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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Recent posts by Celeste
Topic: Shadow Cathedral Q/A
Subject: posting

My apologizes. My DH was the best man at a wedding this weekend, plus we were catering and clean-up crew.

Thankfully, my day is completely free, and I'll be spending some quality time on that post!

Posted on 2012-04-01 at 14:27:22.
Edited on 2012-04-01 at 16:56:06 by Celeste

Topic: Join the Revolution Needs New Player!!
Subject: uh huh! oh yeah! uh huh! oh yeah!


Posted on 2012-03-30 at 00:58:27.
Edited on 2012-03-30 at 00:59:07 by Celeste

Topic: Halp! First time DMing.
Subject: *laughs*

It's true. Imagination is key, but props are always nice. Good luck with that straight line bit. I use a ruler occasionally, but it still looks crooked.

Darn quilters! Don't they remember that everyone has to start somewhere?

Posted on 2012-03-29 at 13:49:19.

Topic: Halp! First time DMing.
Subject: additionally

Where did you go that they stripped down your confidence? We are always looking for more people for the Inn. We have so much fun here, we want to extend it to other people! Seems like that would be a bad way to get people to join your site. *winks*

Posted on 2012-03-29 at 13:37:50.

Topic: Halp! First time DMing.
Subject: more goodies

Yeah, I kinda like you guys. I might stick around for a while. ^_^

It’s true, Kriea. I’m way excited for you. There are a pleathora of good players out there in the world, but a handful of good GMs. So many people love to play, so it can be really difficult getting someone to take the role on the other side of the table. I hope it works out for you!

And don’t worry about being a good artist. If you do end up doing some maps, be sure to check out the two sites I’ve got listed above. Plus, if you feel like creating your own via the computer, Autorealm is a really nice, free mapping program. It’s a little tricky at first, but worth it in the end. (Especially for those of us who are woefully unskilled at creating such things. Like me. )

Posted on 2012-03-29 at 13:33:59.

Topic: Halp! First time DMing.
Subject: Funnily enough...

...I wrote up a blog entry for the site that was approved but never came to fruition (oh well. It happens.) that actually touches on a bit of your 'new to dming' dilemma, but in a very different light. Not too long ago I took the headlong plunge into DMing 3.5. What really made a difference for me was having supportive players/friends. That, and two shots of liquor before I began my game to relax. If you’re underage or are against such things, better skip that tip. At any rate, here’s that entry I wrote a few months ago ~ hope it helps!

Becoming an Epic GM

Last year my husband finally decided that he was no longer able to continue running our D&D game due to time constraints. This put a number of us in a bind since we all loved to play, but were now short a GM. In the same fell swoop, it was decided that I should stay at home. Almost as a joke, I suggested that maybe I should become our new GM since I now had quite a little bit of time on my hands. I had never run a game before, in fact, I still felt like I had a lot of growing to do as a player. But the game had to go on. Thus, a brand new Game Mistress was born.

I quickly learned from my players that I had surpassed “normal GM” and reached “Epic GM” status. Epic GM? This is something I had never heard of before. And how did I manage that in one game? To me, it felt like I had blundered blindly through a couple of encounters, hastily made up NPCs, and looked through the rulebooks far more than any normal GM would do. “No no, it’s not that,” they told me, “it’s your approach!”

So what was it that I had done that seemed to be normal preparation to me, but is apparently lacking in other games?

Miniatures. Playing a game with miniatures allows players to have an idea as to what is going on around them, where and how a battle is happening, and how it all relates to themselves. This doesn’t have to be done with pewter miniatures ~ it can be done with coins, glass pebbles, Splenda packets, whatever you have handy.
Creating a playing board for the miniatures can be cheap and easy, easy and expensive, or somewhere in between. We started with a foam core board (easily found at craft stores, or even big-named store chains) and measured out 1-inch squares with a sharpie. Instant playing board! Just recently we upgraded to a mat that has both squares and hexagons, is three times as big, and can be written on in wet-erase markers.

Maps. This is a big one. Small maps given to players spark curiosity. Large maps made to play on make it easier to imagine the scene; gives the players concrete restrictions (What do you mean I can't go around it… oh wait, there’s a wall here! ); allows them to make decisions based on their surroundings. The first map I made for my campaign was a floor plan of the tavern they were staying in. They have gotten so familiar with it that I get in trouble if it’s placed the wrong way on the table.

You don’t have to be an artist to have maps in your games. There are lots of resources available online to assist or even provide suitable maps. Wizards of the Coast put out a Map-A-Week series of articles. There are a ton of free maps that can be used with a variety of RPG games. A bit of fiddling with printer settings will allow you to print them off at a usable size to play on, or you can use them to base a general structure on your playing field. We used to use everything from dice boxes, erasers, and Lego’s to form playable maps.

Another one of my favorites is Ye Olde Map Maker. This is an easy, two page online map making system, where you drag and place objects and walls to make a floor plan. No fuss, no signing up for anything, just instant map.

There are tons of map making tools available online, it all depends on what you would like to use, and how much you want to spend on it!

And finally, A working town. I had decided that my game was going to be a rich world full of options that my players could choose to follow, or not to follow, depending on their hearts desire. I wanted something open ended, something that seemed real, real enough that events were happening in other places despite what my players were doing. In order to achieve this, I needed to start with the town that the party began in.

The first thing I did was get an empty composition notebook and started with the tavern. It describes the people who run the place, complete with clothing and personality descriptions. It contains the prices of rooms, meals, and how often the minstrel comes around. I’ve made a note that the stairs are a bit rickety (and remind my players on a regular basis when they go up them). I keep track of things that happen there so that it remains a consistent force in the game ~ not something that I have to make up every time we play.

In this book I have each of the shops available in my town, each with a unique name, unique NPCs that run them (names, personalities and all!), and a short list of what is contained in the store with prices. Having that list makes it easier to keep track of how much things cost, plus my players have a habit of getting store credit, so it gives me a place to keep a running total of their balance.

I have created a map for the town (just a regular sheet, creating this at scale would be huge!), and have slowly been marking each one of the buildings for what they are. The map gets set on the table, and now I’ve been getting remarks like “I need to get to the stables. Ah man, that’s like a twenty minute walk from where I’m at,” and “Hey, I’m real close to Thaddeus’ place. I wonder if he has my potion in yet.” This also allows players to grow fond of the town, and gives you a great hook to bring them into an adventure. What hero doesn’t want to protect the town that they know and love from zombies/tyrant/freak planar destruction?

These three things made all the difference in the world when I started my very first campaign. I’ve only been running my own game for about six months now, and I’m still traveling on that somewhat hard but rewarding road of Epic GM.

PS ~ Welcome to the Inn. Find a branch you like since you'll be running around with this pack of squirrels. ^_^

Posted on 2012-03-29 at 02:03:24.
Edited on 2012-03-29 at 02:51:54 by Celeste

Topic: Breaking the Fourth ~ A D&D Webcomic
Subject: it's that day!


Posted on 2012-03-28 at 13:38:09.

Topic: Vote for the Inn
Subject: It's time for a

push! Go go go! ^_^

Posted on 2012-03-27 at 14:02:23.

Topic: strange question
Subject: I promise

you won't be bringing me to any faith. I'm pretty set in my ways. ^_^

If you'd like to talk about it, feel free to start a PM conversation with me. I'm with Eol, if we're online at the same time, I'd be happy to pop into chat with you. PM convos can *almost* be live by their nature. *winks*

Posted on 2012-03-27 at 13:31:29.

Topic: Tumbleweeds, again...
Subject: rolling tumbleweeds? I hit a big one the other day...

I actually have a 7th Sea campaign I've been developing to run here at the Inn, but summer is upon my neck of the woods, and my time is diminishing. I will be running it, but it will probably be in lew of combating fall tumbleweeds. ^_^

Posted on 2012-03-25 at 17:08:19.

Topic: Zombies in Chicago Q&A
Subject: *ding!*

Did someone say zombies?

If there's still an open slot, I'd love to fill it!

Posted on 2012-03-23 at 17:57:52.

Topic: Vote for the Inn
Subject: well

neither, Chess. Personally, I played the original game for the gameboy! I've seen a few pokemon rpgs pass through here. Merely for the site we're trying to overtake on the list. Votey votey! ^_^

Posted on 2012-03-23 at 14:11:14.

Topic: Vote for the Inn
Subject: tasty! nom nom nom

Alright! Barbeque!

Posted on 2012-03-23 at 13:57:16.

Topic: Vote for the Inn
Subject: Hoooray!

*grabs a stick*

Posted on 2012-03-23 at 13:28:29.

Topic: Floyd Filler for this week
Subject: Hooray!

Thanks Jing! No worries about RL ~ it happens to us all!

Posted on 2012-03-22 at 00:51:01.

Topic: Lurkers ~ Celeste's Mad Rantings
Subject: nom nom nom nom

Posted on 2012-03-22 at 00:28:12.

Topic: Floyd Filler for this week
Subject: well

I'm pretty handy with some editing programs. In the very least, I can crop and section some of our goodies here at the site and send them to you, Al, for approval. Buuuuuut I certainly won't go there if it'll step on any artist's toes!

PS~ I'd totally work for free, if I could manage to be a good artist. I doubt the black and white near stick figures counts. ^_^

Posted on 2012-03-21 at 13:47:53.
Edited on 2012-03-21 at 13:59:09 by Celeste

Topic: Floyd Filler for this week
Subject: ooOOOo

Very nice!

Brings up an interesting question. Do we have Inn/Webcomic backgrounds hidden anywhere? I am kind of a junkie when it comes to this site and it's artwork. (yes, I consider the webcomics art! Lots of time and effort put in! )

Posted on 2012-03-21 at 13:25:56.

Topic: Breaking the Fourth ~ A D&D Webcomic
Subject: really!

it was deliberate!

Only one

Posted on 2012-03-21 at 13:17:10.

Topic: Lurkers ~ Celeste's Mad Rantings
Subject: Lurkers ~ Celeste's Mad Rantings

Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines the word lurk as the following:

intransitive verb
1 a : to lie in wait in a place of concealment especially for an evil purpose
b : to move furtively or inconspicuously
c : to persist in staying

2 a : to be concealed but capable of being discovered; specifically : to constitute a latent threat
b : to lie hidden

3 : to read messages on an Internet discussion forum (as a newsgroup or chat room) without contributing

When I imagine a subject (e.g. myself, or another person) lurking, I imagine said subject zombiefied, dragging a leg, or some other suitable type lurch, through the dusty hallways of an Addam’s Family-esque mansion. The subject is usually groaning in a piteous fashion as they wait for something interesting to stumble out of one of the many creaky doors lining the corridor.

With that thought, dear Innmates, I’d like to remind everyone that we affectionately refer to anyone hanging around the Inn without being in Dragon Chat or posting in the forums as “Lurkers”. Merriam-Webster’s third definition, in sync with modern times, agrees with that statement. Think of me fondly while you envision your fellow Innmates (which should include me on a daily basis for several hours) in this new light.


Posted on 2012-03-21 at 02:34:59.
Edited on 2012-03-21 at 02:36:32 by Celeste

Topic: I'M DYING!!!
Subject: *ZING ZOW ZANG!*


Posted on 2012-03-20 at 00:04:49.

Topic: Shadow Cathedral Q/A
Subject: Horses?

Individual mounts plus wagon horses sounds good to me! Can't wait to see the new character. ^_^

Posted on 2012-03-16 at 12:46:11.

Topic: Shadow Cathedral Q/A
Subject: Hooray!

Three of six! Looking good so far!

Posted on 2012-03-15 at 14:51:14.

Topic: The Shadow Cathedral
Subject: Fire Fiend Fries Friendly Folk

Shucka shucka shucka shucka.

The sound of the wheels against the hard packed dirt road was the only thing to be heard in the heat of the day. The group was silent, presumably reflecting on the trip to Felarin, basking in the warm breeze, or sleeping. The swashbuckler was perched on the side of the wagon with one of her boots kicked out in front of her. Anna’s eyes cast out to the flat plain before her, and she felt uneasiness as the new wagon rocked back and forth.

It wasn’t the impending doom of the new rumor that made her uncomfortable. On the contrary, a fire spirit inspired a new risk all on its own, not only with the ‘baddie’ aspect of it, but it also held a ‘Caution: Hot!’ allure to it as well. Hell, it wasn’t even the closeness to Sendria that worried her, though it had crossed Anna’s mind more than once. That was a thing of true nightmares, and every time her eyes crossed to the western borders, her heart fluttered with fear and excitement. Wars, demons, dark magic, fanatical citizens, and the promise that all the twisted desires a man could dream would be fulfilled. She longed to venture there, but only for the heart-pounding risk that it offered. It was like standing at the edge of oblivion and wanting to jump, merely for the exhilarating rush of the wind in the face while plummeting towards certain death.

No, the thing that bothered Anna was the lack of people; the endless expanse before them. Their stop in Felarin was a pleasant reprieve to the endless nights spent sleeping under the trees, waking up covered in dew with no manner of tea being able to warm the bones or the spirit. There were farms, to be sure, but this little valley still held emptiness for Anna. It loomed with an air of dreary, dead-end finality. Maybe it was because she could see for quite a ways without obstruction, seemingly hundreds of featureless miles, or the fact that there seemed to be more livestock than people. After traveling for a year or so, she thought she would have been used to the sight by now. Apparently, Anna was wrong.

You’re born amongst the cattle, marry young, have many fat babies, farm like your father, and die, she thought as her eyes found the youthful shepherdesses tending the flocks on the plain. What a rut to be stuck in.

As though it was extension of her own thought, she heard Ark murmur, “Ain't ever seen that back in Bayris.” She looked to the half-Sylvari and saw that he too was looking out towards the herds. Anna wasn’t sure if he was in a sleep haze or not, but his words painfully reminded her of home. It was true, you’d never see sheep in Bayris, or at least, one that wasn’t skinned and hung in display.

His mismatched eyes met her brown ones, and she winked at him, “They’d look a bit better if they were on a plate with a bit of mint jelly, eh Ark?”

The sky began to darken as they continued towards Daviena Castle. Annaliese pulled out her hood and cloak, expecting rain to surround their party soon enough. She thought about saying something about the cloth covering the wagon before she saw the source of the darkness. It seemed to billow up from the horizon. Smoke. Something was burning, and they were heading straight for it.

Anna sprung into the buckboard with Chale, snatching up her leather baldric and rapier as she went. The cart jolted forward as Chale twitched the horses into a fast pace. It seemed to take forever; the land’s rolling hills slowly creeping by as they speed towards the disturbance. Somewhere at the back of her mind, Anna was sure that it didn’t take that long, but all of this wide space threw her timing off. The village that came into view under the smoke drew closer at a painfully slow rate. Impatience showed across the swashbuckler’s face, and it took quite a bit of will not to jump the wagon once they reached the edge of town.

The entire village seemed to be shrouded in a sinister gloom. The smoke gave the sense that they were all in a heavy fog, and it seemed to Anna that the little houses and stalls loomed menacingly out of the shadows. Great. Not like I didn’t already smell like a campfire she thought, wrinkling her nose against the stench.

The main street turned suddenly, and they were thrust out into the open area of the community’s town square. Heat hit them in waves as they gazed upon the bonfire that had been built up in the center of it. Anna vaulted the wagon, landing on her feet with her baldric in her hands. She began to pull it over her head as she looked to the massive inferno before her. She caught side of a blackened body, and it looked like it was moving. The muttering from the party told her she wasn’t the only one to see the shape.

“And this started out as such a scorchingly beautiful day,” she sighed, drawing her weapon. Anna’s eyes turned immediately to the surrounding area and began to search for abnormalities. Though the blaze was at the forefront of everyone’s vision, things lurking the in shadows was what concerned the swashbuckler the most.

Posted on 2012-03-15 at 13:43:22.

Topic: Shadow Cathedral Q/A
Subject: so...

Chale is up front? I'm down with that.

I ask about the horses because Anna has a Clysdale (Wynn), and I was curious to see if she was hooked up, or if we had a couple of more party members who had horses, or if we just bought a couple more to team the wagon. ^_^

Posted on 2012-03-15 at 01:55:54.


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