Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Daruna - Session Report

A couple of weeks ago I ran the first of hopefully many weekend-long games set in Daruna, my latest campaign world. The session was also the first test run of the Class Free 2.0 system, my home-brew game system loosely based on d20 and 3rd edition D&D, and the first trial of the corrupting magic system I wrote about in a previous post. Aside from the usual goal of seeing my friends and having fun with RPGs, I had three main goals for this session:
  • Shake out the bugs in CF2.0. I wasn't terribly concerned with this aspect. Everyone knew it was a new system and that there would likely be changes to the rules.
  • Get everyone up to speed with the new system. A bit of work, as the majority of my players were diehard AD&D 1st/2nd edition players. But they're game, I'm game, so... forward.
  • See how corrupting magic affected play balance. This was the biggest potential fly in the ointment. I was (and still am to be honest) particularly concerned about healing, since ablative hit points assume a robust healing mechanism.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TiddlyWiki - A Minor Tip

I use TiddlyWiki for pretty much all my campaign notes these days. The combination of hyper-linking and a single self-contained file (minus images), makes it a very useful tool for my style of GMing. I went so far as to write a couple of brief tutorials on using it in my old RPG Dumping Ground blog:
One of the things I mention in part two of the tutorials is transclusion, a feature that allows you to insert a tiddler within a tiddler. Today's tip is an extension of that feature.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Daruna - Corruptive Magic

Wow. This place is dusty. Guess I need to break out the vacuum.
I'm finally doing some work on my Daruna campaign again. We're scheduled to play the first session in a few weeks. One aspect of this game is a bit of swords and sorcery feel, with powerful magic a tool of the big bad guys rather than the player characters. To reflect this I've been working on a system of magical corruption. The how and why follow...

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Well this looks interesting in an old school kind of way. Party based dungeon crawler on the PC? Grid dungeons? Quasi-turn based combat? I'm in.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The GM Problem (mine)

I was browsing my youtube favorites the other day and found a perfect example to illustrate why I end up writing so much material when I start up a new campaign.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Eve Online - Deleting Threads Won't Help CCP

Copy of an internal email message concerning recent Incarnageddon update. This was originally posted on the official Eve forums, then deleted and the poster banned. Oppression wins you no friends CCP. Message purportedly from CCP Hilmar, leaked from the same source as a previously leaked and confirmed message. Maybe authentic, maybe not, but preserved for posterity in any case:

We live in interesting times; in fact CCP is the kind of company that if things get repetitive we instinctively crank it up a notch. That, we certainly have done this week. First of we have Incarna, an amazing technological and artistic achievement. A vision from years ago realized to a point that no one could have imaged but a few months ago. It rolls out without a hitch, is in some cases faster than what we had before, this is the pinnacle of professional achievement. For all the noise in the channel we should all stand proud, years from now this is what people will remember.

But we have done more, not only have we redefined the production quality one can apply to virtual worlds with the beautiful Incarna but we have also defined what it really means to make virtual reality more meaningful than real life when it comes to launching our new virtual goods currency, Aurum.

Naturally, we have caught the attention of the world. Only a few weeks ago we revealed more information about DUST 514 and now we have done it again by committing to our core purpose as a company by redefining assumptions. After 40 hours we have already sold 52 monocles, generating more revenue than any of the other items in the store.

This we have done after months of research by a group of highly competent professionals, soliciting input and perspective from thought leaders and experts in and around our industry. We have communicated our intention here internally in very wide circles through the Virtual Economy Summit presentation at the GSM, our Fearless newsletter, sprint reviews, email lists and multiple other channels. This should not come as a surprise to anyone.

Currently we are seeing _very predictable feedback_ on what we are doing. Having the perspective of having done this for a decade, I can tell you that this is one of the moments where we look at what our players do and less of what they say. Innovation takes time to set in and the predictable reaction is always to resist change.

We went out with a decisive strategy on pricing and we will stay the course and not flip flop around or knee jerk react to the predictable. That is not saying nothing will change, on the contrary, in fact we know that success in this space is through learning and adapting to _what is actually happening_ and new knowledge gained in addition to what we knew before and expected.

All that said, I couldn't be prouder of what we have accomplished as a company, changing the world is hard and we are doing it as so many times before! Stay the course, we have done this many times before.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Trapper Children

"Awww, poor thing! Do you need help? Are you lost?"

These are usually the last words spoken near a Trapper Child, a half-demonic, half-bestial creature with limited shape-shifting abilities and a hunger for living flesh.
(ID, please ignore: TGGZ5XTSE57)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


A friend of mine gifted me a copy of Terraria via Steam the other day (thanks Melissa!), and I finally got around to playing around with it a bit this morning.

I've discovered one important fact about this game so far:

Friday, May 20, 2011

CCP You Slay Me

Say what you will about CCP, the developers of Eve Online, there's one thing I know for sure. They have a great sense of humor! This was their most recent banner ad that popped up on the client login:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review: The Name of the Wind: Patrick Rothfuss

Have you read this? If not, you should. Yes it's the first book of a series that's not finished, something I absolutely hate recommending because of what I call the Martin Effect (if you read fantasy I'm sure you can guess what that is). I'll make an exception in this case though, for two reasons:
  • Patrick Rothfuss actually seems to have a trilogy in mind, and claims that it's pretty much written. All that's left is the editing and revising.
  • It's a very very very good book.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Prophecy Urn

This object is capable of providing potent portents, prophecies and predictions. The Prophecy Urn is three feet tall. It's bulbous, two-foot wide base narrows to a slender neck culminating in a flaring mouth. A pair of looped handles of polished brass flank the Urn's neck. The Urn is made from some black metal, smooth and polished to a glossy sheen, but this material is only visible within the object's neck. The exterior of the Urn is sheathed in a leather and fur casing made from the preserved facial skins of dozens of creatures, both natural and unnatural. Specimens include a sad-looking human, a snarling badger, a tiny praying mantis, a haughty cat, a twisted imp, a scaly lizardman, and many more. Each face is a fine example of the taxidermist's art, eyes replaced with flecks of colored stone or glass, teeth carefully carved from ivory or stone, features given form by carefully placed beneath the skin. The Urn is both large and heavy, moving it requires the efforts of two strong men.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mandatory Microsoft Madness

Most people that know me will tell you I don't have a very high opinion of Microsoft. There are lots of reasons for this, but rather than bore you with a bunch of history, I'll tell you about my recently-purchased XBOX 360 that died last month and the humorous and annoying process of replacing it.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Have You Seen This?

And by this I mean THIS RIGHT HERE.

Monsters on Post-It notes. Good stuff. Really good stuff.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dungeon Dice?

Over on A Character for Every Game, Dyson Logos has started a new project: DungeonMorph dice.

Clarification from Dyson: The project is actually being run by Joe from Inkwell Ideas. Dyson and some other folk are involved in the geomorph designs.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Shalish - A City of Daruna

Map Key

Red - Military
Green - Residential
Blue - Temples
Yellow - Market / trade
Tan - Warehouse / storage
Purple - Government
Shalish is the largest city of the Shalish Alliance, and is the capital of the province that bears it's name. It is smaller in terms of population than Daruna or Loshma, but significantly larger than any other known city. The city and surrounding lands are ruled by King Lahkim Dashen II. Dashen's nephew, King Anda Kamase rules Goba as a vassal state loyal to Shalish, the result of a successful invasion by Dashen seven years ago.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Eve Online - CSM Voting is Open

Make your voice heard.

For those that don't play Eve, the CSM is the Council of Stellar Management, a player feedback organization set up by CCP to represent the player base to the developers. They've done some good stuff.

I need two of those "I voted" stickers they give out at polling locations here in the US.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Blog posts have been taking a back seat to other writing lately, with my time being divided between working on Class Free rules, filling in my Daruna campaign setting, and running a play-by-post sci fi game. I've talked a bit about Class Free and Daruna, but haven't said much about my PbP game, so...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

DriveThru RPG

DriveThru RPG is offering a huge product bundle as a fund raiser to support rescue and recovery efforts in Christchurch, New Zealand following the major earthquake there. Check it out.

What is Class Free?

In a previous post I mentioned I was working on something called Class Free 2.0. I thought I'd explain a bit, since this project is my main reason, er, excuse for not actually writing blog posts.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Who Needs a Monster Manual...

When Japanese corporations provide you with all the monsters you need?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Daruna - A Map

Starting a campaign without a map is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without peanut butter. This is my first effort at a map for the previously mentioned Daruna campaign. I've created this using the free version of Hexographer, a hex mapping application from Inkwell Ideas. I really do need to buy a copy of this excellent application sometime soon.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Eve Online - Character Creator: Round II

A while back I wrote an article about Eve Online's new character creator, and how it would be a nice way to put together portraits for NPCs in RPGs. Of course it has the big problem of requiring the Eve Online client and an active account to actually use it. Fortunately, there's a Better Way (TM).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How about that Weather?

So if you're somewhere in a large portion of the United States, you're probably seeing the same thing outside your window that I'm seeing outside mine. Snow. Weather like this always makes me think about outdoor adventures, travel, and how conditions like weather affect play in RPGs. A lot of games that support outdoor adventures or have rules for travel include lots of tables and exceptions for handling things this sort of thing. I generally don't use them. Let me explain.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Current Events

In which I discuss various forms of stuff that I am doing. Last week was a big loss due to a rather nasty bug I caught (along with most of my family). Since I really don't like posting "I'm not posting" posts, things got quiet here. Too quiet. I'm pretty well recovered now, just in time to get hit with more bitterly cold weather. Luckily I managed to get in a nice walk around the neighborhood yesterday, something that's all too rare an occurrence during the winter months here. So with the chit chat out of the way, here's a rundown on the current state of entertainment here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sick Day - Have a Link

A serious bout with a stomach bug took out my will to write this week, but I hate letting that much time go by without posting anything, so here's a link to a fantastic photography site. Opacity is dedicated to photography of abandoned places. Whether you're looking for inspiration for a haunted house, an abandoned warehouse, or a post-apocalyptic lab, this is the place to look. The sites are amazing and the photography is top notch. Go. Look. Be amazed. Or creeped out.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Eve Online - Character Creator

As you may or may not know, Eve Online is an MMO focused on flying around in spaceships doing spaceship stuff. The publisher CCP recently introduced their new character creator, which is used to create the look of your character. The previous character portraits were rather... primitive. The new portraits are a vast step forward. There are still some rough spots with the tool, but I'm very pleased to see CCP modernizing the look of the game.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Minecraft = Legos

If you follow indie video games at all you've probably heard of Minecraft, but it can be hard to figure out exactly what it is without some further research or actually playing the game. So what is it?

It's a giant tub of Legos. With monsters.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Return to Moria - Wrapup

One of the loose ends from my RPG dumping ground blog is my Moria campaign. To recap, the idea was a short campaign set in Tolkien's Moria after the War of the Ring using 1st edition AD&D rules. The campaign is now over, with mixed results, so I thought I'd offer up a recap and snip that loose end.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Next Game - Daruna

Well it's been almost a week and no articles have magically appeared in the blog. I guess I need to work on that. What follows is the brief introduction I wrote for the potential next game for my regular gaming group. It didn't get a huge response from the others, so I'm still not sure what I'll be running.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Introduction posts are lame, but I guess they're necessary. How else are readers going to figure out what a blog is about? This is the third blog I've started writing. The other two, both inactive, were pretty specific; a fact that lead to their eventual end. The RPG Dumping Ground was an "RPG thing a day" project. The vast majority of the posts were descriptions of items, spells or encounters for pen and paper RPGs. Allods - A League Perspective was driven by a specific MMO, and is primarily game guides. Both blogs died when my interests moved away from the specific subject matter they were focused on.

This blog has a broader scope. I'm going to write primarily about games, both traditional RPGs (D&D and others) and computer games. I play both so why not? I will also diverge into other media from time to time: movies, books, TV, and social media are all potential fair game. Lastly I may write the occasional note about other things I do for entertainment, food, drink, enjoying the great outdoors and technology are all on the table.

Let me start with the main focus though. Here are the three or four things I'll be writing about most in the short term:
  • Moria - A pen and paper D&D campaign I wrote about on the RPG Dumping Ground. The game is now over, but I'm going to write at least a wrap up article about it.
  • Eve Online - An MMO focused on internet space ships. I've been playing this off and on for a couple years now.
  • Minecraft - I've been sucked into this in a big way.
  • Stars - A play-by-post RPG I'm running using a hybrid Traveller / FUDGE system.
I'm planning on a two to three articles a week pace, but how often I write will reflect what I have to write about, and that will be determined on what I'm doing. I will make heavy use of the label system in Blogger to keep various topics organized, so if you're only interested in one kind of articles, it should be fairly easy to stay on target. Hope you'll stick around.

The TL;DR version: Games and other stuff I find entertaining.