Friday, February 3, 2023

Real Tomb Maps for Your Gaming Enjoyment

Tomb KV08 - Pharoh Merenptah
Copyright American Research Center in Egypt
(ACRE) used with permission under Fair Use

 I came across a wonderful resource for all of you grave robbing murder hobos out there.  The Theban Mapping Project has been creating vertical and horizontal plans as well as 3D images of the tombs in the world's most famous necropolis - Egypt's Valley of the Kings!

If you need a quick tomb to explore or if you are running a Cthulhu Gaslight campaign or anything else you can think of, you can find these wonderful images here.

The Theban Mapping Project Plans

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Forced March - Accelerating Cross Country Game Play in RPGs

Feb 2023 Blog Carnival
@Plastic Polyhedra

     I spent last Saturday night rolling dice, as the party moved across the grasslands from the human kingdom to the elven forest.  Every day has the players, in order around the table, rolling dice to determine if a random encounter had occurred, morning, (after)noon and night.  Standard procedure from the beginning of gaming, right?

     True, but I've had time to wonder as I awaited my turn to roll, why?  I know that random encounters use resources and provide variety from the adventure path - but in my decades of experience I've rarely seen them be more than one more combat in the evening.  Mechanically they slow gameplay twice, once as the players roll and then again as the DM looks up the monster and stats it out.  Let's see how we can accelerate this if we stop asking the dice if an encounter has occurred and start asking them when the next encounter occurs.

     First, please raise your hand if you always follow the encounter times in the DMG, yeah that's what I thought.  Actually game play has simplified the table to using the 'Plains' distribution more often than not.  So three chances per day, at (in Wilderness) a 10% chance of an encounter occurring.  (My current DM uses 25%, but that just changes numbers within the calculations.)  So, on average we can expect 3 encounters every 10 days; but that's the same as one encounter every 3.3333 days.  Let's round that down to one encounter every three days.

     Now, when play begins have the player roll two d6/2, to give you the number of days until the next encounter and the time of day the encounter occurs.  Make sure the group has given you their standard watch rotations and marching order before they roll; and don't let them change that after the dice have fallen.  Now play is jumping from scene to scene without the repetitive dice rolling with negative results.

    Obviously, for you purists who never deviated from the DMG, you can adapt this to any encounter check frequency you need.  If you have the prep time, you can even pre-generate the encounters themselves so you don't need to stat them out during play.