Links of the Week: October 31, 2011

I think I never realized how many pages I was reviewing through the week.  This week I only had time for the briefest triage (“not interested” or “tl;dr — do later”) through the week, and I spend most of my free time this weekend reviewing things in greater detail.

It might be time to write a plugin to help me do this more efficiently.

Topic: Mapping Software

I’ve found articles about a few mapping programs (one online, one not) that might prove useful.

I’ll be honest, most of the time when I do maps I use the GIMP, but I can easily see myself using something easier.  Sometimes I just want to know where things are relative to each other, I don’t need a map that is as nice as I’ve seen done with a full graphics package.

Dungeon Painter Online

(http://pyromancers.com/dungeon-painter-online/)

A simple online ‘dungeon painter’.  Select the map elements you want displayed and just click, drag, and so on to put them on the map.  It looks to have a nice range of textures and tiles (for instance, ‘floor squares’), including different tiles within the same ‘floor type’.

I don’t know that I would use this for publishing-quality work, but I’ve only toyed with it for a few minutes.  I’d certainly be willing to consider it for quick maps for use in play online.  Quick, easy, and presentable.

Online Dungeon Master

OnlineDM has been presented a series of articles on tweaking the use of MapTool.  I’ve used MapTool, I like MapTool, but this guy goes way beyond what I’ve ever done with it.  I’m impressed.

Roleplay-Geek: RPG Mapping Tools Part 1 – Battlemaps

(http://roleplay-geek.blogspot.com/2011/10/rpg-mapping-tools-part-1-battle-maps.html)

Tony presents and comments on a half dozen tiling map drawing programs (including Dungeon Painter Online, above).

Between Are the Doors

One Hundred Posts!

(http://fictivefantasies.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/814/)

Fictivite hits a milestone, 100 posts.  Good on ya, fictivite!

He also outlines some of his ongoing projects and work, and it’s a list of things I’d like to see.

I’m looking forward to his next 100 posts.

Campaign Mastery

Loot As Part Of The Plot: Making, Earning, Finding, Analyzing, Using, Selling, and Destroying Loot

(http://www.campaignmastery.com/blog/make-earn-find-sell-destroy/)

A look at the many things you can do with loot.  Part of the current “Loot as Part of the Plot” festival going on.

Dice Monkey

Awesomesauce: The Roleplaying Game

(http://dicemonkey.net/2011/10/25/awesomesauce-the-roleplaying-game/)

A very rules-light RPG.  I’m not entirely sure how it would work out in practice, but I suspect All Outta Bubblegum (linked to from this page) would actually work fairly well for what it’s intended to do.  The only thing unclear there is how to get more bubblegum… but that might be deliberate.

Awesomesauce: The Fantasy Bestiary

(http://dicemonkey.net/2011/10/26/awesomesauce-the-fantasy-bestiary/)

And there’s already a monster book.  This guy works fast.

Dragon Age Oracle

[Beyond Dragon Age] AGE of Terror: Diablo with the AGE System

(http://dragonageoracle.com/2011/10/28/age-of-terror-diablo-age-system/)

I don’t know that I would have thought of this, but I think Glimm may have the right of it.  AGE and Diablo probably would be a pretty good fit, at the low levels at least, in terms of tone and texture.  I’m interested in where this goes.

Dungeon’s Master

Breaking Away From Procedural Story-Telling

(http://dungeonsmaster.com/2011/10/procedural-story-telling/)

Derek suggests adventures should include things that are in fact not actually related to the plot or confuse things (red herrings), and things that entice the PCs but are beyond their current ability.  I’m a little iffy on the former (in my experience PCs can have enough trouble finding a useful path, they don’t need things to confuse them further), but agree fully with the latter.  Thankfully, the times it has come up in my campaign the PCs were either sufficiently intimidated they avoided engagement until they were able to deal with it, or were able to escape after engaging without too much carnage inflicted on them.

Emacs Wiki

Old School D&D Monsters Online

(http://www.emacswiki.org/alex/2011-10-24_Old_School_D&D_Monsters_Online)

Andrew provides a link to a repository of old school monsters, tagged for our enjoyment.

Hack & Slash

On a Little Guide

(http://hackslashmaster.blogspot.com/2011/10/on-little-guide.html)

-C provides a list of his articles that he particularly likes.  A number may seem somewhat provocative, but I like that he has a confident opinion on them.

Magic Item Creation

Back in August, -C posted a series of articles on magic item creation in D&D.

-C goes to some effort to keep multiple editions and variations in mind when he presents this material.  For that matter, it looks as if it should be reasonably compatible, or at least easily convertible, for use in Echelon.

On the Magic Weapon

And back in May, he posted a series of articles containing random tables for building interesting magic weapons.

Land of Nod

Handy Dandy Mini-Dungeon Chamber Generator

(http://matt-landofnod.blogspot.com/2011/10/handy-dandy-mini-dungeon-chamber.html)

I’ve been watching Matt’s work on his Hell hexcrawl campaign with great interest.  Here he presents some tables he uses while building mini-dungeons for use in the hexcrawl.

Late to the Party

RPG Blog Carnival April 2011 — A Relationship Map and Me

(http://latetotheparty.ca/?p=417)

This article describes how he uses relationship maps in his campaign.  They are a tool I have long found useful.  They capture useful information (how various game entities relate to each other) and can be mined for scenario ideas and to examine and evaluate the consequences of various actions and events in the setting.

The Most Unread Blog on the Internet.  Ever

Tommy’s Take on the Savage Worlds Horror Companion

(http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/10/tommys-take-on-savage-worlds-horror.html)

Some Savage Worlds love, describing the new Horror Companion.

The Mule Abides

wtf, monk?

(http://muleabides.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/wtf-monk/)

James examines the AD&D 1e monk class and tries to make some sense of it (good luck) before presenting a revised class that to me looks like it makes more sense.

As much as the actual content of this article looks good, what really got my attention was the comments and the links they provide.

Mythopoeic Rambling

A Fiendish Hierarchy

(http://mythopoeicrambling.blogspot.com/2011/10/fiendish-hierarchy.html)

Theodric provides a fiendish hierarchy — several of them, in fact, given that there are different groups involved) that manages to incorporate many of the existing D&D evil gods (and devils and demons), plus some mythological figures that may not have been published by Wizards of the Coast.  He expands on their portfolios slightly, bringing in some of the topics the individuals are interested in.  For instance, among the arch-devils you can find Lilith:

  • Lilith, Queen of erinyes, succubi and incubi, creator of Vampires: patron of stillbirth, abortion, infant death, kidnapping, sexual addiction, sexual perversion, sexual seduction, and sexual infidelity.  (Lust & Envy)

Very nice work.  Even with as little as the lists shown here, I could build a fair bit of campaign material.

Nevermet Press

City of the Dead (Area)

(http://nevermetpress.com/city-of-the-dead-area)

The Grumpy Celt describes one of the creepier areas you might find in an urban setting.  From what I’ve read, such places actually existed.  Cities need to do something with their dead, after all.

Roleplaying Tips

How To Create Great Magic Items In Just Three Minutes

(http://www.roleplayingtips.com/gm-techniques/how-to-create-great-magic-items-in-just-three-minutes/)

Johnn identifies a half dozen elements to answer when defining a magic item, and explanation and description of each.  To summarize, though, the elements are

  • Awesome Name
  • Appearance
  • Benefit
  • Drawback
  • Lore
  • Twist

Contest — Enter Your 3 Minute Magic Items to Win RPG Books & Software

(http://www.roleplayingtips.com/treasure-reward/contest-enter-your-3-minute-magic-items-to-win-rpg-books-software/)

And four days after the last post, there’s a contest!

Submit “3 Minute Magic Items” and be placed in a draw (three times, two weeks apart) for various rule books and software (just like it says on the label).  Prizes or not (I’ve already got the ones I would want) it looks like fun, and Johnn says all entries will be given back to the community after the contest.  My sense is that there will be some very nice items coming out of this.

Sea of Stars

New Magic Item — Ghoul’s Claw

(http://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/new-magic-item-ghouls-claw/)

Nasty little piece of work, this dagger.

… and the sky full of dust

Talents or Traits

(http://www.theskyfullofdust.co.uk/?p=1409)

Simon considers dropping classes altogether in favor of “keyword traits, or talents (which act as class features)”.

This is exactly what I’m doing in Echelon, so I clearly think he’s headed in a good direction.

The Journey: how to make travelling more interesting

(http://www.theskyfullofdust.co.uk/?p=1420)

Simon provides a series of charts to replace the old “roll for random encounters” mechanism used for overland travel.  I like how they look and how they affect travel.   I’d like to take a closer look at the math, though, it doesn’t look like it will do what I think it should.

Skyland Games

RPG Webcomics

(http://skylandgames.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/rpg-webcomics/)

I was familiar with (for that matter, have books of) two of the three, but the third one I have not read, and it looks interesting.

Strange Magic

The Friend Folio — Calling All Friends

(http://strangemagic.robertsongames.com/2011/10/friend-folio-calling-all-friends.html)

Stuart considers the creation of an OSR ‘monster’ book… a friendly monster book, full of creatures that may be helpful or sympathetic to the PCs.

He admits the idea is silly, but says he’s getting a lot of positive response.  I certainly think it’s a fun idea.

Talos Conicere

The Grimoire of the Two-Thousand Strange Ones

(http://gaming.danieldockery.com/2011/09/27/the-grimoire-of-the-two-thousand-strange-ones/)

Daniel seems to like implementing random generators.  I see a few just on the front page of his blog (currently).  This one is for demons, using a ‘demonic attribute table‘ Zak (D&D with Porn Stars) created.  I’m going to have to spend some time here (both of them, really).

Zombie Toast

Savage Worlds Horror Companion, a shallow review

(http://z-toast.blogspot.com/2011/10/savage-worlds-horror-companion-shallow.html)

Orion’s review may be shallow, but it gives me a pretty good idea what to expect from this supplement.  Not quite as favorable as Tommy’s review, above, but I’m confident that if I grabbed a copy I’d be pretty satisfied with it.

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7 Comments

    • I’m glad to see you’re enjoying them. This is becoming more work than I thought it would be… but I see a way to make it less time-consuming (and I’m reading the posts anyway, it’s the handraulic exercise of presenting them here that’s eating all the time).

      I’ve created a twitter account (@kjdimc); I’d been putting it off, so thanks for prodding me.

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