Archive for June, 2019

Deco Dungeon

June 24, 2019

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

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

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

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MOON Planetary Display is live!

June 22, 2019

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

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

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

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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

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