Amplifying the Blogosphere (v2021-06-11)

Campaigns, Bingo, and Breakinig Changes

Path to org-roam v2

In my opinion, Org-roam 🔍 is among the best things that happened to Emacs during the last 5 years. Forget Zettelkasten method, org-roam is a solution for non-hierarchical note-taking regardless of methodology you are worshiping.

And now org-roam is very close to release of V2, the first major redesign affecting both users and authors of libraries extending org-roam. And while PR remains a mere draft, V2 is so amazing and is so much more stable than V1, that my advice is to drop the chains of old org-roam and embrace all the goodness V2 brings.

When I’m running and preparing Campaign: New Vistas in the Thel Sector I make extensive use of org-roam. It functions like a super-charged personal wiki 🔍 that I can extend. And as I wrote in , I think migrating my blog to org-roam as the likely end game of my blog management.

Why? Because I already use org-roam as a database for my non-public facing notes. I manually extract things from org-roam that I want to publish on my blog. I’ve made extensive use of Hugo 🔍 shortcodes and layouts, so this migration would be non-trival.

Take a look at my Hugo theme if you’re interested. With all of the cross-linking I do, it takes 9 seconds to build my whole site. Before the massive cross-linking effort the build was about 1 second. While 9 seconds is slow, I assume any Emacs 🔍 based export from org-roam would be an order or two slower.

Landing in the Lost City of Omu

Using the Bingo Style Experience Points, we started the game writing up the outer ring of the Bingo Board. Bingo chips can be taken off the board to be used as Inspiration.

Okay, I’ll admit, Judd’s Bingo Style Experience Points slipped past my notice.

However, in reading through his Landing in the Lost City of Omu post, I see the tool in action and can’t help but love it.

For the readers, I’m going to transcribe the base bingo board image into an HTML table. See Table 223: Judd Karlman's Bingo Style Experience Points Template for a non-image version of the bingo board. Then I’m going to add the specific bingo game board that is in play for this leg of their Tomb of Annihilation 🔍 adventure. See Table 224: Judd Karlman's Bingo Style Experience Points for Exploring the Lost City of Omu.

Table 223: Judd Karlman’s Bingo Style Experience Points Template
TBDThwarted a rivalDiscovered secret loreMade a dangerous enemyTBD
TBDOvercame a challenge with cunningFree space (counts as completed)Recovered ancient lost treasureTBD
TBDEarned the trust of a wondrous allyAdded a new detail to the mapSaved folk from the tyranny of monstrous beingsTBD
As a group fill out the TBD squares to reflect the kind of game you want to play.

And below is the table for the Lost City of Omu.

Table 224: Judd Karlman’s Bingo Style Experience Points for Exploring the Lost City of Omu
Pivot the adventure to a new direction…Follow the most simple and direct path…Turn a difficult/tense situation around with humorCut losses and retreat rather than face further losesSave a comrade's life
Help somone achieve a good deathThwarted a rivalDiscovered secret loreMade a dangerous enemySpring a trap on a mighty foe…
Granted mercy to a fallen foeOvercame a challenge with cunningFree space (counts as completed)Recovered ancient lost treasureDo the deed that will inspire the name of the group
Voluntarily leave a prize behindEarned the trust of a wondrous allyAdded a new detail to the mapSaved folk from the tyranny of monstrous beingsRedefined an old relationship
Make a boast and act on itPatch up a feudChoose a different path when violence is the easiest wayBuild a bridgeTrade stories with an enemy

As I think to one of my favorite Tomb of Annihilation sessions— ) and the conclusion —I’m mentally checking off what all my group had done.

And I think crafting that bingo board is a great way for the table to telegraph what they want to see in the game. Another way of looking at it is that in the Old School Renaissance (OSR 🔍) you often reward Experience Points (XP 🔍) for Gold Piece (gp 🔍); in later editions you might reward XP for a quest or defeating a monster.

This bingo board encodes those concepts, and as a group facing board helps them see specifically the kinds of things they said they would do to advance their characters. Which, if you blur your eyes a bit, is kind of like Beliefs, Instincts, and Traits (BITs 🔍) in Burning Wheel Gold 🔍; and definitely like flags from Shadows of Yesterday.

End Game

Experience leads to skill score increase, and ageing leads to attribute score decrease.

A saving throw against ageing is easily portable to other systems.

You do not become invicible, you become weaker. Your power grows, but you’re not holding the dagger. Your head cools, you’re leaving the youthly gardens of the short term. The game has changed.

I yearn to play the long-running campaign. I think to The Great Pendragon Campaign 🔍 and the assumption that you start as a young knight, and perhaps they retire, so you play your character’s child.

I see those long-running stories as something that was foundational to my childhood and young-adulthood relationships. A group of 7 or 8 of us would play the same characters for a year or two. And then other campaigns would start with portions of that group and new members. Then we’d mix that up, so that in a group of 15 or so players, each person had played in a few campaigns, but not everyone in all of the campaigns. Together that cohort of 15 shared wonderful stories.

And I suppose I want to revisit that experience, as it created some of my longest lasting and deepest friendships. Perhaps this is the greatest insight into why I write session reports.