Best Supporting Actors — an OSE character collection

One of my favorite authors and publishers, Douglas Cole of Gaming Ballistic, is offering another book for Old-School Essentials: Best Supporting Actors: Ready-to-Use Adversaries and Allies for Old-School Essentials. It's a collection of 172 characters with stats and personalities. Specific enough to add flavor but general enough to easily drop into most campaigns.

I'm not the target audience for this one, since I don't play OSE, but I can vouch for the quality of Doug's books for the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game and the Fantasy Trip. I'm buying this because the character descriptions will be useful and I can restat them for DFRPG easily enough.

I know there are a fair number of OSE fans on this forum, so I thought I should mention it. His previous publications for OSE are well-regarded. The Kickstarter is live until April 8.



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I'll note that this is Doug's 16th crowdfunding project. He has delivered on all of them. The quality is consistently good for writing, art work, and publishing for both the pdf and physical products. This is not the sort of kickstarter where you need to question if you get the stuff. The only real question to my mind is, "How many stretch goals can we unlock?"
Note: I was not the target audience. However my experience at a local con the first weekend in March showed me I need to broaden what I run if I want to get people to sign up for the stuff I really like. So, I'm picking up OSE for that purpose.

Douglas Cole

We're down to the last three days of Best Supporting Actors, which ends 9pm Central on Staturday, April 8.

In today's update, I talk about the new retail pledge tiers, some discussion on the new cover - which is only $670 away, or about 13 pledges - plus a new preview of some of the higher level characters, and also the preamble to those characters.

Retail Pledges Added​

I always wait to the end for these, but I've added two retail pledges to the mix.

  • The first is five copies of just the Best Supporting Actors books, with no PDFs. That's $75 and is half off the $30-per-book Kickstarter price. If we hit the hardcover stretch goal at $25,000, those of course get upgraded to the hardback right along with all the other physical copies.
  • The second level is three copies each of not just the Best Supporting Actors hardcopy, but also three each of the OSE solo adventures. That's a smaller amount of each one, but a wider variety for your shelves.
For retailers who want more than 5 or 3 each (depending on pledge levels), add-ons that duplicate the tiers are available.


New Cover Approaches​

For a while I've been pretty sure that the stretch goal for the new cover will be reached. Looking at the "followers" who haven't yet backed the project, one might expect a last-few-day surge that would cover that goal and more.

As a result, I've been working with Billy Blue on the new cover. With some discussion, we concluded the existing text layout was not as conducive to good art presentation as it could be, so we tweaked it

New Cover Template gives more room for artwork

He's still working with me on the sketch, but I'm very pleased with the progress; I hope to show you the preliminary cover pencils in the next day or so.

I can say this:

The front features two parties of adventurers, all taken from the pages of the book. Let's say Vikings versus Ronin in flavor. This will replicate the "NPC Encounters: Adventuring Parties" section of the Advanced Fantasy Referee's Tome and show one of the best uses of the book: when the Referee needs a half-dozen opposing murder-hobos bent on the same goals as the players.

The two groups will be arguing in front of a dungeon entrance. Loudly arguing. Focusing more on each other than what's creeping out of the dark from the caverns beyond. Also not paying attention to the Severed Hand mercenaries, who are approaching both groups from the woods on the back cover.

I'm really looking forward to the final product; Billy does great work.

Mentors and Masterminds Preview​

Finally, I did some work on the smaller set of characters - 17 in total - who are comin in north of the equivalent of 100,000 XP. These vary from 7 HD to 11 HD, and most are single-class specialists. Half are Classic Fantasy, the other from Advanced Fantasy in terms of class choice (though there's also one Fighter-4/Magic-User-7 in there as an adventurer for hire).



The introductory text makes suggestions on how to use these higher-tier characters, while the actual examples present the worked characters. Duisy, above, makes a good source of bespoke magic items if you have the time and money...or as a quest-giver as she tasks adventurers with retrieving magical ingredients for her work.

Tis make a good adversary; she has already stolen something, and the PCs are tasked with apprehending her (good luck), or at least returning what was stolen.


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