Wednesday, January 30, 2013

XP Evolution - The Humanoids

Continuing my analysis of the change in experience point calculations between 1e and 3e, this post looks at the Humanoid group as defined in 3rd Edition - bugbears, gnolls, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, lizardmen, locathah, mermen, orcs, sahaugin and troglodytes.  (OK, I'll admit that 3e considers dwarves, elves, halflings and gnomes as humanoids also, but I like 1e's term of 'demi-humans' for them.)

I've placed a summary table below the fold showing the treasure, calculated experience and book experience points for average members of each race.

In crunching the numbers in the table I noticed a couple of things about the way the book values and calculated values correlate with in an edition..  One is that the ratio of 3e experience points calculated using the 1e formulas tallies pretty well with the 3e book values; in fact the calculated value is just 4% higher than the book.  On the other hand, the first edition book values are one third higher than the calculated values.

Both of these are easy to explain, for the 3e values the experience points for characters in levels 1-3 equal the average treasure value of the monster.  This won't hold true as we move up the food chain to more challenging creatures, but humanoids are all low level.  Because the calculation gives one XP for each GP, the huge amount of gold each monster is worth overwhelms the paltry experience points that would be received for the monster itself.

For the 1st Edition values, a chunk of the discrepancy is a table error.  The Experience Point table in Appendix E gives the humble bugbear a formula of 135 xp + 4 per hit point + treasure.  The problem is that the calculation on page 84 uses 60 xp as the basic XP for a 3 HD monster - and 25 for a single Special Ability (Missile Discharge)  I can not come up with a combination using the calculation that would give the bugbear 135 xp + hp.  I considered throwing the error out of my analysis, but when 1e came out we never checked these calculations, they were from E. Gary's lips to our ears and therefore the word of at least a demi-god.  If I threw it out it wouldn't reflect how the game was actually played.

I thought that I'd see a huge game imbalance due to the amount of cash flooding into 3rd Edition, on the average each monster is worth sixty four times the treasure that it was in 1e.  But the difference in the numbers of monsters to be slain in order to advance only provides about 40% more cash to a 3e character as they advance to level 2.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Teuta - Honor Among Thieves

   As Teuta stood above the body, she felt the air stir in the chamber.  Quickly drawing her dagger she spun to the side, crouching. 

  "Very nimbly done" said a familiar mocking voice from the shadows near the entrance."Move away, reduce their target. Wasn't that one of his lessons? Did you remember to stay out of the blood too?"

  "Admaatos, his killer is still near!  I saw Klephtis alive entering this room not ten minutes ago." Teuta exclaimed as she straightened, sheathing her dagger and surreptitiously moving he feet to answer his last question to herself.

   Admaatos moved out from the shadows, stowing something under his cloak, saying "The Phrygian, I'm sure, I saw a man in a cap leave the door just as I came up the street.  I didn't see you in the street, so how did you enter?  Over the fence and through the kitchen?"
  "Over the fence, up the wall and through the roof trap.  I tested the kitchen and he has - had - something leaning against the door that would have fallen over with a clatter."

  "Well, " he said, rubbing his nose "I suppose I might as well go tell Troadinus that he can pay the Phrygian."

  Instantly, she crouched again with her dagger back in her hand, staring at him.  "You betrayed him" she accused.  "The Toad sent you here to ensure Klephtis was dead."

  "Now it's not very respectful to call your new master 'The Toad', is it?"  he laughed, shaking his head.  "With Klephtis dead, Troadinus is the undisputed Master Thief of Apollonia.  -  And we now work for him."

  "How could you work for that loathsome slug?  Does nothing Klephtis did for you mean anything?"

  "Loyalty is of no use to a dead man.  That was another one of Klephtis' little lessons  But, no, I did not betray him, I didn't know Troadinus was going to have him killed.  But now that he has, we are expected to call on him for our new assignments."

  "The only thing the Toad wants women to do is go whoring for information he can use against their customers."  Teuta said, as Admaatos squatted down over the body  "If that was all I wanted to do, I would have agreed to having my father arrange a marriage."

  "You have a point about his view of women in the guilds, one that's a sharp as this little bolt that pierced old Klephtis' neck.  Hmm, that wasn't fired from any belly bow." Admaatos said half to himself as he gave the body an expert frisking and stood.  "Maybe our friends the Miraditorum have a new toy?" 

  "So Teuta, if you don't work for Troadinus, what will you do?  Your only real options would appear to be a hasty marriage into one of the families or leaving town."

  Teuta paused in the act of sheathing her dagger, suddenly numb with the realization that her life couldn't follow her chosen path any longer.  She gasped in a deep breath and fought to control the emotions in her face, as the adrenaline suddenly drained away.

  "I would advise you not to panic, but I don't think that's actually necessary" Admaatos said as he proffered her a small cloth wrapped bundle.

  "What is it?" she didn't reach out for it.

  "Klephtis' lockpicks.  I know there is something special about them, but I don't know what it is.  Troadinus will send someone to look for them as soon as he hears from the Phrygian.  Take them, you can present them to Troadinus if you decide your throat is more important than your pride.  You may be able to convince him to use you as more than an informant if you can figure out how to use them.  Other wise you'll probably want them at some point.  Of course, " he said with a wry smile "you can always give them back to me at the wedding, if that's the course you take."

  He placed the tools in her unresisting hand, turned and left as silently as he had arrived.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Sympathy for the Beedo

Over at Dreams in the Lich House, Beedo laments* that his players offed his big bad dragon so easily in the end, thanks to some rather good role playing decisions.

I have been on that side of the DM screen (although I don't know that Beedo uses one) and once saw an advanced Dragon Turtle waxed by a group of characters in a manner reminiscent of a banana in a blender, before she could take them to the (steam) cleaners.  In hindsight, I didn't handle that well.

It's difficult to create interesting, challenging encounters regularly for your players and when they blow through a carefully crafted encounter or are completely uninterested in the story arc you've spent time crafting; it's easy to get a little down on your efforts.

Bad DMs fall into an us vs them mentality with their players.  And having played in a couple of the infamous killer dungeons in my earlier days, there's a reason I haven't kept in touch with those DMs.  They weren't fun.

A good DM keeps their perspective and is flexible to allow the players to explore the his or her world in their own fashion.  It's  game and when the players have enjoyed their session, you as the DM have won.

But don't rest on your laurels, Sisyphus, you have the next session to prepare for.

*Although from the tone of the article I suspect he's kind of proud of them.

Friday, January 25, 2013

XP Evolution - The Orc

Consider the Orc it doth neither spin nor doth it sow.. Whoops - wrong allegory.    Rather my work on the HCEG has made me interested in the nuts and bolts of how experience has been calculated across the editions. My thoughts from my earlier work are that I will find a wide disarity between XP values between 1e and 3e and that 3e will be arbitrary.  So I'm doing a series analyzing the XP values for individual monsters starting with the common Orc - homo sus orca.

In the table below I've laid out the statistics by game system with the right hand column being the total 1e XP earned for the line.  The 1e Experience Point system (DMG p84) uses the formula Basic XP Value + XP per hit point + Special Ability Bonus per Ability + Extraordinary Ability Bonus per Ability.  These values are adjusted by the creature's total hit dice, these are summed up in the row Calculated 1e XP..

1e3e1e XP
Hit Dice1d81d810
Average Hit Points444
Special AbilitiesMissile
Extraordinary AbilitiesNoneNone0
Average Treasure2d6 GP (7)300GP/2
7 | 150
Challenge RatingN/A1/2
Calculated 1e XP25168
Pre-calculated XP10+1*HP+
Treasure (21)
 (1st-3rd levels)

   The difference in the XP earned for slaying an Orc between 1e and 3e is dramatic to say the least.  And because the creature hasn't changed, it really comes down to the treasure value.  And it's not just that a 3e Orc is wearing better armor or that that is being taken into account on the treasure - scale mail is only 50gp in 3e, leaving over 2/3rds of the increase unaccounted for.

One of the other oddities that I noticed is the difference between the pre-calculated XP in 1e (from Appendix E) and what the formula derives.  It appears that Appendix E does not give them credit for having missile weapons.  The gap between the formula result and the pre-calculated results are consistent across the systems, in both cases the pre-calculated result is less than what the formula gives.For 1e its 85% of the formula, for 3e its 89% of the formula.  Interesting but with only one data point not of any significance.

The impact of the disparity on game balance is huge, in 3e seven orcs is all it takes to raise any character from 1st to 2nd level.  In 1e, using the formula, it takes sixty orcs to raise an assassin or cleric to 2nd level, 80 for a druid or fighter,  90 for a monk or a ranger, an even 100 for a magic user and a wearying 110 for a paladin,.

Probably not an original thought, but I think I just found the mathematical difference between Old School and d20.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

eBook Report - Steam Legion

I like steampunk, I read Girl Genius regularly.  I like Roman history, look at my posts on using GIMP to make campaign maps.  I was sold at the title Steam Legion.

The author Evan Currie is (apparently) an established author of Mary Sue's.  This represents his first foray into alt-history and he is refreshingly up front in his forward that he is no historian.

He's quite right about that, he also appears to know little, and research less, about topics as diverse as geography - the Nile is noted for flowing south to north, yet his heroine moves upstream to the north. To basic engineering - going from Heron's aeolipile to a steam engine driving a wagon in less than dozen years ignores decades of work to go from open systems like the aeolipile to stationary closed systems like the Newcomen engine that didn't need a constant source of water for steam.  And another 90 years to get a practical steam carriage . Plus steam boilers are HOT, I should know as I've used them in the Persian Gulf in August.  If your character gets thrown against an unshielded boiler, even a non-pressurized one, they are badly burned,  not charging into a battle five pages later.  That's assuming that an unwelded metal boiler wouldn't spring a leak the first time it hit a pothole in a wagon with no suspension.  If you want a believable description of how to use an aeolipile to power a vehicle, read Terry Pratchett's Small Gods.

The description of the Roman military and society is also execrable.  The Auxillia weren't a system of military reserves, they were non-Roman citizen units, often cavalry, or archers, although they were originally non-Roman troops of any sort.  They lost a legion, they raised a legion.  They did have colonies of retired soldiers planted in many lands, which could be called to arms.  But the difference between light infantry (peltasts) and heavy infantry (legionnaires) is a matter of training more than equipment.  The Romans most emphatically did not use the phalanx.  The phalanx was a formation of spear men, really pikes. The Romans, as he describes quite realistically, fought with pilium (javelin) and short swords, the infamous gladius hispanica.

I also had to wonder where did his Zealot commanders get such good training and communication systems?  He depicted them as being immune to the fog of war.

  His description of the Emperor Nero is idiosyncratic to say the least and I actually found the plot that he was being slowly poisoned humorous as Nero was widely considered to have used poison to off his dear uncle the Emperor Claudius.

Ok, I really ripped the setting.  But I'll also say that the writing was pretty good overall, I found the characters of the Centurion Cassius and Tribune Gordian compellingly believable and I think if the author had had an editor the overall story would have been worth reading.  I probably would have recommended it in that case.  But as it is -

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hex Crawl Encounter Generator

Version 1.0 is now up and running on the Utilities page.

For the source of the monsters, I used the 3e Monster Manual for the initial load. However I intend to add creatures from other systems in the future and wanted a away to do an apples to apples comparison.  So I decided to calculate the 1e experience point value for each creature, using the formula given on page 84 of the DMG.

This provided some interesting initial results, the 3e challenge ratings appear far more arbitrary than the 1e formula.  I'm going to do some serious analysis on that as the subject of one or more posts.

Enhancements I'm looking at for the HCEG include controlling encounter type by climate and terrain.  Right now it's a somewhat coarse generic breakdown. I'll also be adding additional creatures and places of interest, and fixing the overrun I just noticed in the table,

With that said I've found that coding the HCEG was awfully time consuming over the last month - especially with what I was doing at work, so I'm going to put the enhancements on hold while I work on writing and other projects.

With that said, any suggestions for improvements and enhancements will be welcomed.. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Beastiary - Stymphalian Birds

Man eating avians whose flocks can depopulate an area.  These aggressive hunters are known for their beaks ability to shear through metal armor.

Anyone needing to hunt these fowls is advised to wear a thick suit of cork, which catches their beaks and renders them helpless.

Stymphalian Birds are about the size of an ibis.  They favor nesting on forested hills and mountains in warm climates, buit may be found hunting through out the temperate zone in the summer.

Combat A Stymphalian Bird conducts fly by attacks, slashing with it's razor sharp beak..

Statistics by game system.

3rd Edition / Pathfinder

SizeSmallHit Dice2d8+4 (12 hp)
Initiative+4 (Dex)Speed10 feet/90 feet Flying
AC20 (+1 Size, +4 Dex, +5 natural)AttacksBeak (bite) +10 melee
DamageBeak (Bite)1d6+1Face/Reach5ft /5ft
Special AttacksFlyby AttackSpecial Qualities
SavesF4, R8, W1AbilitiesSt 12, Dex 18, Con 15, IQ 2, Wis 5, Cha 8
SkillsListen +4,
Move Silently (Flying) +6, Spot +6
FeatsWeapon Finesse (Beak)
Climate/TerrainWarm landOrganizationFlock (2-12)
Challenge Rating1AlignmentNeutral
Advancement3-5 HD (Small)

1st Edition

Adventurer, Conqueror, King

FrequencyVery RareNo Appearing2-12
Armor Class7Move4"/36" Fly
Hit Dice2 +4% in Lair15%
Treasure TypeINo of Attacks1
Damage/Attack1d6 +1Special AttacksAttacks as 6HD monster
Special DefenseSurprises on 4-6Magic ResistanceStandard
SizeSmallPsionic AbilityNil

Chivalry & Sorcery

Weight 20
% Hit25
% Dodge-35
Attack Mode
1xWDFMMB 2 Beak

Runequest 2e

STR1d6+2 (5-6)Move2/18
CON 2d6+6  (13)Hit Point Average11
SIZ1d6+2 (5-6)Treasure Factor5
INT1d6 (3-4)
POW3d6 (10-11)
DEX3d6+4 (15-17)

BiteSR8Attack 40%Damage 1d6

  Warhammmer Fantasy Role Playing 1e

  M    WS    BS    S    T    W    I   A    Dex    Ld    Int    Cl    WP    Fel 
2 40 0 1 2 4 70 1 - 14 15 25 10 -

Stymphalian Birds fly as Swoopers,

Habitat Hijinks II

The Hex Crawl Encounter Generator has been updated.

After more work than I expected I finally came up with a system for describing environments and comparing them to the habitats that the monsters live in.  I ended up with six properties, Civilization, Climate, Aquatic, Terrain, Vegetation and Setting.

Civilization is a measure of how actively patrolled the area is, I used the Adventurer, Conqueror, King divisions of Civilized [Patrolled], Borderland and Wilderness.  With this variable I'm controlling the frequency of encounter types (Inhabitants, Monsters and Ruins).  Most Civilized encounters will be with the local inhabitants, as you would expect.  Borderland encounters tend to have more monsters and ruins, while Wilderness encounters with with (possibly) friendly inhabitants are infrequent.

Climate also adjust these chances, the further away from Temperate the better the chance of running into something worth killing.  The same with Terrain as you move off of Plains to rougher ground or out or under the water and with Vegetation.  However these variables primarily are used to filter what you will encounter by what actually lives in the habitat.

I use Aquatic as a separate property from Terrain, although in the Encounter Generator it shows up in the Terrain control.  I spun it off as it's own property in order to take into account creatures, such as crocodiles, polar bears and sahaugin that may be encountered on the land and on the sea.

I look at Vegetation as a description of ground cover.  I really struggled with the common terrain categories of Desert and Marsh - are they Terrain or Vegetation.  I finally decided that Desert was sparse vegetation and Marsh was terrain where the water table was at ground level.  A lot of it came down to looking at the possible combinations of Terrain and Vegetation and thinking of what they would describe - such as Marsh/Sparse  describing a tidal flat and Marsh/Forest as mangrove swamp.

I may have broken forest up a little too much, but I know scrub forest, much of where I grew up in northern Minnesota was relatively young second growth forest, with lots of interlaced thickets of dogwood and briars that you had to walk around.  Differentiating between Woods and Forest though really gets back to my board gaming days of trying to move tanks through 'Light woods' and 'Heavy woods'.  The difference stuck and it's in the generator.

Most of the work in this revision actually isn't in the code, after deciding how to describe an environment, I then had to build some sort of tool that would allow me to quickly format lots of data - an entry for each monster.  That alone must have taken six to eight hours and I really haven't started inputting all the monsters yet, all I have in are Humanoids and Wild Animals.

The last property I mention - Setting - isn't being used yet, when I get to putting in Dinosaurs and mamoths I'll introduce that control.

I did, thinking of Black Vulmea over at Really Bad Eggs, add Pirates in place of waterborne Bandits and Raiders.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Minor Milestone

I passed one thousand total views today, several weeks before I thought I would a month ago and a couple of days before I thought I would earlier this week..  I'd like to thank any of you who've been here more than once.

I'm still crunching through the Hex Crawl Encounter Generator.  I solved my mental block on representing habitats as a range of environments and expect to get the 'Wild Animals' result turned into actual critters this weekend.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Saw a post the other day asking what we thought the best settings were to play in, now I can't find it.  But it made me wonder about the other side, when you are world building, what are you best sources and inspirations?

I use the 1e DMG alot, if it's a medieval setting I grab Chivalry & Sorcery for their kingdom creation rules.  Warhammer has some great guidelines for distribution of towns and villages.  I'm reading Adventurer, Conqueror, King's campaign rules right now and I love them.  So what have I overlooked?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Habitat Hijinks I

  I've been struggling with coding habitats for the Hex Crawl Encounter Generator, which explains my lack of productivity this weekend.  I started with the 1e DMG Random Encounter and Random Terrain tables, quickly realized that they are not internally consistent, mixing vegetation, terrain inhabitants and age of the world with gleeful abandon.  I then moved on into defining habitat in terms of distance from coast, terrain, climate and vegetation; which gave me about 140 combinations.  Researching that led me to an old post on ; which is fascinating but didn't move the code.  Now I'm deep into the Koppen and Trewartha climate models and that's not moving the needle either.  I've simplified it to only seventeen distinct climates, but the problem isn't defining the climate, but in defining ranges of climate where creatures may be encountered.  I'd really like a single value to describe the range, but I'm afraid that that may not be practical.  I'm probably going to go back to the object definition for coding but it will be a few days before I can get the updates done to the generator.
  In the mean time, here's a post from +matt jackson  at  ...lapus calumni... with an excellent tutorial on using GIMP and Inkscape to make cool digital dungeon maps.  The only problem I have with it is that I can't draw the original in the first place.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A pirates life for me

Link courtesy of Really Bad Eggs
My pirate name is:
Iron Tom Kidd

A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you a tough person. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from
part of the network
Of course, in what has passed for real life I would have been on the other side hunting them down.

Any club that will accept me as a member

Probably consists of people as crazy as I am.  I've been notified of Alesmiter's acceptance by the RPG Blog Alliance.  What can I say, it was an honor just to be [self] nominated.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fifth Expedition

We decided to go into town and get more ale, and bacon. Bacon is important when you're adventuring. We had to go back over the mountains, and the higher we went, the deeper the snow got, I thought it was kind of strange as I'd always heard that snow melted in the spring. But I never was one to leave the mine as long as there was ale, and I didn't want to be made fun of by asking a foolish question. By time we got to the village the drovers said that the snow was getting too deep for the wagon. Humans are silly for living on mountains, this never is a problem when you live IN a mountain.

We went into the inn, they had ale. The humans were very happy to see us, they thought we were somebody else. They had received a note about the snow, they said someone needed to go up the mountain and meet whoever sent the note, then the snow would go away. We decided to go, there wasn't much ale left in the inn. Flash and Hahdan stayed with the wagon and the drovers.

So Drunk, Thunk, Slick and I started walking up the mountain, the snow was more than beard deep on me. Half way up I spotted six humans lying in the snow, trying to surprise us. Silly humans. I told the others to wait until we were within thirty feet then charge. When we got to thirty feet they fired crossbows at us. That made Thunk mad, I wasn't happy either. Drunk, Slick and Thunk each got to kill one, then they dropped their swords and put their hands in the air. That made it easier for me to kill the one in front of me. Drunk killed another one, he's greedy that way. Thunk beat the last one up until he stopped trying to give up, and just gave up. We took their swords, crossbows and clothes, can't leave things like that where any passing murder hobos can find them.

We found an abandoned inn at the top of the pass, it used to be called the Owl's Roost. Now it's called 'For Sale or Lease'. There was big elf in there, at least part elf, the other side of his face was green and scaly. Definitely better looking than the last six lippy elves we had met. Of course they were pretty hacked up after we had parted ways with them. This elf's name was Primus. He said his boss was trapped in a hole and he needed our help to get her out. I told him that if it was a mining job he should have said so in his note, then we would have brought the right tools. Granite is hard on the edge of the axe, picks are better. He also said his boss would make it warm again, whatever. These elves are a flighty bunch. He brought in a big load of fire wood, although there was a bunch of furniture that was dry enough to burn.

The next day he took us along some slippery paths to what remained of an old tower. I'm pretty sure that some wizard had built it. There was a crack in the snow all the way into the ground. While we were looking at it, a huge white centipedey thing burst out of the snow. Primus punched it once and it went back under the snow. We are so going bar hopping with this elf. We went down the crack, Primus was too big, but he gave me a little glowing ball and told me how to use when I was close to thaw his boss out.

We found a hallway leading back towards the ruined tower and followed it until we came to a library. There was a little blue critter there with wings, rummaging through the scraps of books left inside. He said he wasn't supposed to be hard, we figured that he was a water mephit who had caught a cold. We took some scraps of the parchments with us and told the mephit to tag along with us and we would thaw him out. He told us to turn right when we left the library, but we saw that there was a barricade to the left. I thought we should see what they wanted to keep us out of, so we went up to it. Some bugbears attacked us with javelins, hitting Drunk. Thunk killed two before he got mad. I healed Drunk, which made him mad. Of course he might have gotten mad because Thunk killed four more before he killed any. We found some gold and a ring.

Then we went back the way the mephit wanted us to go. It was some sort of laboratory - I said I thought it was a wizard's tower, this is one of the clue you look for. It had cages and snow drifts in it. I started probing the snow drifts with a pole. Three white dogs jumped out of the snow, one bit me. Their breath came out in a big cloud, it was cold, but minty fresh. That's another clue, dog breath usually isn't fresh. Drunk, Thunk and I each killed a hoar hound. We found a potion and a magic short sword.

We found another laboratory, this one with wizards in it. That's an almost certain sign that you're in a wizards tower. One was crushed under a chunk of ceiling. Dwarven ceilings never collapse, well, unless there's a dragon involved or my uncle. The other one was frozen inside an ice giant. I made the mephit promise to provide me with one service if I thawed him out. Then we broke up the ice giant and used the glowing ball. All the ice melted at once and the wizard came out. Slick helped the wizard up, then a big water elemental appeared and smacked the wizard, the mephit made a screaming noise and ran like an elf. I cast Hanseath's Axe and Magic Weapon on my axe, and gave Thunk the short sword we had found. He hit the elemental hard. Drunk was hitting it hard but didn't seem to be bothering it. Slick got the wizard out, then Thunk hit it really hard - Thunk drunk the water [elemental].

We took the wizard back up. We found that Primus had killed the centipedey thing, but sadly it had killed him too. I'm going to let the next elf I meet live out of respect for his memory. I figured that our employers would want the centipedey thing, so I cast Gentle Repose on it and we sent them a message to come with a way to get it out. The wizard gave me a headband.

We then traveled into town to make some purchases with the gold we had extracted from various nefarious dungeon dwellers in the course of our adventures. After ordering various oddments to be made, we went to find another dungeon to ensure that we had sufficient precious metals to pay for our goods.  We took ale and bacon with us this time.  I hope we get back to town before we run out again.

 Slick went back to performing his rituals in front of the doors. I thought heard him saying something about '...put your left foot in...', maybe he wants to be a wizard, because it didn't sound like any divine spell I've ever heard. After his ritual, Drunk and Thunk opened the door. We were happy to find nine zombies behind it! [We were even happier to discover that these creatures are subject to Critical Hits in Pathfinder.] Drunk was so happy he rekilled seven. Thunk and I each rekilled one. We found some silver.

We found two lantern archons in the next room. We offered to kill anything they wanted us to kill in the dungeon. I figured that making the offer counts as a good deed, so it would be an appropriate thing to do when dealing with beings from the upper planes.

Slick said heard grunting while performing his ritual the next time. Catchy little tune. Drunk and Thunk opened the door. A net fell on Drunk. I smashed the ogre, then Thunk killed it. Drunk killed it's piggy. We found some gold and gems and most importantly spare ribs. That's supper taken care of.

Thunk opened the next door by himself. Then he started dancing and waving his axe around. Drunk joined him in the dance. Then there was a dead plant thingy in there with them. Funny I didn't see it while they were dancing. Are all my companions becoming mages? We found some human sized full plate.

 Slick heard some shuffling behind the door after that. Drunk and Thunk found a pit trap. Drunk fell in. We found four halflings behind the door. We told them to go out and take the spare ribs with them. And to have them cooked when we came out, they could use the long sword we found for a spit. The halflings were afraid of some elves they said were in the dungeon. I may have to wait an elf or two before I let one live.

Slick said he heard  'brown chicken, brown cow' music coming from behind the next door or was it 'boom-chick-a-wow-wow' ? Anyway, six orcs shafted Thunk and Drunk with javelins. Thunk killed one, I killed two and Drunk killed three. We found some gold and gems.  We didn't find any chicken or cows.

Then we were hungry and decided to go back out and have spare ribs before looking for the elves.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Updates to Hex Crawl Generator

Spent the morning working on the Hex Crawl Encounter Generator, adding in details on Raiding Parties and Bandits.  It now gives you number appearing, armor, weapons and if they are afoot or mounted.  I tied it to the NPC Description Generator so that the leader is personalized, if the party bothers to talk to them before combat or captures any of them.

Running through it a few times, I'm not satisfied with the straight line weapons distribution, so I'll put refactoring that code on my to do list.

Friday, January 4, 2013


 -C over at Hack and Slash, posted On The High Cost of Living, in relation to the proliferation of indie RPGs and 'official' D&D editions.  For me, I love the additional choices, I've added three or four new games to my collection since I started this blog - and I haven't finished reading them all.  I probably won't get to play many of them, but they're all a source of inspiration for the games I do play.  I don't mind kicking a little money over towards the authors, only the fortunate few will see a profit from their literary endeavors, but all of them are telling us why they are so passionate about our hobby.  And that's a good read.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


My 2013 intentions include finishing off the Hex Crawl Encounter Generator and converting my old Perl scripts to JavaScripts on the Utilities page.  I have a treasure generator and a class based monster generator, along with door, trap and and room generators.  The first step is to update Eclipse on the old netbook, which I'm doing tonight.  I've been using Droid Edit on the tablet to write the  generators, and while it's a good product, it's NOT a full fledged IDE.

Updated Eclipse, and added some descriptions for Ruins and Places of Interest; but I'm still not happy with it. I'll tinker with the settings over the weekend. Although it's a gaming weekend, so I'll have another Expedition to write up.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hex Crawl Encounter Generator

    I'm working on a Hex Crawl Encounter Generator over on the Utilities page.  It is not designed to tell you IF an encounter occurred, it's designed to flesh out the encounter that has occurred.  What I've coded so far is for encounters with (theoretically) non-hostile inhabitants.

   These inhabitants are classified as Farmers, Merchants, Peddlers, Hunters and Patrols.  The chance of meeting any particular one varies by the Encounter Area.  Each encounter will provide the DM with the number of individuals encounter, the name and description of the leader, what topic they're most likely to bring up in conversation and what the chance that they know something about whatever is of interest to the party.  How useful any of the information is would depend on the questions the PCs ask.

   In addition to inhabitants the party may encounter Monsters (divided into Wandering Monsters, Humanoid bands, Human Raiding Parties, Wild Animals and Bandits) or Ruins (Ruins, Caves, Places of Interest).  These values are place holders in the code right now and will become more detailed as I build out the lists of each.

    For planning purposes, the table for Encounter Area vs Party Level planned is

Encounter AreaParty Level
Patrolled Plains1-5
Patrolled Hills3-7
Patrolled Mountains6-10
Wilderness Plains6-10
Wilderness Hills9-12
Wilderness Mountains10-15