Friday 31 July 2015

When Great Cthulhu Rises...

from Goblin Punch. As a campaign idea goes, I find it curiously appealing.

Random Generators of Things

I'm in the process of trying to teach myself something about Javascript. And I am finding it really hard, a lot harder than I thought it would be. Every time I think I'm starting to come to grips with it, it kicks me in the balls and runs away giggling. And unfortunately, I don't know enough to know what I'm doing wrong.

Anyway, as an exercise in Learning Stuff, I've thrown together these random Generators of Things from various dice tables I've collected from various places over the years.

Thursday 23 July 2015


This is Westhead, on the western side of the River Norflowd as it exits Roddenberry Gorge. There was originally a matching head carved into the cliffs on the eastern side of the river as well, but it has weathered away to the point of being virtually indistinguishable from a natural mountain-side.

It is one of the most southerly of the great stone heads carved into the hills of the Headland. There is only one further south than this, at Southead.

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Green Screen Experiment

 I thought I'd try a bit of an experiment in photographing miniatures.

I bought a sheet of fluoro green card to use as a green screen, and tried it out with this Reaper Ettin. Then I removed the background using Photoshop's colour range selection.

It was not a complete success, though to be fair it was a pretty bodged-together job, and it might be better with a bit more forethought and effort.

I would need to adjust the lighting to remove as much shadowing as I can for a start, though that doesn't address the biggest problem, which is colour reflection on the model itself. It would also be useful to be able to take spot light readings, but my camera isn't really that clever — I'd have to adjust exposure manually, by trial and error, or else rely on its bracketing feature (which I'd have to set manually anyway).

With green screen
Green background removed

Levels and saturation adjusted, layer defringed, new background added.

It hasn't been a worthless experiment by any means. I'm not precisely sure how to deal with the reflection issues, but possibly a variety of background colours to suit individual subjects might be a solution? maybe.

Hmmmm..... one thought occurs to me: perhaps if I bring the model forward, out of the immediate reflection zone, and put it on a green-painted pedestal so that I retain the green background without contaminating the model itself? It's worth a try I think.

Sunday 12 July 2015

Rust Monster

Last Reaper miniature for the day is this one. I think they call it an Oxidation Beast, presumably so as not to anger the Litigation Gods, but to me it is clearly a Rust Monster.

Intellect Devourer

Another plastic figure from Reaper. I don't know what they call it, but it looks a bit like the old D&D Intellect Devourer to me, so that's what it shall be.

Plastic Basilisk

This is a quickie paint-up of the Basilisk from Reaper's Bones Kickstarter II.

I don't know what the product number is because it's yet another mini from that collection that isn't yet available in their online store, and I can no longer be bothered trying to find it in their preview gallery because its 'search' functionality is, frankly, garbage. They are really stretching out the general release of the KS-II minis; in my opinion, too far. Much too far.

Friday 10 July 2015

Random Name Generators

As pretty much the first fruits of my javascript self-teaching labours, I've made these Random Name Generators for my D&D campaign.

Because I am but a pathetic n00b at javascript, they are pretty basic, and no doubt they could be built much better. They do seem to work, however, so I'm quite pleased with myself.

Motivation Challenges (Whining, Basically)

I do really enjoy GMing, but it's difficult to maintain enthusiasm sometimes, especially in the face of constant negativity. It saps the fun out of the game for me, whether I'm GMing or playing.

Another big motivation hurdle is wasted effort — I like to think up Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine, but it's just a fact of life that nobody else really cares, and the chances are pretty good that the players will just ignore all that shit and go off and do something else entirely*. I'm not generally in favour of railroading an adventure, but it would be nice to be able to use my lovingly-imagined creations from time to time. It sometimes feels as though curiosity and adventurousness are an unwelcome intrusion into the game, rather than the underlying stimulus for the whole thing.

And another thing — I'm really not a big fan of constant city and/or detective and/or political and/or wilderness adventuring. It's fine as a leaven, but not all the time. I'm not good at acting and presenting NPC interactions, and all of those genres tend to require quite a lot of it.

I'm beginning to think that drawing a world map in the first place was a terrible idea. I should have just stayed with dungeons. In fact, I'm tempted to just send the whole campaign to Hell. Not metaphorically.

* The most recent example of that has come back and bitten the players in the arse though; if they hadn't ignored everything around them in their haste to go somewhere else, they would have found something that would have taken care of a certain problem that one of them has been whining about incessantly. Well, they missed it, so tough.

Monday 6 July 2015

"Sculpt Spells" modification

From the D&D5e PHB, p.117, the School of Evocation:
Beginning at 2nd level, you can create pockets of relative safety within the effects of your evocation spells. When you cast an evocation spell that affects other creatures that you can see, you can choose a number of them equal to 1 + the spell's level. The chosen creatures automatically succeed on their saving throws against the spell, and they take no damage if they would normally take half damage on a successful save.
This is a pretty cool ability, and I like it, but I think it's just a little too potent. If a warrior has to think twice about the cost/benefit ratio of shooting arrows into combat, I feel that a wizard should likewise have to weigh up whether or not they really should be dropping a Flame Strike right on their own location.

To that end, I intend to modify it thus:

  1. The "pockets of relative safety" become truly only relatively safe. The Evoker can shape their spell to flow around creatures, but the effect is this:
    • The creature being avoided gets to add the wizard's spellcasting ability modifier to their saving throw. (If the wizard includes themselves in the spell area-of-effect and already gets to add their spellcasting ability modifier, they don't get to add it again.)
    • If they save, they take no damage. If they fail, they still take half damage. If they fumble their save, they take full damage.
  2. Creatures in intimate physical contact — e.g., if grappling, or being swarmed by hundreds of flesh-eating beetles — count as a single creature for the purposes of shaping the spell around them. The wizard can choose to affect both of them or neither.

I think this should have the effect that I want, which is basically to keep the ability's usefulness, but remove the guarantees, so that the wizard actually has to consider whether to cast a spell that might damage their allies.

Saturday 4 July 2015

T-35 — Small and Smaller

Since the exchange rate on our dollar is spiralling away down the toilet, buying new stuff from overseas is less and less tenable.

One good side-effect of this is that instead of getting ever more things, I'm forced to deal with some of the things I've already got.

These are a couple of platoons worth of C-in-C white metal 1:285 scale T-35 heavy tanks (in service with the Soviet army from about 1933 to 1941) alongside a plastic 1:100 scale model of the same tank by Zvezda.

I like the Interwar period multi-turreted land-dreadnoughts. They have a distinct diesel-punk aesthetic about them that appeals, even though they were really pretty shit as tanks.

Friday 3 July 2015

Critter: Jellybaby

Here's a critter I made for my campaign, a Jellybaby.

It's big, slimy, smelly, and only as humanoid as it needs to be. Jellybabies are basically Gelatinous Cube golems, but they don't share the Gelatinous Cube's transparency, and they're considerably more purposeful in hunting down their prey..