Category Archives: Spreadsheet

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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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

DMG Map drawn in my Simple Excel Mapper

It’s been a little while since I updated and mentioned my Simple Excel mapper.

The mapper is PWYW on DriveThruRPG: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/282764/Simple-Excel-Mapper

Example
To show what this simple mapper can do, I thought I’d have a go at recreating the blank map in the classic 1e Dungeon Masters Guide (DMG):

DMG map in Simple Excel Maper

Here’s a detail shot:

DMG map detail

Here’s an example of a customisable popup:

DMG map detail (pop up)

Here are some icons you could add to the map:

Icons

Here’s a (oldish) demo video of the mapper:

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InHotS the cover imageMe 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

Tuesday Toot!! | Star Wars (etc.) Mission Generator

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. 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:
This resulted from a collaboration on G+. It mainly did the Excel generator and added a few tweaks. The idea is that you generate a ‘mission’ by clicking a button. The mission might be legitimate or not so.

I suppose this thing would work for Traveller and Stars Without Number etc (you know, space stuff). The spreadsheet could be tweaked too, with just a little knowledge of Excel.

This Widget was put up on G+ and automates the process.

Screen capture:

SW SC 101a

Widget
The Excel widget can be found here: xls Download

– – –

InHotS the cover imageMe 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

Tuesday Toot!! | ‘God Call’ an Excel Widget

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. 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+. (published a day early this time …)

This Widget was put up on G+ and automates the process I submitted to ‘& Magazine’.

Background:
The idea is that maybe a PC wants to make a plea for divine intervention … when desperate. This widget is meant to enable that process.

But, in this system, for there to be even a chance for a deity to hear you, the PCs are really going to have to make a sacrifice, a level sacrifice (so it’s going to hurt). Also, there is a chance that if the PC goes ‘chips all in’, the deity could take the PC soul as payment. What can I say, trifle with the Gods at your peril.

And, even if your deity hears you, are they going to act, and act in your favour?

Well, in this system that depends on the nature of the deity (a chaotic good deity might be a helpful sort, but what of Chaotic Neutral or even true Neutral deity?) and what you want from them.  Is your request inline with their ‘legal ethos’ (i.e. lawful, neutral, chaotic) and their spiritual ethos (i.e. good, neutral, evil). If inline with those ethoses, the chance of success is greater.

The Excel widget does the maths … and gives a verdict.

Screen capture:

God call 101e

& Magazine
This widget is based on ‘& magazine’ issued 14; pages 35-40;  “Making the ‘God Call’”. Link: http://www.and-mag.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/and-mag-i14-p2.pdf

Widget
The Excel widget can be found here: xls Download

– – –

InHotS the cover imageMe 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

Tuesday Toot!! | H’Excel a random ‘Hex Crawl’ generator (and editor) using Excel

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. 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:
H'Excel 101On a four hour train journey I decided to try something new. Rather amazingly, the idea worked first time. Since then H’Excel has had a bunch of iterative tweaks, like staggering the cells in Excel.

H’Excel can do a bunch of things (see features below), but at its core it is a random Hex Crawl terrain generator and editor.

Here’s a demo video:
The key features are explained in the below demo video:

xls  Download: Link

Features:

  • Randomly generates a ‘Hex’ map (i.e. squares in a hexagonal array)
  • Global settings – raise or lower the terrain of the whole map
  • Regional settings – raise or lower the terrain in a portion of the map
  • Screen capture mode (‘Snap Map’)
  • Edit mode – generate a map and tweak it, or build the map from scratch
  • Customisable random encounter tables
  • Refresh encounter (but keep the map the same)
  • In Hex locations, for encounter locations etc.

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

Monster Mark … off the mark? | quantifying monster threat levels

TR;DR – complex and simple ways to rate monster threat, taking on ideas from the blogosphere and the past.

Do we need a way to systematically assess the threat level of a monster?
The simple answer is no, but it could give some useful insight.

Background
I read this blog post on Delta’s D&D Hotspot Blog (I think found via the Thought Eater Blog). It gave me the chance to finally read the Monster Mark (pdf) system (which I heard so much about from the Monster Man Podcast) from the early days of White Dwarf; when WD was a gaming magazine.

My geek radar naturally perks up at this kind of ridiculous quantification idea. While books like the Fiend Folio categories monsters in threat levels I to X, earlier books like the Monster Manual did not.

Delta’s D&D Hotspot Blog reviewed the Monster Mark system. As I understand it, the blog identifies areas where the Monster Mark system fails e.g. area effect weapons (e.g. breath weapons) and taking due account of lethal monsters (e.g. rot grubs), which can be lethal to a 1st and 10th level PC alike.

The Blog went on to come up with their own system (EHD level; equivalent HD), which modelled combat in a computer simulation (I believe). I really needed to circle round and re-read the whole blog posts topic again. Instead, I went off half cocked!

Going forward
y6x7ysrk-1376085090This got me thinking about making my own version of the Monster Mark system, that (hopefully) was better than the Monster Mark system, but didn’t rely on computer combat simulations. And, using a spreadsheet should be able to do all the boring maths! After messing with Google Sheets for a while I had a system that I think worked, or was at least was getting there.

The main idea I tried to capture was, to simulate combat over a level spread, and get a weighted average over the levels. This to capture the lethality of monsters like Rot Grubs to low and high level PCs. Likewise, for area effect weapons, adding a weighting factor for this too, as area effect weapons can be leathal to a part of PCs etc.

Google Sheets Engine
Here’s a Google Sheets demo of the “Monster Adversary Level Rating (MALR)”, if you fancy adding some AD&D monsters to it, I be grateful:

xls Shared Google Sheet project

Simplicity, an epiphany
14064123625_2f8bd0a01b_bI then realized (as I tweaked and re-tweaked this system) that in fact the most decisive factor in nearly all cases was the HD of the monster. As I hear people say on TV: “Go Figure“!! Aside for a few rare cases; if it’s big (i.e. has a big HD), it’s also bad. If it’s big it often has nasty tricks too. So, other than HD, what is the next most decisive factor in making a monster mean; well the monster’s tricks of course!

So, with this simple concept in mind, I came up with a really quite simple system that I think is as good (possibly better) as my more complicated model; and didn’t rely on a computer simulation of combat either, and avoided all the complex maths of the Monster Mark system.

Simple monster rating/indexing system

  • +1 for each HD of the monster (up to a maximum of 6).
  • +1 if the monster has a special defense
  • +1 if the monster is a spell caster
  • +1 if the monster has a Death, Level Drain, Psionics, or Immobilisation attack
  • +1 if the monster has an area effect attack (or any other special attack not already covered)

Add these up. With this system (sMARL?), you get a monster rating system, grading the monsters in the relative range 1 to 10 (i.e. like in the Fiend Folio)

Comparison
In my Google Sheet, I compared my simple and complicated systems, and I think they are fairly comparable. Yes, wildly out on the two-faced baboon demon, but monsters up on the that power level are just super dangerous, and barely worth comparing.

Future work
At some time in the future, I would like to compare my two systems with the Monster Mark and the Delta’s blog post versions, and also compare my simple method’s numbers (1 to 10) to the numbers in the Fiend Folio (I to X), to see how they stack up.

Please feel free to add AD&D monsters to the Google Sheet, it’d help me out, and might make a useful gamer resource over time.

Main Conclusion
Avoid being geeky and save yourself some life.

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

Tuesday Toot!! | Can’t Remember the Name But the Fangs look Familiar

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. 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:
This is a video demo of a monster spotting (recognising) widget:


The idea is that maybe a PC knows something about the monster they have just encountered. This information might be useful. The idea is to give PCs like a low level magicuser something useful to do.

This Widget was put up on G+ and automates the process I submitted to ‘& Magazine’.

Screen capture:

CRTNBTFLF

& Magazine
This widget is based on ‘& magazine’ issued 12; pages 35-39;  “Can’t remember the name, but the fangs look familiar”. Link: http://www.and-mag.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/and-mag-i12.pdf

Widget
The Excel widget can be found here: xls Download

FYI – Table of the mistakenly known things:
For the hell of it, below is the full list of mistakenly known things:

1 has acid attack
2 is an astral creature
3 blood cures wounds
4 body parts are useful (e.g. make armour or weapon)
5 breaths water
6 cannot cross a chalk circle
7 cannot cross running water
8 cannot lie
9 causes rotting flesh
10 charms at will
11 climbs walls
12 has cold attack
13 is controlled by speaking its true name
14 can curse
15 is delicious to eat
16 can dodge missile weapons
17 drinks blood
18 eats brains
19 has ESP
20 is an ethereal creature
21 explodes if killed
22 fears its own reflection
23 has a fire attack
24 can grant wishes
25 has been cursed
26 has no reflection
27 has weak spot (e.g.soft underbelly)
28 hates holy symbols/can be turned
29 hides in shadows
30 can drain HPs
31 is hurt by acid
32 is hurt by blunt weapons
33 is hurt by cold
34 is hurt by fire
35 is hurt by holy water
36 is hurt by light
37 is hurt by lightning
38 is hurt by silver
39 is hurt by water
40 is immune to acid
41 is immune to charm type spells
42 is immune to fire
43 is immune to good-based magic
44 is immune to lightening
45 is immune to magic
46 is immune to magic weapons
47 is immune to missile weapons
48 is immune to non-magic weapons
49 is immune to cold
50 is immune to evil-based magic
51 is immune to holding type spells
52 is immune to wands
53 has infravision
54 is a prankster
55 brings bad luck if killed
56 has level draining
57 can levitate
58 has lightning attack
59 likes alcohol
60 likes to play riddles
61 loves gems
62 loves gold
63 is a lycanthrope
64 is magic casting
65 has magic resistance
66 is a master pickpocket/thief
67 is a messenger of a god
68 can mimic voices
69 is a mind reader
70 must give safe passage if asked
71 is only hit by magic weapons
72 is only hit by strong magic weapons
73 only pretends to sleep
74 is never surprised
75 is not harmed by bladed weapons
76 is not harmed by blunt weapons
77 can only be finally kill with a Wish
78 can only attack if attacked
79 is only hurt in the ethereal/astral plane
80 can only see moving objects
81 has a petrification attack
82 is poisonous
83 is prone to bickering
84 is psionic
85 can regenerate HPs
86 has a secret attack
87 can sense an enemy
88 can shape shift
89 shuns light
90 can spot illusions
91 has telekinesis
92 can teleport
93 has troll-like regeneration
94 has ultra vision
95 is undead
96 has parts useful as spell components
97 has very good hearing
98 has a very good sense of smell
99 is very vulnerable to magic
100 has weak limb joints

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

Simple Excel Mapper update | Icons added

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. 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+.Simple dungeon mapper

This is a throwback and an update. This is a simple mapper I made using Excel and its ‘conditional formatting’ option. It’s basic but free.

I’ve updated this mapper to include a few icons. It’s a thing I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

Original Video Demo

This video keeps chugging on YouTube, it consistently gets 10 to 20 hits a day.

Update: Icons added

Basically, any image can be placed on the map, so I incorporated some CC ones, made them small to use as icons:

icons 2      icons 1

These icons allow a greater deal of customisation. Feel free to use your own.

Download:

xls XLS Mapper

Screen Capture:

Mapper 101

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

Isometric map template in Excel

Using Excel to make an isometric map template.

Demo Video:
This pretty much says all you need to know:

Screen Capture:

CS Isometric paper in Exel.png

Template:
You can download the xls Excel Template here.

Another kind of 3D looking map in Excel:
In a previous blog post I showed how to makes 3D looking maps like this, and which is powered by a handy macro:

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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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.

Tomb of the Serpent Kings | Spreadsheet Adventure Module Adaptation

I’ve made a Spreadsheet Adventure Module (SAM) of Skerples and company’s great learning/beginner adventure: Tomb of the Serpent Kings (xls  download)

Video demo:

Screenshot:TotSK screen capture.png

Original work: Written by SKERPLES (coinsandscrolls.blogspot.com); Art by SCRAP PRINCESS (monstermanualsewnfrompants.blogspot.com); Map by JANON; Layout by DAVID SHUGARS (the3d6.com)

Skerples et al’s original work (shared under a Creative Commons license) can be found here: Link

Description:  People keep asking for “beginner” dungeons. Everyone can name “classic” dungeons – Tomb of Horrors, Barrier Peaks, The Temple of Elemental Evil, etc. – but in order for those adventures to make sense, there needs to be some sort of introduction.

It’s like all the adventures we have are Bach concertos. People keep writing amazing works of staggering genius, but someone needs to write a book on how to play the piano.  I had the same questions, and since I couldn’t find anything satisfactory, I decided to write the kind of dungeon I would have loved to find. I wanted to write the best basic old-school dungeon for new players that I could, and I also wanted to show the design process. And since people keep refereng to it, I figured I’d put up a fancy print version.

Tomb of the Serpent Kings is designed to be easy to adapt to your system of choice to create an old-school dungeon-crawling tomb-robbing experience.

Spreadsheet Adventure Modules (SAMs)

If you don’t know what SAMs are about – then please see the video which explains the ‘Big Idea‘ behind using Excel to present module information in a super compact fashion. There is also a 5 minute How-to-Guide video which shows you all you need to know to get started.

More SAMS

For more SAMs here: Link

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

 

Tuesday Toot!! | Cave System Map Generator in Excel

Tuesday TootG+ is closing closed. 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:

One level

Random cave system

I toyed with this idea but never really finished/refined it. This Excel cave system generator basically uses the bones of my random hex wilderness generator engine to make a randomly generated cave system. Like its parent file, there are some global and regional controls to vary the outcome of the cave system. But, overall, as a proof of concept, I simply tweaked a few settings to see if it could be done. I did consider stacking layers of these and interconnecting them to make a wider cave system, but …

I suppose if there is any kind of demand for a finished/refined version of this, I guess I could figure out where I was up to and finish/upgrade it. Let me know?! That said, if all you want is to generate a simple random cave system on a broadly hexagonal-like layout, it does work.

Three depths

Colours indicate depth

I also made a multi-coloured version of the cave generator. The colours are intended to represent different depths, eventually leading down to water.

These cave generators could be used to make an individual cave system, or to make a ‘global’ map for a wider ‘Underdark’ domain, i.e. ‘Veins of the Earth’ style.

If you want to mess around with the ‘work not currently in progress‘ Excel file, it can be downloaded here:  Link

 

Veins of the Earth Cave Generator 101Some ‘Veins of the Earth’ based Excel widgets (actually finished) can also be found here: Blog link

 

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

Tuesday Toot!! | VotE Cave Generator

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+.

Over the last two or so years, I’ve discovered how versatile Microsoft Excel can be at making game content. Here is an Excel widget I made and posted on G+. The widget is a Cave Generator for Patrick’s Stuart’s Veins of the Earth:

Veins of the Earth Cave Generator 101
xls Download  YT To do

You can run this as a standalone Cave Generator, or it can be used to check you are using Patrick’s dice method ‘correctly’ before game night!

Related, and if of interest, here’s an Excel adaptation of Skerples. ‘Veins Crawl’ (for Vein’s of the Earth), which is presented as a single sheet in Excel:

Veins Crawl 101      Veins Crawl 102
xls Download  YT Demo Video

:: Some other interesting RPG things Excel can do ::
Excel can be used to present module information in super compact fashion (How-to-Guide); used as a simple dungeon mapping program (Video Demo); and to make a surprisingly flexible Hex crawler (Video Demo). 

:: Google Sheets ::
Sadly, Google Sheets does not have the same level of functionality as Excel (I wish it did). 

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c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony.

James V West Gexit
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”
Fight on dear Gexit
(drawing by James V West

The Sky-Blind Spire | Spreadsheet Adventure Module Adaptation

I’ve made a Spreadsheet Adventure Module (SAM) of Michael Prescott’s great little problem solving adventure: The Sky-Blind Spirexls  download YT Demo

Screen shots of the SAM:

:: Credits page: sbs 1

:: Screenshot 1sbs 2 pop

:: Screenshot 2 sbs 3 pop

Original work by Michael Prescott

Michael’s original work (shared under a Creative Commons license) can be found here: Link

Description: Titardinal’s Spire is an ordinary-seeming stone tower at the edge of a large, live-giving lake. Few borderlands towers are so well placed, and it has changed hands many times. Unfortunately, Titardinal wove magic into every brick of his tower, making it a difficult place to hold onto for long. But the wizard’s loftiest ambition was never achieved—perhaps you will claim it!

Michael’s Patron is here: Link

Spreadsheet Adventure Modules (SAMs)

If you don’t know what SAMs are about – then please see the video which explains the ‘Big Idea‘ behind using Excel to present module information in a super compact fashion. There is also a 5 minute How-to-Guide video which shows you all you need to know to get started.

More SAMS

For more SAMs here: Link

– – –

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony.