John Aegard has produced some really cool stuff, including two resources that jumped out at me: Jedi Blackbird, a Star Wars hack of Lady Blackbird, and a collection of tips for running a Dungeon World one-shot.
Jedi Blackbird is more structured than its inspiration, but only a little. That’s a good thing: Lady Blackbird is brilliant, but I want a hack of it to do something more than just reskin the characters and call it a day. Jedi Blackbird does more.
It’s still every bit as delightfully brief: two pages of sparse background, one page of GMing notes, and the characters. Boom.
The added structure comes from the premise:
NOW, word has arrived from the distant Outer Rim that the renegade padawan ORDO VALLUS has established a holdfast on the junk world of KONDU. The Jedi Council has hastily dispatched three Jedi aboard the starship BLACKBIRD. Their mission: to bring Vallus back to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, where he will stand trial.
Vallus has an agenda; it’s covered in the GMing notes. The PCs are on a mission, and on a specific planet, which fits well for Star Wars. But beyond that, things are wide open — there’s no plot to follow, no rails to ride. (JB tweaks more things about LB than just the setting and structure, too; those are also in John’s notes.)
I’ve already printed this out and added it to the folder full of zero-prep games that rides in my gaming bag.
Index card mapping
I dig Dungeon World, and John’s tips for fitting a satisfying, emblematic DW experience into a typical four-hour convention event slot look good to me. But what really grabbed me was his mapping technique, which uses index cards.
Here’s why this sounds amazing:
The map will be a grid of index cards arranged where everyone can see. […] A map made of cards is super flexible and totally lets you earn your Draw Maps While Leaving Blanks merit badge. See, if you want to add a location between two other locations while you’re in the middle of play, you can just insert a card in between those two locations.
This turns the map into a pointcrawl, a variation on a hexcrawl that uses more abstract mapping and travel rules, on the fly. Which is brilliant!
For a longer-term game, pin the cards to a corkboard or stick them to the table (or a portable surface) with poster putty (paid link). Or hell, just take a picture of the map and rebuild it for each session (until it gets large enough to need a more streamlined solution).
This is one of those mapping techniques I can’t believe I’ve never thought of using before. It has so many applications to different types of game, and it’s right up my alley.
 I suspect I’ll write a post about that folder before too long. I love zero-prep grab-and-go games!
 The pointcrawl series on Hill Cantons is a great look at this style of play.