Sporadic Saturday Sweetness: 2017-12-30 1

Sporadic Saturday SweetnessIt’s the last SSS for 2017! Not the last one, just for this year. It’ll be a big one. Day Job has kept me hopping. While I’ve had time on Saturdays to wrap up the post, I just haven’t had the energy. I’ve been working tons of extra hours, and that pushed my body beyond my limits. This led to a nasty cold that I’ve been taking prescription meds for. I’m on day 3 of the antibiotics and steroids, and I’m feeling much more human despite a bit of the crud hanging on.

Since I’ve made good progress on projects at the Day Job this past week, I actually have a day off from work, so I’m slapping this post down as quickly as I can, so I don’t miss yet another week.

This has been a rough year for many people. No. I’m not going to go into details. It’s been a pretty good year, for me, though. I hope 2018 improves life for everyone, and we’ll keep the links flowing!

Harpies Through the Ages

Delta has an excellent breakdown of harpies through various versions of D&D. I gotta admit that I like the Greyhawk version best. It just feels more accurate to the original mythos and gives the PCs a second chance at breaking loose of the powerful charm.

Cheaters Never Prosper Until They Stop Playing D&D

Trollsmyth breaks down various games to their core essence very well in this brief post. Yeah. The title is about cheating, but the guts of the article are more about how players can influence the game (or not) depending on what style of game it is. I agree with his assertion that D&D (and similar games) take some control of character outcomes from the players by placing the results heavily on the dice that are rolled. There are also games (Cypher, Leverage, Fate, etc.) that place more (but not all) of the character outcomes into the players’ hands, rather than the dice controlling the fate of our imaginary friends. I also agree with the opening statement that if always missing is boring, then cheating to always hit is equally as boring.

Encounters With Ghost Ships!

Need some horror-based, sea-faring adventure hook ideas? Look no further than this post right here! This post details various historical ghost ship encounters, postulates ideas on how this can happen, and what can occur when PCs encounter such a thing. It’s a rich field for ideas. I highly recommend checking this out. (PS: With some extrapolation, this can easily be taken to space-faring themes, and with a little more mental work, can be applied to static locations like abandoned temples and such….)


Matt’s our resident “math guy” over at Gnome Stew, so when he gets a chance to unleash his higher brain functions in a mathematical sense, I pay attention. He went through the PolyHero Wizard Dice set from Kickstarter and checked things out to see how fair the dice really are. I’m not going to spoil the results, but I enjoyed the read. Go check it out.

Marching Order, Battle Order, and Scouting

Thanks for the link back, Peter! I also appreciate your thoughts on marching order, battle order, and how scouting is handled. Great insights into these topics, and I appreciate seeing yet another angle on how this is handled. Dear reader: Go check out this post as well (even if you read Mike’s article on marching order), and see what else you can learn.

An Unfriendly Little Cyberwar: A Subversive Campaign Concept

Somehow, I think Mike peeked into my brain a bit and stole a few nuggets of ideas. I’ve been considering leveraging my high levels of computer knowledge and computer security expertise into my fiction by writing a story where AIs become sentient and self-aware and start waging a subtle war against humanity to correct things the AIs see as “wrong” with what the meatbags are doing. Yeah. It’s a bit “Terminator” there, but I’m not going to the “nuke them all” route, but more subtle, more social, more corrective. Mike’s article doesn’t quite flow down these avenues perfectly, but the source nugget of the idea is close to the same. There’s a quote along the lines of, “What if we threw a war, and no one showed up?” Or something like that…. What if someone threw a war, and no one notices? Interesting ideas.


I feel your pain, Phil. I’ve had to throw out many a “brilliant” rule from my RPG because it didn’t fit, didn’t flow, didn’t match the themes, or plain just broke numerous other rules in a way that made it difficult to keep the game going smoothly. I applaud you for finding a solution to keeping the rule in play as a special power. That’s a stroke of brilliance there. Well done. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, check the link out and see what Phil went through with Hydro Hackers in making a rule work within his game.

The Ashes: Understanding Brit and Aussie Characters

Huh. I thought I knew what cricket was. I really, really did. Turns out I had quite a few assumptions that were wrong and many misperceptions about the game and its importance. Thanks for the article about this game, Mike. While I’ve never played (and most likely never will since cricket isn’t a Big Thing here in the United States), I at least understand it a bit better.

Characters By Design: A road map for purposeful creation

If you’re a GM, a fiction writer, or even a player, I highly recommend this article for a great breakdown of how to approach developing a deep character. One that’s truly 3D and will stand on its own as part of a larger world as opposed to being merely window dressing for a setting. This is a great article with clear instructions. I think the only major thing I would add to Mike’s list of things to develop would be “internal perception.” I’d drop this right after “expressive appearance.” Basically, this is how the character views himself/herself. This internal perception doesn’t have to be accurate or reflect how the character really changes or interacts with the world, but how they perceive their place.

One comment on “Sporadic Saturday Sweetness: 2017-12-30

  1. Mike Bourke Jan 1,2018 6:38 AM

    Thanks for the links and positive reviews, JT, and have a happy (and healthy) New Year!

    The Cyberwar article has been in the back of my mind for a while now, but I consciously chose not to go down the Terminator pathway because I think it infuses the world with even more shadows and cloak-and-dagger if the oppositions are human agencies. Less Sci-Fi, more gritty reality.

    The Ashes: I don’t know if having your misconceptions corrected is more likely or less likely to make you want to seek out a game if ever you have the opportunity. But certainly the disappointment would be lessened. There’s a lot that I left out, but it makes a good starting point for appreciating the game of cricket.

    Characters By Design: I normally think of “Internal Perception” as a function of concept, personality, motivation, and objective. But you’re right, if those are all unknown to you, then an interesting “internal perception” could be the key that unlocks the answers! Good catch 🙂 This has by far been my most popular article of the last 6 months, and was a great note on which to end 2017 🙂

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