31 May 2021

Shiny TTRPG links collection #19

A jumbo feast of links for this bank holiday weekend. Previous list found here. Inspired by weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links.

Interesting thoughts on magical flux in world-building; with flavours of Athas but also with the interesting thought that magical energy favours certain things itself.

2xd6 on how your tower is not mundane by Spiceomancy what with magic collecting at towers - fits nicely with the previous post.

Further on the topic - making magic users sufficiently wierd by Daddy Rolled a 1.

29 May 2021

Review: Izirions West Marches Location Deck

tl;dr: a gorgeous DM screen and a region-building card deck that is a fantastic tool for generating wilderness locations and encounters.

I reviewed Izirions Enchiridion of the West Marches here after backing it on Kickstarter - and recently another block of stretch goal goodies came through my door. These were a real treat - a DM's Screen with the cover artwork which was nice and a wilderness generator in the form of a pair of card decks that is fantastic and a ton of fun to play with.

26 May 2021

The missing mechs of Mass Effect (+ d6 missions)

With Mass Effect Legendary edition out, and seeing how Once More Into The Void is Kickstarting, I got to thinking about how I would re-wire the Mass Effect main plot if I was going to run it. d6 missions at the end. Massive spoilers for throughout the trilogy ahead, ye have been warned.

No kidding, spoilers ahoy.

24 May 2021

Shiny TTRPG links collection #18

A short set of links this week. Previous list found here. Inspired by weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links.

An overview and list of participants of the Gygax 75 worldbuilding challenge.

Example of Player Knowledge vs Character Knowledge from fafast's Gaming Blog

Alas the Thought Eater podcast comes to a close, 200 episodes is a good run.

Stained Glass Stairs for visual inspiration.

A great look at the L├ęgendes de la Table Ronde ony weaver.skepti.ch with a pull out of the character backgrounds that can serve for any medieval or medieval-adjacent society.

22 May 2021

Comparing WotC player data 2021-2020

The latest update released from WotC had a bunch of interesting data so I threw it together with the 2020 data to see what we see. Short answer - another clear sign of this big pulse of players joining in their 20s.

Comparing the WotC player age breakdowns from 2021 to 2020 there is a change towards a younger population group in general. The under 24 player population has increased to over 1/3 of the total population.

Unfortunately the breakdown of the under-24s has changed between surveys - with the lower 2 years clipped off for the 2021 survey. What is very interesting is that the upper part of the under 24 group became narrower in 2021 but still grew to contain a larger share of the population.

In 2020 there was 17% of the population in the 6 year bracket 18-24. By 2021 there was 24% of the population in the 4 year bracket 20-24. This seems to be coherent with an apparent age-up of new joiners; with lots of the recent strong growth of new joiners coming to the hobby in their 20s compared to as teens before 2015.

Similarly, looking at the 60% male/40% female breakdown compared to trends over time, this seems to be a continuation of trends we have identified.

It looks like the face of the game continues to change; with new players continuing to join the game in their 20s. I would assume that most 30+ folk who most probably joined as a teen and stuck with the hobby this long are not leaving in big blocks - those 3% drops in 30-somethings are relative because so many more folk have joined in their 20s.

I would love to know the outcomes from the recent survey asking whether people thought D&D and specifically 5e were on the way up, holding ground or fading, because I would read this as a resounding sign of energy. I find the clipping away of the low teens a bit puzzling - if there is noone in that bottom range, what difference would it make?

All in all, nothing terribly shocking here, mostly interesting in that it shows continued momentum rather than a fade off - the beast continues to thunder forward. I hope that this large population of players for whom the 90s greats like Planescape are whispered legends prompts some new setting offerings for us today.

I pulled this apart before, references can be found at the base of these posts on demographic change and age.

19 May 2021

What are the popular sci-fi games?

Seen asked on the Giants in the Playground forums with some debate over how reliable VTT numbers could be since it won't capture the old guard who shun the online. My hypothesis is that this is a smaller slice than people think but let us see what we can find out.

Starting with our contemporary VTTs Roll20 & Fantasy Grounds - as discussed in a recent post - we have 40K, Starfinder and Star Wars placing as our top 3 sci-fi games at present - displayed without 5e so the scales are not tiny.

Comparing this to the ICV2 numbers that show what retail sales buzz is - here we have placement in top 5 most popular over 50 reports since 2004 - Star wars and Starfinder with a dash of Alien as the new new thing. This was lumped by system (e.g. Star Wars counts together whether by FFG or WotC).

17 May 2021

Shiny TTRPG links collection #17

More links of interesting inspiration for your table. Previous list found here. Inspired by weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links.

The Battle for The Colossal Wastes of Zhaar Epilogue on Lizardman Diaries - this was a hoot to play, I managed to miss most of the rest of the players and turns out those flashes I saw on the horizon was everyone else murdering each other!

Extending on the philosophy of just use bears - when you need to notch up the horror - use trolls.

The creators day sale inspired a few good roundups of content on itch.io - valid even now when the sale has passed.

Great piece on running OSE for the first time that serves as a referee's post-mortem on bringing players to old school play and things to watch for. This type of stuff is gold.

15 May 2021

Review: More Thousand Thousand Islands (Zines 5, 6, 8)

tl;dr: more great zines from A Thousand Thousand Islands - grab them while you can!

The postal block caused by the plague has been lifted and I have finally gotten my hands on the new zines! Most of them, that is. I grabbed all I could - two were unavailable due to further mishaps in the global supply chain that hopefully will sort themselves out soon. I was sorely tempted to get the 'everything' bundle because it contains those 2 zines but I resisted. Fow now.

I previous reviewed the first 6 zines here but Blogger has deleted the post for reasons unknown as it has been reinstated by blogger.

12 May 2021

Worse than Even - more on probability descriptions

Following up to this post on what do DC should certain descriptions have, I found the original posts I was thinking of and so revisit this and convert to the 5e bounded accuracy system.

I was recalling the data visualisations done by u/zonination in 2015 on reddit which was building from government research by Sherman for the CIA. Pulling apart the 2019 survey data we can show the percentage probability that respondents assigned to various words. I have re-ranked them most to least probable.

10 May 2021

Shiny TTRPG links collection #16

A further gathering of shiny things from the far corners of the internet. Previous list found here. Inspired by weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links.

Design diary for Them Deeper Bones with a great 'timeframes' graphic with 4 major levels for action/time ranging from ~half a month to 'seconds count'.

Some great ideas on making violent encounters more than just a slug-fest.

d66 orgs and factions from Hamster Hoard.

Trouble with inspiration for an NPC voice? Try an IDEA! The International Dialects of English site.

08 May 2021

Actual test: Liche's Librams MtG location generator

This is a test of using the very neat set up by Liches Libram to delve into the amazing settings of Magic the Gathering to create interesting locations. This is something very dear to my heart - I have always found the Magic settings to be awesome fodder for tabletop RPGs, going all the way back - what has been a bit of a nuisance is working through the sheer volume of cards that now exist. This problem is now fixed thanks to Liche's Libram and I suggest you give it a whirl.

I mashed all the buttons on the widget to see what we got - and it told the story almost without me having to think about it like any good card reading. First the place:
Cinder Marsh with Mishra's Workshop - we are looking at an installation deep in a destroyed, polluted waste.

05 May 2021

Review: Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar

tl;dr - a packed box of all you need to run Lankhmar in the gritty DCC feeling - lots to like if you are doing anything with cities.

A friend got me Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar for Christmas and it dropped onto my doormat like an iron ingot. This is a packed box, full of goodness and after going through it all you both have an authentic Lankhmar sword-and-sorcery box but also a great toolkit for urban play of any style. I got a jolt to write my thoughts up because DCC Lankhmar is on Bundle of Holding right now.


Unpacking the box began to feel like some kind of magic trick as I pulled more and more stuff out of this box that did not seem very large initially. There are maps! Posters to advertise your game! Setting books! Player handbooks! A Judges screen! A sign-up sheet! A starter adventure! All in nice quality stock, it feels positively luxurious as you spread it all out.

03 May 2021

Shiny TTRPG links collection #15

More links for the link throne! Also, a site operating note that I have stepped down frequency of posting to this weekly round-up and two more a week while work has picked up tempo. Better in my eyes to post less but on schedule than to have surges and gaps. Anyway, previous list found here. Inspired by weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links.

Tips and tools for having the best impact in the social aspect of running a roleplaying game.

A good discussion on minimum necessary content to spin up a game.

Small Islands of Wonder - thoughts on the impact of magic within society.

01 May 2021

Actual Play: Kobolds Art Exhibition part VII - The Delve

The kobolds of the Kobolds Art Exhibition zine by Evlyn Moreau return once more. Links to the review and part I of play using it, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V and Part VI.

The hour has passed midnight after another busy day spent trying to unpick a conspiracy against the realm. The howling winds outside have kept everyone indoors all day and blown the deep snows all over the city and palace. The party makes its way back down into the sub basement of the palace fully equipped for venturing into untouched sections, bringing along a younger cousin who has insisted she wants adventure and two of her entourage, the adept and the swordsman.

Down into the depths of the palace they go, past the old throne room to the gallery where the kobolds have been set up. A short discussion in pidgin draconic explains their intent to go find the second masterwork the kobolds say they had discovered and Curator Zosk assigns a troupe of junior volunteers to lead them - junior scout Zoogr, apprentice treasurer Vazrur, apprentice painters Ralral and Kedri and wax-collector Yeep with her two fire-beetles. Equipped with a map, packed snacks, spears and lantern-staffs the kobolds lead off into the depths.

Sketch of a junior kobold by the bard