At the weekend I was away with no access to computers or the internet, that didn’t stop me scribbling down stuff in a notebook to prepare for my first Mutant Future session this week.
Inspired by Jeff Rients and with the help of my six year old daughter I made a list of random items. This would be relevant to any post apocalyptic setting of course.
List after the jump… Continue reading…
Against my better judgement I’ve decided to do a video for today’s Hurried Handout, so here it is, Buccaneer Guild’s first video tutorial.
I’ll follow this up next week with a text and screen shot version, seeing as NewbieDM requested so.
If you’ve enjoyed this video then let me know in the comments and I’ll do more. Please forgive the beginning!
Here’s a quick handout I put together to help summarize the players actions from the preceding week. They picked this up just before leaving dock.
News-sheet handouts like this can be a used to immerse your players in the world. Getting your name or exploits in the press just makes the world feel more real. It’s a tip from John Fourr I’ve been using for years.
Photoshop work here was very minimal and went like so.
- Find a scroll image on Google
- Type some crap
The first story pertains to the PCs recent climactic end of level success in rescuing an Eladrin ship. Although until reading this they didn’t know the town guard had been onboard to check out their story about the captain. This little addition of something that happened when they weren’t there makes the players realise there’s more to the world than just their actions. This first story also lets the player’s know that the Sergeant made good on his promise to cover up the deaths of the attackers.
The second story is feeding a future plot line. The third, a murder investigation, is the result of the party’s over zealous interrogation techniques. The Mayor’s birthday is pure meaningless fluff, unless the players get hooked by it, in which case it could become future plot.
The final job posting is there because the players killed the last hold of that position!
How have you used news-sheet handouts successfully to drive your players? If you haven’t then why not?
The work of building a world is usually left to the DM. DMs can spend large chunks of their life building the perfect world for their players to play in. They create maps, histories, classes, races, continents, nations, power groups, and plots.
It’s a lot of work, and often thankless as well. Even once you’ve handed out the condensed campaign introduction document, the players will never be as deeply immersed in your personal world as you, as writer of it, is.
Build a bare-bones world
In our last campaign I tried something different. I wrote a very quick bare bones history of the world. Here’s the original entry from my design notes. This campaign was following from a failed Shackled City campaign, where a gate to hell was opened at the end of the campaign.
The Great Gate opened and Demons enslaved The World That Was. The powers of the Astral Sea won the millennia long war, at great cost: The world was catastrophically flooded, and the population decimated. Now, a few generations later, the people of the New World are recovering, spreading out across the vast archipelago that The World That Was has become.
This led to a map, upon which I slapped some hurriedly invented names. I then presented this to my players as a post apocalyptic pirate infested archipelago.
Now it was time to get the players to join in…
Here’s an interesting handout I did for our now paused/retired Luquin Sea campaign.
The whole handout simply didn’t mean anything, it was one huge red herring! I used a Wacom tablet and pen to spend part of my lunch break scribbling as much nonsense as humanly possible.
Excuse the blood but it came from the corpse of someone that had just tried to kidnap the party’s Dragonborn fighter.
The background, paper, blood and shadows account for about two minutes of time. A half hour of scribbling later and I’ve got a handout that my players keep coming back to. They were convinced that there must be something in it, why would I have spent time drawing it otherwise?
I would recommend the odd red herring now and then for your campaign. Never before have I had a handout that has been discussed more, it was hard to keep a straight face at times. Well they know now if they are reading!
Has anyone else had fun with an evil red herring?
Continuing the series focusing on what it’s possible for a busy GM to get done in very little time.
Today a bit of a cheat, this is actually a lunchbreak job rather than a coffee break.
Time saving photoshop tips in this map are the repeating patterns used all over the map. There’s a pattern for painting the forest, and the majority of the buildings, as well as the swamp. Other buildings are drawn with the thick line technique I mentioned earlier. The roads, walls and mountains are just drawn with a round brush.
It’s been 10 months now since Goodman Games stopped publishing their 3.5e products. Great to see them return in PDF form. I’m particularly fond of the classic dungeon crawling series.
All the previous D20 product is now being shipped as PDFs under the new “3rd Age” appellation.
In a similar vein to Coffeebreak Cartography, here’s a series of Hurried Handouts. Examples of what can be done by a busy DM in the few minutes available during breaks at work.
Today a handout that is specifically designed to drive a fair chunk of plot in one PCs story.
The top time saving tool here has to the library of blood spatter brushes I used. Both libraries I regularly use are here:
Sometimes as a busy GM, I need a map in next to no time at all. I also require that they look nice, especially if they are going to be handed to my players. Anything that increases my players sense of verisimilitude is a bonus.
To that end I’m practicing knocking out maps and handouts quickly in what’s become the Coffeebreak Cartography Challenge!
Here’s another coffee break map. Finished in just under 15 minutes.
The interesting photoshop technique here is the buildings. To quickly draw simple buildings like those above, use the line tool set to a decent thickness. Then simply drag out the rectangles in the direction you need. Very quick for filling out a whole swathe of buildings.
Hi my name is Iain and I’m a mapaholic. Or should that be cartographaholic?
I like drawing maps, both with paper and pen, and digital tools. To that end I’ve decided to publish a series of maps, all done in a coffee break.
I can’t promise one a day, that would be foolish, but I’ll try for one from time to time.
Here’s one for today, as a quick test I’ve been attempting to replicate a hand-drawn style in Photoshop.
It’s rather reminiscent of the style of maps I would draw in class at school, 25 years ago. There’s a definite Tolkein influence at work.
There’s really no digital shortcuts involved, to replicate this hand drawn style I’ve hand-draw it with a stylus. Once it’s done certain elements could be reused, a mountain here, a hill there. Certainly if I was to include forest elements then they could be repeated with a pattern.