Anchor Podcast

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Skyship of Smazah

It's the last day of the month but I still made my deadline....barely.
February's One-Page Adventure is here!

The Skyship of Smazah for Swords & Wizardry Continual Light
(Direct Link) (RPGNow Link)

"The Kingdom of Smazah is a small Kingdom, one not worthy of much notice. The recent crash of a strange vessel and the Strangers within has caused great excitement across the five and twenty countries of the Land. Lions Gate has become the center of interest as mages, adventurers and greedy opportunists seek to plunder the ship of its strange valuables and powerful artifacts."

This OPA incorporates two different things!
1) It is part of the Twelve Months of Tome of Adventure Design
2) It takes place in Michael Shorten's The Kingdom of Smazah. Which is part of his Three Hexes Campaign Starters. Which also means he is credited as a writer of this adventure because you must also have his work in order to properly run this OPA.

Included in this OPA is a new race and optional class for your Continual Light games. The Goblin and the Shaman.

I did have some technical difficulties while creating this PDF. For some reason I wasn't able to create the Hyperlinks like the way I normal would. So I had to go in after the PDF was completed and use some free web-based program to make the Hyperlinks. The Hyperlinks are not highlighted but they are there. I believe there are four of them. I tested them out and they all do work.

Facebook Page

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

It’s a girl!

It may not be gaming related but we found out today that our future gamer is a girl!

Say hello to Ora Estelle!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Highlight: Swords of Jordoba: An Old-School D&D Actual Play Series

I just finished watching Episode 6 of Swords of Jordoba.
Swords of Jordoba is an Actual Play series on YouTube. The game system being used is Swords & Wizardry which is essentially the D&D rules from 1974-1977. The GM of the series is, Matt Finch, the author of Swords & Wizardry and Co-Author of OSRIC.

It's great!

If you want to watch a current and unique (will get to this below) actual play of Old-School D&D this is the one you want to watch! This does a great job at showing how to run/play Old-School D&D. With the rise of D&D, thanks to 5th Edition and Twitch, people are getting more and more interested in the roots of D&D and seeing how the game was at it's development.

Now, this isn't a Critical Role. It isn't filmed and streamed live from a studio with a crew. The players and the GM are playing online from their homes using either Skype or Google Hangouts. But what makes this series so unique, other than the play-style one must have for Old-School D&D, is how they use miniatures and terrain. Yes, I know, those other series use miniatures and terrain BUT not like this!

Since everyone is playing from their own home and not together in a studio, the GM, Matt, puts the players AND viewers right into the middle of this game. He uses a small camera that goes through the inside of the terrain that would be eye-level to the characters. The players and viewers get this amazing first-person POV experience in this series. Unlike most other series, either in a studio or Roll20, there is always a top-down view of the table (virtual table) which allows the players and viewers to see the "GM POV" rather than the character POV. So when the Dwarf opens the door all you can see is what the character would be able to see instead of removing the fog of war or just adding on the entire room so all the players and viewers get that GM POV.

Here are some screenshots I took while watching Episode 6:

Definitely checkout this series! There are currently 7 episodes right now and it shouldn't take that long to catch up. The first episode is short and the others are between an hour to two hours in length. Go here for the YouTube Playlist of the series. If you enjoy it don't forget to subscribe and share with others! Also, they have a Patreon that you can help support the series for it to continue to go on and to increase the production value of the series!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Tome of Adventure Design - February

As part of Twelve Months of Tome of Adventure Design I have rolled up February's monster for the next One-Page Adventure. Last month I received requests to post the results of the rolls for those who have a copy of the book and want to look at the tables.

February's Monster
Physical & Special Attacks: 95. Limb attack only and two special attacks.
Special Defenses: 97. One defense and two distinctive attributes.

Limb Attack Only: 53. Talons.
Special Attack: 79; 13. Squirt liquid (Single target); Asphyxiation.
Special Attack: 60; 49. Smell (Squirted, single target); Emotion (Love or happiness).
Special Defense: 12. Chitin.
Attribute: 44. Inhabit wet areas.
Attribute: 14. Builds nests from sticks, branches, mud, bones or clay.

Now that I have the outline of this new monster I will begin to wear my creativity hat and produce a terrible drawing of what I believe this creature might be.

Remember, this monster was created by using the random tables in Matt Finch's Tome of Adventure Design.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

GM Anxiety & One-Page Adventures

I suffer from social anxiety but I want to focus on GM Anxiety.
What is GM Anxiety?
- Fear of disappointing the players/friends/family
- Fear of never being fully prepared (which I know is never truly achievable)
- Fear of having all eyes on you (being the center of attention)
- Fear of being a complete failure

Obviously, every GM wants to make sure their players are having a great time and don't want to disappoint them. There is the fear of making mistakes while GMing that can cause the players to be upset or disappointed in you. And then there is the fear of not being as good as another GM and now with things like Critical Role and other successful Twitch RPG shows the pressure seems to be on GMs even more (it feels like that anyways). With someone who already struggles with social anxiety this puts so much weight on their shoulders that often it just becomes too much and the game they had scheduled for next week has now been postponed because, to quote Jan Brady, "Something suddenly came up."
Now, if something didn't come up and the game is actually happening then the GM made their save vs fear of running a game. But now all eyes is on the GM. And I know personally that this is one of the greatest challenges to deal with when you suffer from social anxiety. And just because it something you like/love and enjoy it doesn't make it any easier. There are still people that depend on you to run this game without completely screwing it up and having them throw their dice at you while yelling, "you are the worst GM ever! I am never going to play with you ever again!" (this is only a fraction of what runs through my head as the GM)

The main thing I want to focus on is never fully being prepared and how One-Page Adventures comes into play. I love reading game modules and campaign books. I have a lot of them on PDF and I often read through them and say to myself, "I am so going to run this module!" And then I sit down and go into preparation mode by taking down notes, writing out stuff and so on. But I also have this NEED to know EVERYTHING before I can run the module. Even those classic 32 page modules. I must know it all before I can run it. And of course that never happens. And the thought of running something like I6 Ravenloft fills me up with so much anxiety that it crushes me. Looking at dungeon maps, "Oh there are 83 locations. How am I supposed to know all of this before we play!?" And I know I'm not going to know it all. No one really does. But it is that NEED to know it all that drives me away from running modules.
Which is why I came up with the idea of my One-Page Adventures. I often get asked (or complaints) about why there are no maps included with my OPAs. But this is because it makes GMing so much easier for me this way. If I just have a page with the main goal of the adventure, stat blocks and some features that can be found throughout the adventure then this gets rid of a lot of the anxiety I have when it comes to being the GM. I can make up the "map" on the fly much easier than looking at a map and referring back and forth to the map and the text. Now room 23 can be whatever I feel like room 23 will be at the time of the adventurers entering the room. I could make it feel more natural or if I'm just stuck I can look at the list of features and use one I haven't used yet. Another benefit of not having a map is that if the adventurers are in a room with three doors I only need to know what's behind the door that they choose and if they never go back to see what's beyond those doors that's fine because nothing important that they would have needed would be there. I can control the flow of the game without the map and module. If I know that the adventurers need to find Barael's Blade in order for them to slay the Spider Priest I can allow them to find that when I feel it is necessary for the story.

I've thought about taking some of the classic modules that I have and put them in my OPA format for my own personal use. What's the main goal of the module? Are there any key (or cool) items that are needed? Take note of any key stat blocks and cool features already in the module. Would running I6 Ravenloft in this format take away from running it how it was originally written? Isn't the goal of I6 Ravenloft to kill Strahd? Would my players even notice that I didn't run it by the book (that is if they never read or played it before)? They probably wouldn't even care as long as they got to do what was advertised, "storm the castle and kill the vampire."

Would you be interested in a classic module in my One-Page Adventure format?