Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Test building another modular tile design

Here are some shots of the test build of another tile system, designed to play at 1cm = 1" scale, i.e. printing 28mm miniatures at around 40% size. Each tile is made of a 6cm square glued to a base with some slots, creating a simple slot and connector system.

Tiles are kept together by fitting connectors to the slots...

This results in a mesh of small connected squares.

Here is a shot with some miniatures (from Battle Studios) printed at 40% scale.

At this size, I can fit three tiles per page, meaning I would need twelve pages to make the equivalent of a 3'x3' board. Each tile could be two-sided, to add variety too. I think that for 6" tiles -- to play with 28mm scale miniatures, for instance -- additional slots would be needed to keep the tiles aligned. Also, each tile would require two sheets of paper to build, so I do not think this design would be very good for larger scales.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Warmancers and other figures

Today I finished some figure building during lunch break, including some figures from the Torn Armor set and the eight spellcasters of the Warmancers: Battle Arena set, both published by Grey Matter Games.

Here are the two war golems and one hoplite from Torn Armor. These were the figures used to playtest the game, which is on its last week on Kickstarter. They have mirrored backs but I like the style of the illustrations, and the poses seem to be pretty much the same of the actual 3D miniatures.

Here are the spellcasters from the Battle Arena game. Overall, I think that they have dynamic poses and nice colors -- although they might seem a little washed out in this picture, thanks to my camera. These do have backs but I only realized I did not take a picture when I was posting this, so I might add another image later.

Lastly, here is a "group shot" with all the figures. This time I printed everything at normal scale -- in this case 28mm. I have to admit, no matter how practical it may be for me to play at reduced scales, they look better at this larger size, so sometimes I just have to build some :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Smugglers in the Dark - part 3

With some delay, here is the last part of my solo dungeon delve. Based on comments on the first report, it became clear that I should define the mechanics for group decision. After some thought, here is the system to be used:

1) I will set the scene based on card drawn, Mythic description chart etc.
2) I will come up with a likely course of action for each character, based on description, and I will test them with the Mythic fate chart. A result of "exceptional yes" will mean that the character will want to stick to their plan, possibly disregarding others' opinions and even taking immediate action. A result of "exceptional no" will mean they will actively avoid that option even if others suggest it. In the case of a simple "no" I will try to come up with secondary plan and test it again. A second "no" means the character has not made up their mind.
3) Based on the results from each character, I will try to interpret the decision of the party. This may require more fate chart rolls if a character tries to persuade the others, for instance.
4) If all characters rolled two "no" results on step 2, the action will be initiated by the NPCs, environment etc. For instance, a trap might be accidentally sprung, wandering monsters arrive, the NPCs start asking questions...

Since I am not very experienced in solo RPGs, I tried to fit most decisions into the "make a common sense question / answer with fate chart" framework from Mythic. I will leave the comments about how it worked for the end of the report:

Ingont woke up to the sound Eryz and Swyem talking. They had built a small campfire and Swyem was making some kind of tea. He had planned to wake up before sunrise and start preparing... Now all this chatter would make concentrating harder, not to mention the risk of drawing unwanted attention. At least Swyem seemed to have recovered, and the blood stains on her armor were the only reminder of yesterday's fight.

The party walked back to the ruins and passed through the entrance in mid-morning. They moved slowly, wary of any signs or sounds of movement, until reaching the point where two corridors crossed. [Party order remains the same: Eryz, Ingont and Swyem. Turns 1 and 2 were spent moving to the crossing found on the previous day.]

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dungeon Tiles and Walls

Today I built some pieces of the Dungeon Tiles and Walls set, created by Eddnic of the Fantasy Paper Miniature Models blog and published by Avalon Games. There are several products for the creation of paper dungeon environments, from flat tile sets to full 3D scenarios. This one offers a lot of flexibility and modularity with the added bonus of allowing all pieces to be stored flat. OK, calling it a "bonus" is unfair as the set was carefully designed to allow this feature -- this becomes evident when you see the flat-folding stairway...

The heart of the set are the pillars, wall sections and door frames, which can be combined in a variety of ways. Most of the building process involves easy cuts with a hobby knife and some folding. The layout of the pieces on the sheets makes the process of scoring (marking the fold lines with a dull knife or ball pen without ink, to make folding easier) the pieces very efficient. The only parts that require glue are a few tabs on the pillars and on the stairway piece. Here are some shots of the built pieces.

The doors are slotted into the door frames, so it is possible to show the open or closed state of each passageway. There are different versions, such as wooden doors and metal bars. There is also a stand-alone door frame model, which could be used just to add some 3D elements to a flat map.

Here is a shot of the separate pieces that I built. It is possible to see a dungeon tile (there are many others in the set), some connectors, which are used to create passageways and bridge rooms together, the slotted pillars, wall sections and doorways. A clever modular system.

And lastly, the unfolded pieces, ready for storage. This shot highlights the simplicity of the pieces, which are easy to cut and build. To be honest, this was supposed to be a test build just to check out the product, but I really enjoyed making these and so I decided to make a post about it.


I love modular terrain systems, and this was the reason I got this product. It proved to deliver what it promised, with easy to build, good-looking pieces that can be stored flat. A friend of mine has been interested in playing some dungeon hacking so I might make more dungeon pieces to use in that game.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Smugglers in the Dark - Part 2

Here is the first report on my solo dungeon delving. You can read about the characters here and the dungeon generation system here. Rules details and other comments are shown in square brackets.

Ingont arrived at the village nearly at sunset, to avoid drawing too much attention. For the same reason, he met Swyem at the closing trading post, not the tavern or her house. Seeing her brought him some joy, mostly from the memories of their childhood, when they could afford to be careless. Swyem told him that she had confirmed the location of the kobold lair, but she could not find anything new about the courier or who could have poisoned him.

On the following day, Swyem and Eryz left in the afternoon, allegedly on a trip to a nearby village. Ingont, who had rented a room at an old widow's house, left again at sunset. The trio met in the woods, halfway between the village and the kobold lair and camped there for the night. The plan was Ingont's to avoid prying eyes from the villagers.

Before sunrise, they left their horses at the camp and walked to the entrance of the lair. Stone steps covered with dead leaves and roots led down into a dark opening. Once inside, they could see that the passage continued ahead and there was a second corridor leading away from the left side. [Turn 1: Entrance to the dungeon. I just rolled a die to find out how many exits there were. Marching order: Eryz leads, followed by Ingont, who carries a lantern, and lastly Swyem. I mapped each explored dungeon area as a 5x5 block in gridded paper.]

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Smugglers in the Dark: Dungeon Setup

Here is the card-based dungeon mechanics I will use to continue the Smugglers in the Dark adventure. From a standard deck of playing cards, I will use the following: one red and one black of each face card (jacks, queens, kings) and numbers 2-7. One card is drawn at the beginning of a turn when the party is moving further into the dungeon:

  • Face cards mean that a new room is entered and an encounter happens, focused on a given character, Jack: Eryz, Queen: Swyem, King: Ingont. The nature of the event is defined using the event focus and event meaning systems from Mythic.
  • Number cards require a roll of a ten-sided die. If the result is greater than the card number, the new area is a corridor or passageway. Otherwise, it is a new room, filled according to the "stocking the room" rules on the Basic game.
The number of doors found in a room or corridor, including the one used to enter that section of the dungeon, is given by the roll of one six-sided die: 1-2: 2 doors, 3-4: 3 doors, 5-6: 4 doors. Each door will be locked on a roll of 1-2 on a six-sided die.

The color of the card will be used to indicate the kind of encounter, when applicable. Red cards indicate a conflict of physical nature (combat, obstacles, traps to dodge etc.) while black cards are related to mental conflicts (social interactions, puzzles, traps to disarm etc.)

If the adventurers spend more than two turns in the same location, I will make a check for wandering monsters. For this adventure, the wandering monsters are kobolds, and their number is given by the roll of one six-sided die: 1: a single kobold, 2-4: two kobolds, 5-6: three kobolds. However, for every previous encounter with wandering monsters, a +1 modifier is added to the roll.

After six cards have been drawn, one joker is added and the cards are reshuffled. When the joker is then drawn, the players have reached their objective -- the stolen magical trinkets.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Old Stuff Day: Gaming Scenarios

I came to know of the "Old Stuff Day" from reading a related post by Sean. As I am slowly approaching 200 posts in the blog, I was inspired to take part in this and revisit some older posts. It was only then that I noticed the decline in the number of my posts about gaming scenario ideas.

In 2011, I posted the solo ambush for Song of Blades and Heroes, which is still one of my top viewed posts. The Grey City campaign also featured scenario rules for each of the episodes. The Wasteland Wanderer "combo" of multi-part solo scenario and narrative battle report was an interesting experiment. There was even a set of house rules to add firefighters/EMT to Chain Reaction.

On the other hand, in 2012 there were no scenario posts. I can attribute this to two factors: the overall reduction in number of posts during last year and my shift in focus to the narrative interpretation of battle reports. The funny thing is that I do like tweaking rules systems and even making up my own, as I suspect most solo gamers do, and scenarios and battle reports do not have to be mutually exclusive.

This year I have posted the Alien Bug Safari mini game but at the time I had not even realized the one year gap in such posts. Now that I have, I intend to add some scenario posts to the mix over the year.

I would also like to ask others what they think about tabletop gaming scenarios and house rules. I will start by giving my point of view: sometimes I find it hard to completely reproduce others' scenarios in order to play them, due to terrain and miniature requirements. Still, I like reading them because I often can adapt some idea for my own use -- especially in the case of solo scenarios.