This page lists the most recent journal entries related to role-playing games (RPG). There are some more pages on the related German page (Rollenspiele).

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Looking for gamers here in Switzerland? → SpielerZentrale, NearbyGamers, Pen & Paper Schweiz Facebook Group, Dungeons & Dragons Meetup Zürich. Networking is important so that people moving here can find D&D games in Zürich, Switzerland.

Logo for my RPG feed

2018-10-16 Uplinked Intelligence Wiki

@seanmccoy started the Uplinked Intelligence Wiki. It aims to be a repository of links to blog posts for running OSR style games in Sci-Fi systems: Stars Without Number, Mothership, Traveller, Rogue Trader, etc.


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2018-10-16 Tactical Transparency

I just read an excellent essay by Zak on what the OSR is all about. The term he uses is “tactical transparency” and it makes a lot of sense to me:

Tactical transparency is the degree to which a common-sense idea that would be effective in the “real” situation that the game-fiction mimics would also be effective in the game. – Drunk, Prone & On Fire (Tactical Transparency)

The rest of the blog post explains what is meant and I enjoyed it very much.


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2018-10-16 Old School RPG Planet coming back

I’m resurrecting the Old School RPG Planet. I have a little page for you if you want to learn more.

If you want your Old School Renaissance (OSR) blog to be listed, apply by sending me mail, or leaving a comment, either here, on Google+, or send me some mail. See my contact information.


Comments on 2018-10-16 Old School RPG Planet coming back

You've likely heard Google+ is shutting down – impacts and activities by @dredmorbius talks about Google+ going down and what it might mean for other systems, and how blogs are pretty good.

– Alex Schroeder 2018-10-17 16:09 UTC

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2018-10-16 Diaspora

I recreated a Diaspora account, just in case Diaspora takes off instead of Old School RPG blogging. All I know is I’m not following the gamers from one proprietary silo (Google+) to another proprietary silo (MeWe).

“Can Diaspora be G+ 2.0? It seems way less shady than MeWe. Aspects look to be exactly the same as circles. You can post publicly, like this, or privately to one of your aspects. Posts support all of Markdown, so you they can be much richer than what you can share on Google+ currently. You can’t edit your posts, though. (Like Twitter, I guess.) Still, everything about this seems better than MeWe.” – Ramanan, on Diaspora


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2018-09-20 RPG Campaigns Closing

A few weeks ago I noticed that we had missed a few sessions of my English RPG campaign, the one where we played through Castle of the Mad Archmage. We had made it down to level seven, the crypts. Two key players had left the campaign because of childcare issues and the remaining players had a few casuals so we missed the minimum requirement I had set at the very beginning: three players required.

And so I decided to end the campaign. No grand finale, just some emails and that was it.

I invited the two German speaking players into my German campaign. But at the same time, one of the key players in the German campaign is returning to Germany. Again, love and kids. He’s been playing in my games for about eight years. Good times!

Ah, and I ended my monthly game with the kids. The three oldest kids often had other plans on Friday evenings. That left my friend Zeno and the three younger kids, and even them it wasn’t always easy. Sessions got cancelled, and finally I decided that enough was enough.

No matter what people say, it’s the actions that count. Life goes on, people change. It’s OK. Just look at this blog! Hardly any RPG content these days!

I’m out of the loop as far as social media goes. No longer visiting Google+, and I’ve stopped visiting the forums years ago. So I’m left with Mastodon. But my main account on Octodon so much more active and my time line so much more interesting than the accounts on both Dice Camp and Tabletop Social... I just don’t get into enough RPG conversation outside of my games, and my gaming life have been fading, so I don’t know when RPG blog posts are going to come back.


The blog is not going away, and hopefully the last campaign I’m in won’t close any time soon, and I’m still interested in Traveller, so who knows. I’m guessing this is just a temporary thing.

Thank you for reading and: Fight On!


Comments on 2018-09-20 RPG Campaigns Closing

I’d just like to thank you for all the blog posts you made. Your contributions to the community have been very influential!

Ynas Midgard 2018-09-25 19:12 UTC


– Alex Schroeder 2018-09-26 17:23 UTC

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2018-09-05 Pick Five RPG Games

Pick5Games was a hashtag on Mastodon... I have two sets of answers, one for video games and one for role-playing games. These are the role-playing games I like:

  • Halberds and Helmets, my house rules for B/X D&D, best for long time play (50+ sessions per campaign)
  • Lady Blackbird for best mashup of all the ideas, everything in one character sheet, best starting situation, best adventure notes…
  • Traveller (the oldest versions), for random lifepath based character generation, sandbox play, genre independence, no advancement (!)

That’s it, I think.

King Arthur Pendragon has traits which I love but character generation is a pain and combat is wonky, the winter phase was boring. Enthused: 2013-05-17 Pendragon RPG. Sobering up: 2014-01-18 Pendragon and the Great Pendragon Campaign.

Diaspora is a Fate for a Traveller-style game and I switched a Traveller campaign to Diaspora in an effort to save it many years ago. But Fate points make the game fundamentally boring for me. And without Fate points all the aspects are irrelevant and so it’s all downhill from there. Curious: 2009-11-18 Traveller or Diaspora. No bennies: 2012-02-28 I don't like Bennies.

I really wanted to like Luke Crane games. I think it was @Judd and his posts about orcs that sent me down this path. I bought Burning Wheel (the four books back before the golden edition); Burning Empires; Mouse Guard; The Blossoms Are Falling; and the PDF of Torchbearer. I read Jihad. But whenever we tried these games, they fell flat. It was too meta! Too much thinking about Artha and Beliefs and tests and not enough action and immersion.

I like the idea of Powered by the Apocalypse games and I have PDFs of many of them and I bought the paper version of Sagas of the Icelanders. I think the reason these games did not make it into my top five are twofold:

  • They are too setting specific. I mean, that’s the point, right? Specific rules for specific settings. Lady Blackbird does specific better.
  • I cannot imagine log time play (50+ sessions). Where’s constant change over time? 2012-01-24 Changing Gameplay Over Time.

So I steal what I can and play other games.

Games designed for short campaigns or one-shots are just harder to be enthusiastic about. The Mountain Witch and In a Wicked Age both are perfect games for one-shots!


Comments on 2018-09-05 Pick Five RPG Games

I’m curious, what did you pick for video games? (I should probably start using Mastodon, too, come to think of it)

Ynas Midgard 2018-09-05 11:36 UTC

Just for you! 2018-09-05 Pick Five Video Games. :)

– Alex Schroeder 2018-09-05 15:18 UTC

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2018-08-19 Empty Hex Grids using LaTeX

@mcnees posted a Gist on Mastodon: “here is some LaTeX code with lots of different styles that you can customize. Fee free to fork and make improvements!” :)


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2018-08-02 OSR Blogs

On Google+, in the OSR Community, mista tipsta said they had a big list of OSR blog URLs up on Pastebin and asked to convert these into RSS feeds. Ramanan S. did the conversion and posted it on Github. I’ve changed the URL of my own blog in the list because I think people would want to have the RPG-only feed, so get it from here.

  1. visit page and click on the 「Raw」 button
  2. save the OPML file
  3. import into your feed reader

For example:

$ newsboat --import-from-opml=Downloads/osr.opml
Import of Downloads/osr.opml finished.

The 146 new blogs are tagged “Subscription”, so in Newsboat, use t to show all tags and pick it.


Comments on 2018-08-02 OSR Blogs

Also, I’m reviving the Old School RPG Planet.

– Alex Schroeder 2018-10-16 06:51 UTC

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2018-08-02 Exploration

@Tom and @not_another_mike were talking about a Western Marches style game. I started to organize my own campaigns around these principles back in 2008 and blogged about the experience in 2012: Whither the West Marches.

My impression from trying to run Western Marches style games over the years is that the term “exploration” is overrated. Exploration does not provide tension, wonder or joy at the table. It’s basically this:

  1. start with an empty map
  2. talk to people or otherwise learn of new locations
  3. put these on the map
  4. choose to go here or there, which provides for opportunities go back to step #2

That’s it. I’d say nothing is fundamentally incompatible with that.


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2018-08-02 Awards

Apparently it’s award season...

Brendan wrote an Ennies publisher guide where he takes all the publishers he likes from the Ennies site and provides links and explains why he likes them. Good stuff!

Ramanan published his The Ramanan Sivaranjan Awards for Excellence in Gaming 2018.

His verdict:

  • Best Game: Daniel Sell and Jeremy Duncan for Troika
  • Best Setting Book: Patrick Stuart & Scrap Princess for Veins of the Earth (with layout by Jez Gordon)
  • Best God Damn Book of 2017: Jacob Hurst, Gabriel Hernandez, Evan Peterson and Donnie Garcia for The Dark of Hot Springs Island

Of all the books mentioned, I think I only have Veins of the Earth, which is mostly a thick book. It’s somewhat inspiring to make your game weirder but it hasn’t really influenced my game, I think. I just leafed through it a few times, read a few passages, got mesmerized by the language, nodded along, and put it back on the shelf. I wrote a review back in 2017.

I was interested in Troika. Do you have it? Have you used it? How did it go?


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I like your scripts they can be very handy. Since you are old school you might also like to check: https://www.rulerofkings.com

ROK 2018-07-13 18:42 UTC

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