The Vintage RPG Podcast

The Vintage RPG Podcast

Join Stu Horvath and John McGuire as they delve into their favorite tabletop roleplaying games from the past, present and future!


May 29, 2023 36 mins

This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we check out Stephen King and Bernie Wrightson’s Cycle of the Werewolf (1983). Born as a concept for a novelty calendar, it blossomed into an illustrated novella that is one of the finest modern werewolf stories and contains some of Wrightson’s best illustrations. We also talk more broadly about King’s career and unearth a surprising fact or two about the 1985 film adaptation of Cycle, Silver B...

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Which flesh is your flesh? This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, well, we don’t find out the answer to that question, but we DO check out the mysterious RPG-inspired art book Vermis I, by Plastiboo. This gorgeous artifact takes the form of a strategy guide for a videogame that doesn’t exist and draws clear inspiration from the Souls games, early videogame RPGs like Shadowgate and a whole wealth of tabletop games. It’s gorgeous and ...

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May 15, 2023 29 mins

The best of the first wave of TSR-produced D&D modules? Certainly the quirkiest! This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we check out S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. It’s the one with the crashed spaceship full of aliens that, wouldn’t you know it, look and act like classic D&D monsters! Even though this was published in 1980, it actually saw play as early as the summer of 1976 at conventions, so as outside the norm as Barrier P...

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May 8, 2023 26 mins

This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we discuss the concept of the West Marches, a style of play for large groups of players and on-demand GMs (mostly intended for D&D and its derivatives). West Marches was developed by Ben Robbins (Microscope, Kingdom) and offers a pretty unique framework for RPGs that puts a lot of the onus of play on players rather than GMs, and weaponizes the dread Fear of Missing Out. Stu’s starting up a West...

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May 1, 2023 27 mins

This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we check out Fred Saberhagen’s classic science fantasy trilogy. The last volume, Changeling Earth, got name-checked in Appendix N, but all three provided plenty of clear inspiration for Dungeons & Dragons. And they’re pretty great reads on their own!

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April 24, 2023 28 mins

This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we talk about Amazing Tales, a simple RPG designed to introduce children into the hobby. And that’s just what Stu did with his son a couple of weeks ago. How did Amazing Tales hold up in their first play through? Listen and find out!

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Our friends at Cadabra Records are excited about their imminent Nightlands Festival. Come to New Jersey and join in a celebrat...

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April 17, 2023 31 mins

This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we chat with Matt Johnson about Portents of the Degloved Hand, a kinda gross and very risky card-based omen supplement for everyone’s favorite doom-ridden RPG, MÖRK BORG! We talk about how it works, how it looks, why you’d want to add more death and disaster to MÖRK BORG and more!

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Portents is on Kickstarter right now...

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April 10, 2023 38 mins

This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, Hambone and Alex (our long-suffering editor), go to see Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves so Stu doesn’t have to! They weave a compelling tale of being entertained by a movie that, against all odds, seems to not suck. Maybe Stu will see it after all.

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Our friends at Cadabra Records are excited about their imminen...

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April 3, 2023 28 mins

This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we chat with Michael Monaco about his new book excavating the history of Fantasy Wargaming called The Highest Level of All. The game is a very idiosyncratic RPG created in the late ‘70s in the UK. I’ve talked about this game before, both in a previous episode of the podcast and in a post a million years ago — this is one of the RPGs from the early days that’s interested in “realistic” simulatio...

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March 27, 2023 31 mins

This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we check out Merlin Publishing’s BattleCards, a neat, if doomed, combat card game that came out in 1993. Design credit goes to Steve Jackson (UK) and has players picking cards to square off, then scratching off hit locations to see if they score wounds. The winner claimed the defeated card (they have a gold value) and could send it in to “purchase” special treasure cards. There are puzzles and ...

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March 20, 2023 23 mins

This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we check out A Time to Harvest, a recently released campaign for Call of Cthulhu where players take the role of Miskatonic University students on an ill-advised field trip to Vermont. We talk in vague terms about why it is a cool campaign, the after a clear “beyond this point is spoilers” warning we get into some of the nitty gritty. A future classic of the system, I think!

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March 13, 2023 22 mins

This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we descend into The Maze of Peril (1986), a fantasy novel by Dr. John Eric Holmes. Holmes is best known for creating the first D&D Basic Rules box set (1977), but he also wrote fantasy fiction (in addition to his day job as a neurologist). At a glance, Maze of Peril doesn’t inspire much confidence as to its quality, but it winds up being a fun adventure that captures something of the spirit of ...

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March 6, 2023 36 mins

This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we’re talking to James Wallis about his forthcoming book Everybody Wins. It’s a fantastic book that charts the recent history of board games through the lens of the forty-three winners of the German Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) award, from 1979 to 2022. We also talk a little bit about RPGs as well — how could we not, as James was behind Hogshead Publishing and their New Style series of R...

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February 27, 2023 28 mins

This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we’re looking at The Unspeakable Oath, the Call of Cthulhu fanzine from Pagan Publishing (and later, Arc Dream). Debuting in 1990, the zine feel emblematic of its time, while also illustrating a continuity of DIY tradition from the early days of the Amateur Press Associations into the current RPG zine scene. All that plus tentacles!

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February 20, 2023 42 mins

Stu took a sick day so this week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, Hambone called in Tony Vasinda of Plus One Exp, Adam Vass of World Champ Game Co. and Levi Combs of Planet X Games to chat about what’s going on and what’s cool this Zine Month. Hot damn!

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New year, new Noble Knight discount code! Use VRPG23 for 10% off all your purchases online or in the store!


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February 13, 2023 23 mins

Old friends, new looks! This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we’re looking at NECA’s Ultimates versions of the LJN Dungeons & Dragons action figures Warduke and Grimsword. We also check out Hasbro’s Dungeons & Dragons cartoon series figures — Venger, Dungeon Master, Hank, Diana, Bobby and Uni. All these toys are honkin’ BIG, but are they all GOOD? How much nostalgia is too much? Find out wherever pods are cast!

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February 6, 2023 19 mins

Dying malls and office buildings corrupted by extradimensional entities? Sounds like this week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we’re talking about Liminial Horror. A hack of Cairn from Goblin Archives, Liminal Horror takes the barely-there D&D framework of that earlier game and applies to the tropes of investigative horror. It works shockingly well! We also touch on The Mall and The Bureau, two scenario zines. The Mall has intriguing m...

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January 30, 2023 15 mins

Here we are in the brambles. This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we’re looking at Cairn, Yochai Gal’s ultra-lite hack/remix of Into the Odd and Knave. How few mechanics can you have and still have a D&D-esque RPG? It’s both more and less than you expect, probably. Cairn actually highlights Into the Odd’s differences from D&D by pulling the Odd mechanics in a more old-school direction (Into the Odd lacks a recognizable spellcastin...

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January 23, 2023 20 mins

We’re embarking on a tour of ultra-lite RPGs for the next few weeks on the Vintage RPG Podcast. Up first: Into the Odd Remastered, Chris McDowall’s extremely streamlined D&D-esque ruleset that is so distilled it becomes a sort of commentary on the tropes of roleplaying games broadly. Next up: Cairn!

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January 16, 2023 26 mins

Back the third party publishing of the 80s — this week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we take a look at GameScience’s Fantasy Gamer’s Compendium (1983), a collection of six smaller books originally created by the short-lived Little Soldier Games (in the mid-70s). Which is also the short-lived Phoenix Games (in like, 1980). It’s a little confusing, and we iron that out. The books themselves, though, are an inspiring collection of monst...

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