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Showing posts from 2018

Neural Networks of Carcosa

Something I did for fun over the weekend:

Found a workbook for easily creating a text-generating neural network: a plaintext dump of the hex contents from LotFP's Carcosa.Massaged the text to make it a little better for neural network processing (make everything lowercase, remove punctuation, remove numbers, etc.)Trained the neural network against the text (ran 50 epochs worth of character-level training)Took the resulting model and generated some sample text using the workbook's default settings of "1 very unexpected token, 1 unexpected token, 2 expected tokens, repeat" to ensure the model doesn't try to exactly replicate the original text.;tldrI tried to create an AI that can auto-generated Carcosa-like hex descriptions. The results are... kind of weird. The neural network was being trained letter-by-letter rather than word-by-word, so there's no guarantee it won't invent its own, gibberish words. B…

"Into the Odd" is "Left 4 Dead"

There was a discussion today on the Into the Odd Discord about how to describe "generic" Critical Damage and recovery. What do you tell players happened to their characters when they fail a STR save? What exactly do their allies do to get them back on their feet?

My response was that I describe it in a very "Left 4 Dead -like" manner. "Generic" Critical Damage knocks you to the ground like in L4D. Later on, your friends pick you up, slap you awake, give you some water and quick bandaging. Not too worried about detail or realism in my descriptions.

My mind immediately went further down this path. The design of Into the Odd really is like Left 4 Dead in a lot of ways.
Critical DamageInto the Odd: Knocked out of action, will bleed out in an hour if not assisted by someone.
Left 4 Dead: Knocked to the ground and largely out of the action. Will eventually die if not assisted by someone.
Recovery from Critical DamageInto the Odd: Somebody picks you up after combat, …

A Red & Pleasant Land, Part 9: Ballroom Blitz

More bare minimum note taking. 
Prep Time Quickly drawn and populated map for the Interior area where the Loach is being held captive. Consulted hex contents in the HexPop! notebook for ideas. 
Gor Orben - Amazon, "She is Gor" Borus Bleeve - Borus the one-handed. Borus the hand collector. Borus of the two right hands. Karl Min Valé - Another first-time TTRPG player. Possibly the owner of "Min Valé Industries".
Events The players arrive at the exposed entrance to the Interior -- a library -- during the morning. The decide to head in alone rather than waiting for nightfall for their vampire companions to be able to accompany them.They find several useful books, mostly on biology and diseases. These can be used later as part of the "books provide d10 uses of information related to their topic" rule.At the back of the library is a staircase leading down into the Interior. The party heads down.They find a tunnel whose floor is strewn in books, dead rats a…

A Red & Pleasant Land, Part 8: Random-encounter-dice-rolling-hot-streak

More rapid catch-up before this week's game. The next several campaign logs are going to be low on detail and entertainment value. All of my free time continues to go to HexPop! development. Basically going to do the bare minimum here to record session notes.
Prep TimeYeah, that didn't happen. HexPop! prototype notebook is making it easy enough to run everything ad-hoc.
Taybull Legg - Alistair, keeper of the buzzy boyJhovan the Wanderer - Alistair, seeker of cake recipesBorus Bleeve - Borus the one-handed. Borus the hand collector
EventsSince the last session finished off in the middle of a dungeon, I gave the players a choice. Start off where you left off, but with no recovery to any ability damage? Or start back at home (Castle Cachtice), well rested, but with some random rolls to see what potentially bad stuff happened to you on the way home?The players also had to consider that not everyone who played last time was here. Meaning not all of their expedition resources

A Red & Pleasant Land, Part 7: Blood sewers are the worst sewers

Falling behind on these campaign logs again. A couple sessions behind at this point, so probably a couple rapid posts of these before the events all leave my head. 
Prep Time The biggest bit of prep was my autogenerated campaign notebook. This was the first session after I got it delivered, so it was my first chance to use it. Honestly, that book alone feels like a whole ton of prep work already done. No matter where the players might wander, I now have landmarks and seeds of ideas immediately at the ready.

Another bit of prep, sketched up a random dungeon. Something flexible involving a sewer. Was really just me messing around with isometric dungeon mapping and trying to emulate the style of the interior map in A Red & Pleasant Land. I might post the dungeon up later.
Gor Orben - Amazon, "She is Gor"Jhovan the Wanderer - Alistair, seeker of cake recipesGruntruck - Just "Gruntruck"Borus Bleeve - Borus the one-handed. Borus the hand collectorTyler Breeze - F…

Use Critical Damage to make your critters memorable

Earlier today, I answered a similar, Into the Odd related question asked on both G+ and /r/osr. The question was, basically, how to go about converting old school, B/X style creatures to ItO. My answer echoed earlier advice I'd heard from Chris McDowall -- don't sweat the numbers. Make your creatures interesting in other ways.
This got me thinking about one of the things I really like in ItO that I don't exploit enough -- unique consequences for Critical Damage. Usually, Critical Damage (a failed save after taking damage to your Strength) knocks you unconscious until your allies can assist you. However, some of the example creatures in ItO have special consequences if you take Critical Damage against them. One creature might swallow you whole. Another might crawl down your throat and lay eggs.
This is a really powerful way to make a creature memorable. And requires little thinking over math, mechanics, or balance. The player has already failed their Saving Throw. Now the que…

A Red & Pleasant Land, Part 6: Go Team Vampire!

Work on HexPop! is moving along. More of the UI clicky bits can be clicked. More and more of the necessary input can be inputted. Learning several new technologies at once -- Javascript, Electron, React, Redux, Semantic UI -- is quite a mind and time drain. But excited and hopeful to have a beta version in front of people soon. 

Anyway, events from last session.
Prep TimeAt the conclusion of the previous session, the players wanted to follow up on information about a magical artifact hidden in a sundial atop a tower in one of the nearby squares on their map. So I spent a little time with the tables in A Red & Pleasant Land and Vornheim and wrote up a short adventure to the top of the tower.

Any guesses where the players didn't go this session?
Wolfram Veta - Cleric of Vorn, Grim Gaunt God of Iron, Rust and RainGor Orben - Amazon, "She is Gor"Zeera Hargen - Magician, master of the stab-them-with-my-knife spelland new player (co-worker visiting from a remote office …

UI Mockup for Instant Notebook Generator

The instant hexcrawl notebook generator application project thingy now has a mockup for its user interface. 
It also has a (temporary?) name, so I can stop saying "instant hexcrawl notebook generator application project thingy". 
HexPop!Because it populates hexes. And it's very excited about that fact. Get it.

Just a mockup right now -- I still have to make the clicky bits actually do things -- but I now have a good idea of how I want the application to function. It also makes it easier to divide up coding tasks for me and the couple of friends who've offered to help.

Decided to follow the general look of the Google+ interface, since I figure most users of this app would be familiar with that.

So, how I imagine the basic workflow, from empty project to POD-ready PDF notebook:
1. Hex MapOn that screen above, input/import all of your hexes, their terrain type, and whose territory (e.g. goblin, dwarven, House of Hearts) the hex belongs to (if any). Input will be a list of com…

My Campaign Notebook Has Arrived

So this finally came in the mail 
The auto-populated notebook for my AR&PL campaign. So excited to finally have the results of my work in my hands. So how does it look? 
Players in my campaign: Spoilers Ahead! 
Really happy with how this turned out. Entries are pretty easy to read. The lower-cost "B&W Standard" option I selected on Lulu Xpress turned out great for the black text. The gray text isn't as sharp as I'd like (probably the main trade-off for the cheaper option), but is legible. 

Plenty of white space on each page, which is exactly what I wanted. I intend to write lots of notes in this. 

The coil binding is excellent. Very flexible plastic coil, so it should hold up to heavy table use.

The section at the back for Named NPCs turned out nicely as well. 
What could be better?I'm all about Continual Improvement™, so what changes would I make for v2.0?

At 300 pages, this thing is thick! Rather than having a random chance of up to 3 landmarks per hex, might b…