|Eow Links 73|
Eow Links 73
"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 73.
My favourite for this week is Here’s what I love most about B/X..., "I don’t want to roll dice—I want to explore a fantastic world"
I see argument in some places saying that if you are running Spelljammer or any other inter-planetary game then there is no point creating highly detailed worlds because you want getting from point to point to be part of the fun of the setting. The detail and interest on a given world should not be so much that people decide to stay groundside and abandon the Spelljamming part of it all. Taking that on board, I think there is a question of versimillitude - I can see the typical table I run giving me a very hard stare if I said 'there is no geographic variation on this world' and 'a single polity rules everything' for a place the size of Earth.
I have learned that it’s almost always best to first pinpoint what you don’t like about the results of a mechanic before you start modifying the mechanic. It’s hard to improve something when you don’t know how it actually performs as designed, and you can easily miss out on something cool if you replace it before having it properly tested.
Now I wouldn't call this an example of brilliant design, because it's mostly not design, per se. Rather, it's the logical offshoot of OD&D being a game first and foremost. That is to say, OD&D was a played game before it was a published ruleset, and was intended to do a very specific thing compared to the "world's most popular fantasy roleplaying game" kitchen-sink, all-things-to-all-people school D&D embraced later.
We decided to run the campaign troupe-style, like Ars Magica: we all had our own player characters, and anyone who wanted to run an “episode” (a full adventure which usually took some 2-4 sessions) could step up and do so. This is an approach which early editions of Ars Magica proposed; 5th edition still presents it as a viable option for play, but no longer assumes it as a default.
They will pretend to be young inexperienced fighters in search of adventure, fame and fortune, but mostly fortune. Candella is the spokesman of the two women. These two thieves will be friendly towards the party, not acting hostile if they win the initiative. They will politely ask to join the party, saying that they are not quite as tough or prepared for adventuring as they had originally thought themselves to be.
Sometimes, it seems RPG players forget that the level written on the character sheet is ultimately irrelevant. Player characters, after all, aren’t real. They can’t laugh, cry, enjoy the game, or be upset by it. Outside the imaginations of the players and the DM, the characters don’t exist. The players, on the other hand, can experience all of this, and more.
By request, I put together a list of reading material that directly influenced the writing and design of Cairn, as well as my upcoming setting/adventure Beyond The Pale.
What other people don't realize, I think, is that these players have found a flexible and intuitive interface for them to play whatever they want. It’s not about anything else Fifth Edition has to offer, to speak broadly. However, this is not because of D&D (...), but because people have learned an easy ruleset very quickly, often learning from each other.
Warpstar wants to do to warhammer 40k, what warlock did to warhammer (and warlock was good, hence this buy).
Dungeon Weed’s previous album Mind Palace of the Mushroom God had a lot of Dungeons & Dragons references. Black Pudding and Beholder Gonna Fuck You Up are obvious allusions. The Eye of the Icosahedron has some clear D&D influences but not as much. It feels more like a Clark Ashton Smith story. It’s familiar enough to keep you in the story while still being weird and disorienting.
There is one kind of encounter situation that the B/X procedure does not enable, and that is creatures spotting the party without being noticed and following them around for a while. When the players make the wandering monster check and it rolls a 1, they know something is there. You can’t tell them “you don’t notice anything”.
Today, I am often overwhelmed by the desire to imagine and the crashing realisation of the gulf between my own dreams and powers. In gaming, this shows up as the never-ending murmur of ideas in my mind: the worlds I wish to visit, the games I want to run, the characters I would choose to play. While I can bring some of these ideas to the table it’s more common that I don’t. I am but one man with a shovel trying to build too great an Empire beneath the sewers.
The game does want to see its players triumph, but the risk of falling to the Void is very real and a party will likely see at least one character lost to evil in a campaign.
Secondly, it is a reminder of the strength of catalogues as a genre. Here are the dissipate elements described and categorised: here is how they come together. I don't suppose an audience with an awareness of, IE, Hot Springs Island or Veins of the Earth needs a reminder of this. All the same, the scale of this was very worth returning to.
If a natural 20 attack roll takes you to 0 HP, you are dead. If a single source of damage does more damage than your Constitution score and takes you to 0 HP, you are dead.
If you are at 0 HP but not dead, you can try to Keep Going. Otherwise you are Down.
If you are Down you can't do anything. Once combat is over, you roll on the How Bad Is It table.
If you try to Keep Going, you make a Save vs Death. If you succeed you can act normally until next round. If you fail, you are Down.
This past weekend I participated in the fifth event of Heathen, a LARP campaign based around a historical fantasy take on King Alfred’s war against the Danish invaders of Dark Ages England. I had a great time, in part because I came in with a different player character type which meant I could better target the parts of the game I found interesting than my previous character did.
But imagine the song that's only ever performed once. That's functionally what RPGs are like, unless you record your sessions. And sure, you could do that I guess. But the default is for RPGs to be something that exist only in the memories of those who participated, deteriorating over time and finally vanishing once that person has died.
My Grandfather's Encyclopedias. Pre-internet, this was how you looked information up; and I delighted in its mythology. A perfect fit for gaming's pseudo-academic methods.
We're dealing with the transmission of complex knowledge. It's obscure and specialized knowledge and it's a little silly if you take a step back and look at it, but we all eat this stuff up.
And we transform it, we all do. It's a giant game of telephone. It changes as it encounters more minds and as the world outside us changes. And it changes really fast.
By age 40, Hu John (family names come first in China) was a widower and his only child was almost grown. He had a job at the Jesuit mission in Guangzhou as the keeper of the gate. If someone approached the mission looking to talk to the priests, it was Hu’s job to gauge whether to admit them. He was literate but not educated. Except for his religion, he was an utterly unremarkable man. This would soon change.
I made a blank map that can be used to create a setting collaboratively. I hereby publish it under the CC0 license, it's the closest I can get to the public domain without breaking any law (or dying). Feel free to share, reuse and remix it as you see fit!
Iczer-One seems like one of those anime that has been lost to time, and I do get why, but I also think it's a shame, because it's pretty cool. It's only three 30ish min episodes, or there's an OVA that's basically just the three episodes, I think maybe with some scenes rearranged.
For those interested in my emerging/pending little series on a Merovingian-inspired fantasy sandbox, I've just noticed that Skerples (of the Coins and Scrolls blog) had an interesting post back in 2017: a "Table of Rulers" with a metric ton of sample lines borrowed from the early Merovingian-era bishop/historian, Gregory of Tours.
a campaign setting modeled at least structurally on the Merovingian realm of the sixth century would offer a really useful template for a fun ‘vanilla’ fantasy sandbox campaign
Problem 1: All humans are alone inside their head.
Problem 2: We hold many assumptions inside our head.
Problem 3: We often don't even realize we have these assumptions.
Boot hill and the fear of dice by Rutskarn provides an example of an intrigue-based game where the rules mostly concern combat, with no social rules to speak of.
play gravitates towards structure, that's why play gravitates towards combat...