Non-Digital Random Map Generation

Cartographer Woman MapmakerAs I mentioned in a post earlier this week, I like to generating things randomly, and that includes maps. However, despite being heavily invested in technology in most areas of my life, for some reason I prefer to keep it out of my gaming. I’m not quite sure why, but there is certainly a kind of tactile pleasure I derive from scratching pencil against paper to create stat blocks and adventure notes. I may occasionally write up character sheets in Open Office, or experiment with tools like Hexographer; but I do my best to minimize my reliance on computers. At least where RPGs are concerned.

Below I’ll be detailing the various methods I’ve devised for randomly generating maps by hand. I would like to preface this, however, by saying I’m far from an expert on map making. There are GMs out there who’ve blown my mind with the amount of realism they’re able to bring to a map. Anybody interested in making really good maps should check out Trollsmyth‘s hex mapping posts, or the Cartographer’s Guild. There you can learn how to make good maps. This is just about how to make random maps.

With that out of the way, lets get started. Here’s a picture of my current campaign world to provide a sense of what results might look like:

Fantasy Role Playing Game Map On a Bulliten Board

And here’s a close up of the primary continent, which my group hasn’t ventured off of yet:

Role Playing Game Map Negune Continent

All of these were created using the Paper Drop Method, which requires just a few very basic tools I was able to gather from around my apartment:

1) Two sturdy surfaces of even height, like two chairs.
2) A sturdy piece of glass. I pulled the door off of an old stereo cabinet for mine.
3) A good lamp which can be moved around without much trouble.
4) Paper. If you don’t have this, you may be in the wrong hobby.

Once you’ve got these items, place the glass across the two sturdy surfaces, and position the lamp underneath the glass, facing upwards towards it. Congratulations, you’ve constructed a tracing table! It’s not fancy, but it’s effective.

Role Playing Game Workspace LinkSkywalker
I’m unable to take a photo of a tracing table at the moment, however you
can see one on the right side of this old photo of my workstation.

At this point, rip up a few sheets of paper. The pieces should be relatively small, but not so small they become a nuisance. I would so no bigger than a palm, no smaller than a fingernail. Try to vary the shapes as best you can as well. Squares, triangles, circles, long pieces, squat pieces, any shape which strikes your fancy. Continue tearing up paper until you’ve got a nice little pile of it. Two or three sheets is usually sufficient.

Now, shredded paper in hand, drop it onto the tracing table from at least 2 or 3 feet high. It should rain down onto the glass, creating the shape of your continent. It’s up to you whether you want to pick up the pieces which land on the floor and re-drop them, I prefer to let just remove them.

With the paper on the surface of the glass, the shape of the continent is established. You can now place another piece of paper over the pile of shredded pieces, turn on the light, and outline the shadow your pile of shredded papers makes. This step can be something of a pain in the ass, since the shredded pieces are easy to jostle around while you’re tracing, no matter how careful you try to be. The easiest solution, I’ve found, is to put another sheet of glass between the shredded paper and the drawing paper.

Once you’ve got the outline of the map completed, repeat the earlier paper-dropping process with fewer pieces of paper. One drop for your forested regions, another for your mountainous regions. Mountains whose paper-shadow extends beyond the coast could potentially become islands rather than mountains, or simply be ignored as you prefer.

The placement of water on the map is best not done randomly. Even the least aware player may give you a cockeyed look if your rivers flow through mountain ranges rather than around them.

For smaller scale maps, I sometimes use the Atlas Jumble Method. My grandfather has mountains of local map books he accrued during his career as a backhoe operator–maps which cover most of the geographically diverse state of Washington. He gave me one which was published in 1995, and after finding it among my things recently, I struck upon an idea.

I took a few pages of maps, photocopied them, cut the copies into roughly 1″ square pieces, and dropped all the pieces into a bowl. I then drew the squares out one by one, and arranged them from top left to bottom right on my tracing table, forming a shape roughly 8.5″ x 11″. After placing another sheet of glass on top of the pieces so as not to disturb them, I started drawing the map I had created onto a piece of paper.

Not a single one of the pieces matches up with any of the others, of course. Roads and rivers begin and end ever inch, and elevations and climates change without reason or warning. But this is where I’m able to exercise creativity by adding or removing elements from the map. Some roads to stop at dead ends, perhaps because there is untamed wilderness beyond the last town. I alter the course of other roads, so that they can meet up with roads on the next piece. And then I come up with a reason why the road needed to be built with such a meandering course.

The atlas jumble method isn’t as simple as the paper drop method. It requires creative applications of all the “connect the dots” skills we haven’t had much use for since we were children. But if you need an adventuring map and you don’t know where to start, this method is an excellent springboard for creativity.

Last, I want to talk about a method I’ve never attempted, but am eager to try someday, The Paintball Method.

Essentially, I want to shoot a sheet of glass with a paintball gun a bunch of times, then flip the glass around, stick a light behind it, and trace whatever shapes I’ve got. I figure I could potentially even use paint balls with colors corresponding to geography. Green paint for forests, brown for mountains, yellow for planes, blue for waters.

I’ve got no idea if it will work, and unfortunately paint ball equipment is expensive. I still would love to try it, though.

And yes, I did pull all the method names out of thin air just to make the post sound more authoritative. How did you guess?

Colorful Characters 1: The Governor

Awesome Paladin The Governor Jordan EphlerMany blogs some manner of weekly features. This seems like a fun idea to me, because there are a number of posts I’ve thought would be cool, but only really work if they’re part of a longer series of similar posts. Ergo, I would like to introduce you, my dice rolling readers, to Colorful Characters. Every week on Friday I’ll post detailed information on an interesting NPC. GMs are free to steal the characters for their games, and players are free to steal them for use as PCs. Though I think this week’s PC is best suited to being a quest giver for low level PCs.

Jordan “The Governor” Ephler

Jordan Ephler was fifteen when he left his family’s small merchant business to seek the path of a paladin, and for over a decade he lived up to that noble description. His signature axe and shield became well known in the region. For many small towns he was a more reliable source of justice than the distant courts & lawkeepers. Jordan had such a gift for diplomacy that many towns never even saw his axe, Razortail, leave its sheath. He even once negotiated a treaty between the humans and dwarves of Rockpoint, and the Orc tribe which had raided against them them for decades. Four years later he had to return to fight off a marauding force of orcs, but he viewed four years of peace and safety as a significant victory.

That isn’t to say he never failed. While trying to negotiate a territory agreement between the village of Opeth with the nearby tribe of gnolls, Jordan was captured and tortured for three days. He lost the four fingers of his left hand in the process. After escaping from his captors, Jordan played a game of cat and mouse with them for days as he tried to find his way back to Opeth. A week after his escape, he returned to the Gnoll village with the two dozen men and women of Opeth’s militia. Not a single one of the evil gnolls survived that day. Thereafter, Jordan was a little more grim, and a little less willing to trust in negotiation to solve problems.

When he was 28, Jordan was investigating a series of missing children in the small fur-trading post called Midroad Rest. The town believed a tribe of goblins had set up camp nearby and was stealing and eating their children. However, as the investigation continued, Jordan found more and more reason to believe the kidnapper was one of the townspeople. Sure enough, while surveying the town one night, Jordan saw someone carrying a bundle slip off into the woods. He followed the figure to a nearby cave. There he found Midroad Rest’s mayor, holding the body of a young child. Toys and clothes which had gone missing with the other children adorned the cave.

The mayor fell to his knees and begged for his life, but Jordan could summon no pity, and struck out with Razortail, killing the monstrous man. And, in killing one who had surrendered, Jordan strayed too far from the paladin’s code. The powers and clarity granted to paladins left him then. Saddened though he was, Jordan could not accept that his actions had been wrong, and vowed not to seek atonement.

With his life of adventure thusly at an end, Jordan asked the townsfolk if they would allow him to build a home in their community, thinking to become a trapper. So grateful were the townsfolk for his service, though, that they offered him the Mayor’s home and position. Jordan accepted, and has served the town faithfully in that capacity for 24 years now.

In that time as leader of the community, he has led the town through a number of hard times gracefully. So enamored are the townsfolk of their mayor that at some point they all decided to informally promote him to governor. When the townsfolk talk about him, they most commonly refer to him simply as “The Governor.”

Personality Though less idealistic, and a great deal more grim, than he was as a young man, The Governor is still a diplomat first. He is far more likely to attempt a negotiation than to engage in combat. Even if combat seems inevitable, he may attempt a diplomatic solution in the hopes of sparing any of his townsfolk from harm.

He’s also a wily old coot. Bandits and other criminal elements have often tried to outsmart him, but he’s always managed to root them out and keep the roads safe for travelers, and for his citizens.

He is likely to test any PCs before doing them any favors or asking their help. Or, often times, he’ll let the bandits perform the test for him, knowing that they like to “covertly” use the town’s tavern to recruit travelers into their gangs.

Tactics The Governor is unlikely to try and fight the PCs unless they are harming one of his citizens. He still carries Razortail with him at all times, though, so if he is attacked or otherwise forced to fight, he is prepared.

Against a single opponent, The Governor is confident and attempts to fight even footing. If grappled, he will try to use his clawed hand to attack an opponent. If The Governor is reduced below half health, he will attempt to use a nearby object such as a chair as an improvised shield. If attacked in his office, The Governor’s shield is readily available and he equips it at the beginning of combat.

Against groups, or characters who obviously overpower him, The Governor attempts to escape so as to don his armor & shield prior to combat. If one of his villagers is in imminent danger, however, The Governor will forgo his own safety to protect his people.

Interesting Facts

*The four fingers of The Governor’s left hand have been chopped off just below the knuckle. In their place are four hooks of equal length, roughly approximating the length of his fingers. These grant him a 1d4 claw attack, but he takes a -4 penalty on any dexterity checks which rely on that hand. This does not affect his ability to use a shield.

*Though there are none among the citizens of Midroad Rest with whom The Governor is intimate, he is gay.

*When using Combat Expertise (-2 AC, +2 attack roll) The Governor sometimes shouts “Smite evil!” or some variant.

Thoughts on Use I used The Governor in the first session of a new campaign a few years ago. At the opening of the adventure, bandits approached the PCs and asked for their help attacking caravans. Had the PCs accepted, The Governor would have been a boss they had to face at level 2. These players did not accept the offer, and so The Governor became a quest giver for the group.

If there is a paladin among the PCs, it may be fun to play The Governor as being made uncomfortable by a paladin’s presence. This may cause the players to think he’s hiding something, when in fact it is simply due to the painful loss of his own paladinhood.

Jordan “The Governor” Ephler (CR 3)

XP: 800
Human Paladin 6 (Fallen)
NG Medium humanoid
Init +3; Senses Perception 6


Defenses


AC 20, Flat Footed 21, Touch 9 [10 + Armor(9) + Shield (2) + Dex(-1)]
hp 46 (6d10 + 0)
Fort +5 Ref +1 Will +8


Offense


Speed 30ft
Melee +3 Battleaxe +11/+6 (1d8 + 5/x3)
Claw +8/+3 (1d4 + 2/x2)


Stats


Str 14 (+2) Dex 9 (-1) Con 11 (+0) Int 13 (+1) Wis 17 (+3) Cha 13 (+1)
Base Atk +6/+1; CMB +8 (+2 on Disarm, no A.A.O.); CMD 17
Feats Improved Initiative, Toughness, Combat Expertise, Improved Disarm
Skills (Armor Check Penalty: -6) Diplomacy +10, Heal +7, Perception +9, Sense Motive +12, Survival +6
Languages Common, Goblin
SQ Combat Expertise (Can take -2 to attack rolls for +2 to AC for a round.)
Gear Battered Masterwork Full Plate Armor (gilded with gold which has chipped away in pieces), Masterwork Heavy Steel Shield (emblazoned with a roaring lion in green). Razortail a +3 Handaxe, small collection of maps detailing local areas, Amulet of Detect Evil 3/day, 50gp

Vecna Lives!

Vecna Lives Cover ArtAs I mentioned in a recent post, I’m very interested in taking old modules and updating the mechanics to be compatible with Pathfinder. And given that I’m such a huge fan of Vecna as a villain, Vecna Lives! was at the top of my list to read. I finished reading it awhile ago, and there were a couple things about it which I felt worth pondering publicly.

The one thing which is giving me the most trouble is instant and unavoidable death. I’ve always known that this was something which showed up in Gygaxian D&D, but I’ve never seriously thought about including it in a game before. I always looked on death without a saving throw as an outdated idea, one which had a kind of oldschool, hardcore charm, but not one I’d want to subject my players to. After all, I was bred on D&D 3.5, where it is a well known unwritten rule that no matter what players must always be given a chance to survive, even if that chance is just a roll of the dice.

However, if I want to update Vecna Lives! for Pathfinder, then I’m faced with a choice. Either I can include the few examples of “instant death, no saving throw” which show up in the module, or I can deviate from my attempt to be faithful to the original experience of the game. On the face of things, the rule that players must always have a chance to survive seems like a very good rule; nobody likes a game which makes them feel as though they were not given a fair chance to win. However, a saving throw is rarely the only time a player is given the opportunity to avoid a particular fate. It is the last opportunity. Actually, opportunity is somewhat of a misnomer, a character whose life rides on the success or failure of a saving throw is Schrödinger’s PC. As the die rolls the character is in a state of being both alive and dead at the same time, and if the die lands on 1, then we open the box and learn that the PC was dead the whole time. And when that happens, is it really any different from a GM simply declaring that the PC has died?

Of course, quantum physics aside, a die roll is still a chance to survive, and players are right to feel they deserve a chance to survive. But as I mentioned above, the saving throw is often the last chance to survive, not the only chance. If the party encounters a statue of a dragon with a gem clenched in its marble teeth, and an ancient language swearing death to any who would disturb the monument is scrawled around the base; then perhaps the rogue who snatches the gem before the wizard finishes deciphering the warnings deserves to die. Even if nobody could read the script, the rogue could have at least used a stick to try and knock the gem out of the dragon’s maw. Not only does the rogue have the opportunity to avoid death, but some adventuring sense offers much better odds than a saving throw.

Though if your GM puts such a gem in a pile of random treasure at the end of a dungeon, and whoever gets it in their share of the loot is declared dead, then your GM is a dick.

Furthermore, denying saving throws is not an all or nothing deal. In Vecna Lives! instant death effects appear twice if I recall correctly. The first is during the opening scene, where the players take control of powerful characters which have the sole purpose of being killed by the GM within minutes, just to show that this module means business. Later, if the PC’s choose to attack Vecna himself during a moment of distraction on his part, the evil god snuffs them out of existence with a thought. The former is a very special and uncommon circumstance, and the latter seems to me like a justified punishment for impossible stupidity. Attacking a god is not something a non-epic character is going to get away with.I see no need to make it more complicated than “um…you’re dead.”

Vecna Lives! Hand of VecnaAside from these two specific instances, there is a potential third opportunity for the players to face (or wield!) instant death. Much of the adventure revolves around the classic D&D artifacts, the Hand and Eye of Vecna. According to the information on these artifacts at the back of the book, anyone touched by the full palm of the Hand of Vecna is killed with no saving throw. Which means that if you’re fighting someone who has the hand of Vecna, you’re one successful touch attack away from death. Now, the module never puts the player characters in a position where they will face an opponent who wields this deadly artifact, but I’m uncomfortable even having it exist in the game.

The question, though, is how to make it fair without neutering it. It is, after all, the severed hand of a deity. It should have a fearsome and terrible power for the players to tremble before. So how about this:

Someone with the Hand of Vecna can instantly kill anyone with 10HD or less on a successful touch attack (no saving throw). Creatures with more than 10HD are entitled to a fortitude save DC 20. On a failed save, the character dies. On a successful save, the character is reduced to 1 hit point and knocked prone. If the character with the hand also possesses the eye of Vecna, the DC to resist is raised to 25. (Saving throws based on D&D 3.5 Dungeon Master’s Guide)

Using this rule, players will feel almost exactly the same way about the hand: they’ll want to avoid it at all costs. But even if they can’t avoid it, or don’t even know that their enemy has it, then they at least have a chance at achieving a near-death experience, as opposed to dying outright.

Moving on, Vecna Lives! is also the first module I’ve read which has such a strong focus on mystery, detective work, and role playing. A lot of adventures include some of that, but this is a ninety five page module which downplays combat encounters, and has no dungeon crawls. The adventure goes from the players trying to learn who the bad guys are, to trying to find out where the bad guys are, to trying to figure out how to stop the bad guys. And [spoiler alert] even the final solution is essentially a matter of role playing, with the PCs summoning The Old One to duke it out with Vecna, evil god to evil god.

Games like that have always been my weakness as a GM. I love to plan them, but they never quite work out the way I hope they will. It often feels as though I’m stuck nudging the players along, giving them every hint until it feels like their presence at the table is redundant because I’m playing my own adventure. Granted, my group has admitted in the past that they don’t think they’re very good at looking for clues, but I still feel like they might have an easier time if I took lessons from Vecna Lives!

First off, there should be a variety of ways to reach any of the conclusions necessary to move forward in the storyline. In my games I’ve done things such as sending the characters catch some smugglers red handed, hoping that they would take the time to interrogate one of the smugglers. This would allow them to learn the name of the smuggler’s contact within the city’s criminal element, and thus allow the players to come closer to finding the den of the crime boss. The problem is that my players would never think to question the smuggler, leaving me to wonder how to move the game forward without stealing their sense of accomplishment.

Vecna Lives! readily admits that players may be dense sometimes. In fact it frequently uses language like “if they still don’t get that they need to do X, you may need to slap them upside the head,” or my personal favorite “you may need to give up on them.” However, despite the auspicious author’s candid comments about players who aren’t able to detect well, he also provided many paths of investigations for the characters to follow to reach the same goal. You might say that while the example of my game which I gave above constructs detective work as a linear exercise, Vecna Lives! provides GMs with an entire web of interconnected information for the PCs to discover.

For example, in trying to determine what happened to their predecessors (the powerful characters killed by the GM which I mentioned earlier), the players have the options of inquiring with the victim’s colleagues and friends, or of looking into what books those characters checked out of the city’s libraries before they departed on their ill fated journey. Talking to some friends might lead to other friends, and those friends might lead to specific libraries which can be investigated, and a book found there might lead the PCs to consult an expert on the book’s subject matter to learn even more.

I’ve already got outlines for the next few games I’ll be running with all of my groups, but I’m already excited to give mystery based sessions another attempt.

Vecna Lives! Adventuring Party
As a final word, I’d like to give a nod to a nice role-playing helper the module provides.

The bulk of the adventure is meant to be played by 8 pre-generated characters detailed in the back of the book. The characters are a rag-tag group, banded together by their relationship to the more powerful characters killed off in the first few minutes of the adventure. Each character’s description is understandably short, but I was very pleased that they allocated the space in each of the 8 character descriptions to write seven paragraphs about that character’s relationships with the other seven PCs. Reading over those descriptions gave me a sense of how the characters will work as a group. And I noticed that more than a few characters had a relationship which could provide interesting role playing opportunities. Such as the half-elf who thought the paladin was standoffish, while the paladin was only distant because the half elf reminded him of his own son. A player playing the Half Elf might easily choose to forsake the highroad and lash out at the paladin, only to have the paladin’s player choose to break down crying. As a GM who often thinks about ways to better encourage my players to role play, I found this both simple, and potentially effective.

I don’t know when I’ll get around to updating this 95 page monster to Pathfinder, but I’ll be sure to post it when I do. Don’t be surprised if years pass.

Magically Generating New Adventures

Pile of Random Magic The Gathering CardsWhen I was 12 I finally got the opportunity to begin learning how to program on a second-hand computer my uncle was throwing out. For reasons I’m not entirely certain of, programming didn’t remain a major pursuit of mine. The time I spent fervently perfecting my simple programs did teach me a lot, though. Among other things, I learned to appreciate the beauty of randomness. So it should come as no surprise to anyone that I enjoy a hobby where life and death often hang on a roll the dice.

In recent years I’ve become more interested in using randomness to aid in my creative process as a GM. I’ve worked on creating systems for randomly generating a variety of gaming elements, from dungeons, to species, to entire campaign arcs. One of my proudest achievements was my random NPC generator. It was one of the most ambitious programming projects I ever undertook, and I made a lot of progress with it. Unfortunately, my ability to construct the system was far more advanced than my ability to code the system, and the project has largely fallen by the wayside.

In this post, however, I’d like to talk about one of the simplest, most elegant and most entertaining systems of random generation I’ve come up with. I use it for adventure generation, but I imagine it could be adapted to be used for any length of narrative, up to entire campaign arcs.

The idea came to me one afternoon after an extended game of Magic: The Gathering with some friends. Most of my friends find the game much more entertaining than I do, so I was sitting out for a round. While they played, I browsed through the four boxes of cards I’ve accumulated, just enjoying the artwork. I came across one particularly devilish monster (I don’t recall which) and thought it would be great to throw against my players in an upcoming session of D&D.

Then my eyes snapped open wide as I realized that Magic and D&D take place in environments so similar that every magic card is a potential element in a D&D game. I quickly grabbed a piece of paper and worked out the system which, even then, seemed so simple as to hardly need codifying.

1) Either: predetermine the game elements the cards will represent, or decide to establish those elements after the cards are drawn.

2) Either: separate the cards into categories (artifact, creature, land, sorcery…), or decide to draw them from one huge pile.

3) Determine the number of cards you will draw. (and, possibly, from which piles you will draw them.)

4) Draw the number of cards you decided on in step 3, according to the conditions established in steps 1 and 2. Use any element found on the card (art, game effects, flavor text, or even just the card’s name) as a seed from which to develop the game.

To just write it out like that doesn’t seem very clear, so below are a few examples of this. For the first draw, I used the “Random Card” function on Gatherer. I won’t predetermine which cards correlate with which game elements, nor will I separate the cards into categories. I will draw four cards.

Magic The Gathering: Great Sable Stag ElkMagic The Gathering: Flashfreeze Old ManMagic The Gathering: Mentor of the Meek Swordsmanship TrainerMagic The Gathering: Hellkite Hatchling Red Dragon

The first thing that strikes me about these cards is the power and majesty of the Great Sable Stag. It seems a paragon of nature. This is in contrast to the Hellkite hatchling, which looks like a pretty evil dragon. Flashfreeze has some nice art of a sagacious old man on it, but I think I’d like to make this card into a kind of freezing trap which shows up in the game. Mentor of the Meek is kinda throwing me for a loop, but I’ve found that things work out best if I don’t discard cards which are difficult to fit into the idea. Maybe I can maybe work him in as the questgiver.

After some additional mulling, this is what I’ve come up with:

In a town on the outskirts of society, near an immense and unexplored forest, there are no inns for the players to stay in. Here, there is a strong presence of temples which offer free hospitality to travelers. While staying in one such very crowded temple, the PCs find themselves sitting at a table with a group of elderly pilgrims equal in number to the party. After some brief role play has allowed the players to familiarize themselves with their table companions, the server brings food. Unfortunately, the temple is overcrowded, and only has enough food for half the people at the table.

This is a test. If the PCs share the food, or offer it to the elderly pilgrims, they are approached by a young monk wearing light leather clothing, and a sword strapped to his side. He asks if he can speak with them, and takes them to a small side room with chairs, a table, and food for the players. They have impressed him with their generosity, and he would like to ask a favor of them. In the deep forest is a creature called the Playton Stag. It is a beautiful, and terrible, creature. All other stags in the world are a reflection of this one great animal.

Recently, a nearby Ancient Red Dragon named Ashrain gave birth to a whelping, and is teaching him to hunt in the great woods. Normally this would be of little concern, but the temple’s seers have foretold that Ashrain intends to continue hunting until her whelp can devour the Playton Stag.

To prevent this, the monk would like the party to capture the Playton Stag, and bring it back to the city where the monks can hide it until Ashrain grows bored of her grisly sport.

There is one snag, however. Any creature which touches the Playton Stag is instantly affected by a Time Stop spell, lasting one hour. The players must somehow return the creature to the town without ever touching it, lest they be easy prey for the creatures of the forest, or the dragons.

There are two things about this which I would like to point out. First, despite pulling 3 creature cards and a spell card, the game outline I worked up is not combat based. In fact, the primary goal of the adventure is more akin to solving a puzzle than anything else. Second, and most important, this is not an adventure I would have come up with on my own. It’s not my style, which means that the system is doing exactly what I want it to do: making me think differently. Forcing me to break my own patterns by forcing me to try to find patterns in randomness.

I think the concept is pretty clear at this point, but I’ll provide one more example to demonstrate the alternatives available in steps 1 and 2 of the process. This time I’ll be drawing from my own collection. I will predetermine the elements the cards will represent, but I will not sort the cards into categories.

The first card will be what the heroes are after on this adventure.
The second and third cards will be the challenges they must face.
The fourth card will be the unexpected help along the way.
The fifth card will be what sent them on their journey.
The sixth card will be what special treasure they have an opportunity to find.

I will now draw from my collection, and post the cards below in the order I drew them.

Magic The Gathering: Tempest Owl Blue Owl WaterfallMagic The Gathering: Spin Engine Artifact ConstructMagic The Gathering: Amrou Scout Kithkin Rebel Scout Woman AdventurerMagic The Gathering: Greater Basilisk Green Reptile Monster Magic The Gathering: Chandra's Spitfire Woman Of Fire SerpentMagic The Gathering: Tireless Missionaries Human Clerics Incense Procession

Now, you might look at this and see it as an unfortunate draw. What the players are after appears to be nothing more than a mundane owl, their unexpected help comes from a mindless and violent creature, and one of the obstacles they must overcome is an attractive young woman. But this is precisely what we want when we predetermine what cards will be associated with which game element. It forces us to further stretch our minds, to further break from our own patterns. I’ll keep this one short since the post is starting to run long.

After defeating a mad pyromancer, the party discover a journal whilst looting her body. It turns out she was hunting for a missing artifact. She had recently pinpointed its location: the ancient Amrou people who had hidden it had allowed an owl to swallow it, and enchanted the owl so that the artifact would be passed to its children. For generations, this family of owls has hunted among the Tempest Falls–a breathtaking and rare cluster of waterfalls in a far off land.

Along the way, the party is hounded by the forgotten descendants of those who first hid the artifact. However, if they looted a special amulet from the pyromancer, they will discover that it has an unusual ability. Whenever one of Amrou blood is near, it will summon a basilisk. The basilisk will attack the Amrou on sight–and will attack the players if it cannot find any Amrou nearby after being summoned. This makes any attempt at peace very difficult.

If the party successfully finds and slays the owl, the moment it dies, a great rumbling is heard, and an ancient war construct rises from beneath the earth to kill those who have breached the sacred trust of the Amrou.

Once the construct is defeated, and the players are finally able to examine the orb from the owl’s belly. If they are able to use magic to identify it, they will discover that once per day, it may be used to attempt to force a permanent 1 step alignment shift in another creature. Will save DC: 17, may not be used on the same creature twice regardless of success or failure.

So there you have it. Generating new adventures via magic. It’s not the only way of coming up with new ideas, but it’s one very good and fun method to try.

The Girl and the Granite Throne: Chapter Three

The Girl and the Granite Throne Chapter 3

 “But if the Hidden Lord teaches that each of us has in our heart a dark seed of weakness, then why would He bestow upon his high priest the title of “The Heart?”” Erin asked, incredulous.

“Ah, but The Hidden Lord also admonishes us never to reveal all that we know, child! Our greatest strength is our secrecy.” Argetta replied “Surely, you do not think that even a priestess such as myself would know His thoughts. It is enough that he has given us his Heart, and that we follow the teachings the Heart passes on to us.”

Frustrated by the dodge, Erin pressed “How can I know what teachings come from Vecna if I know not who the Heart is?”

The two women sat in the chapel, as they often had in the three years since Erin’s encounter with her god. The Whispered Lord had not spoken to her often in the intervening years–He had made it clear that she had not yet earned His full support. So Erin had taken it upon herself to seek out his teachings through the religion which worshiped Him. Increasingly, however, she found herself frustrated by the shortcomings in the dogma spouted by low level priests like Argetta.

Just as the older woman opened her mouth to respond, Immar stormed into the chapel, throwing the doors aside with a reverberating thump as they struck the walls. Erin stood and turned to face him immediately.

“How was your meeting with Mayor Geonlad, Master?” Erin asked. Normally she would be nowhere near so formal, but she did not want to give her teacher any excuse to focus his mood on her.

“That piss drinking son of a troll!?” Immar shouted, “That pompous bag of flatulence!?” Erin did her best not to quirk a smile, but the corner of her mouth quivered a bit. Immar was not very good at cursing.

“I take it then, sir, that the audience he requested did not go well?” she asked. From the corner of her eye she saw Argetta skulking out of the chapel, and very much wished she could join the stealthy old hag. “Is he still claiming that the tower is within the bounds of Heathrop to try and extort you for taxes?”

Immar took several deep breaths, which seemed to reduce him from a towering pillar of anger, back to an Illumian man. “Would that it was just the large words of a small man as it has been in the past. Today he presented forged land titles to that effect before the captain of the town’s guard. We are to comply within a fortnight, or he will order my arrest.” At this, Erin did laugh, though only for a moment before Immar’s glare made her cover her mouth to straighten her face. As quickly as she could, she explained herself.

“What hope could Geonlad have of restraining you? His city guard can barely keep on top of a rambunctious drunkard!”

“Paladins,” Immar replied, his tone still seething. “Eight of them, Cuthbertians. Apparently here to help the ‘goodly’ people of Heathrop by dealing with the wizards who are ‘abusing their power to avoid their legal responsibilities.'”

Now Erin was starting to feel angry too. “Gods damned paladins!” she cursed through gritted teeth. “Always more interested in being ‘heroes of the common people’ than they are in doing things right.”

Immar rubbed his eyes, then turned and began to walk out of the chapel. “I must meditate and pray.” he said, not bothering to look behind him. “Find Argetta and tell her I would like to see her in my chambers, then get some sleep. In the morning we will discuss whatever plan seems best.”

Erin nodded, and moved ahead of him out the door so she could find the priestess. She avoided looking back at her teacher. Eight paladins was a very real danger, and after all these years she knew Immar was not likely to pay for something he did not owe. She was afraid, and did not want the older wizard to see the fear she knew was evident on her face.

Loattie climbed onto Erin’s face just before dawn, and hopped up and down. Erin awoke, and made exaggerated sputtering sounds of disgust until the frog hopped back onto the bed side table. She gave her familiar a withering glare with her one good eye.

“I know I told you to wake me up in the morning, but shouldn’t you have figured out a more pleasant way to do it by now?” The frog chirped throatily back at her.

“Oh shut up.” Erin spat back, never much a fan of mornings.

Uncovering her Everburning Candle, Erin sat on the floor and cracked open her worn and trusty spellbook to begin memorizing the spells she thought she might need that day. By the time she had finished laying the mental framework required for casting, the first rays of the morning sun had begun to filter through the trees outside of the tower. She washed quickly before rummaging through her armoire for the day’s clothes. She had (somewhat clumsily) sewn additional pockets to all of her shirts and pants to store any spell components. And, of course, each had an extra pocket for Loattie.

Before rushing off to meet with Immar, Erin took a moment to stand in front of the mirror. She checked to make sure her hair was neat, and to quickly adjust the way her clothes rested around her increasingly curvaceous figure. She was not a vain woman, but she had discovered the potential of boys to be very entertaining. Though, she had also learned that most of them needed to be singed a bit in order to get them to do it right–but she didn’t mind. Burns healed.

Thoroughly satisfied that she looked alluring, Erin briskly walked out of the room, scooping Loattie off of a table and into her breast pocket as she did so. She quickly ascended the staircase, which gently wound along the inside edge of the tower’s cylindrical frame, eventually opening up into Immar’s laboratory on the top floor. There she found her teacher surrounded by a dense forest of papers. She saw maps, letters of correspondence, and tomes covering a variety of subject matter, covering not only his desk but the floor around him.

“Master?” Erin asked from the stairwell, unsure of whether to approach through the maze of documents. Immar stood and turned so fast that his wooden chair upended itself.

“Erin! Come here! You must see this.”

Erin could see even from across the room that the older wizard had not slept since the previous night. Before moving to join him at his desk, she moved to the windows and drew back the heavy curtains, allowing the early morning light to fill the room. Immar winced and brought up his hand to cover his face.

“It’s morning already…?” he started, before apparently deciding that the hour was irrelevant, and waving emphatically for Erin to join him.

She did, picking her way through the papers on the floor as gracefully as she could to join her teacher at the table. Immar had never demonstrated the absent minded eccentricity often attributed to wizards before. Erin could not wait to learn what had caused him to start now.

Among the items on the table was a book Erin had perused once or twice before, entitled “Tome of War: The Arcane, and the Mundane.” Speaking as a scholar it was of only minor note, detailing what a wizard named Feyun The Crimson Blade believed to be the optimum application of spells in warfare. Presently it was open to a brief chapter detailing the problems posed to a wizard by paladins.

Erin’s eyes bulged, and before Immar had even said a word she spun on him, carelessly tearing some papers beneath her heel.

“You mean to fight them!?” she nearly shouted, aghast at the thought.

“Of course I do.” he replied, in the same tone he might use if she had just misunderstood the simplest of cantrips.

“But there are only the two of us and Argetta!” Erin replied, “And the tower isn’t exactly a fortress.”

“Which is why we’re bringing in more people, and won’t be fighting from the tower.”

“Indefensible as the tower is, I hardly think the forest will be a better place.”

“Which is why we won’t be defending.” Immar continued.

Erin, still unsettled by the idea of fighting trained and seasoned warriors, unconsciously cocked her head to the side and furrowed her brow, unable to decipher her teacher’s cryptic leading statements. Immar let her dangle for several moments before taking pity and making the leap of logic for her.

“We are going to take Heathrop.”

Erin felt her knees weaken, and fumbled for the chair, righting it and sitting down to avoid falling over. The idea seemed ludicrous, but Immar was clearly serious. Of course, he was a powerful wizard, and though he didn’t make much use of them he was fairly well connected within the Illumian covens of his people. But there were well over 1200 people in Heathrop, and she doubted Immar could muster even a tenth of that.

“Then what?” was all she managed to ask.

“Then,” Immar continued, straightening his back and looking as commanding as he could “We hold it. We rule it. And we guide it into prosperity with the light of intellect.”

Erin was silent. She had been fearful about the paladins before, but had gone to sleep confident that Immar would overcome. Now…

“What role then am I to play?” she asked, looking up to meet Immar’s eyes.

Immar put a hand on her shoulder, and let another moment of silence pass before he spoke.

“You are my right hand, my dear. You will lead a portion of those who join with me. It will be dangerous, but I have confidence you’re up to the task.”

“Master,” Erin began, “I am a scholar.”

“You are a wizard, Erin.” Immar replied. “One of the finest wizards I’ve ever seen at such a young age. This task may test you, but you’ve never failed a test I’ve set before you yet.”

The younger wizard stood, trying to wipe away the small welling of tears in her eye without her teacher seeing. She took a step towards the table, and unrolled a map of the surrounding area which she found there.

“So,” she asked, “what is the plan?”

***

The room was much cleaner two weeks later when Erin stood next to Immar as he explained his plan to the five Illumian commanders. They, and their men, had been sent in response to the wizard’s request for aid from his cabal. Erin had insisted that the 50-some odd warriors would not be enough against a town with a population more than twenty-times that. But Immar had assured her that not nearly a twentieth of the town was so attached to the mayor, and his leadership, that they would fight and die.

“Besides” he had added “even those that will are peasantry who’ve been given swords and called soldiers. An Illumian Warblade is worth a hundred clumsy fighters. It’s the paladins we need to worry about, they’re the real dangerous element here.”

Immar was droning on, pointing at key locations on the map and using minor illusions to better demonstrate his plan. Erin tried to pay attention, but found herself fading out. None of this was new to her–some of it had even been her idea. Simply put, Erin would go into town ahead and organize those few who were among the faithful of The Whispered Lord. On the night of the upcoming festival of high summer, her group would take any action they could to disrupt the town’s ability to defend itself, while the Illumians would quell any major resistance. Immar would personally lead one of the Illumian Tenche, a group of ten soldiers, directly to the center of town where they would capture the Mayor and his family. There were details, but the plan was straightforward.

Straightforward enough that Erin found herself far more interested in the Illumian boy across the room. he was perhaps a year her junior, and most certainly was not in command of a Tenche, as the five other Illumian visitors in the room were. Part of her was curious to learn why he had been invited to attend this meeting when the rest of the soldiers had been left to wait in the camp erected outside. A much larger part of her, though, was very interested in finding out if he was as well formed as his light leather armor made him look.

Erin barely noticed when the meeting ended, and only turned to look at Immar again once she noticed that everyone else was filing out of the room.

“Will that be all, master?” she asked, hoping he hadn’t already answered that question.

“No, I need you to remain a moment. There are a few final matters for us to discuss.” Immar gestured for her to sit, and she did. He waited until the commanders had left the room before he began.

“You’ll be leaving for Heathrop in the morning, and I need to know that you understand what this role will require of you. It’s just been the three of us here in the tower for most of your life. You’ve never really needed to be a leader before.”

“How difficult can it be?” Erin asked. “You’ve got authority over the faithful in this region, and have put me in charge those in the town. They must do as I command, correct?” Immar bit his cheek.

“It’s not quite that simple, child.” he began, picking his words carefully “Much as I have faith in your abilities, they will still see you as a fifteen year old girl. Many of them will likely have daughters your age, or even older, who they still view as young children.”

“I am no peasant child!” Erin growled, a little more offended at the implied comparison than she knew she should be.

“Precisely why you will be leading them. But if you want them to listen to you at all then you need to be firm with them. You cannot accept any dissent, and you must never show them any fear or indecision. If they view you as weak, then you cannot lead them.”

Erin opened her mouth to respond, but Immar interrupted her and continued. “And you must lead them, Erin. If you fail then so fails the entire conquest, and you and I will both likely lose our lives at the hands of a paladin inquisitor.”

Pursing her lips, Erin merely nodded.

“I haven’t forgotten what’s on the line.” she said, softly, but with a determination in her voice which put Immar’s mind at ease.

“I know you haven’t, my dear girl.” Immar said, leaning forward and placing a hand on top of Erin’s. The two sat silently for a moment, enjoying the familial comfort for as long as they could before the coming battles threatened to separate them forever. Finally, Immar stood.

“I have something for you,” he said, as he walked across the room to one of the tables near the wall and picked up a long shaft wrapped in velvet. “I had thought to make you a proper wizard’s staff, but this seemed more appropriate. I commissioned it a few months ago, and it only just arrived.”

The older wizard handed his student the shaft, and she expectantly unrolled the velvet to reveal a long, expertly crafted war spear, with two additional blades angled back along the shaft.

“It’s called a ‘duom,'” Immar offered, “I was told they are favored weapons among those Warblades who favor the spear.”

Erin turned the weapon over in her hand, admiring the light weight and beautiful craftsmanship.

“It’s magnificent.” she whispered, unable to take her eyes off of it.

“I’m still not sure why you insist on using such unsophisticated weaponry when you have spells available to you, but I’ve never been able to change your mind so you may as well have the best tools available.” Erin looked up and met her teacher’s eyes.

“Thank you.” she said. “I will use it to ensure your victory in the coming battles.” A little flustered by the emotional exchange, Immar changed the subject.

“Speaking of, there is one last thing we need to discuss.” without waiting for an acknowledgement from Erin, he turned and called loudly “Byert!” Almost immediately, the young Illumian Erin had been eying earlier was on the stairs, and moving to stand at attention before Immar. Erin quickly made her face stern, not wanting the emotional moment she had just shared with her teacher to be on display.

“Erin, this is my nephew, Byert. He will serve as your guard during this offensive.”

“What!?” shouted Erin. “Am I now some child who needs a chaperone whilst I overthrow a government for you?”

“Do not overestimate yourself, young wizard!” Immar replied, raising his voice to match her indignant shouting. “There is a limit to how many spells you can cast without rest. No wise mage enters battle without a fighter to protect them.”

Erin refrained from pointing out that the spear fighting skills her teacher had discouraged were useful in precisely that situation. Whether she liked it or not, though, he was right. Even Immar himself would be fighting with ten trained warblades by his side.

“Very well, master.” Erin said, mustering as much of a respectful tone as she could through clenched teeth. “But you-” she continued, whirling to face her ‘protector.’ The warning comment she had ready for him died on her tongue, however, when she saw he was kneeling on the floor.

“What are you doing?” the two wizards asked, almost simultaneously.

“Lady Erin,” the boy said, his voice resolute and his head bowed “I vow I will serve and protect you faithfully, with my life if need be.”

Erin and Immar looked at each other, a little confused by the young warrior’s zealous pronouncement.

“Um…rise?” Erin ventured, and he quickly did. The two youths stared at one another blankly, both waiting for the other to speak. The silence might have continued indefinitely had Immar not stepped in.

“The two of you will leave at first light for Heathrop. Now get some rest.”

The young warrior crossed his arms over his chest in a formal Illumian salute, spun on his heel, and marched back down the stairs. Annoying as Erin found him, she couldn’t help but watch him with lusty eyes, and wonder if he still had his cherry. She was in the middle of enjoying that thought when Immar grabbed firm hold of her ear and painfully twisted.

“He’s my nephew, you cad!” The older wizard scolded, only half joking.

Role Playing: The Basics

Kids Playing

Do you remember what the word “playing” meant as a child? You took your G.I. Joe, or your Barbie, or your Hotwheels, or even just the stick you found, and you made it real in your mind. Anything could happen. The bush in your front lawn was an immense forest for your smaller toys, or if you were partial to the stick, then trees, signposts, or even just the air around you became a band of ninjas intent on releasing their real ultimate power all over you.

Of course, they were never really good enough to overcome your masterful, flailing swordsmanship. And much as we prided ourselves on being the greatest swordsman in the back yard, we inevitably grew bored with the lack of challenge involved.

And that’s where traditional pen and paper role playing games come in. They take everything which we loved about playing as children, and give it the structure and guidance it needs to remain fun through our entire adult lives.

For the most part, this blog has assumed that readers of the RPG related posts are, themselves, role players. I haven’t bothered to explain the more basic concepts, because I assumed nobody interested in those posts would need them explained. However, a twitter-friend of mine, Mocharaid, recently requested that I write a “D&D for Newbs” blogpost. I don’t get a lot of requests, so just asking was flattery enough for me to oblige.

In this post I will try to put the essence of my beloved hobby into words. Though books could, and have, been written on the subject, I think it worthwhile to say things in my own way. Of course, nothing I write here could be a complete distillation of everything there is, (the most basic rulebook for Pathfinder alone is over 500 pages long!) I hope only to provide outsiders with a glimpse of what life is like around the game table.

A quick disclaimer before I move forward: I am not setting out to do research for this post. I’ll fact-check, of course, but this will be a tale told through the lens of my personal experience, focusing on the games I’ve played.


A (Very) Brief History


1st First Edition Dungeons and Dragons Booklette I know History isn’t very interesting unless you’re already interested, so you can skip this if you like. However, a basic history can be helpful, so here we go.

Wargames had already been around a very long while when, in 1974, a pair of fellows named Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson struck upon an idea for a game. In this game, the players would take control of individual characters in a fantasy world, and guide those characters as they worked together to face danger and seek out treasure. They called this game Dungeons and Dragons, and it took off, selling 1,000 copies the first year, and 4,000 copies the next.

It didn’t take long for innumerable games with their own take on the basic concept to spring up. Some focused on Science Fiction, while others focused on realistic modern-day adventuring, and still others take place in the realm of Lovecraftian horrors. Some of these games are good, some of them are great, and some of them are downright awful, but nobody can complain about lack of variety.

Meanwhile, the two founders of the genre created a second edition of their game, and went on releasing supplements and improvements to Dungeons and Dragons until the late 90s. In 1997, Wizards of the Coast purchased TSR (the company founded by Gygax and Arneson). And in the year 2000 Wizards release Dungeons and Dragons third edition, which was followed in 2003 by the release of D&D 3.5. 2003. These two systems took the interesting step of implementing the open gaming license, or “OGL.” To put that in software terms, many parts of Dungeons and Dragons were now considered “Open Source.” Incidentally, is where I came in.

In 2008, WotC released Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition. And, while beloved by many, many others felt that 4th edition betrayed the history of the D&D franchise. For these displaced multitudes who now found themselves clinging to the sinking ship of D&D 3.5, a savior came. A company called Paizo took advantage of the OGL used by D&D 3.5 to release Pathfinder.

Pathfinder is the game which I currently champion. It is Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, updated and polished. I look forward to many years of playing and enjoying this game. And, if this post inspires you to look into the hobby further, I encourage you to buy the absolutely gorgeous hardcover copy of the book. Aside from buying it online, you should be able to find it at any gaming store, or bookstore which sells RPGs. And if the price tag is too high for you, Paizo offers the entire set of rules for free online.


The Absolute Basics


A Game of Dungeons and Dragons In Progress
Here’s what an RPG is, distilled to a single sentence:

In a group of two or more players, all but one player take control of characters, while the remaining player controls the environment, any non-player characters, and determines the difficulty and success of any tasks the other players would like their characters to perform.

That single player, often referred to as the “Game Master,” or GM, is the facilitator. In the imaginary world which everyone is engaged with, the GM is not only god, but the tavernkeeper, the king, the farmer, the monster, or even the inconvenient wall. It is the GM’s job to construct a game for the other players to play, his or her job to determine the outcome of any actions taken by the characters, and most importantly, to make sure that everyone is having fun.

Everyone else at the table, often referred to as the players (in contrast to the Game Master), controls only a single actor in the world the GM has created. This player character, or PC, has free reign to explore the GM’s world, but are powerless beyond whatever abilities their character possesses.

At this point someone skeptical about the value of these games might point out that all I’ve described above is a video game, with the electronics being replaced by a person. A person who will not only need to do a lot of work, but one who might not be as good at game design as a professional game designer. Or, worse yet, one who might be biased to favor one player over others at the table. And all of this is true, but it ignores the greatest strength of RPGs. The one thing that elevates them, in my mind, above any video game ever made.

You can do anything.

Remember that time in a video game when the zombies were closing in on you, and you wanted to get into the next room to escape, but the door was boarded shut? In the game, you had to stop, kill the zombie with your weapon, then try to find another entrance to the room.

In that same scenario in D&D, here’s just a few of the alternatives you would have:

-Attempt to kick in the door.
-Attempt to climb up into the rafters, out of the Zombie’s reach.
-Climb out of the nearby window onto the ledge outside and see about finding another window to climb back into.
-Attempt to throw the zombie out of aforementioned window.
-Climb up into the rafters, dangle yourself in front of the window, then pull yourself up just in time for the charging zombie to fall out of the window.

Of course, a video game might include functions to replicate one, two, or even all of the options mentioned above. And that’s fine. But no time in the near future will video games be able to allow a player to respond to challenges in the sheer variety of ways that a pen and paper RPG does.

And as for the amount of work the GM needs to do? Well, while some of us mumble and grouse about it, the truth is we love every second of it. We spent our childhoods making maps and inventing imaginary lands. Nothing makes us quite as happy as sharing those places with people who appreciate them. A kind word here, and a compliment there, is more than enough to make me eager to keep going.


The Role of Dice


Crazy Looking Gaming Dice

Players of RPGs use a lot of unusually shaped dice. Most people are familiar by now with the existence of twenty-sided dice, but in my gaming career I’ve used dice with 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 20, and even 100 sides. And that’s hardly the extent of the dice which are used by the gaming community.

Dice are the means by which success and failure are determined. I think my favorite explanation of how dice interact with the game comes from a line of Game Master advice in superb Star Wars RPG, published by West End Games.

Pick a difficulty number. If the character’s skill roll is equal or higher, she succeeds.

Dice serve as the one element of the game which is out of everyone’s control. They are the great equalizer. The Goblin King may be 100 feet away, and the fighter may only have the broken hilt of a sword left to her, but if she decides to take that shot and rolls a 20, then against all odds she might just be able to turn a losing battle around. Of course, in the very next scene, while walking across the relatively sturdy (but somewhat narrow) bridge, a roll of 1 could leave the mighty slayer of the goblin king tumbling to an ignoble death.

Of course, most games don’t leave everything to chance. Many actions have no chance of failure (such as eating or walking through normal terrain). Still other actions are blatantly impossible, or have skill checks only a god could make. Even everything in between isn’t left completely up to the dice, as players have the opportunity to be better or worse at specific types of tasks.

Lets say, for example, that your character is good at climbing. Depending on what game you’re playing this might be represented a number of different ways, but the end result is that you have a better chance to succeed at climbing than another character would. This might take the form of allowing you to roll additional dice, or simply giving you a static number which you can add to any die result you get.

The number you have to roll is normally determined by the Game Master, and is higher or lower based on the difficulty or ease of the task at hand. To continue with the climbing analogy, making your way up a steep slope might require a moderately high roll. Perhaps a 15 on a 20-sided die. Whereas climbing a cliff face which slopes outwards might require a roll of 25–meaning you damned well better have a bonus of at least +5 if you’re going to attempt it.


How to Stop Wishing and Start Playing


So you like what you hear, you want to play, but you don’t know anybody, right? Almost every gamer I’ve ever known has had this problem at some point. It’s frustrating, the hobby really isn’t all that wide spread these days. So here’s my advice:

Just fucking do it.

I know that seems ridiculous, but I’m trying to make a point: there are gamers out there. And, if there aren’t, then there are potential gamers out there. Ask around, browse the Internet, you’ve probably got a comic shop, or better yet, a friendly local game store. The store owners might even allow a few groups to play in the shop, or at least let you post a “looking for group” announcement on their bulletin board.

If you’re willing to take on the mantle of GM, then talk to your friends or your coworkers or anyone who will listen. Odds are at least some of them will be interested enough to come over to your place for an evening of pizza, beer, and fun. Some of them will decide that role playing isn’t really their kind of thing, and won’t want to do it again. But that’s okay–finding your group is an ongoing process.

And if all else fails, turn to the Internet. There are resources like The Pathfinder Society to help you find people. And if even that fails you, lots of people play online.

There are games and gamers out there–you just need to find them.


Anything More?


If anybody enjoyed this or found it useful and would like me to write more on this topic, let me know what you want to know, I will try to oblige.

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