Eow Links 56

Eow Links 56

"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 56.

For more weekly links, head to The Seed of Worlds Shiny TTRPG link collection. There's also The Indie RPG Newsletter, and, for monthly links, The Glatizant.

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

← last week links

My two favourites are the two initiative posts below.

Dirt Simple Deterministic Group Initiative

Initiative is seized by the group which a) has magic that lets them act first, b) springs an ambush (and they also get a surprise round), c) can see clearly while the others can't, d) has already drawn their weapons while the others didn't, e) has weapons of longer reach.

initiative without rolls

Basically, unless there is surprise, initiative goes to the side whose has the single member with more HP, and only in case of a tie I randomize it.

Fear and Delight

those who fail get disadvantage on ability checks for one hour. That is weaksauce. It’s not worth wrecking the mood with dice rattling for penny stakes. Just skip it.

Want Cthulhu? Stay Away from Cthulhu

The point is, the canonical pieces of the Cthulhu Mythos can't surprise. Cosmic dread, madness, and the horror of the unknowable and incomprehensible is gone.

The Game VS the Brand

I bought the Descent into Avernus campaign book when I saw that Justin Alexander was going to do a rework of it on his blog. I thought maybe I could use his work to make it worth my time. Seeing just how much of an effort that was going to take, I passed.

Retrospective: Ivinia

If there's one thing fantasy roleplayers like, it's Vikings and Ivinia definitely scratches that itch.

Review of Books 2021

Inspired by Xeno's Ramblings and Throne of Salt's book reviews - I had a bumper year for reading in 2021. Combination of no travel and the need to sit still and be a cushion for a small person gave ample time to crush books.

The Learning Curve or Cutting New DMs Some Slack

Basically - there are two groups of people in their 20s in TTRPGs at the moment, one of them has hundreds of hours of gaming under their belt already - they should be patient ambassadors for the hobby, I say this strongly because I have been you. Help the new comers have the best game possible, be open to things they suggest because maybe they have some new mashed-up home-brewed seed of genius in there.

Setting Mastery and Toolboxes

If ever there was a sword to slay the Dragon of Canon, it would be forged in the furnace of these books. In essence, the toolbox setting is to worldbuilding what random encounter table is to adventure design: collections of tonally consistent and thematically connected mosaic pieces that, when combined and modulated by the reader’s creativity, create gameable results with emergent properties.

A book of deep, easy-to-play mathematical games (and why they matter).

How could I withstand so many pleasant diversions? So many hidden gems, each taking a minute to learn and a lifetime to master? Such endless hours of thought-provoking fun, requiring only materials you already have at home? It was week after week after week of relentless, agonizing enjoyment. The soul is only so strong.

Back from the D&D vaults of time: WotC re-releases Monster Assortments

These are not D&D 5e downloads.

Drinking Problems: The Trouble with Booze Rules in Games

As she says, “Alcohol is the only drug we have to justify not using.”

DMs: Don’t Make a Pet NPC, But Sometimes You Can Play a Guide

I never felt tempted to create a pet NPC, but I never even created an NPC who traveled with the players. I have run some adventures that added NPCs to the party. To my surprise, the additions worked. They enhanced the game.

The Dungeon Game

Most importantly get some real treasure. Licorice, fruit, chocolate coins, whatever. Put it all in a cup or bowl and put it to one side, with instructions that it not be touched until the adventure is concluded.

Variations on the Usage Die

The first variation I'll explore is the bidirectional usage die - that is, a Ud that steps down on low values, but steps up on high values. This version of the Ud models resources that usually tend towards depletion, but occasionally go the other direction.

Repost: Misconceptions about Gatekeeping (Opinion Piece, not a rant)

This is not about if there is gatekeeping in the OSR or not. There is without a doubt. The question is if it is beneficial or malevolent towards the community at large. There's also the question how to address and oppose corruption, if it is detected.

Super-simplified 2d6 Target 8 rules

Traveller has it. Cepheus has it. Most of my games have it, too: The target 8 rule: to do anything, roll 2d6, add positive modifiers, subtract negative modifiers, try to get 8 or more.

Week as Wilderness Turn

the distances and times involved in wilderness travel in The Hobbit were so great that a game in that style might want to use 24-mile hexes as its smallest unit, and a week as its "turn" of wilderness travel. What does it look like if you take B/X's or ACKS' rules for wilderness travel and rescale them this way?