Lots of topical posts this week. Lolth, Villains, Batman: The Animated Series were some common topics. The Shiny Technology just grabbed my attention, there are some nifty ideas out there.
Other than that, I’m not sure if it was a slow week blogging, or I was too busy at work and writing my own stuff to find more to list here. I suspect the latter more than the former.
There have been a few revisionings of Lolth, Queen of the Demonweb. Never mind the different incarnations she’s had in ‘official’ material, the different interpretations I’ve seen from bloggers tend to be rather more varied and interesting.
- Theodric the Obscure has the most recent, Respinning the Demon Queen. He manages to mix the histories of the elves, vampires, and demons. Nicely done.
- And a follow-up, Lolth’s Web Grows, collecting art of Lolth and Lilith.
- N. Wright’s article about Lolth: Spider Bitch of the Abyss.
- Tim Brannan wrote about Lolth, and a heretical cult of her original form, before she was betrayed. The Church of Lolth Ascendant.
A couple of blogs this week have talked about what makes a ‘good villain’.
- Joseph at the Greyhawk Grognard points out that the Best Villains Aren’t Evil, that (psychotics aside) they often have some kind of justification for their actions.
- The Secret DM discusses much the same topic in Building Better Villains. With many ‘good bad guys’ you can see how they went wrong. Whether it’s as simple as “the end justifies the means” or being ruthless enough that nothing will stand in the way of a laudable goal, or something else, you can often see how and where Things Went Wrong and at what point they crossed the line.
- David reveals another source of villains at Dungeon’s Master: retired PCs, in Curse Your Sudden, Yet Inevitable Betrayal.
Topic: Batman: The Animated Series
A couple of bloggers talked about Batman: The Animated Series this week. I never had the opportunity to watch much of it, but what I saw suggested it was put together well.
- Joseph (Greyhawk Grognard) talks about how character design in Batman: The Animated Series can apply with good effect in roleplaying games in Batman: TAS and RPG Campaign Design.
- The World’s Finest provides a link to the writer’s bible for the series in Backstage – The B:TAS Writer’s Bible.
Topic: Shiny Technology
I don’t understand how some of these work, really, but what they can do ranges from pretty cool to downright exciting.
- The Wirecutter presents a Magic Camera [that] Can Refocus Your Blurry Photos, Later. I don’t pretend to have any idea how this works, but it looks really cool.
- Extreme Tech presents an article on a Throwable 36-camera ball that takes perfect panorama photos. There’s also a YouTube video of the ball in use, and what it looks like to use the software it comes with to pan around the panorama created.
- A TED presentation, Justin Hall-Tipping shows how nanotechnology can capture energy.
Between Are the Doors
I never thought of using Ash (the Bruce Campbell character from the Evil Dead series, not that little kid from Pokemon) to illustrate the differences between characters of different levels, but it works.
I have been considering doing something similar for Echelon to illustrate the differences between characters of different levels, and this post suggests that it would be really quite a good idea.
Argon starts on the runes for use with his Rune Caster class. In this post he covers zero and first level runes.
The Game Crafter
A print on demand online store for games. They can do custom printing of playing cards and game boards of a few set sizes (ranging up to about 10″x16″ — though this needs to be folded for shipping, where the 10″x10″ doesn’t), and evidently have bins of standardized/generic pieces such as meeples and other tokens, plus play money and the like. They don’t seem to have custom tokens or punched chits, at least not yet.
Overall I’m impressed. It looks like I could prototype a card game for under $10 (though shipping to Canada might put it over that), and a smallish boardgame for a reasonable amount as well.
And if I want, they’ll even handle the store for me… so if I found I had something I was happy with and wanted to sell it, they’ll do it on a one-off basis as people buy it. The fees they charge look pretty reasonable, especially given that is so so much lower risk than a more conventional printer contract (thousands of copies and I manage shipping to customers, etc.).
Hack & Slash
An oddly-titled post about what -C thinks Wizards of the Coast should do in the new edition that’s evidently coming.
Hari Ragat Games
One of the signs of genius is that you can come up with ideas that seem so obvious in retrospect. This looks like one of them.
I’ve made a fair amount of french toast in my life, and I’ve never even considered branching much beyond the standard spices. I would have a whole range of experiments in front of me, if I were still eating bread.
Spirits of Eden
A pair of articles about two organizations (or perhaps groups of organizations), one is basically knights and paladins, the other is their darker reflection. One thing I like about them is that the Furies don’t simply ‘reverse the polarity’ of the Seraphim, they aren’t just caricatures of the Seraphim, they actually seem credible within their setting.
As usual, Dennis provides some evocative campaign elements I’d be happy to use in my own campaigns.
I was rather dissatisfied with Anima (to the point where I stopped reading the rulebook). I’m not certain if Anima Prime is actually related or not, but Stargazer seems pleased with it and this page has a link to the Creative Commons edition of Anima Prime, so I figured I’ll take a look. My quick skim so far suggests it is much, much simpler and easier to run than Anima, so I suspect there’s only a coincidental (and perhaps unfortunate) link between the names. In fact, the characters presented here look comparable in complexity to FATE characters.
This deserves a closer look, I think.
Mike describes how dungeons might have dungeon-wide effects. This serves several purposes:
- Enhances the dungeon’s theme (crypts have anti-life properties, icy dungeons make characters susceptible to cold damage, and so on);
- Increase challenge;
- Speed up combat (if local conditions cause more damage to be taken — by both sides — fights will certainly take less time).
I think it’s a good idea… but I’ve been applying “planar traits” to places in the prime plane for years, where it suited the scenario.
John provides a rough outline for his writing on the magic system for the Andras project.
He had me at ‘spreadsheets’. As anyone who’s read my analyses knows, spreadsheets play a big part in my game design toolbox.
Wombat’s Gaming Den of Iniquity
Wombat posts about his experience marketing the ‘Winter is Coming’ RPG blog festival. I find it an interesting read and hopefully useful. Marketing my site has been and still is something I find a challenge. To the best of my knowledge I have a small core of regular readers and a larger number of people dropping in, looking around, and wandering away again without sticking around, or necessarily even coming back.