What used to be a sleepy outpost of civilization, mostly getting by on barley, potatoes and sardines, have recently turned in to a busy commercial hub after a substantial silver ore was discovered in the hills just west of the mountains. Merchants, burglars, pimps and other middlemen are establishing shop in the small town, and the local sheriff Brigolda Twotooth is having a hard time keeping order. Continue reading
RPGs vs Board games
John Wick, the author of Play Dirty, just wrote up an interesting blog post where he attempts to draw the line between board games and RPGs.
I’ll try to sum up what he’s saying: If a game can be successfully played without roleplaying, it is not an RPG (e.g. Chess), if it can’t it is an RPG (e.g. Call of Cthulhu). Thus D&D editions 1 through 4 (5e does have a tiny mechanic to promote roleplaying) are not RPGs.
Moreover, rules are only in the way unless they facilitate one of two things:
- Reward choices which are consistent with the characters motivations.
- Further the story.
In conclusion: In a true RPG, game balance does not matter, only spotlight.
It’s certainly possible to quibble with Johns line of reasoning, but that doesn’t make it less insightful. I, for one, have endured endless hours of discussion trying to iron out the perceived imbalances introduced by a single spell, say Lead Blades. Imagine spending that time in the spotlight instead, advancing an intriguing plot? Regrettably, I can’t reclaim that time, but I can definitely try to avoid making these mistakes in the future. Avoiding half of them would be awesome, too!
The Vexed Tower
Next up in my progress on Ships’ Folly (hex 17:12) in Tenkars Landing. I give you The Vexed Tower.
Centuries ago, right after the lighthouses were completed, the summoners were eager to activate their new and fabulous instrument. However, none had previously employed such potent symbol, and it was deemed wise to first complete a so called dry-run. A dry-run being the performance of an actual summoning ritual without invoking any Name and thus not pulling anything through the portal.
But alas, being inexperienced with such massive infrastructure, the summoners still leaked significant amounts of arcane energy Continue reading
Tog Mog Grog & Spirits
Here’s another update on my hex (17:12, Ships’ Folly) in Trenkars Landing. This is a quick writeup of what’s going on in one of the five lighthouses.
Tog Mog Grog & Spirits is a strange tavern in the lower part of Tog Mog Tower, one of the five lighthouses in Ships’ Folly.
Back in the day, when the five lighthouses were constructed, a keeper was appointed to each lighthouse. Today, hundreds of years later, all keepers are long dead or gone. All except Tog Mog.
Tog Mog is a human warlock in his mid-five-hundreds. How has he manages to celebrate so many birthdays without becoming undead? Because he is not allowed to die, that’s why. He has entered a pact with Krai-Chandada Krai, an ancient and malevolent cockroach spirit which Continue reading
[map] Trenkar’s Landing: hex1712
Here’s some work in progress of my little corner of Trenkar’s Landing, hex1712.
What I have to work with here is a pure water hex, so I’ve opted for a reef area, dotted with lighthouses. The shoals dotted with reefs and islands are a nightmare to nagvigate, so five lighthouses were constructed to help ships pass through. At least that was the reason given upon petitioning for funds to construct the lighthouses. The real reason is more sinister. The beacons were erected at each corner in a pentagram, and when all are lighted on a foggy night, and their beam is shone in the correct direction, a pentagram can be seen from the skies. Thus the lighthouses are infrastructure for a gigantic summoning symbol.
But this is a long time ago, and only a few individuals hold the secret of the true purpose of behind these buildings.
More on this as the story develops! Meanwhile, here’s the map, version 1.
Trenkar’s Landing, a crowdsourced fantasy setting
I’ve joined the crowdsourced sandbox setting dubbed Trenkar’s Landing. So far there are just above one hundred (!) participants! Here is the map of all assigned hexes, as of today.
As you can see, I’m at 17.12, a sea hex.
This is such a cool initiative, and I’m very excited to be part of this snowball. Who knows if it’ll melt in two minutes or grow to become the a glacier!
From me, a lighthouse and some strange shoals coming up. Expect to see a draft of that area right here and very soon!
[map] Stone Octopus Garden
Up in the hills, about a days brisk hike from the village Thriceborough, lies Stone Octopus Garden. One entrance to the dungeon is hidden among the roots of a huge elm tree. Down in the chasm, a river flows by so slowly that it could be called a lake. Spanning the chasm is a an old, wooden bridge, the only way to get across to the island where the keep sits, without getting wet.
The reason for the keep’s name is a mystery, but when the local bard is well into his third pint he might take to singing a sad, strange tune about Continue reading
[class] Innrider for D&D 3.5e
This one is from the archives, written up by me maybe 10 years ago. What’s up with the Innrider? Let me answer that with a question: In your game, has there ever been a situation where a halfling or gnome got up on the shoulders of another large and strong PC and “rode” around for a bit? The Innrider is a prestige class covering that sort of behavior. It definitely fits best into a humorous fantasy setting. But then again; why not have a cult of anti-paladin kobolds kidnapping hobgoblin kids and rearing them as mounts? It’s a bad day when this gang rides into town, pillaging and whatnot. This could probably work in a gritty, low-fantasy setting as well. Anyway, here we go: Continue reading
[sketch] Small Castle
Rondane is way up north, where habitable lands go pale and bow to the frozen taiga plateau. Ever-harassing winds leech all body warmth. Vast frozen tundras and ancient mountain ridges, unbeatable to all except the glaciers which ponderously grind everything into gravel.
Not even the orcs hang around for long up here, for this is the land of trolls. Not the sinewy, lanky swamp trolls. Nay, in Rondane dwells an older troll breed Continue reading