Monday, June 27, 2016

Planet Portfolio: Cut-Out Planets for Your RPG Space Adventure

Today I published my first RPG product through this blog. Planet Portfolio is a collection of more than 50 celestial objects including planets (rocky, inhabitable, atmospheric, gas giants), stars/suns, rocky dwarf planets and moons, asteroids, planetoid rings, debris fields, and comets.

The graphics have been designed to be printed and cut-out, these interstellar terrain props have thick black borders for ease of use and blending in with the blackness of deep space.

If you don’t already have a space-themed play mat, this PDF also includes both 1-inch square and 1-inch hex grids that can be tiled to create a deep space map of any size.

You can get this product for Free (Pay what you want) exclusively at DriveThruRPG.


Ad Series for Playground Adventures

I just wrapped up a new series of ads for Playground Adventures. They will be appearing in several upcoming publications including Adventure Chronicle #2 in the coming weeks.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gamer Bling: Non-Player Cards by Metal Weave Games


Metal Weave Games
Gamer Bling is a series of posts where I share and review amazing products, services, and accessories for tabletop role-playing games that really take gaming to the next level. In this article, I will be covering Non-Player Cards: An Artful NPC Generator by Metal Weave Games.

Metal Weave Games is run by Andreas Walters from San Francisco, California. The Non-Player Cards were created by Andreas Walters and Andrew Montgomery-Hureel with Karl Larson and Gareth Hodges, and with amazing artwork by Eren Arik.

Non-Player Cards were a funded on July 30, 2014 via the Kickstarter crowd-funding platform, and the project was fully funded with 383 backers (including myself) who pledged a total of $16,015 US. They are currently available for purchase via Amazon.com and retail at $39.95 US.

Other unrelated products offered by Metal Weave Games include Baby Bestiary and Scavengers.

Photograph of Non-Player Cards taken by Justin Andrew Mason.


Non-Player Cards are a system agnostic/neutral character generator that enable users to create unique and diverse non-player characters (NPCs) for any tabletop role-playing game by using eight different decks.

Each deck contains 50 cards (400 cards in all) and each covers a theme including: names, secrets, traits, quirks, professions, goals, relationships and personalities.

The entire set comes in a durable and beautifully printed brick box that is sized perfectly to hold all eight decks. Each deck is contained in its own labeled decorative deck box. This combination functions perfectly to keep all 400 cards neatly organized and stowed.

Example of Name Card
from nonplayercards.com
The Names Deck is unique among the other seven as they do not include artwork, but rather two columns of 20 names numbered 1-20 (for determining by rolling 1d20). With a possibility of over 2000 random names, this deck promises to be of great use for many game sessions.

The remaining 350 cards are all beautifully illustrated, each with a unique piece of artwork relevant to the card's identification and theme. Some cards include additional short numbered list prompting a dice roll to determine more detailed specifics.

To give a good idea of what each themed deck offers without spoiling the entire decks, I am going to randomly draw five cards from each, and list the card titles below:

Secrets: Fraud, Knows Secret, Ponographer, Double Life, Brainwashed

Example of Relationships
Card from nonplayercards.com
Traits: Uses a Walking Aide, Unique Trinket, Uncommon Complexion, Physically Impaired, Covers Up

Quirks: Smokes, Phobic, Dermatillomanic, Miser, Indecisive

Professions: Slave, Navigator, Inventor, Entertainer, Butcher

Goals: Selflessness, Proselytize, Mourning, Kindness, Golden Age

Relationships: Sidekick, Saved, Previous Sale, In Debt, Confidant

Personalities: Supplicant, Rogue, Pessimist, Lone Wolf, Follower


The Pros -

Non-Player Cards are an extremely effective method of creating in-dept characters with a level of detail rarely seen with random-generation systems. The concept is easy to grasp, and allows for virtually endless character archetypes to be created. With over 350 pieces of original artwork, they are also a pleasure to work with and offer additional full-color inspiration.

These cards are intended for the creation of non-player characters, but honestly, with the breadth and diversity of options available, they would make a fantastic tool (either directly or as inspiration) for player characters as well.

The Cons -

Non-Player Cards have one major drawback. As a physical system consisting of eight different decks and over 400 cards, the product is very unwieldy to utilize. This isn't so much a problem for a Game Master who is in the design process of populating their game world with NPCs, but the system is very nearly impossible to use on the fly at most any game table. This could probably be overcome by devising another card organization system (perhaps a card storage box with tabbed separators for each deck), but as provided, it's very clunky.

Of course, I don't think that they were designed with the intent of being used during game play, but if a game master has need of coming up with a quick non-player character on a moment's notice, I do not recommend this system.

Product Rating -

In conclusion, based on expansive detail the system allows for inspiration of creativity, quality of production, and tremendous amount of amazing artwork while also taking into consideration the cumbersome nature of actually using the cards, I rate Non-Player Cards as a 4 / 5 Bling! product.

I'm very happy to have backed this project on Kickstarter, and pleased with the finished product. I intend to utilize them again in the near future during my personal game planning. I would recommend them to any game master who enjoys detailed pre-game preparations for their campaign.


Here are a few relevant links for additional information:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Special Edition Map Pack for AAW Subscribers

So over the past several days I've been busy toiling away to update all 70+ product records for Adventureaweek.com Mini-Dungeon adventures. All of them now include the VTT-compatible map graphics that I created for them as a part of the product package. This is an ongoing effort for many of the different sales platforms, but the Adventureaweek.com website has been fully updated.

This includes the free-downloads section for Adventureaweek.com subscribers. Each month subscribers can download two adventure PDF's in addition to having full access to the complete library of web-enabled adventures.

Earlier this year I created a "My Library" section for Adventureaweek.com subscribers, which bolts into the S2Member Pro platform that manages accounts, logins, and downloads -- a feature which is sorely lacking from the retail package. This allows members to access their past downloads at any time via the website without wasting additional download credits. However, with the complete revamp of every single Mini-Dungeon product, this caused issues with linking past downloads to the new product packages.

Rather than investing a ton of time into (once again) reverse engineering and re-writing the S2Member software to resolve this, I have created a Special Edition "Map Pack" available for only Adventureaweek.com subscribers. This is a free download, and doesn't expend any monthly download credits. This free Map Pack ensures that all subscribers have full access to VTT maps for any Mini-Dungeon adventures they may have downloaded in the past.

The map pack includes VTT-compatible map graphics (in JPG and TIF format) for every single Mini-Dungeon adventure published before June 22, 2016. This product can be found on the subscriber's download pages under the section "Other Map Packs" on both the PFRPG and 5E download pages.

This week I will be continuing forward with updating all these product packages for various sales channels, including DriveThruRPG.com. Once they are all complete, anyone who has purchased a Mini-Dungeon in the past should be able to re-download their product to get the newly added map graphics, and AAW Games / Adventureaweek.com will then make a public announcement. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Playground Adventures Website & Store

This past week I pitched in and assisted Playground Adventures with some tweaking to their website (editing their WP theme).

I also installed, configured and stocked the website store for them as well. I've added all of their current products, and you can now purchase PDF adventures directly from their website.

"Playground Adventures is dedicated to bringing family friendly adventures to your gaming table! We believe that learning to use your imagination is a skill that can be taught right alongside reading and arithmetic and that gaming should be fun for all ages. As such, we strive to make our adventures entertaining and appropriate for everyone no matter their age.  Table top roleplaying games can provide family togetherness, bonds of friendship, and a creative learning environment capable of being an interactive classroom for problem solving, arithmetic, reading, writing, creative thought, and so much more. And what better way to learn than together?"

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mini-Dungeons Maps for Virtual Tabletops

It was an incredible about of work, but this weekend I converted every single map made for AAW Games / Adventureaweek.com Mini-Dungeon adventure to Virtual Tabletop (VTT)-ready format.

For over a year none of these maps were designed with the intent of ever being used on VTT, but due to popular demand, we decided to start the process of converting these adventures into suitable formats. This required countless individual touch-ups, clone work, and recreating combined layers to remove room numbers, words, grids, "spoiler" icons, traps, etc.

I have completed nearly 70 of these maps and forwarded them on to the team working on the adventure conversations. Keep an eye for them to become available on your favorite VTT platform.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Gen Con Announcement & Adventurer Chronicle #2!

This week work has really geared up prepared for Adventure Chronicle Issue #2, which of course includes the graphic design for articles and ads. Here is a new add I created for AAWGames / Adventureaweek.com announcing our booth location in the vendor hall at Gen Con 2016.

If you are at the convention, stop by to say hello and pick up a free Adventureaweek.com subscription key! Keep an eye out for the Summer 2016 Issue of Adventure Chronicle which will be available in a few weeks!


Friday, June 10, 2016

A New Batch of Mini-Dungeon Cartography

The past couple of weeks has included quite a bit of cartography work for Mini-Dungeons (published by AAW Games/Adventureaweek.com) as several authors (including myself) are wrapping up their newest adventure projects for the series. There are upwards of 10 adventures being published in the next few weeks, and these are but a few of the fun maps I designed for their use:


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Madam Margareth's Magic Potion

A youth-oriented "educational" adventure short I wrote for Playground Adventures has been published and is available for purchase. After School Adventures are adventure shorts designed to only take a few hours of time to complete while providing relevant fun facts for students.

I wrote this introductory adventure to the series, as well as designing the core layout templates for the covers and interior pages. 

Madam Margareth's Magic Potion is a Pathfinder RPG compatible adventure for 4-6 characters of 1st-3rd level. It's educational content focus is Science & Chemistry, and is geared for players around the age of eleven or twelve.

A young boy has fallen ill after eating a poisonous mushroom and the only cure lies in an ice cave at the top of a mountain! Can a group of heroes make it to the top of the mountain, face down a fearsome yeti, find the cure, and maybe learn a bit about chemistry on the way? This science based short also includes a fun experiment for everyone to enjoy.

Growing up, one of my favorite parts about school were class projects and science experiments. Being almost a decade older than my brother, I always had a lot of fun as an adult assisting with his school projects as well. I have a plethora of fun educational projects to pull ideas from which could be fashioned into exciting adventures, and I'm currently working on ideas for another of the "After School Adventures."

This adventure is based on a classic classroom science experiment, but with a a "chilling" twist. If you check it out, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I am looking forward to writing a few more of these. It's a fun challenge to work an adventure idea into something educational for kids.

This product is available for purchase at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.