Arcane Game Lore

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The Adventures of the Best Bard Evar – The Falin-Raehn Show

Happy Easter!!!

There is an on-going joke in our games on how dangerous climbing is. Seriously, if I based the real world on what happened in a game, I would never let my boys climb anything evar! When you have six to eight players in a game, every time a climbing check comes up, someone invariably fails. Sometimes with mortal consequence, so when this happened in the game, I couldn’t help but laugh, and jeer our GM who keeps making these situations.

Battle for the Campsite.

Never trust the rope.


3D Modeling – Pirate Corvette Mini

At work we just got in a 3D scanner and I’ve been testing it out since Monday.  (It’s a NextEngine scanner if you’re interested).  I’ll probably post about 3D scanning (it’s not as easy as you’d like) in a future post after I have some more time with the scanner but that got me thinking a bit about 3D printing again and I figured I should post about some more of my models.  So this week I’m going to talk a little bit about creating and printing Pirate Corvette model I made.

Modelling the Corvette

This was actually one of the simplest models in the set.  The total OpenSCADcode for the entire model is only 37 line including comments, white space and closing braces.

The Fuselage

I started with the fuselage.  This was actually the hardest part of the print.  The bottom half is just a pair of truncated cones (made via the cylinder() command in OpenSCAD).  The top half is one of the stretched cylinders that I used in the Assault Scout mini.  The difference here is that while the Assault Scout started out as a flat cylinder and tapered to a point, the Corvette has a narrow tail, tapers out to a wider waist, and then tapering to the point at the nose.  Another difference is that while the original Assault Scout mini has a slightly angular feel to it, the Corvette was all curves so I wouldn’t be losing any of the original look.

Getting the fuselage right was actually a bit harder than I thought it would be.  I probably printed 3-4 different models before I felt that it looked right.  I had measured that maximum width but the original set to that value just seemed a bit fat.  I made adjusting that diameter simple by using a variable in the OpenSCAD code for the width of the lower cylinder at it’s top, the diameter of the sphere, and the size and offset for the box that cuts off the bottom half of the sphere.  Then I could just change a single value and rebuild the model and everything adjusted properly.  Here’s the entire code for the fuselage:

$waist=2.3;
cylinder(r1=1.4,r2=1.6,h=1.5);
translate([0,0,1.5]) cylinder(r1=1.6,r2=$waist,h=13.5);
translate([0,0,15]) scale([1,1,10/$waist]) difference(){
    sphere(r=$waist);
    translate([0,0,-$waist]) cube(2*$waist,center=true);
}

Adding the little flare-outs in the nose was easy enough.  I just created a bunch of cones and positioned them properly.  Unfortunately, I had to position them by hand.  While I might have been able to figure a mathematical relation for how far off-axis they needed to be based on their height and the value of the $waist variable, it was easier just to move them by hand when I changed the size of the waist.

The Wings

Next up were the wings.  To get the shape just right, I actually traced the ship onto a piece of graph paper and then used a ruler to measure out the positions of all the corners in the wing shape.  In OpenSCAD this was modeled using a polygon().  I created all the vertices, and then connected them to make a 2D shape.  I then extruded this shape to be the proper thickness for the wings.

Once the shape was made I rotated it into the correct physical position (2D shapes are drawn in the XY plane and I needed the wings in the XZ plane) and duplicated it on the other side of the ship.

The Engines

The final piece was to add the engines on the wings.  Again, the shape here is simple.  It’s just a cylinder that has had the top and bottom sliced off at a 45° angle and then a spherical cavity carved out.

In OpenSCAD you do that with the difference() command.  You start with the cylinder.  Then you add the shapes you want removed, in this case two boxes to slice of the ends and two spheres to carve out the cavities.

I then put the engines inside the for() loop that made the two wings so they were duplicated as well.  The final model looks like this:

Image of the corvette model as described in the text

Printing

The next step was to print it.  As there was only a small point of contact with the build plate on the printer at the back of the fuselage and the points of the wings, this model definitely needed to have a raft under it to hold it in place.  Additionally, I needed to print supports to go under the engines and wings.

That part of the print was not an issue.  The trouble was that this print suffered from the same fuselage printing problem as the Assault Scout.  When printing the upper part of the fuselage, the print time is so small that the plastic from the last layer printed doesn’t have a chance to cool before the next layer is placed on top of it.  This results in the print being “smeared” and not looking very good.  I solved this the same way as the Assault Scout; I printed 4 at a time which gave the prints enough time to cool and they ended up looking much better.

Here is the final test print next to the original miniature I was using as a model (click for full resolution):

Printed model next to the original metal miniature

You can see the individual layers on the edges of the wings in the printed version.  Plus there is a little bit of residue that I haven’t quite cleaned off.  As with the Assault Scout, the model is missing some of the fine detail that the metal miniature has simply because it would never show up in the print anyway.  My conic pieces on the fuselage are a little fatter and shorter than on the original as well, something I might tweak in the future.

Painting

Like with the Nightwind, I made the main part of this model a simple silver to represent the reflective anti-laser coating.  I then painted the engines and the little pods on the fuselage red.  Finally I filled in the hollows in the engines with black.  Beyond that I haven’t don’t much with these ones.  Here’s a pair of them painted:

A pair of the covette miniatures painted as described in the text

 

Lessons Learned

My 4 year old likes to take these ones and fly them around the house and at this point, I’m not sure if any of the four I painted are actually still on my table where they belong.   In the future I should print extras.

The model for this one wasn’t very hard and all of the techniques used in building it I had at least tried out in the earlier models.  So there wasn’t much new or to learn from the modeling process.

Looking closely at the painted model, however, reminds me that the white plastic we print in hides a multitude of sins.  Once I got the silver coat on all the little ridges and rough surfaces on the wings really stood out even though you don’t really notice them on the unpainted plastic.  On future models, I think I’m going to want to do some sanding of the surfaces to make them a little smoother.  Of course, these surfaces are really small and that may be a bit of a trick.

Any thoughts, comments, or ideas?  Feel free to share them below.

 


A First Hatching Pattern for Dyson Style Maps

They say that if you’re going to hire a programmer, you should hire a lazy one.  Because they will write programs and scripts to automate away all the redundant and repetitive tasks.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Dyson Logos’ maps and his style of cartography.  I’ve been a regular reader of his blog and am now a supporter of his Patreon campaign.  I even used one of his free for commercial use maps as the basis for my second Two Sheet Location, the Blue Pearl Grotto.  Well, for my fourth location, I’m doing another fantasy location and wanted to try my hand at a map in that same style.

After starting on this, I have even more respect for Dyson Logos’ ability to draw these maps.  Especially the hatching he does inside the walls or the ground.  Since I’m doing my digitally (and he does his on paper), I realized I might be able to take the lazy programmer’s route to drawing all the hatch marks.  I could make a hatch pattern and use it as fill within the regions that needed it.  For this particular location, I’m doing a ruined building so I just need hatch marks for the walls, not ground fill.

So I got out my handy tablet (a Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2″ with S-pen) and created a 300×300 pixel image and started drawing hatch marks. I filled up about three quarters of the area including all the way to two of the sides.

A series of cross hatching patterns that fill about 75% of the image

Now to have a good pattern that can be used anywhere in any sized volume, it has to repeat from left to right and top to bottom.  So I then took that image and copied it three times into a larger image like this:

The same image but copied 3 times (upper left, upper right, lower left)This allows me to see where the hatching has to touch the remaining sides in order to repeat seamlessly.  I then proceeded to fill in the remaining area in the upper left quadrant.

Larger hatch pattern with upper left area filled in.If you look closely you can see where things join up on the right and bottom of the upper left area.  The next step is to simply trim out the section we actually want to use as our hatch pattern.

Final hatch pattern fully filled in

This is now ready to go.  I use Inkscape for many of my maps so I can just copy this pattern into my image and make it into a fill pattern within the file (Select the object then under Object->Pattern->Object-to-Pattern from the menu bar).  Then I can draw any shape I want and set this new pattern as the fill.  Here’s a part of the work in progress map with the fill pattern used for the hatching in the walls of the standing and ruined buildings.

Part of a map using the hatching pattern in the wallsIt seems to have worked pretty well although there are definitely things that could be done to improve the result.  For one, this is really just a first attempt.  I’ll probably do this a few times to try to get more practice at the hatching technique and also drawing on my tablet.  As I mentioned before the joins are not quite seamless due to the way I drew it so that could use some work as well.  I have an idea about how to fix that issue for good.  Plus I want a few different patterns, some with the little rocks and such included to be used if I ever do underground caves and such.

Despite the definite room for improvement, I’m very pleased with the result.  Now if I can just get the rest of the map to turn out this good.  Feel free to use the pattern in your own drawings and be sure to share where you used it.

 


A Thought on Starship Sizes in Star Frontiers

It’s been a while since I last posted; life has definitely had the upper hand the last few weeks. I think I’ve gotten caught up and hopefully more regular posting will resume next week.  Also I hope to have more of these shorter form posts in the future in addition to the somewhat longer ones I usually do.

I was recently reading a series of articles on the Tough SF blog about the “laser problem” and one of the comments made in the first article got me thinking about the size of ships in Star Frontiers and how they scale with the Hull Size rating.

The basic problem is that while things like cargo capacity and number of weapons and defenses scale linearly with hull size, the amount of interior volume with in the ship goes up geometrically.  Thus a HS 20 ship, while it can only carry 4 times as much cargo and weapons as a HS 5 ship, it is over 260 times bigger.

What struck me is that maybe the designers were letting the rocket equation influence the design even though the stated rules don’t suffer from the limitations imposed by that equation.  The rocket equation basically points out that the more massive the rocket, the more fuel is needed to move it and increasing size requires more fuel which increases size which requires more fuel, which increases … you get the picture.  At some point you reach a limit based on your fuel type and engine capabilities where you just can’t get bigger.  But the basic point is that doubling the mass of the payload more than doubles the mass of the fuel/engine capacity needed.

As written, the ships in Star Frontiers don’t suffer from this problem and they have nearly unlimited thrust from very little fuel.  It’s all science fantasy but that’s the way the game is written.  But just maybe, the designers had this idea in mind when they set up the ship sizes.  Namely that the larger ships required much more “fuel” to achieve the same effects and so while the size of the ships went big, the capacity of materials to be moved and included didn’t go up nearly as fast, all the extra space was going into the extra fuel.

Now that extra fuel, in terms of cost, mass, etc, never got written into the rules but given that there was a rapid shift in direction for the game just before publication, maybe this is something that didn’t get quite ironed out properly (it wouldn’t be the only thing).  It would definitely make a good explanation as to why the ships are sized the way they are.


The Adventures of the Best Bard Evar.

So this was a cartoon one of the players in our group created. The character, Raehn, is a half-elf bard who has renounced her elfness cause she felt abandoned by the elves due to her human heritage. She has recently come into the possession of an elven moonblade that has chosen Raehn as its champion due to her ‘elfyness’. And the comedy ensues…

raehnsucks

 

So sayeth the sword
So sayteh us all.


An Experiment in Publishing

Chemistry apparatus for an experiementI’m conducting an experiment.  I hadn’t originally planned on conducting an experiment but after a discussion on Twitter with @AkeishaRoberts and @RPGKitchen, I decided that it might be interesting to do.  But let’s back up.  What are we talking about here?

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I launched my Two Sheet Location products last month with the release of Mr. M’s Equipment Emporium (which I original presented as  a blog post in December).  (I think that wins for my most links in a single sentence on the blog.)  It is a “pay what you want” (PWYW) product with a suggested price of free.  I’ll get to the whys and wherefores in a moment but after having it up for a few days, I got to thinking, “Is there a psychological barrier to PWYW over simply free?”

So I posted that very question on Twitter.   Well, what I actually posted was

Does a product listed as “pay what you want” with a suggested price of $0 make you less likely to get it than it just being free? – @dagorym

(I would have embedded the tweet here but Twitter won’t give me the embed code for some reason.)  Here’s a link to the actual tweet if you want to see the entire conversation that ensued between @AkeishaRoberts, @RPGKitchen, and me.  The basic consensus was that there was a barrier and that people might feel bad taking it for free even though that was perfectly allowed by the model.

So I wondered if there was a way to quantify this.  I mean, I’m a scientist, I should be able to do some sort of experiment to test the idea.  Which brings me to the present plan.  But first let’s start with the original plan and see what changed.

My Original Plan

My original thinking for the Two Sheet Location project (which was originally called Two Page Locations, hence that logo appearing on the Mr. M product) was to release the first two to four locations as free/pay what you want and then assign a $0.99 price to the later ones.  The idea was to make the first few free to generate exposure and audience and to provide “free samples” of the items to come.  I also wanted to get some practice in on producing them and gauging interest.  The later ones would have a price attached to them in order to generate a little bit of revenue.

To that end, I released Mr. M’s Equipment Emporium first here on the blog and then as a PWYW product with no set price.  The idea was that people could download it for free but, if they wanted to, could throw a little bit of money my way.  This would also help me answer the question of what people thought something like this was worth.  Maybe I should have explicitly set a price of $0 and called out in the product description that I expected people to take it for free and the PWYW model was just there if they wanted to contribute.  But I didn’t.  It is just PWYW with no recommended price.

I’ll admit that the download count was smaller than I expected.  Or maybe just smaller than what I was hoping for.  It wasn’t actually that bad but I had hoped for a bit more.  Which is what started my musings on the impact of the PWYW model.

To get the news out about the product I did a few things.  First I e-mailed everyone that had downloaded my book, Discovery, or my card game, Star Clash, from DriveThruRPG.  While this wasn’t the same target audience, it at least was a base of over 1,000 people that might be interested and looking at a free offering.  Additionally, I timed the release of the product so that it made the “Newest Free Products” list on the weekly newsletter from DriveThruRPG.  And then I posted about it here on the blog and on Twitter, but those have much smaller reaches.  Finally, I wrote up the stats for Mr. M and a specific background for him in the Star Frontiers setting as a short one page article that appeared in issue #15 of the Frontier Explorer which came out a week after I released Mr. M’s Equipment Emporium on DriveThruRPG.

The Test Plan

So after the Twitter discussion, I hatched a plan to do some ad hoc testing of the impact of the PWYW model.  The plan was simple.  Do the next product as simply free instead of PWYW and look how the downloads are different.  You’re probably thinking “but wait, you’ve already got a little bit of audience from the first one so the results will be skewed.”  And you’d be right.  Which is why this isn’t a rigorous test by any stretch of the imagination.  But we can get an approximate feel for the impact.

Cover of Two Sheet Location #2 - Blue Pearl Grotto

There’s a bit of a complication, however.  The first location was science fiction themed (although easily adaptable to fantasy).  The second location, the Blue Pearl Grotto, which just went out yesterday, is more of a fantasy location.  And trying to compare a fantasy location to a sci-fi one is definitely comparing apples to oranges.  Or apples to beets.  The audience for fantasy is much larger than that for sci-fi.

So the Blue Pearl Grotto is going out under the exact same settings as Mr. M’s Equipment Emporium did.  It will be PWYW with no recommended price.  Instead of sending an e-mail to my entire customer base (I promised I would only do that for the first location) I only sent an announcement e-mail to those who had downloaded location #1.  The Thursday DriveThruRPG newsletter hasn’t come out yet as I’m writing this but I’m hopeful I’ll make the “Newest Free Products” list again.  That will control as best I can the variables of promotion.  It will be interesting to see if the sci-fi vs. fantasy makes any difference.

The next step is to do the free with no PWYW option.  This will be locations 3 & 4.  Location 3, for March, is mostly done.  I just need to finish the map (by far the longest part of these locations for me).  It is a sci-fi location, but again easily adaptable to a fantasy setting.  I have a 4th location started but it too is a sci-fi location so I’ll need to bump it and pick another fantasy related one.  These two will be released completely free to see if that has any impact on the number of downloads.

There are lots of uncontrolled variables in this experiment.  Things ranging from the topic of the location, the map styles, a building customer base as more people find them, etc.  Plus there’s the possibility that someone might really like one of the locations and post about it where it get’s more publicity then I can generate on my own (This is a problem I’d like to have).   I’ll do the best I can to filter these things out when looking at the numbers.

A Look at Some Numbers

I’m not going to go into this in any detail here as this is the topic for a future post.  However, for Mr M’s Equipment Emporium, I had 19 downloads the first day, 57 the second, and a total of 153 the first week.  With the exception of two days, there as been at least one download of that location every day since it was released.

In the less than a day since releasing the Blue Pearl Grotto, there have been 43 downloads of that location (plus 3 more of Mr. M’s).  These are almost assuredly repeat customers as the only advertising I’ve done is the e-mail to those that downloaded Mr. M’s.  We’ll have to see how it plays out in the coming week or so.

Last Thoughts

I’m quite excited to see how this goes.  I suspect I know what the outcome will be based on something I did for the Frontier Explorer (which I’ll cover when I go over the numbers) but it will be interesting to see how this plays out for this particular product line.

Have you ever done an experiment like this?  What were the results?  Do you have predictions on the outcome?  Is there a location you’d like to see me do for location #4 (or a future one beyond that)?  Let me know in the comments below.


On Publishing Star Frontiers Related Materials

Star FrontiersAkeisha Roberts just added a post to her blog listing all the places you could go for Star Frontiers materials (“Get The Entire Star Frontiers Rule Book Set & More For Free (Legally)“).  In the process of putting that list up she asked me about what can and can’t be published related to the Star Frontiers game and setting.  She isn’t the first to ask me this question and I thought I’d write up my understanding on the topic.

Now, let me start by saying the following:

  1. I don’t work for Wizards of the Coast and don’t speak for them
  2. I am not a lawyer
  3. Your mileage may vary
  4. This is 100% based on my personal experience and agreements with Wizards of the Coast and my conversations with others who run (or have run) Star Frontiers related websites
  5. There are some specifics I can’t go into details about because of the agreements I have with Wizards.

Given the above, your experience may vary but I suspect you would find a similar experience to me.

The Short Version

The TL;DR; version of this is that between the Star Frontiersman and Frontier Explorer magazines I can publish basically anything for Star Frontiers as long as it is fan-created and free.

The Longer Version

So let’s break that down a little bit and give some background.

Some History

First, Star Frontiers is not part of any version of the Open Gaming License (OGL).  It never has been.  I’ve seen statements on the internet to the contrary but none of those have ever come from Wizards of the Coast.  They own the intellectual property (IP) that is Star Frontiers and have never given it away.

And they don’t seem interested in licensing it.  I’ve asked.  Several different times.  So have several others that I know.  In every case, we have been told no.  Whether that is because they have plans for the IP or simply due to the fact that it is so small that it is not worth their effort, I don’t know.  I somehow suspect it’s the latter but see point #1 above.  That is pure speculation on my part.

Second,  many of the major websites that are Star Frontiers themed have personal, written permission from Wizards of the Coast to use the Star Frontiers IP.  The only one I’m not sure about is the Star Frontiers wiki that is a subdomain of wikia.com; I don’t know if they do or not.  I know that Tim Norris has one that covers StarFrontiers.com and StarFrontiers.org (run by Art Eaton).  In fact,  StarFrontiers.com has had permission from the days of TSR before they were bought by Wizards of the Coast.  I have permissions for StarFrontiersman.com and FrontierExplorer.org.

The StarFrontiers.us site, which is a community forum site, falls under those two although now that I think about it, I don’t know that an explicit permission exists for that particular site.  I never got explicit permission for StarFrontiers.info either, a site that has community forums and a wiki that was geared toward on-line play by post Star Frontiers games.  It too, now falls under the permissions I have for the magazines.

The social media groups on Google+ and Facebook are just groups created on those platforms.

You may have noticed that I run a bunch of those websites.  It wasn’t always that way.  Originally I just had the StarFrontiers.info site, then I was hosting StarFrontiers.us.  Then I started the Frontier Explorer and finally was given the Star Frontiersman and StarFrontiers.us from their original owner.

What Can I Publish?

As I said in the short version, the answer to this is just about anything.  There are some variations between the permissions I have for the Frontier Explorer and the Star Frontiersman that mean that I can publish some types of content in one but not the other but overall, there really isn’t a limit on content.

The only real limit is price.  It has to be free.  The only other restriction is that I can’t commission Star Frontiers related material.  So I can’t hire someone to create a piece of work (article, art, whatever) and pay them for it, even if I intend to give it away.  Everything I publish has to be fan created and effectively donated.

The truth is, Wizards of the Coast has been fairly generous with the permissions granted.  They don’t mind people writing material for the game or in the setting.  The only thing they don’t allow is people to sell material that is Star Frontiers related.  Which is completely within their rights under copyright law (something I’ve become more familiar with over the years, especially now that I’m a librarian).  Beyond that, as long as you’re giving it away, they don’t seem to have an issue.

So keeping in mind the points at the beginning of the article, if you want to write stuff for Star Frontiers and put it up on your blog or website, that is probably fine.  Just don’t charge money for it.

And if you want to write stuff and get it out to the existing Star Frontiers audience, the Frontier Explorer is a great way to do so.  Consider submitting and I’ll help you get it published.  As I said, I have explicit permission to do so and to put material up on DriveThruRPG and it’s sister sites.

Other Points

The above holds true as long as you’re doing it as a personal endeavor.  When I started the Frontier Explorer I asked about publishing the magazine under the banner of my publishing company, New Frontier Games, which I had established several years prior.  (The website is dead at the moment – long story – so no link but here is the publisher page on DriveThruRPG).  I was explicitly told no.  It had to be a stand alone endeavor with no affiliation to a publishing company.  Just something to keep in mind.

While I wasn’t allowed to sell anything, I was allowed to accept “tips” and donations to help support the website and the work of producing the magazine.

The astute reader may notice that the Frontier Explorer issues are available for sale in print form on DriveThruRPG.  This again was an explicit permission I received.  I could make them available in print form but they had to be at cost.  So the price you see there is what it costs to print the magazine.  I receive no income from the print sales.

With the announcement of the Dungeon Masters Guild you might be wondering if any of the above changes and you can publish Star Frontiers stuff there.  The current answer to that question is no as well.  Yes.  I asked.  The day the DMGuild was announced.  That may change in the future but for now it’s still a no go.

Last Words

Actually, I’m not sure there’s much else to add.  The love for Star Frontiers continues and I actually see it mentioned more and more on social media as time goes by.  It’s a game completely maintained by its fans right now and for the foreseeable future.  However, if you want to create and share Star Frontiers material, there are plenty of opportunities to do so.  Just remember, it’s just a hobby.

Do you haven any experiences with creating and sharing Star Frontiers materials?  Do you want to?  Let us know in the comments below.


Strange Sounds from the Kitchen

I was sitting in my office at my house painting one of my 3D printed UPF Frigate miniatures when a strange sound came wafting in from the kitchen.

“As you pass through a clearing the bushes along the edges start moving toward you and cut off the path.”

“I charge at them with my axes.”

“Is there room to use my bow?”

“Roll for initiative.”

… some time later …

“You take a short rest, everyone add one hit die of hit points back”

… some time later …

Kobold Swordmaster by Prorogue on Deviant Art

“You enter the cave and find two kobolds sitting at a table talking.  They see you and jump up.  Roll for initiative.”

… some time later …

“You’ve reached 300 XP everyone goes to level 2.”

Hit die? Kobolds? Levels? That sounds suspiciously like D&D.  I was quite entertained listening to my boys play out their first ever game of D&D, and the first time one of them had ever tried being the GM.  But level 2 at 300 XP?  In my day …

You see, while we play role-playing games, we’re not a D&D house.  Which is why the sounds were so surprising to me.  We’ve played Star Frontiers and RuneQuest but never D&D.  It’s just not a game I ever got into so I didn’t pass it on to my kids.

I started playing back in the early 80′s.  1983 to be exact.  My first ever RPG was the Red Box Basic rules and I played it in school in my gifted and talented class of all places.  One of guys in the class had started playing and pitched the idea to the teacher to play in class and she agreed.  We played 5-6 sessions over as many weeks with him as DM.  If I remember correctly we played through Keep on the Borderlands but my memory is really fuzzy on that.  I had a blast and was hooked.  A month or so after we finished playing in class, he gave me a copy of the red box for my 12th birthday in early 1984.  I quickly sat my brothers down, we rolled up characters and started playing.

Of course this was back in the heyday of the 80′s anti-D&D fervor and my parents were a bit concerned.  The actually didn’t have an issue with the idea of role playing games in general but more concerned about the fervor around D&D.  After getting D&D for my birthday I had seen this game called Star Frontiers at the PX (my dad was in the Army at the time) that was a science fiction RPG from TSR.  Being really into science fiction this game intrigued me (Traveller wasn’t on the shelves).  We had a discussion about it and I agreed to stop playing D&D and they would buy me the Star Frontiers game.  I’ve never looked back.

I did play a little 2e D&D in grad school (the first time I was in grad school) and I own the 2e Player’s Handbook and DM Guide but I’ve never really played D&D for any long period of time.  Which is why my boys playing it was such a surprise.

It turns out that one of the twins (age 16) had printed out the free PDFs of the 5e Player’s Handbook and DM Guide. He’d read through the rules and they had rolled up characters.  The other twin was playing a Halfling fighter, my 11 year old was playing an wood elf rogue, and the twin running the game had a human cleric.  They were playing an adventure that the DM had create completely on his own which ended in a TPK when they got a little too deep into the kobold lair and were facing the chieftain plus six other kobolds with more reinforcements arriving regularly.  The were simple outnumbered and overrun although the took quite a number of their enemies with them.

The twin running the game learned a bit about encounter balancing and they all got a better feel for the mechanics.  They reset their characters to level 1 (The one twin rolled up a dwarf fighter instead of his halfling one) and they launched off onto another homemade adventure.  They survived this one and managed to make it to level 3 (900 XP? Really?)

I was quite happy to see them picking up the GM mantle and running games on their own and taking the initiative to do so.  I was a little surprised that they didn’t use one of the games that we already had in the house but since those are all older games (Star Frontiers, RuneQuest, MERP, Powers & Perils, GURPS 3e, and Paranoia mainly) it’s not a complete shock.

We’ll have to see how this goes.  I might just have to read the 5e rules myself.

 


The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men …

… are usually about the same.

For a year that started off with me wanting to write more on my blog, I haven’t been too successful.  It’s the end of January and this is only my third post.  However, things are looking up for the future.

Frontier Explorer issue 15 coverThe main culprit was me trying to finish the next issue (#15) of the Frontier Explorer.  Which I did!  Click on the image to the right to grab a copy from DriveThruRPG or go to the Frontier Explorer website to grab a copy there.

The article list for this issue is:

  • The Buckerbeisser
  • Mapping Port Loren
  • Janus System Report
  • Woolies
  • Janus Fauna
  • Titian Rising: 2299
  • Androids
  • Get a Grip
  • The Arks, Dogmen, and Mogs
  • Mr. M
  • Plicka and the Void Crusher
  • The Stowaway
  • Grimz Guide Comic

The other distraction was starting up a new semester of grad school which included some travel.  That’s all sorted out now so my schedule should settle down and allow me to get some more writing done for the blog.

Keep your fingers crossed.


Launching Two Sheet Locations

Sample Two Sheet Location Cover, a manilla folder with papers inside and an image papercliped to the coverJust a quick note this week to announce the launch of my line of Two Sheet Location products.  I mentioned last week that it was coming and now it is here.

I’ve put the first one, Mr. M’s Equipment Emporium, up on DriveThruRPG as a “pay what you want product”.  This is the final formatted version along with the full digital versions of the maps.  The content is basically the same as on my blog post last year with just a few corrections and additions. What the final version has that the blog post lacked is a key to all the areas on the maps.

I’m planning on putting these out at least monthly from here on out and hopefully bi-weekly eventually.  We’ll have to see how that goes.

I had actually planned a different post for today but I’ve been frantically scrambling to try and finish up the next issue of the Frontier Explorer so that post will have to wait.  I’m traveling this weekend to attend my last in-person session for my MLIS degree and hope to have some time in the evenings to get caught up a bit.