Is she happy or angst-ridden, accepted or alone? What are her favorite activities, in and out of school? Her least favorite? Little things like her favorite holiday, favorite flavor of ice cream, and favorite color are all good to jot down. Determine the name of the town she lives in and what school she goes to, if the narrator hasnt determined them for you. Now might be a good time to ask if your character knows any of the other kids, and perhaps has predetermined ideas about them from seeing them around town or in school. Finally, develop one or two roleplaying aids, tics that you can use to make your character stand out.
These can be common catchphrases that your character uses when particularly excited, or confused, or scared, or that she just utters whenever she cant think of anything else to say. Or perhaps theres something distinctive about your characters body language, whether it be an irrepressible smile, a constant slouch, or a favorite hand signal. This step may be taken over by the narrator, rather than decided by you. Perhaps your character and the other players all stumbled into the Grimm Lands together while on a field trip to the nature center or the museum.
Or maybe you all wandered into different caves in different counties, but ended up being trapped in the same wizards dungeon. If the narrator leaves it up to you, though, carefully consider how youd like your character to begin her journeys in the Grimm Lands. Her motivations and attitude will depend on whether she was invited and came willingly, or was tricked and trapped. Does she see it as a cool adventure, an escape from the boring Real World?
Or is it the most terrifying thing thats ever happened to her? Or both? On the other hand, a denizen of the Grimm Lands might have escaped to the Real World, approaching your character for aid. The possibilities are limited only by your own imagination, but regardless of what you or the narrator decide, the game is bound to be memorable.
Depending on your narrators choices, you may need to decide what your character was carrying when she crossed over.
Was she hiking and ready for anything, or did she travel through the dream realms, with nothing but her pajamas and her favorite stuffed animal? Was she on her way to play in the big game or studying for the big test? Some narrators like to have the kids clothes and belongings transform to fit the medieval realm in which theyve arrived, while others prefer the kids to stand out as the strange visitors that they are. Regardless, though, one of the items your character brings over with her, called a keepsake, will take on magical properties.
You may not have a choice over what kinds of powers your keepsake will receive thats up to the narrator , but the powers tend to be thematically related to its form. At the end of each story a series of thematically linked game sessions that comprise a single adventure , your character will graduate. When a kid graduates, she gains a number of benefits. The first and possibly most important is that her personal grade level goes up by one. This means that she can take one additional wound before being knocked out. Second, she gains an additional eight free credits, which may be spent to increase traits just as they could during character creation.
A characters traits cant be more than three grades higher than his personal grade level. Third, when she advances to even-numbered grades, she gains an archetype talent of her choice; when she advances to odd-numbered grades, she gains a general talent of her choice. Presumably, shes also made some new friends and enemies along the way, found some new stuff, and learned some new tidbits and tactics that will help her survive for another grade level in the dangerous world of Grimm.
Your archetype is both who you are and who you are not. It tells you, the other players, and the narrator what you are most likely to be able to accomplish, as well as what is likely to affect you. Each archetype has strengths and weaknesses that are as much story elements and roleplaying hooks as they are game design considerations. Archetypes are not the final word as to what your character can accomplish in Grimm, however. Two Nerds might be incredibly different, and even Bullies can have smart, sensitive, or sneaky sides. While the Bully is used to being a leader, even if only of his small gang of toadies, being sucked into the Grimm Lands changes all that.
He may still push others around, cajoling the kids through force, intimidation,. You are the subject of fear and loathing in the eyes of other children. You are the kid who beat up Johnny, you are the maker of wet willies, and you are the figurative troll in the boys bathroom who makes Nerds pee their pants rather than ask to use the toilet. The cornerstone of your personality is the procurement and retention of power.
Everything you do is to ensure your place at the top of the pecking order in your class. Youre used to surrounding yourself with sycophants that are motivated by fear and the allure of your power. You employ force only when necessary, relying instead on the threat of pain.cars.cleantechnica.com/map79.php
Grimm - fairy tale RPG
Of course, now that youre stuck in the Grimm Lands, things are different. Now there are real trolls, and they dont only pick on wimps. You keep the other kids around you so the monsters have someone else to snack on, but they dont listen to you half as well as they used to. Sometimes they even tell you what to do. Even the Nerd! But youll do whatever it takes to stay alive, and get out of here. However, when push comes to shove, hes as scared as anyone else and will follow orders if it means surviving.
Surprisingly, the Bully can become a stalwart protector of the group. On one hand, such heroism distracts him from his own fear, so no one else can see that hes shaking in his boots. On the other hand, even if that Nerd with the runny nose is the same kid he gave wedgies to on a daily basis, hes his Nerd with the runny nose, and no one but the Bully is going to pick on him without his say-so! Bullies are strong, and fairly resilient, making them good characters to stand in front and Scrap with attacking monsters of their own size.
However, they are at a distinct disadvantage when their foe is bigger than they are, and arent terribly well equipped intellectually; or socially, or creatively, or in any way at all, really, other than being strong and intimidating. But sometimes, thats enough. Additionally, the target character must fulfill at least one of the following three requirements: 1.
Has a lower personal grade than the Bully 2. Has a lower Muscle trait than the Bully 3. Is of a smaller stature than the Bully If the Bully wins an opposed test, he receives an advantage on his Scrap tests against the target for this scene. Example: Bubba, the Bully, wants to beat up Georgie, the Nerd who keeps challenging his authority. In the first action round, Bubba spends his turn making a Cool test. Bubba has Cool 3rd grade, but his Intimidating ability gives him an effective grade of 5th for this test, since hes threatening violence.
He rolls the dice and gets a 3, for a result of Cool 5th grade. Georgie now makes a Pluck test to oppose Bubbas intimidation. Georgie has Pluck 3rd grade and rolls a 5, for a result of Pluck 3rd grade. Specialty: Bullies are well-practiced in the art of brawling. Bullies always rolls an extra die on the initial roll of their Scrap tests. Flaw: The Bullys key weakness is he is only comfortable when he has the upper hand, hence the classic aphorism that most Bullies back down when you stand up to them.
Each time the Bully suffers a wound, he must make a Pluck test with a difficulty of one grade per his total number of wounds including the just-suffered wound. If he fails, he becomes scared see page 22 , and continues to be scared until the wound has been healed or the source of his injury is neutralized or no longer present. Threats: The Bully is especially adept at pushing around those who are smaller or weaker than him. He may spend a turn making an opposed Cool test against a character within a stones throw who can see or hear the Bully.
The target characters need not understand the Bullys language, so long as he is intelligent enough to read the Bullys body language or tone of voice. Each time a Bully advances to an even-numbered personal grade beyond 3rd, he may choose one of the abilities below. Each ability may only be taken once. Intimidating: Bullies are accomplished at playing nice, kissing ass, and outright lying when they need to get out of trouble. But their social skills are most impressive when they are using violence or the threat of violence to persuade or manipulate others.
Pile-on: Headlocks and wedgies are part of a Bullys daily dialogue with his peers. When wrestling with foes who are his stature or smaller, the Bully is considered to be one stature level larger for the purposes of determining his and his opponents penalties and movement limitations. Protector: Some Bullies, once forced to trust and rely on their peers, realize that their true purpose is not to terrorize those who are smaller than they are, but to protect them.
When an adjacent ally is the target of an attack, the Bully may interpose himself and take the targets place. This must be decided before the attack test is made. The attack is resolved normally but is made against the Bully rather than the original target. Threats, Advanced: Only a Bully with the Threats ability may select this ability. If the Bully wishes to cause an Advanced Threats result, he must declare this before making the opposed test, and only succeeds at causing any result at all if he wins the opposed test by three or more grades.
Alternatively, immediately upon causing a Threats result, the Bully may expend one grade of Imagination to elevate the result. If the Bully causes an Advanced Threats result, then in addition to the Bully receiving an advantage against the target on Scrap tests, the target refuses to attack the Bully in melee. Threats, Master 8th grade or higher : Only a Bully with the Advanced Threats ability may select this ability.
If the Bully wishes to cause a Master Threats result, he must declare this before making the opposed test, and only succeeds at causing any result at all if he wins the opposed test by six or more grades. Alternatively, immediately upon causing an Advanced Threats result, the Bully may expend two grades of Imagination to elevate the result.
If the Bully causes a Master Threats result, the Bully receives an advantage against the target on Scrap tests and the target refusing to attack the Bully in melee; additionally, the target is terrified of the Bully, doing his best to flee from him each turn. There, in the skydo you see that cloud? It looks like a phoenix rising from its own ashes!
You find the world outside the classroom to be much more interesting than the dry stuff of Mrs. Applegates lectures. You like to read about fantastic stuff like dragons, unicorns, and knights, or maybe you dream of being a ball player in the major leagues. Someday, itll all come true. Its hard to be a Dreamer. Your mother nags you about paying more attention. Your teachers have special meetings with your parents.
The teachers always shoot you dirty looks down their long and crooked noses. Some of the other kids pick on you, but youve learned to overcome it. You know things theyll never know: special places, windows into other worlds. When you look off into the distance, and before a sharp word brings you back, you see yourself as a brave hero saving the day, or yourself at bat for the big team about to hit a home run.
Now that youre in the Grimm Lands, you finally have a chance to really be that hero. But somehow, you never thought about the fact that being a hero is dangerousreally dangerous. And now that you realize that, the boring old regular world doesnt seem so bad, after all. The Dreamer is the kid who spends more time in her head than in the world with other children. She is so distracted and preoccupied with flights of fancy, she often gets into trouble for it. Now that shes in the Grimm Lands, all those supposedly wasted hours are paying off.
While her fellow kids are stumbling around trying to understand their new powers, the Dreamer has a natural 9 Chapter Two: Character Archetypes. While the rest of the group is desperately trying to remember what it takes to pacify a troll, the Dreamer is intimately familiar with the world they are trapped in. In small groups, she sometimes rises to a position of leadership, as she, and she alone, truly understands the world of Grimm. Specialty: A Dreamers flightiness in the Real World is inversely proportional to her ability to understand, embrace, and even manipulate the Grimm Lands.
Dreamers always roll an extra die on the initial roll of Imagination tests. Flaw: Dreamers tend to lose themselves in their thoughts and imaginingsand their nightmares. Dreamers are therefore more susceptible to illusions and charms than other characters. The Dreamer suffers a -1 to all tests made against charm spells, illusions, and similar abilities that toy with the mind.
Dreamers may choose two iconic Core traits, one of which is automatically Imagination. Alternatively, if a Dreamer wishes, she may choose Imagination as her only iconic Core trait. For each single Imagination that such a Dreamer expends, she may generate an imagining as if she had expended two Imagination see Imaginings, page Each time a Dreamer advances to an even-numbered personal grade beyond 3rd, she may choose one of the abilities below.
Bonus Keepsake: The Dreamers Imagination imbues a mundane item with power, manifesting as a new keepsake see page 66 , designed by the Dreamers player and the narrator. Happy Thoughts: To a Dreamer, anything can be fixed with the power of belief, even dire wounds. When a Dreamer heals her own wounds by expending Imagination, she heals two wounds for every 1 Imagination expended. When she heals others wounds by expending Imagination, she heals one wound for every 1 Imagination expended. Observant: Dreamers are so in touch with the stuff that makes up the Grimm Lands that they have almost superhuman awareness of their surroundings.
A Dreamer may expend 1 Imagination to ignore any environmental or conditional penalties to visibility, hearing, etc. The Dreamer can use this ability, for example, to more easily spot a monster lurking in the dark or hear a whisper in the midst of a cacophony. Rapid Recovery: Imagination is the cornerstone of the Dreamer, and as such she may recover spent Imagination more rapidly than normal. Once per story, by spending half an hour doing nothing but enjoying idle daydreaming, the Dreamer may recover half of her expended Imagination round down.
Spontaneous Spellslinger: While most kids must be taught magic spells in order to use them, the Dreamer seems to have an inherent ability to manipulate arcane energies by harnessing them with the power of her Imagination. By expending Imagination equal to the magic spells circle level, she may spontaneously recreate the effect of any magic spell she has witnessed during this story. She does not suffer any estrangement or weakening see page 76 , but she is not considered to have learned the spell, either. True Hero 8th grade or higher : When her need is great and a true hero is called for, the Dreamer can become the hero she always imagined herself to be.
By spending her turn and expending half round up of her maximum Imagination, she may transform into a shining figure of power and grace, such as a knight, a hunter, or a guardian angel. The effect lasts for one scene, and may only be called upon during appropriately dramatic circumstances, as decided by the narrator. The Dreamer gains a special ability appropriate for her avatar, as designed by the narrator: An angel might be able to fly,. The Dreamer also gains the following benefits: 1.
Increase stature by one level 2. Increase speed by one level 3. Of course, around here, there are times that simple ignorance is all that keeps you from melting into a pool of gibbering horror. Come on guys, were only down by fourif we pull together we can cream em! Youre the best at what matters most: sports.
Even before you played organized sports, you could carry more, run faster, jump higher, climb better, and throw farther than anyone else in your class.
Master of a Thousand Things: L is for LARP!
Everyone looks up to you, and you try not to let it go to your head. But its hard not to. Youre a winner. Or at least, you were. But you cant quite figure out the rules to the Grimm Lands, and the people here are playing for keeps. At least you still have a team, and even if none of them are much good at throwing or running, they can do some pretty amazing stuff here.
It makes you glad that you didnt pick on the Nerd too much back in the Real World. You didnt, did you? Jocks played at least one team sport in the Real World; most played a wide variety of sports year-round, and at this young age, they were more likely to be co-ed rather than split into gender-based teams.
Now that theyve been sucked into the Grimm Lands, that experience serves them well. They can get along well with everyone, understand the value of working together, and refuse to give up. Jocks usually have more physical prowess than Bullies do, but they seldom use their strength and speed to hurt others. The downside of their extra-curricular activities is that they never had much time for. Specialty: Jocks may choose their specialty from among Scamper, Muscle, or Throw, depending on their sports of choice. Jocks with a specialty in Scamper, for instance, were probably track and field stars or soccer players.
Those with a specialty on Muscle were probably wrestlers or defensive backs in the midget football league, and those with a specialty in Throw were probably pitchers on the softball team or quarterbacks for the football team. Whichever trait the Jock chooses as his specialty, he always rolls an extra die on the initial roll when testing in that trait.
Flaw: While cool in other kids eyes, Jocks pursue physical prowess to the exclusion of intellectual and social activities. Jocks may only focus on, or step up on, or receive teamwork bonus dice on Scamper, Muscle, and Throw tests. If the Jocks iconic Core trait is Luck, he may also only expend Luck on the above tests. The Winning Play: By calling on some hidden reserve, the Jock can push himself past his normal limits. Thereafter, the Jocks Muscle trait is expended by one grade. Each time a Jock advances to an even-numbered personal grade beyond 3rd, he may choose one of the abilities below.
Except for the Bonus Talent ability, each ability may only be taken once. Bonus Talent: Jocks have what is these days called physical intelligence. That means that theyre good at anything involving using their bodies, and can pick things up pretty quickly. The Jock may select any talent that has either a Playground trait or Muscle as a requirement; he must still meet all of the talents requirements.
Competitive: Some Jocks thrive on spectators and proving that theyre the best there is at what they do. This advantage cannot be applied to attack or defense tests, unless the Jock is in a gladiatorial combat or the like. Fearless: Jocks are tough, focused, and not very smart. Theyre either too brave or too dumb to be worried about the danger a monster represents, or maybe have so much confidence in their abilities that they dont think it matters. Sport Specialization: When using a single piece of equipment appropriate for one of his favorite sports, the Jock gains a special benefit.
If the equipment is protective, like a helmet, shoulder pads, or shin guards, the Jock gains protection 1. If the equipment is something else, the narrator may develop a physical benefit as appropriate. Natural Weapons: unarmed attacks 1d Natural Armour 0. ST 7 x0. Short, stocky, but not as portly as hobbits, these people of the earth and soil are sometimes mistaken for under-grown dwarfs. However where dwarves are sturdy, stolid and stern, gnomes are nimble, bright and cheerful.
While similar to dwarfs, gnome aptitudes tend to be on a smaller scale. Dwarves built huge stone halls and excavate cities within mountains, gnomes dig cosy warrens. Dwarves construct trebuchet and aqueducts, gnomes design intricate locks and telescopes. Dwarves forge steel into armour and axes, gnomes produce excellent jewellers. Gnomes are more amicable than dwarfs, and with their mathematical aptitude this combination can produce shrewd merchants. Gnomes enjoy practical jokes, preferring to outwit their enemies and generally get along with each other and other good kin.
Gnome culture produces few warriors. Most gnomes have an aptitude for magic, there are many gnome rogues and some wizards. Gnomes maintain that they were once genomus, a type of elemental that petitioned the gods to become mortal after becoming intrigued by beasts and plants. Whatever the truth of this, gnomes still have affinities for both the Earth and living things.
Gnomes share the dwarf abilities of doubled digging rate, the ability to determine the value of jewels and gems, and to sniff out large concentrations of gold if they get close enough. Although earth dwellers, gnomes are concerned not just with rock but also with soil; they delight both in wild forests and gardens where the earth produces life but abhor the dull monotony of fields of wheat and other crops.
Gnome gardeners are sought after by those who can afford servants. Many gnomes choose to learn one or more of the low tongues of animals; the rodent tongue is particularly popular. MR 10 Dice 2 Adds 5. Natural Weapons: two claws 1d Natural Armour 0. Height x0. Goblins are cruel faeries who are short and ugly but otherwise are so varied as to defy accurate description. Pointed ears, dog ears, pointed noses, ape-life snouts, skin of green, grey or purple, warts, cat eyes, black soulless orbs or eyes like red sparks; their magical and wicked nature makes no two alike. As faeries they have aptitudes for trickery and magic, some become rogues or even wizards.
Some referees may allow goblin player characters. ST 6 x0. Knockers are faeries related to goblins but unlike goblins these secretive folk often aid human miners in exchange for privacy, food and a little ore. They can be distinguished from goblins by their habits and their homely rather than ugly appearance. Knockers avoid being seen by other kin and value privacy. The surest way to drive these helpers out of a mine is to try to observe them as they work at night or seek out the concealed entrances to their dwellings within the mine. Some knockers become rogues or, more rarely, even wizards.
Such knockers will probably be less private than usual and will have to put up with occasionally being mistaken for a goblin. MR 8 Dice 1 Adds 4. Natural Weapons: Normal unarmed combat Natural Armour 0. SP 12 x1. Also known as korrigan and lamignac, nymphs are the yin to the satyr yang. All nymphs are female their natural mates are satyrs. Male offspring are born satyrs and female offspring are nymphs.
Just as satyrs seem to be over-masculine, nymphs are brimming over with female essence. As young maids they are more adventurous and are most often seen by outsiders in their youth. As mature women they are caring and charismatic, as elders they offer wisdom and leadership. They look exactly like well proportioned and beautiful human females.
It may not be apparent to others that they are dealing with a nymph and not an attractive human female. Nymphs often take lovers from the other good kin any offspring of such unions are full nymphs if female and attractive but sterile half breeds if male. Nymphs are fairy kindred and have a high aptitude for magic. Nymph culture distains violence and warfare and so produces no warriors.
All nymphs are wizards or rogues. Height x1 Weight x1. Orcs are brutish and ape-like so therefore are stronger and more agile than humans but not greatly so. Some referees may allow orc player characters. MR 9 Dice 1 Adds 5. Natural Weapons: unarmed 1d Natural Armour 0. ST 4 x0. By virtue of a bitter civil war centuries ago the rebellious pixies had their own country before the coming of the dwarves. They still expect the old treaties to be respected and no elves or winged fairies to enter the land the pixies once owned outright.
Pixies are often rogues but rarely wizards since the Guild is viewed as an elf institution. Pixie wizards are outcasts among their own kind. Traditionally pixies wear green as camouflage in woods and verdant country but if out socially they consider it polite to wear a bright red hat. They are red headed with pointy ears and noses. Pixies are nocturnal and can see twice as far as humans from any source of light. They squint in sunlight but are otherwise unaffected. Pixies are experts at magical guerrilla warfare and typical pixie rogue tactics is to employ mirage and conceal to way-lay enemies and ambush them.
Since these spells are so common in pixie society a pixie rogue in her homeland can buy these as if a wizard. MR 12 Dice 2 Adds 6. Natural Weapons: normal unarmed attack 1d and a butt for 1d Natural Armour 0. ST 15 x1. Also known as korreds and fawns, satyrs are the natural mates of nymphs.
The offspring of such unions are nymphs if female and satyrs if male. All satyrs are male. Satyrs often take lovers from the other good kin any offspring of such unions are full satyrs if male and sterile half breeds if female. Satyrs may be used as player characters in some campaigns.
Satyrs lack the necessary discipline for serious magical studies in the crucial years of youth and so may not be wizards. Satyrs may be rogues or warriors. In an action a therianthrope can make regular unarmed attacks as a human 1d or use a weapon instead of a bite. Natural Armour: Nil. Alternatively, both ST and LK could be 15 x1. Therianthropes are as diverse as humans major NPCs should be detailed with attributes reminiscent of the animal whose head they have. Therianthropes are presented in some detail because they would make an excellent player character kin in most non-European settings.
A therianthrope is a human with the head and neck of an animal. Such beings have been depicted the world over since humans painted the earliest rock art, though they seemed to have vanished from Europe in ancient times. The animal head and neck is always as large as a human head and neck combined, so an ibis therianthrope has a larger head than an actual ibis i.
An elephant therianthrope has a smaller head than an elephant and hardly any neck. The head of a therianthrope provides a compromise between animal and human senses including colour vision and perhaps a single acute sense. The body of the therianthrope while totally human has a build and appearance reminiscent of the animal, an elephant therianthrope will be large and heavy set while a cat therianthrope will be smaller, lithe and graceful.
However, the capabilities of their bodies and limbs are always within the human range, non-human abilities are limited to those few provided by the head. Therianthrope diets contain a mix of human and animal foods. Despite bestial heads flexible tongues and larynxes allow them to speak human languages but with a accent.
In personality such creatures are basically human but tend to have personality traits reminiscent of the animal whose head they have. So human are they in personality that they fit in well in human societies accustomed to their odd looks and they are attracted to humans when a human and therianthrope, or two therianthropes of different heads, or a therianthrope and a were, breed the offspring has an even chance of being either kin. Therianthropes generally get on well with weres of the same animal, sometimes forming mixed communities. As magical creatures therianthropes are often rogues or wizards and have their fair share of warrior-wizards also.
However, there partially animal nature has less aptitude for tools and weapons so few are pure warriors or artisan civilians though no character type is actually banned. The standard rules to prevent a therianthrope from making a bite and a weapon attack together in one action it is noted here again for clarity.
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Each breed of therianthrope also has one minor special ability determined by the head. Typical abilities include:. This is useful in mazes but does not allow a character to automatically retrace their steps. Troll, Young. Trolls are tall but long limbed so mass less than other creatures of the same height. Some referees may allow troll PCs. Trolls grow sporadically throughout their lives in response to stress. Height of older trolls will be at least inches equal to square root of STR times 25, and mass at least ST squared divided by two.
When did you play your first game book and what about your first RPG? They've been a huge influence on me in terms of gaming and adventure writing. I went on there and did a search for solo adventures, and quickly. So, I got straight to work writing!
And in the process of doing that, I shared the creation of the book, developing the style as I went. It was actually a really fun and engaging process. RPG Review: You only recently began publishing your writing. How did you learn to write and polish your craft? Paul: I've been writing fiction for many years, unpublished.
I have had plenty of time to practice writing, which I think is the best way to polish your craft, and I've always been engaged in writing of some sort, since I was very young. It's always been a major passion of mine. With the appearance of DM's Guild, the opportunity to self-publish came up, and I'm glad that I've done it. I've been making submissions of my work fantasy fiction to various agents and publishing companies for a long time, getting the occasional response but never able to secure a deal of any sort.
But having self-published, and having seen some success as a result, I'm re-evaluating the merits of pursuing the 'traditional path' of publishing. A lot of what publishing companies are looking for is based on fashions within book selling, and I'm not sure my work really conforms to any of that! In terms of learning to write, I read a lot within the fantasy genre, which I think is essential for any writer. Be familiar with your chosen genre and the big names who write within it. I also have a small circle of friends who are writers too, and we are always reviewing each others' work and giving each other pointers.
It's been very valuable getting that feedback. Sometimes, you need it spelt out for you, where you're going wrong. If I was to recommend a book on writing, there's a series called "Write Great Fiction" which I've gotten a lot of good pointers from. Those books will point you in the right write?
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RPG Review: Your books are quite professional how did you go about recruiting artists, cartographers and others with the skills needed? I've been a Dungeon Master for many many years, and have always made maps, so cartography is something that comes with the terrain pun intended of being a dungeon master, in my opinion. Regarding the art, when you make material for DM's Guild, you get access to a whole lot of art packs that you are able to use within your product.
I'm also always on the hunt for great public domain and Creative Commons art, and I keep note of where to find all that stuff. So as it turns out, I haven't actually had to recruit any artists so far - although that has changed with the most recent book not yet published. I did get three different artists to help me out with some of the images in there. But largely it's either public domain stuff or made by me.
Paul: In the most basic terms, it operates like a gamebook. Think Fighting Fantasy or Lone Wolf gamebooks. If you're not familiar with either of those series, here's a brief description: narrative entries replace DM narration, and at the end of each entry, you are presented with choices So, for example, here's an example from the book I'm working on currently, entitled The Tortured Land. A sound from ahead makes you freeze. You hear a low muttering, a guttural voice cursing and debating with itself.
Quickly you duck down and begin to make your way stealthily forward, using rocks and tussock as cover. Not an. Make a stealth check, DC If successful, go to entry If unsuccessful, go to From this point you will make the skill check, click on the appropriate option all of them are hyperlinked within the text , and be taken to the next entry where you will see the outcome!
Do you think the reduced chances to meet big designers, to show your work at the big conventions, and other effects of distance are a significant obstacle for Australian designers? But the Internet has provided a lot of opportunities when it comes to meeting some of the "big names" in the industry. I think it's more of a challenge for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, but I don't think it needs to be viewed as a "significant obstacle" as you put it there. I suppose it depends what you're aiming to achieve.
In terms of getting my products to people, I think I'm achieving that pretty well just through my online presence and I'm not sure how much being in the US or the UK would improve that. Paul: I'd say that if you're considering it, just do it. Your product might be received really well. However, having said that, I think that it would be unrealistic to release something, not do any marketing or other promotion, and expect it to do well.
You need to build an audience organically online, either by starting a blog, creating engaging posts, or whatever other method you think best suits your product. The other piece of advice I would have is a pretty common one from a business perspective: look for gaps in the market. Go onto DM's Guild and start searching for things that you think would be great but aren't currently there. What are some needs that DMs or players might have that aren't currently being filled?
That's a surefire way to identify a product you could create that others might find useful. Paul: Do you know, I'm not entirely sure! One thing that may have helped was that I shared the whole process of creation, as I was writing the book, and I think that piqued people's interest.
That way, when it went live, people had been waiting for it and it went straight to number 1 on the bestseller's list, where it stayed for quite a few months. Getting a spot on that list ensures that sales will continue. But yeah, I put a fair bit of effort into generating interest in it before I actually released it, and I think that helped quite a bit.
Why did you choose to use that property and not set your books in a generic fantasy world or a world of your own creation? What are the pros and cons of working with a property. Paul: The thing is, when you release on Dungeon Master's Guild, you have to set your product within either the Forgotten Realms, Eberron, Ravnica… you get the idea. So to gain access to that audience, there are certain guidelines you have to abide by, and the setting is one of those.
The cons of working with a property are that you need to conform to the lore and rules of that world I like working within constraints and seeing how far you can exercise your imagination within those boundaries. What new innovations you can bring to that existing world. I like the Forgotten Realms, too. Can you talk about the challenges of bringing exploratory play to the solo format? Paul: I didn't actually set out to write it as such.
It was when I was part-way through the writing process that I looked at what I'd done and thought, wait a minute. I've created a little sandbox here. The main way I took it to being a solo sandbox was by the use of locations and sidequests. So, there is a map of Zhentil Keep in the book where entry numbers are attached to locations.
You look at the map and say, "I want to go there", and you proceed to the entry number that is displayed, like clicking on a map in a video game. But you only get a limited time, so you can only visit a set number of locations, and only a set number of sites within that location. That's managed via the use of a mechanic I created called Progress Points. It ensures replayability also. The other thing that I think gives it a sandbox feel is the inclusion of sidequests, usually triggered by a codeword. There are a number of quests in the book that are auxilliary to the main quest, and this gives the player a feel of open exploration.
You're right, a sandbox in a DM-led game is much freer. But I think that by including the above-mentioned features, I've given a little taste of that within a solo setting. I hope so, anyway. Adam sighed and did his best to ignore her, throwing his full attention onto the floor, studying the rubber lining and the duct-taped seat peering up at him from between his legs. He pushed his head into the seat in front of him, wishing he could escape this dreadful predicament, but he knew that no matter how hard he wished, he was in the bus, next to the staring girl, on his way to crummy school.
A few minutes later, the wheels of the bus squealed in protest as it slowed. It was making the final turn into the semi-circular drive that led to the schools front doors. Many of the children started gathering their things: backpacks, lunchboxes, fistfuls of tissue, class projects, baseball bats and gloves, a special toy they were bringing to show-and-tell, and the occasional critter liberated from their homes. Adam was one of the eager kids, crazy to escape the penetrating glare of the girl beside him.
He pulled his backpack up from the floor and gave the girl a small smile. She just looked at him. It was like he offended her just by being there. He didnt care. She was a nerd, a dork, a geek, a freak, a spaz, and everything in between. Why should Adam care about her stares? She probably had lice. The bus stopped, the shriek of the doors opening brought Adam back from his thoughts, and he quickly stood, jostled by the other children as they pressed to get off the bus first. As he wormed his way into the crowd, he felt a tug on his shirt.
He looked. The girl again! I know things, she said. Good for you. For the first time, she lowered her great googly eyes to the floor. Adam felt sorry for what he said, but she deserved it. She was weird! Nate cried out, Adams got a girlfriend! Adam rolled his eyes, hung his head, and then shot Nate a look, Yeah? You wanna pick her nose like you pick your own? That got laughs, because it had a kernel of truth.
After a few moments, the children were free of the yellow behemoth and marching through the old metal doors into the school. Each child went his or her own way, filing toward lockers to get books, stow lunches, and go through the rituals that children everywhere performed as they made ready for another day of school. T odays lunch was pizza. Just like every other Tuesday, except Tuesdays during the summer.
It made the otherwise terrible day not-soterrible. Along with the greasy square slice, Adam had a Styrofoam cup of red dinosaur-shaped Jell-o, a carton of chocolate milk, and a small basket of flaccid fries. He emerged from the kitchen line, damp plastic tray in hand, and scanned the lunchroom, looking for his friends. It was a sea of faces and colors, filled with the sounds of important discussions about cartoons, who likes who, who did what, what happened when, the answers to last periods quiz, the unfairness of grounding, or who peed in what trashcan.
It didnt take long; he spied Sam and Randy right away. Adam walked across the cracked vinyl-tiled floor, passing under the nose of the lunchroom monitor, one Mr. Dickenswhose name was ever the subject of laughter. He was a grim man who was a bit free with the paddle and had a long, sad face and watery eyes. Adam did his best not to look at him, hurrying to where his friends sat.
He swung a leg over the bench as he set his tray down, finding himself in the middle of a serious discussion about whether Beamstalker could or could not kick a Starkiller Knights butt. Sam figured that Beamstalker wins, because he can shoot the Starkiller from across a whole city. Adam weighed in sagely that a Starkiller Knight had Psion Sight, so hed be able to sense the beams coming, and could use his sword to deflect them. Hey, said a voice, interrupting Adam as he was proving how a Starkiller Knight has to be the greatest swordsman from his planet in order to be inducted into the order.
Sam, seated across from him, looked over Adams shoulder, clearly grossed out. Randy snickered and played with his Jell-o. Adam turned and saw Lizard and Sally standing behind him, along with that strange staring girl with no name. She fidgeted with her gray dress, looking down at the floor.
Lizzie looked very uncomfortable; she was talking to a bunch of boys, after all. Sally, confident as ever, stood with one hand on her hip and gesticulated, as she said, Mandy Who? Her, idiot, Sally said, gesturing with her one freefrom-hip hand to the girl with no name. Mandy says she knows something about Mr. Good for her, Adam said and then turned back to his friends, shaking his head at the utter yuckiness of girls. Now, listen, Spasm Adam. You were very mean to Mandy this morning. You know shes an orphan. She added the last in a serious voice as if by saying it, she justified the whole situation, even interrupting what had otherwise been a perfectly fine lunch.
He got the feeling that Sally was doing this all for show. Adam turned around. He didnt care she was an orphan. Heck, sometimes he wished he was an orphan. So what does this have to do with me? He looked at Mandy. She looked at the floor. Lizzie had nervously turned and started talking to another girl at the table behind her. Adams friends giggled and made nasty Introduction. Sally said, She wants to show us. Thanks but no thanks. I dont care and Im not going anywhere. We have important things to talk about.
Oh sure, toys. You and your dolls. I think Nate would be awfully interested to hear how youre scared. Adam grumbled. If she told Nate anything, hed never hear the end of it. Ever since Nate had overheard Adam talking about how he was scared of the big, old tree in his backyard, the bully had seen him as just another target. Sam, Randy? You coming? Not me, said Sam. Randy shrugged. See you in Social Studies. Adam stood and said, Lead the way. Lizzie was too engrossed in whispering with her friends about which boy band she liked and which lead singer she would marry, so they left her behind, too.
Mandy led the way with Sally following, and Adam trailing far enough behind that maybe no one would think he was hanging out with these two. Sally was such a nosy girl, always butting in where she wasnt supposed to. It almost always got her in trouble. If everyone didnt want to be her friend so bad, she wouldnt have any friends at all. The three children left the lunchroom and entered the quiet hall, leaving behind the noise, the laughter, and their lunches. Mandy walked with her head down, staring at the floor, her gray dress swishing as she walked. Sally was humming, some tuneless song probably by Chastity Shields.
Chastity was annoying and girly. And his mom didnt like her. Sally had the pop stars smiling face on her lunch box, and sometimes dressed like her, too. Adams mom called it racy. L ockers lined the hall and the fluorescents reflected off the polished vinyl floor, darkened with splotches of abandoned gum. Every so many feet, a wooden door to a classroom broke the line of lockers.
Crude posters for class president hung on the walls, alongside dark pictures warning of the dangers of drugs, and bulletin boards holding event s chedules and tryouts for baseball, soccer, and a variety of other activities. The children passed the library, and Adam noticed Ms. Randall in there, a weird thin woman sitting at a table, wiping her eyes, as she looked at a letter. The children whispered that she was weirdshe didnt eat meat! They said she had a hundred cats and flew about on a broomstick. Adam didnt believe any of it, or at least the not eating meat part.
Mandy turned and headed down the hall toward Mr. Trickless class room. The lights flickered overhead and there was an awful smell in the air, as if someone had just puked. It was dark and kind of scary. Adam suddenly became unsure about all this, and rushed to catch up with Sally. Isnt he in there? Nope, said Sally. No one knows where he went. He had first period, but wasnt there for second or third. The principals been sitting in and having study hall.
So what are we doing here? I dunno. Mandy knows. Sally giggled, and added in a lower voice, Shes sort of weird, isnt she? Youre telling me! Mandy finally stopped in front of the door. For the first time since leaving the lunchroom, she raised her head and looked through the glass. Sally came to her side and put an arm around her shoulder. Adam walked around to the other side, bored, confused, and wanting to go back and finish his chocolate milk. Mandy still smelled like cabbage. We have to go in, said the strange little girl. Adam nudged the girls out of the way and stepped forward, peering through the window into the classroom.
The window had a mesh inside it, so it was hard to see. It was dark, but he could make out the students desks in rows, and the teachers desk in front of the blackboard. There were no windows in that room, and the walls were concrete blocks painted in boring brown. Unlike other teachers rooms, where there were decorations, maps, posters, and stuff, the walls here were empty. No ones there. So, orphan girl, you gonna tell us why were here?
Adam asked. Yeah, tell us, said a fourth voice from behind them. Sally loosed a little scream. Adam jumped.
It was Nate, who had sneaked up on them. Mandy hadnt reacted at all. She just turned and looked at the bully, her eyes sad and strange. Whats goin on, Adam? Two girlfriends? Well, well, the girls must like you. I bet its the dolls. Shut up, jerk, said Adam. Make me, said Nate. I owe you one for the bus. Both of you stop it. No one invited you, Nate. Go away, said Sally. Maybe I dont wanna. Tell me what you guys are doing, or Ill tell the Dick that youre sneaking around in the halls.
Sally looked frightened at the idea of getting into trouble again, but Adam just muttered Snitch, and returned Nates stare. Some kids were afraid of Nate, but not Adam. Hed beat him once on the playground, and hed do it again. We have to go inside, whispered Mandy. Whats with you? Leave her alone, Sally snapped and stood in between the strange girl and the larger boy.
Look, lets just get this over with, Adam muttered, turning to open the door. Mandy took a step back. Sally gave Nate a nasty look and stepped into the darkened class room. Adam reached for the light switch, but Mandy stopped him. Fine, he said. Nate pushed his way in, his big clumsy body almost twice the size of Mandy and a few inches taller than Adam himself. So, were here.
Whats the big deal? Its a dark classroom. Oooh, scary, said Nate. Look, pointed out Sally. Adam followed her finger and saw muddy footprints leading past Mr. Trickless desk and into the supply room. Nate shrugged, scared but covering it up by sounding annoyed. Maybe Mr. Trickles had muddy shoes. He boldly strutted up to look into the room. Sally followed Nate. Mandy pulled out that annoying flashlight she kept on her keychain, and started turning it on and off, on and off.
She was always getting in trouble for staring into it during class. Adam plopped down at a desk, already bored by this whole affair. Whats that? Sally peaked around the bully to see what he was pointing that. But there didnt used to be stairs there. Adam got back up and wandered over to the children, finally interested. He didnt notice Mandys moan. It was dark inside, but the children could see wet stone steps winding down. Look, theres sand! In there? The mute girl nodded. We should tell someone, said Nate.
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