Links for the Week of October 16

Cool Links Campaign Setting Inspiration Mechanics News

We’ve had our first frost here in Michigan, and it seems that the cold has sent cool posts scurrying to the Internet for warmth. I’ve spent the last week assiduously collecting the best, so I could compile them here. We’ve got new games, old games, and new old games. We have gaming tips, mechanics, and inspiration. Step right up folks!


I don’t know about you, but I’m always interested in new gaming methods. Somehow, reading about a trick you can use in a game gets me thinking about potential games almost as much as actual plot ideas. These are some interesting ideas, though, and I’m looking forward to giving them a try.

First comes an article from Steve Winter on the main question you should ask when designing your campaign world; namely, what will the players do there? Next, we have one from Patrick Benson from Gnome Stew, suggesting an intriguing method for laying out plots. Aside from my fascination with gaming methods, I’m also a sucker for diagrams, so this one was tailor made for me.



I’ve yet to meet the gamer who can’t be lured into a discussion of game mechanics. Everybody’s got their favorites, whether they’re canon or house-rule. Much like game methods, I’m always on the lookout for effective mechanics.

The past several editions of D&D have tried to equalize power levels as much as possible within class levels. In another contribution by Steve Winter, he describes why this is impossible, and suggests another solution to the problem. One of the many reasons I like Fate is that combat exchanges are relatively simple: attack roll vs defense roll, each assisted by aspects where possible. The difference plus weapon rating is the damage. Jonathan Tweet from Pelgrane Press advocates a similar idea: stop rolling damage!


New Games

So many new games caught my eye this week that I’ve had to divide them into two categories. In this section, I’ll mention completely new games.

These two games, to me, represent the breadth of the modern RPG industry. First up, we have Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers, an Old School sword and sorcery game, evoking the flavor of pulp fantasy. In the other corner, we have a story-focused game in which you play hamster-like critters trying to save their homes.


New/Old Games

Besides brand new games, though, we’re also hearing from more established names. In the genuinely “old” category comes the news that Wizards of the Coast will be reprinting at least some of the 2nd Edition AD&D line in May 2013. Some, no doubt, will condemn this as a blatant money-grab. Assuming they put out a quality product, though, I’ll salute their nod to the game’s history, and willingness to admit that new versions are inevitably not everyone’s cup of tea.

In the new/old camp, we have new versions of existing games. I’ve never played Rolemaster, but my interest in the system was piqued by an Actual Play podcast from It seems that Iron Crown is releasing a new edition, and have an open playtest available, so this may be my chance to indulge my curiosity.

Just as exciting is the announcement of Evil Hat’s pending release of the compiled Fate core rules. This has been my system of choice lately, providing a good balance between crunch and story. In early 2013, it appears that I might be able to stop hacking Spirit of the Century and Dresden Files RPG.



In our final category, we’ve got some pure gaming inspiration. Shorty at Shortymonster gives a pitch for a Cyberpunk game he’d like to run. He’s got an interesting idea for getting PCs into a sci-fi game, which builds on technological trends while simultaneously avoiding having to explain anything about the setting. Brilliant!

Over at Gnome Stew (once again) Phil Vecchione has the first part of his review of the Shadows of Esteren campaign setting. It sounds very interesting, and reminds me a little of the one Bryan was building a few months ago. Frankly, Phil, you had me at “low-fantasy”.


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