The Glatisant: Issue #26
The Old-School RPG Newsletter from Questing Beast
Welcome to the 26th issue of The Glatisant, Questing Beast’s free monthly newsletter. You can read previous issues here. Remember to subscribe if you want to get the next issue in your inbox (and also get in the running for future Questing Beast giveaways).
At the Alexandrian, Justin Alexander tears into Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus.
The book frequently talks about how the PCs are going to be “exploring” Avernus. But then it goes out of its way to stop them from doing that in almost every way possible.
Rise Up Comus reviews ten off-brand Tolkien RPGs.
At Questing Beast, I reviewed Low Fantasy Gaming.
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Rules and Game Design
Orbital Crypt has an excellent system for gamifying gods and worship.
Why only have a single mechanic for armor class? Use a different mechanic for each armor set to make them feel unique.
The Homebrewer’s Pantry has a huge collection of rules from OSR games ready for you to steal.
Common Fortress zooms out even further to look at a list of rules from across the RPG spectrum.
I believe I’ve linked to this before, but the Deathtrap Cyclopedia is a whole blog just dedicated to RPG rules, tagging them so you can sort them by genre and keyword.
Captain Ahab’s Leg has 6 oracles for determining what happens next.
Prismatic Wasteland has four options for dealing with healing.
All Dead Generations envisions an alternate universe in which D&D’s combat system was based on Charles Totten’s 1880 wargame Strategos.
At Dungeon Masterpiece, Baron De Ropp covers the basics of Hexcrawling.
Speaking of Hexcrawls, Seed of Worlds has an extremely helpful roundup of hexcrawl resources from around the blogosphere.
Rise Up Comus shows how you can make a Hexcrawl Dashboard: a webpage that does everything you need to run a hex region all on one screen.
Silverarm Press has some great advice on how to build hooks into your hexcrawls and dungeons that tie different regions together and get players exploring.
Wired interviews Free League about the boom in licensed RPGs.
Cannibal Halfling Games examines the financial results of Zine Month.
The issue with Zine Month, really, is that it isn’t positioned to deliver any promises on the implied goal of moving away from Kickstarter. Roughly 85% of Zine Month revenue was earned on Kickstarter, pushing the event far below competitive sustainability with ZineQuest 4 if Kickstarter were taken out of the picture.
The Tékumel Foundation has admitted that M.A.R. Barker (author of the first published RPG setting, Empire of the Petal Throne) wrote a pro-Nazi, anti-semetic novel called Serpent’s Walk in 1991, under a pseudonym. Grognardia reacts to the news.
Sword of Mass Destruction has a great set of tables for generating cults.
Skerples examines the intersection of magic and lawyers in Endon.
Alchemist Nocturne has a generator for making schools of magic.
The Mystery Flesh Pit National Park is back with another informational leaflet.
Patrick Stuart has a list of Neo-Cyberpunk NPCs to choose from.
Against the Wicked City has some great encounters from the City of Spires.
8: Half of an ancient castle clings to a mountainside, here - the other half lies smeared and tumbled across the slope below, having been toppled in an earthquake centuries before. Once the seat of some ancient tyrant, it is now the home of an exiled magician, banished from her homeland for dealings with unholy beings who promised her knowledge and power - an opportunity whose loss she still very much regrets. Since taking up residence here she's managed to refurbish the flying stone skull-throne that belonged to the castle's original owner, an airbourne symbol of power and terror that has allowed her to convince the inhabitants of the surrounding villages that she's a terrible witch whose wrath must be placated with offerings of food, herbs, and flowers.
Throne of Salt has 50 factions for Mothership.
The Lovely Dark has 8 Evil Sentient Swords to curse your players with.
Mazirian’s Garden has 6 Starter Spellbooks.
EndlessPug on reddit has a great table of cumbersome items to drag out of dungeons.
d4 Caltrops has 100 environmental clues to use when traps are nearby.
Black Magic Craft shows how to create terrain for Mork Borg to go along side the miniatures put out by Westfalia.
Wyrd Science examines the development of the miniature painting hobby and how the internet supercharged it.
At Questing Beast I made a short video on the Blog of Holding’s Dungeon Map That Makes Dungeon Maps. Someone on YouTube pointed out that he also turned the same map into an interactive dungeon crawler. Check it out!
Rhystic Studies has a beautiful essay on beat-up, personalized Magic decks.
Theory and Advice
Sandra at Idiom Drottning has a wonderful piece on what it was like to experience a tangible, location-based adventure after spending her whole RPG career playing improv and storygames.
She also has an OSR-adjacent style of play called Blorb that focuses on making a “hard landscape” where things are true even before they are discovered. Technoskald and Vincent Baker give their takes on it.
Dungeon Craft explains the benefits of mapping while playing D&D.
Vile Cult of Shapes has a great post on making combat meaningful.
I discourage players from just attacking and encourage them to say what their goal in fighting is, so combat is handled like a multi stage puzzle/trap where the various mechanisms are ever in a transient state of being revealed and dissolving.
At Questing Beast I made a video looking at how AD&D was structured much like a modern MMO. A lot of the ideas in this came from Justin Alexander, Zzarchov Kowalski, and Brian Rideout (who introduced me to the idea of 1:1 time).
Semper Initiativus Unum has some interesting takes on the same topic, along with some resources to make this sort of campaign easier.
At False Machine, Patrick ponders the concept of Flow Control in an adventure.
It’s not like I *hate* it, in fact I think it’s necessary. I try to arrange my encounters so there is likely to be some kind of rhythm between types of things, I try to loop and pierce dungeons somewhat, I try to build up (to a degree) to the really weird shit, (at least after MotBM). And truly, every dungeon is by its very nature as a literalised flowchart, an exercise of a kind in flow control. (Though this need not be the case as much for more naturalistic settings).
But at the same time something in me pushes strongly against it.
At Demogorgon, Jacob Hurst responds to Patrick’s post by looking at how video games like Monkey Island and The Legend of Zelda have handled it.
Nate at WASD20 unboxes the AD&D intro box from 1995, and even listens to the audio CD that does the voices of the NPCs for you. So fun to see TSR experimenting with how to introduce the game.
This one is a classic, but worth reposting from time to time: Philotomy’s Musings on Original Dungeons and Dragons, which played a huge part in launching the OSR.
Wyrd Science interviews Zeb Cook and Stephen Marsh for the 40th anniversary of the super-influential B/X version of D&D.
At Questing Beast I did a deep dive into the evolution of Darkvision across D&D’s history. The only thing I got wrong was that although 5e does give darkvision to a lot of races, it still penalizes them if they try to fight in the dark.
My video talks a lot about Infravision, the original version of Darkvision, which has some interesting gameplay implications. This article from Dragon magazine explores that in more depth.
Lastly, the CCG history channel interviews Jim Ward (creator of Metamorphsis Alpha, the first scifi RPG) about the collectable card games he designed, like Spellfire: Master the Magic and Dragonball Z.
That’s it for this issue. See you next month!