Monthly Archives: September, 2011

Link of Fame: Winter is Coming Festival

From time to time a number of RPG bloggers will decide that some topic or another would be fun to post on.  This time, wombat proposed and organized a festival called “Winter is Coming”.

Winter is Coming


I meant to join this festival but didn’t have an opportunity to plan what I was going to write before registration (such as it was, “tell me what you plan to write”) closed.  Some of the related posts so far look… let’s say ‘interesting’ or ‘intriguing’, rather than ‘cool’.  Because that would have sounded dumb.

I originally had this link in my ‘Links of the Week’ for this week, but so many good articles have been generated that it was blowing that post up.  I decided it was better to link Wombat’s page (which has links to all of the articles) than to try to keep track of them in mine.

Enjoy, I certainly am.

Link of Fame: Daffy Duck the Wizard

This video has been making the rounds in blogs and social media sites (Google+, Facebook) for a few days now, and I’m far from the first to post this…

But I must admit, this video has me looking up the rest of the series.  Classic(-style) metal, complete with arcane allusions and references, and Daffy Duck?  I had dreams almost exactly like this growing up, except, well, I wasn’t a duck.

This is an HD (720p, if you go to maximum resolution, scaled down here to fit the page) version.  Rock on.

Link of Fame: On Cultivating the Fantastic

I’ve been posting my “Links of the Week” for a few weeks now, but from time to time I run into one that deserves immediate mention.

This article at Hack & Slash, “On Cultivating the Fantastic“, discusses how the need to understand and explain everything has gradually stripped away much of the wonder from the game.  It also identifies some ways to add some back.

Refreshed Appearance

I decided to update the theme on this site (it was maintenance day — theme replaced, a few plugins updated, and so on) to look more like the Echelon d20 site.

If you notice any problems, anything not working, anything missing, please send me a message to let me know.

Links of the Week: September 26, 2011

No real theme this week, but I am unusually excited about the West Marches material (as shown by my post yesterday talking about starting my own campaign in a similar style).

Topic: “My Edition of D&D”

I’m going to start off with a couple of related posts.

With Monte Cook returning to Wizards of the Coast, some of Mike Mearls’ posts over the last few months, and some other observations, many people suspect that D&D 5e is in the works.  This has prompted some discussion of “what I would do” on several blogs.

I could have sworn I saw another one or two posts about this topic this week, but I can’t seem to find them now.

ars ludi

Grand Experiments: West Marches

An open table in a sandbox environment.  The GM constructs the world and runs the game, but it’s up to the players to assemble into groups for each adventure.  The specific players involved at any given time can vary, game day can vary (within limits — the GM has to be available), but apart from setting the stage and adjudicating, the GM doesn’t plan the adventures.

I like the idea.  I want to think about it a bit more, but this might work rather well for me running games online.


West Marches-style Sandbox Campaign

Earlier this week I read about Ben Robbins’ West Marches sandbox campaign, and I won’t lie, the concept and structure excited me.

I no longer live near my old group, in a way that makes tabletop gaming practical for me — especially when you realize I get up at silly o’clock (5:00 AM) for work each day.  Driving home from the game on a work night leaves me way too short on sleep the next day (and would require that I drive down on the day, cutting into my “doze on the bus” hour each morning).  Add in my family commitment time (Monday through Wednesday evening I hardly get home before 8:00 PM, and usually not before 7:30 PM Thursdays) it’s difficult to find time to even look for anyone more local for tabletop play.

Online, however, the audience is somewhat larger, and the tools have been getting much better in the last while.  I’ve played using a combination of IRC and maptools, and I’ve been hearing some very good things from people using google+ and related tools for gaming.  I’ve had some difficulty in the past with keeping a consistent group together, but Ben’s West Marches campaign actually accommodates that rather well.

I propose to run a sandbox campaign in a West Marches style.


Links of the Week: September 19, 2011

Let’s see… I seem to have a lot of campaign setting posts in this week’s link list.

Age of Ravens

The Road to Doubtfall: A Microscope Alchemical AP


Lowell is working on an alchemist-focused campaign.  This post describes a Microscope session he ran with his wife regarding this campaign.

For such a short article, it outlines a rather intriguing timeline for the setting.  I agree with him, though, Microscope really does work better with a somewhat larger number of participants.

Atlas of the Flanaess


This site describes itself as

The most ambitious attempt to map the world of Greyhawk ever undertaken. Enter and you will find a repository of Flanaess maps unequaled anywhere in the known planes of existence. Fantasy maps done to give you inspiration and information to run better Greyhawk campaigns.

This work is done as a tribute to the creator of the World of Greyhawk – Gary Gygax.

From what I can see, there is a significant number of very pretty maps here drawn by Anna B. Meyer… and everyone knows how much I like pretty maps.


Links of the Week: September 12, 2011

This week’s links.  Some here I will need to go back and read in greater detail… the ‘Pocket Civ’ (first link) looks really interesting to me, but I haven’t yet had time to dig into it deeper.


Developing a civilization in a pocket


This post describes ‘pocket Civ’, a card-based form of Sid Meier’s Civilization.  This excites me quite a bit.

Downloaded, will read when I have a little more time and a lot more not-sleepy.

Big Ball of No Fun

Supervillain: Sha’ir


One way to do a Sha’ir (as from Al Qadim) in 4e (as a monster, it looks like).


Links of the Week: September 5, 2011

This week’s interesting links.

Age of Ravens

Kingdom of Staircases: A Microscope AP


Ever since GreyKnight turned me on to Microscope (from Lame Mage Productions) I’ve loved the idea of it.  It’s a collaborative history-building and world-building ‘game’ where the players design a world by assertion.  Play bounces around history in a nonlinear fashion, and as long as you don’t outright contradict what was previously declared you can assert what you want.

Atlantis sank.  Once that is declared, you cannot undo it.  However, you can still explore the history there before it sank (as long as you don’t prevent it from sinking — though you might explore some of the efforts to prevent it).

Microscope strikes me as a brilliant piece of work, and this post at Age of Ravens may illustrate why.

Constructing Classes: Approaches from Homebrew Game Building


Lowell gets into how class construction can work in a homebrew game.  This doesn’t have as direct a relationship with Echelon as Marshall’s post (Division Nihil, below) but covers how similar concepts of archetypes and character niches might be implemented.

Odd RPG Bits


Some older materials Lowell has dug out of his archive.  I wish I still had some of my older materials, and that they looked this good.

Apathy Blogs


Lately Jesse has been describing plans for high level Pathfinder games.  Rather than linking to each one in turn, since they’re right at the top of the archive I’ve just put up the link to the blog itself.  It looks to be fairly low-volume, so this should do for a while.


Links of the Week

A few weeks ago I joined the RPG Blog Alliance (with both and and have been reading a huge number of really interesting articles.

Yes, this has reduced my productivity by eating time I could be spending on my own writing.

However, it has also provided me with a large amount of additional grist for my work, so overall I think it is time well-spent.  As I identify the blogs I really want to follow, as opposed to drop in from time to time to read interesting-looking articles, I’ll be able to prime calibre to poll their feeds each morning so I can read them on the bus on my way to work.

In order to share the bits I find interesting with others (and make it easier for me to find them later myself) I am starting a series of ‘Links of the Week’ posts highlighting the bits I found especially worth reading and holding onto.