Eow Links 75

Eow Links 75

"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 75.

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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Toward a Definition of Game

We can imagine a game as a lake’s surface. Underneath is play. And above is us. And we can’t really see the play in the game from above the surface, it just looks like us. Reflected. And so we dip our faces in to get a better look.

Chris Bissette Talks About That Strange “Thousand Year Old Vampire” Companion Book

Memory is a finite resource, and you are old. Ancient. Potentially eternal. When you create your vampire, you create the memories that you carry with you. And as you play, you destroy them and replace them with new ones. It’s an unsettling, emotional, visceral journey – and it hit me hard, because it replicated, in some small way, the way I experience life.

Field Guide to Random Table Design in RPGs

The idea here is to consider how to make/tweak random table structures to suit your RPG needs. It probably overeggs the pudding. However, if this might be of interest, please check it out.

Running A Con Game Part 1: Planning And Writing Your Game

No sandboxes, but no railroads either. This is a tricky tightrope to walk. If your game is too wide open, the players may not discover your oh-so-obvious clues and will struggle to progress forward. You need to herd them a bit as time is short.

Meanwhile in the Subway is a poster with a big promise

Looking at the map answers the question of “how do I use this?” It creates a rhythm that opens you up to the possibilities. The train is stuck because. An odd detail of the station is. Around here you can find this weird person. Suddenly, something surreal happens forcing you to act. And lastly, an unforeseeable event that complicates things. That’s a session of tabletop gaming right there.

Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part II: Commands

But remember: battles are not won by killing all of the enemies, but by making the enemy run away. Which means battles are principally won in the minds of the combatants. As a result, inspiring leadership matters.

The Legend of Dnd 3.5

It's hard to build a 3.5 rule set from a simple 5e base. It's easy to extract a 5e-like system from a 3.5 rule set.

The OSR Should Die

The banner of old-school play was upheld by too many groups with too many desires which overlapped and contradicted and crossed paths and diverged again. None of them held onto the banner because it was necessarily accurate for themselves or because they were its rightful owners, but because the banner is a signifier of a desire to return to the past (before it was wholly a self-referential indicator of OSR-ness).

The OSR Should Die: An Addendum

My post is titled "The OSR Should Die" precisely because, in many respects, the OSR is not dead; specifically, the founding myth of the OSR tends to be alive and well. Put a pin in it.

Have you tried Actor-Network Theory?

The OSR started as a break-away from the direction of published DnD: “let’s do our own thing instead!” Constant arguing over what that other thing might be is, I would argue, a sign of a healthy resistance. And unlike, say, Maoism, the OSR can have a successful life as something other than a unified movement: so long as an individual table of players can form a temporary community of thought around an idea, they can generate a play culture.

Take a Break

Take a ten minute break every 90 minutes of gameplay.

Sword & Sorcery Characters Don’t Change

The epic fantasy hero is responding to the call to be a hero.

The sword & sorcery hero is seeking fortune, glory and adventure for their own sake.

The Merovingian Sandbox (continued): the Civitas-centered campaign setting

There's a certain mystique of the alienated drifter-adventurer that many gamers find appealing, but I suspect this tells us more about our own individualistic society than it does about the past. A Merovingian sandbox offers a post-collapse and often bleak and violent setting, but one where social networks and identities matter.

My Ability Score Generation Method - One 1 Once

Each player generates their ability scores in order using 3d6 - totalling them as usual. However, of these 3d6, two dice are the same colour and the third is of a different colour. This third die is your 'lucky die'. Whenever an ability score is rolled for and the lucky die results in a 1, it can be rerolled once

Revisiting RPG Campaigns by System on Obsidian Portal

Similar to what other sources show, the lions share of new campaigns in the past 3 years have been D&D 5e. It looks broadly like a consolidation of systems. - 20 games to get 80% of campaigns for first 12 years - 10 games to get to same mark in last 3

On RPG Play-sytles, Part 3: Classic Playstyle versus Trad Playstyle versus OSR?

It was a time of great adventure and creativity; it still exists, but the totally creative worldbuilders are a smaller percentage of the DMs now (there are probably just as many of them, but the total number of players has gone up so much, that they're a smaller percentage and perhaps harder to find as a result).

Let's talk about the current TTRPG scene in Japan

But more recently, RPGs that focus on the relationships between characters and play in duo are also popular in Japan, ”Futari sousa” Is an RPG in which a duo investigates a case. ”Blood Path” is an RPG about a duo of a vampire and a human. ”Stellar Knight” is also popular.

Mastodon is the new Google Plus (I hope)

Why leave a huge potential audience on Twitter for a much smaller potential audience on Mastodon? Well, why not? Google+ was always smaller than Twitter, and I was happier on G+. Both are smaller than Facebook, and that place mostly made me miserable.

I don’t get Tunnels&Trolls.

What can I say? I lost. I lost against the rules. Again. I can’t tell how often, how many years I’ve been trying to get T&T. But each time, after adding and subtracting high two-digit numbers, only to find out the difference between two rolls (=damage) is stopped by armor, I just lose interest.

Spells: Inventing and Assembling

That’s why I built the SEACAT magic system from the ground up with the assumption that some players will love inventing their own spells, and this should be a fun mini-game all its own—from inventing an individual spell to assembling an album of their favourite spells, giving it a theme and name, and so on.

Old-School Reduction: Morale

If a player chooses to stay and fight after a failed morale check, the "hit points" sustained do not take the affected characters out-of-action immediately, but they do make them more vulnerable to future attacks. Repeatedly using this option can lead to characters that are extremely fragile and that require extended periods of time to recover fully

[FR] Éloge du design bordélique

Translation to French of In Praise of Messy Design.

The Dungeoneer’s Pack

We all know that giving players a big list of equipment and some gold pieces to spend is a recipe for a slow interlude before the game really begins. Instead, as the player picks equipment choices from the character class entries, they get two options: dungeoneer’s pack or explorer’s pack

What the Chaos Monk can do for your D&D game

I dream of what Jeff Rients called “walking-around D&D”: D&D played with the rules I can remember. So, behold my Flailsnail rules.

Towards Objective Prosthetics

Sometimes I think about all game rules and supplements in terms of prosthetics. Broadly speaking, a prosthetic is an artifact to replace a missing body part or remediate some deficiency.

Be specific about unwritten rules

I don’t want to go back to memorizing textbooks to play games. None of the above is a dunk on anybody (in particular, ItO is my very favorite game to run and use as a basis for my own games). But I do think designers should be intentional about what they exclude and call it out when they do.

RPG rules with gaps

That is to say, there is no clear answer to the points made about about rules with gaps that you have to fill at the table, I think. It’s a valid concern, but also a valid design lacunae – it depends on your taste.

F**k-You Design

I contend that a lack of desire to invent a magic system on the spot as you play is not a symptom of an impoverished imagination. Rather, it is an entirely reasonable demand by those who would rather play a game than design it.

Working with literary epigraphs in Wikidata

Hypothesis (developed in a future post): Perhaps fantasy literatures are more referenced than the "normal" literary works, in the sense that they contain more diverse references to other works or sources.

How to be the Best Dungeon Master for Dungeons & Dragons -- Part 01: Record Keeping

For keeping notes on the campaign setting, I use three basic methods: the Gazetteer, the Glossography, and the Cyclopedia.

Minimalist OSR spell casting (one spell per level)

The next time you cast a spell, you do so at one level lower (i.e., as a 9th level caster). The caster goes weaker during the day, and is recovered after a night of rest. This means a 10th-level caster can cast 10 spells, each less powerful than the last one.

Announcing Minimal OpenD6, an SRD for Mini Six

Why start with Minimal OpenD6 instead of of OpenD6? Because you want to start with a minimal core and add things gradually, rather than starting with a very large document and cutting out everything you don’t want! (Different approaches work better for different folks.)

On Gathering an Online Group for Gaming

I prefer audio-only sessions, we keep our videos off and instead listen to each other. The advantage to this is that I can get up and walk around.

FKR combat resolution

I've been dissatisfied with Hit Points for a while. They don't help with immersion, which is one of the priorities of my games. I want to experiment with "qualitative harm", wounds described in more detail and organized in broad categories, with different effects

Pimp My Game - Curse of the Mummy's Tomb

Both my original and this copy had horribly warped boards and an even worse central column. I therefore took it upon myself to model and print a new sturdier version on my 3D printer.

Apocalypse World: Custom Advancement

The only way to mess it up is to create something that you don’t like. Nobody else has to use what you create. You don’t have to explain or justify it to anybody else. You and the players are the only people who need to like or understand it at all.

Pictures of the Week: Berlin Zinnfiguren Store

Whenever I am in Berlin, Germany the first thing that I do is to make a beeline to the Berlin Zinnfiguren store. The collection of military ministers, flats and SYW books is one of the best that I have ever seen.