Friday, January 18, 2013

Hand-Drawn Dungeon Map: The Crypt of Clavid Daen

Another hand-drawn map.

Clavid Daen was a warrior who fought as part of the Mailed Fist, whose greatest exploits included vanquishing the Orcrish Overking and breaking the back of his mightiest army and ridding the Keep at Swarren Ford of the foul wyrm Groxodryzaksis.

The common stories say that he died while in battle against the archmage Craeg Na'Raenic the Vile.  And there are a great many people (who should know better than that) that will argue that truth with every breath that they have.  What the common man does not realize, however, is that Daen had actually joined with Craeg Na'Raenic and was fighting against his former compatriots when he was struck down by Garrick the Tall.

Even before that battle reached its end, the body of Clavid Daen was taken from the battlefield.  He was buried in a small crypt in the Dunn Hills.  Those who know the truth about his final hours stay away from the crypt.  Those, however, foolish enough to believe the tales of Daen's heroism continue to pilgrimage to the outer shrine and pay their respects.  Many of them have paid with their lives.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Enchanted Likenesses

Here's a link to another video that I just came across today.  Scary.  Inspirational.

I could easily see this as the basis for an adventure, or at the very least a small set piece in a larger dungeon.

The PCs come across a collections of statues that are quite obviously likenesses of them.  "That's strange," they think.  And the one character who is not as cautious as the others begins to closely examine the one that looks like him or her.  Without thinking, he touches the statue...

Or maybe you turn it upside.  Perhaps the PCs actually desire this outcome.  Maybe, rather than what happened in the video, they gain some ability or boone in exchange for what has happened to them.  Or at least, they thought that they were going to.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nice Insights from LHotP

Bighara over at the Geekcave wrote a nice little piece about (yes, of all things) Little House on the Prairie.

He is reading the books with his daughters and provides a few thoughts on how life in pre-industrial times was--as taken from the writings of that series.  I think that his observations are spot on.

Like him, I also read those books with my oldest daughter a few years ago.  Children's books, yes, but I actually really enjoyed them.  I thought that they were fascinating.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Even Aliens are Susceptible to a Robopacalypse

I am continually amazed by what 'amateur' filmmakers can accomplish these days.  The dividing line between a studio production and an indie production is growing thinner daily.  And the dividing line between an indie production and a one-man production is likewise growing thinner.

While I typically do not delve into science fiction on this blog, I am making an exception for this post.  Go watch this video.  It think that it proves that even aliens are susceptible to a robopacalypse.

Of course, it could easily serve as inspiration for a fantasy rpg campaign:  What would happen if all the golems, automata, and other "created" magical beings in the world suddenly rebelled from their wizard creators, banded together, and attempted to take it over?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dungeon Inspiration

Several days ago, I mentioned Build a Dungeon From Me.  Well, I'm here again to recommend another tumblr site that I just came across.  I think that it is just as inspirational.

Behold: Dungeon Inspiration!

Pure awesometivity.  (Why hasn't anyone else pointed this out before now?  Or have I been living under a rock?)


I'd like to also point out a slight update to the blog.  Off to the right, I've split out my links into various lists.  The two new lists are self-explanatory: 'Maps Maps Maps' and 'Inspiration' (which includes Dungeon Inspiration).  I don't think that you can go wrong following any of those links.

(BTW, it would be much easier to write blog posts and push forward on other important projects if it weren't for so much gaming goodness out in the blogoverse.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013

Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and MAPS!

Go take a look at this.  Simply incredible.  (I came across it first in this article at io9.)

Since I love all of the things in the title to this post, the link above leads to something that is about as heavenly as something can be on this planet.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

What if TSR's Dragonlance...

                    ...Had Done It Like This?

So depending on who you talk to, the Dragonlance saga (the original three novels by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman and the tie-in series of modules by TSR) was the beginning of the end for TSR or a fantastic experiment in cross-media marketing.  Or maybe it was both.  That really doesn't matter.

Many of us have read the novels.  I'm guessing a much smaller number of us played the modules.  Regardless of your opinions of either, I think that it's fair to say that the modules are some of the most railroading-est railroads put to the gaming public.  Basically, the modules force you to relive the novels.  Each adventure's beginning and end are scripted from the books, so even if you completely went off on your own in one adventure, the next one forced you to start where it needed you to start.  For some, that was probably fun.  Or not.

There was a time, back when I was a young, naive, and perhaps completely clueless individual, that I fully believed that the modules were written first, and that TSR had a group of people play them, and then had MW and TC write the novels based on what had happened at that gaming table.  That the personalities of the characters in the novels came from the personalities that those players had developed for the characters during play.  That the modules were not railroads (Didn't know that term at the time.) but merely open-ended adventure settings that the novels were born from.

I believed (before ever seeing the modules and seeing the error in my thinking) that the novels were a gigantic play report.  Wouldn't that have been cool?  (I know that I thought so.)  (I wonder if I was the only person to think this?)

So here's the real point of this post:  What if someone or some company actually attempted to do such a thing?  What if someone created a sandbox setting, had a party play in it for months or years, kept a series of play reports, and then converted them into a novel?

Assuming that the author was actually a decent writer, I wonder what the product of such an effort would look like.  Could it be done?  Has it ever been done before?  Would it be any good?  Would it "find an audience"?

I truly believe that such a novel could be a pretty good read.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

Build a Dungeon From Me

I've long been a fan of Subterranean Design, the tumblr site that is a repository of photos of underground locations and other dungeon-like places and things.  I've commented about it before, and I still believe it to be a great source of inspiration for all things gaming-related.

I only today came across Build a Dungeon From Me, another Tumblr site that is a repository of photos for general fantasy inspiration.  Fantastic and highly recommended!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hand-Drawn Dungeon Map: The Columns

I've really enjoyed my map drawings.  This might become a regular feature here.  I present to you The Columns:

The residents of Hargrish Town have long argued whether or not the natural stone columns beneath the granite overhang at Fendinil Rock actually support it.  Whether they do or not would probably best be answered by a dwarf, but the few who have passed through Hargrish recently have shown no interest in settling the argument--perhaps because the rants and counter-rants that can be heard at the Sipping Sow are a great source of amusement for them.

In years past, the semi-sheltered area beneath the Rock served as a way-station for travelers moving between Hargrish and the larger towns to the west.  Recently, however, travelers have reported being driven from the Columns by unsavory men.  Some go so far as to say that bandits have taken up residence in the ancient shrine carved into the stone.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Beach Creatures

I'm always looking for real-world sources of inspiration for gaming.

I came across this video awhile ago and think it to be pretty cool.

Perhaps the things depicted are the ancient works of crabmen, before they lost their technological dominance.  Perhaps they are a form of golem created by a mad wizard imprisoned on a desert island.  Perhaps they are the living skeletons of creatures no longer known to the world.

Who knows?  Go check out this video.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Kickstarter Thoughts

Everyone has an opinion on Kickstarter and its use in the rpg "world".  You can't go a day and not see some blogger somewhere commenting on Kickstarters, how they suck, how they don't suck, what would make them better, etc.

I don't have many strong feelings about the subject, because my rpg budget is based (almost) solely on the earnings of The Fantasy Cartographic.  Since it has been an extremely slow year, I haven't spent much money on gaming material--kickstarter or otherwise.  I did contribute to the Dwimmermount kickstarter and, while it is behind schedule, I'm okay because Autarch has done a better job of keeping the backers informed of its status.

Overall, my opinion is that, contrary to most of the conventional wisdom in the OSR, it is NOT a pre-order system.  I know that many will consider this blasphemous, but there you go.  (It is probably even more dangerous for me to voice this opinion, considering the fact that I might be pursuing a kickstarter of my own.  These words may be used against me at some future point--oh well.)  If you are using kickstarter as a pre-order system, that is a mindset that you chose of your own accord.  I don't think it fair it get pissed off if that turns out not to be the case, regardless of whatever promotional material a given project is using to sell their wares.

I think Joethelawyer has some good things to say.  I agree with him.