The Glatisant: Issue #5

A Questing Beast Newsletter

Welcome to issue #5 of The Glatisant! This newsletter is a free service put out by Ben of the Questing Beast YouTube channel. If you would like to support the channel and this newsletter you can do so on Patreon (and get a number of exclusive rewards). You can also sign up below to get new issues of The Glatisant sent directly to your email.


The ENnie Awards

Voting for the ENnie Awards has just opened! The Labyrinth Adventure Game that I wrote last year is nominated for two awards, Best Family Game and Best Cartography. A vote for it would be hugely appreciated! To vote, go to the ENies voting page and give it a “1” in whatever categories you think it deserves. Remember that you don’t have to give every entry a number, just the ones that you want to win. Here’s the video I made going through Labyrinth and explaining what makes it unique.

Speaking of the ENnie awards, there are 19 other nominations for OSR products this year! By my count, these are:

  • BEST ADVENTURE: A Pound of Flesh, Trilemma Adventures, The Halls of Arden Vul Complete

  • BEST ART, COVER: The Ultraviolet Grasslands

  • BEST ART, INTERIOR: The Ultraviolet Grasslands

  • BEST CARTOGRAPHY: Trilemma Adventures

  • BEST FREE GAME: Tunnel Goons

  • BEST GAME: MÖRK BORG

  • BEST LAYOUT AND DESIGN: A Pound of Flesh, Trilemma Adventures, MÖRK BORG

  • BEST MONSTER: Worm Witch

  • BEST ONLINE CONTENT: Essentials Generators

  • BEST PODCAST: Appendix N Book Club

  • BEST SETTING: Rakehell

  • BEST WRITING: Electric Bastionland, MÖRK BORG

  • PRODUCT OF THE YEAR: Trilemma Adventures, MÖRK BORG

Remember to read through the list of potential judges for next year by going to the ENies main page and hovering over the “2021 Application” for Judge button.


The One Page Dungeon Contest has extended its deadline to July 15, so there’s still time to submit an entry for this year. TOPDC has been a great showcase of OSR creativity for years as well as a tremendous resource for when your PCs wander off somewhere unexpected. You can browse Google Drive folders of every dungeon at their website, or pick up PDF and Print collections here.


Games in Development

BREAK!! continues its eternal march towards completion, but some images of a test print have been released, including some spectacular shots of the ground-breaking layout.

Dreaming Dragonslayer is working on two games, Red Ink Adventures (a two page game with a lot of Maze Rats-like elements) and Middle-Earth Adventures (an Arnesonian take on running Tolkien games).

Speaking of Arnesonian games, d66 Classless Kobolds as just released Any Planet is Earth, a scifi games that borrows elements from the Ancient School, Traveler, and Into the Odd. His blog includes an early draft, a system for character generation, an example crew, and some Maze Rats-like random tables for generating your universe.

Whose Measure God Could Not Take is working on a new GLOG hack called Vain the Sword.

Chris McDowall at Bastionland is working on a scifi heist game called Voidheist, that blends elements of Mothership and Blades in the Dark. He’s written a number of blog posts walking through its development, including on the games that inspired it, the way that the mechanics have been implemented, and the way that the setting is delivered by the character types.

Guiherme Gontijo is working on a beautiful-looking hack of Into the Odd called Into the Bronze, set in ancient Mesopotamia. A pack of Hex Kit tiles have also been released to go along with it.

Not so much a game but a workbook, The Gygax 75 Challenge by Ray Otus takes a 1975 article by Gary on how to get your campaign world started and breaks it down into a week-by-week program to follow.


Advice and Technique

Welcome to the Deathtrap presents a number of tools for Learning New RPG Systems. He also walks through a process of converting a one-page dungeon into something that can be used at the table. This sort of thing is very useful for new players, as it allows them to see the (usually hidden) mental techniques.

Similarly, Text Golem has a post working through how he uses the random tables found in Yoon-Suin to flesh out an environment.

A Distant Chime features a technique for resolving tavern brawls quickly, along with some of a brawl’s unspoken laws.

If that’s not enough, Land of Nod has a second bar fight system, this one more focused on Wild West games.

Luke Gearing at ANT-LERRR has an extensive post on how he runs games, broken into lots of concrete techniques that work wells as an overview of the best OSR DM advice.

Asking your players "did you have fun?" isn't a great question. Instead, think about your experience - was there a lack of energy? Ask about it. Did the combat run too long? Ask about it. By making these questions about things people aren't going to just be like "yeah!" for fear of hurting your feelings, and it means you're dealing with what you think the issue might be.


Old-School Theory

Jim and Pruitt discuss pulp literature and its influence on RPGs over at WebDM.

Dungeons and Possums has a post on the importance of brevity that struck a chord with me. As someone who reads a huge number of RPG books per month, I have less and less patience for padded word counts, a lack of summaries, and games that can’t get to the point.

Mazirian’s Garden has been putting out some splendid, lengthy essays on the different pleasures of the OSR: Secrecy and Discovery, Emergent Story and Open Worlds, and Overcoming Challenges. He wraps it up with an essay on how Gold for XP ties into these pleasures, some of the system’s problems, and possible alternatives.

The same topic has been on the mind of Dreaming Dragonslayer, who presents a list of 36 Diegetic Advancement Triggers stolen from a variety of games and movies that anchor character advancement to concrete actions you take in game.

  • When you capture a new monster, Advance (Pokemon)

  • When you share a meal with new friends, Advance (Ghibli movies).

  • When you step foot on a new island, Advance (Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag)

At Bastionland, Chris considers placing all game activities on two different axes, using examples from Breath of the Wild.


Reviews

Bryce at 10 Foot Pole gives a critique of Arnold Kemp’s recent starter dungeon The Lair of the Lamb.

No paragraphs and paragraphs of backstory. Just what you need to run the adventure. Short. Sweet. Evocative.

Welcome to the Deathtrap has been reviewing a number of rules light dungeon crawlers recently: Index Card RPG Core 2e, Dungeon Bright, and Tunnel Goons. I like way he is able to get into the nitty-gritty of the mechanics in a way that I’m usually not able to do in my video reviews.

At Monsters and Manuals, David breaks down his core complaints about the structure of Ryuutama.

Faced with the repetitiveness and rigidity of the rules, the GM ends up resorting to what he knows best, and stops really playing Ryuutama and running a red-headed bastard child of D&D masquerading as Ryuutama instead.

A new YouTube channel, Adventure Review, has been releasing in-depth reviews of some of the first published dungeons. I greatly enjoyed this one on the sample dungeon from the little brown books.


Things to Put in Your Games

The Manse has a list of archetypal beings for players to seek out if they want a powerful boon.

Scrap Princess continues a series of posts fleshing out Fire on the Velvet Horizon monsters with new adventure hooks.

In the treasure horde of some fabled beast lies a suit of armour. Constructed of starmetals, dragonbone, and the rarest of nights gold, it however is currently ripped nearly asunder. The construction of the armour is such that only by finding the original creator could there be any hope of seeing it repaired and modified to fit another. Spoiler Alert:  The creator is a giant snake with arms for teeth : o

Goblin’s Henchman has a technique for generating Veins of the Earth caves in Excel, as well as running Tomb of the Serpent Kings.

DMiurgy has rewritten a large number of spells as wuxia-style fighter techniques.

Weeping Earth Blow (Wall of Stone)- strikes the earth to collapse a hallway, or forcibly shove the ground into a raised cliff to end pursuit, create an arena, etc etc

Goodberry Monthly develops the concept of having bizarre weather locked to different days of the week. Kind of like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, but with a higher chance of decapitation.

Halberday. It literally begins raining halberds. Better bunker up! Unless seriously protected, stepping outside prompts attack as if from vorpal weapon every 1 minute.

Skerples at Coins and Scrolls examines how armor works in real life, and uses that to rework DnD armor so that your armor type protects you better against certain types of damage.

Welcome to the Deathtrap builds upon Death is the New Pink’s rules for running a business in the post-apocalypse, adding plenty of new complications to keep players engaged.

If you need a dungeon map quick, Watabou’s One Page Dungeon generator is one of the best-looking programs of its kind that I’ve come across.

If you want to design your own dungeon instead, the Dungeon Scrawl map drawing program gives you that Dyson Logos old-school look while being remarkably easy to use.


Worldbuilding

Whose Measure God Could Not Take is developing a setting called Mesomergos. Further posts flesh out the types of conflict inherent within the setting, especially the way that the setting proliferation of rules and duties creates social dilemmas.

The Bottomless Sarcophagus offers us a glimpse into the uncharted regions of space where no suns shine…THE NIGHT ZONE.

Patrick Stuart continues to flesh out his Ghibli-inspired “Shinto Box”, first by using a Polyhedral Pantheon Matrix, to create gods that cover different aspects of Cumbria:

And then by examining how to construct an RPG world where violence is mostly absent, drawing from sources like Miyazaki, Adventure Time, and Labyrinth. Lots of great ideas here.

Goblin Punch builds upon Sword of Mass Destruction’s previous post about Clerics to create a practical system for calling upon different deities, and appeasing them with the proper sacrifices. Starting with doing away with the Cleric class entirely.

faith is something for the whole party to practice--not just one member

Miniature Scrum has a two-part series on the Lost Art of D&D, starting with Alex Nuckols, whose work I’ve never seen before, and concluding with an examination of the way that Games Workshop replaced OD&D’s amateurish art when they reprinted it for a U.K. market. Featuring some of John Blanche’s earliest work!


Random Tables both Practical and Amusing

Peril and Plunder presents Which Pissant Noble am I Talking To? Let’s roll 4d20 now:

Marbeline Eephus of Noble House Varguli, who won’t shut up about their feud with their own family.

Archon’s March On is a nearly endless resource for random tables, such as D1,000,000 Answers to the Question: What Do This Wizard’s Magic Missiles Look Like?

This wizard’s magic missiles look like laughing ashen blades.

Or D20 Fates Other Than Just Dying When You Reach Less Than Zero HP

Your ghost disperses, possessing the entire dungeon level (or building floor, or forest glade, or whatever) that you're in. You can open and shut doors, operate traps, and do whatever else the DM deems appropriate for a poltergeist. If you kill another PC you can possess their body.

Alone in the Labyrinth presents a large table of strange ways that your world has been altered after your party returns from another dimension.

A technologically advanced culture of intelligent cephalopods have colonized all coastlines, and have encourage the worship of an octopus goddess known as the many-armed-mother. This happened centuries ago.

d4 Caltrops is working on the mammoth task of writing a d100 Table of Encounter Activities for every monster in Old-School Essentials. For example, the Invisible Stalker.

Finally, Whose Measure God Could Not Take presents the delightful d100 Mundane Fictional Animals, broken into mini-tables for each biome.

House Lomras, a slug which has been trained to light up when fed vinegar.

Sephass, also called a jagshark, this massive marine mammal crushes ice flows from below to catch prey unawares.


That’s it for this issue! See you next month!