Monday, July 27, 2015

[map] The Isle of Kalvania

Another quick map for the month and then I think I will focus on my writing. This one was drawn while my family watched TV and relaxed after a busy weekend. This is another in the style +Matthew Lowes posted on Google+.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

[map] Welcome to Ratown & Bagel's Olde Wood Shoppe

As a long time DM I have often found that images and maps can be great as tools at the table to help get a location's feeling or atmosphere across to players, BUT I have also found those same thing to be fountains of inspiration for the stumped DM. That's where this piece is coming from. I created this map to be used but also to hopefully inspire. My hope is that a DM would be using this map and get inspired by the hints on the map to flesh out the underground market known as Ratown.

Each business in Ratown has a small hint at at what might be inside - a name or perhaps what is sold inside. My hope is that this will spark a creative idea in the DM and help them create unique locations and inhabitants of Ratown for players to visit.

Let's give it a try.

Near the middle is a location with the term "Bagels" on it. Now, while I might like bread just as much as the next guy, bagels are not my favorite bread product (barely nudging out croissant, that evil doughy thing from France). That means I would likely steer clear of this being a bakery that specializes in bagels...what if the owner is named Bagel instead?

Bagel's Olde Wood Shoppe - 
Bagel (pronounced bah-ghel) is white-bearded gnome that shares his race's affinity for pointed hats, in his case a blue one. He is most often found wearing sturdy - and dirty - coveralls and a belt with many pockets. Bagel is a serious and hard worker with a specialization in woodwork. With his natural ability in magic and his god-given skill in woodworking he has mastered the skill of wand and staff making, providing a wide variety of each.

Bagel's Shoppe is dusty and tight. The store is divided into two sections with the front being essentially a hallway that runs between the two doors. This section is full - from floor to ceiling - with small boxes of wands stacked upon each other and small barrels choked full of staves. There are so many to choose from that a visitor will feel a little overwhelmed when they enter. This is actually a ward that Bagel has cast upon the entryway. Moments after entering the shop Bagel will appear from the back and wave off the ward's effects.

The back section of the shoppe is Bagel's workshop and is full of stacks of wood and a large bench covered in the various tools Bagel uses to create his masterpieces. This area is exceedingly dusty and will cause anyone entering to begin suffering complications. These will include coughing, itching and watering eyes, and a general feeling of discomfort from the dust-filled air. This is caused by another ward being placed upon the area.

All of Bagel's products are sold ready to accept any magic placed upon them and are inherently magical due to charms and wards he places upon each when he is finished working his craft. Thus, simply owning one will afford the user a +1 to any single roll each day (player picks).

What does BagelRandom Woodcraft Generator
Type of wood (d10)
1- Oak
2- Hazel
3- Mahogany
4- Cedar
5- Willow
6- Ash
7- Black Ash
8- Holly
9- Birch
10- Elder

Form and shape (d10)
1- Thin and appears brittle
2- Stiff
3- Bendable
4- Strong and sturdy
5- Light
6- Firm
7- Bendy
8- Gnarled and twisted
9- Bone white
10- Strangely Heavy

Best for the use of... (d10)
1- Transmutation spells
2- Charms and illusion spells
3- The storage of any spell
4- Offensive spells
5- Healing spells
6- Defensive spells
7- Locating spells
8- Enchantment spells
9- Abjuration spells
10- Divination spells

Sunday, July 19, 2015

[map] The Duchy of Kilbomsbaron

Another of the map in the style of +Matthew Lowes, this time with Hexes! I have to admit I love the zigzag rivers on the map, love how they turned out. I may have to make more of these.  :-)

While I love the colors, I almost like the black and white one better. Just has a sort of old school magic feel to it. Makes me think of something you might find on the inside cover in a novel.

Friday, July 17, 2015

[map] The Isle Kingdom of Sewol Wehtam

Sort of feels like a map that belongs in the game Far Away Land, no?

Cool dude +Matthew Lowes  was drawing maps like this over on Google+ and I thought it looked cool enough to make me want to try my hand at it. You can view his post here:

Black and white version

You might recognize the colors used on the map (first one up above) as well, they are taken directly from the old (read: good) Forgotten Realms maps that were produced for the box sets. Damn I loved those maps!

Numbered, in case you crazy mofos want to use this somewhere.

Monday, July 13, 2015

[crafts] Crafting a medallion

So I am still working on my secret project, experimenting with a few ideas as I ensure that I could actually pull of the bits and pieces that I need to complete the project. Today I attempted to sculpt a medallion - for no other purpose than to see if I could do it.

First, I swiped some clay (not sure what brand or anything) from my daughter's art area. I am looking at a few different kinds of clay that I can buy because I would need more, much more for the project. I drew up some random designs on paper as a example before I cut into the clay. Below is what I came up with.
 The reverse side:
I baked this in my convection oven for about 20 minutes, it was dry but still bendable at the end of the twenty minutes. Kinda weird, it looks like stone but bends a little like rubber. Strange....and perfect!

Next I grabbed some paint - literally whatever I had in the garage - and started playing around. I want this to be strange, sort of familiar but not exactly right. I grabbed an orange, blue, and bright red spray paint and took turns with each color, wiping some off here, dabbing it there. Then I filled the crevasses with black paint and then dry brushed the black off the top surface in a sort of haphazard pattern. The result is below, the one side turned out mostly brown with lots of pits and scratches.
 The other side ended up more red and strangely like bloody flesh in color. Really weird.

I wanted to see what a 'final product' might look like, so using the paper I made last weekend I wrote a quick letter and then a piece of scratch paper with drawings, notes, etc.

I am not 100% happy with it, but it is close to what I wanted. For a first attempt it turned out pretty well. This is entirely far too easy and so much more simple than I expected it would be. Fun lies ahead of me!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

[map] The Babble

Named after the excellent +Billiam Babble, I present a small craft suitable for exploring the depths of space or maybe the depths of the ocean? The craft has a crew of two but can support three for a short duration. A small crew compartment offers a two bunk set up (with a cramped three bunk option) for living quarters.

Black and white version:

Monday, July 6, 2015

[crafts] Aging paper for your games, part one

So while I was on vacation this last weekend I came across a brilliant idea. While I am not ready to discuss this idea yet and I would like to keep it under wraps anyway, I am not going to tell you about it. You will just have to wait.

However, one of the requirements is that I will need to step up some of my crafting skills. One of the first things that will be required is aged paper. Now I have seen a few ideas around the web before, many having to do with tea staining and I have tried this method in the past. Years ago.

I decided this is the first step to my project being successful. It is also a requirement for this project, so without the paper, this is pretty much dead in the water. It is also to note that this paper is able to stand up to a little finer eye than it might getting being a simple prop for a game table, so I want to go the extra mile if needed.

First, my ingredients. First up I brewed some tea. Here I used what I had in the cabinet a couple of Lipton teabags. I brewed two in my Keurig and let it sit for about fifteen minutes. This produces pretty strong tea, strong enough that I would never drink it. I also broke a third one up onto a paper plate.

Today I went by and grabbed another pack of paper. This  is the cheap stuff, nothing fancy here. The Drawing runs $5.99 for 200 pages and is a thin stock. What I like about the Drawing paper is that it is already a tan, yellowish color.

First step to get it sloppy wet. I used a brush I found in my garage, I think I used it to stain my deck this spring. Anyway, not a good brush, it doesnt matter. I get the paper sloppy wet and then drop some of the unmixed grounds onto the paper.

Here I used wax paper between each sheet so that I could do multiple sheets at a time. If you do not, the sheets can stick together and when dry become difficult to pull apart, sometimes even ripping.

While I was doing this, I also pre-heated my oven to 200 degrees. Here you can see more work.

I also used three of the pens I have here at the house and wrote a short message. I plan on writing on the paper so I need to find not only a pen I like to write with but one that will not fade too much. Another option is to write on the paper after it is dry but for aging and fading, I think the pre-wet is a better option. The pens I had around the house ended up being a Mircon #08, a Skillcraft Vista Gel Ink pen, and a Red Skillcraft Liquid Magnus Rollerball pen. My currect favorite for work is the Vista, a nice smooth and bold ink pen.

When I started putting water down I immediately knew the Vista was in trouble. The ink had been drying for about twenty minutes and did not smudge when touched but when water hit the ink bad things happened.

Now, if you read my blog you likely know that I cannot leave well enough alone. So while it was wet I thought I would toss in a few extras to see how it would go. I grabbed the red and yellow food coloring and a canister of those sprinkle things you put on cake or cupcakes, specifically I wanted the black and orange bits.

I stuck these into the oven for 15 minutes at 200 degrees. I removed them and took them outside for the better, more natural lighting. The watercolor paper, a much thicker paper, is on the left, while the drawing paper is on the right. You can also see the food coloring can through prominently on the drawing paper while it barely stained the watercolor at all (odd because I thought watercolor paper would absorb it more easily).

The other side of the same pages.

And the two with writing were very interesting. The Vista ink completely disappeared on the drawing paper! The lines were from the wire rack I put these two to dry on (note, be careful what you put the paper on in the oven!)

So, now you are probably asking what to do with these, why would you go through all this just for some paper.

Here are some ideas. I took the two with writing and rolled them, like a scroll. Tell me your players would not flip when your NPC halfling merchant tosses these up onto the table during a game.

I crinkled these up a little prior to rolling them up. I think it looks pretty good. Get some cool text, maybe a quick sketch on there of a dungeon layout (half faded, half incorrect of course) and tell me the players would not go all googoo over these at the table.

 The other four pieces I took and folded in quarters then took a piece of dark twine I had laying around from my book binding and tied them off.

I really like the way the paper curls and does not lay flat any longer. When I made them into these little bundles I actually only used a single piece of paper for each. Each bundle has a full page, cut in half, stained, dried, then folded. Because of the drying process the paper becomes more stiff and curvy, producing cool little bundles like this.

I think these would be wonderful to drop on the table during a game. If your characters are haggling over a mysterious map, note, or scroll, I bet the GM could get the players to unload way more than average with one of these props on the table.

Now, tomorrow I will try the same process with coffee and see how it goes.

+Jesse Morgan had the idea of doing the above process and using photos for the back ground of maps and such. Great idea! So I stole it.

I scanned the paper and have dropped it here. Feel free to use this scan, commercial or otherwise (attribution please).

And black and white:

Friday, July 3, 2015

[map] The Kestrel

The Kestrel is a small, one man, space craft. It carries minimal life support for long term operations but is equipped with over-sized engine (compared to the mass of the craft) which enable this small craft to out maneuver and out race all other craft. As such the Kestrel has become a favorite for couriers, transporters, and others that need to escape the grasp of the Empire. Unfortunately this has also pushed the going rate for these small craft through the roof. 

If you find one on the market, grab it quick, or it will be gone.

The blue version:

The white version:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

[map] The Acid Cavern of Flemdrogoon

Another old map reworked to today's standards. ;-) This was one of the first maps I ever posted to Patreon.

Blue version-

White version-