2015-02-20 Gridmapper Variant Madness

A difficult decision! Many people had reported using Chrome on Windows and not getting the $ keypress. Sam’s patch finally fixed that. Now I’ve had reports of somebody using Chrome on GNU/Linux and not getting the $ keypress. What a mess!

So: Is it possible to get rid of $? Yes it is. But replace it with what? s for secret doors? What about s for stairs? The solution is to use variants. Place a door and cycle through the variants using v and you’ll get a secret door, a concealed door, a double door (a gate). Same thing for stairs: cycle through the variants using v and you’ll go from a 2×1 stair to a very short 1×1 stair, to a cramped 1×1 spiral staircase, to a large 2×2 spiral staircase, to a broad 2×2 stair fit for an opera house.

It’s a trade off. Any map symbol you are using multiple times on your map are better on dedicated keys. Are traps, pilars and statues valuable enough to have separate keys?

There is one additional problem I have. Such changes also break existing links. To give you an example, the sequence $$ would place a secret door and rotate it to the north wall. That needs to be replaced by ddv. Yikes!

  1. replace every $ by a d and append v
  2. replace every c by a d and append vv
  3. replace every g by a d and append vvv

I still feel that we’re early enough in Gridmapper’s development to make such changes, but still, it feels unfair to those who have maps with many secret or concealed doors, or gates.

Also, the help screen looks terrible, now.

In fact, I made further incompatible changes to parsing the link’s query string. The trap, pillar and statue no longer advance the position. Thus, if you’re suffering from that problem, you need to append a space (%20) to every t, p, and b in your query string.

  1. replace every t by a t%20
  2. replace every p by a p%20
  3. replace every b by a b%20

Why! Why!?

Well, I wrote a section in the README with instructions on how to extend Gridmapper and add variants for existing tiles! The example I gave was for how to add a well as a variant of a statue.

That’s pretty cool, I think.

An update on my todo list:

  • a text area for copy and paste of level data ✓
  • tablet support ✓ (somewhat!)
  • furniture? (shelves, tables, chairs, chests) ✓
  • rubble?
  • fountains or wells? perhaps just donut shaped things ✓
  • make sure you can place traps on top of stairs? (does this look good?)
  • quarter circle, perhaps in 1x1, 2x2 and 3x3 variants to create towers (as variants of diagonals) ✓
  • better labels (press a key to show text field) ✓

I decided to drop the PNG export. This would have required canvg to implement, it would have been tricky, people can already take screeshots, and I’m not sure how useful this would have been. It would never have been good enough to link to, for example. Without running some Javascript, this would never have worked.

If you’re curious about the code and would like to read blog posts about aspects of it, feel free to ask. I might write something up.


Comments on 2015-02-20 Gridmapper Variant Madness

Alex Schroeder
Example for quarter circles

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-21 12:27 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Trap variants: open pit, trap door in the ceiling, the floor, and a secret trap door. Redrawn from Moldvay’s B58.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-21 12:51 UTC

I love this thing! And every time I come back here, some great advance is done. I think the variants are a great improvement and it opens space for additional stuff. Thanks a lot again!

To bring my old maps, which I had just as links, back to live, I wrote a simple sed script:


Save these lines to “gridmapper_convert.sed”, the part behind the ? from the URL in “link.txt” and run: sed -f gridmapper_convert.sed link.txt

– Sam 2015-02-22 16:17 UTC

Alex Schroeder
I added altars, dais and a round dais. :)

Next up: curtains!

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-22 17:45 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Done. I really should use this tool to write a dungeon instead of improving the tool further!

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-22 18:21 UTC

How to add a layer above layer one?

This worked: Use “Text Export”, Copy the export to a new gridmapper, add “(0,0)fz” to the very beginning, hit “Text Import”.

And I didn’t see any maps created whit Gridmapper yet (expect for the test ones). So here is one of mine: The Aquarium

– Sam 2015-02-22 17:59 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Yeah, I would also use Text Export and Text Import. Was a simple “z” at the beginning not enough? I think that should have done the job.

And I love the Aquarium map!

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-22 18:35 UTC

Alex Schroeder
An interesting discussion on reddit.

Some ideas:

  1. Better mouse support: left-click on an icon on the right to pick an item and left-click on the map to place it. No dragging, no need to pick it again from a menu if you want to place something multiple times.
  2. Better text labels: no scaling, no word wrap, best for one liners and a small number of words (“orcs”). Would that be enough? The alternative would be to link the numberic labels we already have to wiki pages. Since I run Campaign Wiki, it would be trivial. Put the name of your wiki somewhere, and all the numbers will automatically link to it.
  3. Above ground features? Trees and mushrooms are the only ones I can think of. Maybe windows, arrow slits, archways.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-23 06:53 UTC

Alex Schroeder
I’ve noticed another Chrome problem. Assume the following script to draw a round 4x4 room: nvv nnvv[-1,1]nnnnvv nnnvv. Paste it into the text area and hit Ctrl Enter. One Chrome, this looks messed up. On Firefox, you get a nice round 4x4 room.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-23 09:15 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Added chest, bed, table. We’re getting to a size where I feel like we should increase the tile size!

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-23 10:30 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Added better labels.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-23 22:04 UTC


> Was a simple “z” at the beginning not enough?

It got messy and the first layer didn’t work any more, but wen I try now whit a small map, it works…

– Sam 2015-02-25 12:11 UTC

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2015-02-16 Gridmapper To Do

With the extra layer – “the map below” – finally implemented, it’s time to look for other Gridmapper challenges. This little project makes me so happy. It looks cool, changes are fast to make. I love those early phases of projects that are going well. :)

So, here’s some stuff that I still want to do:

  • rewrite the internal data structure ✓
  • labels or at least numbers – I’m thinking typing a number key will start or append to a label in that square, backspace will shorten the existing label, I’m thinking of adding a little white background circle to those numbers to make it more readable ✓
  • export as PNG (will require canvg?) (also not sure how useful this will be)
  • furniture? (shelves, tables, chairs, chests)
  • rubble?
  • make sure you can place traps on top of stairs? (does this look good?)
  • investigate key issue involving $ and ? – Chrome/Windows only ✓ (resurfaced)
  • make it run on IE 11 ✓ (but no download of the data URI?)
  • multiple levels? A rolodex like interface where you can move up or down, a large level indicator somewhere, the ability to select an area and move it in any of the six directions (x, y, z). ✓
  • use v for variants: 1x1 stairs, 2x1 stairs, 2x2 stairs, as well as 1x1 and 2x2 spiral staircase? ✓
  • quarter circle, perhaps in 1x1, 2x2 and 3x3 variants to create towers ✓
  • fountains or wells? perhaps just donut shaped things ✓
  • tablet support ✓
  • a text area for copy and paste of level data ✓
  • making gates a variant of doors ✓
  • allow the rotation of variants; currently you can press s v to get a stair variant, but if you then press s again, you’re back at the standard stair ✓
  • stop using $ and c for secret and conceiled doors; instead, use door variants for these two ✓


Comments on 2015-02-16 Gridmapper To Do

What do you think about the option to hold the f-key and create multiple tiles by navigating with the arrow keys instead of pressing arrow-f-arrow-f-arrow-f a.s.o? I would find that useful.

– Stefan 2015-02-16 20:04 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Did you try Shift Arrows?

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-16 20:30 UTC

This is getting excitingly better!

– Enzo 2015-02-19 08:20 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Thanks! :)

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-19 09:01 UTC

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2015-02-15 Upgrading a Local Gridmapper

How to upgrade a local copy of Gridmapper containing a dungeon of yours?

The following procedure should work:

  1. click on Prepare Link and click on the Link this creates – save it somewhere
  2. this URL should now contain a little script to recreate the current state (see example below)
  3. now replace the file with a new copy of Gridmapper
  4. reload the URL you saved – this should recreate the current state

Example of such a URL: file:///Users/alex/Source/gridmapper/gridmapper.svg?%0A%20w.dfwwfwwfw%0A%20wftfw.wfwwfww.dddfw%0A%20wfffwnnnn%20nn%20wfwwfwwfw%0A%20ww%20ww%20w.dfffwfn%20nnn%20w%0A%20%20%20ww%20ww%20ww%20wfnnnn%20fd%0A%20%20%20%20%20%20ww%20ww%20ww

Everything after the questionmark is a script:

  1. %0A encodes Enter (moves one down)
  2. %20 encodes Space (moves one right)
  3. w is wall (to the left)
  4. . is a micro-pause
  5. d is a door (at the top, because there’s already a wall to the left)
  6. f is floor
  7. etc.

You can take this URL fragment and recreate your map elsewhere, too! To take the example above:

See for yourself.

If you use Gridmapper on a public server, you can prepare those links and share them with your friends. Automatic map sharing without storing anything on the server. The link contains all the info.


Comments on 2015-02-15 Upgrading a Local Gridmapper

Alex Schroeder
A lot more documentation got written.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-15 23:47 UTC

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2015-02-14 Gridmapper with Demo

Gridmapper now comes with a demo built in. I wanted to write some documentation, so I considered adding it to the README file. It can be read over on GitHub. But I know how it is. If you need to read a separate document in order to understand a user interface, people will not be coming back to the application. I decided I wanted a screencast or something equivalent. Short, sweet, stuff moving around on the screen, but I didn’t want to use a separate video. A separate video poses the same problem: Once you’re done viewing the video, will you remember it all and return to the application? Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. And what about updates to the software? Editing those videos and bringing them up to date is a major pain down the line.

That’s when I decided to write a demonstration within the application. I already had the code to recreate a map from a string of commands. I needed that in order to recreate a map from the URL. The OSR Logo is an example of this. I just needed a few more things. Positioning. Wall Mode. Pausing. Slow moves accross the screen. The hardest thing to explain is Wall Mode, I think.

Yeah, why Wall Mode? At first, I tried to do something that would allow me to use the mouse on the walls. But getting this right was tedious. I can’t really draw straight lines using a mouse. Can you? This was terrible, That’s when I decided that Gridmapper needed much better keyboard support. That was going to be a real win as far as I am concerned!

So now we basically have scripting. I felt like I was writing a byte code interpreter.

I’m not sure where to go next. Things on my mind.

  • labels or at least numbers
  • Google Hangouts (?)
  • two layers (the lower layer being shaded, toggling between the two layers)
  • spiral staircases (tricky)
  • furniture (shelves, tables, chairs, chests)
  • investigate key issue involving $ and ? on Chrome/Windows and Pale Moon/Windows? (could not confirm)
  • export as PNG (will require canvg?) (also not sure how useful this will be)

Tags: RSS

Comments on 2015-02-14 Gridmapper with Demo

The new features look really sweet! But…

I assume this issue is on my end, because there’s no way you wouldn’t notice this. Maybe it’s that outdated browser I was talking about.

I can’t use any of the features anymore: the doors, the traps, none of the letter keys are doing anything at all. Neither is undo, redo, the arrow keys. It doesn’t seem to be getting any keystrokes from me at all.

The link thing, if it does what I think it does, this could become essential for online RPG. You could have the next roll20 on your hands!

guest 2015-02-15 01:14 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Ugh! :( That’s bad. The next version will log to the console when it receives keyboard input it can’t handle. That will allow me to learn of issues people are having on browsers I have no access to.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-15 12:03 UTC

Holy shit, I’ve never thought that you can do such things in SVGs.

AlexDaniel 2015-02-16 23:26 UTC

It’s awesome! :)

If only browser devs could get their act together when it comes to handling keyboard events. Backspace on Chrome is like the back button!? Who thought this was a good idea…

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-17 07:31 UTC

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2015-02-11 Gridmapper Progress

Gridmapper has progressed enormously! I’m surprised myself. I guess I’m open for feature requests!

The current list of items I’m considering:

  • correctly initialized when loading an existing file (if you load a saved file right now, the things you load remain essentially read-only) ✓
  • reset (well, we do have undo… and reload?)
  • labels or at least numbers (I guess?) ✓
  • correctly initialized when the URL contains some sort of encoded dungeon (this would be nice because then I can embed the URL in a page and it will render the dungeon for me) ✓
  • export as PNG (will require canvg?) (also not sure how useful this will be)
  • resizing of the drawing area ✓
  • walls (simple support using w like for doors) ✓
  • better wall drawing (let the cursor move along the edges in “wall mode”?) ✓
  • spiral staircases (tricky because they are 2x2 square and I do some automatic scaling on startup to make everything as wide as a tile…) ✓
  • status and pillars, cycling with traps
  • furniture? (shelves, tables, chairs, chests) ✓
  • investigate key issue involving $ and ? on Chrome? (could not confirm) ✓


Comments on 2015-02-11 Gridmapper Progress

Alex Schroeder
Now with keyboard navigation.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-12 12:37 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Reading a map from an URL works. Note sure how I want embedding to work…

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-12 15:49 UTC

Alex Schroeder
If you use the right or down arrow keys to move beyond the edge, the map will increase. There is now a link export that basically “scripts” the map.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-12 21:06 UTC

Amazing litte tool! I like it and it’s hard to not play around whit it ;-) Thanks for sharing!

In chrome, ? and $ for a secret door is not working (s did). I think there is no need for a PNG export - it’s easy to take a screenshot.

My wish list:

  • statues, furniture, pillars (maybe rotating whit the trap?)
  • traps over stairs
  • diagonally half-floors

– Sam 2015-02-12 21:42 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Hm, $ doesn’t work for you? It works on my Chrome on a Mac. What is your keyboard layout – perhaps the problem is that your keyboard layout requires you to press Shift? Strange.. ? also works – and that requires a Shift key on my keyboard. Weird.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-12 21:56 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Rudimentary wall drawing is now available using w. Erasing of wall features has been moved to W.

As for the wish list: I guess I could keep traps separate from floor tiles and stairs – thus enabling them to be added anywhere. In my games, the stairs are never trapped! :)

Diagonal passages are as hard to draw in this system as walls. I tried some stuff in this commit, but I was very unhappy with it. If you can think of a good user interface, let me know. Right now I’m thinking that there should be a “wall mode” which moves the cursor along the walls themselves, thus making it obvious where the next wall segment will be placed.

What sort of furniture would you want? Something generic like the stuff available in ANAmap? Or stuff like shelves, beds, tables, and the like? If so, do you have any icons you favor? I still remember the icons in use by Das Schwarze Auge (first edition). And then there’s the problem of what letters to use… If there is too much choice, the character based input will no longer scale.

Status and pillars are nice – and cycling them with the trap is an excellent idea.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-12 23:50 UTC

My keyboard setting is Swiss German and yes, I have to press shift for $ and ?. The L was wotking. I can test it whit different settings/Browser on Sunday.

I haven’t looked that deep in the source to tell how things really work and what is hard and what easy to implement.

I was thinking about generic furniture. Just to tell “here is something, check the key” and that the rooms look not so empty. For the interface, it could be i (interior) which circles trough maybe 4 different arangement of light gray squares on top of the tile. Same whit t which could, on the second press, excange the trap symbol by a star in a circle (statue) and on the third by a black dot for a pilar. Or the furniture can come after that on the t.

The half tile could be put whit h as a symbol like traps or furniture on the same layer. It would just fit best on squares whit out floor.

Hehe. Good to know about no traps on stairs. ;-)

– Sam 2015-02-13 08:50 UTC

Alex Schroeder
OK, keybindings have changed again – and I still think it should work on Chrome since I have Chrome installed and the ? works as intended.

In other news: pillars, statues, diagonals!

OSR Logo.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-13 17:30 UTC

Alex Schroeder
I definitely need better documentation. A screencast would be nice. :)

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-13 20:38 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Now with demo! This is what it generates: demo result.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-14 16:13 UTC

I tested it in different browsers on Ubuntu and Windows whit different keyboard layouts.

In Firefox everything works.

In Opera Presto and IE: Download doesn’t work

Chromium: Download doesn’t work, saving whit Ctr+S works. Chrome: Link and download doesn’t work, saving whit Ctr+S works.

For the keys $ and ?: In Chrome/Chromium it looks like a different keyboard layout is used inside the svg. Whit a Swiss German keyboart layout, pressing $ (no shift key actually) results in a ß in the KeyboardEvent and ? of a Û… But it changes whit the keyboard layout / computer.

If I change

    document.onkeydown = keyPressed; // capture arrow keys


    document.onkeypress = keyPressed; // capture arrow keys

The ? works but a lot of other keys return wired stuff like $ is reported as “Home”…

I couldn’t find any thing on a issue like that, but at least there are some similar bugs in chrome here…!topic/chromium-discuss/JisPyiCLOAs

For now, I stick whit Firefox and enjoy the amazing new functions. Thanks a lot!

– Sam 2015-02-15 18:52 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Man, what sadness is this! Will I have to use jQuery in the end!? All I wanted to do was use Vanilla JS. There must be a better solution!

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-15 23:46 UTC

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2015-02-10 Gridmapper

Gridmapper is my take on Daniel R. Collins' original GridMapper 1.0.

My Gridmapper does the following:

  • the output is scalable vector graphics (SVG)
  • it’s free software (the SVG file contains all the Javascript necessary – just “Save as…”)
  • it’s portable (no Flash required, no Windows required)

Stuff that I’d still like to add:

  • gates (double width doors) ✓
  • secret doors ✓
  • concealed doors ✓
  • save as a local file, keeping all the changes ✓
  • correctly initialized when loading an existing file ✓
  • undo ✓
  • redo ✓
  • reset
  • labels or at least numbers ✓
  • correctly initialized when the URL contains some sort of encoded dungeon ✓
  • export as PNG (will require canvg?)

Alternatives: I recently saw a link to ANAmap. The interface is very similar, but the map itself looks much better. And it has more options. But it requires Flash and it isn’t Free Software.


Comments on 2015-02-10 Gridmapper

Awesome! I’m going to get a lot of use out of that. Thanks. :-)

What it really needs feature-wise is dungeon walls. Right now it can’t do two rooms beside each other or rooms within rooms so it can’t do maps like the Hero Quest map or super dense dungeons like those photos kicking around of Gygax running Castle Greyhawk.

It’s also on the small side. It could stand to have more squares. This is for “micro dungeons”.

But, and this might just be my browser because it’s pretty out of date, but I was able to draw squares down below the grey area! The grey mapping area has 20 rows, I was able to draw in the 10 rows below that. That helps with my “too small” problem but I assume it’s a bug! :)

– guest 2015-02-10 19:12 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Haha, right! Thanks for reporting the bug!

I guess what would be best is if you could just add new rows and columns… Pretty soon people will wonder about adding rows “right here” and columns “right here”… Yikes! For the moment, you can “Save as…” and edit the SVG file using a text editor. Find this section:

var Map = { width: 30, // how many columns
            height: 20, // how many rows

Adapt to taste! :)

I’ll think about the walls. Interesting idea.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-10 21:08 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Secret doors implemented.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-10 21:50 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Gates implemented.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-10 21:55 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Concealed doors implemented. And rotating the C by 180° doesn’t result in a rotated C but in a translated C. Yay me! :)

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-10 22:17 UTC

Hey thanks that tip about editing the height and width really did the trick! I’ve got another bug report for you though. :)

If you place stairs then delete them, you can’t place another set of stairs at that spot.

– guest 2015-02-11 03:47 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Thanks, fixed! :)

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-11 07:18 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Saving implemented. Unfortunately the script doesn’t correctly initialize itself upon loading such that anything you saved will remain read-only. Must add that to the todo list.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-11 08:33 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Undo implemented.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-11 11:12 UTC

Alex Schroeder
Redo implemented.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-02-11 13:39 UTC

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2015-02-07 Megadungeon Prep

When preparing bought adventures, there are a few things that usually need highlighting:

  1. Monsters need highlighting such that I can quickly answer questions such as “who would join the fight upon hearing the noise of combat?” and such that I can quickly resolve random encounters such as “pick a monster from a nearby room” and such that prisoners can provide can answer questions such as “who else lives here?”
  2. Entries and exits need highlighting such that I can quickly give answers if player characters interrogate prisoners.
  3. Treasure needs highlighting in case the characters get the ability to detect gold or gems, and also for prisoners to possibly provide answers to such questions.

Highlighting also keeps me busy as I read the text. After all, these texts are usually boring compared to people talking on the Internet. Highlighting helps me stay focused.

The wilderness map in the background has little stickers identifying ruins (other dungeons), lairs (sources of monters), resources (land to fight over), and settlements (the main city and a few towns) – as indicated by the An Echo Resounding procedure.

Tags. Colors. Use it.

Also note this post: 2013-12-13 Session Preparation Process.


Comments on 2015-02-07 Megadungeon Prep

Just a note to let you know, I saved this as a .pdf in my Megadungeon Folder to keep in mind when laying out Numenhalla.

-C 2015-02-09 09:04 UTC

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2015-02-06 New Campaign

Harald is leaving and his two Mystara campaigns are closing down. I’ll be taking up referee duties and I’ll be running the Castle of the Mad Archmage. I want to run a real megadungeon! All my campaigns go through the classic Basic/Expert phases: The first few levels my players explore the nearby dungeons but soon enough they start exploring the wilderness, meddle in local government, find portals and powerful planejumping magic and end up doing Planescape stuff. This time I announced that I’d be interested in running a megadungeon (one player to another player: “like Diablo!”) and so I started looking at my collection:

  • Stonehell was deemed too simple
  • Rappan Athuk had beautiful illustrations and was well liked
  • Darkness Beneath got people interested because multiple authors means a lot of variation; I think it lost out in the end because I said I liked the upper levels very much but couldn’t say much about the lower levels
  • Castle Whiterock was looking good except I said I would have to “convert” stuff from D&D 3.5 to classic D&D; people didn’t want to add to my workload, I think
  • Castle of the Mad Archmage was picked because I said it was going to be a funhouse dungeon

I recommend the author’s blog, Greyhawk Grognard, and his megadungeon posts in particular.

So, the megadungeon as a campaign tent-pole is what I’ll be using. And, as Joseph says, players are “just as free to poke around in the local town or city, hie off into the wilderness, or explore smaller dungeons”.

I quickly whipped up a random wilderness using my Text Mapper using the Gnomeyland Map Icons by Gregory B. MacKenzie. This is what it looks like:
My Regional Map.

I posted it on a new campaign wiki called Greyheim.

I spent a bit more time detailing the city:
The surroundings of Greyheim.

I used An Echo Resounding to add some extra ruins, lairs, towns and resources in the map. Who knows, maybe these will come in handy—here I’m hoping that this kind of preparation will allow me to improvise. Elves acting like jerks? They must be in league with Aredhel. That kind of thing.

I printed the map out and used little color stickers to mark the locations in questions. I don’t need to add it all to the map just yet.

I also printed twenty random level 1 characters using my Halberds n’ Helmets Character Generator. My plan is to run this a bit like a funnel: These are the twenty characters available, pick some, go. Your replacement characters and henchmen will all come from the same pile.


Comments on 2015-02-06 New Campaign

If it’s of interest Barrowmaze Complete will be available shortly.

– greg 2015-02-06 20:04 UTC

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2015-01-16 Underwater Adventures

Related: Mazirian's Garden: Simple Underwater Rules.

For my campaign, I’ll be using the following rules under water:

  • Movement: everybody swims at half speed
  • Swimming: wearing armor makes you sink; getting back up will require ropes, air-filled wineskins or the like
  • Drowning: save vs. death every round or faint; reviving is possible within the next 10 rounds
  • Speaking: depends on the secondary abilities granted by your water breathing spell (see blow); if none indicated, no speaking; you can cry at-will
  • Magic: water breathing spells have language specific side effects
    • breath of whales by Lady Gerdana changes your speech to whale songs and allows you to understand whale songs
    • grows of gills as granted by Tsathoggua changes your speech to the silent speech of fishes and allows you to understand fish
  • Elements: magic involving elemental enegies have the obvious effects:
    • water elementals can effectively fly and move at full speed
    • air elementals helplessly rise to the surface; no problem outside the water
    • earth elementals helplessly sink to the bottom; no problem when on the floor
    • fire elementals are quenched (and disappear); fireball, flaming hands and the like affect the area around the caster including the caster for full damage
    • electricity spreads like fire in air; lightning bolt, shocking grasp and the like affect the area around the caster including the caster for full damage
  • Weapons: only weapons that can be used when stabbing are effective under water
    • obvious weapons are spears, tridents
    • this includes daggers, swords, halberds, and the staff
    • this excludes axes, hammers, picks, maces, morningstars, whips
    • this excludes all ranged weapons
    • the only exception is a modern speargun (range 10 ft.)
  • Items: no potions, scrolls, books, maps
  • Light: no torches, lanterns – it will have to be light (rarely) and continual light (probably the standard?)


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2015-01-11 Player Types

Yesterday, a former player asked me on Facebook: “Hey, what did you think of me, when I was a player in your game? How obnoxious was I on a scale from zero to unbearable? What did you like about my game, what didn’t you like?”

A tricky question. I don’t like to tell people about my judgmental opinions, and I don’t like the tense follow-up discussion. But at the same time, an answer must exist out there, somewhere.

Your Obnoxiousness
1Have we met before? I didn’t even notice you were there.
2You must have been a casual player, always going along with whatever other people proposed.
3I remember you. Good times!
4I loved those crazy ideas you injected into that campaign. Always full of surprises, pushing us all.
5You pushed us out of our comfort zone, and I think I learned a lot.
6I still remember those long emails you sent between games. You were really into it, right?
7Oh man, D&D 3.5 and all those splat books. I remember your long emails with questions about prestige classes and feats. These days I play classic D&D, phew!
8Haha, I still remember when you said something was gay and I called you out on that. Or other casual, careless instances of homophobia, misogyny, racism, islamophobia.
9You were really into the rules as written. I remember long discussions about the rules at the table.
10That awkward silence after some of the things you said. You said it was all in-character but I think some of us at the table felt really uncomfortable.
11Oh wow, that éclat at the table, shouting and announcing that you were done and you were no longer playing? We still don’t understand how we all ended up there.

Don’t turn it up to eleven. I think I’ve had all kinds of players from 2 to 11.

There’s a special thing about people that are socially awkward in subtle ways. Their jokes aren’t funny. The references they make are too nerdy. They don’t have a feel for the ebb and flow of conversation and attention, so they’ll butt in when somebody else is talking, or continue talking when the referee is wanting to push the story on, or argue for a detail nobody cares about. I always feel a bit guilty about these situations. Is it me? Are my friends and I a clique imposing our unspoken standards on strangers, effectively ostracizing some people out of a careless, unconscious cruelty?

I don’t feel comfortable posting this, because of the implied negativity. Then again, I’m trying to turn this around into something might help me talk about it.

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