Sunday, March 11, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chemo Announcement


I really feel that Google has become some form of cancer to me! The bad experience I had with my phone was the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back." So I intend to fight it.

I realize I can't go cold turkey, a perfect sign of how diverse and metastasized Google has become for me, but I can start chemo! First, I will be trying out a new way to share my ramblings, in the form of a Wiki. Assuming it will work, and I realize there will be drawbacks, such as not being able to get 'comments' and I probably won't be able to post from work, I have to try.

I do not intend to delete this blog. Though it is not something spectacular in the larger scheme of things, considering the awesomeness of the OCR Blogisphere, there are things here that I really like and have put alot of work into. I do have some things that I want to do:

[X] Start a Wiki and try it out

My Brand New Wiki

Assuming the Wiki is feasible / successful:

[   ] Find a way to allow 'comment' on the newly created Wiki
[   ] Stop using Google Mail
[   ] Stop using Google Search
[   ] Jail Break my phone and remove all Google Apps
[   ] Change or Remove all Google imbeds in other Sites I use
[   ] ...

Suggestions on alternatives? Other Google masses that I missed?

I will continue to update this post with my progress, and assuming I am successful, I will allow this site and my Google accounts to go dormant. A form of remission, if you will?

(OMG, "OMG" is flagged by my spellchecker but not "Google"!)



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Non-Gaming Related Rant!

Reposted here to try to alleviate my anger:

Google is trying to indoctrinate, or is impregnate, itself into everything I do... email, google+, google chrome, google voice, google chat, blogger, etc... I am getting pretty damn tired of it. Especially after I realized I can not get it off my phone without 'jail breaking' it! Pissed, doesn't even cover what I am after my 45 minute call to AT&T to get Google Voice messages turned off and the default voice mail reinstated! You pay hundreds of dollars for phones and a 'plan', and I get this shit! I can not curse enough at the moment!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Over Kill?

Okay, I went a little overboard with the encounter areas... Yes, a lot... But I was having fun and ideas were flooding my brain as I divided up the terrain for, what I hope, would make for a plethora of low level adventure hooks. I hope to delve deeper into these 'regions' in later posts. For now, have a map!

Scale: Large Hex = 2.5 miles (1 hour), Small Hex = 2640 feet (12 minutes)

As can be seen, I have chose a large selection of common humanoids to populate the surrounding area of Skelan and Ength. I hope, though breathing some individuality into them, I can put a new spin on them in the process. Yes, they are Goblins, Orcs, and such, but as ideas came to me, something else occurred to me. Motivations... Suffice it to say, more to come as I stop mapping and get to table design!

So, how bad did I mutilate it?


Sunday, March 4, 2012

BANG! Hexographer Pro Baby!

With the current sale going on over at Inkwell Ideas, I broke down and bought the Hexographer Pro Software. I am so glad I did! Making 'Child Maps' has become a snap. I couldn't resist zooming in on Skelan and seeing what popped up!

Scale: Each Small Hex = 528 ft (Large Hex = 2640 ft)
EDIT: The Huge Hex is actually 2.5 miles across!

Zooming in was a snap. I just selected the area, told it 5 hexes for each hex selected and it converted it all. I had to do some touch-up around the edges and added a little forest. The majority of the time I spent adding buildings based on Erin Smale's, Population for Low-Fantasy Population generator, from his blog; The Welsh Piper.

From that I gleaned the following about Skelan:
Population: 974
Occupies: 1.22 square miles
Nobles: 28, Officers: 10, Clergy: 8, Freeholders: 66, Citizens (Farmers) 858, Hirelings:4
Ruling House: 6 Relatives, 4 Servants, 3 House Guard, 1 Sergeant
Additional Nobles (2 Houses) w/ 14 people
Reeve: 1, Messor: 1, Woodward 1, Constable: 1, Law Enforcement: 6
Mansions: 3
Churches: 2
Businesses: 79
Municipal: 1
Homes: Alot! 129

It took me longer to type this than to do it. The map isn't great, but it was fun doing!

Hope you can use it,


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Paladins... Perks vs Self-Imposed-Challenge (Ranty)

Okay, I may have mentioned this before on here, but I think I just had an epiphany if you will. Over at The Aspiring Lich, Chris mentioned in his comments,
 Perhaps, but where paladins are allowed, and where someone wants to play one, then they should expect that they'll have to abide by the rules of paladinhood. It irks me that people think they should get all the perks of the class while being able to play it like an amoral fighter.
I meandered about how the Unearthed Arcana book was a key point in my choice to leave D&D, and RPG in general, for so long.

I could not grasp why someone would need a tomb of a book to play a Paladin! It was nothing more than a moral Fighter who lived by a code and was beholden to his deity. While professing this very fact, it dawned on me, the difference, at least for me, of 'old school' and new.

Paladins, and other classes of the AD&D time were 'cool' because of all the 'perks'. Everyone wanted to play one (a Paladin), and the attribute restrictions were discarded rapidly to allow this in my gaming circle of the time. So began what I am now considering the "D&D Entitlement Generation!"

When I played D&D, I had to walk up-hill both-ways with cooked potatoes in my pockets, to keep me warm and to eat as a snack when they cooled, to the house of a friend to play.... No, I will not channel my father! Anyways, my point is, as I recall, playing characters who were challenged; low HPs, "bad attribute" rolls, etc. WAS the fun part. Sure, even a buff Basic D&D character died regularly, but it was fun! And oh the thrill of finally hitting fourth level with Peg-legged Willy! I still smile when I recall an NPC from a module, who's name was something like, 'Lookma Nohands' ~ recall he was a bartender. I wanted to play him as a PC!

I guess the definition of what was/is cool to play has changed. That, for me in a nutshell, is what defines the difference between the old and the new. Perks vs Self-Imposed-Challenge.

Chris started the whole thing off with,
p.s. - And don't get me started on the bitchy paladin who doesn't like the fact that she's really expected to adhere to a lawful moral code. Good grief.
Or the, "I want my Perks, and don't want to pay for it...", D&D Entitlement Personality. I think, from perusing his relatively new blog, Chris has started to feel the pull of the old over the new, and by doing so has assisted me in a new train of thought! Thanks Chris!

Am I out on a limb by myself here? Can it basically be a societal thing?


Monday, February 27, 2012

Moving On A Budget

Over at Untimately, Brendan spoke about Wilderness Movement Costs and how to 'move on a budget'.

I really liked the idea and have decided to convert it to my thoughts of movement by time, where I have decided to think of traveling not as distance, but as time.

So, without further ado, a version of Brendan's tables with time equivalents for a league (2.5 miles) of travel:

EncumbranceMovement Budget
Unencumbered10 Hours
Lightly Encumbered8 Hours
Heavily Encumbered6 Hours

Unlike Brendan, I chose not to differentiate statistically between forms of locomotion; foot, horse, wagon, etc. For me, as an example, horses and such move at roughly the same walking speed as a person on foot with equivalent loads, or, a horse with a heavy load is going to move about as fast as a human with a heavy load. Granted, the weight of that load is significantly different, but hopefully you get my meaning. It is not until you get into forced marching and running that things change dramatically, but even then, it will all be about time. How long can you do it before giving out? This, at least for me, can be adjudicated on the fly.

Now on to the costs:

TerrainExamples Movement Cost Becoming Lost
Average Clear, City, Grasslands, Road*, Trail*
1 Hour
1 in 6
Moderate Forest, Hills, Desert, Badlands
1.5 Hours
2 in 6
Difficult Mountains, Heavy Forest, Jungle, Swamp
2 Hours
3 in 6

* Moving along Roads, or well marked Trails, does not result in a risk of Becoming Lost.

I would like to thank Brendan for pointing me to this simple and hopefully easy to master system. Thanks!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thoughts On Random Encounters

While establishing my first Encounter Location within the Free Barony of Warhone, I discovered that my 2d6 table blog reference no longer exists... "Crap!"

Gonna have to figure this out on my own and recreate the wheel. Using this handy dice probability site, I came up with an adjective based 2d6 table of my own. So when I need random encounters I will go with:

Five Option Table

2 & 12 Very Rare (5.56%)
3 & 11 Rare (11.12%)
4 & 10 Scarce (16.66%)
5 & 9 Normal (22.22%)
6 to 8 Common (44.45%)

Seven Option Table
2  Very Rare (2.78%) - Note: Could be used with the Five Option Table as Ultra Rare if 2 & 12 were broken out
3  Rare (5.56%)
4 & 5 Scarce (19.44%)
6, 7 & 8 Common (44.45%)
9 & 10 Scarce (19.44%)
11  Rare (5.56%)
12 Very Rare (2.78%)

I realize that there are more ways to break a 2d6 roll down for this, but my mind is not functioning this evening. If anyone wants to help out, and suggest what distribution they use for such a table, it would be appreciated.

Maybe the tables will reappear over on The Yaqqothl Grimoire? I'm not holding my breath though.

Now to work on the encounter tables for the site: Azimar's Ruined Keep. A little typical, but I have to start somewhere to get my creativity kindled!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

So, Moving Along Then (part 2a)

I changed my mind, or so Mr. ADD often convinces me to do. I was convinced to zoom in rather and jump down to 'settlement level'. I am glad I did too. It really helped me get an idea of the area. Why? I can't explain. But, none-the-less, here is a step-in on the Skelan area that was in my previous post.

Scale: 2640 ft sub-hex / 2.5 mi large hex

A note on the above map, the actual settlements (read rural area) of Skelan and Ength probably will most likely NOT end up where I placed the village and town icons. I tried to 'center-mass' them. I envision both being more in the branches of the 'Y' of the river, which I have to name.

Next up, before I do the actual rural settlements, is to place key encounter areas for this level, make random tables, etc. So, expect to see this map again in more detail soon.


So, Moving Along Then (part 2)

Pressing forward, I have added some to the newest experiments in Mini-Gazetteer. Or, maybe I'll just call it a Blog-Gazetteer? Anyway, I added some additional terrain and random names to the base map.

I think this is as big as I feel comfortable with. Not being one that enjoys 'drilling-down' into a setting, I want to start small and work out from somewhere. So, with that in mind, I will pick a 'Base Camp' and flesh it out, and expand.

Perhaps from Skelan...


Monday, February 20, 2012

Points of Clarification

To clarify, the above map, in my previous post, the scale is 528ft for the small hex and 13200ft (2.5mi or 1 league).

What I want to do now, is figure out if I want to think of it as City Works or what, when it comes to population. City Works, IIRC, wanted 500'x500' blocks of 100 people each. I think I used a population density site for the above, that I don't have access to here at work, but...

I estimate the 'city' at 95 hexes (528ft ea), so 9500 people +/- using City Works. Which is close to what I was using when writing the original post (somewhere around 10240 IIRC). Not sure if I will run with that or look into staying with my Excel Spreadsheet and use a % of Urban/Rural to flesh out settlements. The City Works approach seems easier for the settlement, but how do I determine the % of arable land around it that it will take to support it?

Mr OCD is pushing me to do a spreadsheet with some random calculations that will identify the size of the settlement, its footprint, how much farm land would take to support it, how much actual farm land there is, and if the settlement is working within a surplus or deficit as far as food goes... that would also give me some information I can go on for the settlement too; random tables for food/ppl ratios... too many ppl, not enough food, roll on the plague and petulance random table, more food than ppl and you have a 'rich' settlement.... etc.

Dang, back to work!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

So, Moving Along Then (part 1)

Now that I have had my grand epiphany about time, I return to mapping. As you can see from the below map, I have just quickly roughed in the basics; Mountains, Ocean, and the two Settlements (green hexes) I want to start with. The Settlement near the ocean will be the main trade point. The other, or located there-about, will be the starting 'base' for the campaign.

Next I want to map the trade center, so I get a feel for how dispersed it will be at this scale (small hex = 1 league, or 1 hour). So...

Not what I had hoped, but I can come back to it. Just couldn't figure out how I wanted it to look, Icon wise...

That's it for now, enjoy.

It's Time To Move On

Yesterday, I posted about how I really like Bat in the Attic's use of leagues. Yes, I realize it is not a new phenomenon, but it was there that I grokked its awesomeness. I haven't been able to reproduce his great maps, as I had hoped, but I have figured out how to do something similar with Hexographer, while keeping Mr. OCD smiling.

The realization that distance is moot was a major breakthrough for me, believe it or not. I don't really care about distance anymore. Why? Because the only thing that is in distance are maps and movement.Strange considering that mapping is what makes Mr. OCD standup and flail about as if his arms and legs are independent of his body. Now, maps and movement may seem pretty important to the game, even maybe a pillar, but I have chosen not to think in distance any longer. I intend to think in time. Much more of the game, IMHO, is based on the unit of measure of time.

How did I come to this decision? Mr. OCD pointed me to it. I was trying to extrapolate the accuracy of the one hour / league, and it worked out.

Using a 5:1 sub-hex to hex ratio:
2.5 miles / league / 13200' equals 1 hour (Overland Scale)
2640' / .5 miles equals 12 min or 720 sec
528' equals 2.4 min or 144 sec (Settlement Scale at a 'block' distance)
105.6' equals 28.8 secs
21.12' equals 5.76 sec (close enough to a 20' / 6 sec combat round, even for Mista OCD)

What does that solve? Well, for me, I no longer have to think in distance, but rather in time! Torch life is in time. Rations are in time. Spell length, preparation, and casting, are in time. Everything else is in units of time! I can't help but to think that this will help 'in game', not to mention with my brain curdling attempts at mapping! Win-Win in my book. Hope it pans out while playing too. I know it has helped with mapping, which I hope to share shortly.

Surely not a significant discovery to the blog-as-sphere, but I am glad I have finally made the discovery! Or, at least, learned what others already know.

Best and happy gaming,

Saturday, February 11, 2012

More Mini Campaign

So I started messing around with mapping (Hexographer) again, and made a small regional map, or started it anyway. Then my best-est friend ever, OCD, came to visit. I wanted to drop in a small coastal harbor town or city. But what size? I knew I wanted to have each sub-hex be 2.5 miles (1 league) and the larger hexes to be 12.5 miles (5 leagues) based on how much I like Bat in the Attic maps. This scale just makes sense to me, and I hope to elaborate more on that in my next post.

Then I wavered! I do so ever like how it's done on The 25 Mile Hex too! Finally I just said, "Screw It!" and went to another bookmark, Medieval Demographics Made Easy. Both the above blogs mentioned it, as I recall, so it has to have something going for it, right?

So, based on the formula there ((Hex Width x .9306049)squared) tells me that there are 5.43sq miles in a 2.5 mile hex, or 1 league. Cool! Population Density, which I took to mean Rural, ranged from 30 to 120 people per square mile. So this town/city, assuming it has some kind of patrolling guard, could patrol out, on a regular basis, a half-a-day. So four hours, or 4 leagues, to be able to make it back by dark. Counting all the hexes surrounding the town/city I came up with 60 hexes and an Excel Spread Sheet...
So, based on density, this town could range from a Large Town to a Large City... I am not a complete sadist. I didn't want to randomly figure out the density of every league within the settlement's control. So I created a formula that would give me a random range between 30 and 120. Then OCD's friend showed up...

Yay, ADD, welcome! Mr. ADD wanted to know, "If the settlement could only 'protect' 3, 2, or even 1 hour out from it, what size settlements would result?"

This didn't, even at minimum density, get me a settlement smaller than 489 person Village with the Village itself and the adjoining 6 leagues. (I am using the settlement sizes from 3.5 by-the-way because I would like to use the eventual map in either a Microlite20 or Pathfinder Beginner Box campaign)

"Doh!" All I had to do was reverse the formula to be able to enter the settlement population and random density to tell me how many leagues a settlement needed. I did this not just because of Mr. ADD, but because I noticed that the first settlement was going to eat-up alot of my map. I wanted some smaller settlements for 'bases-of-operations' too out in the 'wilderness'.

Long-story-short, I think Mr. OCD and Mr. ADD have just had their communal asses kicked by Mr. Excel!

More to come!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Playing With Hero Lab For PFBB

It appears, that the Hero Lab version for Pathfinder Beginner Box is free, full functioning, and works wonders:

This creature stands barely three feet tall, its scrawny, humanoid body dwarfed by its wide, ungainly head.
Grinder: Male Goblin (Neutral)

Goblins are hateful, suspicious creatures about 4 feet tall. They prefer to dwell in caves or buildings abandoned by others. They love fire, hate dogs and horses, and believe that writing steals the words from your head.

Initiative +6; Speed 30 ft. (6 sq.); CR 1/2; HP 8
Senses Darkvision (60 feet); Perception +4
AC 16, touch 13, flat-footed 14   (+3 armor, +2 Dex, +1 size)
Fort +0, Ref +4, Will +0
Melee (M) Dagger +0 (1d4+1/19-20/x2) and
   (M) Dagger +0 (1d4+1/19-20/x2) and
   Unarmed Strike +2 (1d2+1/20/x2)
Ranged Shortbow +3 (1d4/20/x3)
Special Attacks Sneak Attack +1d6
Str +1,  Dex +2,  Con 0,  Int 0,  Wis 0,  Cha 0
Skills Climb +5, Disable Device +7, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +4, Knowledge (Local) +4, Knowledge (Nature) +1, Perception +4, Ride +6, Sense Motive +4, Stealth +10
Feats Improved Initiative
Equipment Backpack (empty), Belt Pouch (empty), Caltrops, Dagger, Dagger, Flint and Steel, Sack (empty), Sack (empty), Shortbow, Studded Leather, Thieves' Tools, Waterskin
Environment Temperate forest and plains (usually coastal regions)
Organization Gang (4-9), warband (10-16 with goblin dog mounts), or tribe (17+ plus 100% noncombatants; 1 sergeant of 3rd level per 20 adults; 1 or 2 lieutenants of 4th or 5th level; 1 leader of 6th-8th level; and 10-40 goblin dogs, wolves, or worgs)
Treasure NPC gear (leather armor, light wooden shield, short sword, short bow with 20 arrows, other treasure)
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark up to 60 feet. This works like normal vision, but it's only in shades of gray.
Sneak Attack +1d6 +1d6 damage if you flank your target or your target is flat-footed.
Trapfinding +1 +1 to find or disable traps.

Hero Lab® and the Hero Lab logo are Registered Trademarks of LWD Technology, Inc. Free download at
Pathfinder® and associated marks and logos are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC®, and are used under license.

This rocks! Now, I must play a PFBB campaign!


Friday, January 27, 2012


Home at last, though I thought I would get alot of blogging done while on my business trip, it never came to fruition. Now, I hope, I can delve off into some PFBB ramblings...


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pathfinder Beginner Box and D&D Red Box

I had blogged about getting the Pathfinder Beginner Box (PFBB) a while ago, but I just picked up the D&D Red Box too. Which, I swore I wouldn't get, but I found it on sale for $9.50

Talk about totally different attempts at what, I think, was meant to be the same thing; an introduction to 'the' game.

The PFBB was a trip down memory lane. I really enjoyed the solo adventure and all the way through to page 53 of the Hero's Handbook. That is where the crunch began under the heading of "Combat"... I stomached through to the end because it was only an additional ten pages that covered only first through fifth level (the sweat spot for me personally).

The PFBB Game Master's Guide had a nice mini-adventure and, though it was tailored to new GMs, was an enjoyable read.

In short, the whole PFBB screamed quality.

The D&D Red Box (RB), on the other hand, whimpered. From the box and booklet quality, to a Player's  Handbook that was 39 pages of solo-adventure ONLY! I did like how they had you develop you character sheet throughout the adventure, but this did not make up for my less than gloomy first impression.

The D&D RB Dungeon Master Book had me crying before I even finished it, which I did not do. The rules where like reading a 60+ page boardgame instruction manual...

Now to admit, I currently play D&D 4e with a great group, and the GM handles it very old school. So I know it is possible, but if I had to start a group with this thing, it probably would never happen.

PFBB on the other hand has me compelled to start a new campaign, should I find the players.

To answer a few questions directed to me from the last post by Erin:

"....looks friendly enough and I'm sorely tempted to pick it up, but is it good enough to launch a whole new campaign..." ~ Absolutely. It is solid, and much more of what I wanted out of PF 3.5 than what it has become. I could totally see repeat playability just by staying in the 1st to 5th level that the box set covers. I must admit that I have always liked the idea of a E6 style game anyway. This scratches my itch!

"...or is it just reference material I can use in my existing game?" ~ I think it can do that too, to a lesser extent. It has an 'old school vibe' to it, but it is obviously a d20 product. It introduces Sandpoint and the neighboring region and gives out a few plot hooks to expound on for sure, but it is an 'introduction' to the game.

"Is it "stand-alone" or will I have to go down the Pathfinder rabbit hole?" ~ it suggests going to the PF Core rulebook, but it is 100% stand-alone. I do not see myself investing in anything other than perhaps the setting book, where I will run a plethora of PBB adventures, should I find an interested group! So, no, no rabbit hole in my future! But I like the setting, so might get the one other book to 'expand' it some.

"I await your judgement..." ~ I recommend it, surprisingly. I honestly didn't expect to like it as much as I do. I wish the entire PF line was like this though. The D&D RB on the other hand... was a waste of my money even at the 'bargain' price. I enjoy my D&D 4e group and game, I do, but reading what I was able to of the box set, well, was torture. I hoped it would have been different, because I do enjoy my face-to-face 4e group game, and assumed, wrongly that perhaps the reviews were not fair or I might like it because I had prior experience... not the case! I thought I might one day want to even GM a 4e game/campaign, but realize I don't have the chops that my current 4e GM has to make it 'old school'.

In closing, get the PFBB, I don't think you will regret it,


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Staying in a hotel for weeks on end, eight hundred miles away from home, you do some strange things. Like purchase the Pathfinder Beginner Box set...

Knee-jerk reaction, I can live with it. Something between Microlite20 and full blown 3.5 might just fit the bill. Think I will go sit down in the lobby and read it. Maybe I can find some other equally as bored people to give it a run for it's money?

Later Taters,