Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sore Thumbs and Broken Controlers

The full kit, only two pieces are presented here. Art By: Me

Hey folks, I’m not dead nor am I quitting the writing gig. Currently, I am working on an adventure for In Search of Games, hopefully it should be out sometime this June. Here are a couple magic items that recreate a couple of the more classic platformer abilities: Forward/Backward Rush and Double Jump. I realize there isn’t much here, but hopefully I will have more to offer later. The pixel art is mine. 

Whoosh! Art By: Me
Rush Cape
The actual cape portion of this item is comprised of a cloth like metallic blue silk. Over each shoulder, a sphere encased in red polymer (a material like a cross between leather and wood), cross shaped windows at the front and back spill white light tinged blue. Plates attached to the sphere, covering the upper chest and back, formed of the same red plastic.

On occasion, one might find these pieces of strange magic, or technology, in curio shops and occult auction houses. Embossed on the red casing, blocky writing can be seen, a language mostly forgotten, the font as lifeless as machines. Directions? Warnings? Logos? Sellers rarely know the meaning, most will tell the buyers, smiles never breaking on their faces.

Forward Dash: Doubles the wearers speed provided the addition range is spent moving in a straight line.  (Ex: If a character has a base speed of 30 feet, they may move 60 feet in a round as long as the extra 30 feet is spent moving in a straight line.)

Back Dash: A character can withdraw from melee combat with an opponent at their full speed, provided the character moves in a straight line. The character moves so quickly that their opponent is unable to attack them as part as an attack of opportunity. Moving through squares that are threatened still provokes attacks of opportunity.

Loud: Using this item creates a whining noise then a rush of wind, making it difficult to be stealthy while using it. The type of penalty imposed on the user’s Stealth skill(s) depends on the system:

D20: -5
X out of 6: -2
Percentile: -25%
Into the Odd: -5
Blood of Pangaea: -3 (2D6 Action Roll)

Bright: Accompanying the noise is a bright flash of white light tinged blue. The GM may apply further penalties to a character’s stealth abilities depending on the lighting conditions.

V-Woop! V-Woop! Art By: Me

Jump Boots
Knee-high boots formed from blue polymer (a material like a cross between leather and wood), the exterior plated like armor. Toes shined to a mirror finish that flashes in the light. Soles as yellow as flowers, pliable as leather and twice as tough.

Double-Jump: A character may make a second jump attempt after the first, allowing the individual to gain even more height by jumping again from mid-air. A character may make two long jumps, two high jumps, or a long and a high in whatever order they wish. How this ability works depends on the system:

D20:  The first jump roll is made normally, either a long or high jump. The second roll is made with an added penalty to the jump DC (+3 for long-jump, +2 for high-jump). The first roll must succeed for the second roll to be possible.

OSR / AD&D: The first roll to jump (see whatever rules set for the system used for jumping) is made normally. If the first roll is successful, the character must then successfully roll under their Dexterity on 1D20. On a successful roll, the character may make another roll for another jump.

Into the Odd: The first roll to jump is made normally, usually a successful STR or DEX save. If the first roll is successful, the character must then make a successful DEX save. With a successful save, the character may make another jump attempt.

Blood of Pangaea:  After a character jumps (ask your GM is they require a roll) they may make a second jump if the character rolls a 5+ on 2D6.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ideas in 16-Bits.

Techno Boots. Art By: Me
Weirdo Head Monster. Art By: Me

A couple Pixel Art pics I've done for an upcoming adventure I am starting to work on to be published by a couple of a super awesome folks, once I finish another project for another awesome publisher. More to come tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ad Astra Per Aspera

Alice in Spaceland. Art By: Me
Feeling kinda meh, so I drew Alice in a spacesuit. Not happy with the hands.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

I'm your tour guide baby, I'll tell ya anything you want to know...

This has nothing to do with the post. I am trying my hand at pixel art for an adventure I am writing. Art By: Me

Author's Note...
This is a technique or a tool I came up with, though I am sure I'm not the first, to help folks who too often get bogged down writing details about an area. I love, to my detriment, adding detail to my worlds down to the color of the mailboxes and the reason for it; sadly, I really have gone this far off the deep end before. What I present here, hopefully, is a tool that is in some way intuitive to use; it won't work for everyone. So, if this thing is totally useless to you, you're a better writer than I.

A writer of worlds is a tour guide...
Over the last two weeks I spent a considerable amount of time crammed into a bus while a woman told me things about the areas we were driving through. In other words, I spent two weeks on a coach tour; it was Scotland, and it was a great experience.

Most of the time the guide didn't have very long to give us information about a particular spot before reaching another one. She had to condense down the most entertaining/interesting facts about a site into a few sentences, perhaps a whole paragraph if she had time. While this method didn't give me the whole story about an area, it did give me a working knowledge of its history and points of interest.

More pixel art for that adventure I am writing. Art By: Me

Each day we would also have a number of sites (no more than 3) we'd stop at and wander around with another tour guide to get more in depth information about the place. From the tours I got enough information about a place that I could speak about it with some authority in conversation.

Laying in an uncomfortable hotel bed one cool Scottish evening, I realized that this format was perfect for world building, especially for those (me) who tend to add far too many details about a particular world.

How to use this...
Think of yourself as a tour guide, and your readers/players as the people needing guidance through your world. As a tour guide you only have so much time between sites to tell folks about interesting facts, and your riders have only so much patience before they will want to get off the bus to do their own thing.

What to tell 'em...
The Basics
When the guide on the bus would talk about an area or city, she'd generally give us information in the following format: basic ancient past, basic distant past, basic recent past, basic present. Let's take Edinburgh (awesome city) as an example:

Basic Ancient Past: Edinburgh's name comes from Din Eidyn or Etin, the name given to a hill fort built in the area sometime before the 7th century AD.
Basic Distant Past: The Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh was the seat of the monarch of Scotland until James the first took the throne of England, uniting the two countries under a single monarch.
Basic Recent Past: While Edinburgh boasted a number of industries, it was primarily known for its financial, commercial, and educational contributions that continue into the 21st century.
Basic Present: After British legislation in 1998, Scotland was given a greater degree of independence from England which allowed for the establishment of the Scottish parliament in the city of Edinburgh.

A person can draw a rough outline of the history of Edinburgh from the set of facts given: people have been living in the area since before the 7th century, it used to be capital of Scotland until James the first, it is more of a financial and cultural power rather than an industrial one, and it once again serves as a capital for Scotland. 

A pic I drew for a cool dude for an adventure he is writing. Art By: Me
When designing an area of your world try to keep to this format, you can always come back and fill in more later, but now you have a solid foundation to build from without becoming bogged down in details.

Points of Interest
Give the major areas/cities of your world a few points of interest, at least two but no more than six for a major area, that you can write a sentence or two about. These will give the area a bit of depth without overloading your reader/player. Points of interest can be anything from a small cafe where a famous author wrote their first book or a hill that a folk hero/villain was beheaded on.

Major Sites
Everywhere that is interesting has at least one site where cool stuff has, will, or is happening that a reader/player will want to visit or know more about. Try to keep the list of major sites in an area pretty short, again you don't want to overload folks with information. Its at these sites that you can devote some time into writing details about, these details can then be used to build a real history of a place off of the four bits of information you came up with earlier.

When you write about these places, try to imagine yourself walking through them yourself with a tour guide talking in your ear. While you can add finer detail here than in the previous places, keep in mind you want to give the reader/player information that will allow them to understand the place well enough to tell other people everything you told them without being boring in the process. It is entertaining to tell folks about a mad scientist and her ghoulish experiments at the local medical university, it's boring to tell folks that the 11th Duke of Cornwall did a number of experiments to determine the effects of North American wheat on European voles.

The black and white version of the previous pic. Art By: Me

It's over, you can go home now...
This method isn't for everyone, and may not work for anyone but myself. What I've tried to do is give a tool to you folks, like myself, who tend to get wrapped up in the details of an area you might be working on. Often I have spent way too much time writing about things players/readers really don't care about, when I could have been adding more to overall world. If this tool isn't useful to you, then more than likely you aren't the same kind of crazy as I am.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

I'm back!

This is an alternate costume for a piece I did for a cool dude's upcoming supplement.
This is a weirdo costume I came up with at the airport in Amsterdam
I drew this on a bus on my way to duh duh DAAAA LOCH NESS!!!
So, I am back friends after my vacation in Scotland with a brief stop off in Amsterdam. While I love living in the states, Scotland and the Netherlands are pretty cool. Everyone in Amsterdam was pretty cool, and Scottish folks are SUPER AWESOME. Anyway, I will be back to doing stuff on the blog now that I am energized to be back at the grind stone!