Category Archives: Publication

Face Folio | Deck of Cards

I recently tried an experiment, making poker cards with the Face Folio images, and I think it worked out well:

image_6487327FF Card 1

There a 50 cards, with a portrait on each side of the cards – so 100 images (plus 1 card with ‘Face Folio’ printed on both sides).

  • Useful in TTRPG gaming
  • NPCs, PC, rival PC parties etc.
  • Compact – fits neatly into any gaming/convention bag.
  • Makes a neat at-the-table tool – cut the card and find a NPC etc.

If you are interested in these, then here is a link (with some preview images to look at):

>> LINK <<

I’ll just add that these are printed in the USA, so postage outside the USA is expensive (I know, I ordered this proof set sent to the UK!).

:O)

– – –

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

Onion-, Zone-, Layer-, Shell-, Down-, Pancake, Gobstopper … Crawl

I’m not very fast at bringing stuff together …

Sometimes I wonder how long things take me. For example, I recently began to think how long ago I came up with the idea of an Onion-, Zone-, Layer-, Shell-, Down-, Pancake-, Gobstopper- Crawl for use in my adventure Carapace .

Aside – Onion/Zone-crawl what?

I’m sure we are familiar with Hex-Crawls and Point-Crawls. But what is an Onion/Zone-crawl anyway?

The idea is that, like layers of an onion, you can press through the various layers/zones of the adventure, or you can backtrack out again, or stay in the same zone. The onion could have a infinite number of layers!

So, basically, there is no map. Each layer can have its own theme, or could be more dangerous, or chaotic than the last. So in practical terms what’s happening in each zone is procedurally defined. For example you could be working your way through the planes of the 9 Hells etc.

My Zone-Crawl adventure >> Carapace << (about procedurally exploring a maze like giant insect colony) was published 11 December 2018.

Hrrmmmm … I wonder how long the idea of a Onion-Crawl has been out there? For example DriveThruRPG shows that adamantane bestseller Gardens Of Ynn (the best selling example of a Zone-Crawl) was published on the 20 March 2018. So it seems this idea was circulating around 2017/2018 – was there an Onion-Crawl Zeitgeist circulating back then? Quite possibly as this was arguably at the high-tide of the G+ era.

Aside over – back to my delays

Anyway, but looking back, I noticed lurking in my email account was part of a discussion I was having about Zone-Crawls & Carapace back in the 9 December 2017 on G+ (then with a working title of ‘The Hive’ or some such):


So, I suspect I had been working on Zone-Crawls for Carapace for some months before that. My best guess was that I was toying with this idea in about September 2017. Maybe.

Shamefully, I even now have new art for Carapace from Marcin s (probably for more than 2 years now).

This, or more probably next year, I want to buff this all up and finally put this out as a hard copy adventure.

Soooooo, if we say this idea has taken from ~ September 2017 to (hopefully) ~ September 2023 – that’s only 7 or so years !!!!!!

Summary of Carapace Timeline todate:

  • First idea of using a Zone/Onion-Crawl, probably ~ Sept 2017
  • First (found) shared draft of this idea ~ Dec 2017
  • First PDF on DriveThruRPG ~ Dec 2018 (so, only about year later)
  • –> HOPEFULLY an updated print version with new art ~ 2023 !!!!

This is probably my most delayed project, my note to self, must do better.

> WHAT’S your longest yet unpublished work that you (still) hope to get out? <

– – –

Me on DriveThru; some of my things:
:: 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

Functional Entries in Random Tables | more scope but comes with more user load

Recently I been thinking about functional entries in random tables.

In my ‘In the Heart of Oz’ (a system neutral) sandbox, based in the land of Oz, I wanted to add some random tables but wanted these to “work hard” for the limited space available.

So, I wondered about replacing single entry random tables with functional entry random tables. For example instead of ‘sword’ you use ‘bladed weapon’ and let the user decide if it is a sword or an axe or a ‘bec de corbin’. 

This is a pretty trite example but of course you can take this further (see below).

I’m sure this idea/concept has happened in the past, but when I have done this (at least), it’s been more an unconscious design choice rather than a conscious design choice. I’d like to hold this idea up as a conscious design choice for the DM’s toolbox.

Benefit – gives a much bigger spectrum of outcomes

Downside – require the user to bring more of themselves to the table (which might be the very thing they are trying to avoid by using random tables!). 

Some might like the idea, but might displease others … I’m not the RPG police so please feel free to ignore this idea. 

– – – 

To see something I’m tinkering with this idea – Link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1UjKpTc0yvn0A0LjBJiu4cRy-XuX_gqxp?usp=sharing

The idea is to do this on the fly (or pre-prepare some), but also source the table – throw this at players – Tell me what item you find based on these 3 constraints … etc

Below is an text only extract from the above linked PDF: 

Random Creature Builder

Roll once on each of the two tables below:

Base Creature

1                 Apex predator

2                 Large herbivore or domestic animal

3                 Monkey, ape or lemur

4                 Rodent or marsupial

5                 Amphibian or reptile

6                 Bird or dinosaur

7                 Insect or arachnid

8                 Crustacean or echinoderm

9                 Gastropod or cephalopod

10              Human(oid) – or you decide

Creatures are normally at least man-sized

Twist

1                 Roll on table above – hybrid of both e.g. a Human(oid)-crustacean

2                 Unusual locomotion: Fly, hover, burrow, crawl, creep, jump etc.

3                 Oversized/mutantous body part or extra parts – limbs, mouth, eyes etc.

4                 Unusual sized e.g. giant, long etc.

5                 Exotic colouring or display

6                 Made of artificial material

7                 Mushroom, vegetable creature, or made of natural material

8                 Roll on ‘Terrain descriptor’ table 

9                 Roll on this table twice – has both

10              Roll again on this and on the below table 

Special

1                 Offensive: looks, smell, charisma etc

2                 Insubstantial: ghostly, ethereal etc.

3                 Resembles man-made object, can mimic things, or is a doppelganger

4                 Spits fire, acid, ice, stones, spines, bile, eels, buttons, rainbows etc.

5                 Unusual strength or speed

6                 Contradictory property of a typical creature of the ‘Base’ creature class

7                 Teleport locally, or is transparent

8                 Ability to petrify – gaze, touch etc.

9                 Ability to cast magic or illusions

10              Roll on this table again – has both

– – – 

More info: 

In the Heart of (the Land of the Wizard of) Oz is a system-neutral procedural sandbox setting which draws inspiration from the books of L. Frank Baum and with artwork by the wonderful Nate Treme (Highland Paranormal Society)

In the Heart of Oz contains procedural Encounter, Terrain and Weather Engines for Wilderness Hex Crawling across the fairy-tale like land of Oz. There is also a procedural ‘dungeon’ to take on the Wicked Witch of the West in her Yellow Castle.

Preview image

Capture - WoOZ

Hex Flowers … what?
A Hex Flower is a bit like a random table, but with an inbuilt ‘memory’ (because the last turn affects the next outcome). Each time you enter a new HEX, you procedurally determine what is going on. 

Hex Flower procedural products you might be interested in
:: In the Heart of the Unknown –  procedural wilderness (Hex) exploration
:: In the Heart of the Sea – procedural High Seas exploration
:: In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous  – procedural ‘dungeon’ exploration
:: Carapace – adventure exploring a giant insect colony
:: Planar Compass 2 – procedurally explore the Astral Sea 

More on Hex Flower Theory
You can read more about Hex Flower Game Engines in my Hex Flower Cookbook

and on my Blog: https://goblinshenchman.wordpress.com/2018/10/25/2d6-hex-power-flower

Printing
This document can be conveniently printed using the ‘booklet’ option on printers that can print on both sides of the paper. Folding gives an A5 booklet.

Collaboration: ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ (+) ‘When Sea Is Calling’

I’ve collaborated with ATELIER CLANDESTIN who are blasting out great random table supplements.

We’ve brought together my ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ Hex Flowers with their ‘When Sea Is Calling’ – so this gives my one page ItHotS more depth.

Colab

Read more about the collaboration here: https://atelierclandestin.wixsite.com/home/post/announcement-when-sea-is-calling-extended-version  

Direct link – please check it out
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/397826/When-Sea-Is-Calling 

Background of Hex Flowers – what’s a Hex Flower anywho? A Hex Flower (HF) is like a random table, but with a memory.

Hex Flower Cookbook – where I discuss Hex Flower Game Engines and some background and possible uses

– – –

Me on DriveThru; 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

[FUNDED] Face Folio | for Zine Quest 4

After some thought, I decided to re-Kick Face Folio for Zine Quest 4, and which now has funded:

ad 4 ratio FUNDED

Kickstarter page:  

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/facefolio2/face-folio-for-zine-quest-4 

Face Folio layout: 

:O) 
#zinequest 
– – –

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

Re-Kicking Face Folio | for Zine Quest 4

After some thought, I’ve decided to re-Kick Face Folio for Zine Quest 4:

Ad 1

Basically, I have 50 or so Zines left over from Zine Quest 2 and want to get these out to people. Then I noticed Zine Quest 4 pop up. 

Why not

This time, for the Kickstarter I’m 100% set and can start fulfilment as soon as the KS formalities are done.  

Pre-launch page:  

>> Sign up for the pre-launch page here <<: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/facefolio2/face-folio-for-zine-quest-4 

Face Folio layout: 

:O) 
#zinequest 
– – –

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

Field Guide to Random Table Design in RPGs | Video walk through

Just a video walkthrough of my ‘Field Guide to Random Table Design in RPGs’ (which recently turned Copper Metal Best Seller on DriveThruRPG):

Background: 

I saw this post by the well-known blogger, podcaster and RPG great Judd Karlman.

It got me thinking about random table structures, and so I wrote this:

FGtRTDCover

The idea here is to consider how to make/tweak random table structures to suit your RPG needs. It probably overeggs the pudding. However, if this might be of interest, please check it out.

Snap shot:

Snip FG

– – –

Me on DriveThru; 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

Field Guide to Random Table Design in RPGs

I saw this post by the well-known blogger, podcaster and RPG great Judd Karlman.

It got me thinking about random table structures, and so I wrote this:

FGtRTDCover

The idea here is to consider how to make/tweak random table structures to suit your RPG needs. It probably overeggs the pudding. However, if this might be of interest, please check it out.

Snap shot:

Snip FG

– – –

Me on DriveThru; 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

Ramp, Flat Ramp, Hill & Lone Mountain Type Random Table Formats

I saw this post by the well-known blogger, podcaster and RPG great Judd Karlman.

It had a table type I had not seen (or at least noticed) before, a D6 (well D3 really) x 2D6 table (reproduced below with Judd’s permission – see link above to see more):

Judd Table

This table is like three 2D6 tables next to each other, so instead of being a peak (‘bell’) curve with a 2D6 probability structure, it sort of has a “ramp-like” probability structure:

1. Ramp Type; Dx × 2Dy (in this case D3 × 2D6)

1a Ramp Table1b Ramp Table chart

This led me to think about related formats:

2. Flat-Topped Ramp Type; Dx × Dy+Dz (replacing the 2D6 with D4+D8 to flatten the ‘peak’ out):

2a Flat Topped Ramp Table2b Flat Topped Ramp Table Chart

3. Lonely-Mountain Type; 2Dx × 2Dy (in this case 2D6 on one axis and 2D6 on the other):

3a Lonely Mountain Chart3b Lonely Mountain Table Chart

4. Rounded Hill Type; 3Dx × 3Dy (in this case 3D6 on one axis and 3D6 on the other):

4a Hill Table4b Hill Table Chart

Applications?
There are lots of ways these random table formats could be used, but of course it can be seen with the last two examples, even with just D6s the number of outcomes increase massively, and the edges will be very rare (in the Rounded Hill example a centre roll is 729 times more likely than a ‘corner’ roll and you have (theoretically) 256 possible options. But of course, you can band the results together a bit like Judd did with their example to reduce the outcomes. So, with reference to the heat map you could have 3 or so zones (red, white and blue etc.) equating to probable, rare and very rare outcomes etc.

Not got much more to say, just putting this out there as a possible tool, and I’m sure I’m not the first to think of these other examples, but I’ll post anyway!!

:O)

– – –

Me on DriveThru; 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

Quantum Ogre meet Schrödinger’s Troglodyte | Chekhov’s Gun – adventure design vs play

I recently read about Chekhov’s Gun. Here’s what the web had to say about it:

“Chekhov’s gun is a dramatic principle that states that every element in a story must be necessary, and irrelevant elements should be removed. Elements should not appear to make “false promises” by never coming into play.”

It made me wonder: does Chekhov’s Gun have a place in RPG adventure design?

My answer is: Yes, but mainly no-ish (helpful!).

LT:DR ~ The key difference here is that a traditional story is fixed, whereas an RPG session is not.

Planned adventure

A planned adventure normally has a framework from where a story can collaboratively emerge. This framework should include things (dare I say ‘Chekhov’s Guns’) the DM hopes/expects the players to interact with. The ‘guns’ might be NPCs, monsters, magic item, weird stuff, traps etc.

However, an RPG session is not a fixed story (railroading, story arcs and Quantum Ogres aside). An RPG session is more like a sporting event, where nobody, not even the referee, knows the final result until the game is played.

It is a well-known cliché that the players will miss/ignore ‘important’ NPCs or plot hooks and obsess over what appears to be a trivial detail (e.g. a captive goblin becomes an important and loved NPC rather than simply more dungeon XP fodder; and the DM did not plan for this). In the end, the DM might not expect or like the story the players ‘write’ within the DM’s framework, but nonetheless it is the emergent ‘story’. Similarly, another cliché is the DM stealing players’ table speculations and fears, making those speculations the new reality e.g. a player wonders if the sword contains the essence of the disgraced paladin? Yes, yes, it does now! 

So, the DM can plan ‘Chekhov’s Guns’ in their adventure, but it is only through play that these becomes real.

Erhm … the blog title said something about a Quantum Ogre vs Schrödinger’s Troglodyte. Here goes:

Schrödinger’s Troglodyte

Quantum Ogre (sort of) meets Schrödinger’s Troglodyte

In essence, the Schrödinger’s Cat experiment can be used to describe every (non-scripted) RPG session ever played.

As a recap, in the Schrödinger’s Cat experiment there is a cat in a box, the cat could be alive or it could be dead. It is only when we look in the box we discover if the cat is alive or dead. So, before we look in the box, the cat has the property of being both alive and dead.

A planned RPG adventure is just like the Schrödinger’s cat experiment, where the box is the adventure. Before the players interact with the adventure (the box) everything planned by the DM is not fixed.  It is only after the players interact with the adventure (the box) does anything become real and so fixed.

So, if the players explored 15 rooms of a 20-room dungeon, skipped the boss troglodyte room, leave and never return, then for now, only those 15 rooms are real. Dare I suggest that only the things the PCs interacted in those 15 rooms are the Chekhov’s Guns (from the story POV) and everything else including the boss troglodyte might as well not exits (from the story POV). At best those things the PCs missed exist in a Schrödinger’s Cat-like state of not quite existing.

The Quantum Ogre is the anthesis of the Schrödinger’s Troglodyte, because the ogre comes into existence regardless of the players’ interaction, and so deprives the players of the ‘game’. Not only is the Ogre in the box, it will also climb out and find you! Fixed story arcs and railroad adventures are no more than a Quantum Ogre in plot form. Fixed ‘Chekhov’s Guns’ are also no more than Quantum Ogres.  

So, in RPG adventure design nothing really exists in the RPG world until the players interact with it, in emergent play the players (predominately) decide what is important and hence what the ‘Chekhov’s Guns’ are. Other things in effect fade into obscurity (unless revived by the DM later in a later session) and so are not really ‘false promises’. In adventure design, perhaps the best policy is to create lots of interesting situations and let the players figure out what is important to them and roll with it; embrace the uncertain existence of Schrödinger’s Troglodyte and shun the (perhaps misnamed) Quantum (tunnelling?) Ogre.

Nothing is dogma – Quantum Ogres can have a place (but hopefully only exceptionally).

To conclude, I suspect I’ve told you nothing new, but that said, until you read this post you existed in a state of both knowing and not knowing that.

:O|

(PS don’t argue with me, I have PhD in particle physics <– not true)

– – –

Me on DriveThruRPG

DxDy dice mechanic | … e.g. D4D6

Math(s) warning: If you are a mathematician the words I use below may well be formally inaccurate, sorry!

Trad-game warning: I can imagine that rolling a die to see how many dice you roll will be an unwelcome idea in some circles – it’s OK, I’m not the D&D police, please feel free to ignore this idea.

I stumbled onto this recently (it may be well known to others) and hopefully I’m not just inadvertently regurgitating something I’ve read elsewhere.

If for example you roll D6D6s (i.e. you roll a D6 to see how many D6s you are going to roll and sum) you get a weird probability profile that has a weird leading spike:

triceratops in profile 3

For some strange reason it reminds me of a sleeping triceratops

It certainly looks nothing like a standard 6D6 roll (flatter and pushed leftwards as well as having the leading spike):

triceratops in profile 3a

The ‘at least’ number is almost linear for most of the graph as compared to 6D6:

triceratops in profile 3b

Here’s the idea again, but where some other combinations have been done (again weird leading spike):

triceratops in profile 1

Here’s a mismatched pair  D4D10 and D10D4 (spike more pronounced when fewer dice are in the mix – perhaps not too unexpected):

triceratops in profile 2

Application in gaming?  I’ve got nothing! But …  perhaps one day it might find a place!

You’d need a probability structure that runs from 1 to the end number, has a leading spike, a flattish mid-section and then tails off as you approach the highest numbers.

OK – with that in mind and shooting from the hip here as I’m typing this up – a new way to roll stats (where we invert the thing to favour high not low numbers):

triceratops in profile 3c

So compared to 4D6 drop the lowest, 19-D2D8 is more likely to give 17s and 18s.

Here it is again but vs 3D6:

triceratops in profile 3e

Here’s also 19-D3D5 (no 3’s and the chance of a 14 to 18 is much higher than 4D6 drop the lowest):

triceratops in profile 3d

I guess I’m not seriously advancing this as a replacement mechanic for rolling stats, but that said, statistically it’s not completely ludicrous (unless I’ve made a mistake) …

Perhaps you can think of a better use case?
No? OK, not to worry!

:O\

– – –

Me on DriveThru; 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

Portuguese Translation – Hex Flower Cookbook

I’m extremely grateful to Tito B.A. for translating my ‘Hex Flower Cookbook’ (Manual do “Hex Flower”) into Portuguese and so making it more accessible to more gamers!

BRFlag

Thank you Tito!!

Please check out Tito’s blog (https://titorpg.wordpress.com) and their DriveThruRPG page (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/13161/Tito-BA).  Tito is arguably best known for his excellent ‘Sacrebleu!’ island setting with goblins equipped with WW1 weaponry as reviewed on the Fear of a Black Dragon Podcast!

Background – what’s a Hex Flower anywho? A Hex Flower (HF) is like a random table, but with a memory.

image_preview Hex Flower Cookbook – where I discuss Hex Flower Game Engines and some background and possible uses

– – –

Me on DriveThruRPG

Two new Hex Flowers | Forest & Death Star attack

This is just a quick Hex Flower update.

:: In the Heart of the Eternal Forest  – procedurally explore an Eternal forest

ItHotEF screenshot DT

:: Attack on the Death Star – Procedural attack on the Death Moon, Planet or Star – procedurally attack the Empire/s evil planet sized weapon 

Death Moon cover DT  Page 2 - Death Moon Capture

Background – what’s a Hex Flower anywho? A Hex Flower (HF) is like a random table, but with a memory.

Hex Flower Cookbook – where I discuss Hex Flower Game Engines and some background and possible uses

– – –

Me on DriveThru; 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

Face Folio | Ukraine Appeal

We’ve decided to release Face Folio early as a PDF to raise money in support of Ukraine:

ff dt cover uf 

Links

All funds raised in at least April will go to supporting Ukraine in this time of need. 

Signal boost – If you are not able to support financially, then perhaps please consider giving this appeal a signal boost! 

KS Backer – If you are one of the KS backers and have not got your PDF, please follow this link: UPDATE

 #facefolio

– – –

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

Face Folio | PDF rollout to KS backers

Face Folio as a PDF is being distributed to the Kickstarter backers!

FF Cover

We’d like to thank them for their collective patients, and it’s now great that we can show them what @MARCINsRPGart  has done. #facefolio

– – –

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

In the Heart of Oz | Ukraine Code

I can’t do a lot to help Ukraine, but here’s a promo code for my ‘In the Heart of Oz’.
The code expires at the end of this month. 

Link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php?discount=991b9d46b9

I will donate all money to help Ukrainian resist Putin.  
I’ll will also personally match the amount donated.

ITHoOUk

– – – 

More info: 

In the Heart of (the Land of the Wizard of) Oz is a system-neutral procedural sandbox setting which draws inspiration from the books of L. Frank Baum and with artwork by the wonderful Nate Treme (Highland Paranormal Society)

In the Heart of Oz contains procedural Encounter, Terrain and Weather Engines for Wilderness Hex Crawling across the fairy-tale like land of Oz. There is also a procedural ‘dungeon’ to take on the Wicked Witch of the West in her Yellow Castle.

Preview image

Capture - WoOZ

Hex Flowers … what?
A Hex Flower is a bit like a random table, but with an inbuilt ‘memory’ (because the last turn affects the next outcome). Each time you enter a new HEX, you procedurally determine what is going on. 

Hex Flower procedural products you might be interested in
:: In the Heart of the Unknown –  procedural wilderness (Hex) exploration
:: In the Heart of the Sea – procedural High Seas exploration
:: In the Heart of the Delve & Dangerous  – procedural ‘dungeon’ exploration
:: Carapace – adventure exploring a giant insect colony
:: Planar Compass 2 – procedurally explore the Astral Sea 

More on Hex Flower Theory
You can read more about Hex Flower Game Engines in my Hex Flower Cookbook

and on my Blog: https://goblinshenchman.wordpress.com/2018/10/25/2d6-hex-power-flower

Printing
This document can be conveniently printed using the ‘booklet’ option on printers that can print on both sides of the paper. Folding gives an A5 booklet.

Wolfram’s 4 colour theorem | Relationship mapping?

I was listening to Ray Otus’s podcast (which I like). He was talking about Wolfram’s Four colour theorem, which states (perhaps paraphrased as):

“Any map in a plane can be colored using four-colors in such a way that regions sharing a common boundary (other than a single point) do not share the same color”

I wondered if this could be used to map out relationships where each colour represents a certain intensity in that relationship from high to low. The idea being to design a relationship map that is random, but with some “design” to it.

Let’s try it out …

Example 1 – D&D starting characters – using Wolfram’s Four colour theorem

Maybe this design concept could be applied to D&D stats, where certain stats tend to go together … :

Rules:

  1. Populate a 7 hex Hex Flower with each stat and one for wealth, so STR, INT, WIS, DEX, CON, CHAR & wealth
  2. Using up to 4 pencils colour/outline the Hexes using Wolfram’s Four colour theorem, starting from the middle
  3. Randomly assign each colour a different value from 1 to 4 using a D4 where: 

1 = low (6-9),
2 = medium-low (9-12),
3= medium-high (12-15)
4 = high (15-18):

Let’s try two examples:

Step 0 – Blank Hex Flower

W1

Step 1 – populate the Hex Flower with the 6 stats and wealth:

W2

Step 2 – colour according to Wolfram’s Four colour theorem (in this case using all 4 colours)

w3

Step 3 – randomly assign each colour a different value from 1 to 4:

Red                     2  (- ) e.g. 5 days’ living wage 
Orange              4 (++) i.e. 15-18
Green                1 (- -) i.e. 6-9
Blue                   3 (+) i.e. 12-15

So the result is:

w4

So the new PC is strong and tough (15-18), quite wise and personable (12-15), clumsy and dumb (6-9) and has modest wealth. So perhaps an fighter then from a poor background.

Let’s try it again (using the same stat placement), but with fewer colours more of a-go-for-broke min-max arrangement) and re-rolling:

Red                     3 (+) e.g. 3 months’ living wage
Orange              1 (- -) i.e. 6-9
Blue                   4 (++) i.e. 15-19
(no green)

             w4a

So the new PC is very smart, wise, personable (15-18), but very weak, fragile and clumsy (6-9). But quite wealthy. Hrmmm, perhaps a Magic-user then for an affluent family.  

If this sort of min-max 3-colour-option option does not appeal, then you could get rid of the central hex (and get rid of wealth slot) and insist that all four colours are used.

Example 2 – Random NPC’s personality

Rules:

  1. Populate a 7 hex Hex Flower with a personality trait, one from each group (you can make your own traits)
  2. Using up to 4 pencils colour/outline the Hexes using Wolfram’s Four colour theorem, starting from the middle
  3. Randomly assign each colour a different value from 1 to 4 using a D4 where:

1 = low (- -)
2 = medium-low (-)
3= medium-high (+)
4 = high (+ +)

7 NPC Traits:

  1. wealth, resources, influence
  2. status, reputation, level
  3. cynical, duplicity, prejudice
  4. Personable, warmth, empathic
  5. wit, intelligent, charming
  6. greed, selfish, evil
  7. desperate, needs, desire

Let try two examples:

Step 0 – Blank Hex Flower

W1

Step 1 – populate the Hex Flower with the 7 traits:

w5

Step 2 – colour according to Wolfram’s Four colour theorem (in this case using all 4 colours)

w6

Step 3 – randomly assign each colour a different value from 1 to 4:

Red                     4  (++)
Orange              3 (+)
Green                1 (- -)
Blue                   2 (-)

So the result is:

w7

So, they really desire something from the PCs, they are quite wealthy and greedy, they are not especially smart or personable, they are of low social status but at least not very treacherous.  A quest giver, perhaps a merchant, who desperately wants something to (further) enrich themselves and is happy to pay the PCs to get it. 

What happens if we had coloured the hex’s differently, using just 3 colours e.g.:

  w7a

Now they would have some desire to get something from the PCs, they would be smart, greedy and treacherous with no money, status and quite cold. Doesn’t sound like a nice chap. Perhaps a street thief full of animal cunning and wants the PCs’ coin. 

Again, three colours gives a more polarized outcome. 

Some initial conclusions – I think you can try and set this up so coloured pairs go together, perhaps wealth & status, greed & duplicity and wit & warmth.

That said, I wonder if we should scrap the middle hex and insist that 4 colours must be used to introduce less homogeneity. Perhaps.  

Is this useful (?)– not sure, just brainstorming here. Perhaps if you planning a session and want some inspiration about an NPC, or have a bunch of templates ready to pull out of a hat??

More
Clearly, these are not just the two ways this idea could be used. 

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Thinking outside the Hex | ‘Hex Flower’ theory stuff

As many people following this blog will know, I’ve been making Hex Flowers with a navigation mechanic based on summing 2D6 (corresponding % probabilities shown on the right side) i.e.:

11

This ‘Navigation Hex’ being (part of) the rules for moving around a Hex Flower like this one:

55w

I had a discussion with Jake Eldritch  (I will try and find the link) online about this idea, and concluded that 2D6 with a ‘disadvantage’ mechanic (i.e. roll 2 x D6 and take the lowest roll, e.g. a roll of 3 and 5 gives a 3 as the result) could give you this kind of ‘ Navigation Hex’ with fewer numbers around the edge:

22 b

Rather amazingly (to me anyway), it appears to have the same probability structure as above when I sum 2D6. You could argue that the ‘maths’ is simpler with the ‘disadvantage’ method, although not massively so. Here’s the ‘Anydice’ stats: 

anydice

But … recently it did make me wonder about other shapes, like an octagonal array with an octagonal ‘Navigation Oct’ or square array with a ‘Navigation Square?’ (or larger tiling shapes) – where the ‘disadvantage’ method might be simpler and more intuitive than summing two polygonal dice.

Here’s an example of an octagonal ‘flower’ with an octagonal “Navigation Hex”:

33

Summing 2D8 would give 16 at the top of the ‘Navigation Oct’,  then working clockwise around the ‘Navigation Oct’: 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13 and 14-15. That’s surely got to be harder than using the ‘disadvantage’ mechanic shown above. And, unless I’ve made an error gives the same probability structure.  

Just ‘noodling’ about the associated edge rules with the coloured arrows. Of course an ‘advantage’ mechanic could be used (instead of a disadvantage mechanic) to invert the probability structure.

For good form sake, here’s a 16 grid ‘flower’ using a 2D4 with a disadvantage mechanic (if you like a tip on your ‘flower’, perhaps use diamonds not squares):

44

… or even a square grid but with 8 possible directions of travel (including diagonals):

99a

This post is more theoretical than anything, but does make using other shapes (other  than hexagons) to make flowers more accessible (I think). I have not worked out how strong the probability bias is (yet) for the octagonal and square “Navigation Hexes”, but intuition tells me, the more faces there are the less severe the probability bias.

Ok, that’s it.

Background

To read up of Hex Flowers (there may be a pop quiz) please see my Hex Flower Cookbook where I discuss Hex Flower Game Engines and some background and possible uses 

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Hex Ed | Hex Flower online talk


Are you Hex Curious?

Is your poly gone?

Uncertain if hexagons are the bestygons?

Want to get off-the-grid but don’t know how?

Told that Hex with Flowers is unnatural?

Do you have questions about Hex Flowers but where too scared to ask ??

I’m giving a online talk on Sunday 30 January at 8pm (UK time) at BSer Con 2022 (https://tabletop.events/conventions/bs-er-con-2022) about Hex Flower design. Most of the gaming events at the con are now booked out, but there are still places for some online seminars including mine. I can’t promise you’ll get your 5 bucks worth, but you can turn up and see …  

Money raised goes to running the con and Leukemia Lymphoma Society.

Be there or be square …. 

Hex Ed

Background

To read up of Hex Flowers (there may be a pop quiz) please see my Hex Flower Cookbook where I discuss Hex Flower Game Engines and some background and possible uses 

– – –

Me on DriveThruRPG