Eow Links 26
2021-06-27

Eow Links 26

"Eow" for End Of Week. Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 26.

For more weekly links, head to The Seed of Worlds Shiny TTRPG link collection or Alex's Blogosphere posts. There is also Ruprecht's Best of the Web and Jeremy's Amplifying the Blogosphere (not 100% TTRPG).

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.

← last week links

A long list, seems like posts flowered on Friday and Saturday.

My favourite post this week is Old School is a Mindset, Not a Ruleset.


Know Us By Our Trail Food (d20 Cuisine Generator)

if you can acquire the taste

Actual Test: Aces High (Fantasy Space Combat Rules Part 2)

Continuing testing of fantasy space combat systems following our first go with Shadow of the Spider Moon, we come to our second test: Aces High, the 5e aerial combat rules from Arcadia #3 published by MCDM earlier this year.

A positive review of Aces High. Kudos to Xaoseed for sharing the results of his tests.


DM 101: Persuasion can't do that!

Note that the rules mention "acting in good faith". This is to separate the circumstances between using Persuasion versus using Deception. There is a gray area between these two skills, but in general, if the PC is trying to lie or bluff their way through a situation, use Deception. If they are trying to influence an NPC (but without specifically lying), use Persuasion

I also love the "Persuasion is not Mind Control" quote.


Never Let Your Friend Copy Your Magic Homework

Now your choice becomes "do I risk losing the scroll to possibly copy the spell and get to use the scroll later, or do I refrain and guarantee that I have the scroll for my next adventure?"

A look at OSE Advanced Fantasy and its rules for copying spellbooks.


Adventurers, Heroes, and the Endgame for high level PCs

In fantasy, you can get away with almost anything, as long as the the world as a hole (sic) makes sense in its own internal logic.

Sorry for locking on "world as a hole", but I loved reading the post and thinking about adventurers trying to get out of the hole they were born in...


Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA)

Sumerian Spell Names

I mean, I just smash words together. I have no idea about the language. For the moment, I just admire the fact that we still know anything at all about this bronze age world, from the dawn of recorded history. All hail the mighty durable clay tablet!

That got me googling for Pazuzu, but that's Assyrian and there are 1500 long years between Sumer and Assyria.


Campaign Planning, Reusability, and Separation of Concern

Some important concepts from my work in computer software can definitely be applied to campaign planning.

And sometimes I think that we programmers and our solutionism are a plague, I love a cheerful "welcome to complex systems!" warning / salutate. But this post is honest and helpful, and through TTRPG, we run things in shared imaginary spaces, where our solutions are contained.


5. Doubleface Drachm

If 500 unique coins can be assembled (1% chance of any two given coins being the same) and arranged, the reverse is revealed to be a map

A wonderful idea.


A Better Approach to Deadly Games

To the contrary, the popular playstyle often deemed “modern” but more accurately denoted as OC or Neo-trad puts greater emphasis on characters as aspirational figures with their own character arcs. Players intent on such a game would be left wanting if the avatar of their hopes and dreams is brought down by a goblin’s stray arrow

With nods to Six Cultures of Play and Bullshit Jobs, an essay on the respawing economy. Excellent.


On the Thursday Trick: Sand

You don't actually sink in very far. But the mistake most people make is that they try to push themselves out. Any attempt to "lift" out of the quicksand will cause another body part to push. This pushing disturbs the support and people sink further in.

I wondered if the scandinavian setting I share with my players might feature quicksand and it seems that yes, then I failed my evasion save roll and fell into Why the world is running out of sand.


System behind the character sheet: alternative health model

Each character gets 1'000 hit points.

And of course there is no healing. And it gets you thinking.


Quantum Ogre Theory

The quantum ogre is a term for an obstacle (generally of light-medium difficulty) that the GM plans ahead-of-time and throws in the players’ path, whichever way they go.

A nice explanation of the concept and some ways to avoid having to use it (and get caught by the players).


Old School is a Mindset, Not a Ruleset

At some point, the outcome of the decision is resolved either by the game master making a ruling without recourse to mechanisms or dice are rolled to determine outcomes. The most successful players often avoid dice rolls all together by clever manipulation of some tool in the construct.

and finally

Here are the four elements of old school games as a list:

. High Permeability
. Players interact with the fictitious mental construct of the setting
. Players must work as a team to achieve objectives
. The integrity of the milieu is central

I don't like equating "High Permeability" to bringing fantasy peanut butter with science fiction chocolate. I am eurotrash, no peanut butter, merci.

I like "High Permeability" as in "Permeability allows the DM to borrow mechanisms from other games" and in "Permeability allows the players to create novel solutions to problems".

A most excellent post.


Review: Blue Rose Adventurer's Guide

This section from developer Steve Kenson introduces us to Green Ronin and Blue Rose. It is a nice reminder that Green Ronin's DNA is deeply sequenced with D&D. Many of the founders and developers at GR can trace their careers back AD&D 2nd Ed, D&D 3.x, and D&D 5. These are not "johnny come latelys" these are people with a strong and credible background in game design and D&D in particular.

This looks intriguing.

I am currently chest-deep into "The Last God" and it has a sourcebook for DnD 5e as well. Those alternatives are inspiring.


New Release: Footprints Issue #25

Footprints Magazine from Dragonsfoot. Packed with almost 200 pages of Completely Free old school gaming scene goodness.

I bring this up because this issue has a 20-page adventure for Labyrinth Lord written and lovingly illustrated by ME. For characters of levels 3-6 with about 50 keyed areas.

A link to a 198-pages PDF of AD&D fun. Looks great!


A Time Tracker For You

Each instance of this tracker covers one day's progress, breaking it down into six watches of four hours each, and then each watch into 24 turns of 10 minutes each. It's meant to be used by the timekeeper role, so I wrote my personal notes on lighting durations under the day-hex, but you can swap in your own preferences, obviously.

Roles and Tasks for PC Groups

The timekeeper is responsible for keeping track of how much time has passed, and the rate of use of consumables such as torches, food & water, etc. They are responsible for notifying players when 50% of any resource has been expended, and when a resource has been exhausted or is nearing exhaustion.


D&D Experiment: A whole campaign at Level 3

I prefer more “realistic” danger and challenges. As a real human, I understand the real danger of real things like the dark, and the cold, and hunger, and predators my own size. Dragons and angels and vampires are great in so many ways, as patrons and forces of nature and storytelling devices… but not as things you hit with a sword.

Finding that sweet spot.


A Deep Dive into Sig: City of Blades

We played six sessions, and every session featured a goodly stretch of talk about how to make the rules work.

Some of this is due to the ambition of changing both the default holding environment, and a lot of changes to the FitD model of play. Some of those changes are super interesting, while others left us wondering what motivated the changes beyond novelty.

This is not a "let's read the book and write a review", nor a "let's run a one shoot and write a review". This is a solid "let's run six sessions of it and then write a review", complete with amendments and enhancements.


Abnormal Things - una tranquilla giocata nell'orrore

Abnormal Things risolve a mio avviso i problemi di regolamento del predecessore – cambiano un po' le meccaniche, il numero e il ruolo dei giocatori, e la tematica principale.

Sorry, in Italian, but the mix of Italian, Stranger Things, Horror, Anime, and a white/red on black post was intoxicating. I had to link to it.


Armagnacs et Bourguignons, de Bertrand Schnerb

Au-delà de l’histoire événementielle, l’auteur a le mérite de nous montrer que la politique de la fin du Moyen Âge n’est pas qu’une histoire de batailles et de cousinages. En fait, elle a des côtés étrangement modernes, surtout du côté des ducs de Bourgogne. Jean Sans peur et Philippe le Bon mènent une politique de communication avec les bonnes villes du royaume qui ressemble bougrement à des campagnes de propagande ciblées. Après l’assassinat du duc d’Orléans, Jean Sans peur mobilise les intellectuels de l’université de Paris pour qu’ils repeignent un assassinat politique bien sale en héroïque tyrannicide. À force de suivre le sens du vent, nombre d’éminents penseurs parisiens finiront en exil dans la France anglaise, à commencer par un certain Pierre Cauchon…

Sorry, in French, but the "Anglois" are never far when there is a civil war in France. Or is it? Could have Burgundy become a kingdom again?


Fighting Talk, Part One – Know Their Enemies

One opponent per PC is an absolute minimum if you want an exciting battle. There’s tricks and ways to make a fight against one big opponent work, which I might talk about in a later post – but if you’re looking for an exciting fight, you probably want the number of opponents to be between 1.5 and 3 times the number of PCs.

Advice on balancing opposition for DnD 5th edition where "a few big battles are better than lots of middling ones". There is an excellent comment on this on Take on Rules.


Alternatives to Dungeon World

Dungeon World helped popularize Powered by the Apocalypse games, by capitalizing on players’ familiarity with Dungeons & Dragons. Enough so that it is sometimes used as a reference point by gamers who ask, “Can you recommend a game like Dungeon World but…?” Here are some common answers


Update on the Super-Fast-Rules

As I reported in a recent post, these little rules allow for things like a party of four PCs fighting 7 trolls, 2 giant water monsters, and a score of goblins in just over an hour (that led to a TPK, but I won't say my young playtesters made the best tactical choices) :-)

An excellent list of Moves and Sorcery.


Law in the Perilous Realms

where I describe what “alignment” must mean in the Perilous Realms, based upon our group’s tone and play-style, and its cumulative rulings so far. I am coming to realize how essential to the game alignment is

Defining good and evil from the laws of the land, with the goal of putting an alignment label on the characters.