|Eow Links 87|
Eow Links 87
"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 87.
My favourite for this week is Nested Monster Hit Dice, "Build complex monsters by splitting their HD and nesting it as components"
First, they ran their games in a ruthless fashion and definitely took delight in watching characters suffer as a result of the bad decisions of their players. Second, their games were a lot of fun, in large part because they were a challenge. Whereas nowadays I think the emphasis is placed more on the roleplaying aspect of RPGs, in the past it was not at all uncommon to find who referees who emphasized the game aspect.
Burning oil will deter many monsters from continuing pursuit.
Thus the desire to run a sandbox in the West Marches style, with a more ambitious world, larger player-base (ideally populated by people with whom I had not played much), and schedule wrangling left up to the players. (...)
In the end the Discord had about 35 members. Of those, 15 people ended up playing, and that player pool broke down into three tiers: casual (7 people, each playing 2-3 sessions), engaged (5 people, each playing 9-16 sessions), and dedicated (3 people, each playing 27-34 sessions).
I pinged a designer who worked at TSR back in the olden times and he told me that it was mostly the designer’s intuition. The other gauge that he used was caster levels. If a certain spell or package of spells was needed for the adventurers to tackle a certain location or monster, having a spell caster of the right level will be a good proxy for party level.
During the winter holidays, a friend from old asked if we could play over webcam. So I made some characters for three friends, based on their ideas. Full kit bashes. Then we made some characters and played through the first mission. (...)
We played for around 4 hours, while talking. It worked fairly well, and we got through the first mission The Missing. The simple system in RoSD works really well for playing remotely like we did and we got some good experiences for how we're gonna use the cameras for another go later.
I picture a game session as a line of events from where it starts to where it finishes. Like any work of fiction, the amount of detail varies depending on what we are interested in. We dig deeper into parts which matter more adding facts and complications and when we have gone deep enough our rules cap off that descent into minutia and bring us back up to the next round, encounter or scene.
J.R.R. Tolkien understood this. We move from magic to modernity, from superstition and myth to reason and science, and lose something beautiful. It’s inevitable, and many new things are beautiful, but during this process we discard the old. And it’s sad.
Some time ago, a reddit user asked: "what would you put in your GM binder?". Here's my list.
Since Knucklebones were kind enough to share the card PDFs with the community, I thought I’d use them to cook up a homemade deck, and show off the process for those who never attempted something like that.
The first point of interest to me is the collective high-tide of non-D&D games in 2014, immediately before 5e came out. This peak of non-D&D gaming in 2014 was not a single game having a great year, it was a general trend over 2009-2014 with FATE, Star Wars and Numenera having good years but not wildly off trend years.
This entire exercise is a thought experiment and he is attributing the ideal to a past of Athens because he is holding up democratic Athens as a great city, but also criticizing it at the same time saying this is how it should really be.
By the end of the series, then, Silent Wolf is much more powerful – and versatile – in his abilities. This is important, as the challenges he faces increase as well. This is another way in which the Lone Wolf series simply but enjoyable replicates the escalating nature of D&D-style fantasy roleplaying games.
D&D’s obsession with taxonomy is weirder to me than normal taxonomic obsessions because of how hard it tries to ape natural sciences and then leaves out every possible interesting thing actually studying ecology could lead to.
It is not necessarily straightforward to deploy this taxonomy. Many settings which one would instinctively put in the 'open' camp turn out to be closed (Lyonesse, for example, or Zothique). And it is easy to fall into the trap of doing violence to a setting like Alice's Wonderland by falsely historicising it, as with the Tim Burton film and its sequels. There are also some interesting edge cases. Is China Mieville's Bas-Lag a setting of open, or absent, historicity?
So there is still a taxonomic impulse, guilty as charged in that regard, but for King of Kings I want to keep taxonomy as light as possible, and instead emphasize geographic location, familial ties, or political/religious allegiance.
Sessions are divided into advance preparation, opening part, search, closing, and cleanup. Of these, the majority of time is spent in the search part, where the characters are searching an area for resources. The area is randomly determined, with ROC tables provided for both wasteland and city areas.
Though, with that being said there are some Major problems.
By its very structure it is too safe, too slow and detailed in character generation, and too morally ambiguous for my taste. I like my idea challenging, lethal, fast, and built on mythology and the ideals of heroism, and the battle between good & evil.
Wizards of the Coast will have created the "Apple Ecosystem" equivalent of Dungeon and Dragons.
I think what we’re seeing is 5e finding its focus. I’m not going to shock anyone when I say that 5e was a bit of a flailing hot mess of a game, which is perfect if you want to make it your own, including what you want and leaving out what you don’t. But the “all things to all people” language of D&D Next is missing from One D&D.
Run the monster as a “puzzle” instead of a straight up fight. Do this with resistances, immunities, and weaknesses.
Make discovering information about the monster the main purpose of the adventure. A successful investigation leads to a fight that is significantly easier as a result.
A mold that grows on living flesh. It will grow into the victim’s pores and lungs, suffocating them to death. It gets its name by leaving a powdery sugar-like coating on the victim’s corpse, that appears similar to frost.
So in the dungeon, in the moment, if you think you've found something really good maybe it's worth "paying the tax" of time or a spell to figure it out before you progress any futher.
Note-taking is an important part of the table-top RPG experience. I believe that any player who is able to split their focus on the game and take notes should; especially as some players may notice different things or find aspects of the session that others might not think as initially important.
Ok, I have done it. I have stepped in the realm of YouTube. May Tyr guard my path.
Now that design would be iterated on subsequently to produce smoother, more powerful and more efficient engines, but for that iteration to happen someone needs to be using it.
In short, the Sixties could be characterized (for the purpose of this game) as “psychedelic optimism”. It was happy and colorful and feminine, with a good dose of “weird” intruding popular culture in form of the freedom movement and some strong and distinct subcultures all across cultural niches in the US to boot. There was movement and palpable friction between poor and wealthy as well as traditional and more non-conventional values.
these are small moments when one feels no particularily strong emotions, and when nothing scandalous or epic happens.
the GM can provide a structure to the game that allows the players to default to – in this case, searching for treasure – but it doesn’t stop them deciding to do anything they want. Walking out of the dungeon and deciding to do something else was always on the table. Well, at least as long as the GM is willing to roll with that and honour the agency of the player.
What then is the inverse of Cairn? Here I am going to suggest a way to define your character based on what you don’t carry. It’s empty inventory slots that influence your party role, rather than what fills them.
When I play PbtA games, I feel like I’m diving down to the situation, with all shenanigans and shit happening around, which quickly envelops me. It’s a one-way ticket to unescapable future. I want a journaling player to experience such trip!
the intention was to see if it worked as a set up for a Spelljamming campaign, short answer, yes if a little inefficiently. It was interesting to use a workflow that is not my habitual one to try something different. I am a big fan of 'learn the rule so you know when to break them'.