Eow Links 83

Eow Links 83

"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 83.

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 Putting ourselves out of business, "I try to enjoy the do it yourself spirit (even though much less gets done, of course)"

Thompson Motif Index Generator

Largely unabridged generator of motifs from the Thompson Motif Index. This is your fair warning that some motifs may seem base or unappealing for a variety of reasons.

Retrospective on the Monstrous Manual

I am forever creating adventures in my head based around the perfect monster, or that includes a monster that would be just right for a scenario, and a grab the game book I am using to find that I do not have the monster for it. And in moments, I am ripping through my whole OSR collection (like a fool) looking for a stat block for the critter. Often to no avail. At which point I grumble, grab one off the internet, or just restat the damn thing myself (which would have been quicker anyway.)

Gygax 75: The Map Around the Dungeon (Week 2)

In principle, this is to set up the area around the dungeon that is to be the campaign start point. In our particular run through of the exercise, first we must choose a world. We decided to go with a site on world 3 - tropical air world and have it be part of the great tree bank.

The Iron Lich Situation

I’m not precious about timelines or vague ideas about the Iron Lich. I don’t want to get rid of the main concept, “Industrialized Undead Wizard,” and don’t want to play in a tone that doesn’t work for me.

Logistics, How Did They Do It, Part II: Foraging

It is possible to roast unmilled grain seeds or to boil either those seeds or flour in water to make porridge in order to make them edible, but turning grain into bread (or biscuits or crackers) has significant nutritional advantages (...) and also renders the food a lot tastier, which is good for morale. Consequently, while armies will roast grains or just make lots of porridge in extremis, they want to be securing a consistent supply of bread. The result is that ideally an army wants to be foraging for grain products at a stage where it can manage most or all of the remaining steps to turn those grains into food, ideally into bread.

What Makes an OSR Game an OSR game?

If I can use a rule set published in 2022 to run Keep on the Borderlands with little to no modification and do the conversion in my head as I play, its “old school.”

If I can run an adventure published in 2022 using AD&D with little to no modification and do the conversion in my head as I play, it’s “old school.”

Latin spells in classic D&D video games

Three games released in 2000 to 2002, widely regarded as classics of the genre, draw on the traditional pairing of magic and the Latin language: Baldur’s Gate II (2000), Icewind Dale (2000), and Icewind Dale II (2002). Ancient Romans didn’t accidentally set off fireballs every time they had a conversation. But in these games, when characters cast spells, you hear the verbal component of the spell as an incantation in Latin.

Further Questions Regarding D&D Movies

It's difficult now to remember, but prior to Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring, the landscape of fantasy film-making was an absolute ocean of cringeworthiness. No self-respecting actor or director would want to be seen dead in a fantasy movie, unless it was being played for laughs; the idea of pretending to be an elf or wizard and spouting hey-nonny-no lines would have struck anybody with an ounce of awareness as being deeply silly at best.

Strategy, Tactics, and Teamwork for Dummies Teaching Dummies (Part I)

The problem is that lots of GMs say they want more tactical players when what they really want is just some cool, creative, swashbuckling action. They want their players swinging from chandeliers, attacking weak points for massive damage, disarming foes, and shoving them into tar pits.

Slaying the Dragon: It Takes a Village

When most people think of who created Dungeons & Dragons, they think of Gary Gygax. But Gary’s story is just one part, one head of the hydra at TSR. Like some kind of corporate Song of Ice & Fire novel, countless characters have a role to play in the saga of the Houses of Gygax, the Brothers Blume, Williams, and Adkison. These are our unsung heroes fighting to keep D&D alive and where Slaying the Dragon really sings!

Minimalist B/X II - % skills [and nostalgia, and a rant]

Sometimes I think that elegant games are so rare because the page count would suffer, making the books cheaper and the (depressively small) margins even smaller.

My Alternative XP system

My goal is to gauge how much of a real challenge the encounter proved to the PCs. A challenge that the PCs solved easily and at little cost, even if the numbers were against them wasn't much of a challenge. On the other hand a simple encounter that nearly killed them because they were ill prepared and unlucky was a real learning experience for the characters.

Problems Trading With Traveller

More deeply, I feel that there is a trick being missed in both Cepheus and Mongoose Traveller. In short, I feel like there is an opportunity to add a layer of depth to the game by building a workable and simple game structure for trading. I think the Classic Traveller rules give the firmest hint of this with the idea of cargo lots.

The Right Monster for the Job: D&D Monsters Listed by Function

This led me to think of other monster jobs that a dungeon master could fill for a particular adventure. Many campaigns need masterminds to plot evil schemes, guards to defend hoards, and perhaps assassins to attack when the meddling do-gooders become a nuisance. DMs creating dungeons often need undying foes that can survive a vault for a 1,000 years until foolhardy treasure hunters invade.

Usage & Hazard Dice: How to Emulate Bookkeeping with Dice

However, with multiple such resources, or when resources are still tracked on paper, I think usage dice become a bit extraneous. You still need to write and rewrite your resource's current usage die, and the process of figuring out if you've consumed (i.e. downgraded) your resource or not adds much more complexity than just counting down a number. Nevertheless, there is the benefit of reduced math, which is likely one of the reasons it was first incorporated in The Black Hack. You might find, then, that usage dice or some other method of emulating resource consumption will work well for your campaign's ruleset.

Man, every time I try to crack into a wargame, I wind up...

The bugs, though, aren’t on the board. As with Battleship, their player creates a secret map of the underground hive, with their units only hitting the board if they burrow to the surface. Their big offensive capability is mines that are laid before play — they vary in strength, ranging from one hex to seven hexes. So it seems to set the stage for a tense game of cat and mouse, with the human player trying to flush out the location of the central hive brain and the bugs trying to bait the humans into clustering in the blast zone of a mine.

The First Mythos

Lord Dunsany is one of the forgotten master of fantasy, invoked but rarely read. Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany, was a larger-than-life individual. Nobility, he served in three major wars and was wounded in the Easter Rising. His domain was a castle in Ireland, on the borders of the Pale, which was the English-controlled zone of the island (think of it as a big Green Zone). He ran for Parliament and went on African safaris. He was a master at chess and pistols. Were he alive today (he died in 1957), he would have starred in those Dos Equis beer commercials.

Dendrobat Prod. - Behind the Dahu

I was invited on the “Folklore Bestiary” project on the late when – after discovering it – I told Olivier that I had quite a similar project in mind: using local folklore as game material. More about this in 1d4 years ^^. As my own folklore project is far from completion, I participated in theirs.

Monstrous Mondays: New & Old School Monster Books; Where the Basajaun lives

That is three different versions of the same monster. I have seen the one from Twilight Fables and you have all seen mine. They are very different from each other. While obviously the same creature, they do slightly different things. In truth, it is very much like how old bestiaries would describe animals. Even known animals would get slightly different treatments depending on the observer.

Dot Dungeon

".dungeon is a tabletop roleplaying game with mechanics inspired by social games like Werewolf and Munchkin where the real world (and you as a person) affect the game. The world of .dungeon is inspired by MMO's, both fictional (like .hack//sign) and real (Guild Wars 2) and is set in a mysterious game engine that is growing and feeding on itself, ever-changing."

The New OSR 2: The Many Engines of Cepheus

I wanted to talk about some of the major variations of Cepheus. The intention here is that a prospective Cepheus game designer could choose what version of Cepheus was closest to their vision of what their game or setting should be, and use that version as a starting point.

July Miscellany and Noisy Sheep Shearing

Hic Svnt Myrmeleones (hereafter HSM) is quite a pleasant read. It's doing the decrepit, magic-ridden, faintly-Byzantine empire thing. Now, this is perhaps quite a stock setting by this point - A Princess of Mars is hardly new, and neither are the various Dying Earth properties (see also the perennial Aesthetics of Ruin). But like the young, vigorous, wild, vaguely-Viking setting (see below!) there's an obvious pleasure in seeing it done well. I believe, for instance, that Gus L's Fallen Empire posts are still loved

Writing a new RPG the Hard Way

You do not need an RPG book to play an RPG.

One of the main purposes of an RPG book is to transfer the knowledge of how to play a game into the head of another person. If you are both the author of the game, and the person running it you get to skip a LOT of writing. You can rely on hastily scribbled notes, your memory, and your improvisational ability to fill in gaps.

This means you can ‘write’ and play an RPG as soon as your idea about how to play the game is solidified enough for you to bring it to the table and communicate it to your players.

AD&D Treasure Types from 1e to 2e

as most retroclones do not reproduce the treasure type system. The first retroclones tried very hard not to exactly reproduce any tables, as they were worried that this would be a legitimate grounds for complaint and compromise the legal harbor they were attempting to establish. When it came to the random treasure table, this became a problem. OSRIC simply tossed the whole system. So did Swords & Wizardry, which offers an alternative system that gives approximately the right gold for Dungeon encounters. This has become a sort of tradition: like descending AC, treasure types are one of the first things to be pitched or simplified.

Putting ourselves out of business

My own answer is to think smaller, just like them: I only write the documents I want for myself and my table, I teach myself the skills I need (painting, layout, text editing), I try to enjoy the do it yourself spirit (even though much less gets done, of course), I focus on the amateur aspect of it (amare = love!), and thereby accept that many artists will not be able to make ends meet. I cannot see how I can make money making the software I love, write the books I love, draw the pictures I love, and so instead I do it for love, not money, and expect most others to do the same.

A Primer on Star Wars RPGs

If you've received a link to this article, you may have just asked the question, "what's the deal with Star Wars RPGs?" The first part of this post is a succinct overview of all the major (and some minor) options out there which cover this need.

Rove Release & Devlog #1

It’s a psychological thing, and it might be personal, but having a physically small object defining the box with which you are playing in, just gives me so much more space and mental freedom to do what I love – running the game! It’s why I find running games from one-page dungeons and their ilk so freeing. I don’t have any page flipping to do, or have my nose in a book while I’m playing with my friends. I can look my players in the eyes and improvise anything that isn’t immediately available to me or not memorised.