Monthly Archives: March 2019

IsoExcel | Isometric mapping in Excel (sort of)

UPDATE – Luna Gin has kindly written a macro that adds the walls in automatically! Macro and non-macro versions are in the Dropbox to play with.

Reality check 

This idea is not going to make you the next Michael Prescott. But, it’s a simple way to generate a pseudo-isometric map using Excel, e.g.:

IsoExcel Map Dusty Door

The above map is based on an adventure written by irrepressible Shane Ward.

Two mapping ideas in as many days! But, to be fair, this one is only a matter of cell resizing and shading in 3 colours (4 if you count the background). The idea came when I saw a Reddit post linking to this page. It’s only a short jog from their ‘The Mephitic Laboratory Of The Pescamancer‘ map to my IsoExcel idea. I also borrowed the colour scheme, which looks like a good one.

I’ve added my usual pop-ups to make it a super compact dungeon.

Template and demo video

You can download the xls Excel Widget here and wizz off maps that look like the above fairly easily.  Here’s a brief video demo:

 

Google Sheets

I think this should work in Google Sheets, and when I get a moment, I’ll make a template.

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1988 Dungeon

 

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

Hex tile kit | DIY (literally)

Edit – Follow up post

Background  

Not quite sure where this idea came from. But, I remembered that tile shops often sell sheets of tiles on flexible mesh backing. These are normally made up of lot so little (i.e. about an inch across) squares. I believe they are called mosaic tiles. I then wondered if they did a hexagonal version. They do:

Mini Hex Kit.png

If you’ve not seen these before, you stick down the flexible mesh sheet and fill in the spaces with grout. Normally the tiles are small squares.

… anyway, I think you will probably see where I’m going with this now.

Using the tile set as is 

Mini Hex Kit pen.png

Think white board, but made of lots of little hexes.

You can mark straight on these tiles with a marker to make a hex terrain map on-the-go.

Or, you could use this as a tactical miniature map template and place minis directly on it.

Clearly, buy tiles that are not porous, or you could simply varnish them.

Making a custom tile set  

Mini Hex Kit custom 2Separate the tiles from the backing mesh to make lots of individual tiles. Paint/mark them. You might need to seal them, e.g. with varnish. Hey presto! you’ve make a versatile hex tile set.

Either place them out as the PCs explore, or draw them randomly out from a bag.

Obviously, if you’re going to make a lot of custom tiles, painting them in sets on the mesh makes more sense rather than separating them individually beforehand.

I figure, you could ‘spray can’ on the backing colour, then ‘potato stamp’ on the terrain feature (e.g. a tree for woods), perhaps using a bit of cut rubber or cork. If you are all arty, you could paint on the feature by hand. Varnish the tile set, I figure there is spray on varnish.

If you are super crafty, you might even be able to enamel the tiles too.

Cost

The above 144 tile (12 x 12) set is listed on the internet as GBP 5.99 (I took the first hit), which works out to be about 5 pence (about 7 cents) per tile.

Have I missed something obvious? Is this old news? Can the idea be improved? I’d be interested to hear more.

Illustrative video

For an idea of physical dimensions please see this video I found on YouTube:

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

Tuesday Toot!! | MAD (magazine) Map Musings

Tuesday TootG+ is closing. 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+.

Background
MAD Mag Map.jpegI think anyone reading this blog post will probably remember MAD Magazine, and in particular the inside back cover, which often had a picture which would fold-in to form a new unexpected picture.

I wondered if a RPG map in this format would present some interesting gaming challenges. For example, the PCs trigger some event and suddenly the map literally expands. Perhaps an interesting trap for a heist type adventure. For example, it might be easy to get into the tomb, but a great deal harder to get out again.  This idea might work well for a Cthulhu adventure where mind-bending antics are the norm.

Anyway, I had this idea because someone posted a vertical (cross-sectional map) on G+. Sadly, I can’t recall who did this now. I believe it was someone that I was following, but not someone I interacted with a lot. For some unknown reason this MAD idea immediately occurred to me when I saw their map. So, no random third-party G+ post, no MAD idea from me. This completely random cross-pollination of ideas will be one of the the thing I miss most about G+ when it is gone (in about a week).

In the wild

After posting this idea, at least one person (i.e. Eneko Menica on YouTube) put the idea into practice, with this nice map, i.e.:

 

More recently from me …

The Indefinite Train – Community Project

I saw this post by Skerples. for a new collaborative project about a sort of Twilight Zone locomotive. I decided to make a train carriage that makes use of this MAD concept.

The idea being the train carriage is about 2/3 normal size (top image). But, if the PC’s solve the puzzle an inter-dimensional portal opens between the carriage (bottom image). So, when triggered, the DM unfolds the map to reveal the portal. The PC’s may even be separated by the portal space when it is triggered causing some potential problems. You can read my submission here (along with the other submissions to date).

Skerples.’s idea is a fun one, please consider submitting your own entry to this collaborative project.

Well that’s it. If you ever make a MAD map, I’d be interested in seeing it!
:O)


1988 Dungeon

1988 Dungeon

Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony and my ‘1998 Dungeon‘.

OSR: The Indefinite Train – Community Project

train side finalSkerples. has started one of those Gygaxian Democracies, a collaborative megadungeon, where people submit a train carriage.

The train being a Twilight Zone affair. Read the blog!

If you want to get aboard, here’s the link

Anyway, submitted mine. A carriage with a secret portal …

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1988 Dungeon
Me on DriveThruDriveThru
At the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony
and my ‘1998 Dungeon‘.

Uno | an initiative system

(This idea may have been suggested by someone before …) 

So this idea is probably not going to ‘feel right’ under some game settings, especially gritty settings.  But for more Gonzo, sci-fi or children-friendly settings this idea might work well enough. It’s your game, you’ll know.

For reference, below are the 108 cards in a standard UNO deck.

UNO full set

Method

Simply shuffle the Uno deck and deal or ask the players to draw a card (either individually, or for the party if that’s how your group plays initiative). DM draws for the monsters.

The card holder goes on the segment that appears on their card (10 segments in a standard old school combat round) , e.g. 2 means go on segment 2. So low values are good. You’ll need to decide if “0” are high or low.

With a card in hand, no one has to remember who goes next.

Some optional rules …

Colours

In case of a draw, the colour of the card can be used as a tie breaker, e.g. like rock, paper scissors:

r2    beats  y2   beats  g2   beats  b2   beats   r2

Wild Card Cards

So what to do about the fancy wild card cards?

Well the simplest thing to do is to discard them (pun not resisted).

But here are some possible options:

neNo way! A fumble – the card holder loses their turn

 

 

2arrowFree movement – get a free movement and draw another card for initiative

or … can swap for the monster’s card

 

plus2Too Fast – draw two more cards and pick the best

or … double header; attack in the first and last segment of the round

 

rainbow

Opps … card holder is surprised

 

 

plus 4Foresight – card holder is 4 segments ahead of the game and goes before all others;

or … redraw a number card and take 4 off the total;

or … draw 4 cards and take the best number card

 

If the there is an “or …” option, pick the one that will suit your game.

Other ideas

Please feel free to make suggestions to help make this idea better!

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

Ability Checks are you doing them wrong? | Dies, Dies, and Statistics

Is a D20 ability/skill test system better than a 3D6 test system?


and-mag-i14-thumb-150x150The full article on this (with numbers) can be found here:
& magazine #14 – Animal Companions
;
please see pages 29 to 35

 

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1988 Dungeon
Me on DriveThruDriveThru
At the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony
and my ‘1998 Dungeon‘.

 

Tuesday Toot!! | Disadherer

Tuesday TootG+ is closing. 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+.

Background

A monster I posted on G+, which I dashed off on a piece of paper and posted. I’ve typed it up below for legibility.

It’s essentially a dangerous mechanic driven monster. Probably useful to have a henchman (or something) torn apart first, so the PC’s take the thing seriously. With a weak AC (especially when attached) the PC’s should be able to deal with the thing, if they take the threat seriously.

Disadherer

When the Monster splits the party … 

Disadherer crop.jpeg

A possible relative of the Adherer (see FF page 9).

The Monster is a mass of sticky limbs, which latch onto a victim’s arms and legs trying to rip them off.

Health – the creature has 4D8 limbs, each having 1HP. When wiggling about, these have AC5, but when latched onto a victim, they have an AC8. When all of its limbs are lopped off, it slopes away to reconstitute itself.

Attacks – It attacks as a 4HD monster, able to attack each combat opponent twice each round (provided it still has some remaining/free limbs), when it makes a hit it immobilises one of the victim’s arms or legs:

D4        = Hit location

1          = Weapon arm
2          = Weapon side leg
3          = non-weapon arm
4          = non-weapon side leg

Escape – the victim can free an arm/leg if they can roll under or equal to their ‘Bend Bars/Lift Gates’ score. Test before rip mechanic below.

Rip mechanic – At the end of the combat round, if the monster has at least two limbs immobilised, it yanks and levers trying to rip these arms/legs off.

Roll a D20, if the roll is above the victim’s STR score, then the creature rips off a limb, on a natural 20 it’s both limbs.

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Me on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony and my ‘1998 Dungeon‘.