Another weekly round of good readings on various topic related with RPGs.
Some of the main discussions has been centered on 4E with posts ranging from playing solo, a more open 4E and some in-depth look into the system itself. There's also been some heavy discussions going on about Old School which really provokes some thoughts on the revival movement that has been going on.
However if you're not into opinions, there's still a good number of advice and tips for running a better game. This week is also noted for including some interesting gems from forums which concludes this week to be very productive indeed.
Off we go to the readings and I hope you'll enjoy them.
Advanced Gaming & Theory
DM's Guide Generating Shops
Ripper X talking shop in medieval societies and how you can manage them in your game.
PHB2 In Play: The Avenger
Some tips of getting more out of the Avenger and a couple of sample builds.
PHB2 In Play: The Barbarian
A deeper analysis of the Barbarian and a couple of sample builds.
The New Breed: Foolblade
The foolish but strong warrior archetype.
The New Breed: Player of Games
A cunning strategist and manipulator that sees conflict as a game archetype.
Bard of Valiant
Free artwork sites
The bard is always handy with tools and resources. Here are 30 royalty-free images that you can use for any non-commercial purposes.
Population in Games
A couple of links for figuring out some realistic demographics of your homebrew setting.
By Decree of The Czar
The moons have aligned! Wifey agrees to play DnD!
DnD with The Wife == 92% a DISASTER!
The Czar getting his wife to play D&D for the first time and how did it turn out. There is always something to be learned.
How to Manage Multiple Characters
Things to look out for when playing two characters in the same game as a player.
Chad Perrin: SOB
What if 4e was open?
Chad giving his reasons why restricting 4E to be less open than 3E is not doing Wizards any favors.
Chgowiz's Old Guy RPG Blog
Heavy thinking for a Thursday
A response to the Lord of the Green Dragons post on old school vs. new school (see below).
Another D&D monster in real life
A real life giant sea worm that eats fishes in an aquarium. It looks bizarre.
Cogito, ergo ludo
Music in games
A few recommendations to find ambient music for your game.
Sex, Love and the Races of the PHB2
Showing how the races from PHB2 show some love and get their mack on
Character Ticks - Making A Character Memorable
A simple way of making your characters memorable by giving them a signature gesture.
Chatty's Mailbag: Playing 4e with only 1 player
The Chatty DM answering a couple of questions of playing 4E with a solo player and some pointers on what to do.
Why the tavern is the best place to start a campaign
4 reasons why the taverns remains to be a good starting place for a campaign.
Dungeon Mastering 101
New Editions and Old Fans
Do long time players always want an improvement or new edition to their favorite game?
Skill Matrix by Class and Race
A couple of lists listing the skills available to the classes and races from the PHB, PHB2 and the FRPG. Useful for DMs to create skill challenges and for players while generating their characters. There is also an interesting observation of skill distribution at the end of the post.
Don't Skip the Slow Parts
3 reasons why GMs shouldn't skip the draggy parts of a module for the sake of moving on.
Campaign Design: Geography
Some thoughts on locations, naming them and what is their purpose for world design.
Playing God: The Divine Control of Natural and Spiritual Forces
Some really inspirational and interesting thoughts on God(s), prayer and clerical spells.
Murphy's Laws on Adventuring
Applying Murphy's Law to adventuring.
DMs: what have you learned from PLAYING that has made you a better DM?
What do you from playing as a DM?
Can you railroad a willing player?
An interesting debate on railroading.
math analysis of DMG loot guidelines for starting PCs above level 1
Does the starting gold above level 1 add up to the loot expected to be gained at higher levels? Note: Math heavy.
Exchange of Realities
Setting as Character: How the Writer Sees It
How to see your setting as a character.
Living Locations: Where Setting Is Literally Character
How to make a living location.
Giving Personality to Sentient Locations
Some ways to think about what kind of personality your living location might have.
Character Development for Intelligent Locations
Explaining how the personality of a location may change.
Games Information Blog
100 Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games You Should Play Before You Die
An impressive list of RPGs, old and new from various genres to try. I wonder if I'll ever get the chance to try them all.
Geek's Dream Girl
4 Ways To Speed Up D&D Combat
4 ways to lessen the grind in 4E.
What Type of GM Are You?
The gnomes suggesting 7 types of GMs.
Cheat-Sheets: Good for Everyone!
How simple cheat sheets can teach players a new game.
James Cameron on Creating Fun RPG Adventures
A quote from James Cameron, yes, that James Cameron, on creating fun adventures?!
Confessions of a Lazy GM
Confessions of a Lazy GM Part 2
Greywulf giving us some tips on how to be a lazy GM (and get away with it).
The Top Tier 2: Son of Top Tier
A breakdown of viable classes and builds for the all the races from the PHBs and the FRPG. Interesting observations again.
Lord of the Green Dragons
Old School vs. New School
What is old school really about?
Mad Brew Labs
Designing Games with Class
Some definitions and pros and cons of class-based system in RPGs.
Tweaking 4ed for Survival Horror
Some rules tweak suggestions to turn 4E into a survival horror game.
System for Player Narrative Control
Using goals and milestones to give your players narrative control.
Point of Light
Blast From The Past: Challenging Myths
A look into what is challenging in 3.x and what is just plain luck.
Class-Based Character Backgrounds for D&D
Some great background ideas for each class in the PHB and PHB 2.
Force them to roleplay!
Some ideas to encourage roleplaying from a bunch of hack 'n slashers.
RPG and Social Fiction should be inseperable
Should RPGs focus on social issues?
Sham's Grog 'n Blog
Sham's Proposal: A Major Announcement
A possible way of producing a special 35th anniversary edition of the White Box D&D. Find out how you can make this possible.
Guest post: Five Intelligent Magic Items for the Connoisseur
5 interesting intelligent magic items by Ravyn.
How to encourage player empowerment through play. Authoritative control & collective storytelling in roleplaying games
A couple of methods to make players active participants rather than reactive.
The Art of the Near TPK
Race/Class Synergy in 4e: PHB2 Races
A table to find good racial/class combination for the races from PHB 2.
The Bone Scroll
Does Less Rules Mean Stress Free?
What makes a game less stressful to play or run?
I'm Not Eating That!
How food can add to the atmosphere of your setting.
The Core Mechanic
The Half-Empty Glass: What is missing in 4E D&D
Jonathan laying down the facts and numbers. Is there anything else we need for 4E?
The Keep on the Gaming Lands
Mike Mearls suggesting to add some depth in resolving skill checks.
The Spirits of Eden
A houserule system for henchmen in 4E.
4E Magic Items Leave me Cold and Indecisive
Some gripes against magic items in 4E
Designing for Generational Campaigns: Part II Combat
How to balance low level and high level characters in the same combat.