Eow Links 14
2021-04-04

Eow Links 14

"Eow" for "End Of Week". Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 14.

For more weekly links, head to The Seed of Worlds Shiny TTRPG link collection.

Most of the links below are found via the RPG Planet that Alex Schroeder built and maintains. If you have a RPG blog, please consider joining the conversation.

An even longer list than last week, let's see how it works.


Der Totale Widerstand

Game design: life experiences

This leads to a very different training approach. But it also leads to a different gaming approach. Some people look for epic battles - I look for epic ambushes. I try to scout and prepare so that the enemy is totally surprised and totally overwhelmed, all die or surrender in the first round.

Scouting is already an adventure in itself.


My Earliest Childhood Fantasy Inspirations

As a child, I was small, skinny, and had few friends. I found Arthur's life as "Wart" easy to relate to. One thing that stands out in this movie is just how tiny Arthur is, and how giant all the adults seem by comparison.

I remember fondly seeing The Dark Crystal with my mother and my brother. I share many of the references in this wonderful post and I had forgotten about most of them.

I am currently on an Umberto Eco discovery trail and this post also makes me want to read The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana as soon as possible.


Minimalist OSR

What if we only have these three "skills" - let's call them Warrior, Expert, and Spellcaster - instead of the usual ones?

That maps nicely with the Wolves of God and WWN mix I use, where the classes are Fighter, Expert, and Weaver.

Eric Diaz has another post this week, where players may choose from a more granular armour spectrum and are invited to describe what they are wearing:

D&D 5e armor: a very simple fix

Armor types have no names anymore. Instead, you get to describe your own armor by choosing from the table above and fitting it into of the three categories below


How large does a setting have to be?

A thousand miles and a thousand years. That’s the Middle Ages as a setting for popular fiction and reference frame for Fantasy. Compared to many popular fantasy settings, that’s tiny. But there’s so much stuff in this little box. More space than you could ever possibly need to tell your stories.

I renounced playing in a fantasy setting because none of them beats our actual world, with its shelves full of history, geography, historical fiction, ... You read a history book, your culture increases and you feel inspired for your games.


5E Hexcrawl - Part 3: Watch Actions

It’s usually a good idea to get an expedition’s “standing orders” instead of asking everyone to declare their watch action during every single watch. An easy example is that if the ranger has been doing the navigating for the last eight days, he’s probably going to continue navigating for the next four hours and you don’t need to confirm that.

I read "Forager" and immediately added the post to my list of posts for the week.

Hexcrawl Tool: Spot Distances

In practice, sight lines will vary quite a bit (due to hills, forest canopies, atmospheric haze, and other obstructions), but I’ve found it’s useful to have some reference points and a few rules of thumb.

I wish we had a streetview for medieval Europe (input would be latitude, longitude, and date). We'll probably have something similar in the near future.

Which segues into:

BH2 and Lost Secrets of the Old Hexmappers

The two biggest and most obviously novel things are that some hex-sides are marked as impassable, and the visibility distances of some features are marked on the map itself.

Wilderness Movement Speed - Wooded Hills as Default?

There's a funny asymmetry in the way we deal with numbers. Dividing is tricky; you often have leftovers and have to deal with rounding and it's just a slow operation. Multiplication is relatively easy.

Anything that simplifies the referee computations is welcome.


Structures in Gameplay

Suffice to say, I think turn structures can really help a GM, both as a way to pace a game and as a guide for making player choices matter. If they choose to do something in a turn, it means they are not doing something else. Whether they are successful or not, time has passed – the more time they spend in an area the more they risk a potentially negative event, and the more resources other than time they might have to use up.

I told my self "Gameplay Design Patterns", but it's more "a simple structure to fall back on" (stolen from the comments of the post).


The Raven Queen vs. the Ghoul King

The Raven Queen vs. The Ghoul King cover In which inspirational tables are offered to support DM’s in depicting a grave war between the Ghoul King’s pale-handed ghouls & the ebon-winged paladins of the Raven Queen.

Here is the full preview. I like the visual presentation, it makes me want to roll on it.


"First Goddamn Week Of Winter..." - Snow-Bound.

When it's cold, you take 1 (or more) temporary damage to CON, DEX and WIS every time you fail a save - and you make a save every time unit you spend in those conditions, with adjustments to the roll for wearing the proper clothes, or being soaked to the skin, or being a bare-chested barbarian...

Some rules about cold and snow.


crisis point

A Hollowpoint hack where you play compassionate first responders. You are never violent. We’ll follow the existing pattern of escalation. Is it fantastic or realistic? I don’t know. It can do either but do we want either?

And now I am wondering, are first responders using role-playing games to prepare situations? Not LARP (exercises) but theater of the mind RPG to just go through the procedures...

When a young lieutenant, I went through a tough roleplay with actor/psychologist playing various sergents, preparing an assault. That was though and enlightening. I am sure there are team of leadership coaches out there with playbooks ambushing aspiring officers.


Where I'm at, Rule Wise.

Got a couple of games going at the moment, and I'm running them mostly in a FKR style. I still have dice rolls for resolving conflicts - because I like to be surprised by the results rather than adjudicating them myself.

Kontext Spiel d6

The Referee is free to interpret and present the imaginary world as they see fit, but it is important that this is consistent and that concrete consequences for the PC’s choices and actions are enacted.


Wandering Titans (Monster as a Hex/Weather)

In addition to the normal features of a hex, the presence of one of these Titans adds some sort of environmental effect and additional things to encounter to the hex it's in.

It reminds me of the Valley of the Mammoths where animal herds roam the map, ruining experiments in early agriculture and preventing village settling. I still have the game and I love to play it from time to time with the kids.


RPGs Have Two Sets Of Rules

For the role-playing game to turn from a weirdo version of wargaming a couple nerds were running to a repeatable, salable product, existing wargaming rules had to be supplemented with rules for writing and executing free-form scenarios which very much didn’t resemble battles any more

I love those articles that are made for lazy coffee Sunday mornings. They put you in a dream state, conducive to creativity.

System Split: Worlds Without Number and D&D Fifth Edition

It’s not as impenetrable as Whitehack and not as self-congratulatory as Dungeon Crawl Classics or Old-School Essentials. Its promise is in the title, Worlds Without Number, and it uses that promise to explain itself and its denser prose, yards of tables, and harsher rules.

I only have the PDF version of WWN, I am waiting for the book version to form an opinion. I am a bit afraid of its appeal to players looking for optima.

Here is another approach on WWN:

Let's Read "Worlds without Number: Tales of the Latter Earth"

Worlds without Number implies a Fantasy genre layered on top of decaying Science Fiction genre; This echoes the older incarnations of Dungeons and Dragons in the years where Fantasy and Science Fiction comingled as Science Fantasy.


Actual test: making city-crawls with voronoi-tesselations

Driving factor - I need detail on a city in my game, one that has suddenly skidded into focus. I have found it is good to do this before the party actually hits the place so you can get the 'famous for' right when they ask around about the place before they go.

I did not know about the Fantasy Map Generator and the City Viewer. Xaosseed describes his process and brings us further thanks to tesselations.

Lessons learned on making maps and clues

Everyone loves a map. A map of the expected theatre of operations is sure to be a favourite thing, so much so that you could happily run a party through hoops of fire if they knew they were going to get a proper map at the end of it.

Chimney soot for the win.


From consecutive dice to 2x1d6 grid to d66

role-playing gamers continually reinvent the same solutions to common problems based on constraints adopted in common. And that's not a bad thing.

It makes me think that d46 or d68 tables are easier to roll on, on the other hand, I am sure someone came up with a d60 (10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60) dice to pair with a d6...


Less Rules to Do More: Wounds

One of the things I have done when running Primeval 2D6 is to get rid of the more abstract notion of hit points, number of hits, etc. in favor of a more descriptive form of injuries.

This has coincided with my attempt to move all of my old school-styled gaming away from discussions of numbers and mechanics, and instead towards a discussion of the fiction as much as possible.

Optima in fiction, not in mechanics.


approachable theory: Meta Accessibility Tools

When we design tools that support accessibility, there can be a lot of temptation to make them part of the mechanics or narrative. In some cases, this is truly useful, and helps to integrate those tools into play and use. It can help some people use them more often, or help them understand it. However, it’s also very important to ensure that these accessibility tools stay in the meta

A well crafted post with a linked to a two by two matrix Mechanical X Fiction.

Enjoy both.


The Campaign That Wasn't: Curse of the Wednesdays

So I was surprised to find a GM, supposedly very experienced and looking to get paid for this, delivering an extremely low-energy exposition dump, at the end of which he simply fell silent.