Sunday, 25 February 2007

Snow delay

Looks like I’ll be coding today. Maybe I’ll get a day at home tomorrow.

A pretty good snow storm is moving in. Oh, it’s not the 18-plus inches some of you might be getting, but it’s enough to stay put and enjoy some teevee, maybe a book, or other distraction.

Posted by caffeinated at 3:36 PM in kaffehaus

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Front page news at Treasure Tables

Martin Ralya has posted my call for Evil Overlords in my WFRP campaign on his blog at Treasure Tables.

This is so cool. As a GM coming back to gaming to be recognized by Martin is nice.

Don’t be shy though. All the slots for EOs are still open, if you’re interested in being one of the EOs, contact me at via PM at Treasure Tables.

I’ll be posting at my LGS forum the same recruitment letter, so I hope to fill the slots soon and get the first round in almost immediately.

Posted by caffeinated at 1:21 PM in kaffehaus

Sunday, 18 February 2007

The Dark Ages

The History Channel is doing a special on the dark ages. Appropriately tilted titled The Dark Ages.

The website for the show includes a “character generator” where you can design your dark age persona, it even has a“ create your dark age name” generator. Check out Octa the Bald.

The site seems to still be under construction, with filler text like “blah blah blah” and “Mail optin text goes here” on at least one form.

I plan to take a look at this special. Could be some good source material for WFRP. Granted the WFRP game world is not quite the dark ages, but it’s not far from it in many aspects.

Posted by caffeinated at 3:06 PM in d10

Saturday, 17 February 2007

D&D as WFRP

The editor-at-large over at hackslash.net had posted a great example of playing D&D more like WFRP. It outlines a nice combination of alternate character generation methodologies working to create PCs that feel more mortal.

hack/ finds, correctly, D&D becoming too absurd in its game worlds. Maybe it has always been this way (thinking back to my introduction to D&D in the boxed sets I don’t recall it being as high fantasy as it is today).

I also enjoyed the hack/ post from Enworld about capping PCs at level 6. Now, if only you could play WoW that way. ~o)

Posted by caffeinated at 10:13 PM in d10

Back, and still running.

No hiccups, upgrade went flawlessly.

I primarily wanted to get the old editor back in the admin console. TinyMCE just didn't work out for me the way I hoped. Held a lot of promise, but I need to be able to escape from the editor at times, especially when massaging post meta-data.

Posted by caffeinated at 10:00 PM in experimental madness

Upgrade under way...

I'm upgrading the blog engine, blojsom, to 2.32 momentarily. Let's see how it goes shall we?

Posted by caffeinated at 9:45 PM in experimental madness

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Agnostic GM resources

Last night I wrote some questions to the audience-at-large regarding the idea of party splitting.

Gaming today has so much more potential for experienced and noob GMs with the vast amount of resources on the internets. The sharing of tips by other blogging GMs and players is vast.

Here are two of my favorites (with a criticism for one):

RoleplayingTips.com #
An ezine with regular and new contributors and an archive of of over 300 issues!

Criticism: No RSS feed, and no search. Ok, the no search seems to be driven by the offering of the RoleplayingTips.com Encyclopedia for sale. No fault for that, hopefully a revenue generator that offsets bandwidth and sweat costs or makes a little income as well. However, that said, I might structure the offering a little differently. Offer full topic header searches, a la Lucene field indexing, and make the older tips available only in the encyclopedia offering (I think this is being done to some extent in the encyclopedia itself, but not in the online component).

Treasure Tables #
A real blog that is GM focused with tips on just about everything (including party splitting!) and RSS feeds plus search!

For WFRP I visit:

I have some criticisms of STS, mostly around the dated content, though the forums are current. And the forum membership is either closed, invitation only, or just poorly managed. The moderator clearly does not grant membership in a timely manner, manually approving every registration at the pace of a slug.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:19 AM in d10

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Party splitting

A possible consideration in my next session of WFRP is splitting the party.

I'm developing a story line from the last session where the party will have to embark on a scouting mission into the Great Forest to report on the size of the marauding orcs and greenskins.

How this is shaping up is that a contingent of professional soldiers will arrive in Leiske and conscript half the town muster (per the gazette) and other unfortunates, especially those with military careers, i.e., at least one member of the party. The troops will then march to Hermsdorf to muster on the outlying fields of the forest. This of course will be the strategic setting. The tactical setting more personal to the player conscripted. Having to mingle with the glory seekers and the flagellants that accompany such forces in the Empire.

I also want to liven the play by having to force the players to roleplay the separation and not share information, setting a tense pre battle atmosphere for the players.

What say the players and GMs out there, any tips or thoughts on such play? What kind of opportunists travel with troops marching to battle? I see armorers and blacksmiths, whores and launderers, cooks and ...? And what about the WFRP world as we know it now, is a Sigmar battle priest present, and what of his/her retinue?

Posted by caffeinated at 9:50 PM in d10

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Firebug v. Web Developer v. Xyle Scope v. Venkman

Web Developer (WD) was first. I have a soft spot for WD.

Before WD, there was Xyle Scope, I have a real soft spot for Xyle Scope.

Now, take everything great about WD, add the visual GUI of Xyle Scope (without the license), toss in a bit of Venkman (I'm not going to elaborate or explain, you know or don't know Venkman), and you get Firebug. A cross platform tool for working with modern day web development: Ajax, XHTML, CSS, and more. I love this tool.

Get Firebug

Firebug doesn't do everything WD does, and visa versa. Firebug is not Xyle Scope, but pretty damn close while being cross platform (Xyle Scope is about the Apple Web Kit v. Firebug is about Gecko).

They all compliment each other, but Firebug is just a sweet tool all by itself.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:52 PM in kaffehaus

Friday, 9 February 2007

Open ended campaigning

I tend to let the players drive the campaign and explore a world. The GM's roles are many, and populating the world with characters and obstacles is how I try to run my campaigns.

Currently, how I gear up for a session is setting a stack of index cards with possible encounters and major plot points. How the players see each of these is up to them. The notes are long enough to provide, and expand, narrative and not so involved that, after no amount of hinting or prodding should the players just chose to do something else, I haven't invested a lot of time to see it wasted.

Knowing enough about the game world to make and stage the scene is key IMHO. And it doesn't take much to stage how dangerous The Great Forest can be.

Now, making a trip into the forest interesting, and not just about the beautiful trees.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:52 PM in d10

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Campaign worlds

Monday I blogged about the WFRP campaign I'm running and some of the adventures by the players.

You might recall me talking about the party riding to Leiske after escaping the designs of a bounty hunter and his roadwarden confederates.

And while the WFRP gazette for Leiske describes it having a population of 97 and able to muster 10 "poor" quality soldiers, there lies two paragraphs in Sigmar's Heirs describing Leiske as the headquarters of the roadwardens patrolling the Old Forest Road between Talabheim and Hermsdorf.

This is a detail that makes it interesting to say the least that the players may have ridden not to safety, but into the hornet's nest. That is if I had actually described their two days and night in Leiske as anything other than them trying to re-equip themselves as best they could in a town that just didn't have the craftsmen and suppliers of goods that they sought.

The gazette and the two paragraphs lie in contradiction of each other. A village housing a large contingent of roadwardens would be flush with monies and services sought by such charged with keeping law. A village of 97 Leiske would not be.

But that's my opinion. On that note, Obelheim, in my world, is now the small village headquartering the roadwardens. Not likely a place the players will be visiting in the short term.

Posted by caffeinated at 7:16 PM in d10

Another Reason Micros~1 sux

<rant>

Developers be damned, Ballmer.

When tools like Firebug and Web Developer Toolbar offer, for free, web development experiences that cannot be matched by any tool available for IE, then IE will continue to be slowly marginalized.

And that marginalization may happen suddenly. The tipping point is already in sight, frankly. And no amount of monkey dancing will help.

</rant>
Posted by caffeinated at 6:14 PM in Bohemian Breakfast

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

About ACD

I finally got around to updating the About page.

Still more to come.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:46 PM in kaffehaus

Monday, 5 February 2007

A hanging in the platz

After three sessions of WFRP, my players are developing their characters and displaying some good roleplaying. While only 2 players are meeting regularly, the youngest is really developing as a player. This actually goes to my point that PnP gaming has social aspects that the current array of online MMORPGs cannot offer.

I do not believe I have discussed my campaign here, though I have offered some reviews of the second edition source book material for WFRP.

The campaign is still developing, but was seeded from the Game Master's Pack's mini-adventure Pretty Things. The campaign remains a bit free form, with only some minor steering by myself, though this is getting to be less needed as the players develop.

Last weekend closed Pretty Things with the PCs outside Radische having left their orphaned charge with the only people likely to have any interest in her future. Flush with some karls they were beset by their nemesis, Lars the bounty hunter (it didn't take long to see that this NPC from Pretty Things could be useful for developing plot points). Lars had recruited two roadwardens and some Hermsdorf town guard to capture the PCs on the road back to Hermsdorf.

Faced with fighting or arrest, the party opted for arrest. Lightened of weapons and monies, the party was marched back to a gate cell house. Lars and the captain of the roadwardens wasted no time, as most nemesis are want to do, in revealing the grand plan of the frame with the PC's public hanging.

I let the PCs sweat out the night in the cell, to face their "accuser," Mortiz (a poor man beset with Venomous Thoughts). Mortiz had met the blunt end of a PC's axe in the last session, faring better than his companions (one cleaved, the other ghastly wounded in the arm). Lars had recruited Moritz as an confederate.

I was not going to let the PCs hang, but I led them to the gallows in the morning. A crowd turning out, besides what I described as a foggy, chilly morning, for a "trial and hanging" by the roadwardens. The witnesses of the tavern fight where Mortiz and party were beset upon by the PCs (not without provocation of course) were asked the apropos questions to get the right answers. As Mortiz was called, things got ugly. Several volleys of greenskin arrows, flaming and not, rained out of the fog. This afforded the party a chance to escape in the smoke, fire, and death. The die rolls were tense however, I wasn't going to let the PCs just escape! One was wounded, and the party stole some horses in the ensuing chaos. Moritz was left dead in his wheelchair, skewered by arrows, the roadwardens answered the call to the defense of Hermsdorf, and Lars, well, melted into the fleeing crowds.

The party rode hard all day north to Lieske, where they sold the horses (rolling well enough to get 60% of full value), tended to wounds (at the vet! Lieske, according to the WFRP gazette is 1/3 the size of Hermsdorf, but Lieske gets on most official maps but Hermsdorf does not, go figure), and tried to sort out what to do next.

Which brings me to the point of this post...basically I have introduced a larger world event: A large band of orcs, operating from The Great Forest, have begun hit and run attacks on towns in southern Talabecland. How to play this? I have hinted in the narrative that riders passing through Lieske are begging for larger support from the counts and barons in the form of soldiers. A larger battle at Hermsdorf is on the horizon I think. How do the PCs fit into this? I'm taking some tips from Roleplaying Tips #318 on this matter. There are some great ideas to keep the tactical character play straight amongst the strategic developments.

If you're a GM, do you have thoughts on this type of development in your games?

Posted by caffeinated at 8:59 PM in d10