01 January 2022

My three favourite RPG books from 2021

I’ve cut back way back on my RPG purchases in recent years. For the most part I try to buy only products that I think I’ll likely actually use at some point in the near-ish future, or products that I have a strong intrinsic interest in (as, say, they concern a setting, subject, or game of which I’ve long been a fan). Nonetheless, I still buy more RPGs products than I should. But there are a few every year that do not fall into the “taking-up-space-on-my-shelf-until-I-donate-them-or-retire” category. Here are three from 2021 (in no particular order):



I’ll start with something I haven’t mentioned before at this blog: Goodman Games’ Original Adventures Reincarnated #6: The Temple of Elemental Evil. In addition to including scans of multiple printings of the original 1st edition AD&D Village of Hommlet module, as well as the subsequent Temple of Elemental Evil mega-module, this two-volume set provides an expanded version of the module with 5th edition D&D stats. I rank the original Village of Hommlet module as one of the all-time classics for AD&D.


I hope to resurrect my (sadly-still-on-hiatus) Greyhawk campaign (which uses 5e D&D with Gygax’s version of the World of Greyhawk) in the new year. Once the characters wrap up their current adventure, I hope to have them travel to Hommlet and go through this campaign. Afterwards, I plan to run some more classic modules in Greyhawk for my players, including White Plume Mountain (converted to 5e in Tales from the Yawning Portal), Expedition to the Barrier Peaks (another member of Goodman Games’ “Original Adventures Reincarnated” series), the “Against the Giants” trilogy (also in Tales), and perhaps even the Tomb of Horrors (yet another one in Tales). At least that’s my tentative plan for the future. (Heh ... hope springs eternal.)



Then there’s Against the Darkmaster. (I’m cheating a bit here as I got the PDF in 2020. But I don’t feel like I “really” own a book or game until I get the physical version.) I’ve mentioned this excellent game before here. I really want to run this sometime – perhaps using it with a heavily modified version of the amazing classic campaign module Ardor by Terry Amthor (RIP). Even if I don’t use Against the Darkmaster in the near future, though, my long-abiding love for MERP makes this a purchase that I don’t regret at all. I thrill just flipping through this massive, gorgeous book, appreciating the wonderful art, and reading bits of the rules.



Last – but certainly not least – there’s Mythic Babylon, which I’ve also mentioned previously here. Since I’ve been playing in a Mythic Babylon campaign since summer 2020 (run by the book’s co-author, Chris Gilmore), in a way I’ve been using this book for even longer than I’ve owned it! It’s a really wonderful work from the always excellent Design Mechanism.


Okay, that's it for 2021. Best wishes, gentle readers, for 2022!

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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who divides his time between Milwaukee and Toronto.