This Blog 2019, Goals and Grommets

Inspired by the 2019 goals post over at Charles's Dragons Never Forget Blog, I figured I would do the same thing. 2018 right around ...

Monday, August 5, 2019

Dungeons and Dragons 5th ed magic item "Seraph’s Boxes of Mysteries"

Seraph’s Boxes of Mysteries.

The good wizard Seraph wanted to create a box. A box containing a perfectly warm, safe place for his pets to travel with him when he was on the road. He tried many times, but each time another failure. These items represent his best attempts. Four identical boxes one he kept, and one gifted to his son in law as part of the dowry, and two gifted to local lords / patrons as thanks for their tireless support.

Physical Description:
Each box is exactly two cubic feet, made of a fine hardwood stained deepest black. All of the panels edges are reinforced with thin strips of iron.Each box has a well crafted lock (DC 20 to pick) and latch on it’s lid. This latch allows the whole top panel to be removed. The interior of the box is lined with purple velvet, the interior surface opposite the lid is a endlessly ebbing and flowing pool of darkness.

In play:
  • Any item that can fit into the boxes opening can be placed in the box.
  • The box can hold up to 20 items. There are no size limits except the following
    • Small items weighing less than 2 pounds must be put into a bag or other container in such volume that they weigh 2 a total pounds or more. 
    • Small single items or loose liquids (Liquids less than 2 cubic feet in volume) that are tossed in the box regardless of their numbers, are simply swallowed and are lost.
  • The player should keep a list from 1 to 20 of the items placed in the box.
  • Fill the list in starting at 20 and working back to 1.
    • Only the four most recent items placed into the box (top of the list) are visible bobbing around in the darkness when the box is opened.
    • These items may be removed form the box (1 action)
  • If the player wants a different time them must shove one visible item into the dark (1 action) and it will trade places lower down on the list with another item which had been placed int the box. (roll 1d20 to determine what slot on the list the item swaps with) If an empty space is rolled nothing rises back to the surface.
  • Theoretically if there weren’t many items in the box a player could push everything into the darkness and have nothing visible at the surface and this situation would persist until more items were placed in the box and used to bump the old items back into reach.
  • Living creatures placed in the box will survive but will not have anything to eat unless they have it on their person.
    •  Creatures can not get them selves out of the box, unless it is functioning strangely (see below) 
    • Only small creatures can have any chance of getting in the box, most humanoids shoulders are just too broad.
  • Placing a portable hole or other dimensional object in to the box has no adverse effect on either item.
  • The box can not be tipped out or spilled.
  • The box is magical and can not be destroyed by any normal means except fire. 
    •  The box saves at +10 vs normal or magical fire.
    •  After 20 points of fire damage it burns up, randomly scattering any items placed in the box crossed a 100 mile radius.

The box is not 100% predictable.
Whenever the box is opened roll 1d12
  1. The box looks empty! Give it a good shake (1 action) and 4 random items stored within the box will bubble up to the surface.
  2. A cat jumps out, its friendly and loving, roll 1d6 1-3 it’s a calico 4-6 it’s a tuxedo.
  3. 1d12 toads issue forth.
  4. Nothing happens normal operation.
  5. It makes the resonant sound of a large church bell ringing, just once. Each creature in a 10-foot cube originating from the box must make a Constitution saving throw Vs DC 12. On a failed save, a creature takes 1d8 thunder damage.
  6. Smoke billows out of the box granting anything in the smoke half cover.
  7. Every item in the box is visible and available!
  8. Nothing happens normal operation.
  9. The box shines lights as per the evocation cantrip “Light” for the whole time it’s lid is removed.
  10. A great cloud of butterflies issues forth.
  11. A random item you never put in the box floats to the surface. This item is from one of the other three boxes. (DM Decides the item)
  12. It disgorges any items stored within all at once.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Map 6

Here's another map for your enjoyment.
This  scan is not great. the paper is just a hair too big from my scanner deck. Eventually I'll cut it down and do a better scan.
Pen on Cheap 140lb paper. Scan in grey-scale 300-dpi.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

GURPS Games 1 and 2.... "Apocalypses - Now & Again"

Preparation.... Recuperation... Preparation...

we play on roll 20 on Friday nights, starting around 7 or 8 pm then we go until about 11 pm . That's not a ton of time. It's also at the end of the work week and nobody has a ton of bandwidth left.
So far we have had two "lets get comfortable with the system games" GURPS has a reputation for being  complicated. Honestly I bought into that having only read second edition GURPS. I feel that game feel was a bit of a mess, and left a bad taste in my mouth. The fourth edition is much more straight forward and even more importantly laid out in a much more user friendly fashion.

Mistakes so far:
  • In character generation I played it too fast and loose with the  equipment. I said "The highest tech level available in the setting is  7" The players did what players do and bought the best tech level 7 stuff they could get their hands on. I should have been more diligent and thoughtful. As in I should have told the players what they were starting with. The result is  three people in the world that are far better equipped than they should be for a post apocalyptic setting. We're going to counter this by having ammo a  rare resource. Lesson learned.
  • Preparation ... I need to  buckle down and dedicate night to prep. Wednesday or Thursday and dedicate it to building the  game and  laying the world a bit. I enjoy and I think am known for running  games with many moving pieces and plots all going on at the same time. So far with this the players have done a fetch quest, and had a bit of a gun fight protecting their camp and that's about it. It was enough to learn the  rules. A chance for everyone to see that getting stabbed once in the torso with a broadsword, without armor, is going to out right kill a dude.
    It's time I did more. I need to start creating the movers and shakers of the post-apocalyptic Duchess county New York. Get the players to a decent sized town and get them mixed up in things. All of that takes prep and I need to  dedicate the energy after work to do that. It used to be easy, but as time goes on it gets more difficult.
  • A simple one which I think I have fixed. Sometimes I forget to have enemies dodge or parry. Just an artifact from playing games that don't include a defense roll. I think I'm over it.

Other than those things the game has been  running fine. A bit of confusion the  first time a shot gun came into play, nothing that a quick look up didn't solve.
GURPS as a system is incredibly simple. Find the  skill level roll under it on 3D6 for success. That's basically it. Any thing that stumps a new GM can default back to that in a pinch.
The complexity comes from the  layers of skills perks and what not the game uses to take into account just about everything. IN the end however that all jsut modifying the skill so it's still not really that complicated. Just modifiers based on situation .. bingo ... no big deal.

What GURPS 4th feels like to me is if Tom Moldvay's Basic D&D had never been replaced. That it had gone through 36 odd years of expansion, revision, and honing. I know it's not he same but that's how I see it.A very old style game that has been sharpened, tumbled, buffed, tested, edited, and  revised until it's about as refined as it's form allows.

Here is a clip of our current roll 20 set up and game map.

I made a set of 9 graphical "stamps" that can be placed on the map as Tokens. With them we can keep journal entries at locations. Later we can go back an reference what happened, and who we might have met at each "stamped" location.
one stamp is a blue GPS like marker. It's used at the end of each game to mark where the characters were heading when we left off.

The actual map is from the USGS survey. There're stitched together collections of the USGS topographic maps arranged by county and state as gathered by Cornell University.
The maps are amazing, a GREAT public resource and deeply interesting on their own merits. Moreover the maps work for my needs. The only issue is that the whole maps are too large for Roll 20. I have to chop them up into the areas I need. It's not that big a deal. I have learned quickly that scaling them correctly is difficult and time consuming. After this first map, that hex grid is likely going away.
Stamp made with inkscape

The players have already plotted travel on roads or thorough flat open ground when they need to be fast. Have had to ford a flooded creek with a washed out bridge, and have enjoyed getting muddy in a swampy area. The maps are sweet, and add much to the feel of the game.

The card decks you see on the  right of the map are decks made of the GURPS combat cards. I cut them up using gimp and  made a roll 20 card out of each one. 
I gave each player a deck so that during combat they can look over the cards as reminders of what their action options are, and the rules attached to those actions.
So far it has been handy but not often used. I think in the middle of play we kind of forget the cards are there.

So that's where we are at with  GURPS. Perhaps next week I'll have a post about the in game story. I think the next game will be the  one where the players are going to finally get involved in some deeper story-line style things.

As long as I can get motivated to set it up.
That's the crust of it all.

Thanks for reading 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

This Blog 2019, Goals and Grommets

Inspired by the 2019 goals post over at Charles's Dragons Never Forget Blog, I figured I would do the same thing.

2018 right around new years I shuttered the Blog. I needed a break. Frankly this blog had been a failed enterprise by all the measures I could come up with. I took that break. I posted a few things that had been  hanging around the hard drive for in some cases years. Beyond those few (9?) posts I didn't do anything here for 12 moths.

Lets see what 2019 has in store for the old Dustpan Blog.

Goals or 2019:

  • Primary Goal: Run more games for and Play in more games with and for my home group.
    Those guys are my ride or die group that have been around for  years and years. Willing to put up with all my shit and still roll dice. I want to game with them more. At the table even.
    • NEAL! Where for art thou!
  • I want to post here once a week.
    • 52 posts, at least.
    • Goals, make them reachable....
  • Perhaps go to one actual Con? I'm not sure I'm not much on crowds.
  • I want to use this space to share my experiences running GURPS 4thE for the first time. 
    • GURPS is a system I read once (2nd edition) and decided to shit on for the better part of 20 years. Now I own the 4th edition basic set and want to run a post apocalyptic game on roll 20 with it. 
    • Will it work? Will I be able to get used to it? Will the players learn that there is no fucking way they soak a shot gun blast at close range? I'll let you all know here.
  • I want to post pics from my attempts to modify Matchbox an Hot Wheels cars for use with Gaslands 
    • We're going to play Gaslands. It will be an awesome at the table game. However the real fun (for me) will be making cars. If there's anyone who is going to put a drill right through their thumb, it's this guy. (THE CROWD WANTS BLOOD!)
      • For the record I already screwed up one car by using the wrong drill bit. So yeah, off to a good start.  
      • Classic Car Wars is still my bae. It always will be.
  • I want to finish AAIE and offer it up on Drive through. 
    • I had a very down on myself year last year. If I'm going to be 100% honest with myself, I was A bit depressed for the  better part of 6 months. I let most of my creative projects slip. I want to do this, this year, somehow.
    • On a side-note I want to add some stuff to drive through for Phase abandon as well.
  • I want to finish, use, and share my "Explorers" game. Which is turning into a a st of DM tools for creating  crazy  environments one hex at a time.
    • I may rip my "system" out of Explorers and make it a  generic set of tools. I haven't decided yet. 
    • I may not.
  • I want to play more games online with people I may or may not know:
    • I want to play more games with Jens D.
    • I want to play a game or two with Charles A.
    • These guys are awesome have great Blogs, make great games, do cool things.I want to play in their games.
  • I have had a good time trying games I may or may not have gotten to try  by playing online with folks from Twitter. 
    • Including but not limited to: The Worst DM, RPG Rambler, Crafty, @Kirbystar, @GamersPlane, and perhaps others whose handles are  momentarily escaping me. (if so I apologize.)
    • I played FATE
    • I Played some Savage Worlds..
    • I played some 2nd Ed. Numenera.
    • I may have not gotten to try any of those games had I not gotten to play with the twitter group, and appreciate the opportunity.
    • Made some friends along the way, which is more important to me.
So that's it . Those are my hobby goals for 2019.
I hope to meet at least some of them.