My ‘Metal Best Sellers’ on DriveThru | My most useful stuff ?

Recently a bunch of my stuff has become ‘Metal Best Sellers’ on DriveThruRPG, and some of it has moved up a tier from ‘Copper’ to ‘Silver’. Truth be told ‘In the Heart of the Unknown’ is about three paid sales from going ‘Electrum’ (which would be new territory for me).

I’m a hobbyist so the raw money is not a big driver for me. I find ‘Metal Best Sellers’ status helpful as it lets me know what people like enough to give me money for, and hence helps me understand what people find most useful at the table. This helps me make new useful things.

Therefore, this is in theory my most useful stuff:

Electrum tab
Metal Best Seller on DriveThruRPG

In the Heart of the Unknown – Procedural Hex Crawling Engine

ItHotU - cover

 

silver tab iii
Metal Best Seller on DriveThruRPG

In the Heart of the Sea – Procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’

InHotS the cover image

In the Heart of the Delve and Dangerous – Procedural Network/Dungeon Crawling

ItHoTDnD - cover image

Hex Flower Cookbook – Overview & some thoughts on Hex Flower Game Engines

Hex Flower Game Engines Cover

Carapace – Procedural Adventure

Carapace

 

copper
Metal Best Seller on DriveThruRPG 

Combat Morale Tracker – Simple Hex Flower Engine

Combat Morale Tracker - cover image 2019

Simple Excel Mapper

DMG map in Simple Excel Maper

‘Near Copper’:

:: Hex Flower Template

:: Law & (In)Justice – A Procedural Trial Hex Flower

:: Mythic-Style Hex Flower Chaos Emulator 

:: IT Came from Below (or Above) – Hex Flower 3D Tracker 

– – –

More of my stuff on DriveThruRPG: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/9524/Goblin039s-Henchman

‘Carapace’ Play Test Video | Hex Flower Game Engine method tested

I often get asked how to run a Hex Flower based adventure – below is a play test video of how I did this using my procedural adventure Carapace:

Video
Here’s a ‘warts-and-all’ video of the play test:

Download Carapace
image_preview Carapace can be downloaded here

Carapace Fight Low Res

Recent DriveThruRPG review
A nice recent review of my procedural adventure ‘Carapace’:

“There’s a surprising amount of material in this product. The main booklet ostensibly presents a basic adventure for a small group of 3rd to 6th level ADandD characters (or similar – the monster stats are from the ADandD Monster Manual, however), a raid on a giant ant colony causing problems for an isolated wilderness town. The material here could easily last several sessions, as there’s a small wilderness area to investigate, and the vested interests of the plot-hook NPCs to get embroiled in, aside from delving into the ant nest itself. A supplementary download with the booklet provides a sheet of portraits for all the NPCs listed. These are very well-drawn, to the point where I felt I could see possible familial links just from the faces. A second optional extra item adds a fresh level of problems for the players to solve over in the ant nest, which pushes a little towards Lovecraftian horror.

However, the meat of “Carapace” is the three variant random mechanics for generating the ant colony, two of which are mapless. One of these naturally employs the hex-flower method Goblin’s Henchman products are noted for. All three can be used on-the-fly, with player participation, and allow the creation of chambers of varying sizes, shapes and significant features within the nest, plus random encounters that increase in difficulty with distance into the colony. There’s also a ready-reference stat-block appendix page for all the monsters, including one new monster for this set-up.

Such random-generation mechanics clearly have uses beyond just this giant insect colony setting, as the booklet’s introduction notes. As the “Point Crawl” method uses schematic maps to give a 2D overview of key places and links within the colony, it can be used as a base to construct more detailed maps, should you wish. I did just that recently, by randomly creating a series of three vertical colony “slices”, and then linked them up with the normal “Carapace” semi-random number of passages, before drawing the series of what had become complete maps of the 3D colony layout. Think three linked ant-farm panels, basically.

Much to explore and think about here as a GM, exactly what I want from an RPG product. Don’t forget to drop the Henchman some cash if you too find it useful! “

:O)

Fear of a Black Dragon podcast review
Carapace was also thoughtfully reviewed on the Fear of a Black Dragon podcast; please check it out if you want to find out more: http://foabd.libsyn.com/carapace

Play test report
A play test of Carapace (run by me as the DM) using the ‘Labyrinth Move’ can be found here.

– – –

More of me on DriveThruDriveThru

Fate Mechanic Hex Flower | … just spit-balling here

More on Hex Flower design – please see my Hex Flower Cookbook

Background
I’m going to admit that my knowledge of the Fate system is not strong. So, this is just a spit-balling exercise to see if a Hex Flower can be ‘useful’ in the Fate System.

This is what I came up with:

Fate Hex Flower - Draft

The probabilities map very well to those of 4dF system.

But … is this useful in anyway? Usually, the “memory effect” of the Hex Flower is one of the most useful things about it. Here, however, jumping off from the last location probably makes little sense … unless a sologamer perhaps wants ways to scramble their expectations … ???

Would this work as 1dF system, with Fate burning more slowly?

Or, is this just a case of ‘back to the drawing board’?

Something else – the ‘no return Navigation Hex mechanic’
Not all is lost. One thing that I always wanted to try in a Hex Flower was a ‘no easy return’ mechanic. In this case there are only 3 navigation directions on the Navigation Hex (i.e. half of the faces). To get back to the last ‘hex’ requires at least 3 rolls e.g. up, left-down, right-down. It’s just me that’s interested in this right??

– – –

Me on DriveThru. At the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural dungeon generator using Hex Flower game engines: In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous. It’s PWYW and close to being ‘Silver Best Seller’ on DriveThru.

‘Caterpillar Method’ for Character Stat Generation | Video demo follow up

Background
:: image_preview pdf version of this method: Link
::Original post: Link (with Rule Sets)
:: Follow on post: Link (looking at lumpyness)

Video demo of Caterpillar Method for PC stat generation: 

 

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru
Mainly pimping my PWYW one-page procedural dungeon generator using Hex Flower Game Engines:
In the Heart of the Delve and Dangerous.

Caterpillar Game Engine … someday

Cat 11

Background

:: image_preview pdf version of this method: Link

I saw this post Dice are Statblocks on the Tarsos Theorem blog. I thought it was super neat and it made me wonder about other possible uses.

Basically – in this method you roll 3D6 and gather them up into a sort of dice caterpillar shape (see blue cubes above).

What is really neat here, is that more than just the top faces of the cubes are being used. The order of the cubes and the orientation of the cubes with respect to each other are also being used. Basically, there is a whole bunch of information being generated when the cubes are simply gathered into a ‘dice caterpillar’. Using all this extra information is a neat idea! Tarsos levels up.

PC stat generating method

Tarsos’ blog post prompted me to hastily dash this blog post off: Caterpillar Method’ for Character Stat Generation (i.e. a way to make the ‘standard’ 6 stats for a D&D type character with one roll of 3D6 arranged into the caterpillar shape).

That is, in my method you roll 3D6 once and use a ‘Rule Set’ to generate the 6 PC stats. Because, I wanted any PC generated by this method to be ‘reasonable’, I modelled the method against the ‘standard’ 6x3D6 method and got pretty good agreement, on average, over a big set (there is a graph in my post mentioned above).

Lumpy is good

But, this is a ‘Take 2’ blog post, as I think there is more to say. Specifically, Reddit had more to say (links to follow). I liked what Reddit had to say, so I dug deeper into the system. This system on average gives results that smooth-ish-ly modelled the standard 6x3D6 system … but on an individual basis, the results are lumpy.

But, lumpy in an interesting way. At least I think it is interesting.

Lumpy probabilities

Here is a breakdown of the probabilities of each stat, using ‘Rule Set 1’ (see my first post if you want to revisit the Rule Sets):

cat-44

(dashed lines above are actually not possible, but included to help visulaize)

So, on balance, you should get a fairly playable if not somewhat ‘balanced’ PC, which always gets:

  • 1 x Low stat (yellow line)
  • 1 x Moderate stat (blue line)
  • 1 x High stat (green line)
  • 1 x 3D6 bell-curve type stat
  • 2 x 3D6 ‘counter-weighted’ bell-curve type stats that balance each other out.

This idea of balanced stats has precedence in systems like Black Hack.  In some ways it’s almost a hybrid between random and a ‘point buy’ system, because it has some self-balancing mechanisms baked in. 

For example, below are (I believe) the best and worst PC stats you can get (weighted to give 18 or 3s respectively):

  • Best possible stats: 18, 18, 15, 13, 12, 6
  • Worst possible stats: 15, 10, 8, 6, 3, 3

*** Reddit suggest that the above numbers shoud in fact be (I need to check my notes, but on the face of it, I think they are correct):

  • Best possible stats: 18, 18, 13, 13, 11, 8
  • Worst possible stats: 11, 10, 10, 8, 3, 3

Just to spell it out, there is not even a theoretical way to get a character with 18, 18, 18, 18, 18, 18 (i.e. 3D6s do not have enough 6s on them).

In my original post, to get rolls closer to 6x4D6 drop the lowest, I baiscally had two ‘Heads’ instead of a ‘Head’ and a ‘Tail’. Another way to go would be to allow the player to decide which end is the Head and Tail after rolling.

Final thoughts

Personally, I think this idea has ‘legs’ for all sorts of random/solo play RPGing. Time permitting, I’d like to make a random village by caterpillar-ing groups of 2 and/or 3 D6s. Or a random dungeon, rooms generated in the same way. So much information from one roll. The counter weighted faces are especially interesting as you may be able to link one random property to the other in an inverse relationship (or if you invert the table order, in a proportional relationship). And, with my system, I’m not even using all the information (e.g. the Face and Rump ends could be used together on a ‘D66’ table etc.).

– – –

thumbMe on DriveThruDriveThru.
Mainly pimping my PWYW one-page procedural dungeon generator using Hex Flower Game Engines:
In the Heart of the Delve and Dangerous.

‘Caterpillar Method’ for Character Stat Generation

:: image_preview pdf version of this method: Link

Follow up post: Here (lumpy in a good way)

Background
I saw this blog post (http://tarsostheorem.blogspot.com/2020/04/dice-are-statblocks.html) and liked it, and it made me think of the below … (for a brief moment it was as if G+ was alive again).

New method to generate standard D&D stats using one throw of the dice
Bored of the old ways? Got a sore wrist? Hate your DM … well we’ve got you covered!
Generate the standard six D&D stats using one throw of 3D6 (plus some rules).

Rule Set 1: Mimicking a traditional 6×3D6 method:
Roll 3D6, and quickly gather them into a ‘caterpillar’ shape:

caterpillar

TLDR: Add up the exposed faces; except the end cube where there is a subtraction.

Stat 1 = add up the front face (i.e. 1+6+4)=11
Stat 2 = add up the top face (i.e. 2+ 4+1)=7
Stat 3 = add up the rear face (i.e. 6+1+3)=10
Stat 4 = for the left-most cube (head of the caterpillar) add up all exposed faces; including the left-most face (i.e. 1+2+6+4)=13
Stat 5 = for the right-most cube (bottom of the caterpillar) as above, but this time subtract the right-most face (i.e. 4+1+3-2)=6
Stat 6 = for the central cube add up all exposed faces (i.e. 6+4+1)=11

PS – this is method is not suitable for 3D6 down the line, unless you randomise the order of ‘the line’ first.

The Stats
I did a ‘brute force’ Excel simulation, and I can’t be certain if the results are lumpy but the lumps are hiding in the averaged-out results, but anyway, this is what I got (for about 24,000 stats, about 4,000 PCs):

vs3D6

The green line is what you expect using a standard 6x3D6 system, and the blue line is my Excel simulation (fingers crossed I didn’t screw something up). So, the ‘3D6 caterpillar method’ using Rule Set 1 fits the standard 6×3D6 curve quite well. There are two weird artefacts at 7 and 14. I twiddled with the rules but this seems to be the best overall compromise for result vs rule simplicity. Also 7 and 14 in most games do not give a bonus or penalty.

But if you’re not a stickler for 3D6, then there is this for 4D6(drop the lowest):

Rule Set 2: Mimicking the traditional 6x4D6 and drop the lowest roll method:
Again, roll 3D6, quickly gather them into a ‘caterpillar’ shape:

caterpillar

TLDR: Add up the exposed faces; except the middle cube where it might be a 14

Stat 1 = add up the front face (i.e. as above) i.e. 11
Stat 2 = add up the top face (i.e. as above) i.e. 7
Stat 3 = add up the rear face (i.e. as above) i.e. 10
Stat 4 = for the left-most cube (caterpillar’s head) add all the exposed faces (i.e. as above) i.e. 13
Stat 5 = for the right-most cube (caterpillar’s bottom) add all the exposed faces (i.e. 4+1+3+2)=10
Stat 6 = for the centre cube add all the exposed faces (i.e. as above) – but if the front face is a 4, 5 or 6, add the bottom face (spoiler – this will always give a 14)

The Stats
Again, I did a ‘brute force’ Excel simulation, and this is what I got:

vs4d6DtL

The red line is what you get with 6x4D6 (i.e. and with drop the lowest result) and the blue line is my Excel simulation (again fingers crossed I didn’t screw something up). The ‘3D6 caterpillar’ using the above rules follows this curve surprisingly well. There are not even substantial artefacts.

Rule Set 3: Simple method:
Roll 3D6, and quickly gather them into a ‘caterpillar’ shape:

caterpillar

TLDR: Add up the exposed faces; except the end cube where there is a subtraction.

Stat 1 = add up the front face (i.e. 1+6+4)=11
Stat 2 = add up the top face (i.e. 2+ 4+1)=7
Stat 3 = add up the rear face (i.e. 6+1+3)=10
Stat 4 = for the left-most cube (head of the caterpillar) add up all exposed faces; including the left-most face (i.e. 1+2+6+4)=13
Stat 5 = for the right-most cube (caterpillar’s bottom) add all the exposed faces (i.e. 4+1+3+2)=10
Stat 6 = for the central cube add up all exposed faces (i.e. 6+4+1)=11

The Stats
It would appear you’d get a PC with stats somewhat between 3D6 and 4D6 (drop the lowest).

How the 3 Rules sets stack up

Method 1
Rule Set 1 – mimicking 3D6

Hybrid caterpiller

Rule Set 3 – hydrid ‘simple’ method

Method 2

Rule Set 2 – mimicking 4D6 (drop the lowest)

Green curve: 3D6, Red curve: 4D6 (drop the lowest); Blue curve: By Rule set

OK, well that’s it.
:O|

DISCLAIMER: If your character sucks, it’s your fault

– – –

Me on DriveThru. At the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural dungeon generator using Hex Flower game engines: In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous. It’s PWYW and close to being ‘Silver Best Seller’ on DriveThru.

Battleships as a template for a mystery game | Scenic Dunnsmouth village set up

TL;DR
I wanted to make a procedural mystery RPG template – it didn’t go that well. To make myself feel better, and to test the idea, I applied the bones of the idea to an existing procedural mystery, and in the end in effect got this:

BD SDV

Background – Battleships dungeon
In the past, I had an idea for making a quick dungeon using the Battleships board game as a template for a Grid-Crawlimage_preview  A pdf version of my Battleships dungeon can be found here: Link

In essence, you can make a two level 20 room dungeon/network that would have the connectivity that looked something like this:

11

But in reality, it is generated (and looks) like this (red and green pegs are white pegs):

6

New idea – Procedural mystery game / NPC social network
More recently, I wondered if this method could be adapted to make a procedural mystery game, or a procedural NPC (anti)social network.

I wondered if the first grid could be used to connect 10 spaces or people, and the second grid used to provide information about those spaces or people.

That is, the first grid would define the interconnectivity of the 10 spaces/people (as per my Battleships Dungeon idea). But, the second grid would be used to define if the space/person has a resource/clue (e.g. white peg) or has/is a threat (red peg), or some other social element. The position of the peg could be used to define the magnitude of the clue/threat etc.

The specific project I had in mind got bogged down
:O|

Applying the concept to the setup of the Scenic Dunnsmouth village
I then realised that the LotFP module Scenic Dunnsmouth is a kind of mystery and is procedural.  So I wondered if I could adapt my idea to capture that subject-matter.

Due to the specific nature of the module, I had to add some extra granularity to the procedural method. The idea I originally had in mind was far simpler.

Of course, this method using the Battleships game can never faithfully reproduce all the aspect of the original, for example the D4 used to set the threat level in the original makes the original more swingish than this Battleships-based method. This could be replicated better, but that’s going too far down the rabbit hole!

For example, I did think about adding the extra requirement that the peg in the church needed to be in a middle hole for it to be infected, to better reflect the probability in the original (but again, this is probably going too far).

Anyway, here is my adapation of the Scenic Dunnsmouth village set up using the Battleships game:

Using the Battleships Board game to setup the Scenic Dunnsmouth village

image_preview  A more readable pdf version of ‘Battleship Scenic Dunnsmouth’ with expanded examples can be found here: Link

Requirements

  • Two ‘Battleships’ board game 10 × 10 grids
  • A good handful of roughly 50:50 mixture of red and white pegs
  • Scenic Dunnsmouth; Lamentations of the Flame Princess Module LFP 0015

Placement

Lefthand Grid (LHG)
1. Place the 5 ships on the 10 × 10 grid as per the standard ‘Battleships’ rules
2. Add a random peg in each column, but avoiding the ships
3. Add a random peg in each ship

Righthand Grid (RHG)
4. Place the 5 ships on the board as per the standard ‘Battleships’ rules
5. Add a random peg in each column, no need to avoid the ships this time
e.g.:

sd grids

Interpretation – the village

LHG

  • Time Cube pg 8 – the peg in the 5-hole ship
  • Church pg 17 – the peg in the 4-hole ship (if the peg is red = church is infected)
  • Red Kickerpg 20 – the peg in the 1st 3-hole ship if placed horizontally; otherwise it’s a home* (or is absent)

to work out the “red kicker roll” take 6 and add the modifier below:
if a white peg is in the 1st hole = +1;   2nd hole = +2;   3rd hole = +3;
if it’s a red peg, the modifier is doubled (essentially this equates to a D6+6), i.e.:

3hs

  • Black kickerpg 20 – as per the “Red Kicker” but using the peg in the 2nd 3-hole ship
  • Boat house pg 18 – the peg in the 2-hole ship; nearest home defines the suit of the ace as per normal rules
  • Homes – the pegs not in ships (if the peg is red = home is infected)
  • Dunnsmouth Dice Scorepg 10 – this equates to 90 minus 5 per red pegs in the LHG

RHG

  • To find out who is living in each home, look in the same column but on the RHG
  • The ‘card number’ is the row number corresponding to where the peg is, i.e. C = 3 and E = 5 etc.

… however, if the peg is in a ship, then this is overruled and it’s a royal card where:
Jack                = peg in a 3-hole ship
Queen            = peg in a 4-hole ship
King                = peg in a 5-hole ship

  • If the peg is red, the ‘card’ is a red suit, if the peg is white the ‘card’ is a black suit
  • If the sum of the two numbers (assuming C = 3 etc.) is odd, then it’s a pointy suit (diamonds or spades) if even, it’s a roundy suit (hearts or clubs)
  • * = if there are two homes in the same column on the LHG (due to one or more of the “Kickers” being homes) then the procedure for assigning a card number/suit is as above, but the reference numbers are with reference to the LHG and not the RHG (i.e. to avoid repeats) – or this home is derelict.
  • If a duplicate home is obtained, then this corresponds to a “black joker”, “red joker”, “rules” and then “advertisement” cards pg 91; or the home is derelict; or move the card number up/down 1 unit

Personalities

  • Spider pg 12 will be located as per the standard rules; HD equal to number of LHS red pegs
  • Uncle Ivanovik pg 14 will be located are as per the standard rules and will be infected if his peg is red
    – His level will equate to the position of the peg in the LHG 5-hole ship (counting left to right or top to bottom); +1 if not infected
    – He will be doing an activity equating to the summing of the position of the peg in the 4-hole and 2-hole ships (counting left to right or top to bottom); -1 if infected
  • Magda p16 will be located as per the standard rules and will be infected if her peg is red
    – Her level is the number of LHG white pegs divided by 3 and rounded; and -1 if infected

Scenic Dunnsmouth Map

If redrawn (but there is no need to), then the Scenic Dunnsmouth village would look something like this:

BD SDV

SDN: 90 – (6 × 5) = 60                                 yellow/orange = infected
Spider: 6HD
Magda’s level: (9/3)-1 = 2
Uncle I’s Level: 3+1 = 4; and is doing activity: 2+1+1 = 4

image_preview  Again, a more readable pdf version of ‘Battleship Scenic Dunnsmouth’ with expanded examples can be found here: Link

– – –

Me on DriveThruDriveThru

Rubik’s Cube Random Dungeon | One Page Dungeon Contest 2020

Just something I cooked up for the 2020 One Page Dungeon Contest:

Rubik’s Cube Random Dungeon:

RCRD image

A better quality .PDF version can be downloaded from here: image_preview Link

Probability analysis that nobody (other than me) is probably interested in:
I did a crude probability analysis by generating 50 random cubes, and summed up the squares according to the ‘rules’ just to see how often certain combinations came up and got this:

RCRD probs spread

So, Options 2 + 3 together = 17.6% chance of coming up. Options 8+9 has 4.3% chance of coming up etc. The above sort of looks like a bell curve, although it would be better if 8+9 was swapped for 10+. To allow for this, in my table, I made the results from 8+9 the most improbable outcome.

If not grouped in sets of two, the ‘curve’ is not very uniform:

RCRD probs full unsorted

Options 3 and 5 being very low. Hence why I grouped my outcomes in sets of two as shown in the first graph i.e. to smooth out the bumps.

In case anyone is interested, this is the above data sorted high to low:

RCRD probs full

Currently, my method generates about 50K options per cube (i.e. 6 to the power 6 options). But, if you increased the options from 6 per aspect to 12 per aspect, you get nearly 3 million options per cube (i.e. 12 to the power 6 options). The above chart might be useful in generating 10 or 12 options per aspect. However, the resultant table will look a bit chaotic i.e. 4 has the highest odds (31.3%) and this is boarded by the two lowest results (both less than 0.5%). This is the equivalent of a random monster table where goblins are boarded by ‘goblins’ are directly boarded by ‘Demogorgon’ and ‘Odin’.

That’s more analysis than anyone needs.

– – –

More of my stuff on DriveThruRPG: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/9524/Goblin039s-Henchman

Carapace inspired adventure | Giant ant colony map in 4 levels and 3 slices

Carapace inspired adventure:
Here are some snippets – please see the full map here:

I think it’s really great.

Recent DriveThruRPG review
A nice recent review of my procedural adventure ‘Carapace’:

“There’s a surprising amount of material in this product. The main booklet ostensibly presents a basic adventure for a small group of 3rd to 6th level ADandD characters (or similar – the monster stats are from the ADandD Monster Manual, however), a raid on a giant ant colony causing problems for an isolated wilderness town. The material here could easily last several sessions, as there’s a small wilderness area to investigate, and the vested interests of the plot-hook NPCs to get embroiled in, aside from delving into the ant nest itself. A supplementary download with the booklet provides a sheet of portraits for all the NPCs listed. These are very well-drawn, to the point where I felt I could see possible familial links just from the faces. A second optional extra item adds a fresh level of problems for the players to solve over in the ant nest, which pushes a little towards Lovecraftian horror.

However, the meat of “Carapace” is the three variant random mechanics for generating the ant colony, two of which are mapless. One of these naturally employs the hex-flower method Goblin’s Henchman products are noted for. All three can be used on-the-fly, with player participation, and allow the creation of chambers of varying sizes, shapes and significant features within the nest, plus random encounters that increase in difficulty with distance into the colony. There’s also a ready-reference stat-block appendix page for all the monsters, including one new monster for this set-up.

Such random-generation mechanics clearly have uses beyond just this giant insect colony setting, as the booklet’s introduction notes. As the “Point Crawl” method uses schematic maps to give a 2D overview of key places and links within the colony, it can be used as a base to construct more detailed maps, should you wish. I did just that recently, by randomly creating a series of three vertical colony “slices”, and then linked them up with the normal “Carapace” semi-random number of passages, before drawing the series of what had become complete maps of the 3D colony layout. Think three linked ant-farm panels, basically.

Much to explore and think about here as a GM, exactly what I want from an RPG product. Don’t forget to drop the Henchman some cash if you too find it useful! “

:O)

Fear of a Black Dragon podcast review
Carapace was also thoughtfully reviewed on the Fear of a Black Dragon podcast; please check it out if you want to find out more: http://foabd.libsyn.com/carapace

Play test report
A play test of Carapace (run by me as the DM) can be found here.

Download Carapace
image_preview Carapace can be downloaded here

– – –

More of me on DriveThruDriveThru

Carapace | a recent review of my procedural adventure

Carapace Fight Low Res

New upcomming art

Recent DriveThruRPG review
A nice recent review of my procedural adventure ‘Carapace’:

“There’s a surprising amount of material in this product. The main booklet ostensibly presents a basic adventure for a small group of 3rd to 6th level ADandD characters (or similar – the monster stats are from the ADandD Monster Manual, however), a raid on a giant ant colony causing problems for an isolated wilderness town. The material here could easily last several sessions, as there’s a small wilderness area to investigate, and the vested interests of the plot-hook NPCs to get embroiled in, aside from delving into the ant nest itself. A supplementary download with the booklet provides a sheet of portraits for all the NPCs listed. These are very well-drawn, to the point where I felt I could see possible familial links just from the faces. A second optional extra item adds a fresh level of problems for the players to solve over in the ant nest, which pushes a little towards Lovecraftian horror.

However, the meat of “Carapace” is the three variant random mechanics for generating the ant colony, two of which are mapless. One of these naturally employs the hex-flower method Goblin’s Henchman products are noted for. All three can be used on-the-fly, with player participation, and allow the creation of chambers of varying sizes, shapes and significant features within the nest, plus random encounters that increase in difficulty with distance into the colony. There’s also a ready-reference stat-block appendix page for all the monsters, including one new monster for this set-up.

Such random-generation mechanics clearly have uses beyond just this giant insect colony setting, as the booklet’s introduction notes. As the “Point Crawl” method uses schematic maps to give a 2D overview of key places and links within the colony, it can be used as a base to construct more detailed maps, should you wish. I did just that recently, by randomly creating a series of three vertical colony “slices”, and then linked them up with the normal “Carapace” semi-random number of passages, before drawing the series of what had become complete maps of the 3D colony layout. Think three linked ant-farm panels, basically.

Much to explore and think about here as a GM, exactly what I want from an RPG product. Don’t forget to drop the Henchman some cash if you too find it useful! “

:O)

Fear of a Black Dragon podcast review
Carapace was also thoughtfully reviewed on the Fear of a Black Dragon podcast; please check it out if you want to find out more: http://foabd.libsyn.com/carapace

Play test report
A play test of Carapace (run by me as the DM) can be found here.

Download Carapace
image_preview Carapace can be downloaded here

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More of me on DriveThruDriveThru

S.M.A.R.T. RPG | Cyber Hack

Background
A little while ago I posted about retrofitting the AD&D 1e Surprise Mechanic as the basis for a whole RPG system (blog link).  The resulting S.M.A.R.T. RPG system is a one page rules light RPG system that uses a simple 1d6 resolution mechanic.
A PWYW download can be found here: image_preview PDF.

New
Well here’s a new and exciting ‘hack’ made by David Aldridge of the ‘dpercentile‘ podcast fame: S.M.A.R.T RPG – Cyber Hack:

SMART RPG - Cyber Hack tn

Get the PDF here: image_preview  SMART RPG – Cyber Hack by Dave Aldridge.

There are some fun changes made with this hack … check it out!

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Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural:
:: High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ – In the Heart of the Sea,
:: Wilderness Hex Crawl – In the Heart of the Unknown,
:: Dungeon/network generator – In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous

Veins of the Earth (VotE) compatible Excel Random Cave Generator | Demo Video

Just a video demo of my Veins of the Earth (VotE) compatible Excel Random Cave Generator:

 

Widget
:: Get the PWYW Excel widget here:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/283052/Veins-of-the-Earth-compatible-Excel-Random-Cave-Generator

:: VotE can be purchased here:
http://www.lotfp.com/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=262

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ItHoTDnD - cover image
Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment. I’m mainly pimping my procedural Dungeon/network generator  – In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous – Procedural Network/Dungeon Crawling Engine

In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous | Procedural Network/Dungeon Crawling Engine

In the Heart of the Delve & DangerousA Procedural Network/Dungeon Crawling Engine

‘In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous’ contains a procedural point crawl adventure engine for exploring a network of interconnected spaces – e.g. dungeons, space stations or eldritch structures.

It is in a similar vein as ‘In the Heart of the Sea’, which is a procedural High Seas ‘Hex Crawl’ and ‘In the Heart of the Unknown‘, which is procedural wilderness Hex Crawling Engine.

Basically, in ‘In the Heart of the Delve and Dangerous’ there are two ‘game engines’ in the form of Hex Flowers. One engine drives locations and the other the encounters.

Each time you move to a new location, you procedurally determine what is there.

Please see below for a preview. A PDF version can be downloaded here: image_preview  ItHotDnD

ItHoTDnD - cover image

In addition, the download includes :

  • A template with blank encounters (to make your own adventures)
  • Optional chamber dressing random tables
  • An annotated example of play

More on Hex Flowers
You can read more about this Hex Flowers here ( my ‘Hex Flower Cookbook’) and on my Blog here.

Some Hex Flower Examples here

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More of my stuff on DriveThruRPG: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/9524/Goblin039s-Henchman

Collaborative Audio Dungeon III | locations 21 to 30

During my self-imposed blogging break over Christmas, I started an Anchor podcast.

AD icon sm

Anyway, I recently thought it would be neat to make a collaborative ‘Audio Dungeon’, so here is Part III.

The idea being that people leave an audio message of 1 minute or less (preferably using the Anchor record feature) detailing something found in a fantasy dungeon (whatever that means to you), e.g. room, location, encounter, statue, fresco etc.

If you are interested you can find out more (and record a message) here:

>>link <<

Rules (for want of a better word):

  •  By making a submission you agree to make the content Creative Commons
  •  The message is for a fantasy dungeon
  •  Each message is 1 minute or shorter
  •  It’s probably useful to think of the submission as the audio equivalent of ‘box text’
If I get enough of these audio submissions, I’ll pull them together as a Creative Commons Audio Dungeon. I’m imagining a dungeon of audio ‘box text’ which people can them populate with their own encounters, perhaps from random tables.
At least one listener has pointed out that while this idea is fun in its own right, it might also be a helpful resource for anyone with a visual impairment/disability.

– – –

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.

S.M.A.R.T. RPG | a one page rules light 1D6 RPG system (updated)

A little while ago I posted about retrofitting the AD&D 1e Surprise Mechanic as a combat system (blog link) and then a RPG system (blog link).

I’ve now gotten this rules light RPG system down to a one page PDF: image_preview  here

But, here it is also in a less portable web page version:

smart rpg log

^^ Despite the name, I don’t appear to have the wherewithal to remove the boarder around the above image ^^

 

Player Characters (PCs) statistics (stats)

S – SKILL; fighting skill / physical prowess

M – MAGIC; ability to do magic

A – ARMOUR; used to reduce damage done to RESILIENCE

R – RESILIENCE; equates to life / health (0 is unconscious, -1 is dead)

T – TRICKERY / THIEVERY; non-magical specialist type skills

Starting and advancement

PCs start with 1 point in SKILL and RESILIENCE, and have 1 further point to put in any one of their stats.

When a PC ADVANCES, the PC gains +1 point to add to any stat. Only ARMOUR is limited to a maximum of 3.

Stat interactions

There are no classes per se, but advancement in one area comes at a cost to other areas, so multi-classing is difficult:

In the set ‘SKILL, MAGIC and TRICKERY’: for every 3 points gained in one stat, then -1 point from the other two.

For every 1 ARMOUR, then -3 MAGIC and -2 TRICKERY.

Opponents and EXPERIENCE (XP)

To ADVANCE a PC must gain new XP equal to the cube of the PC’s highest stat. So, if the PC’s highest stat is 4 then 4×4×4=64 XP is needed. Defeating an opponent gives XP equal to the square of the opponent’s highest stat.

Each increment in an opponent’s stat should be thought of as an exponential increase. So, an opponent with 6 SKILL is as good as it gets at fighting, e.g. a dragon. A Lich would have 6 MAGIC. Some illustrative opponents:

Orc              S M A R T: 1 0 1 1 0 (1 XP)

Ogre            S M A R T: 3 0 2 2 0 (9 XP)

Dragon        S M A R T: 6 3 3 9 1 (81 XP)

Zombie        S M A R T: 1 0 0 1 0 (1 XP)

Werewolf      S M A R T: 4 0 1 3 0 (16 XP)

Vampire       S M A R T: 5 4 2 4 2 (25 XP)

Combat

The player rolls a d6, and if the roll is equal or lower than their PC’s SKILL, they hit (a roll above SKILL is a fail).

An unarmoured opponent’s RESILIENCE is reduced by that die roll.

An armoured opponent reduces the die roll by their ARMOUR; but this number is never lower than 1.*

Example 1: a PC with 4 SKILL rolls 3 on a d6, which is a hit. An unarmoured opponent would have their RESILIENCE lowered by 3. If the opponent had 2 ARMOUR, their RESILIENCE would only be lowered by 1.

Example 2: a PC with 4 SKILL rolls 5 on a d6, which means they fail to hit.

Damage to RESILIENCE can be spent over multiple opponents. However, to carry damage over to the next opponent, the current opponent’s ARMOUR and RESILIENCE must be zero. So, in Example 1, a roll of 3 would defeat two orcs: 2 points to reduce the first orc’s ARMOUR and RESILIENCE to 0, and 1 point to defeat the second orc.*

Magic

A PC can cast a number of successful magics per day equal to their MAGIC. Failed magics do not count to the tally.

The player describes the magical effect the PC is trying to achieve. Optionally, using no more syllables than the PC’s MAGIC, e.g.: fire < fireball < cone of fire < delayed fireball < localised fireball < localised cone of fire etc.

The magic is successful if the d6 roll is equal or lower than the PC’s MAGIC (a roll above the PC’s MAGIC is a fail).

The potency of the magic equates to that roll; a 1 being low potency and a 6 being the most potent possible outcome.

Example 3: a PC with 4 MAGIC rolls 3 on a d6, which means the magic works and on a scale of 1 to 6 it is rather successful. The 1 to 6 scale should be thought of as an exponential type scale, so a 3 is much better than a 1.

For example, if the magic was: Magic Missiles, it might generate 3 magic missiles each harming 3 RESILIENCE; Stinking Cloud, this might cover 30 feet and last for 3 rounds. In a one-page RPG system with a free-form magic system, the GM will need to arbitrate, preferably discussing the possible scaled outcomes with the player first.

Example 4: a PC with 4 MAGIC rolls 5 on a d6, which means the spell fails.

Magical items and bonuses

Any modifiers, like ‘plus weapons’ (e.g. +1 sword) will distort the d6 game mechanic markedly, because in this system a +1 is a big modifier. So, it is probably best to imbue magic items with useful/narrative properties rather than pluses.

… That’s it!

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Me 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.

Flip the table – random dungeon; random encounters, and faction tracking etc?

I’m not even sure what kind of book this is:

mix0

… but, I think you know the drill, flip the panels and you get this:

mix2

Then this got me wondering … has this concept been used for random dungeon/wilderness generation (probably):

dungeon

It could also be used like a random table to generate parts of whole:

tables

It could also be used as a faction tracker:

factions

Please forgive the crappy mock-ups!

That’s it.

– – –

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.

Improvised Dice Tower | Slinky + bulldog clips

Nothing too exciting here.  

Have been working from home for about 2 weeks now and decided to improvise a dice tower from a slinky and some bulldog clips:

Version 1

Slinky dice tower v1

The bulldog clip at the exit to the tunnel has been added by removing the arm from the bulldog clip, looping it through the slinky and reattaching the arm. This adds weight.

Version 2

Slinky dice tower v2

Same as version 1, but the bulldog clip at the end of the tunnel is looped over another bulldog clip on another cup. This stretches out the tunnel a little more.

Version 3 

I’ve not made this yet, but in theory, the slinky could be stretched so that to form a U-shape and the dice falls through a gap/hole at the bottom of the U.

 

Collaborative Audio Dungeon II | locations 11 to 20

During my self-imposed blogging break over Christmas, I started an Anchor podcast.

AD icon sm

Anyway, I recently thought it would be neat to make a collaborative ‘Audio Dungeon’, so here is Part II.

The idea being that people leave an audio message of 1 minute or less (preferably using the Anchor record feature) detailing something found in a fantasy dungeon (whatever that means to you), e.g. room, location, encounter, statue, fresco etc.

If you are interested you can find out more (and record a message) here:

>>link <<

Rules (for want of a better word):

  •  By making a submission you agree to make the content Creative Commons
  •  The message is for a fantasy dungeon
  •  Each message is 1 minute or shorter
  •  It’s probably useful to think of the submission as the audio equivalent of ‘box text’
If I get enough of these audio submissions, I’ll pull them together as a Creative Commons Audio Dungeon. I’m imagining a dungeon of audio ‘box text’ which people can them populate with their own encounters, perhaps from random tables.
At least one listener has pointed out that while this idea is fun in its own right, it might also be a helpful resource for anyone with a visual impairment/disability.

– – –

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.