Cartogo…Cargro…Making Maps; GM Tool; Wolves At The Gate

Cartogo…Cargro…Making Maps

I started working on a relatively small, drugs intro adventure for Pathfinder because several folks in the ‘Sphere expressed an interest in possibly doing another online RPG session. This time, sickness the game will be significantly different from our last Adventure Co. excursions. First, it’s a different system. Pathfinder can be had for free, so no one has an excuse not to join (although time is still way overpriced). Second, no fucking tactical crap. Eh…That came out wrong: there will be no tactical combat this time around. It’s not a style from my heritage, and while it’s kind of a breather from having to think on my feet, it’s got a lot of baggage involved that just doesn’t do it for me. Other folks who expressed interest seemed to feel the same.

However, maps still have a place in the game. Maps and handouts are as old as dirt in these games (considering the amount of time the party spends in caves and crypts, that’s saying a lot) and help give the players a sense of perspective and scale. They’re also good reference materials for the players and the GM. Although tactical combat uses maps for things like distance and positioning and cover, some of those things need to be taken into consideration in the more free-flowing conceptual combat style. Cover especially. Knowing where on the map something is to hide behind — or if there’s anything at all — is important. Plus, having overland maps, and maps for exploration and back-tracking purposes is important. Maybe there’s a way I could get players to draw a map on-screen as they progress…Hmmm…It would have to persist through sessions, though. I’ll have to look into that.

I’ve been trying to create some maps, but if there’s one thing I’m not all that good at, it’s balancing spinning plates. Making maps is a close second. Making maps that look decent and won’t embarrass my lineage for the next thousand years is right up there as well. I’ve joined a map making group on G+ (shut up) and some of the work people can do is absolutely stunning. I could get a five year old a box of crayons and it would probably be better than what I could come up with. I’ve tried using tools like Campaign Cartographer and any number of others that are out there, but stuff usually ends up looking like ass, and I end up fighting the program’s learning curve most of the time. I figured that I could just hand-draw some stuff, scan it, or maybe use my dusty old Wacom Bamboo tablet to create stuff in Photoshop. I’ve got some online resources to help me learn how to make stuff suck less, but I also don’t want this to become a full time job.

GM Tool

Work on my GM tool project is coming along…slowly. I decided to go with a technology that I wasn’t fully familiar with, and that’s proven to be tedious in the face of the ideas that are getting backed up like the line at your local DMV. After some frustration, however, I had an epiphany that allowed me to plow through the difficulty and make decent progress.

Right now, the administration of one’s own profile is complete, with the exception of managing a subscription. This includes viewing your profile, changing the changeable information, and resetting your password (if you opt to use local authentication and not a third party, which isn’t going in any time soon).

The next part is the actual local registration, log-in, and user persistence functionality. The user is the root of the whole process, as campaigns, modules, pages, and all of the little stuff it ultimately tied to individual user records, so being able to get noticed by the site is kind of important.

Wolves at the Gate

In non-gaming news, my daughter is obsessed with wolves. She has it in her head that she wants to run or at least work at a wolf sanctuary when she is old enough. She also wants to be a veterinarian.

This weekend, we went down to Ipswitch, MA to visit the Wolf Hollow Wolf Sanctuary. It’s a small place, run from someone’s home but fully up to code and legal. They have 8.5 wolves on the premises, with the 0.5 wolf being a hybrid wolf-dog that was taken from a three room apartment, and which is illegal to have as a pet in MA. This is not a rehabilitation operation; it’s a non-profit educational and care facility. The presentation that the owner gave was excellent, and focused a lot on conservation and on dispelling the the myths that surround the wolf.