Links of the Week: December 12, 2011

Another really big day of reading. I was on a course all week — as soon as I write and pass (though I’m not worried about failing) the exam I’ll be a Certified Penetration Test Engineer. Ethical (that is, legal) hacker.

However, this left me with little time for keeping up on the blogs and other sites I read regularly, so in the last 24 hours I’ve read about 300 posts.

I’m a little tired. This was a really good week for RPG-related and RPG-usable content.

Resources: Photo Porn Sites

No, not that kind, that’s just how they’re labeled.

Reddit has a few of them.

I can’t imagine anyone not being able to find something here that would be of use.

If anyone knows of other such lists or sites, let me know. This stuff can always find a purpose with me.

Kickstarter Projects

Schlock Mercenary The Board Game

(http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1253203485/schlock-mercenary-the-board-game)

I’ve been reading Schlock Mercenary almost since it started (before Schlock was part owner of Tagon’s Toughs), and the board game looks like it might be fun. Howard Tayler seemed to like the demo the development team gave him when they tried (successfully) to bring him on board.

They’ve made their funding goal already, even, with almost a week to go. I’m not backing this one myself; $70 (including shipping) is a little more than I’m accustomed to spending on a board game.

But not everyone, it seems; 11 people have stepped up at the $225 (x4), $475 (x4), and $1000 (x3!) levels. Granted, they’re getting five or ten copies each, but that’s still some impressive backing.

Monster Stand-Ins (Plastic Card Miniatures)

(http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/inkwellideas/monster-stand-ins-plastic-card-miniatures)

This has the potential to be really handy if it comes together. He’s looking for $10,000, which is moderately big as Kickstarter projects go, but $30 for a set of 150 tokens printed on plastic ‘like they use for credit cards’ doesn’t seem unreasonable. I haven’t backed this one yet, but looking at the list of creatures they plan to include (see below) I could see myself getting a couple of these.

Which monsters will be in the set?

There will be over 150 creatures in the first set. Keep in mind that all “Medium” size creatures (roughly human sized) will be 1″ x 1.75″ on the plastic cards, which makes them roughly equal to the size of a typical gaming miniature. Small creatures (and even smaller creatures) will be 0.75″ x 1″. Large creatures are 1.5″ x 2″ and Huge creatures are 2″ x 3″.

Small (or smaller) Creatures:

  • 4 bats, 4 beetles, 4 rats, 4 spiders, 2 cats, 2 dogs, 2 eagles, 2 lizards, 4 kobolds, 2 pixies, 4 stirges, 1 will o’ wisp

Medium Creatures:

  • Humans/Demi-Humans: 4 humans, 2 dwarves, 2 elves, 2 gnomes, 2 halflings, 2 half-elves, 2 half-orcs
  • Swarms: bat swarm, beetle swarm, rat swarm, spider swarm
  • Animals: black bear, brown bear, grizzly bear, polar bear, cheetah, jaguar, common dog, riding dog, fox, wolf
  • Humaniods: 2 gnolls, 4 goblins, 4 hobgoblins, 4 lizardfolk, 4 orcs, 2 troglodytes
  • Monstrous Humanoids: 2 gargoyles, medusa
  • Undead: 2 ghouls, lich, spectre, 2 mummies, vampire, 2 wights, 4 zombies
  • Outsiders: hellhound, 2 rakshasa, 4 skeletons, 1 xorn
  • Magical Beasts/Aberrations: 2 worgs, 2 rust monsters
  • Lycanthropes: 2 werewolves, werebear, wererat
  • Animals: 3 snakes (spitting cobra, viper, constrictor, venomous), 2 giant spiders (5)

Large Creatures:

  • Animals (including giant/dire): dire bat, dire bear, giant beetle, lion, tiger, 2 horses, giant eagle
  • Humanoids/Monstrous Humanoid: 2 centaur, cyclops, 2 minotaur, 2 ogres, 2 trolls
  • Dragons: black, blue, green, red, white, wyvern
  • Magical Beasts: griffon, 2 owlbears, pegasus, unicorn
  • Outsiders: air elemental, earth elemental, fire elemental, water elemental
  • Other: gelatinous cube

Huge (and larger) Creatures:

  • Frost Giant, Hill Giant, Storm Giant, Hydra, Treant

B/X Blackrazor

Land of Ice (Psychic Powers)

(http://bxblackrazor.blogspot.com/2011/12/land-of-ice-psychic-powers.html)

In the Land of Ice, Vancian spell casting is replaced by psychic powers.

Land of Ice (The Adventure, Part 1)

(http://bxblackrazor.blogspot.com/2011/12/land-of-ice-adventure-part-1.html)

Assorted rules and suggestions or guidelines regarding adventuring in the Land of Ice.

Land of Ice (The Adventure, Part 2)

(http://bxblackrazor.blogspot.com/2011/12/land-of-ice-adventure-part-2.html)

This post covers experience points and advancement (wow, really different-looking XP tables because of the level compression)

Boneyard

Ghost of a Chance

(http://bonefather.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/ghost-of-a-chance/)

More on the nature of undead in Urbe Mortuus.

Avernus

(http://bonefather.wordpress.com/2011/12/11/avernus/)

Think Midnight and World of Darkness are ‘dark’ settings? Check this out.

D&D Doodle

(http://dandddoodles.blogspot.com/)

A blog that seems largely defunct, there’s a fair bit of nifty little graphics (maps and some cartoons, basically) that is worth a quick read.

Dreams of Mythic Fantasy

Archive Thursday: My Fantasy Library — The Sleeping Dragon

(http://dreamsofmythicfantasy.blogspot.com/2011/12/archive-thursday-my-fantasy-library.html)

As I recall I first read this book in high school, probably in Grade 12 (I saw it a friend’s place, and I’d never been there until after I got my driver’s license in the summer between Grades 11 and 12). I have all ten on my shelf, plus Rosenberg’s Mordred’s Heirs, D’Shai, and Keepers of the Hidden Ways series, plus the Riftwar Legends book Murder in LaMut.

Final Revision: Grimoires of the Pact Insidious

(http://dreamsofmythicfantasy.blogspot.com/2011/12/final-revision-grimoires-of-pact.html)

Grimoires that help you learn lots of spells. That’s good, right?

Heh, shows what you know.

Fame & Fortune

damned city: riccoferro

(http://satyrelite.blogspot.com/2011/11/damned-city-riccoferro.html)

Somehow I missed this post last week. Another damned city.

I am continually impressed by the quality of work that goes into the description of these cities. Very evocative and places I really don’t want to go.

damned city: oroguida

(http://satyrelite.blogspot.com/2011/12/damned-city-oroguida.html)

Another damned city, and another page I’ll be linking to as part of the Fantastic Locations blog carnival next month.

quick and dirty geomorphs with inkscape

(http://satyrelite.blogspot.com/2010/09/quick-and-dirty-geomorphs-with-inkscape.html)

The links provided in this post look like they’ll take me to some mapping techniques I haven’t used before. I want to come back and read this in more detail.

review: vornheim the complete city kit

(http://satyrelite.blogspot.com/2011/12/review-vornheim-complete-city-kit.html)

I’ve seen a number of favorable reviews like this for Vornheim; when I saw it on sale at RPGNow (with the rest of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess) for $realcheap, I figured it was time to grab a copy. Sadly, that sale expired December 10th.

The Grumpy Old Troll

Black Goat of The Woods

(http://migellito.blogspot.com/2011/12/black-goat-of-woods.html)

Some Elder Godness, keeping an eye on things.

Hack & Slash

On Skills

-C continues his skill system analysis.

Intwischa

Pathfinder Magic Items: ‘Sigils of the Saints’

(http://intwischa.com/2011/12/pathfinder-magic-items-sigils-of-the-saints/)

Some magic items specific to various faiths in the Pathfinder setting.

Stranger Than Fiction — Vehmic Court

(http://intwischa.com/2011/12/stranger-than-fiction-vehmic-court/)

Chase describes an ancient Germanic legal institution that seems more than a little unfair. However, with a couple of changes it actually makes a pretty good fit for the Followers of Saint Trenneth (Judge and Avenger of The One Lord)… or of an assassin’s guild, depending how you play it.

A Simple Concept

(http://intwischa.com/2011/12/a-simple-concept/)

Chase describes what truly is a simple concept, if one that can sometimes be challenging to apply.

Themes. Almost anything can be given a theme, and a solid theme makes it very easy to see how that game element can fit into the setting, scenario, or campaign.

Themes aren’t quite the same as FATE’s Aspects (FATE still explicitly has themes, for one thing), but the two topics are still quite similar.

Which reminds me, I’ve been meaning to update my entity definition template with a section for Aspects. Whether they have mechanical application like they do in FATE or not, they’re still a really good idea.

io9.com

The Rules of Magic, According to the Greatest Fantasy Sagas of All Time

(http://io9.com/5866306/the-rules-of-magic-according-to-the-greatest-fantasy-sagas-of-all-time)

I think they missed a few, and I don’t quite agree with all the descriptions or interpretations, but it’s still an impressive list.

The Iron-Bound Tome

The Walking (un)Dead

(http://ironboundtome.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/the-walking-undead/)

Undead — even zombies — should be well-considered. Baseline zombies from D&D are disappointing, when as this post shows there are so many better options.

Land of Nod

Hell South — Preview 6: A Sphinx Says What?

(http://matt-landofnod.blogspot.com/2011/12/hell-south-preview-6-sphinx-says-what.html)

I agree with the comment from Ynas Midgard: “Sound like items from a Bag of Sandbox-Awesomeness.”

Hell South — Preview 7: Ghoul Town

(http://matt-landofnod.blogspot.com/2011/12/hell-south-preview-7-ghoul-town.html)

Matt continues his tour of his Hell sandbox. I think I’d want to stay well away from this place.

Lawful Indifferent

Magic in Skeleton Puncher

(http://lawfulindifferent.blogspot.com/2011/12/magic-in-skeleton-puncher.html)

N. Wright expands on how he pictures spell casting working in Skeleton Puncher. It looks like it could still be consistent with the chakras idea he mentioned last week.

Incidentally, I’m still working up an article on chakras for Echelon. I see a couple of ways they could work, and they could even include paths to immortality.

Microlite74 via IRC- LOOKING FOR MORE

(http://lawfulindifferent.blogspot.com/2011/12/microlite74-via-irc-looking-for-more.html)

The whole West Marches-style campaign idea gains more ground. N. Wright is starting one using the Microlite74 rules, and I still want to start one myself.

Masks of Death

(http://lawfulindifferent.blogspot.com/2011/12/masks-of-death.html)

Masked assassins are always a cool idea, and N. Wright looks for a place he can reasonably use them.

And, incidentally, asks a Challenge-Response type question about it that leads him to other campaign elements. This is one of the useful things about the Challenge, Response, and Secret methodology, even though he may not have been aware he was using it.

Gelston, city of Wanderers

(http://lawfulindifferent.blogspot.com/2011/12/gelston-city-of-wanderers.html)

A depressing, but different and unusual, ‘city’.

Mythopoeic Rambling

Linkography Renovations

(http://mythopoeicrambling.blogspot.com/2011/12/linkography-renovations.html)

Theodric’s right, writing is time consuming, and trying to keep up with other bloggers can be even more so. I probably read about 200 posts across about 70-80 blogs each week right now.

I started this ‘Links of the Week’ thing to try to keep track of the bits I want to keep, and will be revising how I do that sometime soon (I hope).

In the meantime, Theodric’s rearranged how he keeps track of various links he wants to remember.

Philosophy of Games

How to turn Dungeons and Dragons into a Noir Thriller

(http://philosophyofgames.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-to-turn-dungeons-and-dragons-into.html)

I’d be up for a game like this. I like the stories, but I think it would take the right group to really make it work.

Reality Refracted

Keeping Events in Motion

(http://www.realityrefracted.com/2011/12/keeping-events-in-motion.html)

A. L. asks if people have campaign event timelines that describe what happens as time passes, possibly leading to bad (or good, or indifferent) stuff happening if the PCs don’t get involved, and possibly if they do.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I certainly do. I find it makes a big difference in the believability of the setting.

Rollespraell!

The Keepers of Magic

(http://rollespill.elvishproductions.com/?p=1449)

Six insanely powerful dragons (to the point that I don’t know that they are even actually usable in a game). I do like some of their breath weapons, though (such as the fire breath that becomes an elemental after the breath attack, fun idea).

Roleplay-Geek

RPG Mapping Tools Part 4 – Planet and Star Maps

(http://roleplay-geek.blogspot.com/2011/12/rpg-mapping-tools-part-4-planet-and.html)

Not something I regularly find a need for, playing primarily fantasy RPGs, but I appreciate Tony’s completeness in including them.

Roleplaying Tips

Tips from the Trenches

(http://www.roleplayingtips.com/gm-techniques/tips-from-the-trenches/)

Rana provides some excellent advice to help keep a game flowing smoothly.

Running the Sandbox

Relation mapping my game

(https://www.packetlost.net/index.php/2011/12/relationship-mapping-my-game/)

The Dood demonstrates one of the major benefits to diagramming. In this post he presents a relation map showing how various characters connect to each other, and discovers (or confirms) a weakness in the party structure. Namely, he’s got what a friend of mine calls a ‘Jesus bolt’ (named for the bolt on a plane that you’d better have a friend in Jesus if it breaks, because nothing else will help you); if this character dies the party may fragment because this character is the one that ties the entire structure together. Without this character you have two distinct sets of PCs and NPCs with no real cause to interact. Introducing greater ties, either directly between the two sets of PCs involved or the NPCs the two groups of PCs would be interacting with will likely lead to greater party cohesion.

I generally don’t like having things too homogenous, with all PCs having relationships with all the same NPCs and all PCs having shared goals. I like each to have ‘outside interests’, but for there to be a shared core to draw the PCs into a more cohesive group. This diagram shows the outside interests, and what it looks like when there isn’t that share core, and how it can affect party dynamics in certain circumstances.

Scrolls of the PlatinumWarlock

In Which The Warlock Postulates Verbage and Bondage…

(http://platinumwarlock.blogspot.com/2011/12/in-which-warlock-postulates-verbage-and.html)

I can’t say that I’d ever thought of it this way before, but he has a point.

Shatterworld: Behind the Scenes

(http://shatterworldbts.blogspot.com/)

I could have sworn I’d linked to this site before, but I can’t seem to find any.

There are a fair number of mapping-specific posts, something that greatly interest me, and I think I didn’t want to comment on any specific posts until I had a chance to review in greater detail.

In the meantime, I’ll just leave this link here.

The Tales of Kaelaross

Magical Groups in Toutus

(http://kaelaross.blogspot.com/2011/12/magical-groups-in-toutus.html)

Like any other trade or craft, you can expect that wizards will band together for mutual benefit and protection.

Tenkar’s Tavern

On the 18th Day of free Holiday Gaming Swag, My Bartender Gave to Meeeee….. FATE SRD

(http://www.tenkarstavern.com/2011/12/on-18th-day-of-free-gaming-swag-my.html)

I haven’t commented on this series from Tenkar, but I figure a link to the FATE SRD was worth mentioning. Great stuff, especially since there is additional material there, including the ‘genericized’ City Creation rules from Dresden Files RPG.

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