Some light hacks of 5E for #AThousandThousandIslands. This is basically the first time we've thought about RPG-system stuff for the zines.

Yeah yeah, it's D&D -but hey, *I* play D&D, okay?


I'm pleased with the tweaks to xp and skills. (These may seem like trivialities, but I'm the opposite of a rules-design guy, so ...)

Also: Mun Kao made a character sheet, inspired by the flow-chart-y excellence of #MothershipRPG . (Note the "Allies & Pets" column!)

Also: remember that demon hunter who fell in love with one of their targets?

Here they are, as a D&D character class!

(I wrote most of their abilities / powers in natural language, so adapting them to any other ruleset *should* be painless?)


BTW: the ATTI website now has a blog. Our plan is to use this blog to post more in-depth process and research notes for our zines;

Plus free downloads: like the above hacks and character classes; or pamphlet adventures.


Also also also:


Individual copies of NGELALANGKA and DRAWINGS PART TWO, previously lost in shipping limbo, are now available for purchase on the #AThousandThousandIslands webstore:



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More from @zedecksiew

16 May
Playing #AThousandThousandIslands in #dnd5e :

Here's the house-rule document, in PDF- athousandthousandislands.com/download-5e-ho…

And that post *already* has long-ass notes. But talking shop about game design is fun, I guess? So, thread:

1/ Image
My fave RPG rule texts are ones that trust players.

Games like Knave and Troika! set their ethos by what they *don't say*, as much as the rules they provide:

"You are sharing a cool experience with friends, here's a scaffold, climb all over it and build something together"

PS: Troika! still has, in my estimation, the best "what is an RPG?" section ever written. Basically:

"Oh wow you are getting into RPGs for the first time, here's what it is, don't be scared, just go for it, I'm so excited for you!"

3/ Image
Read 26 tweets
20 Mar

This has always been the most obvious thing to me:

"TTRPGs are a conversation; how you get people into the conversation is design. How you describe a particular place, how you’ve drawn a particular character are as important as mechanical rules."

"TTRPGs are a conversation", particularly-

It feels like a useless thing to point out; every instance of RPG play (that isn't solo play) is obviously "people, talking".

But I've come to realise that this simple observation underpins everything I want do, re: RPG design.

The idea that everything said at the table-

"They've left a key on the table. Do you take it?"
"My character hates dwarves ..."
"Yes, but what *direction* do we flee in?"

Is play. Is the heart of the game, working. Not just when conversation triggers resolution mechanics.

Read 19 tweets
18 Mar

" Gul and others's mistrust [of vaccinations] stems from a much more sinister source ... hunting for Bin Laden in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, the CIA organized a fake hepatitis B vaccination program to aid in their search. "
" ... though the White House announced that the CIA would no longer use vaccination programs as cover for espionage, Pakistan moved from being a country that had almost eradicated polio to one whose polio cases accounted for a whopping 85 percent of the global share. "
Even if you expect a baseline of USian interventionist evil, this is *beyond the pale* HOLY SHIT
Read 4 tweets
18 Mar
To contextualise my thoughts re: incentivizing ethical decisions in RPGs:

Yesterday I played in a game, running through @DonnStroud 's "The Isle of the Plangent Mage". At the start of the adventure, a scene of townsfolk slaughtering beached whales.

The parent whale had already been killed; its three children were still on the beach, breathing.

The bulk of our session became: "How do we save these whale babies???"

We were playing with Old School Essentials. OSE's rules-sanctioned incentive for play is as old-school as it gets: gold for XP; monsters defeated for XP.

Read 13 tweets
18 Mar
This is my main problem with mechanically rewarding pro-social play: a character's ethical choice is rendered mercenary.

"Being good for a reward isn’t being good - it’s just optimal play. "
Bear in mind I'm not saying that pro-social play can't have "rewarding" outcomes for players:

Any decision should have (diegetic?) consequences in the fiction. The townsfolk are thankful; the goblins remember your mercy, etc.

But extra XP tickets for ethical decisions stinks.
If you give bonus XP for sparing goblins your players aren't making a decisions based on how much their value life. They are making a decision based on how much they want XP.

A subtle but *absolutely* essential distinction, when it comes to ethics.
Read 10 tweets
15 Mar
Tried reading Lancer RPG several times now. (It's been on my bedside table for a month.)

And it is *genuinely* difficult for me to see its setting's central polity, Union, as anything but an analogue to imperial US America.
* centralised polity with clear metropole worlds
* absolutely intertwined with megacorporations
* "safeguarded" by a secret intelligence bureau a la the CIA / KGB
* foreign policy against its "periphery" is expansionism / corpocratic brush war
* sure of its moral rectitude
The text uses the word "utopia" / "utopian" 18 times. (Not counting the phrase "Utopian Pillars", Union's charter.)

I kept looking to see whether it was using this world ironically. It does not.

I'm sorry, but secret police + centralised nation-state + MEGACORPS =/= utopia.
Read 19 tweets

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