Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 15

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 14

Remember that Dawrven invasion that took many of the cities from the Najar Empire? And do you remember them ever taking Najar, the capital of the Najar Empire? Because they never took that capital. The invasion stalled after all the other cities were claimed.

Najar became a point of light for the rebellious Humans in the new Dwarven Empire. After a century and a half of minor revolts, the Najarns finally got enough coordination to take back a few of their cities. Cynelle already came back under Human control with help from the Merfolk. Alixria and Alrdia now revolt in unison. Najar and Cynelle help them and the Dwarves are forced to hide in Syluk.

The Elves have similar problems and must also retreat to their capital city. They fortunately do not have an ancient demon god tormenting them. The Elves fare a lot better than the Dwarves.

The end effect of this revolt is to solidify the differences between the Empire Dwarves on the Maw and the Metal Dwarves on Hearthland. The Empire Dwarves continue to make ethical lapses as they are now unwitting pawns of Navillus. The Metal Dwarves… They just want to get away from all this, but there will be more on that later.

453 NA: The Black Prince watched Najar and the lands beneath the Red Peaks. The Holy City began to stir, its people cried out to be saved from the Dwarven tyranny and to know once again the pleasures of Old Najar. And so they took up arms against their oppressors! Full-fledged rebellion broke out in the twin cities of Alixria and Alrdia, enough to clear the way for advancing troops from Najar to reclaim their cities.

454 NA: The Najaran forces marched towards the mighty fortress of Syluk but stopped in the foothills. No mortal man ordered the halt. Only one whisper from Navillus and one sly smile stopped the army. He would deal with Syluk himself. With no unifying purpose, the armies dispersed. A few Najarn commanders demanded obedience, but a higher power controlled affairs in the Upper Maw.

Morale sank in occupied Syluk. News of the retaking of the twin cities of Alixria and Alrdia had reached the Dwarven commanders from their post in the mountains and with the fall of Cynelle and the Elves on the coast they were surrounded. They were safe at least, they told themselves. No foe could storm the mountain under the fire of Dwarven siege machines and the old city was rich and well supplied for a siege. They had the military might to keep the native population under control and while sabotage continued, it was petty in its nature. And then, soon after the other cities fell, the nights began to grow longer. Restlessness settled in amongst the Dwarves as nightmares plagued their dreams. Animals were born hideously deformed. Crops seemed to whither and turn to ash. And the Najaran sabotage seemed to grow at supernatural speeds.

They were Dwarves of hard metal but as nights grew longer and the pressure grew… they began to break. Madness, paranoia, and strange illnesses plagued the Syluki Dwarves. New military tribunals were formed with harsher punishments. Loyal Dwarf soldiers began to be executed by their own officers for trifling offenses. Suspicions ran rampant. To those in charge it seemed that all of their men were traitors. The few remaining pure souls wept for the fate of Syluk, the city of terror…

467 NA: The Bastards’ invasion horrified the Elves. They had never seen such brutality. The Hobgoblin race terrified the sylvan people as well. The Elves begin setting traps within the forest, both mundane and magical. The Elves set a great ward around Crodolan to prevent any outsiders from entering the city.

475 NA: The darkness in Syluk began to lift. After twenty years of endless sabotage, military tribunals, and sickness, a semblance of order returned to the mountain city. The Empire Dwarves took stock of themselves cut off as they were from the Dwarves on Hearthland. The whispers of Navillus had turned them away from the Holy Books that they used to know. The priesthood corrupted. Human sacrifice began to take place to ward off the evil. Little did the Dwarves know that the souls they sacrifice went to feed the Dark God. Farpoint, the other Dwarven controlled city in the Upper Maw, was too far away to lend aid or even effectively communicate with the Syluki Dwarves.. The Empire Dwarves knew that the crusade must be completed or their failure would be remember in history for eternity. They recruited among the Humans in the city who finally accepted their new masters. Soon, they planned to march to Najar and face the evil master of the Maw as they should’ve done in the first place.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 16

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 14

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 13

The Bwarlorn Dwarves finally get their vengeance in this post. Their act parallels the original Dwarf curse in many ways. They target a group that did not suspect such an attack. The group suffers heavy causalities and then forced pregnancies. The pregnancies result in horrible unwanted mutant babies.

The Bastards of the Book don’t target the Dwarves though. They attack the Dwarven allies, the Elves.

But in the grand scheme of history, rape is just another tragedy of war. What makes this special enough to include?

The creation of a new race because the hybrid genetics is why. The Hobgoblins will come to play a big role in the Lower Maw.

And we’ve also got the Rana slowly developing into their humanitarian selves by founding Gurutama’s equivalent of the real world charity organization, The Red Cross.

429 NA: The group of Najaran men sought to rebel against their Dwarven overlords. They sent scouts into the Eastern Maw to recruit primitive Humans outside of the boundaries of the Empire to assist in fighting the Dwarves. While the small rebellion of these men was one among many to be squashed by the Dwarven jackboots one good thing came of the Najarn scouts’ journey. They made contact with the Rana.

The words of the Najarns troubled the Rana and left a lasting impact. They had never heard of people who openly sought violence upon other intelligent beings. The Rana set about to bring light to all those who wanted to see once again…

The Rana gathered many of their beloved children, great sages, silver-tongued peace-makers, and humble friends, and sent them forth into the world. And they named them, the Monks of the Gossamer Waves, an order of peace, pacifism, and kindness.

441 NA: With each year the ranks of the Bastards of the Tattered Book grew and their fury seemed endless. Many spoke of purging the Metal Tiers and of making the women and children of Hearthland suffer as their men made the Bwarlor suffer. Still more wanted to storm the Najaran coast and join forces with the Najarns against the Empire Dwarves.

But a cruel streak coming from their primitive ancestors inspired another course of action. The Bastards unfurled their black sails and set out, not west to the Hearthland nor north to join the numerous rebellions against the Empire Dwarves. No, the Bastards went south to the ripe forests hidden behind the indomitable Mandibles.

442 NA: It is said that history is doomed to repeat itself, and just as the Dwarves of Hearthland imposed their sons on the Bwarlor, so did these new Dwarves rape the city of Shianosoth and sow their children amongst the innocent Elven people. A new breed coalesced in the shadow of that damned city, mockery of the goodness and order, a savage combination of its three father races: the swiftness and stature of the good Elves, the greed and steadfast determination of Dwarvenkind, and the madness of their grandfather, Humanity. The first Hobgoblins were born into the world…

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 15

How D&D Works With Absentees

Freshman Dorm Desk
A picture of me not sitting at my desk in my Freshman dorm.

So I wasn’t at my group’s weekly D&D session this week.

We play almost every Sunday, but last night I didn’t go because I really wanted to work on my Alexander paper.

So what happens when I can’t go to D&D?

Before we had a set time for our sessions every week, D&D rarely happened without me.

I’m the DM for my group, but I’m also the one most often organizing when, where, and what we play.

I’m not saying our group is an autocracy, I’m just usually the one making suggestions that the group approves of.

But we’ve had a set time for playing on Sunday for a couple months now. Everyone expects us to play then.

Fortunately, I’m not the only DM for my group anymore either.

One of my friends also DMs a campaign set in the pre-historical Aegean islands. The political scene of the his campaign parallels the accepted version of real events, but there’s a lot of freedom for the players to impact the world as well.

So when I can’t make it to a session, my friend runs his campaign.

What happens to a player’s character when that player can’t make a session?

There’s a couple of different options.

#1 The character can fade into the background and do almost nothing during the session. We’ve used this a few times and it works decently.

#2 Another player or the DM runs the character. I like this one best, but sometimes a character’s battle tactics are too complicated for someone else to pick up for just one session.

#3 The character is removed from the session for in character reasons. Maybe the character gets sick. Maybe he has to go home and check on his family for a few days. Maybe he has a business he runs in town. This option doesn’t break immersion, but it does cut the absent character out of any important action during that session.

I haven’t gotten the specifics from the group yet, but when I was gone this week they did #1 or #3. I’ll figure out what happened with my character next time I can make it to a session.

I won’t be playing next Sunday either as I’m doing some Easter stuff. I’ll do my best to have a D&D post ready for you on Monday though!

-Mister Ed

Quantum Roll

image

I mentioned that my group uses Roll20 to play D&D.

Roll20 started as a Kickstarter. They got successfully funded and released the beta to the backers before releasing the official version to everyone a bit later.

The folks who make Roll20 have a payment system common to most internet businesses.

The program is free to use if you’d like, but you can also pay a monthly or yearly fee to get access to new features sooner, more dataspace, and fewer ads. Pretty similar to WordPress’s system if you think about it.

Roll20 has an additional feature on their payment system though.

The website doesn’t have the vast following that WordPress has. They don’t make enough from ad revenue to keep the site going like WordPress does.

Roll20 relies almost entirely on people paying for the extra features. Thus is the site has a little tracker saying how many subscribers it needs to “keep the lights on.”

The tracker has other levels it can go up to though. There are a total of five different levels of support on the tracker.

The first level is keeping the servers on to support all the traffic that Roll20 gets.

The second level is having occasional updates done by the developers. This isn’t enough money for Roll20 to be their fulltime job, but its enough to convince them to work on weekends.

The third level is full time work by the developers. The tracker is currently a little ways into this level.

The fourth level pays for a publicist and additional developers to come up with system specific features for Roll20.

The fifth level allows for even more developers to be hired for projects beyond just Roll20.

With the third level not yet complete, the developers are coming out with occasional updates. The new one for May is a bit ridiculous. You can check it out on their blog post here: Quantum Roll

Random number generators on computers aren’t exactly random. It’s complicated to explain, but you can trust the programmers on this one. They wouldn’t lie about a deficiency that they have.

This is frustrating for some people that use Roll20. Real dice are random, shouldn’t virtual ones be random too?

The Roll20 development team has solved that problem by hooking its dice rolling program up to data from a light beam splitter in Australia.

The light splits randomly giving random data details. Roll20 uses those numbers to decide the outcome of a die rolled on the website.

It’s so ridiculous that most of Roll20’s fans have been calling it an April Fools joke or overkill for the problem.

My opinion? It’s a pretty damn cool way to solve the problem using freely available methods. I won’t notice while playing, but I like that the developers care.

That’s all for now!

-Mister Ed

Mapping Methods

Room 2 of the Lich Shade dungeon drawn using graph paper with notes on it.
Room 2 of the Lich Shade dungeon drawn using graph paper with notes on it.

There a lot of different styles of DMing in D&D and other roleplaying games.

You can wing it and come to each session with very little prepared.

You can come up with the adventure for each session in the week before.

You can also do what I do, make up the entire campaign before starting it.

Between each session I have almost no creative work to do for D&D. My campaign has been running for close to three years now and I’ve only had to design one adventure out of about a dozen since then.

It’s nice. I don’t need to spend extra time on the game for me and my friends to have a lot of fun.

I have started to run into a few issues though.

When I wrote the campaign I imagined my group would still manage to meet in person.

That proved to be horribly wrong. We have in person sessions about once a year now.

When I drew all my maps they looked like the one pictured above. I’d make them on a piece of yellow-green graph paper.

When they reached a room I’d draw with a wet-erase marker on a battle mat I brought to each session.

When the players defeated the monsters in one room I’d erase and draw the next room.

Dry erasing was easy, but creating good maps in our current system is a little difficult.

My group now plays over the internet using an internet browser program called Roll20.

Roll20 is really great. It has everything a tabletop has. You can even turn on a feature to see your dice roll across the table.

However, I can’t just grab a pen and draw on my monitor as easily as I draw on the battle mat used previously.

I suppose I could do that if I was used to creating digital images, but I’m not.

Instead I’ve taken to making lame looking maps or using a cool mapping software piece called GridMapper.

The second room of the Lich Shade dungeon made using GridMapper.
The second room of the Lich Shade dungeon made using GridMapper.

GridMapper is extremely simple. You pretty much just click to change stuff.

I can easily build maps in GridMapper. They don’t look amazing because it doesn’t come with preset images like trees and stuff, but they’re functional just like my dry erase mat.

GridMapper has one issue, it has a maximum image size. Easy to get around though, I just make two images and glue them together for really big rooms.

I’m slowly converting all my old pencil maps into GridMapper maps for Roll20 now.

That’s it for now!

-Mister Ed