Welcome to the 18th issue of The Glatisant, Questing Beast’s free monthly newsletter. You can read previous issues here or help support it on Patreon. Click the button below to get new issues sent straight to your email.
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At Questing Beast I did a 2-part review of Kevin Crawford’s monumental RPG Worlds Without Number.
Ram has released his picks for the annual Ramanan Sivaranjan Awards for Excellence in Gaming. This year’s winners: Electric Bastionland, Ultraviolet Grasslands, and Gradient Descent.
All told, I think the Lair is the kind of dungeon we only get every couple years - one that's been intentionally designed to be the best dungeon it can be, rather than a collection of stone rooms and random table contents.
As the GM, I only read the first scene, just so I’d start comfortable. For every single scene after, I speed-read while my players bickered. I trusted Milton’s concise language and was rewarded for it by not having to prep as much. This is a HUGE plus for me and why I recommend Ben’s adventures, like The Waking of Willowby Hall.
[It] has action, whimsy, and a unique imaginative touch that puts commercial projects to shame.
The adventure has a clear goal in what space it's trying to fill, and it delivers in spades. Increased verisimilitude compared to other funhouse dungeons was something I liked and worked well, and the main adventure structure (with the 4 keys) was well received by my players. Deadly traps and situations are not too capricious or random; clever players will be rewarded.
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New and Upcoming Projects
Patrick Stuart and Scrap Princess have launched the Kickstarter for Demon-Bone Sarcophagus, the first adventure of the Broken Fire Regime Trilogy.
Ian Miller’s upcoming dungeon crawler Middgyr: Tower of Chaos shows off some new art by the legendary fantasy illustrator.
Chris McDowall announces that the original edition of Into the Odd will no longer be available starting in September, so this is your last chance to grab this piece of OSR history. An announcement about the future of the game will be coming soon.
Through Ultan’s Door returns to print! The physical editions of TUD are some of the highest quality OSR zines you can buy, but they tend to sell out quick (PDFs are also available here). I recently bought myself a copy of the White Jungle poster as well.
Gavin Norman announces that he is revising the grisly opening encounter of Winter’s Daughter (one of my favorite starter adventures) to bring it in line with the more whimsical tone of the rest of the book.
Blackoath Entertainment is working on a GM-optional scfi game called Across A Thousand Dead Worlds, which allows you to:
Travel across the galaxy, discovering and exploring ancient refineries, scientific outposts, abandoned research facilities, and more, in search for ancient alien technology. Whether orbiting a dead star or on the surface of an ice planet, what gear you decided to bring with you and who your crewmates are will greatly influence your chances to survive.
I Cast Light reviews The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg, a recreation of one of the earliest (pre-D&D) dungeons, put out by the creators of the Secrets of Blackmoor documentary. It does not seem to be publicly available at the moment.
Mazirian’s Garden is planning an in-depth retrospective on some of the most influential OSR campaigns played Google+. Definitely something to keep an eye on.
I ran into this video that proposes a 4e Renaissance movement for those who prefer that edition. 4e isn’t really my jam, but I am excited to see more DnD subcultures emerging that carve out a space apart from 5e. It’s healthy for the hobby.
Over at All Dead Generations, Gus examines the aesthetic of “Gygaxian Vernacular Fantasy” and its effects on gameplay.
Dreaming Dragonslayer looks to the Hobbit as an example of a series of encounters where the consequences don’t have to be lethal; instead they can grant advantages or disadvantages at the final confrontation.
Map Crow discusses the different forms that storytelling can take in an RPG (while drawing a manticore).
Spicomancy describes the Gnomon, a man whose never-ending deaths and rebirths keep the flow of time running.
Bearded Devil completes his construction of Gossamer, a faerie city.
Throne of Salt on four precursor alien species.
Bastionland enumerates 12 pigs you can find in Deep Country.
1. THE DRAFTON NULLITCH VOID BARMER
The densest living mass I have ever witnessed. Small animals are drawn into its gravity well, and even humans feel a gentle attraction. Can cause catastrophic scenes upon moving suddenly, so all efforts are made to keep them calm.
The always-charming blog Listing to Port has a series of Yelp reviews for fantasy restrooms.
Nice location over the moat, great views. Appreciated the avocado hand-towels. A bit unnerved by the size of the facilities, though. If I didn’t know better I’d have thought its main function was to allow swashbuckling castle-intruders the chance for a dramatic escape. That’s all very well, but the moat is full of alligators looking up. Two stars.
Because you can NEVER HAVE TOO MANY MAGIC SWORDS, here’s 12 more to add onto the lists from the last issue. These ones all use naming conventions derived from Culture starships.
A Royal Lesson in Rhetoric, a medium (2d4) cutlass of some strange Hyperzephyrean alloy. Exceptionally well-versed in military protocol, courtly etiquette, and the Pirate’s Code. They parry siege-weapon shots as readily as other blades.
Spiggan’s Den recommends creating color palettes for different cultures in your setting, to help communicate an aesthetic to players.
Realm of Zhu is creating character portraits for Grognardia’s Tekumel campaign.
The Bottomless Sarcophagus describes the nightmarish other-city of Urbs Rex.
URPOL: like all major cities, URBS REX has a police corps operating on a bizarre, arbitrary matrix of legislation evolutionarily descended from a combine harvester. However, URPOL is fully ritualised. There is no law or crime in this city, only the act, the ritual, of policing. They are ghostly parades of identical floating frozen pseudo-men. Their erratic invasions have to be warded off using charms, phrases and symbols that resemble legislative material and are sold on street markets. It is dangerous to leave home uncharmed.
From Monsters and Manuals: Summerland, or the Spookiness of Rural England in August.
Language in RPGs
Patrick Stuart envisions a campaign where the PCs all start with fluency in every language.
Monsters and Manuals responds to Patrick’s post with more ideas on how to make languages interesting in play.
4. The Common Tongue is Dangerous
Speaking common is not to be trifled with, because talking to a dragon, orc, elf, hook horror or whatever is to have one's consciousness moulded, however fleetingly, by alien concepts and thought-patterns that, because one understands the words being used, one is forced to entertain. The effort can result in madness or corruption, and whenever one speaks common there is a small risk of either of those or both occurring.
Zedeck Siew discusses how he constructs place names in A Thousand Thousand Islands.
Rules to Steal
Trilemma Adventures collects 24 new MOSAIC Strict rulesets, which can be imported into virtually any campaign.
Graverobber’s Guide looks at several new ways to implement random encounters, like countdowns or dedicated “encounter zones.”
Alone in the Labyrinth has a fantastic idea for hexcrawling: give each hex it’s own local spirit that determines its encounters, hazards, weather, etc.
The Luminescent Lich considers why you might want to organize your game rules by timescale rather than by category.
One-to-One camapigns continue to be discussed in several places around the OSR. These are campaigns where game time moves at the same rate as real-world time when the game is not actively in session. It incentivizes downtime activities (to prevent PCs from “wasting time”) and long-term planning, as well as making the world feel more alive. There’s a round up of some posts here.
I love this rule from Caput Caprae, where each point of Wisdom above 10 gives you a concrete ability.
That’s it for this issue, see you in September!