25 May 2022

d20 Personages of the mid-winter court of the storm giant king

Serving as a record of the impressions of the giants of the Storm Kings Court from a night of feasting. Also a d20 random giant NPC list. The atmosphere in the court has been grim throughout the night. Some small groups have seemed to enjoy each others company but most of the tale telling has had a thread of spiteful competitiveness. Noone doubts that very few of the giants present actually want to be here.

23 May 2022

Shiny TTRPG links #69

Fine links from the link-fields. More can be found on the previous list found here. The original inspiration for all of this - weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links. You can find even more links on the weekly blogroll on r/OSR or a roundup of non-blog news on Third Kingdom Games roundup.

Chaos Warriors by Cavegirl - why chaos is the only choice

Binder Full of Notes has a neat House Rule: Keep Going & How Bad Is It

Fantastic stuff from Glass Bird Games with Songs of Travel, and the Path

Grand Commodore writes Maximalist Weird Fiction Mercenary Contract Generator Appendix J: Civil Relief

The Universities of Hex - factions from the in-progress Hex Gazetteer by Bearded Devil

Gundobad Games writes a cool campaign concept in Dungeon Extraction Posse vs. the Chaotic-Body Snatchers, or: Another Reason to Go Back into the Dungeon

21 May 2022

Quick polity and biome procedures for approaching strange worlds

From the previous post on randomly generating a system I was left with the puzzle of what to do with truly enormous planets with mind boggling surface areas. What can you pack into a water world the size of Saturn, for instance? For reference, Earth is the archetypal Class E, but we have 30% of our surface above water so only 60M square miles. That is to say the next class down, D, has half the land area of our Earth, assuming there are no surface water bodies at all. For reference, the planetary classes and their areas if a sphere or a single-sided discworld.
Class Diameter (mi)Sphere surface area (mi.sq) Discworld top side area (mi.sq)
A 350 384845 96211
B 800 2010619 502655
C 1500 7068583 1767146
D 3200 32169909 8042477
E 8000 201061930 50265482
F 16000 804247719 201061930
G 32000 3216990877 804247719
H 80000 20106192983 5026548246
I 160000 80424771932 20106192983
J 350000 384845100065 96211275016

To try and visualise this - here is a cumulative area chart, assuming an Earth-like share of ocean coverage (70%) - red is Class E - Earth - down in the corner. Once you move up a planetary size class, you start getting some very large spaces to work with indeed.

The question that arose elsewhere was 'does this mean a planet is a mono-culture?' I see argument in some places saying that if you are running Spelljammer or any other inter-planetary game then there is no point creating highly detailed worlds because you want getting from point to point to be part of the fun of the setting. The detail and interest on a given world should not be so much that people decide to stay groundside and abandon the Spelljamming part of it all. Taking that on board, I think there is a question of versimillitude - I can see the typical table I run giving me a very hard stare if I said 'there is no geographic variation on this world' and 'a single polity rules everything' for a place the size of Earth.

18 May 2022

d12 hazards of the old castle

I got to visit an old castle, that has been in use ~500+ years but inhabited by the current family for ~ 200. Their primary business is running a farm, land-holding as was the the case for such buidlings for much of the past. I was interested to see that what was all over the walls of this place was less swords, shields and momentos of conquest but religious iconography and things to do with farming. There was a fantastic set of a dozen cowbells in the ground floor hall, awards for finest cows and other markers of success in the primary occupation of the dwellers.

d12 hazards encountered trying to sneak through a great house

16 May 2022

Shiny TTRPG links #68

Links, another sample from the torrent. More can be found on the previous list found here. The original inspiration for all of this - weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links. You can find even more links on the weekly blogroll on r/OSR or a roundup of non-blog news on Third Kingdom Games roundup.

d4 Caltrops shares Table Talk: My Process for Random Tables - given they crank out so much stuff so regularly this is an interesting read for any creative types

Everythings the Meta-Magician creates Magic the Gathering RPG Oracle

The Bottomless Sarcophagus waxes eloquent in "I Love The Blacklance Paragon"

Tales of the Lunar Lands talks about bringing to the table the medieval tradition of Pas d'armes

Weaver.skepti.ch has an interesting piece in Dogs of Yesteryear

Traverse Fantasy writes "Wizards HATE Her! How to Play D&D for Free, Part 1: Structures & Routines"

Grumpy Wizard on how Writing and Storytelling are Not the Same Thing.

14 May 2022

Review - AD&D DMG (1995)

I retrieved my old DMG, this was the book I learned from back in the day and going through it I note it spends a lot more time trying to teach me how to play than newer editions. Maybe things really were easier back in the day.

This was the AD&D DMG from 1995 - a refresh after 6 year as it says in the introduction.

I have no memory of where I read or heard the point - perhaps on the Adventuring Party? Or the OSR discord? - but it was said that this was the last of the DMGs that actually tried to teach you the game. The shadow of the same argument crops up in Alexandrians 'cargo cults' point - that there are lots of folk in the hobby that have seen adventure shaped things but the teaching of how's and why's fell away somewhere. Looking through this book with its full-on focus at teaching people how to run a game, I begin to see the point. I can also see here how all the arguments about 'playing D&D wrong' arise. For those who read and absorbed this book, the word was very clear - here is how to play, this is the style of game, we all have a common reference now.

11 May 2022

Actual test: crystal sphere generating with classic Spelljammer

tl;dr: solar system building with the original Spelljammer rules, testing to see how much adventure can be rolled up

From Chapter 5: Celestial Mechanics in the Concordance of Arcane Space we have rules for DM-Created Universes which gives a checklist:
1. Type of SYstem
2. Primary Body
3. Number of main planets
4. Orbit distance from primary
5. Size, type and shape of planetary bodes
6. Presence of any civilizations with spelljamming capabilities
7. Distance to the crystal sphere

Photo of own well worn copy of Spelljammer (2e)

So together with the in-house testing team we diced up a crystal sphere and its contents, to see how much adventure we could squeeze from an hours work.