How 'Petty Gods' Is Supporting Old School Roleplaying


Dungeons and Dragons has been around for nearly 40 years. It's no surprise that a niche community would emerge to support older versions of the rules. "Petty Gods" is a project to support such old-school gaming, with a self-published collection of deities, including entries from well-known writers and veteran RPG designers. We spoke with editor Greg Gorgonmilk.

As Dungeons and Dragons has gone from 3rd edition, to 3.5, and then to 4th, a niche group of roleplayers has grown. They play using "original RPG" or "old-school" rules, derived from the earliest versions of Dungeon and Dragons circa the 70s and early 80s. Several games have resulted: OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, Adventure Conqueror King, for example. And little projects from many publishers or self-publishing writers and editors have emerged to support such games. Petty Gods is one such project.

"Blair Fitzpatrick came up with the crazy idea to do a follow-up to Judges Guild's 'Unknown Gods' (1980) that would feature a slew of new, weird minor deities for use with D&D and similar games," said Greg Gorgonmilk, the editor of "Petty Gods." Gorgonmilk came along to build up that initial version with contributions from other writers. He said, "I really wanted a book that could sit beside James Ward's essential 'Deities & Demi-gods.' "

For "Petty Gods," Gorgonmilk has gotten contributions from Ward, as well as Jennell Jaquays, from the fore-mentioned Judges Guild. Gorgonmilk said, "TSR and Judges Guild created products that still thrill the imagination glands. Having Ward and Jaquays on the 'Petty Gods' bandwagon is more than I could have hoped for."

Beyond such veteran roleplaying game designers, several authors are contributing. Michael Moorcook, creator of the "Elric" series and the "Eternal Champion" series has submitted contributions, as well as Gene Wolfe, author of "The Book of the New Sun" series. Gorgonmilk is elated. "Michael Moorcock is a huge influence on the approach we've taken in 'Petty Gods' -- Elric, if you recall, was quite the godslayer. Gene Wolfe is another favorite of mine -- one of the world's greatest living writers, inside or outside science fiction," said Gorgonmilk.

"Petty Gods" will be released this summer, after additional written and art contributions are received and the book is finished -- interested parties can still submit at Gorgonmilk's site, and full disclosure, including this author. When "Petty Gods" is complete, it will be offered as a free .PDF and sold at-cost via Print-On-Demand. It will have rules for both Labyrinth Lord and Adventurer Conqueror King games, but support beyond that. "Geeks of all persuasions should be interested. 'Petty Gods' combines literary talent, great art, and oodles of new content for any game cast in the mold of the original RPG," said Gorgonmilk.

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