Eow Links 20
2021-05-16

Eow Links 20

"Eow" for "End Of Week". Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 20.

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.

Many links today. I sometimes struggle to place a comment for each of them. Sometimes some link and their quote stand on their own. I realize that my sentences may be interpreted as comments and they should fit under the original post, but well... I aim to pass the baton of these conversations...

Last week links


A ton of Hong Kong action movie generators

I think I have mentioned that Hong Kong Action Theatre! is the single best Hong Kong action film rpg out there. Not the rules (we’re playing FKR-style, baybeeeeee), but the setting. In the original edition of the game (or, to be more exact, the first supplement, titled ‘To live and die in HK’), you could find a page filled with nifty random generators for your HK movie adventure.

Norbert "FKR" Matausch automatized a fine set of random generators. My Hong Kong Movie Title is "Crane Drunken Brothers" and it's a modern martial arts movie, villains run a life or death tournament. One or more of the characters work for the villain; the characters are initially adversaries, they know no martial art, they must train.


Review: More Thousand Thousand Islands (Zines 5, 6, 8)

I love that the buildings are banished by sunlight but can exist under cloud-cover - that you could climb five stories up to visit a ghost sorcerer and come to an unceremonious end as a parted cloud and errant sunbeam dissolves the building while you are up there.

Worse than Even - more on probability descriptions

What is very interesting to me is the steady trend of probability descriptions from 'certain' to 'even chance' and then a jump to 'probably not'.


Improvisation and randomness may lead to railroading; a pre-written story will save you

If they have three doors to choose from (say, one made of wood, other iron, and other paper), but they lead to three randomly defined different rooms, the choice doesn't matter.

A wonderful post, to be read twice or thrice.


Vaesen: Deep Dive

What really caught the attention of my players was the underlying premise of why the vaesen are suddenly a problem: the creeping modernization of 19th century Scandinavia. I leaned hard into the imagery of failed farmsteads and downtrodden families moving into the big cities, and city life being exciting and very modern in contrast with the backwards rural weirdos.

The nineteenth century also saw emigration to the United States. I wonder if some Vaesen emigrated as well, with a nod to American Gods.


Building a Gaming Tool Kit, Rules Agnostic

To be truthful, this is an excuse to go shopping on Amazon. I thought I would share all of the stuff I accumulate for RPG gaming nights.

First things first, I have an addiction to notebooks. I always have one on me to write down new ideas for gaming and one at the table to take notes.

I too have an addiction to notebook, pencils, and fountain pens. My favourite notebook is the Kokuyo S5, when opened it takes up the same space as a Macbook and it stays open. I can stitch two together to get more range.

Market Place Wednesday

It is very different from some of the other podcasts I listen to, it rambles and ambles through dozens of websites and blogs so I don't have to. I've been listening for a while and it's great.

Phil Viverito points to the Thought Eater podcast that does an audio review of the RPG Scene in its weekly Humpday RPG episodes.


Monster Reactions

The original reaction table is good, obviously, but I got tired of it because I was always rolling "neutral, uncertain" or "indifferent, uninterested" and didn't know how to play it out.

Somehow, it acts on me as a reminder that we inherit toolkits and are free to replace pieces with ones that match/enforce the mood of our settings.


Everywhen Review

In a weird way, Everywhen represents a more OSR approach to a generic RPG. I say in a weird way because this doesn’t really track in a direct sense, you need to back up a bit.

I did not know about Everywhen. I have never tried Fate, Gurps, or Savage Worlds. I suspect I am looking for a generic system though.

but a game with no setting has a tougher time marketing itself. Those of us who run games, though, see them for what they are: toolkits. A good generic RPG is the toolbox that lets you build a game, and every generic RPG is a different set of tools.


Review: Star Frontiers, Alpha Dawn and Knight Hawks

Gamma World might have been TSR's first big entry into sci-fi gaming (Warriors of Mars and Metamorphasis Alpha non-withstanding), but it was not their biggest.

Star Frontiers was the first RPG I bought, the soft cover version of the book looks so tempting.


Dice Punch v2

This is a very simple game I made a while back (Dice Punch). I recently updated it with influences from Swords without Master and World of Dungeons. The format is inspired by Sword & Backpack.

What's not to love about a ruleset that fits a single page?


Literacy

And yet, in my mind's eye I always remember that scene in 1952 film Ivanhoe in which Robert Taylor seeks out a local priest to read a letter confirming the location of King Richard (Ivanhoe is not a stupid man but obviously an illiterate nobleman...not terribly unusual for the 12th century).

Fluency

Language!

When you're dealing with sentient monsters that speak their own languages, suddenly that 1st level magic-user with the high INT score isn't quite so useless after expending her one spell.

Lost in translation. A medieval setting should have multiple languages. I wish Gary Gygax's father had exposed his son to his variant of Swiss German, that would have led us to some hardcore Gygaxian Naturalism.


My daughter's dungeon

My six year old daughter drew this dungeon a week or so ago, after watching me doing something similar.

Feels like a primeval burrow.


ATU, OTU, No TU; my Traveller Hot Take

The star-spanning cultures of the Dune universe are only inferred through the thoughts and actions of the characters. Neat trick I say. So Frank Herbert created a huge galactic society by not creating a whole huge galactic society...

The sentence pasted above is gold. A lesson for us game referees.

Traveller seems to have gone from supporting any science fiction subgenre to being tied to an official universe.


Traveller: Roads Not Taken

let's talk about some of the setting assumptions that were dropped from canon, why they were dropped, and what they could bring to a non-3I setting.

Another historical look at Traveller, this time highlighting gaps in technologies and their implications.


Undaunted: North Africa – Scenario 1

The British LRP (Long Range Patrol) came across an Italian fuel dump and airstrip and attacked, seeking to destroy it. A few Italians stood between them and victory.

Undaunted: North Africa – Scenario 2

Libya. 11 January 1941. The LRP has been renamed the LRDG and has been given the task of attacking an airfield at Murzuq. However, for this scenario, the Italians had a potent defense: a medium tank!

The tiles are reminiscent of Targui, a game that gave us solid hours of fun at the end of the eighties. I ordered Undaunted, I am looking forward to play it.


Ability Modifiers in Immortal Rules

Occasionally I gripe about the slightly unfortunate pattern of standard ability score modifiers chosen by Tom Moldvay in the B/X rules.

The +20 is the limit.


Bringing it all together quickly with Backgrounds

What wealthy class of folk did you use your cunning to fleece and who supported this scam? What made you realize this way of life was unethical or what inspired you to set this way of life aside? Who was the most dangerous person you ever conned?

The post starts with a Rob Donoghue quote:

the true secret sauce of getting a game off the blocks fast remains "Everyone has the same background"


Ideas for Dungeon World Moves, from Rob Donoghue

In trying to research improvements to Dungeon World’s Volley move, I came across a 2014 post from Rob Donoghue, one of the inventors of Fate and a co-founder of Evil Hat. This led me into his blog posts of his initial plays of Dungeon World.


Daemon Summoning

A lot of the impetus for the following rules comes down to me wanting to condense as many rolls as possible. I don’t want too much diceing going on when summoning, but I also want some unpredictability.

Super interesting. In my current setting, the christian religion considers anything non-human but humanoid as demoniac, this discrepancy is a source of inspiration. What if the clerics think they can summon daemons but they are slightly wroong about what daemons are and what restraint they can put on them?


The Scoundrel’s Progress (Helvéczia Character Generation)

For this post, let’s delve into the game’s character creation rules – I shall make a random character to demonstrate how the rules work, and how they are balanced between the familiar and the unknown.

Good fun between the Alps and the Jura mountains.