Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Misc III

Yeah, boring post titles, sorry.  I'm 50% done with a fun subsystem for your old school games but I'm having a tough time fitting all the flavor I want while keeping it elegant.  Trying to avoid charts.  Oh well, maybe I'll have to cogitate on it for a few more years.  Anyway, here are a few more ideas while I'm up in the wilderness.

Burnt Giant

These creatures are the dumbest of their kind and most likely lumbered right into a forest fire to see the pretty lights. But now they are badly burned, half their body or more scarred bone-white or charred and oozing depending on how recent the fire was. They are in terrible, constant pain and thus unpredictable and very dangerous. (may fight or not but once fighting never roll for morale, +2 to hit and damage, will fight for an additional 2 hit die after all its hit points are gone)

They tend to come down into the lowlands wandering randomly or looking for easy to catch prey like fat merchants.

They are one of the few reasons human rangers work in groups.

Elves treat them with great caution attempting to lure them into icy-cold mountain streams, which soothes their pain, and then dispatching them with arrows to ear or eye.

St Boll was said to have laid healing hands on one as it crushed him to death in its grasp. The calmed creature became a protector of the local church for the rest of its short life.

Seasonal Maps
Thanks to Richard in a previous post for this idea.  Has there ever been a supplement or module that provided multiple maps for the same area in different seasons?  I don't recall any.  I think it could quadruple the interesting bits of a small starting sandbox. Imagine mountain trails snowed impassable in Winter.  Fords flooded in Spring.  Different trade routes, pilgrim routes and road encounters.  Festivals.  Different wandering monsters.  Weather.  Man, this really makes me want to try and do it.

ps did the 5e playtest not come with a map?  Because I'm getting a bunch of hits looking for "Caves of Chaos map" leading to this post. Or maybe they made a new one and people want to compare it to the original?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Misc. II

Ugh, the connection at the lodge I'm "borrowing" from is pre-dial up speeds.  I guess all the guests are all playing WoW or something.  I'll just post a couple ideas and try to catch up on the blog conversation in the morning.

The Bargain
The idea of inheritance for new PCs is not new, but the usual idea is you can only use it once (in my life as a player? with this DM? in this campaign?) and enact a 10% tax. But when you die you're more than likely to lose all your good stuff in a TPK or down a Hellmouth.

How about this: When your more experienced players roll up a new character (no need to bog noobs down with more to think about) give them the choice of +3 hit points, or a will that grants any gear and money that is recoverable to their next PC.  No tax, but you still don't get the stuff down the Hellmouth.

Choose to Use Languages
I love languages and scripts and I'm ashamed to say they aren't much a part of my game because my world is getting fleshed out as we go. I never know what languages to offer players when they make up new pcs.

How about this: Players get the same number of languages your system says they should but they hold onto them like chits to redeem later. Dead languages and scripts cost three language chits. Monsters and other races require two, human languages just one. Now, any time one of these come up in play, players can decide if they want to know this particular language. I think it could be quite fun asking players to explain how the peasant fighter came to know linear B, or the cleric the erotic language of the courtesans.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I've made it up to the mountains again.  It's quiet and cool and I've seen quail already.  I plan on doing some hiking.  If I get a chance to just sit and think with a lot of coffee in me I think I'm right on the cusp of a cool system you all might like.  Here are a few ideas I had since my last post:

What We're Fighting For
I know folks have different ideas about what hit points represent.  I prefer to keep them loosely connected to physical health and wounds.  But what if after a festival, wedding, or Ewok-style victory party characters got boon hit points that would last until lost (in other words they don't heal back.)?  Maybe half the character's current total if they are low level.  I think it would give a sense that the positive, productive events that happen in the dire borderlands are worthwhile and make players look forward to them more, as they give a protective glow long after the last lanterns are put out.

Burnt Forest Wilderness
A forest that has suffered a fire is very different than the norm and can take years to recover.  I know it's part of the biological cycle but the burnt forest looks grim.  Visibility is much higher with all the low hanging branches and underbrush gone.  Only changes in elevation get in the way of seeing quite far.  I think getting lost should be harder and missile combat easier in burnt forest.  Foraging should be harder but hunting might be easier as deer and game moving through the area would be easier to see.  I think it would be cool to have different monsters to encounter: wounded dryads and things that utilize the burnt landscape for camouflage (see this post from last year).

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The D&D Movie

Yeah, not the one you're thinking of.  I saw a Sinbad movie long ago (when I was 10? earlier?) and it has always stayed with me.  It was hard for me to find because I would re-watch all the Harryhausen pics thinking it was one of them, and they are all good and I remember them too.  But the one that stuck most was the German production Captain Sinbad.
I think it pretty much epitomizes D&D for me, especially the last 25 minutes.

To start you have a film ostensibly about Sinbad and the Middle East, but really that's only an excuse to have lavish costumes and fantastic events.  I mean the villain, El Carim, looks like a Hun with a sheepskin vest.  And his name, is he from Spain?  Sinbad fights in a full-blown gladiatorial arena!  What era is this?

As Sinbad and his crew attempt to reach a tower that holds the key to El Carim's power they struggle through a weird amalgam of jungle/swamp.  There are crocodiles and strangling vines, screaming monkeys and whirlpool-suck-holes.  The conflation of the exotic terrain is similar to the conflation of decorations and clothes from many different cultures considered exotic.

It's basically something the Academy calls Orientalism.  Folks in the West see cultures to the east of them as exotic, sexual, indolent, brutal, etc.  You basically project your own ideas onto a place you find foreign.  Even though that place has thousands of years of culture and probably considers your own culture strange.  And then you use those ideas to justify colonization, exploitation, and war.

Anyway, I didn't mean for this to be an essay on Orientalism in D&D which is something I'm very wary of and try to guard against, but is also, I think, at the root of D&D (It's the pseudo in pseudo-medieval and pseudo-middle eastern that even makes it possible-- adventures in a fantastic world that never existed.  And exotic means new and interesting to you even if it's old hat to someone of another culture).  I mostly wanted to point out a root source for my own conception of D&D.

Watch the last 25 minutes if you can, see the hirelings drop like flies.  Watch the crazy guardian Sinbad has to fight at the end in all its Rientsian glory.  See the villain immune to all harm unless a fairy tale-like condition is fulfilled.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I wrote a long time ago about the creepy/crappy only game store in my area.  In the years I've been blogging another has opened its doors.

I've been wanting to start another game, meet new people, get more practice at setting up a sand box from the very beginning.  I'm kind of an introvert, though, or as my mother puts it "a stick in the mud," so offering to DM a game open to anyone that wants to sit down was a little scary-making for me.  But I finally went to the shop yesterday and inquired.  Here's what I found:

The store owners would have to vet me by playing in a demo game I'd run.  No sweat, if it were my establishment I'd want to do the same.  Also, don't see why they wouldn't enjoy a game of mine.

Players have to pay $5 a night to play, or donate cans of food, or buy store product.  Aaaalright, I can understand where they're coming from but it puts a damper on the open game table aspect of it, especially for young folks.  It makes me almost want offer 20 bucks a night myself just so anyone interested in playing with me could.

I have to be playing a game they sell.  Do you carry Labyrinth Lord or Swords & Wizardry?  Haven't heard of those.  I looked at the rpg book section 1/2 Pathfinder, 1/2 4e.  Part of me wanted to say, "You realize most of these books are already destined for the bargain bin by the fact that 5e is coming out?"  But I just said "Thank you," and walked out.  : (

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wilderness Travel Mini-Games V

Here's another attempt at a simple way to engage players while they travel the wilderness while making different types of terrains feel different.  (Maybe a better name for these things would be Terrain Challenges, or Travel Challenges Simon?)

This might be the simplest one yet (I'm sure the seed of the idea came from Zak's critical range choice he gives his players):
Each day the party has to move one box.  The idea is that in the dark woods you can either be safe or know where you are, but it's hard to do both.  Running from encounters leads to getting turned around and all the stands of trees look alike.  You can try to mark your way, but your bread crumbs might lead something to you.  Treat each box as a corresponding bonus or minus to the wandering monster and getting lost rolls.

If you have any of the folks at the bottom in your party they can shift one box per day as well.

Depending on how you check for monsters and getting lost you might want to cut each side down to 3 boxes.  I'm assuming a d6 with results on a one, so you would never completely avoid the chance to have encounters or get lost.

No players will want to get lost, but I'm thinking low level characters may push towards safety just to survive.  Hopefully they will stumble upon a road or an interesting ruin before they are finally eaten alive.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

West Coast Bloggers

I mentioned I might make a list based on your feedback here, so here it is:


General WA





SF & Bay Area



Long Beach

General SoCal

Feel free to send me a correction or new blogs.

Update: Added a bunch of links I forgot due to general derpiness.

Update 2: Added more and moved some folks to more specific spots, hope you all can get together some time.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Wilderness Travel Mini-Games IV

First, I never mentioned that I would consider any kind of road or known track to be civilization and by using them players can avoid these mini-games.  I intend these for going off-road or trailblazing.  I suppose that could lead to boring trips along roads in the wilderness, but I'm thinking we should probably all have charts for terrain-specific road encounters and travel on a road should feel quicker anyway. I imagine hand-waving road trips would be less of an issue than whole expeditions through difficult terrain.

Second, obviously these don't have to be used for the terrain they are named for.  If you have a different terrain that you want to keep interesting as players travel across it, choose the mini-game that fits it best.  So far we have terrains that:
  • wear parties down with a single, relentless element (swamp)
  • drive hirelings mad through isolation and discomfort (ocean)
  • are technically difficult and require gear and planning (mountain)

and today I'll give you:
  • consume hirelings with hidden dangers (jungle)

Now, the jungle.  I had a hard time with this one.  While I knew that I wanted something like I remember from watching old Sinbad and Tarzan movies-- porters and bearers dying every step of an expedition into the dark jungle-- I didn't want to interfere with the game's system of playing out dangerous encounters and combat.  I'm hoping this might balance both well enough:

The idea is the jungle devours men and women-- quicksand, silent constrictors, piranha filled streams.  Every other day one hireling will disappear.  Having any of the special folks at the bottom of the chart in the party can save one hireling per journey.

Once per journey, a character with an exceptional strength, dexterity, or constitution can prevent a disappearance.

Otherwise the party must leave the hirelings to the jungle or challenge this cruel fate by rolling a d6.  A result of 5-6 means crisis averted-- you grabbed the hireling's hand just as they were about to slip off the cliff trail. A result of 3-4 means the scene becomes a full-blown encounter-- determine what the hazard is, whether environmental or wandering monster, and play it out.  A result of 1-2 means the scene becomes a traditional encounter as well, but you've escalated the danger of the situation-- 1d4 additional hirelings are knocked into the quicksand, are encoiled by the giant anaconda, etc.

I'm hoping that players that really don't want to lose hirelings can avoid it, but that in tense situations, chases or parties lost in the jungle, they may just let hirelings go to avoid losing even more hands to the wilderness.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wilderness Travel Mini-Games III

And now to the culprit that left me wanting something better, the sea.  I thought about it for a while and I decided a cool archetypal challenge for the sea would be your crew.  What, you think you can drift around in the doldrums for weeks without hearing some grumbling from those shady characters you hired at the last port?  Here's what I came up with:
On the second day at sea with no encounter start the game by placing a marker on the first square (Now that I think of it I should have designed it with the track around the edges so you could use a paper-clip).

Each following day move one square, encounters don't matter any more.

When you land on a square with a black spot your crew has become unhappy and is grumbling.  Roll 1d6 to see how they challenge you.

If one of the party members has an exceptional score in the ability challenged the crew is appeased and you halt their descent into darker moods. An exceptional ability can only be used once a journey. 

If you don't have the right ability bonus you can offer up the secondary item: a change of scenery, wine women and song, or cold hard cash.  As long as you meet their challenge you can hold the crew's discontent on that square.  But every day you'll have to roll for another challenge.

Fail the challenge and the marker moves to the next box.  Once you get to the fork, a challenge failed for 3 starts the crew spiralling into madness, depression, and possible suicide.  A failed 4 or 5 will head them toward angry revolt, and either assaulting or marooning the party.

Keep in mind, successfully meeting the challenges will only stall the inevitable.  Once the game is started the only thing that can reset the board is port, or at least having the majority of the crew go ashore somewhere.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Trackless Wastes

This is related to the last couple of posts about the abstractness of wilderness travel in our game.  It isn't a mini-game so-to-speak, but could work with the mini-game idea.  Think of this as an attempt to help players and DM share a visualization of a hex of wilderness.

I ran into the problem of abstractness in my own game.  The players had an idea of the direction an island was in.  They headed that way.  But the ocean hexes I'm using are 72 miles across.  Do they encounter the island?  Even with a visibility of miles, will they be close enough to see it?  I have no idea and had no idea how to even begin adjudicating that.  So I just said they found it.

Now I know one solution is to map my world down to the mile so I would know exactly where the island was.  But, no, I have no intention on mapping a world to that degree when there is no guarantee players will ever venture there.  But more importantly, even my knowing my world that intimately doesn't translate into my players being able to benefit from it.  Players can't see your map, they don't necessarily see in their head what you see in your head when you say "swamp," and they certainly don't see the difference between swamp hex 1 and swamp hex 2.  I suppose it's possible to describe in such detail-  "This swamp hex is filled with purple flowers that start giving way to Spanish moss"-- and if you want to do that I have nothing against you.  I just think there are probably easier, less work-intensive ways to achieve similarly blurry images of landscape in the minds of players.

So, one way is to use landmarks-- when they encounter the big cairn of bluish rocks, they'll know where they're at.  I learned this from I think it's cool and plan to try it.  But you're still left with the empty abstract spaces between those landmarks, especially in the ocean.  So why not embrace that abstractness for the benefit of the players and the game?

How about something like the old Battleship game.  Instead of hexes within hexes within hexes, you just have keyed abstract points that players can maneuver by.  Something like this:

(The dots in each area should probably be numbered from 1-6 but I'm too wiped to do it right now.)  The idea is that the party enters the hex from a particular point, let's say D6.  Then, in searching for Animal Island they tell me where they head.  Maybe they'll head to D3 towards the center of the hex.  As long as I pick one of these locations for the island and have an idea of view distance it should work great.

I can decide on a certain number of dots moved depending on whether they are fighting the wind or not.  And obviously the more they have to wander around the hex searching the more chances to encounter wandering monsters and interesting local encounters.

Keep in mind, this isn't a map, so players can still get lost.  If the navigator fails a check or something maybe they think they are at D3 when they've actually drifted to C6. 

It should be a snap to randomly place things: 1d6 for the area, 1d6 for the point in that area.  With this image as a foundation and something you don't have to worry about, you can turn your attention to other things like view distance varying in different terrain types.  Maybe in the forest the characters won't see the old Empire road until they walk onto a point that is on it.  Then they can follow the road with its movement rate advantages.  But maybe on prairie they can see a dwelling whole areas away and head for it or circle around it.

I know that you could do essentially the same thing if the dots were smaller hexes (and I'm betting some of you do), but in my mind a hex is still a boundary encompassing other things and my mind is constantly confused at what zoom level its at.  With the dots I'm hoping to avoid that confusion for me and the players.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wilderness Travel Mini-Games II

Some more thoughts on spicing up travel through the abstract wilderness.  Keep in mind I intend these in addition to encounters and in addition to terrain-based encounters.  I'm just trying to shift the default from nothing happens to- there is some slow-burning tension.

One thing I've done in the past is add npcs to converse with on a ship.  But that takes some prep and players don't seem to want to interact with anything that isn't explicitly a boon or a hook.

After my last post I was worrying that all terrain might be seen as an element wearing you down: thirst in the desert, cold in the tundra, etc.  So I pushed my brain trying to think of a different approach for a mini-game.  Here's an idea for steep and rocky terrain:
Once a day (or hex, whatever works best for your scale) the treacherous mountain terrain will consume a random piece of equipment.  Ropes and spikes used to cross ravines will need be left behind.  Poles will be lost into deep drifts.  grapnels irretrievably wedged on ascending rock faces.  If the party has a dwarf, ranger or local in it they can absorb one of these losses per journey.  Characters with wisdom or intelligence bonuses can substitute one item for another once per journey-- think of it as cleverly rigging something up: the torches melt through the ice wall they can't scale, a pole is used to clamber up a steep spot.

As long as the party has one of the item type that the roll says is consumed, then things are okay.  If not, movement decreases (halved?) and things start getting harder (food and water consumption double?).

Well, it's similar to the swamp travel in that it's still wearing away at the party which I guess is what all resource management amounts too.  But I was hoping with this, the party could be shown the chart before travelling, see what is consumed more commonly, and try to prepare for the trip accordingly, to give the feel of a big expedition.  It could even make finding the remains of a previous expedition, with spikes and rope, treasure-like.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Wilderness Travel Mini-Games

Hill Cantons just posted about the tedium of wilderness travel and I was recently struggling with the same thing (you think a hex crawl is boring, try the ocean!).  The first default answer to this is to include terrain-based encounters on the wandering monster table.  That's fine, but if you don't roll an encounter  . . . the default is still nothing happening. 

Weather charts try to balance interest with plausibility, so usually you have the kind of weather you'd expect for the season and it doesn't change much.

You could just make something happen each day of travel and prepare a big chart.  That's how I handle my abstract city Nidus.  Every trip into the city rolls on the table, often these are more exciting things than what the players intended to do in town.  But two things, 1) players entering Nidus are playing a mini-game (they have to roll dice to find what they want), so it's more interesting than just something happens guaranteed and 2) a teeming fantasy city should feel different than the trackless wastes.  Do we really want something happening every day of travel or every hex travelled in the wilderness?

So how do we avoid the boredom of nothing happening while giving the feeling of travelling through vast, treacherous territories?  I think a mini-game is the solution.  Almost exactly a year ago today JDJarvis suggested a roll-to-get-out-of-hex-mechanic to spice up wilderness travel.  I think he was on the right track.  I think it should be a little more involved than that though-- complicated enough that players can make decisions and devise strategies.  I also think each kind of terrain should have a different mini-game.  The challenges of travelling through the Arctic are different than the challenges of the swamp.

What the games would be I haven't quite figured out yet.  Maybe you could help.  But here is a proof of concept I whipped up for swamps:

I think the biggest ongoing threat from wetlands is . . . well, the wet.  The damp gets into food, ruins boots, and wears down pack animals trudging through soft, sticky earth.  So you might make every day in the swamp (travelling or not) give 1+ 1d4 squares of dampness damage.

Players can choose where to put this dampness damage: on boots and armor or on pack animals.  The idea is you can privilege your gear, keeping it dry by overloading your animals or save the animals by trudging through the wet muck yourself.  When the dampness bar is full, the animals are through.  They are lame.  They've been left in sinkholes.  For the boots/armor I'm not sure.  You could say all armor becomes worthless, but that's pretty harsh.  Maybe start taking dampness damage off of AC, once the bar is full, one a day.  Loss of boots should mean slower movement rate too.

You can reset the bar by finding a dry enough spot to camp-- one square cleared per day of fire and rest in camp (props to Wilderness Survival for that idea).

The squares on bottom are if you have a one of any of the labelled folks in the party.  You can sink one square of dampness damage per day into them. The idea is that through know-how and experience they help the party avoid some of the most difficult terrain.

So what choices would this give a party?  Well, in an emergency they could work the animals so hard they sacrifice them, but then you would need to be strict about encumbrance to make that matter.  Or if they are going to need their animals on the other side of the swamp they could store all their armor, sacrifice their boots and travel very slowly.  But if nothing else I'm hoping there would be tension as they split dampness between both bars and looked for a decent camping spot.  You could even set a minimum elevation ahead of time and use this technique as a sub-mini-game.

What do you think?  Can you invent entirely different games for desert/tundra/ocean that would be interesting and "feel" like those places?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Player-Made Treasure

Last session the party made it back to, what seems now like, an abandoned pirate cove.  They'd taken some gold from it before.  Now that they knew about the hidden cove they docked in it and finished exploring. 

I had down a gold amount that the pirates were worth based on their xp times 3. Last visit they found about half of it in silver coins and general goods.  This time I didn't want to just say "you find 400 more sp."  But I hadn't prepped enough to have interesting treasures ready.  And it was late, the end of the session, and to make them wait to see what they had found would be completely anti-climactic.  So I asked my players "If you could find one cool piece of jewellery what would it be?"  I was remembering back to my early D&D days when gems to me were not just something to be cashed in I decorated my cloak pins, and weapons with them etc.  So I was thinking the players might actually want to keep and wear something they chose themselves.  One picked a diadem, another an onyx ring, an emerald ring, and can't remember the last.

This isn't something I'd want to do often.  Exploration is my big love and for exploration to work you have to believe there is something there to find.  If I let you tell me what you find every time, I don't know, exploration ceases to exist in some way.  So, if I do this again it will be rare.  But it was a cool change and the party seemed to like the chance to choose their winnings.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

West Coast Bloggers?

After seeing that Cyclopeatron is moving it made wonder (again) why there aren't more west coast bloggers.  I know of Christian but he's more focussed on analog zines these days.  And Brunomac.  Is Talysman in Sacramento?  Seemed to have read that somewhere.  And I played with Grognardling at the same SoCal Mini-Con that I met Cyclopeatron at.  Ze Bulette is up in Oregon but currently on blogging hiatus.  And that's it.  Or at least the extent of my knowledge.  Tell me about your blog if you're on the West Coast especially in Cali.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Shape Change Mini-Game

Wouldn't it be cool to capture the feel of a mythic shapeshifting chase/duel?  I have the glimmering of an idea of a mini-game that could be engaging for players as well as interesting in-game.  I'll tell you what I'm thinking and maybe you can finish the idea.
You have a diagram of possible creature shapes.  The wizard enters the diagram by becoming one of the weaker/smaller creatures.  I'm thinking d6 +level, so more powerful mages can jump right to bigger things.  Then they can shift form once each round, but they have to achieve the number or higher to move between the creature shapes.

This would become interesting and strategic if they were having to shift from flight to swimming and then from swimming to burrowing.  Or if they were matching fire resistance to a fire breather, etc.

It's possible you could have different diagrams for different schools, say a reptile only, or a mythic beast only diagram.  But that ups the complexity and the number of pages you have to have around.

You might make this interesting by tying it to a magic item that forces a player to shift each round (or else why ever shift from hydra once you get there?).

Or maybe when you get deeper into the chart it gets harder to get back out.

My example diagram is triangular but I imagine a complete circle of choices you could navigate around.  I'd need some more silhouettes and some ideas of which creatures to use.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Siren Song & the Beautiful Cap

About a year ago I had a conversation with Cyclopeatron where I told him I was interested in tapping into experiences and emotions players already have when they come to the table (not too horrible experiences of course).  Well I got to try it out Friday and it seemed to work okay.

The party set sail to find the Animal Island and a moose in order to bring it back for a payoff bigger than they've ever achieved.  On the second evening they came within range of a small isle and heard song.  The crew was entranced and stopped working the sails.  The captain started steering toward the isle until Weegi the mage put him to sleep.  All the players could hear was the horrid squawking of sea birds.  Well, except Sybil, she heard something different.

I asked her player to think of a song she remembered from high school, one that filled her with good feelings and a sense of nostalgia, but not sadness.  She said "okay."  I said you hear that song coming from the isle.

Weegie and Z were getting frantic and afraid as the crew seemed useless.  Then Z pulled out his cap.  The cap is infamous with the players because everyone who looks at it has to save or be charmed.  And players don't like being charmed in the middle of a battle.  Z even added the feather of a golden puma pheasant to his cap, which also charms, for a bonus (I thought why not).

The crew was immediately won back and after a little bit the ship was heading into the night away from the threat.  I love how such a simple magic item has become artifact like in the combination of power and reluctance to use it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pirates, Pirates, Pirates

I haven't been keeping up play reports for my campaign which is probably okay since most people seem to dislike that sort of stuff.  But I miss it as a personal history of my Friday nights.  My players have dwindled to two couples and random noobies.  A few sessions ago the party went back to the Animal Island they'd been adventuring on and found a secret pirate port.  They robbed it.

So last session I rolled to see if the pirates had returned to discover the theft (they hadn't).  Then I decided we better get prepared for pirates anyway and had the players roll on the hireling traits table to see what the three most famous pirates around were like.  We ended up with Il Castrato (teenager with birthmark on nose lack of appetite for sex), Campanillo (powerfully strong local from Nidus with belled legs), and Suicide Jack (dermal decorations on his legs, stupid but cruel).

While shopping in Nidus the party encountered a giant egg with ex-pirates paying people to defecate around it (to keep it warm).  This amused us because it was one that the veteran players remembered fondly from many sessions ago.  The party talked a bit with the pirates and found they belonged to a fourth un-named pirate crew but they had words of dire warning about Suicide Jack.

The party was contacted by one of the big Animal Arena players in Nidus, Hamdan al Fahd.  He's an up-and-comer, kind of sleezy.  There was a party on his black barge.  Drugs were present.  The mage of the group is now addicted to something called "chill".  Earlier in the session the player whose character is permanently very attracted to the opposite sex said "what if you could get addicted to a person?" So I made these mysterious blue folks that didn't speak, one male one female, be at the party leading various partiers below decks.  She is now addicted.

Hamdan heard the party could get animals and he wants one.  What does he want (roll on chart) a moose, hah.  The mage in trying to negotiate (with his 8 char) says "Big-ass, dog-headed panda . . . we can pull that off."  At least I think that's when he said it I wrote it down as amusing to me.  Another note I wrote down was from him list of material components he's gathered: "creepy midget monk honey."  That's entertainment.

So, the mage finally allowed the character with the highest Chr to negotiate and they got a crappy barge-like ship to bring their moose home on.  In talking with the crew I had one of them roll traits for the captain and . . . he's missing feet, so he must have been a pirate too.  And his captain must have been Suicide Jack, thus the missing feet (don't remember if I rolled that or ruled it as being an interesting coincidence).

Tomorrow they plan to head East, even though they don't know where the Animal Island actually is.  God help them.

Oh, yes it was the mage player's birthday so I let him choose between two magic items the pink marble token or the fingerbone necklace.  He chose the latter.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mini-Hex Stencils

I thought, "Hey, what if I turned my hexagonal geomorphs into stencils?"  So I did.  Most of the work was already done.  I just shrank them, edited a bit, and cut them out to test.  They worked okay.  I figured something cut by hand would be a little off and they were.  But still a fun idea to play around with.  Here is what I ended up with:
I cut the inner parts first, then the hexes:
I used whiteout to label the hexes and rolled to place them back in the template:
I don't know if it was just my shoddy job or if there is something different about shifting hexes, but the 3D definitely seems off in my test map.