Eow Links 95

Eow Links 95

"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 95.

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 On Game Preparation, "If you’re not prepared to use every result of a die, don’t have someone roll"


Today, as a GM, I want to offer meaningful Discovery to my players but I fear that we live in a gaming culture that has devalued the exploration element of the roleplaying experience. Very often the “setting” is a mere backdrop to the action of player characters who are super-heroic in power and out to resolve the plot of the story.

The True History that Created Folk Horror

In the second part of this series we investigate a book which is purported to be a religious text from a witch-cult in Italy; discover how pre-Christian festivals influenced folk horror; and find out why a murder in rural England inspired one of the first folk horror films.

How to do a dungeon

Recently he did a write-up on his method of making dungeons. He uses the BX stocking method and comes up with ideas and monsters before he writes his dungeon.

I do the opposite. I generally start with layout first and work backwards to an idea, letting the development happen iteratively and organically from the layout.

Death to HP — Long Live HD

I was dissatisfied with how the Hit Point system abstracted health. My problems with it were twofold: I didn’t like how players had a hard time conceptualizing just how close they were to death and I didn’t like how leveling up meant longer combat.

The Apocalyptic Style and the Spiritual Post-Apocalypse

A world in which any encounter with another person is potentially dangerous and best avoided, and in which the very means by which one person could communicate with another have totally broken down.

It’s Just A Game

Yes, role-playing games are “just games.” But for those of us who find our best friends, our spouses, our careers, our fondest memories, our selves; It is far more than, “just a game.”

On Game Preparation

there is still the constant perception that it’s up to the GM to keep the game ‘on track’ and ‘going in the right direction’, that a GM in control of the story is a good GM.

Disabuse yourself of these notions. If you’re not prepared to use every result of a die, don’t have someone roll. If you’re not prepared for the three to five possible outcomes of a typical combat, don’t put it in.

Target 18 spells

Success means you cast the spell and keep it (with some special effects on a natural 20). Failure means you cast the spell and forget it. A natural 1 might create potential disaster.

d12 alchemical reagents to harvest from the dead

Battlefields, sacrificial cults, disasters and other events creating large amounts of the dead in a short time can give rise to more potent varieties of these residues, ones which draw more and more energies to themselves. Crystallised energies to be harvested from these sites by the desperate or foolhardy.

World’s Heartbeat

There are two main approaches to handling this heartbeat of the world. The first is to have a “living world,” and the alternate is an “undead world.” These are the phrases I use for the two sides of the coin.

Now to flip things around and look at the undead world. In an undead world, things are static unless the PCs exert their influence to make it change.

From Iron Age to Faux Medieval...

Prowling Facebook and delighting in its memes and commentaries on various campaigns, especially D&D's 5th edition, it's clear there's a standard, implied setting — or at least one that resolves itself from what the rules have to offer. I also realize it differs somewhat from mine, pitting an Iron Age Star Trek against the so-called faux medieval I prefer...

The Dark Eye

I can well imagine that this is what D&D would have been like if instead of the wilds of Wisconsin it grew up in the wilds of Germany. In both cases, the beer and brats would have been good. The adventuring world, Aventuria (and I will be discussing that more), is a dark place but the characters seem lighter for it. It is a nice antidote for the "Grimdark" worlds where the characters are equally grim.

My 5E Group Hated OSE — a post mortem

The OSR play style was not jiving with them. One by one they all agreed it was not for them and tapped out.

   via Claytonian (Japan)

Stranger in a Strange Land

This is: what does my Character know (about this world, about the adventure) that I, the Player, have no way of knowing? Which can be extrapolated to: how much homework do I, the Player, have to do in order to enjoy this experience?

Wargamers Wanna Win

The wargamers, the ones that have done a lot of war gaming, want to win. They want to win more than others. They don't have any interest in (well not much interest in) the narrative. They play to win and often won't engage in combat if they know they cannot win.

About the New HeroQuest, or The Sublime Horror

HeroQuest is a horrible game, for a series of reasons. Players have too few occasions to make meaningful choices. (...) But at the same time HeroQuest offers, in my opinion, a sublime experience with regards to immersion.

FAQ U: What is the Death of the Author?

Whoever reads the text does not necessarily know the author’s intent in writing that text. Reading a text means you are processing it with your brain, and determining what it means based on your own knowledge or experience. All the time, you read texts without assurance of what they actually mean.

   The Death of the Author — Roland Barthes

Reach Satisfying Campaign Conclusions

Try to have six regular players who can make it most of the time and have two "on call" players who know that, when available, they're standing in for one of the open seats if someone can't make it. Then be ready to run even if you only have four players.

Hexcrawl Checklist: Part One

This post sets out to do give you everything you need to (1) run a hexcrawl and (2) make a good hexmap for your hexcrawl.

Book: Last Dragon, First Wizard

Those previous histories are origin stories — they start with the Castle & Crusade society and Gary's basement and the Horticulture Hall in Lake Geneva. and move up along the timeline to Gary losing control of the company to Lorraine Williams. Riggs covers that territory to give a base-line, but deals primarily with the Williams years — 1985 through 1997, when she in turn sold the company (through a roundabout manner) to Peter Adkison and Wizards of the Coast. It was a time of Second Edition and Forgotten Realms and best-selling novels and regular layoffs and crises.

How many Monsters in an Encounter?

One of the bits of advice I give new DMs is this: Have more than one foe in a fight. The trouble with solo monsters is that they’re often underwhelming or, alternatively, far too powerful. This can derive from their ability to focus fire on one hero.

Two mechanics, possibly for the system behind the character sheet

There is a single pool for Armour, Utility and Stamina. It is somewhat abstract, stingy and very difficult to level up, so there always a trade-off of some kind between these three.

Each character has one unspecified contact they can draw upon at any moment by specifying them. Player tells the name and, briefly, what is a common history between their character and that person

Message on the Palm

a simple solo journaling game with an interesting mechanic while researching TRPG ebooks. Called Message on the Palm (てのひらの伝言), its premise is awakening to find a palm-sized visitor outside your window. What that visitor is depends on the last digit of your previous Tweet. In fact, this is the only randomizer

Notes on the Masters of Exandria

There’s a lot of GMing talent in that room and a lot of great GMing advice in the video. I wanted to kind of dig that advice out and make it accessible, so I rewatched the video and took some notes. Then I thought it might be valuable to polish up those notes and share them here.

Announcing the Victors of the 2022 No Artpunk Competition

Because this is an exercise in going back to the source, I ask contestants to use the old systems, I (in all but the most minor of ways) restrict them to the extant library of official material, which is already immense, so the contestant is forced to integrate his creativity into an extant framework and engage the game on its own terms.