Friday, 27 December 2019

X Edition of Library of Babel's Five on Friday

I say this each week without fail, in service to the greater blogger gods: read Froth's Humpday Blog-O-Rama and also Dragons Never Forget for the greatest OSR blogrolls currently available!

The Green Man. He is a man and he is green, which was fortunate for his parents who named him before he was born.
Yes, it's that time of year again, when we huddle together in our caves and praise the Green Man that the vengeful Ghost of Christmas Past has not risen from his grave to assault the Flying Spaghetti Monster with his heretical proclamations. You may have drunken the blood of your vanquished enemies from their own skulls, or you may have invited them for tea, biscuits and frank discussion: all told, this is my flippant way of saying that whatever faith (or lack thereof) you possess, I hope your celebration (or lack thereof) of the midwinter solstice (or the birth of Christ, or Hanukkah) has been suitably joyous!

The passing of one year and the advent of another is a time for reflection and contemplation, and I hope to submit a summary of my top five favourite posts of the year. For now, here is what I have been reading (and most enjoyed) this week:

ESPHAREL
OSR: SHRINES AND PATRON SAINTS
Arnold K has made some interesting modifications to the cleric class and in this post, The Byzantine at Espharel has expanded on some of the concepts (namely, the cleric providing a guardian angel for the party) within the paradigm of party saints.  
What's interesting here is that the campaign for which this developed is based upon Elder Scrolls: I have no idea whatsoever about that game (I don't really play video games any more), but the idea is eminently adaptable to other settings. In a nutshell, shrines provide opportunities for PCs to make offerings/sacrifices and gain blessings from their patron saint. PCs must adhere to the strictures laid out by their saint, else they run the risk of losing their blessing.  
I've been considering how to incorporate shrines and/or totems into my burgeoning animist setting and this has provided some food for thought, particularly with the notion of magic dice/spiritual guardians/shared party powers.

ELFMAIDS & OCTOPI
MERRY XMAS YOU GLORIOUS BASTARDS: FREE STONE AGE PDF 
[STONE AGE SORCERY]
While I've been languidly pondering the nature of belief and magic in my City of Ghosts  campaign, Elfmaids & Octopi has been far more industrious. I've shilled their output quite a lot over the past few weeks and hopefully this is the last time I will have to do so, for here is an incredible FORTY PAGES of free, stone age D&D content. It's a little rough, but this is forgivable given the sheer volume here (and I'm a fine one to talk giving my appalling self-editing skills). 
This post is essentially what old school gaming content should be about: giving you the tools to create interesting situations, obstacles and problems for your players to overcome. These tools take the form of a number of random tables (the best kind) for items, challenges, rival tribes, megalithic monuments. 
I still much prefer Cavegirl's take on the prehistoric, just because it jettisons a lot of fantasy baggage without losing the "feel" of an OD&D game, but E&O's approach is commendable.
THE BONE BOX CHANT
NSR PLANESCAPE
So I've already mentioned (wile discussing of Lexi's Meatropolis) that I'm a huge fan of the "one post setting" i.e all the information you need to create a particular flavour of campaign world, condensed into one post. The purpose of collecting and cataloguing a number of these would be for a plane/world-hopping campaign: I often run games out of either the Stygian Library or Garden of Ynn and I like giving the PCs the option of using either environment as a base (or at least an access point) from which to explore other worlds. 
It should therefore come as no surprise that when Pandatheist  announced that had issued a challenge alongside the formidable Marquis Hartis to create a new setting in one post with  "4 elements/schools of magic and 10 spells (or psionic powers or technomantic channeling or cybernetic charging etc)". Here, Pandatheist offers their setting, a realm of blood, bone, ember and ash, described through five relatively gruesome invocations, very much in keeping with Marquis' own idiosyncratic approach to spells (an approach which partly inspired my own take on ritual magic). 
Hopefully I'll be able to post an entry myself very soon, and if you're reading this and think it sounds awesome you probably should make a contribution, too. Kyana, if you're reading this, it's a message FOR YOU!
HMMM MARQUIS
THE PLANE OF LIGHTNING & THOUGHTS - FULMENS - SPELLS OF THE STORM-WRACKED NOOSPHERE 
Naturally, if I mention that a new blog challenge has been issued and Marquis Hartis has contributed something to it you know already that it's going to get mentioned. The output from Marquis' blog has been consistently potent this year. 
In this post, Marquis reimagines the elemental plane of lightning that is summoned and manifested in the mind of the devoted - a Fulmen. Marquis probably colours outside the lines a little with the very thorough description of the plane and its nature, but its powerful stuff so we forgive him. Additionally, we get a kind of lateral development demi-class named the Fulmen and a very comprehensive spell list focusing on mental magic and finally a selection of Fulmen artefacts. It's also a thoroughly enjoyable read, especially the spell descriptions.
THE BONE BOX CHANT
20+ OSR Games 
Special props to Pandatheist for scoring a double entry on the final Five on Friday post of 2019! This post is exactly the kind of thing you need to read at the end of the year: a cracking long list of games that you should have played/ be playing/ mining for inspiration. I don't need to add any more, just have a read through and leave Pandatheist an embittered comment about the fact your favourite game was overlooked (if applicable - although the list is so comprehensive I'd be intrigued to discover what your favourite game is)
Merry Christmas ya filthy animals.

- Sofinho
DM in Exile

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