Additional Maps

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I’ve started uploading selected encounter maps, or at least the basic map outlays, under the Notable Locations page in the Wartorn section. For the most part they don’t include furniture, inhabitants, or special features unless I had access to a suitable resource when drawing them in the pyromancers site.

I’ve started putting them up in part to jog memories for players or to illustrate the stories recounted, but feel free to copy and use anything you need for your own sessions. The maps should load and scale to 70 pixels per square, the default scale in Roll20. They are also generally designed to a scale of one square equalling five foot or so.

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Maps and Mapping for Roll20

I’ve been using the pyromancers.com website to handmake the maps I’ve been using in the Wartorn Roll20 campaigns over the last year or so, but it’s not the only resource I’ve been making use of.

There’s a few more websites that have recently caught my eye, and I’ll probably start dipping in to using them from time to time. A few of the maps that my group have yet to encounter have been made up using graphics from these sites, so I’ve tested them for ease of importing the resulting graphics in to Roll20. So far, each has been useful in different ways.

simple map of connected roomsThe first – ANAMap – is a map generator that allows me to make old-school line drawing maps and export them as PNG graphics, which are fully supported by Roll20.

When you start up, you are presented with a blank sheet of graph paper-style unreal estate and a series of tools on the left hand side that allow you to carve your nascent dungeon with a few simple clicks. Each square on the “graph paper” is cleared as you click on it, and refilled if you click back on it again, making editing and changing your mind a simple task as you go along. The palette is simple, and the icons are rudimentary, but if you’re looking to generate something quickly with a clean set of lines, this is probably what I’d prefer to direct you towards at the moment. As an added bonus, the site does remember where you got up to, and so you will see your most recent edit when you go back.

You can save and reload maps as you need to revisit them, which is a nice touch and making the grid disappear is a matter of clicking on the Draft button. The Dark theme reverses the palette to make a neon dark blue and glowing walls effect, so that might prove useful if you want to do some mirror-world or dreamscape representations of maps.

Randomly Generated series of tiles that create a series of connected rooms and tunnelsThe other site I’ve started using has been more for inspiration or throwing together very quick locations, and I think I’m only really starting to scratch the surface. Dave’s Mapper uses tiled templates to randomly generate areas. It too allows you to export maps as PNG format graphics and these can be resized as required when you import them into Roll20.

There are all sorts of filters available to choose the style and design of the tiles used, and whether the maps are close edged to make a contained location, or open-edged (for generating a location within wider streets or tunnels, for example). By default though, the maps tend to resemble the example here, reminiscent of classic hand-drawn dungeons in original D&D products back in the days of yore. I really like it, and I might use it for generating treasure maps for handouts to players, using them as a template for a map put together with the pyromancers site instead.

Hopefully, one or more of these resources will be helpful to you too, let me know in the comments, or feel free to suggest other map making resources that you treasure.

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Productive Day

I seem to have had an unexpectedly productive day today, with writing and game write ups going alongside various household chores and odd jobs for people. After what feels like an extended dry period, I’ve been forging ahead with the novel and short stories today. How peculiar.

I’ve also taken a quick look at the Witcher 3 game, which came out yesterday… on first glance I think this may be a Skyrim-killer, at least in terms of time to be put into it. I shall try to pace myself so that I don’t knock this new lease of writing momentum!

Oh, and I’ve managed to get this week’s Monday game write-up done, so that’s good too… Now to see how exhausted and stressed the Charleesi is as she hits the halfway point in her GCSE exams…

post-script – the browser-based post is still somehow switching to publishing as pages, so I’m suddenly in a less fun mood as I’ve just had to tear my website apart again to correct everything…

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One Sentence Stories

I’ve been writing one sentence stories recently as a combination of block breaking, getting random sentences out of my head, processing of memes, and putting story seeds that I might develop later down on paper.

As it’s a quiet afternoon, here’s a few to shake your head at:

One of the positive aspects of falling out with Anya was suddenly not having to put up with her friends either.

There’s few things quite as disconcerting as walking into a suddenly silent Children’s Library to find a replica of Stonehenge constructed out of the furniture.

The only thing standing between Jake and a new career as a colander was the non-ripe banana in his pocket.

Hell’s Kitchen has a new hero, one who just wants you to cook the f*****g chicken! It’s raw!

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One Of My Players Made A Thing

I’m all for encouraging people to write, after all I make things up for a living and like to share the misery. One of the players in my Monday night game has started an in-character diary blog, so I said I’d ramp up her anxiety levels and share it with you all here.

Her Blog is called RPG Storytelling – and I’ll add it to the list of links on the right in a bit – the specific bits about her experience in our campaign start here

Have fun!

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Creeping Doom

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I’ve been putting extra work in to describe the scenes and events occurring in both D&D games recently and it seems to be lifting people’s expectations and engagement very nicely. This is particularly  important when I’m running material that many in one of the group may feel a familiarity with as it is increasingly allowing me to play with their anxieties as well as their comfort zones.

The Sunday group is playing a reasonably straight conversion of the venerable Temple of Elemental Evil campaign from 1st Edition to 3.5 Edition in the Eberron campaign setting. I’ve adapted, rewritten and mangled the back story to fit the chaos of the Last War and dumped them straight into the action after they took shelter from storms in an old ruin.

The Monday group are playing in the same setting, but roughly twenty years later, and have been sent to meet a contact at an old ruin. On arrival they found hints of another group digging clandestinely, that may be connected with hooded, possibly otherworldly cultists previously encountered. They are playing a much more loosely adapted version of Return To The Temple of Elemental Evil which I am dovetailing with the Mindflayers of Thoon and the political fallout from their previous adventures.

Part of the metagaming fun is that both player groups are aware that the other is playing in a different timezone, and one person plays in both, so the Sunday group have started leaving graffiti for the Monday group. As the later group is having a much more Lovecraft-influenced adventure, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that causality and spacetime may get a little non-Euclidian, in which case interaction with the past may also take place.

With gruesome descriptions, leading phrases and deliberately surreal or unexplained events increasingly occurring around them, I’m noticing a lot more caution in evidence, and as an Evil and Hostile GM, this pleases me. Players are a cowardly and superstitious lot, and both groups are now very afraid of bats…

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Waiting for the Hooligans

These weekends, where I work on a Saturday, make my Sundays even more precious. I’m aware of how little time there is before going back to open the library and so there’s a battle between wanting to curl up and rest and getting the most out of the day.

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This is particularly difficult at the moment with our weekends with Charleesi having swapped for a while. For the time being I work the weekends that she is here, with Lady M keeping her company, leaving a fragment of Sunday before I take her home. The weekends will swap back later in the year as Charleesi’s mum’s work shifts change again, so for now it’s just one of those things.

On the plus side, we have the Hooligan D&D group on Sundays as well, and Charleesi is a keen participant in the banter and chaos of the games. I’ll admit that this week it did feel a bit of a heavy load while waiting for everyone to arrive, but that was largely down to having made the mistake of reading until the early hours of the morning.

As everyone arrived, a mix of people’s high spirits and the frenetic ball of furry enthusiasm known as Chips made it a bit of a slow start but we did soon get some momentum going and the afternoon scurried past all too quickly.

Perhaps this heaviness and tiredness before game sessions is a form of pre-performance anxiety: stage fright, if you will. It certainly dissipates as we get in to the game properly. At least it’s doing something fun on a weekend, combining social contact, spontaneous problem solving and collaborative storytelling.

Now if only I had more geeks at work to share the stories with… Oh well…

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