More Geomorphs

January 19, 2020 by

A couple more early year geomorphs.

RT 2020-01-08 geomorphART 2020-01-08 geomorphB

Geomorphs

January 12, 2020 by

A couple of geomorphs for the new year.

RT 2020-01-08 geomorphC

RT 2020-01-08 geomorphD

State of Antherwyck in 2020

January 7, 2020 by

What’s up for Antherwyck in 2020?  Let me fill you in.

For me, last year was complicated by both a new job and then a new house.  I have a wonderful office space here, and as we get more settled in here, I hope to keep some Antherwyck projects underway.  If it’s easier to drop in on something for a bit, that kind of slow, but continuing progress is what’s needed to keep things moving, especially when it’s a hobby sideline.  I’m trying to develop some new habits for the new setting, and it seems to be working in some ways, so I’m going to keep at that.

It’s not a terribly significant change, but we’re going to drop the “House” from the name, and simply be “Antherwyck Games” now.  The “House” was an affectation (though it did give us the same initials as Avalon Hill, which was a not accidental nod to the company that first got me introduced to tabletop games).

As noted, with all the upheaval in my real life, very little has progressed on projects in the past year. If we do the ZineQuest project, that will give us something with deliverable target dates and a schedule, and that framework should help bring things to completion. And the activity of working on one project rubs against the other things that are in process, and helps give them a nudge, as well.

I’m hoping to get a regular DragonQuest game going, and with that, I also hope to get some new DragonQuest work published. I’ve been thinking about (and previously written about) revisions or variants of the DQ rules (it is, after all, a 40 year old game system), and that may get enough attention to warrant posting about.

Additionally, I’m thinking about a collection of some of my maps in a publication of one sort or another. It’s been harder to get them done and posted regularly, but there is always the intention of turning that around. But getting some of the old ones collected and refined could help with getting in the mindset for that, too.

Lastly, there is now an Antherwyck-hosted listserv (email list) to help fill in the gap from the old Yahoo groups as those become less functional.  There hasn’t been a lot of traffic there recently (either the old Yahoo groups, for the past few years; or the new listserv, which only has a few people on it), but we’ll try to build that this year.

 

Ortho map test

January 5, 2020 by

RT 2020-01-05sm

Trying out a format for display. Is this useful, or noisy?

Zine ideas for 2020

January 1, 2020 by

Next month, Kickstarter is running their ZineQuest to encourage people to produce RPG-related zines.  Thor and I have been discussing a couple of options.

One is a general interest, RPG topics kind of zine, with pieces of some of the fragmentary game ideas we have been kicking around but haven’t yet been able to get to a finished state, along with other supporting materials for games.  A miscellany, in short.

The other idea is to bring back the DragonQuest Newsletter.  My initial thought with this is to take the old DQNs and re-format them for print/PDF, and add some new material with each issue.  I’d have to take a look to see what sort of size of project

With either of these, I think we’re looking at doing a print version for US, and PDF available worldwide.  We could also have a delayed print level for non-US subscribers where you wouldn’t get the print copies until the end of the year’s run (assuming 4 issues/year). So we’d only have to do one international mailing, and that’s probably viable without us incurring stupid-ridiculous mailing costs.

If you have any thoughts about this (especially if you are a potential supporter of the project), let me know in the comments, or drop me a line.

Sectional Cavern

November 30, 2019 by

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This was a partially completed map that I recently found while moving into my new space.  I had only penciled the map, but hadn’t inked it yet.  So, I did that today to finish it up.  There are a combination of cavern spaces along with more finished rooms.  Some connections are likewise more finished, like hallways, and others are rough cave tunnels.

This is potentially more useful than many other section maps I’ve seen (including most of the ones I’ve done) in that it has open connections off to both sides of the map, so that it can be incorporated into a more extended area.

As usual, feel free to use for any non-commercial purpose, or contact me if you’d like to use this on a commercial project.

A new map in November

November 25, 2019 by

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a new map.  And it’s been good to break out the old pens and set up and draw another one of these.  Definitely some rust to be knocked off, too.

Photographing this (instead of scanning) and then trying to do some cleanup instead introduced some odd characteristics.  So let’s just leave this one as it is, and move on.

Another UCon (2019)

November 24, 2019 by

UCon badgeI was scheduled to run a couple of sessions of DragonQuest at this year’s UCon in Ypsilanti MI this past weekend.  I missed last year due to conflicts with my old job. Two years ago, I had one session with zero attendees, but the other session was sold out in advance (which turned out to be a group of players who all knew each other and were a gaming group back in their hometown; they were all interested in DQ, but had never played it before).  So that turned out to be a fairly interesting session.

Unfortunately, I had no one show up for either session of my game.  There was a guy who walked by on Friday evening and saw my DQ book on the table, and remarked on remembering playing DQ in college (me too).  But there were other things also being run that night, and one player wasn’t enough to get anything going.

It was my hope that signing up to run a couple events would spur me to work on writing a new adventure, but then we decided to buy this house we’ve moved into, so I’ve been kept busy with house moving and everything around that.

However, I did see a couple local people I’ve played DQ with in the past, and those conversations have started another cycle of thinking about starting a new DQ campaign, particularly now that I have a larger space that could be more accommodating to a group getting together here once a month, or so.

But, along with that, I’m thinking about how to make a lighter game system that would be more accommodating to a group of people who want to play the game and develop the story we are telling, and is less about the bits and pieces of the game mechanics.

Once more, I’m thinking about DQ Lite in some fashion or other.  Something that is easier to pick up and run with if you are only having infrequent sessions (which is the reality for most of us).

“The End Is Nigh” (for Yahoo Groups)

October 21, 2019 by

[Edit to add email address for subscribing: dq_discussion-subscribe@dq.antherwyck.com]

As you may have heard Yahoo Groups is shutting down as of December 14 (They will be freezing the uploading of new content as of October 21st [some places say October 28th).

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/10/yahoo-is-deleting-all-content-ever-posted-to-yahoo-groups/

John Rauchert (from DQPA) has been working on archives of the various DQ lists.

As a replacement to the DQN-list, I have a listserv I set up through Antherwyck.com that can serve as the new home for DragonQuest discussions.  If you get an archive of old DQ lists and content, we can add links to those from the pages for the list.

http://dq.antherwyck.com/listinfo.cgi/dq_discussion-antherwyck.com

It’s very rudimentary, and mostly using default settings right now, so some tweaks will need to be made in the next few weeks.  But hopefully this is an appropriate and useful replacement for the Yahoo groups, and can help support the DQ community into the future.

(I’m in the midst of a move into a new house, so I’m a little distracted and overwhelmed at the moment, but I will try to stay on top of the administration to get this launched well and up and running.)

Cheers!

–Rodger Thorm

Podcasts – Sept 2019

September 2, 2019 by

Having a little impromptu conversation about the DragonQuest community earlier today, and that prompted a couple of thoughts.  One, that I will save to expound on later, is considering a re-start of the DragonQuest Newsletter.  Post Google+ implosion, there has not been a good central community for DQ discussions.  There are a number of social media platforms, and many of the communities that found traction with common interests don’t fare as well as standalone communities.

I’m not sure if podcasts serve to replace those communities, but they are, for me, at least, a better gateway to the wider range of things going on in gaming circles, even if there’s not a specific one related to DQ.

Here are a few gaming-related podcasts I’ve become a somewhat regular listener to, and which might be of interest to some readers here. These work for me; YMMV Read the rest of this entry »

Meeting map – Aug 2019

August 20, 2019 by

IMG_20190814_194910216_HDR~2

This is pretty much just a raw photo (not a scan; no processing) for a 10×10 geomorph-conforming section of map. It was intended to be a cavern map, but I could see someone using it as pathways through brush equally well. 

Print Planetary Display Logbook is Ready

August 3, 2019 by

PDLinterior actualThe print version of the Planetary Display Logbook is good to go. We’ve approved printing, so you can check it out and order from at DriveThruRPG. Next step will be testing one of these with different media to see how it bleeds through.  This is a US printing, and there may be differences with production elsewhere, based on the stock it’s printed on (as with any print-on-demand product).

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Logbook, it is an inexpensive, blank book formatted for mapping the surface of a sphere as a series of hexagons and pentagons (like a soccer ball).  Unlike many other mappings, this has latitude and longitude that coordinate with the shapes of the individual facets.

If you’re ordering things from DriveThruRPG, you can easily toss one of these in with your order.  The print book is less expensive than the PDF version, since it’s a one-shot use, rather than print all you need with the PDF.  If you want multiple copies of the book, for example to use in a space-faring campaign, we intend to have a multiple copies discount.  How many copies would be an ideal size to order, in your opinion?

Criticisms:
The background grid lines are too light (see photo).  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since they are supposed to be there just to knock down the white space a bit.  They are less present, so will be less usable for organizing added information.  But there’s space there for added info; that’s not a problem.  I’ll work on that when we do revisions.  Also, if it was possible to get a stapled version rather than the perfect bound one, I would prefer that.  But we don’t seem to have that as an option.

Eccentric Dungeon; 2nd state

July 23, 2019 by

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

There’s a fair chance that I’ll tweak this one further; maybe not immediately, but at some point. This had a little post-processing which took out the grid lines and then dropped in a background poche color for the solid areas.  Then, after printing that one, I added the hatches and textures, but I still have the first version both scanned and the original linework for future experiments.

It had suddenly struck me that there aren’t nearly enough circular dungeons. So this started out with some circles, but not regularly aligned; their centers are offset from one another.

As usual, feel free to use for any non-commercial purpose, or contact me if you’d like to use this on a commercial project.

Sunday in the Studio – July 14

July 14, 2019 by

Today’s project was working on putting together the print version of the Planetary Display Log Book.  As soon as we’ve got an approved print, it will be available from OBS.  This will be an inexpensive version, since it’s a blank book to be used for mapping a single planet.

For those who already bought the PDF version, we’ll have a discount code to get these print copies at a reduced price.  I also need to figure out if we can do a bulk discount (4 for $12 or some such).

It will be nice if the cover is suitable to allow it to be drawn on.  That’s part of the intent with having the simple, faceted globe on the cover.  If it’s not markable (or can’t be marked well), we’ll probably revise the cover.

Our Trav campaign GM isn’t too into the idea of mapping any of the planets in our campaign (there are probably a half-dozen we go back and forth to in this current setup), but maybe this will make for at least some schematic mappings.

Deco Dungeon

June 24, 2019 by

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Quick hand drawn map, scanned and colorized. Bare line version below.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

MOON Planetary Display is live!

June 22, 2019 by

I mentioned this project a couple weeks ago, and now it’s ready.  The Planetary Display Logbook MOON is now live and available on DriveThruRPG for less than a buck.

A false-color map of the Moon. The six hemisphere images from the USGS maps produced from data collected by the Clementine mission in 2002 are transposed into 32 faces of a truncated icosahedron in the Planetary Display Logbook format.

The colors show comparative elevation information (blue areas are the lowest; red areas are the highest).

Usable as a fantastic planet for science fiction game settings, whether as the Earth’s moon, or as a reference for a far-flung alien world.

This could be used as an alien world, with the blue sections used as water, and the higher areas as land.  Or it could certainly be used in a near-space game where a moon map would be useful. Use it as a base to start from, and add further detail to make it your own planet for your own game.

Making a 21st Century DragonQuest

June 13, 2019 by

There was some discussion on Twitter this weekend posing the question: “What clunker of an older game do you dream of pairing with a modern ruleset that you think would make the world shine?”

I misunderstood the question (Twitter does not encourage thoughtful reading), and I took it less as an A-plus-B question than as a question of an older rule system that could shine with a more modern revision. And, of course, my mind went directly to DragonQuest (though I certainly don’t think it’s a clunker, but it is lost in a mostly forgotten corner of the gaming world.

So what might a modern DQ look like? That’s the discussion I’d like to start having.

I’ve more or less set aside the Open Source DQ project, because I don’t think it would accomplish that much to re-write the game. And the Seagate Rules are a pretty comprehensive version of that for those who want something like that to work with. But a more thorough reworking of the system could potentially be more interesting, and a better project at this point. And a new version of DQ could be appealing to a new generation of players.

In my experience, newer players have had difficulty managing and tracking all the minute details of the game. And I would rather have a faster moving game that could still do all the things DQ does, with less of the calculation that generally slows things down. Making things a bit more streamlined, and paring back some of the detail that doesn’t contribite that much to the game to create a faster playing game that nevertheless retained much of the character (other than the accounting-level numbers) of the game.

Since the original game is percentile based, it would be comparatively easy to make a D10 version that was fairly cross-compatible with the parent. If your strike chance was 73 and the first digit rolled was a 4, you didn’t need the second digit. You could keep track of the character with percentages, but use a faster D10 system that simplified and speeded up actions during play.

Chris Klug at one point a few years ago was talking about adapting a d20/DQ ruleset that built on the ubiquity of D&D. I’m not sure that’s the best way to go. Speaking personally, one of the things that drew me to DQ was the more human level of the characters (even high-level heroes are comparatively vulnerable in DQ, versus the accumulated Hit Points in D&D). And the infinite range of characters based on skills and abilities, rather than a handfull of classes. D&D has done a lot since the version that was around when DQ came out, but I don’t think D&D is the direction to take a new variant for DQ.

And because of the modular nature of the DQ rules, it would be possible to swap in new combat rules, for example, but keep the magic and skills as they are. Or other combinations short of full conversion would also be possible.

But this kind of project is a different kind of thing than what I’ve been discussing in the past; the formatting and coordination and organization is secondary to the general approach to the major game systems.  I’ll have some preliminary ideas about these in the next couple weeks.

Thoughts About Commerce (Buy Rodger a Coffee)

June 8, 2019 by

This is tangential (but not unrelated) to the discussion I’ve seen bits of on various platforms over the question of selling products versus just giving them away for free. I don’t believe it’s a simple black-or-white issue, and I certainly don’t have the answer to the question.

{And after writing this, but before it posted, I was listening to the Thought Eater podcast (Ep. #65) where, in the last segment, Jeremy discusses the same question with some good points and a perspective I think is worth pointing you at. And the post that got Jeremy going was from Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque.  I think they’re both worth your time.}

I’ve put stuff online – that other people might consider a finished product – that I’ve given away for free, in that perspective. Every blog post is time and effort spent without payment.

I’ve put things on DriveThruRPG to sell them.  As far as I know, I’m the only publisher for DragonQuest-related products.  It’s  a specialty niche, and I’m not getting rich (or even breaking even) from it.  But for the time and effort that goes in to those products, I think it’s reasonable to ask people to pay for those.  We’re old-school enough that we’re still somewhat print-focused, even though we also sell a lot of things just as PDFs.  And print materials are always going to have a cost associated with them, so we sort of stumbled into the market that way.

I never really rolled out a Patreon page, and given what happened with that platform, I’m pretty glad now that I didn’t. I’m not interested in being a part of that system that doesn’t really want to work with me.

And the whole idea of asking for money for the work that I do is still more than a little off-putting.  This whole article started more than a year ago, and sat in the drafts folder because I wasn’t ready to address the topic.  We’re acculturated to be uncomfortable about money, and I think that’s in the subtext of what’s in the social media discussion I referenced above.  {Again, from Thought Eater: the idea that everything needs to be evaluated through the lens of commerce is just wrong. There’s nothing wrong with making things available for free.  And sales is a metric of how good you are at selling, not of how good your thing is.}

There are a host of different tip jar/buy a coffee/send a contribution systems available to support creative work that people are making available. I’ve seen a couple people using different versions of these, and now, I have decided to give one of these a try and added a link to Buy Me A Coffee for tips and contributions (near the top of the column at the right).  So, if you find the things I’ve been producing to be worth a little support, you could do that here:

https://buymeacoff.ee/AntherwyckDQ

There are two main categories of things I’m working on: RPG maps, and adventures and materials for DragonQuest.  If we’re able to raise another $150 or so from sales and contributions, my plan is to get some additional software to use for further project production.

Since it’s a new thing, I’m not sure yet how much I can do with rewards and benefits for those who have contributed.  If you would be interested in being a supporter, let me know what kinds of things between those two categories you would be most interested in seeing as a premium for your contributions.  I should be able to do small maps on a somewhat more regular basis, so if you’d like to make some suggestions for one of those, that’s one option.

Quick Hits – June 2019

June 6, 2019 by

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So now it’s June; what’s new?

Two things I want to start spending some mental cycles on in the coming few weeks are: 1) getting the current Exquisite Corpse project back underway, and finding new contributors to help finish that out; and 2) starting a new DragonQuest adventure. I have a couple ideas kicking around in that regard, and it would be great to discuss those with folks and see what would really resonate for the community, but everything is so dissipated now that it’s hard to muster any discussion about DQ things. If you’re a DQ fan, you can have an outsized influence on things by joining the discussion or spreading the word.

I also have another publication credit: my building plans are among the maps and graphics in the Cthulhu Hack adventure “Mother’s Love” This is a more embellished version than what was used in the PDF I saw earlier, but I think this version will make it into things eventually.

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As we posted last month, the Planetary Display Logbook is now live on DriveThruRPG. And, to provoke some ideas and show how it might work, we created a Planetary Display for the Moon (using a false color image of the Moon representing relative altitude). That’s not the source image, above; that’s another lunar image I came across a few days ago, and I’m thinking about how I might be able to do something using that.

Image from @areasvellas on Twitter –

Planetary map. 1971-1998 NASA “This Planetary Map shows the moon’s dark side, with colors correlating to geological materials and phenomena. It is one of a series produced in partnership with NASA between 1971 and 1998”.

The print version of the Planetary Display Log should be coming along shortly. If it was possible to do this with a non-glossy cover, so that you could write or draw on the cover, as well, we’d be all set. I’m still trying to work out the best way to do something for that, though. Probably just need to get a proof copy and see how it looks.

On the IRL side of things, I have started a new job at a new company.  It’s cutting down my commute and my away-from-home time considerably, and I’ve also had the opportunity to do a couple quick maps I’ve been posting on Twitter and Mastodon. (Insert lament for the loss of G+ here…)

While there’s a bit more time available in my day, there’s also the whole process of ramping up for the new job, so progress on other things hasn’t been as rapid as I would like.

Comments and feedback are always welcome. I haven’t been as good as I want in responding to other things I’ve read and seen, but I’m still trying to engage more.

Planetary Logbook – MOON

June 2, 2019 by

nB Capture

To show how the Planetary Display Logbook would work, I’ve taken a set of 6 false color images of the moon from the LRO, where color represents altitude – north and south polar views, nearside and farside faces, and east and west sides.  I’ve used those to fill out the 32 panels of a Planetary Display Logbook, so there’s a completed planetary display to show how it could work.

n6 CaptureThis will probably eventually be available from DriveThruRPG one way or another, but for now it’s just an alpha draft as we work it all out.  If you’ve bought the Logbook from us already and you’d like to get a copy, contact us, and we’ll get it to you one way or another.

Working from a source like that, there are parts of the image that are cut out.  So, if you put all the pieces together, you’d still have breaks between the sections.  Because the logbook is an abstraction, there are things that get missed or that get lost in translation from the flat form (which is already an abstraction) to the facets of the truncated icosahedron. I’m sure there are cartographic tools and methods that would do a better translation, but for gaming purposes, I think this is going to be good enough.

n1 CaptureYou can see the differences between the two coordinate systems, especially in the near polar sections (like Region 1n).  The arcing lines from the original NASA maps don’t line up with the straight lines from the Planetary Display Log, but you can see how the distortions occur between the source and the display format and how the two different kinds of display are marking the information in the map.

The image quality and resolution of the source imagery is a bigger issue for me right now.  These are large-ish images, but since they are using just a segment of the image for each page, they get somewhat pixelated when just a portion is used for a page.

With this getting worked out, we’ll probably have some version of this included with the Zvezda adventure, when that comes out.  So consider this another teaser on that front, as well.


The “moon cube” of the six source images:

moon cube