Eow Links 82

Eow Links 82

Devil Dancer, southern Ceylon — Björn Landström

"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 82.

For more weekly links, head to The Seed of Worlds Shiny TTRPG link collection. For monthly links, look at The Glatisant.

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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My favourite for this week is When a Character Class is not a Class, but is in Fact an Institution, "the Knights of the Broken Sword are not a class at all, but an institution in the game world that your character could join"

The Makers Hand

We are engineering ourselves out of the system. producing a culture which has a cornucopia for the things we want, but no place for us.


Is it because showing just how love is doing its thing is complicated and boring but shouldn't be, so you want to have a cool bunch of things to play with? Giant robots are unrealistic and hard to model because they aren't real, but they are cool, so we elide that with robot rules.

Structuring Encounter Tables, Amended & Restated

A wizard doesn’t need a complete spell list and inventory of magic items. All they need is the ability to do something really weird and scary, and an escape plan. Wizards know they’ve got a d4 hit die, so they’ve always got an escape plan.

What do you want from GMing?

Over the past few decades, my reason for wanting to GM has changed. There was a period when the most important thing to me was to craft exciting stories for my players. That gradually morphed into creating exciting stories with my players, and today that morphed into making sure everyone has a good time at the table (though I still love a good story).

The Usual Suspects

Something that occurred to me just this year: having an encyclopedic knowledge of RPGs hasn’t actually made me happier. In fact it’s probably made me less happy participating in my hobby, because I don’t share the same assumptions as the players with whom I spend most of my time. It’s given me all the tools I need to understand my own unhappiness, though.

Thoughts toward a flat earth campaign

since nothing can really be known, nothing is really unknown – simple ignorance does not exist. Anything that seems unknown is actually being hidden by a conspiracy. Estimating the size and power of conspiracies is the new scientific method.

Thieves’ Guild VII (1982)

Can’t stress my love of Gamelords in general though. One of my most satisfying old school discoveries — there is a wealth of bright ideas in these books for the OSR and other indie designers to play with. Dig in!

Did this Domain Game fail?

The fascinating thing about domain level play as part of role playing game campaigns is the potential for the players to generate their own adventure hooks. (...) Sometimes things might be played out in the manner of your usual role playing, other times large scale conflict might be solved using actual war gaming rules.

Frodo Was a 2nd-Level Fighter

Attempting to provide game statistics for literary characters, as Dragon did in its "Giants in the Earth" series, is always a fraught endeavor. While inspired by literature, D&D was never intended to emulate its specific. The game's character classes (and their abilities) generally have game-specific origins and purposes. Consequently, definitively pronouncing that any literary belongs to a particular class or is of a particular level is never going to be wholly satisfying.

Some Writing Advice is Crap

You have to create something. You also must accept that your experiment might flop.

Meet the Publisher: Zedeck Siew and Mun Kao

Process-wise, I try to read as much as I can on history and get as many visual references as I can, and stew all that along with my own experiences and imaginations. And the illustrations that come out are like mentioned, exploratory for me too, like I’m slowly expanding that visual landscape, pushing and illustrating my way out . It’s a bit like a visual mandala that pushes out maybe.

Here’s what irritates me most about B/X…

The titles for character levels don’t help, either. They simply demonstrate the creators of D&D were capable of coming up with flavorful and appropriate class names, but chose not to. Creating titles in a formal hierarchy, like “freshman”, “sophomore”, “junior”, and “senior”, is ridiculous. Gandalf is a “wizard”, but he didn’t have to spend time as a “necromancer” before he became one.

Meet the Campaign: Anti-Boredom Pt 1

When considering my affliction, I asked myself a question. How would you structure a campaign in such a way that it would keep your attention? What would you actually need to go back to the same storyline week after week?

Alternative Spelunking – Different Ways to Dungeoncrawl

But are there other ways to cover dungeon crawling? Well, yes, with varying degrees of narrative freedom. Once you start to mush up location- and encounter-based play, you end up with plenty of options to make interesting and engaging one-shot structures.

Salvage Union Design Blog #5 - Removing the Crunch from Mech Games

We wanted to create something different, a Mech roleplaying game that was pick up and play and encouraged players to explore and engage with the game world and roleplay without worrying too much about the rules. However we also really love the aforementioned crunchy mech games and the myriad of fun things you can do in those games. One of the most significant elements is Mech customisation which is in our mind an integral part of the Mech experience which we still wanted to include in Salvage Union.

Actual Play: Hunting Shadow-Tigers on the Beastlands

. Killed random encounter tables; given the tight time everything was scripted along the 'main trail'
. Ruthless time-management, with the helpful anteater petitioner NPC being my main lever to guide the players
. Rolling in the open: letting the players see I was rolling every time they moved (but not knowing it was the shadow-tiger perception check) injected a suitable level of 'this forest is not our friend' atmosphere

Jesus’ empty tomb and The matron of Ephesus

Still, some of the common motifs are particularly striking. Especially important is the soldier(s), who are posted to prevent a crucified man’s body being removed by his friends, and who conceal the truth of its disappearance; and secondly, the tomb itself. In the gospels the tomb is hewn into rock, and in Petronius, it is ‘underground in Greek fashion’, using a Greek word for ‘underground’ (in hypogaeo Graeco more). And both stories have a strong focus on the tomb’s door.

Death & Taxes in Mausritter

A mouse matures at 4 months of age, and has a total lifespan of 12 to 18 months. This means that each month, or even each week, represents a significant chunk of your mouse character’s life.

Bring the Page With You

Devices are puzzles, landmarks and contraptions used by those who inhabited the age before. Place a device card under an age. Describe the device’s function. Give details about its parts, how it is powered, how to interact with it. Next give the device a twist. For example an unexpected behaviour, a secret door, or a hidden artefact.

Game Design Pattern: Stakes aka Triangle Strategy Scales of Conviction

The videogame Triangle Strategy is a traditional-style Japanese Tactical RPG that mostly plays it pretty safe, albeit well made, but it does implement a few innovations, among them the Scales of Conviction.

SoC involves pivotal decisions in the game affecting the missions and narrative, but the Player does not get to choose directly, only influence the decision. Instead, they hold a vote, and the party members have preconceived stances which can be Swayed by the Player.

Worldbuilding, character builds, and old school D&D / OSR

I think this shows a difference of focus between old school and contemporary D&D. The first is great for worldbuilding, (...) The second is great for character building

Monday Midjourney: Doorways

doorway to a dangerous dungeon in the style of Dungeons and Dragons
terms that led to Midjourney’s algorithm imagining the following images

The Joy of Exploration

So, my contention is: for the game to be enjoyable, immersion is not enough. I want to do and decide interesting things in the setting. Let’s go through some of the things that worked for me in the past when I was running wilderness exploration games.

The Default Space Opera Setting

In addition to all of that, I’ve been told on several occasions that my own setting sounds a lot like Traveller by people most familiar with that game. This made me realize that contrary to the common belief that sci-fi RPGs are less popular because there are no default assumptions for the game world to easily explain to players what they can expect, there actually is at least one such default setting very prominent in RPGs.

When a Character Class is not a Class, but is in Fact an Institution

My suggestion is that the Knights of the Broken Sword are not a class at all, but an institution in the game world that your character could join. On meeting the specified requirements, there is the opportunity to advance in rank within the order. As you advance, you will be furnished with abilities to enable you to better pursue the goals of the organisation.

The Winding Waterslide of RPG Terms

There is no sandbox, there is no railroad, there is just a tool to leverage your imagination, and for most involved in playing ttrpg’s this is a no-go. The generic terms of the ttrpg deal are utterly beyond comprehension for most. Therefore, you have many gamers looking for something never promised by the game. So it gets made up.