Face Folio | the 180 concept sketches are now all in …

This is just a little preview of all 180 concept sketches for the ‘Face Folio‘ Kickstarter (100 PC/NPC portraits for your RPG game), which funded last year as part of Zine Quest 2:

FF sketches all in

This set of sketches has now been narrowed to 100 portraits (a difficult job), and Marcin is working on the full art version.

Our priority is the KS backers, but the longer term plan is to have this product available as a PDF and in hard copy form (perhaps a limited print run). 

– – –

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 & Dangerou

Wrong doubles | using 2D6 ‘side double’

Sometimes I see a 2D6 random table which includes a rule about doubles; usually if the two top faces are a double (i.e. the same number) then something unusual happens, e.g. a wildcard event.

Snake_eyes_with_Chinese_dice

What I don’t especially like about these ‘double’ rules is that these ‘doubles’ don’t feel independent of the main result. For example, ‘snake eyes’ or a double 6 are usually the worst and best result and always a double. So, you can’t get a ‘snake eyes’ without triggering the wildcard event. And maybe that’s OK.

Suggestion
… but, here’s a suggestion … roll the 2D6 (as normal) but also pinch the dice together so two faces kiss. Then look at the two faces that are opposite the kissing faces. If those opposite faces are a double, then trigger the wild card.

These ‘side doubles’ are more or less independent of the main result on the top faces, i.e. about 1 in 6* (although if the top faces are a double, then the probability rises (I believe) to 1 in 4, which seems app to my mind).

* For reference, in case it is not obvious, ignoring the side faces, getting a double on the top faces is 1 in 6.

‘Side double’ example:
If the below 2D6 are brought together (along the yellow arrows) such that the two faces are kissing. Then, the faces opposite the kissing faces are a ‘side double’, i.e. a ‘double 2’ (pink arrows). In this case it is just happenstance that the top faces are also a double (snake eyes).

kissing 2D6

This idea has its roots in this blog post: http://tarsostheorem.blogspot.com/2020/04/dice-are-statblocks.html

More on the maths
Please see: https://discourse.osrrpg.com/t/wrong-doubles-using-2d6-side-double/1136

– – –

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Grimbo Grotto | Christmas Farcical Horror Adventure

It twas the night before a crisp mass snowfall and nothing was stirring,
except a drunken ‘potty-mouthed’ were-reindeer high on psychedelic mushrooms

A system neutral 4 page one-shot adventure with a farcical X-Mas horror vibe

Featuring:

'Rude Olf' by  James V West

‘Rude Olf’ – thanks to James V West  for letting me use this image – http://doomslakers.blogspot.com

:: Were-reindeer cult

:: Evil gnomes running a clandestine psychedelic mushroom harvesting operation

:: Candy Cane Golem

:: Gift Wrapping Monster

:: Mimic Presents

:: Giant Putrid Gravy-Spewing Undead Turkey

:: Tree Ent Christmas Tree hostage

 

 

 

Adventure Preview:

It’s PWYW and can be downloaded from here: image_preview  Grimbo Grotto

– – –

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

Hexing that alignment grid

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

Related to a side project (out next year …); but also mainly for fun:

7F34D614-F6BD-4EDB-8BBA-C7BB103981DA

Blocks of good and evil and the yin-yangs of law and chaos …

– – –

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.

Face Folio | just an update

Just a little preview of some concept sketches for the ‘Face Folio‘ Kickstarter (100 PC/NPC portraits for your RPG game):

FF concept sketches sm

Funded last year as part of Zine Quest 2.

– – –

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 & Dangerou

Simple-ish Chase Mechanic | 2D6 race to a target

TL:DR: A simple-ish chase mechanic using 2D6 / 3D6. Not fully thought through, and I suspect something like this has been done before … ?

Pursuit_of_a_ship..._Wellcome_L0049890

Relative separation of parties
Determine the initial relative separation separating the parties (between 2 to 12):  if this is a random encounter, roll 2D6 to set the relative separation. The ‘separation’ could be nautical miles, 10s of feet or perhaps even bar stools in a tavern! 

The two outcomes

:: 2 (or less) = caught / on top of each other
:: 12 (+) = escaped / far away

The chase
Each turn determine if the relative separation between the parties increases or decreases. To do this, roll 2D6:

:: if the roll is below the current relative separation, the separation increases by 2 units;
:: else the current relative separation decreases by 2 units (i.e. the parties get closer);
:: optionally, a tied roll means the relative separation stays the same

Repeat until the ‘caught’ or ‘escaped’ result is obtained.

Speed
One party might be faster than the other, if so roll 3D6 (instead of the 2D6 above):

:: if the pursuer is faster, select the highest 2 rolls;
:: if the fleer is faster, select the lowest 2 rolls

This is effectively an ‘advantage/disadvantage’ mechanic.

Conditions
Conditions, like wind speed, could come into play (e.g. a row ship chasing a sail ship). If so, perhaps add a +/- 1 modifier.

– – –

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

More on: Non-Homogenous Random Tables

A while ago I posted this: Non-Homogenous Random Table. The below post, is in a similar vein (… and I would not be completely surprised if this idea has been covered before by someone else).

Progressive dice array (not sure what to call it?)
One day I’d like to make use of this array of bell curves (well that’s not quite true as I did use it in my Mythic Hex Flower emulator; but the maths is so buried in the engine you’d probably never notice it!):

normal

Basically, you start with 3xD10 and downscale one die at a time to get this array of bell curves. So the first set is 3D10 (the broadest black curve) the next set is 2D10+D8, next D10+2D8 etc … until you get to 3D4 (pointiest orange curve on the left).

Hexcrawl | monsters and distance from base
What might be nice is to generate 27 encounters i.e. corresponding to 3 to 30.
Each time you get one hex further from ‘town’ you upscale the dice set from 3xD4. So, encounters 3 to 9 are the sort of humdrum stuff seen nearer ‘town’. Encounters beyond 12 become possible as you move away from ‘town’. Encounters like 29 and 30 are still rare even when in the deepest wilderness (at least 9 hexes from ‘town’) but only possible there.
I suppose terrain type could have an influence in up/down-scaling the dice set (I’ve not thought this all through).

Mega-dungeon | zone and threats 
A mega-dungeon could be run like the above. Each time you go deeper into the dungeon (e.g. lower levels) the more diabolical become the possible encounters.

However, of course you could run the dice progression in reverse. The super threat/boss monsters are nearer 3 (e.g. lich); next up are the threats/brutes e.g. 6-13;  the ‘dungeon fodder’ (e.g. orcs, gnolls) could be next e.g. between 14 and 20; perhaps the empty rooms and curiosities are between 21 and 27; and the novelty ‘stay at home fools’ traps and things etc are nearer 30.

That way, on level 1 you could get a lich (e.g. by rolling ‘Aboleth Eyes‘ on 3D10), but mostly it’s going to be fodder monsters. As you delve deeper the fodder and empty rooms drop away and it trends towards the real threats, and at some point there’s a good chance of triggering the boss-grade monster.

Again, I’ve not thought this through, but I can see the bones of an idea here!

Something else?
Of course there is bound to be other possible uses  – random treasure table, freaky mutations based on failed spell level, etc.

I’m really posting this up in case someone finds it useful for one of their projects (who knows?!)

Anydice.com
Anydice is really great for this kind of guff. You have probably heard of it. I’ll give it a plug anyway.

If you want to generate these curves put the below in the text box and select the graph option:

output d10+d10+d10 named “3D10” output d10+d10+d8 named “2D10+D8” output d10+d8+d8 named “D10+2D8” output d8+d8+d8 named “3D8” output d8+d8+d6 named “2D8+D6” output d8+d6+d6 named “D8+2D6” output d6+d6+d6 named “3D6” output d6+d6+d4 named “2D6+D4” output d6+d4+d4 named “D6+2D4” output d4+d4+d4 named “3D4”

You can also do “at least” and “at most” plots etc. like this:

At leastAt most

– – –

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Mythic-Style Hex Flower Chaos Emulator (tweaked)

Mythic-Style Hex Flower Chaos Emulator (tweaked)

I made this post (LINK) for use with the Mythic Game Master Emulator (MGME).

The idea is that it is a new way to track the Chaos Factor (CF) using a Hex Flower; and a different option for the YES / NO engine.

I recently ‘tweaked’ it, and added a flow chart:

It can be downloaded from here: image_preview  MsHFCE

More on Hex Flowers
You can read more about these Hex Flowers here

Some Hex Flower Examples here

– – –

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 Hear of the Unknown.

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

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

L&IJ Cover Image u

Simple Excel Mapper

DMG map in Simple Excel Maper

‘Near Copper’:

:: Hex Flower Template

:: 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

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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.

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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

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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

– – –

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