Monday, December 27, 2010

Templates: Keep It Simple Stupid!

K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid)

I am working in the background on a min-pdf of simple templates to support the Book of Monster Templates. I am about halfway through as I am creating one every weekday. There are only a few guidelines for how to make a simple template and very few examples of them. One of the things that really struck home with me is it should not take more than the time it takes for a player to figure out what his action is going to be. You have to be able to apply these changes on the fly, if the player attacks and you have to be able to apply and understand the changes as you need them, so that you can resolve the action without any lag in game play. If you can’t do this then, the template is too complex and is not really a simple template.

These templates also need to be applicable to nearly any and all creature types and their name needs to convey that. This not only ads to their versatility but also so you don’t have to waste any time figuring out if you can use this template with the wolf leading the pack of wolves. Here is a list of what I have developed so far.

1. Apex Predator Creature (CR +2)

2. Blind Seer Creature (+2)

3. Broken Construct Creature (CR -2)

4. Cunning Creature (CR +1)

5. Deep Sea Exile (CR +1)

6. Divine Creature (CR +1)

7. Eldritch Tentacle Creature (CR +1)

8. Mystic Creature (+2)

9. Numinous Creature (+2)

10. Rabid Creature (CR +1)

11. Resilient Creature (CR +2)

12. Stealthy Creature (CR +1)

13. Subterranean Creature (CR +1)

14. Turncoat Creature (CR +0)

15. War Creature (CR +1)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Design for Publication I: History and Timeline

This post has been sponsored by Ben S., who has an online business degree and enjoys blogging on the side.

Design for Publication I: History and Timeline

Questhaven is my patronage project designing a default urban campaign setting for Rite Publishing products that are compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

The first things I started doing with Questhaven was writing a timeline to cover this history of the city and its surrounding environment (The Protectorate) History contains themes and events that influence the present day campaign and also help GMs and Players suspend their disbelief. For GMs these gems serve as launching points for adventures and even entire campaigns. For the PCs it lets them become familiar with the campaign world and a bit of its lexicon along with providing a snapshot of themes and ideas which make Questhaven special and different.

There will actually be two histories one of the players and one for the GM. I did not want something that was entirely meant for only the GMs to read, the idea behind the two separate histories, is not an original one at all and based on Ray Winniger Dungeoncraft essays. The basic concept is that every major part of the campaign world should have a secret, and since each piece of the timeline is a significant event within the setting, each notation in the timeline has a secret. Therefore, the GM has at his disposal a secret history of the world. These secrets add to the gems that the GM can mine from the history.


Revolution of Adventure (-200 years ago)
The Circle of Heroes, a fellowship leading the adventurer’s guild known as the Questor’s Society, along with the rebelling Wyrd (half-elf/half-ogre mage) destroy the Cynmark Dynasty and its Dread Lich Emperor Korvak Cynmark. They form a new government, an oligarchy based on membership in the Questor’s Society, the Circle of Heroes are elected as its ruling council with the First Hero acting as dictator during any crisis.

Secret: Did the Circle truly destroy The Dread Lich Cynmark?