D&D Maps

Leading up to the start of Write Your First D&D Encounter | Spring 2022 workshop, I’ve been totally inspired by the maps produced and shared for use by Dyson Logos and have started drawing out my own D&D maps for my encounter – it’s been fun to think how I can keep them tight, light and urgent for my encounter.

Break out/Escape – totally inspired by Dyson Logos’ “Page o’ Little Ruins”, which is okay right?
The under to get over – make your way through three levels to get to the surface, if you can…

Those are Nakata-San’s books

I’m not 100% sure how I discovered the comic book-style illustration of tied-up books on the Desktop of my computer, but I did, and it really resonates with me.

A reverse image search, revealed the isolated illustration is actually taken from Chapter 13 of “I Am a Hero”, which seems to be a pretty gnarly Japanese zombie manga series.

It’s interesting how the frames featuring everyday items like books, room interiors, electrical fittings and personal possessions etc contrast the frames of extreme violence and body horror.

D&D trade dress with Homebrewery and GM Binder, and maps

Before the Write Your First D&D Encounter | Spring 2022 workshop starts on 1 May, I’ve been exploring the additional resources section of the online portal.

In there, a bunch of cool stuff can be found, including links to GM BInder and Homebrewery which are online tools for generating the ‘D&D trade dress style’ – gotta explore this more so I’m ready to apply these tools to format my published encounter at the end of the fourth week!

A quick go of Homebrewery with placeholder text and markdown – neato!

Equally cool is Dyson Logos Commercial Maps, an archive of maps by professional cartographer, Dyson Logos – unbelievably awesome!

My current favourite is the short and sharp map, The Dragon Shrine. Dyson Logos writes…

Seeming to have climbed out of the ghost dunes, the namesake of the Dragon Shrine is more accurately described as the upper torso, shoulders, head and arms of a massive troglodyte assembled from massive stone blocks. Stone tiers and rows of parallel columns lead up to the idol’s chest where a copper door covered in a deep green patina allows access to the interior of the beast to those who know the command word to open it.

The Dragon Shrine

My D&D character sheet – Chungus

Still loving playing D&D with my work colleagues during lunch time on Tuesdays. My colleague helped out with a fillable PDF-based D&D character sheet.

A D&D character sheet contains contains all the information about your D&D character, including name, race, character class, and level.

Here’s my character, Chungus, as at Thursday 28 April, 2022.

Worksheet for the ‘Spring 2022 Write Your First D&D Encounter Workshop’

My worksheet for the Spring 2022 Write Your First D&D Encounter Workshop, which runs from 1 May to 31 May, 2022.

By the end of the four week workshop, my worksheet will be fully populated and (hopefully) ready and good enough to be published as part of an anthology of encounters by other workshop participants.

I’ve joined the Spring 2022 Write Your First D&D Encounter Workshop!

I’m super-excited about making a start on the Spring 2022 Write Your First D&D Encounter Workshop, which is a fully-online 4 week course that launches on 1 May and finishes on 31 May.

What I’ll do

By the end of the workshop, I’ll have written and produced a one-page D&D 5th Edition encounter – a mini adventure. In the workshop, I’ll learn about:

  • elements of an encounter
  • designing my encounter
  • writing my encounter
  • playtesting my encounter
  • Dungeon Masters Guild Best Practices – cool!

Workshop schedule

The weekly schedule looks pretty good – here’s how it unfolds over the four weeks of the workshop.

Week Lesson Date
1 What is an Encounter?

 

  • The components of a D&D encounter
  • What is an Encounter?
  • Types of Encounters
1 – 7 May
2 Writing Your Encounter

 

  • Brainstorming the Effective Way
  • Starting Your Encounter
  • Reinventing Tropes
8-14 May
3 Playtesting Your Encounter

 

  • Playtesting
  • Implementing feedback
15-21 May
4 Producing Your Encounter

 

  • Layout Basics
  • Publishing to DMs Guild
  • Marketing Your Encounter
21-30 May
4 Submission day 31 May

Before it begins…

So far, I’ve been able to successfully sign-up, join Discord and request to join the #wyfe channel where participants will be able to share their work and thoughts with others – great stuff.

The off-platform discussion and participant engagement and sharing via Discord is a vaguely similar to the way #DS106 used Twitter and each participants’s personal cyber infrastructure as well as a central hub to deliver the course, sort of – making use of available tools and platforms (that the target audience most likely already uses) is more efficient and flexible than designing an LMS/walled-garden situation. It probably also keeps costs down, which means the course is more viable.

The next steps for me is to continue to make my way through the pre-course welcome area and continue to monitor the Discord channel before it all starts on 1 May, of course – not much time!

Our work is going to be published – cool

Our work is going to be published – cool

The Storytelling Collective is going to assemble a collection of the one-page encounters into an anthology that they’ll release as one title on DMs Guild, much like Collective Encounters Vol. I, Collective Encounters Vol. II and Collective Encounters Vol. III.

D&D (at work) #5 An influence system – response

Still playing D&D with my work colleagues, but diverting to an email-based experience while we make our way through a series of short weeks and non-work days in April. It’s still super-fun.

In response to my previously proposed influence system, the DM replied to me with the following…

Simple task

As Shin and the team continue to explore the north in hope of finding what lies beyond the village to the north they come across what appears to be a recently abandoned wagon that seems to have become stuck in the semi-frozen mud.

If you decide to search for those that abandoned it, make a survival skill check at +10.

There is also the question of the contents of the wagon.

If you previously decided TO search for the original owners, Make an investigation check skill check at + 1 as you hastily check for supplies before beginning your search.

If you previously decided NOT TO search for the original owners, Make an investigation check skill check at + 11 as you take your time searching the wagon.In response, the DM replied...
Complicated task

Eutow is a good honest sort and this has attracted the attention of the newer locals who feel they would do a better job of representing them on the village council. As such Eutow has been asked if they would consider running for the role of the village representative. Whether or not they agree to this idea it has brought them to the attention of a number of powerful individuals within the village (both new and old). Eutow will not only need to make a decision about whether or not to run but also if they should engage with any of these individuals.

As this is a complex task there are no binary choices - what should Eutow do?

Update via email: Monday 2 May, 2022

In response to the dice rolls, the DM writes…

Simple task (Survival + d20) = 20.

Shin makes the valiant call that “profits should never come before people” and after a quick search of the wagon, leads a party in search of the survivors. You come across a small band of Snow elves, overcome by the sudden icy winds, that appeared almost out of nowhere. They thank you for the rescue and offer future guidance, when navigating these roads in exchange for being taken back to your village. On the way back one of the quickly heads over to the cart and after rummaging through it, tuck what appears to be a small figurine into their coat.

Simple task (Investigation + d20) = 14.

As one the part has a cursory glance over the cart a number of bottles containing a greenish liquid catch his eye. Hopping that they are of use, they grab 3.

Talking too much or thinking too slow?

I’ll need to digest this a bit more, but I’m curious if this is about someone else talking too much or us, the listener, thinking and processing too slow – it mightn’t be either and may be just about reducing the talking. This is a solid thread (on Twitter) about how to talk to people that’s effective, warm, friendly, and just plain human – we all want to be treated like this, right?

Fiddlin’ with Figma #1

Having fun and learning something new by fiddlin’ with Figma and making my way through their beginner tutorials (Explore ideas, Create designs, Build prototypes) about creating a social media app, for pets – petma. I’m really digging Figma – it’s a great little tool that’s been intentionally designed for collaboration and teamwork, which is fantastic.

D&D (at work) #4 An influence system

Still playing D&D during lunch with my work colleagues, and it’s still super-fun.

Because of the Easter holidays and combined-long weekends that drifted over multiple Tuesdays, we haven’t been able to meet-up and play. That’s why the DM issues a missive to the players to keep the narrative and player engagement going, via email. The DM wrote…

As you continue to defy the untimely end that fate has bestowed upon you, you find that others seek to aid you in this struggle.

They now look to you for both purpose and direction and as such you can assign them tasks and actions to further your cause.

How it works:

Based on your calculated influence score (see behind the scenes section below) you can do the following.

Begin an multi part task with multiple checks and outcomes using you most capable follower (cohort). This cohort is a level 1 character with all the stats and abilities as if you were playing them in game.

For example you could send you cohort to seek out a rumoured druids grove or hunt down an recently escaped outlaw.

Additionally 

Your skilled followers can undertake a single part task using a +10 to any skill roll needed as part of the task.

And

You slightly less skilled followers can undertake another single part task using a +1 to any skill roll needed as part of the task.

The types of of followers (cohorts can be what ever you want) are based the your highest base ability score. No hard rules here but please make them thematically appropriate to the stat if possible.

What you need to do:

Send a reply to this email in which you:

(1) Make (or simply describe) your cohort
(2) Describe your followers
(3) Tell me what each cohort and follower is doing.

I will do the rest.

Also, please note that you influence score will most likely be adjusted once I have time to improve the system.

Behind the scenes:

Please note this is rough guide and will most likely be updated.

Influence level = Base score + Modifiers

Base score:

Cha level (3) + Highest stat bonus (most likely 4).

Modifiers:

Strong hold +2 (you all have access to this)

Fairness and generosity +1 (this will depend on you characters actions up until now)

Special power +1 (can you do anything the looks visually impressive to the common person)

Influence skill: replace one of your skills with this skill to add your proficiency bonus to it (currently +2).

For example a fair and generous human wizard, who has taken the influence skill would have a influence score of: 13 (3+4+2+1+1+2) 

Therefore he has a follower score of 10/1 and a cohort with whose character level is 1.

Please email with any and all questions.

After my colleague shared their own inspiring example, I was able to create my own.

Cohort of Chungus, the Warlock with an Infernal Bloodline

Eutow

  • Paladin
  • Weapons/Armour proficiency & combat orientated spells – has skills ‘on the tools’.
  • Great in a standalone stoush, but completely unreliable in the long-term.
  • Heard to say… “I gotcha back, but you best to watch your front”.

Shin

  • Bard
  • Solid magic skills, but not the smartest or fastest.
  • Great outside of combat and considered as a “jack of all trades” with abilities in cooking, music & art.
  • Heard to say… “My purity inside is all that’s mine”.

Another 5 members of the Shin Clan (Vert, Nil, Rae, Rsdio, Plone)

  • 1st level Rangers
  • Great at scouting and guiding the party to a destination, but easily distracted and a little self-involved.
  • Heard to say… “There’s a rider that’s fallen and It’s clear there’s no time to return”.
  • Tasks (Simple)

    Shin and the rest of the Shin Clan are scouting for our latest destination that always seems to be just around the corner, through the forest, or even over that distant hill. We’ve all heard that before, right? If they listen to Shin’s guidance and don’t get distracted, they’ll all get us there, eventually.

    Tasks (Complicated)

    Eutow is good to have around to flex and enforce, and certainly isn’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get on the tools, when needed – this seems to be an ever-increasing occurrence.

Showcase #4 + Showcase #5 – double header

Today we presented two showcases back-to-back. It was a double-header, where we told people about what we do and what where all about, and more. It was awesome.

Learning for professionals

We’re not just about building courses – we’re passionate about working with you to design, develop and deliver unique and engaging learning – for professionals.

What’s so different about what we do?

We know professionals are different, not only from the typical undergraduate student at university, but also from each other. They might be juggling full-time jobs, they might be taking on some extra study while commuting, maybe balancing family life or studying at odd hours. They could be new to technology or very familiar.

My point is, we look closely at the end users, right from the start and then uniquely design for them.

We always aim for a modern look and feel – that combines the flavour and function of present-day websites and services our participants may already use. We make sure our learning can be used on any device, which is reassuring, particularly if our participants are returning to study after a break, or learning on the go.

Ease of use is crucial.

There’s no point in having a text-heavy video or document for example, when we know that our participants could be accessing their content with their smartphone. Our approach means that our participants’ efforts are fully-focused on their learning – not trying to figure out what they need to do.

Everyone is busy these days, with competing demands for their time and attention. Our goal is for all our learning experiences to be comfortable, calm, warm and welcoming – as well as concise, professional and even, fun.

We carefully design our learning so that participants know from the very start what they need to do and how they can do it.

Our learning is designed to make it easy for participants to identify where they are in their learning journey, navigate to where they need to go and also track their progress. They can pause their learning on one day, and then easily pick-up where they left off on the next.

Our learning is practical, relevant and immediately useful.

There are many reasons why professionals undertake learning, such as filling knowledge gaps, preparing for promotion, or even a career change or pivot. We understand this which is why our learning features in-depth content, practical examples that our participants can explore and then immediately put into practice.

Some learning may require more intensive educator engagement.

We design for this with options for live events and facilitated workshops to foster collaboration and rich discussion.

Professionals often need to show proof of their learning, such as digital credentials that can be displayed on the LinkedIn profile or on their CV, or even an artefact of their learning that demonstrates their newfound skill in a way that’s meaningful to them. Our learning is intentionally designed to do all this.

My point is, if you need to make a professional development course there’s no need to panic.

We’ve got you.

 

My own commode story

Preparing for the showcases and learning my lines felt very much like Mr Orange learning his ‘commode story’ as part of his research into becoming a character in his role as an undercover cop.

To do this job you gotta be a great actor. You gotta be naturalistic. You gotta be naturalistic as hell. Because if you ain’t a great actor, you’re a bad actor. And bad acting is bullshit in this job. Think about it like a joke. You memorise what’s important and the rest you make your own, alright? You can tell a joke, can’t you?
The things you gotta remember are the details. It’s the details that sell your story. You gotta take all those details and make them your own.
While you’re doing that you gotta remember that this story is about you, and how you perceive the events that went down. The only way to do that is keep saying, and saying it, and saying it.