Eow Links 90

Eow Links 90

"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 90.

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 a TTRPG blog, please consider joining the conversation.

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My favourite for this week is Old D&D, "The presence of the DM was, in fact, a huge failing in the game"

Petty Gods

great stuff, and things I never realised I needed before. I had previously been somewhat hesitant about including gods directly into campaigns - their servants sure, their indirect influence through visions and portents, fine, but actually appearing themselves?

Crap At Playing

While I love being a GM, I rather suspect that I am crap at playing roleplaying games with a player character. As is typical of humans, I hate to see the kinds of things I do at the table when I am the GM.

A Bugaboo in the Hobby

It's a shame that Gygax was so quick to employ strawmen in his jeremiads, because they often undermined the legitimate point he was trying to make. No game, no matter how finely detailed or complex in its rules, will ever adequately simulate reality, which is why the single-minded pursuit of realism is, as he calls it, a "false deity."

Campaign preparations

When the game is running, these set pieces enable me to improvise without needing too much prep. I can read through the locations the players are likely to visit, the dangers they face as they travel there, and so on.

(Not A) Trophy Gold Review

The big picture is that it takes a “writer’s room” approach to the world. I know that’s a vague phrase, I apologize. In Trophy Gold’s context, it means the world isn’t what is written in the adventure or decided by the GM. Players add in details about the world as they play. When they make Risk Rolls using their pool of d6s, they get an opportunity to sow some ideas into the game.

The Spirit Of Arneson

Yes, he was “that player”. I have never, honestly, played with anyone quite like that. I think the level of trust needed is so high that most of us would react badly to such incredible boldness and creativity. Why is that? Perhaps it’s because we can’t trust each other enough to let go of our preconceptions of what we think the game is meant to be.


It's a very clever mishmash of ideas from across the Indie gaming spectrum. It's extremely light narrative focus does make it a lot of work for the gm, but the lack of rules makes up for that. It gives you the bare bones of what you need to play a game of structured make-believe.

What Remains?

don't you hate it when you character dies? For most of my life, and in most of the games I have played, the idea of being forced to hand in my character sheet, one I've put so much into building up, garlanding with story, tchotchkes, booty, and loot, it's almost... unthinkable.

What Training Looks Like and Why It Matters

PCs aren’t apprentices. (...) They’re experts in their fields. Professionals. Journeymen at least. They know what they’re doing well enough to function in high-pressure situations. So training and practice between adventures aren’t so much about learning the skills as it is synthesizing and evolving and experimenting and connecting. It’s Ongoing Professional Development.

Keeping Strict Time Records in Lord of the Rings

So apparently J.R.R. Tolkien kept strict time records. (...) This is a link to a PDF purchase of an academic article. You can read the synopsis for free.

My Appendix N — Part I: Fantasy Essentials

When it comes to role-playing, we all have in mind tropes, styles and archetypes that are not always common to our own table. I guess if this is the reason why D&D over time has diverged from its gonzo and sword & sorcery origins to become a dull soup of disparate inspirations, which has now become a full fledged genre in its own right.

Evil cannot create, they can only corrupt and ruin what good forces have invented or made

No, they eat and drink, Sam. The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own. I don't think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them; and if they are to live at all, they have to live like other living creatures.

In-Person Gaming Got Weird (Again)

But! If the black die is highest and higher than your Ruin stat (a number between 1 and 6), your Ruin goes up and you acquire a condition. If your Ruin hits 6, the forest wins and you’re out. That’s 90% of the game.

Minimalist OSR: Target 18?

To do anything, roll 1d20, add your ability score modifier plus other modifiers (e.g., from class or race), with 18 or more signifying success. A “challenging” difficulty is assumed; the GM may set other difficulty number (DC) for particularly easy or hard task, as indicated in the table below.

Improvise D&D Monster Abilities

Sometimes we want a monster to act more appropriately dangerous mechanically to fit its story. Sometimes we want to change up a monster the players are already used to seeing. Sometimes we want to change a boring encounter into a nail-biter. Sometimes we want to make a monster unique.

Wargaming Tactical Actions in the Ukraine War

when wargaming professionally, it is important to do what is done in war and not play the game!

Old D&D

energy has instead been given to commercialise the DM's role by supposing that providing modules would, magically, cause the DM to cease being corrupt and would instead run the game like a robot. At the same time, excessive effort has been made towards specialising the game's character, almost to the exclusion of any other writing about the game, by providing more classes, more races, more spells, more magic items and more monsters for the character to fight ... while utterly ignoring the player's actual participation, such as content clearly indicating the player's responsibilities towards other players, towards the DM, or even what the player's place in the game is.

Why D&D’s Co-Creator Didn’t Get Hired by Wizards of the Coast

While writing my book of D&D history, Slaying the Dragon, I discovered a number of fascinating historical documents hidden from public view until now.

Second Dave Arneson Letter — Context Matters

But the preexisting narrative is one that was defined largely by TSR's propaganda machine of the early days. The image of Dave as largely incompetent would ideally serve to support the claim that Dave in fact had no claims to his credits as co-author of D&D and thus having no basis for his legal actions against the company. These old falsehoods have largely been disproved, but the narrative still exists especially among those who for various reasons have decided to vocally express disdain towards the game designer even long after his passing.

Fantastical Nations

We would like to suggest that these three principles — call them control of violence, control of information, and individual charisma – are also the three possible bases of social power. The threat of violence tends to be the most dependable, which is why it has become the basis for uniform systems of law everywhere; charisma tends to be the most ephemeral. Usually, all three coexist to some degree. Even in societies where interpersonal violence is rare, one may well find hierarchies based on knowledge.

Books, Libraries, and Magical Schools

A regular request on Facebook is book titles to populate the shelves of bookstores, libraries, and wizard towers. So this post is for everyone wanting such a list; it is incomplete, but still wildly useful. (...) Libraries are built of books, and with a bit of diligence, a searcher can find several lists of book titles online.

The Doom That Came to Chapman Farm — Converting a OSR adventure to Traveller

So I’ve converted all of the monsters and NPCs from the adventure into Classic Traveller stats. CT, of course, doesn’t really have spells, so I’ve made a list of most of the ones that actually appear in the adventure, along with their effect in Traveller terms

Ex Nihilo: Worldbuilding Workshop Bibliography

Here is a list of resources used for the Ex Nihilo worldbuilding workshop I ran at the Portal Fantasy Writing Workshop

The importance of tagging in game design

But it's not just for the benefit of the players. Metadata gives you, as the designer, a whole new vocabulary to work with. It's an added library to the source code of your game.

Dialect: A Storytelling Game of Communal Language

a game about coining words as part of telling the story of a community. The game comes with four types of isolated communities, including a Mars colony, but we picked a 1980s cult, because of course we did. (And there are many third-party frameworks for different types of communities as well.)

Miniature Figure Scale Analysis for Makers

Given all that, here's how the math works out for each foot of fictional height in 25mm and in 28mm.