Mar 19, 2020

Hero Forge

Hero Forge is an online tool for creating your own miniatures to be used in your favorite RPG, boardgame, or war game.

Using this tool I created a classic adventuring party: Dwarf fighter, Elf Sorceress, Halfling Burglar, and a Human Paladin.

The tools comprise of pre-made parts: body types like female elf or dwarf male. Helmet, armor, weapon. And you can use a pre-made pose or adjust the pose yourself. Which is what I chose to do. It has quite a large selection and you can create some really unique characters. The materials are limited you can get plastic, steel, or bronze. They come in a solid color. There are also a good selection of bases to choose from such as a skull, a 6-sided die, a disk, and so on.

I found the tool to be quite user friendly. While I do have quite a bit of experience at 3d modeling, I don't think it required any special knowledge.

While I went for the fantasy set it also has some other genres like sci-fi, though with a much more limited set of options for those.

The figures took a while to arrive, about 6 weeks, part of that may be the disruption in the supply chain with the current situation. Also they are pretty expensive when compared to off-the-shelf figures you can get at your local game store, starting at $19.99US for basic plastic. The scale looks a bit larger than typical 28mm figures. They are nicely detailed and pretty sharp and come with a coat of primer. the sprues have been removed though you might want to do a little extra sanding on rough edges. If you look carefully under a magnifying glass you can see the lines from the 3d printing. The printing is done by Shapeways which is probably the largest consumer supplier of 3d printed objects.

Mar 11, 2020

Old School Stat Blocks

One of those (too many) projects that have been simmering on the back burner in the Dungeoneering test kitchen are Encounter Cards. A deck of cards to go with the Beasties books would make it easier for the DM to use during play. One of the challenges is condensing the information into a usable stat block. A perusal of various formats in the early books and modules shows little conformity or standardization. Here are a few gleaned from LBB and others:

Book 2 Monsters & Treasure: (#APP, AC, Move, HD, % in Lair, Treasure Type)

Greyhawk/Blackmoor: (#APP, AC, Move, HD, # Att, Damage, % in Lair, Treasure Type)

Monster & Treasure Assortment Set 1-3: (#APP, HP, #AT, Attack Level, AC, Saving Throw, Special Abilities, Treasure)

Village of Hommlet original cover (HP, AC, HD, Move, #ATT)

Descent into the Depths original cover (AC, Move, HD, #Att, Damage, Size)

Holmes Basic (Move, HD, AC, Treasure Type, Align, Attacks, Damage)

And its not like any of these were actually standardized. Much of the time all they cared about was Hit Points and what Treasure they might have.

Here are some later ones. This is a 2nd edition stat block from Dungeon magazine:

 Not bad, all the important info in a logical order, clearly laid out.

Then there is this dumpster fire of a stat block from 3rd edition from Dungeon magazine:

And this isn't even one of the really bad ones. No wonder players started getting frustrated with 3rd edition and all the clutter that accumulated. I don't think 4th edition made it any better.

With this info, here is a Stat Block boiled down for ease of use and essential information. The front of the card, as you can see, would be a full color illustration of a Beastie, and a description card that would come with the deck.

What do you think? Does this work for you?

Frigid Sietch of Jilanger the Arid Trickster

In the outer reaches of the Arouka desert, Jilanger the notorious outlaw and trickster occupies a hidden sietch with his band of marauders.

A bookmark adventure for 2-5 players of 4th-6th level.


Making of:

Patrons receive a high resolution PDF of this, and an actual bookmark.

Converting the OD&D Alternate Combat system to d20

d20 assumes a simple progression of +1 bonus to hit for each HD. I was wondering how well that lined up with the original D&D TO HIT table. It's not quite that simple.

Looking at the Alternate Combat system (the top chart in gray) in the Original Men & Magic book the table is relatively smooth except in a few spots where it jumps. Between 2-3 and 3-4 hit dice the number needed to hit reduces by two. This also happens from 6-8 to 9-10 hit dice. We can take that as is and directly convert it to an ascending Armor Class combat system with a bonus to hit on d20. This is indicated in blue.

However with some tweaks we can smooth out those jumps a bit by spreading out 5 & 6 and then grouping 7-8 and moving 9 hit dice down to its own column.

I think these adjustments remain very true to the original To Hit chart while smoothly adapting it to an ascending Armor Class system.

The blue chart is useful for converting OD&D to d20 as well. For example a 4HD monster might be better as a 3HD monster in d20/5e.

Here are a couple other To Hit tables from early DnD that ever so slightly smooths out this progression by delineating the overlap a little more clearly, like separating 3 from 3+. From the Holmes "Blue Book" basic:

And this classic from the indispensable, hugely useful, Judges Guild Ready Ref Sheets which appears to be identical to that in OD&D, just expanded.

Mar 9, 2020

Glacial Rift Arctic Map Pack

In the previous post announcing the release of the first Adventure Bot module: Abandoned Glacial Rift of Blurut of the Crepuscular Claw I mentioned how the scope of the project kept getting bigger and that was part of the nearly year long delay in getting it done. I gathered some of those bits and pieces and put them together into their own fully colored deluxe Paper Figure and Map set.

It is full of arctic themed Map Tiles for use to create dioramas on the tabletop and to visual combat and the adventuring environment.

  • Arctic Dungeon Geomorphs in 8 basic shapes.
  • Three (3) 11"x17" snow and ice covered battlemaps.
  • Full Color paper figurines of northern barbarians, yetis, polar bears, sabertoothed tigers, trees, ruins and more.
  • Keyed and Unkeyed Dungeon and Wilderness maps.

Useful stand alone for an arctic themed setting, or for use with the Abandoned Glacial Rift of Blurut of the Crepuscular Claw adventure.

Mar 5, 2020

Abandoned Glacial Rift of Blurut of the Crepuscular Claw FINALLY

I wrote Adventure Bot over a year ago. It is a Twitter bot that randomly generates a name for an adventure and posts it once per hour. It has come up with some colorful and interesting adventure ideas. There are some real gems in there like:

Scourge of the Castle of Rotar the Enchanted Lamia 
Unhallowed Church of Agit and the Timeless Lich 
Sunless Abyss of Zex the Maleficent Prophet 

It is a pretty fun little bot to see the results from. I've made Bookmark Adventures of some of them in the past, and plan to do a lot more in the coming months.

The first adventure I was going to develop had the mouthful of a name: Abandoned Glacial Rift of Blurut of the Crepuscular Claw. This adventure has been in writing and development hell for over a year, slowly being picked on and added to. The scope of it kept blowing up into something huge, it took some discipline to focus on a manageable size so that it could actually get published. Finally, with the help of David Pulver doing some last minute editing work, the adventure is available.

It has a bonus section that includes Paper Figures to be used in the adventure.

If you like it let me know, and I'll make more adventures like this.

Available here on Drive-Thru. Patrons get a free copy.