Do QR codes make interesting mazes, dungeons or cavern complexes?

Do QR codes make interesting mazes, dungeons or cavern complexes?

Next time you’re stuck for a maze or cavern complex, look no further than the back of your Cheetos packet …

Two examples below made using an online generator:

1. Here’s the QR code for Expedition to the Barrier Peaks:

Expedition to the barrier peaks

2. Here’s another maze-like complex (but where does it go????):

QR maze 2 - CLDT

That’s it.

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea, and my procedural Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown.

AD&D Surprise Rules & Repurposing them as a combat system

I listened to ChgWiz’s (Michael Shorten’s) The Dungeon Master’s Handbook podcast about 1e ‘Surprise Rules’ and wondered if it could be converted into a simple combat system (or used for anything else); and why the Surprise Rule makes the DEX stat useful to non-thieves.

Recap of the 1e Surprise Rule (as understood)

This is how I understand the Surprise Rule in AD&D to work:

1. Roll for surprise if one or both parties might be surprised.

2. Surprise is like an attack roll, it’s your ability to surprise your foe (it’s not like a saving throw, i.e. a chance to avoid being surprised). So the chance of being surprised is based on your foe’s ability. Personally, I think players should roll to surprise their foe and the DM should roll for the monsters to surprise the PCs (often it’s done the other way around).

3. By default the base chance to surprise anyone is a roll of 1 or 2 rolled on a D6.

4. But, some creatures are better at surprising; for example, Bugbears surprise on a roll of 1, 2 or 3 on a D6; and Giant Owls surprise on a 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 on a D6. Wow, Giant Owls have 4HD, so they are in effect a bit like flying ogre ninjas.

5. This is the neat bit mechanically (at least I think so). The above roll not only determines if you are surprised (great), but also gives the duration of the surprise. So, it’s doing two things with one roll (i.e. (i) determining if you are surprised and (ii) how long you are surprised for; and all in one roll).

The below table gives the duration of the surprise indexed to the die roll on a D6 for three creatures:

sup 1

So, it’s a bit like the game “chicken”, the aim is to get as close to the maximum number of rounds without going over. So a roll of 3 for an orc is no use but for a Bugbear it’s the best roll.

6. Now for the wrinkles. Some classes can reduce the number of rounds they are surprise for. So, for example a ranger reduces the number of rounds they are surprised for by 1 round. This applies to them and to the group they are in. Therefore, the above table now looks like this when a ranger is present:

sup 2

That is, the number of rounds has been reduced by 1 round in each case. So, a roll of 1 is in effect the same as not being surprised. Not surprised is shown in the blue region whereas the green region is where the time being surprised is reduce to 0 rounds or fewer (i.e. the PC’s reactions counteract the surprise).

7. More wrinkles. If a PC has a high DEX score they can get a RAA bonus, which again is used to subtract from the rounds they are surprised for.

sup 4.png

So, if a thief with 17 Dex (RAA of +2) is in the above party (i.e. with a ranger in it) the table for the thief now looks like this:

sup 3

So, this thief is in effect never surprised by Orcs or Bugbears, but for Giant Owls on a roll of 4 or 5 can be surprised, but for no more than two rounds. This gal has the reactions of a cat. However, a DEX bonus only applies to this PC and not to the group as a whole.

... but, but, why a roll of 4 or 5 on a D6 instead of a roll of 1, 2 on a D6 – same odds right? True, but under that system:

Thief surprised on a roll of 1 or 2

Party surprised on a roll of 1, 2, 3 or 4.

So, on a roll of 1 on a D6 means everyone including the thief is surprised for 1 round, but on a roll of 4 on the D6 the party is surprised for 4 rounds and the thief for none. So sometimes the thief and party are equally surprised or the party super surprised and the thief not at all. Seems illogical. Under the system explained above, the thief is always 2 rounds better off than the party no matter what the roll is (hence more consistent).

Sometime I feel like I’m torturing myself.

Scenario 1

Imagine the party describe above is swooped down on by silent Giant Owls in the dark. The DM rolls to see if the party is surprised (the owls are ambushing so they do not need to roll for surprise). The D6 is rolled a 4 comes up. Therefore:

The party is surprised for 3 rounds (4 rounds minus 1 for the ranger bonus = 3 rounds).

The thief on the other hand is only surprised for 1 round (4 rounds minus 1 for the ranger bonus and minus 2 for her RAA = 1 round).

Scenario 2

For argument sake, let’s say the party slips off a cliff and lands in a giant owl nest. This time both the owl and the party might be surprised.

A D6 is rolled for the party who get a 3 this time. The party is surprised for 2 rounds, except the thief who is in effect not surprised.

A D6 is rolled for the Owls who get a 2; so, the owls are also surprised for 2 rounds.

Net effect – everyone is surprised for two rounds, except the thief who gets two rounds of action. She of course decides to use her 2 rounds to make good her escape.

Summary

:: Mindset: Roll surprise like an attack. Players roll to surprise their foe and the DM rolls to surprise the party (i.e. on the monster’s behalf).

:: Surprise is a fun rule.

:: It also makes DEX a useful stat for non-thieves. Think of the acrobatic fleetfooted fighter that can slash a foe to death before their opponent can even draw their weapon. This can be much more useful than a +1 or 2 HP per level when buffing the CON stat. Likewise, a nimble unflappable magic-user who can get off a spell (or run for it) before the open-jawed orcs can say “whod dat?”. Finally, high DEX thieves become more effective (even deadly) in combat, perhaps even getting in the fabled back-stab while their opponent struggles open-mouthed to comprehend the threat. Worse still, a negative RAA can add time to rounds the PC is surprised for. In the reverse, a PC with 3 DEX could be surprised for a total of 8 rounds by Giant Owls on a roll of 5. I can’t see anyone surviving that kind of onslaught.

Wow… that ^ was longer than intended!

Learning lessons / Repurposing AD&D surprise rules as a combat system

I think I’ll save this post in full for another day.

But basically: you roll to hit by rolling equal or below your skill (like in Surprise). If you hit, you do that number of HP damage (like the rounds of surprise). If you have armour (or defensive magics), you can subtract units off the damage (like the RAA bonus).

E.g. a monster has a skill of 3, and they roll a 2 on a D6. They therefore do 2 damage. The PC is wearing heavy armour and so can subtract 1 off the damage. The PC therefore takes 1 damage. So, hit and damage is determined in a single roll.

Of course, a combat system like this needs proper scaling (e.g. PCs gain 1 damage per level, or can spend this on fighting skill, magic etc.). I have some crude ideas, and maybe I’ll pull my finger out and expand on this later.

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea, and my procedural Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown.

Tuesday Toot!! | Amulet of Unseen Minions

Tuesday TootG+ is closing gone. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

The Master’s Hoard is a compilation of quirk-some magic items which I posted on my G+ page over a period of weeks. The compilation of magic items can be downloaded for free here: Link

:: Amulet of Unseen Minions ::

Summary
The item can summon a weak force; or (only once) a mass of weak forces

Amulet of Unseen Minions.png

Detail
Once per day
– the item can summon an ‘unseen minion’.

The minion is in fact a ‘soft force’ that obeys the user’s will. When focused, the force can exert a force of up to about a pound. It can turn a door handle, lift a latch, knock over a vase. The force is not hard enough to do inflict HP damage directly. But, a knocked vase falling on someone’s head is another matter. The force only works in line of sight of the user.

Once, and only once – the item can summon 100 to 1000 minions. This action completely depletes the item of unseen minions, thereafter rendering the item useless.
This mass of minions could be used for example to:
• slow the passage of a foe through a corridor as a plethora of minions grasp at them;
• slow/break a deadly fall; minions grasping and pulling against gravity
• form a ‘human pyramid’ for the character to climb;
• combine together to generate enough force to nudge a heavy object, e.g. nudge a boulder down a ravine

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea, and my procedural Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown.
More on Hex Flowers Game Engines.

Tuesday Toot!! | Baton of Three Strikes

Tuesday TootG+ is closing gone. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

The Master’s Hoard is a compilation of quirk-some magic items which I posted on my G+ page over a period of weeks. The compilation of magic items can be downloaded for free here: Link

:: Baton of Three Strikes ::

Summary
This item can capture and store up to 3 spells

Baton of Three Strikes

Detail
This item is useful in powering up a cleric or magic user character a bit.
This item allows them to take 3 extra spells into the dungeon, and at a risk, use the item defensively to suck up spells used against the party. The item might for example also allow a fighter to carry a ‘curing stick’ with him with healing spells stored inside.
The item stores spells – Therefore, spell-like abilities do not count, e.g. a stare attacks.

Use – the item has 3 gems on its shaft. Pressing a gem allows a single spell to be captured and stored by that gem. That is, provided the spell effect is directed at/near the item.
To release a spell stored in a gem, the other two gems must be pressed simultaneously. Spell can be released from the item by anyone without penalty.

Failure – there is a % chance that the gem capturing the spell is denatured/destroyed instead of capturing the spell.

Level of spell – The % chance of failure is equal to the spell level of the spell being captured (e.g. a 5th level spell has a 5% chance of destroying the gem).

Hostile spells – The % chance of failure is 10 times larger if the spell being capture is hostile to the user (e.g. a 5th level hostile spell has a 50% chance of destroying the gem).

Class conflict – anyone can use the item to capture a spell, but if they are not familiar with that branch of magic there is a +25% increase in the chance of failure.

Table summary:

Spell Lv Friendly Base % Hostile Base % Class Conflict modifier
1 1% 10% +25%
2 2 20
3 3 30
4 4 40
5 5 50
6 6 60
7 7 70
8 8 80
9 9 90

Examples
(a) A cleric (or fighter) trying to store a (non hostile) Web spell (i.e. a 2nd level magic-user spell) would have a % failure chance of 2%+25%=27%.

(b) If the above spell were hostile, then (2%x10)+25%=45%.

If the cleric were a magic user instead, then the +25% class modifier would not apply, so (a) would be 2% and (b) would be 20%.

Therefore, it is far safer to ‘bank’ your own spells prior to an adventure, rather than trying to catch a foe’s spell on the fly. That said, sucking a hostile fireball into the item might save the party’s skin!

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea, and my procedural Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown.
More on Hex Flowers Game Engines.

Tuesday Toot!! | Blackstone’s Bracelet of Cauterised Cutting

Tuesday TootG+ is closing gone. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

The Master’s Hoard is a compilation of quirk-some magic items which I posted on my G+ page over a period of weeks. The compilation of magic items can be downloaded for free here: Link

:: Blackstone’s Bracelet of Cauterised Cutting ::

Summary
Allows cutting without drawing blood

Blackstone’s Bracelet of Cauterised Cutting.png

Detail
When the bracelet is put on, the hitting surface of any held weapon is covered in a thin layer of super-hot air.

Edged weapons
The super-hot layer of air, riding the edge of the blade like a razor, instantly cauterises any wound caused by the weapon. So, when used, no blood is spilled in combat.
Therefore, this item allows (those) clerics who are not normally allowed to spill blood in combat, to use bladed weapons.

The damage caused by cauterisation is cancelled out by the reduction in blood loss, so no extra damage is caused.

Blunt weapons
The sheath of hot air actually makes blunt weapons more unwieldy, and so harder to hit with (-2 to hit); but it does do some extra searing damage (+2 damage).

Cold Ones & others
Clearly creatures not fond of ‘heat’ will find this weapon especially vexing.
In addition, the cauterisation effect might interfere/prevent special creature abilities, e.g. the regeneration ability of trolls.

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea, and my procedural Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown.
More on Hex Flowers Game Engines.

Blogging Break

I’ve decided to have a blogging break. Nothing terrible has happened. I’ll probably be back in 2020. I’ll probably be following social media, emails, etc., but may be slow to respond, or I may respond once the break is over with. A few ‘Tuesday Toots’ are scheduled to publish on the blog, and I’ll simply let these come out as intended.

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InHotS the cover imageMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea, and my procedural Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown.
More on Hex Flowers Game Engines.

Hex Flower Game Engines | an overview and some thoughts

Background:
For about the past year I’ve been blogging on-and-off about Hex Flower Game Engines (they are like a random table but with a memory). For example here and here.

Download
I decided to bring together a lot of what I’ve learnt about Hex Flower Game Engines and their design in one place, in a downloadable .pdf document.

The document can be downloaded from here: image_preview  Link

This document is not intended to be prescriptive, but it might be a good jumping off point if you are interested in the topic and/or want to make your own Hex Flowers.

Screen clipping:
And here’s an outline image of the document:

Overview image.png

Cover image:

Hex Flower Game Engines Cover

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Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping, well this ^