Links of the Week: September 5, 2011

This week’s interesting links.

Age of Ravens

Kingdom of Staircases: A Microscope AP


Ever since GreyKnight turned me on to Microscope (from Lame Mage Productions) I’ve loved the idea of it.  It’s a collaborative history-building and world-building ‘game’ where the players design a world by assertion.  Play bounces around history in a nonlinear fashion, and as long as you don’t outright contradict what was previously declared you can assert what you want.

Atlantis sank.  Once that is declared, you cannot undo it.  However, you can still explore the history there before it sank (as long as you don’t prevent it from sinking — though you might explore some of the efforts to prevent it).

Microscope strikes me as a brilliant piece of work, and this post at Age of Ravens may illustrate why.

Constructing Classes: Approaches from Homebrew Game Building


Lowell gets into how class construction can work in a homebrew game.  This doesn’t have as direct a relationship with Echelon as Marshall’s post (Division Nihil, below) but covers how similar concepts of archetypes and character niches might be implemented.

Odd RPG Bits


Some older materials Lowell has dug out of his archive.  I wish I still had some of my older materials, and that they looked this good.

Apathy Blogs


Lately Jesse has been describing plans for high level Pathfinder games.  Rather than linking to each one in turn, since they’re right at the top of the archive I’ve just put up the link to the blog itself.  It looks to be fairly low-volume, so this should do for a while.


Adventurer Conqueror King


This project interests me greatly, and I’ll be following it as it grows.

… crap.  Kickstarter project closed.  Emailed directly to see if I can join late, directly.


Microscope Posts


BattReps has a short series of posts regarding Microscope and the outcome of it; see my Age of Ravens link above for my comments of my love for Microscope.

Beyond the Black Gate

Looks to be a fair bit of mapping resources here too, I’ll have to dig some more later.

An alternate way to generate magic weapons


An OSR-friendly way of creating magic items (short form: pick a weapon, add a feat the wielder gains the benefit of while wielding the weapon).  I’ve considered similar ideas in the past, and in Echelon one of the easier ways of modelling magic weapons is to allow them to grant the use of talents while wielded.  I don’t plan to do it that way (I’d rather have magic items be more unusual than that) but it would work.

Big Ball of No Fun

Epic Monsters


Callin considers what ‘epic monster’ should really mean.  It shouldn’t be just (in D&D 4e), “a monster between 21st and 30th level”.

Campaign Mastery

Forging Unexpected Connections: Putting PC Dossiers to Work


Mike explores the PC dossier (basically, everything about a PC that doesn’t show up on the character sheet) and how it might be mined for campaign development purposes.

This relates somewhat to the Entity Definitions I use in my own campaign, but is focused on the PCs rather than everyone else… something I hadn’t consciously considered doing.

Digital Orc

Gaming Grub: Mom’s Blackberry Cobbler


Almost anything to do with cooking is likely to get a look from me, especially when it’s made with freshly-picked fruit.

I’ve never seen cobbler made this way (I’ve always had it as fruit covered with a crust made of sweet drop biscuits) but this sounds pretty good.

Division Nihil

7K – Class Warfare


Marshall ponders whether or not classes should be used in his upcoming “Seven Kingdoms” campaign, and what their inclusion or exclusion might mean.

Considering how I expect Echelon to be an entirely classless system, it should be obvious why this post interests me.

Dungeons and Digressions

Interactive Maps with the GIMP


Did you know the GIMP could do this?  I didn’t.  I think I learned something useful today.


Collaborative Design


GreyKnight is exploring a an idea regarding collaborative design similar to Microscope but with greater scope that incorporates not only historical events but geography and people.  This looks like it would interact really well with my Campaign Setting Design techniques.

Greyhawk Grognard

Spell Books as Treasure


I’ve always had a thing for grimoires and other magic books, so this rather appeals to me.

I’d Rather Be Killing Monsters…

The Saga of Biorn…


Reminds me of Samurai Jack, both in style and execution (including the ending).  Very nicely done.


Five Elegant RPG Mechanics


Chase discusses some RPG mechanics he finds suits their goals very well (including FATE’s aspects, so I think he’s on a good track here).

I expect Intwischa to show up pretty regularly in this series.

Land of Nod

Dragons in Kaelaross


John seems to be on quite the dragon kick right now.  I appreciate that, though.

Shades of Blue


Matt seems to think the simple-colored dragons of D&D (red, green, blue, etc.) are a little too simplistic and has decided to expand the range of colors available.  Here he gets into blue (and azure, and cerulean, and glaucus, and indigo, and sapphire, and ultramarine) dragons.

  • Azure Dragon
  • Cerulean Dragon
  • Glaucus Dragon
  • Indigo Dragon
  • Sapphire Dragon
  • Ultramarine Dragon

Also, the blogroll looks pretty good, I’ll need to get into that, too.

Shades of Red


Six more ‘red dragons’.

  • Carnelian Dragon
  • Crimson Dragon
  • Florid Dragon
  • Ginger Dragon
  • Sanguine Dragon
  • Vermilion Dragon

Lapsus Calumni

Published Works


Hi, pretty maps!

I especially like the Rassilon Region Map (Forgotten Realms style, looks nice).

He shows more variety in his various maps than I do.  In fact, I see I can see I’ll be spending some quality time with his site, if only to look over his graphics work.

Nevermet Press

Languages as Skills in RPGs


I’ve explored languages in RPGs a few times, so this post struck a chord with me.  There is a link to a related post at Stargazer’s World that points out that “there are only two languages in an RPG: the one the party speaks, and the one it doesn’t”.

North of Nowhere

Best Links on Creating Medieval Cities and Towns


Just as it says, links to random generators for and information about creating medieval cities and towns.

Points of Light

Dungeons, Dragons, and Aspects


Integrating D&D and FATE’s aspects?  Oh yes please.

I’m not entirely certain about this implementation (I don’t play 4e, either), but the idea interests me greatly.

Reality Blurs

Spinning Webs and the Art of the Outline


I’ve been thinking more and more lately about how to write and plan and design, rather than just doing it.  I want to improve my techniques in these areas to make it easier for me.  Sean describes here how he goes about outlining and things to consider when doing so.

The Rhetorical Gamer

Legacy (an Attribute)


This post describes a seventh D&D ability score, ‘Legacy’, that measures basically how much Fate messes with a character.  It has little mechanical benefit (unlike Dexterity it doesn’t add to AC, unlike Intelligence it doesn’t affect the number of skill points, and so on), but a high Legacy score is an indicator to the DM that the player is open to the character being a weirdness magnet.  Events seem to focus more on the character, things just seem to happen around him, something like the (I forget the term) characters in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, who are so touched by Fate that the world seems to bend around them.

I’m not sure I’d use something like this myself, but it is an intriguing idea.

Pathfinder? Not that fiddly at all…


I’m not sure I agree, I find that Pathfinder goes into far more detail than I want to… but evidently is plays fairly well.  I’ll have to reread this post and may want to reconsider Pathfinder’s level of detail.

… and the sky full of dust.

Magic Weapon and Armour Tables


Because I always love me some magic weapons and armor.

Stargazer’s World

Review: The World’s Greatest Screen


I’ve got both the portrait and landscape versions of this screen and am considering grabbing a few of the mini-screens (4″x6″ panels).  The production quality is very high on these screens (they’re very solidly made, unlike the flimsy cardboard things you usually get, and the plastic coverings make them waterproof, too), they’re readily customizable, and the price is fairly reasonable for such a small-niche product.  In fact, I’ve got a link to Hammerdog Games in my ‘RPG Resources’ section.

Stuffed Crocodile


This one is mostly here because of the blogroll — I see a number of blogs here that I follow, so I plan to check out the rest of the list.

Tenkar’s Tavern

More Free Mapping Resources


Some links to some (semi-)random map makers, handy stuff if you’re looking for inspiration or quick maps.

I’m not saying that glibly.  While the random maps might not look as good as something bespoke, they do look workable and could be a decent basis for further development.

This is My Game

No Assembly Required: Esau, Exarch of Tharizdun


I don’t play D&D 4e, and I don’t even watch Lost (the show that inspired the monster presented here), but I find it interesting how the author translated from the show to 4e rules.


  1. Great list of links (and I’m not just saying that because you included a link to my site). I really appreciate your one or two sentence summaries and commentaries on each link.

    I’m a big fan of Microscope too, although I haven’t yet had a chance to play it. Hope to some day!

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