Eow Links 62
2022-03-06

Eow Links 62

by Howard Pyle

"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 62.

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 favourites for this week are Monsters that run or surrender raise so many problems, "chases and surrenders can still drag the game", and RPGs and creative constraints: what's behind the OSR and FKR? "before RPG design became my main hobby, I used to write poetry".


Gotta Go Fast

Moldvay basically defines running in the same way, though it is more clear that when a character runs, they move at 3x encounter movement speed


The Theme Song of Crescendo

Any creative project I undergo there’s always a song with it. That’s probably not atypical, but I especially find that true of GMing. Eventually I’ll find a song (or several) that sum up what I want the game to feel like.


Wolfram’s 4 colour theorem | Relationship mapping?

I wondered if this could be used to map out relationships where each colour represents a certain intensity in that relationship from high to low. The idea being to design a relationship map that is random, but with some “design” to it.


Tabletop role-playing games as games of expectations

Sometimes, when the role of player is predominant, then the expectations are mainly social. The dimension of hospitality can be important (2): some are hosts, others are guests. Some master the rules, some have authority over the narrative, some generate fiction, some react to it, etc.

Sometimes when the role of character is preponderant, then the emphasis is on immersion. In this case, the expectations are primarily narrative and diegetic (i.e., they come from the fiction).


Fellowship: Close To Great

If I trip up and start defining things that’s not the vibe you wanted, then you get to tell the GM to shut up and let them know how it actually is. This of course demands incredibly good faith play, and I suspect it would quickly fail for players who abused this authority to make challenges trivial or the setting silly


The Magic of Index Cards — Map and Key

So, I was inspired to try something new. I would run my entire game from index cards only. I would use a sharpie marker to write on the cards. This would be my only note-taking tool. I purchased some index card boxes and some sharpies and I got to work on my next session.


Lindy Games and Stories

I stole the concept of this question from Taleb. In his book Antifragile he suggests that if writers want their work to stay in print a long time they should create works that would have relevance to people in the past.


Scale and Hexes, a round-up of posts.

there is a lot of adventuring in a single 10k hex, this post is a round up of many wise sources.

Geography as destiny - emergent world-building from maps

The key thought driving this was assuming seas are the main long-haul roads between nations and cultures, is there anyone who ought to be talking or interacting with each other that I have currently left out?


Mirror Story

I called my mom later that night. I think I woke her. I was like “I finally understood how roleplaying games work!”


Plotting Grand Campaigns

After reading all those blog posts, I went back to the original 1974 rules of the game. If domain level play should be the original assumption, the rules surely must contain some clue about it. Certainly there is a clue, but it’s not easy to find.


Double Feature: Encumbrance & Metric Movement

It’s for this reason that out of many of the rulebooks I’ve read, I think that not many have surpassed the original Dungeons & Dragons with respect to maximizing the consequences of encumbrance for minimal mathematics.


Monsters That Run or Surrender Raise so Many Problems. How to Cope

When a fleeing creature’s turn ends, any pursuers can catch up and sometimes even attack. Then if the fleeing creature continues running, it suffers opportunity attacks. The pattern repeats until everyone running dies. Even speedy creatures rarely outpace rogues with their cunning actions. Such chases just prolong battles the players have already won.


Against Pinocchio

Every new movie that comes out with someone falling in love with a video game character who manages to fool them into thinking he’s a real boy adds fuel to that fear.


Doing the Impossible

I’m especially intrigued by diegetic advancement. This is a concept that holds a lot of promise in terms of replacing my least favourite legacy system: XP. However, I’m not convinced diegetic advancement has quite arrived in terms of implementation.


Into Into The Odd

I would argue that McDowall (...) is the best games designer our there. His rules are about as simple as the could possibly be — he has said that his intention was to produce a game that his parents could pick up and play immediately — but they also encourage good and engaging gameplay


The Power of a Single Image

he does not try to recreate medieval Europe with a twist of magic or monsters, but instead, creates a world where magic, strange technology, and monsters are have dictated the shape of the world. A World with the kind magic expressed in Dungeons & Dragons would look nothing like Medieval Europe.


Margaret Atwood — A Living Legend on Creative Process, The Handmaid’s Tale, Being a Mercenary Child, Resisting Labels, the Poet Rug Exchange, Liminal Beings, Burning Questions, Practical Utopias, and More (#573)

Okay. You might say and the lack of the qualities that make it difficult for me to write science fiction, which I read a lot of plus dragons. I’m keen on dragons, but I just cannot do them. So there are some things that you can do, you have the ability to do and other things that you may admire but you cannot do. So dragons outside my range of capabilities in any way. Ursula K. Le Guin has kind of sewed up dragons. She got the dragons, she got sort of the dragon franchise. Best dragons.


Dendeng, In Search Of His Wife

The second maiden said: “What is more precious? The love of others? Or your wife’s loyalty?”


Bandits, Agricultural College, and the Century of Humiliation

Li was in a tricky spot. He couldn’t tolerate banditry and kidnapping of well-connected people in his city. But neither could he risk appearing too pro-foreign.


Let's Write an Adventure Site (part 2) - What Went Wrong Before?

There's a strain of Foucauldian discipline to the way that a lot of mid-OSR scenesters talked about "the right way to play" on their blogs and on Google Plus.

(...)

So when I remake this adventure, I want it to be less negadungeony. I want players to explore the oasis, and I want them to be glad they explored it.


House rules for LL B2 game.

Dying: Often. Leftover equipment may be looted but under no circumstance will give xp.


Learning the New

Even my equipment is supposed to have a background!


Luck Mechanics

I made decisions about the core game mechanics to lean them slightly toward the difficult/lethal side. Gooz is on top of that, providing players with a potent way to skillfully and artfully avoid some of the pain that the system might bring. It’s a swingy system, which is why giving players a meta currency is important.


Question From The Hive Mind - Variable Damage in B/X

The average roll on a 1d8 is 4.5, so your average adventurer probably wouldn't down a monster in one mightly swing. They would do it on two hits. Or if profoundly unlucky, five hits. A fighter might do it in one due to those bonuses, but many other player characters are punished for taking a high strength over something else.


Why USR?

Match this with a simple resolution mechanic able to create tension and uncertainty and you have a powerful little engine of could. USR has contested and non-contested "tests". These are bedrock resolution mechanics which have been with us since the creation of rpgs. You are usually, no matter what game you are playing, going against a set target number (really common) or rolling off against an antagonist (not as common).


RPGs and Creative Constraints: What’s behind the OSR and FKR?

What if we look at RPGs this way? What if we view the “natural state” of the RPG as boundless play-pretend, and everything else as a creative constraint?


Schools of magic

So, to begin with, here is a table in which (you/I) can roll up some wizard schools. Your school spell list gets one spell for each type below, but for one that is unknown to them (roll).


Alternative Economics (Part 2: Interesting Choices)

This is one of those sloppy, potpourri posts that I know people still enjoy just because education in general often serves as its own inspiration.