Short Takes 02/12/09

Things I’ve used lately:

Please enjoy the Primordial Changeling, a level 6 regenerative were-snake solo I’m looking forward to throwing at my players next session. You can find him, plus the swarm golem and lava elemental (both trans-role critters) in the Weekly Critter Crate. – Unnatural 20

Yes, I will definitely be grabbing a few of these to modify for my game. Giant Salamander? Moths? Sand Devil and Doppleganger Jelly? Very cool. I only wish they were either a) on posts of their own or b) all in one pdf for easier access. Each monster is on it’s own pdf you have to download to read.

Then, suddenly inspired, I fired up Googlism. This is a tool that lets you enter a name and spit out random facts associated with that name by Google. – Szilard

This should’ve been a no-brainer but it never occurred to me to use the site that way until szilard posted about it. The results to take a little filtering but this looks alot better than most random NPC personality or quirk generators I’ve seen. And it won’t even be hard to use the results in a fantasy game.

As a sort of recap, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten articles since the site began, rated by number of page views. – Jonathon Drain

When Jonathon Drain hands you a list of popular posts on his blog, you look for things to steal. In this case, I found 2.  The first is a complete list of Ioun Stones I’m going to convert over to d6 Fantasy. Of all the magic items ever published for the AD&D game in any of its incarnations, Ioun Stones are hands down my favorite. There is no way I can pass this list up.

The second is and an essay on how much a gold piece is worth. I’ve based many things in Project Valiant on my research into what 12th Century Europe was actually like and will be using what I’ve learned from this essay to help me on pricing items for my game.

War is a sad constant in human history. So it isn’t surprising that war is a popular feature of literature and it plays a major role in most fantasy campaigns. – Stargazer

Stargazer gives some really nice advice about war and fantasy gaming. Since Valiant is set in a realistic version of fuedal Europe, this article is something I’ll be referring to as I write games for my players. Even if the players are no where near a war, they’ll likely hear about. While much of what he says is common sense, it’s nice to have it all in one place with the thinking done for me. I just wish he’d learn to use space between paragraphs….

I created this powerful magical battle ax for a C&C campaign I ran about a year and a half ago. I’m presenting it again here, slightly tweaked so it’s a little bit more balanced. – Badelaire

I seem to have a fetish for picking up other people’s ideas for magical items as I found one more at Tankards & Broadswords. This one probably won’t show up for a long time yet, as it really is a doozy. The Battle-Ax wants a good fight though, and I love that. Not the most creative magical item, I’ve come across this idea before in books and I’ll probably change the name but oooo, the stuff it does!

…the next step in designing your adventure is the most fundamental:  the plot. – A Butterfly Dreaming

It’s a short quote but that post is an excellent read on story writing and adventures are at heart stories of some sort. There are some good details and building the basic conflict and I’ll be referring back to it often. Then I’ll go here and try following this outline. I think that outline could work well for more than an adventure script but also for a chapter, or entire campaign idea. Click here for the next installment of the series by Butterfly Dreaming.

That’s it for this post’s worth of ideas stolen! Yes, if you haven’t guessed, my favorite class is thief. Excuse me… Viriatha sneaks off into the dark looking for more good game content.

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The Requiem

Image via Wikipedia

Yes, I know, LARPs have an amazingly bad name in gamer circles. Notwithstanding, I play not one but two games of it a month for Vampire: The Requiem. Anyone who hasn’t tried it in a few years, should. They made a new rule that no one under 18 is allowed in the fan club (The Camarilla) and that has cleaned up the worst of the Emo Drama problems. I’m not going to say it’s a perfect game but it’s better than it was.

However, I post this because on February 26th, the South East Regional Event will be held in Atlanta and I’m attending! I would love to meet other people from the blogosphere in that area. Please contact me at viri_cordova at yahoo dot com if you live nearby and we could maybe meet up!

I’ll be in Atlanta from Thursday evening (the 26th) until Sunday afternoon (March 1st). My evenings should be busy but my mornings and afternoons look pretty open right now since Requiem is the only venue I have any characters in at this time. Of course, if you actually PLAY the Requiem live action….. well, then I would love to chat even more!

Anyone interested in LARPing with the Camarilla can either contact me or visit this site for help finding a Chapter near you.

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Short Takes 02/02/09

A firework in Bratislava, Slovakia, 2005

Image via Wikipedia

Posts I’ve found of use lately:

I voiced my wish to see some chance of spell failure in D&D in my recent post about Fantasy Magic. Having been called out by Bonemaster I have put together my suggestions as to how to use spell failure. – 6d6Fireball

D6 Fantasy, the system I’m using to develop Project Valiant, allows for spell failure but doesn’t really detail what exactly happens when it occurs. 6d6 Fireball posted a table I’ve swiped and modified for my own games. I’ve chosen to use a d10 instead of a d30 because I prefer Read the rest of this entry »

The Bard has a Stage!

Life is but a Fairy Tale Stage
Image by Stuck in Customs via Flickr

A few updates:

The Bard RSS feed has now moved to and the link on the left has the new feed.

Also, I’m going to be going through some changes here over the next two weeks. I’ve been able to acquire a domain name and web hosting so the Bard will be moving from a WordPress hosted site to it’s own space! YAY! A Stage of My Very Own! I’ll leave a pointer here for it when that happens. I might have a few growing pains so please be patient.

In the meantime, regular posts will continue although in February, I’ll be going from 3-4 posts a week to 2-3 posts a week -every 3 days for a regular post, instead of every other day. Short posts like this one won’t affect that schedule.

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Interlude: Short Takes 01/26/09

Former Pakistani Prim...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

These entries will be lists of links I’ve found useful recently from other blogs. For almost all of these,  I actually used it in some way to make my games better and will write here how I went about doing so. At the very end, I’ll include links back to those who linked to me, if any.

Currently the players are on the hunt for the Veil of Convenient Illusions, which was last seen somewhere in the Constitutional Democratic Monarchy of Estalasia. – Wyatt

If you haven’t yet read Wyatt’s attempt to plan a skill encounter, Read the rest of this entry »

Interlude: Character Death

detail from an 18...

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One of the hardest things about rpgs [sic] isn’t prep, or out-maneuvering fire-breathing dragons but keeping a group of players engaged in what you are doing on a long term basis. – Advanced Gaming & Theory

Part of the challenge of any game is that you can lose. People tend to be competitive in many endeavors, not just games, and they want to win. If they know they can win, most games, and roleplaying games are no exception, become boring and stale very quickly. The very real risk of losing keeps a game fresh and interesting.

While most roleplaying games are not the game master versus the players, they are the players versus the environment.The environment challenges Read the rest of this entry »

Interlude – Pictures

If you haven’t seen this post by Chgowiz, go! And make sure you check out his lightboxes. Very cool!