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Friday, January 29, 2016

Frostgrave at DundraCon

So, I have been silent on the blog for over  a month now, what have I been up to?

FROSTGRAVE!

I'm scheduled to run Frostgrave at DundraCon, Friday Feb. 12 at 4 PM. I expect it will go two rounds with a campaign turn in between and one at the end. The maximum player count I set was eight, so I will have two tables going, either as two 4 player games or four 2 player games. It will be starting warbands with 500 GC. You can bring your own, and I'll have figures for eight pregens set up, with a list for each school of wizard. I've been working a lot on scenery to give it that Frostgrave flavor. Here is a vignette shot on terrain a recent practice game, as an example:



















An earlier practice game before the round towers got painted:



















And here is a shot of my painting table with treasure markers and guys in progress:



And some scenery in progress:




Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Annoying Magic Items

Tonight, while digging for other things, I came across a sheet of paper with a list of mostly flawed magic items I wrote out in one of those silly DM moments. Apologies if this is an inadvertent reblog.

Con-man Sword I10 E12, no other powers but talking, pretends it can Detect Slopes, Traps, Gold, Gems.

Potion of Levitation without vertical hold, you rise and rise until it runs out.

Magic Sword which drains XPs you would normally gain upon killing the monster.

Telepathy Crown which warns the opposition.

Horn of Plenty yielding Spam.

Sword of Chaos- Powers change with each being slain, shapeshifts. Needs a powers table or just roll on the magic swords table each time.

Lightning Whip - hit self on fumbles.

Addictive Potions - probably of Healing

Lightning Wand with a short. 1/6 chance of self zapping.

Coin-op magic sword - pay to play. +1 bonus for a GP for 1D6 rounds of combat, or make it eat a platinum or gem and give it a higher bonus.

Defective Portable Hole, eats stuff on 1/6, or 1/3 if really fritzing out.

Strength Potion - Adrenalin-like with power rush and weakening crash after duration runs out

Flying carpet with a penchant for acrobatics.

Animated shoes

Dragon gecko - changes when it hiccups.

Items which convert H.P. to spell levels.

Casting amulets give a bonus to casting rolls. - huh, a normal one slipped in...

Hangman's Rope - The rope is thick and coarse, its rough fibers make it painful to grip. It has a noose at one end, caked in brown, flaking blood.  It has a pompous magic activation phrase ", It is thy day to die." If no name is mentioned in activation,  it randomizes among all beings within 30'. Its reach is 30'. It uncoils quickly and moves fast, striking in a single round, hitting on 8+ on D20. Dex save on D30 to dodge. It jerks the victim from the ground and hangs him for 2D6 damage in the first round and 1D6 each subsequent round, AC 2 and 20 HP that will heal at the next new moon. All attacks or other action rolls by the hanging victim are at -2. If found enshrined, there will be an archaic inscription near it that tells a story of a hanging that includes the magic phrase: "Spake the Charnel Lord: ABROM! It is thy day to die. And the Hangman's Rope did lift the man to kick and jerk his life away. Eyes burst from their sockets, black tongue bit half through, he was dropped to earth and given to its cold embrace."

and... a couple of house rules ideas:

Impediment by weapons - can carry/wear 3 hands worth okay, -1 Dex and To Hit for each further. Alternative to detailed encumbrance, would need more when packing a lot of loot/provisions.
Daggers count 1/2 hand
Handaxes 1/2 hand
Shortbow 1 hand
Longbow 2 hands
Light crossbow 1 hand
Heavy crossbow 2 hands
Most shields 1 hand.
Large, heavy shields 2 hands.
Other weapons 1 or 2 hands as needed to wield them

A casting variant for semi-Vancian magic, where most spells are memorized to be reasonably reliable and safe, but others can be cast in a crunch. This was with an INT or WIS roll to cast. Pretty close to what was in my previously blogged 80s OD&D campaign house rules.

Casting unmemorized spells
-2/level of spell on casting roll
Caster takes 1 hit point of damage taken per level of spell attempted
Wipes memory of equivalent in spell levels.

Casting beyond listed number of spells for that level (Crashing for power):
Casting Roll modified as above for unmemorized spell.
Caster takes 1 hit point/ level for the attempt if casting roll failed.
Caster takes 1d6 damage per spell level if successful.

Preparation -
Gain up to 1D6 bonus on chance, rolled secretly by ref at 1 point per full turn of preparation with expenditure of 1 GP worth of magical supplies/turn/level of spell



Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thugs and Ruffians

I'm at the tail end of a cold that kept me home a couple days. Looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. Whiled away some of the time painting and G+ chatting with some other minis painters in a chat organized by Kurtus Brown, muting my mic when the coughing got bad.

 Here are the guys I took from about halfway to pretty much finished in chat sessions. Also did some putty filling on the GW Oculus and sculpting stonework on a tower wrapped around a cocoa mix can. I'll show those pieces later. They're propped against the palette here to face them up into the light to cut down on shadows. They'll get a spray coat this weekend and then I need to pick out a skirmish set of rules to try with them and some older ones.



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Campaign surroundings for the dungeon, UI and data structures, urk...

The idea that some of the NPCs with places of origin in their names should share home towns weaves outward in interesting ways. With templating, it will be pretty easy to have a fair amount of description generated for each place, at least a size, and a label like village, town, city, settlement, etc. Distance and direction could be feasible, though with direction comes the need to discover how close coastlines are in each direction. Governance quality, notable figures,  economy... it starts to feel like campaign gen. Going whole hog, this would be the time to start developing the social/political network graphs, and try out the VisJS hierarchical graphing mode for some of them. And if  doing any of that, even just place names, it needs to have a way to save and reuse the lists so that the places used for naming NPCs met in the first level of a megadungeon are also used for the deeper levels, though it might be good to have some NPCs in deeper levels come from farther afield. If another dungeon is in the same campaign, it should have an overlapping set.

So far multilevel dungeons have been an implied feature, you can generate a set at different levels of opposition, and put in save names with the names matching but L1, L2, L3 or "the castle", "the pits", "the tombs" appended or some such to see in the select menu that they are related, and edit in level linkages into nodes or room descriptions. With at least NPC hometowns being shared, the saved data structure to fit the needs mentioned above starts to look like we build more than one data structure, dungeonLevel, dungeon, and world, or we build a nested data structure, a world contains dungeons and places, and possibly places are nested like dungeons, if some are taking their names from towns and some from higher levels of political organization, like kingdoms or regions. There either needs to be a way to load in starter lists to save and reuse or an editor list view that lets a DM replace random people and place names with names from the campaign. The reskinning tool can help at the current level of complexity, but there is a point at which the data flips the presentation from map of level plus room list plus free form notes field to something a bit more organized, where you can oversee and edit the various lists. The design tension is between making the additional features convenient, and not detracting from the convenience of the basic generation controls currently always at the top, map, lists, & notes.

Another area I've been muddling over using templating for is dungeon history. Pick an age since it was started, who dug or initially populated it, and if it is old enough, a brief narrative cycle of replacement, invasion, magical accident, corruption, etc that fits it with the current occupants. This could be a good source of room names in DunGen and of creatures, traps, hooks, and oddities for both DunGen and DunMap. Digressing, maybe there should also be a list of mundanities to go with the oddities, so that food stores, furniture, spare weapons, etc get more of a mention in room listings. DunMap, especially could use some of these scene setting items to replace implied atmospherics of the node labels. Anyway, potted history is more for the whole dungeon than dungeon level, but some could be done by level, perhaps with an evolving model kind of like Tony Dowler's How to Host a Dungeon. If actually building a megadungeon, it could even all be generated at one go, starting with a name and saving levels as you go, ending up with a hierarchical menu where each entry at the first level is a dungeon name and dungeon levels are nested.

So, yeah, that's at least another year's worth of stuff to do, aside from features like cultural name lists, theming on the remaining stocking lists, drawing and rescanning maps, adding graphical icons to the node style options, wikifying the stocking lists, intelligent magic items...

Postscript: Realized after posting that the natural presentation of the megadungeon is a graph of the levels and their connections in DunGen, and a classic side view with the level nodes placed on it in DunMap.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

NPC names with the new template system

I will be uploading today's version of DunGen & DunMap in a few minutes. A few days ago I uploaded the version that plugged in a dungeon name at the top of the Notes field using it. Today, I'm adding an upgrade to NPC naming that uses it. There will still be a couple more passes at least on naming to

  1. Improve the way the actual proper names of people and places are being generated from a simple one from list A and one from list B initial system, and possibly differentiate them.
  2. Store a set of place names early in the process so some can be reused by more than one NPC.
  3. Add more to the nicknames list. Found some nice historical viking and medieval ones on the web today and put a lot of the less raunchy ones in.
  4. Maybe add a way for users to plug in character and place source names so they fit their campaign a priori rather than after editing. This would probably go a separate entry for user preferences in LocalStorage, so you only have to do it  once per device (since I am not ready to deal with the concept of accounts and persistent server side storage for this project).
I'm really enjoying the nested templating and have more uses for it in mind than I have time to implement.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Very Meta Random Dungeon Generation Post

Nothing to show for it yet, but I just achieved a milestone. Got my recursive string insertion templating function working. So I can pass it a string now that has sets of templating handlebars in it, calling functions inside, whose results could be other randomly generated string that have other handlebars, and it keeps calling and replacing until the whole thing is a resolved string. This means I can now do tables that have lookups inside of entries, and get the kind of effect the random generation wikis like Abulafia get for interesting merged results. It's much simpler that serious templating engines, but designed to be just what I need, and I can grow it as necessary.

So now I am writing some of those tables & functions to test it out in actual use, not just tests. I'm starting with a set of tables and functions to generate Swords & Sorcery trope dungeon/scenario names. The nice thing is the functions and lists that go inside the insertion marks will be usable as parts for naming other things.

I hope to have some results to show tomorrow night.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Add Your Maps to DunMap

DunMap loads maps from the URL text field, but it also has a list in the code that populates the select menu next to the field for convenience, and a randomly selected one from the list is loaded with the web page, both by filling in that field. Currently it holds maps I drew and a couple from the British Library expired copyright images collection. If you have some maps you made posted online that you would like included in the selector, leave a comment on this post, ideally with a short title for each under about 40 characters and the URL. Or you can provide a page URL that shows maps with titles and I can copy titles and image URLs there. I will NOT download your map and store it, it is yours to host. I will add an entry to this list in the JavaScript of DunMap to link it from your site:

var imageArray= [
  ["Select a map",""],
  ["EA: Megadungeon Level 1","http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-0pr_RVQvg-8/VDYZ2G7RZvI/AAAAAAAAB7g/nh3T30dPSEs/s1600/Level1.png"],
  ["EA: Great Hall","http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-eYinXW0HVSw/VDDyu4oliXI/AAAAAAAAB6M/VED9x6DcxdQ/s1600/great%2Bhall-partially%2Bedited.png"],
  ["EA: Shadowkarst", "http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-2fhW-crpV44/U-fupnMFSGI/AAAAAAAABhA/HtcHzc7QfmE/s1600/Shadownkarst.png"],
  ["EA: The Devil's Staircase", "https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2_86MwGxbiE/UvEr6D_mVBI/AAAAAAAAAtI/SZOwC3_h7TA/s1600/devils_staircase.png"],

... etc


Please only submit maps that you have stably hosted and not likely to get stuck for exceeding bandwidth caps. I don't yet have code in place to retry if maps fail to load in.

Also tell my how you want your name and blog or source site listed in Image Credits section. I plan to prefix all titles in the menu with initials that key down to an entry in the Image Credits.

Please don't send me a link to a Pinterest or other collection of maps you found on the internet. This is opt-in by the map creators only. You can opt out again at any time and I'll remove links in the next release.

Monday, November 9, 2015

DunMap & Dave's Mapper

I had fun after work playing with Dave's Mapper to generate and export maps and then importing them into DunMap.  It's a good combo. I recommend doing smallish dungeons, anything from 0 x 1 up to 2 x 2 with edges and corners, from one artist or a couple that have similar background hatching styles.

Another Dungeon Map

This one was mostly about playing with a jagged line. I like this graph paper, except the blue lines are so dark they are hard to filter out without messing up the black. Anyway, its more fodder for DunMap.



Saturday, November 7, 2015

DunMap now has my map collection

Today I fixed the map canvas to 1200 x 1200 px so the numbers stay in place at reloads. With a fixed size, centered image, and square shape, I should be able to allow for rescaling to other sizes and still keep the numbers in the right rooms.

 But perhaps more importantly, I added my whole collection of maps to a menu so there is an easy access collection of maps to populate. If other map makers want some or all of their maps to be added, I'll expand the menu.

Fixed Wandering monsters and relationships note in DunMap. Went with a simpler generation of a bigger set of WMs at the beginning and adding relationships to the bottom of the note as rooms are added. This might split up the relations above and below hand entered notes, but that should not be too much of a problem, since most nodes will be added at the beginning.

Added font size and color adjustments to the Style dialog.

Added a button to lock out addition of nodes by stray clicks.


DunMap