Saturday, August 27, 2016

Getting Some Attention (craft project)

Okay, so I realized recently that my role at work is very much like one of those quest-giver NPCs in World of Warcraft.  People come to me for a "quest" or to get some lore.  When they're done with their "quest" they turn it in and get another one.  So I joked that I really should have one of those big yellow exclamation marks over my head.


Well, why not?

So I went to the craft store, bought some styrofoam and dowels, and made a big yellow exclamation mark which now sits over my desk.  It's fun and provides an easy way for people to find me.

Make hole in hemisphere base, hot-glue wooden dowel

Cut tip off cone to make upper part of exclamation point

More hot glue to secure dowel better

Use cardboard tube to hold base with dowel in place for gluing and drying

Start tunnel in base of exclamation point upper with penknife

Continue tunneling with long screwdiver

Glue dowel into base of exclamation point upper

Use white glue to fill in gaps (bottom of exclamation mark)

Paint exclamation point yellow... 
..and keep adding coats of yellow until styrofoam doesn't show through any more

Paint stem black and base purple (eventually four coats)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Simple Weather for Gaming

One thing which helps immersion in gaming, including setting the mood or tone, is weather.  Some games don't really cover it, while others go into deep simulationist detail.  Recently, I decided I needed some weather tables for my Neo School Hack rules.  I wanted them to use either a d10 or a d12, because that's what Old School Hack uses, and I wanted them to be one-roll simple.

For me, I want weather tables to tell me two things: 1) does the weather impose any effects and 2) what is the general mood or tone for the day.  So I built these 1d10 tables for the four seasons of a generic northern hemisphere temperate zone, such as you'd use for a classic pseudo-European medieval fantasy game.  I think they'll work just as well for temperate North America and Asia.

  1. Breezy & Cool 
  2. Breezy & Cool
  3. Sunny & Nice
  4. Sunny & Nice
  5. Sunny & Nice
  6. Sunny & Hot
  7. Sunny & Hot
  8. Rainy
  9. Rainy
  10. Rainy & Thunderstorms

  1. Sunny & Nice
  2. Sunny &Nice
  3. Sunny & Hot
  4. Sunny & Hot
  5. Sunny & Hot
  6. Sunny & Very Hot
  7. Sunny & Very Hot
  8. Sunny & Very Hot
  9. Rainy & Hot
  10. Thunderstorms

  1. Sunny & Nice
  2. Breezy & Cool
  3. Breezy & Cool
  4. Breezy & Cool
  5. Cloudy & Cool
  6. Breezy & Cold
  7. Breezy & Cold
  8. Cold & Rainy
  9. Cold & Rainy
  10. Cold & Dusting of Snow

  1. Sunny & Cold
  2. Sunny & Frigid
  3. Sunny & Frigid
  4. Sunny & Frigid
  5. Cloudy & Frigid
  6. Cloudy & Frigid
  7. Cold & Light Snow
  8. Cold & Light Snow
  9. Cold & Heavy Snow
  10. Blizzard

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Review: Call of Catthulhu, Book 1: the Nekomonicon

It finally arrived!  I say finally because back in early June by friend Bill got me Call of Catthulhu as a birthday gift (because he that sort of awesome dude) on RPGnow.  But then...nothing happened.  It just sort of disappeared into cyberspace.  Happily it recently reappeared and I eagerly dived in.

Catthulhu is a very rules-light game where you play ordinary cats (well, if any cat can ever really be called "ordinary") having adventures opposing the forces of Lovecraftian wrongness.  The GM is called the Cat Herder, which is perfect (or should I say purrfect?).  There are five roles (classes): Catcrobat, Pussyfoot, Scrapper, Tiger Dreamer, and Twofootologist.  These roles are combined with a Breed and a Tale.  Breed is whether your cat is feral, a house cat, or a show cat.  Each combination of the five roles and three breeds as a couple background tales or stories to choose from.  For instance a Pussyfoot/Feral could have the background of Pitiful Beggar or Friend to All. These stories add talents to your cat.  For instance, a Friend to All will "make a circuit of many associates, from fellow street cats to friendly restaurant workers to house cats in windows to kindly old ladies.  A saucer of milk here, a place to sleep in a catpile there, some choice scraps and life works our pretty well for this free spirit."

The mechanic is very simple, basically rolling 2d6 and seeing how many successes (roll of 3 to 6) you get.  Apparently there was a boxed set with "cat dice" where the 1 and 2 sides are each a sad cat face and the 3 to 6 sides are happy cat faces.  The difficulty of the task determines how many happy cats you need, plus there are some special situations involving an extra die, etc.  Injuries are a simple three-level model with injured, badly injured, and dying--and, of course, you do get Nine Lives.

There are two other books which go with this 40-page basic book.  I haven't read them (yet) but from the descriptions you'd probably need at least the GM book to run a game.  The third book is a selection of settings from vikings to spaceships.

Bottom line: this is a fun game, but you might need at least one other book to play.