Friday, February 10, 2017

The Free-Association Map Method

The players in my Malara campaign have recently reached 5th level and secured a relatively steady income by marrying a prostitute friend of theirs off to the royal botanist and then assassinating and impersonating said botanist (like you do). As such, they're starting to feel a bit of wanderlust. Up to this point, they've spent most of the campaign in a huge primeval forest and adjacent jungly elf empire (toward the center of the map below).

So the time has finally come for me to figure out what else is out there. This is how I did that.

First: codify my influences. I filled a piece of paper haphazardly with the stuff I want to influence the setting. Then, around each one, I tried to get more specific about what aspects I wanted to lift for my game.

Then I moved on to the word-map below. Using the influences and what I've already told the players, I named the regions of the game world. I used different colors to distinguish the regions from each other and provide a dominant mood. Around each region, I filled in words from the previous step, crossing them out as I went.

Then it was a matter of making several more passes, using what was already there to free-associate more characteristics of the region. At this point I also borrowed liberally from other sources, particularly +Zak Sabbath's campaign (the prime motivation behind this).

For every region, I tried to make sure I included most of these:
  • Landscape
  • Monsters
  • Political actors
  • Flavor
  • Two dungeon-like adventure locations, outlined in yellow. Eventually I hope to have 5-10 for each region (if they get visited, anyway), but at least I can quickly create these two if I know the PCs are on the way.
As a final step, I demarcated land, allies, enemies, trade routes, and wrote a hook for each region.

This method might be too obvious to warrant a post ("I wrote down ideas in different colors!"), but I was really happy with both the process and result. It gave me more freedom and more useful information than my usual mapmaking inclination, which is to start by outlining continents, then mountains, then rivers, then forests...and then the last step is, "Ok, so what goes here? Why do the PCs care?" Essentially, I inverted the process. Now I feel like I have a really good idea of what each location is like, and can quickly produce a map that should give the PCs enough to do until I can flesh it out some more.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Beyond Vornheim

I am a normal person with normal things to do but I did this instead:

This is an attempt at an index for all the setting-specific resources +Zak Sabbath has written publicly for his Vornheim campaign. I made it for reasons of inspiration and theft. I will do my best to keep it updated, probably, but I make no promises.



Zak's 5e-Hack Character Gen

Class Options

Knight of Tittivila
New Gods, New Clerics, New Death and Dismemberment Table
Non-magic Ranger for 5e
Vorn's Domain Path for 5e Clerics


Some New 2nd Level Spells for 5e D&D or Whatever
New 3rd Level Spells
Some New Spells And A Question About Them
Even More Spells
Sing The Corrosion


How the World Works

Why They're Called "Planes" And Why You Can Only Get To Them Through Dungeons
Sailing on the Sea of Night
Snakes Are Books
The Medusas etc.


Akayle Ozph
The Church of Vorn
En Gorath Of The 10,000 Eyes
The God of Total Party Kills (Demogorgon)
White-Lipped Goddess


The Plane Of Shadow



What I Know About The World
Slow War
Some World Maps

Cobalt Reach

Random Encounters and Terrain Features
West of the Blue Dragon's Fortress
Partial Hexmap
The Cobalt Claw of Tiamat
Ferox The Incinerator

Devoured Land

Amazons of the Devoured Land
Partial Hex Descriptions
The Black Wing of Tiamat


The Jade Fang Of Tiamat

Far Lands

In The Half-Court

Goblin Empire

Goblins Are Bad And Mostly Hate You
Random Encounters
Biology, Politics, and The Backwards Goblin Backstory
Goblin Cubes
Goblin Market
Goblin Palace


Nephilidian Vampire

Place of Scorpions

Sandy Box Kit
The City of Suffering
Horrible Horrible Jackal-Heads
Lottery in Babylon

Realm of the Negatsar

The Pale Eye Of Tiamat

Sea of Ignorance and Pain

Wavecrawl Kit
Catching The First Boat Outta Here...
Isle of Oth
East of Oth
Rogue Traitors
Vrokk, Isle of the War Wizards


A Red & Pleasant Land
The Red Hand of Tiamat


City Map
Region Map
4 Cults Known To Be Active On The Northern Continent
The Art Economy In Vornheim
Bellet Osc and the Cruel City
Fortress of Crows
Organizations of Vornheim
Urbancrawl Rules
Vornheim: The Complete City Kit
Wolves in the Throne Room, an adventure
The Wyvern of the Well



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Will the Chainmail be Unbroken

I couldn't sleep at all last night, but at least I have these kinda clunky rules for broken armor to show for it:

This works for any ascending AC system, but I'm sure someone who understands descending AC (i.e. not me) could adapt it.

First, you need to know the "armor range" of your AC. This is the part that's not covered by the base AC or Dex bonus. So in LotFP for a character wearing leather armor with a Dex bonus of +1, The full AC would be 15 (12+1+2), and the "armor range" would be 14 and 15.

When an opponent rolls an attack against this character, it misses if it rolls 13 or less, hits if it rolls 16 or more, but if it rolls a 14 or 15 it strikes the armor. When this happens, the player rolls a die (d20, say) and notes the number rolled next to the armor. Numbers accumulate over time, and when the player rolls the same number twice the armor is broken and useless until repaired.

It's a fair amount to keep track of, I know. It also means that heavier armor will get dinged more often, though I kind of like that since it would dull your reflexes anyway. Characters are relying more on the armor to absorb blows and less on their ability to dodge.

For even more to keep track of, you could introduce different armor qualities by rolling different dice to check for breakage, from piss poor (d4) to absolutely legendary (d100).

Now that I think about it, you could do the same thing for weapons by checking for breakage every time you roll a 1 to hit.