Welcome to the 16th issue of The Glatisant, Questing Beast’s free monthly newsletter. You can read previous issues here. Support it on Patreon to watch my videos before YouTube and get access to the secret Questing Beast discord channel! Click the button below to get new issues of The Glatisant sent straight to your email.
After a long dry spell, a new adventure has been awarded “The Best” by Ten Foot Pole: The Black Wyrm of Brandonsford (review here), the same adventure that Gundobad Games raved about last month. It’s been a long time since a new adventure writer has burst onto the scene to so much praise. I’ll have to give it a look once it’s available in print.
This adventure seems effortless. Effortless. That is a very hard thing to achieve. Most adventures seems forced, or strained. The text, the interactivity, the format, the design, you can tell that they were strained activities. But not this. It just . . . Clicks in a way very few things in life do.
At Questing Beast I made video reviews of Deep Carbon Observatory Remastered, The Forbidden Lands Boxed Set (Part 1, Part 2) and a pile of OSR zines I grabbed off my zine shelf: Mangrels Ate My Servants!!, Rogueland, Cairn, Down and Out in Dredgeburg, and Beyond the Borderlands.
. . . weird and fun diseases, nuns, automata, lurid candies, startling monsters, interesting magic items and spells, and more sewage-coated fun than you can shake a punting-pole.
It may be the only genuinely workable example of procedural adventure creation in the OSR canon? More importantly, it is a procedural adventure creation system that could undoubtedly be used generically . . . to create, for example, Mythago Woods, Viriconiums, Angband-style dungeons, dream worlds, Yellow City Old Towns, or any other environment . . . It is no small feat to think up such a system, especially one that is so easy and intuitive to use.
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Dana Howl has a video challenging other Warhammer YouTubers to make a squarebase army, and ends up with a great-looking Turnip28-style unit.
There’s also a great video from 1983 where the BBC investigates Games Workshop’s role in the D&D phenomenon.
New Rules and Games
Caput Caprae has developed The GLOW (The Goblin Laws of War), a hack of the GLOG with a focus on domain level play and warfare.
9 and 30 Kingdoms has a very simple and clever system for using ability scores to make checks.
Remixes and Revelations has a great way to simplify XP and leveling that rewards completing difficult missions and overcoming challenges specific to PC classes.
Zedeck Siew and Mun Kao present their house rules for running A Thousand Thousand Islands in 5e. Their custom character sheet is also beautiful and has excellent information design.
Language in RPGs
The Luminescent Lich uses a language tree to determine how distinct a language is from one a PC already knows, and then applies an appropriate penalty to attempts to understand it.
Patrick Stuart at False Machine speculates what High Gothic and Low Gothic (languages of the Warhammer 40k Imperium) would actually sound like.
Luka Rejec has a great post on how to create character names that sound real.
Dead Tree, No Shelter considers the language of skeletons.
76 New Magic Items
Bearded Devil has a list of 37 new artifacts from his world of Hex.
Gargoyle Lamp: When lit and used to illuminate a statue that statue becomes temporarily lively enough to answer simple questions posed to it about what it may have seen over the years (provided the statue has a mouth). Statues enlivened in this way can lie if they wish – they are not compelled to answer truthfully. Each use of the Lamp rapidly burns a pint of lamp oil.
Goodberry Monthly describes the Machine Magic Market, the hub of magictech in Wizard City, including 39 arcane prosthetics and engines.
Anti-Anxiety Box - Pocket sized, converts local anxiety into pleasant elevator music! The more anxiety present, the louder the music.
Theory and Advice
Prismatic Wasteland examines three ways to make spell-selection feel more magical and less like ordering from a menu: Random List Systems, Hard-Coded Prompt Systems, and Soft-Coded Prompt Systems.
Against the Wicked City lays out some solid principles for what to do when your players move into domain level play and start running kingdoms.
Keep the focus on problem-solving.
Keep the problems OSR-style.
Make sure the PCs have access to lots of highly specific assets.
What were once threats are now resources.
Don't overestimate the powers of the state.
Let the PCs enjoy the fruits of their success.
At Questing Beast, I did an episode with Sean McCoy and Mike Pondsmith answering viewer questions about scfi RPGs and running cyberpunk settings in particular.
At Failure Tolerated, Sean McCoy lists 13 simple design patterns that turn combat from a I-Hit-You-Hit slog into a strategic situation that requires more player engagement.
Knight at the Opera considers the difference between game design and level design in RPGs. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. Most RPG designers think about their job in terms of creating systems, when a table’s experience is mostly going to hinge on the content and environments they interact with.
I recently found this brand new channel called Map Crow that’s come out of the gate with some excellent videos on what to think about while making maps. Seriously, check out the whole channel, it’s great.
One of my patrons, Baron de Ropp, has also just started a great-looking RPG channel. Here’s a great video on using the Metroid games as inspiration when constructing megadungeons.
The Nothic’s Eye presents two new innovations (which inevitably go horribly wrong) for people using Magic Industrial Revolution: The Ironclad and the Necromantic Workforce.
Goodberry Monthly describes five new rival adventuring parties, oozing with flavor.
The Redacted. Faction: Chronulus, Wizard City. Institution: Administrative, Intelligence. Leader: JULIUS
Five elites of the Chronulean Super Secret Police, each having served a tenure as personal assistant to one of the five Archmages. They have exceptional experience with containing ultra-natural disasters and keep a library of ones they've managed to contain and weaponize: frozen hosts of mimetic plagues, vestige gods trapped in relics, impossible beings kept in time stasis.
Also from the same blog: The Fated Symphonies, terrifying musical pieces that can be performed by teams of bards.
The Song to Commune with the Red Planet. Requirements: A band of at least seven members, bearing special stringed instruments made from meteoric metals. Must be performed under an open sky facing the distant Red Planet.
The Red Planet will respond in 7 minutes. Strange beams and trumpets like those at the end of the world envelope the priest, transforming them into a monstrous fiend. This form is never the same thing twice, and all of them have acquired terrible names: Tongue Eater, Scrivener of Suffering, Black Day, Demi-Lich.
Profane Ape describes the unorthodox strategies used by the Invisibility Police to hunt down their targets.
Zedeck Siew has 10 songs being sung by the denizens of Youngest Hara as they plant rice. Songs are such an integral part of culture, I’d love to see more stuff like this.
10: “Bed of dry leaves in a bower of branches. My beloved sleeps, the door is shut. Her feet will not touch soil.” A ballad. A romance between the living and the dead.
From Spiceomancy: There Are No Mundane Towers. Magic, like lightning in reverse, rolls uphill, seeking the highest point.
This means that in any structure that is taller than all other nearby structures, magic will slowly accumulate over time. This magical buildup makes the structure weird; the older and taller it is, the weirder it gets.
Seven fruits having no equivalent outside the fairy realm. The whole blog is full of delightfully strange lists, not always RPG related.
The Manse has a generator for making new magical substances, and Paper Elemental has a very detailed post on what kind of plastics a medieval society could theoretically create, in case that was something you wanted to know.
Other Hobby Gaming Links of Note
GGNORE has an actual play of the upcoming 2nd Edition of Zzarchov Kowalski’s ruleset Neoclassical Geek Revival, using his adventure A Thousand Dead Babies.
LibraryLass on reddit went through the monster manuals of 50 different RPGs to determine the most common fantasy monsters, there by creating the “Average Bestiary”. Navigate using the tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet.
Another reddit user took the concept of creating a Magic: The Gathering deck to a whole new level and used a sharpie to redact text from his 720-card magic cube, twisting the cards’ effects into new forms. Pure DIY joy.
Quinns at People Make Games has a video on the War for Rayuba, a massive, team-based wargame set in the world of Kill 6 Billion Demons where each battle over a region is determined by the competitors drawing dueling comic books featuring their original character.
That’s it for this issue! See you in July!