Thursday, March 29, 2018

Another Day...

Not sure why I am even writing these thoughts here. I guess because I want some place to put them that can be found but only by people looking. Like I am some kind of esoteric guru on the ways of gaming. I sit here typing away in my secret but not so secret spot and dare people to come find me, to see what I have written. Not the stuff I publish and promote, but the stuff that I know most people are not interested in.

I want to write here because at the end of the day having a place to collect my thoughts just seems like the thing to do right now. Maybe in a year or two I will look back at these and see if I can do something with them, maybe not.

I am tired tonight. I think the constant drive to get the project out is taking a toll. I am okay with that. I like the feeling. I like getting to the end of the day and feeling like I accomplished something. Even if all I accomplished was figuring out a supply of stock art, that is still doing something. However, that's not all I did. I also began to consider what program I want to use to format everything nice and pretty. I also started giving thought to how I want the format to look. For this one, I want to keep it a bit old school looking. However, I know I will need to make the layout fancier. This means taking time to do a few things like create page templates and get my written format down.

It means learning new things. It means pushing myself. It means that I have to look past what isn't happening and think about what will happen. It means believing in myself, and I think I do right now. I really do think that if I put the work in, I take the time to make it look as good as possible, then I will get people supporting the Patreon. From the Patreon I move onto a Kickstarter campaign. From the Kickstarter campaign, I move onto a more ambitious idea. All the while continuing to produce quality products for my patrons.

In there somewhere I have to start making serious plans to go to cons and vendor there. Not so much so I can sell a product, but so I can meet people, make contacts, get the word out. Doing that help expands not only my audience but also increases the pool of talent I can call on. That all leads to more patrons, which leads to bigger Kickstarter campaigns which lead to this being real income. But that's all still a ways off. Right now I need to keep myself focused on what is in front of me. If I don't, I can get to caught up in the Great Big Idea! and I never get the little ideas finished.

I know I can do it. I believe I can do it. Yes, I am feeling a little tired, but it's a tired I have earned. It's that kind of tired that makes you glad you woke up. So yeah, I feel tired, but I hope I feel tired every day for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Things in my Head

For now, I think I am going to use this blog as a place to gather my thoughts each night. I was using Facebook, but really I think this is the kind of thing blogging actually was started for. My thoughts will still be focused on gaming, and I will still likely post a very eclectic series of topics. This is my blog, I can do what I want with it. If an article gets 5 thousand hits (and some of mine have) then I am thrilled, if it gets 10 hits I am happy.

I think that's something new about me lately. I am not near as worried about reaching an audience as I was when I first started this blog. I still want to reach an audience, but I am not desperate for an audience. I feel that same way about my Patreon. I think I am finally at a point I am more worried about creating than I am about "making it pay for itself". In turn, this is going to mean I put out a better product and am thus more likely to make money. Kind interesting how that works.

I am so close to being done with my first short adventure. In fact, I am at that close enough point I can feel the excuses to not finish building up. There isn't enough art, I didn't make the adventure interesting enough, all this and more are sitting there in the back of my head telling me I'm not good enough. I know I shouldn't listen to these voices, but it's so hard not to. It's so hard to finally push past all the damn negativity in my head and look at what could actually go right.

Yes, there is a chance that I might fall flat on my face. However, what happens if I do? What happens if everyone hates what I did (and I doubt that is going to happen). Nothing really. At worst I am out some money I spent on artists and editors, and I am out some time. Neither of these is a big deal. Instead of thinking about what could go wrong, I need to think about what could go right.

It is totally possible that when I release this short module people like it. Not only do they like it, but they like it enough to tell other people they like it. Maybe some of those people who hear that will decide to give my Patreon a chance as well. Next thing I know I have doubled my subscribers. I know, maybe I should dream that I will wind up with hundreds of new subscribers, but I tend to be realistic. It's a good short adventure, but it's not world-changing. I think the most likely thing that will happen is I pick up a couple of subscribers and that's pretty okay.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Twenty Things for A Thief to Find in a Pocket

Twenty Things for a Thief to Find in Pocket

Recently I launched my Patreon and while I have the first small adventure mostly done and am starting to get the second ready, I am thinking about my third project a bit today. While I like doing short adventures, I kind of want RPG Time Savers to be a broad range of products designed to save the GM and player's time. I have always though that picking pockets has been a vastly under utilized method to add a bit of depth to a game. When a player at my table wants to pick a pocket I often grab a couple dice, roll them and give them some copper, silver, or gold depending on my mood. However, this really doesn't do a lot for the game. I would rather be able to give the player something interesting that has the potential to launch a story than simply give them coins. 

I plan to create a supplement a bit more in depth than twenty items, but I thought this would make a neat blog post for the RPGTS page and also give me an idea if people like this concept. Without further needless babbling by a guy who really likes to talk to much, on with the table.

Roll 1d20 and consult the following table.
  1. A piece of cheese
  2. A piece of bread
  3. A note that says "Meet me at Gullivan's Tavern 6 pm to discuss the job"
  4. Several caltrops. Constitution save DC 15 to avoid crying out in pain
  5. A key to an unknown location
  6. 2d10 lead coins painted to look like silver coins.
  7. A vial of unknown liquid 
  8. A lock of hair
  9. A shopping list.
  10. A pet ferret that bites you for 1d3 dmg. Make a Con save DC 15 to avoid shouting in pain
  11. A small map of an unknown location
  12. Bone Dice
  13. A deck of playing cards (no not that deck of cards, are you crazy?)
  14. A small frog
  15. A small flute
  16. A flattering love poem
  17. A small carved bear
  18. A strange religious text
  19. A box of snuff
  20. Pipe tobacco

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Launch of my Paetron...

It's kind of funny how this blog started out. I think I had an idea of ranting against the idea of the 4e rule set of DnD, but over time my desires changed, my commitment to blogging has waxed and waned, life got in the way etc. Honestly I think in the back of my head I was always working toward a result of becoming a gaming publisher, but the idea was intimidating as hell. After all, some really big names have come before me and the idea of me thinking I was good enough to try and get in the ring wit them was a bit hard for me to accept.

The thing is dreams don't die. They might get covered with dust, hidden away in secret boxes you pretend are not there, but they never really die. As I have grown older and done the life thing, I kept coming back to this idea of creating gaming content and getting paid for it. I have no illusions of becoming a millionaire. I mainly just want to share my passion and earn enough to support my rpg habit. It's a small goal, but it's my goal.

I tend to hide from getting things done. I am a much bigger fan of coming up with great ideas and talking myself out of doing anything with them than I am of actually taking action. I think a lot of people are like this. However, I couldn't ever quite shake the feeling that I could do this if I really put my mind to it. So here I am taking a swing for the fences. Whether I hit a home run or strike out doesn't really matter. I will learn from this and enjoy the process.

What I really hope happens is people watch me build something beautiful. I am really starting from scratch on this in a lot of ways. While I have tons of stuff to pull ideas from, I will need to sit down and edit it, make are, maps, tables, and a load of other stuff. I will need to learn new skills, improve old ones, and hopefully make this into something better than it is right now. It won't be easy, but I do believe I will be worth it because I am finally doing what I have always wanted to do. That's a really special feeling and it's going to be that feeling that keeps me going forward.

In the end, I don't know where exactly this paetron is going to go. I think I do, but right now I don't want to limit myself to much. I don't know if anyone but me will read this post, and I am okay with that. I wrote this mostly for myself. If you are someone reading this post, thanks, I hope it made sense to you. If not, that's okay to..

Until next time...

Friday, April 28, 2017

Update About Life and Gaming

Every time I think I am going to have time to focus on this blog other things come up. I wind up with a big project that soaks up my time, my kids need extra time, things like that. However, a new development in my life has happened recently which may could lead to sticking with this blog a lot more. Your truly appears to have a pretty steady gig doing freelance work in the gaming industry. You read that right, I am realizing my dream of being a freelance writer for a gaming company.

So why am I posting about this? First, because I am super happy about this latest development in my life. Second, I wanted to warm up the blog here a bit because I will likely be using it as a place to think about various ideas, communicate with what I hope will be a growing following, and more. Third, I like having a place where I can just "think" and let other people see those thoughts. Maybe it's a deep seated need for attention, or maybe it's an outgrowth of embracing the internet culture. Whatever the case, I am here and have a lot of hope for the future.

Well that's about what I have to say now... happy gaming everyone!

Ric :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Eight Uses for a Ranger's Favored Enemy Ability Beyond Combat.

If someone were to ask me which class I considered the most underwhelming in the Pathfinder Role Playing Game I would answer with the ranger. I don't say this because I think the class is weak from a mechanical perspective or even a flavor perspective, but because outside of the favored enemy ability there is rarely a chance for it to shine when compared to other classes. While I could go on at length about this (and probably will in another article) I think a better use of this space at the moment is to look at ways to expand the use of the favored enemy ability beyond a bonus to combat and the occasional survival role.

The idea behind the favored enemy class ability is that it represents the ranger spending a great deal of their time learning about a particular type of creature. While giving the ranger a combat bonus against said creature makes perfect sense, I have always felt the ability could be applied to a lot more situations. For this reason I have thought up ten ways to use the favored enemy ability that do not directly relate to combat.

1: Get a General Idea of the Design of a Lair

Part of a Ranger learning about a favored enemy is going to include learning about their habitat and this knowledge can be used in a number of ways. While it shouldn't give the ranger a map of the lair it can be used to give the ranger a general idea of how the lair will be used to serve as a base for a creature. This can include information on what kind of traps may be found, where those traps might be placed and more. If a player wishes to use their characters favored ability for this purpose have them make a survival check with the DC being determined by how detailed the information they are trying to get is.

2: Use in Diplomacy and Communication

Just because the ability is termed favored enemy doesn't mean the ranger can't or shouldn't use the knowledge of the enemy for diplomatic purposes. Because the ranger has spent a great deal of time studying the nature of a particular creature it makes sense that the ranger would be able to use this ability as an effective tool for communication and diplomacy. Using the favored enemy ability as a bonus to a diplomacy check could come in quite handy in several situations.

3: Understanding Physiology

The combat bonus against the favored enemy already assumes the ranger understands how to fight and enemy more effectively but it can also be used to justify an understanding of a creatures physiology. For example a ranger may know that a particular herb is known to make a beholder sick (bonus to herbalism/alchemy checks) or that orc's don't see the color yellow (bonus to hide checks). Using the favored enemy ability in this way allows for a lot of creativity.

4: Understanding Sociology

At first it may not seem like understanding sociology would be much of a benefit. However, when you consider that sociology is about understand the social structures of social creatures and that those social structures influence how a collective group will act or react in a certain situation the synergy of this knowledge with the favored enemy ability becomes easy to see. For example a ranger wanting to predict where a nomadic band of trolls might decide to spend the winter could use their knowledge of the trolls sociology to determine such information.

5: Understanding Religion 

Religion is a huge motivator for a lot of creatures and there is no reason why a ranger can't use their specialized knowledge to understand their favored enemy's religion. This knowledge can be used in a number of ways from predicting times when a particular enemy might be engaged in some kind of religious right to understanding the motivations behind the latest drow incursion against a surface village.

6: Predicting Behavior

One of the reasons the favored enemy ability gives rangers a combat bonus is because the ranger knows the enemy well enough to predict their combat reactions. This knowledge comes from understanding the behavior of a creature and can easily be expanded to behavior beyond the realm of combat. While this bonus is applied to tracking attempts it can also be applied to other things such as knowing what time of night gnolls wake up or what kind of prey a particular predator will favor. When a ranger uses their knowledge to predict the behavior of an enemy there are many ways this can be applied outside of combat.

7: Educating Others

One of the best parts about having knowledge is passing it on to other people. When it comes to the ranger's favored enemy ability it isn't a very far jump to see how this knowledge can be used to help other people gain the benefits of the rangers knowledge. A ranger can educate a village about the nearby band of goblins and give the villagers a better chance of defending themselves against an attack or the ranger could give the rest of the party information about a vital part of a creatures anatomy.

8: Misdirection and Trickery

Because of how well a ranger knows their enemy it should be fairly easy for a ranger to use that knowledge to trick an enemy. A great example of this would be using a red herring to confuse a pack of wolves who are stalking the ranger. Another example would be the ranger being able to disguise themselves as a orc and infiltrate a goblinoid lair by drawing on the knowledge of what the goblins expect an orc to look and act.

The above are far from the only ways the favored enemy ability can be used beyond combat and each group will probably need to fiddle with different ways of making these concepts work. However, with a little creativity and experimentation it should be fairly easy to use the above concepts to make the ranger a little more interesting of a class to play.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

I'm Back

The title really says everything I have to say about this post, but eh, guess I just feel like writing a post.

I was doing great updating the blog almost daily until summer started and then things went a little crazy. I thought I would keep up with the blog over the summer but I really didn't have the time nor inclination to do so. However, summer is over and that means I have more time to write and thus more time to blog. I have thought of some interesting topics to write about and look forward to getting them posted.

One of the interesting things is that while I hardly posted at all during the summer the blog managed to keep okay traffic. Admitted it wasn't the traffic I had seen when I was actively posting every day but it didn't die completely. I hope this means that I don't have to rebuild what little audience I had achieved while I was updating regularly.

What I am looking forward to is that I should be keeping up with the blog through fall, winter, and spring. It will probably be the first time I have been that consistent on one of my own projects and that makes me happy. I want this blog to be successful and consistency is a big part of making that happen.

Guess that's all I really have to say about the subject right now so gonna post this and then get to work on another thing or two.