Sunday, February 24, 2019

Mapping With New Computer

So my new Surface Pro allows me to draw on the computer, which saves incredible amounts of time... and allows me to quickly create solid-looking maps. These move away from my Dyson-inspired style a little bit and towards a simpler, cleaner style. Here are a few variations of the map I created for the entry to the massive dungeon complex that I will be using for play testing... I am partial to the final one (black with grid) myself, but I'm interested to hear what others think. It's no great shakes to publish several of these. And yes, I know these are missing doors, stairs, and other elements... these are incomplete at the moment.

FYI, this is the upper tier of the dungeons beneath a fallen temple to Yahalla that has gone through several owners over many centuries. Most recently, this area was the home to a spider cult that left behind a lot of spiders, and a few undead. It's a level 1 area, and will be where my solo character starts his forays.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Magic Redux

One of the things that has generated the most push back from the TSR core rules is the idea that your spells reset every turn. I assume that many people are house ruling out of this… I didn’t want a complex spell chart (if one chart that goes 6-5-4-3-2-1 is all that complex), but it was one more level of logistics and charts in a game that is working hard to eschew those.

However, let’s try some options. What if you get a number of daily spells at each tier equal to your attribute modifier?

The warden is a secondary spell caster. At level 5, with a starting WIS of 12, the warden is going to have WIS 15 (+4 modifier), with access to tier III nature magic. This gives the warden 5 a total of 12 spells per day, with 4 each at tiers I, II, and III.

The wizard is a primary spell caster. At level 5, with a starting INT of 12, the wizard is going to have INT 17 (+5 modifier), with access to tier V arcane magic.  This gives the wizard 5 a total of 25 spells per day, with 5 each at tiers I, II, III, IV, and V. By comparison, a SSR  magic user 10 (the rough equivalent) has 15 spells per day…

This feels like too many.

If we go with the declining number of spells (you have a number of tier I spells per day equal to your level modifier, -1 spell per available tier thereafter, with a minimum of 1 spell per tier regardless of attribute rating/modifier)... we end up with:

The warden 5 has (4/3/2) for a total of 9 spells per day
The wizard 5 has (5/4/3/2/1) for a total of 15 spells per day.

This is spot on with the SSR magic user, but also allows secondary casters to be useful. I am thinking that the primary casters (druid, wizard, cleric) are going to get 1 free tier 1 spell per turn as a compromise on that spells per turn mechanic I like … so they get virtually unlimited small heals, minor spells, and the like. A wizard can detect magic, cast charm, and cast sleep all day long. This offsets a relatively light spell assortment.

Friday, February 22, 2019

On Momentum, and Blogs, and Community (

Hey there! I suppose I should give an update, especially because you all are very patient with me when I simply disappear for months at a time. I'm still deep (deep, deep) into my doctoral program in Educational Leadership. I have finished all of my course work, and I'm now on to the dissertation phase. I have written (and revised about ten times) the draft of my proposal. It weighs in at 185 pages right now, and includes about 80 references in the bibliography. It is called "How Veteran Teachers Understand and Leverage Grit: A Case Study". So, I have been reading and writing. A LOT. I just haven't done any of it in the world of gaming.

I've also been applying for and interviewing for jobs. I've been a high school ELA teacher for eighteen years now, but I'm working towards school administration, so I've applied for about 40 positions as either principal or assistant principal , and have interviewed for a dozen. I've been a finalist a few times, but have yet to land an administrative position. To be honest, it's been a pretty mentally exhausting few years, and I have not had the time or the mental energy to put into gaming.

However, my wife has been encouraging me to get back into it, and every once in a while (like the last few weeks) I get a flurry of activity with people contacting me about gaming stuff. I designed Tales of the Splintered Realm last year as a way to re-connect with gaming, and to do so in a way that is manageable. Then, everything kicked into the next gear and I got really moving on my dissertation, so gaming moved to the furthest back burner. I'd like to correct that. I have written some great games that I really love (especially Sentinels of Echo City), and it makes sense for me to support them. So, I'm going to try and do that. Let me know how that goes...

I had a considerable setback last month where my laptop died, taking everything that I hadn't backed up in several months to the grave. Then I realized that Google+ is going away, and taking a whole lot of community stuff with it. I realized today that every comment posted to my blog for the last five years is gone... so it's a bit... um. Wow. Yeah. Okay.

That said, here's something of a plan going forward:

  • This blog will remain my central hub. I like it here. So that's good.
  • I'll be updating the rules for Tales of the Splintered Realm with any mechanical fixes or little things I find that I want to clean up.
  • I'm going to make getting a few supplements for that game a priority. I'd like to get a monster book, a treasure book, and at least two character expansion books (all about 8 pages long, so no great shakes for any of those) out in the next little bit. The game desperately needs some rounding out.
  • I've wanted to publish a regular newsletter for Sentinels of Echo City that resembles the old Marvel Phile updates in Dragon Magazine. That's in the works.
  • I've set up a new community on MeWe. It will be evolving over the next few days and weeks. Stop by there and say hello if you are so inclined.