Links of the Week: February 20, 2012

For those interested in petty details and statistics, I’m now aggregating over 500 RSS feeds.  Of those, a handful aren’t RPG related but are related to my interests (a couple on cooking, a handful of art sites)… but it’s still more than 500 RPG sites.

This amounts to about 150-200 posts a day on average, or somewhat over a thousand posts a week (about 1500 during a busy week, such as when they announced D&D 5e).

I estimate it takes about an hour per day to triage this.  On a bad day this is also enough time to examine in detail any interesting pages I find… on a good day, it might take another hour or two.

It’s taken a little while to get to the point of this being convenient and reasonably efficient, but I’m pretty happy with how it’s going now.  I still need a better way to convert posts (and more, series of posts) to EPUB for my ebook reader.  Cut and paste into Word, load into calibre, then convert to EPUB… not a convenient process.

I’m rearranging things slightly in my presentation here.  I think the less-itemized presentation works better than the more-itemized presentation I was using originally, and I want to make the separation between major sections (Hall of Fame, Kickstarter, and Blog Posts) a little more clear.

Hall of Fame Additions

Age of Ravens: Known World Gazetteers

Lowell of Age of Ravens has been reviewing the GAZ series of gazetteers for the Known World/Mystara.

I always liked this series, especially how each one focused on a single region and how much the regions varied.

This is an ongoing series, so this page will be updated as new entries are available.

Between are the Doors: OSH Pantheon

Fictivite at Between are the Doors is one of the more frequently linked writers in my Links of the Week.

In this series he is presenting a pantheon for Old School Hack, working from five up to eighteen gods.

This is an ongoing series, so you can expect this Hall of Fame page will be updated when new entries come available.

Blog Posts

Division Nihil

Marshall is looking for ways to devise a magic system.  I’ve run into similar difficulties with regard to this and am interested in seeing how he solves them.  I’ll also be putting some more thought into the matter myself.

Echelon d20

This week I have had some time to actually do some writing of my own!  I’m thinking about how the paths of immortality might fit Echelon, and I have reconsidered the talent slot table to make talent selection more manageable.

Gnome Stew

Matthew gives another view of threat levels varying by region.  He inverts the model (find the danger hot spots and build down, rather than safe areas and build up).  It looks to me somewhat more likely how it really happens, but functionally I expect you end up with something close to the ‘normal’ way (from low-EL to high-EL areas as you move away from the safe places).

Points of Light

There is a poll at Wizards of the Coast regarding multiple attacks.  I find I agree with David’s discussion of multiple attacks — if it is possible to get multiple attacks through basic skill, they should not be penalized.  There’s no real call for it, and if your character build is one that depends on multiple attacks in order to stay relevant (as with D&D 3.x fighters) the bonus needs to stay high enough to be useful.  On top of that, as I said in my post “Falling off the RNG” attack target values should be recalibrated anyway.  Using good BAB as the baseline so ‘fighters are challenged’ leads to all sorts of problems.

Shatterworld: Behind the Scenes

It seems Niccodaemus is feeling a creative block and needs suggestions about things to write about.  I’ll have to think about this, I know there are things I’d like to see more of.

Ye Olde Blog

Ozreth forwarded Ed Greenwood’s response at Candlekeep Forum to a question regarding sexuality in the Forgotten Realms.

Zombie Toast

Orion suggests a different way of handling divination and prophecy in RPGs.  The idea has some practical difficulties, but they are possibly less than the GM trying to predict the future and the consequences of PC actions.


  1. Thanks for the link! You’re right in that the inverted model tends to produce the same results as the traditional model, but I think it’s worth playing around with for three reasons:
    1- It’s got a fun aspect all it’s own.
    2- It produces less blandly shaped tiers. The traditional method leans towards straight up concentric circles, whereas the reverse model does not.
    3- it explicitly places PCs in a position where there are desirable real estate areas with desirable resources in them and the PCs and their allies do NOT possess them.

    Anyway it’s mostly to think about and maybe use for high-prep games. It’s not so useful for one-shots and prep lite games where you wouldn’t want to put that much time into prep.
    Thanks for the mention!

    • 1. certainly. I may know what big bad I want to put over here, so it makes sense to place it and then see what falls out of the design.
      2. okay. I don’t know that I agree entirely because I typically have hot spots of danger mixed in here and there (such as that coven of hags in the otherwise unassuming fen), but I can see how someone might base it more or less entirely on distance from safety.
      3. is an interesting point, and not one I had considered so much before, largely because humans under the common model are probably looking for safety more than anything else. The midlands of the kingdom are the safest, the borderlands are rather less so because dangerous stuff comes in (but it’s getting better!), after that it becomes progressively more hazardous because it hasn’t been pacified yet. The common trope here is that humans and their allies do tend to have the nicer places, if not the most resource-intense now (but more thoroughly developed; a massive seam of gold is pretty worthless if you don’t have a way to get at it). On the other hand, the Birthright setting made natural magic decrease with development, so there is some fair point to be made here.

      Overall I think it an interesting idea that provides some variation to the common method. However, a lot of the time you can get pretty much the same result doing it the quick and common way, then tweak by placing the dangerous places you want and disrupting it. I agree entirely, though, that concentric circles of danger level are boring. I’ve usually done it by region — stick to the plains here and you’ll be okay, same with this forest. Don’t go in that forest or that fen unless you’re fairly badass, it’s dangerous in there. The hills… we don’t know much about the hills because people who go there usually don’t come back, and the mountains are just too dangerous for anyone. It makes for kind of a splotchy danger map, if I were to plot it.

  2. Okay, that prophecy idea is the most ingenious thing I’ve seen in ages. And it comes at a perfect time, as I’m in the middle of working on a system which has prophecy as one of the main concepts. I think I can make it work now! If I ever manage to get blogspot comments to work for me I’ll go offer my thoughts over there :-P

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