Posts

The New Mythosa Map and Sourcebook

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I may not have been posting on the blog but I haven’t been idle. I’ve just posted a revised map and version 1 of the new "Mythosa Cyclopedia". I’d like to say I’ve tweaked things slightly, but that would be a little inaccurate. But in my defense, that wasn’t my original intention! Below is a long rambling about how this new version came to be.

Though I’ve changed Mythosa quite a bit over the years (that’s actually part of the world lore now; the cycle of destruction and rebirth is a central part of a universal "monomyth"), the last incarnation was intended to be the last one. I was happy with the world, but my map looked too amateurish. So I started to look online for someone to hire to make a professional-looking map of Mythosa.

In the process I found an application called "Wonderdraft". I’d never heard of it before, but once I bought it and started using it, I was amazed. This was the mapping program I’d wanted for years, it just didn’t exist until now…

Very useful Caves of Chaos map

When it comes to dungeon maps, I favor utility over artistry. Maps with rendered furniture and torchlight shadows are nice, but if they’re only seen by the GM, they’re not very practical. I want maps that are clear and make layout with dungeon tiles easy. If they can convey additional information without being too busy, all the better.

Given the above, I really like this map of the venerable “Caves of Chaos” I found on The RPG Cartography blog. Not only is it practical but it contains a lot of useful information without being overdone. The only thing it’s really lacking is a square grid, though that might have clashed too much with the other elements (maybe tick marks on the outside of the walls could have been substituted...?). I’m not sure how much use I’ll get out of this map, but it’ll definitely be a model for ones I make myself in the future.

(Note: The first link is to a JPG of the map, but the PDF you can download from the second link is much higher quality).

On the topic of impractical armor

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There's been plenty of discussion over the years about the impracticality of the armor female characters are often portrayed wearing, but can we take a moment to discuss this travesty?


This is from Dragon #52, for a D&D ad. It's kind of a chainmail half-shirt but slashed diagonally up the side for...reasons? Maybe he gets a Charisma bonus to distract female orcs with his partially-exposed pecs...

On House Rules

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(Has it really been 10 months since my last post? I really need to post more often! I do have things I can put up here...anyway, I digress).

While tweaking my Campaign Guidelines page recently (though I'm still not satisfied), I realized that I’m not a huge fan of “house rules”. I use them like everyone else, but I’m trying to minimize that. To me, when you sit down to a game at someone’s table and they say they’re playing “Game X”, if you already know that game you shouldn’t have to re- learn a bunch of things you already know. I can’t get away from tinkering a least a little bit, but ultimately I have to ask myself if a change is really necessary. Most of the time, it isn’t.

That said, I do consider there to be two types of “house rules”: rules changes and option availability. The former are actual changes to existing rules, like saying that active Perception rolls can’t be lower that a character’s passive Perception score, or that items need to be saves if their possessor fail…

The Truth About World-Building

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I recently read a somewhat old post about world building from the Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque blog. I've talked in the past about simplifying world presentation, and the post really resonated with me. Years ago, I definitely was the type of DM who wanted to detail his world to the nth degree (though generally after I over-detailed something I would get tired of it and move on to something new - tells you something about doing that which I didn't catch onto for too long...). But I've seen that, in general, your players really don't care about that sort of thing. Heck, when I'm a player I rarely care about that much detail.



Which is the point that the post above makes, among other things. World-building is a fun activity, and if you want to go into hyper-detail mode, go nuts. But don't think you're doing it for anyone other than yourself.

Now, that's not to say that you shouldn't flesh out anything in your world or just drop it for a pre-…

3D Printing Project: Fortified Temple

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A couple months ago I backed Printable Scenery's "Time Warp" Kickstarter, specifically the "Rampage Castle" (the Western buildings were cool but I didn't need them, and the Europe line, also cool, wasn't something I was that interested in). The first thing I built with the castle sets was a basic tower; I'm not going to go into that here since detailed instructions on available on the PS site and in their YouTube channel.

My second project was a simple stronghold. Took awhile to print (~400 hours) between two printers. Actually took longer than that since I miscalculated some of what I needed and ended up printing a few pieces I didn't need (though that gives me a jump on the next castle, I suppose). It actually looks more like a church or temple - a friend mentioned it reminded him of the cathedral from Diablo - but that's OK :) Anyway, I told the 3D Printed Terrain & Miniatures group on Facebook that I'd provide a parts list for th…

3D Printing Game Terrain

I recently (well, about 7 months ago) got into 3D printing, initially spurred on by Fat Dragon Games' second Kickstarter for their Dragonlock line. Since then I've also been printing objects from Printable Scenery, free objects from Thingiverse, and other places. As I've been a little light on blogging here, I figured I'd start adding discussion about this new facet of the hobby. It's very cool, more affordable than ever, and the potential is pretty amazing.

More posts coming...

On Wilderness Travel and Evolving Gaming Styles

While cleaning up some old bookmarks, I found this blog post from almost 10 years ago: Guiding player movement. It's interesting since what Shamus describes is something that I've started doing recently (with a fair amount of success), though I originally got the idea from the excellent Hill Cantons blog. Specifically, his first post on "point crawling" (and one of the commenters references the other article).
I may end up writing up some posts on how I use "point crawling" for my game, but I'm still working the kinks out. In any case, I think it's preferable to using a hex map since it makes it easier to "fast-forward" wilderness travel if nothing interesting is happening, but it still allows for player choice. The choice isn't as great as "which direction of the six do you want to travel out of this hex", but it tends to be a more meaningful choice. Hex crawls have the danger of turning into punctuated slogs, whereas point…