The Glatisant: Issue #14

A Questing Beast Newsletter

Welcome to the 14th issue of The Glatisant, Questing Beast’s free monthly newsletter. If you’d like to help support it, head on over to my Patreon! You can read previous issues here.

Reviews

Three new adventures ended up on Ten Foot Pole’s list of “The Best”: The Incandescent Grottoes, The Halls of the Blood King, and my own adventure The Waking of Willowby Hall.

On The Incandescent Grottoes:

THIS is what I want the baseline of our hobby to be. The . . . formatting and ease of use issues are essentially taken care of. The writing is evocative enough to be good. This then allows for concentration on the interactivity, the plot and that most elusive of all things, THE DESIGN.

On The Halls of the Blood King:

It’s better than 99% of the adventures out there, easily.

On The Waking of Willowby Hall:

Perfect format . . . Descriptions are great . . . There is A LOT to do in this adventure. Buttons to push, so to speak, and things to interact with, flee from, and leverage to your own ends. Great f****** adventure.

Dreaming Dragonslayer also has a session report on running Willowby Hall, and Hankerin at the Runehammer channel has a fun video examining the things he liked about it (starts at 22:03).

At Questing Beast, I published three new video reviews, including one for Genial Jack, The Young Adventurer’s Guides, and The Stygian Library.

Courtney Campbell’s On Downtime and Demesnes gets a review by My Terrible Sorcery Is Without Equal in the West.

. . . we get an extensive list of downtime activities, domain-management rules, options, tables, ideas and hooks. Want to build a castle? Clear a hex? Buy & sell trade goods? Learn a new skill? Find rumours? Whatever it is, Courtney has your back.

Vi at Collabs Without Permission has a great review of Mothership:

New and Upcoming

System Split: Worlds Without Number and D&D Fifth Edition: Cannibal Halfling contrasts the recently-released Worlds Without Number (free version here) to 5th Edition D&D.

I state without exaggeration that Worlds Without Number likely contains the best version of a Dungeon Master’s Guide extant within its pages. While I’ll try to compare 5e nonetheless, the results aren’t flattering.

Sorcery is a Sword Without a Hilt: 40 tool-like level-less spells that avoid solving fundamental dungeoneering problems.

Bellzuub!: There’s a new set of previews for the upcoming Break!! RPG. Layout looks phenomenal as usual.

Wallet Dungeons: A clever method of generating dungeons by rolling d6s and arranging them together on the table from the Business Card Game Jam. It reminds me a bit of the ship generation system from Mothership.

An RPG In Need of Translation: Sam Mameli, the artist behind The Waking of Willowby Hall, has released an art project that looks like an RPG written in an indecipherable language.

Madam Maze’s Cabaret of Carrion Delights: My brother Nick recently released his Kickstarter project, a grotesque, body-horror-themed adventure location. Features a lot of original artwork, and even a soundtrack!

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor…

Kickstarting soon! New Sidequest Decks: Each card is a mini-adventure with the most important map on one side (use other cards for more maps), & the other side is an adventure outline: background GM info, a couple of story hooks, several encounter ideas, and follow up ideas.

Place an ad in the Glatisant for our 5,800+ subscribers by emailing me at questingmaps at gmail dot com.

History

Chainmail 50th Anniversary: An excellent documentary on the Chainmail wargame rules was just released on the Gary Con channel, complete with interviews with Jeff Perin, who wrote it alongside Gary Gygax.

The Roots of Slot-Based Encumbrance: Lich Van Winkle traces the concept of item slots to its origin point in early RPGs.

Japanese D&D Rules Cyclopedia: I stumbled across this older post from Atlas of Mystara that shows the design work found in the Japanese translations of the Rules Cyclopedia.

Interviews

Bastionland Podcast: Chris McDowall has started up his excellent podcast again, this time with the theme “The Rule of Three,” in which his guests have to pick their three most influential games. Recent guests have included Chris Bissette (Loot the Room), Reynaldo Madriñan (Break!!), Philippa Mort, Diogo Nogueira (Sharp Swords and Sinister Spells), and Gav Thorpe.

The Lost Bay: Another interview show called The Lost Bay has just launched, interviewing OSR creators about their process. The first three episodes are with Yochai Gal (Cairn), Leo Hunt (Vaults of Varn), and myself.

Ask Questing Beast: I’ve been continuing my panel discussions with other RPG creators including Hankerin Ferinale of Runehammer and Trent from Miscast as well as Mark Truman of Magpie Games and Leah and Alexi Sargeant of Cloven Pine Games.

Adventures and Game Content

Magical Trinkets: The Library of Attnam has 150 magical trinkets split up over three blog posts, with 65 more from Numbers Aren’t Real. These are simple, fun, and primed for creative use.

A stub of chalk. Any space enclosed by its drawing (like a circle on the floor) is slowly divested of air, until a bubble of vacuum forms. It will collapse if the line of chalk is broken.

Seasons of Penrod: Four One Page Dungeons: Four adventures ready to be dropped into your campaign world, each themed around a season: The Ice Tower of Evil Sorcerer Hank (Winter), Panther Lair in Dogwood Grotto (Spring), Dragon Island in Lake Mattmark (Summer) and The Wail of the Harvest Obelisk (Autumn).

The Thwarted Course: Michael Prescott’s Trilemma Adventures are back with a free adventure involving an ogre-troubled bridge.

Wandering Titans (Monster as a Hex/Weather): Paper Elemental has a system for tracking titanic beasts wandering around your setting. It includes three titans, the Flood Serpent, Penumbral Hound, and The Swine Which Seeks to Unite the Earth and Sky, with descriptions of the impact they have on hexes they pass through.

Broken Dice Games of Bastion: A set of dice games that characters can play in-world.

Worldbuilding

Everything Can Listen, But Nothing Wants to Talk: Goodberry Monthly describes the consequences of allowing everything in the setting to understand Common, including inanimate objects.

Introducing this change has caused a significant shift in how the players interact with the world, especially during adventures and dungeon delving. Above all, it means that every single encounter is a potential negotiation.

The Theory of Magic: A fun post that explains D&D magic using in-world academic jargon. It even covers (I think) why the spellcasting system keeps changing between editions.

Training in Magic: Coins and Scrolls describes the test for becoming an apprentice wizard at Loxdon College: light a candle by any magical means. Includes some out-of-the-box solutions that students have employed.

A Thousand Thousand Island Character Classes: Zedeck Siew has been creating new classes for his worldbuilding project, including the Charm Addict, Demon’s Ex, and Wise Serpent, all with fantastic art by Mun Kao.

Dungeon Design

So You Want to Build a Dungeon?: Gus from All Dead Generations presents an excellent primer for people interested in creating their own dungeon. If you’re new to the OSR, it’s a great starting point.

Maybe I'll Just Make A Dungeon: Map Refinement and Stocking: David Perry continues his megadungeon development project. Filled with lots of great step-by-step diagrams that let you see his thought process.

On Dungeon Size: DwizKhalifa discusses the pros and cons of building dungeons of different sizes, building off of my discussion with Hankerin and Trent.

Theory

Failing Better: A GM Retrospective: Against The Wicked City walks through every major campaign he has run since he began DMing at age 12, with lessons that each campaign taught him about running RPGs.

On the interpretation of dreams, or, the rumor table under your pillow: A simple method for conveying information to your players in the form of dreams, as well as having NPCs interpret them.

Design Trends in the OSR: Dieku Games discusses my video collaboration with Hankerin and Trent, in particular our answer to his questions about the future of the hobby.

Fixing Everything Wrong With My Tabletop RPG: Trent continues his development of Arcane Ugly, a hack of Knave.

Six Cultures of Play: The Retired Adventurer attempts to distinguish six modes of playing RPG that have evolved over the years. His distinctions between Classic vs OSR and Trad vs the emerging Neo-Trad style were especially interesting.

Monster Hunter and Play Culture: D. G. Chapman looks at how fostering a culture that wants to convert new people to a game can be more important than the design of the game itself.

The Auction of the first Hundred Words: Patrick Stuart looks the order in which information should be presented in room descriptions, conceptualizing it as a kind of competition where different room features fight for priority.

An Incomplete History of Mazes in RPGs: DwizKhalifa has an extensive exploration of the ways that running a maze has been handled in RPG products over the years, including in Labyrinth: The Adventure Game, which I co-wrote.

Web DM’s Guide to Fighting Dirty: Jim and Pruitt discuss how to make combat more terrifying by going after parts of the character sheet other than hit points.

Exploding the Encounter Die: Prismatic Wasteland invents a mechanic that takes the Overloaded Encounter Die from Necropraxis and increases it in size as the party explores, resulting in more dangerous encounters and more treasure over time.

Duels Using Player Skill: Dreaming Dragonslayer comes up with a great way to do duels, especially samurai duels, using player skill and stopwatches.

Against Incentive: Luke Gearing argues that giving players rewards for taking certain actions can create a “correct choice,” and that by removing correct choices one can widen the field of play.

No-Initiative Action for Mothership: A method for running simultaneous combat in Mothership, inspired by Professor Dungeon Master’s video.

That’s it for Issue #14! See you all next month.