30 June 2021

Review: Thousand Thousand Islands #7 + Drawings #2

tl;dr: another fascinating location and drawings to introduce your seaborne Thousand Thousand Islands campaign.

The missing boxes of materials turned up and these last zines were restocked, I ordered them and lo, they have arrived! I previous reviewed the first block of zines here and 5, 6 and 8 here.

28 June 2021

Shiny TTRPG links collection #23

Previous list found here. Inspired by weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links who has a particularly delicious collection this week and I have knocked out the duplicates.

"If you want frequent player-character death in your games [...] make it easy to live again" - some great ideas on maintaining fun in high lethality campaigns by Prismatic Wasteland.

Some good thinking on ensuring Rat Bastard mode works in your dungeons by Spiceomancy. Also true for urban settings.

An optional heroic sacrifice mechanic - I am a big fan of this kind of tool in the toolkit, for that last desperate push.

Dump Stat Adventures with some good thoughts on problem solving - to build player skill more than for the PCs.

Robin D. Laws on recruiting people to new systems.

26 June 2021

Know Us By Our Trail Food (d20 Cuisine Generator)

As an additional tool for city building, cuisine is a nice one - certainly nothing makes a city memorable like the entire food economy being based around an odd local crop or reflecting an unusual local taste.

As adventurers are typically new to town, the partys experience of a city is going to be through tavern fare and street food rather than food in the home. There are any number of fantasy tavern fare generators our there so let us consider that angle covered and focus on street food.

23 June 2021

Revisiting D&D race preference by source

Prompted by an expression of surprise that a twitter poll was showing ~1/4 players choose human, I want to revisit the question at it and share the datasets. This is partly in response to realising my old go-to player race article is not good, hence this update.

As of time of hitting publish these were the results of the poll, where human/other has been rising and dwarf trending down overnight.

21 June 2021

Shiny TTRPG links collection #22

More links for the link-god. Previous list found here. Inspired by weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links.

I liked this - proposing the inspiration for Mystara as Earth of 135 Million years ago - and rendering it as a globe. What really strikes me, as we look at the animations - could have been whole other continents on those old plates that went under.

Continuing the theme of maps - Bat in the Attic has mapped all the locations of the original Wilderlands adventures - or 'what happens when you venture out of the City State of the Invincible Overlord'

Good thinking on 'what level are kings' on weaver.skepti.ch.

A brief world-building checklist from Dungeons & Kobolds

A great write up of the No Room For A Wallflower LANCER campaign - 8 sessions written up so far on Glimmerings and Musings

Further on reviews - the Bones of Contention review blog has launched to provide a broad perspective through multiple authors.

Spiceomancy talking about why humans oughtn't have any bonii on principle

19 June 2021

Actual Test: Aces High (Fantasy Space Combat Rules Part 2)

Continuing testing of fantasy space combat systems following our first go with Shadow of the Spider Moon, we come to our second test: Aces High, the 5e aerial combat rules from Arcadia #3 published by MCDM earlier this year.

This is designed for flying mounts and big monsters so it needed a little bricolage to make work for flying ship combat - but not much. The main 'work' was extending the flight modifiers table to account for colossal things - such as a 120 hull point drow Deathspider.

We took the same stat sheets from Spider Moon for the ships - 3.5e being close enough to 5e - but here the victory conditions were adjusted. Aces High assumes a tight hairball of a combat with no lateral movement, just altitude, so there was no 'off the board' escape route, just climbing up and out.

Owing to a screw-up in my reading of the rules we did two tests but I think both are interesting and hinge on one missed set of 3 words.

16 June 2021

To stride the skies - Kobold high culture post

Kobolds may be tiny dragons but their appetites for glory and recognition of their magnificence are of a similar size. But there are many, many kobolds so what happens on a world where kobolds rise to power, whether under the wings of the draconic gods or on their own? This is a vision of a kobold world - but this could be any twitchy, energetic creatures.

The big hook for kobold high culture is the house of cards. They are the worst aspects of hyper-growth nonsense with a brick on the accelerator. Every angle has been leveraged so they can keep going, they are the epitome of 'succeed or die trying'.

The main drivers for kobold culture in its full flower are
1. a drive for glory, that they may be recognised and remembered
2. a visual culture: monument building, wearing their identity and achievements
3. a scarcity mentality: creating a tendency to action and short-horizon thinking

14 June 2021

Shiny TTRPG links collection #21

Previous list found here. Inspired by weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links - who has found a bunch more link curators as well. I am continuously amazed that I can spend the week saving interesting links - then go to other people curated pages and find whole other swathes of the net from just the one week with yet more interesting stuff. Truly, we live in an age of plenty.

Knight at the Opera not kidding around when they say 'thorough' in this round-up of resources relevant to urban crawls, discussion of how-to and worked through example. Chunky goodness, a must on the topic.

In a similar vein to this weeks Adventuring Party predictions on what directions D&D 6e could take - with some thoughts on the tendencies of near-monopoly companies - we have the Tao of D&D talking about 'responsibility to customers' in RPG products to make a complimentary piece.

Good thinking from weaver.skepti.ch on using Tarot in place of random tables to spark inspiration. Definitely a question of having the right artist.

Thoughts on domain level play as endgame for D&D campaigns from Wandering Gamist.

12 June 2021

On Crafty Players & Homemade DM Screens

Grace of the vaccine roll-out here my home campaign managed to get a face to face game in for the first time in months and my players presented me with a Christmas birthday gift of a new custom made DM screen.

Dragon artwork by the Bard

09 June 2021

My party chaotic, the kingdom neutral - comparing alignment polls

tl;dr: players like to be chaotic good, in neutral or lawful settings.

A few recently gathered polls had preferred alignment data, including the survey Mia Gojak did on 5e facebook page. I decided to see if there was any consistency to what alignments people claimed as their favourites.

A definite preference for the top right of the standard 9-box alignment can be seend - chaotic good, chaotic neutral and neutral good switching around a little between the surveys but generally, clearly preferred.

07 June 2021

Shiny TTRPG links collection #20

More links for the link-god. Previous list found here. Inspired by weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links.

A great treasure and hoard generator - worked up on weaver.skepti.ch for Wolves of God but good for interesting relatively mundane hoards in any setting. Spice with flash-bang magic items if your setting demands but at least they are sitting in something more than just a heap of coin.

A good checklist for getting prepped to go back to face to face gaming as more folk get vaccinated and a return to physical table comes into sight.

Orbis - the geospatial network model of the roman world - with paths, travel times - fantastic for figuring out how ancient travel really worked. Great inspiration for journey adventures.

Great piece on Grognardia about the size and scale of monsters. Well worth a look.

05 June 2021

Actual Test: Shadow of the Spider Moon (Fantasy Space Combat Rules Part 1)

After my Calidar books arrived in the mail, I thought the time was ripe for testing the D&D space combat systems against one another to see which was most fun.

Current contenders for testing are: - Shadow of the Spider Moon (3.5e) - Aces High (5e, from Arcadia #3 by MCDM) - Spelljammer (AD&D) - Calidar (OD&D update) - Crawljammer (DCC - not pictured)

02 June 2021

Stand the test of time - looking at UK gaming in 1987

A deep cut into gaming history - graphing up the results of the 1987 White Dwarf survey of gamers - from back when White Dwarf covered general TTRPGs. I was tipped off from this article on Enworld, back tracked the twitter thread and then during a bout of insomnia typed up the table, et voila. Raw numbers at the bottom of this piece.

This is a great photo of what was going on back in the day - for instance we see Traveller as a top 10 most played game. We see this is an era when D&D and AD&D were different games. No less than three different super-hero games appear - Golden Heroes, Marvel Superheroes and DC Heroes. A different age indeed.