Friday, 13 December 2019

VIII Edition of Library of Babel's Five on Friday

Before we go on, just a public service announcement to say that Jeff Rients has let a lot of people down. I doubt that you have any idea who I am, but I've been a casual reader of your blog for about five years now and I'm incredibly disappointed in you. You're cancelled, Merry Christmas. 

You know who you DO need to read? That's right, Froth's Humpday Blog-O-Rama and also Dragons Never Forget for the greatest OSR blogrolls currently available!

It's Friday 13th! This is scary coz it's metal! This logo is Helsinki groove/thrash metal band XIII. I have no idea if they are good, but I'm 99% sure they're not fascists, which is good, right?
Here is the blog content you've been searching for. Little skewed towards classes this week...


It's really hard for me to write traveller with one "l". Like, it hurts. I have a weird relationship with spelling (as I'm sure regular readers will attest), and you come for content, not my weird foibles about British vs. American English (interspersed as they are with my horrendous typos and occasional dysgraphia). So I will be quiet.
Lexi's Meatropolis is a unique and evocative setting, cited as a favourite post a few weeks ago and here we get to meat (hah!) a unique character class for this setting. This class has been designed for the GLOG (so there are just four levels), but could easily be adapted for other B/X based games.
What's so great about this post is how so much world-building is built into the class: it is literally someone who has been there and done that, and consequently you start out with some useful background knowledge. Crucially, however, this world-building stuff has mechanical relevance to the game.
It really fleshes out Meatropolis (ha!).
Okay, stick a fork in me: I'm done with meat-based puns.


The random tables you never knew you needed! The messiah may well be a very naughty boy, but what else do we know about them? 
(The following was generated with a d10, not through talk to transformer)
During the days of the Twelve Golden Lawgivers when The Red Death had killed near a quarter of the population, there emerged An itinerant labourer seeking to reform the tenets and practices of the United Association of Mystery Religions. 
Notable among their disciples were...Members of the untouchable caste, and some said that they burst a star apart with a gesture, and that they wept for three days upon the death of their beloved hound. 
But in time they angered those in power. They were executed by means of live burial, deep in the Paupers' Ossuary. Since then the movement has been formalized in a series of bloody religious wars some generations after its founding.


Emmy Allen is probably my favourite game designer. You know what, she is my favourite game designer. Ah, that feels better. I needed to say that.
Okay, onwards! Here she presents a zombie waifu class of the highest order. Also adaptable as runaway sentient sex-robot, if that's more suitable for your campaign. 


The main reason I like these kind of posts is that I don't really need to write anything about them, I can just roll some dice and experience a little mini-game all by myself and then paste the results here... so... 
Let's make a mutant wasteland-guide! 
What's up with his Skin and why does he cover it with his Cloak?-Leathery gray or brown skin. Animal smell
What's his “Lucky” Arm Like?-Fat. The limb is fat and sags, heavy and bloated. Acts as a fat store for trips across the radioactive desert. If you cut into it, it bleeds greasy water.
What are the Fingers on his “Lucky” Arm like?-Standard. Little tattoo of an hourglass on his middle knuckle.
What's this Mutant's Face like??-Nose is missing, as though a leper.
How does he walk? [I'd probably ask "how does he smell?" but I'm a dad now, so I make dad jokes.]
-With a long warbled walking stick. He's a bit older.
How does he Protect himself??- Has a pair of well trained dogs. They mean well, despite having eyes that look like fried eggs.
What's his Area of Expertise-Writes books about the land. One fact is dangerously false; acts as copy protection.
What's the One Place he Refuses to take you?-Dagenham. Only joking, I got: A friendly town. Horrible, painful disease has broken out there. It must be contained. So, 33% correct...
What's his Attitude towards Death?-Food for the vultures.


Total Procedural Generation is a touchstone for my ongoing City of Ghosts Project, and so I found this very thorough exploration of the theory (and its application) behind roguelikes games to resonate with me. One particular addition to the Purpose of Randomness in Game Design   by the author- 
I would add the reason that it allows the gamemaster to discover the world at the same time as the players
-really struck a chord. The reason we play "old school" style games is, I believe, for the freedom: the tactical infinity and the emergent narrative of playing in a truly open world, rather than following the rails of a commercial product. Running through both The Stygian Library and the Gardens of Ynn with some of my students lately has really brought that home to me. 
This is quite a deep dive but a rewarding one, with some excellent links, too.
DM in Exile 


  1. I'm a big fan of procedural generation at the table, for exactly the reason you quoted. (Also, I hadn't seen that @Play article yet, so thank you for linking it!)

    I'm glad you started collecting these every week.

    1. I thought I took the link from your post! I'm very confused now... I'm glad, too: if nothing else it's enabled me to open a dialogue with bloggers I really respect : )

  2. I share your dislike of Zak, and the OSR scene is better without him. I also agree that Jeff is making a fool out of himself with that post, it's disappointing. But I'm very hesitant about the canceling thing, especially when it's "transitive" - ie canceling people for not canceling others. There is an excellent video by Contrapoints on this issue, I tried to link it but alas it seems I can't post links here.

    1. Yeah I think I was too flippant in my choice of words: I'm definitely not a fan of the social media mob mentality and am not trying to encourage a pile-on or mass boycott. I was expressing my own views in a way that could be seen as inciting others and, though that's not my intent, this is not the age of subtlety and I should have known better.

      Having said that, I feel absolutely no guilt about no longer following Jeff's blog or his presence on other platforms: it's not cancellation by association, it's the fact that he chose to publicly defend the indefensible, and employed spurious logic in doing so.

      To put it frankly, if he wants to remain on friendly terms with an abuser that's his business and I'm not judging him for that: he's not known to me personally and he is free to associate with whom he chooses. But when he uses his position to defend an abuser I don't feel like I want anything to do with them, and that's my choice. You are free to make yours and it's not my place to hold you accountable for it.

      I think you can post links but have to use mark up... just paste it?