Saturday, September 24, 2011

Just How Fat is the Tome of Horrors Complete?

That fat. I was really on the fence about it when it was first announced but I've no regrets now. Slick.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Still Breathin'

I'm still here. Just taking a break and catching my breath...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Goolomps - Paper Minis

Here's the paper mini follow up to the goolomps post of last week. 4x6" PDF

Update: the source image:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Two for the Kids - Puzzle Post

A couple more word search puzzles for the kids - Find the cleric's spells... Click the preview image above to download them or for a closer look.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Among the Many Jobs I've Had

For a time I worked at a blood bank. I was a blood components tech - the guy who takes your blood donation, spins it down in a centrifuge, and turns it into different blood “products” - red blood cells, plasma, and platelets. It was occasionally unpleasant, but the pay was decent and I could walk to work.

On the morning of 9/11, I was preparing to enjoy my day off. I received a phone call just after turning on the TV and seeing news of the attacks. My boss wanted me to come in because there was a line of donors out the door and into the parking lot of the blood bank.

So I spent most of that day processing their blood. A call to the media had been made that there was an urgent need for blood for victims of the attacks. Many people felt powerless and wanted to do something, anything, to help. All over the country, people were doing the same thing in their towns - racing to blood banks to give their blood for their fellow countrymen. The young were especially called upon, since their blood was likely to be more pure.

Of course, in the end, most of those donations were never used for anything. There was a glut of blood in the banks on that day and in the weeks that followed - and no survivors who could benefit. So it was poured down the drain, so to speak. Autoclaved, really. The chronic shortage of available blood for hospital use was alleviated, for a short time - some blood was shipped from small towns to the cities where it was needed more. In the end, there was nothing to do about it; blood has a shelf life of a month and a half or less.

By early 2003, I’d burned out on that job and moved on. For some reason though, I occasionally still think about all that wasted blood.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Living Bridges

Via the Daily Mail.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


The clumsy and nearly blind Goolomps occasionally teleport to our world in small groups. Their appearance here is accidental, caused by a planar coordinates typo found in a widely distributed vacation brochure. The unwitting Goolomps believe they’re zapping over for a quick dip in the Mud Baths of Porpadomp - only to discover themselves deep underground with nothing but a towel.

Goolomps are very suspicious of anyone they encounter and will immediately use their innate ESP ability to uncover a party’s motivations. They can communicate telepathically and psychically attack an adversary if need be. Desperate for a way home, they’re eager to converse and trade with anyone capable of interdimensional travel. Their own method involves the use of teleporting machines - hence their predicament. Goolomps* are not above the use of violence and the theft of magic items if they believe it will aid their quest. They are averse to collaborating with humans and elves (whom they regard as stupid and ugly).

Goolomp: HD 2; AC 8 [11]; Atk 1 claw or bite for 1 hp damage or preferably Special; Move 9; Save 13; CL/XP 3/300; Special: ESP, Telepathy, Ego Whip per combat round for d6 damage (Save allowed, target goes to sleep with nightmares of inferiority for d6 turns if HP reduced to zero or less; thereafter HP returns to normal). In addition to Ego Whip, they can emit a Psychic Screech once per day causing Confusion (per the spell).

* My wife chose the name Goolomp here after I showed her the above artwork and asked for a suggestion. She swears she's never heard of the Castlevania monster of the same name.

Text of this post licensed under the OGL; “Goolomp” art above is public domain - tidied up with the GIMP a bit. Original source image from a forgotten Golden Age comic from the '50s.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Interactive Maps with the GIMP

Using the GNU Image Manipulation Program, you can easily create interactive maps for use in your game - just for your records, for the players' use in an online video conference game, or maybe as a solitaire dungeon where the player advances on the map and clicks on numbered areas as they proceed.

To start, open an existing image with the GIMP - perhaps a wilderness or dungeon map. For this example, I'm going to recycle an old side view "dungeon" I posted here last year. Then choose Filters - Web - Image Map.

That's going to bring up the image mapping editor.

From the mapping menu in this new window, choose your selection shape. I use the rectangle (it seems less wonky). Use it to select parts of your image, just as you would with the toolbox's rectangle select tool. As you make selections, new layers will appear in the sidebar on the right. You can edit the information in these entries as you go along or come back to edit them later by double clicking them in the sidebar.

In the above example, I've selected the number 3 on my map and now am choosing what will happen when the 3 is clicked on in the image - in this case it will take the user to a new web page with a description. If the link is relative, it means that the destination web page is located in the same directory as the original image. The "ALT text" area will display hovering text on mouse over if Internet Explorer is used (other web browsers will not use it).

Once the image is mapped, in the image map window, choose save - GIMP should append a .map to the end of the file name. Change it to .html now or after saving. The image mapping editor will disappear and you're back to your original image.

To test, put the image file in the same directory and double click your newly saved .html file to open it in your browser. Quick and dirty image mapping! Click the numbers on my lazy example to see it in action.