Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Proof Trolls Are Real

Some people don't believe that trolls actually exist in the real world. The blind fools! Of course they do. And now there is finally actual cinematographic proof!

Here is your proof, if any were needed:

Don't be a fool. Remember to bring your torch and oil with you. Trolls are a serious threat, and should not be taken lightly!

You may also like to educate yourself regarding trolls with this factual and highly informative guide:

Everything you ever need to know about Trolls, but where afraid to google

One time in a certain campaign in the old glory days we ran across an invisible 6 armed Cave Troll trapped in a 20x20' stone room into which was a thin 3' corridor that the troll could not escape through. Needless to say he was hungry as hell and in a perpetual bad mood sitting on top of his pile of gold and jewels. Needless to say our thief did not fare so well. We watched somewhat helplessly as he lifted into the air and was torn asunder in a few moments. Our Paladin felt compelled to follow after him to Avenge the unrighteous death, but even his magical armor was no match and he was crushed like a soda can. We left. Oh well. Our wizard made a sign and put it up on the wall next to the corridor "Warning: Invisible Cave Troll". When we came back that way a few years later the sign was still there... but had been turned invisible. Very annoying. I don't think we ever discovered who the evil wizard was who was responsible... but if we ever do... we'll be sure to back away slowly and run like hell.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Maps of Hobbinton

As a followup to my post for RPG Carnival - Cartography, I thought I would post these two maps and explain a little bit about how I created them.

Hobbinton Township Environs Map
The first one is the original that I drew on a 8.5 x 11 piece of paper with a felt tip pen. It shows the area around the township of Hobbinton (aka Hobbington, Hobnington, and Hobbnobton, depending on the district of town of the speaker). It shows a little bit of information that the Players don't start out knowing, so if you are one of the players in the current Campaign reading this, then do yourself a favor and don't study the map too hard. It will be more interesting for you if you get to be surprised during the course of play. Anyway, I drew this map, and then used my camera to take a picture of it, which I uploaded to my computer (obviously), and then worked on it in both, Picasa (a great piece of photo-editing software from Google that does all of the basic manipulations very easily and nicely), and then, surprisingly or not, I brought it into Microsoft Paint, a very simple image editor application I still find plenty of use for.

Hobbinton Township Details Map
This second Map is the one that came out of my efforts in Microsoft Paint.  All I did was I take the middle part of the map and cut it out and pasted it into a new image and saved that file. Then I erased the extraneous stuff I don't want to keep it from being cluttered using the Eraser Tool.  I then used the Line Draw Tool to paint in the details I wanted. I used various thickness lines and colors to distinguish elements of the map from one another.  That includes the main road (green), the section walls that divide neighborhoods (brown), the main channels for water (either underground or above ground), and the Main Pipes that go from the Water Tower to the fountains. I included a bridge which I painted in using the Line Tool. I then added text to the image in Georgia font to make it pretty, and used the line tool to show where these places are located.

Pretty simple. But the results, I think, are very helpful to me as a Gamesmaster. I can now look at the map and it reminds me of a ton of stuff that will be helpful to remember during the next Campaign. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On Alchemic Gamesmastering

I am a fan of the idea of Alchemy as a system of symbolic relationships. The Alchemists envisioned, it seems to me, a Universal array of Symbolic Correspondences which appear throughout the natural world as reflections of the supernatural world, connecting abstractions with instances in conjunction with a vast interwoven tapestry of underlying meanings embodied in symbols, glyphs, words, songs and art. Alchemists such as Raymond Lull and John Dee seemed to point toward a mathematical and poetical design of The Great Pattern.

I like the conception quite a bit, and I feel that this is what the Greater Ancients may have been alluding to when they said that "a man can see the whole Universe in the flickering leaves of a single oak tree" (Dendromancy). They alluded to the possibility of an intuitive grasping of The Great Pattern. They surmised the existence of hidden meanings above and below nature, as a reflection of the Realm of Divine Idea, and sought to convey the essence of the mystery through folklore, myth and legend.

How Gamesmasters in the future may include such a depth of correspondences in Worlds to come is a matter of speculation at the moment, however I am optimistic that such implementations may make a whole new level of experience of Feylandia possible. One in which symbolic correspondences may give rise to a deeper appreciation and understanding of the “inner landscape” of the Invisible Kingdom.

I look for an Interactive Story in which minds may mingle and find strange inklings of Other Worlds amid the myriad of treasures and perils of our rough and tumble Campaign Settings. Ones in which Adventurers in their pursuit of fame and fortune may happen to occasionally also chance upon that rarest and most precious of treasures, ...wisdom.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Death anyone?

I like this GMs treatment of death in his game. NO bones about it, and no mincing during the chopping.  Just ... you made a big mistake - you're dead.


Tomb of Horrors Session

I have to admire a GM who is perfectly willing to let the PCs get mowed down like so many blades of grass.  Of course there's a lot of angsty Players out there who will feel horribly crushed if their Characters die.  I know.  But there's another side to the argument which is that ever-present-possibility-of-dying-stupidly makes for smarter better players over time.   Sure, you lose a few while you get the hang of how to Be Careful.  But that's part of the fun of the game.   Somehow, in my experience, those games where we all knew we stood a good chance of getting chopped into tiny bits if we didn't pay attention to what we were doing, and plan carefully, were the more exciting (and oddly educational) experiences.

Most GMs I've played with were too wimpy to let PCs die. So whenever we made a mistake the GM would one way or another find a way to save us from our stupidity.   A hint here, a fudged die roll there, a modified result over there, etc.   After a while we got the idea we were not going to get killed because the Great GM in the Sky was looking out for us.   So we just kept playing stupid.   And in some cases we even played stupider, just because we knew we could. After a while we got bored and those worlds shriveled up and died the death of wimpy worlds.

On the other hand were those Worlds where the GM did not pull punches or save us from ourselves.  And those, as it turns out, were the most exciting, and memorable experiences of all.

So I admire the GM who has the balls to let the Player Characters get themselves killed. Its fun.