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

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Making a List and Checking It Twice...

I have a list of things to do regarding the blogs, the podcast and my products and DriveThruRPG. Here is a list of things you should see in the coming months. 

These do not include continuing series posts which shall continue as per normal. So far, those are reviews, spring model posts and a summer gaming updates. 

General cleanup on the blog will continue pace, which is something I try to hit once a week. I will be updating the photos of figurines to be compliant with my planned updates. This will allow me to play with my camera for item 5. 

1. Rerelease Swashbuckler Character Class as "Character Pack for OSR and AD&D"
    A. Write new character classes. 
        i. Write 3 Kobold character classes.
            a. Classic kobold class as per monster stats. 
            b. Folklore kolold class as per legends. 
            c. The kobolds of Minawan tribe character class in my campaign. 
        ii. Adapt 3 new classes for this pack. 
            a. The Hoodlum/Gangbanger class.
            b. The Monomach class
            c. The Unicorn/Pegasus class.
        iii. Create 2 new classes based on military fiction.    
            a. The 70's Era Veteran class. 
            b. The Space Marine class.
    B. Provide files in four types.
        i. A4. 
        ii. 8.5x11
        iii. 8.5x11 folding book style. 
        iv. 5x7 booklet style, requiring cutting on the purchaser's part. 

2. Remaster Kobold's Folly on Drivethru.
    A. Create a map suitable for printing, poster size.
    B. Ensure this map is suitable for VTT online games. 
    C. Add the aforementioned mention Kobold character classes. 
    D. Write an adventure for this book. 

3. Remaster Compass Rose Inn mini-settling on Drivethru.
    A. Create a map suitable for printing, poster size.
    B. Ensure this map is suitable for VTT online games. 
    C. Write an adventure for this book. 

4. Record new podcast based on HuckSawyer's feedback
    A. Avoiding the TPK. 
    B. Why TPK's happen. 
    C. Avoid dicing your way through TPK's. 

5. Put into production
    A. Record videos. 
    B. Edit video. 
    C. Record audio voice over.
    D. Launch Pilot.
    E. Collect data on viewer's opinions.  

6. Update blog
    A. Coming phone changes in the Western New York area for national suicide prevention hotline launch. (Deemed critical. complete.
    B. More reviews of Western New York products, companies and events.  

7. Update blog with tutorial on flash drives. 
    A. Purchasing. 
    B. Drive formats for a variety of OSes. 
    C. Troubleshooting.
    D. Common flash drive ripoff schemes and how to address. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Outlining Ideas

Here is what I have been up to the past few days. I'm working a lot, so I don't have that much time. 

Today, I burned a bunch of time reading blogs, 3 Toadstools mostly. This week on 3 Toadstools he revisit's a favorite of mine, Isle of Dread. 3 Toadstools came up with this great tool for campaign building, where you select 10 monsters and run with them. He has a list of categories here. It's a great read and simplifies worldbuilding. 

Anyway, I am getting ready to return to my Peninsula of Plenty campaign, but modifying it to be a hex crawl. You probably noticed I have thinking about hexcrawls a lot. I have Filling in the Blanks scheduled for my next review, but haven't done it because I've been reading and rereading it for ideas for this new campaign style. I have to get both of these done as Into the Wild will be out next month. 

What I have had time for is sketching. I like to do paper plans for new ideas in Inkscape. I am also tinkering with a new display format for images. Ideally, all images will be the same size so the page doesn't jump. This will be the case with my photos of models, but harder to do with drawings. It's a start. 

1 / 5
Castle in Green
2 / 5
Black and blue
3 / 5
4 / 5
5 / 5

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Updates - New Podcast Episode and More.

I have a short update episode of the podcast loaded to today. It's brief.  I talk about some changes in real life, updates to gaming sessions and the blog. 

It's kind of funny, but I started this podcast with a mistake. I was thinking about podcasting and was shopping for microphones and trying out new software. Someplace in that process, COVID hit and the only way I could get art supplies was online. I placed an order with Amazon without noticing that I place a microphone into the cart instead of my wishlist. 

I could of sent it back, oooooor I could make something with it. That mike has served me well over the past year, far more than just a podcast. 

I used it for my zoom classes, both the classes I taught and the classes I took in school. I also scored a new job using that set up. The mic is hardly used for the podcast at all but it's been a life saver.  

Rather than spamming it up with multiple posts, I've been drawing again with some new markers. I'm trying to get the hang of really simple sketches. I'm having probables balancing line weight with proportions. 

The ill-proportioned horse.

A better try.

Needs shading. 

My nemesis. 

In the last image, I really shouldn't have picked a stippling style with this image. I'm probably going to use some digital Magik at some point, which I hate to do. I wanted this to be all ink. If I don't go digital, I will be out 7 zillion pens and it will take me a life time to complete. Art-life balance, I guess. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

A Little Bit of Everything

This week, I plan to have at least one post a day on topics that cover every aspect of my nerdiness. The last post was on AD&D assassins, the next will be on models.

Anyway, Star Wars has become a large part of Disney World and while I can't quite wrap my head around Disney and Star Wars living under the same roof, I do love it. 

In 2016, Star Wars was plastered all over Hollywood Studios. My son Nathan and I picked up some little metal toys. I selected new X-Wing while Nathan went with the New Order's TIE. I keep mine on my desk while he has his on his dresser. My wife won't let me keep mine in the bedroom...

Anyway, I can't wait to get back there, except I can wait for this pandemic to cool down. It's a weird feeling. One of my favorite things to do in Disney is to take in the little museum like setups they do to absorb the crowds. It works and usually it's a relief to get out of the heat.  They had a whole area in Hollywood Studios for Star Wars.

I loved it!

I would be remiss if I didn't plug our most excellent travel planner, Jaime Nowicki. Her services are free and she does more than Disney packages. You can also follow her on Facebook.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

What I do on Sunday... Achieve!

I'm in cleaning mode. Well, my wife is in cleaning mode for the holidays. She is also a good photographer and has a nice camera. She has promised that I can borrow her camera, if I get all of the Christmas stuff upstairs and do some laundry.


What do I need the camera for? Two semesters ago, I had to put together a video for a class project. I decided to cover the Battle of Rorke's Drift using minis I had on hand. Being me, I couldn't just do a PowerPoint, it was stop motion all the way.

Proof of concept video
Oh, but I couldn't stop there. I wanted actual students to participate. So I nervously packed up all of my figures and terrain and brought them into my 6:1:3 classroom. I have to say, my staff really didn't understand what was happening, but they did their best to help.

At the end of the day, I found that my lesson plans were wildly out of spec for 6 student with autism, so I brought in the NPC Players to help me out. The NPC Players are my children, Nathan, Catherine and Paul. I asked them to read the script which were based of social studies lesson plans I presented in my classroom. Since my children couldn't come into my classroom due to various privacy and safety concerns, I had to work backwards and sideways to create script based of adapted lesson plans for 10 year olds. Every evening for weeks, the NPC Players and I tried to make the script come to life in stop motion form.

I got an A on this assignment, but I honestly don't believe my professor had a good handle on how much I achieved. One teacher, one teaching assistant, 2 classroom aides (sometimes different people), 6 10 year old students, who happen have autism remotely working with 3 typical middle and high school students, all working together to produce an understandably scripted video and associated adapted lesson plans to meet my professor's college class standards. It was quite an achievement.

At the end of the day, it was a bridge to far. The audio we worked so hard to produce bombed big time. But I would totally do it again. I think my students and children gave a great grasp of the historical event.

One last task has remained undone since the end of the project. The clean up. 9 kids and 4+ adults made a hash of my models. A mess that remains to this day.

Over the Christmas break, I plan on reorganizing my models and post images of them here.

Here are some examples images of random figures from the jumbled hash.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Improved memory... Better Maps

Just in time for Christmas, I updated my computer and can now do better maps for some of my products. The first update is for The Kobold Folly, which might fall under the category of "most improved".

Newest Map, throne room created with Inkwell Ideas Worldographer
1st map of all three floors and surrounding orchard.
By updating my computer to Linux 18.04 and doubling the memory, I can get 1" = 5 feet scale maps. Before the update, I didn't have the horses to do that.

Check back later for updates as to when this change goes live. 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

A Little Something New For Throwback Thursday - pt. 2

For #TBT, I like to share my top five posts since I switched to Google Analytics in July, 2019.

Never ever do I ever - Horses, Drownings, and First Aid
Miniature Treasures - The Moldy Unicorn
A walk down memory lane... thru a Motte and Bailey Castle
Practical Tactical - Which Edition of D&D is Best?
Macaulay - Great Books, Lousy Pictures

Now, what do I wish was on that list?

At five, I'd like to see the A walk down memory lane... thru a Motte and Bailey Castle. My dad has built many iterations of this castle and it is my favorite.
Number 4, Update for Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners! I have to plug my own stuff, right?
Number 3 is my review of Module Review - BSOLO Ghost of Lion Castle.
Number two is another review post called Book Review - A Brief Study of TSR Book Design. This is great, free book by Kevin Crawford. If you want to do retro-games that look like old TSR products, you need this book.
Unconventional, but I would put Miniature Treasures - The Moldy Unicorn at number one.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Not Too Much to Report - Additions to the blog roll.

Progress on the new versions of my Player Character Sheet for Unearthed Arcana have slowed to a crawl. I had hoped to have it up on Veteran's Day, but that didn't happen. I'm still plinking along at it, so real soon, now.

I continue to add people to my blog roll. I just started reading WELCOME TO THE HOME OF SOME GUY ON THE INTERNET by Robert Aronson. Again, MeWe doesn't disappoint when it comes to highlighting great talent, however I keep the blog roll going because I fear a G+ like collapse. All it takes is a good link on MeWe to your blog, a request in the comments below (with link) or a friend request on MeWe to get that link added here. It's easy.

Robert's blog might be the longest title on my blog roll. One of my favorite points about his blog was the source of the URL, which is kind of like my character Reg. On another point, it is also another good opportunity to mention Red Dice Diaries like I did in my post about Reg.

Three more plugs and I am done with this post. First, to prevent a second G+ like collapse, go follow these two aforementioned mentioned blogs. I gotta be honest, I hit the Red Dice Diaries blog to access the podcast more often than I read it. I love hearing John Alan Large's ideas and those of his guests and callers.

Next, go over to Campaign Wiki and register your blog. If you have a blog, go ahead and do what John Alan Large did and add some info about you. Starting with a name or handle, so people can find you, hear from you and praise you.

And for the final plug, you can pick up all of my products at DriveThruRPG. Each one is PWYW so feel free to give it a try before dropping some change in the tip jar.

Swashbuckler Character Class. A non-standard D&D character class. 
Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. Rules to standardize your non-adventuring NPCs. 
Character Sheet for Use with Unearthed Arcana. A scan of a 80/90's character sheet. 
The Compass Rose Inn Minisetting. A ruleset agnostic mini-setting. 
Kobold's Folly A ruleset agnostic mini-setting.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

NaNoWriMo - Rebellion

Every year I sign up for NaNoWriMo and every year I never really finish. This year, rather than a novel, I plan on doing something functional. I want to wordsmith every blog post I have ever made and if possible, add an image for each.

I figure this task is on par with writing 50,000 words. And I think it is something I need to do anyway.

As I work on that, I will also wordsmith all of my publications and add more artwork to each.

It's a reasonable endeavor, at least more reasonable than kicking out a novel.

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 ready 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. Its 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.