Author Archive

Some Notes on a Ship-Crawl

May 21, 2022

These notes were originally posted in a thread on Mastodon. And then on Twitter. Sharing here to expand the audience and solicit further feedback.

What I’m trying to hack together is a system for sailing ship operation and activities while going from port to port. Sorta Traveller-esque (in the operating a free trader sense), but in a fantasy setting. The encounters and events in port are the more interesting bits, but what do you do in-between?

Events at sea could include weather (becalming, storms, etc), ship issues (damage and repair, crew matters, fire, etc), passenger and cargo issues, and so forth.

I am envisioning this for use in a game setting where some of the area has been charted, but possible discoveries of new islands may occur. Encounters with fauna or with other vessels (friendly or hostile) could be possible, as well.

For in port activity, I’d like to have a a few systems or sets of tables: a trade and cargo bit for brokering; an encounters bit for potential passengers or possible adventure hooks; administrative and tariff matters; some maintenance and upkeep requirements to keep things in check and have tasks the PCs and crew need to keep up with (or not, if they’re feeling risky).

This was the general shape for the F2F game I was trying to get started at the end of 2021 to start up a new DragonQuest game, but it never quite gelled. So I’m still thinking about it as a PBEM. I’ll probably use DQ for the characters and activities, but it’s not going to be a tactical game at all.

It seems to me that this could be done as a system-agnostic set of tables and rules. It’s hexcrawl-ish, but with elements of castle maintenance for the ship operation and so forth.

My setting concept is for a somewhat known region, but it could be adaptable to a more Edge of the World/There Be Dragons kind of setting, as well.

Is there already something like that out there, so I don’t have to reinvent existing wheels (to pick a particularly un-related metaphor)?

Is this something anyone else would want to play? If someone else was running a game like this, I am pretty sure this would definitely be my jam. Hopefully it’s interesting enough that others might want to playtest this with me.

Some things other people have posted about that’s been a nudge or an inspiration to do more with this idea:
Mastodon discussion
ara – anmwinter@dice.camp
Twitter/blog
emmy – @emmyverte

Also, I think the concept of Paul Czege’s Traverser is an influence, even if his actual game is nothing like what I’ve imagined for it.

Goblin Towers in Q-Space

May 14, 2022

Taking a bit of a break with this, to experiment with a different kind of structure. An earlier draft sketch was posted on Mastodon (in particular, my account at dice.camp). And a cleaned up, high contrast final first-state version is also here (below).

This should be usable as a dungeon, if the edifice suggests something in your imagination. Since it was created on a grid, it would be easy enough to add numbers along one axis and letters along the other, and then use those coordinates to identify each of the doors and windows (and if there is call for a keyed version, I might do that, as well). There are 15 doors and seven windows, each of which imply the presence of a room, so that allows a fair amount of space for different things to be going on. And the vertical configuration makes it easier to have separation between different inhabitants.

Let me know if you are interested in seeing more of this kind of thing. I enjoy the current series of Dungeon Fragments, and I’m going to keep making those. But I also want to include more alternative and experimental varieties of maps and drawings, as well.

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, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

RT dungeons 2022

Wiki Dive – a solo game

May 8, 2022

Collected from a thread of a few posts on Mastodon, with some additional clarification and revision.


This is a game like “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” where you try to make connections between a random starting point and a specific end. But, instead of connecting actors, it follows the links in Wikipedia articles to thread from one article to another to try to reach a particular point.

Wikipedia is good for this because there is lots of range to dive into. The rules of the game are simple enough. Choose the target article you want to reach (your “Kevin Bacon”) and then try to get to that article from a given starting point through the fewest number of links.

To play, start with the featured article of the day on the main Wikipedia page. For the first jump, choose any link in the opening section of the article, which is usually a couple of paragraphs. It’s enough to provide some variety of paths, and makes it a little more constrained out of the gate. This doesn’t need to be a hard-and-fast rule; it’s just something that I’ve evolved in the way I play this game, and the little added constraint just helps a bit, I think. But, after the first jump, the entirety of subsequent articles are open.

The target article I’ve been using is Submarines (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Submarine) – hence the name Wiki Dive. It’s a good, wide topic, not too obscure or niche, but also not something that seems readily connected with most of the starting topics. But there’s no reason not to use another topic of your own choosing.


Wiki Dive example (from a few days ago):

  • Battle of Oroscopa
  • Ancient Carthage
  • Roman Republic
  • Corvus (boarding device)
  • Naval boarding
  • Submarine

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Oroscopa


(And, as I started checking, I found a variant game with both start and end points every few minutes. There’s a whole website for The Wiki Game, but it seems that it emphasizes speed more than exploration.) To my mind, a more explorative game is more interesting. To me, it’s more meditative and exploratory than competitive.

Dungeon Fragment 5-07

May 7, 2022

RT dungeons 2022

Rougher walls with crevasses and fewer chambers in this piece.  It started with a couple crossing lines, but then, as often happens, turned into a thing of its own character.  I was thinking about revisiting some of the old geologic strata I’ve used before to do the poche on this, but, once I had the outlines done, it seemed really best to keep with the same style I’ve been using recently.

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, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

Dungeon Fragment 4-30

April 30, 2022

RT dungeons 2022

This map has turned out pretty well, in my opinion. It has the edge definition I tried a couple weeks ago, along with the more elaborate poche I’ve sometimes used in the past. Everything comes together really well in this.

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, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

Being on Mastodon

April 25, 2022

So, for completely unfathomable reasons* there is a big influx of new people joining Mastodon. I’ve been using Mastodon for a few years now. And, while I wouldn’t characterize myself as a top user, I generally know my way around, and I’m trying to help be a bridge for new people looking for other #TTRPG people in the Federation. I’m far from the largest presence there, or here, but if I can help a few people connect, that’s a good thing.

If you are looking for someone who can help with getting acquainted with Mastodon (or just want to have a contact there to chat with), I am at dice.camp (or to use the Mastodon style of writing handles: @RThorm@dice.camp )

If you can’t manage Mastodon at all, or want to ask a couple questions before delving into it, you can reach me through the other modes (or leave a comment on this post; how very, very retro!) and I’ll try to help. Since I don’t have a big following, it should be easier for me to help a couple people, without getting overwhelmed.

*totally fathomable, if you have any current awareness of “big news in social media”

Dungeon Fragment 4-23

April 23, 2022

RTx2022-04-23sm

Very light image for this one; just a single medium line for walls and a simple stipple poche.  I might come back to this later and do something more with the walls, but for now, it’s a first state version.  The rooms are interconnected and fairly well jaquayed (even if some of the connections are to places off-map.

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, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

Dungeon Fragment 4-16

April 16, 2022

RTx2022-04-15sm

After drawing the rough layout, it seemed that this map needed a more cavernous and less constructed style; this isn’t as suited to a block wall.  But, rather than doing another old school hatch like the last map, this map style seems to me to be an even older throwback; I think this is a kind of geological survey kind of look, but still with a little bit of D&D hatch patterning, instead of simply being perpendicular to the wall.  The other benefit with this is that it is quicker to draw (and the open sand patterning of the poche is also very quick to do).

The diagonal lines that were the original concept really don’t come through as strongly as the initial sketch implied. Some of that is the added roughening of the chambers, but even though the wall hatch is more regular, it helps emphasize the irregularity of the walls.

I like the style of this one, and will probably use this again for other maps in the future.

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, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

Dungeon Fragment 4-09

April 9, 2022

RT dungeons 2022

Going back to an old school hatching for this one because any kind of block wall didn’t seem right for the kind of spaces in this space. This map also harks back to the older series I did a few years ago that was often meant to be intersections between different areas. This also has a lot of different passages coming together.

The rooms in this are not closed off with doors, and it would be very interesting to see how this worked out in a tactical situation.

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, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

Antherwyck on Itch

April 5, 2022

We’ve started an account on itch.io along with the other points of presence online for Antherwyck. It’s not a full catalog of the things on DriveThru; and some things will probably never get copied to itch because I don’t think the audience for those things is on itch (but if I’m wrong, please do let me know).

Link: https://rthorm/itch.io

We may start making some of the more experimental things available there, for instance. Itch is better set up for developmental and iterative things, so early drafts of AntherZine – either the whole zine, or perhaps just certain articles – may show up there. Itch seems like a better place to have some half-formed ideas to kick around, and have updated versions.

For now, the two items that are there are the first issues of AntherZine. And, one way or another, I expect that we will keep posting AntherZine to both locations.

There was an inadvertent early release of Scream! Into the Void Remix on DriveThru. So, a few people picked it up while it was there (and someone from those folks even gave it a 4-star review). If you are an AntherZine subscriber, you’ve already gotten a copy of it included with AntherZine n1v2. Otherwise, we will be putting it out on itch a couple weeks before it is available at DriveThru.

Dungeon Fragment 4-02

April 2, 2022

RTx2022-03-26sm

Another experiment with a more cobbled wall type, and then a corresponding fill pattern.  The way this turned out is pretty interesting; I’d call this one a surprising success. This started with fairly hard lined boxes for the rooms, but the rough character of the walls definitely changes that.

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, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

Dungeon Fragment 3-26

March 26, 2022

RTx2022-03-22sm

This started as a very thready map with lots of passages interconnecting a couple of spaces. But then, the coarser texture for the walls made it a rougher kind of space overall.  It has an interesting quality that came out as it was inked that wasn’t in the original penciling layout. The pattern and the textures are what makes this map work.

There are several different passages from each direction, for a multitude of connections.  There are a couple of rooms, but the interconnections are the primary part of this section.

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, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

Dungeon Fragment 3-19

March 19, 2022

This most recent fragment is set up with all of the hallways making a continuous path through the area, and the rooms in the area are placed at locations where the different corridors intersected.

This goes back to the pattern used in earlier maps from this series with stone pattern wall definition for both rooms and halls.

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, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

AntherZine Anniversary Discount

March 13, 2022

The first issue of AntherZine was published a year ago today (March 13). In recognition of that, we are offering a special discount for the second issue, which was published a few weeks ago. Use this link for AntherZine v1n2 at DriveThruRPG to get it in PDF for only $2. But this offer is only good for one week.

Don’t forget, you can also get the first issue of AntherZine PDF at a pay-what-you-want price, also at DriveThru.

Dungeon Fragment 3-12

March 12, 2022

The mix of different textures for the rooms and the halls from the last map was inspiring, so I tried an alternate version this time. The halls are stone lined this time, and the rooms are rough walled and hatched.

The contrast of textures works pretty well in this one; it’s one of the more appealing of these experiments, and I’ll probably do some other experiments working with this combination of elements.

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, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

Dungeon Fragment 3-05b

March 5, 2022

So, another scheduling hiccup means that the image that was meant for posting today instead got backdated and posted for February 5. If you’ve gone back through older posts, you have already seen that one (link).

This map is a bonus, then. It has a few experimental elements. Rooms are outlined with the stone texture, and hallways are hatched instead. The halls are also relatively orthogonal while the rooms are much more freeform. And, this one doesn’t have any negative space poche*, unlike many of the earlier ones I’ve posted in this series.

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, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

* Poche – (poe SHEY) the walls, columns, and other solids of a building or the like, as indicated on an architectural plan, usually in black.

Update for Scream! Into the Void! Remix

February 27, 2022

In the original version, the rules for the Scream! Into the Void! Remix are a little difficult to read because they are printed on top of some of the control panel graphics (see above, left). So an added page – with the graphics removed from behind the text blocks – has now been made part of the game, so the rules may be easier to read.

Scream! Into the Void! Remix is included with AntherZine v1n2, so if you have purchased a copy of that, this update is now available for you to download.

We’ve also made an initial donation to TrickleUp.org (which is the charitable organization HodagRPG suggested contributing to in the original Scream! Into the Void! – it’s a group that is supported by Sigourney Weaver. We plan to continue making contributions as there are further sales of the ‘zine

Dungeon Fragment 2-26

February 26, 2022

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Here’s another map that has elements that were influenced somewhat in reaction to problems in prior maps.  Here, I was deliberately trying to vary the character of the wall stones, since a couple prior maps looked a little to even with those. This was also trying to be overlapping circles, and I’m not sure it quite manages that. You can see it if it’s mentioned, but I’m not sure that’s the initial read. But it’s got a fun sort of organic nature, and the hatch is a little different this time.

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, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

Dungeon Fragment 2-19

February 19, 2022

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

This map probably came about as a counterpoint to the earlier “intestinal” map from a few weeks ago. Not that it’s deliberately opposed to the earlier one, but that a different approach seemed right this time. There are still a couple of parts that bend the rooms from being simple shapes, alcoves or niches, and the one with an appendix room.

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, or if you would like to commission a custom piece.

AntherZine v1n2

February 19, 2022

AntherZine v1n2 cover

The latest issue of AntherZine is now available!

The contents of this issue include DQ articles discussing Poor Brendan’s Almanac, notes about a podcast interview with Chris Klug, and a new creature for DQ. There are also articles about managing an inn, which uses some DQ references, but is highly adaptable to any FRPG, and a table of interesting water crossing encounters. And, on the SF side of things, we have a remix of the game Scream! Into the Void! that was originally released last year by HodagRPG.

Right now, you can get it at DriveThruRPG .

If you just want the free stuff, it will be set to a PWYW price after the initial release period, so you’ll have to wait for a while, but keep on the lookout for it later this year.

The previous issue of AntherZine is also available as a Pay What You Want at DriveThru RPG.