Happy New Year!

Photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash

Greetings and good wishes to you all for the coming new year!

I have put the blog on the back burner to simmer for awhile. I imagine many of us do this with projects they’ve started. It’s not for a lack of gaming that I’ve been silent, but on the contrary I’ve been gaming once a week on average.

My roll20 group, we call ourselves the Fatbeards, has been a wellspring of joy and relief from the soul sucking grind of real life. Actually, life is not that bad, but it gets stressful and escape into the world of table top gaming is a true respite.

With the new year, I find myself contemplating my direction in life and how to maximize my happiness and contentment. My son recently married a wonderful girl and we are so very happy he has found the love of his life. They are true soul mates and meant for each other. When I see them together, I know they are just right.

In the new year, all I can hope for is continued health and happiness for my family. As I’ve grown older, I’ve made a decision to limit my hobbies to music and roleplaying games. Both are going just fine. I have a life’s work ahead of me in gaming and am looking forward to more time playing and running games.

Recently, I’ve been working on a Frankenstein’s monster type of creation with rules. I’m calling it Fatbeards Style Rpg. I’ve discovered the Youtube channel DungeonCraft with Professor Dungeonmaster. If you get a chance, you will enjoy the videos he is making on DIY crafting of terrain and also rules that he uses at his table. So much of it really speaks to me. I like the usefulness and rules lite method he employs. There is something about rules lite gaming that I really enjoy.

My rules are a combination of Whitebox Dnd (Charlie Mason) mixed in with Index Card Rpg, Five Torches Deep, Pits and Perils (James and Robyn George), Helmets and Halberds (Alex Schroeder) and other houserules (such as luck points and rolling with advantage). My goal is to distill the rules down to just a few pages (including spells and monsters). I’d rather not even have to look at the rules when the game is on.

In addition to this, I’ve been running a Whitebox play by post on the Smoldering Wizard Forum. It is set in a new campaign world of my own creation called Thaerene. I’ll be working on this more in the new year.

The Perils on the Borderlands posting that I’ve done on this site had been on hold, but I will try to play and post more adventures of Arden and Company. This and the Roll20 sessions with my Fatbeard pals give me much to look forward to.

Here’s hoping all the best for each of you in the New Year!

John

As a sidenote, after publishing this post I learned that this is my 100th post. That is kind of a fitting way to end the year. Hope to have many more posts in the year’s to come.

Day 5 of my coding life…

I put in a lot of time tonight. I understand some of the pieces of the puzzle, but it always feels like someone took one piece away when I wasn’t looking.

I read a great article about the fallacy of motivation. It seems that motivation will only get you so far. The thing that gets you there is persistence…setting good habits and digging in when you don’t feel like doing anything.

I’m really happy with the amount of time I’m able to put into study. If I get up just a wee bit early tomorrow to code, I am starting a new habit that will pay off. Slowly I want to increase this time from 15min at the keyboard to 1 hour each morning. This combined with another evening session will get me in shape to do this thing.

I’m still hitting a brick wall on some parts of the lessons. I had to check out the forums for advice and managed to see my errors. Today I went back and rewrote the code from scratch for a quiz and it worked out just fine.

More later…

Things accomplished today….

  1. I made a new gmail account (much more professional sounding than the yahoo mail account I’ve had forever. Evidently yahoo extensions tag you as old and out of the loop!
  2. Join GitHub
  3. Worked on Udacity tutorials (JavaScript)
  4. Joined freecodecamp (Thanks, Paul for the tip. My son reminded me that he had given me the same advice! I’m glad I have smart people in my life…

My Coding Journey ~ The First Day

Today I began the first step on a new adventure. I’m making a commitment to 100 Days of Code. I’ll need to code at least one hour per day and tweet my progress. I will document my progress here with posts every few days. But first a little about me.

I’m a teacher, middle school math and computers. I’ve done this for about 20 years, but I’m exploring a new career in programming. Can a 53 year old school teacher turn the page and become a programmer?

My coding skills are minimal, but I am familiar with computers, especially in education. This is my chance to take my technical skills to a new level. Today I finished my application for LaunchCode, a non-profit coding class based in St. Louis, MO. It will be several weeks before I learn if I am accepted. Meanwhile, I am working through a free course in HTML through Codecademy.

If anyone out there has a similar story or advice to share, I’d love to hear it.

Thanks,

John

Beyond the Borderlands Play by Post

I’ve been busy setting the table for a new campaign on the Smoldering Wizards Forum. The campaign world is based on much of the content I’ve written in this blog.

Running a play-by-post is a great way for me to build on the campaign world. The play-by-post is using Whitebox rules, but I want the campaign world to be easily adaptable to other games (Pits & Perils in particular). I want to build a world filled with ideas, interesting people, places, and dangers just waiting to be explored.

My intention is to release finished pieces of it to my blog for use by others. I don’t think that making it into a commercial product is really my cup of tea. I can’t get past the constant drumbeat needed to promote anything commercially. It takes the fun out of what is meant to be a great hobby.

Who knows? I may write an adventure set in this campaign world and do a pay want you want online or publish a compiled version. But for now, I’m enjoying the chance to work on the campaign.

Here is a link to the current play by post game.

I can alway use a few more players. Take a look at it and see what you think. Hopefully it is a fun read.

More to come…

Crits and Misses

Critical hits and misses are an often house ruled thing. Most of the time I’ve simply allowed the player (and npc) to roll twice for damage if they scored a critical hit (rolling a 20).

It’s simple and it works, and it is boring. Players love to have something special happen when they roll a 20 and I agree. The funny thing is that the players often get hurt by criticals. Regardless, it adds an element of suspense and unpredictability to the game. So here goes my attempt at another critical hit and miss table! Please feel free to try it out and let me know your thoughts. Any suggestions or comments are always welcome!

Note–this works best with White Box rules.


Critical Hit and Miss Tables

A natural 20 is a critical hit. When this happens the target takes maximum damage by weapon and one of the following happens.

Critical Hit

1. Weapon hand injured! (-1 to hit for rest of battle)

2. Leg is injured! (-1 to hit and 1/2 move rate for rest of battle)

3. Head is grazed! (lose next action if wearing a helmet, otherwise save to avoid being knocked out for 1d6 rounds)

4. Knocked down! (opponent gets one free attack)

5. Armor, shield, or weapon damaged! (randomly choose, loses one level of quality, see Quality of Items)

6. Extra damage! (roll damage by weapon)

A natural 1 is a critical miss. This means one of the following happens.

Critical Miss

1. Dropped weapon! (roll d12 for direction, d12 for distance in feet)

2. Weapon damaged! (loses one level of quality, see Quality of Items)

3. Fall to one knee! (-1 to AC until next turn)

4. Fall down! (opponent gets one free attack)

5. Hit an ally! (make an attack roll on a random ally close by)

6. Hit yourself! (make an attack roll on yourself)

Breaking Rules

Photo by Hannah Gibbs on Unsplash

Not breaking the rules of the game, but rules on breaking things in the game!

Back in the old days, when I was a little DM, most often we would play Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (1st edition). One of the house rules we tinkered with was equipment damage. When one of the PCs was hit with a 20 (critical), their armor suffered severed damage and needed to be repaired. In the meantime, their damaged armor’s AC worsened by 1 point. It was a houserule that made treks into the dungeons a little more dangerous without major housekeeping of the inventory.

A lot of dice have been thrown under the fridge since then. I came across an excellent posting of item damage here.

https://deepdelving.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/item-breakage-in-pits-perils/

Here’s my take on equiptment damage.

Note–this is geared towards White Box rules but should work for any system with little or no modifications. This is an easy switch to Pits and Perils. I will post the notes on this sometime.

Quality of Items

Weapons, armor, and tools all have some degree of quality. They can be categorized into four groups–fine, standard, poor, and broken.

Fine

Fine quality items will cost at least 20 times the normal price. They are exceptionally well made.

Fine weapons will give the wielder +1 to hit (non magical). Fine armor will increase movement rate by 10′ per round. Fine tools will give the user a +1 bonus when using them. (I usually roll a d6 to determine if a task is successful. Depending on the circumstances, I come up with an X-in-6 chance of success.)

Standard

Standard weapons, armor, and tools are just that. They provide no extra benefits. They are just serviceable items.

Poor

Poor weapons cause the wielder -1 to hit and are so bad that a roll of 1 or 2 will indicate it has broken. Poor armor -1 to AC. Poor tools will take twice as long to get the job done.

Broken

Broken weapons, armor, and tools does no one any good. They need to be repaired.

Shields

Shields can either be fine, standard, or broken. A fine shield can absorb two blows (Shields Shall be Splintered rule) before breaking. The first blow reduces it to a standard shield and the second blow will shatter it. A standard shield can only absorb one blow (Shields Shall be Splintered rule) before breaking.

Loss of Quality

Each time a weapon is damaged, it will lose a level of quality. For example, a fighter swings his fine sword but rolls a 1. A roll of 1 in my game indicates a critical miss and then I need to consult the critical miss table. If the critical miss table indicates the weapon is damaged, the fine sword becomes a standard sword (and loses the +1 to hit benefit that fine weapons are given.) If the sword is damaged again, it will become a poor sword. Any roll of 1 or 2 for a poor weapon indicates it has broken.

Repair

Repairing the item can be done if it is taken to someone with smithing skills. Magical spells of mending will also work. Repair of an item will be 10% of original cost for each level of quality that was lost. Example, if a fine sword was damaged twice and is now considered poor condition, it would cost 20% of the original price to restore it to fine quality. No item can be improved to a quality greater than its original quality.

Call for Players!

I am starting a new play-by-post over on the Smoldering Wizard Forums. It will be based on the campaign world I’ve written for the Perils on the Borderlands solo game posted on this blog. The rules will be Whitebox:Fantastical Medieval Adventure Game. Whitebox is a rule system based on the Original Dungeons and Dragons game.

I have three players already and would gladly accept more. Click on the link below and look it over. Maybe you’d like to give it a try.