Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Sandbox


I'm working on a larger project over at my Patreon page where I am using the map above as a hex crawl or in this case it is simply titled The Sandbox.  Each time I write an adventure or location this map will be updated.

Why do this?
I'm developing a sandbox campaign where a GM could easily pick it up with about as minimal prep possible and run a series of adventures and the players to explore a world with layers of history and challenging adventures.  These will be build using my Micro-Adventures Patreon campaign.

What else will be included?
As the world grows I will create NPCs and flesh out groups.  There will also be adventure hooks added that connect with the adventures and locations.

Who will this be available to?
The adventure and locations will continue to be available to anyone who stops on by to grab the PDF.  Those patrons at the appropriate pledge levels will receive physical copies of them.  The extras, the additional groups and NPCs created to flesh out The Sandbox will be available only to patrons.  Once this project is completed I will combine all the information into a single PDF available to my patrons.

If you have any questions about the project let me know.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Double Creature Feature: Buried and Cards of Yith


They do sound like a fun Saturday night double feature.  Throw in a large pizza and some ice tea and I am set.  While not as good as two great b-movies and a pizza on a Saturday night, I bring you my offerings for my June, Patreon.

Buried is a micro-location where a halfling has a bad habit of collecting things.  Evil things.  Evil things he can't handle much of the time.  This is a location with several adventure hooks attached to the things he has buried in his yard. 

Cards of Yith is an adventure that takes the party into the Ruin of Wend, a city destroyed by a Night Plague.  No light penetrates the black veil that covers the ruin.  The evil powers that have invaded Wend use powerful magic.  The magic they use mixed with raw emotions creates a secondary thing, cards that capture the essence of the moment.

These go out to my great patrons.  If you want a free PDF copy please click on the link and download them. But if you want one of these laminated beauties you are going to have to join my Patreon.  At the right pledge level you'll get these each month delivered to your door. 

Do You Have Any Questions?


I'm planning a video about my lamination process.  I have a stack of tips and costs of things, but I was wondering if anyone has any specific questions they'd like answered or would some specific information. 

Please let me know.  I'm starting the video in a few hours. 

Thanks.

Norker Land, an Idyllic Place Where Norkers Frolic



I love norkers.  In a platonic way.  One of those well remembered and used creatures from the Fiend Folio from years ago.  There isn't much information on these hunched, big fanged creatures.  Distant relatives of hobgoblins, lazy, thugish...a description that could describe most humanoids and gamers for that matter. 

Norker Land is a simple underground cavern where that norkers live.  They live off the fungi that grows there.  There is plenty of it and because none of them are getting any more or different than the others it has remain peaceful.  Until...

Until part of the cavern roof gave in and introduced two dead cows to the mix.  All hell broke loose after that.  In norker history will go down as a day of infamy as the War of the Cow.  The players happen upon the final days of the war.

I'm working on printing June's offerings today.  I am thinking of doing a more complete video on my laminating process. 

Enjoy Norker Land and to my patrons, thanks for the support.  It is very much appreciated. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Black Hack Mystery Solved

Last night was the finale for +Chris C.'s adventure using Black Hack.  First off, I really enjoyed how smooth Black Hack worked.  Simple and to the point.  And it did what I think any good system should do, blend into the background.  I could see myself using the system in future.

Chris ran a series of four sessions.  +Ken H and played our characters and each of us had a sidekick to start out with.  I chose to be a cleric because of the array of scores I rolled.  And Ken was a fighter.  We explored a bit of Ravensburg and the countryside around it.  The main thrust of our adventure was from a fellow adventurer who had slain a dragon, but two of her henchmen had run off with dragon eggs. This is a bad thing.  We found out why last night.

We get information that One-Eyed Jimmy probably went back to Muckton, his home.  We traveled there and found a caravan gutted by fire and a guard burnt to death.  Muckton was a smouldering ruin except for two cabins.  One contained the dragon and one contained a sick woman.  We decided to attempt to relieve the dragon's burden of breathing. 

A series of very lucky rolls and a pair of Sleep spells and we were able to take it out.  We took the head as proof that we dispatched the dragon and found One-Eyed Jimmy dead in the corner.  We didn't take his head, only his charred eye-patch. 

We then helped the woman.  She was stricken with Black Fever.  We discovered One-Eyed Jimmy
and another man we fought in a earlier session, Finnius, were this woman's sons.  There was a parchment ripped from a book on the table.  We had looked for this particular parchment last session.  The author Drae Burnheart, a very unpopular scholar at the university, had written about finding a cure for Black Fever by using a dragon's egg. 

On our return to Ravensburg and after fighting and killing a boar, we gave the information to the university to attempt.  We had brought an unhatched dragon's egg last session that they smashed due to the danger it presented.  The lead professor, Wind I believe was her name, created the concoction even though she thought it was a complete waste of time.  It worked.  And the old lady was cured and Professor Wind had to eat a bit of crow.  Both were very satisfying.

So the adventure ended there.  Chris runs a good game.  He keeps it simple, the adventure arcs are easy to pick up on and explore.  And there are several options we could always chose.  Including from the last session when we solved a murder mystery that started out as a random encounter.

Good game.

And next week we delve back into Monteport!


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Burying the Evil



"Buried" came from an idea I got, not sure where I got it, but I got it.  A halfling that collects evil things and buries them in his yard.  Even he doesn't understand why.  In my first version Gene was more extreme and odd, it took away from his collecting which is the driving force of his personality.  The other part I struggled with is how to present the information.  After four drafts I decided to present the entire location in a series of adventure hooks.  So each item has a situation that could develop or has developed. 

"Buried" is a location within the sandbox I'm working on.  It will include 12 to 15 locations/adventures.  I'm hoping to have a rough sketch of the area done by next weekend. 

As always, you can grab a copy of the PDF for free and I hope you can find a use for it at your game table.   If you do, let me know.  Always love hearing about folks using them.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Grim Water Oasis & Keegan Manor Headed Out & Patreon Report


Late as always, but I was able to get the final part of May's trio of offerings to my patrons.  May included Grim Water Oasis and Keegan Manor.  And I also included an NPC card that is associated with Keegan Manor.  Those of you who aren't a patron can click the links and download the PDF for free. 

Keegan Manor is a location in a small hex crawl I want to develop around it.  I am working on the overall map and hope to be able to share that soon.

May Patreon Report
My Patreon can swing quite a bit over a month's time.  I thought I would share the my numbers.


New Pledges: 7 new pledges for $21

Increase Pledges: None

Deleted Pledges: 1 pledge for -$1

Decreased Pledges: 2 pledges for -$9.50

Total Pledge Change: $10.50

# of End of the Month Patrons: 74, a gain from 6 from last month

Amount of End of the Month Pledged: $174.75*

The pledged amount is that for the first micro-adventure I am able to produce.  To give you an example of how this decreases I'll share what I get in my top three pledges in June.  This can always change, but at this point and time these are the numbers.

1st Adventure: $179.25
2nd Adventure: $171.25
3rd Adventure: $137.75

So you can see it drops quite a bit after the second adventure.  I am usually good for two adventures in the month and on a rare occasion when I have the brainpower I'll get out a third. 

But those amounts are not what I receive.  Patreon gets a cut, the credit card fees need to be paid and the amount I owe others for pledging their fantastic creations.  I am taking an informed guess here and it averages out that the Patreon and CC fees take about $25 to $30 (these costs are taken out with each adventure released) and I pledge around $50 to other folks creating Patreon goodies (this is taken out once a month). 

I have to say I am very happy with my Patreon campaign, I've hit a high for the number of patrons supporting my adventures and a high for the amount pledged.  There was a nice surge of folks over the past few weeks.  And I received some fantastic emails from patrons with great feedback and how he was going to use them in a game.  Love hearing about that.

If anyone is interested in a Patreon or have questions about my experience I'll be glad to share.  It;s been a positive experience for me overall.  And a good way to earn a little extra money to support your gaming habit.  Those gaming books and paraphernalia won't come to your house on their own.

Patrons.  Thanks you as always. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

More Maps in the Making



Yup, I was busy scribbling and coloring my colored pencils to nubs.  These maps, like the previous post's maps, will be integrated into my Patreon project where I am developing a wee bit of a sandbox made up of micro-locations and adventures.  Not sure how many site will be developed.  I still need to draw the overall map of the area.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Maps in the Making

Here are some raw maps I drew up over the weekend.  I needed to get more maps done for some of the things I'm working on.  Here are a few of the underground layers I penciled.




Sunday, June 5, 2016

Do You...


I made a video of the process I go through when I laminate my Micro-Adventures.  A simple enough process, but I added some of the tips I learned along the way.  The set is fairly simple.  You need a laminator, laminates and if you want to get fancy a die-cutter for the corners (they do get very pokey).  And of course a you have write an adventure.

Please let me know if you have any questions. 

And Patrons, you know who you are, I'll send out your goodies on Tuesday.  Thanks for the support.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Adventure Design: Unreliable Narrator You Wonderful Bastard




The unreliable narrator is one of my favorite literary devises.  I also apply it to the adventures I GM and write.  Here's why. 

Misdirection in an adventure or series of adventures can add a lot of fun to an adventure.  Many times it is assumed that the person inviting the group to adventure is honest with the situation and intentions.  When the party is presented with situations such as a young boy being sacrificed or a village is stricken with a plague, the extreme nature of the situation leaves little doubt that helping is a good thing.  The nature of the narrator is not called into question because of the situation.  Even if he is a no good bastard something needs to be done.  


But the narrator is omitting information.  Information that seems irreverent because of the dire situation.  Action is called for.  Adventurers excel at action.  Adventurers are much like sharks, creatures of motion and cease to exist when that movement stops.  So when the call for action is made, adventurers move.  This unreliable narrator relies on this trait, as should adventure designers.  Using the traits of adventurers (and your players) is to your advantage when developing a plot for your group. 

In my recent adventure, Grim Water Oasis, the situation presented is a young boy being sacrificed.  Not much gray area.  Seems a fairly straight forward reason to go kick some ass.  However, the situation gets more complex if the adventurers look deeper.  The sacrifice is made to feed the water spirit that feeds the oasis.  The oasis provides life for a tribe of desert people and the wildlife in the area.  If the adventurers go in crack’n skulls they have killed off dozens of more people, children and much of the wildlife.  


In the other situation where a village is stricken with a plague, the bearer of the news pleads with the party to save them all.  There is a cure.  In my adventure, The Malice House, the cure is with a hag that lives just over the boundary of hell.  She deals the adventuring party.  She will provide a cure if the party can collect on a debt owed to her.  This time the narrator is naïve of the situation behind the disease.  While saving the village is a good thing, the party must make a deal with a creature of pure evil.  The same creature that created the disease.


 Unreliable narrators, as I’ve given in the two examples, can be by choice or by ignorance.  Either way, it is an adventure element of discovery.  Unveiling the truth after the fact or during the adventure.  It puts the party’s ability to improvise to the test.  It adds depth to a simple situation and leaves the door option for further development of adventures.
 
There is of course a danger if overused.  The last thing you want to is make each potential adventure hook rife with deception.  A little goes a long way.  You can tell when your party has reached the point of saturation, they get a case of paralysis by analysis.  Or just call every needy villager or tavern patron a big fat liar.  


 Next time your writing an adventure or setting the hook in those adventurers mouth, add a little unreliability to the narrator.  Your players will thank you.  That last statement was brought to you by your friendly unreliable narrator. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

NPC Cards


Keegan Manor was posted tonight on my Patreon page.  Anyone can grab a copy of the PDF.  Keegan Manor is a micro-location that I plan on using as a home base for a hex crawl series of adventures and locations.  I'll tie in some of the previous releases and draw and overall map of the area.  It'll be geared toward first and second level characters.  A fresh sandbox to tromp through, kick over rocks and explore that ruin on the hill. 

I'm making a couple NPC cards for my patrons.  They'll be 4" x 6" laminated cards, like most of the adventures.  Below is a sample of what one will look like.  I'll have different ones for each of the classes.  On the back is the write up and information of any special items they carry.


I'll ship out copies of Keegan Manor in the beginning of June, along with Grim Water Oasis.  And who knows, there is one day left in the month, there may be another. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Adventure Misdirect


MA#44 Grim Water Oasis was released tonight.  Click on the link if you'd like a PDF copy.


I like developing adventures/situations where there is no way to win.  My players are all too familiar with them.  In addition, adding that unknown element to the situation.  A vital piece of information that is missing that deprives the party of making an informed decision.  I don't use this type adventure all the time, I do like to use them on a regular basis to keep the party off balance.  What might seem like a black and white situation may be more complex.

The trickster is an entity I don't use too often, but I like the idea of an enemy that is never what it seems.  Constantly changing appearance and presenting a situation in a skewed way to prod the party into a rash decision. 

I want to welcome all my new patrons this month.  I hope everyone enjoys the adventure.  I think I rewrote a half a dozen times.  Changed the map just as many times.  I hope the final version is something that you can use at your table or at least glean some inspiration from.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Scarey Shadow Not Included, but the Staples Are

With April 2016 in the books comes another batch of Micro-Adventures out the door.  This month also includes March's single offering which I did not mail because I was failing my insanity checks at work.  On to the offerings.  All of these are available at my Patreon site for the low, low price of gratis. 


To Buy or to Bother is a micro-location.  A cool critter with some OCD issues that can make a very colorful encounter.  A hidden space underground with a possibility of an interesting role-playing opportunity.  I like this one a lot.  Had it banging around my head for a while before I could finally work it out.

To Buy or to Bother is a 4" x 6" laminated note card.  The corners have been rounded for your protection.


Poisoning Chaos is another micro-location, this one could change a campaign.  This creepy, perfect, little cabin with its creepy, perfect, little bard hide a secret that could CHANGE THE WORLD!  muhahaha.  Or really put the screws to it.  This is what happens when good intentions pave the road to hell.

Poisoning Chaos is on a lovely, laminated white cardstock half sheet.  Measuring a generous 5.5" x 8.5".  And again, the corners have been rounded by Swedish craftsmen to assure the smoothest tactile experience and GM could ever wish for in an laminated, cardstock adventure.


Lastly, but not leastly is The Charcoaler's Ransom.  This is what happens when you put yur history in my gaming.  Or my gaming into history.  Where I take a slice of life from Medieval Times and mix it the plotting mind of Margesh Blackblood.  Yeah, my bandit lord is at it again.  He knows what he's doing and expects a lucrative and quick payday.



The Charcoaler's Ransom is in zine format.  Two variegated sheets of cardstock.  Also included are two expertly stapled staples to assist with keeping the cardstock together.  Engineers work diligently to make assure the staples were at the most effective distance apart to increase reading enjoyment.  However, the picture above has a scary shadow.  The scary shadow is not included.