It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I think today is a good time to start this back up again. I’m in the habit of poking through the archives of anyone who comments on my blog. It’s a great way to get new ideas, see what ideas of mine might pop up elsewhere through simultaneous generation, that kind of thing.
Okay, here’s the truth: I borrow and steal damn near everything for my games, and this is a great way to find new stuff to YOINK for use in my own games. So when Mike Summers of Old Guy Gaming commented on my two posts 5E Wishlist and 5 Things NOT to do in 5E, I decided to poke about his archives and see what there was to steal. And OH MAN is there ever a lot of great information in this guy’s brain to steal. His writing is clean and concise, and he’s WAY more of a math guy than I will ever be, so his posts take a very crunchy, numbers-oriented slant that I find very appealing to me specifically because it’s such a different mindset from my own.
He’s definitely an OSR kinda guy, but early on in his archives it shows that he really did try the 4E system and found it wasn’t his cup o’tea. I have great respect for that, and for the rest of his insights, so I’m posting a list of the stuff I found today that I think is really neat on his blog. Take a look– you will NOT be disappointed, regardless of what edition you play.
- Realistic Coastlines Revisited— this is a revision of Old Guy’s Cartographer Guild Award-Winning Post. If you’re a digital map guy like me, this is great stuff. Has a tutorial for both Photoshop *AND* GIMP.
- Temperature & Climate— a great post on how to craft a quick & easy weather baseline for your fantasy game. Again– WAY more numbers heavy than I would do myself, but I’m more than happy to utilize his work and then tell folks about it.
- Where Do You Put Your Gold? — this is a LONG, detailed post about the various ways that adventurers can keep their hard-earned shinies safe and useful in between adventures. There are also a lot of ideas on how to turn the adventurer’s treasure INTO adventures if you read between the lines in this post.
- Dumb Things We’ve Done— if you’ve played any of the older versions or retroclones, you’ll laugh because you’ve done these things. If you started your gaming career with 3.0 or later, you’ll laugh because folks used to do these things. Either way, it’s funny ‘cuz it’s true.
- Remember that number-crunching I mentioned? Yeah. In Gems, Mike analyzes the little shiny treasure pieces down to identifying how many come in a pound for encumbrance purposes and much more. He does the same for coins in How Big Is A Coin, and statues in How Much Does a Statue Weigh? I’ve never beenbig on encumberance rules, but these might lean me that direction.
- Mike talks about the evolution of coin values in 1E, 2E, 3.x, and 4E in Currency. He also analyzes E. Gary Gygax’s own coinage in the Greyhawk world as well. I’ve been considering changing coinage and item values for a long time. This post will likely be the basis for that.
- Design Considerations For My Starting Area is a great, ground-level post about Mike building his campaign world, or a section of it. Really neat to see the mind at work here.
- Decide What Services Are Available— one of the things that both 3.X and 4E took away–in my opinion– was the “rest stop” in between adventures or mid-adventure as a roleplaying possibility all its own. By putting all the info in the player’s hands, it took a lot of the mystery and wonder and interesting stuff a GM could do with it out of the picture. Mike does a great job of talking about how to make the shopping experience and interaction more interesting here.
- In what is possibly my favorite post on his blog, Mike makes a simple statement: The Character Is Not The Center Of The Universe, and the backs it up with a lot of solid thinking. This is one of the things that I hope the new edition addresses– level-specific encounters all day long, every day just aren’t realistic, even following the Sorting Algorithm of Evil, and they will get boring after a while. Mike addresses this topin in a clear, succinct way. I like it a lot.
In case you couldn’t tell, I really like Old Guy Gaming. Mike’s got a great site and a lot of good things to say from DMing experience that goes back to the oldest iterations of our hobby. Check him out. You won’t be disappointed.