Eow Links 94

Eow Links 94

"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 94.

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 What's in a System?, "a complex of memes that work together to make it possible to create a narrative virtual reality experience"

Brecht’s He Said Yes / He Said No

Presenting such a dilemma to players is rarer in “old school” style RPGs, where the emphasis is on the exploration of an objective gameworld. There is similarity though between HSY/HSN and the opening location of Necrotic Gnome’s Winter’s Daughter adventure. Here, the characters interrupt a ritual of sacrifice. Here too, the “victim” has apparently consented to the sacrifice. The trick in Winter’s Daughter seems in making the dilemma self-contained, without any dependence on previous encounters or decisions.

Basic Fantasy

I’ll be taking the inspiration of Eisen’s Vow to ensure that the rules are behind the screen and encouraging players to imagine themselves in-role.

Old school weapons are terrible (armor too!)

The problem is that many weapons are useless or redundant (e.g., the short sword is identical to the mace in every aspect, except it is more expensive and cannot be used by cleric, while the spear is just better and cheaper;

Perfect Pairings, Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days

Golgotha is a hacked OSR game, where players generate their characters by special rules. Basically, if one stat is over a specific amount, the next stat must be 7. Once the 7 is assigned, you go back to random generation. It's good that the rules allow you to increase stats because sometimes the player will have some stinkers to start. That's pretty good. At least, better than D&D 3.x where everyone is racing to 18.

Wanna Get Back Into Roleplaying?

Go grab that old game you loved. And just hold it, look at it. Allow the nostalgia to come. You have my permission – there’s no shame in enjoying a moment of past joy.

Good artists borrow, great artists steal

Much more important are its thoughts on how you set up and expand a sandbox campaign. The tools provided in the book where later overhauled in Spears of the Dawn and then more recently in World Without Number, but I actually really like the version in this one a lot more.

Demon Bone Sarcophagus: Some Thoughts

this isn't really like anything else you have on your shelves, even (really) other things by Patrick Stuart. Harping on originality when we have been told for centuries that there is nothing new under the sun isn't so very useful, but at least this shake of the kaleidoscope put the sequins in a very pretty arrangement. Take a look while there are still physical copies available.

GOZR Clarifications

Some questions and criticisms were raised. I addressed them on social media but here I'm going to gather all that wisdom in one permanent spot.

The Dungeon As A Mythic Underworld

I was reading both Lovecraft’s Dreamlands cycle and Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces at the time and realized that all of the weird elements of funhouse-style D&D made sense in a world of dream-logic and in the context of the mythological hero's journey; combined with the notion already present in D&D lore that almost all of the classic “funhouse dungeons” were built and overseen by a hostile or insane demiurge of divine or near-divine stature

On Not Being Logged

I was listening to this music alone in the house and nobody else knew it. Nowhere was my experience being logged. It was therefore purely my own.

Guest Post on RPG Systems from Rob Kuntz

Arneson is implying that anything is contingently possible here and is only limited by what your imagination suggests; and it then falls to the DM to determine if it is, or is not, possible. This is the best starting example of an “Open System” design implementation attitude.

A d20 reaction check

Now, this is important: most of the process is still role-playing. It is only when the GM is unsure of the result that the dice come out. But when they do - then the charismatic PC has a decent advantage.

Meet the Campaign: Anti-Boredom part 3

GMing a long-running game isn’t about shortcuts, but it’s not not about shortcuts either. As a campaign builds history and increases in complexity, the amount of work the GM must do just to keep everything straight is going to increase.

d8 Sites of the Long Wars

I was thinking about the 'father fights the war, son keeps the peace, grandson goes back to war' rule of thumb on how the value of peace fades with time and how that compares with the widely varying lifecycles of various fantasy races.

Running A Con Game Part 2: Table Prep And Behind The Screen

But conversely, try to keep rulebooks and other tomes away from your table during play. The GM should be the only one who needs to look anything up (and honestly, you shouldn't have to look anything up if you're duly prepared)

AI-generated soundtracks

There is a precedent for music set to accompany perilous adventure, and it's in film and TV. It ought to be possible, although not trivial, to train an AI using scripts and soundtracks from the last hundred years of moving pictures

AI writing partnerships

So, how about a writing duo, one half of which is a computer? It's fairly easy to picture how this would work: the human writer writes some stuff, feeds it into the computer, the AI riffs on the writer's ideas and style, throwing out new ideas which the human can then either incorporate into the original text, or finesse and publish as an entirely new piece of work.

What's in a System?

Each game is a complex of memes that work together to make it possible to create a narrative virtual reality experience, that can collapse very quickly, or be sustained for years depending on what is added, when and how.

A Course of History

I thought it would be handy to talk about the transition from feudal to capitalist society to get a better basis for an elf game economy, and ended up writing about economic development from the origin of organized society (according to some) to the state of the world since about the twentieth century.

Trustlessness & Centralization in TTRPGs

The difference between the two systems is trust. Opening the system up to interpretation self-evidently precludes the possibility of misinterpretation, of course, but more importantly, the designer isn’t designing against the possibility that the player will abuse that open-ended interpretability. Bissette trusts his players. D&D’s designers only trust their system.

Because-Dragons Is a Bad Argument

Dragons don't belong in the starting "Known" part of the story. This model of the monomyth only makes sense if they are cordoned off in the "Unknown" part of the world. Same goes for Fireballs. And a whole lot of other stuff in the game. The hero does not get to start with that stuff. It would dismantle the meaning of their hero's journey if they did.

RPG Scenarios and Puzzles based on Logic, Behavior, and Algorithms

A seer proclaims that among three caves, one contains treasure and two contain aggressive dragons. There is no reason to prefer any one cave over any other, however, after the party decide to investigate one of them presumably at random, the seer provides another message just before they head out, that one of the two caves that they did not pick certainly contains a dragon.

Monty Hall / Perverse Incentives / Gauss Sum

Gadabouts & Gawkers

This is a melding of Into the Odd and The GLOG, hands down two of my favorite systems. I didn't really invent much of this, but I've included the document I pulled it from in the references page. Please enjoy! If you end up using any of this, please let me know!

Twelve Angry Rooms

To make the dungeon feel more like a real place, you have to blend the rooms. You can achieve this by having aspect of one room bleed into the other. Detach rooms from their intended location and place them somewhere else. You don’t have to explain it, but think about the effects it would have on the surrounding rooms. Combine rooms to achieve surprising results.