Friday, May 22, 2009

Industry, Armor, and Divine Bards

A couple of things have popped up in blogland lately that deserve a response of some kind, but that I haven't been able to work up a full post for. So I figured I'd do the blog o' links thing, and hit them all at once.

Where the Pros Are Trollsmyth posted a very thoughtful response to my post on industrial irrelevance, pointing out that there are some real benefits to having a healthy industry supporting a hobby, but that the one we have right now isn't quite doing what we need it to, and may even be actively detrimental to play. I'm still not sure how to square the issues he brings up here. Is there a way for industry to remain useful and still make money? The only response I've been able to come up with is that this seems to be something the Old School Renaissance (or parts of it, at least) is trying to answer. It's got it's own specific variation (Is what happened to TSR an inevitable result of selling D&D and D&D supplements, or were there some specific mistakes that, once identified, we can avoid?) but if there's a general answer to that question, that's one obvious place to look for it.

The Failure of the Industry It's not exactly a response since it's really a continuation of what he's been saying for a while, but James Raggi mentioned my post in one of his own, and gave his own answer to what the industry can do to enable play: make adventures. I've never had much use for published adventures, but now that I've got a little more experience with site-based gameplay, I'm beginning to see how they could be useful in an otherwise homebrewed campaign, and he makes some excellent points in that regard. (I particularly like the idea of adventures as models for design and as touchstones for discussion.)

The Foundations of Medieval Europe and The Warrior's Kit in Medieval Europe They're what they sound like: Trollsmyth explains medieval history for the gaming inclined. Pretty anyone who runs D&D-like games should have at least a passing familiarity with the topic, if only so you know what you're ignoring. So go read them.

D&D Armor and Weapon Weights Somewhat less helpful, but entertaining, godlesspaladin rants about armor and weapon weights and how they're all screwy in various D&D editions. He completely misses the point (naturally) but the post is worth a look for the illustrations and the reenactment video. We have a fairly good idea of how fighting in the middle ages worked because the guys doing it wrote it down, and it's not quite how it is in the movies. (It's much, much faster. Less fencing, more "stab the other guy before he stabs you.")

The 4e Divine Bard, Divine Bard Character Sheet, Divine Bard Fluff, and Divine Bard Additions MacGuffin has a very interesting project going on in using alternate power sources for classes. Unfortunately, I'm of limited use in critiquing it due to my relative unfamiliarity with the latest-and-greatest as far as 4e goes. Those of you with more experience with the system, or just an eye for game design, should head on over and have a look.



    Link for Fordham University's Internet Medieval Sourcebook. Lot's of primary source documents for the European Medieval period.

  2. Cool. A little overwhelming (wow, that's a lot of information) but very cool.

  3. Yeah, it is a lot, but my mottos are;
    If you're studying history, always, always, go for the primary source material when available.


    Knowledge is power and power is fun.