Links of the Week: December 19, 2011

I have got to start staying on top of this again.  Even starting on Saturday, I spent a big whack of my weekend reading blogs.  Some really good stuff, though; part of my problem this week was looking through related pages and the like, it probably increased my reading load by half.

I have a dilemma.  I want to write, and to work on Echelon… but there is so much good material out there that I don’t want to miss anything.

Kickstarter Projects

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

(http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1806106772/astonishing-swordsmen-and-sorcerers-of-hyperborea)

From the Kickstarter page:

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (AS&SH) is a forthcoming role-playing game by North Wind Adventures . It is played with paper, pencil, dice, and imagination. Participants include one referee and one or more players. The referee prepares and presents the adventure material, and the players create player characters, such as the principal classes of fighter, magician, cleric, and thief; or a subclass, such as barbarian, berserker, cataphract, illusionist, necromancer, pyromancer, druid, shaman, assassin, legerdemainist, scout, and more!

The heroes of an AS&SH game delve dungeons filled with horrifying monsters, lethal traps, and bewildering puzzles; they explore savage wilderness frontiers and hostile borderlands; they probe ancient ruins and investigate cursed tombs; they match steel against sorcery, and sorcery against steel; and they plunder for gold, gems, and magical treasure.

Hyperborea is the default campaign setting for AS&SH. This “flat earth” realm is overlooked by a bloated, dying sun, and hemmed in by the mystical boreas (or “North Wind”).  Hyperborea is in a perpetual state of decay, populated by disharmonious men, hostile monsters, and weird, alien beings.

The setting is inspired by the fantastic literature of Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, and Clark Ashton Smith. Other inspirational authors include Edgar Rice Burroughs, Fritz Leiber, Abraham Merritt, Michael Moorcock, and Jack Vance. AS&SH rules and conventions are inspired by the original 1974 fantasy wargame and miniatures campaign rules as conceived by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Hyperborea is an adaptable campaign setting. It can be used independently or in conjunction with other settings, published or home-brewed; indeed, Hyperborea might be just beyond the North Wind of any campaign setting.

I’ve been waffling about this one, but it closes January 15, a few days after my birthday.  I think maybe I’ll back this one as a birthday present to myself.

The Crown and the Dragon (feature film)

(http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/285427038/the-crown-and-the-dragon-feature-film)

From the Kickstarter page

The Crown and the Dragon is an independently produced feature-length fantasy/adventure in the classic tradition – packed with action, romance, and a giant mythical beast bent on destruction. The film has already been shot, and we’re looking for additional funding to finish post-production, and make our dragon effects more spectacular than ever. Watch our teaser trailer to see actual footage from the film.

The story follows Elenn, an arrogant young noblewoman from the occupied land of Deira – a muddy backwater of the Vitalion Empire cursed by a particularly vicious dragon. Elenn accompanies her aunt on a mission to bring a relic to the secret coronation of the king of their people.  When her aunt is murdered on the road by Vitalion soldiers, Elenn hires a smuggler and criminal, Aedin, to escort her across the dangerous country so she can take her aunt’s place at the coronation.  But when Corvus, a rogue magister of the empire, employs a dark magic (Undead Assassins) to retrieve the ancient relic for his own evil designs, Elenn must find the humility and strength within herself to fulfill her aunt’s calling to free her people, and become a Paladin – the long foretold dragonslayer.

If the description’s not good enough, they’ve made the screenplay available for download, and the trailer below looks well done.  I’m thinking about this one, the Kickstarter closes December 27.

Age of Ravens

Campaign Frame: Microscope for City Building & Night’s Black Muggles

(http://ageofravens.blogspot.com/2011/12/crame-frames-microscope-for-city.html)

The second half of this post doesn’t mean much to me (I know nothing about Night’s Black Angels), but the first part is something I’ve considered a time or two myself, and I know GreyKnight has taken a run at an integratedcollaborative design system .

Adapting Microscope  by Ben Robbins for use in defining places instead of events makes way too much sense to be ignored.

B/X Blackrazor

Land of Ice (The Encounter, Part 1)

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

Combat rules for the Land of Ice, focusing on how the fight starts and how people fight.

Land of Ice (The Encounter, Part 2)

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

Combat rules for the Land of Ice, focusing now on damage.

Land of Ice (Monsters, Part 1)

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

The first part of the list of monsters in the Land of Ice.  I see here: Alfr, Bandit, Black Wing, Cold Pudding, Crag Bear, Dragon, Draugr, and Dvergr.

Between Are The Doors

OSH: Backgrounds.  Domain.

(http://fictivefantasies.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/osh-backgrounds-domain/)

Fictivite provides some very high-level (or at least, sparsely detailed) information about domains.  This reminds me very much of the holdings in Birthright, but it looks like it may be a simpler model.  I’ll want to watch this topic, I may have use for it.

The Douchey DM

Encounter Design

(http://www.doucheydm.com/?p=574)

‘Encounter balance’?  Why would we need or want that?

No, really.  Get off the “4 encounters per day you can expect to win” treadmill and do something exciting.

I can get behind this idea.

Dreams of Mythic Fantasy

Archive Thursday: On Friday — Let Men Worship What Gods They Will!

(http://dreamsofmythicfantasy.blogspot.com/2011/12/archive-thursday-on-friday-let-men.html)

James provides a link to an evidently defunct blog (Kellri , last post was in 2009) that has what appear to be some very good old school references.  This particular post talks mostly about a document regarding encounters, and that it led to James writing about the halfling god of plunder means I’ll be taking a closer look at it later.

Dungeon’s Master

Changing Classes

(http://dungeonsmaster.com/2011/12/changing-classes/)

Ameron explores rules about how a D&D 4e character might change classes.  He looks at previous editions and tries to model the dual-classing feature of AD&D.

As you might expect, I like how it works in Echelon  better.

Fame & Fortune

damned city: animardente

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

If it’s not one damned city, it’s another.  This is shaping up to be an epic series.

The Free RPG Blog

How to write a free RPG — Prologue

(http://www.thefreerpgblog.com/2011/11/how-to-write-free-rpg-prologue.html)

Rob Lang provides some guidance regarding creating an RPG.

How to write a free RPG – Chapter 1: Inspiration

(http://www.thefreerpgblog.com/2011/12/how-to-write-free-rpg-chapter-1.html)

Given that I run into many of the same questions with project management and software design, you’d think I would have taken similar steps in building Echelon (I’ve considered many of these questions, though perhaps not documented them).

TODO: review this article and perhaps complete the steps described and answer the questions.

TODO: review the rest of the site for similar posts, this looks good.

Grognardling

Puppet-Master Machination Tables [Draft]

(http://grognardling.blogspot.com/2011/12/puppet-master-machination-tables-draft.html)

Christopher was inspired by the Pellatarum dragon articles at Lurking Rhythmically  to draft rules and tables for gaining the attention of the dragons, and what that might lead to.

I’ll be interested in seeing where this goes.

Hack & Slash

On Skills

The epic series continues.

Intwischa

Stranger Than Fiction: King in the Mountain

(http://intwischa.com/2011/12/stranger-than-fiction-king-in-the-mountain/)

Ah yes, a useful mythological trope.  I’ve used it to good purpose a few times myself, but Chase brings to mind a few things I hadn’t considered before.

Cool Links: The Magic of Science

(http://intwischa.com/2011/12/cool-links-the-magic-of-science/)

We’re actually getting close to doing some of this stuff?  Wow.

Dungeon Index

(http://intwischa.com/dungeon/)

Just as it says, an index of adventures from Dungeon Magazine, from issues 1 through 150.

Includes issue number, adventure title, level range, setting, and game system (mostly D&D, but I see alsoSI/Top Secret and Alternity in here) the adventure was written for.

io9.com

This ultra-low-budget concept trailer for Goliath is better any action movie from 2011

(http://io9.com/5868548/this-ultra+low+budget-concept-trailer-for-goliath-is-better-any-action-movie-from-2011)

You may want to go to higher resolution for this video.

And I won’t lie, I want to watch this movie… if it existed.

Land of Nod

Six Magical Bracelets for Your Viewing Pleasure

(http://matt-landofnod.blogspot.com/2011/12/six-magical-bracelets-for-your-viewing.html)

Some magical bracelets inspired by a picture.  Most are at least somewhat useful, many have some negative properties as well.

Nevermet Press

Oroborus University: Inn Without End

(http://nevermetpress.com/oroborus-university-inn-without-end)

The Grumpy Celt returns to expand on the Inn Without End first mentioned about a month ago .

Reality Refracted

Naming NPCs

(http://www.realityrefracted.com/2011/12/naming-npcs.html)

A. L. discusses the importance behind NPC names.

Rolang’s Creeping Doom

d20 Table of Wizard Obsessions

(http://www.rolang.com/archives/329)

If you ever need a reason for a wizard to do strange things, this table is probably going to be able to help.

[16] wants to be the emperor of/seeks adoration of [even] [6] pixies?

Scrolls of the Platinum Warlock

In Which The Warlock Mulls Choice and Consequence…

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

Another insightful post from PlatinumWarlock, this time regarding how the freedom of the sandbox can actually detract from a game by limiting the impact of the characters’ decisions on their world.

The Spirits of Eden

The Fantasy Armory of the World of Adel

(http://spiritsofeden.com/2011/12/12/the-fantasy-armory-of-the-world-of-adel/)

Dennis describes how various arms and armor it into his world of Adel.

I’ve marked this one for later review, it’ll probably end up in my ‘blog library’.

Tales of Kaelaross

The Dwellers in the Twilight Forest

(http://kaelaross.blogspot.com/2011/12/dwellers-in-twilight-forest.html)

For a place so far from civilization, there sure seem to be a lot of people (of various types) around.

Ruins of Cynidea

(http://kaelaross.blogspot.com/2011/12/ruins-of-cynidea.html)

John takes a small amount of information available from a classic module and extrapolates to describe a society that could have led (and in his setting, did lead) to the conditions for that module.

B4 The Lost City has held good memories for me for a long time.  In fact, I think that’s the first module I ever played.

Tenkar’s Tavern

What Do You Require in Your Gaming PDFs?

(http://www.tenkarstavern.com/2011/12/what-do-you-require-in-your-gaming-pdfs.html)

Tenkar raises an interesting question about RPG PDFs.

What technical elements do you like in gaming PDFs?

For anything of any particular size (say, more than fifteen or twenty pages), I look for:

  • Bookmarks (so I can navigate the document at the structure level)
  • Hyperlinked Table of Contents is nice to have (do include the Table of Contents if the document warrants it, I’m likely to print the document out if I really want to examine it, but hyperlinking isn’t as critical if it is properly bookmarked).
  • Hyperlinked Index

Internal hyperlinks can be nice to have if the document is large enough and there are enough references between things, but since I expect larger documents to still be usable in hard copy I would rather not have a document that depends on them.

Triple Crit

One Girl’s Response to Writer’s Block

(http://triplecrit.com/2011/12/12/one-girls-response-to-writers-block/)

Lindevi gives some good advice for getting past a block, and it applies to other work too.

Start with an easy piece that you understand, work your way up to the bigger, harder pieces as you get warmed up and things start to flow.

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