Tuesday, April 15, 2014

With Friends Like These

Gaming Ballistic is having a "pick a theme song for Dungeon Fantastic" contest.

I hear he's giving out a super-awesome award and there will be juice and pie.

Go vote!

Giving Out Treasure, Part III - How I Build My Hoards

So I finally sat down and finished my throughts on Giving Out Treasure.

Here are Part I
Part II

How I do I generate my hoards?

First, I generate the size of the hoard. I made my own system, based on 3d6 and the GURPS wealth levels. It's a pretty rough system and it's got some flaws (like, as-yet insufficient testing) so I won't post it. But suffice it to say I determine how wealthy a hoard is with dice modified by the usual - depth, threat, etc.

That gives me a total value for the hoard, for all components - magic, money, gems, etc.

Selecting the Contents

Then I turn that into treasure manually, with some rolls off the hugely fun but somewhat time-consuming tables from Dungeon Fantasy 8 (although the author is working on that).

I put in straight value of coins and gems and jewelry, straight value of magic (because the default assumption is use, not sale), and double value of gear or odd goods (because sale value is roughly half, by default). My working idea is that the value is the actually realizable value of the treasure, not its on-paper pricing. If a barrel of wine is worth $500 but sells for $200-250 for a typical delver, I value it at $250. That also nicely means that delvers with superior Merchant skills, reaction bonuses, and wealth can get even more value out the hoard. That changes a higher Wealth level from "realize more of the true value" into "realize more value than was effectively there in the first place." I like that, because my theory I need to place amounts based on how much they need, and if I do that based on full value I'm only providing sufficient reward for high-Wealth delvers, and that is counter to my goal.

I really put them in by feel and what's guarding it - rust monsters don't have magic (steel) swords, gargoyles in my games are magpies so it's all shiny stuff, hobgoblins might have more supplies and weapon spares than ready cash because of their militant nature, weak monsters tend to have small, concealable stuff they can hide from tougher monsters, etc. But this takes some time - I sit with my calculator, my dungeon key document open to the room, and I add in stuff and subtract out the value from the total.

The good part is hoards are idiosyncratic and unique. The bad part is they're time consuming to do, and probably reveal a lot of my biases instead of those programmed into the Treasure Types by some other guys back in 1972.

But that's how I build my treasure hoards, at least until Matt finishes his automatic hoard generator.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bones Show-Off: Candelabras

I knocked these off the other day, after a long time sitting half-done on my painting pile. And even longer in my desk drawer in the "easy stuff" pile.

To be honest, I don't get a lot of use out of terrain pieces. Not big ones, anyway. Generic stuff - doors, chests, pillars, these candelabras - this stuff I can get some use out of.

 photo Minis027s_zpsfc1e4807.jpg

 photo Minis025s_zps3674c889.jpg

I went with silver touched up heavily with metallic gunmetal grey (to come off as tarnish and wear) highlighted with gold. The candles are pure white.

The flames? Neither of those would be possible without this guide to painting fire on handcannononline.com. It works brilliantly, even with a line-painted set like this and a poor painter like myself. Close enough is good enough, and it gives a great suggestion of real flame. Mine aren't perfect, but from a white base, to yellow, to orange, to red - all blended, then tipped with dark red - really work well. The ease of the approach also means I can do it consistently, so the candle flames here and the torch on my Grenadier Hireling halfling both look alike.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Felltower Player's To Do List

Not mine, the list my players and I came up with. One of my players emailed it to me the other day, and as requested, I'm posting it. I put strikethrough on the ones they have (seemingly) completed, investigated fully, or dealt with. I put [brackets] and editorial notes next to ones that require some.

- narrow corridor lined with faces shooting jets of magic looking fire

- other narrow corridor lined with faces shooting jets of magic looking fire

- room to the right of the altar in the death zone

- room with altar and pillars that shoot jets of magic looking fire

- pit near to the player's handbook room [goes to the Flooded Prison]

- the statues [meaning the rotating ones, I think, not the lootable ones found much earlier]

- the headless busts [some heads found and re-attached]

- the big front doors

- the chained up doors near near the hydra

- the door with all the wards on it

- the cliff near the ropers

- the draugr

- the Lord of Spite

- the black metal door in the statue room

- the maze

- the doors near the maze

- the sunken stuff in the razor fish area [sort of dealt with - they spotted the mace last session]

That's the list, although there is clearly more out there to deal with - including a trap-laying gnome, the tunnel in the orc's area, the "escape tunnel" mentioned in the last session, Big John the troll, the gargoyles (Dryst still wants to use Enslave to recruit his "son" to his side), and probably even more I'm forgetting.

It is lists like these that make me realize my dungeon really has a lot going on besides monsters and treasures. Not a lot of factional politics that anyone cares about, but just depth of things to investigate. That's why we're still playing this game after a couple of years.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ennie Submission

I went ahead and submitted my blog for an Ennie, with Has That Come Up In Actual Play? and Sneaking In The Dungeon I as my representative posts.

We'll see where it goes. The competition consists mostly of much better blogs than mine, including Tenkar's Tavern and Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog. But my main goal is getting exposure, not victory.

Enworld "Ennie" submission - which post?

So I will put myself up for an Ennie. I think I could use a little more exposure, and so can GURPS.

I'm open to suggestions for posts that represent my blog the best, but I'm thinking:

Has That Problem Come Up In Actual Play?


Giant-sized humanoid striking tactics

Or perhaps:

GURPS 101: Avoiding Combat Analysis-Paralysis in GURPS

it says "Products released between May 1st 2013 and April 30th 2014" - so that last one might be my best bet.

What do you guys think?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Basic Fantasy or GURPS Lite: He chose . . .

My student chose GURPS.

It might have been because I said I could teach him Basic Fantasy, but I could run GURPS from memory. Still, he looked at my GURPS books, my Moldvay Basic Set book, and Basic Fantasy, and had looked at Swords & Wizardry at home . . . and chose GURPS. Can't fault him for that.

I made him a 140-point guy, who I may post at some point. I ran him through an intro scene to Caravan to Ein Arris. He found the tavern where they were doing the 3-touch fights to select guards, talked to the recruiter, and then went and won the fight - barely, but he did it. Nothing fancy - straight-up rolls and no one rolled a critical. He got recruited and now has to find the caravan overseer.

It was fun, and we'll keep it up as the finisher English practice game if he enjoys it.

I figure if he gets really into it and/or wants to run it for friends, I can hand him Caravan, help him with chargen, and run other a different adventure. That's also why I chose Caravan - I know it back-to-front, and I don't mind starting him on it and then handing it off.

His homework was an essay and to read GURPS Lite (after doing his real homework, of course.)

Good stuff.
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