Sunday, February 28, 2016

Isometeric Mapping...Always Take Lots of Asprin Before Attempting

The other day I wrote about my Adventure Creation last Tuesday.  A short adventure created using a few random tables.  I put out a call for a title and had Ivy pick one she liked.  She liked the Hobgoblin Bottle Run, but kept saying The Hoblin Goblin Bottle Run.  I am keeping Ivy's version, but thank you to +Jens D. for the title inspiration.

I drew a side view map.  It was okay.  A little boring.  It is a vertical adventure with the chapel, basement, well and tunnel.  I thought I would give the isometric map a shop.  This was my first real attempt at one.  I had blood coming out of my left eye by the time I finished.

A clunky attempt, but I'll take it.  Right now I'm not capable of making a better one.  But I like that I decided on this style.  It is a better representation of the adventure.  I'll try to clean it up some, add the map text and see if I can make those lines go away. 

Wanna know something else cool?  +Jim Magnusson is on board to do a couple of pictures for the adventure!  He's working on one for a hobgoblin and one with stirges!

Friday, February 26, 2016

d6 Random Tavern Patrons

1. Ullgur
A squatty, muscular man with a thick accent.  He face is scarred and battered.  He talks and laughs loud.  He has a tendency to invade people's space.  He doesn't do to intimidate, but to show he is friendly even though it puts a lot of people off.  An ex-gladiator/soldier/mercenary has a million stories to tell and some of them are even true.  But there is a 1 in 6 chance that Ullgur is a dark mood.  During this time he is quiet and quick to anger.  When in the tavern, he uses non-lethal techniques.  One of his worst fears is returning to the prison.

2. Ellagrane
She is always carrying several small pouches with her, usually around her belt.  She works for an herbalist collecting reagents for potions.  She carries three knives on her at all times.  One for harvesting the reagents, one for protection and one for backup if the other two go dull or break.  She has close friends she sticks with at the tavern, but loves to hear gossip of what is going on in the noble house.  Ellegrane is a fair expert on the relationships within noble houses, who is with who, who is fighting, who is sick, who is pregnant and knows what they like.  She'll ask for money for the information, but will talk about either way.

3. Perry
Brown hair, one-eye, walks with a limp and always has a smart ass comment.  Perry thinks he's funny, but more often he just pisses them off.  He's in the condition he's in because of his mouth.  He doesn't mean to be mean, but has no idea when to shut up.  He has a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.  The taverns allow him in for a short time because he has money from his stable business.  After a few beers they ask him to leave, they have had enough by that time.

4. Orien
A former warrior, he is now frail and timid.  After a battle with a undead creature that shattered his spirit he's been unable to do much.  He drinks to calm himself.  But he often drinks until he gets sick.  He is a good guy when sober and is always looking for work.  He gets most of his money mucking out stalls.  He also helps out a few older folks in town who need help with repairs or general chores.

5. Talgert
A tall woman who frequents the tavern to sell her knives.  She specializes in throwing knives.  The tavern owners take a cut of the sales.  She is an excellent salesperson.  She makes the knives herself and she is an expert with them.  She used to belong the thieves guild, but they were taking too much of her profit, so she left after killing two of them.  While they haven't bothered with her since, they are planning something.  Talgert knows this, but isn't too concerned.

6. Ellor
Ellor always has an large pipe between his lips.  His stark white beard and mustache are stained with dark tobacco stains.  He is friendly, loves to tell stories and never turns down a drink.  He is a good source of information if you are willing to stick around and listen to his story.  He has a knack for discovering secrets.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

GURPSDay: First Character

+Douglas Cole spoke about GURPSDay, how he is gathering the links to GURPS related posts for the week.  It got me thinking about all the years I spent playing and about getting out a few of my GURPS books.  I only have about 60 or 70 GURPS books.  Plus I have the books for the all the editions, plus the box for the second edition.

While my posts will not be like the others, I'm not too concerned about it.  I am not good at developing rules, physics or math in general.  I'm coming at this from my experience and what I like to do.

Around 1986, my group had been playing AD&D and Basic D&D for seven years.  The 2nd edition of D&D was coming out, we didn't know it was another edition.  But by this time I think we were running on fumes.  +Rob Conley suggested we give GURPS a shot.  Which I reluctantly did.  I was not big into changing systems, but knew we needed to try something different.

What got me hooked on GURPS were the quirks.  Simple one point disadvantages that helped flesh out a character.  I loved the idea.  I know GURPS gets a bad rap for being rules heavy system, but it was the disadvantages, quirks and skill choices that drew me in.  All these elements enhanced my role-playing.  I now felt I had a system that could reflect a character I wanted to play.  Now I could play a unique character instead of a cookie cutter class.

I still have my first character sheet.  I'm not sure if we made it with 1st or 2nd edition rules.  I know I got a huge boost because I made a reptile man named Shesh.  I hulking brute with a 17 strength.  Here's what happened, we were making 100 point characters with 30 points of disads and 5 points of quirks.  I didn't figure in the racial point cost of a reptile man.  It was a significant amount, something like 60 points.  Rob let it go since it was my first character. 

Click so you can read it.
And the other concepts I found fascinating was rolling 3d6 and not d20.  Rolling low instead of high.  Armor actually provided protection from damage.  Weapons did different types of damages.  The spells had prerequisites that made sense.  And it didn't matter how big and tough you were, one good shot to the head by anyone could take you out.

I was hooked.  From 1986 through 2009 I primarily played GURPS.  The third edition was my favorite.  We often played 75-point character with 25 points of disads.  I loved the struggle of it.  Playing a lowly acolyte who was in charge of a orphanage of a few children, who liked to write poems to a prostitute he liked.  He and two other 75-point guys took on a vampire who was targeting the children.  And we took him out.  There was a blanket dipped in holy water, a frying pan and some rope involved.  Oh my god was that fun.

Anyway, my first entry into GURPS Day.  I hope one of many.  I spent a lot of time with this system.  Thanks to +Douglas Cole and +Peter V. Dell'Orto for reigniting my interest in GURPS again.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Adventure Creation

Tonight I did a in-house bookstore night where I push the table in another corner of the room and set up like I was at the bookstore.  I need to do this every so often to help me focus and it allows me to write without getting distracted for a few hours. 

Tonight I started with a blank state.  No map or plan.  So I grabbed +Richard LeBlanc's d30 DM Companion and his d30 Sandbox Companion  turned to random tables in the DM Companion and then did a few rolls on the adventure tables in the Sandbox Companion.  Here's what I came up with.

  • Treasure Finding Potion requires the imbiber to consume 3x the food and drink for the next week.  Used, but tweaked the side effect.  See the adventure for the new version.
  • Wooden coffer trapped with a magic symbol that does 3d4 damage of frost damage and the target is slowed for the rest of the day.  Kept it as is.  I added the slow affect.
  • Hobgoblins (5d4) = 12  If the patrols are used I think there are 16 total hobgoblins
  • Stirges (5d4) = 17  I went with 13 stirges.
  • Gnolls (3d6) = 12   I dropped the total to a single gnoll.
  • Trigger: Vision  Dropped.  I tried to write it as a vision, but it sucked.
  • Major Goal: Investigate Location  Not the major goal, but just a needed aspect.
  • Obstacle: Aquire Knowledge  In an indirect way this is the major goal.  The potion grants this.
  • Location: Ruins  Kept, love me some ruins. 
  • Location Feature: Chapel  Kept, love me some ruin chapels.
  • Phenomena: Shadows  Dropped.  Just didn't fit in with what I wanted to do. 
  • Villain Goal: Greed  To be determined.  This will end up being at least a two part adventure.
  • Artifact/Relic: Potion of Treasure Finding  Used.  I like the slant I used for this one. 
 So this was the seed of the adventure I wrote.  I liked having the adventure revolve around getting an item, but not just an item, but rather a tool for something bigger with a side effect when used.  Now of course I did not use everything exactly as rolled, but it helped guide the writing.

While I didn't have a map I put the chapel in some barren hills, party encounters a patrol of hobgoblins before reaching the chapel.  There are two ways to enter the chapel, through the tunnel which is infest with a nest of stirges or through the chapel itself where more hobgoblins await.  The chapel itself is made of a single room above ground, and then two room underground, a basement and a well room where the goal, the treasure find potion is kept.  

When I write an adventure I usually write it three, four times.  I had three false starts with this one until I settled on my current version.  I will draw the map and edit to become one of my micro-adventures.  Here is the raw copy of the adventure.  I very pleased the way it turned out.

Suggest a title and maybe you'll get a copy of the adventure when I'm done.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

No Games = Time Well Spent?

Last week I had a game scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.  None of them worked out.  As we did not get to game.  However, I got to hangout with some cool folks and talk a lot about gaming.  Monday night I had the pleasure to speak with +Rob Conley and +Daniel McEntee.  My local gaming crew.  Then on Wednesday night +Chris C. and I got to hangout and discuss a lot about gaming philosophies.  We will always disagree about anime and Supertramp, but it's always a pleasure talkoing with Chris.  And on Friday night it was +Peter V. Dell'Orto and +Douglas Cole.  I got to pay my respects to Peter, I often forget how much fantastic writing he's done for GURPS that I have read and use.  And Doug with his Technical Grappling system that we published in Manor #8.

While we didn't get to game it was great just talking about gaming.  Something I don't do very often.  While we share a lot on blogs and Google+, there is rarely a conversation.  I think Chris and I were talking about the virtues of monochrome covers of the old TSR modules.

Doug and Peter were talking about GURPS Thursday and that made me want to dig out some of my old stuff and participate.  I might not have my GURPS chops any more, but I still got some gas in the tank and I'm not afraid to go back to 3rd edition GURPS.

Rob, Dan and I were discussing a joint project.  It's cool to sit down face-to-face with friends and go over ideas and progress made and see how it all fits together.

While no games were played, time was well spent.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Character Zine

So tonight's game was cancelled...just like Wednesday's game.  Oh, and Tuesday's game.  Had three games scheduled this week and none of them worked out.  No worries, while I was waiting around for tonight's game I made a character zine. 

What's a character zine?

Well shit, I am so glad you asked.  It is a simple 20-page zine, with lined pages.  I custom made the cover, the one pictured is for the White Star game.  And I am lousy at keeping my notes and character in the same place so I hunt for all the note cards, pages and what notebook I put it in.  With this my chances increase.

Since my original character zine I have already decided I will update it with graph paper pages and blank pages for possible pictures or maps. 

So when you your game gets called off, make a character zine.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Mythoard, You Wonderful Bastard

Take a moment to check out the picture above.  That's what I got in the last Mythoard.  Go ahead.  Touch the picture.  Make it bigger.  It won't hurt.  

So Mythoard, you wonderful bastard.   This month was fantastic, a round of applause for +Jarrod Shaw and his clan that work so hard getting these boxes out to all of us.  Bravo.
You know its going to be a fantastic hoard when there is shit on the outside of the box!  Yes there was. 

The first product I spied with my little eye was The Dungeon of the Demon Strata by +Chris Tregenza of +6d6.  What a cool book.  I will admit it will take me some time to get the gist of this way of playing.  I read through it a couple times, but would love to see it run in an actual game.  Despite that, the dungeon itself is an interesting concept and I love the layout of it.  There are a few elements, especially the easy, medium and hard tasks setup.

The small items inside were two, plastic silhouette miniatures.  A discount code for Big Damn Dryden, a big d12 hit location die!! (I love getting dice no matter what they are or if I have one, possible two...okay I have three of them now), and the final insert is Robot Uprising by +James Spahn who also had another product in this month's box.  

Did I just say James Spahn, the man takes pleasure in taunting me, but I do not let that color my opinion of him or his products.  Included was a softback copy of White Star, probably the hottest new(ish) game system in the past year or so.  I bought the PDF a while back and now I am playing in a Friday night game over at +Erik Tenkar's, so its good to have a copy to flip through.

Let me demonstrate the value of Mythoard with this example.  To get the softcover of White Star on RPGNow is $19.99 that does not include shipping.  And White Star is very much worth it.  But I got a copy in Mythoard that the subscription is only $25 a month.  So hell yeah it's worth every penny.

The First Sentinel by Edwin Nagy for the +Lesser Gnome crew headed by +Zach Glazar.  Lesser Gnome products are always fantastic quality.  The art, layout, editing and adventure quality is hard to match.  

Last but not least has been a constant in Mythoards, an old Judges Guild product raised from the crypt of yesteryear.  This time it was the Astrogators Chartbook.  My good friend +Rob Conley says its a very cool book.  I have no idea.  It's still in the plastic and I feel like I am violating an artifact if I break the seal.  But I'll do it damn it.  I swear I will. 

As you can see/read this Mythoard has a heavy sci-fi slant.  I really enjoyed this month a lot and looking forward to the next month of course, but for now I am going to look at my hoard again.

Same picture as above, but I do just like looking at it.  Go subscribe to Mythoard.  It will make you smarter and better looking...and a lot of you out there can use all the help you can get. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

New Character Notebook Book

This week begins our second chapter into +Ken H's Monteport megadungeon.  Last time around we used Blood & Treasure for the system, this time it will Bloody Basic.  Character levels cap at 6th.  Wednesday is our first session and we'll spend some of that time creating characters.  +Chris C. and I get to roll the characters we will play and also roll up a sidekick each that will travel with us and also be our replacement character should our original dude die.

I thought I would go with a dedicated notebook for the campaign.  I used to do this all the time.  It helped keep everything in one place, character sheet with update, notes, information and general ideas of concepts that I will forget if I don't write it down. 

I picked this one up at Barnes yesterday.  I originally wanted a Celtic hardcover notebook, but it refused to lay flat.  This one has the ring binding to it will lay flat easily.  You can't go wrong with The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, the title of the cover art, done by Hokusai.  I remember this picture from one of childhood books.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Anatomy of an Adventure Writing Table

Click to create a giant version.
Saturday morning snow storms are fine with me.  Great way to start out a morning with some adventure and a foot of fresh snow.

A look out my backdoor.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

8 Copies Left

I was just looking through my shelves of stuff and I still have 8 copies left of One Waiting One Prisoner One Sacrificed.  Grab a copy one of these copies and there will be a random surprise inside.  This adventure spans over three micro-adventures, I would say it is a mid-level adventure that spans over 20 pages with a card stock cover, lovingly assembled by my little, delicate hands.  

Where am I sending it?

Grab a copy, get a surprise, run the adventure, watch the party die and laugh as they mutter something about "I don't deserve this" you go all Unforgiven on them, "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cavern of the Lost Legion

Cavern of the Lost Legion is another entry into my micro-adventures.  For this adventure I keep the possible big baddie off stage.  It is suggested at by a single, ambling ghoul dressed in armor.  However, if the party noises around too much, they may unleash a small horde of sixty-two ghouls.

The ghouls are my tick-tock effect.  While the players are trying to escape from the cavern they have a couple of time consuming activities that may have them visited by a few more ghouls stumbling in from the north.  This keeps the party on their toes and gives them a sense of urgency.  I like to cause panic while GMing. 

The other small elements I added to the adventure were cave clams.  Small mollusks that attach themselves to the rocks in underground waters.  They are extremely tasty and considered a delicacy, therefore they could be sold at market.  They don't attack or have stats, just a food resource the party can use to supplement their rations or income. 

The second creature I added was a water viper.  A small translucent snake whose bite does no damage, but on a successful strike the victim is poisoned.  The venom lasts for three days and does 2d6 damage each day.  The victim rolls a save at the beginning of each day to halve the damage.  Only a Cure Poison spell can stop the venom's progression.  After the third day the venom has been eliminated from the body.

I first wrote this adventure as a narrative to get a feel for what it was going to become.  I have to try different approaches to help spark the creativity and one of my favorites is to write an account of an adventurer that is retelling the story or in the process of going through it.  I may or may not share that version.  They are rough, narrative glimpses with, hide your shock, numerous typos. 

I imagined using this small section of tunnels in an already larger underground complex, or maybe the party needs to get to the other side for some reason.  What I am sure of is, if they escape the tunnels and fail to barricade the ghouls within again, the Lost Legion will soon walk upon the land and it will be the fault of the party.  This can make for some excellent after the adventure, this what happened, talk.

The PDF for Cavern of the Lost Legion can be gotten at my Patreon site for the low, low price of free.  Of my glorious patrons at the $2.50 level and above, expect a laminated version (suitable for wiping) in the mail next month. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mapping Winter is Hard

I was drawing a few maps this weekend and I've been trying to figure out how to make a winter-like map without leaving big parts blank.  What I attempted this time is to use a light blue color and then up the contrast so only hints of it popped up here and there giving the white starkness some sort of texture.  While I think it succeeded in some ways and my best (and only) attempt, but still needs some work to get it where I like it. 

I used a couple of 'green' islands in the snow to help with the difference.  Next time I'll play with more muted colors.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Treasures for My Peoples

January's Micro-Adventures are flying out the door tomorrow.  I'm sending out two laminated offerings this month, On the Banks of Pulling Creek and The Houghington House.  Those patrons that pledge $2.50 and above will receive copies of both.  Everyone else, feel free to grab the PDF.

I started January like a ball of fire.  I completed these two and we on my way to complete two more, but wow did work get crazy.   But enough about work.  Here's a dancing red haired goblin.

If you enjoy creepy little adventure, or locations to plant adventure seeds or just like the dancing goblin, please join my Patreon campaign, Micro-Adventures, and you'll get some cool stuff in the mail...I can't promise you a dancing goblin though.