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Actual Play - The Spawn - Part 1

19th Level - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 01:58
Based on the adventure of the same name by Harry Cleaver, contained in the Chaosium anthology The Great Old Ones.




Setting:
Boston, Mass. to Coppertown, New Mexico. June 20 - June 26, 1921

Characters:

  • Jordaine Furst - Strasbourg-born Great War spy for France
  • Liam Maguire - Former Boston police officer turned private investigator after the 1919 strike
  • Dora Martin - Journalist determined to understand the truth

At Fredrick Tardiff's art studio in Boston some new investigators had gathered. Dora Martin had reported on the Crimson Gang and had determined there was more to it than the official story So had former police officer Liam Maguire.
Dora had received a letter from a former colleague of hers, a labor organizer and general rabble rouser, José Green.



Prior to leaving they did some research on the mines:

  • The Beasley Mining Co.
  • Offices: 28 Main Street, Coppertown, New Mexico.
  • Officers: President William Beasley, V.P. Edward Beasley.
  • Incorporated: May 19, 1912 in New Mexico.
  • Capital:about $5 million (no shares).
  • Property: 20 unpatented claims and 1 mill site, about 560 acres of land on the N. side of Devil’s Mountain, 5 miles from Coppertown, New Mexico.
  • Development: main developments are two claims, Broad Vein and the Copper Lady, both incline shafts cut into porphyry copper deposits


Taking the train to small town they arrived on the evening of Saturday, June 25. They checked into La Casa Royale, a hotel run by local Mexican-Americans. They ate at the nearby Silver Spur. There they made the acquaintance of the young Professor Tyler A. Freeborn who told them fascinating stories of how the local Indians had abandoned their mountain dwellings around 1300 A/D/ and settled in flat river valleys. He'd broken his arm finding a strange temple in the mountain dwellings and was eager to return.

They also met with José Green who talked of the strangeness - how the Copper Lady mine was far more productive through mined by lower paid Mexican and Mexican-American workers - whereas the primarily white-worked Broad Vein was paid much more but produced far less. The workers there were happier though - and better paid. The better pay was not unusual given they were white but the fact that they were paid so very high was - as was the happiness, despite the unusual number of fatalities, even in dangerous work like mining. The bosses had refused help from the Copper Lady miners in rescuing Thornton and some of his fellow miners from a cave-in in Broad Vein. He never had a chance to see the bodies.

Given the next day was Sunday, very early in the morning they snuck into the Broad Vein mine to check it out, entering through an air shaft on the side. They worked their way past the cave-in and going further down they found... a sacrificial chamber, with a smooth tunnel leading from it. Exploring it they went deep into the mountain. After over an hour of travel they decided to turn back - only to discover a tentacled horror following them. Opening fire their guns did minimal effect and they ran - deeper into the mountain. They eventually passed a curtain or blanket and entered... a torture chamber... Breaking down the door they found a staircase leading to the Beasley Mansion...











Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kasimir Urbanski and Appendix N on Geek Gab!

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 20:18

Okay, it finally happened. Kasimir Urbanski and I have finally had a big sit down on the topic of Appendix N. Note that we did not have a formal debate; rather, this was more just a friendly conversation on the subject. Anyone that has followed Urbanski’s blog posts and Google+ threads on this topic will, I think, be very surprised by the results here. Yeah, the usual straw man arguments do make a cameo appearance, but it is relatively brief. And for the record, below are my notes for the key points I wanted to have covered during the exchange.

Listen to the whole show and decide for yourself how well they got argued!

What is Appendix N?

** It is more or less a significant subset of the fantasy and science fiction canon– and consistent with what the typical fantasy fan of the seventies understood about the genre.

Does it shed light on why classic editions of Dungeons & Dragons are the way that they are?

** Yes…. See also Ken St. Andre’s Tunnels & Trolls, Marc Miller’s Traveller and James Ward’s Metamorphosis Alpha. All of them leveraged a synthesis of weird books in order to get off the ground. All of them took no thought of slinging elements from contradictory stories and series together into one great game of “play anything from any book you like– as a player or a dungeon master!”

Does it have any utility for game masters that are running fantasy campaigns of their own?

** If you struggle with imagining worlds where alignment, spell memorization, and mega-dungeons are “real”, then you are going to get a real kick out of seeing these things in their original contexts. Contrarwise, if you assume that The Lord of the Rings is the starting point for how fantasy even works, you are going to inevitably be frustrated by how classic D&D is implemented and how it plays. Further, a person that thinks only in terms of derivative eighties style fantasy will be tempted to sacrifice player autonomy in order to produce the sort of “epic” story arcs that you take for granted as being the entire point of the fantasy genre.

Are some types of fantasy a better fit for classic D&D than others?

** You’re going to have far less friction adapting situations from Burroughs, Leiber, Howard, and Vance to D&D than you are trying to make it fit with Harry Potter and Game of Thrones. Just as one major example: the need for backgrounds and motivations is simply absent from pulp stories in general. This is the first thing that is added to movie adaptations of Conan and Solomon Cane, but it’s pretty well absent from the source material. It’s not an accident there’s no space for “background” on you Moldvay Basic character sheet!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

July loves...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 15:32
Hello and happy Sunday, loves! How have you been since we last talked? This morning finds me knitting on my Let it Shine socks with a nice cup of coffee along with very grey skies. Bliss, I tell you. Can everyday please be like this Sunday? I finished some secret... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Aug 18, 2018: Keganin No Senshi Aikido Train-the-Trainers Workshop

Aikido News - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 12:37
Aug 18, 2018: Keganin No Senshi Aikido Train-the-Trainers Workshop
From: Frances Welson posted on 29. Jul 2018, 11:37am
URL: http://https://mailchi.mp/2423198b83db/train-the-trainers-workshop-coming-to-baltimore

Keganin No Senshi Aikido (KNSA) Train-the-Trainers workshop in Baltimore on 18 August. This workshop was developed for aikidoka interested in working with veterans. Military service members; veterans and their families; Veterans Administration staff; therapists and counselors; and anyone concerned about or interested in working with veterans are welcome. The workshop is an opportunity to learn about KNSA’s approach to teaching a therapeutic form of Aikido as a resource for veterans living with PTSD. Participants who are interested in applying what they learn will have a chance to practice during mini-classes and to receive feedback from staff and participants. Check link for details.

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    It’s Probably in a Bin

    Yarn Harlot - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 11:05

    It is very early in the morning, and I’m sitting here, drinking coffee, watching the day start – with the sun coming up, and Team Knit stirring as we get up and get going in four separate spots all over the city.  Funny to think that after this, we’ll travel together every day for a week.

    (Yes. I am drinking coffee in the bath to save time. It’s efficient.)

    I’m nervous.  I know I say that every year, and I know that people shrug it off – you’ve done it before, they say. You’ll be OK, they say.  The truth is that it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done it, it just isn’t easy to ride your bike 660km.  (For my American Friends, that’s 410miles.) This year I compounded the difficulty by not training much.  There were so many times when I could do a job that would benefit the whole Rally, or just me (the training) and I opted for the former. I’ve spoken with lots of the former Co-Chairs, and they all say the same thing. They years that they embraced leadership were the years that they trained the least.  There just isn’t time, and opting for the Rally in general has absolutely seemed more responsible, right up until this minute when I’m thinking about putting my untrained arse on a bike and riding out of here.

    There will be many times over the course of the next week when everyone on Team Knit steps up to a Leadership role, and each of us has our own reasons for doing so.  I won’t speak to the rest of Team Knit, but I can tell you that the things my mother taught me have been figuring largely in my reasons for riding my bike this year. My mum believed, wholeheartedly, that the world was  a different place for women than it is for men.  When I was a younger woman I thought that she was a tad extreme in these beliefs, but the older I get, the more that I see that it’s true. I feel now the way my mum did, that there is absolutely no reason to be bitter about this, but she was rather firm that you couldn’t just… ignore it.

    So, when my mum died, I thought about giving up the Co-Chair gig. (Don’t tell that to Ted – the other half of Co-Chair equation) I thought that it wasn’t going to be my best self, and that someone else would be better at it, and I thought a lot about quitting, and then something started to happen.  I started going down to PWA. I started doing the work. I started looking around and listening and realizing that there was something going on, and that thing was that when I went to PWA? The place is full of women and children.

     HIV/AIDS is now regarded mostly as a chronic disease that largely has to do with gay men, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  While it’s true that we’ve got treatment now for a great many people who have HIV/AIDS, the regime is expensive, difficult to comply with, and hard to access for many people who are living complicated lives – the primary risk factors for HIV/AIDS are now poverty and lack of power.  (Here’s a great example, in Saskatchewan (that’s a province in the middle-ish of Canada) 79% of the new cases of HIV are in indigenous people.) We see this in the shifting client base at PWA. These days almost 30% of PWA’s clients are women and their children. The truth is that if one of the main risk factors for HIV/AIDS is poverty and a lack of power, than it is only going to continue to disproportionately affect poor and dis-empowered women since we haven’t solved that whole equality problem yet. I could (and have) go on forever about this topic, about how robust the solution to this problem needs to be – how diverse we have to think, and when I think that? I hear my mum. I hear her problem solving, her ideas, her knowledge that communities fix things, and investing in communities is always helpful, and her belief that if you have some money or power (or both) you have a responsibility to get firmly on the side of people who do not. My Mum wouldn’t have wanted me to quit being Co-Chair because she got sick and died. So, this morning will be the first time that my Mum hasn’t been with me for departure. Last night was the first time she didn’t call to see if I was ready, or text this morning to ask (for the 387time what time departure is. (Geez Mum it’s 9am the same every year.)  I’m going to go invest in this community, and I’m going to trust that investment to carry me.  I’m going to put my love and care in Team Knit, in Ken, and Cameron and Pato, and believe that they’re going to do the same thing, that we’ll get through it together, if we stick together. I love those guys, and they love me. Team Knit wants to thank you too for all of this.  Each of us is at our (public) goal, though each of us has hopes and dreams and a private goal we haven’t disclosed, and we’re still hoping to reach.  We have you to thank for it. We put our energy, time and money towards this problem, ad you did too – and we can’t thank you enough. You are the only reason Team Knit makes a difference, and we’re so, so grateful. We love you. Thank you. If you find an extra fiver hanging around this week, or you decide that something in your life can be rearranged a little bit to redistribute some power and luck in the world, Team Knit remains: Me                         Ken Cameron                Pato (PS. Kim at Indigodragonfly summed all of this up so well, when her fundraising colourways for the Bike Rally this year were to honour her mother, and mine.  Kim knows a ton about redistributing luck and power. She’s awesome.) (PPS. I don’t think I can blog over the next week, but follow me on instagram and I’ll try to show you everything. I’m @yarnharlot.)
    Categories: Knitting Feeds

    Almost the End/Beginning

    Yarn Harlot - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 00:47

    I’ve lost all perspective on the world.  The world is the Rally.  The Rally is the world, or something like that.  This week, hours and hours and hours went to keeping the Rally on the rails, and trying to make it be all it can be. I hope I’ve done okay – it’s all just anxiety right now.  Today’s the last day before we leave. We all went to packing day, and… wait, have I told you how this works?  The riders are supported on this odyssey by the crew. Food crew, Wellness crew, Road Support and (most important for this story) The Rustlers.

    Every rider gets two rubbermaid bins – not super big ones. You put everything in them that you’ll need for the week – your clothes, tent, chair, spare inner tubes, purse, yarn… and they move it from city to city.  Every morning we load our two bins up and take them to the trucks, and the rustlers drive them to the next city, and decant all the bins onto the campground. We pick up our bins, go set up our tents, do whatever, and then in the morning we pack it all back into the bins, trot (drag, limp) the bins back over to the trucks – repeat. The thing is that we can’t do this the morning of departure.  It’s way too complicated to check everyone in, assign them bins… we’d have to get there before dawn. (Remember, there’s 300 cyclists.) So the day before departure is packing day. You show up, check in, get your jerseys for the day or the week, depending on how long you’re riding, and you get bins and put all your stuff in, and put it on a truck and then…

    Then the Rustlers have your stuff, and you don’t. I find it really stressful.  I can’t give them my knitting because then I can’t knit, but I can’t keep my knitting unless I can carry it on my bike the next day, because I won’t have access to those bins until I arrive in Port Hope tomorrow night. (Apparently that I am Co-Chair means very little in terms of bin access. The Rustlers are fierce. Some of them are even knitters and I still couldn’t budge anyone, though I didn’t try that hard. They’ve got a system.) Essentially, you can only keep the things that you can fit in your jersey pockets. (I kept more knitting than I should have. I’m stressed. Yarn makes me feel better. I’ll figure it out tomorrow.)

    I came home and finished a pair of socks –

    Pattern forthcoming, when I have time to do it… yarn is Ridley Sock Yarn from Sea Turtle Fiber Arts (I think the colourway was called “Imagine”) I said it when I started knitting with this yarn, and I’ll say it again, I love this sock yarn.  Durable, soft, super cozy.  I’m a fan.  I started a new pair of socks this week too – these ones to accompany me on my trip, since I knew the other ones would be finished soon. (No point in knitting taking up room if it won’t last the trip.)

    This one is Electron Sock (80% merino/ 20% nylon) from Elemental Fiberworks in “Ring Nebula” (I think it looks rainbowish.)  I also freaked out and put an extra skein in my packing, because I got nervous that I’d (like always) suddenly churn out much more knitting than usual, and be underyarned in a campground somewhere.  The truth is that it’s not really likely, considering that it’s hours and hours a day on my bike (and I feel like if I instagrammed a yarn emergency one of you would help me) but you can’t be too careful.

    I’m off to bed soon, because how much sleep you need to do this can’t be understated, but I thought I’d do as many Karmic Balancing gifts as I could before running out of time.  I won’t get through them all, some will have to wait until we’re back, but here goes!

    Caitlin wrote the sweetest note about finally being in a position to give, and give she did, three lovely offerings from her stash and hands. Handspun SweetGeorgia Yarns BFL/silk (January 2014 club colorway ‘Night Owl’). Semi-woolen spun, 4 oz/about 200 yards, that will be going to live with Jess D.

    Three skeins of Imperial Yarn Erin, one each of the Natural, Pearl Grey, and Quail colorways, Caitlin will send that to Heather B.

    And last, but certainly not least two skeins of handspun natural fiber; lighter grey is Jacob, and darker is Corriedale. 4 oz/about 200 yards each for Diana Z, who is not a spinner, and I’m glad, because this one of the only ways she’ll get to enjoy how lovely it is to knit with handspun.

    Robin Hunter, charmer that she is, has donated a free pattern for TEN knitters.

    I have no idea how on earth they are going to choose from the lovelies in her shop, but good luck to Margaret G, Sarah M, Marcie R, Camb F, Miriam F, Beth D. Harriet B, Cheryl R, Kate D, Angela D and Beth D.

    Gina has three beautiful things to share, and writes about her luck, and how she’d like to pass the love on. Isager Strik Spinni (Wool 1): 2 skeins, lace weight, 100% wool, colorway Gray 2S that she’ll be sending to Sarah J.

    Twisted Fiber Art Opulent Striping: 2 skeins, DK weight, 50/50 silk/merino, colorway Mirage (caked up, no longer in skein) for Kathleen W.

    Twisted Fiber Art Catnip Evolution: 1 skein, Aran weight, 50/50 silk/merino, colorway Boreal that’s going to live with Andrea L. Finally, and there’s so much more, but I have got to go to bed… Signature Needle Arts got in on the game again this year – and they’ve got not one, but two gift certificates for $50, one each for Lenny B, and Sarah S.  Lucky Ducks.  (I mean that, I do love a Signature Needle.  Like driving a Ferrari.) Good night petals, and I’ll try to touch in in the morning before I ride out of here, and try to catch up with my bins.
    Categories: Knitting Feeds

    Listening

    Aikido Blogs - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 00:34
    Listening

    As uke moves
    I listen to what his body says
    And listen to my own body's reply
    Our conversation ending in a throw


    Categories: Aikido

    Bloody Invaders & Unexpected Guests - Tegel Manor Actual Play Session I

    Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 07/28/2018 - 17:26
    "Traveling through the Other World the lost valley sea coast the  of accursed manor makes it way to unknown destinations. Our heroes have made their own way into Tegel village settled into a local flop house. The sky around the valley burns with demon stars as the PC's plot their next move! Death will take the first man or woman who hesitates! The demon haunted manor beckons them back Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Today’s Forecast: A “Definitive End” to Appendix N Discussion!

    Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Sat, 07/28/2018 - 15:47

    Pop the popcorn, y’all! This is going to be good!

    Cognitive dissonance, thy name is Urbanski. You probably don’t have the balls to appear someplace where your presence is inappropriate anyway. (h/t Neal Durando!)

    It is absolutely baffling to me why the topic of Appendix N is just so triggering to certain people.  It’s been asked before: “why does the idea that Gygax got specific ideas for D&D from specific sources, and that these can be identified, seem to offend some people? Are they invested in the idea that it was all original for some reason?”

    Good questions! Maybe we’ll get some answers today on Geek Gab.

    And just for the record… before we go onto the show, here are my questions for the RPG Pundit:

    • What is Appendix N?
    • Does it shed light on why classic editions of Dungeons & Dragons are the way that they are?
    • Does it have any utility for game masters that are running fantasy campaigns of their own?
    • Are some types of fantasy a better fit for classic D&D than others?

    Seems like pretty tame stuff to me. It doesn’t have to be so difficult to have a conversation about this. But for some reason, it just is.

    Don’t miss it! We should be live in a couple of hours here…!

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Gygax's "Dungeon Delving" Playtest Reports

    Zenopus Archives - Sat, 07/28/2018 - 12:34
    The map for Pane 8 "Red (Rose)" of the Hall of Many Panes
    Here's a post to celebrate Gary Gygax's birthday, which was yesterday --- he would have been 80 this year. 

    Last December I wrote about Gary's "Dungeon Delving" map from his lengthy 2005 module the Hall of Many Panes, written for his Lejendary Adventures system. In that post I looked at how it shared many features with his dungeon level designs from the 1970s. As a follow-up here I collect his reports from when he was play-testing this level with his home group, sixteen years ago in the summer of 2002.

    These posts were all made on his gygax-games mailing list, one of the many online groups/forums that he frequented in the last decade of his life. The list ended up as a yahoo group and are still available here in a super-clunky archive that I assume could disappear at any time if yahoo goes under. They are precious few actual play reports from Gygax himself, so I think it is important to preserve these.

    I've extracted the play reports from the above messages, removing some of the out-of-game info, although you can follow the links to find the full posts. I also corrected obvious spelling mistakes and typos where I noted them. I've also annotated where each room is located on the published map so you can follow along with the group's progress. To do this, it will probably help to open two browser windows, one with the narrative, one with the map.

    The starting characters, per Gary's descriptions ---
    Artimus the Rogue
    Chahlor the Dwarf
    Deogolf the Mage
    Xagnar the Renowned (elsewhere described as a roguish hero)
    Otto the Forester
    Lovie the Veshoge (NPC run by Gary)
    Longer descriptions of these characters can be found in the published Hall of Many Panes module, as well as in this 2007 EnWorld post by Gygax.

    The Playtest Reports ---

    6 June LA Game Session Message 5750, posted 6/8/02
    "...After a quick R&R session, they then went on, tapped a hexagonal pane of red, and... DUNGEON CRAWL TIME!  That's right, fans, they are now in a "dungeon as of the days of yore," and they must needs find the long and arduous means of escaping.

    The initial octagonal chamber, the center of which they arrived in has [nine] marble statues in it [Room 1, START]. They left the center so as to see the front sides of these figures--all ordinary sorts, from a noblewoman to a goose girl. Heading for an exit, they had stones dropped from the gloomy heights above my several angry male mandreagles. They left by one of the four exit doors, found another chamber, left there and went through several corridors, and are now in a small room in which there is a self-proclaimed "wishing well" [Room 29]." 

    LA Game Campaign Session: 13 June Message 5764, posted 6/14/02

    "...So with Artimus the team searched the room they were in with some care, but did not venture down the 6-foot diameter, 20-foot deep shaft with water at the bottom. After expending only a couple of gold pieces ($500) each, and one golden beryl worth a cool $5,000, the heroes departed the Wishing Well room as not likely to prove useful to their immediate mission--getting out of the stinking dungeon!

    Led by the doughty Otto, the party soon came to another door in the maze of passages and chambers they have barely begun to explore. An armored warrior with a great mastiff greeted them, inviting them in if they were "no friends of vile cats" [Room 7]. After sharing wine with him they were about to set off for a pub somewhere on the level, a place owned according to the warrior by "Bobo and Bruno." Lovie attacked the chap when his back was turned.

    Although she missed, she had used her Psychogenic Mind Reading Power to discover the fellow was a werebeast about to attack the party. It turned out the dog was also one, and in a fast and furious fight, the pair were laid low. Fortunately (from the players' standpoint only, I assure you), only one of the group failed to avoid being slowed and made 50% less effective that normal from the drugged wine that drank. Robbing the dead, the team took a bottle of the drugged wine, seven gold coins, and a considerable number of magical fungi they found hidden in the victims' small room. Chahlor the dwarf went so far as to take a necklace from the warrior-werebeast's neck, a chain from which depends a red disk. He now sports it as a trophy.

    Delving further east and south, then heading west, they encountered a chameleon slime masquerading as a ceramic pot of water [Room 8], took some rather severe acid Harm to person and armor, but... Otto had brought along many pound of bicarbonate of soda. Continuing acid damage was ended, and with that and some Power activation, the poor slime was cruelly murdered for merely following its instinctive drive, its need for nourishment...

    The savage marauders then entered a hall in which a figure on a leather chair of throne-like sort demanded they come close so they could speak [Room 9]. The callow adventurers did not, discovered it was a leather golem, and began to destroy yet another inhabitant of the place into whose presence that had come unbidden. Sadder still, the golem's associate, a mad ulf savant, was unable to turn any of the raiders to stone, then fell prone when caught in a Sticky Power effect that was cast by the merciless Deogolf. Chahlor then used an unchivalrous wand Power, Eggary's Extreme Smiting, to nearly slay the unhappy and unbalanced ulf--a figure no court in this land would hold responsible for his actions of self-defense, the protection of his golem included.

    Just as the much-abused ulf arose and was moving to strike a mighty blow at the intruders, he again fell prone in the sticky area... Yours truly was greatly dejected. The party was much pleased, nay, overjoyed, at that. So they struck the coup de grace without compunction..."

    HOMP, Thursday 20 June Adventure Session Message 5857, posted 6/21/02

    "...Initially discovered on the ulf were some way-too-big dockalven composite armor and a heavy cutting sword which were unceremoniously loaded onto Otto, all quite untested. A very thorough search and looting followed. $1,700 in silver service pieces was insufficient, so the party kept up their depredations, found a secret cache under the stone chain in which the golem had sat. Therein 90 gold coins ($45K), and $50K each in loose gems & crystals, and gold jewelry were discovered and looted. Still unsatisfied, the rapacious band then examined a large pool in an alcove. Artimus nearly died when his hand contacted a small but highly poisonous little fish therein. Much consultation, several more near-fatal stings, and then more consultation and various attempts to rid the water of the camouflaged and well-hidden piceans followed. When asked, Lovie used her Psychogenic Ability Apport & Teleport Power to empty the pool of water. A tedious hunting for and slaughter of some 100 small fish was next. Then came a careful hands-on examination of the pebbled bottom of the pool. This discovered many plaques, a memory tablet, and a Hand of Destruction (copper) with 9 topaz crystal rounds--this Lovie demanded and received.

    Leaving the thoroughly-trashed chamber, the team set off to discover more hapless victims. Instead what followed was a refreshing tour of the many maze-like passages of the level:) The number of encounters seemingly bypassed on purpose was a delight to the LM's heart. That two sheets of mapping paper, on both sides, were needed to attempt to chart the path followed--that actually quite unsuccessfully--was even more heartening, as much as their being within about 50 feet of "Bobo's & Bruno's Pub" and missing it [Room 21].

    They did discover an arrow trap that did some Harm:)

    After several game hours of wandering hither and yon thus, they came to a small chamber with the mixed stench of rotting and ozone pervading the place [Room 15]. As they were reading for something, that something came to them. A rather large shock wyrm emerged, delivered considerable lightning Harm to four of the heroes... Otto ran away having suffered 40 Harm. Chahlor took double Harm of 38, plus half that delivered to his clone (20), so he was in some distress too. Unfortunately two armor-bypassing blows, one from Chahlor, the other from Xagnar, slaughtered the justly self-defending wyrm. Had Lovie been able to strike ahead of Xagnar, her deadly sword thrust (01) would have done for the poor brute.

    Some gold coins were discovered in a side passage from which the wyrm had emerged [Room 15A]. At the end of that way was a shaft plunging many hundreds of feet down to where it is likely the wyrm laired as 'home." Another long discussion followed as to whether or not, and how, they might explore that lower cavity. Xagnar was all for pushing Chahlor's clone into the shaft. After much ado, the party left. Too bad, as the wyrm's parents, too large for the shaft, were waiting expectantly for manna from above...

    Heading east along a long passage, Chahlor was evidently feeling unclean, so he went for a deep duck into a 10-foot pool of water the denizens of the dungeon use for drinking.

    Thereafter a detour south brought the band of marauders into a place where heavy, spear-headed iron bars crashed down to trap them in a 10' x 30' area ["C" near bottom edge]. Regrettably, the party was in need of rest, so they settled down there assuming that iron bars provide them with relatively safety in their "retreat." It is the LM's duty to disabuse them!"

    27 June LA Game Campaign--more Dungeon Crawling Message 5938, posted 7/1/02

    "Having left the bold band "overnighting" in a cage trap, there was considerable surprise when a new face was amongst the party when they awoke, that belonging to Vendar:
    Vendar, a stout soldier who grew up in the hamlet of Burrflint, which is little more than a wide spot near the intersection of two major roads.  He worked in his parents’ tavern serving customer and stabling horses.  He yearned for adventure and travel and would listen to all of the stories, no matter how outrageous, that the travelers told when they were enjoying a mug of his father’s fine ale. When he was 15 years old he ran away from his parents and enlisted in a free company of mercenaries. Finding that much routine duty and little excitement was to be had in a mercenary band, Vendar left to find more exciting employment as a soldier of fortune, came across a strange fellow who offered him the adventure of a lifetime, and in accepting the challenge found himself in a closed mini-cosmos with a party of would-be heroes seeking to find and free a captive demi-god ... 
    The "strange fellow" in this case looked like a dwarf-sized leprechaun, called himself "The Mors."

    While the iron grate could be lifted a bit, lacking any levers the party decided to try another tact. Deogolf used an enchantment, and the whole group passed through the stone easily, were on their way.

    There was much wandering through long and maze-like passages, for by this time the adventurers realized they had been subjected to some form of magical transportation in this dungeon. After working around an open pit in the floor, then long exploring, they were surprised by a pair of bale wretches--twice! [Room 25] Finally cutting off the vile living dead things' heads, the team took what was there in the coffins, and an indigo square pendant on a necklace lying on an altar.

    Next they came to a fortress-like room where an ancient and reclusive savant of some sort dwells [Room 28]. He answered a number of questions for the group, then as they became somewhat threatening, disappeared. They left his abode undisturbed, went back to exploring, and eventually discovered a bathing pool in which Chahlor and Lovie took a dip together (ever wonder what dwarf-veshoge sprats would look like?) [Room "From 18"].

    Noted there was: There are 12 large towels stacked in a corner, written on the wall by them, with a narrow slit in the stone below the writing is: “$500 per bather, towel included. Deposit coins in slot.” Lovie, first in, discovered a necklace with a square blue pendant, and she now wears it. Chahlor and Lovie need to decide if they will pay the outrageous bathing and town fee now...

    Leaving the pool area, the party entered a chamber in which many bones and skeletons were strewn against the far wall [Room 23]. Watching those remains with eagle eye, the "harpooner" (domlithican) on the ceiling above managed to spear two of the group and knock them out with its poison. Fortunately for all, heavy armor and excellent weapons use enabled the others to free Deogolf and Vendar before they were drawn up for consumption. After some further attacks, the monster was laid low."

    Thur. 11 July LA game Campaign Session Message 6136, posted 7/12/02

    "...After some considerable time spent attempting to discover just where they were in the dungeon, Chahlor assumed the task of mapping, and Xagnar conceived of carving numbers into various doors to see if they were being transported hither and yon as they suspected. Through much effort, they discovered they were indeed being magically moved, were unable to connect explored and mapped portions of the level, but gained much insight...at the expense of any encounters of active sort. The party did get an exceptional amount of exercise walking the length and breadth of the level, only to backtrack in both cases.

    The team did discover a covered pit trap, with spikes, Chahlor leaping back in time but Otto plunging in, missing even the one spike that seemed certain to skewer him, and coming out with mere bruises and contusions. They then discovered a cage trap, worked a lever, suffered some minot harm from arrows released, but escaped the cage ["C" in NW].

    Nearing exhaustion the party then came upon a large hall in which there were eight brass pillars [Room 24]. In its foyer there was a pool of corroded copper. Vendar discovered when he investigated it that it contained a most hungry and aggressive flowing slime. An activation, a lucky cut from Chahlor too, ended its assault, although Vendar and his armor alike suffered some considerable Harm from its acid.

    Upon stepping into the hall, they found all save the floor of white marble was of polished brass. 18 torches flared into light as if by magic, and later on Chahlor attempting to grab one to use as a stick weapon discovered they spat out gouts of flame at anyone too near... The Avatars saw three great urns of brass before the inner faces of the far columns, and before them a great magic circle inlaid in brass in the floor. Avoiding the latter, Xagnar lifted the lid of the first urn. Presto! It was a brass golem, and it smote lustily upon the unsuspecting fellow.

    He fled with the golem in pursuit, and soon Chahlor and Deogolf shattered the construct with their Powers. Another jar was struck by Chahlor's activation, it becoming a brass golem with four arms, but again meeting destruction from Extraordinary energy. The same thing happened with the third brass urn, it transforming into a six-armed golem that was all-too-quickly blasted to bits.

    In the ruins of the first golem Xagnar discovered a miniature golem with command words upon it. Artimus succeeded in convincing Xagnar that he should bestow the figurine unto him, much to Alex's chagrin. The remains of the second golem produced a figurine of an oni imp with command words, it being taken up by Vendar.

    As Chahlor picked up a necklace with an orange pendant of hexagonal shape and a brass bound tome, the latter smoked, incandesced, burst into flames from which appeared a most irate oni. It smote Chahlor soundly. Five of the Avatars smote back, but only Chahlor, Xagnar, and Deogolf's enchantments were of effect. Eventually it came down to three persons fighting it, all save Deogolf at a distance, rather badly wounded. As the demon used an energy coil to harm and paralyze Chahlor, Xagnar and Deogolf finished the oni."

    LA Campaign Session 18 July Message 6422, posted 7/20/02

    "...After the party rested and did some healing in the hall of brass, they exited and all-too-soon discovered a nearby room was one in which they had encountered and expunged a pair of bale wretches [Room 25]. That discovery, of course, enabled them to put several map sections into their proper order. There was much grumbling and lamentation from the LM at that point.

    Thus intelligenced, the team began exploration so as to improve their dungeon map, and even a wandering blindsnake had no effect on that determined, if slow, effort.

    They marched east and west, north and south, so as to get the lay of the land, so to speak. Although this exercise bypassed many interesting things, they did discover a chamber with a large iron chest--and the four flatadders dwelling in the area [Room 12]. Being surprised by them, considerable venom went into the team before the snakes were cruelly slaughtered. Lovie the Veshoge was struck twice and her Health was in single digits. Healing was again in order, as was an exploration break of 12 hours game time whilst adventurers slept, regained AEPs.

    Thereafter Chahlor, leading the way and mapping, the Avatars continued on. Suddenly the dwarf disappeared from sight, leaving only the lingering echoes of a shriek of surprise. A huge kru-krad ape had snatched him up from where it lurked in the rafters of the newly entered space [Room 11]. Thumped soundly, Chahlor was cast down, but managed to avoid being stunned. Thus he and several others learned how nasty these creatures are in melee. More healing followed.

    In the process of continued mapping, it was next discovered that an area with stairs up [A1] transported them some considerable distance away to the north [A2]. In working their way back southwards again, a secret door was noted by Otto and Lovie. The party followed, found a circular chamber with tools in it [Room 5], then the starting big chamber [Room 1]. As mandreagles tossed down rocks, broke a bright bubble thus, Xagnar was elected to use his bracers of brachiation to clear them from the place. This he did with effect, killing eight males and 16 females of the vicious creatures, the few survivors then fleeing the place in haste.

    Much laden with tools, armor and arms taken from various encounters, the party settled down in the great hexagonal chamber for a breather while they decided what they should do with their excess baggage. The LM vociferously urged the use of the hand cart left in the circular chamber in which the tools were discovered, but Xagnar kept warning of the encumbrance and noise associated with such a vehicle."

    LA Campaign Adventure Session 26 July Message 6533, posted 7/26/02

    "...Much of the time was spent in moving about in the dungeon, checking the path followed against the map, and making corrections to that work. In actual fact, the pile of partial maps was reduced to only a couple, as the main one was corrected and expanded. This was enabled by the marking of dungeon doors with numbers and very careful exploration.

    ...After eating, healing, resting, recovering AEPs, there was consideration of taking a hand cart from a nearby chamber so as to be able to carry all the shields, armor, and weapons the party had collected. When it became clear that the vehicle was noisy, slow, and would attract attention, that plan was abandoned--along with the shields, armor, and arms--those being piled up in the room.

    Leaving the big octagonal chamber that had been the happy home for many mandreagles before their slaughter, the team exited using the same path as their original departure. thereafter in more thoroughly exploring the area there, they discovered a pair of feline werebeasts masquerading as a human female and her black lion guardian animal [Room 6]. Chahlor signaled Lovie to use her Psychogenic Ability to check on the pair, but this was spotted by the werebeasts. As the random die rolls indicated Chahlor and Kahlar [described as a doppleganger of Chahlor] were attacked, it was apparent that the werebeasts considered the dwarfs as the leaders of the party. The pair struck, the black lion overbearing Kahlar, mauling him savagely, and keeping the doppleganger out of action, while the one in human form beat soundly on the actual Avatar, Chahlor, and then others. Of course that left plenty of others to beat back, and in sort order the two werebeasts were cut to pieces. Finding a necklace, valuables, and four boli of health, robustus, three of moderatus sort, the team left there.

    Following that action the main exploration operation began. Noting landmark areas and door numbers, the party moved through long stretches of the subterranean labyrinth, revisited the healing pool where a mere $500 (one-ounce gold coin) enables healing (13-16), AEP restoration (9-12) and the use of a towel to dry off:) [Room "From 18"]

    During this lengthy trekking, avoiding assiduously areas suspected to transport the party, there were two relatively bright spots--the triggering of an arrow trap, and that of a previously-visited covered pit with spikes set in its bottom. As in the initial mishap, Chahlor and Otto were leading the way, the dwarf avoiding falling in, Otto plummeting down. This time not only did the Forester miss falling on the one spike that might have penetrated, his fall broke it! The only consolation was the 13 points of shock Harm from the fall, this bypassing any and all protection, of course.

    Having thus established the eastern boundaries of the level, the party began a systematic exploration of the blank map areas there in the northeastern portion. By so doing they stumbled upon and were totally surprised by an url [Room 26]. That worthy pitched two rocks, just making his hitting chance with rolls of 85 and 84, delivering excellent Harm thereby. He then grabbed his huge flail and smacked full four of the intruding Avatars smartly. Sadly, he missed his next two attack rolls, and the team did for the url thus. As they were gloating over their triumph, two more rocks flew into the group. Both would have hit, but alas Xagnar has an Extraordinary protection that lowers initial attack success by 50%, so he was missed. Vendar, already wounded, fell with health of -5 from the stone that struck him. The dwarf had available a magical stone, however, that restored full 60 Health points to his fallen comrade, so that attack was not fatal after all.

    Two trolls that served the url came into the fray from their southern quarters [Room 27] and fought valiantly but hopelessly. They too were cut down, after delivering some stout blows to their opponents--Kahlar (then replaced by Chahlor) and Xagnar.

    Loot from this wanton killing amounted to some fair amount of coin two, necklaces and five amber ammunition crystals for Lovie's hand of destruction.

    Feeling relatively safe in the lairs of such fell creatures, the battered Avatars settled down to refresh themselves with food, pillaged ale, rest and sleep."

    HOMP Campaign Session 15 August Message 6769, posted 8/16/02

    "...The team had stopped for a rest period in the "baseball-home-plate-shaped" temple chamber with decorations and three deital-figure statues of Egyptian like sort [Room 19]. There play commenced. After leaving two gold coins in each of the three offertory dishes on the altars, and one $5,000 topaz before the figure that resembles Osiris, the team went on.

    The puzzled LM wondered why no prayers and requests for anything accompanied the offerings, but such is life.

    After the party left, the offerings were magically transferred into the "Fund for the restoration of communications between deities and mankind."

    Mapping continued, as the wretched dwarf cartographer further developed and completed the means by which the team could access all portions of the dungeon level with easy and know their exact location. Bah!

    By searching the blank areas, the party soon came upon a heretofore undiscovered side chamber from the starting octagonal one, picking up there a lantern and jug of lamp oil (kerosene) [Room 4]. Going back, they then found a small chamber in which a "jolly and kindly priest (necromancer) dwelled [Room 17]. As they broke bread with him he summoned his 60 blackrat friends, activated Bone Splinters Power too, dreaming he had a chance of inflicting some severe damage upon the namby-pamby adventurers. As he was about to follow up with a Reaper's Scythe Power attack, Chahlor used his want to nearly kill the fellow with an Eggary's Extreme Smiting. That blew the necrourge's activation, and in the following ABC he was slain while attempting to escape through a secret door. Much loot was taken, but there was no sign of a necklace and pendant.

    Searching on seeking the two missing keys to their escape from the labyrinth, and now fully able to move around with relative surety, the party next came into a rectangular chamber with nine murals painted on its walls [Room 18]. Ignoring some very interesting pictures, Chahlor touched one with a buxom maid offering a tankard of ale, was sent instantly to the Ogre Brothers Pub [Room 21], and the rest followed. After a "day" of boozing and loafing, and a night of rest there in the best bedroom, the bold band went back to exploring.

    Sadly, their map was such that Chahlor was able to lead them directly to a side chamber, a large place that was the residence of a sorcerer, and currently the haunt of that one's spirit, a fright [Room 13]. As they went into the bedchamber portion of the place it manifested itself..."

    LA Campaign Game Session 22 August Message 6853, posted 8/24/02
    "...the fight with the living dead fright went badly--for the fright. It did gain a lot of P Base Rating points to as to strike frequently in semi-material form, but even with its high protection the team unloaded so much on the critter that it didn't stand a chance. In upshot it managed to drain only one point permanently, when Ottos Avoidance failed and he ran off. (Note to all LMs: Have one fright for every two Avatars, and the latter will be meat on the table!)

    With the destruction of the fright, the usual looting frenzy followed, and what was thought to be possibly of value but not immediately identifiable was stashed in the two Commodeous Carryalls the team had taken from the ogresses [Room 22]. Thus laden, and with the eighth necklace, the party went looking for the ancient sage. With Chahlor's map being about 95% correct, this was an easy matter. When he was not in the Ogre Brothers Pub, they simply went to his area [Room 28], knocked, and were admitted.

    He asked for the simple meaning of the following:
    "In pinetaris; in oaknoneis.
    "In mudeelsare; in claynoneis."

    Eventually that was stated by Vendar.

    Then they got the clue for the location of the eighth necklace, and Chahlor nailed it all too quickly, led the way, managed the opening of the secret door alone, taking the arrows, and thus the last key for escape from the dungeon was gained [Room 14]. Both Vendar and Chahlor received 50 extra General Merits for their efforts.

    Back at the octagonal chamber where the adventure began, there was a period of experimentation with the necklaces. Then following the most obvious relationships between each shape and the statues, they got the right order for all eight on the first try! That earned an extra 50 for all the party members, so their Merits were 300 for the session and 300 for exiting.

    Much the worse for wear, the party exited through the rose pane that appeared with the proper placement of the necklaces, hastened to the brownies' for R&R, and examined and divided up the extensive loot. Vendar now has a two-handed sword that has a P bonus of 15, harm added of 13-16, all supernatural Extraordinary. Xagnar received Winged Heels boots. The two Commodeous Carryalls remain with Chahlor and Otto. Lovie got some dandy ammunition crystals for the Hand of Destruction, so she can't complain. Deogulf garnered a number of Enchantment Powers on Plaques, so he thus needs now only some Memory Tablets to be well pleased indeed.

    Happily, the bold adventurers did not stop by the pub to bid adieu to the ogre brothers..."
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Praying for Our Daily Bread… Abandoning Tomorrow’s Worries

    The Idol Babbler - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 20:31

    “How great the value which this truth teaches us to attach to each single day! We are so easily led to look at life as a great whole, and to neglect the little to-day, to forget that the single days do indeed make up the whole, and that the value of each single day depends on its influence on the whole. One day lost is a link broken in the chain, which it often takes more than another day to mend. One day lost influences the next, and makes its keeping more difficult. Yea, one day lost may be the loss of what months or years of careful labour had secured. The experience of many a believer could confirm this.”Andrew Murray

    A good friend of mine posted this quote on social media. I can relate, because there are days where my goal is to just get through it… rather than slowing down to take in the moments that God has given me.

    Praying for Our Daily Bread

    This goes along with something which has impacted my prayer life recently… realizing that my prayers (as taught by Christ Himself) ought to focus on today, and not necessarily tomorrow or the next day, but today. Not that it is wrong for me to pray about tomorrow, but maybe it is more proper for me to pray for TODAY, how I am to deal with what I might see on the horizon. The thing is, the horizon may or may not ever come. Therefore, I ought to instead focus on asking the Lord to be with me this day. After all, Jesus did not teach His disciples to pray for tomorrow’s bread, but today’s…

    Matthew 6:11 (HCSB)
    Give us today our daily bread.

    A few verses later, Jesus made this point about putting too much emphasis upon tomorrow, rather than today…

    Matthew 6:33-34 (HCSB)
    But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

    The half-brother of Jesus would later also touch upon this concept when he wrote to the 12 tribes in the dispersion regarding their materialistic mindset…

    James 4:13-15 (HCSB)
    Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring — what your life will be! For you are like smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes.
    Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

    Abandoning Tomorrow’s Worries

    It is so tempting to get caught up in what tomorrow might bring.

    As James wrote, we must realize that our lives are “like smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes.” It is why Jesus encouraged that our prayers be rooted in today, instead of tomorrow.

    May we (Christians) learn to pray about the moment we are in, abandoning the worry we create when we lose sight of the peace that Christ has provided us….

    Philippians 4:4-7 (HCSB)
    Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

    Godspeed, to the brethren!

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    Categories: Churchie Feeds

    New Android P includes several security improvements

    Malwarebytes - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 19:12

    According to the Android developer Program Overview, the next major version of Android, Android 9.0 or P, is set to arrive soon. Their plans show a final release within the next three months (Q3 2018).

    The end of the Android P beta program is approaching, with the first release candidate built and released in July. As a security company, we simply can’t help but take a close look at what kind of security updates will be included in Android’s newest version.

    We are not going to write about new features of Android P, but instead will focus our attention on security improvements. Android P introduces a number of updates that enhance the security of your apps and the devices that run them.

    Improved fingerprint authentication

    For our own safety, most devices (and many apps) have an authentication mechanism. The new Android P OS provides improved biometrics-based authentication. In Android 8.1, there were two new metrics that helped its biometric system repel attacks: Spoof Accept Rate (SAR) and Imposter Accept Rate (IAR). Along with a new model that splits biometric security into weak and strong, biometric authentication becomes more reliable and trustworthy in Android P.

    Android P also promises to deliver a standardized look, feel, and placement for the dialog that requests a fingerprint. This increases user’s confidence that they are interacting with a trusted source. App developers can trigger the new system fingerprint dialog using a new BiometricPrompt API, and it’s recommended to switch over to the new system dialog as soon as possible. The platform itself selects an appropriate biometric to authenticate with; thus developers don’t need to implement this logic by themselves.

    Biometric authentication mechanisms are becoming increasingly popular and they have a lot of potential, but only if designed securely, measured accurately, and implemented correctly.

    Signature Scheme v3

    Android P pushes support for APK Signature Scheme v3. The major difference from v2 is key rotation support. Key rotation will be useful for developers, as this scheme has ApkSignerLineage included. As the review committee states:

    “The signer lineage contains a history of signing certificates with each ancestor attesting to the validity of its descendant. Each additional descendant represents a new identity that can sign an APK. In this way, the lineage contains a proof of rotation by which the APK containing it can demonstrate, to other parties, its ability to be trusted with its current signing certificate, as though it were signed by one of its older ones. Each signing certificate also maintains flags which describe how the APK itself would like to trust the old certificates, if at all, when encountered.”

    This gives you an opportunity to sign with a new certificate easily. You simply link the APK files to the ones with which they are now signed.

    Although Scheme v3 turns on by default, note that you can still use an old signing certificate.

    HTTP Secure (HTTPS) by default

    Nowadays, many apps are still transmitting users’ information unencrypted, making personal data vulnerable to hackers. People bothered by potential for breach or invasion of privacy can feel more secure knowing their transmissions in Android P will be secure by default.

    In Android P, third-party developers will have to enable HTTPS (It was optional in Android 8.0) for their apps. However, they can still ignore the advice and specify certain domains that will deliver unencrypted traffic.

    Protected confirmation

    A protected confirmation API exists in all devices launched with Android P. Using this API, apps can use the ConfirmationPrompt class to display confirmation prompts to the user, asking them to approve a short statement. This statement allows the app to confirm that the user would like to complete a sensitive transaction, such as making a bill payment.

    Right after the statement acceptance, your app receives a cryptographic signature, protected by a keyed-hash message authentication code (HMAC). The signature is produced by the trusted execution environment (TEE). This protects the display of the confirmation dialog, as well as user input. The signature indicates, with high confidence, that the user has seen the statement and has agreed to it.

    Hardware security module

    Here’s an additional update that benefits everyone: Devices with Android P will be supporting a StrongBox Keymaster. The module contains its own CPU, secure storage, and a true random number generator. It also protects against package tampering and unauthorized sideloading of apps.

    In order to support StrongBox implementations, Android P uses subset of algorithms and key sizes, such as:

    • RSA 2048
    • AES 128 and 256
    • ECDSA P-256
    • HMAC-SHA256 (supports key sizes between 8 bytes and 64 bytes, inclusive)
    • Triple DES 168
    Peripherals background policy

    With Android P, apps will not be able to access your smartphone’s microphone, camera, or sensors. Users get a notification when apps attempt to access these in the background. On attempting, the microphone will report empty audio, cameras will disconnect (causing an error if the app tries to use them), and all sensors will stop reporting events.

    Backup data encryption update

    It’s not a secret that Android backs up data from your device. Users can then restore data after signing into their Google account from another device. Starting with Android P, it’ll start using a client-side secret method for its encryption. This means encryption will be done locally on the device, whereas before, a backup of your device was encrypted directly on the server.

    Because of this new privacy measure, users will need the device’s PIN, pattern, or password to restore data from the backups made by their device.

    Wrapping things up

    All these improvements mean only one thing: It’ll be significantly harder for criminals to access your data when they shouldn’t be able to. With the massive amounts of breaches over the last two years, this should come as a relief for consumers, who simply want to use their phones without fear of privacy being compromised.

    The post New Android P includes several security improvements appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

    Categories: Techie Feeds

    My first Fantasy Trip Aid also useful for GURPS and Dungeon Fantasy

    Bat in the Attic - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 19:11
    A long time ago I made a set of customized graph paper to use with GURPS after I purchased the Cardboard Heroes: Dungeon Floors.

    As you can see from the image below, SJ Games cleverly squashed the hexes to allow them to align with a rectangular grid. I drew up some graph paper so I can easily draw dungeons for my Majestic Wilderlands when I used GURPS as the rules.

    After pledging to the The Fantasy Trip kickstarter I found a copy of In the Labyrinth for a reasonable price on eBay and bought it. In there and in the original Wizard which I also have. The Fantasy Trip has the concept of magahexes, a larger hex encompassing seven small hexes. It is used to adjudicate long ranges, area spells and other effects.



    So I pulled out the old file and added a layer with Mega Hex border.

    You can download it from here.

    It is layered with the border, hexes, megahexes, and grid on separate layers. The advantage of this is that you can draw or transpose dungeon laid out on a grid to use with the hex map format of GURPS or The Fantasy Trip.


    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Happy Gary Gygax Day & The High Road To The Astral Plane With The Free Adventure ZA6: Journey to the Astral Plane by Joseph Mohr

    Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 15:32
    Today would have been Gary Gygax's eightieth birthday today & we're supposed to celebrate his life. Gary Gygax was a lot of things designer, writer, & to a certain extent he was a Renaissance man. There was a lot of water under the bridge with the history of Dungeons & Dragons. For some folks those events yesterday even if it was forty plus years ago. But someplace along the line I Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Quick Cricut Craft: Crochet Cocktail Napkins

    Moogly - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 15:04

    A bottle of wine or drinks themed basket is a classic gift – and you can make it even better by including these Crochet Cocktail Napkins, all dressed up with Cricut Iron-Ons – I’ll show you how in this Quick Cricut Craft! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. Material support provided by Red Heart Yarns and Cricut. [...]

    The post Quick Cricut Craft: Crochet Cocktail Napkins appeared first on moogly. Please visit www.mooglyblog.com for this post. If you are viewing this on another site they have scraped the content from my website without permission. Thank you for your support.

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    Categories: Crochet Life

    jeremy crawford talks about monster design

    Blog of Holding - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 14:59

    I’m pretty close to finishing up my monster design guidelines based on reverse-engineering the Monster Manual. Before that, though, I want to comment on an interesting episode of DM’s Deep Dive in which Mike Shea (Sly Flourish) interviewed D&D lead rules designer Jeremy Crawford about monster design.

    Mike asked Jeremy about the table in the DMG for homebrewing monsters. It’s public record that I have my doubts about that table. Jeremy provided this interesting fact: apparently, the canonical formula for determining monster CR is encoded in an internally-used Excel spreadsheet. (We’ve seen this spreadsheet in action in the Mike Mearls Happy Fun Hour.) The table in the DMG was made after the spreadsheet, and was an attempt to reverse-engineer and simplify the spreadsheet’s formulas for DM’s home use: it’s not used as part of the process for creating for-publication monsters.

    My research indicates that while D&D monster stats are internally consistent and carefully designed, their power levels don’t line up well with the DMG chart. This leads me to believe that the spreadsheet does what it intends to do, while the DMG chart does not.

    I invite you to ponder this further mystery from the Deep Dive podcast:

    In the podcast, Jeremy Crawford talked about how the D&D team approaches what he calls “action denial” attacks: paralysis, charm, etc. This is something I’ve wondered about. My initial research suggested that these attacks didn’t have much of an effect on CR, which I though was strange: taking out a combatant for a few turns seems like it should be a powerful ability.

    Jeremy used paralysis as an example to illustrate the team’s approach. First, find the lowest-level spell which inflicts a condition. For paralysis, that’s Hold Person. Next, you translate that into damage by finding the damage output of the simplest pure-damage spell of that level. Hold Person is level 2, and its comparable damage spell is Scorching Ray, which does 6d6 (21) damage. Thus, the ability to paralyze is worth 21 “virtual” damage for Challenge Rating calculation purposes.

    I see the logic in that, but it doesn’t scale the way I’d expect it to. If you’re fighting four opponents, I’d expect the ability to keep one of them paralyzed to be worth, say, 33% extra virtual hit points (the hit points you won’t be losing to the paralyzed opponent) – or some similar scaling benefit. If the ability is expressed as flat damage, 21 hit points damage is dominant at low levels and negligible at high levels.

    And indeed, when checked against monster data, it doesn’t seem as if monsters are balanced exactly as Jeremy describes. Check out the chart below. This includes all ten CR-5 or lower monsters with a paralysis attack: the carrion crawler, chuul, ghoul, ghast, grell, pentadrone, mummy, revenant, thri-kreen, and yeti. (Above CR 5, the 21 virtual hit points of paralysis would rarely be relevant to CR because monsters generally have a more damaging attack options.)

    In this chart, the blue diamonds represent the average damage output of a monster of each CR from 1 to 5. The red X’s represent the base damage output of paralysis-inducing monsters – without the 21-point “Crawford bonus.” As you can see, the paralyzer damage is very close to average monster damage.

    The green triangles represent the average damage of paralyzers, once you take the 21 points of “virtual damage” into account. As you can see, adding this would skew monster damage way too high – doubling their effective damage in most cases! If this damage were really being taken into account the way Jeremy describes, all these low-level monsters would have to have very low-damage attacks – a ghoul with a claw doing 1 damage, for instance – to make room for all that virtual damage.

    This is one of those unaccountable situations, like many others that we’ve discovered while investigating how monsters are built, where the WOTC instructions for building a monster don’t match the monsters we see in the manual.

    My best guess for why this is: playtesting. It’s possible that monster stats started off skewed and exception-ridden. How could they not? It’s an incredibly complicated system. But then through the public D&D Next playtest, the NDA playtest, the internal playtest, and the good intuitions of the designers themselves, the proud nails were hammered down. Monsters were adjusted until they felt right. The tyranny of the spreadsheet was overthrown by humans, or at least reformed into a constitutional monarchy. And so, while the designers of D&D may be still using an occasionally flawed formula to initially prototype their monsters, they’re compensating for the Excel spreadsheet’s failings in later steps of design.

    It’s interesting to compare the designers’ intent (as evidenced by what we know of their monster-design process) to the final product (the monsters in the rule books.)

    The intent is to account for everything in a monster’s CR. Hundreds of monster traits are weighed to the fraction of a CR. Changing one stat has a ripple effect on other stats. As Jeremy said in the podcast, they’re still using the same Excel spreadsheet that they’ve been using for five years. I’m a programmer and I know what that means. Complication is added to complication, all adding up to the illusion of precision. No one really knows how it works anymore: look how hard it is to reverse engineer (see that DMG table I’ve been complaining about). From this end of the process, monster design has a baroque, stately, creaking majesty.

    The final product, when analyzed, is simple, flexible, and streamlined. Challenge Rating gives a broad bell curve of possible hit points and damage outputs. Tweaking one number doesn’t affect another. A monster’s traits and special abilities have no significant, measurable effect on its Challenge Rating: every monster gets its schtick and they all sort of balance out. From this end, monster design appears to have a flexible, easygoing, organic solidity.

    This is a common pattern in tabletop game design. Things start complicated. The more they’re used at the table, the simpler they become. I think Jeremy and the rest of the D&D team are geniuses, but their real genius lies in knowing and respecting the value of playtesting.

    Next: the final rules for making monsters

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    under attack

    Autumn Geisha - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 13:06


    pattern: Mercury socks yarn: hue loco glitz sock in the eskimo colorway






    First for the good news: I finished a pair of socks and I love them to bits! The pattern (handpaint highlights socks ) plays so well with the pretty colors of this highly variegated yarn by phydeaux designs. Definitely plan on repeating this pattern with other colorfully fun sock yarn in the stash.

    Now for the not so good news: my sock wips appeared to have mysteriously multiplied overnight. I am not quite sure how this happened. {cue music for the Twilight Zone} Maybe some unknown law of quantum physics is at play. Or there could be the existence of an alternate universe where knitting projects self-propagate and then travel through the space-time continuum to land in our wips basket. A nefarious plot by elves and fairies? Regardless of how they came to be, I now have to accept their existence and come up with a plan of attack:

    *take a much needed seaside vacation
    *bring only sock wips
    *do nothing but knit (and eat)
    *resist casting on any new socks (at least until a few of these are off the needles)
    *find fellowship and support from others who are in the same boat #knitwipkal

    Sounds pretty simple right? Wish me luck!
    Categories: Knitting Feeds

    Cryptozoic Will Showcase and Sell Games at Gen Con 2018

    Cryptozoic - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 13:00

    Cryptozoic Entertainment today announced that it will showcase current and upcoming games at Gen Con, August 2-5 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. At Booth #601, Cryptozoic will demo and sell limited pre-release quantities of several of its highly anticipated upcoming games, including Rick and Morty: The Pickle Rick Game, Pantone™: The Game, DC Spyfall, DC Deck-Building Game: Crisis Expansion Pack 4, and Epic Spell WarsTM of the Battle Wizards: Panic at the Pleasure Palace

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

    Knitted Bliss - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 11:00

    www.knittedbliss.com

    My Favourite Articles and Links This Week I went to a Banksy exhibit with a blogger friend (hi Loulou!) and she wrote an amazing piece about it. Reading this will be like you came along with us. Okay, I’m actually kind of excited to try this- in praise of drunk cleaning. The joy of missing

    The post Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week appeared first on %%www.knittedbliss.com%%.

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    Categories: Knitting Feeds

    More Supers Art

    Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 11:00

    This is Agus Calcagno's rendition of the Abhumans, which I haven't got around to coloring yet. I have colored their headshots, though:


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