New overlay maps

I've added a couple new maps to the Downloads page. One is a map of Mythosa with a silhouette of Europe overlaid on it, the other the same but with a map of the continental United States.

Mythosa Codex Updated

The Mythosa Cyclopedia has been updated. Changes include:

Renamed "Cyclopedia" to "Codex".Added items for categories other than geography, including religion, organizations, history, cosmology, and more.Added an index of the Codex entries I also changed the layout, as I was having issues with GM Binder for what I was trying to do.
The Codex can be downloaded from the Downloads page.

The New Mythosa Map and Sourcebook

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

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

(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…