Links of the Week: March 19, 2012

So, I’ve missed another week (or rather, missed a week again).  It’s been kind of hectic around here lately.

That said, I think it’s a pretty good set this week.  I’ve added a couple of things to the Hall of Fame, have a few Kickstarter projects I either backed or want to support, and some good reading from other blogs… and a couple of videos from YouTube, one of which I think most of us can really relate to.

Hall of Fame Additions

Old Maps Online

The University of Portsmouth (no, not the University of Innsmouth… though that might be an interesting idea) has launched a program to make over 60,000 historical maps available online.

I’m filing link this in ‘Sources of Inspiration‘.


Brian’s written (or is writing; the newest post prompted me to move the series to the Hall of Fame) a good series on designing fantasy cities.

I suspect there will be more posts in this series, so this list may grow.  Filed under ‘Setting Design

Kickstarter Projects

Dwimmermount: An Old School Fantasy RPG Megadungeon

It’s been a long time since I’ve had much to do with megadungeons.  As previous posts may have indicated, I like much smaller (around 8-12 sites) dungeons, when I have them.  However, I do on occasion find them interesting, and this one has a good reputation.  They are very close (19,468/20,620, at the time I looked) to getting a bonus goal paid for — the original notes in PDF format.

I always like to see original and developments notes on things, especially since I like seeing how other people think.

I haven’t decided yet whether to back this one, but I’ve still got most of a month to decide (project closes on April 14).

Mythic Hero

Steven S Long (one of the main guys behind recent editions of HERO System) is working on Mythic Hero.  As near as I can tell it is much like Deities & Demigods for HERO System, but also covering a number of other mythoi not in Deities & Demigods.  The price is a little rich for my interest level — I’m interested, but $25 for the PDF is more than I’m happy about, and $105 ($75 + $30 shipping to Canada!) is way more than I’m willing to pay for a hard copy.  I appreciate the effort and care Steven puts into it — and I’ve heard good things about the quality of the packaging — but it’s more than I’m prepared to pay.

However, for those who run HERO I am confident this will be a very good package and I want to help get it funded.  The project closes April 1 and is a little over halfway there (16,616/33,000 at the time I looked).

Shadow Days – Fantasy, Deckbuilding, Combat & Survival

This project closes on April 23, and it’s about 85% percent funded as I look (March 16); I expect it’ll succeed.

Rules-wise I have seen only the quickstart rules, so I’m not sure how to judge the play of this game.  However, I’ve wanted a game like this for quite a while, and the setting description and artwork alone are pretty inspiring.

Blog Posts

Blog of Holding

Not too long ago, paul reviewed and graded the planes as presented in D&D.  Many were deemed pretty uninteresting.  Here he presents some ideas to make the elemental planes better.


Cracked has proven to be one of the larger sources of “oh, wow” I’ve found online.  The 5 Most Spectacular Landscapes on Earth (That Murder You) is aptly named, I will need to keep this handy when someone asks “how tough can it be to get there?”

Dice Monkey

Mark has put together some ‘plot points‘ (sheets of wee markers to glue to the bottom of large glass beads, to be used as markers in the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game).  Why use simple tokens like poker chips, when you could use these instead?  There are three sets available, the first set above and then two more sets.

Whether I get around the new Marvel game or not, if I can find the type of glass token he’s talking about I’d be happy to do something similar for other games.  They sound like they would look pretty good, and it’s simple.

Dungeon’s Master

I could have sworn I posted a link to Ameron’s Two-Hit Minions post some time ago, but a site search didn’t turn it up.  (Ah — I’d read the post a couple months before I started Links of the Week and commented on it, that’s why I recognized it.)

I’ve been using minor monsters (though not ‘minions’, in D&D they came into being in 4e) for a couple of decades now.  Rather than tracking hit points on them individually I had the minor monsters as ‘one-hit mooks’ and ‘two-hit mooks’ (though a critical or failed save was usually enough to do them in as well).  They popped pretty easily, just like minions in D&D 4e.

Ameron suggests making minions two-hit monsters, and provides the guidelines and reasons for doing so.  I like the tactical consequences he describes.

He initially described them in a post a couple years earlier, More Than Just Minions, where he explores the idea of minions in greater detail.

Giblet Blizzard

I might not have had a spider god in my next campaign, but this post by Jez on Healing from the Spider God kind of makes me want to.  There is some creepy, creepy stuff in here that would really suit a certain style of game.

Gnome Stew

Martin gives us a well-researched list of Old School Fantasy Hexcrawl Resources.  This list just ate half an hour of my time having a quick review.

Hack & Slash

-C provides ten suggestions for good skill design.  I may or may not be applying them in Echelon, but I’ll be keeping them in mind.


BryanMD provides a set of three simple tables for quickly spawning a cityscape.  It looks quick, simple, and useful, so into my DM’s Notebook it goes.

For the inspiration file, 10 Amazing Real-World Locations for Fantasy Worldbuilding.

In order of presentation:

  • Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
  • Nyiragongo Crater, Congo
  • Berry Head Arch, Newfoundland
  • Pamukkale, Turkey
  • Tanah Lot, Bali
  • Tianzi Mountains, China
  • Hamilton Pool, Texas
  • Las Cañadas, Tenerife
  • Vatican City, Italy
  • Machu Picchu, Peru


Ari Marmell considers some more magic tweaks to improve D&D.  What if the effects of a spell varied depending on when you cast the spell?  Not just ‘at night’ or ‘during an eclipse’, but (in the case of a combat spell) the condition of the targets?

Papers and Pencils

LS describes the Draugr, who show that even (un)dead vikings are scary tough.

Reality Refracted

Oh man, I feel so bad for these guys… but can’t stop laughing, either.  Apparently you should never quite trust any magic potions you find, even on your now-dead party member.

The Adventuring Archives

Libranchylde describes one of the Seven Wonders of Verdenheim: The Falls of the Fathers.  I need more places like this in my campaign.

The Alexandrian

Justin presents an OGL version of a restricted monster: Ocular Tyrant.  I think I like this version better, to be honest, the powers actually look like they make some sense.

The City of Iron

Shrines & cosmic powers of S’raka is a preview of a series of posts Gavin plans for April.  I’m looking forward to them, I like to see temples that are more than “this is where priests hang out”.  In the past I’ve tended to focus more on environmental considerations, but the way he presents daily goings-on shows there is much more to be considered.

The Nine and Thirty Kingdoms

Talysman discusses an idea that I’ve explored a little (and apparently posted about, though I don’t remember it) of Farther Out Equals Far Out.  In this post Talysman describes a Great Empire focused around the Great Central Sea that reaches inland to varying degree, which has since collapsed.  The closer you get to the water, the more civilized things are, the farther you get from the water the less tame you will find things.  He identifies five regions, bands of degrees of civilization that look like they can map to the first five tiers in Echelon passingly well.

  • Sophisticated (0 to 20 leagues).  “Basic” tier, this is where normal people live.
  • Borderland (21 to 50 leagues).  “Expert” tier, where experienced, hardened normal people go.
  • Frontier (51 to 100 leagues).  “Heroic” tier, where the larger than life explore.
  • Enchanted Wilderness (101 to 200 leagues).  “Master” tier, where those no longer constrained to human capability go.
  • Gonzo Wilderness (201+ leagues).  “Champion” tier, where reality gets strange and budding gods go to discover themselves.

I’ve never set specific ‘bands’ of strangeness, but I have long had the concept in my settings that the further you go from civilization the more strange and dangerous things are likely to be.

Wampus Country

Erik comes up with some of the more evocative campaign elements I’ve seen.  Unquiet Graves has one of the creepier ones, gravekinder… one of the few undead that can fairly accurately be described as an ‘infestation’.

Worlds in a Handful of Dice

NiTessine provides a link to The Stratfor Glossary of Useful, Baffling and Strange Intelligence Terms.  As said in the blog post, if I were running a modern or spy-based game… but a quick look at the glossary suggests it could be fairly readily adapted or adopted to Information Technology.  Especially as regards risk management.


Best Game Ever (A Different D&D Song)

I can’t believe I didn’t already include this.

I’m pretty sure I played with this group.  Though our ‘George’ was named ‘Eric’… though some time later we had one named ‘Nick’, too.

Dark Shadows Trailer (Tim Burton)

I don’t watch a lot of movies (most of my ‘free’ time is spent on game design and play), but this one might find its way to my TV.

It looks to have a great mix of camp and other silliness to it that I’d probably enjoy it.  I like most things that take classic tropes and messes with them.


    • Oh man, so I did. I’m really sorry about that.

      I posted the list headings, but not the explanatory text that expands on them. I had intended it as a draw to your page (that I forgot to link to) because I found the supplementary text to be important too, and wanted to show why. I’ve removed them.

    • I thought that might be your position on it, but without the link it was impolite, so I figured I’d take them out in case. It was a goof on my part and I figured it was better to err on the side of caution in fixing it.

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