Map hexer web app

I’ll be back eventually but I decided to post this cooperative thing in the mean time.

So I saw this post from Zak yesterday about putting hex numbers on map images. Paul McCann then made a JSFIDDLE that does just that in javascript. I then added an interface to his concept to ease use for non-programmers. Enjoy.

Map hexer web app

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Posted by on 2013/05/26 in tidbit


Why I can’t quit Minecraft

I’m a roleplayer, I enjoy experiencing and influencing other worlds, especially fantasy. Minecraft is exactly about that, and with each update it has more and more of what I want in it.

Some of you might say “isn’t that the game about the uniform yard-long blocks?” But that’s just one of the basic aspects of the game, and there are many other not-so-basic aspects. Sure, the landscape is made of blocks, but it’s procedurally generated to be similar to reality, but much more extreme and exciting. There’s jungles, deserts, snow-capped mountains and (sometimes) floating islands.

The world is filled with animals, monsters, plants and resources. Some of the monsters are classic, some are unique but most of them can pose a challenge to even experienced players. The first day in a new worlds is a rush to construct ample defenses to weather the first night, when the beasts come out to play.

And the adventure! Oh, the adventure, with giant cave systems, ravines, long forgotten ancient ruins and even NPC villages. And if you want a real challenge, enter the Nether, or as we like to call it: Hell.

So you have to understand, building things is not the only thing you can do in this game. You can mine for ores like iron, coal and gold (better equipment is faster and more durable). You can explore over or under the land. You can make a farm with vegetables, fruit and even animals and have easy access to those resources (you have to eat to regenerate health). There is magic in the world; you can brew potions and enchant equipment for magical effects. Or you can pursue the ultimate goal of the game: go to an alternate dimension and slay a dragon!

All these things are interconnected to give a very rounded experience. You don’t have to farm, you can just kill cows and pigs that you come across, but a farm is more convenient. You can (for the most part) use stone tools, but iron armor can be a godsend. It’s an interesting parallel how this game’s meat-and-potatoes is considered the end-game of Dungeons & Dragons. But some of these objectives might be a bit overly codependent and that takes some of the fun out for me.

For example, I mentioned brewing potions. I never did it. I’ll tell you why, if you don’t know: to brew you need a Brewing Stand, for which you need a Blaze Rod. A Blaze is a powerful creature that lives in the Nether, and it drops rods when it dies. So you have to go to Hell, and have great enough equipment to conquer such a creature. A Nether Portal consists of Obsidian, (counter-intuitively) the hardest material in the game; it needs a diamond pickaxe to mine (3 diamonds) but you don’t have to mine it, you can also cast it with a bucket (3 iron). And of course you need ingredients once you have a Brewing Stand, like Melon Slices, Spider Eyes and the like. So you can’t just try this brewing thing from the comfort of your home.

Enchanting weapons, armor and tools is similar. For the Enchantment Table you need Obsidian (3 diamond for a pickaxe, no workaround this time) and 2 diamonds (and you need 3 iron to construct the pick to gather them, they’re picky about that). That means spending hours underground looking for ores without ever seeing the sun; if you’re lucky you’ll find some interesting stuff like a ravine or an abandoned mine. But to unlock the potential of the Table you need to surround it with Bookcases to enhance it’s power. 15 Bookcases is the maximum; each takes 3 books and some wood. Each book takes a piece of leather (sometimes dropped by cows) and 3 pieces of paper; you get paper from Sugar Kane. Sugar Kane grows to 3 high, but if you harvest the base it will not grow again; so you need 3 Sugar Kanes harvested to get 2 books’ worth of paper. So after all that farming and breeding you can cast level 30 magic, but what does it cost? It costs levels that you gather by mining, smelting, breeding but mostly fighting monsters. So if you want a peaceful game of exploring but you want boots of feather falling and a helmet of underwater breathing to ease your travels, I have bad news for you.

So what does your roleplaying game entail? Because this week I’ve been to Hell and zombie pigmen stabbed me to death with golden swords. Top that.

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Posted by on 2012/12/02 in Uncategorized


Dielevel modern

I wanted to further showcase the flexibility of the Dielevel system despite the fact that nobody seems to care.

There seems to be a trend in roleplaying where medieval games are abstracted, but modern, horror and sci-fi games tend to be skill based and more realistic.

Dielevel modern

These rules can be used for anything from Lovecraft to Star Wars. If any sort of psychic or magic abilities are available, they should be under the Spiritual attribute.


Attributes are the inherent abilities of the character. They only change for in-game reasons (like going to the gym for a while), at the DMs discretion.

At character creation you have to split 3 points among the following:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Social
  • Spiritual


At character creation, you get as many skills as points allocated to the appropriate attribute. This amount should be chosen, but in special cases the DM might rule that you can add multiple points to a single skill instead.

You get an additional skill point to allocate however you like at each new level. You can add one to an existing one, or get a new skill.

Skill examples

  • Physical
    • martial arts
    • sprinting
    • climbing
  • Mental
    • computers
    • driving
    • first aid
  • Social
    • bluff
    • fashion
    • streetwise
  • Spiritual
    • ghosts
    • religions
    • animal ken

Both the attribute and skill bonus is added to the rolls. Skills and attributes can be combined for an action however is appropriate. So you might add physical+bluff to the roll to seem stronger than you are.

Sci-fi race examples

Rookies are a race of 6′ humanoid sloths. They have great strength but can only speak their own language.
Physical starts at 1
Social starts at -1

The homaari are a race of floating jellyfish. They are very religious but have a hard time loosening up.
Physical starts at -1
Social starts at -1
Spiritual starts at +2

The toozhanyo are mentally disciplined race of very strong humanoids. Their logical mind and calm demeanor puts others ill at ease.
Physical starts at +1
Mental starts at +1
Social starts at -1
Spiritual starts at -1


Magic has a simple system, if you know the spell, you have to roll against it with the appropriate skill and attribute. It will resist with it’s level and whatever environmental bonuses that are hindering you. If you succeed, the effect is created. Some spells (especially in a Lovecraftian game) will have a cost, like an item, prayer or even the PC’s health.

Spell examples

You speak the words of the mighty god Akárki. Any unnatural abomination who’s Spirituality you rolled over has to flee the room/street/vicinity.
Level 6

You turn the target intangible. Objects pass through them as easily as through air. They are so light that gravity barely has a hold on them as they can literally walk on air like stairs. Hellbound is the same, bit gravity still has a hold on them and they fall into the ground and most likely suffocate unless they find an underground cavity. Length of both effects are until the end of the scene/combat.
Level 10

Ray of clumsiness
A brown streak hits the target who loses all skill bonuses (but not attributes) for the duration of the scene/combat, unless the difference in rolls is smaller then the target’s Spiritual. In the latter case, it only lasts for the next round.
Level 8


Vehicles supplement the characters’ abilities by their speed, abilities (like flying) or equipment (like weapons). Consider them giant portable bonuses.

Vehicle examples

Passengers 4
Health 4
Health bonus +1 for each character inside until the car’s health is depleted
Speed bonus 10 (5 on rough terrain)

Passengers 2
Health 2
Speed bonus 20 (10 on rough terrain)

Using d12 for resolution is suggested, ties go to the players. Characters faint if their health goes under 0, but are only killed by a separate action.

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Posted by on 2012/11/29 in theoretical


Items of the Sword: Fire Lances Of The Ancient Hyperzephyrians

Based on Fire Lances Of The Ancient Hyperzephyrians

Let’s start with the obvious: NO THEY’RE NOT JUST GUNS! Everybody can put guns into D&D. Hell, everyone already has! That’s boring, moving on.

The Lances are fired with a stabbing motion, at which point they release a small projectile with a thunder crack, that sets the thing it hits on fire (as greek fire or similar, can not be put out, burns underwater). Because of it’s method of activation, aiming the Fire Lances at long distances is all but impossible. The Fire Lances actually have a bayonet attached to their business-end so they’re useful even when empty.

Once the Lance is out of charges, reloading is done by fire aswell. Thrown into a campfire (or fire of similar size) and waiting for the fire to die down will leave the weapon fully recharged.

Fire Lance
Damage: 1d6 + 1d4 fire damage for 1d4 rounds OR 1d6
Range: touch/5’/10′ OR melee
Weight: 10lb

Disclaimer: the “items of” series is in no way affiliated to it’s source media. The descriptions are entirely unofficial and sometimes contrary to the original intention on purpose. No claim of ownership intended.


Posted by on 2012/11/08 in The Sword, tidbit


The Dielevel system and the basics of roleplaying

I was thinking one day, as I usually do, and I reminded myself of one my recently recurring statements: “you don’t need rules to roleplay”. My would-be players argued that you need explicit rules to differentiate classes, otherwise anyone can do anything, and I argued the opposite, that the playing of roles isn’t the function of the system, but the players. Take a basic example: You can play cowboys and indians or cops and robbers with no rules after all. Of course some basics will develop through play, like genre adherence, how you can’t claim to be bullet-proof or that you can’t escape even though your bonds are fake (a rule that I broke, since sitting in the bushes while everyone else gets to play is boring).

Developing rules through play was the norm back in the Chainmail days, and James Maliszewski tested this method in his Dwimmermount campaign to great success. So what is the bare minimum of rules needed to play a roleplaying game with pen, paper, dice and a Dungeon Master? I’m a minimalist, so let’s see how bare-bones I can get.

Introducing the Dielevel system Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on 2012/11/04 in theoretical


PocketMod hack: Lost Dutchy of Gaeleth

Anti Paladin Games produced some one-page stuff that I found very influential and inspiring back in the day. I still carry many of their efforts in my wallet. Hex-Spiders for some versatile baddies, Kedmere for a setting backdrop, and The Lost Dutchy for a hexcrawl. This latter I now present to you as a pocketmod. Enjoy!

PocketMod, letter size PDF (as Google doc)
PocketMod, A4 size PDF (as Google doc)

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Posted by on 2012/11/01 in pocketmod, tidbit


Items of Adventure Time: Crystal Weapons

Based on Fiona and Cake

Crystal weapons turn into crystals when not used. Crystal swords and other one-handed weapons turn into about fist-sized crystals and can be stored as jewellery and concealed. Crystal daggers turn into even smaller crystals that can be worn as part of a necklace or bracelet. Making them in different colours is trivial, thus all shades are available. They usually activate by holding them in a specific way, but sometimes they are rigged to react to emotions like rage or fear. They tend to be as powerful as their mundane counterpart, but cost at least as much as the jewellery they pose as, so they are mostly used by rich ladies as a safety measure.

Disclaimer: the “items of” series is in no way affiliated to it’s source media. The descriptions are entirely unofficial and sometimes contrary to the original intention on purpose. No claim of ownership intended.

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Posted by on 2012/10/30 in Adventure Time, tidbit


Hex-crawl generator

After requesting a hex-map generator from my Secret Santicore last year, I immideately thought of this idea. After thinking about it for a few weeks, I decided to make it. After buying a printer, I started playtesting using Hexographer, and a few errors came to light (once in a desert, always in a desert) and a few quirks (no such thing as a valley hex) that needed smoothing out. I’m sure there will be other versionl later. Instructions included.

Note: if you put the printed page into a box (so you don’t lose any dice), use a much larger box! Otherwise every other hex will have a settlement or ruin because those are the ones on the edges.

I’d like to thank Zak S. for introducing this method of random generating to me.

Download/view: PDF (as Google doc)
Update: Zak found my description hard to follow, so I made a visual guide:

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Posted by on 2012/10/27 in practical


Trading with ships or caravans

This is my answer to a Secret Santicore request.

Lack of interesting rules for trading with ships or caravans makes me cry myself to sleep every night. So I’d like them. If you’re out of them I could use with some quirky villages, or a village generator.

Thanks Santicore, you’re the best

This turned out to be quite the challenge, mostly because of my lack of medieval maritime customs. Caravans are easy, we still have caravans today and wikipedia is eager to tell you all about them.

Trading with ships or caravans

Items carried by caravans and merchant ships are always considered exotic, and thus cost 100% more than similar local items, even when no actual benefits are given. However, most items come from an area specialised in the making or growing of the merchandise, and thus some give a mechanical bonus compared to local items (so an exotic sword might add +1 to hit OR damage, but no both). These exceptional items will cost up to 400% more, but haggling is encouraged.

Roll 1d12 once and read the buys/sells pair, or roll twice. Add up to 4 for each country (or equivalent distance) the caravan travelled.
If you have the same result for buys, sells or both, specify two different types of the same thing. For example, one of the lumber could be mahogany, the other ebony. They might be selling swords and buying crossbows.

Each roll represents 50 tons, but if you want to, you can roll for smaller quantities.

Caravans moved at the speed of people. For each cargo load (the amount one camel carries, about 200kg), add 30% as camel fodder (so 100 loads of cargo will mean an additional 30 load of fodder).
Roll once for each 13 file of camels or every 50 tons of cargo.
About 18 camels in one file, with a handler leading each file. An elder handler in charge of the camels. A cook or two, and the caravan master. Caravan owners not present will send a representative to unload and sell the cargo at the destination, who had no authority during the trip.
Handlers earned 2 silver a month, free room and food on the trip and a camel’s load of space to fill as they pleased. Some rich handlers own all the camels in their file and would pay 20 silver for joining the caravan, but not get paid.

Merchant ships:
Most info is based on the Beyond the Black Gate blog and Seafarers, Merchants And Pirates in the Middle Ages By Dirk Meier. Speed is about 8 mph (120′ per round).
Roll once for each mast or every 50 tons of cargo.
Most rpg books have this info. In a pinch, count 15 crew-members per mast. Captain and first mate lead the ship, an experienced seaman was in charge of daily operations and a navigator read the maps and stars.
Pirate ships had an equal share in profits. Hired seamen will cost about 10gp monthly. High ranking professionals will cost much more.

Merchandise chart:

Sells Buys
1 animal parts common items
2 art lumber
3 alcohol clothes
4 drugs textiles
5 plant parts combat gear
6 spices ores, metals
7 animals jewellery
8 slaves precious stones
9 jewellery slaves
10 precious stones animals
11 combat gear spices
12 ores, metals plant parts
13 clothes drugs
14 textiles alcohol
15 common items art
16 lumber animal parts
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Posted by on 2012/10/22 in practical


Town generator

This is one of my older projects from the (previous) Labyrinth Lord forums, where I got some great feedback, foremost from Bighara. I never finished this project properly, so this is a version like no other! Enjoy.

Download/view: PDF (as Google doc)

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Posted by on 2012/09/26 in repost