Interesting Reddits

Monday, December 14, 2009

Paizo, Birthday Gifts

Well, first my Brother gave me an awesome birthday gift. I now have several of the new Pathfinder Iconics from reaper minis, and some new GameMastery map pads woot. His xmas gift is to paint the minis... I'll post images when that's done.

Paizo also just dumped the third round of playtesting classes for the Advanced Players Guide today. I don't know how I missed the second round but I how have them all to download and read. Get them here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

RPG Superstar 2010

I've got an entry in mind. I've been trying to find a way to make a pair of books for passing messages work inside the rules... and I think I can pull it off now. It'll give me something to do over the next month. I'm gonna need the distraction...

Gaming's going well, but because of personal issues I'm having to cancel this week, which means our next session won't be until after new years...

Not much else to say... just excited to have a chance this year...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Printing, and the continued life of game shops

Okay, here's my rant on local, physical, game shops.

My home town has had a Challenge Games (Games Workshop, and Paintball), and a home run place called Mad Hatter's House of Games for several years now. I got started with the Star Trek CCG as a middle school student at "Hatter's", occasionally bought Battletech stuff there, and generally went there for gaming events (few and far between).

My brother spent a lot of time at "Challenge" because of warhammer fantasy... and I swing by there from time to time while I'm at the mall.

Now, with Paizo, and RPGNow, and other sites... I order lots of stuff online... it's cheaper, you typically get more stuff (pdf's to go with your dead tree copy), and I don't have to either write a paper check or run my debt card through one of those old carbon-copy card swiper things. (Yeah, Hatter's still uses one, and the credit card companies still accept them... scare's the **** out of me honestly... that thing makes 3 copies one you get, one goes to the c-card company, and one the store keeps, more than once I've seen a bunch of them just dumped in the trash... no shredding, whole carbon copies of peoples c-cards or debit cards in the trash...)

Lots of better off stores are complaining about the online shopping, but to be honest, my friend "prillo" ordered his 4rd edition battletech boxed set through the mail, from a catalog that came with his new copy of Mechwarrior 3 that he ordered online back in '98. Then there's bookstores, sure once upon a time finding a gaming book in a bookstore was unnatural. Now, not so much, Hastings has them, and we just had a new Barnes&Noble open in my hometown (the old one was getting a little small for the traffic), and they currently have a better selection in 4th edition DND than either actual gaming store in town. Other options have been with us for 11 years now... and longer if you count mail orders through catalogs... so why are they complaining now?

I think it's because a lot of them are like Hatter's, they've waited to long to make the way they do business to keep up. They've done it to themselves. But what could they have done differently?

I donno... I'm not gonna speculate either. I know what I'd offer if creating a gaming store from scratch now... but 10 years ago, I'd probably have made the same mistakes... but 10 years ago I was a high school student.

But that's mostly ranting... I said I'd talk about printing, and gaming stores continued life. Well, I think they're gonna go hand in hand.

Recently while working on my own setting, I had a pendrive on me, it had a copy of one of the maps I was working on... saved to be printed at 13x19 (I'm considering a new printer), and I was just finished eating with some of my buddies when I realized I was standing in front of a Kinkos-Fedex store.

I went in, planning on printing the map. First, I asked if they could print 13x19... the answer was "only on our plotters, which are charged by the square foot" and that was expensive... I was thinking about 10 prints, and the math came out to about half as much as a 13x19 borderless printer I've been eying from HP... no thanks...

"But you can print 11x17 at our self service station." I jumped on this... I went over, plopped down, and stuck my debit card in the thing to charge me by the minute for use of the pc to do the printing. 1 test print, plus a few extra prints, I'll be out of here on a buck and a half. Boy was that wrong.

First, it takes the pc a while to recognizance my pen drive, then I find that the printer that prints 11x17 doesn't do it unless you hand load the paper into the manual feed tray... no big extra minute.

Then I can't get the pc to realize that the manual feed tray is set for 11x17 paper, even though the printer knows it's got 11x17 in it. I ask for assistance guy comes looks at the printer, says "It should work fine" and leaves the room. Doesn't even give me a chance to explain my problem or even bother to look at the computer with me.

So, I've now spent 3.43 on some completely worthless computer use time. I kill the login session... go to ask for a refund, or maybe some help... and all I get is "sorry".

Now, 3.43 isn't going to break me, but that's got to be the absolute least effective way I've ever spent anything, including the time that I bought things and then left them at the register at walmart, because at least that was my fault.

So how do I think physical game stores should counter loss of sales to big bookstores and online sites. Among several other services, I think they should invest 500-600 bucks in a good model 13x19 borderless color printer, paper, some laminating hardware and materials... and offer to print custom and legitimately purchased electronic maps in house. It won't turn things around instantly, and it won't do it alone to be sure, but I know I'd spend lots more time at either Hatter's or Challenge if I could get some of this stuff printed. I'm not the only one either, and I live in a "little" town when it comes to gaming. There are cities with lots more gamers, of all types (including custom campaign setting builders) who'd use it.

I'll probably come back to this, as there are some "services" a gaming store could provide to make this even more attractive to the pen and paper gamer. (Can't afford a copy of Campaign Cartographer... come set on our pc for the afternoon... 5 bucks to use the pc, plus 10% off anything you print today) I just need to get back to work.

So what say you?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pathfinder Advanced Players Guide Playtest

Okay, so paizo's gonna play test 6 new classes for the APG... and the first two are appearently ready... so grab them here.

I've read through them... Cavalier looks like it'll make an awesome knight-like character... and Oracle's gonna be great. Bone Oracle's are gonna creep the crap out of people as major NPCs... and the others are just all kinds of fun. I'm thinking of actually using Bone Oracle for the avatar of a deity in my setting attempting to return to power. Many of the things in Bone Oracle look a lot like what I was going to try and find some way to do anyway... and the abilities all sound better thought out than what I had in mind for the first play test.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Why do I have to title these anyway

Seriously... mostly I'm just rambling.

Anywho... Haven't worked much on the realm sheet. I've been focused on maps... maps that are frustrating me beyond saving... I like the land masses I've got... but getting down to a one or two kingdom scale on the map has proven that somethings simply aren't meshing logically.

I don't think I'm gonna be throwing that much away to backup... but I'm considering wiping the political boarders off until I've got all of the terrain figured out.

I've not heard back from Sarah Stone on the character sketches... so I'm looking around for others. The local possible artist is swamped, and honestly still not shown me anything impressive... oh well.

All of this kinda sucks, because I thought I was going to have something ready soon, but if my maps don't make any sense... and I have no character sketches... not really all that good for handing to someone else to play.

On a side note... Hawke from got me a google wave invite. I'm playing with it, but not getting anywhere. I'll see where things go with it over time.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

More work going on

Well I've done a lot more on the Realm sheet. I'm finding a few things frustrating, but it looks like I will have a fillable pdf that prints well.

Also, working on my campaign setting a lot... I have an adventure outline for a 1-5 for two or 1-3 for four or more flushed out. I've recontacted some artists, and I've made some larger steps towards a well detailed region for the adventure in mind.

I also finished my brothers Pathfinder Mystic Theurge Lich for his game. The spell list visits WoTC's Book of Vile Darkness 3.5 for a few undead only spells, but I'll be removing them if I ever post the character.

Also, if there is anyone who pays attention to this blog... I have a question that needs to be answered.

Should a creature that has a above average (say 50%) of becoming undead instead of simply dying increase its CR? Especially if the transition takes a d4 hours? I'm thinking it's actually a separate encounter, but it is a creature people tend to gather up the corpse of for materials for potions and or magic items. Comments welcome!

Now for something completely off topic... I've rediscovered Mathemagician's DND Stuff, and finding it handy. So I thought I'd publicly thank him for it.

And now for something different... Mozilla labs is working on a project called Raindrop I want to play with. I think it'll be really nice if they do it right, Thunderbird has really been a disappointment compared to Firefox, and perhaps a re-thinking was in order.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Holloween Gaming, Kubuntu

I got to run some Krenna stuff with the sibling and one of his friends this weekend. It was a pickup game, but let me bounce some things off them and see if they enjoyed it. It was a good step towards smoothing out the opening adventure I intend to put out for the public. I should have something very soon...

Also, I've upgraded the laptop and the virtual machine at work to Kubuntu 9.10... It's definitely an improvement. Faster boot, less bugs, it auto-updated installed software, and generally easier to deal with. The new Ubuntu One was showing promise but is currently down. Oh well.

I think I'm gonna work on a village map, and finish up some stuff about a particular animal... then start putting things together.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Realm Sheet, and Scribus

Well I've gotten some more done on the realm sheet. Finished a revamping of the cover art... and with the help of Scribus, I've started to take a second stab at a fillable version.

One thing: Adobe's Reader EULA, as read by the people who work on scribus, actually prevents the reverse engineering and implementing of savable form pdfs. So even with the new one I won't be making a savable version... because I a) can't afford a copy of Acrobat, and b) think very poorly of their heavy-handedness.

At first Scribus was really annoying, but now I'm getting the hang of it. Here's some things I've learned:

OOo Draw import is lacking: If you have text in a OOo Draw file you want to import, save it as a Draw 1.0 file first... You'll then have to do lots of cleaning up but it's a start.

Masterpages: These are really handy. For this project I made a cover, internal right, and internal left master page. That allowed me to set the background on each page (and the color on the covers) really easy...

Don't apply properties to multiple objects at the same time... It doesn't always work... especially pdf properties.

PDF Properties: Is Bookmark is your friend... Works way better than the bookmarks OOo draw's export generates.

You'll probably also need a few other pieces of software: It auto-loads gimp for picture editing, and there's a few pdf things it doesn't handle well yet, that can be done in the free version of foxit.

Anywho, I'm a long way from posting a fillable copy... and I'll have to wait a bit to post a new flat, however I expect to have something available end of next month (November)... and I'm gonna try and talk Paizo in to making it a free download on their site to.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Stuff II

First... got my pdf of the Bestiary... Paizo's done another really great job with this book. There's not just great wads of changes over the original monsters... but the few differences I have noticed have been good. (Especially in the realm of clarification of fuzzy stuff).

Second... I just grabbed Michael Tumey's "The Gift". I'd already seen bits and pieces over at cartographer's guild... Looks like 56 pages of yummy dark goodness so far.

It's a 5-7 level adventure, for "Gaijin" (which is Japanese for outsiders)... Michel's mentioned that its designed for regular pathfinder characters to stumble a very Japan-like setting. I also remember him talking about how various "oriental books" either were extremely general, and did several things from several eastern cultures and mythos on purpose... or tried to pass of a lot of that general stuff as Japanese mythos and culture. He instead intended for a very true to Japan setting.

It's only available as a .pdf right now, but he's working with the people for Fantasy Grounds and Map Tool to have "VT modules"... He's also talked about a print copy... but isn't there yet... (Considering some of my plans, I'd like to see where that takes him from a publisher/creator pov)...

His maps, as always are great... The art is great... and the bits and pieces I've read are really good (I've had it literally 10 minutes).

If he gives permission I'll post the TOC here later:

  • Introduction
    • Introduction
    • Races & Classes
    • Notes for DM
    • About the Region
  • Yonshu Island
    • Port of Gsijinoshima
    • The Cursed Ryokan
    • The Wilderness Beyond
    • Entering Tsue-jo
  • Conclusion
  • Appendices
    • About the Setting
    • A - Cosmology
    • B - Death & Reincarnation
    • C - Obake Beastiary
    • D - Language & Names
    • E - Religious Reference
    • Maps
  • License Information

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New stuff

Lets see...

Gimp 2.7, I'll be playing with that once I find a way to actually make it build on the laptop...

PFRPG Bestiary... "doesn't arrive 'til tuesday"... but paizo's got them so its all good.

Also check this out looks like the Core Rule Book @ 9.99 did so well they're gonna do the same with the Bestiary.

Windows 7 Pro... Played with this some at work. If you have to have windows, and are looking to move up... This is far better than the failure that was vista. It's still pitifully slow at some things (looking up computer lists on large networks, well ANYTHING network involved is sluggish)

Maptool 1.3b59... Getting there, trevor says build 60 will happen, but with luck 60 will be the "stable" build... then off to 1.4

Google Wave... anybody got a leftover invite? I've been itching to see how well it all works, and I agreed to pass trevor one for his community tool project to go with maptool.

All in all, there some interesting stuff coming up in the next few weeks... now I've gotta go build a CR18 Pathfinder Lich...

I finally have a session with the group that I was playing with last month... but it's still not at the apartment.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Blogger, lack of comments

So I've noticed a continued downloading of my files, and no comments. I went to comment about this on the stat template post when I realized I couldn't comment. I've since been messing with the settings trying to find out why. Now I've got full page set and it seems to let me comment.

This is kind of annoying, especially since I was getting upset with viewers when it was obviously something wrong on google's end.

So, sorry about that, please leave word if you tried to comment and couldn't and I'll see if I can find out what's going on.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pathfinder Stat Block Templates

So I'm building an Orc NPC for my brother's game, and my custom pathfinder sheet while good, is obviously still missing some things... especially for npcs.

Like any other person building lots of npcs especially now for not just myself but other GMS, I went looking for a stat block template... I still haven't found a electronic character generator I like for PFRPG so I was hunting for something simple.

Nothing, not even a fan made one on paizo's site (well I did find a generator spreadsheet but bleh was it a mess)...

So I sat in Open Office, while playing with a few of the pdfs from paizo (an adventure path and bestiary preview) and cooked one up. Then moved to Microsoft Word to make it behave there as well. The MS template doesn't overline the section dividers so if someone has an idea how to do this and it look good let me know. Also, please comment on anything you see it needs or doesn't need. Its designed with the export to pdf function in mind.

Now I gotta go back to work, but here are the templates.

I've also been doing some work on the realm sheet. I'm hoping to pitch it to paizo for an actual cheap pdf product, but that's gonna take some doing.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Got some quick gaming in

Last night my brother and I had some fun with the opening of the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path... He threw together 4 pathfinder beta characters and we had a blast, between last night, and the reading I've been doing for running Second Darkness... I'm really stoked about the Pathfinder stuff. Which starts tomorrow... so yeah hopefully fun stuff.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Well, so far...

so good. Our contact from Pen and Paper has agreed to show for a second game session, and we have discovered another co-worker who's up for gaming. Now we start Pathfinder, I'm going to run the Second Darkness adventure path under the PFRPG beta.

If anyone's run this before... pointers would be nice... I just dropped the money on the Companion in a .pdf to let the players dig through... I'd like to drop some on the Pathfinder Campaign Setting book... but I have recently acquired a cat familiar who picked a fight with my engine block and survived... I know now what all the gold in the acquisition of one goes to now... Vet bills...

Also it seems the Iowa trip was worth it, as it allowed me to aquire several gaming books at used shops... including something I didn't know existed. Eric Flint's 1632/Ring of Fire universe has a rpg book. It uses the Action! system... but conversion should be simple. Now if I can just get some of the people who read those books with me to sit down at a gaming table...

I discovered/came-up-with something interesting while there as well... E. and I are starting a long term Battletech campaign... and because we're playing 3020 with two companies... one Lyran and one Federated Suns... who've been stationed in the same system in order to start the integration process caused by the alliance.

Well we wanted a bit more depth to our pilots than names... and I happened to be reading up on the 3.5/OGL diplomacy skill when something hit me... I opened a spreadsheet and put all our pilot names in the first row (starting at column two)... and the first column (starting at row two) to create a simple reference chart (like one would see on a road map that has distances from town to town...

Then since there are 5 attitudes in the diplomacy chart we simply rolled d10/2 for each bit... We've only started to sort what we got out... but it's already started thoughts about relationships between pilots... and other such things to provide some flavor to it.

576 entries is a bit much to parse... but it dawned on me (and I intend to use it for some of this) that it'd be a great way to determine anything from NPC attitudes towards one another in more role play oriented game, to what Nations are allies and enemies at the start of a campaign.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mapwork, and new local gamer...

Well first, I was gonna show a work in progress map... but to do it with blogger I have to upload it to their host of choice, so here's the link to it for now...

It's incomplete, but with the folks at Cartographer's Guild I should have something I'm happy with very soon... and I can go back to making this whole campaign setting work... I'll also hopefully have the ability to host all this stuff somewhere I want to... without crappy TOS agreements that involve property changes of my work...

Anyway the other thing is one of my local gamers lurks Pen and Paper Games and we got a LFG request from someone who recently moved into town. It didn't come to us until we were both super busy with work today... but we'll probably tackle meeting up tomorrow.

I've already made a small adjustment to the realm sheet. The provences/subregions area now has a place column for the area of each subregion. I'll post it once I've got the flat version lining up the columns correctly.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Realm Sheet Flat file

Okay, so I'm guessing I can afford 8 bucks a month... so I've grabbed me a Media Fire Premium account, and posted the First Flat Version there. It's the "Kingdomsheet" file. I was lazy and haven't renamed it from my original concept project. Anyway... its there now. So download it and tell me what you think!

Friday, June 19, 2009


Here goes I guess. I meant to start this on something I hosted myself, but when you're broke... you take what's out there.

Realm/Region Sheet:

When I find a way to also post files... I'm gonna start with the realm/region sheet I've been working on for a while now. I think the design is solid, but getting it into an easy to use editor is not going so well. PDFs with fillable forums are nice, until you need to insert images into the file. The original document (and odg) would be fine for anybody willing to a) use open office draw, and b)go through the slow and painful method of entering items as individual text blocks.

That however is not what I want. What I want is something somebody can easily put all the info into in simple ways, and I don't want the user to have to be on any particular kind of pc or use any specific software (beyond something that will open the file in the first place).

As for now all I have is an undecorated flat file for printing filling out by hand, and a partially editable file that you'd still have to print, or have a large amount of working knowledge and production oriented software.

Anywho Here's a list of sections it has so far:
  • Overview
  • Cultural Points
    • Calendar and Holidays
    • Superstitions, Rituals, and Festivals
    • Important Laws, and Enforcement
    • Rumors, and Suspicions
  • Money and Trade
  • History(two pages)
  • Settlement Patterns
    • Regions/Provinces/States
    • Major Cities and Towns By Population
  • People and Influence
    • Organizations by Power
    • Government
    • Military
    • Organization of Influence (three pages)
    • Other Major NPCs
  • Map

Each entry (or sub entry) has a full page devoted to it unless otherwise mentioned. It's huge so far... but I don't think it's overly bulky... It's not designed for whipping out some quick little cookie cuter region in 45 minutes... It's designed for those people that want to take a few days building a "living breathing realm or area". I've tried to use it twice... and so far I like it. I may expand the map section beyond a single page... but I was kinda thinking that when you needed maps of sub-regions or cities or some such, you'd also need to build all the information this "sheet" is designed to cover for them too...

Other Stuff:

On a side note, the "edit Html" window for building posts here is worthless... because while it parses html tags... it assumes lots of things.