Friday, 5 April 2013

D&D Map in Gimp

I made a pretty.

Couple of hours in The Gimp, using the tutorial from the link in previous post. Quite chuffed with myself, first time I've ever done anything like this in Gimp or Photoshop.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Getting the best from Basic D&D

We partook of more Basic D&D last night. I'd managed to successfully divert the party from the task of finishing the Caverns of Quasqueton (Module B1) whilst they were resting in the nearest town of Westwald with the timely arrival of merchants for market day, one of whom had narrowly escaped an orc ambush on the road up.

They took the bait, and offered their services as escort for the returning caravan. This gave me lots of scope to really stretch the different roleplaying required with Basic (compared with the local staple of 4ed.)

For example, as the day wore on, one of the NPCs in the party had vanished into the forest next to the road, and I kept getting the dwarf to make Constitution rolls against falling asleep in the warm afternoon sun. The players missed the point of this, however, they picked up the far-off wolf howls when calling out for the NPC.

After a while, after much hinting, one of the party remembered the seemingly inconsequential telescope they'd bought in Westwald. The Cleric jumped onto the back of the wagon, and promptly failed an intelligence test to use it. He decided to go ask the NPC Wizard - in another wagon with the NPC Thief - only to discover they'd nodded off in the afternoon heat (it was the crash of the collective penny dropping regards the Cons rolls for the dwarf which woke them). Wizard, once woken, spots a large wolf pack some way off.

The wolf pack, when it attacked just after dark, also gave me more 'BD&D is better' ammo; the Cleric, on his own, saw two wolves break off from the shadowing pack and streak in towards him. Needing to describe his actions - rather than just pull out a daily power and roll a gazillion dice - he stalled by asking how far away they were;

"250 feet and closing fast"
"200 feet"
"I'll, erm, err"
"150 feet"
"Throw my torch at them" (rolls a 13)
"The torch goes 30 feet... 100 feet and closing"
"Right, I'll, erm"
"I'll quickly..."
"Too late, roll for initiative"

Great fun as DM, really puts the players under pressure to think fast. So much more refreshing than simply presiding over a sequence of players calling out which special power they want to use.

After the session, some puffing of cheeks with "wow, that was tough" was interesting - it wasn't, they defeated a dozen wolves and a dire wolf in dribs and drabs without too much effort. But being put under pressure to think fast, think clearly, and act decisively is mentally exhausting if previously you've had plenty of time to do things.

The other cool bit was the realisation that only the failed Int check to use the telescope had made them discover the sleeping Wizard and Thief, otherwise they'd have faced a wolfpack with only a dwarf, a cleric, and an NPC fighter.

Now I just need to think how the inevitable Orc ambush is going to unfold, and how I can challenge the players in a similar fashion. 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


One thing I've always loved about BD&D was the classic style of overland mapping - mostly usually seen on a hex grid. Vast dragon infested snow capped mountain ranges intersecting kingdoms, huge forests stuffed full of goblins, and endless windblown steppes with implausibly sited ancient fastnesses of evil wizards.

Just the thing I want for my BD&D campaign, and just the sort of thing you can apparently make with Fractal Terrains software. However, I'm stuffed if I'm going to throw £70 at some (admittedly impressive) cartography software, and even if I would, I can't because I'm a Linux house and therefore incompatible with 94% of the world. (Anyone mentions WINE they're to go and sit at the back of the class)

I have The Gimp (open source photoshop alike), and with a bit of Google-fu, I found this;

Clickable Goodness

I've never bothered learning how to use Gimp properly, but 45 minutes of mucking around on my little Samsung NC10 netbook yielded this;
Tomorrow I'll go again on the bigger 15" notebook (also Linux, before you ask) and get stuck into it properly.