Archive for March, 2016

DQ – Thinning Down the Counterspells

March 31, 2016

I’ve been thinking about revisions and re-treads of the DragonQuest rules for a long time.  I’ll spell out some further thoughts on the topic as a whole in an upcoming post.  But for now, here’s a proposal to reduce the number of counterspells in DQ and revise the rules for counterspells.

There are a lot of counterspells to learn in the DQ world.  Probably too many.  It’s possible to speculate on how that came about, and there may have been good reasons for it, but in practice, it seems cumbersome and difficult, particularly in that there are two counterspells for each College.  Are the flows of mana somehow different between General and Special knowledge spells?  Why does the esoteric organization of a College’s magic determine which of two counterspells will affect a particular spell?

Instead, why not take a cue from Naming Magics, with the Generic and Individual True Names for things, and have counterspells at the level of Branch and College, rather than General and Special Knowledge?

In practice, this would give 3 generic counterspells (one each for Thaumaturgies, Elementals, and Entities), plus a specific counterspell for each particular College. The Branch counterspells would be less effective than the specific counterspell for each College, but would be useful against any magic of that particular Branch.  Instead of having at least 24 counterspells (General/Special for each of the original 12 Colleges, plus 2 more for each additional College introduced into a particular campaign, there would be 15, plus one for each additional College.  This would work much more fluidly in a campaign where some Colleges may not exist, at the outset, or where additional Colleges are included in the game.

As a matter of play balance, it seems more correct to me that, when faced with magic from a previously unknown College, a caster should have at least some small chance of being able to dispel the magical effect.  Counterspells are presumably based on the workings of mana, rather than being reverse-engineerings of spells.  So something that will disrupt the flow and effects of mana to one kind of spell should have a good chance to be able to disrupt a similar, though perhaps slightly different, one.


Trollbrucke – Foundations

March 30, 2016


This is mostly done now.  There are a few final touches that need to be added in, and the upper layers haven’t been drawn, yet.  But this gives a pretty good sense of where I’m headed with this project.

I thought the idea was pretty great, although mostly just a throwaway, initially.  But I’ve spent too much time fussing over it, and I think it’s lost some of the original energy.

There is already a section above this, which is well underway, with the surface and the actual bridge itself.  By implication, there could be a couple more sections, with the two ends of the bridge off to either side.  There are also at least two more implied underground sections, with the tunnel leading off to the right and the stairway leading even deeper.  Those may remain unknown, though.  Too many things I don’t like in this, although it was fun to try.

Streithnaught’s Basement

March 25, 2016


After some recent discussion about things DragonQuest, it occurred to me that I haven’t done nearly enough hex-grid maps.  So this is a first step in remedying that deficiency.

I think that the under-caverns read well enough that a GM could readily use this without having to do lots of figuring out of what is where, and what the map contains.

If there’s interest, this could turn into another Un-Furnished Dungeon, though being hex-gridded rather than rectilinear probably dooms it from the start.  So I’m not going to go into a lot of description of the particular features here, for the most part.  But there are a few features that probably bear a little explaining.

  • The spiral stair at the center of the large cavern leads up to the building above.  The ceiling of the cavern is roughly 20′ high, so the whole stair is more than 40′ up into the building.
  • The feature close by the stair (about 5 o’clock from the stair, 1 hex south-east) is a depression or ditch in the floor of the cavern that connects to the tunnel leading away to the right.  The opening into the tunnel is only about 3′-4′ tall, though it gets taller as it slopes down away from the cavern.  (The stippling pattern in the cavern areas and the lines indicating the slope read as similar values.)
  • Several decoratively carved openings line the north-east hallway (upper right)
  • The rubble at the upper left can be treated as solid wall, if the GM wants to keep this as a self-contained location, or the passage beyond may connect to something else, if it’s to be part of a larger setting.  The stones could also be blocking the passage beyond, but the PCs might discover that there is a way to get through if they move enough of the stones and debris away.
  • There is a floor trap in the secret hallway at the far right side which falls about 15 feet to the cavern room below.

As is the case with most of my maps, feel free to use this for any non-commercial purpose (with attribution).  You can also contact me if you’d like to use any of my works for a commercial project.

Intersection G

March 23, 2016


A more rectilinear kind of intersection with a large number of connections.  There are 8 different hallways connecting to this intersection (2 per side).  The very gridded origin of this intersection is quite clear in the alignment of each pair of hallways, which line up from one side to the other, but which have to pass through the complex of rooms to get from one side to the other.

It wasn’t something I was particularly paying attention to as I drew this one (obviously), but only one of the eight paths into this intersection presents a choice of two doors; five of the rest are halls that immediately terminate with a door.  I’ll have to pay more careful attention to things like that in the future.


Intersection F

March 22, 2016


Intersection F is less “intersectiony” than a couple of the previous ones, a little more of a knot, with intertwining ways to get from one side to another.  But still, it has the same general organizing idea of an area where several paths off in different directions are interconnected.

This does not have stairs or anything to graphically represent a level change, but it feels to me as though the right side should be higher than the left, and maybe some of the hallways would actually be ramped downward to accommodate the level change.


Kumursko Tunnels

March 3, 2016


Well, obviously, the character of the walls was the thing for this one.

At first, I thought it was going to have several states to it, like old etchings.  This is the “second state” (the earlier being just a general poche for the solid areas without any particular density close to the walls.  But, it seems done, and I don’t feel compelled to mess with it more at this point, so I’m calling it done.

This particular map has several entrance points, which seems entirely appropriate for its wandering, sprawling style.  The character of the walls suggests nibbling or biting out pieces to clear the openings.  It could also work as a series of islands in a wet swamp.

As is the case with most of my maps, feel free to use this for any non-commercial purpose (with attribution), or contact me if you’d like to use this on a commercial project.