Eow Links 93

Eow Links 93

"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 93.

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 Nonsucky Milestones and Robot Skeletons, "The riders know it's a trick"

The Insidious Revisionism of Rerolls

Wait! I use the Lucky feat to reroll my Initiative! — The wretched figure, known as the Dungeon Master, wails in torment and runs full pelt towards the open window…

Charisma Saves: Improving Improv

Anyone with the shallowest familiarity with the improv scene, or comedy in general, has probably heard the phrase “yes, and…”. It’s meant as a tool to continually build a scene while respecting the previous performers’ additions. This works wonders in a performance setting, where all the performers share equal authorship of the scene.

Mausritter: It’s a game

Mausritter does what’s expected of it beat for beat. It is, in the truest sense of the word, a guidebook. It doesn’t care if you read it as much as it cares that you can find what you need at a moment’s notice. It doesn’t care to wow you or make your imagination run wild.

How to stock dungeons Diagram Dungeons Your seven sources of dungeon maps Generate Veins Faster

(While I was looking, I’d just play rules light games. They solve the paradox in another way, by removing rules on the player side to match the GM lightness.) After a while, I’d find games like Rune or D&D 4E that tried to “balance” encounters and areas with the party’s current level. “Gamism.” That’s a heck of a lot better than nothing, but then I found my dream setup: the blorby way of playing, where the entire game world is the challenge.

Secret Fire

The divine spark, if you believe in that. That it can be “carried” without outward sign tells us it is metaphorical (in Tolkien, it is sometimes more, but Gandalf still describes it as “secret,” rarely unveiled). It is something out of myth, not meant in a literal sense, but conveying a larger Truth.

What Is A Tabletop RPG System?

Players who’ve only consumed epic fiction or epic movies are not going to find “save the village from bugbears” to be as engaging as someone who grew up with stories of Fahfrd and the Mouser tricking a gangster that extorts money from holy men.

Players and game masters bring the images and ideas from their favorite stories and films into the games they play. This is part of the “system.”

Dare to Be Stupid

I mentioned that the players are frequently afflicted with analysis paralysis. By this, I mean that the players sometimes spend sessions doing little more than discussing the pros and cons of the various options available to their characters rather than making a decision and acting on it.

Nonsucky Milestones and Robot Skeletons

Good RPGs are like those animatronic slow rides at Disney World. The ones where you get in a little boat and travel from sickeningly whimsical scene to sickeningly whimsical scene. The riders — in this case representing RPG players — know it’s a trick. They know Mickey Mouse and Daffy Duck are just gears and servos and armatures and s$&%. But they play along. And — Penn and Teller’s Transparent Cup and Balls spiel notwithstanding because that was a performance piece that missed its own point — and, if you can see how it all works, you lose the magic.

Good Crunch, Bad Crunch

Parasitic Crunch takes more than it gives. It can take the form of entire subsystems or even just a writhing colony of tiny little rules that have wormed their way into the system, taking up cognitive load while offering little to nothing positive in return. In isolation it's easy to say "actually this rule really isn't complicated" but that's just a distraction. Always ask "what is this piece of crunch offering in return?"


About a decade ago, I backed the Kickstarter project for Steve Jackson Game’s OGRE. It was a small pocket game from the 1970s, but what it has turned into is something considerably larger. It turned up, we played it once, and since then it has sat on top of a wardrobe gathering dust.

What is an Enemy?

HP/Armour only serve to either elongate or hasten combat. The bigger the numbers, the more rounds of combat there will be. With the variance in player HP/Armour and Damage output, it can never be an exact science, but its the dial you play with. The distinction between HP and Armour is largely of taste, but large HP can give Players a sense of size whereas Armour more of a sense of “unstoppability”. Sort of. It’s definitely subtle and in reality just gives a Referee something to anchor mid-battle descriptions off of.

Hey, look! It's a reaction table!

I wanted to make my own reaction table. I like them. I spent half an hour looking at reaction tables and then the next morning made my own without looking at them again. I didn't want to reinvent the wheel but also wanted to make my own. It's a 2d6 table cause bell curves are cool.

NPC personality creation workflow

And that gives me seeds to get me going:
- What this person is like individually (randomised traits)
- Their background / ancestry (randomised background)
- What they care about (picked faction)


Mapping, organizing, and understanding the phenomena of erotic larp design through a systemic examination of 25 design abstracts of Nordic art larps from the last decade.

Learning from James Bond, 1: the 60s 2: 70s, 80s, the War on Drugs 3: Post-Soviet Chaos and the Age of Rage 4: Conclusions

His opponents, though — the people with the madcap schemes to hold the world to ransom — they need to want things, and those things have to be explained to the viewers. And those things have to speak to the viewers, to reflect the preoccupations of their times. It occurred to me that the villains were really the heart of the films.

On the Importance of Random Treasure Hoards

Random treasure hoards, in other words, just like random encounters, are a campaign-generation device par excellence. All that is needed is for the DM and players to be attuned to the notion that their results are not to be taken in isolation but as part of a cohesive world, and the game will drive itself along with only a finger needed on the steering wheel for guidance.

Exchange, Encumbrance, Experience: Reconstructing D&D's Economy

There are many conveniences afforded by a predominant market economy (that is, capitalism) that are not possible or widespread in feudal society. These conveniences for characters in the game-world translate to conveniences for players who, through their characters, are expected to engage with the economy of the game-world throughout the course of the game. We have understood for a while that D&D is barely medieval despite its aesthetic pretense; next we should strive to understand how its world’s modernity is central to its play structures.

Decision Issues? Try Odds Or Evens

It’s so super simple. I ask the player to decide “even or odd” just like a heads or tails on a coin, and then I roll whatever die I want to represent – 1d6, 1d10, 2d6, 1d20 – anything and it will work. If the die comes up how the player calls it, I decide in their favor.

Even — 1d3.

Dealing with D&D Pre-Game Nervousness

Many DMs feel this pre-game nervousness, regardless of their skill or longevity in the hobby. It's common and it's ok. We're about to engage in a complicated performance. We're going to be spinning a lot of plates and throwing out words to build worlds no one has ever seen before.

On d6 Ability Checks

at one point Gygax calls for a roll-under-Dexterity-on-4d6 to avoid a net trap. More generally, it's been reported in play at tables run by Gygax and Kuntz that they would commonly call for checks in this fashion to roll 3d6 (you know, the same way you generate abilities in the first place for OD&D), 4d6, or 5d6 for tougher situations.

The Best $5,000 D&D Spent: Buying the Forgotten Realms

Ed Greenwood, the creator of the Realms, said he never regretted the decision to sell the property to TSR, the first company to make D&D. The five grand he made was $4,000 for the Realms itself, and then $1,000 for services as a design consultant. (That’s $13,000 in 2022 dollars).

Midgardcon 2022

High identification between player and character, also on level of body language and manner of speaking; if you want to shout, at least pretend shouting, and if your viking is rowing, do rowing motions, and if you are asked what you do and you hesitate, so does your character

My Process

Often when I'm preparing to stock the map, or even before, I gather a trove of images. Frequently, I have some images in mind from the very beginning as part of the concept of the place. Indeed, my current (not yet public) project was born from a single illustration by Liz Danforth that captivated my imagination as an adolescent.

Using Into the Odd Remastered to run Lamentations of the Flame Princess modules

As usual, with a lightweight chassis, you start adding more rules and depth the more you play. The key is to view every addition critically – what value is this extra rule adding to my game?

Year Six: Old School Reconquista

There is no harm in books looking good, cartography looking clean, and layout being functional (although Good Layout has become first a fetish, and then a vehicle to sell overpriced coffee table books). But they are no substitute for good writing, and that means both Idea and Craft. Those who master one are standing on a strong foundation, and those who master both can produce the best of the best.


I don't know why the game renames encounters to scenes, GMs to rabble rousers, and player characters to pushers and shovers. Using standard terminology would have worked just fine, and even been preferable if you're going to make EZD6 your training game.