Eow Links 77
2022-06-19

Eow Links 77

Knyaz by Mateusz Przeklasa

"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 77.

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.

← last week links

No favourite for the week.


States and Emergence: could you govern a country?

"Hey, the first Fighting Fantasy gamebook was in the 1980s, right?"

"Sure, 1982. But you can't call yourself a real true genuine grognard unless you've played State of Emergency."

"....what's State of Emergency?"


Artificial Beings: Homunculus

although Zosimos of Panopolis (end of the 3rd century and beginnings of the 4th) and Jābir ibn Hayyān (passed away near 806 – 816) had talked about the creation of artificial life before.


On Methodology For Otherworld-immersion

Engaging with the scene as it’s described, without reference to rules knowledge, makes it more likely that your decision will be made in-role. You will begin to roleplay. What will you choose? In my experience, there is more chance that Thrynn and his companions will parley than fight.


In Defense of (Some) Metagaming

I recently played in an absolutely brilliant game run by my friend Paul. It was a Free Kriegsspiel kind of deal, set in a semi-mythological Paleolithic setting, and it was one of the best games I’ve ever played in. One of the reasons it was excellent is because its metagame was rich and fruitful.


Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part IIIa: Discipline

That, for instance, allowed Aemilius Paullus to give orders to his first legion at Pydna for each of those maneuver units to either push forward or give ground independently, presenting the Macedonian phalanx with a tactical problem (an unevenly resisting line) it did not have a good solution for


Dungeon restocking roll frequency

The conclusion for dungeon designers would be to just make most of everything that’s interesting reachable within five or six rooms from an entrance.


Elements of Description

If a GM doesn’t describe something, it doesn’t exist. If they don’t say that something is in the room, it’s not in the room. If a GM forgets, omits, or just plain leaves out an “unimportant” detail, it can change the entire scope of how the players react with their characters.


Gus on Proceduralism

One could call this tract of thinking the Pahvelorn School of Game Design. As it was for Gus, that campaign was so inspirational for me. It really shaped how I think and play games now, all these years later.


Proceduralism

1 / Proceduralism is the acknowledgement that RPGs have two forms of rules: “Mechanics” and “Procedure”.
2 / Proceduralism is the belief that RPG Procedure has a profound effect on play style and experience.
3 / Proceduralism interrogates the mechanics of systems, play styles, and play culture for missing or uncodified procedures.
4 / Proceduralism tries to codify and explain Procedure as a necessary part of intentionally designing both systems and adventures to provide distinct play styles and experiences.
5 / Proceduralism rejects the idea that there is a historically or otherwise correct way to play RPGs as a whole or systems, except to the degree that one utilizes Mechanics and Procedures in a way to deliver the play style and experience that the referee seeks to create.


The Sprouted Stump: Thematic Musical Tables

You have Type A: the now quite developed Background Music industry, where composers and listeners curate playlists of music to be played during sessions, generally fairly unobtrusive and generic so as not to distract from the playing.

Then there's Type B: inspirational musical touchstones, the sort of playlist you build to inform everyone of the world you're playing in. Something appropriate for listening to while thinking about or prepping the game, but not so much during play.


Mosaic Worlds, Generation and Interactions

A single module is made up of four hexes that can be arranged in four different ways, as shown below. There are four hexes per module precisely because they can be arranged in more ways than just three hexes, within an area of seven hexes. There are even more combinations of four hexes in this space than there would be for five, unless you were to expand the boundaries of possible arrangements and thus make them more complicated and take up more space.


One More Session Consequence

Imagine there’s a metaphorical high shelf filled with ideas. Don’t just reach up and grab the first idea that comes along but rather reach up and take down two or three. Compare those ideas, examine them, and then choose the best one for the moment.


Power Fantasies in RPGs

Even ignoring such nuance, one might argue that stories where we’re allowed to feel strong are not just important but essential in and of themselves—for how can a people create justice and power for themselves without first dreaming of it?


40+ Years Of Trying To Define Hit Points Continues...

It's the inconsistencies that keep this question alive.


Getting Started With The OSR: Part 2 : Play a Retro-Clone.

If you run a retro-clone OSR game, you gain a foundation to understand what the designers are doing with the other games that fall into the OSR category. Having a first hand experience with the rules, procedures, and style of play will give you a better understanding of why a designer took their game in a different direction. Some things can only be learned through experience.


The F**kscourse Continues

I’d go as far as to suggest a fourth layer of rules, which you might call a cultural or normative or philosophical layer, that indicates the principles and values that govern the other three. This isn’t what some might deride as teaching adults how to play nice, but rather clarifying what those adults might want to consider as they work out how to align the game as experienced, understood, and designed – because that’s hard work, and the way to do it isn’t always obvious.


Dungeons in the Ruined Queendom

The dungeons have always been with us. According to legend even the first king proved his worthiness as a warrior by venturing deeper into the dungeons than any who came before as was the custom of his clan. They are older than history, and perhaps despite their seemingly manmade appearance, they may even be older than humanity.


About The Frost Spire

What is immediately cool about this dungeon is that nothing is immediately, necessarily hostile. It basically starts as a mystery: what is this place? and, depending on the hook(s) you've used, where are the missing children? What is going on here?


D&D's Uniqueness and the Inevitability of Roleplaying

However, it is really rather unusual that the first real role playing game worthy of the name happened to have an assumed fantasy setting rather than anything else. It seems to me that, all other things being equal, one would have expected the first role playing game to have emerged from historical wargames (as it did so, indirectly), and hence have something to do with either the Napoleonic era, World War I or World War II.

Braunstein 1

In 1969, David Wesely served as referee for a Napoleonic wargame set in the fictional German town of Braunstein. Wesely set up a multi-player, multi-objective game, in which he assigned individual roles for each player, including non-military roles. For example, he had players acting as town mayor, banker, and university chancellor. Nearly 20 players showed up for the game, which was more than anticipated, and each player was assigned a role in the town of Braunstein. The players were originally supposed to communicate with the referee in a separate room.


F**k-you is a Writing Concept

a product of decisions about a) what an imagined reader already knows and b) what is necessary to explain to such a reader. In other words, it is a product of communicative strategies, not game design strategies.


Burgs & Baliffs Warfare Too by Paolo Greco

this is about giving you tools to bring medieval warfare to your medieval RPG and you probably will not use all of these but you may well find the ones that suit you.


Food for Thought

These videos led to Townsends, a channel dedicated to the 18th century lifestyle, including recipes. From there, I found Tasting History, particularly these episodes about mead and historical butterbeer. This could make for an entertaining way to teach history - people remember food.


Playing the Dunedain Rangers of the North

And that's generally with a ton of mistrust. When you smell like sweat, boar hide, and tobacco, people will look at you with a hint of disgust. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. As a Ranger, you're a wanderer (...) As a wanderer, you aren't a part of the community. That leads to instant distrust. If you were an honest and upstanding individual, why wouldn't you live in town or farm in one of the communities around Bree?


Question-Based Design

Blorb play is based on pull, not on push; the players explore a region (or a set of relationships) and they want the DM to answer questions and the DM turns to the gloracle (the glorious oracle of dice and prep) and that gloracle better have answers fast


Resolution types in TTRPG

I discern those five types of resolutions:
/ Task resolution
/ Situation resolution
/ Scene resolution
/ Conflict resolution
/ Tension resolution


Bonuses

What's Earning Your Bonus?
/ INFO: You've learned something that would help here.
/ PREP: A good action now to reward good action later.
/ RISK: Really there are a few ways this can go.


[FR] Zargo’s Lords

Ce premier wargame italien de Fantasy, conçus par Marco Alberto Donadoni, repose sur des règles relativement simples (pour un wargame !). Il s’agit pour chaque peuple de conquérir le plus de villes dans une partie de 25 tours. (...) Un système d’alliances consolidées par un échange d’otages ouvre la porte aux négociations et trahisons entre joueurs.

~~~

This first italian fantasy wargame, conceived by Marco Alberto Donadoni, has relatively simple rules (for a wargame!). Each people has to conquer the most cities in a game of 25 turns (...) An alliance system backed by hostage exchanges sets the stage for negotiations and backstabbing between the players.


Never Slaked, Always Seeking (The 5e Fighter)

At level 1, you can spend Hit Dice as a bonus action without short rest-ing; roll to heal result+CON.

Other classes run out of Hit Dice. Fighters do not. Fighters always have more hitting to do. Once per day, you can use your Second Wind to get all your Hit Dice back.


Physical Form Factors of Home Printing

I will assume that you access to a regular printer which can only handle standard (letter or A4) sized sheets of paper. Besides those sizes, I will list a 'compromise' size which can be printed onto either size, in case you want to distribute materials between people who use differently sized sheets.


This is the Decision Die, from Flying Buffalo

This is the Decision Die, from Flying Buffalo. I had been on the lookout for a couple different sets of novelty dice that Flying Buffalo put out (see tomorrow for one of them) when I found this. Unlike most novelty dice, we use this one all the time, as it is a quick and easy way to determine who goes first in a board game.


Texts on Designing Texts

When I first started creating RPG content, I was absolutely not equipped with the practical knowledge necessary to make aesthetically pleasing products.


In Defence Of The Monster

So it may come as a shock that I regularly have two NPCs accompany any group I run. I want to explain why and show how I make it work. I know that defending DMPCs is maybe a bad look. But if you’ll indulge me would like to show how a correctly placed NPC companion can be the best thing for your campaign.


What would a Materialist RPG be Like?

In a materialist RPG, the point would be for the players to feel the sway of social forces rather than be dictated by them.


Travel Procedure – tools

Going at night may allow to avoid the regular enemies but opens up for nighttime predators and ambushes. Going certain routes may attract specific enemies – maybe you prefer traversing “deathlands” because of clerical protection against undead instead of forests full of regular beasts you would need to fight off? Classic Scylla or Charybdis decision.