RPGaDay2021 in August - August 2nd: Map

We continue on today with #RPGaDay2021 in August.

Day 2 - Map.

As far as I'm concerned, maps for roleplaying games, whether they show a country, a local map, the interior of a catacomb, whatever, are one of the lesser evils that can be found in roleplaying games. Part of the reason for this is that while I have a good grasp of geography and the science behind how geographical features arise (though in fantasy games, magical events and climate can account for many deviations and unnatural terrains), my mapmaking and drawing skills are pathetically woeful. I tend to do hand-drawn maps for my games, particularly the fantasy ones, and don't use computer mapping programs since, to be honest, I don't know how to use them and don't really want to buy them. And I'm not about to spend money to have a good gaming mapmaker create one for me.

Of course, maps serve several purposes, primarily for use in showing the game world, the country or region the player characters find themselves in, and give the GM a good idea of what their game world (even if only a portion of it) is like. And maps are useful to GMs in scenarios, to show the specific terrain of the adventure, to show the interior of structures, underground areas, and the like for the adventure. And then there's switching to a battle map or tactical display that gets the players' juices flowing and makes for a truly immersive activity in rpgs.

Something else to consider about game maps is this: Very often the map of the game world but more usually the map of a region of the game world (such as a country, a barony, a set of islands, whatever) will inspire me (the GM) with a feature present or a specific location name for a scenario based on that specific element. That said, the real trick with game maps is the sheer scope of them. Very often, GMs encounter a map and try to do too much with it. Or when they are drawing their own maps for their game world, they tend to map out too much and lose their focus on what they're trying to do. My usual advice for starting GMs is this: Map out the local area in which the first few adventures are going to take place. Have an idea of how the map you're going to create connects to another map. Scribble a few notes about other areas off the map that may be of interest to you for the future, or where the player characters might come from originally. That sort of thing. Don't go hog wild and crazy with mapping out a large area to start with.

Finally, there's this to consider. Alfred Korzybski (who shares my birthday interestingly) once said that "The map is not the territory. The only usefulness of a map depends on similarity of structure between the empirical world and the map." When running a game, remember not to worry about the accuracy of the maps. This applies to both the map you have and the map you must provide the player characters or allow the players to draw. After all, most maps aren't accurate. There are always dangers and places that haven't been mapped yet.

Civic Holiday (Colonel By Day) Thoughts

It's Monday, the civic holiday here in Canada. Colonel By Day, officially.

I'm feeling somewhat out of sorts today, to be honest, as I am hurting quite a lot in the left ankle and foot and the lower back/abdomen area. I'm also a bit groggy due to having only gotten some 3 hours of sleep again last night, and think I'll be taking some Gabapentin for the pain.

I have no plans for the day, to be honest, other than to catch up on some reading, some PVR (and maybe some DVD) watching, a bit of light reading, do a bit of laundry, that sort of thing.

Hope my friends and everyone living in Canada have a great day. (Remember to keep practicing safe behaviour by wearing a mask and engaging in social distancing if you're out and about today, in light of the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be picking up steam again.) And the rest of the folks out there, too, of course. :)

RPGaDay2021 in August - August 1st: Scenario

Since the month of August is upon us once more, it's time to inaugurate the annual tradition started by Dave Chapman (aka autocratik), #RPGaDay2021. Once again, Anthony Boyd and the RPGBrigade are stepping in to host this year.

Just like previous years, #RPGaDay2021 is a celebration of everything positive and fun about tabletop roleplaying. The premise is simple - just download the image with all the questions on it from the RPGBrigade site (or the image posted below). Look at the questions, and then, one question per day in August, post something on social media, your blog, anything you like. Just spread the word about how cool RPGing is. If you like, you can share your post on the #RPGaDay2021 page on the RPGBrigade site and they'll collate everyone's posts.

Enjoy! :)

Day 1 - Scenario.

I'm going to start off this year's challenge for August here with a double sort of answer.

One of the biggest challenges for me is writing scenarios. It's not that I don't have a few ideas for adventures, to be honest, but rather writing adventures for specific game systems. For me, there are game systems but primarily game worlds/universes where I find it easy to write adventures, but there are others where...let's just say that even though I like or love the game world in question, I just find it challenging to write an adventure for the game. Especially games where the pre-generated adventures that the designers have written for the game seem so creative and cool. How do I get past this? I look for inspiration in the game itself, usually in the game setting material that's provided, but I also try to find inspiration in books I've read, movies or tv shows I've watched, and all sorts of other media. Sometimes, the ideas and adventures come easy, especially if I'm truly inspired by the game world, other times it takes me a bit of time for an idea that I might have to gel properly. Often, the scenario idea will come to me through a single concept or sentence. For example, "The dark elves attacking the village use poisoned blades, and one of the villagers will die of the poison unless the player characters find the cure within a time limit." That's where the basic idea for the "Herbquest" adventure for the DragonQuest RPG came from.

That said, when it comes to my favourite pre-generated adventure, I would have to give it hands down to "The Enchanted Wood" adventure, also for the DragonQuest RPG, written by Paul Jaquays back in the day. This adventure presents a mystical forest as a sandbox environment, with an underlying story and plot embedded within it, and also offered six (!!) different plot hooks for going into the adventure, with all sorts of neat little encounters and different people and foes to face. The sub-plots alone in this adventure are worth their weight in (dwarvish) gold. Given the time the adventure was published, in 1981, it is a remarkable story that left such a resonance with me, and is a great example of how epic game adventures should be designed.

And there you have it, the beginning of the posts for #RPGaDay for August, 2021.

Comments, thoughts, questions, etc. are all welcome, of course. :)

August Is A New Month

It's the 1st of August. A new month. Thank Goddess.

I have to say that I'm quite relieved for the most part. While the first six months of 2021 were very bad for me for the most part, the month of July went by with several health issues that I have to admit have scared me, and that have definitely screwed with my head. Not to mention the stress.

On the other hand, July 2021 was a pretty bad month overall, what with the coronavirus pandemic back on the upswing with the delta variant looking to bring a fourth wave of COVID-19 into the world, the continuing of racial prejudices and violence staying in our attention, some of the political messes that are ongoing, and-- Never mind, best not to dwell on that stuff for the moment.

As for August, well... I don't have a lot going on this month, to be honest. There's a couple of doctor appointments ahead of me this month (assuming those go ahead with the coronavirus business making doctor stuff more difficult), the hopefully usual footcare, and a few other things. I'm just going to try and take the month day-by-day, am going to try and relax and not stress over stuff as much as I can. And I'm going to find one positive thing every day, even if it's just a small thing, so that I don't fall into a state of total despair with all the world shite going on.

That said, it looks like August is going to bring face-to-face gaming back into my life again, and so I'm rather looking forward to that. Had a first taste of that on Friday, the 30th of July, and it was just...lovely. :)

But for now... some late breakfast. :)

Friday Night Game Report - DragonQuest RPG, Session 0

Yesterday night, Friday, the Friday night gaming group came out for the first face-to-face gaming session in over a year, and were excited and looking forward to launching a new DragonQuest RPG campaign. Since the game session last night was a Session 0, where the players went over the rules and game mechanics and the like, I've decided not to put it under a cut. Be warned there are several photos below as well.

Lorina Foxxe (Kathy Bauer) - Thief Adventurer
Harria of Jeresindal (Angela Marsh) - Pacifistic Nature Mage
Jessa Taftin (Ellie Bauer) - Mysterious Young Girl
Jayden Frall (Mark Williams) - Warrior Adventurer
Harvis Tolmayne (Pete Johnson) - Merchant/Tomb Robber

Japrian 23rd, 2556 GA (Galenian Age)

This session marked the start of a new DragonQuest RPG campaign with my Friday night group. Since Peter had never played the game before (the others having done so back in April or so of 2016) and since the gamers hadn't played the game in several years, I thought it appropriate to start at the beginning. The players (with the exception of Kathy, as usual) wanted a good chunk of sample combats on the tactical combat grid, so I figured out how to handle things, made a couple of notes to myself, and then got started with the usual. The players began with an introduction to the world of the DragonQuest Roleplaying Game, and I gave them a briefing on the part of the game world they'd be playing in, and answered any questions they had about their characters. I proceeded to give the players the basics of the mechanics of the game system, gave them a bit of a lesson on the DragonQuest Glossary and some terms used in the game, and then we got down to the main event - the sample combats.

I started the players off with one-on-one skirmishes between the player characters, then after several quick combats, pitted the group against each other as a whole. They were pretty entertained by this, and Pete told me and the others that he really liked this combat system but that it would take him time to figure out good tactics. The others laughed, and Kathy said, "Yep, and we're all still working on that, after all these years!" Lovely, witty gaming moment that I've missed. From there, it was time for a group of fights one-on-one between the player characters and goblins. Angela's Harria finally got in some practice with magic. Then it was time for the group to deal with something tougher - orcs! Started with several one-on-one fights with orcs, all five player characters engaging with the orcs simultaneously. Angela's Harria got some serious quarterstaff work in, and realized that she was pretty good with a staff for a mage. LOL! Finally, the last couple of skirmishes saw the player characters take on the orcs once more, this time in a forest setting. These two final skirmishes were a lot of fun, and Angela had her Nature Mage hang back so she could cast some spells, using the woodland setting as her weapon. She was quite effective during the second attempt at this, getting her feet wet with the spells in the first skirmish. Overall, the players took part in enough samples of combat (and died several times, of course) using the Tactical Display and learned the basic combat mechanics of this traditional, old school fantasy roleplaying game. And how deadly the combat system is.

Overall, this intro session of the DragonQuest RPG campaign went pretty well, given that I was rusty with both the system and gaming in general. I don't play games on the computer, and this was the first time I've done any face-to-face gaming in just over a year or so. The players and I took safety precautions, social distancing around the room and wearing masks when congregating at the Tactical Display, and a good time was had by all. The players had a lovely time engaging in visceral activities with the sheer number of fights and skirmishes they engaged in on the Tactical Display. When the session was over, Peter (who had never played DragonQuest before) said that he really liked the simplicity of the D100 system and the dice mechanics, and really liked the "feel" of the combat system. The group is quite looking forward to playing their next session, which will be in two weeks' time.

Here's some photos from last night's combat sessions.

First up, is a grand view picture of the five player characters engaged in one-on-one combat with orcs. The curve for re-learning tactics was definitely there, and it took Peter and his character a bit of time to get the hang of things in these little fights.

In this second photo, The second photo shows part of the action during this same one-on-one fight. Angela's Nature Mage, Harria, is in melee with one of the orcs. She discovered again how good she is with her staff when she had to be. :)

This third photo shows another part of the one-on-one fights. Pete's merchant, Harvis, taking on another orc. The orc tried to get in the character's rear hex, but didn't quite make it. The former soldier killed the orc three (3) Pulses (rounds) later.

This fourth photo shows more of a game situation, with the characters encountering a group of orcs in the forest. The dice are various and assorted trees. The player characters are pretty much holding their own in this one. Notice the dead orc at the top of the photo. :)\

This fifth picture is a slightly different view of the last one. I often find that looking at the Tactical Display grid from a different position shows a lot of stuff one might not notice otherwise. ::subtle hint::

This sixth and final picture focuses in on one of the separate fights in the woods. Mark's Jayden Frall, a very combat-oriented character takes on two orcs in battle. He held them off, inflicting some damage on them and taking one of them down (with several wounds taken himself), long enough for one of his companions to help him out with the other orc.

And that wraps up the post on the opening session of my new Friday night DragonQuest RPG campaign.

Thoughts and comments are always welcome. :)

Getting Ready for (Gasp!) Friday Night Gaming

Had to take care of some laundry and other stuff around the house today, but I was able to take something of a nap in the middle of the afternoon, and woke up feeling somewhat better and a bit more cognitively functional. :)

Have spoken to the Friday night gamers through Kathy, and gaming for tonight is still on. They've decided that despite the coronavirus still out there and all, they're all vaxxed and up for gaming, so that's what we're going to do tonight. Hooray! :)

Needless to say, the Friday nighters and I will be taking some health precautions tonight, including social distancing (except around the combat tactical grid) and wearing masks, and anything else the gamers want to implement. Definitely want to game, but still gotta play safe in this time of COVID-19.

In any event, I spent part of the afternoon getting some game material ready for this evening's session. I'll be running tonight's session of the start of the new Friday night DragonQuest RPG campaign, raspy voice and all, and we'll see how things go.

In the meantime, I need to figure out what I want for supper, and then need to make it.

Have a good evening, folks. :)

Happy Birthday, Kate Bush!

Happy Birthday, Kate Bush!

One of my favourite musicians of all-time, Kate Bush, celebrates her 63rd birthday today!

I first started listening to the music of Kate Bush back in 1978 or 1979, with her first album, The Kick Inside (1978), a brilliant progressive rock album, with tracks such as "Wuthering Heights", "James and the Cold Gun", "Oh, To Be in Love", "Them Heavy People" (a track I adore), and the title track. I can't explain what it was about the album and her voice that made me fall for the singer and want to hear more of her work. The follow-up album, Lionheart (1978) (though I don't think I heard this album until a year later, being in Canada as I was), was...remarkable, superb, and even better than her first one. "Symphony in Blue", "In Search of Peter Pan", "Kashka From Baghdad", "Coffee Homeground" still resonate with me.

Anyway, I've been listening to Kate's music since she started, and am still a huge fan. I was also lucky enough to see her in concert back in the mid-1980s, and she is even better live. Enough already. To celebrate Kate's birthday, here's the video for one of my favourite tracks.

Here's wishing Kate Bush a very Happy Birthday! May she have a healthy, happy, prosperous, and blessed year ahead, and may a warm breeze always blow at her back.

Oh, and keep rollin' the ball! :)

Face-to-Face Gaming Again on Friday Night

This week I'm going to be doing something I haven't done in over a year.

On Friday night, the gaming group will reconvene for the first time in almost a year face-to-face, and actually game together!

The Friday night group will be starting a (somewhat) fresh campaign of the DragonQuest RPG fantasy roleplaying game, and the Friday gamers are really looking forward to the game and getting back into it. Well, most of them... One of my players, Peter, has never played the DragonQuest RPG at all, and created his character for the game a couple of weeks ago actually, and is quite looking forward to the game. Kathy warned him about the game's quite lethal combat system, but told him a good deal about some of the very positive things she finds about the DragonQuest RPG, and apparently this whetted his appetite even more. The Friday group last gamed back in October of 2020, but only for a few sessions, and have been quite looking forward to getting back to face-to-face gaming at the table; we did not play anything on-line at all, since three of the five players are not fond of on-line gaming (and have actually done a bit of rpg on-line play in their time, but just didn't enjoy it).

Needless to say, in this time of the (on-going) COVID-19 pandemic, we'll be taking some safety and health precautions at the table. All of us have had our second doses of the vaccine, the last of us having had it early in July, but we'll still be practicing some social distancing (except when dealing with the tactical combat grid) and wearing masks and the like. We'll be talking either Wednesday or Thursday about other precautions and safety protocols we might take, but everyone is really looking forward to doing some gaming once again.

I know I'm looking forward to sitting down and gaming again, for certain! :) The DragonQuest RPG is one that's very near and dear to my heart, but it has been a while since I've gamed (let alone run this system, 2016 or so iirc) and I'm a bit concerned about how...rusty...I'm likely to be running a game. Oh, well, I guess I'll find out on Friday!

In the meantime, can't wait! :)

And here's a reminder of what game I'll be running...

Happy Birthday, bradleyclark_47

Today is the birthday of one of my LJ friends, bradleyclark_47.

Just want to wish Brad a Happy Birthday. May the Goddess bless you with good health, happiness, prosperity, and a warm breeze at your back for the coming year.

Here's hoping today is a terrific day for you, that you have a good birthday celebration, and that there's some excellent cake (if that's too your liking!). :) And here's hoping the next year is a terrific one for you.

Happy Birthday, mate! :)