Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gaming Staple: Sleep Spell Part 2

Last night was game night and I was talking with the uber goobs about the sleep.  I crunch some numbers. 

With 5th edition based on hit points.  It's current write up knocks out 5d8 hit points worth of enemies.  I'll use the goblin as the standard enemy.  I check the goblin stats in the Starter Set and they have 7hp.  So an average roll for the spell would be 22 to 23 hit points affected.  So in 5e a mage can put to sleep an average of 3 goblins. 

In older editions the standard sleep spell could take out 4d4 creature with 1 hit die or less.  Goblins average less than a hit die in older versions.  So the mage would average 10 goblins a Sleep spell. 

So the Sleep spell in 5e has been nerfed a bit.  I don't mind the change.  I always thought Sleep was overpowering to begin with.  I like the 5e version because its not overpowering at low levels and doesn't become completely useless at high levels.

JDJarvis brings up an interesting situation. 
What interests me in that notation is if the HP limits for spell effects are meant to be the targets usual healthy HP score or the current score. If the current score it opens a host of tactics that were otherwise completely absent, hitting a troll a couple times and casting sleep on it is now valid (but does it wake up when it regenerates above the HP limit of the spell?).

I think I would run with current hit points.  The party manages to whittle down a giant to 10 hit points and the mage hit it with a sleep, I say good on them.  Maybe the next giant will get to make meat soup.

How would you guys rule it?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Taking a Look at One of the Staples of D&D

One of the things I do is take a look at staples that are in every edition and played a lot.  In this case, I looked at the Sleep spell.

Most versions of the sleep spell effect Hit Dice of the creature.  There is usually some scale of the number of creatures effected.  This time around, 5th edition has taken the sleep spell and made it based on Hit Points. 

My first reaction was neutral.  I thought, okay, a little change up.  But still a bit of a token one.  But what I liked is the spell progressively gets more powerful with the mage.  In past editions it was the big bomb spell at lower levels and discarded soon after.  So the increase of hit points it effects as the character increases in level will make it a viable spell long term.

Since I'm on lunch break, I don't have any numbers.  I'll check back when I get home and do some calculations to compare version.

So this staple of the game, for me, has been improved.

Numbers later.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

MA #7 Gargoyle Lair and Something About Farts

Here's my latest creation, MA #7 Gargoyle Lair.  It goes with my first micro-sandbox Misanthrope Islands (you'll find the reference to it in the description of 3. Choracha Island),  but can be played on its own.  You can head to my Patreon page and download them.  I'm excited that I'm up to eighteen patrons and have nearly reached my third goal.  It's fun.  And it helps me pay for my addiction, gaming books.

The next adventure is also mention in the Misanthrope Islands, 7. Risco's Hideaway, Temple of Selig.  I've got the map done and ready to go.

One of the brain farts I had was I never gave the GM a player's map without numbers and little silhouettes.  Well I smelled the cheese, discover I dealt it and I am now remedying that oversight.  I'll add another bulk package, like I did before for the maps without background, for the past adventure maps without numbers. 

Pizza's done.  Sherlock is cued on Netflix.  Gotta go!

My 1st Character for D&D Next

Looks like Sidwin the Sharp is my first character for a new/old system.  I rolled 4d6 and wrote them from top to bottom, no changing them.  I used four precision dice from Dice God, Zocchi.  He smiled upon when I rolled. 

Usually I can tell if I am going to like a system when I create characters.  I enjoyed making Sidwin.  It is easy and yet has simple and effective options.  Gone are the video game mechanics of 4th edition that turned me off.  This system seems to have grabbed the best from the different editions and a few brilliant ideas from OSR systems. 

There will people who will crap all over it because it's WotC and Hasboro, but I'm judging on its playability.  I've had the chance to playtest it in the early stages and in the last stages.  So I'm looking forward to playing the final version. 

I've been reading through the Starter Set books and while I wish there was more in them to begin with I still think there is enough to get things going.  An inexpensive way to see if the game is for you.  And cool blue dice.  Dice are always a good thing.  And with the offering of the free PDF, I printed it out, 3-hole punched it and bound it together with bread ties.  I thought about getting fancy, but went old school, Wonder Bread style.

It fits into the box.  I've been going through it, but haven't sat down and read it from front to back.  I like making up characters and learning it that way.  Then read it.  I still need to wrap my head around the spell casting.  I think I've got it.  Almost. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mail Call: My PO Box is a Treasure Chest

I guess I've been in a acquisition mode.  +Ara Kooser was getting rid of some of his loot, so we set up an exchange, I sent him a bundle of Manors and he sent me...

Originally I just asked for Spirit of the Century.  +Ken H spoke highly of it and I've been enjoying non-medieval fantasy lately so I thought it would be a cool get.  Ara threw in the +Brave Halfling Publishing White Box.  It looks new.  I have one, but with box sets I almost prefer to have a spare.  Big thanks for Ara for his generosity.

The next score was on Amazon.  I've been really enjoying Exoterrorists.  That book has got my idea factory churning over time.  So I checked out a few books that went along with it.

The Factbook was something I was very interested in.  It sounded like a good resource to get a foundation built for an adventure or two.  I really want to take this for a spin.  Profane Miracle was priced cheap and thought it might be good to see how they build an adventure using the system.  The Book of Unremitting Horror is to run more of a horror type GUMSHOE game, but I plan on integrating into Exoterrorists.  

Lastly, I've been hearing about True Detective for many months now.  I think everything I read about it was positive and people were excited about it.  This time I just went to my local Wally World and picked up a copy of the blu-ray.  

I'm looking forward to watching this.  Sounds like my kind of show.  And actually sounds a lot like the game I want to run.  Although is it me or is McConaughey looking extra creepy lately? 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Question: Trifling Gawds

I was over at +trey causey blog and he wrote a post about gods influencing/messing with/blue bolting PCs.  Manipulation of powerful PCs so the gods can get what they want, or, the PCs away from getting what they want.  Either way you have immortal, very powerful beings taking a huge role in a campaign's direction.

Question is, how much direct influence do the gods have in your campaign?

Do they work as a backdrop, people kneel down before stone likenesses and blather on about how great thou art?  Or do they appear amongst the folks to cruise for ladies or provide aid?

Usually in my campaign it is a little more of the second one.  Gods do directly take part in the shaping of things.  And like any true bunch of immortals, they are completely dysfunctional, irrational and self-defeating.  While the gods may not take an active role in a current adventure, however, they are definitely influencing the shape of the whole.  Even if it's in the background.  I think it adds depth and a living world.  Things continue to evolve even if the players are not directly interacting with it.

So what's up with your gods?  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Manor #7 Line Up

I shared this last night and thought I'd share you the cover model of issue #7 drawn by the deft hand of +Jim Magnusson.  He drew a batch of fantastic interior art also.

Inside this issue of the Manor is a lot of contributions from all sorts of folks.  I've been getting more offers from people who want to contribute and I'm very cool with that.  It's been interesting to see what folks are offering.  I've got things already lines up for issue #8.  Here's what's in this issue so far (there may be more by the time I get through with it).

+Boric Glanduum wrote, Boltswitch's Mobile Potion Emporium.  A grand introduction by a gnome that has some libations to sell to your character with lots of flair and a heavy dose of flattery.

+Johua De Santo add his spin on the Skinwalker class.  Specifically the coyote.   This is a very cool take and I can see using this one for many different genres beyond fantasy.

+Chris C. wrote the featured piece, Mirror, Mirror.  Miraboth the Mercurial Mirror Master of Meezan-Abeem is on the cover and nine of his mirrors are suited to hang on the walls of any campaign.  Well, a wall of a very dark room.

+Simon Forster, one of the map masters of the OSR has included a micro-adventure, Trouble Down the Well.  Very concise and very cool.  Another great adventure that takes minutes to prepare for.

And +j garrison adds an bug ridden adventure called, Horrid Caves.  He even did the art for this one.  I just laid out this adventure last night and it's good.  Very good.

There is one more small piece I'm waiting to add from +Ken H.  But if you notice I didn't even make it into my own zine.  So because I am master and commander of the Manor I think I'm going to add a little space so I can get something in there.  So many great contributions.  So little space.

A huge thanks to all these guys for offering to contribute and making the Manor even a better zine.  I appreciate it. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Banner Me Done

I made a fancy new banner for my Patreon page.  Got tired of having a big blank spot on my home page.  I thought it can out okay.  Alright, on to the next micro-adventure! 

Death of a King, Coffin in the Kitchen, and I Don't Know My Right from My West

We waited.  We waited because Egbert thought it would be a good idea for the minotaur king to get dressed in his battle armor before we knelt before him to swear fealty.  Since we had plans of killing the vile king who sent children to their death, him getting his battle armor and weapons only seemed fair. 

Egbert is not the brightest of strategists. 

We came up with alternate plans.  Maybe swear fealty, but keep our fingers crossed so it doesn't count.  Maybe barricade him in a tiny keep that has nearly no walls left and burn it down around him. 

These are the smart people talking.

The villagers chastised us for basically being wussies.  They had armed themselves and waited for the chance to kill the minotaur king.  So we waited.  Then we watched.  The minotaur king was overwhelmed as the entire village fell upon him.  Only Chuck, a peg-legged peckerwood took an axe to the head. 

Much rejoicing was followed.  We looted the king and keep.  Treasure we did find.  I nearly died.  We then saw the shrine that was defiled.  We gave back treasure that was decorated with flowers.  Made the shrine nice again. 

Apparently we are better interior decorators than tacticians.

We need to find the sage called Cosmo.  We find out he's to the west, south west.  No, I meant the other west.  I don't know my right from my west. But we have food and it's not raining.

We encounter a cabin with a coffin.  She kept saying it was nothing.  I just use it for extra toilet paper and socks.  I didn't buy it.  But she did show us an obelisk.  We read the words.  The words made a little sense which was good.  We stayed the night.  I slept with one eye open.  I don't trust a woman with a coffin in her kitchen.

Ten days march.  We encounter very little except screeching from the hills. 

We come upon a big tower, with a big thorny hedge around it with COSMO'S TOWER cut into the lawn out front.  After a short deliberation of if this was indeed Cosmo's Tower we approached and had a conversation with a floating mouth.  Then a floating hand.  We enter.

Inside we speak with Cosmo.  He has information and he has a prices.  He also had a menu printed.  What information he could tell us and what he wanted for the information.  Very forward thinking.  We need to collect green slime, yellow mold, centipede venom, webs of a giant spider or the testicles of an owlbear. 

We chose the centipede.  Cosmo knew where to find some.  There we went.  Into the forest of big ass trees.  I mean big ass.  Like big.  Ass.  We went into one and found some weird vegetation.  Threw a torch at it and the vegetation moved away.  We all lit torches.

Then the GM stopped the damn game.  Wanted to pick up here next week.  I say we play until then!

If its good enough for JC then it's good enough for me.  Right back at'cha my man.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

My First Micro-Sandbox is Live

I seem to always complete these at the end of the day.  But it's done.  Misanthrope Islands is in the books as my first micro-sandbox.  I'll have two micro-adventure that will accompany it.  They'll be completed later this month.  But this really has given me a lot of ideas. 

You can grab a copy over on my Patreon page for free.  I offer all the work I do for Patreon free to the public.  So grab a copy if you like. 

I took suggestions and +Tim Knight wanted some islands.  So I got my colored pencils out and made a map.  This is a nasty place for higher level characters.  I kinda went with a stone giant/earth type creatures for this one.

Anyway, enjoy and whatever you do, don't fail your save.

Game Design Inspiration

One of my favorite tools to use when developing an adventure, magic item or even a story is using tarot cards.  I've got about six or seven different decks.  For my current task, I'm using the Dark Grimoire Tarot.  It's a tarot deck inspired by HP Lovecraft stories.  Need I say more? 

I'm working on a the micro sandbox, Misanthropic Islands, and in area two the players encounter a area blasted by shards of stone.  Mixed within the stones is a massive 100' diameter wheel with script in the center and symbols on the edge. 

It's what I am currently calling Wheel of Fate, a tool of judgment used by the stone giants.  The wheel is divided into a 12 equal parts.  Some good, more bad.  I'm using it like a Deck of Many Things. 

How do the cards come into play?  I grabbed the tarot deck, give them a good shuffle then start flipping over the cards and stop on ones that strike some spark for me.  Some symbol and a consequence/reward that goes with it.  I keep the game mechanics very simple.  But using the wheel can be deadly.  Here is some of what I've come up with.

Okay, back to work.


While I was writing up my 7th micro-adventure, a series of islands that the party can explore, something happened along the way.  I wrote, and as a jammed up the first page with words, another half page was filled also.  This was way too long for a micro-adventure.  I looked over what I wrote and the map and realized, that's because it's not an adventure, it's a micro-sandbox!

But if its gonna be a sandbox, it's gonna need some hexes.  I didn't know how to do that.  So I did what nearly everyone does these days and Googled it.  I found a add on for paint.net to make hexes.  All you have to do is DL it and put it in the effects folder.  And BAM!  As you can see above, I got some hexes on my map.  You can alter and change the hexes.  Excellent addition.

So my next Patreon offering will be a micro-sandbox and within the sandbox I am placing two micro-adventures within.  And I am really excited that I now have 15 patrons.  Once in a while I've been sending out the laminated adventures.

On the back of the maps are the area descriptions.  So if you need to run an adventure, a couple of minutes of reading and you'll be all set.  I think with the micro-setting I'll be offering something different.  I'll have to see.

Anyway, back to work.  These maps won't describe themselves.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mail Call: Part 2, Revenge of the Old School

These came in the mail yesterday also, but I didn't want other gamers throwing themselves off of dice towers in a wave of jealousy. 

I found these on eBay.  Very happy to have scored them. 

I had the Rouges Gallery when I was a little puke, but somewhere it went missing.  This one is marked up a bit, highlighted a bit, but I wanted a copy to go with the rest of my stuff.

Lankmar, it took my a while to get my hands on this one.  I tried to score other copies on ebay, two times the person I bought it from did not deliver and a third time I was outbid with minutes to go.  Going to read through and may need to start collecting the Lankmar supplements. 

The Book of Lairs.  I don't think I ever had the first one.  I've had the 2nd one since I was a little puke.  Again, got this one to fill a whole in my collection and I want to get some good ideas.  Really, these were the first micro-adventures I remember and where I got the idea from.

Ebay treated me well this time around.  

Friday, July 11, 2014

Mail Call! Zine-pocolypse

Look at what came in the mail today.  Just take a look.  Over here.  Yeah, all the zines.  The best part....two of the zines are from new dudes still wet from the placenta. 

I got the 2nd issue of Crawling Under the Broken Moon.  Put a little space in your dungeon.  If you want to run a sci-fi DCC game, this is where you're going to want to start.  +Reid San Filippo looks like he's got something very cool on his hands.  Well done.

The Well of Souls is brought to you by fellow Pennsylvanian, +Carl Bussler.  This is an adventure for the DCC system.  I play in three different groups and not one uses the DCC system and I've got more DCC zines than anything else.  I guess I'll have to tell Ivy that I'm starting a 4th group.  Carl does an incredible job with presenting his adventure.  The zine itself is stylized with deckle edging of the pages, his choice of card stock and interior pages.  Carl did it all, wrote it, drew it and mapped it.

And the other newb to the zine ring is The Undercroft by +Daniel Sell.  You thought I was going to say this one was for DCC also, nope.  Daniel gets down with Lamentations of the Flame Princess.  For some reason I always want to write flaming princess.  As Daniel puts it, this zine is full of death & disease. 

Two out of three zines are new, the third one is still wet behind the ears.  But I think zines are kinda like dog years.  One zine equals 5 to 7 magazines. 

Please give these guys a look.  Grab a copy.  Support their work.  This zine thing is contagious.