|Eow Links 70|
Eow Links 70
"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 70.
My favourite for this week is The Intrinsic Impossibility of RPGs, "But you can't do that. We're all alone inside our heads."
Nowhere is the idea of the mosaic world more precisely expressed than in the OSR, with its emphasis on “modules”. The implied world of most OSR and retro-style D&D isn’t one of Tolkienesque cosmic struggle, but rather of disjointed, decaying, entropic, and half-wild worlds that are meant to be discovered and explored.
Our house rules documents are probably longer than the PHB by now, we’ve changed out the combat system, injury system, social encounter system, inspiration system, skill system, inventory system, background system, climbing system, lockpicking system, xp system, and a couple of dozens of spells. But since 5e is so modular we can still use the same classes, monsters, and modules.
If you want something to whet your appetite while waiting for August here are resources to get your space-swashbuckling campaign off the ground today. The quick hack for Spelljammer is 'do a ship-based campaign, but in space' - we can break this down into 'what are my tricks for doing ship based campaigns well' and 'how do I generate interesting 'space' themed stuff'.
The player, knowing exactly how many of the GM’s and their own stones are in the bag, then decides how many stones to draw, from 1 to 4. The decision doesn’t have a fictional position. The point of the exercise is to make the player feel the danger, weigh how much they want to do something against how dangerous it is to even try.
Get a timer. Mark 30 minutes (or one hour, etc.). When the bell rings, maybe you roll for random encounters, torches go out (if appropriate), and so on.
Using just the character sheet, invent new gaming mechanics. You have to use all terms on the sheet that are mechanically relevant. Please, send your new-old game to me
I apply situational modifiers to the reaction roll like how far away the encounter takes, what’s happening at the time, the context of the meeting and so forth. One of the modifiers I use is reputation.
Generally speaking the DM "grants" the spells for a wizard through scrolls that are found as part of treasure. What I realized is that it would be super funny and entertaining to grant these spells but in a way that isn't as clear as a scroll.
We didn't get to see the board. All we had was the traditional Theatre of the Mind setup.
It was blindingly fast.
Despite their being over 120 creatures in the battle, it took us less than an hour from spotting the Orcs on the horizon and scouting their forces to routing them, running them down, and looting the wagons.
Dramatic conflict has not exactly disappeared from RPGs (especially indie games), and yet other, more recent games which feed on it, notably some PbtA games like Masks and Monsterhearts, seem to ignore Hillfolk entirely. Why is that?
On the wargaming front, a lot has been happening as well. The method of Matrix Games has been challenged on the grounds of the lack of scientific rigour (not enough rules, maps, hexes, combat results tables etc…), but also by those who prefer unstructured discussions as the path to understanding (all wargames are rubbish brigade). The academic evidence is that the various variants of matrix games help impose a structure on narrative gaming, and are therefore better than unstructured narrative games.
If you are writing about a new idea, mechanic, or technology, start with it. Talk about what it is before you start contrasting it with what it isn’t. Start by explaining the new thing and why the new thing is so good.
Power gamers and minmaxers, like the poor, will always be among us. I think Jesus said that.
Step 0. Blank Map. We begin with a blank map of the local region. I typically use a hex map that is 5 hexes across.
These wrinkles add colour and meaning to a bland relationship, and they set up interesting stuff to happen in play. The warring factions are going to get up in Romeo and Juliet’s face and force them to work to have their romance happen. Or, Romeo is going to have to work to get Juliet to even consider him, and whether she says yes or no it will be freighted with meaning for them both. Or, their every action will be loaded with the regret and longing of their broken relationship and the question of whether it can ever be revived.
I want to talk about some of the decisions I made for this pamphlet, with a view to my own preferences and also to how I think it serves as training wheels for anyone who wants to dip their toes into more procedural play (that is, play whose activities are guided by an overarching structure that facilitates interesting decision-making).
So when G+ came around the first time, we wer all like 'yeah whatever facebook killer', made profiles, then forgot about it. But as the year of its creation started to go on, things started to change for the RPG community involved in it
Over the past decade (at least) a conversation floats around on Reddit about "Who would win, UFC Fighters vs Gorillas". Or at least some variation of trained human fighters. And the question has always struck me as being so stupid. On the one hand, gorillas are stronger and faster than man, but on the other hand, man is the apex predator on this planet.
The problem I ran into was a simple one: the players declare their characters will make an attack on a monster, I roll the attack die (1d20) plus the relevant damage dice behind the screen, I narrate the outcome. But without reference to the damage result, there is very little for me to hang that description from. I quickly felt under pressure to improvise… and that was stressful.
As with writing a novel, DMing is really an iterative process - it's just that while an author merely riffs on his own ideas, a DM can also riff on those of the players.
There is a deep and intrinsic problem at the core of all table top RPGs. The goal, the mission, the objective at the very heart of it all is to get a group of people to all imagine the same place/thing/events.
I require PCs to train between levels. This is the current iteration of my training rules
The quantum ogre may Rob Your Game of Fun. Now, think of random encounter tables. They are fun, IMO. Roll 1d20. If you get a 17 the result is an... ogre.
Now the random ogre is undistinguishable from the quantum ogre.
Alignments are factions. But more importantly, alignments are factions of player characters (and maybe of players too). This is what makes it all make sense. Alignment-as-personality (or morality or ethos) doesn't work and never has
Shortly before choking to death on a chicken bone at the Pelegrine Festival of Beaux Magics, the abmortal and much revered grand magus Anaxrima Voželava published the famous 6th Final Edition of Just So Wizardry: Magic for Beginners.
L’univers de jeu passe du statut de ressource oppositionnelle (la plupart des créatures présentées dans D&D sont des adversaires potentiels des PJ) à celui de réseau dense et complexe, qui n’existe plus en tant que seule force oppositionnelle mais en tant qu’univers dans lequel les personnages sont incorporés.
The game setting goes from being an opposition resource (most of the creatures presented in D&D are potential adversaries for the PCs) to being a complex and dense network, that isn't just an opposition force but is a universe in which the characters are in-corporated (embodied).
(lame translation mine)