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.