Homebrew Tech Domain

Today’s Feature comes from an amazing homebrew blogger that I recently came across. And I am now a huge fan of.

Walrock Homebrew

Go give his Blog a look you will not be disappointed.

So as I have slowed down working on my homebrew with the RPGaDay going on I wanted to feature one of Walrocks Homebrew’s that I will be using in my personal game.

The Divine Domain of Technology

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#RPGaDay2016 Day 13: What makes a Successful Campaign?

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Today’s question is a really good one. What makes a successful campaign? A number of things need to fall in place for a campaign to be considered a success. All of these involve a good bit of planning no matter if you are running a module or creating your own campaign. One of the reasons why we seek to run a successful campaign is that when you get it right and it all comes together. It is something that you and your players likely will talk about and reflect on for years to come. 

Now there is no magic formula, but there are some things you can do to put yourself in a better position to have a successful campaign before the first dice hits the table. The following are some useful tips that may prove helpful in your quest to create a successful campaign

  • Come up with a campaign theme.
  • Decided the system you will run.
  • Decide how long it will take to run the story.
  • Elevator pitch the campaign to  your players
  • Flesh out your campaign

Here are a few tips on what to avoid while in the planning stages of your campaign.

  • Avoid reusing themes that you have already run.
  • Avoid overplanning, preparation is good but leave room for flexibility and changes
  • Avoid on-rails storytelling. At least give the illusion of choice for your players if you must remove decision making or choice in your campaign
  • Make sure your players want to play in the game you pitched.

 

 

 

 

 

Late Night Monday Musing: The Importance of Time in your games…

The Passage of time is of huge importance in your RPG games. It’s also often overlooked or relegated to a footnote in my RPG games. Yet unless you are running a one-off game it is of vital importance in an RPG.  If there is no passage of time in your games then there can never be any sense of urgency in your games. Also if you have no passage of time in your games and you then Interject time into your game for the purpose of one or two sessions it then feels like little more than a plot device.
There are many downsides to not having the passage of time in your games. Here are just a few off the top of my head.

  • No one ages, No one dies of natural causes unless the GM its plot worthy
  • No NPC family ever has children, no children ever grow up to adulthood & NPC friends are forever frozen in time from the moment the player meets them and never improve age or die.
  •  Villages never grow into bustling cities or fade away
  • The Ruling Class never loses power – unless directly due to player activity or scripted events.
  • Quest lines just sit in idle until the players become involved if ever.
  • NPC bad Guys stay at one level of ability. Don’t worry that NPC that nearly wiped your party. You can come back in 6 or 7 levels and defeat him in  your sleep.

When time passes in your game you add an entirely  new level of depth to your world. Decisions the players make now can have much wider implications.

  • By making choices of who in the world to help or not. These actions could have massive implications. Say the PC’s chose to delve into that dungeon instead of seeking out the nearby bandit camp.They might return to a village in flames!
  • Maybe since the player group would not deal with the bandits, another adventuring group takes care of the bandits. Leaving the players on the outs with many of the locals.
  • NPC bad guys in these style settings not only grow in power but might go on to raise entire armies to continue to hinder the players. Learning from his mistakes if given enough time he will only become more powerful. 
  • Days weeks months and years now pass. With that Towns, Citys, Nations or even gods may rise or fall in  your story.

My Homebrew Three: Race Lupa

Today’s update race for my homebrew setting is the Lupa. Formerly know as the Canis. I have kept the Canis but the are now a subrace of Lupa. Overall this one was a tough one to put together. A lot of thought went into how many subraces I would do. One of the issues with making a Canine race was the concern that there are so many “Breeds” of Canine that it could have gone on forever with a plethora of subraces if I had chosen to go wild.

In the end, I chose to focus on two subraces. The name Lupa replaced Canis because I honestly was not a fan of the name even after all these years. I needed to keep some aspect of the name around so I decided to make Canis one of the two subraces.

I once again had to address the issue I had done years earlier and remove the Canis and Badgen hatred. Where with the Badgen it was a fairly simple task I found that with the former Canis.. It was a tremendous part of their background. Between that and the attachment to the Canis nation that I wanted to pull out as well so they felt more worldly. I pretty much had to start from scratch with this one again.

Just about all I had left at one point was the Canis hate for lycanthropes and gnolls. So I did some research and looked up the “Lupin” from back in 3.5 D&D. They were Featured in the Dragon Mag. I found some interesting parallels’s between the two and I added them here and there into my new write up. Honestly, I normally would not do this.. but It saved me time and it’s not like I am going to post this for money. So I paid homage to some of the write-up and went with it.

So the Canis were the second of my exotic races that I created nearly 20 years ago. I wanted to make a race in the game setting would be more advanced than some of the rest of the world and not be a standard race. So the Canis was born, inspired from the Roman Dog Soldier. They were the backbone of the Canis Empire also a Roman style nation. They were far more advanced then the rest of the world having the beginnings of steam power as well as gunpowder.

They were also kind of my villains. According to my world, they had chased the Badgen from their homes and were at war with them. Many of the Gnome lands had been conquered and the Canis had them cranking out tinker creations for the Canis armies. Halflings as well fled the part of the world to get away from the Canis’s might.

Fun fact…
Before I made my own race and named them Canis. I nearly did not make a unique race and just went with Gnolls. Hobgoblins likely would have worked well also. Instead, I decided to make my own race and have them hate both Gnolls for being Primitive Savages. As well as Lycanthropes because they were easily confused for them.

 

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Homebrew Part Two: Race Badgen

Today’s feature in my ongoing Homebrew blog posts is the Badgen. The Badgen are nearly as old as my homebrew setting itself. I wanted from the very beginning to add one or two nonhumanoid races into my game world. The fist was the Badgen and the second the Canis. Back when I created the races I also wanted to make sure that these races did not overflow my table with players wanting to play them. So I had the genius idea to make the two races Hate one and other. Likely my biggest mistake in the history of my homebrew worlds creation.

Having done this, players few and far between ever opted to even give the races a look. For two main reasons I learned. One if one player decided to make a Badgen, then no one at the table could make a Cainis. As well as if  you played one of either of the races it would limit your party’s interaction with the other races of these types in the game world. I kinda shot myself in the foot right out the gate.

So in my rewrite, I set to pulling out the racial hate between the two so that parties could play both races without any limiting factors to the rest of the party. I hope it fixes things.  This works on a few levels with my existing group as well, because I have moved the storyline ahead a few generations since the “war” that sparked off their hate of one and other. As we have seen in real life time heals wounds.

The Badgen were inspired early on to be designed as a replacement to the Half-Orc in my homebrew setting. So I built them very much like Half-Orcs. But due to my creative self-inflicted gunshot wound to the race. Half-Orcs continued to be played in my world regularly due to the points I made above.

The Badgen has been through several incarnations over the years. One version had the scent ability as well as powerful build. Another was given the ability to rage once a day as per a barbarian. The Pathfinder incarnation gave them Ferocious and Bestial Racial traits. Of all of them, I think this one is the version of the Badgen I am the most pleased with.

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Product Mini Review.Snap Sites: Blue Horizons Airlines

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Snap Sites is continuing its wonderful system agnostic player prop line collection. Their new product, Blue Horizons provides us with a location that rarely gets much attention to detail in many games, an airliner. Many Storytellers would be surprised that I Think this would be a good Snap Site. As many who run games hand wave air travel or travel in games as nothing more than transition, from one scene to another.
Yet locations like this are great opportunities for character development or discussion about the events taking place in the game. All the while remaining in character. Additionally if and when you do decide to add an encounter into the mix. Anything that takes place on an airliner is automatically going to be a bit more of a nail bitter at ten thousand feet!

So what you get with Blue Horizons is

  • Info about the airline, 8 characters, story twists and a “random odd items” in the luggage table.
  • A form fillable boarding pass
  • Airline magazine cover
  • In-flight menu
  • Printable map of the interior of the plane
  • Printable map of the cargo area of the plane
  • Printable cards of the characters for the GM and players

Taking a deeper look at what you get with Blue Horizons Airlines. We 8 character cards with a brief snippet of background, personality and what they are doing on the airliner. The 8 twists provide you with a fun  set of trope story options for running one-shot games while the flight is underway. The Random odd item table has a few interesting things on it that could move a plot in some rather creative ways.

The Magazine cover might have been a touch more useful if like the books they have done in the past form fillable or have several cover options. I found the in-flight menu a nice touch. And the plane interior is useful for when you intend to have anything go down while you’re flying the friendly skies.

But the form fillable Boarding Pass is the icing on this cake. Since with the tap of a few keys send your players anywhere. Who knows, maybe because your players always fly Blue Horizon you will be able to develop other plot lines or a bigger picture as to why adventures use the big Blue? Lastly, I wanted to point my readers in the direction of two RPG products that you could use this Snap Site with to add an extra personal touch to already great products.
Mix

So if you want to pick up Snape Sites Blue Horizon Airlines you can find it Here.

 

 

 

 

138649There is a great scene that takes place on a plane in this Mote Cook Games adventure for The Strange RPG that could be taken a bit further when used in combination with this product and their own Estate Dossiers. Together you would really raise the bar high on this already awesome introductory adventure!

You can get the Eschatology Code Here.

You can find the Estate Dossiers Here.

 

 

141208The other adventure that I think could benefit from this Site is the Savage Worlds Canned Food. As the entire story basically takes place on a plane why not add some props to make the game all that much better!

You can find Canned Food Here.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Musing 7/25/16 Keep it short and simple.

One thing I have noticed as I have been spending more and more time working on my homebrew world is how easy it is to fall down the “Rabbit Hole” and get lost in overcomplicated and unneeded fluff. Or head down paths that your players will likely never go or even think about. So that brings me to today’s musing KISS Keep it Short and Simple. Or when I was in the army Keep it Simple Stupid.

When working on this project I often took the time to pause while I was working. I would go back over and look at portions of what I was doing and ask myself. Is this important to my players ? Or am I writing this for myself ?

When we make things as GM’s we have to remember that far too often much of what we create for our players to enjoy will never be revealed. Unless we leave them clues for discovery often much of what you write will be written only for you. So when you find yourself  slipping down a Rabbit Hole. Here is my best advice for you. Ask yourself  this key question.

Is this needed or important for the story that I am running ? 

  • If the answer is NO, then KISS applies set it aside and move.
  • If the answer is YES, Then you must make sure you have several methods for this information be discovered by your players. Never forget If you only have one layer of opportunity for the players to learn about it then you have increased the odds that they will miss it.

 

Just a few random thoughts knocking around in my brain. If you would like to see me elaborate on this topic in more depth leave a comment and I may come back and dedicate a full blog post on the subject.