Monday, October 31, 2016

Scary Random Tables from my Early Days of Gaming

Some scary random tables I found while cleaning today.  These used to find a home in my GM screen way back in the day.  You may recognize them.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Evolution of The Sinking Village Map and Some of My Mapping Techniques

I didn't take a picture of the outline of the map.  This was the first picture I took after thinking of doing a map progression series.  I asked my patrons for some map ideas, they gave me a lot.  The one that stuck out the most was a village sinking into the sea.  Love that.  So I sketched out a preliminary map, liked it, and began mapping.  

I started shading with some of the trees and buildings.  I want to find another technique on how to draw buildings from this perspective.  

Just a note on why I am using a newsprint magazine beneath.  I use the magazine to give myself a 'soft' surface to color on.  The reason I do this is it help to blend the colors and soften the harsh lines of the pencils.  Some of the outer shades I do on a hard surface to get it to pop.  

This shows part of how I try to add texture or shading to my map.  I use two colors not far off from one another.  For the trees I randomly color the area, leaving blank spaces for the second color and then blend in the two colors at the edges.  For the water, I use a lighter blue where it touches something or where it's shallow.  

You can see the finished color of the water.  The main color is too purple for my tastes.  I will claim doing this outside in the fading light as my reason, but I often do this with blues.  I need to find a better blue, a more blue color to go with the light blue edge/shallow water color.

Like the trees and water, when I am coloring in the grass or mud areas I try to give it a texture using a two color system.  But with the muddy area I kept it one color and allow the rock features to define the lake shore and give it texture. Plus, it is mud.  

All the photos before this were taken with my phone camera.  This picture is scanned into my computer.  In the northwest corner, there are a pair of round buildings.  I figured they were dovecotes.  And to give the map a little different color, I surrounded the dovecotes with a yellowish color.  Maybe it's hay.  Maybe it's dead grass from the pigeon poo.  

Here is what the final map.  I import my scanned map into a program called Xara.  I bevel the edge to give it depth and a frame.  Then I add the numbers and names.  I take two sets of numbers, turn one set white and bevel the edge to expand it.  ThenI nest the black numbers into the white set, it allows the eye to easily read the numbers and words.  Even when I use a weird font (I believe the one I used for this one is called BLOBS).  

Then I have to get writing.  Wrap my head around what kind of adventure I imagine could be found in The Sinking Village.  

Friday, October 28, 2016

Deal of the Fricking Day

It's Deal of the Day time featuring Frog God Games' Tome of Adventure Design. Tome of Adventure Design is made up of four sections or 'books' as they are called in the tome.  The first two are Matt Finch's Adventure Design Deskbooks.

I used these books a ton.  Especially the first.  These two were great toolboxes for constructing adventures and monsters.

The other two books included in the Tome of Adventure Design are Dungeon Design and Non-Dungeon Adventure Design.  I've used this book more times than I can count.  It's the best book on the market to get your imagination running to construct an adventure. 

I think it's the best adventure design book on the market.  

Normally the Tome of Adventure Design runs $21 for the PDF, but today it's only $8.40!  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Onto the Next Adventure

Ever know a guy in town no one really likes?  Kind of a grumpy son-of-a-bitch you has nothing to say about anything or anyone?  Theodore Banks is that guy. He died 14 years ago, but seems to be feeling better now.

With the edits complete I'm hoping to release it tomorrow.  It's a zine style adventure, two levels and 8-pages long including the two maps.  The PDF will be available over on my Micro-Adventures Patreon page soon.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cracking Open Crusty Books

Today I was rearranging my office.  I needed to make it a bit more productive friendly.  Plus, changing up the furniture situation is always a good thing.  Gets the creative juices going.  When I finally completed moving things around I started thumbing through my Monsters & Treasure Assortment: Sets One - Three: Levels One - Nine.

I've had my copy since 1980 I think.  So when I say I cracked open a crusty book, I mean it.  So with this in front of me craving to do some random table plundering I asked Ivy for a title of an adventure.  Which she gave me, which I will not give here yet.  Cause I haven't finished it and I think it's fun.  As soon as she said it I got a couple of ideas.  Plus I had one of my older maps in the hopper for a long time and thought it would be a great time to use it.  

Not one of my best, but I think it suits the adventure I'm writing.  

How I Used the Monster & Treasure Assortment
So back to the Monster & Treasure Assortment.  I decided I'm making the ground level, 1st level.  So I rolled 2d4 to determine the number of critters.  I rolled a total of 4.  Then went to the First Level Monster table and started to roll.

(32) Black Widow Spider - 1
(59) Bandits - 4
(67) Centipedes - 3
(55) Gnomes - I rerolled this.  There is nothing wrong with being a gnome, except they are gnomes.
(70) Giant Gecko - 1

I decided to roll 1d4 for the number of treasures.  I rolled 3.  Then I went to the front page of the book where some of my favorite tables are located.  There are three 1) Treasure is contained in...   2) Treasure is guarded by...  3) Treasure is hidden by/in...  Love these tables.  For the latter two tables I roll one die larger than needed so if I roll above the table that means the treasure isn't guarded or the treasure isn't hidden.  For example, the Treasure is Guarded by table is 1d16. So I roll a d20, if I get a 17 or above the treasure is not guarded.

Treasure Contained in...
1. Loose
2. Small Coffers
3. Metal Urns

Treasure is Guarded by...
1. None
2. Spring darts in the front
3. None

Treasure is Hidden by...
1. Under a loose stone in the floor
2. Illusion to change or hide appearance
3. Disguised to look like something else

With those determined I rolled on the treasure table.  First off, no electrum.  I've got issues with electrum.  It makes me angry.  And I am okay with it.  I run a silver standard game anyways, to if the e-word pops up I changed it to silver.  

1. 100cp
2. 350sp
3. +1 leather armor

I scanned in my worksheet to give you a peek at what it looked like.  

So with these building blocks I number my map and begin detailing my adventure.  There will be a small 2nd level.  I am thinking of making it a 3rd level place to make a young party poop in their pants.  Probably one or two creatures at the most with a treasure of some sort, rolled on the 3rd level table.  

Friday, October 14, 2016

Extra Life Gamathon

I've been enjoying the excellent contributions for Inktober.  Especially +Jim Jones.  I hadn't spoken to him before this started and when I see an artist with chops I want to trick them into selling me a few pieces.  I spoke to Jim briefly about this and he told me about 24 hour Extra Life gamathon.  I'll let his words explain it to you.  

It's a gamathon for charity. We play board games for 24 hour to raise money for Riley Children's Hospital. It is the hospital that saved my daughter's life with a cranial reconstruction when she was just over a year old. 
People come and play over 70 donated games. Each time they play them, they get a chance to take it home at the end of the event. We also have a silent auction with over 150 donated items, and we have various tournaments and a game show version of Wits and Wagers. 
The core group of people are sponsored players. They seek out donations from friends and family to play for 24 hours and generally raise about 60% of our funds. Last year, we raised over $10,000 and over the last four we've raise a total of over $23,700. It gets bigger each year and it is a lot of work (it takes up a couple of months worth of free time to plan and coordinate each year).
But we do it because we want to honor the hospital that has changed our life and the lives of friends and colleagues and community members who have similar stories to ours.
All the money that we raise as sponsored players and through the event goes directly to Riley. All our space and prizes and auction items and insurance are donated or covered by the community that has sprung up around running the event. It is completely volunteer driven. We're all very passionate about it.

Here is the link to Extra Life to read more about the event and to also donate if you chose.  I donated because it's a fantastic cause.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Gaming Stuff I'm Excited About

Over the next few months I plan on retooling my blog, GM Games store and Patreon site.  I think it all needs a fresh coat of paint.  I've been formulating, strategizing, devising and other words that mean the same thing.

Everyone once in a while its good to move furniture around in your room, paint the walls a new color or change up the routine a little to refresh your enthusiasm. At least for me that's the way it works.   My blogging has been lax and its not for a shortage of ideas or the fun I'm having in game.  Got lots of things I think of during the day or while I listen to podcasts.

Gaming Stuff I'm Excited About
Speaking of podcasts, one of my favorite finds recently has been the Gaming and BS podcast that features +Brett B and +Sean P Kelley yapping at one another about a topic of the week.  They are 109 episodes in.  They are great about getting a podcast out each week.  They have a Gaming and BS Patreon that I've joined.  What I like about these guys is they game...a lot.  Great knowledge about many games and neither are afraid to bullshit when they're unsure.  

Another podcast that has popped up on my radar is Old School Blues Podcast by Dead Games Society.  +Vincent Florio, master of the podcast and one of the creators of Mazes & Perils, and +Erik Tenkar  of  Tenkar's Tavern are four episodes in.  They pick a topic and hash it over.  Last episode Erik talked about Kickstarters.  Something he knows absolutely nothing about.  My only complaint about this podcast is, NO BLUES MUSIC.  Don't tease me with the title old school blues and then play some other crap music.

+Jason Sholtis accompanied by his goons at the Hydra Collective, have released a Kickstarter, Operation Unfathomable.  This is Jason's personal campaign world he's been running for years.  Oh yeah, he's a hell of an artist.  I know, I was surprised to hear he draws also.  Jason and crew have already reached their funding goal and I have no doubt they'll blow the doors off their stretch goal.  I've had the pleasure of meeting and working with Jason, he helped me out when I was just starting with my RPG business.  He's a great guy and he has a twisted mind.  Perfect combination.  If you have any doubt, take a sample of his, The Dungeon Dozen.  Oh, and I have to say this, this Kickstarter has the best video I've seen to introduce someone to the product.  It's fantastic.

And last, but not least, my Wednesday night group.  +Ken H continues to map into infinity with his Monteport megadungeon.  +Chris C. adds in adventures from his Ravensburg setting.  And recently +Rob Conley has rejoined the group. While the group is small, but the ideas we talk about each week, within the glut of our puerile humor, really gets my brain cogs moving.  These guys help formulate some of my adventure ideas and to peek behind the curtain of gaming philosophies.  And they all enjoy telling me when I am full of shit.  Which is often.  

Thursday, October 6, 2016

It Was a Three Dog Night

We rejoined our Monteport session after a two week delay.  Our brave party stood in front of two spider born of earth.  We had witnessed the battle between them and the giant ants and saw that their bite turned their victims into stone. This was after our GM, +Ken H's computer decided to update for one hour.  

While +Chris C. and I were about to engage the enemy, we heard from behind us, "Non-hostiles in your rear".  It was early and the best thing I heard all night.  It was +Rob Conley playing his clerical investigative duo, Muller and Skull accompanied by four dogs.  

We managed to kill the spiders in short order.  We then had a short conversation with our new party mates and continued further into Monteport.

Our party had the map from the previous party's exploration.  We'd set up a trade route with some of the factions within the dungeon.  Now we were focused on the dark spaces unexplored.

We traveled deeper into the ant tunnels and discovered a small horde of undead.  A mixture of zombies, ghouls and a vampire spawn.  It was a brutal battle.  We lost a henchmen named Skittle, Muller died from the spawn bite as did three of his dogs, including Goliath, which I think we mourned the passing most.  

After the battle and calculating the body count we investigated the casket and altar in the room.  Inside we found a treasure hoard and discovered that the casket belonged to one Sebastian Bynard Finister.  A known vampire that controls a section of Monteport.  

Until next week, this concludes this episode of, It was a Three Dog Night.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Stronghold #3 is a Go!

My blogger buddy/pal +Boric Glanduum has completed his 3rd issue of The Stronghold.  Boric sums up The Stronghold very well with this.
28 pages.  A mixture of 3.x and edition-nuetral materials.  A little bit of crunch, a little bit of flavor, a little bit of humor, and a lot of fantasy gaming goodness.
My completely bias opinion says get a copy.  Zines are fun.  How can it be bad to get some fun in the mail.  Or maybe you are just one of those people who only likes to get bills and advertisements in your mailbox.  If you're not, grab a copy of The Stronghold Issue #3 for less than the price of a Starbucks coffee.