Welcome to issue #3 of The Glatisant! If you haven’t subscribed to this newsletter, you can sign up below to get new issues sent directly to your email.
Lots of RPG publishers have been giving away their games and adventures for free while everyone is in lock down. Here are some of my picks:
Maze Rats by Ben Milton
A Bundle for Quarantine by Hot Springs Island (includes Super Blood Harvest, A Field Guide to Hot Springs Island, The Dark of Hot Springs Island, The Tomb of Black Sand, Silent Titans, Hubris, and Death is the New Pink, among others)
Dark Streets & Darker Secrets by Diogo Nogueira
Deep Carbon Observatory by Patrick Stuart and Scrap Princess
Frostgrave by Joseph A. McCullough
Degenesis by Christian Günther and Marko Djurdjevic
The Dark Eye by Ulisses Spiele
The Fantasy Trip: Melee by Steve Jackson
John Carter of Mars by Modiphius (use promo code BARSOOM)
WotC has also been putting out a steady stream of free content.
If you are planning on doing a lot of online gaming during the shutdown, someone on Reddit has created an extremely detailed and comprehensive guide to doing that, including comparisons of all the different services and options.
Jonathan Newell of Bearded Devil has released a free, 38 page, fully-illustrated guide to his setting Elfhame. It’s designed for 5e, but easily adaptable to other DnD rulesets.
I’m hoping for a kind of dark fairytale quality, but with a rollicking, swashbuckling energy as well – gonzo rather than grimdark.
I’ve prepared a primer for the party with suggestions for character ancestries, plus some house rules we’ll be using that grant the players some extra powers over the narrative, and details on how things like time, death, plants and animals, names, oaths, debts, and gods work in Elfhame.
The Warhammer 40k fan-made series Astartes has released its fifth and final part. The craftsmanship on display is amazing, especially given that the whole thing was made by one guy. The playlist for the whole series is here.
Ever since Chris McDowall started working on Electric Bastionland (now available) full time, his blog has been churning out one excellent post after another. For example:
A series of cheap tricks you can use on the fly to improve your games
A mash-up method for creating interesting NPCs quickly
A way to handle difficulty without resorting to modifiers
Dreaming Dragonslayer expands on that last Bastionland post by imagining a system in which every roll is just a coin flip, and where the difficulty is adjusted by modifying what success and failure mean.
This reminded me of a very similar game concept called 50/50 that John Harper proposed on the now-defunct Google+. Fortunately, I found a copy of it that someone preserved before G+ went down.
I watched the Secrets of Blackmoor documentary recently, which I quite enjoyed despite some technical jankiness. It’s great to see the world’s first roleplayers describing the pre-D&D origins of the hobby.
Beyond that though, it seems to have inspired a few blogs to start creating their own Arnesonian “ancient-school” rules, which are mostly based around opposed 2d6 rolls for tasks and combat, skills providing bonuses to this roll, successful attacks dealing 1 damage, PCs having about 3 hit points, and armor simply adding a few more hit points.
Norbert Matausch of Darkworm Colt kicked it off with his “Landshut” ruleset, including instructions on how to translate games as diverse as Warhammer, Shadowrun, Cyberpunk, D&D, Troika! and Apocalypse World into this simple framework. He also has an interview with Bob Meyer, who is still running Arneson’s original Blackmoor campaign.
Skerples at Coins and Scrolls has written a post on how to ballpark the effects of high-energy physics:
If two objects of approximately equal density collide at high speed, the results will always resemble a ripe tomato thrown very hard at a cake.
Now that’s the kind of useful gaming content I need.
Goodberry Monthly is in the process of creating a Wizard City hexcrawl. The best feature is 60 city events that you can throw into most fantasy cities to shake things up.
The Rooftop Dueling Federation is sponsoring a wizard fighting tournament. Significant rewards going to 1st-3rd place. Bracket format over one week, with people betting on it like March Madness. The rewards are valuable, being provided secretly to the organization by an Archmage, leading to various organizations representing with multiples of their best fighters: including the gangs, the secret police, the university, and the Dean. It is a no-holds-barred contest. All magic is legal on the rooftop, and outside interference is dealt with by the Federation itself.
WebDM has created a delightful short film about henchmen in a dungeon:
Arnold Kemp at Goblin Punch has a bunch of ideas to improve your Liches!
d6 Alternative Source of Immortality for Evil Wizards
An imprisoned kaiju, harvested for her eggs.
Blackmailing Zulin, the Prince of the Upper Air.
A giant furnace. It burns a small forest every year. The smokestack is his tower.
Cloning + mind transferance. Each clone carries a few more mutations than the prior.
Possession of new hosts who must have certain traits, requiring the wizard to send people out to search for her next host.
Has imprisoned his Death (a personalized Grim Reaper) beneath the earth.
Emmy Allen at Cavegirl’s Game Stuff has written up a selection of supernatural seas to explore:
This sea is, for some reason, holy to the jellyfish. They drift here, floating on imperceptible currents, and gather in huge blooms. The water is dense with them, so a ship must push them aside as it sails. From the water’s surface comes a constant, sonorous Gregorian drone, the sound of millions of jellyfish at prayer. Beneath the jellyfish’s habit-like mantles, trail several-meter long filamentous tentacles.
The water here is holy (and so can be used for things like throwing on devils, etc), but loses its potency a week after being removed from the sea.
That’s it for this issue! If you’d like to support this free service, you can head over to the Questing Beast Patreon, where supporters get access to a private discord channel and behind-the-scenes looks at what I’m working on.