Monday, February 21, 2011

Empire Gaming RPG: A Pictures Worth A Thousand Words

I was reading a post over at Tenkar's Tavern about PDF's and artwork and it got me thinking...which may be a first for me.

I've been writing a game system for quite a few years now and I'm getting close to completion on it. Which in turn is causing me to think of a lot more things I need to do if I ever want to try and publish it. And Tenkar brought up a good point which may be a problem for me. What do I do for artwork? Since stick figures are difficult for me to draw, and I know that art can make or break a publication based on first impressions, what should I do?

I don't know any artists. I don't know where to find artists or how much they cost if I do find one. I can buy clip art, but as I've never publish anything in my life or even attempted it, I'm not sure what I have to do to use them legally. I would hate to finalize this thing and then get sued because I forgot to get permission for a picture.

Anyone out there that has ever published something have an opinion or advice?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Classic Dungeon Trivia 9

As the doors to this magnificent room clanged open, the party barely had time to register their surroundings before Sir Vincent of Diakuw charged forward through the flames. Having recognized the danger immediately, and seizing on an opportunity to finally use his broadsword of Iron Phoenix Slaying, he did do battle with the abomination and stuck down the fell beast in an hour and 49 minutes. And in the wake of the epic battle, Vincent claimed his reward: the fabled Chocolate du bar form.

Cursing the intrepid adventurers for so cleverly defeating his well laid plans, the Dungeon Overload is forced to rethink the ingenuity and guile of his quarry. With a wicked grin, he devises his most insidious room yet. "Try this on for size" he whispers...

Although the walls are the same as elsewhere (rough blackish stone), the floor of this room is covered with ceramic tiles arranged in mosaic fashion. The majority of the thousands of tiles are golden brown in color, but patterns of white and black tiles appear in various places to enhance the effect of the very striking designs thus formed. The designs (various flowing lines, etc.) are purely decorative, and carry no mysterious message or meaning.

Arrayed throughout the room are fourteen different pools, each about ten feet in diameter, with sides sloping to a maximum depth of five feet in the center. This mystical arrangement is doubly amazing, since all the contents of the pools are different. . .

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

DM's Corner: The Devil's in the Details

How much detail should you go into in a game before the whole thing collapses under it's own weight?

Do you track food and water for the party?
Does each character have to keep a running tally of encumbrance?

They may seem like minor details, but I find they can be a great source of plot hooks and sometime necessary information.

Lembas, part of this good, nutritious breakfast
Lets talk about food and water first. Granted, you can easily assume that the party can hunt and forage for food and water. Or you can take for granted that they stock up on food in town before heading off into the wilderness to avoid the tedium of tracking how much they have on a given day, but that can also do a dis-service to your game. Say you want to surprise the party with a little "survival" adventure where they are lost in the desert and need to use their wits to survive, but not for a few days. If you have never tracked food and water before, and are suddenly asking them to do so, would it ruin the surprise? Would you have a party of adventurers who now know they are going to be starving and dehydrated pretty soon? Of course. Now, it may not be a huge problem to suddenly say "By the way, you've been in the desert for 6 days now, and you're out of food and water" to get the survival ball rolling, but would the players then feel slighted that they weren't allowed to prepare properly?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hey Peter...Whuuut's Happening?

Seems we have a bit of a problem. Ya see, we're putting the new cover sheets on all of our TPS reports. 

Did you get the memo?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Classic Dungeon Trivia 8

When we last met our stalwart adventurers, they were on the long and perilous Journey to the Rock, and the powerful, but grim, barbarian Daddy Grognard led the way.
In TWELVE #$%@ing minutes!!! I had barely finished typing and he already guessed right. Oh well, chocolate for Big D.

This week, our hearty band has arrived at an unusual chamber...let's see how they react

Light and flame fill your senses. Before you is a 110-foot square room filled with fire. Polished black glassteel reflects the flames into a seeming eternity. Jets of fire soar 100 feet above you into the domed ceiling from four deep pits.There is a set of golden doors in the center of each wall. There is another door in each wall on each side of the double doors. There is a platform in front of each set of doors. A glassteel pathway goes all the way around the room, connecting the platforms. Two 10-foot wide pathways cross the room and meet in the center of the flames at a round platform. This middle platform is 30 feet wide, with a smaller ring in the middle of it. Hanging from the ceiling is a black frame that sits like a tent over the central platform.An Iron Phoenix sits stately on the frame.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Glutton for Punishment

Sometimes I wonder why it is I prefer DMing to playing RPGs.

Anyone that has run a game knows how much time and hard work are put into a game long before anyone is sitting on the other side of the screen from him/her. You spend hours upon hours organizing maps, reading background material, brushing up on encounters so they run smoothly, getting into the mood so you project the right atmosphere, gathering appropriate music (if you're into that, which I am) and printing out page after page of information vital to making a game as enjoyable and involving as possible. All this on the hope that it will entertain a few Mountain Dew swilling critics that just showed up to kick ass and eat pizza for the night.

Yet somehow, that is so much more fun than just being a player. I have spent weeks preparing games and doing research to be ready for my players. And the time just flies by because I am having so much fun delving into ancient tomes of forbidden lore, summoning images from the interweb that once seen, they can no longer be unseen, and telling stories that chill the spine and raise the hairs on the most hardened adventurers neck all for that moment of triumph when the party explodes in cheers of victory after successfully navigating a quest *I* was able to bestow upon them.

There is a great satisfaction in being an entertainer for just one night a week.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Take My Throwing Knife, and Throw It...Knife Style!

I finally got to watch the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons episode of Community. I haven't seen the show before, but I saw the commercials and had to find this episode at least.

I didn't go into it with much hope, just because most people that "make fun" of D&D don't really understand it so it just comes off as awkward and sorta lame, but I have to say I really enjoyed it. They had a fairly good idea of what the game is about and played it fairly seriously...well, as seriously as any of my players have ever played.

I feel like a total nerd because I recognized the map in front of the DM as the map of the demonweb from Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits.
Side 1
Side 2

"I won Dungeons & Dragons...and it was Advanced!"
edit: Part 1, Part 2

DM's Corner: Railroading Is Not A Crime

Have you ever been accused of railroading a party? A while back (before my self imposed exile from GMing) I was running a short adventure for a few friends. It was a 1st level adventure for "Just made up", wet-behind-the-ears adventurers. The beginning premise is that the party stumbles on a dead adventurer in the wilderness and find the deed to an inn. Once arriving in the town that the inn is located, they find that it is in disrepair, thus beginning the adventure to restore it and run it as an adventurer hot spot. After all, all those "You all begin in a tavern" adventures have to take place somewhere!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Skill Sharpening

Had the opportunity to do a little Gming this weekend, and I have to say it went better than I expected. My wife decided to go scrapbooking for the night on Friday so I took the night off as a chance to gather a few players and 1) play test my game system further, 2) hone my waning GM skills.

I had started a little Zombiegeddon game last Halloween just as a between session filler and for a little seasonal gaming. And to be honest, I needed a break from sword & sorcery gaming for a little while. I love D&D and fantasy settings, but once in a while I need to play something different or I get burned out and everything starts to blend together. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Monthly Poll - Favorite Old School Module

Stolen directly from Grognardia's web site
So much for January. That didn't take long.

Sort of a small turn out for last months Monthly Poll so this shouldn't take long.

In 1st place for the favorite "deceptive" creature with 36% of the votes was the Doppleganger

2nd Place goes to the Water Weird (one of my personal favorites)

3rd place is Gas Spore. I have to say here that I've never known a party to race forward to start hacking on a beholder, so the gas spore was never really that much of a surprise for them.

At 4th with 12% was the lovably mimic. Everyone loves a treasure chest with teeth!

in 5th with 4% was the Lurker Above and in dead last without a single vote was the forgettable Trapper.

This month we gonna find out which classic D&D module or series of modules was your favorite, either to play or to run. Or maybe its just the most memorable.

Classic Dungeon Trivia 7

I thought last weeks was tough....wrong again. Vincent Diakuw was able to get it right in an hour and 56 minutes. Although, this time I actually had someone guess wrong. Maybe I'm getting more cryptic.

Anyways, the answer was Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits

On to this weeks trivia...

Player's Background
For weeks, you’ve been looking for adventure in this forsaken wilderness, with nothing much to show for it. It’s autumn now, with winter fast-approaching, and you’ll be in real trouble if you don’t earn some treasure soon.
As you’re finishing breakfast at a cheap inn, a traveler walks into the common room. In a loud voice he says, “Peace be upon you all! I, Hakeem the merchant, seek Hargath Stonehand and his worthy friends! ”

If anyone decides to talk to Hakeem, he says,

“As I passed through Sylvanhome forest on the way here, I stopped at The Manor, a fine palace owned by the wizard Lirdrium Arkayz. His servant Jenlar Temlin paid me to look for you and deliver his message to you. The wizard needs adventurers to undertake a quest, and he is willing to pay well anyone who answers his call. The letter of his servant explains all. Good day, my friends.” He lays a scroll on your table, then turns to leave.