Blogworthy: Mercenaries, Beholders, Cyclopedia, Chronomancy, Easter Eggs

Blogworthy is a regular column dedicated to blog posts that I’ve read and enjoyed. It’s a direct outcome of my RPG Blogs Reading List on Feedly. 

Improved Initiative – Who are your mercenary companies? A good post on adding mercenary companies to your RPG game. After all, “adventurer” isn’t really a career (Improved Initiative has another good post about “Stop Using ‘Adventurer’ in your Campaign”) but “mercenary” is. The post includes a few examples (“The Acolytes of Arannis”, “The Harbingers of Sorrow”) that illustrate the concept.

My D&D campaign went a different route, in that we established formal “adventuring guilds” in the city, in large part because there was a megadungeon nearby that could support that sort of thing. That said, I still included a number of mercenary companies, especially in our Obsidian Frontier prequel campaign, during which most of the adventuring guilds hadn’t been established.

Sly Flourish – Six Beholder Deathtraps: Volo’s Guide to Monsters write-up on eye tyrants inspired Sly Flourish’s list of beholder death traps. The traps are ideas rather than formally statted creations, such as this one:

Wall of force over a pit full of 1. snakes; 2. crawling claws; 3. acid; 4. lava; 5. zombies; 6. a portal to the abyss; 7. carrion crawlers; 8. psionic-infused impaling spikes; 9. a quipper pool; 10. gelatinous cubes.

It’s excellent idea fodder. Volo’s Guide also inspired me when it came to beholders; one of our oldest campaign legends is of the beholder enclave known as the “City of Eyes”. Until Volo’s Guide came out I didn’t have a good idea of exactly how such a thing could work, given the eye tyrant’s xenophopic and intraspecies paranoia … but I do now. [insert evil dm laugh]

The Other Side – Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia Unboxing: One of the biggest holes I have in my D&D collection is the original B/X rules. I still have my fraying D&D Basic Set rulebook, but I donated my ExpertCompanions, and Masters to my college game club. I’ve been contemplating getting a print-on-demand version of the D&D Rules Cyclopedia from RPGNow but I wasn’t sure what the quality would be. The Other Side answers that question quite nicely with an unboxing of the print version and comparison with existing print copies.

Daemons & Deathrays – Time Marches On: Daemons & Deathrays hosted February’s “Time Marches On” topic for the RPG Blog Carnival. The launch post includes links to the various blogs that participated in the carnival. My favorite? Loot the Room’s post about the Chronomancer sourcebook for D&D 2nd Edition.

SyFy Wire – Ranking Ready Player One Easter Eggs by Cleverness: I’m glad to see that SyFy shelved its Blastr site in favor of a resurrected SyFy Wire news site. Blastr, with it’s missing R, always felt like they were trying way, way too hard.

(Warning: light spoilers ahead) This post about the various hidden (and not so hidden) Easter Eggs in Ready Player One largely matches my own feelings on the movie, though I think the most egregious exclusion was a proper Dungeons & Dragons scene. It didn’t need to a Tomb of Horrors dungeon crawl — just a short flashback to Halliday playing D&D with his friends in their fledgling corporate headquarters would have been enough.

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