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crochet for Canada Day

Planet June - Wed, 06/12/2019 - 14:16

My patriotic Beaver just can’t wait until Canada Day (July 1st) to start his celebrations!

I’ve just updated my Maple Leaf Collection crochet pattern to also include instructions for making this small thread Canadian Flag too – it’s perfect for an amigurumi to hold.

If you’ve already bought the Maple Leaf Collection, log back into your PlanetJune account, go to your old order for the Maple Leaf Collection and re-download the Canadian Flag Background PDF – you’ll see a new page at the end with the updated details for the thread flag!

Canadiana crochet patterns

I have a small, but growing, collection of Canadian-themed patterns now – the adorable Beaver, and the Maple Leaf Collection (which includes the Canadian Flag background):

Find all my Canadiana crochet patterns here!

Are there any other Canadian icons you’d like me to add to my Canadiana pattern collection? Let me know in the comments!

Categories: Crochet Life

SOS :: soldotna & pavement

Autumn Geisha - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 17:15
Today I wanted to highlight some techniques that I used to cobble together enough stash yarn to make two very different sweaters. The first one is my most recent finish:


It’s the Soldotna Crop (by the fabulous Caitlin Hunter) which is a super fun all over colorwork sweater knit with dk weight yarn. Unfortunately, my stash is on the light side when it comes to dk weight. But being a sock knitting fiend, I have tons of fingering weight yarn. The pattern calls for a small amount of four different colors so I decided to double strand the fingering weight yarns together in order to achieve the called for gauge. It worked like a charm, although I wished that I had a little bit more yardage left of the main body color to make the top less cropped. In order to compensate, I knitted the bottom ribbing a little longer and the sweater hits just at the top of my high waisted jeans. It is surprisingly wearable with both jeans and dresses/skirts. I am thinking of making a second more neutral version with varying shades of grays.



Summer of Stash sweater number two is one of my favorite finished sweaters ever. It’s the Pavement sweater by the ultra talented Veera Valimaki.


Simple designs such as this one lends itself well to color fading don’t you think? I had bought these three skeins of Hedgehog Fibres several years ago for a Stephen West mkal but ended up going with a different color scheme. Now I’m kinda glad that they were stashed because I am so thrilled with how they knitted up into this sweater! It’s a wonderfully comfy lightweight pullover.

So there you have it! Two new sweaters made entirely from The Stash! I am planning on shopping the stash for some baby knits. A good friend is expecting her first child (a boy) in September & I would love to make some special hand knits for the kiddo. Do you guys have any suggestions for baby pullovers or cardigans? Also hats & booties too :)

SOS {summer of stash}

Autumn Geisha - Thu, 05/30/2019 - 01:06
Gosh it’s been awhile! How has your May been? I can’t believe that the end of school is coming up soon. In just a few more weeks the kid will be graduating from junior high. Right now we are busy with field trips & other end of school celebrations, plus transition meetings for high school. High school!!! I am so not ready!!! Can’t wait until summer vacation starts & we can sleep in a little. I love the slower pace of summertime here on the island.

I have already started making some fun knitting plans for the summer. This year has seen a major focus on using up the stash. I’ve been knitting up a storm on the garment front but will wait to share that with you on the next post. Today I want to talk about my newest obsession: shortie socks! They are such great projects for leftover partial skeins of fingering weight yarn. All of the following were knit on 2.25mm needles & 64 stitches:

Design line by Arne & Carlos :: summer night
The above pair was my first attempt. I wasn’t sure how long to knit the cuff/leg so I went with 10 rounds of 2x2 ribbing followed by 10 rounds of stockinette before knitting the fish lips kiss heel. Not bad for the first go round.

West Yorkshire Spinners :: peacock
I decided to increase the cuff length on the next pair: 15 rounds of 2x2 ribbing followed by 10 rounds of stockinette. Better fit but still not perfect.

Knitpicks Felici :: jamboree
Third time’s the charm! 15 rounds of 2x2 ribbing followed by 15 rounds of stockinette. The fit is just the way I like it. Now that I’ve hit on my perfect shortie formula, there’s a bunch of colorful felici sock yarn in the stash just waiting to be cast on!

Before I sign off today, I want to thank you for visiting! I really appreciate the fact that you take time out of your busy lives to read my oftentimes jumbled ramblings. Have a wonderful start to your summer!

Sagas of Midgard

Stargazer's World - Mon, 04/22/2019 - 09:37

I am lucky enough that in my day job I both work from home and work entirely online. What this means is that I could be pretty much anywhere in the world as long as I can get an internet connection. In practical terms I am a little more limited as it is not just me, there is a Mrs R, two horses, three dogs and a scattering of grown up children and grandchildren.

What I did do recently is move from the far south west of Cornwall, UK to about as far north as you can get in the UK. I am spending seven months living on Shetland. I have swapped Celtic legends and Cornish Giants for Norse myth and legend. This a little bit of an adventure.

And talking of adventures… I have been playing Sagas of Midgard for the past two weeks and I have come to really enjoy the game. The game is very rules light. It has a single rule for resolving everything. The GM sets a target number and the players roll a d100 and add whatever they can to it and try and roll over the target number. It is one of those games where the GM doesn’t roll any dice. Combat is players roll to hit when they attack and they roll to dodge when they are defending.

What appeals the most is that this is a game where the heroes are heroic. D100 systems have a nasty habit of thinking they need to be gritty and realistic. I think it is the fact that a single roll has a hundred options means the designers feel they need to use them all (slight exaggeration).

Just look at this quote about should giants using bows be able to shoot further than humans, *not* from Sagas. “But m/(m+mv) scales in a way that depends on the relative contribution of m vs mv. If we assume m is much more important than mv, that simplifies to m/m and velocity will double because m/m * L is double. If we assume mv is much more important than m, that simplifies to m/mv and velocity will remain constant. So, the actual scaling is somewhere between x1 and x2, dependent on the relative contribution of m vs mv.

I found one reference that suggested for a bow, mv is about 20% the weight of an arrow. It may be much higher for a thrown weapon…? Would be good to see some numbers. But my initial impression is that Dan’s approximation of x1.41 (square root of 2) is within the range of x1 to x2 and not unreasonable.”

Really? There is a point at which when dealing with giants and dragons you kind of have to leave the physics behind. Back in Cornwall one of our local giants, Trecobben, could throw a rock the size of a VW Transporter seven miles. I would like to see the calculations for that (not!).

Sagas is NOT that sort of game. Sagas is all about the story, heroic action and dying well in battle. There is a great rule called With Joy I Cease which allows the player to trade the death of their character in exchange for delivering a truly heroic blow either killing a normal creature outright or delivering a massive wound to unique creatures. It is better to die honourably with your sword in your hand and enter the halls of Valhalla than to die in your bed as an old man.

All in all Sagas of Midgard is a great little game, fast to learn, simple to play and the core system has loads of potential to expand into other genres due to its sheer simplicity.

Related posts:

  1. Midgard
  2. Review: Midgard Bestiary Volume 1
  3. Review: Midgard Bestiary (Pathfinder Edition)

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kickstarter: Odyssey of the Dragonlords

Stargazer's World - Wed, 04/17/2019 - 11:33

Modiphius is more active than ever. I just heard from their PR assistant Panny that they just recently started another Kickstarter project which has been funded in its first 24 hours. They are raising funds for “Odyssey of the Dragonlords”, and 5th Edition adventure book inspired by Greek mythology and written by Arcanum Worlds which has been founded by ex-Bioware people. This might definitely raise some eyebrows … and in a good way.

Odyssey will be an about 260-paged hardcover book containing an epic quest in the world of Thylea which will take a party of adventurers from 1st to 10th level. The artwork shown on the Kickstarter page looks gorgeous, and if you want to delve deeper into it, there’s already a free Player’s Guide to Odyssey of the Dragonlords available on DriveThruRPG.

If you’re a fan of D&D 5th Edition and Greek myth, you definitely should give this Kickstarter a look.

Related posts:

  1. How not to run a Kickstarter to fund your RPG
  2. Preview: Odyssey–The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management
  3. Kickstarter: Mindjammer – The Roleplaying Game

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

James Albert Smith Jr (1968–2019)

Stargazer's World - Wed, 04/17/2019 - 06:48

On April 10th James Smith known for his OSR blog Dreams of Mythic Fantasy passed away. I didn’t really know him, but I’ve read his blog from time to time. Regardless it always saddens me deeply when someone from our small community of RPG bloggers dies. My condolences go to his family and friends.

James’ family has set up an obituary page, where you can leave a tribute. If you want to support his family with the funeral costs, you can donate to their PayPal account.

Related posts:

  1. RPG Blog Anthology
  2. Roleplaying music: An interview with James Semple
  3. Kickstarter: RPG Smith

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

John Carter of Mars Live Play

Stargazer's World - Tue, 04/16/2019 - 06:21

I don’t actually remember when I first learned about Edgar Rice Burrough’s series of books about a civil war veteran from Virginia who suddenly finds himself on Mars,  but I immediately fell in love with it. I even love the not-so-successful Disney movie from 2012. It took some liberties with the story, but in my opinion has perfectly captured the atmosphere of the books.

And so has done Modiphius’ John Carter of Mars roleplaying game. So it’s no surprise that I just had to support the Kickstarter project back in January 2018.  The fulfilment took a bit longer than expected, but the long wait was definitely worth it. The books I got so far are gorgeous! Unfortunately I haven’t had the time to give the books a closer look yet, that’s why Modiphius’ upcoming Live Play is of interest to me. I have played another game using their in-house 2d20 System before, but John Carter of Mars uses a simplified version which could make things easier for new players and also speed up play. Especially during combats 2d20 always felt a bit slow. But I digress.

The live play will be on Facebook Live and will start on Wednesday, 17th of April, on 3 PM BST. Hopefully this will be a great opportunity to learn more about how the game plays. So save the date!

If you want to learn more about the John Carter roleplaying game, check out the official site, or watch the videos I posted below!


Enjoy!

Related posts:

  1. Lazy Friday Video post: “John Carter of Mars – Full Trailer”
  2. Games I am excited about: 2018 Edition
  3. 5 Reasons Why You Should Get The New Star Trek Adventures RPG

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Escape The Noose, A Zweihänder Adventure

Stargazer's World - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 06:30

ESCAPE THE NOOSE is a Zweihänder adventure from Nights of the Shed that makes full use of the Main Gauche [MG] supplement. The booklet does say that you may want to use Main Gauche, I would say it is virtually essential. I am not saying this is a bad thing, rather I think it is a great adventure to introduce some of the cooler parts of the Zwei addon companion to a game.

The stand out thing for me is the setting for this adventure. It is as close to ‘real world’ as I have ever seen in a published adventure, that included spell casters in the NPC list. What ESCAPE does is place the PCs into real world historical events and these play out as a backdrop to the characters’ trials and challenges. Zweihänder is not a game where the PCs are going to change history and turn back armies, the history books are probably safe.

The ‘adventure’ and I use the quotes intentionally is intended to last just one or two sessions and is best suited to bringing characters together and bonding them into a party. For that alone it is a great tool. The down side is that it is not really much of an adventure. There is one entry point and one exit point and a list of set play encounters in between.

So is this a good adventure module? I think it is. It is a little railroad but for a first session with new characters that is fine. At the end of the written module there are a number of ways the characters story can go, that is where the freedom to tell their own story really comes in.

Even through this is built out of a string of set plays the characters still have options. Zwei characters are not renowned for being heroic, just surviving is often enough. In the characters escape they have those opportunities to someone’s hero even if it is just one life at a time and their actions buy the victim just a moments respite.

You do not really have to take my word for this as you can listen to an actual play of this adventure on Sound Cloud https://soundcloud.com/user-458434613. I confess that I have not listened to it. There is not much in role playing that I don’t do but watching or listening to other people play is one of the things I simply don’t get.

Related posts:

  1. ZWEIHÄNDER
  2. ZWEIHÄNDER supplement round up
  3. Zweihänder Collaboration

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Luridian Assassin

Graphite Prime - Sat, 04/13/2019 - 16:22


Luridian Assassin
AC: as chain (breast plate, gorget, and face-plate) HD: 5d8 (30 hp)Attacks:   
  • 2 with a Luridian long-sword, +7 to hit, 
  • Damage: 1d8+2
  • Critical Hit on a natural 18, 19 or 20. 

Initiative: +4Stealth: 4 in 6. Save As: fighter 10AL: neutral  Morale: 11 XP: 350     If the Luridian wins initiative she will size-up her opponent, letting them act first, thus gaining advantage on her first strike.
Luridian Assassins have their eyes burned out at birth, yet somehow they can see…
They will never use magic or poison.
Nobody seems to know why or how they choose their targets.



Luridian Assassin

About the drawing  The more I draw in ink, the more I want to.  This was a pure ink sketch, no pencils or digital altering (except to remove my signature; didn't like the way it looked for some reason, and I've been experimenting with a new signature involving GP for Graphite Prime.)  Anyhow, I'm beginning to love the chaos of drawing ONLY in ink.

R.I.P. James Smith.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Ballad of the Pistolero

Stargazer's World - Fri, 04/12/2019 - 06:00

A friend of mine has, completely by chance, been working on a Wild West RPG called Ballad of the Pistolero. I say completely by chance because the topic only came up when I was talking about my Devil’s Staircase Wild West RPG. The chances of two different developers writing wild west game at the same time has to be fairly low. It is hardly the most popular genre.

Anyway, DS Wild West is still plodding its way through public play test with over 300 downloads so far and I get a new download about every day. I have even set up a Discord server for play testers.

So a bit more about Ballad of the Pistolero… Foxwood Games tried to make a very cinematic action based wild west game but has included elements of Zweihanders d100 system in that mix. You can take a look at the test rules as there is a link to them near the bottom of the Kickstarter pitch. Making the test rules available is a nice idea as it does mean that backers get to know exactly what it is they are buying into if they support the pitch.

As this is a friend’s pitch I will particularly encourage you to take a look and lend your support. Not that I am biased at all!

Related posts:

  1. Lazy Friday Video Post: Ballad of the Monster Manual
  2. Remember that Wild West game?
  3. New Savage Worlds Test Drive… and more!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

I think I finally “get” Fudge

Stargazer's World - Thu, 04/11/2019 - 06:51

Since I first discovered it many years ago I have been struggling with Fudge. There are aspects I love like it’s skill system and dice mechanic, but other parts of the game totally confused me. Yesterday I actually realized what may have contributed to this confusion.

I don’t actually remember where I first learned about that game, but eventually I tried to track down a copy. The only official copy available in print at that time was the 10th Anniversary Edition. It’s a huge tome with many optional rules, variant rules, and tips on how you can handle things in your game. When I first read it I was utterly confused. The basic mechanics were simple and easy to understand, but I still wasn’t sure on how to actually do things.

I had some success running a Fudge game set into the Fallout universe. Using the computer game as a basis helped me deal with some of the issues I had with Fudge at this point. I just copied attributes and skills from the computer game and instead of gifts and faults I copied Fallout’s perks (which are basically just gifts).

You have to understand that Fudge is built on the premise that you as a GM can pick and choose on how you want to do things. You can freely pick which attributes you want in your game, what skills to use, how combat works, et cetera. But it also allows you to just “fudge things”. This means that you can easily have a game in which each player character has a totally different set of attributes. For checks you just use what you deem appropriate. The moment you accept that this is a possibility, the confusion begins to clear up. I too often worry that I am not playing a game “right”, as if this was a thing. I fear my brain is just wired that way. Realizing that “fudging it” was actually the right way to do things, or at least one acceptable method, made things click for me.

Sure, you can pick exactly what you want to use in your game. And at least when it comes to certain mechanics this might actually necessary to avoid discussions at the game table, BUT when it comes to attributes, skills, gifts, and faults, you have much more freedom.

I also noticed that it’s probably best to check out the free 1995 edition of Fudge first, before delving deeper into the 10th Anniversary Edition. It’s about 100 pages long and contains everything you need to get started. The larger 10th Anniversary Edition has more stuff, but it might also be a bit overwhelming at first. Alternatively I can also recommend picking up “The Unexplained” by Carnivore Games, which is not only a great introduction to Fudge, but also a very cool game in its own right – especially if you have a soft spot for ghost hunters, cryptozoologists, and UFO “researchers”. You can check out my review of said game here.

So what do I plan to do with my greater understanding of Fudge? I really don’t know yet. I haven’t really run anything in a while, and I still suffer from some anxiety. It isn’t that bad that I can’t make plans, but it’s still bad enough to keep me from making any concrete plans. I have at least two players who are basically willing to play everything I am interested to run, so I might run a Fudge one-shot to get my feet wet again. I’ll keep you updated.

Related posts:

  1. How I stopped worrying and just used Fudge
  2. 5 Reasons Why You Should Check Out Fudge
  3. My quest to run a Fudge game

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

sweater swagger

Autumn Geisha - Thu, 04/11/2019 - 00:09

You guys! I don’t know how it’s happened but I am on a sweater finishing roll right now. The Weekender was such a joy to knit. Although I have to admit that when I first read the pattern and saw that it began with a tubular cast-on, my enthusiasm level was dialed down quite a bit. But there was a link in the pattern to a very helpful tutorial which has me now completely in love with the technique. The rest of the pattern was just as fun to knit and I love the cozy, relaxed style of the finished sweater. I honestly would be wearing this 24/7 if the darn weather here in Maryland would cooperate. At least it’s cool enough in the mornings to wear a wool sweater. The tweedy yarn is from Peace Fleece. It is very rustic and woolly but softened up a lot after a good soak. I am already dreaming of a marled version. Maybe I’ll splurge on some special farm yarn at Maryland Sheep and Wool next month.

march finishes

Autumn Geisha - Mon, 04/01/2019 - 00:56

Hooray I actually finished a sweater!!! So incredibly excited to cast off my Edith Cardigan while it is still chilly enough to wear. Good thing that it is extremely cozy because every year when the calendar turns to March, the hubby dials down the heat to sub-zero temps. But this year I will not engage in thermostat battles :)  I love how warm & woolly this cardigan is. It was my first time knitting a dropped shoulder construction and I was a little concerned with how the finished sweater would look since I usually wear raglan sweaters. Really pleased with the relaxed fit. It was a very well written pattern and would make a great first sweater project. I am debating on whether or not to add in the big patch pockets. Maybe at some point down the line but for now, I want to finish up my Weekender and cast on for some Easter socks. Here’s the pair I made for St. Patrick’s Day:


These were fun fun fun to knit! The yarn is from Desert Vista Dyeworks in the Zombody go bragh colorway. Those green stripes have me looking forward to some fun Spring knitting. What’s currently on your knitting needles? Anything on the radar for Spring?

free pattern: Tulips (and a new video!)

Planet June - Thu, 03/28/2019 - 13:04

Here’s a new addition to my stemmed flower patterns: a beautiful realistic tulip flower with a clever one-piece construction. You’ll love how it comes together!

Don’t they look gloriously spring-like in their distinctive tulip colours? (I had so much fun picking the colours for these!)

I’ve also completed a new video (the first of many!) using my new audio/video equipment to accompany this pattern, and all my other stemmed flowers: Easy Yarn-Wrapped Stems for Crochet Flowers. As always, my videos are available in right- and left-handed versions, so you can see exactly what to do.

I hope you can see/hear the quality improvement in this new video, but if you don’t even notice because you’re concentrating on the content, that’s fine too. Clear, close-up and well explained techniques are always my top priority. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel so you’ll always see my latest videos – I have lots more in store!


Here are all my stemmed flowers together: Basic Rose, Daffodils, Carnations and the new Tulips. I hope they all brighten your day!

As I like to reward people who chose to donate for my donationware patterns, the PDF version of the Tulips pattern includes additional assembly photos (including left-handed photos) and my special technique for fastening off the yarn neatly at the base of the stem. As always, the pattern is free for you to use, and you need only donate if you’d like to thank me for my time in creating it, or if you’d like the easy-to-print PDF version.

Go to the free Tulips pattern >>

Or jump straight to donate:

Order the Tulips pattern >>

Not ready to make it yet? Add it to your Ravelry queue:

Categories: Crochet Life

Sision Tower Now Available!

Graphite Prime - Wed, 03/27/2019 - 21:37



Some time ago, the wind began to sing of death in the Sision River Valley, and if purgatory was a song, Glovakians are now listening to it.  The source of  this soul-crushing music was tracked to 90 miles northwest of Ambir.  What was found?   A massive, oddly built stone tower that wasn't there before. 

Word quickly spread and the curious set out in droves.  Many turned back however, as every passing day the music got worse, but a brave, or foolish few, managed to make camp and eventually go inside.  If anyone’s made it out, no one really knows, but there’s no shortage of rumors as to what's really going on in the place that has come to be known as, Sision Tower.
Sision Tower is an OSR styled, vertical dungeon-crawl where the PCs explore an odd domain of Holy origins.  Here, they will test their survival skills as well as their Faith.  Here, they will meet Saints and Seraphs.  Here, in the struggle between Law and Chaos they have to decide.......Plunder?? ...Sacrifice??...or Both!!!

Sision Tower includes:

  • All original black and white art.
  • Over a dozen, fully illustrated, new magic items.
  • Unique monsters and a sample setting.
  • A vertical dungeon crawl of 35 rooms.
  • A spiritual setting in the same vein as Praise the Fallen.

Sision Tower is designed to challenge character levels 3-5 and is easily used with most traditional fantasy role-playing systems.  39 printer-friendly pages, now available at DriveThruRPG!   



Sision Tower



For all who purchase...Thank You!




Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kickstarter: RPG Smith

Stargazer's World - Mon, 03/25/2019 - 07:26

This is just a quick update to let you folks know that the Kickstarter campaign to fund the RPGSmith (check out my article about it) GM features is now live. They need about €22,125 to add new functionality to their web application. Following are the GM features they want to add if the fundraiser is successful:

    • Create and manage campaigns (similar to Rule Sets in the current player version).
    • Invite player accounts to join their campaign.
    • See their player’s character’s dashboard.
    • Make updates to anything on their player’s characters, including character stat values, inventory, etc. (If allowed by the Player)
    • Make updates to the Campaign settings (such as creation/removal of character stats, new items/spells/ abilities, updates to the default dashboard, etc.) which would be automatically updated for the PCs.
    • Provide a chat interface which all users joined to the campaign can use to sending private or public messages with anyone else in the campaign.
    • Share handouts, images, and other information with the players through a document sharing interface.
    • Build and control a campaign page of tiles visible to the players where the GM can store text, notes, images, counters, and other tiles.
    • Provide all users in the campaign access to share Dice results in real-time.
    • Have access to a campaign dashboard similar to the mock shown below. This will give GMs a high-level view and instant access to content they control in their campaign.

For more information on RPGSmith and the fundraising, check out the Kickstarter page.

Related posts:

  1. Kickstarter: Fate Core System
  2. Kickstarter: Feng Shui 2
  3. How not to run a Kickstarter to fund your RPG

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Easy NPC Reactions

Stargazer's World - Sat, 03/23/2019 - 18:44

Michael recently posted about the 3hex style of starting a game off easily with minimal prep.

I thought I would share a technique that makes for interesting and sophisticated ‘common’ NPCs but without having to do any real prep. It can also lead to some interesting spin-off adventures in its own right.

The technique is based around a cross reference between all the NPCs as you create them. I use a spreadsheet but any grid will do. You list the NPCs across the top and down the side and block out the point where they cross reference.

The point of the grid is to map out the attitudes between all the people you have created. The actual numbers should reflect the system you are playing so in B/X, for example, -3 to +3 would be about right as that reflects the Cha characteristic bonuses. If you were playing Zweihander then -30 to +30 would work well or -4 to +4 for FUDGE and FATE.

Here is an example for a small town.

So in this case any interactions between Captain Flack and the Pugh twins would be at +2 (reading across) because he likes or respects them, but the Pughs do not really care one way or another about Flack (their reaction modifier is ±0) but between Captain Flack and the Mayor is as -2 and Philby (the Mayors manservant) is -3.

The Mayor doesn’t have any strong feelings towards Flack (±0) but Philby is at -2 so it looks like the animosity lays there.

The numbers in this case were simply 1d6-3. What this gives you is a layer of social cohesion between all the NPCs in a town without having to prep and write complex back stories.

As a GM you can ‘lend’ these reactions to the PCs when they get caught between two NPCs. For example Captain Flack asks the characters to carry a message to the Mayor. He does this to avoid going there himself. If the characters have to ask to see the Mayor via Philby he is much more likely to make them wait around and just be plain awkward if Philby knows they are carrying a message from Flack.

As GM you can use this same grid to construct all sorts of small town politics. Let us look at Dora Minton, Chippy Minton’s wife. Philby has a +3 reaction to Dora but Flack has a -3. They are at totally opposite ends of the scale. Was that the source of their falling out?

Chippy Minton has a -1 reaction mod towards his own wife but she is at +2 towards him. Does that sound like he is angry at her for something and she is desperate to make amends?

This table/grid can be a source of town gossip, local tension or even great assistance to the characters. It is fast to build on the fly. If you create an NPC you can quickly rolls a couple of D6 to see how he or she is regarded by their peers. You do not need to complete the whole table at once. If the characters ask at the tavern about a place to stay you can quickly check the reactions between barkeep and two inn owners. Maybe he like one much better than the other?

I find this grid to be a really useful ‘no prep’ way of adding a layer of depth to towns and villages and the NPCs that inhabit them. If an NPC goes missing who do the local gossips start to blame? Who do you need to win over to resolve a local rivalry?

Related posts:

  1. Quietly beavering away
  2. Hinterland
  3. And then she said, “Wait, Professor Jones can help us with this one!”

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

RPGSmith

Stargazer's World - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 09:00

A couple of days ago, David Sumner, co-founder of RPGSmith got in touch with me and told me about his free web application. RPGSmith is – in a nutshell – an interactive character sheet with additional features like item, spell and ability management. The current application is meant for players, but they’ll be launching a Kickstarter later this week to fund an extended version of RPGSmith which will feature a GM campaign management interface.

At the moment, the application supports the following rulesets: D&D 5th Edition, Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorers Edition, Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition, Fate Core, Fate Accelerated, and Pathfinder. It is possible to add your own rulesets though.

From what I’ve seen so far RPGSmith could be a pretty nifty tool for players regardless whether they are playing online or offline. There is a bit of a learning curve though, but luckily the site provides users with quite a few tutorial videos.

Having an interactive character sheet definitely comes in handy from time to time, and RPGSmith has support for desktop PCs and mobile devices, which is a plus in my book. You can even customize your character sheets to your hearts content. Will it change the way we play RPGs? I have my doubts, but it’s worth a look nevertheless.

What are your thoughts on RPGSmith? Have you had the chance to try it out? Please share your comment below!

Related posts:

  1. Kickstarter: RPG Smith
  2. Medieval town map tutorial
  3. Mercator-style maps in Photoshop

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

All good things come in Threes…

Stargazer's World - Fri, 03/15/2019 - 12:44

If you have followed my blog for a while you surely must have noticed that there’s a certain white whale I am hunting for years now: an old-school D&D sandbox campaign. I’ve made several attempts to get one up and running, I switched around between various variants of the rules, sometimes abandoning D&D completely. Campaigns meant as sandboxes became more regular campaigns, and more often than not, I quickly burned out on running roleplaying games in general.

For years I have struggled with how the get things started. I either didn’t plan enough and relied on my improv skill alone or I overplanned and quickly felt overwhelmed, the fun draining out of me, like blood from a festering wound. But I think I finally found solutions to my problem. In his blog ChicagoWiz’s Games and his podcast The Dungeon Master’s Handbook he thoroughly explains his approach to old-school sandbox gaming and even provides us with countless campaign starters.

The idea behind his “Three Hexes Campaign Starters” is quite simple. You start things small. At first you come up with a short campaign idea. What is your world all about? Then you place a homebase (like a small town, keep, etc.) on your hex map. In addition to this you should come up with three interesting places to explore and place them onto the map adjacent to the homebase. This should give your players a couple of options on what to do next without overwhelming yourself of the players. Last but not least you should have three important NPCs ready: one where the party can buy new equipment and supplies, one where they can sell their loot and last but not least someone who helps them with acquiring new loot. That can be a patron providing them with incentive to explore the wilds beyond the homebase or it’s an old man sharing rumors and legends with them.

You can then expand on this by adding more hexes, more locations, more NPCs as needed. You don’t have to plan out more than what you can use in the next session. It also should provide enough options without paralyzing the players with too many option. If you want to learn more about Michael’s ideas on starting a starting a sandbox campaign, I highly recommend his post titled “Just Three Hexes”.

Related posts:

  1. From my reading list: ChicagoWiz’s RPG Blog
  2. Sandbox games: A collection of links
  3. In My Traveller Universe

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Podcast Recommendation: The Dungeon Master’s Handbook

Stargazer's World - Thu, 03/14/2019 - 08:00

This is a quick follow-up to my last post. I got in touch with Michael Shorten aka ChicagoWiz and asked him for advice on how to run old-school sandbox games. He pointed me towards the podcast he had been recording last year.

In the 17 episodes of “The Dungeon Master’s Handbook” he talks about how to run con games, how to design and run a sandbox campaign, and many more highly interesting subjects. What I particularly liked is the fact that each of the episodes is about 20 minutes in length. This is enough time to convey even complex ideas but short enough so that you can easily include it in a busy schedule.

I’ve listened to the first two episodes so far and I wholeheartedly recommend the podcast to everyone interested in old-school gaming. Unfortunately he ended the podcast after 17 episodes because of lack of audience and interest. I think it’s a shame because Michael has real talent and many DM’s could learn a thing or two from him. Perhaps some renewed interest in the existing episodes and some valuable feedback from new listeners might make him reconsider.

Related posts:

  1. Podcast recommendation: Grumpy Old Gamers
  2. Stargazer’s RPG podcast recommendations
  3. Reading Recommendation: “Quick Primer for Old School Gaming”

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

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