Thursday, December 2, 2010

Force Me To Read Something

There's a lot of gameblogs. A lot of them are good. I don't have time to read all of them. That's good, I guess.

I will be away from this machine for a few days, enjoying non-elf-related activities.

Here's the thing for today: Recommend me a gameblog. Only 2 rules!:

1-Do NOT just post the web address. Link to a specific post that is like the best post on that blog & an example of how excellent it is.

2-Not yours. Get a friend to do it if you must.

Failure to comply with these directions will lead me to think of you as someone too stupid to follow 2 simple directions. That's not much of a threat, I know, but hey, it's the internet, it's this or have 300 pizzas delivered to your house & option 2 is just too much work.


  1. I'm curious to see how this plays out; I don't read that many gameblogs, & I'm curious to see if there ARE some I will start following.

  2. If you're not reading Scott Driver's lurid and neurotic Huge Ruined Pile, you ought to.

    For a small, concentrated dose of what the fungal gnomes are lacing the pottage with, try

    "It's a Lepermas miracle!": Holidays in the CSIO." Essentially a list, it's the kind of list that says to me "Please find enclosed check; send me your latest products at your discretion."

    "Some are festivals over multiple days, some are a single day or night. Some are observed only in the CSIO, some are observed even in small ruralities. There's a mix of religious and secular celebrations. Most are tongue-in-cheek, others are creepy, some are both; the CSIO is a mix of black humor, outright silliness, and horrifying brutality. Details of each holiday are forthcoming."

  3. I like reading Gausswerks for many of the same reasons I dig dndwithpornstars : intelligent, well-written articles about game design. Its generally about designing for videogames which, while vastly different than tabletop rpgs, still is about reconciling story or gameplay goals with limitations of the media. While I'm not going to post a link to the Design Reboot category, it's a good time.

    Instead, with regard to tabletop rpgs PD&DwPS's is about, my link is this article : Trust and the player-driven narrative.

    "The player in an open world wants to be in the driver's seat, literally and figuratively. I personally would like an open world to be just that: not an otherwise linear game whose mission order can be scrambled, but at the cost of endless shuttling to and from mission locations (AKA the pizza boy syndrome). As with GTA this is where the conversation always seems to turn back to cutscenes and movie-style story content because it is necessarily cost prohibitive and static. Either the movie conforms to the game (enormously expensive even to offer small choices in the main narrative), or the game conforms to the movie, which is how most games end up. Aspirations to "cinematic" games are a dangerous trap because in order to get those movie-like experiences we undercut what make games worthwhile on their own terms."

    Yeah, I know, tabletop rpgs are a whole different beast than videogames and you (Zak) clearly kick ass at giving your players all the agency he could want. But you're also starting to put out settings and, I think, pre-designed settings are vulnerable to the same kind of tension between making things cinematic vs. non-linear.

    *shrug* Them's my two cents. Thanks for doing what you do!

  4. Um. Apologies for the overall poor editing job on my post.

  5. Anything I'd recommend you already read based on the blog list, Zak, but I wanted to thank Goth Hick for the video game blog tip.

  6. Ars Ludi has some good theory, and there's lots of content to read, but it's pretty well known, so you may already be reading it.

  7. I don't know if Zak'll like it but I'd like to thank you, Cole, for linking to Big Ruined Pile. Lovely fantasy weirdness.

  8. Riskail: Surrealism and Sorcerous Pursuits, Part One
    by Netherwerks

    Surrealist artistic practises as the basis for an RPG magic system by the person who brought us the Procession of Penitent Gods, Helical Cathedrals, Noobs, Chakras as Planes, etc, etc.

    As Cole said above, I am greatly desirous of giving Netherwerks hard-earned cash in exchange for more such voluptuous brain-squirtings.

  9. Sorry, I did that wrong. Here's what is probably the "killer" post.

  10. Huge Ruined Pile: I echo the nomination for anything by Huge Ruined Pile writer Scott Driver. His World of Thool was mindblowing.

    Trollsmyth: 'Supporting, Not Replacing'
    Trollsmyth comes and goes, but right now he is two posts into a very interesting discussion about social interactions and whether they really need rules and dice rolls, and how this question goes to the center of some design debates these days. Always intelligent and pointed.

    The Alexandrian: 'Jaquaying the Dungeon'
    Man, I wish this guy wrote more often. Every few months, he gets into a new project, and it's always so inspiring for a DM. In this case, he talks about old-school design by Paul Jaquays, and why his non-linear dungeons were so superior to what is being put out now. Great stuff. (And with 4 additional parts.)

    Big Lee's Miniature Adventures: 'Are you a closet gamer?'
    Lee Hadley is a Brit who plays boardgames and the new flavor of D&D (don't hold that against him), and his miniature projects tend to be of the WWII variety. I find his blog to be disarmingly sincere and readable, even though he tends not to dive into the sort of weighty design questions found here and at Grognardia. Lee will instead take you on his scrambles across the English countryside tracking down forgotten WWII sites, or on his endless forays to British gaming conventions. Lots of photography, and lots of enthusiasm. My recommended post is his short piece asking his readers how many of them were less visible about their gaming habits than he is.

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  12. Unclebear! He just started a series on rules hacking. :D

  13. I sort of read a lot of them. Its funny that I do since most of them are about D&D and I don't play D&D. The ones I would recommend most highly would probably not interest you too much since their very indie and not old school-y at all.

    Also, I know which ones I would recommend but not which post on them is 'the best' as I've needed or wanted different ones at different times depending on what I was working on.

    I'll look around and get back to you. Enjoy your time away.


    I'm only posting to deliberately disobey 1 of the rules.

    I like pineapple and thin crust and mushrooms and fresh tomato so if you can get those to afghanistan that will be great thanks.

  15. My guess is that I don't need to recommend Joesky to you. Sorry Zak that PD&DWPS is only my second favorite blog.

  16. I really like this guy's cross-section maps:

  17. You seem like nice guy in the all the "I Hit it With My Axe" installments but that likable personality unfortunately doesn't translate over to this blog.

    Saying stuff like "Too stupid to follow 2 simple directions..." is part of what I'm talking about.

    My response to this post is "Go find yourself something to read".

  18. Jonathan Drain's d20 Source: Beyond "You Hit": Describing Damage.

    Campaign Mastery: 50 Barbarian Hooks.

    Eleven Foot Pole: Brugg. The blog is better than that post, but I don't want to make this a lot of work so I am just searching D&D.doc for "http".

    I don't think our D&D style has a whole lot of overlap so I am gonna stop there unless you ask for more.


  19. I have two for you--

    Harbinger of Doom, the specific post in question addresses the problem of making crafting interesting and worthwhile in D&D-- specifically for a Epic 6 3e game, but I think some of the ideas would be interesting expanded to 4e, potentially. Either way, really insightful and clever design-level stuff by my personal favorite GM.

    Standing in Fire-- One of my favorite encounter descriptions ever talks about how you can do some ridiculous stuff with minions, and how cool minion combat layering a skill challenge can be. Awesome and hilarious stuff.


  20. mobunited comes really close to convincing me that random tables in games can be massaged into something that isn't stupid. also he's cool to drink with, but that's hard to get through a blog.

  21. I'll second "Huge Ruined Pile." I also read D20 Woman, World of Wonder (by female gamers) and B/X Blackrazor.

  22. Take a look at Valley of the Blue Snails, the setting stuff is lush.

    Killer post? Has to be this one.

  23. My all time favourite game post: "Maybe You Had To Be There."

    "it’s as close to magic as I think I’m ever going to get, and it’s why gaming is such an intoxicating pasttime, even if it took us over a year to get this far ..."

  24. I like Maldin's Greyhawk. But then again I'm a fan of this first (and least developed) of the game's published settings

  25. For design analysis of many systems and design concepts of many kinds, System Sans Setting is excellent. I'll particularly recommend the Technocracy as Failed Heroes as a clever bit of writing.

  26. @rath

    I really don't care about whether people who can't read 3 lines of text "read" my blog and I'm too busy trying to talk to the intelligent people who post here to sift through shit written by people who can't read.

    If you feel like it's cruel to insult people for being stupid, then, yes, best stay away from me. Like everyone else on the planet, I get enough stupid at work, from people trying to sell me shit and from state, local, & federal employees, I don't have to put up with it in something I do for fun. Nobody's paying me for this.

  27. @satyre & james

    my bad--forgot to include the "you don't have to recommend blogs already on my bloglist" rule.

  28. Of course, it's your blog and you can have fun with it however you want. I just think it's interesting how different your cyberspace personality is from what I've watched in the videos.

    Still looking forward to the Vornheim City Kit, sounds like something very unique and promising. I've never cared for how cities are usually presented in traditional RPG products and I hope this might be the something different I've been looking for.

  29. @Rath

    You don't "just think it's interesting". That's a euphemism. You think it's bad. Or you did. That's why you wrote what you wrote.

    And there's no contradiction here. Just because I'm not a jerk doesn't mean I have to suffer fools.

  30. At the risk of being on the receiving end of a 300-pizza order, here is at least one blogger who you should be following, but appear not to be:

    An adventuress who fires pistols filled with bullets made from material from the "outer darkness"? A swordsman whose claim to fame is his ability to separate his head from his body so he can practice his swordplay while his head casts spells from afar?

    What's not to like? And his Warlord Wednesdays just seal the deal.

  31. My friend Shaun does this hilarious podcast about all sorts of stuff and just recently did a double show of Roleplaying Games. It's an audio blog so a little outside of what Zak asked for but it was a ton of fun to listen to! Check it out!

    Part One:'

    Part Two:

  32. No matter what your style of gaming, there will be something at Campaign Mastery that should interest you. I'm directing you (and your readers) to our 500th issue post, which synopsizes all the others for you to browse your way through :)