DDC Merch?

It started as a joke, but to paraphrase Dr Frankenstein… it’s alive! Or Live on Amazon anyway: the first bit of merchandise related to the DDC Dungeons and Dragons group is available to buy from Amazon in the UK right now:

Grave Robbing: The DDC film poster Raglan Baseball Tee

Grave Robbing: The DDC film poster Tshirt

So, that’s a thing that’s happened… More designs are in development, and it looks like I’ll have to stick a bunch of links together in due course.

Didn’t see this coming…

Art Stuff

I noticed today that I’ve been bumped up a tier in Amazon Merch which increases the number of designs I can sell from 10 to 25. I’ve been focused on Raglan tshirt designs there for the clarity they give my line art pieces so most things will go up in that format, and then a few as more general tshirts.

To find my things, search for Ludd Clothing as a brand. The latest piece as of the time of writing is based off a sketchpad piece I’ve had bubbling away recently, and myr s asked specifically to see it appear on a shirt. What better way to celebrate!

Well, by adding more things to the RedBubble site (see the site menu above for that link at any time)

The Unexpected AMA

We did a thing this weekend, quite unexpectedly, when Lady B messaged the polycule to ask if we’d be willing to gather on Discord and be part of an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on her Facebook stream.

As followers and supporters of her series of streams about her experiences of transition, we of course agreed. A couple of hours and some muffled stubbing of toes later, we were gathered round our respective devices for what was intended to be a quick half hour that turned into an hour and a half of us spinning off on tangents and laughing a lot.

I’ll add a link below to the streams recording – but I must add that the first five to ten minutes is completely silent due to a technical hitch known as “flicking the wrong switch” in Lady B’s kit.

Nevertheless, it was fun, and a good chance to talk a bit about who we are and how we relate, and our thoughts on being the oddballs that we are. So, enjoy the stream.

Cheering From The Sidelines

Lady M has been busy this week – just one way I can tell she’s on the heal at last. She’s been laying the groundwork for a little while for a project that is very close to her heart. It’s called Today’s Women In Tomorrow’s Technology, and as of this week the blog and twitter components have gone live.

At the heart of her project is a desire to inspire, guide, mentor and bring new and existing women together working in the Technology industry. She’s already gathering attention and support – and I think that in part it is a case of the right idea, at the right time, that is capturing people’s imaginations.

She’s asked me to write a guest spot on there in the near future – but don’t let that put you off. Go take a look, and engage if you like the ideas or want to be part of a wider discussion.

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.

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!

Sunday Hooligans Group

As I might have mentioned before, I’m running two Dungeons and Dragons groups at the moment – with varying degrees of wanting to pull my own hair out as we get stuck in. The ever-pulchritudinous Lady M has stepped into the breach to try and document the adventures getting started over there in her blog, so pop over and show her some love if you’ve got a spare moment.

We’re basically running through an adaptation of material found in the classic Temple of Elemental Evil series, fused with extra material and the whimsy of my caffeine-addled brain. My personal favourite moment of the last few weeks was the adventurers being so panicked by the sight and sound of a swarm of bats that they preferred to run headlong into a room with an angry giant adder. Of such moments are low level adventuring gold crafted…

Celebratory Sidestep

We fought our way up into London yesterday evening, despite the best efforts of South West Trains, to join G+A for A’s birthday. It’s one of those culturally important birthdays involving a 3 and a zero, and A had resolved to confront this with the application of copious amounts of alcohol. By the time we got there, the assembled miscreants were several rounds of drinks in, so the atmosphere was convivial.

The journey itself was a bit grim. I tend to get a bit anxious about getting to places on time, so I was already a bit antsy before the train rerouted to avoid engineering works and it filled up with people also heading up into town. I had invited Lady P to come join us too, but she hadn’t felt up to it. Right then, I began to think she’d made the sensible decision.

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Bright young things mingled with drunken Scots men talking non-bloody-stop about football and hiring retired professionals to play in Sunday pub league games. There was the traditional idiot sharing his music with the train through his phone without the aid of headphones, and someone had opened a window somewhere to let the sub-zero night air in. Perhaps someone had farted. I found the sheer babble overwhelming and I was relieved when most of them buggered off at Clapham.

A very brisk ten minute walk got us to the pub on Blackfriars Bridge, and I remembered the last time I’d been there: my youngest brother’s legendary stag night pub crawl with him dressed as a dragon and the rest of us in full LARP armour as knights. I was pretty sure we didn’t get barred, and it was a good excuse to reminisce with G as we got drinks sorted. That event, nearly four years ago, had taken us from Waterloo on a meandering course towards the South Bank and Tower Hill and on to a mediaeval banquet. Tonight was far too cold outside, and the food and drink was good – particularly the Wadworths Chilli and Chocolate beer at 5.5%.

As we wound down the evening, there came the traditional moment where the emotional birthday girl got a bit scared of turning 30. The relative youngsters there commiserated with her, and then those of us who have been there, done that and worn the T-shirt so long it fell apart, told her to stop worrying and shared how much fun she was about to have now she was entering her prime – in particular the confidence to be who she was rather than how others may have defined her.

It’s advice I wish on some levels I’d had at her age, though given the depressive spiral I was in at the time I almost certainly wouldn’t have listened. It’s only really been the last four or five years that I’ve been well enough and comfortable enough in my own skin to take life on, so I do have empathy with her moment of existential horror. By way of contrast, I amused myself while waiting for a taxi by reading the Charleesi’s answers on Tumblr to a series of questions. They revealed a young lady who is far more self assured and confident than I ever was at her age

Chilling out pre-Christmas

I’m in our local Harris and Hoole with the Charleesi, drinks and snacks before us.

Through the window to my left is a packed Tesco carpark. It’s so full that people are driving round on the off-chance that one of the illegally parked cars on the carpark exits might move. To my right, I have a perfect view of the people running around, frantic to do their Christmas grocery shopping.

Okay, there’s a degree of smugness going on because I live within walking distance, and we’re being catered for this this year so I don’t need to grab parsnips or do battle with poultry carcasses for a change.

It’s rather a pleasant way to ease into the Christmas period, and given the meandering moods I have been having, it’s a much more pleasant alternative. Lady M will no doubt join us soon, once she’s finished sneaking one more spreadsheet in, and the distractions can continue in true holiday mood.

One of the quiet joys I’m observing is my daughter’s new photography blog, which she has begun to publicise and use for networking. Every now and then, there’s a little grin as another professional photographer links to her page or offers feedback. She aspires to a career in photojournalism, so every encouragement and affirmation is valuable. I’m enjoying seeing her talent and confidence unfurl. Go have a look if you have a moment.