Muster - a new old school primer

Many of us who were active at Story Games spent hours - and pages - interrogating Eero Tuovinen about his practice of “challenge-based” wargame-style old-school play. There were wonderful and insightful discussions, which, unfortunately, were all lost when the forum shut down.

Well, great news! Eero is back at work publishing an actual “primer” covering this kind of play. It’s both theory and praxis.

His perspective here is well developed, unique to his particular approach to this style of gaming, and based on years of actual play. (Basic D&D, homebrew, and Braunstein.)

It’s a slightly different take from what I often see in the OSR sphere, more concerned with the theory behind the decisions you make in design and play: in other words, if he’s successful, his booklet will teach you how to make those decisions based on a sort of agenda and principles. You can get a good sense of how he presents information from his blurb on the page linked below.

I figure there is enough “old school” interest and curiosity here at the Gauntlet - as well as people derived from a Forge background, who would know Eero from there - that it’s worth letting you all know about it. It might be of interest to at least a handful of people here.

I highly recommend you to check it out, to see what all the hype was all about. He’s looking to fund it here, at IndieGoGo, over the next two weeks or so:

Help spread the word, too - it’s just word of mouth at this point, and I’m sure you have friends or contacts who would really enjoy this product.


I used to collect some of Eero’s (and others’) insights from those discussions at my blog back in 2015, for example here.

Here’s a favorite from Eero, wherein he has the following to say about “optimizing at the expense of a robust and compelling fiction”, e.g. by “swinging some sort of a pole-marmoset-flint knife combo platter in a customized effort to keep my character safe”:

I’m totally stoked about his crowdfunding project!


Eero has provided a major update to the project today! :smiley: It links to his blog, where he covers Muster’s substance in broad strokes and the manuscript outline, among many other things.

This is shaping up to be a thorough treatment and the “playing well” section alone will be well worth it, though “decision-making filtering with dice” and “controlling complexity, maintaining data” also sound intriguing. Eero’s got a knack for simple, yet powerful procedures (e.g. intuitively creating and easily maintaining encounter tables via nested tables etc., as I well remember from Story-Games).

Funding is at 75% but has slowed down, so listen to the commando skirkmish operator in you and charge over there. Victory is within our grasp!


Johann is on the ball! Excellent news.

Let’s push this through and get it to happen!

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A friend of mine writes the Necropraxis blog, an excellent resource, with dungeons, game design, essays, and even quantitative research on RPGs.

He recently posted about Muster - check it out!

Only a few days left for this project to come to life, and it’s very close! If you’re on the fence, now’s the time to decide whether you want to support it.


Necropraxis is really one of the best classic theory blogs out there. Well worth a digging through if one wants to understand how to run rules-lite dungoen adventure or use OD&D at the table.

Muster should be interesting, and I’m curious to see how it matchess with my own ideas about classic play, Eero’s principles are certainly inspiring and I’m exciting about the project.

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GUS, you and Necropraxis are two of my favourite writers/thinkers when it comes to classic play. I’ll be very curious to hear what you think of Muster!