Showing posts with label Campaign. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Campaign. Show all posts

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Fortress Of Potamus Lake (PoP Campaign)


 Potamus Lake is the primary ranching area on the Peninsula of Plenty.


Historically, the largest threat to citizens are hippopotami. Many ranch houses are round or square homes with very thick walls, usually 4 to 5 feet thick or more, to protect villagers from hippo attacks. The homes are overbuild as a style, hippopotami don’t really attack the walls. This animal threat precludes flooded moats as defenses.
During The Goblinoid Wars, some of these houses were transformed into veritable fortresses. The Gerent’s House was expanded to a daunting 7 story fort. All of these structures have a ramshackle look; they are not particular good forts, but representative of what was available at the time.
There are seven surviving forts around the Lake. Many ranchers have adopted a more villa-like style for building. 
Each map has the scale of one square = 5 feet. The exterior doors and tower doors are massive, very thick. Doors to the stairways are more modest, typical to a home rather than a fortress.
Typical main floor layout. Click to enlarge.
Spiral stairs are denoted on each level. Examination of the map shows the poor quality of construction.

Map suitable for second floors and higher. Click to enlarge.

No interior walls are shown, except for the entryways to the stair cases. Barred windows appear more prominently on this level to make up for the inadequate arrow loops. 

Seventh floor of Gerent's house.
The Gerent’s House uses the same layout for floors 2-6, so one map can be used several times. His home has a circular and squarish tower for the seventh floor and a large roof area over the main hall.



These two layouts can be used as either alternate rooftops or basements. The Gerent’s house has a small square root cellar and uses the third map for the seventh floor.
Alternate roof (accidentally rotated 180 degrees.)
This is an alternate rooftop, in the event that the home has a higher center hall on the floor below. There are two options for access, climbing an exterior ladder from the tower rooftops below or some sort of trapdoor an ladder from the main hall. In these fortified homes, a peaked roof may appear on this level.  
I hope you enjoy these maps and can find a home for them in your campaign.









Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Observing The Can’t of Thieves

I ran into an interesting gaming scenario and real life teaching experience with my daughter, at the laundromat of all places. Rogues, thieves and con men are pretty much all the same. They have been for centuries. Techniques never change but the goods and the goals do. The good ones are never spotted, but the bad one stand out.
In real life and in gaming, we tend to gloss over the foolish ones while imagining the dangerous ones are around every corner. The only difference between the two is a poor spot check.
Two guys came in to the laundromat and instantly set off my spidey sense. Not in a physical way, but they were clearly up to no good. I called my daughter close and asked her to observe them.
I had her text me her thoughts about them. Silent communication, whether gestures or texting works to the advantage of the user, no matter the setting or year.
  1. They were loud and swore around kids, like they wanted to be tough.
  2. The looked the same. Bald and wearing straw hats. Sneakers but no socks. Shorts and T-shirts. Sunglasses, worn on the hat by one and around the neck by the other. 
  3. They were not identically dressed, but very similar.
  4. They made eye contact while speaking everyone, except children. They ignored children.
  5. They looked in all the machines.
  6. They said not so nice things, but smiled the whole time.
  7. They went into the kids play area, the bathroom and peeked in the office.
  8. They never stopped moving or talking.
I wasn’t just me, these two stood out to my 10 year old.
They waited until the attendant hung up a sign saying “Back in 20 minutes” then loudly proclaimed that they lost $4.25 in one of the machines and wanted to speak to the owner. My daughter thought it was funny that he put 17 quarters in a machine but didn’t notice it wasn't working. It was also odd that the price was 5 bucks. I shrugged and asked her to keep watching.
When the attendant came back from break, Guy Number One asked if she was the owner and explained the problem. She offered to pull the coin box from the offending machine and refund the his money. Oddly, the coin box was empty. Guy Number Two took over and “The Owner” desperately searched for the offending machine.
What they missed was the attendant had empted the coin boxes before her break. They were not going to find any machine full of “their money”. Having failed, the men switched places and roles to create confusion.
The game continued for a while, until it was clear the tactic wasn’t working.
A loud conversation about going next door for Chinese food started. Number One suggested lunch and Number Two shouted it down since he was once refunded for receiving bad Chinese food at a restaurant.
A challenge was offered and accepted. They asked the attendant if the place next door was any good and she offered an opinion, but they hardly listened.
The two men left, but this time switching roles. Number One, the one who proposed the restaurant, loudly proclaimed he would not stand for bad food. Guess what was going to happen next door?
Pick a century, any century. Con men of every era use the same tactics. Han Solo, Sawyer from Lost and The Grey Mouser all pretty much operate the same underneath the hood.
Here are the tools of the trade:
  • Work in groups.
  • Have a cover story ready.
  • Have a backup plan, hopefully one that matches a cover story.
  • Be outwardly friendly, but forcefully offended and easily aggrieved.
  • Look tough, but back down with grace if necessary.
  • Use respect. Use more than the normal amount of respect to elevate the self-esteem of the mark.
  • Dress neatly with flash and style, but be similar to your associates so physical descriptions are easily confused.
  • Appear to trust other people, so they will extend the same level of trust.  
  • Case the joint, the whole place not just the obvious areas.
  • Look for treasure everywhere. Anything worth anything at all is treasure.
  • Never ask for the whole enchilada, ask for less. This way you can haggle with a mark to part them from their money.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Maps – The Stave Church

Last week, I did a quick drawing of a Norse themed building. Today, for the winter solstice, I knocked out a floor plan for a fantasy themed stave church.
When sketching this church, I imagined that the parishioners are followers of a river goddess and that the church is very old. From the exterior, this church would appear to be several storeys high, but the interior shows a largely, airy nave.
The church is orientated to the north, is a mirror of a river to the west of the church. Most rivers do not flow north, so this one is special.

The sacristy is in the north and is rather spartan. It features a large stone urn for the storage of offering. Next to the urn is a small trap door leading to an short under ground tunnel. This tunnel often floods, so escape by this route is in the hands of the goddess. A pair of tables, stools and two curved shelves round out the last of the furnishings of the sacristy.
A small concealed door leads from the sacristy to the sanctuary.  This is more of decorative feature as all parishioners see it in use during every service to allow access to the apse.
A large tree stump was brought into the building to serve as a small altar. When a more suitable table was found, it was dragged to the eastern side for use an ab. On the western side is a stone capped well. The water contained within is both drinkable and holy.  The well also serves as an ambo during high ceremony requiring water.
The nave contains ten smaller pews which can be moved as needed. Two larger sets of pews are affixed to the south wall. Along the southeast and southwest inner walls are leper windows, for those who cannot enter the nave.
Three sets of steps lead down to doors, a change in elevation of just four feet. This outer floor area is often covered in reeds to prevent mud from being dragged into the nave. The east and west doors swing inwards, while the south doors swing outwards. All interior doors swing inwards.
It should be noted that this church is not orientated as it would be in the real world. Churches also tend to have an ambo in the center and not to the side, there is also the issue that lectern is general not found with an ambo. This church placed the ambo to side closest to the river.

Half Baked Idea - The Demon Core

In my last post, I mention a device called the demon core. I know what it looks like, I know that it seethes with power. It is wildly dangerous. Aside from that I know nothing.
There was a real device called the demon core. It was 3.5 inch, subcritical mass of plutonium used for testing. In this capacity, it killed two scientists.
Nasty stuff. I may have to revisit this item and flesh it out for use in my campaign.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Serpent Bay – Five Minute Vinette

A user request from Google Plus – post-apocalyptic maps. I am horrible with colored pencils and I have never tried a post-apocalyptic map. What I ended up with was a sketched vinette.


“They brought the demon core, blood hexes and shells. They pushed us to the sea. In the woods we moved like eidolons hunting, as the skies sizzled with hot brass and steel rain. The sea frothed blue and white; the gnashing of frustrated and frenzied selkies.
“Desperation rose within us, fanned by orisons, curses and automatic fire.


“You tell ’em, we held those bastards at Serpent Bay.”

Friday, March 1, 2013

The One McGuffin

In RPG’s, magic can be problematical. A DM must carefully consider each and every spell and trinket given to the characters, otherwise he or she will break the campaign. The lesser magics are troublesome some times, but it is relatively easy to adjust for them. Let’s face it, DM’s can’t and won’t think of everything, every time.
Sometime you just have to let things play out and laugh at the mistake. However, I blame many bad endings on The One McGuffin getting loose.
A McGuffin is a device to further the plot. It has no other function and DM’s are well advised not create and an define an item so that it is both solution and closure to the campaign storyline.
In second edition or AD&D, artifacts were vastly overpowered magic items that really should have been left undescribed. Instead, they were tacked on the end of the magic item list, as if they were a viable option.
There is a temptation for all DM’s to use The One McGuffin as a solution to wrap up the scenario. Never, repeat, never allow characters to use an evil item for good. First, it doesn’t make sense for good to use evil for good ends. Second, as a wise man once said, “Power corrupts and absolute power is really, really neat.”
The second pen hits paper and the McGuffin is clearly defined, somewhere deep-down inside, you have decided the magic needs to be used. In all cases, this very much a Deus ex Machina story ending. If you build the characters up to the pinnacle of power, yet even from that great height, they can’t make a good ending of their own, what is the point?
Beware of The One McGuffin.