Eow Links 59

Eow Links 59

"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 59.

For more weekly links, head to The Seed of Worlds Shiny TTRPG link collection. For monthly links, look at 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.

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My favourite for this week is Antiquity Tuesday about the "furca".


Magical magic

Magic ... by metaphysics / with a more or less randomized effect based on casting check / by creatures / with a fixed effect, from an expansive list that implies engineering arbitrary effects / with a fixed effect, from a limited or quirky enough list to make every spell distinctly its own thing / with significant consequences or price / as GM fiat / as narration rights / defined as a formal effect, without an obvious necessary fictional interpretation

Why D&D

Quixote could be the patron saint of role-players...a man looking for adventure and all-too-willing to escape into his own imagination in order to find it. All long-time D&D players have some measure of The Don in flowing through their veins. If they didn't, they'd be doing something else.

Walking Holiday, a supplement for Under Hill, By Water, now live

Journeys and travels are a fantasy staple. As such, RPG players have long tried to include this essential element in their games only to find the experiences fall flat.

English edition of Helmbarten: Halberts

. during character creation, you can opt to start adventuring, or risk a misfortune roll and learn more skills
. magic is a bunch of skills, and not much more, so very free form
. there are no experience points and levels to be gained

Why Do I Love Swords & Wizardry?

The act of making encourages you to share it with someone. The thing you made comes alive when you show it to your friends, write it up and put it out on your blog, or publish it as a zine. Someone else improves on it or takes it in a direction you didn’t imagine or anticipate and brings it back to you. You take that and use it, share it with other people, there is more tinkering, more sharing, new relationships.

The Influence of Roguelike Visuals

This is the genius of ASCII-based roguelike games, of course: by providing an initially alienating aesthetic, they end up becoming more immersive than the most cutting edge PS5 offering, because you get caught up in a world that is as much, if not more, a product of your own imagination as the designer's. (The additional stimulation to the brain is also partly, I think, what makes them so addictive.)

Your own custom RPG rulebook, mini binders

The binder cover has interior pockets. I printed stuff on digest sized pages and used dividers to organize them. This was followed by a couple of pocket inserts. Then after I added some punched digest sized graph paper and digest sized punched paper with ruled lines. Then finally a pouch with pens, pencils, and index cards.

Diegetic Mechanics in TTRPGs

I may write later how the game came from a long unfulfilled desire to retroclone Stormbringer 1st Edition, and how it surprised me and became an engine for Moorcockian multiversal heroic fantasy in a literary mode instead. The minimalistic game design work I’m doing on this game, is teaching me how tabletop roleplaying games rules can come from the world, and why they don’t always need to be expressed in dice-and-numbers mechanics.

Ranks, flight, reach, and hiding

There are three ranks. You can get shot just as easily in all three ranks, so the ranks only affect your own shooting, and mêlée attacks.

Quick D&D/OSR thought: comparative rolls

Also... I like how Dark Fantasy Basic turned out. 1d20+stat+skill, versus 1d20+HD, and that's it. Works well, and you could hardly make it simpler.

Building via the Wises of Burning Wheel

Jack’s going to use Trouble-wise to establish that he’s going to lure them into a bit of trouble; maybe some goblins or a pesky owlbear.

Pacing Problems

It might be challenging to write a novel or direct a movie, but that author or director has complete control over how fast or slow events progress. When you’re GMing a game, with players staring back at you and wondering what’s going to happen next, that control is illusory.

d12 Attitudes of the denizens of Mechanus

how to differentiate inhabitants of the plane of Neutral Law

How Many US Homes Do Kobolds Occupy in B2?

This would mean that our kobolds occupy ~2.5 US homes in the 1970's. Another question: What does a 1970's floor plan look like if converted into a dungeon?

The importance of Encumbrance, And How to Make it Easy in Your Game

I get the impression by this point in the evolution of the game that the item weight tables had become a tradition. No one particularly cared that a two-handed sword was 25lbs. in the game and only 5lbs. in real life. Certainly, however, the idea that an item's encumbrance was related to its accoutrements had disappeared: whetstones, cleaning cloths, oils for armor and weapons, sewing kits, etc, all appeared as separate items for sale in the equipment section of the PHB.

Antiquity Tuesday - Guest Post by Ian Borchardt

Unlike D&D the legionary didn't fight whilst carrying this load. The two advantages of the furca, or carrying pole, was that you could wear armour whilst using it to carry goods and that it could easily be dropped if you were ambushed en route so that you were unencumbered in a fight. And you could carry the three pilums along with it fairly easily.

The Gender of Magic

Yin magic users do not cast flashy spells, but rather do things like influencing others or preparing potions.

Actualizing Violence in D&D

With free-form maneuvers, the target of violence must weigh whether they can afford to avoid the effects of it. At 0 HP, their force of will is extinguished and they are at the mercy of the other.

My Experience Running Blades in the Dark

It gives you a lot of tools, but you can't (and shouldn't try to) use them all in one session. There is enough going on with actions, resistance rolls, engagement rolls, flashbacks, taking stress, resisting harm, Devil's bargains, etc. that it can feel like juggling chainsaws.

Sunday silly idea: using Telephone Pictionary Game as spell research

Let's say your average player Börje Bajskorv wants to research a new spell for his character. He writes down the complete spell description - intent, usage, whatever, even a preferred spell name - on a piece of paper, and passes it on to another player/DM.

Alternative Economics (Part 1: Money)

Additionally, economics is oftentimes our most familiar battlefield for acquiring our goals. Most RPGs take it as an unquestionable assumption that the long-term point of the game is to somehow advance. You attain power or prestige or whatever rewards the players can be motivated to chase. The traditional XP-for-Gold system is one of the most tried-and-true methods of this, and was originally created with the intention of being fully woven into domain-level play.