Eow Links 85

Eow Links 85

"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 85.

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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No favourite this week.


Eric, you seem to have D&D confused with AD&D. The former promotes alteration and free-wheeling adaptation. The latter absolutely decries it, for the obvious reason that Advanced D&D is a structured and complete game system aimed at uniformity of play world-wide.

Writing a Rumor Table

Once I have my 20 or 30 rumors, all I need is players and the game is on. I strongly recommend that at the end of each session, the DM survey the players to determine their plans for the next session. Don't be afraid to remind them of (some of) the rumors they have heard if the players don't know what to do.

Better Not Die, ‘cuz PCs Don’t Go To Heaven

I’ve been running games this way for many years now, because it creates an interesting choice: What risks are you willing to take when you’re one knuckle sandwich away from certain death? To me that choice is made so much less interesting if you’re also inhibited by moving at half speed, or rolling with disadvantage, or especially if the only action you’re allowed to take is “roll to stop bleeding.”

Theory review #72

Dan talks games discusses his «aesthetic of numbers theory», the observation that many players want to play which magically leads to desired story beats and outcomes. They blame the difficulty of this on the badly balanced rules of D&D 5.

late roman legionary and his (Visi)goth girlfriend

wear lorica squamata, not shiny but effective / spatha heavy as his christian faith / his archenemy, other romans / ...

Logistics, How Did They Do It, Part III: On the Move

In the end he had to find a local guide to work his way back to it in the morning (Suet. Caes. 31.2). So to be clear: famed military genius Julius Caesar got lost trying to find a 50 mile long river only about 150 miles away from Rome when he tried to cut cross-country instead of over the roads.

Minimalist B/X IV - Streamlining saves with the Rules Cyclopedia

Of course, with ability checks, all abilities have purpose regardless of saves. Ability checks work very well, with one caveat - not everybody likes a "roll under" mechanic in a "roll over" game. But that is the subject for another post.

Lessons Learned From Horizon: Forbidden West

Problems are more engaging for players and offer them a much greater range of role-playing opportunities. When developing adventure scenarios, create obstacles to the players objectives that have many possible ways of being addressed. Be open to solutions you didn’t envision. Clever players can come up with great ideas that may make the problem easy to deal with. Let them. Come up with harder problems next time.

On Character Creation

Randomness is interesting when all characters are equally interesting, but most early games with random stat generation, Basic D&D included, tended just to generate bad and good characters rather than ‘interesting and flawed’ characters as someone trying to rationalize these design choices may tell you now.

You Are Already Dead

Take a 52 card deck. Player picks a card (not jokers!) and everyone around the table may shuffle the deck. If multiple characters are doomed, everyone picks a different card. Note it down so you don’t forget your mark of death.

(...) draw a card every exploration turn (...)

When your card is drawn, you will make the final gasp. One cool thing however is that you cannot die until you draw that card. Useful isn’t it?

How Much Flying Ship Combat System Is Enough?

This entire post got overtaken by events - it was written prior to the Spelljammer 5e review copies getting all over the internet, before we knew what the ship combat system was - I am going to keep it as my hopes preserved in amber from before we saw what we were actually going to get. The sentiment remains the same.

D&D 5e DMG table reference

I don't know what it is about the way 5e books are put together, but I have yet to find even one that entirely makes sense to me. This isn't a complaint I make lightly, because I see how much information is trying to be delivered in these books, and it's a lot to contend with. Data's hard to organise (...) And for whatever reason, I just can't seem to comfortably find my way around these books outside of memorising their layouts.


. Reward for doing something (get XP for Treasure/Killing/RP/Attendance)
. Catalyst for character growth (you level up when you get enough XP)
. Objective of the game (levelling up is "the point" and you do that via XP)

Before and Beyond D&D Reaction Rolls

There is no reaction roll in OD&D. What we find instead is a table of random actions taken by intelligent monsters: “Other than in pursuit situations, the more intelligent monsters will act randomly according to the score rolled on two (six-sided) dice” (U&WA, p. 12). The table resembles its successors but is simpler, since there are only three possible categories of actions rather than the five more specific reactions (rolled at the start of an encounter) found in later versions.

6 Things to Include in a 1st-Level D&D Adventure

The best 1st-level adventures make a great first impression. To start a campaign, we want 1st-level adventures that excite players and leave them eager for the adventures to come. More importantly, new players typically get introduced to Dungeons & Dragons with 1st-level adventures. That’s good because starting at 1st level makes a better impression than a plunge into the deep end with a higher-level character sporting a bewildering array of abilities.

Players balancing encounters

This is why I avoid random monster generators. If I introduce new monsters, they are rare. I try my best to describe them as dangerous as they are and to provide advanced warnings. Let players make informed decisions. If they make informed bad decisions, it’s on them. If they make uninformed bad decisions, it’s on the referee.

Computer Hacking in RPGs

It's all absolute garbage. Purge it from your mind. The best hacking rules are the ones that emulate all the dumbest Hollywood tropes and misconceptions you can think of. You get a bonus on your rolls for every additional pair of hands on the keyboard. Difficulty is measured in the number of rapid pop-ups on the screen. Every process has a loading bar with a percentage for some reason.

Quick d20 skills thought: trying again, critical failures and climbing

if you're climbing a mountain, you're not looking for the most vertical wall to climb (unless you're doing it for sport)... probably the opposite. If you fall, you are unlikely to fall ALL THE WAY down. Maybe there is some chance you'll fall to a lower point.

Fantasy Realism!

RuneQuest presents the most technically-accurate role-playing mechanics yet devised, legitimately simulating the great dramas of fantasy — they are not merely collected encounter and resolution systems.

Early Development Sketches for the Great North

'The Great North' is the working title of what I have previously referred to as, amongst other things, 'Northumberland Yoon-Suin' and 'The Meeting of the Waters'. It adopts the same basic approach to creating a campaign setting as Yoon-Suin did - being a toolbox with which the reader can create his or her own version of the (...) desolate and debatable region between England and Scotland

Starting a New Campaign

At this point, you’re ready to get the players involved. My personal agenda for a session zero covers Content / Chargen / Play, but sometimes fitting in all of these can be tricky. If character generation is something that will be dreary to all sit round and do together, get your players to come to the table with something lightly sketched out, and do a bit of in-character bonding in that first session instead. Absolutely would recommend the final part though – getting a bit of play in makes it all worthwhile!

Soulslike Bastionlike/Cairnlike Games

What I’m envisaging is desperate, poorly equipped characters sneaking round a dungeon with just their lunch in a satchel. There’s potential to dash past slow, lumbering enemies, grab that jade idol, and be out the door. But without decent armour and weapons, there’s little fall back on if things go wrong.

Quick x-in-6 skills thought [d6 versus d6]

the GM rolls 1d6 for most challenges (plus or minus three if too easy or too hard), and the PCs must beat this number to succeed. It still allows the weakest members of the party to try anything, but when they succeed, it is very likely that the strongest ones will succeed automatically.