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!