Monthly Archives: November, 2011


In a recent conversation on google+, Jason Pitre asked how many non-player factions we thought should be present in an RPG campaign.  There were several different suggestions that included small numbers (say, 4) and larger numbers (0-4 to start, then at least one per dungeon or adventure after that).  My first suggestion was “perhaps 1-3 per PC, but they may be shared”.

Jason thought the larger number and my suggestion were higher than he was expecting, so I thought I would explain myself.  I then realized my response might make a good blog post, so here we are.


Magic Subsystem: Elemental Chakras

This post is inspired (or triggered) by the Lawful Indifferent post of the same title.

N. Wright explores (‘throws out’) the idea of a magic system based on the elements and the seven chakras.  He initially decides that he likely won’t pursue this avenue, but I think it has a lot of potential.  Perhaps not in the way he initially described, but I can see a few ways to make it viable.

Ways to use Elemental Chakras

The described approach is to have each chakra bound to an element (and each element may be bound to more than one).  The number of chakras bound to each element determines the maximum tier of magic of that element that may be used.  The example provided is that someone with two fire chakras and one air chakra you could cast up to ‘second tier fire spells’, ‘first tier air spells’, and ‘third tier fire+air spells’.

I agree that this might not work as desired, if only because it is likely to devolve into a specialization choice (all fire, all air, etc.) or determining which bits you are slightly better at.

There are other ways that might work better.


Celtic-Type Setting in D&D 3.x

This topic was started in on May 24, 2007.

The original thread can be read at

Here are some initial thoughts on a Celtic-type region in my campaign.  I haven’t worked out much by way of names and the like yet; here I’m sketching out what game entities could be expected to be found.

In short, a fairly heroic Celtic-style campaign setting.  Largely late bronze age culture technologically, there are more advanced nations that interact (enough that they do show up, not so much to be common).  Lots of interaction with the fey (which is probably part of the reason they still use bronze — those bringing in iron would probably be… firmly discouraged from continuing to do so).  Religion is fairly animistic (no big religious structures, though culturally similar from area to area; some fairly common strictures, and those who travel generally know enough to realize they are ignorant of local rules and behaviors and to adapt as needed).


Links of the Week: November 28, 2011

I see here a fair number of regular sites, lots of links, and lots of topics.

Also, a handful of sites I haven’t previously linked, and a few YouTube videos I didn’t feel the need to post immediately but felt worth mentioning.

Topic: Pathfinder MMO

Big new this week, and I’m reasonably confident that anyone reading this is already aware of the Pathfinder MMO announcement.

I don’t play MMOs and they hold little interest for me.  Since I lack the knowledge needed to have an informed opinion, I don’t have one.

No links provided this time, but you can’t read RPG blogs right now without seeing someone talking about how (great|bad) this is.

The Armchair General

DM Advice — Crystal Slotted Weapons


Variable effect, Earthdawn-style magic weapons.


Links of the Week: November 21, 2011

Another eclectic list this week, and I have to admit it was a fair bit of time this weekend on it.  I was too busy through the week to really read anything, so I basically did all my reading on Sunday.

Thankfully, the next month or so should be quite a bit lighter.  Soccer is on hiatus for a couple of months, taekwondo will be on hiatus in a few weeks, and my workload at work is smoothing out, so hopefully I’ll have more time to put into RPGs — reading, writing, maybe even some ‘rithmetic (well, numerical analysis, close enough).

I notice also a number of sites that I haven’t had links here from before.  Some I’ve read and not felt the need to comment on, others I first read this week.  This pleases me.

The Black Campbell

Campaign Idea: Ghost in the Shell


I’ve been a fan of the Ghost in the Shell franchise since the first movie (though I think the Stand Alone Complex series are much more approachable).

Black Campbell is thinking about how he could run a Ghost in the Shell-style campaign, and I don’t blame him at all.  I’d like to see this done well, and I think he’s on a good track.


Mining the Archives

Part of the reason I created this site was to build a repository of posts I’ve made to

It didn’t take long before this was my primary publishing location, and I just published links in RGFD.  I’m entirely okay with that, but my original goal kind of fell to the wayside.

I want to move back to the original goal a bit.  I’ll be periodically going back to USENET, digging up older posts, brushing them up, and republishing them here.

To be honest, I’m looking forward to revisiting some of these old posts.  There are a lot of things I would do differently now (I might end up laughing at them…) but even so there should still be things of interest.

Link of Fame: Not According to Plan

I… I think I love this kid.

Yay, Loot! Ultimate HERO System Bundle

Just got my latest Loot! shipment.  The “Ultimate Hero System Bundle“, consisting of the following books (descriptions from the Loot! page):

#1 The Ultimate Base: Whether it’s a castle, a gadget-filled secret headquarters, a starbase in deep space, or something even more unusual, a Base provides both resources for the Player Characters and adventure ideas for the GM. The Ultimate Base is your guide to creating any sort of Base using the HERO System rules, whether it’s a two-room apartment or an entire world.

#2 The Ultimate Brick: Strength! While it focuses on the powers and abilities of “brick” superheroes so common to Champions, like Hero’s other Ultimate books The Ultimate Brick has rules, information, and other useful material for any genre of gaming. If you want to know how strong your Fantasy Hero character has to be to lift an ox, how your superhero can squeeze coal into diamonds, or how an immensely strong alien can use his muscles in Star Hero adventures, this is the book for you.


Links of the Week: November 14, 2011

Okay, I’ve learned something today: I hate one or more of

  • hacking PHP
  • hacking WordPress
  • hacking this theme

Since I’m more or less satisfied with WordPress and can accept PHP, I’ll have to guess it’s this theme.  If I’m going to revise the appearance of this site and integrate link management a little more thoroughly, it’ll have to start from scratch with a more hack-friendly theme.  Annoying that I have to do that, but doable… and I honestly think that ultimately it’ll get me where I want to go.

In the meantime, a fair bit of reading this week.  All sorts of topics covered — mapping, crafting props for use during play, magic item descriptions and new rules, and some questions to consider when designing a setting.


FLGS Needs Room Badly!

I was downtown on Thursday and dropped into that branch of my FLGS (I usually go to the one out of town — easier parking, on my way, and that’s where my pull box is).

It appears they need some more room on their shelves, so they had a bunch of their RPG books on sale.

Five dollars each.

So, Mr Backpack (32 litre capacity) got some exercise.  It wasn’t full, but I was reminded of the following exchange from years ago.