Links of the Week: November 21, 2011

Another eclectic list this week, and I have to admit it was a fair bit of time this weekend on it.  I was too busy through the week to really read anything, so I basically did all my reading on Sunday.

Thankfully, the next month or so should be quite a bit lighter.  Soccer is on hiatus for a couple of months, taekwondo will be on hiatus in a few weeks, and my workload at work is smoothing out, so hopefully I’ll have more time to put into RPGs — reading, writing, maybe even some ‘rithmetic (well, numerical analysis, close enough).

I notice also a number of sites that I haven’t had links here from before.  Some I’ve read and not felt the need to comment on, others I first read this week.  This pleases me.

The Black Campbell

Campaign Idea: Ghost in the Shell

(http://blackcampbell.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/campaign-idea-ghost-in-the-shell/)

I’ve been a fan of the Ghost in the Shell franchise since the first movie (though I think the Stand Alone Complex series are much more approachable).

Black Campbell is thinking about how he could run a Ghost in the Shell-style campaign, and I don’t blame him at all.  I’d like to see this done well, and I think he’s on a good track.

Boneyard

Tunnel Rats — A Dwarven Gang

(http://bonefather.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/tunnel-rats/)

Adam provides another Caervold gang.  This time it is a dwarven gang making heavy use of the tunnels in town.

Casting Shadows

A Pentacle of Trapping

(http://runeslinger.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/a-pentacle-of-trapping/)

Five critical things to consider when preparing a trap.  Part of the November 2011 RPG Blog Carnival.

Dice Monkey

Liturgy of Nerath: Avandra

(http://dicemonkey.net/2011/11/16/liturgy-of-nerath-avandra/)

Mark posted a few months ago about divinity and religion (and I believe I included it in Links of the Week at the time).  At the time he had a couple of posts with an overview of the gods, this post focuses on Avandra in greater detail.

Emergence Campaign Blog

Eclipsing Currency — Characters and Wealth

(http://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/eclipsing-currency-characters-and-wealth/)

Thoth’s post reminds me — I need to consider what wealth means in Echelon.

Considering how much I expect to make power a personal thing rather than a matter of the stuff you carry I suspect I’ll be able to handwave it (pauper or billionaire, it doesn’t much matter when things get real)… but I’ll want to review this post for some options and interpretations.

Fantastic Coinage I — Aventine Drakes, Bordarian Tradesilver, and Morollian Spellcoins

(http://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/fantastic-coinage-i-aventine-drakes-bordarian-tradesilver-and-morollian-spellcoins/)

I’m always game for fantastic currency.  The Drakes and Spellcoins are more valuable per unit value than other coins their size, all three items here have special uses.  Nice.

Fustians So Sublimely Bad

The Living City

(http://fustians.blogspot.com/2011/11/living-city.html)

I mentioned a short time ago that the RPG Blog Carnival will be visiting in January, with the topic of ‘Fantastic Places’.

This qualifies.  Alexander likes the weird, and this certainly fits the label.

Game Knight Reviews

Tools Review: Dingle’s Games Generators

(http://www.gameknightreviews.com/2011/11/tools-review-dingles-games-generators/)

I’m always interested in random generators, and it sounds like Dingle’s got some good ones.  I’ll need to take a closer look.

GMS Magazine

Panic Station

(http://www.gmsmagazine.com/board_games/panic-station-2)

I’m going to have to come back to read this post in more detail later.

We have a bit of a games club at work, playing most board and card games during our lunch hour.  I think I’ll poll them on this one, it sounds suitably deviant.

I’m not sure about the buttworms, though.  I get the impression they make sense in context (and I maybe didn’t read this post carefully enough) but… um, what?

Cartography in RPGS — My take on maps

(http://www.gmsmagazine.com/articles/cartography-in-rpgsmy-take-on-maps)

Paco makes a some good points on the applicability and value of maps.

Gothridge Manor

Tome of Adventure Design

(http://gothridgemanor.blogspot.com/2011/11/tome-of-adventure-design.html)

This is the first I’d heard of this product from Frog God Games (same folks that did the latest Tome of Horrors, which is immense, and they did it for both Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry).  I’m going to have to take a closer look.

Intwischa

RPG Games and Language

(http://intwischa.com/2011/11/rpg-games-and-language/)

I’ve swung back and forth on the application of languages in RPGs, from complex rules to greatly simplified non-rules (where the primary element is “what we speak” vs “what they speak”, and whether it’s orcish or French, who cares as long as it fits into one of those two groups).  Chase describes why we might want to have more complex linguistic considerations.

Cool Links are Stranger than Fiction: Hogwarts Edition

(http://intwischa.com/2011/11/cool-links-are-stranger-than-fiction-hogwarts-edition/)

Bryan provides a link to a physicist working with carbon nanotubes who can make something that sounds remarkably like thermoptic camouflage from Ghost in the Shell.

Maybe Masamune Shirow knew more than we thought.

Steal this Idea: The Ninth Gate

(http://intwischa.com/2011/11/steal-this-idea-the-ninth-gate/)

Land of Nod

Notable Nobles — Part the Fifth

(http://matt-landofnod.blogspot.com/2011/11/notable-nobles-part-fifth.html)

Matt continues is series on notable nobles, moving into the elven wood for his examples this time.

Lawful Indifferent

Magic and You: Campaign Settings

(http://lawfulindifferent.blogspot.com/2011/11/magic-and-you-campaign-settings.html)

Magic should clearly have some kind of impact on the nature of a campaign setting.  N. Wright puts some thought of what four different configurations (common vs. rare, powerful vs. weak) might have on a setting.

What is the Rogue for, anyways?

(http://lawfulindifferent.blogspot.com/2011/11/what-is-rogue-for-anyways.html)

N. Wright discusses a failure of D&D: non-casting characters tend suck compared to casting characters.  He focuses on the rogue class specifically, but it’s broader than that.

Lurking Rhythmically

I only discovered this blog tonight, linking from a post elsewhere (it doesn’t seem to be on any of the aggregators I follow.

I’m going to have to spend some quality time on this site, I’ve already spent longer than I’d expected when I read the first post, and I see several more posts I want to look at.

Pellaterrum: My Dragons are Different

This is a series of posts written by Erin Palette and Mike Kochis that clearly shows a lot of thought in what it means to be a nigh-immortal supergenius killing machine.

Nevermet Press

Ouroboros University

(http://nevermetpress.com/ouroboros-university)

Another place I’m going to want to remember include as an example in January.  I’m hoping to hear more about the university and  the Inn without End.

Of Dice and Men

Selene’s Den: A Different Kind of Shop

(http://ofdiceandmenrpg.blogspot.com/2011/11/selenes-den-different-kind-of-shop.html)

Sex is a pretty major element of our society, why wouldn’t it be in an RPG setting?  Without delving into it nearly as deeply or creepily as the Book of Erotic Fantasy (thankfully), whiskeytangofoxtrot explores some of the ways sexuality could affect a setting.

Reality Refracted

Keep It Simple, Stupid

(http://www.realityrefracted.com/2011/11/keep-it-simple-stupid.html)

Why players might find it better to avoid unneeded complexity in their plans.

Keep It Simple, Stupid — Part 2

(http://www.realityrefracted.com/2011/11/keep-it-simple-stupid-part-2.html)

The KISS principle applies to GMs, too.  This post describes why simplicity in scenarios is good.

Epic Battles

(http://www.realityrefracted.com/2011/11/epic-battles.html)

A. L. considers some ways to run mass combats in RPGs.  He mentioned something called ‘Unsung Heroes’ that I think I want to take a look at.

Running the Sandbox

NPCs and the Sandbox

(https://www.packetlost.net/index.php/2011/11/npcs-and-the-sandbox/)

Four traits to note about NPCs, that can later be expanded when the NPCs take on a greater role in the campaign.  The post describes

  • Name
  • Archetype
  • Lifestyle
  • Agenda

This post was written with regard to Shadowrun, but I see no reason the same traits can’t be used in other games and settings.

Sea of Stars RPG

Tuesday Magic Item — Luck of Rognan Gosh

(http://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/tuesday-magic-item-the-luck-of-rognan-gosh/)

We see lots of major magic items, this is a very minor item that I find nicely flavorful and useful.

… and the sky full of dust

Random Musings: getting rid of levels

(http://www.theskyfullofdust.co.uk/?p=1536)

theskyfullofdust considers what a system without levels might look like.

Echelon got rid of classes, and I stopped tracking experience points long, long ago, but I kept the concept of levels (as did Mutants and Masterminds).  I would be rather interested to see if a workable system can be devised without levels.

Skyland Games

RPG Webcomics 2 – Eclectic Boogaloo

(http://skylandgames.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/rpg-webcomics-2-eclectic-boogaloo/)

NamelessPCs and Guilded Age (both of which I had not heard of), and Dork Tower (which obviously I have… but never remember to read online).

Swords & Stitchery

Space Battleship Yamato 2199 Trailer

(http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/2011/11/space-battleship-yamato-2199-trailer.html)

Star Blazers was one of the high points of summer break when I was a kid (until they stopped showing it and put on Robotech instead… bastards, I boycotted KVOS for the entire summer because of that).

It appears they’re releasing a remake of the series.  The trailer here shows vastly updated animation (as it should, the original was almost 40 years ago), but I have to wonder if they fixed the glaring inconsistencies or inexplicable elements I remember.

For instance, the refurbished conning tower being larger after the rusted old one fell away from around it.  Or detecting a missile launch from Pluto, when it happened, and that the missile was going to hit Earth in an hour.

Just for reference, the Earth is a little over 8 light minutes from the sun, Pluto averages about 328 light minutes from the sun (very eccentric orbit)… so this missile was going to be traveling several times the speed of light.  Apparently the Gamilons have really big neutrinos or something.

I almost hope they don’t, but it would make it easier to watch with my brain not trying to claw itself out and escape.

Tales of Kaelaross

Weird and Rare Books of Toutus

(http://kaelaross.blogspot.com/2011/11/weird-and-rare-books-of-toutus.html)

John describes half a dozen books that I can see PCs wanting to track down, even without spells in them or magical effects from them.

I keep meaning to go back and mine this site more, the details I’ve seen so far intrigue me.

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