July 22, 2016

Blog explosion?

Things got interesting on the stat counter on Blogger the last few days.

I mean, here's what happened:

July 18 - 1043 hits.

That's a solid day. I break 1,000 when I post something interesting, or GURPSDay, or both, typically. My record month ever was about 930 hits per day, though unevenly so.

But then

July 19 - 1471 hits

That's really good, maybe my best ever to date. Blogger doesn't really keep archive stats. But 350 of those were a 1-hour spike in hits that is consistent with some sort of automated software, I think. So that's easily dismissed.

July 20 - 2565 hits

Holy. Crap. This is by far the best day I've ever had. The weird thing about it is that while there's spiky behavior, there's rather a few spike, plus that section where I hit 100-240 hits per hour for five or six hours. That's not the usual hit pulse from a bot.

July 21 - as of 8am 1191 hits

If that keeps up I'll do 2,200 hits today.


Well, this is all well and good. Google Analytics tells me my traffic hasn't changed at all. But then, Google seems to very much undercount traffic, where Blogger overcounts. So there's that. 

I do hope I'm reaching more people. Given the number of followers I now have on Google+ (over 1,000!) I think more people are seeing my site. Also, my best traffic days have always been when I post about 5e, and my Dragon Heresy SRD5.1 work is getting close to a real thing (I have 9 days left in my writing schedule and made major progress in getting one of the hardest, most sloggy sections significantly advanced) and I hope I'm getting hits from that.

We shall see - I hope it keeps up, obviously. 

July 21, 2016

GURPS Day Summary July 15 - July 21, 2016

Thursday is GURPSDay, and below you can find the blog activity from the last seven days.

Over the last week, as of 930pmCST today, there have been 31 GURPS-Related posts from our list of 56 blogs that have popped up on the radar screen. So a pretty light week, but then, it's summertime.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you're interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line.

July 20, 2016

Sample Dragon Heresy NPC/Foe: the Archmage

A sample NPC/Monster writeup from the Dragon Heresy draft. This started life in the SRD5.1, but has been modified for the new game rules.

Medium humanoid (any race), any alignment
Speed 30 ft.




Wound Thresholds

Threat DC
Hit DC

Control Thresholds
Vigor Dice
*mage armor adds DR 1 per spell slot level

Proficiency +4

Saving Throws. Int +9, Wis +6
Skills. Arcana +13, History +13
Damage Resistance. damage from spells; nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing (from stoneskin)
Senses. passive Perception 12
Languages. any six languages.
Challenge 12 (8,400 XP)

Magic Resistance. The archmage has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Spellcasting. The archmage is an 18th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 17, +9 to hit with spell attacks). The archmage can cast disguise self and invisibility at will and has the following wizard spells prepared:
  Cantrips (at will): fire bolt, light, mage hand, prestidigitation, shocking grasp
  1st level (4 slots): detect magic, identify, mage armor*, magic missile
  2nd level (3 slots): detect thoughts, mirror image, misty step
  3rd level (3 slots): counterspell, fly, lightning bolt
  4th level (3 slots): banishment, fire shield, stoneskin*
  5th level (3 slots): cone of cold, scrying, wall of force
  6th level (1 slot): globe of invulnerability
  7th level (1 slot): teleport
  8th level (1 slot): mind blank*
  9th level (1 slot): time stop
*The archmage casts these spells on itself before combat.

Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.

Archmages are powerful (and usually quite old) spellcasters dedicated to the study of the arcane arts. Benevolent ones counsel kings and queens, while evil ones rule as tyrants and pursue lichdom. Those who are neither good nor evil sequester themselves in remote towers to practice their magic without interruption.

An archmage typically has one or more apprentice mages, and an archmage’s abode has numerous magical wards and guardians to discourage interlopers.

July 19, 2016

Glorious Playtester Report: Monster Input like a Boss

This is a shout-out to +Emily Smirle .

I fretted about my monsters chapter for Dragon Heresy. It was 91,000 words long, and a whole lot of problems.

Well, I chatted with Em and +GodBeastX , and they noted that the best way to do this was probably a brute scrape of a text file. Turn it into an HTML table.

Well. I thought about that, and how I would do that if I knew how to write code well (I used to know FORTRAN, PASCAL, a bit of MATLAB scripting code, and dabbled in Visual Basic, but not any of the newer languages).

So I used Word's wildcard files to look for all instances in my Monsters and Foes file that used the "Sub-Topic" style (which is how almost all monster entries are titled), and then replace the monster [Name] with MONSTER - [Name].

That gave a tagged file. I gave Em a format, some rules for conversions based on information contained in the data already (Armor Class converts to Dragon Heresy concepts like so; Hit Points become Vigor; Wounds are calculated like so; etc.).

She went to town, and converted this:

Gargantuan dragon, chaotic evilArmor Class: 22 (natural armor)
Hit Points: 367 (21d20 + 147)
Speed 40 ft., fly 80 ft., swim 40 ft.
27 (+8) 14 (+2) 25 (+7) 16 (+3) 15 (+2) 19 (+4)
Saving Throws Dex +9, Con +14, Wis +9, Cha +11
Skills Perception +16, Stealth +9
Damage Immunities acid
Senses blindsight 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 26
Languages Common, Draconic
Challenge 21 (33,000 XP)

Into this below, with a bit of Excel nudging from me. Ultimately, she has taken days of work and turned it into hours. 

July 18, 2016

Aeon Campaign S3E2 - Fractured

Dramatis Personae
  • The Commander (Doug) - telekinetic super-soldier with a really angry dog (Yukio). The dog is a powerful ally (250-300 points) and very intelligent and very, very aggressive.
  • Arc Light (Christian) - battlsuited gadgeteer with electrical powers
  • The Rat Queen (Emily) - brick with super-perception; made of actual rats
  • Zephyr (Merlin) - Real name Murui; Shaolin Kung Fu expert and super-speedster.
  • Eamon Finnegan (Kyle) - smooth talking gravity-master; Ultimate Fighting Lawyer, to borrow a phrase.
We were delayed a bit as we had hardware problems and we were trying to actually all play together, but we eventually bailed and started the game.

Kool-Aid for the Win

We know we need to check out the warehouse that we learned about last mission, and I did a quick electronics-assisted recon (made Stealth roll by 23), and we just assume I make the Observation roll by 17 (I have Observation-31, and Christopher lets us assume a roll of 14). There are a couple of ways into the building that are disguised as boarded-up entrances. There are also a few ventilation-type ducts that would give access.

I decide that's not why I'm here - external recon only. We pull in Eamon, and he decides with his gravity sense that there are three people present. He tries for a bit more information, to determine if they're armed or not, and he sees some sort of gravity wave flash out, as if apertures are forming about 2 yards across. He warns us that something inside is currently breaking the laws of physics, and there are 15 portals that have opened, with more opening all the time.

One of the targets starts walking through and disappears into a portal. Zephyr tries a quick "where does the portal go" spell, but hard. He then tries to create a sympathetic token but that's improv magic.

So we decide to do the Kool-Aid maneuver, and we send Arc Light through the wall at full force. He's a human/robotic flash-bang. 

Eamon softens the wall a bit (actually quite a lot) and when Arc Light goes through, it explodes inwards. Hopefully creating real-brick shrapnel from a faux-brick force collision.

Writing Update: Dragon Heresy starts to see the end

I did a lot of writing last week, and was up until just shy of 4am on Saturday night trying to finish editing the magical items, treasure, and rewards chapters.

For those that come to these pages looking for tons of GURPS content, especially my semi-regular features such as The Reloading Press or even the Firing Squad, I can only apologize. I've been pretty laser-focused on Dragon Heresy since it became a real thing in Feburary, and I've come a long way since then.

So, where's the game right now?

July 15, 2016

Dragon Heresy Arcane Tradition: School of Mischief

A while back, I asked for help on choosing arcane traditions for the Wizard for the Dragon Heresy RPG. I created four schools of magic - doors, essences, might, and mischief, which are themselves combinations of two of the spell types from SRD5.1.

Since the game's launching zone is Norse-flavored, the schools are flavored by futhark runes, with the following associations:

Magic and the Runes of Power

Magic flows through the world in many forms, and some forms have been studied and refined such that particular flavors or applications of power can be manipulated. These are described by the meaning of some of the runes of power. There may be other schools or methods of magic in other lands, but the mages of Torengar classify them this way - it is very likely as much a case of the tools (the runes) shaping the thought patterns of the arcane practitioners, which thus shapes the spells themselves.

As such, these runic categories are applied to all spells, in the belief that all magic functions in essentially the same way, whether it derives from rigorous study or is bestowed by a deity.

July 14, 2016

Battlegrounds - Virtual Tabletop Kickstarter

This one flew completely under my radar until +Hernán Ruiz Camauër popped up on LinkedIn of all places.

He's got four days left to go in his Kickstarter, which is to improve the native content available on his Battlegrounds Virtual Tabletop.

I wanted to interview him back when I did my Firing Squad series on VTTs, and we could never connect. I was very impressed with the Battlegrounds feature set in the demos, and it was built to have significant GURPS support. Though it's system agnostic, I believe Hernán is a GURPS fan.

Click to go to the Kickstarter Page

I'm going to throw in $100, because a good VTT is a godsend to any group, and competition in the VTT market is good for us all. Plus, Devin Night (James Hazelett) makes awesome tokens - I've purchased a ton of them myself, and having them available for Battlegrounds is a good thing.

One feature that's of particular interest to GURPS players - easy token pose swapping. So you can have a 1-hex standing token and a 2-hex prone one.

More on Battlegrounds here.

Devin Night's page here.

GURPS and Transhuman Space - fear of drowning

+Christian Blouin has started a new blog and a new campaign, and it's in the 3rd edition setting of +David Pulver's Transhuman Space.

This will wind up being a bit of a fact-free post, because while I own several of the books (at least two, and only in hard-copy), and have loved reading through them, I've always found Transhuman Space daunting as a potential campaign setting.

It is truly a top-notch imagining of a future world. It's got utopia and dystopia baked right into it, far-removed and side-by-side. 

It's got terrifying nanobugs, takes the drone revolution to one of several possible logical conclusions, and memetic warfare, which might have seemed far-fetched or unlikely when the setting came out, but in today's selective-information climate on social media, now seems nearly inevitable.

I think what puts me off of such a deep, rich setting - and isn't that a hell of a thing to write - is that both the GM and the players either have to know, or will want to know, more about the background than they can easily absorb. 

GURPS Day Summary July 8 - July 14, 2016

Thursday is GURPSDay, and below you can find the blog activity from the last seven days.

Over the last week, as of 10:30pmCST today, there have been 41 GURPS-Related posts from our list of 56 blogs that have popped up on the radar screen.

We picked two new blogs - Christain Blouin is chronicling his new Transhuman Space campaign. I wrote about Transhuman Space a bit. We also picked up Michael Lee Viviano's Gaming Blog, and he's got two posts to check out.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you're interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line.

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