B/X Essentials: Monsters -- Writing Complete!


It's been a long, hard haul, but I'm delighted to announce that my completely fresh Open Game Content rendition of the classic Basic / Expert monsters is complete!

The complete text is online here.

What's new about this?
Haven't there been a zillion rewrites of these monsters for all different editions of D&D since the dawn of time? Indeed there have! But my new rendition is a bit different. The major focus is on usability as a reference during play:
  • Bullet points formatting: The original B/X monsters are written up in a "wall of text" style, making it rather difficult to pick out all the pertinent information quickly during play. My new write-ups break down each monster's description into a set of bullet points, making it much simpler to get an overview of the creature's abilities, at a glance, and much quicker to jump to the text for the appropriate ability, as needed.
  • Everything in one place: There are no "see X" references to be seen. Everything you need to run each monster is right there in one place. This means that you never need to flip back and forth between pages to look up rules for monsters' abilities. (For example, the description of the rules for monsters' swallow whole ability is repeated in the description of each monster that has that ability.)
  • Terse writing: Phrasing is kept minimal, for rapid reading during play.
  • Full detail: And yet these are full write-ups, not merely super minimal stat blocks. The full information is presented, including descriptions of the monsters' appearance, habitat, behaviour, and so on.

So what's next?
Proofreading is beginning, then it'll be onto layout, illustration, and then publication as the fourth book in the B/X Essentials product line. (More information on B/X Essentials.)

Necrotic Gnome One Page Dungeon Contest Prizes



Necrotic Gnome Productions is proud to sponsor the esteemed One Page Dungeon Contest in its tenth year!

Necrotic prizes in the treasure hoard:

  • 1 print-on-demand collection of B/X Essentials. (Core Rules, Classes and Equipment, Cleric and Magic-User Spells.)
  • 5 PDF collections of B/X Essentials.

Forthcoming Adventures in Dolmenwood


As I mentioned last year, there are several new adventures set in Dolmenwood in the works. My own adventure (the one about a fairy banquet, market, and ball) has unfortunately fallen by the wayside, as I've had to focus on other things. However, two other cats have come up with the goods. Here's what we have in the works.

(Both adventures are suitable for 1st - 2nd level adventurers, and are expected to come in at around 40-45 pages. To be published in digest-size print and PDF.)

The Fungus That Came To Blackeswell
By Yves Geens

What's that you say? Doesn't an adventure with that name already exist? Didn't Bryce Lynch write a glowing review of it and include it in his "the best" category? Why yes, you are correct! This adventure was published some years back as part of the Psychedelic Fantasies line. I read it at the time and it immediately shouted "this could be set in Dolmenwood!" to me. I suggested this to the author, Yves Geens, and he obliged by coming up with a new edition of the adventure, specifically set in Dolmenwood.

Check out Bryce's review of the original version of this adventure here.

Synopsis: An isolated village in the sodden lowlands of Dolmenwood is overrun by fungus of a wildly varied and nefarious nature. The inhabitants are reduced to either vicious fungal drones or cowering shut-ins. Can YOU save the day (should you care to)? How can YOU profit from the unfortunate situation (should this be your thing)?

Status: Draft layout almost finished. Play testing to begin soon.


The Wicked Child of Swynethorp
By Kyle Hettinger

Synopsis: A young lad, the son of a minor lord, has gone insane, running amok in the local village. Rewards are offered, doctors and priests are consulted, but none can figure out what ails the boy. The sinister truth will take adventurers into a strange mirror world, ruled by a fairy lordling dubbed The Prince of Looking Glasses. Can YOU restore the lad to sanity and claim the reward (should you care to)? How can YOU profit from the unfortunate situation (should this be your thing)?

Status: Draft layout in progress. Play testing to begin semi-soon.

Looking for Dolmenwood Play Testers!


Edit: I also posted this on google+, and the response has been swift and vigorous! The need for play testers has now been met :)

Looking for play testers!

There are two Dolmenwood adventures in the works, and both are nearing the stage where they'll be in need of some play testing. I'm looking for a few DMs who would like to run these adventures and give feedback. I'm looking for detailed feedback (on how the adventures work in play, along with any suggestions for things that could be tweaked), more than just a simple "it was fun".

In return for your help, you'll be credited in the module and will get a free PDF copy and at-cost print-on-demand copy of the finished thing.

If you're interested, send me a line (comment here, email, g+).

B/X Essentials: Monsters -- 70% of the way!

I've not written an update on the next B/X Essentials book (the book of monsters) in a while, but it's progressing slowly in the background. I've created a list of all the B/X monsters now, including sub-types: it comes in at 207 monsters. I've currently finished write-ups for 148 of them, so am around 70% of the way through.

The end is now coming vaguely into sight!

The work-in-progress document is shared online here.

B/X Essentials Compatibility License


I've been asked several times, recently, about some kind of licensing for others to publish products compatible with B/X Essentials. Thus...

B/X Essentials Compatibility License and Logo

The full text of the license follows. Please get in touch if you want to use it and have any questions!

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This license allows unaffiliated, third-party publishers to release products declared as compatible with and for use with B/X Essentials. The following terms apply:

1. Your product's title cannot include the name "B/X Essentials" or the acronym "BXE".
2. You must include the compatibility logo somewhere on your product's cover (front or back).
3. You may use any of the compatibility logos included in the zip file along with this license (the standard logo, the inverted logo, the greyscale logo, or the inverted greyscale logo), whichever suits the visual needs of your cover best.
4. You may, optionally, place a plain box behind the compatibility logo, for clarity.
5. The compatibility logo must not be displayed so as to form part of your product's title.
6. The compatibility logo must be displayed smaller in size than your product's title.
7. The compatibility logo may not be colourised, made transparent, or have its aspect ratio (width vs height) altered.
8. Your product may not use the B/X Essentials trade dress.
9. You must not in any way state or imply that your product is an official B/X Essentials release.
10. Your product's legal text must contain the following: "B/X Essentials is a trademark of Gavin Norman. The trademark and compatibility logo are used with permission of Necrotic Gnome Productions, under license."
11. You must make an effort to ensure that all rules mechanics used in your product are compatible with the Basic / Expert rules, as presented in the B/X Essentials series.
12. You agree to take legal responsibility for your product, including copyright or trademark infringement claims.
13. Use of the license is free of charge.
14. After publication, you must provide a copy (PDF or print) of your product to Necrotic Gnome Productions.
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B/X Essentials Print Bundle


As you've probably noticed, there's a big sale on at RPGNow right now.

In addition to all the Dolmenwood and B/X Essentials PDFs being 33% off, I thought I'd add an additional special deal:

Get all three B/X Essentials books in premium print at $2 off each.

That's $7.99 each, $23.97 for the set.

Wormskin issue eight out now in PDF!



  • The secrets of the witches of Dolmenwood -- The Sisters of the Chalice and the Moon.
  • Guidelines and charts for camping wild in the woods.
  • d30 generator for strange waters.
  • Monsters of the Wood: brainconk, jack-o'-lantern, ochre slime-hulk, pook morel, wronguncle.

If you just want the PDF, get it now at RPGNow! (Print + PDF bundle coming soon!)

Wormskin Issue Eight Art Preview

Progress report on Wormskin 8:

  • All art is in.
  • Layout is almost finalised.
  • Should be going into print setup soon!
Now a little art teaser. A grimalkin collecting firewood, by Thomas Novosel. I love blue cats.


B/X Essentials: Editable Text Editions

The plain text edition of B/X Essentials: Cleric and Magic-User Spells is now online and available for use in your own house rules docs and retro clones!

RTF docs at RPGNow:

  1. Core Rules.
  2. Classes and Equipment.
  3. Cleric and Magic-User Spells.

There are also Google docs of all finished B/X Essentials books.

B/X Essentials: Cleric and Magic-User Spells: Out Now!


I am proud to announce the publication of the third B/X Essentials book: Cleric and Magic-User Spells!

What is this?

  • A retelling of the classic Basic / Expert spells from 1981, presented in a swanky new format.
  • All the cleric and magic-user spells in a slim 34-page booklet.
  • Designed with one thing in mind: use at the table. No important mechanical info hidden away in blocks of text. No spells spanning pages (no page flipping while reading a description!).
  • Delightfully illustrated by a bevvy of old-school art-vagabonds.
  • Available as a fully linked PDF or a print/PDF combo (with saddle-stitched option for that "lays flat on the table" goodness).

Where is it available?
Why, here! http://www.rpgnow.com/product/231649/B-X-Essentials-Cleric-and-MagicUser-Spells

Here ends the player-oriented section of B/X Essentials. The next two books (Monsters and Adventures and Treasures) will complete the game with the referee's rules.

B/X Essentials: Cleric and Magic-User Spells: Cover!

(C) Illustration Andrew Walter
What can I say? The full, psychedelic majesty of Andrew Walter, unleashed.

B/X Essentials: Cleric and Magic-User Spells: Almost Done!


The last few illustrations for the book are coming in! Pieces from Kyle Latino and Sean Poppe can be seen in the layout preview above.

This is always the most exciting part of a project for me, seeing it finally all coming together. The green squares that I use as image placeholders during layout being replaced with actual artwork.

This is going to be a really nice looking book. And a book that I've always wanted myself for use at the table. A 34 page, digest-size booklet containing just the B/X cleric and magic-user spells. And loads of artwork.

Publication planned for early February.