Monthly Archives: October, 2011

Links of the Week: October 31, 2011

I think I never realized how many pages I was reviewing through the week.  This week I only had time for the briefest triage (“not interested” or “tl;dr — do later”) through the week, and I spend most of my free time this weekend reviewing things in greater detail.

It might be time to write a plugin to help me do this more efficiently.

Topic: Mapping Software

I’ve found articles about a few mapping programs (one online, one not) that might prove useful.

I’ll be honest, most of the time when I do maps I use the GIMP, but I can easily see myself using something easier.  Sometimes I just want to know where things are relative to each other, I don’t need a map that is as nice as I’ve seen done with a full graphics package.

Dungeon Painter Online


A simple online ‘dungeon painter’.  Select the map elements you want displayed and just click, drag, and so on to put them on the map.  It looks to have a nice range of textures and tiles (for instance, ‘floor squares’), including different tiles within the same ‘floor type’.

I don’t know that I would use this for publishing-quality work, but I’ve only toyed with it for a few minutes.  I’d certainly be willing to consider it for quick maps for use in play online.  Quick, easy, and presentable.

Online Dungeon Master

OnlineDM has been presented a series of articles on tweaking the use of MapTool.  I’ve used MapTool, I like MapTool, but this guy goes way beyond what I’ve ever done with it.  I’m impressed.

Roleplay-Geek: RPG Mapping Tools Part 1 – Battlemaps


Tony presents and comments on a half dozen tiling map drawing programs (including Dungeon Painter Online, above).


Link of Fame: *sniff* It’s like… Heaven

I’m pretty sure this is what Heaven is like.

The Barley Gates

The Barley Gates

Old school video games — that still take quarters! — and a couple dozen craft beers on tap, with an elixir list that varies from day to day.

This is where I want to go when I die.


Links of the Week: October 24, 2011

Lots of topical posts this week.  Lolth, Villains, Batman: The Animated Series were some common topics.  The Shiny Technology just grabbed my attention, there are some nifty ideas out there.

Other than that, I’m not sure if it was a slow week blogging, or I was too busy at work and writing my own stuff to find more to list here.  I suspect the latter more than the former.

Topic: Lolth

There have been a few revisionings of Lolth, Queen of the Demonweb.  Never mind the different incarnations she’s had in ‘official’ material, the different interpretations I’ve seen from bloggers tend to be rather more varied and interesting.

  • Theodric the Obscure has the most recent, Respinning the Demon Queen.  He manages to mix the histories of the elves, vampires, and demons.  Nicely done.
  • N. Wright’s article about Lolth: Spider Bitch of the Abyss.
  • Tim Brannan wrote about Lolth, and a heretical cult of her original form, before she was betrayed.  The Church of Lolth Ascendant.
  • Topic: Villains

    A couple of blogs this week have talked about what makes a ‘good villain’.

    • Joseph at the Greyhawk Grognard points out that the Best Villains Aren’t Evil, that (psychotics aside) they often have some kind of justification for their actions.
    • The Secret DM discusses much the same topic in Building Better Villains.  With many ‘good bad guys’ you can see how they went wrong.  Whether it’s as simple as “the end justifies the means” or being ruthless enough that nothing will stand in the way of a laudable goal, or something else, you can often see how and where Things Went Wrong and at what point they crossed the line.
    • David reveals another source of villains at Dungeon’s Master: retired PCs, in Curse Your Sudden, Yet Inevitable Betrayal.

    Topic: Batman: The Animated Series

    A couple of bloggers talked about Batman: The Animated Series this week.  I never had the opportunity to watch much of it, but what I saw suggested it was put together well.

    Topic: Shiny Technology

    I don’t understand how some of these work, really, but what they can do ranges from pretty cool to downright exciting.


    On Hit Points and Healing

    I’ve been thinking recently about healing out of combat, and it’s led me through some strange places.

    Overall, though, I think they could make for longer ‘days’ and simpler play overall, and reasonably get rid of that stupid healing stick that it seems like everyone carries in his pocket… which can only, in my opinion, be a good thing.


    Links of the Week: October 17, 2011

    So.  Many.  Links.

    I’m surprised, according to the thumb on the scrollbar, this is actually about normal.

    I think perhaps I need to be a little more selective in what I read, so I actually have time to write.  But there are so many good articles out there, and I’m finding more blogs every week.

    Akratic Wizardry

    ‘Swords & Sorcery’ House Rules Index


    This page has links to the rules mentioned in the Wrath of Zombie article linked below.  These rules attempt to capture classic swords & sorcery using the Swords & Wizardry rules (which I don’t have a copy of yet, should probably fix that).

    Between Are the Doors

    No Printing Press


    Books as treasure.  Not necessarily even magic books.

    Those who know me, know I love books.  I like where this post goes.


    Link of Fame: Zombie Wedding… Officiated by Bruce Campbell

    … when I got married, it was just in a chapel, by a chaplain.

    As much as he’s an old friend of mine, he’s nowhere near as cool as Bruce Campbell.

    Thanks to I’d Rather Be Killing Monsters… for bringing this to my attention.

    Link of Fame: Library in 3d

    Okay, this build of a library is one of the more compelling selling points I’ve seen for Fat Dragon Games supplements.

    I so want to have this sort of thing for my own table.  The picture below is one of twenty of this wonderful piece of work.

    Library interior, one picture of twenty

    Link of Fame: Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places Kickstarter


    I like watching Kickstarter for new projects.  I think the pledge model is a wonderful way to get things off the ground.

    I’d really like to see Ben’s latest project, “Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places“, make it to production.  He’s about a fifth of the way there now, and a quarter of the time has passed.  If this kickstarter is successful you can get a copy of the softcover when it’s done for $15, and the minimum pledge is even smaller than that.  Ben’s got a proven track record, I’ve seen him get another project out (Argyle & Crew), and you don’t actually spend anything until the goal is met.

    Also, and I’m not sure if this is encouragement or not, but one of the entries in this book will be based on one of my ideas.

    Please give this project a look, and if it interests you, pledge and support it.

    Links of the Week: October 10, 2011

    I’ve been busy this week and haven’t been able to spend so much time reading other blogs… but I think I found some good links this week anyway.

    Topic: “My Edition of D&D”

    • The Rhetorical Gamer goes into how he might change races if he were redesigning D&D.  Short form: your race should grow as you do, becoming “more archetypal” as you reach higher levels, in parallel with your class levels.  I can’t disagree, my early class framework had every third (or fourth?  it’s been a while) feat drawn from “race-appropriate” feat groups, and Dawnforge had development paths for all races.  Echelon certainly includes this concept, though it’s optional for most races (you can stick to the base racial abilities, or further develop them; in some cases the race is ‘big’ and may require that you keep it up).
    • The Rhetorical Gamer also goes into “stuff“, focusing primarily on the dependency on magic items and the consistent churn as better items are found.  I agree with him that this takes something from the game and that it can and should be improved.

    Berin Kinsman’s Dire Blog

    [World Domination] Composition Book Hacks


    A Lifehack-quality post for capturing day to day information, including project-specific ideas and content.  It’s a little more rigid than the way I’ve been doing it, but I have to admit it looks like it would work rather better.  The only other addition I can think of would be to transfer the information from the raw format (written in the book) to a ‘better’ format (project-specific documents/web sites, say) on a regular basis.  I know I’ve got a shelfful of personal notebooks that I frankly dread trying to delve into because of the work now involved.  It would have been rather easier to do on an ongoing basis than as a single migration project.


    Breaking… Rumor? D&D 5e in the Works?

    Given the recent speculation based on posts at Wizards of the Coast, I thought I’d share something I just saw on Google+ (and the link to Margaret Weis’ comment it refers to).

    Via Matthew Brenner:

    In a recent post on the Dragonlance forums, Margaret Weis “confirms” that Wizards of the Coast is actively developing D&D 5e. You can get the details, the few there are, in the attached link.

    True?  Not true?  Am I going to look like a dork when this is debunked?  No idea.