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

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

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.