Wednesday, June 18, 2014

GenCon Schedule

Tentative GenCon Itinerary.

9AM-12PM: Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Endless Terrors RPG
(10AM-11AM: Roll for Initiative)
(11AM-12PM: Basics of Tabletop Game Design)
2PM-4PM: The Psychology of Gaming
(4PM-6PM: What's Your Gameplan? Turn Any Idea Into a Game)
7PM-9PM: Dark Dungeons: World Premiere
(8PM-11PM: Fantasy Film Short Block)
(9PM-11PM: Nerd Imrov)

10AM-11AM: Roll for Initiative
(10AM-11AM: Cognitive Bias in Players and How to Leverage Them)
(11AM-12PM: A Crash Course in Game Manufacturing)
12PM-1PM: A Career in Gaming
2PM-6PM: Clockwork: Dominion, beta Edition
(2PM-3PM: So You Want to Start a Podcast)
(3PM-4PM: So You're Making Your First Game)
4PM-5PM: Toastmaster's Gamers Meeting
(4PM-5PM: Business of Writing: Working with a Publisher)
(5PM-6PM: Business of Writing: Selling Your Stories)
(5PM-6PM: Cardboard Meets Plastic: Miniatures Board Games)
6PM-10PM: The ENnies
8PM-9PM: Last Annual Zombie Walk

9AM-11AM: Hickman's Killer Breakfast
(10AM-11AM: Roll for Initiative)
(10AM-11AM: Publishing: Self Publishing)
(11AM-12PM: Publishing: Small Press)
12PM-1PM: Creating Pulp Adventure
(12PM-1PM: Publishing: E-Publishing)
5PM-6PM: Live Shut Up & Sit Down Podcast
10PM-12AM: D20 Burlesque

(10AM-11AM: Roll for Initiative)
10AM-11AM: Boardgames: The Future
(10AM-12PM: What's Your Gameplan? Turn Any Idea Into a Game)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Campaign Setting: Population Control & The Frontier

"A few hundred I guess."
I don't know about other people, but I have a very hard time guesstimating the populations of cities and villages. It's like when someone asks you to guess their weight. I have no idea, I freeze. Ultimately it's probably not important at all. I'm willing to bet that players don't care that much. If they ask how many people live in a village, they're probably going to take your answer at face value and move on. An answer of "a few hundred" will be accepted and brushed over as they ask about the more interesting things like item shops and other typical adventure stops. I have small amounts of OCD though, so I want some method to my kingdom population. Luckily I stumbled across Medieval Demographics Made Easy and it answered just about every question I had. So for people with small or large amounts of OCD that want some sort of system or general idea of how to populate a kingdom.. there ya go. Pretty convenient, right?

The Frontier

The Frontier, for lack of a better or more original name, is the current setting for the campaign I'm running. The Frontier is based off of The Nentir Vale, a temperate wooded stretch set between two mountain ranges. The Frontier was settled around 300 years ago as The Empire expanded its holdings north. The Empire brought peace to the vale as it drove out hostile creatures and assimilated the native people. Now, 300 years later, The Empire is collapsing. Great fortresses are left abandoned and entire legions are dissolved as The Empire finally withdraws the last of its forces and people are left to defend themselves. Surrounded on three sides by untamed and unexplored wilderness, the vale quickly finds itself home to new and monstrous residents. Strongholds of civilization remain stubbornly entrenched along the Frontier, determined to make a life for themselves amid the deteriorating walls and crumbling keeps of their ancestors. Barbarians, usurpers, monsters, and worse constantly batter against the walls of humanity. The land is ripe for adventurers, legendary men and women anxious to make both name and wealth for themselves by selling their blades.

Yea that's nice, where are the characters?

"Okay so how many 0-Levels can  this village provide?".
Glad you asked! The party is currently adventuring out of the of the Delver's Dave Mining Camp located along the Eastern edge of the Dawnforge Mountains, a few days ride East of Hammerfast. Delver's Dale is a dwarven mining outpost with around 400 residents and a steady flow of trade. Most of the mined goods are sold directly to the dwarves while the rest go to trading caravans or river merchants. Delver's Dale is mostly residential and industrial with a few shops and a rotating population of merchants, businessman, and roughnecks. Two Temples, an Inn, and an apothecary dot the landscape of the village while the entire thing is looked over by a Stout dwarven fortress carved directly into the mountainside. Delver's Dale is home to several significant NPCs and host to several significant problems brewing outside the gates.

Other villages, trading hubs, ruins, and sites of interest surround Delver's Dale but are not detailed here. Basically I'll throw up the concept artwork, information, or maps to areas either at whim or if they become interesting enough to warrant the attention. It should be noted that none of the maps or artwork are mine, I mercilessly pillage and re purpose anything I can find online and press into service. That being said, kudos to the artists, whoever you are. You've used your skillsets and provided fuel for the imagination of one more game out there. Keep up the strong work.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sepulcher of the Mountain God, Part 2

The adventurers paused reluctantly at the outer door and peered into the tomb of the ancient warrior. Their torchlight flickered dimly off of pillars and walls, casting dancing shadows at the edge of their vision. The scene was set. They crept their way across the silent chamber methodically. They took note of every small detail on their way across the room. Hell broke lose when the halfling lifted a fist-sized yellow gem from it's resting place atop the alter. Stone pillars rumbled to life and eternal guardians began to step down from their resting places. The stone monstrosities looked at the party and began a lumbering advance. Fuck.

The stone guardians definitely laid a beating on the players. Combat opened with a few 0-Levels being crushed and the Cleric getting his noggin dented in by a stone fist. The party scattered around the room, half of them bolting toward the northwestern door and other half taking defensive positions near the eastern alter. The wizard's idea of a defensive position was jumping atop the alter and kicking the bones of an ancient warrior to the floor while a 0-Level Peasant combat dragged the unconscious cleric into cover. Joe Kickass picked the halfing up and tried to run straight through the guardians and out to safety. RIP, Joe Kickass. Meanwhile the wizard botched his casting roll and froze himself in some kind of stasis bubble. The stone guardians took a few rounds beating on the bubble before they gave up and looked for something else to hit. The western side of the room was being held by two warriors and a gang of peasants. They set up a good impromptu defense and managed to overcome the guardians after a few rounds of attrition. Some bodies were recovered, but more were rolled for their loot and left to rot on the side of the chamber.

The game wrapped up some time later after they pushed deeper into the dungeon and took out a group of monstrous cockroaches. The party was beat up by this point. I can now see the beauty of DCC RPG. Dungeons are not easy. Monsters are not pretty. Results are not always optimal. It's a nasty, dirty, dungeon grind that takes wits, balls, and luck for a character to survive. Next week we'll pick up right back in it and hopefully finish the module. For now we leave our heroes in a subterranean cave network, surrounded by ancient ruins from a time long past and the ever-present scuttling of the creatures in the darkness around them.