Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Ed The Bard Turns 1!



Do you know what today is, dear reader?

It's January 24th! And while that may seem like a random and arbitrary date, I can assure you that it is never the less momentous.

You see, it was one year ago today, in the heady game-inspired haze I swam in in the days following my home convention, SnowCon, that I put fingers to keys and made good on a promise I had made myself years ago...

...To start a blog that offered advice and inspiration to aspiring game masters and players.

That's right! Ed The Bard is now officially a whole-year-old!

And what a year it has been! So much has happened that it is almost impossible to summarize it all. But you know what? Summarizing impossible things is what I do. So let's take a self-aggrandizing look at the past year, and how it has shaped the Bard as you know him (me) today.


It began simply enough, with a basic laying-out of my gaming credentials. That being accomplished, I set forth on a tirade of advice, breakdowns, reviews, and musings. In total, over the past year, I have written 102 articles, totaling 169,307 words, which have been viewed no fewer than 282,238 times. The facebook page has grown from about a dozen likes to an impressive (to me) 1,377 likes. I've tweeted 474 times, tumbled I don't know how many times, and delivered a stirring rendition of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat".

"Flexing the golden pipes."

I've crammed myself into a car with three other men and driven from Maine to Indiana (straight, mind you) to attend my first Gen Con. I've hosted my first Game Master Workshop at SnowCon. I've even published my first module over on the DM's Guild.

It has been an eventful year, and I am proud of a lot of it. But the thing that I am most proud of, the thing that brings me endless joy and makes this endeavor totally worth it... is you. All of you.

I cannot tell you how many people will shoot me a message or an email thanking me for giving them an idea or helping them move forward after a creative block, or (my favorite) telling me that something I said made them want to start Game Mastering or playing.

You guys have made this whole thing into something bigger than I could have ever hoped for, and you guys continue to. I am eternally thankful for all of you and all that you have done to build The Bard up.

This year promises to be bigger than last! More publications, new projects, more articles, more videos, and perhaps some other media should everything work out as planned (wink, wink).

So, Happy First Birthday to us, you folks are the best present a Bard can ask for.

My lawyer has informed me not to make lewd comments regarding unwrapping you all out of fear of inciting a class action sexual harassment lawsuit. 

Roll well, my friends. Here is to another year!
+Ed The Bard

 Do you like what you've read? Would you like to see more from Ed The Bard on a regular basis? Then hop on over to my Patreon page and pledge your support. For pennies a day you can get early access to new articles, help choose the next topics I write about, get sneak peeks into upcoming projects, and more! All by becoming my illustrious patron!




Would you like to support the bard in another way, and still get some pretty cool stuff out of it? Kick in the door to the Open Gaming Store. They have a mountain of affordable aids to help you be all the player or Game Master you can be. Just tell them Ed The Bard sent you.

The holidays are here, and shopping can be a drag, especially if you are shopping on a budget. But what if you could give a great gift this holiday season for the price of a crappy, fast food cheeseburger? Behold, Ed The Bard's first published adventure!

http://www.dmsguild.com/product/173952/The-Mines-of-Dhol-Kuldhir?term=the+mines&test_epoch=0
The Mines of Dhol Kuldhir, a D&D 5E adventure for first level characters, available now on the Dungeon Masters Guild for only $1.00! Give your friends the gift that keeps on giving; a plethora of potential TPKs.

Looking for an article? Just want to browse the archives? Wander over to my Master List, a directory of every article I've ever written, right here.


Want to stay up to date with The Bard? Follow me on...
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And coming soon to...
Twitch

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Bardic Inspiration: Random Roll Settlements For The Lazy GM


Greetings and salutations, my most magnificent meeples. It is I, Ed The Bard, bring to you the first offering of 2017! 

But what could it be? A long essay on the philosophy and pseudo-science of Game Mastering? A primer on the key elements of perfect character creation? A new entry for Campaign Creation, Racial Bias, or Class Acts

Nope! Random Tables!

... I might have a problem.

 "Step two is giving a damn about step one."

You know me. I love me some random encounters. I love easy to roll tables. In a weird, strange sort of way, they can be very Zen-like. Also, if you decided to do something silly, like put off game prep for a week, a random table can save your ass.

Case in point, look at me! I should have been a little more attentive in my Game Mastery duties, but with the recent Con schedule and publication work, I've scarcely had time for luxurious things, like sleep. Still, as a Game Master, I have made a solemn vow to provide my players with an evening of entertainment and potential character death.

So, random tables.

Random tables don't write the story for me, but they give me a good jumping off point when my mind is full of too many ideas, or too empty. In my weekly campaign, my players have taken off on a road trip to a mental institution. Sure it's not Disney World, but there are sure to be colorful characters to greet them when they arrive. And, as the old adage says; getting there is half the fun.

The characters have a week a travel between them and the nut house so it would make sense that there be something of interest on the way. Sure, we could do the "Bandits ambush the party along the way" cliche, but that is old hat. Settlements are where the action is. Villages are a whole lot scarier than highwaymen. Ask anyone living in a small town.

Thus, here we are, Ed The Bard's Super-Happy Random Roll Settlement Maker!

Granted, these aren't detailed settlements. The tables below aren't going to give you fully fleshed out towns or cities. They do, however, lay down a foundation, a framework to build a settlement up if your characters are going to spend any amount of time there. Remember, players are chaos generators, and you don't want to put weeks of work into detailing a village or town they are going to spend less than a day in. 

We've all been there, am I right?

  "Right?"

 

*UPDATE 1/28/17
The "What's Down The Road" and the "Type Of Settlement" tables have been adjusted to accommodate more options. Two new tables have been added; "Type of Encampment" and "Type Of Abandoned Structure".


What Is Down The Road? (1d6)
  1. Wayside Inn
  2. Encampment (Roll On Encampment Table)
  3. Fellow Travelers
  4. Bandits
  5. Abandoned Structure (Roll On Abandoned Structure Table; 1-70% Inhabited, 71-100% Uninhabited)
  6. Settlement (Roll On The Settlement Tables)
     
Type of Encampment (1d6)
  1. Monsterous (Goblin, Orc, Gnoll, etc.)
  2. Military (1-33% Friendly, 34-66% Indifferent, 67-99% Hostile, 100% Roll Again)
  3. Merchant Caravan (Likely To Sell Goods To PCs. Has 1d4 Random Magic Items)
  4. Bandits
  5. Travelling Troupe or Carnival (Entertainers. May Or May Not Contain A Freak Show, Mobile Stage, Or Fortune Teller)
  6. Refugees
Type Of Abandoned Structure (1d10; Attitude Of Possible Inhabitants: 1-50% Friendly, 51-100% Unfriendly)

  1. Keep/Watch Tower
  2. Wizard's Tower
  3. Church/Temple/Shrine
  4. Wayside Inn
  5. Asylum/Hospital
  6. Cemetery
  7. Old Mansion/Manor
  8. Farm/Plantation
  9. Trading Post
  10. Roll Twice. Ignore Rolls Of 10.
Type Of Settlement (1d6)
  1. Village
  2. Small Town
  3. Large Town
  4. Small City
  5. Large City
  6. Bustling Metropolis
Distinguishing Physical Features Of The Settlement (1d10)
  1. Walled (Walls Surround The Settlement. 1-40% Wood; 41-90% Stone, 91-100% Other)
  2. Tightly Packed (The Structures Are Close Together)
  3. Built Into A Natural Structure (Cave, Mountainside, Waterfall, Etc.)
  4. Built On The Bones of Ruins (Built Upon A Previously Existing Settlement Or Structure)
  5. Spread Out (Structures Are Set Apart By Large Distances)
  6. Ramshackle (The Structures Are Little More Than Shacks, Huts, Lean-tos, Etc.)
  7. Finely Built (The Structures Are Well Made By Skilled Hands. 1-20% Wood; 21-40% Stone; 41-90% Mix; 91-100% Other)
  8. Near A Body of Water (River, Lake, Ocean, Etc.)
  9. Very Remote (Several Days Ride From Larger Settlements)
  10. Roll Twice. Ignore Rolls Of 10.

Attitude Of The Population (1d4)
  1. Indifferent
  2. Friendly
  3. Hostile
  4. Suspicious

Settlement Quirks (1d12)
  1. People Only Ever Come Out At Night.
  2. Most Residents Are Weary Of Outsiders
  3. Everyone Is Entirely Too Polite.
  4. There Are No (1-50% Children; 51-100% Elderly)
  5. The Streets Are Heavily Patrolled By Watch Or Militia,
  6. There Are An Abnormal Number Of Beggars
  7. There Appears To Be No Watch Or Militia Presence.
  8. The Population Is Very Fashionable.
  9. The Population Is Very Poor.
  10. The Settlement Is Entirely Made Up Of A Single Race
  11. The Settlement Is Made Up Of Bickering Clans Or Families.
  12. Roll Twice. Ignore Rolls Of 12.

Unique Settlement Features (Roll Twice) (1d12)
  1. Magic Shop
  2. Alchemists' Shop
  3. Weapon/Armor Smith
  4. Gambling House
  5. Brothel
  6. Temple To An Obscure Deity
  7. Military Outpost
  8. Gladiatorial Arena (1-50% Legal; 31-100% Illegal)
  9. Wizard's Tower
  10. Large Mill/Refinery
  11. Bazaar/Open-Air Market
  12. Roll Twice Again! Ignore Rolls Of 12.

Major Factions In The Settlement (1d10)
  1. Mages' Guild
  2. Thieves' Guild
  3. Assassins' Guild
  4. Military (1-50% Current Regime; 51-100% Rebels And Dissidents)
  5. Foreign Embassy (From Other Nations or Races)
  6. Artisans' Guild
  7. Religious Order (1-33% Good; 34-66% Evil, 67-100% Neutral)
  8. Cult Or Secret Society
  9. Monstrous Humanoids (Orcs, Goblinoids, Etc.)
  10. Roll Twice. Ignore Rolls Of 10.

Type of Local Government (1d6)
  1. Council
  2. Elected Official
  3. Magocracy
  4. Theocracy
  5. Aristocracy
  6. Anarchy

Conflict (1d12)
  1. A New Organization Has Arisen In The Settlement, Threatening Existing Factions (Roll Again On The Major Factions In The Settlement)
  2. Raids From An Outside Presence
  3. Plague/Illness
  4. Famine/Drought
  5. Impending Natural Disaster
  6. Impending Unnatural Disaster
  7. Serial Killer On The Loose
  8. Rash Of Kidnappings
  9. String Of Robberies/Muggings
  10. Rival Factions Are About To Go To War Within The Settlement
  11. Undead
  12. Roll Twice. Ignore Rolls of 12.
Interesting Features/Structures In The Area (1d8)
  1. Ruins
  2. An Abandoned Temple
  3. A Cave System
  4. A Long Forgotten Tomb
  5. A Sylvan Glade
  6. An Abandoned Mine
  7. An Abandoned Keep/Fortress/Tower
  8. Roll Twice. Ignore Rolls of 8

There we go. More randomness for your game session. At this point, with my affinity for chaos, I should really start considering prescribing to a new alignment. I've murdered too many PCs with rapt indifference to be considered Chaotic Good.

Maybe a nice Chaotic Neutral? Though their cries of agony as they write up new characters sings to me like music...

Maybe Chaotic Evil?

But who ever heard of a Chaotic Evil Bard?

"Seems legit."

Roll well, my friends
+Ed The Bard 

Do you like what you've read? Would you like to see more from Ed The Bard on a regular basis? Then hop on over to my Patreon page and pledge your support. For pennies a day you can get early access to new articles, help choose the next topics I write about, get sneak peeks into upcoming projects, and more! All by becoming my illustrious patron!



Would you like to support the bard in another way, and still get some pretty cool stuff out of it? Kick in the door to the Open Gaming Store. They have a mountain of affordable aids to help you be all the player or Game Master you can be. Just tell them Ed The Bard sent you.

The holidays are here, and shopping can be a drag, especially if you are shopping on a budget. But what if you could give a great gift this holiday season for the price of a crappy, fast food cheeseburger? Behold, Ed The Bard's first published adventure!

http://www.dmsguild.com/product/173952/The-Mines-of-Dhol-Kuldhir?term=the+mines&test_epoch=0
The Mines of Dhol Kuldhir, a D&D 5E adventure for first level characters, available now on the Dungeon Masters Guild for only $1.00! Give your friends the gift that keeps on giving; a plethora of potential TPKs.

Looking for an article? Just want to browse the archives? Wander over to my Master List, a directory of every article I've ever written, right here.


Want to stay up to date with The Bard? Follow me on...
Facebook
Patreon

YouTube (NEW)
Twitter
Tumblr
Google+


And coming soon to...
Twitch

The Complete "Session Prep"

The Complete "#RPGaDay 2016"


Complete-ish

The Complete "Making Monsters Matter"


The Complete "The Bardic Review"


 
 

The Complete "Musings Of The Bard"


The Complete "Campaign Creation"


The Complete "Let's Build A Campaign Setting"


The Complete "So You Want To Be A GM?"


The Complete "Bardic Inspiration"


The Complete "Steal This!"


The Complete "Player Advice"


The Complete "GM Advice"


The Complete "Racial Bias"


The Complete "Class Acts"