Sometimes books, like the one pictured to the right, creep quietly into the world and no one pays attention or notices or even gives a shit. But there are people out there in real life who are making some very playable arts and the people I am talking about aren’t typically people who would be recognized in the OSR scene, or even the RPG scene. The person I am talking about this time is a one Sam Bosma, who is a fantastic illustrator, and prior to last week was someone I didn’t know of or have the mental faculties with which to even comprehend. Last week, with a pure and serendipitous happenstance, I came across this little book he made. This particular book is the one you see here on the right, it is called Inventory v.1 and it is actually little- sizing up at 4.5 by 5.5 inches. It showed up in a tiny package and in all manner of tiny glory to my mail box today while I was at work.
On the cover of this lilliputian tome is an adventurer gal. She is wading into the darkness with a pack full of stuffs and it is a wonder anyone can fight holding anything, including heavy ass swords, but she is making it happen. The interior of the book is risographed onto creamy paper that mutes the art in a way that softens edges and vanquishes what would be glaring contrast. Whatever Bosma picked as the cover material is the softest paper I have ever fucking touched. It has some kind of texture on it that just works.
The first page is a tip-of-the-hat from a dead skull guy with a knife in his face and coins spilling out of his mouth. He is congratulating us on living through some terribleness and maybe eyeing our goodies to stuff into his head with the the rest of his belongings. That is a great start.
Save that dead miser’s soliloquy, Inventory v.1 is a compendium of loot stuffs only. The illustrations within are of various treasures found while traipsing about the confines of some hole in the earth. Each item gets a page illustration and a name. Pawing through the book you will find items like The Golden Shovel of Greater Digging or maybe even the +4 Judgmental Skull. As this is a book of arts and not a book of rules, you will have to mechanize the items in whatever manner you want. There is a +3 Ham Hock opposite a Simple Stone Knife. Brilliant. There is a sword in this book with an ouroboros knuckle guard or what-ever-the-fuck-it-is-called.
All of the stuff in this book is playable; with a tit-smack of work you can drop these items into your players hands and even show them what they look like. It is as simple as showing up to your game without forgetting the fucking book.