Eow Links 66

Eow Links 66

"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 66.

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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Theory review #54

What does it take to be a “neotrad” role-playing game?

The Doubling Devil

"Combat as war" gameplay positions the uncertainty of combat as something to be mitigated or avoided entirely.

"Combat as sport" gameplay positions the uncertainty of combat as the heart of the game: the fundamental thing you're supposed to have fun with.

I would argue that there's a popular game series that has been combining these two modes of gameplay for over a decade: the Dark Souls series.

A planar compilation

Since we are about to receive a new planar nexus in June, this is a round-up of various variant takes on the planes I have found over time (plus resources for Planescape itself at the bottom).

Multiple Fighter attacks revisited for Swords & Wizardry

The players pick a target and resolve their attack. I subtract the target's hit dice from the character level and there is nothing left over. I see if it equals or exceeds the target's hit dice. If it does then the character gets to resolve another attack on the target.

RPGs as Sense Making

This is why I think the humanities are so important: they situate knowledge within something (a book, a poem, a piece of music, a work of art) that can only be experienced, being embodied, and which can only be understood tacitly, being opaque to rational explanation. It is through our experience of the arts that we really come to know what this business of being a human being is really all about. It expresses truths not through logic but by making us inhabit them, and thus helps us to truly see something like the whole.

The Elusive Shift: How Role-Playing Games Forged Their Identity

Each section of the book presents the next stage in the development of the RPG conversation. How do you play? Is there a right way? If there is what does it look like? How do you design a game to do X? Is D&D a failure? Is D&D a game or a tool kit to make your own game?

Whitehack (17-04-21)

The writing is a lot like the presentation - it is very spare and exact. He tells you only the minimum. Most rules require some thought before you have the moment of click - ah, I get why its like this… Perhaps that's partly why it has impressed me so much, because I had to think about it, I experienced that satisfaction of understanding, of discovery.

Meet the Publisher: Yochai Gal

I was therefore presented with a serious design conundrum: how could I run all these excellent adventures with a system like Into The Odd? On the Into The Odd discord server, I'd spoken to a few people that had some success running system neutral or OSR adventures and dungeons, writing original stats for monsters and traps, discarding what didn't work, etc. I knew it was possible! But what was missing? How could I make the process easier?

Root: The Roleplaying Game Review

There’s a lot going on in Root, but it’s more internally consistent than, say, Dungeon World and it offers some cool mechanics around elements like travel and faction relationships; while these mechanics aren’t brand new I’d say the versions in Root offer refinement and improvement over what existed before.

Fermi Estimates and Dyson Designs

The part in bold is the essence of Dyson design — vastly over-engineer a critical aspect of the design (propulsive power or power/weight ratio in this case) so that you create an abundance that you can waste in other parts of design space. Dyson design tends to be generative, because it creates room to waste in other design variables, which you don’t need to optimize. Instead you can use the free design room to have fun or do derivative design. Dyson design is promethean design. It unleashes larger design energies.

Orcs are Larva

They do nothing themselves but capture slaves to work for them, preferring to manage and oversee and devise and demand. Dwarves they make overseers, if they don't eat them instead, humans they like for drudge work, no elf has ever been taken a slave for they waste and die within days if placed in chains or locked away.

Meta Critical Miscellany - Literary, Intellectual, Enjoyable, Forgotten, Fragile

Why do I do this? I enjoy writing criticism, performing literary analysis, and reading and thinking about books. One of my friends once justified our activities by saying you have to help create the literary culture you want to be part of.

Game Theory: To Fudge, or Not to Fudge, that is the Question

So, with new players, I will fudge. I don't want them to have a Frank experience and think roleplaying games are a waste of time. I even fudged for a new player in an Adventure League game. However, as a player gets more experienced and learns the game better, I fudge less and less. This is where I differ from the pro-fudge group, that fudges to avoid character death.

Emergent Gameplay and Fallacies of “Unexplanation”

And the more I listen to old grognards about how they played DnD and about homebrew from this time the more I have awareness this choices made to create some way of playing were actually more often than not detrimental and homebrewed around and discarded.

Stormbringer redux #11 The whiff Factor & Attrition

For each round that the combatants whiff (ie fail to hit or do damage to one another), both receive a point of Attrition. Ideally, I would use STR as the pool, as Elric often mentions his lack of strength. But to reduce bookkeeping, a GM could use HP and consider Attrition as temporary damage healed after a short rest.

Highgate Cemetery

Tombs line the avenue and encircle the massive cedar tree at its end. Some have Egyptian influence, but many are classic, with intricate borders on their memorials, stone crosses, or angels watching nearby. This area is known as the Circle of Lebanon. Beneath are brick catacombs holding the corpses of those whose plots aren’t ready.

Emp Dyn RPG

Initiative in combat: Beings with the highest attribute appropriate for the situation goes first (body in the physical world, mind if in the digital world, etc).

Books for Dungeon Masters: The Peregrine, by J.A. Baker

Its song is like the sound of a stream of wine spilling from a height into a deep and booming cask. It's an odorous sound, with a bouquet that rises to the quiet sky. In the glare of day it would seem thinner and drier, but dusk mellows it and gives it vintage. If a song could smell, this song would smell of crushed grapes and almonds and dark wood. The sound spills out and none of it is lost, the whole wood brims with it. Then it stops, suddenly, unexpectedly, but the ear hears it still, a prolonged and fading echo draining and winding out of the surrounding trees.

Non-licensed not!Tolkien games

For the last 20 years, I have been chasing this white whale. Here is what I have learned:

There is no one, perfect game. There is only the perfect game for the campaign you want to run (some assembly required).

If you want to run a Tolkien game, there are a lot of resources to help you assemble the right game for you, both licensed and unlicensed.