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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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 »

Get your Voice Heard

Go here, where a couple of people are looking at starting up a small online business providing tools to GM’s. Answer the polls. Then leave a comment detailing why you answered what you did and how they can help you. It looks like it could work really well for a time strapped GM. Maybe not so much for a player, hard to say. Most of the proposed tools seem to cater to adventure creation.

But this chance to tell them what YOU want and would use is not to be missed. Too bad WotC didn’t ask first.

Interlude: Putting Elements Together I

veil-of-convenient-illusionsAs a Bard of Valiant, I try to write about actual processes I use as a Game Master that work in concrete ways to make my game better. Hopefully by passing these methods on, it helps make your game better, too. In this spirit, these series of posts will be about how I actually used something I posted about to improve my game so maybe you can use the process yourself.

As commented here, I really love the name “Veil of Convenient Illusions” as written about by Wyatt. I also recommended something Chgowiz found, the stock.xchng for finding cool images you can use in games. Well, I now know what the Veil will look like by randomly viewing images there.

I still have no idea what it does but by putting two things I’ve found on different blogs, I’ve come up a very cool and interesting magical item. Click on the picture for full impact.

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