Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Updaaaate!

Live, little blog! Live!

No news on starting up a game yet, but I'm hoping to do so sometime this semester. Gotta get my schedule settled in first - and it looks like there's a lot of work coming up. Regardless, here are some useful links I don't want to lose, which look like they'll be rather helpful for Legacy of the Bieth. I'm trying to provide a bit of description for sites which I particularly follow; while these may not be illuminating to many (particularly those who already follow old-school gaming blogs), I figure that they'll be useful guidelines for people encountering these sites for the first time.

Over at Beyond the Black Gate, we have a discussion of slum encounters, and the short adventure Beneath the Crystal Dome. The Quick Hex Contents Generator helps populate those large sprawling hexmaps which us DMs know and love so well, and Megadungeon Resources is actually a linkpost to various tips for running adventures in a large, sprawling yet confined environment.

At JB's B/X Blackrazor, he's got an interesting proposed revamping of the basic D&D combat system not dissimilar to one I've been mulling over, bumping damage dice rather than direct plusses to damage. In his overview post 'The Tao of Steve, Pt 1' there's also a handy listing of house rules. Finally, 'Now That Was A Surprise' has a nice take on surprise, opening doors, and the mechanical benefits of kicking down the door in a dungeon. JB is one of my favorite D&D bloggers - a very personable and passionate style, and always a joy to read.

RPG Blog II presents a very nice Random Tavern Menu Generator, for when you want to quickly whip up what exactly your players are grabbing at their latest haunt.

The Mule Abides is another excellent old-school blog; I worked with Eric Minton during the heady days of the Traitor Recycling Studio, and it's always been a pleasure. 'Fear and Loathing in Greyhawk' is a good look at how to creep out your players and evoke a sense of fear in them. I feel like fear is an essential and often overlooked component of old-school D&D gameplay. Delving into some freaking abandoned ruin filled with traps, disease, monsters, and so forth, ought to be a very scary proposition. Friction and Wandering Monsters is a good look at how to ramp up tension and security on the parts of the folks whose residences your PCs invade.

Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Fear and Death Ferox Doom, a nice counterpart to the "Fear and Loathing in Greyhawk" link above, is a post by James Raggi discussing how he uses and develops fear in his (upcoming?) module "Death Ferox Doom". Raggi is the guy behind LotFP, and definitely in my top list for the most innovative old-school gaming bloggers. Raggi is very vocal and outspoken, and as a result, once in a while says some silly and bombastic things, which can be frustrating. But he produces some absolutely stunning high-quality work, and his Lamentations of the Flame Princess ruleset (*.zip) is excellent. I'm totally grabbing some of them for use in my own game. He's one of the best bloggers and creators to emerge in the old-school blogosphere, and is Pretty Awesome.

While Playing D&D with Porn Stars might seem like it is a gimmick from the title, nothing could be further from the truth. While Raggi sets the standard for old-school products being released, Zak Sabbath sets the standard for being a creative and dedicated DM. His article Omnipresent Inspiration Hypothesis discusses the idea that one should be able to gain inspiration from anything, and presents a very nice reality-bending construction emerging from the 'E'-less novel A Void. Late Birthday Presents is a series of creations from the Secret Arneson Gift Exchange, a little program which Zak ran that provided DMs with the opportunity to ask for (and generate) particular requests for new campaign material, like a map, a wild magic table, a drawing of a campaign creature, or whatever. Joesky's Rule and the Corpse Table provides a link to the very solid Joesky's Rule, encouraging gaming bloggers to include something creative with each post, and not just arguing at each other. (My creative stuff comes later, but that's OK since I'm not trying to argue at anyone.) The Corpse Table is a neat little way to figure out who exactly those dungeon-dressing skeletons were.

Grognardia is one of the primary hubs of old-school blogging, and a must read if you're interested in the subject. Jamie M. always has something interesting, articulate, and compelling to read. Oddly enough, two out of the three links here are actually links to him discussing someone else's creation, though. Meatshields! is a link to a random and robust hireling generator, while the Superb Dungeon Generator creates incredible old-school dungeon levels. The Termaxian Mummy is a nice, up-gunned and creepy version of the standard mummy.

Greyhawk Grognard: Joseph Bloch's Castle of the Mad Archmage (full download, and poster maps) is an excellent and really fun dungeon module, and Joe's take on the infamous Castle Greyhawk. I'm looking forward to running this for my players at some point, but I will take out and substitute a few of the puzzles. Joseph holds to an ethos that old-school puzzles should challenge player ability, which I agree with, but I am less sanguine about bringing in puzzles which don't adhere to the internal logic of the setting, but instead require out-of-game knowledge. This is just a minor quirk, and frankly each referee has to alter and tailor a module to fit their own milieu. Tavern Names has a link to a handy English Pub name generator and a nice list of fun-sounding names already rolled up.

Society of Torch, Pole, and Rope: Hounds of the Great Mother is a monster which can fit well with a version of Cybele/Magna Mater, particularly like the malevolent one presented in Delta Green: Countdown. Yup, thinking about introducing her or a similar deity into Legacy of the Bieth, as an Azathoth-like presence lurking behind the setting.

Old School Heretic: 'Nothing New Under The Sun?' discusses methods to introduce an ancient Egyptian ambience into one's campaign. I'm finding this handy for figuring out how to present Bieth buildings and ruins.

Old Guard Gaming Accoutrements: Magical Alteration Zones is another article discussing wild-magic like areas, plus a few other interesting tidbits.

Ancient Vaults and Eldritch Secrets: Shield of the Pretender is just one of the excellent items to be found here. AVES is a "thing-a-day" blog, with each entry presenting a flavorful, weird, and exciting spell, monster, or magic item.

Next post is totally going to adhere to Joesky's Rule and present some creative work. :)