Beyond the Jungle: Grognardia

I DON’T VISIT a lot of gaming websites, mostly because I’m extremely busy, what with a full-time day job, a second career as a sci-fi/fantasy novelist, a wife, two grown kids (who nevertheless sometimes need their old man to give them a hand), a dog that’s destructive when bored, an almost 40-year old house that always has something to fix, and two charitable organizations (the Eastern Shore Writers Associaton and my local Knights of Columbus) to help run. So, any site I visit more than once needs to be good.

In 2020, I restarted my long-time Advanced Dungeons & Dragons campaign (as detailed here), and since then, I’ve regularly turned to a certain site for advice and inspiration.

That site is Grognardia, run by James Maliszewski, who is an Absolute Legend. Beginning on March 30, 2008, he cranked out 443 posts that year, then followed that with 669 posts in 2009. Bear in mind, these were hefty, substantive discussions about gaming, not “Here’s a photo of bacon taped to my cat.”

James (I hope he doesn’t mind me using his first name) continued on like that for over 2800 posts. In 2012, he began an 8-year break from his blog for personal reasons, starting up again in 2020 like he’d never missed a beat. And he’s still chugging.

What makes Grognardia great, besides all the hard work that James puts into it, is how he’s played just about every old-school game there is: 1st Edition AD&D, of course, but also Traveller, Middle-earth Role Playing, Marvel Super Heroes, Call of Cthulhu, Empire of the Petal Throne, you name it (he thought highly of the original 40K “Rogue Trader”). You can find an enormous range and depth of info about gaming on Grognardia.

James is also extremely well-read in the classics of the sci-fi/fantasy genres, with reviews of “the pulps” being a regular feature of the blog. James knows all the old-school masters: Lovecraft, Howard, Bloch, Asimov, Ashton Smith, Bradbury, and many more. This extensive exposure to the literature that inspired the original games informs his appreciation and discussions of them.

Grognardia is, simply put, one of the best and most influential old-school rpg sites out there. His reviews, discourses, musings, observations, remembrances, and interviews with key gaming creators are nigh-mandatory if you want to know where the hobby came from, where it could have gone, and where it might be heading. Even if I’m not interested in a particular game that James is writing about, I’ll still read his latest post, because he’s just that good at what he does. Check it out.

Kenton Kilgore writes killer SF/F for young adults and adults who are still young. His latest release is the comic book Alley Kat & PIMMI: A Fallen World. From the pages of Stray Cats come the exciting high-tech crimefighting duo of the future! On the hunt for the mysterious terrorist Quick Brown Fox, Alley Kat and her cybernetic sidekick PIMMI instead encounter the Kurindans, monsters from another world, raiding ours for a sinister purpose.

Who are the Kurindans? What do they want? Is Quick Brown Fox involved? And how will Alley Kat and PIMMI stop them? Find out in this thrilling, manga-style introduction to the superheroes of the mid-21st Century!

Find Kenton’s books in softcover and for Kindle on Amazon. Check him out on, and follow Kenton on Facebook for frequent posts on sci-fi, fantasy, and other speculative fiction. You can also catch him on Instagram.