Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Nuts & Bolts #132 - MCC - Random Weather Tables

Image Source:

On the most recent Glowburn Judges Forrest and James mentioned that a weather phenomenon table would be a great resource for MCC GMs. I agree, and since I'm getting prepped to start GMing MCC I figured this would be a good exercise for me to undertake. Roll a d5 and a d4, or pick, you're allowed. Oh, and, yes, I know some will percieve this table as extremely harsh, but if you're going to roll on a table you may as well have something interesting come up most of the time. Don't roll on this unless you are prepared for something to happen, if you didn't want the weather to make an impact why'd you even bother rolling?
  1. Glow Storm!
    1. Minor storm: Strange lights in the sky but no ill effects
    2. Major storm: Strange lights, terrible winds and radiation blast the area, take 1d4 radiation damage (DC 12 Fort save for half).
    3. Powerful storm: As above but take 1d6 radiation damage (DC 14 Fort save for half).
    4. Glownado!: A glownado carves a path of destruction. Arrives in 1d3 rounds. Each round a character is caught within its 300 foot wide diameter they must make a DC 13 reflex save or take 1d14 physical damage, they also suffer 1d7 radiation damage (DC 15 Fortitude save to halve).
  2. Weird Event!
    1. Solar flare: The sun bloats and turns angry hues of red. Take 1d5 radiation damage for each hour in the sun (DC 13 save for half)
    2. Meteor Storm: Great rocks from the Sky Arc rain down! 1d3 meteors rain down. Roll d16 per meteor to determine the DC of the Reflex save to avoid. Impact and heat damage is 1d14.
    3. Artifact fall: A machine of the ancients falls back to earth. Roll a d20, any character with AC lower than the roll takes 1d10 damage from the impact. The object within may be of value (75%). 
    4. EMP: A wave of strange energy washes over the landscape. All non-battery artifacts of the ancients roll to save with a penalty equal to their Complexity Level (DC 10). Failure drains all remaining charges from the device. 
  3. Foul weather!
    1. Extreme heat: DC 12 Fortitude save or suffer 1d3 points of temporary stamina drain from fatigue. +2 circumstance bonus for reptilian manimals and plantients.
    2. A tornado cuts across the landscape: It arrives in 1d3 rounds! Each round a character is caught within its 1d3x100 foot diameter must make a DC 13 reflex save or take 1d14 physical damage.
    3. Thunderstorm: Heavy rain and lightning lash the region for the next 1d5 hours. Once per hour a random PC must test Luck or be struck by Lightning for 1d16 damage (DC 14 Reflex save for half).
    4. Extreme cold: Water freeze solid and a DC 12 Fortitude save is required each hour to prevent 1d5 cold damage if not protected. 
  4. Precipitation
    1. Rain: Everything gets wet. Lowest luck character rolls on Luck or a random artifact they carry stops working.
    2. Snow: Slow going and cold. Reduce travel speed by half. Make a DC 10 fortitude save each hour or take 1d3 cold damage.
    3. Blizzard: Visibility is reduced to no more than 20 feet. Reduce travel speed by half. Make a DC 12 fortitude save each hour or take 1d4 cold damage.
    4. Driving rain/monsoon: Water and mud everywhere. Every character is soaked through. Visibility and travel speed are reduce by half. Lowest d3 luck characters roll on Luck or a random artifact they carry stops working (if not artifact they slip and fall taking 1d3 damage instead).
  5. Fair or foul!
    • If the die is Even the weather is fair for the remainder of the day.
    • If the die is odd drop two dice and combine! If conflicting results are rolled the weather swings wildly between the two (e.g. driving rain at one moment, sunny and hot the next)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Nuts & Bolts #131 - Review: Hex Kit

This map took me less than 30 minutes...

This is, I think, a first for my blog: a review of software. I'm not the most computer literate guy around. For the past decade or so I've been getting by using Chromebooks at home and whatever they gave me to use at work. I always knew it was a stop gap measure, but for a good while the Chromebooks worked for my needs. The one biggest downside was their lack of software support.

When I back Torment: Tides of Numenera, I knew I would eventually have to buy a "real" PC to be able to play, and when I later backed Cecil Howe's Hex Kit mapping tool I figured "Well, I already have to buy a PC..."

Both Torment and Hex Kit have been available for month now, but it was only this past weekend that I finally bought into a new PC. It's hardly a supercomputer, but considering I've been getting by on Chromebooks it feels a bit like on to me!

All of that preamble is to explain why I'm reviewing something that has been available since April. That said I'm so impressed with the artistic quality of Mr. Howe's Hex Kit map hexes, and the ease of use for the Hex Kit tool that I felt "better late than never" would apply.

Hex Kit is an inexpensive ($15) mapping tool for PC (Windows, Mac, Linux) published by Cone Of Negative Energy (Mr. Howe's publishing self) via It's a tool that allows one to use pre-render tiles to build hex maps. The above image was constructed mostly from the "Fantasyland" set (an add-on that I also purchased) which consists of literally hundreds of hexes in numerous styles with a few dozen of each style being available. You can click on farmland for instance and just quickly fill in a 6 by 6 hex sheet with the following at random:

Alternately I can choose a specific tile and populate the same, I can even rotate the tiles to form a neat and tidy look if I choose:

It's quick and easy and even a caveman can do it. These tiles are gorgeous because ... they're hand painted. Mr. Howe hand paints these on paper and then scans them. This project is a huge labor of love as much as it is a useful tool for players and GMs. The lead in image was created for the DCC game I am playing in where the characters just arrived on the Purple Planet. Since the GM (+James Walls) said it would be a hex crawl I jumped at the chance to not only fully embrace the classic hex crawl but also to use this awesome new tool I'd finally started to play with.

I back the kickstarter, and got in for short money, but I can't stress how impressed I am with this from a tool standpoint. It supports multiple layers (so you could even create a fog of war layer to hide stuff from your players) and features numerous unique places of interest, roads, rivers, coasts, forests, mountains, hills, etc. There's even a space themed add-on set that you could use to create maps for sci-fiction games like Stars Without Number, Star Trek, or Star Wars. And every tile is something that was hand painted, and scanned. Every. One.

Oh and on the off chance you aren't already sold there's a dungeon kit in works. Also you can output random maps with barely any clicks at all. Check this out!

I don't wholeheartedly recommend stuff with this kind of wild abandon very often, but I think for the price this is this kind of tool that any GM or player with a hankering for maps will probably be happy with. I do recommend you grab the Fantasyland expansion however. While the base set of black and white tiles is still not only very functional, but also attractive, these tiles really pop if you get into the full color sets.

As a before after I converted my MS Paint map of Blackstone Ford from my Shadow of the Demon Lord game to Hex Kit in about an hour. Here's the before/after.

Friday, September 8, 2017

State of the Blog(ger) - Connui

Since Gen Con I've been feeling a weird gaming funk. My weekly game hasn't started back up, my monthly Gods of the Fall game came to an end because some players had to drop out (which I totally respect, you gotta take care of you) and I felt that trying to continue would be more effort than worth, my monthly game of DCC as player hasn't yet resumed (tomorrow!) and, as a result, I've been feeling a bit less inspired of late. I've been reading Blades in the Dark recently, in on-off spurts, a few pages at a time, but beyond that I haven't really read anything or played anything RPG related of late.

Basically I am feeling a post convention ennui ... or connui as a friend dubbed it.
Connui: That low feeling after riding the high of being surrounded by the hobby you love for 2+ days

I think the fact that the blog is 3 years old now is also a factor because after 720 posts in that time (that's 1 post per 1.5 days! over 3 years) I'm at a point now where the blog has the least structure of it's history with only Nuts & Bolts holding true since the very beginning.

Whilst I'd like to be able to jump right back into most old posting routine it's clear to me that will not happen immediately. I need to realign myself and find that creative groove again. I'll do what I can to continue with at least occasional posts, but my schedule may not return to "normal" for some time.

We'll find out together I suppose.