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Showing posts from April, 2015

NASA and the US Geological Survey have prepared your new campaign map

Everything blue is underwater. Craters replace mountain ranges and valleys. Nearly all islands are rings around massive, circular lakes. The gray areas represent the highest elevations, and in that area on the eft of the map you could have hundreds of isolated cultures/habitats, cut off from one another by steep, round walls.

And of course, there's the question of what caused all these craters? And will it happen again? Is it happening now?

The more-than-sufficient low-rez version is here. There's also a high-rez version where you can count the buttons on the Moon Prince's frock coat.

Thinking about Attributes

I'd love to know more about how the attributes in D&D originated.

 Rolling dice for STR-DEX-INT-WIS-CON-CHR is the most emblematic and formative act in D&D. Maybe you've fought a melee or cast a spell or conversed with a dragon, but everyone who has ever sat down at the table for any length of time has picked up three six-siders and scribbled down the results.

The six attributes are such an oddly specific abstraction of a character's capabilities. They're the weird little numerical window you peer through when trying to figure out who your character is—who you are—in this shared fantasy. When I was younger, I would obsess over getting the "right" attribute scores, and this frequently tipped over into fudging. I played a statistically improbable number of half-elves with 18's in Dexterity and Charisma—I just wanted to be pretty, dammit!

And yet... what good are they?


The attributes are all there, fully formed, at 0e, but they seem to have arrived w…

Dice: How's It Going?

How’s the harvest?
Disastrously bad: Withered crops produced only cursed locusts and dysentery.
Bad: Poor yields mean hard times for the coming year.
Bad with some good: Too much rain flooded the fields, but the fishing industry is having a boom.
Good with some bad: The yield was good, but the Goblin Horde has been targeting towns for supplies. Better fortify the wall!
Good: A bountiful harvest means a prosperous year ahead.
Spectacularly good: Surplus crops combined with neighbors suffering droughts means the gold is rolling in.

How did the Ogre King sleep last night?
Disastrously bad: Was haunted by the angry ghosts of his ogre ancestors, demanding the blood of any trespassing adventurers.
Bad: Dyspepsia and bad dreams kept him awake, and he’s his very grumpy about it.
Bad with some good: It was a restless night, but he thinks he has time to take a nap in the afternoon.
Good with some bad: Well rested, but concerned about a possibly prophetic dream involving adventurers coming for his magic W…

Here's a Handy Die Roll

1d6
1 Disastrously bad.
2 Bad.
3 Bad mitigated by a little good.
4 Good mitigated by some bad.
5 Good.
6 Spectacularly good.

How’s the weather? How goes the war in the next kingdom over? How’s the market for turnips, this season? What kind of mood did the Lich wake up in? How’s the dragon’s digestion?



Even more concisely:

1d4
1 Disastrously bad.
2 Bad but something good.
3 Good but something bad.
4 Spectacularly good.

But I doubt I’d use that, for the perhaps-ridiculous reason that I just don’t like rolling 4-sided dice. I think it’s because they don’t tumble—they plop. And they don’t feel nice in the hand, the way all other dice do.

Besides, extremes can get wearying, right?

Of course, I can roll two dice and keep highest or lowest, if I need the results to skew in a given direction. Instead of a flat 16.67% chance of any result, I get:

2d6, keep highest
1 2.78%
2 8.33%
3 13.89%
4 19.44%
5 25%
6 30.56%

This gives me a basic range:

2d6, keep lowest = 25% chance of success.
1d6 = 50% chance of success.
2d6,…