Friday Faves: 2015-08-29

Sorry for missing yesterday. The monthly Pathfinder game got in the way of my posting time. I did make it home in time to whip up a quick post, but it was rough and not up to my standards, thus it was deleted.

I’m finally free of my Saturday plans, so here we are! Links of the week!

Factions as Characters

This is a wicked-cool idea, and reminds me of the old Birthright campaign setting and rules for 2nd Edition AD&D. I think Mark has some excellent concepts and points here. It’s much more rules light than the Birthright setting, but still encapsulates the core ideas of creating factions and giving them stats. I’m not sure which I like better. I have some pretty heavy (though distant past) experience with Birthright, but I could see taking Mark’s ideas, expanding them just a little bit to add more crunch (which I like) would please me greatly. Even with modifying his ideas, this is a very useable idea!

Campaign Arcs: Less is More

Walt opens his post with the question, “Have you ever designed a long, intricate campaign only to have it fall apart before it ever came close to seeing fruition?” My answer: Yes, yesyes, a thousand times YES! Well, he has a fantastic approach to avoid this. Basically, you need to under plan. That’s an oversimplification of his simplified ideas, so make with the click and see what he has to say on the matter.

Map-A-Monday: Pangea

Too cool! I love this map. I’ve never seen current political boundaries on Pangea before. This really rocks out to my imagination. So many possibilities there….

making a city more like a dungeon level

I’ve applied Paul’s ideas to Cyberpunk 2020 settings before and it really enriched the environment and “world” we were playing in. I’ve done it a bit in “urban only” campaigns, and it equally rocked out in the game. However, I’ve rarely done this when folks are “passing through” or just using the city as a “home base” and the adventuring takes place elsewhere. I guess it’s a matter of the depth of use of the setting that determines the depth of detail.

Fantastic Flop: GMing Lessons from a filmic failure

Like Mike, I love (loved?) the Fantastic Four. It was through their comics that I discovered Silver Surfer (who I based my first Champions character on!) and fell in love with the character. I really wanted a good Fantastic Four movie. The trailers for the latest efforts left me cold, and then the reviews rolled in before I could plunk down my hard-earned money to see it. Those reviews convinced me that I didn’t even want to buy the DVD. *sigh* Anyway, on to Mike’s post. He deconstructs want went wrong when a well-respected, well-done franchise is thrown into a different media (comic to movie) in such a disastrous manner. Hollywood really needs to be pointed to this post. Especially the wrap-up segments under the header “The Lessons.” Mike nailed it!

DCC Occupations

Nick’s come with a wondermous Google Doc (I’ve linked to his blog post that links to the doc) that expands the choices for DCC’s (Dungeon Crawl Classics) options for starter occupations. Very well done list, Nick!

Artifacts of Play

In this post, Phil talks about artifacts in gaming. No. We’re not referencing the Eye of Vecna here. We’re talking about the physical elements of the game around the table. What’s created before, during, and after the game? How does one influence another? What additional elements can we throw into the mix? How can we shake things up to improve the game? There’s good stuff in this post, and I highly recommend it for players and GMs.

The Care and Feeding Of Vehicles In RPGs 2: A 2-part guest article

Mike has a guest poster by the name of Ian for this article. Ian knocks it out of the park with his ideas and thoughts on the care and feeding of vehicles. To best honest, I often hand wave this stuff unless it matters to the plot of the collaborative story. I do the same with rations, water, etc… unless it becomes a vital plot point. After reading this article, I have some new ideas, though. It may not be all that hard to track deterioration, damage, wear ‘n’ tear, etc. of various vehicles. I do it in Battletech campaigns after all (but then again, the system has very clear rules on how this works.) Good work on the part of Ian and Mike (on his inserts).

Absent For A Bit

Sorry for the late notice for last week…

I’m going to be at WorldCon this week (and into part of next week). The prep for the convention has been more intense than I expected (or maybe I’m just making it more intense?), and this has prevented me from doing much RPG blog reading, let along collecting links, and chatting about them.

I apologize to my few readers and to the blogs that I support with links to their site. There’s no way I can get last week’s Friday Faves up, and this week certainly won’t happen because of WorldCon.

The week after WorldCon? I don’t know yet. Depends on how badly the ConCrud latches on to my body and how much energy I have at the end of the day after playing “catch up” from my vacation.

Intentionally Late Friday Faves: 2015-08-09

Usually, when I’m late on the Friday Faves, it means Real Life has kicked me in the head hard. This has become more and more common as of late. However, this one was on purpose. I only found three links last week that caught my eye. I’d hoped more would pop up over the weekend, but it doesn’t appear to be the case.

There’s lots of grousing about broken Kickstarters (can’t we celebrate success instead?). There are some blogs that fell into the “RPG A Day” pattern, and most of the given topics don’t really excite me. Sorry. I’m not trying to be a downer, but it doesn’t really grab my attention. Gnome Stew fell off my radar this week.

Maybe this is a post-GenCon slump, and everyone is wiped from the con? I’m not sure. Perhaps things will pick up next week. Now on with the three links I found last week.

Why the five games chosen for Violent Resolution?

Douglas explains why he chose the games he did for the Violent Resolution series. It’s actually a pretty good breakdown of the games themselves, and can be used as a guide on how to go about evaluating a game system for inclusion in a group or for running a campaign in.

Basics For Beginners (and the over-experienced) Pt 2: Creation

Mike’s second article in this series is broken down into two parts: Creativity and Creation Guidelines. I’ve never lacked for creativity. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always had it. Could be that I was an only child until I was seven, and then by the time my sister was old enough for me to truly interact with, I’d found D&D and never really looked back. I remember a family reunion where I’d just purchased the Top Secret S/I box set, and I spent the entire time consuming the books, handouts, character sheets, etc. and coming up with adventure ideas for the spies. Yeah. I blew off family I rare saw for a game. That’s how serious I was about it. Anyway, back to Mike’s article. If you’re having trouble “being original” or “being creative” do not fear! The first half of the article dives into how to get inspired, find a creative compass, and go on from there. The Creation Guidelines section helps you focus (and rein in some of) that creativity in the form of character classes, monsters, maps, and places. It’s a really great article, and it’s made me even more excited to see the rest of the series.

Tales from the front line: The Initiative Conflict

Mike has an interesting approach at modification of the D&D initiative system to make it resemble a little more like the Hero system initiative/phase/action/turn/round system. I’ve always loved the Hero system of speed determining number of actions in a round. It’s intrigued me, and I’ve adapted it (in some form) in other game systems. I modified Cyberpunk 2020 to allow multiple actions (without penalties) if you got a high enough initiative score from boosted stats or a great (exploding dice!) roll on initiative. The way I worked it was that things went from the highest score to the lowest on everyone’s first action. Then on the second action (if any), we went from highest to lowest again. Repeat for third actions, which is where I stopped the scale. Of course, this meant that a really high initiative score could result in a player going twice in a row if they faced a mook that didn’t roll all that well, and then on the next round, if they went first in the round, that’s technically three times in a row that they went. Not entirely fair, but most of the time it leaned in favor of the PCs. They’re the heroes of the story, so I didn’t mind the slant of the system, and it kept things simple.

Another Late Friday Faves: 2015-08-02

The Day Job ate my soul this past week. I also (finally!) ditched the Contract Job with an overly-long handoff meeting on Friday night. I thought I’d be getting home around 10PM on Friday, which would give me ample time to finish off this post and get it up. Instead, I ended up getting home a hair after midnight from the meeting. I loved the Contract Job, but I’m glad it’s finally gone. This will allow me more time through the week for my writing efforts (which includes this blog), my family, and — quite frankly — me.

Now let’s get on with the links. I did collect a couple this morning, so it’s not purely stuff from last week.

Have I been playing my paladin wrong?

Douglas has a great introspective post on the abilities of D&D paladins and how they can possibly be played. I really enjoyed this post as it does a good job of covering what can be done, what should be done, and some tweaks that might make paladins work a little better with the typical image of paladins.

Basics For Beginners (and the over-experienced) Pt I: Beginnings

I’m really looking for to what Mike has to say about how to GM. He’s already off to a running start with this first installment of the series. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I know. There’s already a plethora of GMing advice out there, but Mike always manages to come into a topic with a great perspective and an excellent approach at describing his thoughts.

[Tuesday Map] Lady White’s Ruins

Pretty cool map from Dyson! I like it. I’m wondering if it’s something I can use in a future game?

Violent Resolution – His back was to me

Douglas knocks it out of the park again, but this time he does it from behind… or was someone sneaking up on him? Either way, he digs down into several systems and puts down his thoughts on the various rule systems he’s been exploring in this series.

A target of inefficiency: from Dystopian trends to Utopia

Mike delves deep into the breakdown of the infrastructure when “it all goes wrong.” He tells a few interesting and poignant anecdotes as setup, and then drops into his thoughts on how things will fall apart. It’s sobering. It’s educational. It’s definitely food for thought.

Adventure Writing Advice

There are six points of advice in Tim’s article, and all of them are spot on. It’s a quick read, but hits home for anyone thinking about creating an adventure. Before you convert that Word DOC to a PDF and cram it down driveThruRPG’s throat, check out this post.

Violent Resolution – The End of the Revolution

Say it ain’t so, Joe! I’ve loved this series of posts from the start. It gave an interesting insight into the various systems covered. If you haven’t been checking out the links, I’d recommend finding them all, and scouring them for information. The presentation is especially important to game designers everywhere.

D&D never went off the rails

Peter’s got a great post about the evolution of D&D, and how version X is right for some people, but not others. He’s right. 100% correct. I was incredibly disappointed by 4e. To the point where I gave away the books because I didn’t feel it was right to sell them because I didn’t want someone to spend their hard-earned money on them (like I did). I cut my teeth on BECMI and jumped into 2nd edition when it came out, but I have to say that my favorite flavor is 1st edition because of the free-flow and less limiting ruleset. Granted, it requires a higher caliber GM to pull off 1st edition than that others, but that’s okay. Having said this, I’m currently in a 3.5 game, and running a Pathfinder game. I’ve yet to touch 5e, but there’s still time to do that.

Friday Faves: 2015-07-24

I’m actually on time this week with this post! You don’t know how incredibly happy this makes me. I took some advice Mike (of Campaign Mastery) gave me ages ago, and typed up comments as I found the links. This is a key factor that helped me stay on target for this week. That’s a good thing, too. The RPG blogosphere heated up this week with some really fantastic posts.

There’s quite a bit to chew on this week, so right into the links!

Does Post-Apoc need a sense of loss?

I agree with Peter on his answer to this question (hint: click through to see what he has to say in more detail). If a game is based around the destruction of something, then the PCs need to be, in some manner, attached to the thing that’s been lost. Perhaps they have a chance to regain/rebuild the thing that is now gone? I would hope so because this is the gleaming bit of chrome sticking out through the thick layer of rust of a post-apocalyptic setting.

Troy’s Crock Pot: Why does the dog bark II?

Troy throws some twists into the typical monster perceptions with his post. I’ve done this before. I’ve taken a gold dragon (that was once an ally of the group) and twisted his psyche when the mortal woman he loved died of old age. There was nothing to avenge. There was nothing that magic could do about the death of the elderly. The gold dragon completely lost his mind in his grief, and I put his insane rage in the path of the PCs. Much fun ensued.

Cinematic Combat Part 3 – The Absence Of Mechanics

First off, congrats on the one millionth page view! That’s awesome news. Secondly, thanks to Mike for the shout out to my comments in his article. Now on to my comments on the latest installment. Now that I’ve read the series, I guess I unconsciously do cinematic combat. If a situation arises where there is little-to-no danger to the characters involved, I ask the players to describe what happens in the sequence. After the situation is resolved, I tend to shift back to “normal” game mode, which usually relies heavier on the dice and math involved. Example: A highly-experienced, well-trained assassin’s master was insulted by a servant. The master subtly ordered the assassin to “tend to” the servant. The servant wasn’t anything special. Just spice and flavor in the game. When the assassin finally sneaked by the guards (requiring die rolls) and tracked down the servant, the player picked his dice back up. I told him to put the dice down and describe to me how he kills the servant. He did so in a grand and glorious fashion. That’s cinematic! Thanks to Mike for bringing clarity to the approaches and nuances of cinematic combat.

Three Game Book Writing Tips

This is brief, but on target, advice from Peter on what it takes to create game books. This advice also applies to writing fiction as well (though the outlining part is optional for some people.) There’s a “word” that is almost a mantra between me and my local writing circles: BICFOK. Butt In Chair, Fingers On Keys. If you’re not BICFOK’ing on a daily basis, you’re doing something wrong.

Why I Demand Character Generation Be Done at the Table

I agree completely with David’s assessment of doing character creation at the table, and his reasoning behind this requirement is very solid. I do have two exceptions, though. I’ll ask players to think about what kind of character they want to run once I feed them the genre, theme, setting, etc., but I won’t allow the actual build-out (or rolling of) a character until everyone is together and has agreed upon a cohesive group. The other exception is character replacement/addition mid-stream. Because the group is already together and (presumably) working well together, it’s possible for a player to make a character on the side and bring it into play. Here is where I have to trust my players to not do anything too disruptive to the flow of the party or story.

Convention Survival Tips – GM Edition

Angela has some fantastic advice on how to survive GMing at a con with your health and sanity intact. She’s spot on with everything she says here, but I go with a 3-2-1 rule, instead of a 6-2-1 rule. Sure, you want 6 (or more) hours of sleep when life is normal. However, at a con, I think that asking for 6 hours of sleep a night is a bit much. It’s only 2-4 days of your life. Get the most out of it! Get at least three hours of sleep while at cons. If you can manage more, fantastic! Also, go easy on the alcohol the night before you have to run The Big Game. I’m not saying completely abstain, but avoid getting completely schnockered at the bar.

Imperfect Imbalance – Personal Injury Law in RPGs

This is a highly informative post about the different aspects and phases of handling a personal injury situation and how it applies to RPGs. Some of the examples in there were from a fantasy setting. Take the “typical medieval fantasy” setting and throw in the concept of a personal injury lawyer… and I wonder if it’s anachronistic. Probably from the first time someone threw a rock and hit another fellow in the head with it, there has been some concept of “right the wrong.” I’m just wondering what the medieval equivalents of small claims court would look like, in detail. It’s a fun mental exercise, I guess, but not one I have time to run off and explore. Mike also brings up some points about superhero and futuristic societies where things can go horribly wrong in a very short period of time. If you think reading about personal injury is dry and boring, give Mike’s article a shot. It’s neither of those.

Suggested Readings for Running Fantasy Cities

Want to run an adventure (or campaign) completely in a city? Check out Chris’s reading list! It’s fantastic!

Never Look A Gift Orc In The Mouth

This is a great example of what GM improving at a con setting can get you and your players. Sure, you’re not always going to have that random orc wander up to your table, but when you do….

What Makes a Game Publishable?

In this post, Dave ponders the concept of what makes a game publishable. As I’ve never been on the “publisher side” of the gaming equation, I really have no idea. I suppose I could throw out some educated guesses based on what I’ve purchased in the past, but Dave’s post here pretty sums up (and then some) what my thoughts would be as well.

Fate Point Economy – Random thought

The style of Fate Point Economy Douglas is talking about is very close to the one used in TechNoir (which is a game I loved running while I had players interested in it). Basically, the players start with unlimited Fate Points, and when they spend them, the GM can use them by a mook, Big Bad Guy, NPC, whatever back at the players. This does change things up quite a bit, starting at character creation. If you’re going to give everyone infinite (or close to it) Fate Points, then the number of stunts and other specials the characters start with will need to be identical for game balance. Once past this hurdle… it’s not a half bad idea, and I may see about incorporating the concept in my Fate Core game to see how it goes.

Last Week’s Friday Faves: 2015-07-20

I’m finally getting around to posting this many days late. I can’t wait for my contract job to end at the end of this month! Nuf Sed Bout That….

On with the links!

Cinematic Combat Part 2 – Damage Mechanics

Woo Hoo! Damage and math all wrapped together in one post. This makes me a happy game designer as getting the crunchy bits balanced and “right” are one of the most exciting things I can do while making a new RPG. (Having said that, getting the flavor/feel/style/theme of the game is one of the most rewarding things.) Mike does a good dive not only into the math of the game mechanics (in a fairly generic manner), but he also touches on how this all can speed of the play of your game to allow for more “spare” time that can be used describing exactly how that damage affects the target character or creature.

[crafts] Crafting a medallion

More crafty crafterness from Matt. This time with medallions instead of maps! These look great, but it makes me wonder what you’d have to do to get yellows, blues, greens, etc. into your medallions without painting them after the fact? I wonder if food coloring would survive the baking process? Hrmmm….

Violent Resolution: And the Rockets’ Red Glare

Everyone loves a good explosion… unless you’re on the receiving end of it. Douglas does another deep dive into a handful of systems with regards to area effect weaponry and effects. After reading this one (and others in the series), I might have to pick up Night’s Black Agents to see what I’m missing there!

Aerial Maps and Your Game

This is a great idea. I’d never thought of scrolling to a random section of wilderness on Google Earth, snagging a screen shot, and then whipping out the handy GIMP to create some overhead views of maps. I might have to give this a swing sometime soon.

Traditional Interpretations and Rituals Of Culture

How do traditions get created? What do they mean? How have they changed over time? Are they still relevant? All great questions. The best one, for the purposes of this blog, is, “How do in-game traditions affect our storytelling of the events of the campaign?” Mike jumps into this topic feet first and comes up for air much later on. This is a great post and should be read by anyone that loves doing world building (either for fiction or gaming.)

Nature is Noisy

As a fiction writer, I have to use all of the senses I can pack into a story to really immerse the reader and bring the story home. A good GM can do the same with sensory details for the players to imagine their characters are experiencing.

Belated Friday Faves: 2015-07-11

Woo Hoo! Last night’s game as an utter success. We all had a blast (except for the player playing the fighter… but he was running on 2 hours of sleep and had been up for over 24 hours at the start of the game. Stupid Day Jobs.) Traps were triggered. Others were found and disarmed. Riddles were encountered, but none were solved (I was certain the bard spoke Draconian!) We all had a really good time.

I have some down time right now while getting an oil change, so I’ve put the polishing touches on the post and am getting it out the door.

However, you’re not here to listen to me chatter about my gaming session or my car maintenance, so I’m going to get on with the links. There are quite a few here this week.

Troy’s Crock Pot: Make it a hex-crawl summer

I’ve never liked the concept of “this hex is swamp” and “this hex is jungle,” but I understand the need for hexes for the ease of measuring distance and travel and placing markers and such. It’s a fine system, and it works. However, that’s not really the point of this article despite the title. Troy’s post can be applied to the “sandbox” as well. Basically, make sure there’s a reason the players are headed cross-country, maybe throw in a target for the travels, and toss out some fun new monsters while you’re at it!

Reading Tables, Not Rolling on Them

I love tables. Like Peter, I tend to read through them and use them for inspiration. If I can’t find something I really fall in love with (or too many things catch my eye), I’ll roll three times on the table and pick the one thing from those three that I like best. Then I’ll run with that idea for deeper thought and see where it takes me. Peter also has some links to some great resources, so check it out!

Cinematic Combat Part 1 – Attack Mechanics

When someone breaks out the statement, “Let’s play a cinematic game!” I always cringe. This (in my experience) usually equates to, “I want to play a character where the rules don’t apply to me!” *sigh* I know that’s not the case. However, it’s happened to me too many times that the phrase still hurts me. I guess when I try to limit someone’s actions with a reasonable obstacle or circumstance, the player response has been, “I thought this was supposed to be cinematic?” Ugh. Anyway…. Mike has a fantastic post that’s changing my mind about cinematic games and teaching me how to approach them. Since there’s a “Part 1” in the title, I can only assume there will be future parts as well, and I’m really looking forward to them!

Violent Resolution – You’ve got to move it move it

Ya gotta move if you wanna get there. That about sums up movement in many games. Sure, it gets more detailed or technical than that for most games. Douglas drops a great breakdown of various systems on how movement works, is measured, and is limited. I’ve done the same maths he has done with Olympic sprinters and trying to figure out what a “reasonable” top-end speed for a human is, so that part of the post really made me happy.

[crafts] Aging paper for your games, part one
[crafts] Aging paper for your games, part two

I used to do crafts similar to these two posts when making handouts and maps (see previous mentions of handouts lasting 3 seconds… my maps were different), and the players loved it because of the “aged” effects I put on the paper. Matt’s taken the aging, preparation, drawing, and marking up of maps to a whole new level though! Go check out his two posts on the topic and learn some fantastic new skills.

The Power Of The Question-mark in RPG Plotting

I’ve always loved adventures that were written with questions in mind. This gave me, the GM, a level of agency in the execution of the game that a straight “scripted” adventure doesn’t. We always talk about the players having agency to make decisions that affect the game. We don’t want to take that away from the players. However, the GM needs some agency as well, and straight-up telling the GM that the NPCs/monsters will always do a certain action robs the GM of his/her agency. This is a good post from Mike along those lines, and I think it hits home more with me as a writer and game designer than a GM or player. Thanks for the info, Mike!

[Friday Map] Mapper’s Challenge II – The Deep Halls

Woo Hoo! Some fantastic (and HUGE) maps from Dyson. I especially love the level-based color coding he did to help clarify some of the things about the different layers of the map. Thanks for sharing that, Dyson.

Another Belated Friday Five…

I’m in my last meeting of the day, and am about to jet away from the Day Job to get on the road for my monthly Pathfinder game. This two-week-in-a-row occurrence has made me realize that I now have the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Friday evenings of every month books for role playing. This means I’ll most likely miss out on my Friday posts.

I’m going to see if I can find a better approach at these posts moving forward. If not, I may have to bounce these posts to a Saturday night when I’m normally working on my novels or something like that.

We’ll see how it goes.

Belated Friday Faves: 2015-07-04

Happy Independence Day to those of you in the United States. Be safe with those fireworks.

The holiday yesterday at work should have allowed me ample time to get this post up in time, but I spent a vast majority of the day with three friends playing D&D (version 3.5 for those that care), and it was a great time. Much fun was had throughout the day. However, the marathon gaming session (with a break for some grilled meats), ate up pretty much the entire day. That’s okay. The downtime from the stresses of Real Life and other responsibilities really helped me out!

Now on with the links for this past week!


Violent Resolution – Guns . . . Lots of Guns

Douglas is at it again with his comparisons of how various RPGs handle aspects of gaming. In this one, he takes on firearms. As expected, the GURPS section was the longest because that game has more details about firearms, bullets, and ranged combat than any other system I’ve come across. Of course, you don’t have to use all of those detailed things. They’re there for your enjoyment, not befuddlement. His breakdown of the various games he approaches is spot on, and really gave me some insight into how the rules wrap around the use of firearms.

Plunging Into Game Physics Pt 4: Better Campaigns Through Physics

Mike continues talking bout physics in gaming! Actually, this is his wrap-up post on the topic, and it’s a good one. The best part of this article, for me at least, was the “Campaign Consistency” section. I’ve house ruled before. We all have. Sometimes on the fly because those crazy players make hare-brained schemes that just aren’t quite covered in the rule book (these are the best times for me, BTW). This section of his post really helped solidify an approach and logic chain for me that will help me make better house rules and “on the fly” adjudications in the future.

Hot Button: The Moody Player

Walt has five great tips on how to handle that “moody player.” You know the guy/gal. They’re dragging down the fun everyone else is having through their attitude, grousing, and general grumpiness. I’d be willing to bet we’ve all been that player at some times. It happens to the best of us. Maybe by reading this article, you can self-identify and self-correct before it becomes a large problem for the others at the table.

D&D Firearms Damage – conversion musings

I’ve given a swing or two at doing something like this, and it’s always come out uneven, not quite on spot, and off in places. Douglas’s efforts here are much better than any I’ve seen in a long time. They’re also easy to understand how he got what he got, and how to put the rules to use.

A Helping Handout

Last week, I groused about my handouts not being all that helpful in the game because of lack of use by the players. Mike took my complaint to heart, and dropped this very helpful article into his blog. If you’re finding that your handouts don’t have the right punch or usefulness to the story being told, check out this article (and the one I linked to last week). Phil’s article from last week was very helpful in getting my thought train going. Mike’s article from this week is immensely helpful in drilling down into those ideas and assisting me in finding different purposes for handouts. Mike’s article reminded me of when I ran Top Secret S/I back in the early 1990s. I used handouts (dossiers, tactical maps [aerial and satellite image type stuff], photos of enemy agents) to good effect. Since then, I’ve mainly run fantasy-based games, and that’s where my handout usage falls short. Mike’s article has helped me realize the various purposes of handouts, and that’s given me some ideas for things to do with them in my fantasy games. Thanks for the great article, Mike! It’s just what I needed.

Friday Faves: 2015-06-26

This week has been filled with macros, formulas, pivot tables, and push Excel beyond its limits into “crash-every-thirty-seconds land.” It’s been rough on my mental energy, and I’m so looking forward to this weekend.

Of course, you’re not here to listen to me grouse about the Day Job. You’re here for some links!

… with comments this week. Woo Hoo!

Violent Resolution – As Three is to One

This post by Douglas breaks down morale in various games. I always thought having a “morale score” or something similar was a silly thing in the stat block. Should the GM be able to decide when the monsters surrender, flee, commit suicide, or fight to the death? This post breaks down a handful of games and how they handle this. Of this list, I have to say that Fate Core handles it (for NPCs/monsters and PCs) with the most elegant solution.

DF Secret Doors, secure doors, & my games

Want some cool/secret/special/interesting doors in your games? Look no further! Peter has a list for you! I especially love the door that only appears (no matter what you do) when you approach with the proper key. Good job!

Plunging Into Game Physics Pt 3: Tales From The Ether

More game physics from Mike! Don’t worry. There aren’t any formulae to memorize, math to learn, or experiments to perform. Well… that last one may not be true. Isn’t role playing an experiment at all times… on some level? Anyway, Mike ties physics into plot elements and vice versa. How do they affect one another, and what changes when physics changes? How does physics change when the plot shifts around? Can these two things feed off of each other? Why are you still reading my questions? If you want the answers, click through to the link above!

Lessons for D&D from the GoT season 5 finale

I’ve not read A Song of Ice and Fire (the name of the book series) nor have I watched Game of Thrones (the name of the TV series based on said books.) I want to read the books. Then I’ll watch the TV show. However, I will not read the books until George R. R. Martin finishes the last one. I don’t want to get done with what he has published thus far, and then wait another 1-3 years for the next book. I don’t have that good of a memory, so I’ll forget characters, plots, key events, etc.. It just won’t be a good experience for me. Having said all of that, I am not one of those people that feels Martin “owes” me a book a year. He’ll write quality work at his own pace. That’s fine. Now that all of that is off my chest…. This is a fantastic post that relates events in the TV show and how to tie them into gaming. It’s definitely a good post that gives great food for thought.

Getting Handy with GM Handouts

Handouts are awesome. I love them as a player. I hate them as a GM. I dislike making them. They take quite a bit of time to create, too much ink/toner to print, and the players admire them for all of three seconds before looking up at me with that “let’s roll some dice” gaze. If you’re on the other side of the handout fence from me (meaning: you like them), then check out Phil’s post regarding his approach at making them. It’s intrigued me enough that I’m reconsidering my dislike for them. Perhaps his approach will buy me three minutes (instead of seconds) of use out of the handouts.