|Eow Links 38|
Eow Links 38
"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 38.
For more weekly links, head to The Seed of Worlds Shiny TTRPG link collection or Alex's Blogosphere posts. There are also Ruprecht's Best of the Web, and The Indie RPG Newsletter with its weekly links.
I recently had an online discussion about the General Perks in the game, and realised that it might not be immediately obvious to someone coming in from other sort of play cultures why these are things you get to pick at 2nd level, not at character creation.
Perks, feats, talents, foci, what would be the best name for them? Using "Perk" is interestingly loaded.
Now there is Against the Darkmaster (VsD for short). This game is clearly inspired by, and draws heavily on, MERP. But it’s not a retro-clone (i.e., it’s not the MERP version of OSRIC). Rather it’s what I would call a quasi-clone (a game that draws heavily on an earlier one, and retains broad compatibility with its predecessor, but also deviates from it in some important ways). VsD looks like it’s compatible with MERP, in the sense that it should not be difficult to use MERP material with the system.
MERP, good times.
Every time D&D gets around to nailing down how it wants to be a game, someone's imagination gets fired up and says, "gosh, it's too bad the rules get in the way of us doing this..."
As the OSR has moved from an identifier of game preference to an industry, there has been a loss of knowledge about the fundamentals of how to play the game.
Is the D&D community still playing D&D, i.e. something recognizable as the D&D game?
The standard rules of most OSR systems simply have characters die at 0 hp
A recapitulation of HP hitting 0 mitigation (house) rules.
Grit and Flesh
For me games are about exploring the human experience in community with others. I think every designer needs to ask themselves, “Does this game encourage the players to have real conversations about moral, social, and political issues that humanize others?” I think the answer should always be, “Yes”.
In my opinion, work for hire is ethical and reasonable if you pay top rates and/or give a royalty on sales.
In the Heart of the Unknown a journey through the wilderness is abstracted into a series of 2d6 dice rolls to determine encounters, terrain and weather. Sometimes the encounters will throw up a wandering monster, which is determined by modifying a 1d6+1d10 roll according to the terrain and consulting a table.
Hexcrawling can be a load of fun, but the setting up of a hexcrawl, well... not so much. I mean, it IS fun, but can take up time and turn into a chore. Still, once complete, discovering the connections between hexes makes for pleasant surprises, both for players and GMs.
All told, I have little new to add, but instead offer a compilation of what is out there regarding hexcrawling
Some sense of space and distance between dungeons and adventure sites will likely suffice. If players show up to play daring dungeon delvers, there’s no reason to spend gaming on in-depth traveling. In short: Don’t try and force your game to have hexcrawls segments if it doesn’t need it.
Well, in each of the 8 session that i’ve run this setting my procedures have changed. I’ll just list the things I do now, or plan to do for my next incursion.
8 sessions, yes, that's not 1 read-through of a module, that's 8 play-through and 8 lessons learned.
Inspired by the freely-available thinking of a well known real world organisation that identifies the 'key ingredient' practices that make up various recipes for success. We can grab these archetypes for effective organisations and use them for villains or heroes depending on your needs. It gives us some ready-to-go bones that we can throw a skin over as appropriate for the organisation.
This turned into what I felt was a quintessential 3.5e D&D session with the players turning out their backpacks and spell-lists for all the weird odds and ends they had collected over the campaign so far and trying to build a rube goldberg device to solve the problem.
. Roll 3D6
. Keep the highest & lowest rolls to make a D66 style dice
. Order these two dice how you like; or if that bothers you (perhaps you worry about an unconscious bias), order the two dice low to high if the removed middle roll is odd, else the other way round
Echoes from A Brand New Concept in Dice Rolling.
. You have six dice
. Roll them
. Put them in ascending order
The problem that I always encountered was that the PC as envisaged by the player during character generation is often a very different beast to that which emerges at the table. Put bluntly: maybe your PC as you imagine him is witty and incisive. But maybe you can't pull off witty and incisive. Maybe your PC actually comes across as a boorish, overbearing idiot.
The Line separates what the GM narrates vs. what the player narrates. In D&D, the player narrates their backstory and their current activity; the DM narrates everything else.
Knowing that the line is here and that it can be drawn is a benefit of levelling-up as a tabletop gamer?
If two groups pick up OD&D and the first plays it like a very regimented wargame, the second more in a loosey goosey narrative fashion, neither are playing it “incorrectly.” Its also not an “accident” if someone interprets a rule differently from how another person tries to read the “design intent” of the game. The game doesn’t belong to the designer, it belongs to the players.
The game doesn’t belong to the designer, it belongs to the players.
Rule Zero should be an assumed default in every traditional role-playing game, and even if its not – no designer holds power over your table should you add it in.
. How anonymity can enable violence and the importance of non-verbal communication
. How medical technology decreases murder and death rate, and thereby hides an increase in violence
. Sleep deprivation and its effects on our societies
(only three of the many points that emerged in the conversation)
. Create a basic tone, rating for the campaign
. Identify roles that each players wants to play
. Each player came up with a character based on that concept and the type of group/faction they might belong to.
. Determine relationships between the factions and that can inform relationships between the PCs.
Maybe I could have linked that with the "Drawing the Line" post above.
Here's an encyclopedic run-down of the use of the d6 for adventuring function in Original D&D. The majority of these cases appear in little brown book Vol-3, the DM's guide analog:
A round up of the d6 uses when the game was played on or not far from the sand table.
You still may not like 5E, and you probably have very good reasons for that, but it's not the pinnacle of new school design it's often made out to be by people who just want a strawman to contrast their game against. And, incidentally, if any new schoolers are reading this post, then the same argument goes for why 5E is not actually old school.
This has been the first time i’ve played and refereed a game with Traveller5 rules. Writing this session report, I’m surprised how much actually happend in this first four hour session. I had to look up a few things during the session, especially the space combat range bands. And some weapon stats for space combat.
A Traveller5 session report, concluded with fun/pain bullet points. The books do look impressive.
That's why having specific procedures in place is very helpful. In addition to reaction, morale, and rolling randomly for HD before a fight, assigning random tactics and attacks is also an interesting idea.
Sometimes I think in the lines of "can I put myself in the shoes of the monster?", I can play Snake, but I'd have trouble playing evil chessmaster.
In some ways, it's enough to have Ars Magica in a different language than Latin. That said, I wanted something different that evokes a different sense.
A nice post about creating a magic system with some inspiration from Ars Magica.