## Jan 31, 2012

 Click to enlarge.
Above is the answer key to yesterday's homework regarding tessellations and hex crawls.  I have graded and updated the appropriate DO XP scoreboard on the right-hand side of the blog.

And for those of you who like a challenge...

Question 1:  Boric and Bob want to tile their hexcrawl maps with regular octagons and squares.  How many ssemiregular tessellations that use octagons and squares exist?
A.  0
B.  1
C.  2
D.  4

Question 2.  For a combination of regular polygons to tessellate, the angles that meet at each vertex must add to what?
A.  90 degrees
B.  180 degrees
C.  360 degrees
D.  720 degrees

Question 3.  What combination of squares and octagons will form a semiregular tessellation?
A.  2 squares, 1 octagon
B.  2 squares, 2 octagons
C.  1 square, 1 octagon
D.  1 square, 2 octagons

Question 4.  Which nonregular polygon can always be used to tile a hexcrawl map?
A.  pentagon
B.  triangle
C.  octagon
D.  hexagon

Note:  Because these are multiple choice answers, I will award 10 Digital Orc experience points for each correct answer.  I will post an answer key this Thursday (2/2/12).

## Jan 30, 2012

 Click to Enlarge

From time to time what I do in my job as a teacher overlaps pleasantly with gaming.  When that is the case, I assign the same assignment to both my students in class, students in my online classrooms, and to readers here on the Digital Orc.

This assignment is about tessellations.  It relates directly to hex maps.

Give the questions, above, a try.  I will post an answer key this Tuesday (1/31/12).  You receive 100 Digital Orc points for each correct response submitted prior to Wednesday(for a total possible of 300 points).

Enjoy.

## Jan 29, 2012

### Digital Orc Maps 3: The Hex Crawl

The video above is a brief introduction to creating fantasy hex maps using a computer.  Two examples are below.

## Jan 27, 2012

### Digital Orc Maps 2: Touch-Ups & Coloring

In this video I briefly describe a single technique for touching up and coloring your rpg maps.  If you find this interesting, you may want to watch the first video on maps I made.

 Color Map Example click to enlarge

## Jan 26, 2012

### Digital Orc Maps: An Introduction

I enjoy making maps.  The video above is a brief overview of the hand-drawn introductory part to the many maps you see published here in Digital Orc.  Below are a few examples.  You can find many more by clicking on my "map" tag on the right-hand side of the blog.  Click to enlarge each.

﻿

## Jan 25, 2012

### Map: Mansion 3

I'm working on my next fantasy adventure module.  This one uses the map above and, like my previous adventure titled The Cell Within, is located in a mansion.  This project is currently titled Forgive Us Our Debts and features a demoness, a chained dragon watchdog, and and a really really old guy who wants everything you own... including your soul.  Here's the kicker; unless you either help the demoness or find the hidden loot, your soul is, indeed, forfeit.

Forgive Us Our Debts will be a free adventure.  However, I would greatly appreciate it if you'd consider buying my first foray into self-publishing:  The Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz!

### D&D, WotC, & Paizo: Google Searches & Geography

I used Google Trends to quantify the searches for "dungeons & dragons", "wizards of the coast", and "paizo".

Here is a breakdown of the geography behind those data.

Notice the positive correllation between regional "paizo" and "wizards of the coast" with a negative correllation to "dungeons & dragons".  What else do you notice?

## Jan 22, 2012

### Ach! Zombies!

I didn’t play Dungeons & Dragons this weekend, but I did play a fun game of Last Night on Earth (LNoE) with my wife. I love role-playing and the zombie genre and LNoE has some role-play elements, so I think it’s fair to call it a “board game” first, and “role-playing” game second, granted a far second. LNoE pits humans against a zombie hoard and strives for the feel of a zombie movie.

The board is build either randomly or with a specific design through modular pieces. Each human character has specific strengths and weaknesses, and each side, zombies and humans, have their own cards which affect gameplay in a variety of ways. It lends itself very well to house rules and other modifications. The beautiful rulebook, for example, states, “Several additional counters have been provided. These are not needed for the main game but can be used for house rules, homemade Scenarios, and new Official Scenarios to come.” How cool is that?

I bought the first box set at Gencon a few years ago. My wife was with me, and we both enjoyed talking with the creators and their family, many of whom posed for the pictures on the cards. I got a few signatures and bought some limited edition cards. In the two years since then I’ve bought a used copy of the first box, and new copies of the first two expansions. It’s a fun and versatile game with many different ways to play.

The quality of LNoE is incredible. The many counters, cards, and boards are thick and glossy. They hold up to use very well. Many of the counters are general enough for use in other games, too. The website and wiki, while not updated in some time, are fairly substantial as well. They includes PDF’s of rulebooks, new Scenarios, characters, etc.

Some of the problems players might have with LNoE, such as James Mal's problem with weapon balance, are easily fixed via house rules. In some cases, though, I think Flying Frog Productions (the company that released LNoE) really missed some good opportunities. The l-shaped modular board pieces, for example, are awesome, but why are they one sided? If they were double-sided the number of different maps and play areas also double! I can somewhat “fix” this lost opportunity with the extra sets I bought cheap on eBay, but for this option doesn’t exist for most owners.

Overall, it was a fun night. While my wife shies away from my D&D and Dark Heresy games, she was all in on something like this. Who knows, with a few more LNoE sessions, she may be ready to roll some d20’s?

## Jan 20, 2012

### Rock The Weekend With These Babes!

I turned my latest monster and post into a one-shot adventure, complete with four awesome characters, sexy art, and a weird magical skeleton-dude-with-milky-goo chained to a wall!  It's a little more tongue-in-cheek than most of my products, but I think it could still be a lot of fun.  You can get the PDF free by clicking here or by looking to the bottom right-hand side of this blog clicking the "Definitely Miami" link under the Multi-Page Modules.  Did I mention it's free?

Take your socks and belt off, stop shaving this weekend, and for god's sake, roll some Miami Dice!

Have a nice weekend.

 Don't fear the pastels.  Love the pastels.
P.S.  Trivia time.  I'm awarding 5,000 Digital Orc points to the first person to post a comment naming what famous statue I used for inspiration in "Definitely Miami".  I'm also awarding 100 DO points to the first two readers who respond, regardless of veracity.

## Jan 18, 2012

### Miami Dice: Glowing Scorpions

I’m excited to announce a new post series here on the Digital Orc. In addition to monster stats and a description, I will also run an encounter with a group of adventurers to test the monster in combat. I will assume both the role of monster and all the party members. Think of it as a way to see the monsters in action. These posts will be given various titled under the heading “Miami Dice” for reasons you may soon discover. I will also use the same four characters each time to act as a sort of constant to better make comparisons between monsters.

Who are these poor souls, you ask?

Meet the crash test party: A beautiful cleric, silent elf, brash fighter, and irritating magic user. They are all fifth level with randomly generated attributes created by rolling 3d6 in order. Their equipment, hit points, and spells are also randomly created. I have spoken with them and their lawyers at length. They have signed and notarized the proper wavers and completed their health insurance forms. Two of them completed final will and testaments.

The crash test party members have accepted the daunting task of engaging the various dangerous monsters I create and to follow the rules.

Here are some of the rules:

Rule 1: The dice rule. No fudging.

Rule 2: Individual initiative.

Rule 3: Morale checks used for monsters at onset and after third round if there is one. +1 to morale check if characters have attacked.

Rule 4: All encounters happen in the same map I’ve created below.

Rule 5: No PvP unless controlled by remote forces; all characters are Lawful.

Rule 6: The engagements ends when either all party members are dead/incapacitated or the monsters have successfully fled.

Rule 7: Monsters are randomly placed.

Meet the party!

Gina
A raven-haired beauty, Gina is a compassionate cleric with large dark eyes and flawless pale skin. Beneath the exquisite exterior is a fiery and dedicated force for good evidence by the religious tattoo on her forehead. She is secretly in love with Sonny.

HP: 22, AC: 1

Str: 10, Dex: 12, Con: 12, Int: 10, Wis: 16 (2 save versus magic modifier), Cha: 11

Breath Attacks: 14, Poison or Death: 9, Petrify or Paralyze: 12, Wands: 10, Spell or Spell-Like Devices: 12

Level 1 Spells: Light, Remove Fear, Resist Cold

Level 2 Spells: Silence 15’, Snake Charm

Level 3 Spells: Striking

Equipment: Mace +1, Plate Mail +1, Shield, backpack, blanket, shovel, 1 torch, rations, holy water, silver holy symbol, Scroll of Silence 15’

Sonny

Handsome and intense, Sonny’s quick temper is matched by an unwavering loyalty to his party and the forces of good. At times brash, he often leaps into battle with little thought towards his own safety. Outwardly he berates and insults Izzy, but in truth appreciates the zany wizard. He finds Castillo’s restrained commands irritating at times.

HP: 24, AC: 6

Str: 14, Dex: 13, Con: 10, Int: 14, Wis: 8, Cha: 10

Breath Attacks: 13, Poison or Death: 10, Petrify or Paralyze: 12, Wands: 11, Spell or Spell-Like Devices: 14

Equipment: Spear +1, Leather Armor, Wolfsbane, Crowbar, Rations

Izzy

A talkative oddball, Izzy is a lanky wizard that few can stomach for long periods of time. He means well, but often involves his friends in uncomfortable and unusual situations. Izzy often throws half-hearted attempts of ardor at Gina, who never reciprocates. He will talk continuously with whoever is in earshot.

HP: 10, AC: 7

Str: 11, Dex: 14, Con: 11, Int: 10, Wis: 7, Cha: 12

Breath Attacks: 16, Poison or Death: 13, Petrify or Paralyze: 13, Wands: 13, Spell or Spell-Like Devices: 14

Level 1 Spells: Read Languages, Ventriliquism

Level 2 Spells: Continual Light, Detect Invisible

Level 3 Spells: Haste

Equipment: Dagger, 50’ silk rope, candles, small sack, rations, spell book, paper, ring of protection +1, Polymorph Self potion.

Castillo

As the leader of the group, Castillo keeps a level head at all times. Castillo is taciturn, self-disciplined, thoughtful, and fully dedicated to the protection of the innocent. Castillo’s intensity and silence lead many, incorrectly, to assume he is angry and unbalanced. Beneath the stone-like exterior is a compassionate and empathetic heart.

HP: 17, AC: 1

Str: 10, Dex: 11, Con: 12, Int: 9, Wis: 9, Cha: 11

Breath Attacks: 13, Poison or Death: 10, Petrify or Paralyze: 11, Wands: 11, Spell or Spell-Like Devices: 13

Level 1 Spells: Read Languages, Ventriloquism

Level 2 Spells: Detect Evil, Detect Invisible

Level 3 Spells: Hold Person

Equipment: waterskin, block & tackle, hammer, +1 dagger, plate mail, shield

After descending a narrow stone staircase several stories, you come to a wood door standing open. Inscribed in thick block text on the door are the letters “D.O.” Behind the door a narrow crumbling stone corridor approximately five feet wide, recedes into shadows. A faint damp breeze carries the scent of mildew and stale smoke. The tomb-like breeze raises gooseflesh along your exposed arms and legs. You hear the scuttling of small insects scampering across the uneven dirt floor as you push the door further open and step into the corridor…

Play Report Narrative

Castillo, as the party leader, took the lead down the narrow corridor. The glowing scorpion in the center of a large room was obvious to locate, even in the flickering light from Izzy’s torch. Castillo quickly commanded Izzy to stay behind as the others attacked. The scorpion seemed hesitant, slowly backing into the center of the room as Castillo and Sonny advanced. Castillo missed with his dagger, but Sonny’s speak sunk deep into the scorpion, which emitted a shrill clacking. Gina cast striking and Izzy caste haste.

Recovering from its shocking wound, the scorpion counter-attacked, hitting Sonny with its claw and stinger. Sonny fell to the ground writhing in pain as Gina stepped into battle, defending his fallen form. Gina and Castillo continued to attack the scorpion, which eventually fell to a mighty blow of Gina’s mace.

The party quickly huddled around Sonny. They watched in amazement as his skin took on an increasing bright grin glow. Castillo shielded his eyes and backed away. After a couple of turns for bandaging wounds, the party entered a narrow stone corridor to the west, quickly encountering another glowing scorpion. The giant creature backed up uncertainly as Sonny attacked ineffectively with his spear. Apparently angered, the scorpion struck Sonny with three mighty blows. Exhausted and bloodied, Sonny retreated with the party following.

After some thought, Castillo decided to try another corridor hoping to gain better angles of attack. After advancing down the northern corridor the party soon discovered another glowing scorpion. This one, apparently agitated, attacked immediately. Castillo, Gina, and Izzy battled the monstrous scorpion. Each drawing blood time and time again until the beast’s stinger found a gap in Gina’s armor. In a brief scream of pain, she fell to the stone floor her mace falling by her side, never to be held again.

Sonny, who had held back from battle due to his extreme wounds, rushed forward and, in Gina’s final breathes, told her at long last that he too loved her in return. In desperation, he kissed her cold lips for the first and last time.

Angered, Castillo and Izzy, both seriously wounded, continued to fight until Izzy, too, fell to the giant beast. Sonny gathered his wits and stood to Castillo’s side as they both attacked with renewed intensity. A powerful spear strike struck deep into the scorpion’s head and it fell silent.

Sonny returned to Gina’s fallen corpse, straitened her body and removed her silver necklace, wrapping it tightly around his wrist. Castillo tended to Izzy’s twisted corpse.

Both men, bloodied and dedicated, decided to split up and attack the final scorpion. Castillo grabbed Izzy’s torch as it sputtered its dying breath and Sonny quickly lit several of Izzy’s candles.

The man and elf flanked the final scorpion, which, again, seemed hesitant to attack. Castillo’s blows rained down again and again without effect against the glowing carapace. The scorpion whirled around, grabbing Castillo in its mighty claws, and before Sonny could utter a single oath, cut the stoic elf in half with a sharp pinch of its claws.

With a mighty warrior’s yell, sonny drove the spear deep into the scorpion’s side. It jerked away, before counter-attacking with two pincher attacks that decimated the powerful form of Sonny. He dropped to the floor dead.

Reflection: I think I need to give Gina some healing powers. Or maybe give the party a couple of scrolls of healing. Other than that, I think this simulation did what it was designed to; provide a brief and singular account of what battle with glowing scorpions in a dungeon will be like. Man, they’re pretty tough!

Stay tuned for further episodes of Miami Dice!

## Jan 16, 2012

### Monster: Glowing Scorpion

Glowing Scorpion
No. Enc.: 1d6 (1d6)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 150’ (50’)
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 3 (2 claws, sting)
Damage: 1d8/1d8/1d4, poison
Save: F3
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: IV
XP: 65

Glowing Scorpions are giant scorpions that, because of their blood, give off an intense green light and are incapable of surprise. Characters and monsters with infravision experience -1 to all hit rolls against these creatures because of the intensity. Characters stung must make a saving throw versus poison. Those who fail, die an excruciating death. Those who pass, experience debilitating pain for 1d4 rounds as their blood becomes a bioluminescent green color. Forever afterwards, the stung character bleeds green blood and their skin gives off an intense green light in 15’ radius. Because of this effect, stung characters are incapable of surprise unless all of their skin is covered in thick clothing. They also cause all creatures and non-player characters with infravision to experience -1 to all hit rolls targeting them (unless covered).

### Map: Dungeon 4

Here's another map for you!  I'm using this in an unusual way for my next project.  You should see this in use  in the next couple of days.  It's simple and symmetrical for a specific reason.  You'll see why soon!

## Jan 15, 2012

### My First Hex Map

I've published quite a few maps over the past couple of years here on this blog.  I decided to try my first hex map.  I hand-drew the keys, then copy and pasted before coloring with a fill tool.  What do you think?

This map represents the primary location for my next published adventure module.  My first one, The Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz!, received favorable comments about the hand-drawn maps, so I will include more in my next project.  However, I think I'll add hex maps (bigger than the one above).

## Jan 9, 2012

### D&D V: If I Were WotC

I would not make a fifth edition, but work toward two goals.

Goal 1
Organize re-release of existing material. This would include beautiful, layered, and bookmarked PDF’s and equally gorgeous hard copies of past modules, articles, and rulebooks.  You could comission new art, or keep the old.  You could write new introductions as well, but you wouldn't have to.

Goal 2
Create a common conversion text between existing rule versions. It would be tightly organized and cross-referenced. This product is the one that would, in my opinion, require the most intense play-test and input. This conversion text would include everything you need to convert one edition to any other edition. Rules conversions for AC, HP, HD, spells, encumbrance, etc. (think of the AC converter in Lamentations of the Flame Princess).  Linear conversions may not be possible with all rules. In such a case, the text could address rule intent and history between each. Think of this as the Rosetta Stone of D&D. Finally, this conversion text should be either free as a PDF or as cheap as possible, or be included with products derived from goal 1, above.

I don't think WotC can make everyone happy or bring all D&D factions together.  However, this proposal would bring many players together.  It also features low production costs with a huge profit potential.  More importantly, it would be awesome fun!

## Jan 6, 2012

### Tokens as Reward & XP

I love using tokens in my game. They’re tangible, easy to manage and organize, and encourage the development of the kind of game my players and I want. I’ve explained my use of tokens in my own game system, but in this post I briefly outline my use of tokens in D&D.

What are they?
I use pennies for my tokens because they’re cheap, plentiful, and money enjoys positive connotations. However, one could just as easily use poker chips, squashed marbles, Hershey Kisses, or some DIY homemade token. You could design tokens to match the mood or campaign of your game. For example, if you’re playing in a spider-themed dungeon, print tokens with a spider on it. I saw Cthulhu tokens at Gencon two years ago; they would be great for some games.

When do I give them out?
Each time a player does something I like; I reward them with a token. Some Dungeon Masters can use tokens to reward combat, while others may want to develop interesting storylines. As I speculated yesterday, some Dungeon Masters may use tokens to encourage alignment play.

What do players do with the tokens?
My players have four choices concerning what to do with their tokens. They can hoard them until the end of the game at which point they can cash them in. My exchange rate is 1 token = 10 XP. A second option is to use them as attack roll modifiers. My exchange rate for this is 1 token = +1 to hit for one attack roll. Players must declare this intention before rolling, but there is no limit to the number of tokens they may use. Also, the bonus effect is cumulative. The third option is to give their tokens to a character in need. The fourth option is a combination of any of the previous three. Dungeon Masters, in fact, could replace the traditional XP system entirely with the token method.

For Example: Bob, a first level fighter, declares an attack against Ergo the Orc. So far, he has amassed 13 tokens. Because Bob is a first level fighter and Orcs enjoy an Armor Class of 6, Bob needs to roll at least a 13 to hit Ergo. He hands me (the DM) four pennies, then rolls his 1d20 to attack. The die result is 11, and I add the token points for a total result of 15. Bob hits. He tosses two pennies to Ermac, the magic user and then holds the rest of his tokens through the rest of the night. At the end of the session he hands me his remaining 7 tokens thereby gaining 70 XP. This is, of course, in addition to any other XP he may or may not have earned through money, murder, and mayhem whilst exploring my beautifully crafted dungeon.

There are countless other ways to use tokens. Maybe you allow players to use them for damage bonuses, ability checks, or temporary Armor Class improvement. It’s up to you. Regardless of how you use them, tokens also bring a new element of strategy and communication to the game table. I think it’s an easy and fun way to develop the type of game you want.

## Jan 5, 2012

### Achievement, XP, & Alignment

Alignment is an element of D&D that divides gamers at times. At others, it is easily dismissed entirely. It is possible for alignment to bring a lot of fun to your gameplay. Below I outline a method for using cards to encourage, reward, and enrich alignment play. Cards aren’t necessary; they’re just a method of recording and transferring information. Players could just as easily use hand-written lists or character sheets. This method builds on my achievement idea from an earlier post.

The Dungeon Master creates a series of alignment-specific achievement cards. For example:

At some point the player can “cash in” their cards for something cool. Maybe, if they are Lawful, they can cash in 2,000 XP worth of achievement cards to receive a +1 weapon from the gods or something along those lines. Chaotic players might get a special poison potion or a cursed dagger (to give away). The Dungeon Master could easily work it into the game in an exciting way. For the Lawful example above, the character, while traveling, could see an odd ray of light hitting an object just over the hill and when they crest it, a beautiful sword on the ground. Unable to resist, they pick up the weapon and are amazed at the balance and almost razor-like edge. Anyway, you get the idea.

This method is easy to track and, if the Dungeon Master provides an achievement list or reward list, increases player meta-gaming and strategy.

## Jan 1, 2012

 Click to enlarge.  You may post this image on your website.

The "surprise" exists on two levels; in the titular monsters themselves, and hidden in the print of the module.  That I know of, only one person has uncovered the Easter egg thus far.  Will you be the next one?  Brave the horrors of the underground brewery and find out!

The end is not the end if you know when
And how to look for the first, not last
Words and how they begin.  And then
You book it back in time real fast!

The Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz! Scoreboard
High Scores
Stuart Pate.....................10000
................................09000
................................08000
................................07000
................................06000
................................05000
................................04000
................................03000
................................02000
................................01000

Order of discovery adjusts points earned.