What I am reading

There are 8 intresting articles that I am currently digesting from a number of different sources:

And countless others.

Now to throw them all into a blender and see what comes out....


What Gets Me Started

The problem that I have had with maintaining this blog as not be a lack of ideas, but getting started. About 80 days ago I discovered 750 words. Its a simple site with a simple goal: to get you to write, every day, at least 750 words. As it is not a blog and nothing is visible to anyone but you, all the writing that you do is for YOU. It is supported by user contributions so it is "free".

Now, this alone would not have been enough to keep me going but then the sight adds monthly competitions (write every day for a month), and these silly little badges for making various goals and achievements: I am personally only 47 days from my phoenix and withing a couple ten thousand words of making my flock of birds. In some cases, failing to make your words for the day will cause you to loose a badge: I have found this loss aversion to be very, very motivating.

How I Use It

  • I try and find a time where I will be distraction free for at least 20-25 minutes
  • I the first line is todays date and any goals that I have (usually expressed as a word count)
  • Then I put the current time.
  • Then I just start typing until I hit the daily goal (at minimum the quota).
  • Now to make this gaming related: I often put in snippits of encounters, characters or even blog ideas using the sites meta data notation of GAME: here is a game idea or BLOG: an idea for a blog post. 
Latter in the day, once I have passed the quota, I will go back an expand upon or add additional ideas there. Or, if I am pressed, I will search past daily words for ideas or topics to write about.

Give it a try, come on, for the first three days, you have nothing to loose... however, once you make your Turkey badge... you are hooked (hopefully).


I Feel Properly Chastised

 I found this little rant and was personally chastised for my, somewhat sporadic posting habits: the last post was on May 13, 2010. Alright, maybe Mr Porter was scolding some other people aside from just myself.  
I have, however, taken this to heart and I will endeavor to maintain a at least every other day posting schedule with content that related, if tangentially,  to gaming.
The sad part is that the rant was posted more eleven days ago...


How they failed/How they Fumbled

"You got a 13, you miss."
A phrase often heard at the gaming table: a sad and uninspiring statement that renders the PC's actions and efforts meaningless; It shuts them down; and takes them out of the game.
The idea that I had was to let them describe their failed attack in terms of the encounter (or challenge) allowing them some narrative control.
The next time a PC misses I am going to ask them: "Describe what happened?"; "Tell me about the attack that missed" or "Tell us what went wrong".

Just a short thought for the day.


Nogg, Elderly Night Door watch man

Situation: The players approach a small town after dark.

Nogg 63 Human Male , Night Guard
Stooped, elderly, with dim, watery eyes and sparse gray hair. 
Volunteered: Question 1: "Who are you, and what you be doing at this hour of the night?"

What do you do here?: I have been the night guard of this gate for more years than I care to count. It is my job to not admit "Strange Folk" after dark. 
What do you want?: I'd prefer to spend my nights sleeping, though I don't know that I could do that any more. 
Has/Is [NPC] been through the town: I do not know can you describe them?... 
[Thinks for a moment and answers honestly].
Can we come in?:Ey, you look honest enough, not like those [refer to a plot relevant NPC/Organization or rumor].

We don't have time for this: Let us in!: Nay, "Strange Folk", must wait for dawn.
[Offer of a reasonable bribe/Toll] Oh, yes, I see no "Strange Folk" here [opens the night door and recommends an near by Inn].  
So you can be bought, wait till we tell the Capitan of the Guard: Please, no, I don't want to end up like Jenkens. [returns the bribe] He still hasn't gotten all of the pitch off. 

Volunteered: [Slams the night door] Help, Night watch...[Runs to fetch the night watch, leaving the gate unguarded for a 1d10 rounds]. 

If physically confronted: Add a check to "City Guards". 
If treated in a friendly manner remove one check to "City Guards". 


Dirt, Free Man of the World

History: Hasir was a man of weath, status and influence who married into an impoverished Noble line. 
Premise: One day he was touched by a divinity and has renounced worldly wealth and power. He now lives, wandering from town to town, performing day labor for any who will pay him with a place to sleep and a bit of food to eat. After a few days he moves on leaving 99 gold coins behind. 
Problem: His spouse wants him back; The family patracrh wants the everfull purse back even more so.

Dirt/Hasir Human Male, 43, Laborer/Noble.
Appearance: A human male in his low forties, in simple plan but clean, often mended, clothes. He has dark hair and dark eyes. His voice is quite and humble.

What's your name/Story: "I be Dirt, Sir, a free man of the world. I have nothing but my clothes and a strong back. "
Why do you live this way/what do you desire: "I desire only to do a days' honest work. Though some food and a place to sleep would be nice. "


If a discussion of Poltics/Nobility/Society happens in front of him: He will comment, aside, with accurate and insightful information. When confronted, he will fumble, applogise, and feign ignorance. 

How do you know these things: I am very sorry sir, I mean no harm. (lie) I once worked for a powerful man and learned a smidgen about such things. 
What was his name, where did you come from: His name was Hasir, he was a powerfull, small minded and shallow man. 
Are you Hasir/What is your real name: Please sir, do not make me go back, that life was hollow, empty of meaning.

Any physical assault or threat will make Dirt/Hasir cower and surrender. 
Volunteered: Don't hurt me.

Spouse: She is initially overjoyed at his return, but becomes increasingly upset at his new world view. Eventually she will send him away after one too many confidence of his to a peer.
Patriarch: Pleased over the return of the artifact. He may need to deal with Hasir, possibly through more violent and covert means.


A Link to Dragons

If you are in need of inspiration on Dragons Look Here.

Here is a sample:



An Apology and a Teaser

I must apologize to all who saw the pulled back post on the rss feed: I inadvertently published an article out of order and before it's time.

As a way to make up for it I thought I post a little teaser of my next project.

Produced with and using textures and materials provided by Fractal Mapper and released under Creative Commons, Remix - Attibuation share and share alike 3.0a license.


In Praise of: Snows of an Early Winter

Snows of an Early Winter is Call of Cthulhu Modern adventure written by Louis Agresta and published by Super Genius Games (Available in print and PDF). It covers the quest for local power by a Librarian in possession of an unnatural book.
The adventure its self is well written with no investigative dead ends or stumbling blocks. Additionally the adventure is well paced with a good mixture of investigation and combat. The combat is scales to larger and larger fights as the adventure nears it's climax.

Louis Agresta created two Adventure layout innovations that I feel compelled to share:
  1. A NPC template that assists the referee in the characterization and dissemination of NPC knowledge.
  2. Trigger Tracker - A tool for tracking the attitude and response of interested NPC's and Groups.
NPC Template

Name, Age, Profession/Role
Stat Block

In character Statements, facts, warnings and threats given freely during the encounter.
If the PC's act in a friendly manner they may receive the answers to:
Question 1: Response
Question 2: Response
Skill checks (psychology, Fast Talk, or idea rolls) that must be passed to coerce the individual into answer:
Question 1: Response
Question 2: Response
Skill checks or amount of damage that must be done before the individual is compliant enough to answer:
Question 1: Response
Question 2: Response
A discription of how the actions of the pc's change the values in the trigger tracker table. Examples would include
If the PCs made contact add a mark to group 1
If the PCs were mean to remove a mark from group 2

Trigger Tracker
PersonalityMarksThresholdEvent or Action
Npc/Group 1
Name of Event 1
Name of Event 2
Name of Event 3
Npc/Group 2
4Name of Event 4

Special: The event only applies on after other events or at a specific time.

These two innovations would be very useful to mystery/investigation games; and would have utility in non-linear open plot (Sandbox) style campaigns.


In Prase of: D&D Doodle

I encountered this site via a Google reader feed: D&D Doodle the character sketches are good and stylistic but the maps are Amazing:

I love the detail of the isometric 3D maps.
Also take a look at the Fallcrest town map.