|Eow Links 88|
Eow Links 88
"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 88.
My favourite for this week is Eventually RPG, "Your goal when playing and running this game is to talk in diegetic terms only"
Lector in fabula by Umberto Eco, a chapter in the book ”The role of the reader”, does a semiotic analysis that would be interesting to see for roleplaying, especially situations where people had different understandings of the fiction. Also, the way the that stories make people expect things and fill in the gaps is relevant for much of roleplaying.
I begin with this: run the game you have and run it as well as you know how; podcast and blog about what you are doing; allow space and time to create and explore play alone. Ultimately, I seek to transition to play with a primary game system – including rules, methodology, and world – with people who enjoy what I have to offer.
Since the new Spelljammer dropped there has been an explosion of new rulesets or new spotlight cast on existing ones. Below are the ones I have found worthy of the name
Last week, Ben Riggs, author of Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons, posted an article on his blog about Dave Arneson revealing a letter that Dave Arneson sent to Peter Adkinson on April 11 1997.
With the all-new False Machine "Community and Decryption" app (charges separate to the False Machine "Releases and Engagement" App), YOU will be able to decrypt and actually read a wide (but not total, and continually shifting) amount of the False Machine back catalogue! Access to literally some books some of the time in some places!
The classic Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign The Enemy Within is a bit of a cult-o-rama. And in my opinion, it gets something very right about cults: It makes it clear why someone in this world might want to join one.
The setup of Ultan's is that the PCs come from a more mundane world and they delve through the door of Ultan's bookshop for the fantastical treasures of the dreaming.
In creating a prep sheet, I again stick to two principles: (1) tie character generation somehow to light world building usually through class selection and random equipment; (2) provide some sorta strong goal around something already found in the module.
It is a world in which battle, theft, assassination, sorcery, summoning, burglary, kidnap and exploration are happening constantly and everywhere; in every forest and on every hill lurk giants, dragons, ogres and worse; every fold in the landscape conceals ruins, towers, tombs and ancient monuments; around every street corner in every town members of the guild of thieves plot against the guard; under the earth lies an Underdark thronged with life.
I’ll admit, this is more based on the rules of the game than the art. While the art inspires, it’s the wonderfully simple world full of interesting details that always brings me back to B/Xia.
The spiritual godfather here is the Unearthed Arcana. The book gives us new races; the Deep One Hybrid and the Degenerate. These feel like they are right out of Lovecraft books, though I would argue that both races have issues moving outside of their realms. Deep One Hybrids away from water and Dagon for example.
Even when using the rules for travel, exploration, and combat, remember this, the most important thing.
No rule or system within the game should devalue the Actions the players take.
Remember the core of giving players information, honouring their choices, and describing the impact of their actions.
The biggest distinction that make infinite games different from finite games is the purpose of the game.
The purpose of the infinite game is to keep playing.
Players in infinite games seek to include as many people in the game as possible. Players come, players go but since the purpose of the game is to play, it doesn’t matter who is playing in the given moment, just that the play has continued.
What I’m not so good at is beauty — the attractive, the desirable, the sublime. And that’s a skill that I’d like to develop more. It’s very easy for OSR-type modules to become relentless dark and grim, and therefore monotonous, and I want to contrast that with more positive emotions.
So… I’m looking for examples of beauty in adventure module text, to read and learn from.
A great many people, myself included, welcomed these changes and felt that they presaged a a great sea change in the game. As it turned out, we were more prescient than we realized and Dragonlance Adventures served as the herald of the new age aborning, just as the Dragonlance adventure modules had done several years previously.
Unless they’re trying to do impossible things, just let them succeed. If it’s risky, they risk injuries, and if it’s time-consuming, they risk events, and if it’s both it’s both. There’s no action- or task-resolution system because they can usually just do it as long as they can diegetically. Like, if they wanna pick locks? Some characters just can always do that and others never can. There’s no roll for it in this game.
Many of the layout and design elements that make a dungeon great can also be applied to the sandbox region around it in the form of a point crawl where paths connect locations just as hallways connect rooms in a dungeon.
The way we make a fun sandbox region can be the same way we make a fun dungeon.
Most obviously, law is a product of the past; the moment after a law is created it is literally in the past, of course, but more significantly the most basic laws in any society — the prohibition of theft and murder; the enforceability of promises intended to be binding; the remediation of unjust enrichment, etc. — always derive from very ancient rules that are essentially unchanged over thousands of years. And at the same time no law is created without the intention that it should also regulate conduct not just now but into the future, and ideally far into the future
But it's sort of weird! Sometimes we say "the thief is better than other classes at certain things," make a procedure for how thieves do it, then improvise from that procedure to determine the worse way the fighter does it. But a lot of these activities are pretty common for an adventure! Maybe the basic procedure should be the non-thief one, and thieves can just get some bonus.
Standard dice rolls homogenize the flow of play, even while incorporating variable lengths of time, to standardize and center the flow of information. This makes the rules much easier to remember, but more importantly (with respect to traditional play) it keeps the story going without interruption from shifting between different structures of play.
Marcia’s post describes a rhetorical tactic that emphasizes formal gameplay without situating it in its larger narrative process, a practice inherited from D&D. My post is going to look at a related topic: the extent to which RPGs actually incentivize roleplaying, and how treating roleplaying as an ad-hoc activity (in roleplaying games) is also inherent in and likely inherited from the dragon game.
In the context of role-playing games, the early modern period can effectively by summed up by two tropes: musketeers and pirates. The classic literary exemplars of these tropes can be found, respectively, in Dumas' Three Musketeers and Stevenson's Treasure Island. Other minor themes emerge as well, as can be seen by perusing the list: witch-hunting, political revolution, and empire.
When I first went to Gary Con in 2018, I saw Reid San Filippo's fabulous GM screen fashioned from a Castle Grayskull playset. Once that idea gets in your head, there's no getting it out, so I do what all "geniuses" do – I stole it. (The idea, not his GM screen.) — project thread
You and your friends are trapped on a desert island. What better way to pass the time than to play games? But you have no dice! What do you do? You could whittle some out of coconut, but instead here’s an easy way for a group of people to simulate rolling a six-sided die.
The speed at which characters can be created in Old-School Essentials is one of the great advantages of the system. Instead of needing to spend a whole "session 0" creating characters, a party can be created in a short time and be ready to dive into their first adventure right away.
. Make sure the names are easy to pronounce.
. Make sure players can tell the names apart.
. Avoid “false friends”, words that have unfortunate or funny meanings in English.
. Differentiate a little from English, rather than a lot.
just follow short guidance like “weapons are made to hurt and kill, so sometimes just threat is enough to meet someones goal”, “victims try to run away or fight back unless ambushed”, “armours are a thing and sometimes you just can’t hurt someone unless you find their weak spot” and “trained fighter can defend themself, otherwise only luck helps in middle of chaotic combat”.
In any case, assuming these times are for normal men with d6 HP, we might reasonably conclude that 35 degree water does a point of damage every 20 minutes, 55 degree water a point every hour, and 70 degree water a point every four hours or so.