Links of the Week: September 12, 2011

This week’s links.  Some here I will need to go back and read in greater detail… the ‘Pocket Civ’ (first link) looks really interesting to me, but I haven’t yet had time to dig into it deeper.


Developing a civilization in a pocket


This post describes ‘pocket Civ’, a card-based form of Sid Meier’s Civilization.  This excites me quite a bit.

Downloaded, will read when I have a little more time and a lot more not-sleepy.

Big Ball of No Fun

Supervillain: Sha’ir


One way to do a Sha’ir (as from Al Qadim) in 4e (as a monster, it looks like).

Boccob’s Blessed Blog

Library of the Dead


This is entirely too cool an idea for me to not mention.

Imagine a library that consists not of the book written by long-dead scholars, but the scholars themselves available for questioning… despite being (potentially) long-dead.

So creepy and narratively useful, I love it.

The Book of Worlds


No one specific article here.  I’ve browsed through this blog a bit and really want to find the time to do some more.  What I have read so far is interesting and engaging, and I’d like to see what else is here.

Echelon d20

It might be shameless of me, but yeah, I’ll pimp my other gaming (system-specific) blog.  Three articles posted last week.

Skill Check DCs


Among other things, skill-related talents replace skill ranks and the like.  I was starting to copy the RSRD skill descriptions to this site when I realized the change in calculating skill check modifiers would greatly invalidate the DCs presented in the RSRD.  I need to think about this.

Thankfully, it looks like it should be pretty easy.

Ars Magica-style Casting


After Doug’s suggestion this afternoon in my post on spell casting options, I put a bit of thought into an Ars Magica-style casting system in Echelon.

I’ll ignore spontaneous casting for now because I don’t want to get into it, and rituals for the same reason.

Right now, pondering whether Ars Magica makes a good model for Echelon.  My first thought is that it is probably a viable approach, though I lack detail.

Adapting Iron Heroes


I have written in the Talent Repository about how to convert RSRD abilities to Echelon talents, but haven’t talked about a resource that looks very useful for Echelon talents: Iron Heroes, originally presented by Monte Cook and now published by Fiery Dragon Productions.

Iron Heroes is predicated on warrior-types being very much more than presented in the RSRD, with abilities that outstrip what is usually seen as appropriate for warriors.  This has my attention with regard to Echelon, since I’m trying to do much the same thing.

Elthos RPG

What Good are RPGs, Anyway?


An essay about why RPGs are good and why it is worth encouraging their play.

Emacs Wiki

2011-09-08 Player Agency


Alex writes a response to the Hack & Slash post “On How an Illusion Can Rob Your Game of Fun” (linked below, also).

2011-03-11 GM Style Manual


This idea interests me strangely, and I will be examining it further.

Fantastic Maps

Knights of France Map


This is one very pretty map.  A different style than I do, and I think I’d like to look into the techniques used.

Any time someone does a good, pretty map?  It has my attention.

Four Color Criticism

Most of this blog is focused on layout and presentation considerations for comic books, but does look into similar considerations for RPGs.  I see here some good advice, so I’ve trawled the (pretty short, actually) archive for all articles that look relevant to the topic.

Tabletop RPGs: Index


A good little summary of indexes in RPG books, why you want them, and some suggestions for making them good.

Tabletop RPGs: Table of Contents


An obviously-related (and somewhat older) article about the other end of the book.

Dresden Files RPG: Three Ways of Looking at a Table


Just what is says, the writer provides three different arrangements of the same information currently provided in a simple table and describes the consequences of each version.

Tabletop RPGs: Character Creation Overview


Some suggestions about how to make a character creation overview useful and engaging.

The Game Crafter


Bespoke came crafting, good for prototyping or full production (probably).  I’d like to look into this further, when I get closer to publication on my card and boardgame ideas.

Hack & Slash

On How an Illusion Can Rob Your Game of Fun


Some good points on choices and how the false illusion of choice makes for a lack of fun.

Also, some links to follow up for additional resources to help remove the need for illusion.

Inkwell Ideas

Isocahedral [sic] WorldMap Generator


Spelling mistake aside, I like a lot of the Inkwell generators, and this one looks promising.




Chase gives a link to a nifty little page that will present graphs showing frequency of dice-rolling totals.  This can be useful during analysis to see what result curves various dice combinations have.

How to Fix 4e


Chase describes some ways D&D 4e could be made better for him.

Isomage’s House


Lots of random generators, including old-school cave maps, wilderness hex maps (in multiple styles), and a “hexGIMP” plugin for GIMP that makes it easy to do hex maps (with a hexmap image gallery).

Knightvision Games

[Magic Item] Dragon Fang Sword


A simple magic item (+3 dragon bane greatsword) that has a few extra abilities.  Simple, I like it.

Land of Nod

Shades of Green


As with last week, Matt adds half a dozen alternate green dragons.

  • Moss Dragon
  • Chartreuse Dragon
  • Celadon Dragon
  • Beryl Dragon
  • Viridian Dragon
  • Harlequin Dragon


Going to GenCon? Bringing Booze? Read This First!


Some semi-legal information (describes what the writer found when examining relevent laws in Indiana).

My favorite bit: “It’s illegal to have sexual intercourse with a corpse. I say this only because, if I had to read it accidentally in order to help you understand the relevant law, you should have to have such horrible thoughts in your head as well. Now we’re even. Needless to say, I avoided reading the section entitled, Offenses Relating to Animals, just to be safe.”


Building an RPG, pt 1


This appears to be the ground floor of a project designing a new RPG, and I’m always happy to watch this sort of thing.

Mythopoeic Rambling

Halflings of Another Color


Theodric explores what ‘halfling’ means, and how it can be applied to make for a more interesting option for campaign.

North of Nowhere

Resources for Making D&D/RPG Maps


I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this page before, but Matt updated it with some new links and it was brought to my attention again.

Mmm.  Maps and map generators and map software (including the GIMP, one of my preferred tools).

The Other Side

Here there Be Dragons: Aži Dahāka, 3.5/Pathfinder


Tim writes up a significant (CR 28) dragon using D&D 3.5/Pathfinder rules.

Here there Be Dragons: Aži Dahāka


And Tim’s first cut, in Basic terms.

Roleplaying Tips

Guide to PBP/PBEM


Some techniques to make Play-By-Post and Play-By-Email more effective and enjoyable.

Stargazer’s World

Preview: Kingdom Builder by Chaotic Shiny Productions


Like Stargazer, I like random generators.  I mostly use them for inspiration when writing or designing.  Despite appearances I don’t think I’m particularly imaginative, but I am good at getting things to work together, so while my own ideas run to certain patterns, disturbing them does good things.

I’ve also added a link to chaotic shiny (the author of the random generator being reviewed) to the RPG Resources links.

Stuffed Crocodile

Whatever Happened to the Netbooks of Yore?


Discussing netbooks and why we don’t see them as often, and how to use those from years gone by.

Stuffer Shack

Playing with FATE: Conversions


John describes some good guidelines to make conversion of various RPGs to Strands of FATE a relatively simple process.  He focuses primarily on the setting, but does briefly discuss how to handle mechanics.

Sycarion Diversions

Rolling for Non-Weapon Proficiencies and Skills


Using d20+d10 for non-weapon proficiency checks?  Hmm….

Tales from the Flaming Faggot

How Not to Write an Adventure


Some good suggestions for writing an adventure, especially for publication.  The key points (Sean expands on each of them in his post):

  1. Lead off with an abstract.
  2. Dramatis Personae
  3. Random Encounter Tables
  4. Timeline of Events
  5. Maps [make them easy to find, rather than scattered through the book –kjd]
  6. Keyed Areas

I can’t argue against any of these points.  Happily, I already consider most of these elements in developing scenarios, and I’ve even considered including them as an appendix.

The Tales of Kaelaross

Physical Geography of the Underworld


All sorts of things you could find in the Underworld of Kaelaross.

Trollish Delver

Elder Sign is a solo game you don’t want to miss {Cthulhu}


Solo Cthulhu game?  I might want to look into this.

5 ways to create meaningful and dynamic encounters {4e}


While this article is aimed specifically at D&D 4e, many of these principles apply to other systems.


  1. My only regret is not having time to read it all! I like the link for bespoke game items, bookmarking that one for future reference. I also recently found a site that produces custom-patterned d6es. Also, here are some unusual kinds of dice, including compass dice, emotion dice, hit location dice, and so forth.

    The icosahedral planet looks awesome. :-o Possibly stealing ideas from them for one of my space settings!

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