Friday, December 29, 2023

Resurrecting My Channel With ShadowDark

It's been a minute since I've posted here. Took a little dusting and a few repairs to get The Manor ready for company. I've been wanting to find a different creative channel and I went back to YouTube. I had a handful of videos, the last of which I post over 5 years ago. But I thought I would give YouTube another go. 

I'm starting off with an Unboxing of ShadowDark. I received my box of goodies and turned on the camera. What better time to start now. There is one part where I'm not facing the camera and talking to my bookshelf and a few times where my big fat elbow blocks the camera.

Ivy took the picture for my thumbnail. I had several ideas how to do it. She made it simple and beautiful. 

Click the picture above to check it out or the video below. I'm hoping a revival of my channel helps spark my creativity again. That field has been fallow for too long. 


Friday, March 31, 2023

Random Encounters: Love Them!

Picture swiped for my own purposes from Random Encounter. I want this sticker!

It's been a while since my last entry. More health issues. More computer issues. More blah blah uninteresting shit. This week, my wife grabbed me a new writing laptop that allows me to work where ever I roam. My old laptop had the battery life of a one pump chump on prom night. I upgraded and got back to work on my much delinquent Kickstarter, The Many Crypts of Lady Ingrade.

I like the idea of a woman of minor nobility obsessed with the thought of her crypt plundered by adventurers. I mean, you can't call her paranoid when it will probably happen. So her way of combating that issue is to build several crypts with deadly traps and creatures. To murderize those blasphemous adventurers who dare to disturb her eternal rest and take all her shit. 

I grabbed a lot of inspiration from Countess Elizabeth Bathory. The Blood Countess as she is known. If you go to her Wikipedia page it calls her an alleged serial killer. She had her servants help her out. Allegedly, they killed hundreds of girls over a twenty year period. I'm not sure how many experience points you get for a village girl. I imagine it'll take a lot of them to get you to the next level.

I'm writing a small crypt adventure to include in the zine. I want to add more crypts than I have. When you use 'many' in the title you should have more than a few. I'm in the beginning of writing it, and have an idea of where it'll go. But tonight, at the bookstore, with my new laptop, I started working on the Kickstarter Adventure and got to the random encounter section.

A quick history about random encounters and myself. I was not a fan of random encounters in the past. I didn't like the bland 1d6 tables with 1d4 orcs, 1d6 goblins, and so on. It was just a time sink. Eh. Boring. It wasn't until a few moons back, when I started using them. I love to write adventures and decided to mold this aspect of gaming to what I like. It's nothing new, but I gave each random encounter context. When the party encounters the random encounter something is going on. In media res. This encounter had purpose other than to waste time and resources. Also, I don't make all the random encounters negative. I want there to be a chance they benefits from the randomness of the world. Perhaps a traveling peddler that happens to have information about where they're going to reduce the party's chance of becoming lost. Or maybe he has something tangible to assist them, such as a potion or equipment. It adds a nice element of randomness to the random encounters. 

Here's what I like to do with the random encounters and yes, I understand this may make it less random, but it works for me, I roll the random encounters before the game when the opportunity presents itself. Not always, but I like to do this to integrate the random encounter into the night's adventure without seams. As if it were a planned encounter.  I want to remove the meta-game aspect. Example, when the party starts yapping about their next genius plan they will abandon as soon as they encounter the enemy, the GM rolls dice without saying a word. They know. They know the GM is ready to bring down some sort of random thunder on their little imaginary heads. They way I do it, the thunder happens without notice.

I get there are ways to check for random encounter without notifying the party, but this gives me a chance to work it into the adventure. 

Say I roll a couple of random encounters for tonight's game. The party is traveling from Hounds Head to the nearest Northman barrow field because they spent all their money on defective Hugo's Healing Potions. I prepare those random encounters, but I may not use them. If it doesn't fit the flow of the adventure I am not going to bog down play, trying to fit in an encounter. 

Let's go back to the topic of creating a random encounter in context. The con of that is, these encounters are usually unique. If I roll the same encounter then I would need to reroll. Some of the encounters have enough flexibility that you can develop a small plotline, if you chose, about the series of encounters. But most of them are one and done.

If I create an encounter with context that provides meaning. Something as a GM I can run with and find the voice and tone of that encounter. In my Starter Adventures there's a random encounter where the players find a drunk goblin. The drunk goblin pulls down his pants, slaps his ass, and starts making kissing noises. The goblin had a 50% survival rate.  Some thought he was funny enough to spare, where other murder hobos specifically said they are shooting the goblin in his bare ass with an arrow. Either choice it was fun to set that scene. But at the same time, I don't want to have three encounters with kiss my butt drunken goblins. Although now that I'm thinking about it that might be fun.

Alright, enough of this! Let's get to some actual encounters. I share a few I've written in the past and a couple I came up with tonight.