Last summer I spent a few fevered evenings compiling my personal vision of an old school, sandbox-oriented set of D&D rules. It was sort of an intellectual exercise; if, back in the Golden Age, every DM's version of D&D was different, what would mine look like?
So I took the Word DOC of Swords & Wizardry: White Box and went to town, incorporating some of my favorite bits and pieces produced by the OSR (our modern equivalent of Dragon, zines, and Judges' Guild) over the last 3+ years into a single, holistic document. For a setting I went with the good ol' Wilderlands, but threw out about 90% of it. I then brought some elements back in via Scott's Wilderlands of Darkling Sorcery, Realms of Crawling Chaos, and a couple other supplements.
Having completed this monumental task, the document sat on my computer, patiently awaiting my return. And last month return I did, proofing and editing but not really adding or subtracting a whole lot. I'm pretty happy with what I produced. So happy, in fact, that I'm going to be putting the "Wilderlands of Swords and Wizardy" into play next week, starting up a bi-weekly and extremely casual sandbox campaign with a couple old friends, members of my original high school gaming group, via Google Hangout.
As I went through the editing and proofing, a devious thought occurred to me. Why not get this stuff into publishable condition so that I can have Lulu run off a couple vanity copies for me and my group? A capital idea. Of course, as long as I'm going to the trouble of laying out and publishing the thing I might as well include some art, right? And so a madcap scheme was born. Alex and I are both artistically-inclined. Why not produce a couple dozen illustrations to spruce up the book (which I've since decided to split into the classic three-volume, digest-sized set)? Why not indeed.
Enough talk. Here are the first two pieces Alex has sent me.
For myself, I think I'll be doing borders and marginal silhouettes in the manner of Gary Chalk. I might be able to recruit another friend to submit a few pics as well. I'm pretty excited about producing a fun little vanity project like this. It will make a great gaming artifact for my collection. I'm almost certain that everything I used was either OGL or offered up for free on blogs and online resources. If that's the case, I'll post a PDF of the volumes here on the blog once they're done.