Eow Links 97

Eow Links 97

"Eow" for End Of Week. TTRPG Links I gathered during the week. This is iteration 97.

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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I have no favourite post this week.

The Zone has different rules

So yeah: bashing incompatible game systems together.

Maybe that’s a fool’s errand. But I feel like it should be possible to create a procedure for ruleset mash-ups, so that there’s a process to follow? Best practices for how it happens.

5e Spelljammer: Adventures in Space (Fantasy Space Combat Rules Part 6)

Look at the effort put in to many of the other ship combat systems I have tested in this series and compare to this utter lack of mechanics or even guidance from the 100-ton behemoth of the industry. They could have just plundered the back catalog of 5e and put a stripped down version of the Saltmarsh rules in - anything more than this giant nothing.

Treasure Maps

A traditional map is an image and makes a great prop for the table. That said, you can also use a verbal map, which is just a set of instructions, either written or spoken or sung, perhaps. Both types lean heavily into the exploration pillar that some DnD games shun and others thrive on, but all need more of.

Playing with Adventure Frameworks

The bulk of my adventures fall into this formula: 1) research, 2) complication, 3) mini-quest, 4) climax

I Shut Down The Dragon’s Bend Campaign

I’ve had a difficult time recruiting new players. I make it harder on myself by having a very specific style of game. I run an old school retro-clone, with gritty, sometimes dark, and challenging themes. My style of gaming is unfashionable. My choice of style and game simply has a very small pool of potential players.

D&D For Thirteen

First session of the school D&D club today and I had thirteen players turn up, two of whom had played before and zero DMs (except me). It was a blast!

I gave them a classic Basic D&D character sheet and asked them to write their name at the top and then name their character. I explained what roleplaying is about — taking on a role in an imaginary world and making decisions as that character — and then told them the scenario.

The Grinding Wheels of Disorder: A Method for Managing Factions and Their Moves

First, determine your Faction's agenda
Write their one sentence mission statement, main resources, complication or weakness, and level of influence amongst neighbors (High influence, average influence, low influence).

Fetch Quests and Delivery Quests Suck

In answer to your upfront question, because they're easy for writers to write. The framework is pre-fabricated, all that's needed is to change a few phrases and introductions and boom, money in the bank. Slap a nice glossy cover on it and dupe a few rpg clients. What could be better?
(comment by Alexis Smolensk)

Presentation Matters

It’s the difference between:

"a creature can make an attack against any other creature within its melee reach by making an attack roll to determine whether the attack is a hit."


"You can attack any creature in your melee reach. Make an attack roll to determine whether your attack hits."

Antique RPG covers that never existed.

Occasionally, when I’ve got nothing better to do (and often when I do), I’ll kill time by making some mock RPG covers in the style of older books. They’re mostly modified images of real old books.

Optional Rules for Hacking

The core rules suggest neural damage as the consequence of a failed Action Roll (again, treating cyber combat just like it treats meat-world combat), which is fine. But there are other options for what happens if the hacker fails. All rolled up into a nice 2D6 table, together with the default option.

Designer Personalities

A world of designer drugs of viruses, bacteria, gut microflora, hormones and pheromones and neurotransmitters; leveraging the interaction of mind and body, the idea of a static personality becomes obsolete, identity itself re-constructable. Influencer personalities spread like memes. "The self" as a choice which most reject.

B/X and the Perfection of OD&D...

All of this is academic, of course, as B/X and BECMI were seperated by mere years, and both from OD&D by little more than a decade (attesting to its rapid growth). But it really speaks to the combination of objective and subjective criteria that make a game feel right, and even then it's all someone's opinion. But if contemplating OD&D, B/X delivers.

Appendix N on Project Gutenberg

As in turns out in 2022, quite a few of the texts mentioned have made their way into the public domain, and are available as freely downloadable ebooks. What follows, is the original Appendix N list, spiced up with links to Project Gutenberg for all texts that are available at that site

My version of the Thief

I am of the opinion that non-thieves should be able to attempt most of the things that thieves can do, but their chance of success should be much lower. For most skills, I would consider giving non-thieves around a 10% chance and only one attempt

In This World

I said in the previous post that In This World was a small game for big ideas, and that’s exactly right. It uses a simple procedure that gets you examining concepts and issues very quickly. The rules break the creative steps down into very digestible bites, letting you sneak up on big ideas instead of asking for invention out of the blue. It’s weirdly easy.

In The Light Of A Faded World

Maybe because the meaning of a human being trying to live in (as opposed to clinging on to) the ruins of the Anthropocene is to live as an animal. At ground level, with more attention paid to rainwater and the earth between concrete.

Boolean Advantage & Disadvantage

What if you decided that X and Y had totally different base chances of success? The formulas for advantage and disadvantage remain the same, except you replace the probabilities of A and B with their own instead of assuming that they are equal.

Dragon Magazine #1

In this series of articles, I want to look closely at the most important magazine the RPG industry has ever produced. TSR Periodicals published The Dragon issue 1 in June 1976. It was 32 pages long and had a cover price of $1.50.

How the First Map of D&D's Forgotten Realms Ended Up Above a Pub

And when TSR was looking for a new setting, he remembered Ed Greenwood. Greenwood was a Canadian librarian who’d been writing articles in Dragon magazine since 1979. Greenwood used this framing device where a wizard named Elminster would stop by his home in Ontario, and the articles were often just Elminster’s dictation to Greenwood on some piece of D&D lore. Elminster was from a land called Faerun, and Grubb wondered if Greenwood had more on Faerun, and if he did, would he be willing to sell it to TSR?

Animal Name Monsters

The Japanese language is sadly increasingly characterised by loanwords from English (most of which are horribly ugly and difficult to pronounce in comparison to the original words they've replaced) but it is still replete with very D&D-able parallel-universe animal names.

Table Techniques: Reincoporation

This is simple as anything – all you have to do is refer back to cool, incidental details that were established earlier in the game. Ideally, these incidental details are provided by the players – whether they realise this or not.

Suddenly an Ogre: A DW Gamebook

Suddenly an Ogre is a short gamebook using the Dungeon World system. Most choices that you make correspond to Basic Moves of the game. This gives you an opportunity to experience a bit of gameplay without a GM.

The title is an homage to the essay Suddenly Ogres: What to do on Spout Lore and Discern Realities misses by Vasiliy Shapovalov.

Fantastic Battles

I teleported the monsters over my ranks of infantry…. or not. Both wizards failed to cast their spells, so the monsters stayed where they were. The following turn the magic worked, but things were more or less in the middle of combat by that point.

On 2nd Edition...

So, why is this the lost edition? Or is it not? (Someone reading this right now is saying, "Dude what the hell are you talking about, I've been playing 2nd Edition all along!?!?!") It's definitely the edition that I hear the least about (aside from 4th of course.) Is it because it's the middle child, crunched between 1st and 3rd, not quite a fulcrum? Or the end of the beginning, too old-school for the modern gamer, yet not old-school enough for the true grognard?

The 2E Transition

Anyway, my opinion about whether 2E is "old school" or not, I'd say it's definitely the transition edition. Stick to the core books (and maybe a couple of the Complete Class books) and, with a few optional rules like XP for treasure, you get a very old school game.

The History of Battle: Maneuver, Part 1

In any case, Schalk summarized maneuver principles as follows:

There are three great maxims common to the whole science of war; they are:

1st—Concentrate your force, and act with the whole of it on one part only of the enemy’s force.

2nd—Act against the weakest part of your enemy—his center, if he is dispersed; his flank or rear, if concentrated. Act against his communications without endangering your own.

3rd—Whatever you do, as soon as you have made your plan, and taken the decision to act upon it, act with the utmost speed, so that you may obtain your object before the enemy suspects what you are about.

Magic Mirrors

Magic mirrors are a common trope in myth and fantasy. Across history and around the world, people have seen mirrors as possessing supernatural power, from Vulcan to Tezcatlipoca.

Trying to tap into that mythic resonance, I've come up with several mirrors to stock dungeons

Adventure Game

an adventure game is a game that’s about you experiencing the game world, doing things in the game world, pawn stance or actor stance or adventurer stance, as opposed to how some other games lean more into the experience of being a story-creator, being in the writer’s room, being in the “wouldn’t it be cool if such-and-such” happened.