2019-04-28 RPG Blog Highlights

Here’s my continuation of blog findings, a blog post I made nearly a month ago listing cool blog posts I had seen. A true “web log” like in the old days before social media, haha. I’ve been posting links to other blogs on Mastodon every now and then, trying to highlight what I felt was interesting stuff I had seen, so all I do is go through my own feed and copy and paste and format and link the stuff again. Feel free to follow me on Mastodon: @kensanata.

Noisms write about using old maps: «a great way to create the bare bones for a small scale D&D campaign … This is a map of the area around Eals, a tiny hamlet close to the Northumberland/Cumbria border in probably the least-developed part of England. … The map is an old Ordnance Survey one from approximately 1900, at a scale of about 1 inch to a mile» – Monsters and Manuals: Real Life Maps, Hexcrawling, and Rustic Fantasy Names

JB writes about Karameikos and GAZ1 and I’m listening to the British History Podcast episodes about The Saxon invasion (if there ever was one), and thinking about The Great Pendragon Campaign… «Let’s talk a bit about conquered people, shall we? Historically, folks are pretty averse to being conquered and ruled by a foreign power, especially when there’s any perceived social injustice like…» – B/X BLACKRAZOR: A is for Archduke Stefan III, When Neighbors Attack: A Story of Kings

Reading about a Nethack win reminds me of my Nethack failures... I think I never got past level 8 or 9? I can barely remember. – Library of Attnam: My NetHack Anniversary

«Don’t try to manage real-life social dynamics using rules and systems. It doesn’t work. And it will probably cause some harm.» – Zedeck Siew's Writing Hours

This is one for programmers: @aparrish said “I still think this is the most useful python library I’ve ever made and I’m kind of sad it hasn’t found its audience (probably because I need to make more compelling examples).” and adds that “it’s a simplified wrapper for approximate nearest neighbor lookups that obviates the need to use or even think about e.g. annoy or scipy.kdtree” which makes me think this is something people interested in generating maps and the like might need? I don’t know but I want to learn. – GitHub - aparrish/simpleneighbors: A clean and easy interface for performing nearest-neighbor lookups

@gunnar recommends Medieval Fantasy City Generator by watabou which I already knew but it’s still cool so there you go.

I wonder whether Sleeping Titans is something that would ever see play at my table. «Silent Titans includes an overland area isolated by mysterious phenomena, a central town, a scattering of settlements and five unique non-Euclidian dungeons.» – False Machine: Silent Titans Pre-Sales are Live (early morning edition)

Listening to an episode on corridors of Thinking Allowed and hearing that corridors were brought to England in the 17th century. That explains the room-after-room or one-room-per-floor design of older buildings! And it tells me most D&D maps are totally anachronistic. But I guess we knew that already? I hadn’t thought of corridors as an invention, in any case. I think it’s a problem with structural analysis: the earth does not support big halls, so you build a small tunnel and dig another hall. That’s how I remember the catacombs I’ve seen. Room after room after room, with small corridors connecting them, but not long corridors with many openings left and right.

I’m listening to episode 289 of the History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps podcast about angels and I can’t stop thinking about the AD&D Monster Manual 2 where I learned about all these things.

Write monsters based on illustrations by Harry Clarke and let’s make another monster manual! I liked this project: Cavegirl's Game Stuff: Community Project - The Harry Clarke Bestiary

“I wrote 50 levelless spells for my OSR homebrew! Lots are rewrites, but some are all-new - check out Spellify, or my Summon rules!” – A Blasted, Cratered Land: Mimics & Miscreants Spell List

Currently reading the German Wikipedia page about the league. Not surprisingly the article is much longer than the English equivalent.

Dungeons the Dragoning 40,000 7th Edition was very cool! Thus: «lessons I’ve learned over a decade of GMing everything from D&D 4e to Eclipse Phase to Dungeons the Dragoning 40,000 7th Edition to a half-dozen of my own homebrews.» – A Blasted, Cratered Land: Lexi's Big Bag of GM Tips

Listening to the Blogs on Tape podcast – the best of podcasting and OSR blogs. Thanks for choosing and reading them all, @linkskywalker and collaborators!

Lots of lists of magic items on this blog: tengoldpiecegems

@Halfjack writing about about transliteration in fantasy alphabets, using Tengwar as an example: if you write “l a u g h” using Tengwar, I’m going to cry because I learned English the hard way and the English spelling will surely make all elves cry. And if Fëanor can cry then so can I. And you.

I’m enjoying the podcast Roguelike Radio. Now I want to read Procedural Generation in Game Design because of Roguelike Radio: episode 137 about the book. But I know I no longer read long books. I just think I want to read them.

Listening to the episode on MUDs makes me want to play in MUSHed and MUDs again. But I tried it last year and it didn’t last... Maybe I should create my own single person world. The episode and the discussion about the future of MUDs makes me think that Minecraft/Minetest is one of the futures: there is survival mode oft MUD players and creative mode for MUSH players. Multiplayer. Building.

The Gundobad blog is simply right up my alley! This time, writing about Rome and the barbarians: Of Swords & Sojourners: Barbarians Within the Gates of Empire. (Previously: writing about the Late Bronze Age collapse.)

Awesome series by Ben L.: “This is the first in a series of posts that try to say something about the theory of the OSR style of play … Recently I have been reading a lot of story games … For me this process has been tremendously clarifying. I think what they do is really neat, and seeing how it’s different from what we do helps me to understand why we do some of things we do.” – Mazirian's Garden: Pleasures of the OSR: Secrecy and Discovery

And later: «both OSR and story gamers regularly say that they value “emergent stories”. The idea is that the stories are not pre-written, rather they emerge from play. So it seems like we’re on the same page. But I’m convinced that this is, in large part, an illusion.» – Mazirian's Garden: Pleasures of the OSR: Emergent Story and Open Worlds

“If you need an ultra powerful, semi-mortal magic user to be the villain of a campaign, to rule a city in the middle of an arid waste, to be the eccentric host hosting an auction in some desolate region where only the wealthiest and most influential people in the world or for any other reason, use the tables below.” – Remixes and Revelations: Random Sorcerer-King Generator

If you’re interested in generated maps, generated histories, generated wars, generated seaways, generating place names and so much more, I have a blog recommendation for you: for h in hexes.

“So, if you are a map maker, or know of one that you would want included in this, then drop a comment below and I will update the post with each new map-maker … vaguely somewhat close to the OSR in a general sense” – False Machine: Who Makes Maps?

Anne writes about total darkness. I’d handle it like Skerples in the comments? “If you run out of hit points, or run out of time to play the game while your character is still in the dungeon, or you run out of light, your life is forfeit, and you have given up your right to remain alive. … If you can’t narrate, then don’t. Use a different resolution mechanic - rolling dice on a special table - and then later, start narrating again at a point where you’re able to do so.” – DIY & Dragons: Your Life is Forfeit

“A situation where the players treat resources as important and plan ahead to have a sufficient supply is almost indistinguishable from a situation where the players and the judge all ignore resource management completely.” – DIY & Dragons: Mechanics for Resource Management - part 2, Defining our Terms

This blog post from The Scones Alone is about an alternate encumbrance system and discussed by Anne in one of her blog posts. So many good thoughts: A Simple Resource Management System for Into the Odd

I’m falling into the rabbit hole of Anne’s posts on resource management... See my post on Encumbrance.

How to show the world is old (and other stuff about world building): “But what can be done is to show practically how civilizations come and go, but nature always persists the entire time. While barely anything is known about the most recently destroyed cities, other than stories of how they were destroyed by one of the still existing cities, and nothing about the cities that came before them, there are still plenty of ruins left behind by the Ancient Builders.” – The Truths of the World – Spriggan's Den

Same blog: I love those word counts! “In the Sword & Sorcery genre, stories tend to be much shorter, instead you simply get more of them. As references, here are the works of some of the great Sword & Sorcery writers and their lengths.” – Keeping it brief: Word Counts in Sword & Sorcery – Spriggan's Den

Another excellent series, this time by Yami Bakura. All of them are super long and have stats and background for a lot of elemental themed creatures.

“Whenever you attempt to light a fire, somewhere above in one of the golden office complexes of the Sun, a clerk working in the Burning Bureaucracy is evaluating your request, based on the wind, moisture, and numerous other factors. Then, if they approve your request, the fire starts. The clerk must then notarize the paperwork and send it off to be properly tabulated.“ – Remixes and Revelations: OSR: The Elemental Court of Fire

“The Tunnel Tyrants are a class of civil servant responsible for maintaining the Veins of the Earth, as well as all other manmade tunnels and mines. Their additional duties include monitoring the amount of minerals in each area, controlling nitrogen fixation, and several other duties. If a sinkhole is needed, it must run through them. However, they are a class of civil servants also known for being corrupt, lazy or just incompetent.“ – Remixes and Revelations: OSR: The Elemental Court of Earth

Frog princess, river dragons, ice queens and more: “There are currently Five claimants to the Throne of the Deep, all claiming to be the best one to rule the Court of Water. Until such a time as someone will mount the Throne of the Deep and be acknowledged by the majority of Water Elementals as the true master of the waves, the Water Civil War will continue and the Court will remain fractured.” – Remixes and Revelations: OSR: The Elemental Courts of Water


And as always, if you don’t see enough stuff here to make you go check out the blogs, there’s always the inimitable Froth: THOUGHT EATER: humpday blog-o-rama.



Great stuff. Thank you kindly for the mention.

Froth 2019-04-29 12:45 UTC

Ynas Midgard’s RPG Blog has Excellence from the Blogosphere (March-April). Very cool! ❤

– Alex Schroeder 2019-05-10 20:36 UTC

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