May 15, 2018

Making Rivers on Hex Maps

This post is so simple that it's almost cheating. In case you hadn't already thought of doing it, you can use the procedure outlined in my post on making paths through the wilderness to also generate rivers courses in hex maps. You can do this ahead of time or during play, as you prefer.

To make your rivers a little straighter, I suggest rotations of the d4 be to the second-next clockwise face that doesn't currently have a path on it (instead of just the next clockwise face, as per when you're creating paths).

I also suggest that any time you either generate something that looks absurd or that has 3+ streams flowing into a single hex, you make it a little pond or lake. Hexes adjacent to water-filled hexes count as having one stream flowing into them across the adjacent face if you're rolling for rivers. This will give you a handful of lakes and ponds of varying sizes.

I come from Canada, which has most (in the sense of a slight absolute majority) of the world's lakes,  so I always think fantasy maps don't have enough open bodies of water of significant size on them, but this is a bit of an idiosyncrasy. If you do this procedure a few times across the length of the map, you'll eventually end up with a nice hydrological basin with rivers and lakes all connected up.

May 9, 2018

Into the Depths: Errata Already

Beloch of Papers and Pencils (one of the original playtesters) very kindly walked me through a number of ambiguous wordings and suggested some minor rules changes for Into the Depths. I'm grateful for his keen eye, and have incorporated most of them in. As a result, eight days after my first major update to the rule system in two years, here is the new version of Into the Depths incorporating Beloch's suggestions and a few minor changes I decided on after hitting publish last time.

Most of the changes are very minor. You'll notice slightly clearer wording in the grappling section, the sections where carrying capacity is explained (backpacks now let you carry 8 + / - Armour Mod. items, with special Frame Packs adding +3 to that capacity), auction catalogues let you assess the value of things slightly more easily, and some minor formatting, punctuation and phrasing changes in a few tables and other sections. I also removed a rules loophole Beloch spotted, where you could spend a day creating a new spell and suddenly gain half a level repeatedly. That's been changed so that creating spells no longer qualifies, only creating magical artifacts does.

If you're not sure what version of Into the Depths you have, I've been date-coding them for a while, so this update is 20180509, versus the version without errata, which is 20180501.

May 1, 2018

Happy May Day: New Into the Depths

It's May Day today, and in the spirit of the day, here's a brand new expanded version of Into the Depths for free! (Link is to a downloadable pdf on Google Drive) (2018-05-11 edit: I've now changed the link to the newest version incorporating errata)

Into the Depths is my "core" ruleset for playing old school fantasy adventure games, as conveyed in four densely written pages. I've been running and playing in games using it for a little over two years now, and this is the first major revision since 2016, with the revisions based on my experiences playtesting it over that period.

Into the Depths might be the game for you if you're looking for a low magic rules-set that mechanically encourages dynamic fights and chases and that has a stellar gear list that serves in place of a power or magic system in most instances.

New material includes:
More gear options
More secret fighting techniques to learn
A magic system
An updated levelling rubric
The ability to be bad at things
Rule sections rewritten for clarity and ease of use
Numerous tweaks to the mathematical structures

One last change is that I'm opening up the copyleft on it further. Previous versions of Into the Depths were available under a noncommercial Creative Commons license. This newest revision is now available for commercial use (with attribution) for anyone who would like to publish and sell works using it as the ruleset.