Thursday, October 31, 2013

Blog Ambush and NaNoWriMo

Looks like the whisk has redecorated my blog while I was at work.  She giggled behind me as I brought up my page.  She likes that I don't like the spiders with the bows.  Then I found out she changed my icon when I comment on other people's blog.  And the title of my blog, Halloween Manor.  Apparently she had a lot of time on her hands yesterday.

At least there are no falling witches and ghosts.

Tomorrow starts NaNoWriMo.   I plan on doing it this year.  A few days ago I had no idea what I was going to write about, but now I've got a few ideas I think I'll run with.  It'll be a story based in the campaign world I'm building and this exercise will help me flesh out the world in more detail.  When I free write I come up with the nuances of cultures and customs that bring a world to life.  I won't go into much detail, one, because its bad mojo to talk about it before hand and two, I still know very little of what/who I'll be writing about.

Anyone else out there feeling brave and going to join this masochistic exercise?

Oh, and almost forgot.  Have a great Halloween!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Simon Forster Made My Day

The other day I received a very cool envelope from one Mr. +Simon Forster.  Inside it had two beautiful maps...wait, no, four beautiful maps.  Also included in the envelope was a flash fiction piece titled, Tea and Biscuits.  Made my day.  Thanks a ton Simon!

Side A of the Map Cards
Side B of the Map Cards
Tonight I plan on writing a few quick adventures for these maps and include them in my campaign.  That cross hatching is mesmerizing.  

Also a quick note.  Once I get some pictures of my not so small haul from Con on the Cob there a few things I plan on giving away.  Stay tune for freebies.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Question...Still Alive

Still sick.  Day 8 now.  Getting a little pissed at this point that it hasn't gone away.  Anyway, its Friday and even when you're sick its still a good day...I think.   I don't have much in the way of a question.  That profile meme floating around grabbed a couple of the questions I had.  So why not just ask the obvious.

What are you doing for Halloween this year? 

This year Whisk is going to select another designer drug to get all freaky on.  I think this year she is favoring Molly.  I like Molly Hatchet so why not.  Last year the bath salts didn't do much for me.  I thought they worked like Pop Rocks and went wild by drinking Coke a Cola with it.  Made Whisk hungry and she ate the face off her pumpkin.  That was cool. 

She also ate the stem on top.


We order a pizza, lock the door (after the pizza arrives of course), dogs and humans pile onto the couch, cue a handful of grainy, black & white films and sit there until we fall asleep.  Which seems to be getting earlier every year. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Con Report: Day Two

I got up feeling a little better.  Met +Chris Bard for breakfast.  We hit the vendor room again this time looking for Fate/Fudge dice.  We found them even though I looked that table over three times I missed them, luckily I just asked and they were right in front of me (can you say failed roll).  Chris and I did a preemptive strike on hunger and hit Subway so we would already have something to eat.  It was a great idea by Chris.

The day of gaming began.  I met up with +Rob Conley and +Daniel McEntee.  They were off playing another game while Chris and I settled in to play our first of two games run by +Dylan Hartwell.  He was running his very first release The Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz!.  He gave everyone a copy of the adventure.  Very cool.  I've written to Dylan through blogs, his is Digital Orc, over the years.  I hadn't realized how long it had been until he mentioned it.  It was great to finally meet him, but it was even better having him GM.  Dylan is a high energy GM.  You know he loves his adventure and the man sure knows his beer.  I feel a got a quick education about brewing.

At the table with me was +Dan C. and +Hans Scharler, along with +Chris Bard.  It was a great gaming group.  Dan and Hans are funny as hell.  Chris played a lawful cleric who nearly led the party into a TPK, but was the only one who got stomped.  We had a lot of fun.

After that game we took a small break to eat and get ready for Dylan's next game featuring Menagerie of the Ice Lord.  And again, he gave everyone at the table a free copy.  By this time I was feeling worn down again and sick.  I barely had any voice left for the game.  In this game the previous four we around the table along with +Rob Conley and +Daniel McEntee.  So we had four out of our five Monday Night group sitting around the same table.  That was great. 

Before the game started I finally got to meet +Bryce Lynch.  It was unexpected.  I'm a huge fan of his brutally honest reviews.  I wish we would have had more time to talk.

After Dylan concluded his second adventure we ate a quick dinner while playing a Zombie Dice app on Rob's ipad.  By this time I had no voice left and the fever shakes were kicking in.  But damn it, their was more gaming to be done.

Rob created a Fudge system for his majestic wilderlands and has been playtesting it lately.  Because I had no voice I played a mute fighter.  +Chris Bard played a fighter and +Daniel McEntee played a fighter...I think.  He breathed fire.  Anyway me not being able to speak did not hinder the game at all.  It went surprisingly smooth.  My party was very quick at deciphering my lousy charades.    But after we concluded the other battle I was spend.  I nearly feel off my chair at one point.

While it may not have been the smartest thing to push it while I was sick, but I would be damned if I let all the time and money go to waste and the chance to meet everyone.  

Con Report: Day One

I got up at 5am to get an early start for the con.  When I woke up I felt horrible.  I'll save the gory details.  I head out at 6:30am.  It's a two hours drive there so that would give me a little time to get the layout of the place.

I got lost.  My Google map said to travel north on 8 for 3.1 miles.  That was a typo.  It was supposed to read 31 miles.  I asked for direction twice which got me lost even more.  I ended going back to the PA border and trying it again because when I looked at the map I saw the problem.  Found the Clarion fairly easy, but finding the entrance took a little time also.  It's a good sized place and the entrance is in the back. 

I was supposed to participate in a Dungeon World game at 9am.  I didn't get in until 9:45am.  I went to the table and they were well into what they were doing so I passed.  I thought I could check into my room and rest a little before the 1pm Savage World game.  I felt lousy.

Went to the desk and this kinda short guy who looks like he should have been an extra on the Godfather talked on the phone for about 10 to 15 minutes (I know this because there is a giant clock behind the counter).  He hung up, ignored me and as I tried to address him the phone rang again and he picked up the phone again...

I'm already feeling sick.  Now I'm sick and getting pissed.  Finally he gets off the phone and acknowledges my existence.  I ask if I can check into my room.  He said no.  Not until 4pm.  It was like 10:15am.  So decide I'll go to the vendor room and check it out.  Not open.  They have a restaurant in the hotel.  I ask them how long are they serving breakfast for, they said 11am.  I was getting very hungry, but wanted lunch instead.    So I come back at 11am thinking that's when lunch would start....nope.  Restaurant closes for lunch. 

So a lot of miscues on my part and not feeling well amplified everything.  So I found a comfortable chair in the lobby, put on my headphone (they had godawful daytime TV on) and worked in my book to pass the time. 

Finally, it hits around 12:45 so I decide to find my Savage World game.  +Jeffrey Rees GMed.  I was the only SW newb.  Jeff explained the system and then I had help from another play, I can't remember his name currently.  It was a lot of fun.  Jeff runs a good game.  He is cruel and vicious.  Fantastic traits in a GM.  He also used some game mechanics I liked a lot.  We were going through the Caves of Chaos, but it wasn't the Chaos Caves we grew up with.  So even if you know the adventure by rote, it didn't matter.  Fun game.  I'm glad I got to play with an experienced group, it helped me understand it better and you could tell they really loved the system.  I've got the rulebook, now I just need to take the time to read it. 

After the game I got to meet imredave from the Forgotten Runes blog.  He got all Manored up.  Unfortunately I was fading pretty bad at that point and didn't have a lot left in me.

After the game I signed up for a game design seminar.  But all I wanted to do was check in and rest.  Plus, I was starving and the restaurant was open.  I got to my room and it was very nice.  cranked the AC because I was hot from a fever.  I resisted laying down.  I'd eaten at 5:30am and now it was 5:30pm.  Went to the restaurant got a burger.  Met two of the managers of the hotel and they gave me the low down on things.  Both were very nice.

Being a glutton for punishment, instead f going back to my room I hit the vendors market.  Some very cool artwork, most of it was too cartoonish for my taste, but done very well.   One guy had statuettes, loved the alien baby statuette.  Kinda wishing I'd gotten it now.

I then got to meet +Chris Bard for the first time.  We've been playing together via internet for months and known him longer through blogging.  We BSed for a while about gaming.  

That's where the first day of the con ended.  Many mistakes on my part.  Being sick.  Being late.  But, still got in some gaming.  Met some good guys and managed to have fun.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Back from the Con

I got back from the con this morning, but I'm still very sick.  I had a great time and finally got to meet other bloggers.  I'll write more about it later.  Didn't take as many pictures as I thought I would.  When I'm playing I don't think about it too much. 

Headed back to the couch to recover.  I'll go into more detail when I can sit up without feeling like I'm on a boat.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I Will be Armed and Dangerous: Con Giveaway

Getting my crap together to go to Con on the Cob over the next two days.  Seems like I'm moving.  I spent a good portion of the past couple days printing out a big batch of Manors.  Why?  Well if you find me at the Con and say hello, I'll be lugging these guys around with me...

and if you ask you can get some Manors on the house.  While supplies last.  Looking forward to meeting a few new gamers and trying some new games.  Any please don't be shy about asking about the Manors cause they are heavy and I need room in my backpack for stuff I want to buy there.

Prepare to be Jealous

I received this bundle of +giantkillerjay art.  Most know him as Jay Penn, artist for +Christian Walker's Lovaitar.  I really enjoy Jay's art and now I have some to hang on my wall.  Thanks a ton Jay, I really appreciate the pictures.

 Going to get a frame for this one!

 Going to get this one framed also.

These I plan on using in game for pictures for NPCs.  I'll get some plastic sleeves to cover them.  No Cheetos stains on these bad boys.

So are you jealous yet?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Threatening Party Members

Last night we had an odd session that involved a shopping encounter.  It was very much needed and a great way for the GM to allow us to resupply without having to retrace our steps and restart.  The merchants were goblin, fey goblins who seem to ply their trade with anyone they can get to sign a 600 page agreement.  Since we still considered ourselves individuals and haven't conglomerated into single entity we each needed to chose to sign.   Half the party did.  Dante and my guy Adzeer chose not to, although I was tempted to.

When our party's thief started paying for things I discovered he'd been stashing money from the rest of us.  Adzeer, knew a little of what was going on, but didn't say much at the time.  Last night when he saw Luven shilling out more coin than he should have Adzeer threatened him.  The typical measuring of members followed, "Luven, if you keep stealing from us I might forget which way my healing spells work."  "Oh yeah, well maybe we'll be some place dark and you won't be able to cover your back all the time."  It was a short exchange, but enough I think to make the others uncomfortable out of game.  That was not my intent.  Just some harsh RPing.  

Even though there was nothing personal about it, I didn't like the way it came off.  I will blame it on my inability to put the bad work day in my back pocket.  How I wish it came off is with a bit of humor and without the threat.  Next time. 

I was thinking about when party members get on the opposite ends of a dispute.  It happens.  I kinda should happen.  Most of the time it adds and interesting element to the party dynamic.  Years ago I ran an adventure where everyone was the member of a thieves guild, they were to sneak into nobleman's home, but that's where their common cause ended.  Each had a goal and they conflicted with the other thieves' goals.  It was a lot of fun.

Last night I failed my good player roll.  Next time a conflict comes up I hope to handle it better and more in line with the fun we are trying to have. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Upcoming Convention Schedule

Con on the Cob starts this Thursday.  I'll head over Friday morning.  It's a couple hours away so I'll need to take off at 7am.  My first game is 9am. I'll stay over Friday and Saturday night.  The hotel rates were very good.

Here's my schedule for the con:

Friday the 18th
9am to 1pm Dungeon World run by +Dan Cetorelli. I haven't played Dungeon World yet.  I'm curious to see how this game plays.  Believe it or not, I don't have a copy of this game yet...

1pm to 5pm B2 Keep on the Borderlands run by +Jeffery Rees.  This one will be used playing Savage Worlds.  I've never gotten into a Savage Worlds game either.  I am such a isolated gamer.  But I do have the rulebook for SW.

5pm to 6pm How to Design an RPG in an Hour.  It's a seminar run by +Andy Hopp.  Looks like a lot of fun.

+Chris Bard should be there by there later.  Maybe grab a bite to eat with him.  Been gaming with Chris the past few months and have known him in the blogging world for much longer.

I've schedule it fairly tight, but that's how the blocks are scheduled.  There is not much time to get something to eat.  Not sure if the hotel is serving food or not.  Or hope there is something nearby to grab and go.

Saturday the 19th
10am to 2pm  The Blasphenmous Brewery of Pilz! run by +Dylan Hartwell.  Oh yeah!  A little LL in the pilz.  Recently though, Dylan sent me his reprint of Pilz and I haven't opened it because I want to go through the adventure without knowing anything.  It is very tough, I want to read it!  While Dylan is generous he is cruel.  Great characteristics for a GM.

3pm to 5pm Menagerie of the Ice Lord run by +Dylan Hartwell again.  Another adventure penned by Dylan.  Most of our Monday night crew will be in on this one, +Chris Bard, +Rob Conley, Dan McEntee and myself.

Afterwards I believe the plan is we all go out to eat and then come back and get a game going.  I think Rob may run his FATE version of the Majestic Wilderlands. 

Then Sunday I can be-bop home, take my time.  Enjoy the fall drive.  I'm taking Ivy's camera with me to snap some pictures of some cool stuff.  I plan on behaving with purchasing things, but still coming armed with some dough in case I find something to cool to pass on.

Anyone else in blogger land going to this one? 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mega-Dungeon Map Time!

I started this earlier in the week, got about half way finished and the program crashed and the file was corrupt.  So I lost it.  But I will not be stopped!  So I started again, this time saving it in two different places.

This is a basic map.  No features, not even the doors have been added yet.  I'm not going to get too fancy with it.  I think the only things I'll add are the doors and room numbers.

I plan on doing this dungeon like I used to make them in the way back.  Meaning, I'm not going to worry about the ecological system.  I'm just going to make random stuff up and pick a room to put it in.  I won't be doing the blink dog on one room and Beelzebub in the next, but who knows.

However, I will be taking a lesson from the minimalist dungeon engineers.  I'll use a few descriptive sentences and move onto the next room.  It will set the scene and then I can just let my brain groove into whatever I like.  So two groups going into the same room may have two completely different experiences.  The other thing I'll be adding is the random room.  My plan is to write up a one hundred random room table and when a party enters that room it will up to the dice to decide what's in there.

Oh, I should add, this is level one. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Question

In my previous post I wrote about after reading an adventure module, in my case Tomb of Horrors, and wondering what the story was behind it.  I'm not talking just the background, but to the point where you were interested enough to want to read a book or short story about it.

So what adventure module have you read that you wanted to see expanded into a novel?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Back Into Writing

Truth be told, gaming got me into reading and into writing.  The first things I ever wrote, on my own without the barrel of a loaded grade book at my head, were adventures for my friends to explore.  Sure they were basic graph paper dungeons full of ninety degree angles and room randomly plotted.  Sure there may have been four blink dogs in one room, Tiamat in the next and seven ogres at the end of the hall.  Did it make sense, nah, but holy frick'n shit was it fun.  Friends had fun.  I had a beat up old briefcase with manilla folders holding my adventures.  When we wanted to game they could pick which adventure they wanted to go through and off we went, rolling dice and never asking if it made sense. 

Game writing I've been doing.  Writing adventures and a campaign I've been doing.  But I want to get back to writing fiction.  I used to write short stories all the time.  When you're a college kid who has no money, doesn't drink and lives alone in the country writing was one of cheapest ways to entertain yourself. 

There is a difference between writing for a game and writing fiction.  But there is lot in common.  Use one to strengthen the other. 

Right off I can think of creating characters for your story compared to creating NPCs for your game.  Needing to make some interesting ones the players will remember. 

Creating a setting for the story and for the adventure.  If done correctly can add another dimension to your story or game.  Think of all the incredible places in fiction and in gaming that have been created.  Think of a book you've read and thought I would love to adventure through that world.  Or went through and adventure and wanted to know more about the setting.  I know in my yester year of gaming I always wanted to know what Acererak's story about how he went about building the tomb of horrors.

And developing a plot.  These two are very different to me when I create a story or an adventure.  For a story you fill out the details and drive the story by using the plot.  In gaming you let the players drive the story, but it may follow a completely different plot than you expect.  While the players may not have taken on the undead army invading the town, they may have decided break the damn up the river and flood the town and washing the undead into the sea.  Why not?

I enjoy writing in both mediums immensely and need to get back to writing more fiction (don't worry I won't bore you with them).  I am toying with the idea of joining NaNoWriMo this year to get me kick started again.  I know when I'm trying to improve my writing in one area it will improve in other areas.  I want to write better adventures.  I want to write better stories.  And I want to have fun doing it.  I don't mind the struggle and frustration that comes with it, that's the fun of it. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Map Time...I Know, Again

This map is for the campaign though.  So this one really has a purpose where the other two were doodles.  Here is the village of Bad Water.  This is my first attempt at crop fields.  Meh.  But I think you can identify them easily for what they are.  I like how the stone fields came out.  Might be a few nasty surprises in the outcroppings. 

I have the houses numbered to do a brief (2 to 3 sentences) of who lives inside and general occupation.  Most of these folks are farmers, but some will have secondary skills.  Number 28 is a small fortification with a dozen or so guards.  Their main job is to patrol the roads and keep them clear of bad things. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Map Time! Again.

Completed another map.  This one has a lot of little elements, but the think I found is, see the upper houses?  Now look at the lower houses on the map.  The lower houses are cleaner.  Instead of using a Sharpie fine marker I used a Sharpie fine pen and I think it looks a lot better.  A little cleaner look.  The one fortification would have come out better, but I sort of like the contrast between the two. 

Again, not real reason to make the map other than to make it.  The ideas I had with it are this.  In the upper right is the great barrow and the reason the fortification was built.  Originally it housed adventuring band and a place to bring their loot, but now it serves as an out of the way station for a small military force too keep an eye on the barrow, which is known to produce a small amount of undead from time to time. 

You have a standing henge in the woods.  A small henge as far as henge sizes goes.  Then you have the tower.  It is a mystery as to why it is there.  Still in pristine condition.  There seems to be no way in or out.  People have flown on top, tried to dig beneath and used magic to penetrate the walls, but nothing has succeeded. 

Then there is the hamlet of farmers with a few metal workers and a small three room inn at the edge.  Adventurers come here to plunder the great barrow or try to gain entrance into the tower.  Most of the hamlet's money comes from this.  And gaining access to the the hamlet via water proves to be difficult.  Strong current push vessels into the rocks, larger vessels will find their hulls devoured in the shallow waters.

Welcome to my Sunday.

Boris Back in Action

Boris is back in town, well, The City.  +B. Portly ran adventure using his own system Detectives & Daredevils.  He converted Boris to his system and all I needed was to add a crowbar and a roll of duct tape and I was ready to roll. 

Players included +trey causey +Steve Sigety +Ben L. and +Olman Feelyus.  They formed the Chill & Maxwell Detective Agency.  And now onto the show...

Lady Anaka hire Boris to find jazz musician, Chick Marlowe.  Why not, fifty bucks is enough to buy a new case of Black Panther Whiskey, some shell for Ivanka and a few sandwiches at the deli.  Besides, the Chick is jazz musician, Boris guess he's in an opium house, but tip say he works for Chill & Maxwell Detective Agency.  Boris never hear of them.  Find taxi man he knows where.

I meet in this Chill & Maxwell's.  Looks like our place.  Looks like every detective place.  Smokey.  Dark walls.  Yellowed shades.  And people sitting around not doing work.  They ask Boris questions.  Boris not being paid to answer questions.  Boris here to find this Chick.  After drinks and more questions Boris ears hurt and decide Lady Anaka not paying to be quiet so Boris say what she say.  This Chick in trouble.  Boris find him.  Meet with Lady.  Boris get fifty bucks and get a sandwich at deli. 

So Boris finds Chick.  Chick say he's not Chick, but he is Chick.  Call Lady Anaka.  Meet at diner.  Boris change mind about sandwich and have plate of fries instead.  They talk.  Boris eat.  Then bugs come out of wall and spoil Boris's meal.  Boris run outside and get hit in the head.  Not first time for Boris and not the hardest hit in the head.  Large man claim he Baron Criminal.  Dressed like a sideshow at carnival. 

Before Boris can stand others are getting struck by lightning and these people of Chill and Maxwell attack.  Boris like this.  Grab crowbar and join in fun.  This man know spells.  After a few hits crowbar was hot to hold.  With others wrestling and shooting him this man goes down.  Boris took much wounding.

Group take him to apartment.  Question him.  He have no idea this man.  Some bag hung around his next seem possession him.  What Boris find out is these men take horn of fallen angel and destroy it.  Many angel are losing horns in The City.  Boris already know they are bad.  Someone mad at Chick, Baron Criminal.  Boris think stick around for a while.  These ones fight.

The session ended there.  We had a great time.  Trey asked for my bad Boris accent and if I tried to do it yesterday I would have hurt myself.  It was a blast.  Sometimes it's good to break away from the fantasy elements and play something in a different genre.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Map Time!

Finally.  Weekend.  It's been a few weeks of non-stop busy.  My mind is tired so I have no gas in the tank for writing, but I can draw a map.  That's the cool things about maps for me.  I can just zone out, watching something on TV (Ghost Adventures is my current addiction) and draw a map.  And I think coloring is a therapeutic exercise for most people.  So my therapy is maps.  He's the result of one session.  Road, woods, those scaled looking things are rock mounds and then a small mine inside a hill.  Tonight I think I'll be working on the next floor below.  I don't have anything written.  Except for that stump in the middle of the road north of the bridge.  For some reason I imagine it to be a blacken stump, a place where the locals gather to decide punishment or 'mountain justice'.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Gladiator Class

I've been lax in blogging, but I've been working on stuff over here.  This new campaign world I'm working on is going well there are a lot of parts to it.  I'm sure I am over doing some things (like the classes), but I'm enjoying the process.  Last time I posted the Guard class and everyone was very helpful.  I need to update it to the newest version.

This time I'm posting the Gladiator class.  Some of the...who am I kidding, I watched a ton of Spartacus and that's where my inspiration comes from.  Arenas are fairly common in my world.  That or the simplified version of pit fighting.  And this time around I will be using the one silver earned equals one experience point.  Never did that before, but for the gladiator and earning money in fight becomes more of an experience pool than just thumping opponents.

If you've got the time please take a look.  It's one page and should you have any suggestions please put them in the comments.

Once I get a few more done I'll add a page to above for my campaign material reference.  I've been working on dungeons, towns, NPCs, mapping, class building and trying to untangle how I want to use the magic system in different ways.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Flame Boys in Monteport

Our group encountered a new 'one of them'.  Another follower of the great Elias, a man-god that cowers in shadows.  We are beginning to understand the layout of the 1st and 2nd levels of Monteport.  Our searching has become a bit more efficient.

Before we encountered the flame boys we added another anomaly into our group.  A crystal golem the size of a gnome.  So now we have a train of cave goats, a mushroom man warrior, a deadly kobold archer, and add the small crystal golem to our group.  Elias makes us stronger by leaving his mistakes behind.

Then we encounter his flame boys.  Each one is guarded by a pair of crab-men.  If they had lived long enough they may been a threat.  The flame boy wielded a flaming sword that he promptly gave to me.  But when I grabbed hold of its hilt I felt the presence of Elias, the Cowering God.  He knew where I was located and now I know where he is.  He sent two more flame boys after our group, but they only served to give us more flaming swords. 

As we explored farther in we found the mines we sought.  It was at this time I decided to say good-bye to Elias's gifts of flame and places them in the rock dust of the mine.  I know where he is now.  I'll keep attack the shadows he hides in until he drops to his knees cowering before a true avatar.

One more thing Elias, the crabmen were delicious, even without the butter.