Welcome back to the Best Reads of the Week! Every week I read through more than 450 blogs looking for the best rpg related articles and bringing them directly to you. This week we've got: new monsters; lots of great set pieces for your home campaigns; an amazing campaign write up that will have you salivating for more; orcs, orcs, orks, and orks; a great random table; thoughts on game design from +Arnold K. and +Courtney Campbell; a love letter to Blueholme that will have you picking up that game; and so much more!
As always, if you liked any of the posts listed here be sure to let the author know. Leave them a note on their blogs, give them a plus 1, like them on the Facebooks, and share their posts in your social media feeds! Till next week!
BEST READS OF THE WEEK!
MAY 1 -8, 2015!
You don’t have time to build up to something great by 1d30, from the blog 1d30: We live in an age when there is an abundance of resources you can draw on to launch the campaign of your dreams, but with all this wealth sometimes we forget that we don't have all the time in the world. Here's some helpful advice in that regard.
The Art of the Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Game (TSR, 1985) (Part Two) by 2W2N, from the blog 2 Warps to Neptune: This post is a continuation of 2W2N's examination of the Art of Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Game that began last month and features some beautiful illustrations from the Second Edition of the game. Really enjoyable for anyone who's a favor of the older D&D artwork. You can check out part one here.
Weejas by bygrinstow, from the blog Appendix M: A quick write up of the iconic Star Wars creature by the same name. What I like about this one is how bygrinstow manages to make them more than just a box of stats and instead manages to make them something that I actually want to bring into one of my games.
Vladimir Putin’s Last Voyage 1: Strangers in a Strange Land by faustusnotes, from the blog Compromise and Conceit: My God, this game is a beautiful beast that keeps my attention and has me desperate for the next part. Check it out because this is a wild and magnificent ride.
Interview with Rachel E.S. Walton, designer of The Long Orbit by +Ariana Ramos, from the blog Contessa: If you haven't heard of the Long Orbit before this interview then you need to stop what you're doing and read the interview right now. This game sounds like so much fun! Thank you Contessa for bringing some much deserved light to a game I had never heard of before!
Orcs are so Passe by +Charles Akins, from the blog Dyvers: I know you are trying to say that you don't like orcs anymore because they're just the same thing that everyone's been using the same way since forever but all I'm hearing is, "Blah, blah, blah . . ."
Porc N Orc Talk inspired by Dyvers by +Chris Tamm, from the blog Elfmaids & Octopi: If you can read Chris' take on anything and not feel inspired to do your own thing then I've got nothing for you. His imagination is second to none and when he puts his mind to any topic you had best take note of the results because he's putting out solid gold.
An Introduction to the Elementals of Subazurth by Trey, from the blog From the Sorcerer's Skull: I'm really kind of digging this short introduction to the elementals of Subazurth. Trey has this natural talent for taking concepts you're familiar with and giving them a new life.
Question of the Day - Will there be an OSR version of Frigga's Chosen? by +Johua De Santo, from the blog Genius Loci: In this post Johua discusses how the OSR isn't providing enough revenue for him to break even on his projects anymore which is why he's doing 5e products now. Is this an isolated event; one game designer's problem within a crowded field, or is this a sign of a change in the market away from OSR products?
What is Tested? by +Arnold K., from the blog Goblin Punch: When you're designing your dungeon what are you attempting to accomplish with it? Are you attempting to test the players' skill, their ability to min / max their characters, how many times your players will let their characters die in room A7 before they slash your tires? Figuring out what you're trying to test with your dungeons is important and Arnold has some thoughts about it.
On Balance in 5th Edition by +Courtney Campbell, from the blog Hack & Slash: The subject of balance in the various versions of D&D tends to come up a lot and often it tends to be hinged upon shady math. When Courtney looks at 5th Edition, however, it's through the eye of someone who isn't interested in manipulating numbers for an outcome he likes which often makes him an incredibly valuable resource. His conclusions on this matter interest me. What do you think about them?
d6 Wandering Monster Table with added sounds. Batteries not included by +Alasdair Cunningham, from the blog Iron Rations: This post is just fantastic. Seriously, just read this line: ". . . behold, I give you, Ignus Ursus. The Fire Bear! Like a Polar bear, only hotter, and wielding weapons, and using armour, so maybe not much like a Polar bear at all then . . ." If that line doesn't make you want to check out this post then I don't know what's wrong with you. This thing's a riot!
Does Rule Zero Empower Game Masters To Handle Problem Players? by +Jeffro Johnson, from the blog Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog: For certain segments of our hobby Rule Zero, that the Game Master is always right, is a sore spot that has never gone away. It excuses every terrible excess in gaming that you can imagine; but are they right? Jeffro has some thoughts on the matter that you may find interesting.
Toss Out Alignment Entirely and Try This… by +Moebius Adventures, from the blog Moebius Adventures: This is an interesting idea for how to deal with alignments that has players weighing their decisions against two moral spheres. I'm not sure how it would play in a game but it has me intrigued nonetheless.