Monday, 18 January 2021

Review: Ulraunts Guide to Acheron

tl:dr; a beefy planar tome focusing on just the Plane of War; tons of options, nice layout and artwork, just the ticket if you want to set a campaign there.

(photo of own copy, cover art by Raluca Marinescu)

Strictly speaking, the name is "Ulraunts Guide to the Planes: Acheron" but I think this block-buster tome needs no extra beefing up as part of a larger work. It stands tall on its own. As someone who came up through Planescape, the sheer size of this tome is jaw-dropping. Acheron in the Planes of Law was a booklet; jammed full of ideas, but even for Planescape it was a 32 page booklet plus 6 pages in the players guide of Planes of Law. Acheron got 4 pages in the 3.5e Manual of the Planes. In short, this is an order of magnitude more Acheron than we have had before.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Review: The Infinite Staircase

tl:dr; if you like the planes, buy this for page 15. You get 96 beautiful bonus pages to make a beast of a book that will turbo-charge planar campaigns.

I saw the image below, went to DriveThru and saw all the gorgeous layout - I have not clicked 'buy' on anything so quickly recently. Inside I found the purest distillation of a planar handbook I have encountered in quite some time. I will probably make myself a *colour* hardcopy of this, it is that good.

Launch graphic from DeathbyBadger

The graphic design work throughout is magnificent, vivid and exciting in a way I have not seen since... *thinks* *searches shelves* ... maybe Planes of Conflict? Maybe Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix II? Certainly it looks like a lot of the best of the post-Pathfinder era has been combined with an OSR 'show me the gameable content' attitude to give something thats like an atrophine injector of pure planar energy. I have always had a soft spot for the Infinite Staircase, it has long been one of my favourite planar pathways and this is a monument to the best it can be.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Review: Through Ultans Door #1-2

tl:dr; another of the fabled zines of the OSR, Through Ultans Door describes the dream-city of Immortal Zyan.

The push to get this out the door is the news that issue #3 will be joining Zinequest.

photo of issues #1 & #2, showing cover art by Huargo

These issues are gorgeous artefacts from the author of Mazirians Garden blog. These are treasures from a lost era (G+, the before-times when mail from the US worked) - which very well reflects the theme. Beautifully picked art and a hard card detachable cover makes the zine feel great in hand. For both issues I got my hands on (the two released to date) there was a duplicate of the encounter table on another card to have easily to hand. Inside the detachable cover is a map of the area covered in the zine - the Inquisitors Theater for #1, the catacombs of the Fleischguild for issue #2.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Gathering design goals for a Spelljammer update

tl:dr; double down on the things that make Spelljammer unique

Maybe I started with the cart before the horse in focusing on what are the sharp edges that people knock against in Spelljammer. Perhaps first we ought to start with 'why bother at all'? In other words what is a Spelljamming campaign supposed to be like?

(photo of own copies of Spelljammer core books, Polyhedron #151 magazine)

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Print-on-demand for players in Europe

Looking at the news that Brexit is going to cause delays and cost increases for getting UK printed books from DriveThruRPG, I wondered how likely it is that the companies will be motivated to fix this. Maybe if there are more gamers in the EU than in the UK they might?

As we know from almost all surveys, the majority of TTRPG gamers are in North America, with the next largest chunk in Europe.

Fewer surveys and sites give enough granularity to see what specific countries players are from but there are some and they all seem to say mostly the same thing.

Friday, 8 January 2021

On updating Spelljammer - how to live your best space swashbuckling life

tl:dr; a sweep up of Spelljammer feedback and thoughts on how to avoid the possible pitfalls.

Inspired to kick out this long-simmering post based on this thread by DM Sarah on updating Spelljammer. As she says "It's weird, zany, D&D in space. It's an encapsulation of that sci-fi fantasy blend written by, among others, C.S. Lewis and Madeline L'Engle."

I have been thinking about the difference between Spelljammer and Planescape and to me Spelljammer is about having a mobile base for your road adventures while in Planescape you have a static one or none at all such as being a caravan. This is also noted in the thread so the real question is what is going to make a Spelljammer campaign more fun than just doing a standard nautical one?

Thursday, 7 January 2021

d24 Living doors - built with gygaxian democracy, neural networks

This was another 'rapid encounter table generation' exercise. Original prompt was a post the r/DnDAcademy prompt for 'Living Locks'. This time I tried bulking it out through gygaxian democracy on the OSR discord then fed that to the Bellard tool to bulk it out.