Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Photo of the Week

I took today's photos at Celery Bog, a wetland preserve in West Lafayette. It's a great little park with a variety of terrain. Most of the time you think of Indiana as flat and open, but there's surprising variety in this little park. Aside from the obvious wetland area, which despite the name is actually a marsh, there's wooded area (Indiana used to be mostly forested believe it or not), and a section that's been allowed to revert to prairie grasses. This is what the bog looks like right now. This is why wilderness exploration is slow!
Celery Bog in August
Most photographers that visit the site focus on waterfowl. I've seen the usual geese and ducks, plus bald eagles, osprey, assorted herons, kingfishers, woodpeckers, and a host of others, but without a long lens most bird photos turn out pretty bad. I tend to go smaller, like this little dude. Found him in a small stand of milkweed just at the edge of the marsh. Sadly he was all alone.
Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar
Finally I decided to play around with Gimp and G'MIC again, using the bog image above. This is the result of applying pencil sketch to the image above.
Sketch Mode
Images copyright Mark A. Thomas
Creative Commons CC BY-NC 3.0

Monday, August 26, 2013

Wilds - Mule, Applied Directly to the Forehead!

So how does one level up a mule?

The party continues their fight against the blood-sucking giant ticks that invaded their camp at nightfall.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wilds - Tick TOCK!

Last turn, the party was ambushed by some multi-legged creatures that had been lurking in the trees above their camp. Let's see how that works out... Who lives? Who dies?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Photo of the Week

In an effort to A) force myself to take more photos, and B) to post more often, I'll be posting a picture or two each week from recent photo sessions. Most of these will be nature/outdoor stuff, with some macro stuff in the mix. In some cases, like today, I'll be including GIMP-processed versions of the image as well.

Today's image is of a giant horsefly that decided to do some sunbathing on my patio.

Original image
Cropped and sfx'd using G'MIC in Gimp
Images copyright Mark A. Thomas
Creative Commons CC BY-NC 3.0

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wilds - I Spire

When we left the party, they'd just returned from a round of spire-hopping, a process they continue for a while longer. They also try a few new tests. Raúguey stays behind at the base camp while the others take a trip in the spire to prove that the spire itself doesn't move (it doesn't). They find destinations that are solid walls of ice, bitterly cold ocean water, snowy hills, tundra, and a walled-up chamber completely enclosing the spire.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Items of Power - Volume Three

The latest product in PBE Games' Items of Power series is now available. The third volume contains seven new magic items: the Vermin Blade, Steadyhand Ring, Lifehammer, Robe of Elements, Sword of Bees, Magician's Elixir, and the Skull of the Dead.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Random Tables II - More Excel

A few days back I posted an ultra-simple example of a random table in Excel. Since I'm making a few tables for another project, I thought I'd do a slightly more complex (and useful) example, and explain how it works. Here's the basic table, which uses a percentile dice roll and has variable ranges for each table entry.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wilds - Click Your Heels Together Three Times

After debating the wisdom of exploration versus continuing to try combinations in hopes of getting home, the party elects to do a quick scout of the immediate area, keeping the spire in sight. Leaving the hirelings inside with the beasts, Ohwatoo, Dagmarten, and Locky do a quick survey of the immediate area around the tower, while Raúguey, Ingvild, and Durego investigate the various piles of stone they can reach. Rawon, Mordikarr, and Maro spread out a bit and scout out a few hundred yards into the woods.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Random Tables - An Excel Quickie

Someone over on G+ was asking about tools to make random tables for RPGs. I mentioned Excel and the poster said they weren't very good at using the spreadsheet. Since quick and dirty tables are pretty easy with Excel, I thought I'd throw together a quick example, so... here:

This is a very simple table with six entries (A2-A7). A1 is a formula which randomly selects an entry from the table using the INDEX and RANDBETWEEN functions. A8 is a text copy of the function used. Each time you hit the F9 key, RANDBETWEEN recalculates its value, and uses it as an index into the table. Here's what the INDEX function means:

  • A2:A7 is the array to work on (that's six rows by one column).
  • RANDBETWEEN(1,6) chooses a row value between 1 and 6, inclusive.
  • The final 1 parameter chooses the first column.

Points to note:

  • The INDEX function takes an array, a row, and a column as parameters. You can get fancier and use RANDBETWEEN for both row and column to create a two-dimensional table.
  • The RANDBETWEEN function picks a number from the integer values between and including the given low and high.
  • The row and column values in INDEX are values within the given array (A2:A7). The first row/column is always one, and the highest value is equal to the number of rows/columns in the array. Don't use spreadsheet row/column values!
  • Using an array reference inline like that leads to unreadable spreadsheets. If we were doing a more complex example, we'd apply a name to the data range, and use that instead.
  • What works in Excel generally works in Open Office or Google Drive documents. For example you can see the Drive version right here.

OK, that's it, quick and dirty. There's more complex stuff in this post right here though.

Monday, August 5, 2013

All Over the World...

Last turn the party decided to try and use the pedestal they found in the center of the spire chamber. The discovered the entire contents of the chamber, including themselves of course, had been moved to a different location. Let's see what happens next.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wilds - The Spire

A few turns have passed in my Labyrinth Lord, Wilds game, and action has been a bit slow, with various real-life vacations slowing the pace a bit. here's a summary of action to date.