Running 5e as OSR: Monsters by HD not CR

Some of my friends love 5e, only play 5e, only will play 5e. I find 5e unwieldy and time consuming to prep and run, whereas I love the flow of OSR and PBTA games. But 5e has been around for nearly a decade and apparently isn't going away soon either.

What I want to know is whether I can run 5e for them, RAW or RAW-ish, in a way that means I a) don't have to bog myself down in encounter building and all that crap and b) can use all the cool OSR stuff I have lying around.

Encounter building is painful; it sucks all the joy out of running a game for me. However, embracing "Combat as War, not Sport" I'm sacking off encounter building for good so I don't need CR. What I could do with, however, is an idea of general stats against Hit Dice in 5e so I can use OSR resources or eyeball stats in play.

Speed(ish) painting Infinity minis with Contrast paints

...for people - like me - who don't like painting minis!

Let's get this out of the way: I've never been a quick, or good, painter despite doing it for the last maybe 30 years. Getting back into wargaming post-Covid has gotten me back into painting, and I've been watching and reading a few tutorials in dreadful anticipation.

The most inspiring advice was along the lines of "staying in the lines is less important than getting contrast on the mini"; that struck a chord because I'm always disappointed with how flat my colours are.

I really appreciate the impression of volume that shaded and highlighted miniatures have, but never had the patience or the skill (or the time) for all that blending and shading. Having watched loads of interesting YouTube videos on "sketch style" or underpainting and glazing, this is my low-effort take:

Some attempt to show the steps in the process...

Step 1: Prime black with brush-on black primer - because I hate getting in all the crevices with spray primer. You can use black spray primer but the only really important bit of this step is getting black paint on the in-between and underneath bits of the mini. 

I reckon this is around 10 mins a mini, it doesn't need to be perfect because:

Step 2: Zenithal prime with grey and white spray primer, for super-fast underpainting that doesn't need an airbrush. You could use one. I have experimented and for the best results I think I am settling on:

Indie RPGs saved my relationship (and they can save yours too)

I was, on reflection, probably too busy with the other elements in my life to dedicate the time and the attention she needed. She was inflexible, demanding, frustrating, a source of great joy that left me burnt out and miserable.

D&D is a harsh mistress. We had a difficult relationship for many years, through 4e and 5e and variations on 3e, and it took something new to change that. Indie games turned my relationship with gaming right around, so a big thanks to their creators and to the November RPG Blog Carnival for prompting me to get out of my rut and blog about how much I love them!

Indie RPG books
My collection so far

I have said it before: the moment I read and played Stars Without Number and Dungeon World it was like a light went on in my head. Suddenly I saw so many other, better, ways of doing things in my games. Better ways of prepping, organising, running, and playing games. Better mechanics and frameworks, better tools, better abstractions.

On the painting table: Infinity Nomads

I've been pretty busy with work and life recently, but I have picked up the new Infinity starter and managed to get a couple of games in.

Having new minis means I really should get back into painting, here's progress so far including my first real attempt at edge highlights. Comments welcome.

Billie the bot, an Alguacil, and a WIP Sombra

In other news I'm playing in a weekly 5e game which is a great break from DMing. Got plenty of ideas in my head for upcoming games but haven't had enough time to get them down on the blog.

Happy gaming until next time, stay safe.

Go Build a Dungeon!

A better-late-than-never wrap up of all the great posts from August's RPG Blog Carnival, plus bonus gems on the subject of dungeon building:

If you build it, they will come... Image (cc) Kanut55

Lapidary Ossuary gave us this series of insightful posts detailing dungeon building from the ground up, with the finished product as a showcase. As a reader of dungeons/adventures, the layout analysis is particularly interesting.


Codex Anathema goes all out with posts on dungeons in both Eberron and Ravnica, and guidance on building dungeons and running dungeons in your games!

Dreaming Dragonslayer provided an excellently referenced framework for dungeon building, with an example 5 room dungeon, with a well reasoned argument for keeping the number of rooms in the 5-9 range.


All rounded off by shorter posts from Rising Phoenix on building dungeons from terrain pieces and from The Other Side on exploration in the Vault of the Drow.

Bonus: a classic post in this vein is Goblin Punch's Dungeon Checklist from 2016; seven timeless things that every RPG dungeon should actually have (in my opinion too)

Now go build a dungeon (and let us know how you get on) and don't forget to check out September's RPG Blog Carnival over at the Five Foot Square!

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Image content used that is not original was sourced via creative commons or similar and is used in good faith - and because I love it - however please contact me if there are any issues.