Links of the Week: April 30, 2012

Just a short one this week, I’ve been busy with work and a few other concerns, including a moderate amount of writing myself.

Tomorrow I start hosting another RPG Blog Carnival, “Fantastic Creations”.  There was a really good turnout to the Carnival I hosted in January on “Fantastic Locations”, and I’m hoping to see something similar this time.

You may notice some slight changes to the layout of the site.  It was recommended that I trim the sidebar and drop some of the sidebar widgets.  After making the change, I have to admit that it was a good  idea — I can use the space, and the page balance looks much better.

Hall of Fame

Coat of Arms Design Studio

I link to the Coat of Arms Design Studio on Heraldry, Shields and Blazoning, under Graphics Resources.

Joe recently (about a week ago, actually) updated three new shield shapes: circle, vertical flag, and horizontal flag.  The circle and horizontal flag are especially useful to me (holy symbols and flags respectively), but I think I can find a way to use the vertical flag shape for banners and the like.

In Like Flynn: Sandbox Encounters from A To Z

Flynn of In Like Flynn took part in the 2012 A-Z Challenge by presenting an A-Z list of sandbox encounters.

I have collected the links to (and brief descriptions of) each in the list below.  I must say that I like how they are presented.  Each encounter is presented at three different level ranges (if I were doing these for Echelon I would do them at three tiers), with several options for the circumstances of each encounter.  The encounters presented are not necessarily with only the named creature, but may include other related creatures.

(Normally when I announce an addition to the Hall of Fame I quote it in full, but that is a 2500-word page, with links to the individual sandbox encounters and the summary description of each.)

Added to the Hall of Fame under Setting Elements.

Blog Posts

Canonfire!

You can read Argon’s fourth entry in his series on runic lore and magic at The Secret of the Runes IV.  I have previously linked to earlier articles in this series.

Echelon d20

In addition to the writing I’ve done here in the last week, I even managed to get some writing done regarding Echelon (something I don’t do enough of).

First, I Reformulated the Echelon Quick Start Set.   At the beginning of January I tentatively mapped out an Echelon Intro Box Set (by page count), but depending on the parameters I used it could run to somewhere around 400 pages (384 to 448).  This would provide enough information and scenario material to potentially run a group through the entire Expert tier (from fifth level through eighth).  I was pointed out that this is huge for an ‘introduction'; who wants to read (or pay for) that much ‘just to give it a try’?  The new Quick Start is 128 pages — 32 pages for rules, 16 pages for a very hand-holding adventure, 32 pages for a ‘more realistic’ adventure, and 48 pages of sample characters (12 characters of 4 pages each, each having the rules that pertain to that character’s abilities).

I had a conversation with Ray Case on google+ that I thought was worth capturing, to Clarify Keystone Talents (cornerstone and capstone talents), what they mean and how they are used.

This reminded me of one of the fundamental tools for engaging creative people — show they you are interested.  One of the most effective ways to get me to work on something is to show me you want more.  Left to my own devices I’ll just write whatever comes to mind, but if people are asking me about certain things I work on, I am likely to pursue those topics in order to talk about them more intelligently.

It’s a bit of a trick (and revealing it might be a mistake…), but it actually works on many people.

Gothridge Manor

Tim Shorts describes the Notices of Impending Assassination that used to show up on his in-game bulletin board, and why the assassins would post them.

Greywulf’s Lair

Greywulf tells us of a time a couple of magic items items interact in a way that perhaps should have been predictable, in Did I ever tell you about the Arrow of Returning?

I have always liked quirky magic items, and I agree — he brought this on himself.

Keith Davies — In My Campaign

Prompted by conversation with Martin Ralya from Gnome Stew, I ended up writing a short series on Building Random Encounter Tables.  By odd coincidence, Erik Tenkar of Tenkar’s Tavern started talking about the same topic, which caused me to have some second thoughts on the matter, mostly around how to modify (or even ‘cancel’) the encounter without having to leave blanks in the table or roll more dice.  Since I try to be complete in my examination of things, I did some heavy lifting to determine the validity of the idea… and later followed that with a restatement of the modifier frequencies in what I think will be a more useful form.

Telecanter’s Receding Rules

Telecanter presents an approach to Procedural Dungeon design using common design patterns and elements.

This is followed by a Rule-Based Dungeon, where the features and nature of the place depends on those who explore it and what they do.

The Retired Adventurer

John Bell has some ideas about Abolishing Hit Points, and starts the post with a link to a rather interesting post about handgun wounding effectiveness factors.

Curiously, I find that this linked article actually provides some justification for how hit points work in play — if it doesn’t kill you or cause specific trauma that prevents you from acting, you can probably continue to act.  You might drop dead soon, but until then you might not even be particularly hampered by the injury.

The RPG Athenaeum

Alric provides a breakdown (which might be an unfortunate word choice) for Describing zombies: a dungeon master’s reference.  Just what does a dead human look like at various stages of decomposition, under different circumstances?  You know, just in case ‘dead man walking’ isn’t disturbing enough.

Kickstarter Projects

Champions Villians 3: Solo Villains

HERO System has a fond place in my heart.  It is one of my go-to games for cross-system design checks (if I am uncertain whether a power or spell in D&D is overpowered, build the same thing in HERO and you should be able to get a pretty good idea).  This project is to get a print edition of Champions Villains 3: Solo Villains.  I greatly favor hard copy over PDF for things that will be references regularly, so this would be a good one to get done.

Project closes May 24, 2012, and is currently 4630/14000 funded.

Science and Technology

Silly Putty for Potholes

This looks remarkably clever.  Fill a tough bag with a non-Newtonian fluid, then drop it in a pothole.  Quick, easy, cheap, environmentally safe, reusable.  If it can stand up to wear and weather, I file this under ‘damn good idea’.

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