Showing posts with label Updates. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Updates. Show all posts

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Weeks of Updates!

Lately, updates have fallen by the wayside. This has happened for a couple of reasons. I have taken on some new responsibilities at work, I've begun working overnights in a group home in addition to filling in for a teacher out for training this week.

How does he know he lost anything?
His tent looks like his room.
My son has been working a camp in Wyoming county and managed to lose a whole backpack of critical supplies for his work week. Between stints at work, I've been ferrying camping supplies to him at random because he doesn't know what he lost until he needs it.

I am bone tired.

Let me give you the updates for the past couple of weeks.

In the middle of July, I put the 52 Weeks of Magic of series on hiatus. That will be back at the end of August. I have also decommissioned three other blogs and imported their data to These Old Games. I am still in the process of vetting data from that process, some posts will be completely deleted while others will be adapted for here.

To this end, should now see some new tabs above: Short Stories and Hardware. "Short Stories" is exactly as labeled, some fictional and some from real life. "Hardware" is comprised of a series of links to computer support issues that I have run across while maintaining old hardware, usually for this site.

On July 15th, I launched The Compass Rose Minisetting title on DriveThruRPG. On July 28th, I launched a similar title called Kobold's Folly. Based on the feedback I have received, I separated the maps from the books, causing me to relaunch Compass Rose to match the style of Kobold's Folly. These are ruleset agnostic titles and are merely maps and descriptions for quick plug and play into your campaign. Sort of like a travel guide for DMs.

Zero to Hero and the Character Sheet continue to do well on Drive Thru. Thank you for downloading them.

Compass Rose follows the lives of the von Landskeep family and I have always intended to expand this title and align it to D&D and AD&D. Look for that in late August. I intended Kobold's Folly to be a one shot with no expansion, but King Minwan and his sister Hermin are so interesting, it may receive the same treatment as Compass Rose. When? Not sure. Maybe September.

The final update was to the Tek Tab, with new data for July being added.

Upcoming changes to website are based off of my experience from this round of updates. Right now, the Gemstone IV tab, Maps tab and Pregenerated characters are all static pages. It is more logical to break them down by subject and recreate them as individual post. The tab feature can pull up a chronological list of posts by subject. This makes far more sense, as my web stats do not include static pages.

One last item is, it has recently come to my attention that I will be going to Disney in November.

Thank you for being so patience with all of these updates and changes as I get everything in order to present more content to all of you. I couldn't and wouldn't do it without you.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Quick Update - Back End Work and Musings of How I Came to Be Here

Not much to report today. I am doing a little back end work on the website now that I have users coming in again. I recently added links back to my pages on Facebook, MeWe and Pluspora and I need Google Analytics data. The last year has been wild and I really let things go.

Typical view when your
ribs are screwed up
Let me tell you where this journey began. In June of last year, I was finishing up a long term subbing post when I broke half a dozen or so ribs. My normal favorite summer activity is a local amusement park, Darien Lake. I was off of work for about 9 weeks in the middle of summer and couldn't ride a single roller coaster.

I spent a few days laying on my back trying to decide what to do that day. My choices were sort of limited to sitting, laying down or standing. I had no patience for drawing or painting owing to the profound lack of sleep. Standing is Darien Lake's wave pool was soothing but nerve racking because there was a serious danger of drowning when the waves started up.

I decided to write a book. The first thing that popped into my head was something for D&D. I had some old character sheets lying around from a decades old campaign. In that campaign, I had 3 players write "chemist" under non-weapon proficiency. Three different bids to get their characters TNT or at least gun powder.

Yeah, no. That did not fly.

Then I realized that I actually had a bunch of great ideas for non-weapon proficiencies. In the previous semester at school, I found great book called Everyday Life in Early America which seemed to mirror my thought process. People have skill sets. A weapon proficiency is the ability to use a weapon, a specific item, with a specific set of skills. A profession is more than a singular skill, but less applicable to adventuring.

D&D and AD&D does not call these extra abilities skills, they are called "non-professional skills" meaning that they have nothing to with the character's current class. But they aren't really quantified.

I quantified those abilities in Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. I built a list of 50+ different professions from history, broke them into three categories and then defined what each could do.

One of my pet peeves from D&D is the lack of a "shared world" from outset of a game. I had people looking at characters sheets and declaring that their ranger couldn't swim, but had a recipe for dynamite. Yeah, BS. What do you mean a ranger can't swim? That isn't a skill I want you rolling against. If I'm gonna kill you, it won't be with a bunch of die rolls to see how long you can tread water.

By allowing someone to select from this long list of professions, characters gained depth. And a smidgen of hit points and a whole set of ancillary skills which were had some semblance of reason assigned to them. It stands to reason that a trapper can set a trap, a farmer knows a bit about cobbling junk together to get stuff done and cook can identify plants and build a proper fire.

The ability to make a rutabaga pie isn't going to buff your character, but it could make for interesting role play. On other hand, some tools are killing machines. But there is a reason why they aren't used as weapons. It's very hard to do carpentry or woodcutting after someone has killed a person in plate armor with your axes.

Some of these skills are immediately pertinent to characters. If my cleric was a chef, why don't I use knives in combat? Because that is something you choose to forego, it doesn't mean you can't throw knives at a bulls-eye. Can my wizard use a small hammer (1d4) because he is former mason? Sure, but he has to give up one other weapon.

These professions add to each character, without overly unbalancing a game.

Well, this is much more than I meant to post, but this is why what is happening on the back end of my site. If I mean to keep producing products, there has to be some data tracking to see what other think, which I will put into some of my future works.

I also need to build a base, so please take a moment to follow me on Facebook, MeWe or Pluspora.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Latest Update

This has been a hectic week. What should be updated hasn't. What didn't need updating was. Let me take a moment to explain what is happening. 

First and most importantly, my kids are off for the summer at the exact same time the school where I work has kicked off it's summer school program. Work-life balance is out of wack, but in an entirely pleasant and wonderful way. I work with special needs students and we kicked our program into high gear. Not only are teachers getting read to accept new students come the fall, we are doing some of the greatest outings and STEM stuff in and out of the classroom. We do it all, from building roller coasters out of tubing to taking the entire school to an amusement park. And there is even better stuff in the works. 

This is the finest "job" I've had and confirms that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. 

Speaking of loving what you do, all this makes my kids at home jealous as hell, so my wife and I are stepping up our game. 

To that end, I don't have time to produce new books or maintain 4 websites. From here on out, I will be focusing everything on These Old Games by pulling in everything of value from the other three sites. Much of it will be tabbed along the top of the page, so as to be unobtrusive as possible. I'm sure my readers will understand that I am both a D&D nut and amusement park fiend with a thing for technology. It weird. We're all a little weird. 

And now the third and final use of the word love. I love writing campaign setting information. So what products can you expect from These Old Games? Let's start with what's already available: 

Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. A set of rules to create both NPC characters with professional skills which can be resused to flesh out D&D and AD&D characters with non-heroic skills. 
Character Sheet for Use with Unearthed Arcana. This is exactly as it says on the tin, its a scan of character sheet created on Mac 512K back in 1987. Why? Because I don't like hosting my own files. 
The Compass Rose Inn Minisetting. A set of maps created in Worldographer of the Compass Rose Inn, the associated shrine and premade characters. The three maps, historical description and characters are ruleset agnostic. 

Coming in the first week of August is the Expanded Compass Rose Inn Setting for D&D and AD&D. This is a set of maps for all 5 floors of the Inn, several outbuildings, and detailed sheets for every character for use in your campaign. This will retail for $4.99. 

My next goal is to release a mini map of the Lake Forge, a mysterious business venture across the lake from the Compass Rose Inn. Like the Inn, it will have multiple levels and buildings visualized in Worldographer, plus new characters and more history of the Peninsula of Plenty game setting. It will be released in the same format as the Inn, first a PWYW ruleset agnostic version with a suggested price of $1.99 and a more complete version tuned to AD&D and D&D which will have fixed price of $4.99. 

Each and every thing I have published should be small potatoes in the grand scheme of gaming, but I cannot tell you how excited I get when I see one more person has taken the time to download one of my products. I hope that they add quality and wonder to your campaigns. 

As I roll through this year, I'll be looking at added two mapsets a month. I am also investigating creating a podcasts and perhaps a Patreon account. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Updates - Compass Rose Inn, Website, Etc.

Happy Monday!

A few months ago, I purchased Inkwell Idea's Worldographer which is an excellent way to visualize your campaign ideas. This weekend, I released a new title called The Compass Rose Minisetting. This product introduces the Compass Rose Inn in visual form and brings to life long time NPCs from my home campaign. It is listed at PWYW with a suggested price of $1.99. It has been selling briskly since it's Sunday evening release.

This mapset is rules agnostic, there are zero references to rulesets. It can be plugged into any campaign setting or ruleset.

In August, a companion to this piece will be released. It will feature characters for D&D and AD&D, will contain more history, magic items and obviously, more maps. It will be offered at a $4.99 price point as a separate product.

In order to launch this product on time, I have placed 52 Weeks of Magic on a 3 week hiatus. Some of the magic items that would have appeared here will be included with this updated version of The Compass Rose Inn.

Additionally, These Old Games will be reworked during this time to incorporate posts from my 3 other blogs as they are being decommissioned at the end of this year. I simply cannot write, work, attend school, have a family and continue to update 4 different blogs.

I hope you enjoy these new features, as much I do producing them.

Phil

Monday, January 16, 2017

Clamshell iBook Hard Drive Replacement Alternative

My aging Blue iBook is suffering from a lack of space. This machine shipped with a 10 GB hard drive way back in 1999. Since I launched theseoldgames.com, the need for installation space has gone up noticeably.

Ifixit.com has wonderfully detailed instructions for repair of a variety of consumer products, including the iBook. They are my "go to" site for most repair projects. However, replacing the iBook drive has 10 sections, 36 steps and no time listed for the upgrade. It is also marked difficult. Since I trust them, I believe that this is within my skill range, but will exceed my patience for the task.

When I upgraded my old computers hard drive the task took all of an hour. This is a much bugger project, one I am not convinced that I ready to start.

I had been using a USB thumb drive as an alternative to upgrading the drive, but having a little dongle sticking out the side of the computer was always a recipe for disaster. What if I broke the one and only USB port?

Well, that is where the SanDisk Cruzer Fit USB drive comes in. It's a tiny USB drive with more than adequate storage. This 32 GB drive was less than $20.00, on Amazon. Now you can get several of them for a less than $20.

The SanDisk Cruzer would not be my first pick because I am clumsy and forgetful. Under normal circumstances, I would lose this thing in less than a day. However, once it is plugged into the iBook, it's sleek, small form is perfect for this machine. As you can see in the next picture, the SanDisk Cruzer doesn't extend past the edge of the case.

Perfect! Drive problem solved, no particular downsides other than loosing the use of the USB. Aside from a floppy drive and Wacom Table, I have nothing that uses that port. To be honest, I won't need to use either one for this laptop.

One caveat when plugging any drive into a OS 9 Mac - Sometimes the Mac will want to initialize the disk into a flavor or form it can use. Most modern machines do not have this problem, so plugging the drive into the Mac first, formatting if needed, then putting information on it using a different machine is the route to go.

In a perfect world I'd upgrade the hard drive, but this solution is so handy compared to the real fix, I'm gonna run with it.

Pros: Cheap and easy.
Cons: Can't boot from USB. Utilizes the only USB port on the machine.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

These Old Games, The Return

Now that school is over, I am looking forward to revisiting some old games and launching some reviews of books.

First up, The Civilization series. A classic turn-burner.