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Archive for August, 2010

Textures: Cut Stone

August 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Another photo from Italy. Actually, make that Dubrovnik, Crotia – just east of Italy on the coast. This shot of cut rock composed the windswept walls and turrets of Fort Bokar, standing high on the cliffs overlooking the Adriatic sea. True to the look and feel of the stonework, the walls of Fort Bokar surrounding Old Town Dubrovnik were erected in the 14th century. Just across the harbor, high atop a sheer cliff, stands Fort Lovrijenac erected in 1038. This shot is of the 14th century work and provides a classic example of well preserved and well maintained medieval stonework.

Feel free to download and use these textures as you see fit – just do me a favor and refer your friends here if you get the chance.

The full size image is available as Cut Stone.jpg from the box.net widget in the sidebar. Or see all files available for download and grab them from here.

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How We Roll: Critical Hits & Misses

August 29, 2010 2 comments

Have you ever played with one of those great narrative DMs? The kind that describes in detail the visceral impact of your crit or the humiliating consequences of that fumble? It’s a rare trait and if you are that kind of DM, you probably don’t need any help. But if you’re not, there are two simple tools that can take you one giant leap forward in becoming ‘that’ kind of DM.

The tools? The GameMastery Critical Hit Deck and Critical Fumble Deck. I own both of these 52 card decks and they are flat out awesome. These came out when 3E was all the rage, but are general enough that they can be applied to just about any version of D&D.

Critical Hit Deck: Each card describes four different effects depending on the type of damage inflicted (Bludgeoning, Piercing, Slashing, Magic). Each has associated flavor text (e.g., Roundhouse, Nailed in Place, Disembowel, Combustion) and suggested impacts – either additional damage or other effects. For example, “Nailed in Place” prohibits the target from moving until a save is made. The deck also comes with a couple of bonus cards that describe various optional rules for using the cards in your game – though I’m not sure how practical applying multiple cards to a single attack would be (the optional rules suggest this for high damage weapons). Otherwise, high production value, quality cards, and a flying decapitated head of an orc on the back of each card – what’s not to love?

Critical Fumble Deck: Each card describes four different effects depending on the type of damage inflicted (Melee, Ranged, Natural, Magic). Each has associated flavor text (e.g., Attack the Darkness, You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out, Stop Hitting Yourself, Weak-minded Fool) and suggested consequence. For example, “Too Much Stuff!” results in you getting tangled up in your own gear until you spend a standard action to free yourself. As with the Hit Deck, these cards are fantastic in quality and have a bloody d20 on the back – rolled to a ‘1’ of course. In addition to the optional rules, this deck comes with a new weapon ability ‘Sure Grip’ to help avoid the consequences of a fumble and a couple of new spells to promote fumbles. Just think of the look on your player’s faces when you pop this out the first time and then give them the option to lay it down on their own foes – priceless.

All told, I think these decks are a great value and well worth the $11 or so that they cost. Need more info? In addition to his normal witty repartee, Gamer Bling has a great statistical run down on these products at…

http://gamerbling.wordpress.com/gm-tools/critical-hit-fumble-decks/

Enjoy!

Textures: Coarse Stonework

August 20, 2010 Leave a comment

In Italy, I came across a variety of fantastic examples of crude and more polished stonework. This particular shot of coarse rock and mortar stonework would work well for any less civilized people group. To be honest, I don’t know if orcs were ever portrayed as doing stonework, but if they did I would imagine it would look like this.

Feel free to download and use these textures as you see fit – just do me a favor and refer your friends here if you get the chance.

The full size image is available as Coarse Stonework.jpg from the box.net widget in the sidebar. Or see all files available for download and grab them from here.

Thunderspire Labyrinth: Part Seven

August 15, 2010 Leave a comment

In this seventh session, Gorn and his companions recover the final two symbols (a Mask and a Tome) that they need to access and defeat their ultimate foe. The Mask was deep within a fun-house chamber filled with mirrored columns and eyeless undead. Is it me or is every mirror in every dungeon put there with malevolent intent? The Tome is found within a chamber buried under a chill altar enshrouded by the mad whispers of an unseen foe. Symbols in hand, they unravel the locking runes, battle through the ensuing chaos and prepare for the final battle.

As always, all downloads are posted in the box.net widget in the sidebar to the right. Pop on over there and download “Thunderspire Campaign Newsletter Vol 7!” Or see all files available for download and grab them from here.

D&D Boxed Sets!

August 8, 2010 Leave a comment

A buddy of mine found that the Wizards of the Coast crew is releasing D&D boxed sets. The first one is already available over at Amazon.com and is based on the popular Ravenloft setting. An expansion with Ashardalon, an iconic D&D red dragon, is coming in December.

I actually like this approach as an introduction to the game. It’s VERY much like what comes in Fantasy Flight’s Descent game (all the way down to the material the minis are cast in, the interlocking floor tiles, character/foe cards, and punch out hit point/condition markers).

If it has high replay value and Wizards can effectively build upon this release with subsequent campaign expansions, I’d expect the boxed sets to be quite popular. It would be nice to see some timely low cost expansions (including a handful of tiles, a few new minis, and a storyline for $20). If Ashardalon is any indication, it looks like they’re planning a slightly smaller box for $65 though you can pre-order it for $40 right now.

Check ’em out:

Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game

Wrath of Ashardalon: A D&D Boardgame

If you are interested in the detail, Wizards put out an unboxing video for the Ravenloft product at GenCon and it looks very nice. Thanks for the find, Mike!

Categories: D&D Tags: , , ,

Thunderspire Labyrinth: Part Six

August 6, 2010 Leave a comment

For their sixth session, Gorn and his companions defeat the blackfang gnolls and press on to discover a sacrificial altar, chill areas, magical pools, and a particularly entertaining encounter with three ghosts of adventurers past. Trying to impress the shades, The Bishop commands “Be gone lesser shades of a wasted time!” They comply and do just that – leaving the heroes only slightly wiser as to their next step.

The crew then recovers the first two symbols needed to access and defeat their ultimate foe – the Barbed Bone Bell and the Split Blade.

As always, all downloads are posted in the box.net widget in the sidebar to the right. Pop on over there and download “Thunderspire Campaign Newsletter Vol 6!” Or see all files available for download and grab them from here.

Thunderspire Labyrinth: Part Five

August 1, 2010 Leave a comment

We have another session in the great underground labyrinth of the minotaurs coming up, so I need to get the old blog up to date on Gorn’s adventures.

For their fifth session, Gorn and his companions fall prey to a rather obvious ambush by a pair of tieflings and their bronze warden constructs – then proceed to overcome a tentacled horror and cavern chokers at the Well of Demons. They ultimately track down the first fruits of their quarry – the Blackfang gnolls.

As always, all downloads are posted in the box.net widget in the sidebar to the right. Pop on over there and download “Thunderspire Campaign Newsletter Vol 5!” Or see all files available for download and grab them from here.