Links of the Week: June 18, 2012

Nothing for the Hall of Fame this week, though there are a few series I have my eye on.  More blog reading than recent weeks, but I’m still almost two months behind.  Ah well, it’s not like I’m on a schedule.

I even got a bit of writing done this week, a couple experimental pieces regarding Task Resolution in Apocalypse World, Multiclassing in Adventurer Conqueror King, and Looting Hoards.

Blog Posts

Dungeon’s Master

Ameron provides some Adventure Hooks: Legendary Sword Masters (Part 1).  These are just as it says in the title — legendary sword masters the PCs may want to find for some reason, such as gaining additional training or obscure knowledge.  They are not always in obvious places, though.

He follows this up with Adventure Hooks: Legendary Sword Masters (Part 2).  Where Part 1 provided specific examples of such masters, Part 2 discusses different archetypes that might be used in developing them.

Another site I’ve been meaning to explore in more depth.  The Adventure Hooks category looks like it’s Hall of Fame material.


For months now I have been meaning to spend some time at Hereticwerks reading everything over.

This post by garrisonjames on Hard Candy (by-product of White Powder), a powerful and useful (and dangerous and deadly) drug is one of the reasons why.

Pelgrane Press

I’ve pre0rdered 13th Age.  Choose your Favorite Icon by Simon Rogers is an example of why.

The Gamer Assembly

Brent Newhall asks “What if each setting had its own alignments?

I think this is a very good question.  D&D tends to run on the D&D-standard alignments (Lawful-Neutral-Chaotic, the nine-square Law-Chaos/Good-Evil matrix, or the five-alignment system from 4e), but these are not the only possibilities.

d20 Modern offered the idea of allegiances, and FantasyCraft has alignments based pretty much entirely on the focus of the alignment, rather than ethic or moral underpinnings.  Many games don’t bother with alignments at all, or use different considerations entirely (such as White Wolf’s World of Darkness games looking at ‘humanity’, how ‘human’ the character still is.

The Nine and Thirty Kingdoms

A brief post from Talysman, I don’t know that the Truth-Spider would remain a wandering monster for long.  I can easily imagine them being cultivated, if possible, for the properties of their bite.

Troll Den

Stephen Chenault passes on a link to a story of someone On Top of the World.

Never mind someone wearing armor and carrying a sword finding another path.  If my plans call for me to go somewhere like this, I’m changing my plans.

On the other hand, this could be a good picture for my PCs.  “See this?  This is where you need to go.”

But me, I’m staying home.

The Wandering Gamist

John talks about Sometimes they win… (or, On Dragon Tactics).  This struck me as a very good article on how a mismatched encounter (PCs vs. something six CR higher than their level) should probably be run.

In short?  The dragon probably should have shredded them through smart tactics and strategy.  There should be situations where the PCs are simply outmatched.  They should hopefully know — or at least have the opportunity to know — this before they cannot escape it, but if they find themselves seriously outmatched they should feel like it.  It sounds like this dragon was significantly underplayed.

Troll in the Corner

Brent Newhall talks about Building a Dungeon in Classic D&D.  This is conceptually quite close to how I view it in my Scenario Design material (a dungeon is a series of scenes), and he breaks out several sorts of dungeon site types: lair, warren, trap, crypt, and ‘old kitchen’ (place that had a purpose, that has been repurposed).

I expect to be writing a series at Troll in the Corner about sandbox construction, I’ll have to look over what Brent’s written because we may be looking at the same thing from different angles.

Unofficial Games

Zzarchov tells us of a group From Hell’s Legions: Mammon’s Knights.  These look like they would be a wonderful fit in certain types of campaigns, and really, really hard to stamp out.

Zombie Toast

Orion is working on Savage World of Athas (Dark Sun implemented in Savage Worlds), and presents Monsters and Powers.  It’s been a long time since I’ve really looked at the Dark Sun setting, and this article makes me want to dig into again.  I remember how crazy this setting seemed compared to the regular.  Even when you include Ravenloft, Dark Sun was something else.


Lloyd Alexander: A Documentary

Lloyd Alexander was perhaps one of the first authors I chose for myself.  When I was young I would choose the books I read from the covers, the story descriptions, or recommendations from my teachers or the librarian at my local library (“I want more like this!”).  Around the time I was in grade five I found a book, The Book of Three.  I took it out and read it, and was back a day or two later looking for more by that author.  I found The Black Cauldron (which wasn’t a Disney movie yet), The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King.  I later discovered the Westmark series.  Some years later I found Dave Duncan, Robert A Heinlein, and so on; I tracked down all the Narnia books by C S Lewis… but Lloyd Alexander may have been the first author I followed.

This Kickstarter project is aiming to raise $15,000 to complete the movie and prepare the various rewards for the backers.

Project closes June 30 and is 8,420/15,000 funded.

Tabletop Forge: The Virtual Tabletop for Google+ Hangouts

This project hardly needs the help (they were fully funded within 17 hours of opening, and are almost three times their goal right now), but I’ll mention it again.

The more they get, the more resources they can include.  The current stretch goal is $16,000 to get a map pack by Jonathan Roberts.

You know, one of the more skilled mappers out there right now, the guy who is doing the maps for The Lands of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones atlas).

That guy.  Yeah.  Let’s make this happen.

Project closes July 9, and is 14,467/5,000 funded.

Science & Technology

Synthetic synapse could take us one step closer to an artificial brain

Researchers in Japan have shown that it’s possible to mimic synaptic function with nanotechnology.

Part of me is mildly freaked out, part of me is wickedly impressed, part of me is really excited… all for the same reasons.  I wasn’t really sure this would be possible in my lifetime.

Now, I’m not entirely sure how it can be applied usefully… but even if it is “just” integration between mind and machine, rather than the possible medical benefits described in the post the possibilities are huge.


Bottle Cap Blues

I don’t drink beer very often, and when I do I generally prefer draft.  Mind you, I don’t think I could come up with as many ways to get a pint of draft as these guys find to open bottles.

On the other hand, I suspect some of them may have gotten used to the taste of broken glass….

Bottle Cap Blues from chris sumers on Vimeo.

CRAZY FUN New Sport!!! Archery Tag!

Yep, this looks like fun.

Just reach out and touch someone.

Ice Age: Continental Drift Mini-Movie

Poor Scrat.

You almost feel bad for laughing at him.


POrtal: Terminal Velocity

I can see it happening like this.

POrtal: Terminal Velocity from Jason Craft on Vimeo.

You know someone would misuse it this way.


    • Happy to do it. You raised a good question, it deserves consideration.

      You may want to check out FantasyCraft. The alignment system there, such as it is, to my mind can be a well-executed ‘cosmic team jersey’ style. If you are aligned with this power (which might be a god, an ethical/moral position such as in D&D, an element, a certain type of flower… whatever, really, though I wouldn’t bother with that last one in almost any campaign, though I can imagine one where it might be appropriate) then you consider these powers allies, and those ones enemies. In D&D terms they might even be somewhat co-aligned — you follow what might be a Lawful Evil power (your big thing is destroying Chaos in all forms, using whatever means are necessary, and without mercy), so those Chaotic Evil are clearly out, but so is this other Lawful Evil power that wants to control and harness the power of the Chaotic Evil powers rather than destroy them.

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