April 26, 2012

City - Milpord


1: Tollbooth
2: The Golden Lance Inn
3: Town Hall
4: Great River Tavern
5: The Giant's Inn
6: Thieves - 50% encounter w/thief
7: Market area - 50% encounter w/thief
8: Garrison
9: Garrison weapon shop
10: Jail
11: General store
12: The Ring's Hand (M-U Guild)
13: Blacksmith
14: Alchemist
15: Library
16: Slums - 80% encounter w/thief
17: Cobbler
18: Carpenter
19: Seamstress
20: Housing
21: Bank - 10% encounter w/thief
22: Chapel, Hospital
23: Fight training - 10gp /day
24: Jeweler
25: Carriage service
26: Stock, hangings, etc
27: House of Pleasure
28: Baker
29: Butcher
30: Mortuary
31: School
32: Warehouse - 60% encounter w/thief
33: Kennels
34: Pawn Shop
35: Farmers Co-op
36: Money Changer - 10% encounter w/thief
37: Orphanage
38: Grain storage bins

April 25, 2012

City - Lifston


1: Tollbooth
2: The Tantalizing Tavern
3: Thieves - 50% encounter w/thief
4: Market area - 65% encounter w/thief
5: Garrison
6: Jail
7: Weapon shop
8: General store
9: Town Hall
10: The Wand (M-U Guild)
11: Blacksmith & Stables
12: Alchemist
13: Sage
14: Slums - 50% encounter w/thief
15: Cobbler
16: Carpenter
17: Seamstress
18: Housing
19: Bank - 10% encounter w/thief
20: Chapel, Hospital
21: Fight training - 5gp day
22: Jeweler
23: Fishery
24: School
25: Mortuary
26: Theatre
27: Carriage service
28: Warehouse - 20% encounter w/thief
29: Stock, hangings, etc
30: Money Changer - 30% encounter w/thief
31: Baker
32: Butcher

April 24, 2012

City - Lappoy


1: Tollbooth
2: Footpad's Inn - 25% encounter w/thief
3: Thieves - 60% encounter w/thief
4: Market area - 20% encounter w/thief
5: General store
6: The Rich Man's Hand (M-U Guild)
7: House of Pleasure
8: Slums - 50% encounter w/thief
9: Housing
10: Chapel, Hospital
11: Fight training - 5gp day
12: Gambling - 50% encounter w/thief
13:  Bank (Thieves)
14: Cobbler
15: Carpenter
16: Seamstress
17: Butcher
18: Baker
19: Pawn Shop
20: Warehouse
21: Town Hall

April 20, 2012

5E Friday - What Goes Into D&D

Recently I began to think about what exactly needs to go into the thought process for an edition of D&D. How many components of the game system need to have design decisions made on them. So, I went through a bunch of the old and new editions for D&D and came up with this list. My criteria for adding to this list included things that would be expected in a "core" game. Thus I didn't ask questions such as, should monster races be allowed? I figured 5E specifically and other iterations would add such things as supplements.

-What dice types to use.
-What Target Number system.
-Random generation of characters including race and class?
-Level structure.
-0-Level characters?
-Level acquisition speed.
-What is Max Level?
-What Stats to include (Comeliness?).
-Generation of Stats.
-Effect of Stats on game play. Each of these is a separate category as each Stat can effect game play in a variety of ways. For example, does a higher Intelligence allow more known languages, bonus spells, better to hit with spells, better damage with spells, what skills does it affect, etc?
-Stat range (18/00 or 19+?).
-Does Age affect Stats or game play?
-Is Race a Class?
-Does Race provide bonuses or penalties to Stat scores?
-Does Race disallow certain classes?
-Does Race limit Class max level?
-Does Race limit equipment?
-What racial abilities does each race have?
-Does each Class have a different system mechanic?
-Does Class limit equipment?
-Does Class limit Skills?
-Starting HP, Skills for each Class.
-Unique Abilities for each Class.
-Are Abilities specialized per Class or are they Skills any Class can take (but some are better at)?
-One XP chart for all Classes or a separate one for each Class?
-Level titles?
-What abilities does each class gain as they level up?
-What is the hp increase as characters level up?
-What is the Skill increase as characters level up?
-What type of Skill system? None, Secondary, Proficiency, number of Skills, broad range or narrow focused Skills?
-Take 10/20?
-Themes/Prestige Classes/Epic Classes.
-Can PCs create items (crafting system)?
-Is Alignment included and how does it work?
-Languages. Which to include, how to acquire them, their relevance.
-Standard for monetary system (gold, silver or other)?
-Starting money for characters.
-PC maintenance (automatic loss of money)?
-Relevance/inclusion of Hirelings and Henchmen.
-What equipment to include and prices for each.
-Technological level of equipment (guns?).
-Damage values for weapons. Size of opponent affect damage? Weapon speed? Armor Class Adjustments?
-AC values for armor.
-Weapon proficiency?
-Critical hits and fumbles?
-Charging, Called Shots, Grappling, Subdual damage, Firing into melee, Holding Actions, Casting while in melee.
-Breaking off from combat (opportunity attacks?).
-Detail of combat (grid or gridless/miniatures?).
-Healing (Surges, X hp/day, Healing Skill?)
-Dead at 0 hp, -X hp, Death Saving Throws?
-Ramifications of Death (Resurrection? Stat loss?).
-Attacking objects.
-Units of time measurement (turn, round, segments). How long is each time measurement?
-Distance (feet, meters, area a PC covers?).
-Max level of spells (7-9?)
-Spell acquisition? Speed and volume of spell acquisition? Recovery of spells.
-What spells or rituals to include.
-Casting conventions.
-Material or somatic components?
-What affects can be placed on PCs and NPCs?
-System for saves.
-Energy Drain?
-Relevance of Encumbrance. System for encumbrance.
-Movement values. Jumping, swimming, running.
-Light effects.
-Infravision, ultravision, darkvision.
-System for Initiative.
-NPC reactions.
-Poison, disease, falling, fire, drowning, aerial, environmental effects.
-Acquisition of XP. From gold, kills, quests, Skill usage? How much?
-XP group or individual?
-Training required for leveling up?
-High level play. Acquisitions and systems for Followers, Domains?
-How to design encounters/dungeons/adventures.
-Trap design.
-Monster placement.
-Monster vs. PC balance.
-Design of monster restricted to PC abilities?
-Size of monsters relevant to abilities/Stats?
-Do monsters have vulnerabilities (what does silver do to a vampire?) or immunities (require +1 magic weapons to affect?).
-What monsters to include as "core".
-How to handle treasure (amount gained, selling magic items).
-Relevance of magic items.
-Default setting.
-Font style.
-Art style.
-Page design.

A fairly long list of what I think needs to be included in the design process for a version of D&D. Did I miss anything?

April 19, 2012

City - Hollax


1: Tollbooth
2: Green Horn Tavern
3: Silver Dragon Inn
4: The Magic Inn - 10% encounter w/thief
5: Thieves - 50% encounter w/thief
6: Market area - 50% encounter w/thief
7: Kennels
8: Garrison
9: Garrison weapon shop
10: Weapon shop
11: General store
12: Town Hall
13: The Oteff (M-U Guild)
14: Blacksmith
15: Sage
16: Alchemist
17: Library
18: Orphanage
19: Slums - 15% encounter w/thief
20: Cobbler
21: Carpenter
22: Seamstress
23: Housing
24: Bank - 10% encounter w/thief
25: Chapel, Hospital
26: Fight training
27: Theatre, Stadium
28: Fountain
29: Jeweler
30: Fishery
31: School
32: Jail
33: Carriage service
34: Mortuary
35: Stock, hangings, etc
36: Guide service
37: House of Pleasure
38: Gambling - 50% encounter w/thief
39: Warehouse - 65% encounter w/thief
40: Money Changer - 50% encounter w/thief
41: Employment office
42: Tax Collector
43: Baker
44: Butcher
45: Grain storage bins
46: Farmers Co-op

April 18, 2012

City - Gostown


1: Old(Broken down) West Gate. Can not be opened.
2: Toll booths
3: The Red Waters Inn
4: The Swan Boat Tavern
5: The Island's Inn - 10% encounter w/thief
6: Thieves - 60% encounter w/thief
7: Market area - 50% encounter w/thief
8: Garrison
9: Jail
10: General store
11: Town Hall
12: Orb's Workers (M-U Guild)
13: Blacksmith & Stables
14: Alchemist
15: Sage
16: Slums - 70% encounter w/thief
17: Cobbler
18: Carpenter
19: Baker
20: Butcher
21: Seamstress
22: Housing
23: Bank - 20% encounter w/thief
24: Chapel, Hospital
25: Fight training
26: Fishery
27: Warehouses - 25% encounter w/thief
28: School
29: Mortuary
30: House of Pleasure
31: Stock, hangings, etc
32: Pawn Shop

April 17, 2012

Me and the Site of the Year Contest

Today my hat/blog goes into the pool for voting in the Stuffer Shack Site of the Year contest. Each day this week several blog sites go into the mix and viewers pick one to move onto the final set of selections. Today is your chance to send my blog onto the next stage...or not. Really, vote for the one YOU like the best. You can do that here.

City - Gentord


1: Tollbooths
2: The Silver Cup Inn
3: The Gentle Knight Tavern
4: Thieves Guild - 40% encounter w/thief
5: Market area - 50% encounter w/thief
6: Garrison
7: Jail
8: Weapon shop
9: General store
10: Town Hall
11: The Ring (M-U Guild)
12: Blacksmith & Stable
13: Alchemist
14: Sage
15: Slums - 60% encounter w/thief
16: Seamstress
17: Cobbler
18: Carpenter
19: Housing
20: Bank - 25% encounter w/thief
21: Chapel, Hospital
22: Fight training - 5gp day
23: Jeweler
24: Carriage service
25: Mortuary
26: Guide service
27: House of Pleasure
28: Tax Collector
29: Employment office
30: Butcher
31: Baker
32: Kennels
33: Money Changer - 10% encounter w/thief
34: Stocks, hangings, etc
35: Warehouses - 65% encounter w/thief
36: Farmers Co-op
37: Grain storage bins

April 12, 2012

City - Crasfon


1: Tollbooth
2: The Golden Cup Inn
3: The Firehearth Tavern
4: Thieves - 60% encounter w/thief
5: Market area - 50% encounter w/thief
6: Garrison
7: Jail
8: Garrison weapon shop
9: General store
10: Town Hall
11: The Wizard's Lair (M-U Guild)
12: Blacksmith & Stables
13: Alchemist
14: Library
15: Slums - 60% encounter w/thief
16: Cobbler
17: Carpenter
18: Seamstress
19: Housing
20: Bank - 10% encounter w/thief
21: Chapel, Hospital
22: Fight training - 10gp day
23: Jeweler
24: School
25: House of Pleasure
26: Warehouse - 60% encounter w/thief
27: Money Changer - 40% encounter w/thief
28: Stock, hangings, etc
29: Theatre
30: Grain storage bins
31: Farmers Co-op

April 11, 2012

City - Braccus


1: Tollbooth
2: The Cup and Plate Tavern
3: The Dragon Inn
4: Fountain
5: Thieves - 50% encounter w/thief
6: Market area - 10% encounter w/thief
7: Garrison
8: Jail
9: General store
10: Town Hall
11: Wizard's Apprentice (M-U Guild)
12: Blacksmith & Stables
13: Alchemist
14: Library
15: Orphanage
16: Slums - 60% encounter w/thief
17: Seamstress
18: Cobbler
19: Carpenter
20: Housing
21: Bank - 10% encounter w/thief
22: Chapel, Hospital
23: Fight training - 5gp day
24: Jeweler
25: Baker
26: Butcher
27: House of Pleasure
28: School
29: Theatre
30: Carriage service
31: Mortuary
32: Employment office
33: Stock, hangings, etc
34: Warehouse - 30% encounter w/thief

April 10, 2012

City - Alcartol

Today marks the beginning of a short series of city maps I did up about 20+ years ago. The maps have been scanned but you should be able to click on them for a larger and clearer picture. They might be of use if you need a town on the fly or as groundwork for your own work. This should run Tuesday-Thursday for the next 5 weeks.


1: Tollbooth
2: The Golden Unicorn Inn
3: The Green Horn Tavern
4: The Sharper Tavern - 20% encounter w/thief
5: Thieves - 20% encounter w/thief
6: Market area - 50% encounter w/thief
7: Garrison
8: Garrison weapon shop
9: Jail
10: General store
11: Town Hall
12: Servants of the Orb (M-U Guild)
13: Blacksmith & Stables
14: Alchemist
15: Sage
16: Slums - 20% encounter w/thief
17: Carpenter
18: Cobbler
19: Seamstress
20: Housing
21: Bank
22: Chapel, Hospital
23: Fight training - 5gp day
24: Jeweler
25: School
26: Stock, hangings, etc
27: Mortuary
28: House of Pleasure
29: Warehouse - 25% encounter w/thief
30: Farmers Co-op
31: Grain storage bins
32: Orphanage
33: Butcher
34: Baker
35: Pawn Shop

April 6, 2012

5E Friday

-The more I hear from WotC, and their polls/blogs/articles, the more I think they really have no system yet. I have to wonder what exactly the "playtesters" back in December were testing. I had assumed that they had the majority of the system in place and they were just fine tuning it. Now I think I was wrong in that initial assessment. After their first announcement back in January (now 3 months ago) there has been no concrete information released as far as mechanics; just a bunch of "we're thinking about doing it this way...or that way...or another way we haven't even discussed yet."

It almost seems like they are hesitant to release any solid "final" information. I sort of don't blame them. Once they do release a "final" system mechanic, such as the magic-user system of learning/memorizing spells (vancian or other), every blog/forum poster that either hates WotC or the system mechanic will leap down their throats with negative words. I worry that WotC is has become too "gun-shy" to make any formal declarations.

WotC almost has to release the final design all at once. If they release bits of design slowly they run the risk of alienating potential customers over those individual parts. For instance, if they release the magic-user system there are sure to be some who hate the implementation. And they will dismiss 5E. Same for whatever they decide with the healing, class, race, ability, save or death, etc systems. If they release these final systems one at a time they will lose another set of potential customers each time.

If they release the final design all at once, then potential customers might say "well I don't like what they did with save or death, but I do like a lot of the other things they did for 5E; I'll give it a look when it hits print form". A complete system will allow potential customers to judge 5E on its overall design rather than dismiss it over singular designs.

However, whatever buzz and potential excitement their initial announcement of 5E had is quickly evaporating away. They need to start making some decisions on design or risk becoming a non-event.

April 3, 2012

What is Next?

What is the next "break-out" system? By this I mean what new rule set will captivate the creative juices of a vast majority of the rpg community. I mean a system that revitalizes a portion of the rpg community and sets itself apart as a leader.

I would have to say Pathfinder was the last "big" thing (and it is still going strong). It pushed itself from a side project (trying to maintain their adventure/module business) into a leader within the rpg scene. Some of the best designers now put out Pathfinder material and it is a "go-to" commodity for new designers.

Before Pathfinder I would have to say it was Mutants and Masterminds. M&M revitalized a genre and brought it to the forefront of creativity and enthusiasm in a way we hadn't seen in some time. It became the "go-to" system for superheroes. If you wanted to run a super-hero campaign the first thing you checked out was M&M.

For awhile I really thought Savage Worlds would be "it". It is a solid system and initially had a lot of enthusiasm going for it. While it is still going strong, it seems to have fallen away from the spotlight. Material is still being produced but without much of the fanfare as in the past. Maybe this has something to do with the fact not many products actually hit the shelves; most is print-on-demand or pdfs. Thus if you aren't looking for them specifically, you will not know they are out there.

I think the AGE system from Green Ronin has the potential to be the next big thing, that is if Green Ronin wants it to be. The system gets the buzz that it is solid and creative. It is agile enough to handle a variety of play styles and genres. However, there is not really anything coming out of Green Ronin to push the system in a non-Dragon Age direction. They have stated that they have some other ideas coming out for the AGE system, but first they want to finish Dragon Age. And at the glacial pace they set for that (they are a relatively small company) it could be some time before we see anything of the sort.
Personally, I would like to see Green Ronin put out something similar to an OGL allowing independent designers to create works outside of Green Ronin. Green Ronin is simply too small to produce everything the AGE system is capable of providing. I think the AGE system could be the next "big thing" but it will require Green Ronin to actively work toward this concept and open it up to the rpg community.

4E lost their opportunity to be the next magnet for the rpg community of designers with its restrictive GSL and barriers of integration into "core" 4E, namely through a Character Builder incapable of allowing for third party content to be imported.Will 5E correct this mistake? Will 5E be the next big thing designers and third party publishers will get behind? I think the potential certainly exists for this, but as with 4E, this will all come down to how WotC handles the OGL/GSL and how difficult it will be for a consumer to integrate third party material into their own campaigns. Unlike other systems, D&D and 5E will have a built in fan base simply because it is D&D. In this case it is less about the system drawing people in and more about how WotC handles the situation; it is completely in the hands of WotC how this all plays out.

What about other future releases?

Will the DCC (Dungeon Crawl Classics) be the next big thing the rpg community supports? Already there are a number of companies producing material for the system and it is not even released yet. There is definitely an enthusiasm surrounding it, but I suspect it is too much of a niche system to become wide-spread. Maybe I'll be wrong on that count.

Will a new OSR product capture the imaginations of designers everywhere? Maybe, there certainly is a lot of really good stuff out there, but I suspect the OSR community is too fragmented (beyond their love for old-school game play) to actually get behind a single new product.

So what will the next big thing be?