This 68 page digest adventure features a two level dungeon with about forty rooms . . . Multiple zones, subplots, mysteries, a variety of things to do. It is CRAMMED. Could use a little more focus on consistent evocative descriptions, and it’s going to take some study cause it ain’t holding your hand. But, if you have to study, make for an interesting dungeon … and this one’s interesting.
The 2021 ENNIE Awards have concluded! Congrats to all of the OSR winners:
Halls of the Blood King: Best Adventure (Gold) and Best Cartography (Gold)
DNGNGEN: Best Online Content (Gold) and Best Digital Aid/Accessory (Silver)
Mausritter Boxed Set: Best Family Game (Gold)
The Stygian Library Remastered: Best Layout and Design (Silver)
Worldbuilder’s Notebook: Best RPG Related Product (Gold)
Mork Bork Cult: Feretory: Best Supplement (Gold)
Jon Peterson has a new book coming out soon called Game Wizards, focusing on the early history of TSR. In related news, Ben Riggs of the Plot Points podcast is also working on a history of late TSR and has something he wants you to know…
Luka Rejec (Ultraviolet Grasslands) is collaborating with Saker Tarsos to develop an online SRD for Luka’s SEACAT system. Lots of cool ideas on how to visually represent SEACAT’s hundreds of skills, traits, and mutations as interactive digital cards.
WotC has announced that a “New Evolution” of D&D will be published in 2024 for the 10th anniversary of 5e and the 50th anniversary of the game. It’s most likely going to be a backwards-compatible 5.5e of sorts, rather than a full new edition.
And Now A Word From Our Sponsors…
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Crown of the Oathbreaker is a 500-page D&D 5e adventure module and a campaign setting. The book features dozens of new monsters, subclasses, feats, spells, and magic items. The adventure incorporates over 30 dungeon maps and three regional maps with over 100 locations, taking characters from level 5 to 12.
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Have an upcoming Kickstarter or an OSR project in the works? Advertise in The Glatisant (7,800+ subscribers) or on Questing Beast (47,900+ subscribers) by emailing me at questingmaps at gmail dot com.
A Knight at the Opera looks back at how 5e was initially regarded as a victory for OSR design sensibilities. He also examines how the attack and AC systems in DnD have benefited from iterative design over time.
Building off of the previous article, Lich van Winkle traces the genealogy of the advantage/disadvantage mechanic from 5e.
Delta’s D&D Spot identifies 17 cases where OD&D uses a d6 to resolve situations, in contrast to the now omnipresent d20.
The granularity of the game is usually at the d6 level, except when death is on the line (an attack or saving throw), at which point the detail "zooms in" to the d20 level.
At Questing Beast I posted a number of images of the Kriegsspiel table built for King Wilhelm III by George Leopold von Reisswitz in 1812. In many ways it’s the origin point of what we call hobby gaming today.
The Trollish Delver points out that although D&D started out as a dungeon crawling game, it’s evolved into something far more nebulous.
The appeal of D&D 5e is that it's open to interpretation, and not in a way that a generic system like Genesys is. While each game of Call of Cthulhu is certainly a cosmic horror session with the tropes you expect, players fill the void of identity that 5e lacks. A silly comedy about a band of bards, a serious sword and sorcery against frost giants, a science fantasy intrigue in Ravnica. It's a generic system without being truly generic - doing enough to servicably run all these different types of games but not doing any one thing really well.
Theory and Advice
Aboleth Overlords argues that every rule is a ruling.
Augury Ignored categorizes hexcrawls into three types: obstacle, conquest, and exploration.
A Knight at the Opera hypothesizes that you really only need two types of enemies in any campaign: Powerful-But-Dumb and Weak-But-Cunning.
Matt Colville explains how D&D should have at least one group of creatures that can be killed with impunity and why using factions can make this more realistic.
Monsters and Manuals encourages turning the process of selling valuable artifacts into their own quests, with examples from Jack Vance novels. He also lays out the four things needed to maintain a campaign that runs itself.
Rise Up Comus has some practical ideas for running horror games without crossing player boundaries.
Unconventional steeds are always a hit. This includes bears, giant snails, and horses who are kidnapped princesses of the horse kingdom. Also horses who are just absolute bastards. Name all of them.
At Questing Beast, I did an overview of the Free Kriegsspiel Revival playstyle.
Watabou on itch.io has a whole suite of free generators that can make maps for worlds, cities, and dungeons with a single click.
Listing to Port has nine magic systems.
Only the gods have powers. But very few people believe in those gods these days. So you can get powers, borrowed ones of course, by doing the gods a few favours. They don’t mind too much what. Find the god in your local pub and slip her a tenner, and you can walk through the air between rooftops for a night. A tip on the horses and she’ll let you borrow the ability to pull water from the ground. If you get to know her well enough that she asks you to look after your cats, you may just about be able to make it as a wizard.
Rise up Comus has a Twitter thread about making your world’s languages radically different.
Against the Wicked City explains how to build adventures around visiting saints’ shrines and collecting relics.
3. The king is trying to integrate a recently-conquered frontier region into his kingdom, and he needs someone to do a spiritual survey. Your job is to roam from shrine to shrine among a resentful and rebellious population, cataloguing their local gods/saints/spirits and working out which of them, if any, might be worth adding to the national cult.
Roll to Save interviews Diogo Nogueira (author of the ENNIE Award winning Halls of the Blood King).
Meguey and Vincent Baker talk to What Would The Smart Party Do? about their RPG work, especially the success of Powered by the Apocalypse games.
Rules and Game Design
Chris McDowall discusses what rules he added and which he cut when creating the remastered version of Into the Odd.
A Cratered, Blasted Land has a new GLOG hack called Gooseflesh with lots of interesting rules.
Mindstorm builds off of the idea of Hex Flowers from Goblin’s Henchmen with Ladder Tables: tables you can move up or down on to produce different effects.
At Questing Beast, I take a look at the use of Grit and Flesh in OSR games, for when you want to separate luck points and meat points.
Hypertext Corner examines the consequences of using Into the Odd’s autohit rules in Mothership.
Permanent Cranial Damage considers building “speed bumps” into your procedures to remind you of when to use certain rules.
Liber Ludorum takes a look through a number of ways dice can be used apart from just rolling them.
Coppers and Boards explains why Expecto Patronum, Polyjoice Potion, and Voldemort’s resurrection ritual are the three best Harry Potter spells.
Miniac has a video showcasing the sounds of tabletop gaming. Wear headphones.
Technical Grimoire has a guide to using public domain art effectively.
Dungeon Research has a simple tip for drawing RPG characters.
Goblin’s Henchman has a simple dungeon mapping system that runs entirely in Microsoft Excel.
Artflow is a new AI face generator that can make detailed NPC portraits just from a text description.
Save vs. Total Party Kill examines what he likes so much about Scrap Princess’ artwork.