Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our Bacterial Overlords

Apparently, you can have bacteria in your stomach that can change your brain chemistry.  I don't know how I feel about this.

Perhaps my bacterial masters will clue me in...

Link here

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

DIY Dungeon Walls

Back in 1987, I purchased a copy of Game's Workshop's Warhammer 40,000.  This was my first big foray into the miniatures world.  

Sure, I had some D&D minis that we mostly used for marching order, but when you need to build an army -- you paint a lot of minis...

...and you paint a lot of terrain.

The original WH40k book encouraged you to build your own terrain (and even vehicles!)  Here are some pics from that book that show you how I caught the mini/terrain bug...

Bottom line, once you start building terrain for your WH40k army, you never look at a plastic cup, margarine tub, or toilet paper tube the same way again!

In fact, McDonalds drink holders are PERFECT for a set of four linked pillboxes.  You just flip it over and paint it...  Here... see for yourself...
It even has "T" shaped slots that orks and space marines can stick their bolters out of and stay in cover!!!
I told you all of that so that it would come as no surprise what I am going to tell you now.

You see, I work in the Tech Services department and this year we bought about 300 new HP laptops for our schools.  Each of those laptops has two sturdy foam "bumpers" that protect it during shipping.

Each of those laptops was removed from its box and the cardboard was recycled.  The foam "bumpers" were put into trash bags and that is where I stumbled upon them.  FIVE bags of them.

Well, the first thing I think of is, "what can I do with these?"  Certainly there is something...  Let's have a closer look...  Rough texture, layers, lightweight...  I have an idea.

Here are some pictures of what I decided to do...
these are the foam bumpers
you can tear the end parts off with your hands
this is a LOW TEMP glue gun; the high temp one melted the plastic.  I also bought some gray acrylic paint ($0.39 each) and a bag of plastic skulls (it's almost Halloween!)
glue them together two high
this is what they look like from the top.  You can see that I made a knife out of a razor blade and some tape...
it's long enough to cut through in one slice...
You can see that there are a couple of different places you can cut these.  You can make long straight walls; C shaped sections; L shaped sections; etc.  I might even make some claustrophobic narrow dead ends...

Here are the pieces that I cut out.  You can reuse some of the tops you tore off to make some pillars too!

Here are the first three pieces I've done.  I haven't experimented with spray paint (it's really hot here in AZ right now and I've no good place to spray at the moment...) but that might be a real time saver.

Of course, I plan to do some architectural elements (like those skulls) and I might paint some graffiti or runes on some walls.  Some green slime here and there would be a nice touch too...

The pictures really don't do the walls much justice.  They do look pretty good.

Special bonus: you can buy little plastic champagne glasses at craft stores.  They are PERFECT to use as flying bases.  (see the wizard in the first pic!)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A rough adventure hook/idea/maguffin

So there's this dungeon where a known, terrible big bad dwells...  Maybe a dragon or a behir or a purple worm...

There's a creature... maybe a parasite or a vengeful wraith or an elemental that must be consumed/destroyed/incinerated by the big bad...

So it tricks the adventurers... through guile or promises or disease to take it there...

Inspired by this post at i09...

Parasites trick their rat hosts into being eaten by cats

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Motto for the Ages

Saw Conan last night and I just couldn't resist putting this together.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

DM Prep Page

Years ago, when I was running my Queston campaign, I used AppleWorks spreadsheet (!) to randomly roll dice of all types.  I then printed out pages of these random rolls and just crossed them off whenever I needed them.  I rarely rolled dice at the table.

Now, I think that certain rolls should be made right at the table -- initiative, saving throws, surprise -- but rolls on random tables could easily be made in advance.

Awhile back, I wrote about how you can roll percentile dice to determine WHEN the next wandering monster will appear -- essentially preparing in advance for that inevitable event.

Well, here's my next attempt at GM prep.
click to embiggen
It's a page of PRE-ROLLED random encounters along with some other inspirational rolls.

I used Djeryv's Graveyard, Risus Monkey's DungeonWords and Seventh Sanctum as my inspirations.  The right-hand column is over 800 random dungeon oddities that I've culled off the web or created myself.  Thank you to all that have inspired this spreadsheet/tool.

The left column are "pips" that represent rounds.  When all the pips are crossed off and gone, the wandering monster to their right appears on the scene.

This IS NOT another random list that you roll against -- the rolls are already done.  You just work your way down the list in order.

The same is true of the inspirational words, containers and traps.  These ARE the one's you rolled up (or that the computer rolled up) you just use them in order...

So, on game night, I'll just print one of these pages and then use it at the table as an "on the fly" inspiration!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How to build a pyramid

Here's an interesting article from Archaeology magazine.  I post it here because it reveals a bit about how massive structures within a game might be constructed and what the intermediate stages of construction might look like.

Here's the article and here's a pic from it:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Custom d10's

A few weeks ago, I got a wild idea and I contacted Dice Creator to make me a dozen custom dice.

They arrived in the mail on Friday.

Dice Creator was extremely helpful and is a very nice guy.  He kept me in the loop throughout the process and he sent me pictures of some demo dice he made.

Awesome experience!

In short, if you want some special dice made, drop him an email.  You won't be disappointed at all!

Here's a pic --

The logo is in place of the "10" and is the symbol of The Questians, the legendary group of adventurers from my longest running Queston campaign.