or any other system, I can’t think of a better resource available to you than this book. Heck, even if you never plan to run a Celtic themed game, the Codex Celtarum is worth picking up and perusing simply to see how well written and organized the book is. Truly, this was not just the crown jewel in Castles & Crusades this year, but across all OSR games.

Runners-Up: Castles & Crusades: To Kill a King, Dungeon Crawl Classics #78: Fate’s Fell Hand.


When it comes to Castles & Crusades, I tend to love the corebook books, but find the adventures lacking. Not so with To Kill a King. This was not only the best adventure I’ve seen written for one of the oldest D&D retro-clone systems out there, but it was by far the best adventure of the year. There was a lot of competition this year too. We could have easily done a top ten solo adventures for 2013 list and we still would have had to drop some favorites off. In the end To Kill a King won because it was the best stand alone adventure for your gaming dollar, as the adventure opens up enough subsequent story potential to let your GM turn this the fallout into a long running campaign. The adventure features some great writing, including covering all the ways the adventure can go completely off-rails. To Kill a King is pretty much prepared for all the choices the PCs could make and how to run the adventure accordingly. The majority of published adventures tend to really railroad characters into a set path and so it was refreshing to see how truly open ended To Kill a King could be, and doubly so that it was prepared for all the possibilities. It’s one of the best thought out adventures I’ve ever encountered and since it came out in July it really has been the litmus test for every other adventure I’ve played this year.

Besides the writing, it’s great to see an adventure that caters to both good and evil aligned PCs. After all, the title of the adventure does imply an assassination attempt and it’s wonderful to see an adventure where the Assassin class features so strongly in the game. I can’t remember the last time an Assassin PC got the chance to take center stage in a published adventure. Usually retro-clone pieces focus on warriors, mages and clerics. Again, the adventure can still be pulled off if you don’t have an Assassin amongst your PCs, but this is just another way To Kill a King was a breath of fresh air.

Even if you don’t play Castles & Crusades any fan of old school style systems should pick up this adventure just to see how it is written and/or laid out. To Kill a King is pretty much the gold standard for how to design a non dungeon crawl adventure for your D&D style games. Definitely take it upon yourself to see why.

Runners-Up: No Security: The Fall Without End, Deadlands Noir: The Old Absinthe House Blues.


  1. A great module that captures the flavor of the early Welsh Dark Ages. Exciting to see Maelgwyn of Gwynedd as an NPC. I'm wondering if the monk Gildas is located in this world as well!

  2. He is definitely in this world, it is the same! Just not in the module per se. The sequel is coming out any time soon and takes place in Mercia!