A Walk in the Dark A look in to the mind of an RPG designer


Light and Dark Fonts

It's been over a month since I posted? Gosh, I've been busy... Sorry.

A long time ago, for an alternate reality game that... well... failed miserably, I created two custom font sets. I actually used these two fonts in "trailhead" packages to start the game, writing the entire sender's address label in the corresponding font.

I expected the folks at UnFiction to take a few days to decode it. It took them hours, maybe less.

Since I imagine that some of you DMs out there might be interested in writing things, like for puzzles, in a cryptic font but may not have the time or inclination to create your own font to do so, I thought I'd provide these two.

"DLI Lightscript" was made to be used by an angelic, apparently good/lawful organization; it was designed with smooth curves and lines, portraying a certain level of symmetry. Almost mathematical, if you will. Numbers are included as well, and the symbols appear similar except the pips are solid black I think.

"DLI Darkscript" was made to be used by a shady, apparently bad/evil organization; it's chaotic, with no sense of rhyme or reason. No curves in it at all, entirely made by sharp lines and hard corners. Even the line thicknesses vary between characters. It's kind of a mess, but it was made to be that way.

Both files are provided as Windows TrueType (TTF) fonts wrapped inside a RAR archive.

If you do use this, I'd be really interested in knowing how. Let me know!



The DnD Pantheon

The D&D 4E Pantheon... Well, most of it anyway.

Yesterday I was in a strange mood, so I decided to try and practice a little with my non-"drag clip art around" skills in Fireworks and Illustrator. I'm trying to expand my skills, get some more practice in drawing and in raw vector manipulation, so my maps and such can be a little more robust and unique.

Looking for something to do, I came across the "Deities" section of the semi-official Dungeons and Dragons Zazzle site. When I saw the first one - Asmodeus - I thought to myself "Yeah... I can do that."

Several hours later, I had all sixteen done.

The majority of them involved not much more than dropping a rectangle or circle and then screwing with the bezier anchors, plus a lot of polygon unification and "punching". Some of the more complex one involved drawing a base vector with the vector path tool and then modifying the points to match the image reference. Vecna was probably the hardest in this regard, adn Tharizdun took me the longest of all due to its complexity. Corellon, Pelor and Erathis were quite entertaining because I put a stupid amount of time to make them mathematically accurate and symmetrical.

Like I said, I did this for practice... But now that I have them I can't help but share them. So here are all 16 deities, provided in native Fireworks PNG and Illustrator 8 formats. The base image is about 700x700 pixels but it's vector so it should be very easy to scale to any size you want.

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition Deities - Fireworks PNG

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition Deities - Adobe Illustrator 8

I hope that someone out there can put these to good use.

Filed under: 4e, Art, DnD, Drawing, RPG No Comments

A Hero’s Journey

A Hero's Journey

So I've sent The Heart of Fire to a few people who volunteered to edit it; I haven't heard from them in a few days, so either I've stupified them with my awesome writing or my writing is soi abysmal that I compelled them to jump off a bridge. You can never tell with these sort of things...

In the meantime, inspired by Thick Skull Adventure's upcoming Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure "Attack of the Frawgs!" (which I help edit), I had an idea for a level 0 mini-adventure. I would have written it for the DCC ruleset, but all I have for now are the "beta" rules. I could have waited, I know... But I'm impatient. Once I get an idea in my head I need to get it done and out there.

So I decided to create the module using the level 0 rules for D&D 4E that were documented by the "A Hero's First Steps: Rules for Level 0 Characters" article by Philippe-Antoine Menard (a.k.a. @ChattyDM) that was published in Dragon magazine #403 (DDI subscription required). Here is the intro, in all its vague glory:

    For years you have followed in the footsteps of your master, watching his every move and learning through observation and study. You longed for the day when you might actually be able to follow in his footsteps and become an adventurer yourself, basking in the fame and glory that comes with such an honor.

     One day, during what should have been a normal expedition for your master and the other members of his group, everything changes. You suddenly find yourselves alone, the only hope for a city in desperate need of salvation, and you must put what you have observed in to practice. Can you step up and become the hero you were destined to be?

It's very short - less than 20 pages - and really only has a couple of encounters. I designed it with roleplaying in mind, where the players can really get in to character when their simple level 0 characters are thrust in to danger and must deal with forces beyond their understanding.

The hardest part of this module was coming up with names... The city had three different names - an online random name generator seriously suggested the name "Cloverclover" - until I settled on the name Feldspar. It's a strange name I know, but I'm sure someone can come up with a good reason for it to be called that? And I also had to find a name for a pirate ship, and even though the online "pirate ship name generator" are far from appropriate, it did help me come up with the ship name as The Red Barnacle.

Anyway, you can purchase the mini-adventure A Hero's Journey for the low price of $1.99 at Drive Thru RPG!

Map Pack M3: Crypt Entrance

While I was creating the adventure, I ended up creating a tactical map that I really liked: the entrance to an underground crypt. So I decided to make that in to a high resolution image (200 DPI) and release it as a map pack. This new map pack, brilliantly titled M3: Crypt Entrance (I suck at names... sue me) is also available at Drive Thru RPG.

Once I feel comfortable about The Heart of Fire - which will hopefully be soon - that will be released.


Compass Rose

A few days ago, on a whim, I decided to try and create a custom compass rose for my maps. I have a few available in the clip art I yanked from Campaign Cartographer 3, but I still wanted to have one of my own.

Also, it was sort of a challenge to myself. I repeat over and over again that I can't draw, and do all my maps solely through the creative manipulation of existing art. When it comes to create an object from scratch, freehand if you will, I cave.

So while I was in the process of putting stuff on my new DeviantArt page, I went exploring and found this tutorial that describes the basics on how to make a neat little compass rose. I figured I'd give it a go.

The result is the image you see to the right, which I am now making available to anyone who wants to use it.

The worse part of the whole thing that, unbeknownst to me, Cartographer's Guild was having a "mini" challenge that was exactly this: create a compass rose. I decided to create mine on the very last day of the contest, a mere three hours after the contest closed and all submissions were locked. Since that dismayed me a little, I'm giving it away for free instead.

There are two files provided below: one is the flattened, raster image and the native vector PNG created in Adobe Fireworks CS5. You would think that the raster image would be a thousand times larger than the vector one, but for some reason the vector one is a behemoth at about 1Mb in size compared to the 250K raster file (don't ask me why). Both image have a transparent background.

In any event, if you use these things anywhere or have any suggestions I'd love to hear about it.

Here ya go!

Download: Original Adobe Fireworks CS5 vector file (approx. 1Mb)

Download: "Flattened" raster PNG file (approx 254K):

Filed under: Art, Maps, RPG No Comments