30 August 2021

Shiny TTRPG links collection #32

A short handful this week as I have been on the road and unable to do my usual deep trawl of the treasures of the web. Previous list found here. This week definitely check out the original inspiration for all of this - a ton of good links on weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links. You can find more links on the weekly blogroll on r/OSR.

Adventure Gaming without the Heads-Up Display on Alone in the Labyrinth.

This is great stuff from Methods and Madness - Easy worldbuilding with Pareto and Price - once you have some high level principles like these for setting out your realm you can turn to all your random generation tables and roll up whatever you like knowing it will still broadly fit in and make sense.

How to Grow Old in Tabletop RPGs on Alphastream

Dweller of the Forbidden City writes some good thoughts on PC death in Ask Not for Whom the Bell Tolls... Roll the Dice!

To quote: "a revisionist history of #gamebooks from Awesome Lies, thank you very much."

Two cracking articles from weaver.skepti.ch this week - first Clinker Built or how there is lots of good fun to be had with D&D sea-faring that is more viking, less anachronistic Pirates of the Carribean. Second, on Dwarf Fortress's amazing world building engine.

28 August 2021

Actual Test: Wilderness Generator from Izirions Enchirdion of the West Marches

This is a review of the wilderness generator that came as part of Izirions Enchiridion of the West Marches that I backed on Kickstarter. I reviewed the DM's Screen and wilderness generator before and noted the wilderness generator in particular it was a lot of fun to play with.

I used it to map out a region around a city that had suddenly sprung into focus in my home campaign and it was remarkable how the cards managed to fall in line with the sketch of the region I had and then generated many more hooks and possibilities from their combinations.

25 August 2021

Review: Through Ultans Door #3 + Beneath The Moss Courts

tl:dr; the fabulous output of the Through Ultans Door #3 kickstarter brings more great locations, wierd afflictions, strange treasures and lots of scope for adventure in Immortal Zyan.

Here we have another of the fabled zines of the OSR, Through Ultans Door describes the dream-city of Immortal Zyan. I talked about issues #1 and #2 shortly before I backed the kickstarter for issue #3.

photo of newly arrived issue #3, showing cover art by Huargo

23 August 2021

Shiny TTRPG links collection #31

Previous list found here. Inspired by weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links. You can find more links on the weekly blogroll on r/OSR.

Instant and Meanders on weaver.skepti.ch on how history is forged both in decisive moments and in the morass between. To my mind a mall band adventurers are far more suited to wrestling a stack of small events their way and thus bending the course of history to their will.

The Palace Of Masques - on Daily Adventure Prompts on tumblr.

Setting thoughts from World Building and Woolgathering on The Hobbesian Theory of Tabletop War Games which also serves for thinking about any factions in your worldbuilding.

Archons Marsh On has d20 x 5 Sword and Sorcery City States.

21 August 2021

Actual Test: Calidar (Fantasy Space Combat Rules Part 4)

tl;dr: fantasy flying ship combat where the wind direction matters - surprisingly easy to pick up, lots of fun and some great old school damage tables detail that makes ship combat more than just slugging away at hull points.

After testing two magazine-published sets of rules for fighting magical flying ships - the 3e adaptation Shadow of the Spider Moon and the 5e Aces High aerial combat rules from Arcadia #3 published by MCDM as well as the original AD&D Spelljammer we come to the thing that kicked all this off - Calidar.

18 August 2021

Campaign spin up II: applying the OSR

tl;dr: how I crushed the time to spin up a campaign setting by bulking out a skeleton of inspiration with the best of OSR random generation tables.

After a significant hiatus, I spun up a new campaign, Lizard Kingdoms. This was a more directed creative process as it happened after ~6 years marinating on the teachings of the OSR. The ignition spark for this was the Mediterranean abyss of Shiveria by Chris Wayan. The specific image, captured from one of his re-painted globes was this, with the gates of Hercules closed and the 2000m deep basin behind that inhabitable - deep and hot. And filled with an ancient culture of lizardfolk.

With this as the setting core, I decided I wanted to run the Lizards as a long-cycle civilization rising and declining, just settling into a decline long-cycle. For ease of sizing things I stole south-west Europe as a basis and fiddled the Iberian peninsula to step down more gently into the Abyss - creating the Scaled Lands. This was to be our play-space.

The hook - that for long millenia the Lizard Empire had grabbed everything they deemed fit for habitation. The players come from a Magocracy, one outside the borders in the cold north. For ages great dragons dwelled in the border mountains preventing any incursion into the Lizard Kingdoms until one day they vanished. Noone knows when that day was exactly, the realisation of their absence was slow to come. The campaign pitch was 'the Wizard Kingdom is sending an expedition into the Scaledlands - you have decided to go with it'.

Lizardfolk of the Scalelands, by Evlyn Moreau

16 August 2021

Shiny TTRPG links collection #30

More nuggets of TTRPG gold. Previous list found here. Inspired by weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links. You can find more links on the weekly blogroll on r/OSR.

Wandering Gamist collects their 'best of the best' - "mostly-system-agnostic posts that I still think are broadly correct or worthwhile " - some great ideas in here, well worth the look.

Scrap Princess & Patrick Stewart have launched the Demon Bone Sarcophagus Kickstarter. Team that created the mighty Veins of the Earth, Fire on the Velvet Horizon and Deep Carbon Observatory among other legendary supplements. Have backed.

Knight at the Opera on what they love about 1) medieval European culture 2) Arthurian mythology 3) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and finally about the recent movie. Altogether a great meditation on 'go strange' with your fiction because it sure was strange in those times.

The Mad Queen's Court has the cool concept of BLACK STAR OF THE CANNIBAL KINGS - to become a King once must devour a King, and Kings get bigger as they eat, and live, and grow...

A welcome new strangeness from Goblins Punch - Asria and its Domesticated Oozes.

14 August 2021

All the world our playground: Birdfolk culture post

Birdfolk and other avians are an interesting bunch to look at from a culture perspective since they have a completely different experience of the same geographies everyone else is living on.

For this I am going to split avian culture into two - the gregarious ones that live collectively (think starlings) and the independent ones (think hawks).

Big drivers:
- adaptable and all-seeing
- travelling light
- transient and seasonal

11 August 2021

How Campaigns End - campaign duration survey results

tl;dr: few tables (1/3) are getting ~10 levels done in a campaign; once you get a tier done, contingency plan your wrap-up if you want one.

A twitter poll by rahab_akatriel asked "do you generally get to conclude your campaigns with a planned-out ending, or do you find that they tend to kind of sputter out and die? Which happens more often?" and the results were an interestingly even split between 'fizzle, neat wrap-up and ongoing'. I chopped the 'both equally' option in half and gave half each to 'attrition' and 'planned finish' for this comparison.

09 August 2021

Shiny TTRPG links collection #29

More great links from the link-mines below. Previous list found here. Inspired by weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links. You can find more links on the weekly blogroll on r/OSR.

Great inspiration on 'radiation magic' - magic as you know it is EM magic, what about the dangerous, more powerful 'particle magic'? On Stepped on a D4.

Glass Bird Games brings us tables to flavor The Cyclopean Organ musical depth-crawl.

A great Wizards tower - Tower of the Immovable on Whose Measure God Could Not Take.

On Fudging The Dice by Cavegirl.

Five “Off Label” Tools for Game Masters by Grumpy Wizard.

07 August 2021

Campaign Flare-outs - learning from failure

To set the context of the games that I tried to run that failed to launch or blew up before hitting their stride we need to list the games I played in (as opposed to ran) as many of my failures were rooted in attempting to replicate what others had done that I had enjoyed.

04 August 2021

Retrospective of campaigns run - what worked, what did not

I saw a retrospective on a persons gaming (Failing Better on Against the Wicked City) and decided to tot up all the gaming I have been involved in over the years. The big thing I noticed here was there was quite a lot of gaps between games that actually gets accounted for by flare-outs, campaigns that never got off the grounds even after eating quite a lot of time in some cases. I will dig into the flare-outs and what went wrong in another post, but first - the great victories, the glorious campaigns run.

I guesstimated the hours spent running for the different campaigns to get an idea of how long all the campaigns ended up being at the table. This was surprising to me, I had felt some of them to be a lot longer than others but that may just have been prep time I sank into them vs how much actual play time happened.

02 August 2021

Shiny TTRPG links collection #28

More great links from the link-mines below. Previous list found here. Inspired by weaver.skepti.ch End of Week links. You can find more links on the weekly blogroll on r/OSR.

Lizardman Diaries has an awesome new generator - the Automated Past and Present - Atomic Cosmology for Game World Creation. Create past, present, people, beasts, monsters, events, objects and places. Mash these buttons a few times and boom, world.

From the maker of Kill 6 Billion Demons, of which this blog is a big fan, and Lancer comes ICON a mythic fantasy RPG. "A fantasy role playing game heavily inspired by the vast, unknown spaces of classic mythic fantasy, anime, and video games."

Dyson Logos posted on 'the Canting Crew' - if you want to try a North American rooted variant of Planescapes Sigil.

Giving a Dungeon Soul: Dark Souls Dungeon Guide - pretty much a checklist for 'things to have in your next session' from Liches Get Stitches.

An adventure seed generator - has buttons for Spears of the Dawn, Old School Fantasy and Pariah by Alone in the Labyrinth.

Glass Bird Games does a cool depth-crawl "The Cyclopean Organ".