Thursday, 17 April 2014

Tracking magic item 'quirks'

Whilst I really do appreciate a magic item can provide an excellent spring board for interesting roleplay I often find that they inevitably take a back seat in the story or are forgotten completely. So i'm thinking of a way to enhance the experience at my table - Im looking at giving each magic item (that is powerful enough to have a personality and quirks) a requirement that must be satisfied in order for the item to function. I'll do it per session, not fixed to any in game time scales, so if the requirement isnt met this session - you wont get benefit from its Effect next session. I like to keep it simple.

So for example:

Ragga's Shinsplitter, Ancestral Orcish Warblade
+1 Light Melee Weapon
Effect: When Staggered any recovery dice results of 1 may be rerolled. 
Requirement: An enemy must be slain in single combat.

Thats a fairly simple requirement built around a weapon (and accompanying story) that exists in my home campaign - but you can really start to have fun with the requirements, creating obstacles and challenges for players. What about magic items whose requirements oppose each other? Im not suggesting that this type of resource juggling should become a theme however, just an interesting distraction.

When building a requirement look to the items personality or backstory, and if there isn't either of those elements you could work in reverse. Choose an interesting and fun requirement and build a story from it. And remember your looking to encourage roleplaying and story generation, so kill an enemy in combat wont be all that fun. If you need to have a 'simple' requirement like this, at least give it a twist.

Here are some that come to mind

"A secret must be stolen"
"The player must be noticed"
"An enemy must become a friend"
"The item must bask in true sorrow"

Until next time.

ICON Sub Deadline

A quick repost from ICON fanzine - the deadline for submissions is in a week, you can get more info here. That is all.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

ICON blog is now live.

Just quick one to let you guys know that i've setup a blog space for ICON, I'll still post news about ICON here - but also on the ICON blog, just so it doesn't get overlooked.

You can visit here.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

The Bitterstone Dwarves

On G+ +Chad Rose wrote:
How much would the Dwarves charge folks wanting to use the Undermarch, the underworld trade route, for travel between Anvil and Forge? I mean, they have maintenance and security to think about after all and that ain't cheap.
This got me to thinking, not really about how much - but to whom you would pay, and why. I've reposted my thoughts here so they more permanent and accessible.

The Bitterstone Dwarves

The dwarves of the Bitterstone clan have controlled the majority of the Undermarch passage for nearly 500 years. The rights to levy the travellers on the inhospitable and forlorn route was gifted to them by the Dwarf King, seen by many as an act of punishment for Oaths long broken, a punishment because, as every dwarf knows, those who would make a living from taxation and at the expense of others labour are amongst the lowest of dwarven society. And no dwarf has ever, or ever would, dare refuse a gift from the Dwarven King.

The Bitterstones have grown rich by burdening a heavy toll on those who would attempt to travel through the Undermarch, it has has brought them little discernible comfort however, as other clans are loathe to openly ally or trade with 'Coin Crows' let alone those who do it with such fervour and greed.

And so they have grown angry and resentful, rich in purse yet poor in soul, ostracised from their kin and perpetually consumed by a cycle of taxation and hunting those who would attempt to avoid their tolls - of which there is no short supply. In fact that such a volume of people are willing to risk death or worse, in order to avoid the draconian overlook of the Bitterstones has prompted an explosion in people daring enough to guide the poor - or those too miserly to pay the Bitterstone's their due through the warren like passages that make up the  Undermarch.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Icon - Release Schedule

Just for clarity and everyone who has requested to submit content here is the intended release schedule for Icon. I've also included submission deadlines for the releases, there's essentially a week before release where i'll stop including articles and run them in the following month - giving me enough time to finalise and layout the pages.

1st of May Issue
Submissions deadline 24th April

1st of June Issue
Submissions deadline 25th May

1st July Issue
Submissions deadline4 24th June

Interested in submitting? email

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Icon - A 13th Age Fanzine

So after some planning, talking it over with people and tentatively proposing the idea i'm finally at a stage where I can make an 'official' announcement. I'll take a moment to talk about some of the decisions i've made about the 'zine and why.

First of, I guess - the project is a go. 

Im going with a slightly modified APA or Amateur Press Association model for the 'zine. You can read more about that here. But basically i'll act as a main editor / producer that will compile submissions from readers and writers into a nicely laid out magazine.

The traditional APA model charges a fee for submission and a free copy, but because this will be a digital pdf there are no inherent costs my end to produce the finished magazine, so the final thing can happily remain free. There are also a few other things that are great about this model, especially as were now in a digital age - easy distribution, tools to create a high quality product, easy lines of communication to advance ideas and content. All of those factors should be helpful in keeping the project alive and healthy.

The exact opposite is the major problem I see with this model, if there is no interest - it will wither and die, that sounds gloomy but I'm just being a realist. So in order to make it successful it will require the support of many people, even if they just read and share.

The next decision to talk about is the name, i've gone with Icon. There were some awesome suggestions, a favourite was 13th Sage. I decided against this for a couple of reasons even though I thought it was great, for one its close to the copyrighted name of the game and I don't want to infringe on anything. Also having a name that doesn't explicitly lean on another thing for context lets the product grow and change, without feeling odd or unconnected to its namesake.

So where are we with the project?

I've already done the following : created an logo (above) built page layouts, chosen a cover. So were in a strong place to start submitting and compiling work. I've put together some submission guidelines, its nothing crazy but it is worth a read.

So how do we move forward? 

Share, Submit and Read. The more people that know about the project the more likely they are to read or submit. Likewise in a venn diagram kinda way, the more people that read - the more likely it is they will share and submit. So tell everyone you know, think of a cool idea - write about it and send it to me, then read it in digital print the next month.

Im aiming for an initial run on the 1st of May, we'll see how things go.

Thanks for taking the time to read the post, if you want to get in touch with submissions or questions email - i'll be contacting people who have expressed and interest over the coming days.

'Til next time.

- David

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Visual Inspiration - Caves

Sometimes when prepping for a game i'll use pictures to save brain space - by selecting some evocative imagery and using to springboard descriptions of things at the table on the fly, you have a huge lightweight resource that can be used again and again.

I was recently linked to some images of amazing caves, guaranteed i'll be using these in some of my dungeons coming up. The next time my players are in a cave ill forgo writing any room description fluff, and just describe whatever cave image I've got in front of me. I might play with the scale and arrangement in order to best suite the situation, but the overall theme will be from the image.

It so happens that this fits in nicely with a thread from +Mike Shea wanting to know what people find to be valuable for prepping and coming up with stuff on the fly, so this is my top tip.

Also : click to enlarge the images.