Fourthcore Alphabet is a reference guide and inspirational tool aimed at Dungeon Masters who are building and running dark, deadly dungeons. Each chapter spotlights a different element of fourthcore design, beginning with a short essay that describes how the element fits into the fourthcore aesthetic. These essays are followed by a table with which you can generate hundreds of examples using only your twenty-sided die. While this book uses the 4th Edition rules, every effort has been made to present the material in a way that makes it easily adaptable to other systems. DMs running gothic deathtrap dungeons in games like OSRIC or Wrath will find much to enjoy in this book.
I've written numerous entries on how old school is a state of mind not a rule system. FourthCore is proving my point in spades. Designed for 4e, but just as comfortable in any of the older systems, it distills a style of gaming that any grognard worth his salt would be proud of. I myself am adapting the approach to my Pathfinder games with great success and a PC kill count that has now exceeds two dozen. Mwuuaa Haa HA HAAAAA!!!
It has also generated lively after game discussions, players who are truly proud of their PCs who do survive and advance, an ever-increasing membership in our gaming club, and players who know the game better than ever before. They are taking the time to read, absorb and actually use the rules. The level of PC development, backstory and personal investment in a player character's life arc is also fun to watch.
So it's not all about killer GMing. As Gary himself said “The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs. He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own.”