Saturday, September 14, 2019

Progress Was Made

Today saw a lot of progress with the hex map. I've created a new map that is based on 5-mile hexes, places dots for each of the 25-mile hexes from the previous map, and have begun fleshing out the region on a 5-mi-hex scale.

So far, I have the terrain for the main starting kingdom done, but I still need to place rivers and start placing settlements. I also want to build out the area surrounding that kingdom a little, since that may impact where people choose to live.

I am also already getting some inspiration from how the map is shaping up. Using Welsh Piper's terrain assignment scheme, with a little randomization in number of hexes for a terrain time tossed in for good measure, I'm getting something pretty reasonable so far. Once I get a bit more done, I'll post a picture, but I'd rather not toss up something that, frankly, still looks half-assed. I whole-ass my work, dammit.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Some Hex Mapping

I've been tinkering with hex mapping lately, and thought I'd post what I did in the order I've done it. The scale is 25 mi = 1 hex, and the map spans roughly the 35th parallel to the 60th parallel.

The climate information was developed using the Climate Cookbook, and the software used is primarily Hexographer and GIMP, with Koppen climates added in Inkscape.

Now that I have big hex map made, I'm going to pick an area that looks interesting to me and make a 5-mile-hex map of it. Then it'll be time to start building details on that map. Rinse and repeat until the entire 2.25 million square mile area is done!

1. Landmass


2. Landforms



3. Climate - Precipitation

Summer


Winter


4. Climate - Temperature

Summer


Winter


5. Koppen Climates (WIP)



6. Landform Updates & Major Rivers



7. Vegetation


Monday, August 26, 2019

Guilds of Alnwich: The Brotherhood of the All-Seeing Star

The Brotherhood of the All-Seeing Star

Hermetic Cabal
Rank: Conspiracy Rank 0-8.
In Charge: Demonologists, scholars, and wizards.
In the Ranks: Agents, cultists, demonologists, necromancers, sages, scholars, and wizards.
On the Payroll: Assassins, brutes, burglars, cutpurses, guards, killers, knights, scouts, skirmishers, swashbucklers, and thieves.
Influencing the AR: Intimidation.

The Brotherhood of the All-Seeing Star is a secretive organization that is newly arrived in Alnwich. Little is known of their purpose or numbers, but they seem to have some magical inclinations, and the Collegium Arcana seems to be perturbed by their presence. They appear to admit both men and women, despite their name, and have a number of convoluted ways of recognizing each other. These include secret handshakes and code phrases, but probably extend far further than anyone realizes.

The Brotherhood’s most distinguishing feature are the hats they wear during ceremonies: a tall, purple conical affair topped with a pentacle inscribed with an eye. The edge of the hat is fringed with eight black strands as hair, and a pair of long sidelocks. These hats are not worn publically, and are only known only because a few individuals have been caught committing crimes with them on their person.

The Counsel of Aldermen is growing concerned with these newcomers, but the Earl hasn’t seen reason to do anything about them. The Town Guard remains vigilant, but the machinations of the Brotherhood are yet to be revealed.

What the Brotherhood of the All-Seeing Star Wants


At their core, the Brotherhood want power. Complete and ultimate power. This underlies all ostensible and even some clandestine motives. It drove their first members into the worship of demonic entities so horrific that most would be maddened at the mere speaking of their names. Some would suggest they, too, were driven from sanity by the path they chose to walk. After all, power corrupts . . . or maybe it just attracts the corruptible.

While their quest for power ultimately motivates everything the Brotherhood does, on a more practical level, they seek to bring Azathoth, the Blind Idiot God, and his court into the world in exchange for unfathomable ascendency. Knowing society will never accept this willingly, they work in utmost secrecy, use hired go-betweens, and worm their way into positions predisposed to influencing the levers of power.

What they want in Alnwich is of much more recent development. A confluence of dream-portents have suggested that a powerful artifact rests somewhere beneath Seidrborg, and the stars will soon align to make it accessible again. They have been preparing an expedition to the dungeon and nearby Thanras for the purposes of claiming the artifact for themselves. They are interesting in anyone who can aid them in their cause, preferably inadvertently.

What the Brotherhood of the All-Seeing Star Can Provide


The Brotherhood of the All-Seeing Star can provide training in Astronomy (IQ/H), Dreaming (IQ/A), Fortune-Telling (Astrology and Oneiromancy) (IQ/A), Hazardous Materials (Magical) (IQ/A), Hidden Lore (Elder Things, Magic Items, or Magic Writings) (IQ/A), History (Elder Things) (IQ/H), Occultism (IQ/A), Philosophy (All-Seeing Star) (IQ/H), Psychology (Demons (IQ/H), Ritual Magic (IQ/VH), and Theology (All-Seeing Star) (IQ/H) with a successful AR and also give professional discounts on tomes of quaint and curious forgotten lore.

They also provide:

  • Artifacts. These are usually cursed, evil, demonic, or all three.
  • Augury. The Brotherhood specializes in astrology and oneiromancy. +2 to ARs.
  • Hideout. The Brotherhood has a number of safe houses, basements, and tunnels for getting in and out of town unnoticed. +3 to ARs.
  • Immunity. The Brotherhood has already infiltrated the Town Guard and the earl’s court.
  • Lore. The Brotherhood can provide information via Hidden Lore (Elder Things, Magic Items, or Magic Writings), History (Elder Things), Philosophy (All-Seeing Star), and Theology (All-Seeing Star). +4 to ARs.
  • Translation. The Brotherhood can translate strange writings on a successful Linguistics roll. Treat this as Lore, but failure results in gibberish and critical failure gives an incorrect translation. +4 to ARs.
  • Map. The Brotherhood has collected many maps of the ancient city on the southern shore they call Thanras, and claim to have maps of parts of the dungeons beneath Hogwarts, too.
  • Special Orders. The Brotherhood can

Other ARs are at -3 or worse, and backup is at -10.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Guilds of Alnwich: The Town Guard


Town Guard/Military Company
Rank: Military Rank 0 to 4.
In Charge: Captain Lindqvist (Knight).
In the Ranks: Archers, barbarians, brutes, guards, holy warriors, killers, knights, scouts, skirmishers, and squires.
On the Payroll: Innkeepers, laborers, native guides, servants, and non-adventurers.
Influencing the AR: Leadership, Savoir-Faire (Military).

The Alnwich garrison initially consisted exclusively of soldiers from Usk, but over time, some locals have also seen the benefit of working for the Crown’s army – the pay and the privilege are notable. Unfortunately for them, the scorn heaped upon them by other locals for betraying their own is far from insignificant. In fact, most locals consider soldiers of the garrison as outsiders at best and as occupying invaders at worst.

The garrison itself is led by Captain Lindqvist, a knight landed in Usk but serving far from his estate on the shores of the southern Arafon.  He considers the post a punishment for offending Lord Lofgren, and rarely misses a chance to take it out on the locals. His philosophy is that a cowed populous is a peaceful populous. He lusts for power, but has a small mind and myopic view of the world.

Of course, the men of the garrison are not their captain. The typical guardsman is more interested in drinking, whoring, and not working too hard than actually policing the town. This leaves plenty of room for the Fellowship to operate, even if Captain Lindqvist sees stamping out those outlaws as his ticket home. Of course, no soldier wants to fall victim to the lash, so guardsmen need some coercing to turn a blind eye to broken laws.

In addition to enforcing the law, guardsmen are expected to protect Alnwich from threats without. This largely pertains to spirit and monster incursions from the Wilderlands, but the garrison does not patrol beyond the town’s borders. For this reason, the guard often offer bounties on various monsters and miscreants living in the baleful forests beyond the last farms. Rarely do they venture past that point, and when they do, it is only en masse. Ideally, local would-be heroes are sent on such suicide missions, however.

Rank in the town guard varies from Recruits at Rank 0 up to Captain at rank 4. Most are Soldiers with Rank 1, with veteran Sergeants achieving Rank 2. There are currently three companies stationed at Alnwich, each commanded by a Lieutenant of Rank 3 who answers directly to Captain Lindqvist.

What the Alnwich Garrison Wants

Ostensibly, the garrison at Alnwich want to impose and maintain order on the town. Their captain has few restrictions on how they accomplish this, which has led to a rather unfavorable view of the soldiery by the locals. Captain Lindqvist largely resents the locals and could not care less about their favor, so long as he does whatever he must to get back to his home.

Truly, however, almost every soldier just wants to go home. And they want to do it with as little threat to their own wellbeing as possible. That usually means ignoring anything that looks like it would be dangerous to intervene in, but also using brutal force when intervening. And hiring others to perform their most dangerous tasks for them.

Those few locals who have joined the garrison are already home, and consequently want one of two things – power or to truly protect Alnwich. Sadly, the former is far more prevalent than the latter. This only increases the brutal treatment doled out by guardsmen and their general resentment by the locals.

What the Alnwich Garrison Can Provide

The Garrison can provide training for any traits or skills found on the knight and scout templates. The professional items they can supply at discount are weapons, excluding disguised weapons and those with only reach C, any armor, and shields.

The Garrison can also respond to these types of ARs:
  • Backup. When the garrison sends people to help, they’re trained fighters built on a mix of the full knight/holy warrior/scout templates and their closest Henchmen equivalents.
  • Favor. The typical guardsman has little to offer aside from favors. These they may be willing to extend in advance for some return at a later time.
  • Immunity. The Town Garrison chooses who they capture and prosecute, so they can always choose to look the other way when one of their own commits some transgression. +3 to ARs.
  • Map. The Town Guard keeps good maps of civilized lands (+0 to ARs) and may have crude maps of the local Wilderlands (-2 to ARs).
  • Mounts & Vehicles. This means horses and wagons more than anything else. The town guard does not have access to boats because the Fiskers refuse to sell them any.
  • New Gear. The garrison is replete with low-quality weapons and armor and can come by reasonable quality fare with some effort. Most non-combat gear is beyond easy reach for them, however.
  • Provisions. Soldiers need rations, and those rations can be extended to friends of the constabulary. No one said they’d taste good, however.
  • Training. If the Town Guard can do anything, it is providing training in combat skills. These are limited to skills that deal directly with combat – not skills like Stealth or Running. ARs are at +3.
Other ARs are at -3 or worse.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Jayquaysing the Caves of Chaos

That's a lot of little linear maps!
I just finished my first pass of another dungeon entrance - the Caves of Chaos. But I couldn't leave well enough alone. The original Caves are pretty cool in their layout, but it still has some issues.  For one, it's weird having a dozen different sentient species, some of whom are enemies, all living in one valley together. Another is that the caves don't interconnect as much as I prefer.

The first issue is easy for me to address. This is where the beast-men disciples of the Horned One live, so while it seems like there are a dozen different sentient races here, they're really just one big group. That coordinate. That should amp up the difficulty for the PCs.

The second required some redrawing, adding, and tweaking. That required drawing the entire map into InkScape for further manipulation.  Thankfully, once that was done, I moved a little bit around, stuffed in some secret doors in reasonable looking places, added in a corridor or two, and made the minotaur's labyrinth well, more of a labyrinth. I may also need to stat up David Bowie with horns. Finally, I am adding at least one more level below the caves that will lead to the main body of the megadungeon.

So as it stands, the PCs can access the Caves the normal way, and once they are inside, they can get to any other room on the entire map without going outside, if they want. This is as much for the monsters as it is for the PCs. Since the factions coordinate their defenses, this lets the monsters shift forces to reinforce points of attack, pass information, and move supplies in ways the PCs might not expect. It allows for a far more flexible defense of the caves, and that should make this less of a cakewalk.

After all, my job is to provide problems, not solutions.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Another Mapping Tip - Rooftops


I'm a strong believer that the entire megadungeon doesn't need to be subterranean. I am mapping four separate above-ground "levels" for my megadungeon, each of which is a unique entrance to the dungeon proper. This is in addition to other, more generic entrances like caves, wells, tavern basements, sewers, etc. In mapping out these above-ground entrance complexes/levels, I have come on what I think is a worthwhile piece of advice. Of course, like any unsolicited advice, your mileage may vary.

The Advice: Map Your Rooftops!

Why do I say to map your rooftops? Well, it's because your players have seen a lot of movies with crazy rooftop fight scenes. They've also played a lot of crazy video games where fights happen high up on rooftops. The earliest example of this that I can remember is playing the shareware version of Star Wars: Dark Forces (yes, I'm old), and one of the cooler levels in that had you force-leaping from rooftop to rooftop while shooting storm troopers. Of course, plenty more exist!

And let's not kid ourselves. There is something exciting about fighting giant gargoyles on the rooftop of an ancient cathedral or leaping from building to building in pursuit of some Big Bad. So when you're mapping your dungeon (or city or whatever), don't forget to map the rooftops!

A fun corollary is that rooftops don't need to be pleasantly flat and offer good traction. Having spent a fair amount of time on my own rooftop as a child, I can assure you that they are neither flat nor offer good traction. Pitches are must steeper where snow and ice naturally occur, and any sort of shingle roof will have loose gravel on it. Slate or other rooftops may also accumulate ice and snow in the winter. Make note of this! It makes those rooftop battles all the more memorable!

This last bit touches on something I need to write a proper essay on: Your players' PCs are defined by the challenges you give them. Coddle them, and they will be lame. Push them and they will be awesome. And those who perish will be remembered. But all of that is for another blog entry.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Organizing Campaign Material

I've been looking at my current campaign material and considering ways to organize it more effectively. Usually, I compile a series of campaign documents that I can refer back to during play or as needed outside of play. These are typically:

  1. Character Creation (Player's Handbook)
  2. Subset of Rules in Play (Dungeonmaster's Guidebook)
  3. Manual of Monsters
  4. Campaign Setting

These have always worked "good enough" for me, but still turn into some degree of page-turning that can slow down speed of play. So recently, I was looking at alternative options that don't involve money.

My exploration of the subject turned up a couple of options:

  • Roll20
  • Full Website
  • Campaign Wiki
  • OneNote or similar software
Of these, I've used Roll20 successfully for gaming before but I'm not sure its campaign management tools were really what I needed for the volume and interrelatedness of the material I have (its mapping capabilities are on point, though, and will almost certainly see future use by myself). OneNote carries a learning curve and still involves having lots of separate documents; I just want to start making material - not learn a whole new platform. A full website would be really cool, but I don't have the experience to do this easily, either.

And then there was one. I've used Wikimedia's platform in the past to organize ideas. Wikis are great for connecting and organizing information. They are easy to add onto. And that's why I settled on this option. Unfortunately, not many sites seem to offer free Wikimedia-based wikis, so I ultimately landed at Wikidot. There's a minor learning curve - the syntax varies a little; tags work slightly differently than categories in wikimedia; wikidot has modules that wikimedia lacks; etc. Still, this is much easier than learning new software and looks like it will serve the exact purpose I need it to.

Cool Things You Can Do

I am still exploring various things I can do with the wiki, but the coolest one I've come up with so far is putting entire dungeon maps and notes in it with appropriate links. This lets me click links and move through the dungeon. It also lets me link to specific monsters, traps, puzzles, etc. as needed so I'm never more than a mouse click from the information I need during a game.

I can also use the wikidot version of a namespace to manage accessibility, so players can see the wiki, but not the GM-only sections. I can also use different layout templates and such by namespace (called categories in Wikidot), if I want. This will also give another layer of organization to the wiki, which I appreciate.


Another great thing about wikidot is that it also offers each wiki its own website and forum. I haven't dug into those features yet, but I think they will help a great deal in making this wiki the go-to for future campaigns.

Monday, July 22, 2019

3D Modeling and Mapping the Dungeon

As you probably know if you have followed this blog lately, I am mapping a dungeon again. Today, I'm going to talk about different approaches I've used to making 3-D maps and representations. But first, there are a few ways to produce these. I'll talk a little bit about them below.

CAD Software

Computer Aided Design Software is software used to create thee dimensional models of things in a computer. There are a great many of these, but the ones I am personally familiar with are SolidWorks and Pro-E. I have a passing acquaintance with SketchUp and access to YouTube, so I'll go out on a limb and claim to be able to use that, too.

The benefits of such software is that you can make a 3-D model of every room in your dungeon down to nails and brackets, if you want. The level of detail is up to you. And then you get move it around, hide walls, take screenshots, etc. SketchUp lets you do walk-throughs. Engineering software lets you do things you will never ever ever need to do like model the voticity of blood flowing through your dungeon. Well. Maybe that might be useful for some...

The drawback to using CAD software is twofold - there can be a rather steep learning curve to such software and it takes a while to produce a good model.

SketchUp

This probably falls under "CAD Software", but I'm going to break it out because it is cheaper, more popular, and doesn't seem to be nearly as sophisticated as the professional CAD programs I'm use to working with. Also, it was originally geared toward architectural applications, and not engineering ones.

SketchUp lets you build 3-D models of just about anything, but it was originally targeting architectural designs - buildings, landscaping, etc. This focus potentially makes for some excellent end products, complete with lighting, shadows, and everything. That can be really cool, if you go ham with it, but doing so takes time. I don't profess to be a SketchUp expert, so I doubt I'm any form of fast, but I can see where you can quickly bang out an important room or locale to get a nice visual for players. Just as with the CAD software mentioned above, I still think it's too cumbersome to use for an entire dungeon, at least unless you just love doing that sort of thing. Then good on ya!

Isometric Maps

These maps offer an isometric view (think Diablo and its clones) of the dungeon. They are fantastic for showing relative heights of rooms, but they require special graph paper - or more talent than I will ever have - to draw really well by hand. I haven't found a computer map-drawing tool that makes these, either, though I am probably just missing it.

The benefits of isometric maps is that they are simple to read if drawn well, display height differences well, and are far faster to make than using CAD software. Drawbacks are that you won't get the degree of detail and versatility as with CAD software, and it takes talent to make these look good. Moreover, some 3-D dungeon designs may not read well, no matter how good you are (try to imagine a 3D maze in isometric perspective).

Is It Worth It?

In my experience, isometric maps just look cool. They can also help give a sense of elevation, which for very vertical maps can be essential to understanding the flow. My only issue with using these is that I suck at drawing them. So I tend to gravitate to a computer-based approach.

I have used both SketchUp and SolidWorks to produce models of dungeon elements, rooms, etc. I am far more familiar with the likes of SolidWorks and Pro-E, so I tend to get faster and better results from those than SketchUp, but I can see where someone versed in the latter-most might be more productive than me.

What I find works well for me is breaking out CAD software to produce images like the one below. I created this to get a sense of scale between the towers, wall, and enclosed courtyard. I now have the dimensions of all of these elements in a way that makes visual sense to me and can begin drawing a map of the keep. I also have a spiffy visual for the players.

This took about 2 hours because I kept fiddling with dimensions to get the sizing just right.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Music as Inspiration

It has been a busy and chaotic month for me, but things are starting to quiet down. I am also beginning a new project that will find its way to the blog soon. All of that said, I have to say I really enjoy poking around the internet for inspirational art and music. I'm not sure what it is about the latter, but a good piece of music creates this mental image pregnant with ideas. I find writing easier, and everything just seems to flow.

Interestingly, I find that this is not genre-dependent, although I find certain types of music work better for certain fictional genres, and I tend to get more from classical music in general for any genre. Still, some prog rock (e.g., Bitches Crystal by ELP, Rainbow Demon by Uriah Heap), industrial, and some electronic music do wonders for science fiction for me, while other prog rock (e.g., South Side of the Sky by Yes, Jerusalem by ELP) and folk music works for fantasy. I also find Led Zeppelin good for science fiction, and I'm not sure if that's weird or not.

What music do you find inspiring and how? I'm always interested in expanding my listening!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Inspiring Images

With my move complete and unpacking as done as it will get until the last of my furniture arrives, I thought I'd post some pictures that are inspiring me today.






Monday, July 15, 2019

Another Set Piece for the Dungeon

I just finished mapping up another set piece for the dungeon, and I think most players will like how I mixed a pair of RPG and myth tropes to get something a little different and potentially terrifying. This set piece is all about ambiance, but that foreboding atmosphere will be backed up with one heck of a level boss.

This time around, I'm trying to make heavy use of the environment, which direction doors open, locked versus unlocked doors, and a general degree of creepiness to keep the players on edge, catch them off guard, and ultimately hit them hard with a single monster that will use the environment to its full advantage.

Granted, a typical GURPS party is horribly deadly when facing a single opponent, but that's where the environment comes in. The players will have their mobility noticeably limited, with any mistake in movement resulting in the sort of debilitating condition that can ravage defenses and leave a PC helpless at a critical moment. I'm piling on top of this doors that open in specific directions and locked doors to make running away more difficult, unless they specifically prepare a path of retreat as they advance.

My hope is that these two things will combine to make for the sort of encounter my players will talk about with horror and gratification (once they get past it!) for years to come.

What sort of things have you done in your games to make a single monster actually effective against a well-prepared party?

Monday, July 8, 2019

A Monster a Day Part II

I've been trying to keep up this pace, but I've slowed down. I honestly don't know how Enraged Eggplant does it over at Generic Universal Eggplant. Making a monsters, crosschecking rules, checking sources, and fitting them to the setting has proven more time consuming than originally anticipated, but still, I have produced about twenty new monsters since I started. I'm hoping to maintain that pace for another month or so, or at least until I have a few areas mapped out.

On the upside, I have statted up 14 mephits and a variety of demons and undead, so there is that. I need to work on some not-so-supernatural baddies, too. I have some ideas for the inhabitants of the local forests and their link to the Abbey, so I'm guessing they'll be next.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Martial Arts in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy

Two Swashbucklers going at it?
Back in 2015 into 2016, I ran a brief GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game in which the party's fighter and I came upon an interesting idea - finding a way to fit Martial Arts Styles into Dungeon Fantasy. It was to that end that we hammered out what a Style Perk should amount to and how to handle things like techniques within the simplified framework that is DF. Even though we didn't get a chance to implement it before university consumed my gaming time, I'll present it here as an untested idea that may prove useful to your own gaming, should you choose to include it.

What Is a Martial Art Style?

Martial arts styles are collections of skills, perks, and power-ups that help define a particular way of fighting. Every style has, at minimum, certain components:
  • Martial Arts Style Familiarity
  • Core Skills
  • Cinematic Skills
  • Perks
  • Power-Ups
Together, these five components provide a framework for fighting in this style. The core skills are those that the style teaches, and the cinematic skills represent the body of legend surrounding the style. Combat perks are often not restricted by class (see DF 11), but they are listed here for both completeness and as a guide to what is appropriate for the style. Lastly, power-ups those power-ups that can be bought, regardless of template that normally grants access. In fact, many power-ups do are not otherwise available to any class!

Style Familiarity

Of these, the Style Familiarityis among the most important; it grants access to all of the other features of style, regardless of template. It includes a number of benefits as described below:
  • Access to all of a style's associated skills, cinematic skills, power-ups, and perks. This only covers access, but does not fulfill prerequisites, such as Trained by a Master.
  • The effects of Claim to Hospitality from DF 11 on a roll of 6 or less.
  • Stylists are familiar with the style's originating culture and do not suffer the usual -3 penalty to Connoisseur (Weapons), Games, Savoir-Faire (Dojo), Teaching, or on rolls while interacting with other co-stylists.
  • If you have Style Familiarity for all of your opponent's styles, you know his tricks. Reduce the defensive penalties from his feints and Deceptive Attacks by -1.
  • If the GM normally allows character points to be spent by certain templates mid-play, he should definitely allow stylists to spend points in a similar manner on style-related traits and skills.

Techniques as Power-Ups

Tracking individual technique levels, including defaults, and all of the finickiness this would introduce into the game, just isn't thematically appropriate for Dungeon Fantasy. But there are ways around this.

For starters, only those who have points in a technique can use it. Taking this a step further, each technique is bundled into a power-up that raises its score - preferably to that of the base skill. These power-ups also incorporate other traits to keep as many rolls as standard as possible - i.e., rolling at a +0 modifier as much as possible. And wherever possible, they also enhance the flavor and awesomeness of the underlying techniques by adding small benefits.

Finally, these power-ups are not universally available to all delvers. Only those who have invested a point in an appropriate Style Familiarity gain access to the power-ups covered by that specific style. These two tweaks cut down on the number of techniques floating around the game, place them in the same bin as any other power-up that the player has to track and remember how to use, and simplifies rolling by keeping everything as standardized as possible.

Future Work

I am currently continuing to expand my list of power-ups for this system and will be posting them here as they are completed. I hope you enjoy this add-on and will critique my builds in the comments. I always welcome feedback on this sort of thing!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Automating Architect of Worlds Update

Lately I've been learning a lot about Python and how it handles objects through another side project, and I'm starting to see where I should go back and rework what I have so far for Architect of Worlds. This comes at a good time, since I've gotten up to generating everything but moons, and that step is looking like it will be a bit more intensive than the text suggests - in terms of programming, that is.

So I think my next step will be to go through the original code, clean it up as much as possible and implement a cleaner data management system. I also want to break out a couple of bits into their own functions so they can be reused whenever necessary...I'm looking at you, orbital placement! Once this is done, I'll proceed to do moon placement.

I also have a couple of questions about the model being presented, since it doesn't appear capable of producing the insane number of moonlets our gas giants have (79 for Jupiter and 62 for Saturn). Mind you, in terms of storytelling, most of those moons are inconsequential, but knowing their total number is helpful, and if I know that, I can place them automatically and develop them from there. So, because my application doesn't involve a human rolling dice and interpreting results, I don't see an issue with rolling up 120+ moons no one will ever care about visiting.

Also, When you roll things up randomly, sometimes you get interesting results that spark creativity. So I'd rather roll up a bazillion moons and risk getting a GM's creative juices flowing than say, "There are a lot of them, and they probably won't be interesting enough to justify the time you'll spend rolling dice to generate them." But that's because of the medium, not a fault in Jon's system by any means.

So that's my plan. I'll keep you updated on progress. Hopefully I"ll have enough put together to use soon!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Random Mapping Tip

I have come across something that is pretty obvious and I should have been doing this entire time, but hey, we aren't all perfect. So in case you're not perfect either, I thought I'd share this tip with you:

If you are mapping an area and think of what a room or group of rooms should be, WRITE IT DOWN!

Right now, at least half of you are probably shaking your heads thinking, "Man, this guy didn't do that before?" and I don't blame you. But I cannot explain how much faster mapping this abbey has been because I laid out all the rooms as I drew them. I know it won't always be this easy, and as I leave the more systematically-designed regions behind, it'll get harder, but that's all the more reason to follow this tip!

And I'm going to extend it to more than just what a room is. If I think of what goes somewhere, it get noted. If I think something needs an object or treasure or trick or trap, it gets noted. No more going back and sorting rooms later. My later pass will be to fill in the gaps and then check that everything makes sense.

I hope this helps someone out there!