Eow Links 92

Eow Links 92

"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 92.

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 How Storytelling Skills Apply to Game Mastering, "Great game masters tell stories but only to create context"

Foreground Growth and Dialectical Growth

Foreground growth voids the above relationship because there is no path that reliably equates to improvement of your character. Sometimes adventuring can even make you worse at adventuring.

Of Jack London, Earle Labor, and William Dean Howells

They decided what you were going to read. They decide for example that you are going to read Shakespeare and maybe Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, which is fine, but they should be also assigned Jack London’s The Sea Wolf or something in addition to Call of the Wild.

Constrained Language as Language

Applying a light hand with these can have a good effect. A normal dungeon game in which alignment languages have constrained vocabulary, Elvish is imprecise, and Dwarvish has no first-person is achievable and, in my eyes, neat and evocative.

Better Labyrinths by Graphite Prime

Their actions triggered a bunch of random encounters but because they had secured the perimeter, it ended up being a bunch of unnerving noises they refused to investigate and creepy glimpses out through a massive stained glass window into the rest of the labyrinth.

Two more thoughts on beauty in Ynn

The interior of the ruined tower is decayed, yes, but that decay is understated, mundane, more nostalgic than unpleasant

Dead Birds #1: collected september un-thought

What I love about the indie-OSR RPG scene: things are made with love. Sometimes that love is careless, but it is always passionate. The luminaries of that scene (...) are the inverse of the WotC staff writer: they could be writing conventional literature but instead they're making RPG material. We are the richer for it

Classic Gaming

This nostalgia bug bit me a bit over a month ago: I decided that I missed having one of those tournament-style chess sets with the roll-up board and the large, weighted pieces—like I used to have in middle school. (My old one was sadly destroyed long ago.)

Thinking about Skills

While I don't agree that character classes are necessarily artificial, I do think that a robust skill system tends, at the very least, to weaken the mechanical role of character classes, if not completely eliminate the need for them.

In-Game Adjustments

Afterward, I reflected on exactly what I had done – that is, I made in-game adjustments to the difficulty of the encounter in order to make the encounter exciting. I could have easily overwhelmed them if I had wanted to, but rather I chose to adjust the difficulty of the encounter to better match the players. Was I going to flat out let them win? No.

How To Be Prolific

We are very down on guilt, regret and shame. This is a problem; they are beneficial emotions which should be rehabilitated. Comparing oneself negatively to others can serve as a useful kick up the backside; the torment of regret is a good incentive to change bad behaviours; sensing that you've wasted your life is an excellent reason to make up for lost time.

Hot Takes on the Upcoming Non-Edition

Yes, it’s an opportunity for Wizards to make yet more money, but so is everything they do – until the revolution and the socialist TTRPG republic gets formed, selling rules, books, and bumf is what makes the industry exist and bring new shiny product to us.

hexcrawls ARE pathcrawls

A dungeon of 50 rooms laid out in a grid with all with doors leading to six other rooms wouldn’t be the most satisfactory for exploration. The overload of choices makes navigation a series of random choices with minor information. Why are so many hex crawl sandboxes formatted this way then?

How Storytelling Skills Apply to Game Mastering

Professional storytellers are doing something subtly different. The details of those differences is where I think game masters get confused. (...)
Great game masters tell stories but only to create context.

John Snider's Egg of Coot Campaign

The Egg gets a rather humorous description in The First Fantasy Campaign, but the Egg and its stronghold never got to see full development. According to Dave Arneson, The Egg of Coot was never further developed because the players decided to adventure in other parts of his world. Possibly because the Egg was considered too dangerous.

OSR: New Rules for Wizards, stolen from Fantasy Novels

So you can store power for more powerful spells. This is most helpful at lower levels, as if your Wizard only has 1 to 2 MD at level 1-3-ish, then you're limited in the amount of power you have on hand, unless you've stored stuff up. Plus, it gives another purpose to gemstones and such besides selling them.

Chernoff Faces: a character sheet for a game that doesn’t exist

I just learned about the concept of Chernoff Faces, the data visualization concept in which numerical data is presented using cartoon faces rather than numbers, as it’s easier for people to process faces than digits.


Returning To Tolkien

Coming, as it does, at a time when I am re-evaluating the kind of roleplaying games that I want to run, re-visiting Tolkien is helping me to see some of the underlying ideas and themes that are important to me. Some of these are explicitly Christian but others are more about the kind of world that the Professor showed us. There is resonance.

Building a Sandbox: Resources

My library has some good resources on sandbox campaign design, and I’m going to pick and choose some of the bits I like best.

My Top 10 Favorite Imaginary Settings (Part I)

My Top 10 Favorite Imaginary Settings (Part II)

Like all my previous lists of this sort, this one is intentionally personal. It's not intended to pass judgment on these or any other imaginary settings in any absolute sense. If your favorite isn't to be found here, that only means that you and I have different tastes, nothing.

Dungeons & Swords & Sorcery

I think the archetypical dungeon crawl is not a good basis to build a Sword & Sorcery campaign around. The classic dungeon crawl, with its complex underground labyrinths, countless traps, secret doors, and numerous small hidden stashes of treasures all over the place naturally promotes a play style that is very cautious, methodical, and calculated.

Genre Police: Generic Police

So think about the work a generic game is going to make you do to represent the basics of the universe you are creating. If it’s a big initial investment, then smooth sailing that’s ok, but if it’s going to be asking you to put lots of work in to generate content for every single session and NPC, the game isn’t doing what you want and smoothing the road.