Archive for the ‘D&D’ Category

D&D: About Experience Awad

Posted: April 12, 2012 in D&D
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To my mind one of the most tedious part of the D&D game is an XP award calculation. DM have to spend hours and even days preparing adventure, so spending extra hours on XP award calculation seems quite expensive. Upcoming changes to the system wouldn’t make a difference.

Would you really want to calculate all that CRs and ELs? Nine Hells, NO!!!

Smart people tends to save their time using own systems. This one for example is quite clever. In general – XP awarded for caused and taken points of damage. I have no intentions discuss its Pros and Cons, but would like to admit that this approach still needs calculation and statistics records. So it is cheaper (in terms of time) but still is expensive for my taste.

My system of XP award

As it was discussed earlier, it could be wise to create a GIS-support for D&D campaign.  Let’s describe it further. I suggest you read the manual for QGIS if you are not familiar with this software. And for information about projection, please read section 6 of QGIS manual (at present time manual for 1.6.0 version is available)

As we decided to use GIS, the first thing we have to take into account is projection(s) we will use.

QGIS (as other GIS software) is a scientific programme and was not meant to be used for imaginary word, which parameters are obviously different to Earth. But I believe it is not a problem. Firstly, in QGIS it is possible to determine your own parameters for the ellipsoid of imaginary planet. PROJ4 is used in QGIS so you can read documentation if you want to do it the hard way.

To my mind it is Ok to use Earth parameters for your world – it will save a lot of time and our planet is actually big enough to place everything you need 😉

Here is my approach:

  1. It is necessary to define projection for the entire map – it should represent adequate squares of the empires, mounts, oceans, etc.
  2. It is necessary to define projection for the layers of the map – it should be easily utilised in any projection of the map.
  3. Projections for the map and layer are not necessary to be the same.

It is necessary to define projection for the whole project (section 2.5 of QGIS manual) and for the layers. Projection of the map should be equal area, because it will be handy to understand sizes of the Great Deserts and Dead Man’s Lakes. To my mind Albers equal area conic projection is the best choice if only a part of the planet (world) is designed. You should decide where on the Earth globe your area is located ad define projection parameters accordingly.

For example I use these parameters for current campaign: +proj=aea +lat_1=40 +lat_2=55 +lat_0=0 +lon_0=-120 +x_0=0 +y_0=-4000000 +ellps=WGS84 +datum=WGS84 +units=m +no_defs

You will need to adjust lat_1 and lat_2 parameters to frame latitudes for the desired location, and other parameters could be the same.

NB: units for the given example are meters, but it is obvious that DM would prefer foots for the length measurement. This is not a problem due to it is possible to set up needed units in project properties.

For layers it will be the best choice to use unprojected lat/long WGS84 reference system. It will allow its easy usage when you will decide to extend your world and evade a lot of re-projection issues.

The next issue to be encountered is starting drowning in the right place: the map will be totally empty and it will be hard to understand where the borders of the area should be located. But there is nothing to worry about: just decide where your area would be located at the Earth globe (lat/lon frame), then open the layer (lat/lon) in totally new project and use “Numerical Vertex Edit” tool (you will have to install ot via “Fetch Python Plugins” menu) to place several points with needed coordinates that will be an orienter for the area borders.

Hope these insights will help.

I’m D&D; fan for at least 6 years, who spend a lot of time to learning rules of  how to play  the game and run a campaign, but unfortunately without noticeable experience of playing. It happened that my wife’s friends decided to play D&D; and we were invited. I was the most experienced amongst them and decided to be the first to run the session, all the more so I had an old draft for my own world and campaign. “Now or never!” – I told to myself and prepared the first quest for them… But it is not the point. The point is that DM have to have the map of his world.

CC3 or CC2 is the common software to create maps of own D&D; world. Despite produced images are not maps but schemes, it is not GIS as well… Ok, CC3 (2) was developed for a purpose and it gets the job done – you have nice pictures of your world fast. That’s it. But you have to pay for it and the most important – it is not a GIS… did I mentioned it?

The “map” can be created almost in every image editor and it will fit requirements for the accuracy and beauty just because there are no requirements for accuracy and beauty for the map of imaginary world. Actually there is no need for accuracy of such “map”, but it is pleasant to have a nice looking one… Seems that there is no need to use GIS… But my mind is twisted and weird enough to think otherwise.

Take a look at this beautiful fictional map designed by Mike Shley for Wizards of the Coast (source):

Beautiful map designed in Photoshop

It looks very good. But there are numbers. And you have to look for what they mean in additional book, file etc., because this numbers related to important places on the map. What I want  for my campaign (amongst other advantages of GIS) is to have access to these numbers descriptions right from the map itself.

I’m going to create not just a map of my world but GIS support for my campaign! And also it will help me to add some skill points to my GIS profession 😉 Actually, world and campaign creation is a long-term process and if your world is good enough, you do not need to create another one for the next campaign, but run new adventure in the same world in different (or my be even in the same) time. So investing time in GIS development might give significant benefits in future (at least I hope so).

Firstly I need to choose the GIS software. Obwiously it will be QGIS, because it’s free, run under Linux, powerful enough for my plans, and… I like it)))

Now I have to decide what do and what I do not want to have as results.

What I want [is GIS support]:

  • a general map (that’s obvious);
  • roads and rivers lengths to know the travel time;
  • places of the main encounters with descriptions;
  • settlements and other places of interest and with descriptions;
  • generalised maps of settlements and outdoors with the major encounters;
  • anything else???

What I do not want:

  • a beautiful, but useless picture (there is no one to show it anyway – even players won’t be able to take a look at it because it’ll be to much information for them), but it doesn’t mean that the map itself must be ugly;
  • plans of dungeons and castles (there are other special software for it).

So the plan is to have general map with the “encounters” layer amongst others; additional layers for special quests (will be placed in TOC’s sub-folders named after the quest). Campaign, quests, places, encounters and NPCs will be described in .html files (linked between each other) and will be evoked from the QGIS (from object info dialogue).

Progress will be reported.