Eow Links 16

Eow Links 16

"Eow" for End Of Week. Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 16.

For more weekly links, head to The Seed of Worlds Shiny TTRPG link collection or Alex's Blogosphere posts.

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.

The Planet was quiet this week, it made my life easier on this gorgeous Sunday morning.

← last week links

(1970 or 1971?)

50 Years of Blackmoor!

There will be a medevil "BRAUNSTEIN" April 17, 1971 at the home of David Arneson from 1500 hrs to 2400 hrs with refreshments being available on the usual basis. Players may come at any time and any number are welcome to attend what should prove to be an exciting time. It will feature mythical creatures and a poker game under the Troll's bridge between sunup and sundown.

Blackmoor: first, last, and always

The announcement was an invitation to try something that did not even have a name and is best described as fantasy wargaming. But the methods being used would go far beyond a standard war game.

SHAVE: (yet another oddly-named) Knave hack [this time, streamlined AND reinforced for smaller but competent parties]

My kids asked me to run a sandbox for them. I'm already a busy man and already running a separate game for the grown-ups, so I resolved to rely on existing material as much as possible for our little sandbox - which meant that compatiblity with published D&D(ish) material was important. And that, of course, means Knave - Ben Milton's now-famed rules-light engine for gaming with just about any OSR resource in print.

My daughters are into Pokémon these days. I feel like cooking a game for them. Monsters as loot.

Seeking inspiration in Kickstarters

I want more art, lore and random tables in books; help me run the same six foes at the party in a dozen fascinating ways in your setting - circumstances, terrain, etc. Better same monsters, better environment than weirder foe in same 10 x 10 room

Xaosseed lists Kickstarters that he sees as sources of inspiration. I love to get such a map to the recent kickstarters.

The one that attracts me is Symbaroum 5e (there is a preview of DriveThru). I have used Symbaroum imagery in my current campaign, scary faery.

The Many Utilities of Rules

So just for fun, setting aside tribal nonsense about storygames or OSR or indie or whatever else, here are some of my thoughts on the utility of rules* — that is, how we use rules, not why they exist or what their purpose “should” be. This is not a manifesto! It’s a way to think about what happens when you and I use rules for different, maybe incompatible, reasons.

Rules get categorized under Fairness, Learning, and Facilitation. One of those posts that you read two/three times and that leaves its mark.

Sandy’s Reply to Gary (that is, Gygax)

To avoid this, I have decided that when I design and run my own dungeon I will not permit the players (people who do not know about D&D yet) to discover the rules.

Europa 6-8 April 1975

EUROPA is a (continental) European zine, aimed at the military hobby field; it is especially interested in Conflict-Simulation-games (CoSim): Board Games, Fantasy/SF/WW, Diplomacy — but will inform also about related subject occasionally (miniatures, collector's items, books, etc), and Adult games. A big part of the zine is reserved for discussions and other possibilities to get to know each other.

Sandy's answer to Gary Gygax is on page 22 of the zine (page 24 of the PDF).

When the game cast its spell on us, we probably didn't care about its rules. How lucky we were.

Against EDO mono-culturalism

So, we have two forces at work, here. On the one hand, these shortcuts make it easy for us to all be on the same page. I can’t deny how well it suits me to have “elves, dwarves, orcs Fantasy” (EDO Fantasy) as a short hand. We can all agree on those archetypes (or prejudices, I guess). The question is, what do we do with the mould we are given? Break it, of course! Thus, on the other hand, I need a quick way as a referee, to generate cultures that are “close, but different”.

My background is a list of prejudices.

Helvéczia map by Sean Stone

Helvéczia: Announcement and Preview

Helvéczia is built on a simple premise: what if old-school gaming was built ground-up on a different list of inspirations? What if their creators had watched the Three Musketeers and countless swashbuckling films about robbers, stagecoaches, and swordfighting scoundrels? What if, instead of the great American pulps, they read historical adventure, picaresque stories, and penny dreadfuls? What if the games’ mythical and folkloric inspiration came not from the Anglo-Saxon and Northern European tradition (with a bit of Greek myth via Harryhausen), but the Brothers Grimm, and the broader legendarium of Central Europe? What if Gary Gygax had set his campaigns in a fantastic Switzerland, the homeland of his ancestors, A.D. 1698? The game is an exploration of these questions.

As I am an Helvetian this immediately caught my attention. Also, the Author compares Helvéczia's path to the one taken by Stars Without Numbers and Wolves of God. I think that Wolves of God is a jewel, could Helvéczia be one too?

Who wrote the Fiend Folio? A-E

The cover of the original 1981 Fiend Folio says "edited by Don Turnbull." The monsters inside were written by seventy different people, half of whom contributed a single monster. I rarely think about who wrote my favorite Fiend Folio monsters. Who are these folks? Do they have other credits in the hobby? I've decided to try to find out. Here are my first batch of results.

Back in the eighties, I only had glimpses of the Folio and of the Monster Manual II. They felt mysterious. When I learnt that the Folio was a collection of magazine submissions, it shined as a "challenger". This list of authors is a great initiative.

B2: The Caves of Chaos

A collection of links related to the mythical B2 module.

Cororico FKR

Translations from English to French of two key posts of the FKR movement:

Less Rules To Do More: Combat Maneuvers

Play worlds, not rules

Speaking of translation, I translated from French to English The Art of War in Dune.

Charismatic Party Leaders Houserule

The PC with the highest Charisma or Personality score is the natural leader of the group, and should be role-played as such. Maybe even have them be the one that recruits the other PCs.

Classical Play: The Caller

For my groups “Caller” was merely the D&D term for the party leader in-character.

In our current campaign, Beowyn the Kentish christian with a huge charisma has been appointed "natural born leader of the adventuring party" and it works well. Lots of role-play is used to inform her decisions and convince her.

Maze of Nuromen

the Fear of a Black Dragon podcast reviews this BlueHolme adventure.

The Maze of Nuromen

This is an introductory adventure for 1st level characters through a two level dungeon with many classic elements.

The ten feet pole review of the adventure.

The podcast review is intriguing, the adventure seems to draw out the magic of past dungeons and dragons sessions. Or something like that.