Links of the Week: June 25, 2012

Another week spent more on writing than reading.  I’ve been delving into a series I call ‘Hoards by the Cards’.

It started as an exploration of Looting Hoards by the Cards, but I’ve since started on Generating Hoards by the Cards, doing some Groundwork, working out Card Values at various levels, and populating a table of Armor that might be found in a hoard generated by this method.

I’m going to rework that last one, and redo the potions example from Card Values.  The way I was going about it was much more troublesome than I liked.  The other night I printed off a set of my worksheets (I’ll make the worksheets available when I’ve had time to test them some more) and went to town on building tables for several of the treasure types.  Once that is done, I’ll copy the information back to pages showing the eight treasure types for each tier, giving a set of nine complete sets of treasure tables, one for each four-level tier from two below Basic through to Epic.

Later, though.  For now, a few additions to the Hall of Fame, a few links to blog posts, and a few videos I found worth passing on.  No new Kickstarter projects came to my attention this week, nor stories about science and technology.

Hall of Fame

Campaign Relationship Generator

I’m not entirely sure where I got this link (I’m pretty sure someone from Google+, but I can’t find the post now).

This Campaign Relationship Generator looks like it quite closely models how I do Campaign and Scenario Design.  It’s incredibly easy to use, and I think will be an excellent fit into my toolbox.

Added to the Hall of Fame under Setting Design.

Dungeonslayers 4 Released

Dungeonslayers 4 has just come out.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know there was a Dungeonslayers 1, 2, or 3, but

As always, the rules are free to download, play and share. A printed version will be made available soon by Chronicle City.

I suspect I’ll be learning more soon.

Congratulations, team.

Dungeonslayers 4 Cover

Dungeonslayers 4 Cover

Added to the Hall of Fame under Product Releases.

Torg: A Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Hack

Torg was one of the more interesting settings I’ve seen.  A brief summary (from the primer linked articles below):

In Torg, a cinematic version of our Earth (known in the game as Core Earth) has been invaded by other realities, led by powerful beings known as High Lords.  These High Lords invade other realities in order to drain their “possibility energy.”  Core Earth has a massive amount of possibility energy and as such, it was necessary for multiple High Lords to invade to avoid the destruction of their own realities from the backlash from Core Earth.

Each reality is defined by a set of four axioms (Magic, Spirit, Social and Tech) which limit interactions between the living and unliving. For instance, in a low Tech reality, someone’s M-16 simply wouldn’t fire. Computers don’t work. In extreme cases, Middle Age era swords are no better than clubs. In low Magic or Spirit realities, magic and miracles don’t work. In low Social realities, people simply cannot fathom the concept of nations or money. In addition to the four axioms, each reality has a set of three or four World Laws that further define the flavor of the reality.

Ordinary people (known as Ords) are unable to contradict foreign realities for long. Once the universe notices that they are creating contradictions, the ‘Everlaw of One’ disconnects them from their home reality. Then, over time, Ords transform to completely integrate into the invading reality, giving up their minute amounts of possibility energy to the High Lords. Possibility rated people on the other hand, are able to rec0nnect themselves to their own reality and even briefly prevent the universe from noticing that they are creating contradictions.

I remember it as being some crazy fun to play in, where being genre-savvy was not viewed as meta-gaming but properly fitting in.

Arcane Springboard is working on a Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Hack to bring Torg to the Cortex Plus system.  There are several articles in this series so far.

  • A Primer, describing the Torg setting.
  • Hacking the Datasheets, describing some changes needed to accommodate the peculiarities of the Torg setting.
  • Storm Knight Datafiles, describing some sample Storm Knights (characters who are able to see and work around the differences in realities.

I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.

I also now feel an urge to grab the Torg box set off my shelf and go upstairs and have a nice, long read.

Added to the Hall of Fame under System Hacks.

Blog Posts

BLDG BLOG

This is not a blog I usually follow, but a link from Google+ directed me to an article Geoff Manaugh wrote on Various Forms of Lithic Disguise.  It appears the Swiss (and from the comments below the post, several other European countries) take defense against invasion very seriously.  Not only blowing up this bridge, but the bridge was designed to fall on the bridge under it as well?  I get the impression invading Switzerland would not prove a pleasant experience.

Campaign Mastery

Mike explores The Age of an Elf: Demographics of the long-lived, where he shows that demographics as indicated by demihuman lifespans in D&D are pretty whacked.  This is consistent with a post I wrote some months ago on Longevity and Level Limits.  Mike goes into it in more detail and precision than I did, though.

Gnome Stew

Tom Puketza writes about Building a “Petri Dish” Sandbox.  The process as he describes it is pretty close to how I would do it, at the high level presented here.

  1. Decide your backstory
  2. Make a map or maps
  3. Let the maps tell a story
  4. Zoom in, but not too much
  5. Prep environments and choices, not scenes

Perhaps the most important part, from my perspective, is that there are multiple points of interest and power that can interact.  From the article,

… like a petri dish: a controlled environment that contains multiple reactive agents.

This is almost exactly how I view it, though I hadn’t expressed it that way before.

Loremaster

Stephen Larsen may be a ‘first time Dungeon Master’, but he put together a Guidebook for First-Time DMs that looks pretty solid.  He’s looking for feedback on it, but on a quick read everything I saw seemed pretty good, and I didn’t see any obvious things to disagree with.  I’ll be printing this one out for later, more thorough reading.

Videos

Dadtucks

Not really a great title for the video, but it seems a fairly accurate representation of what the Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon might have sounded like had it been capturing a tabletop D&D session.

I remember really liking this show when I was a kid.  I have difficulty understanding why, except maybe “it’s D&D on TV!”

Thai Health Promotion Foundation- Smoking Kid

Wow, I can see how this could be remarkably effective.

The Avengers Intro – Firefly Style

I don’t need to explain why I think this is great, do I?

Where the Hell is Matt? 2012

I’ve always liked the “Where the Hell is Matt?” videos.  I don’t like traveling, or dancing particularly, and even I think this would be a cool way to spend time.

There’s something I find sweet about getting people from all over the world to take part in events like these.

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