Map – Desert Base

After a productive week (on the map making front, that is), I have another one ready. This is a small desert base for either bandits or or more benevolent denizens. The actual base consists of a cave on a side of a mountain or a hill and two large rock pillars that have room for lookouts. Each ‘tower’ has multiple arrowslits. The elevation could be  about 20 ft. There is a balcony facing inwards in the other one. Besides the suspension bridges, there isn’t much to see from the outside and the base should be difficult to spot from a distance. The base also has a reliable, but not infinite source of fresh water from a small underground stream.

Since the blood splatters make this map harder to use for practical purposes, here is a link to version without it: No blood and here is a link to a version without the grid (and without the blood).


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Map – Tavern in the Woods

Here’s another hand drawn map of a tavern build on ruins of an old keep. It’s located in remote woods away from the most frequented roads. Usual customers are hunters, smugglers and bandits. There is a strict policy of not asking questions and both the keeper and clientele like to keep disputes away from the tavern. Indeed, rare aggressors usually find themselves facing an unlikely alliance.

The tavern itself has a main room with almost around the clock service. The tower has a couple of rooms offering privacy but most opt for a simple shared accommodation. Besides the main hall, there is a basement. It has a couple of holding cells but most of the time it is used simply for storage or even accommodation.


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Dice pools – Addendum

In the last post, I mentioned a few examples of common modifications to the “pure” dice pool mechanic. I’ll cover a couple of them here.

Exploding dice

The fist case is the so called exploding dice, i.e. if a die comes up with the (usually) maximum possible result, then another die is rolled and added to the dice pool. Eg. a player rolls 5 d6s, and gets 1,1,3,6,6. The player then rolls two more d6s, say 2,6. The second six again adds another die which gives 2. Given the target number of 5, the final result is then 3 hits. So how does this affect the probability distribution? Well, I’m glad that you asked! First consider the expected number of hits for each die. With standard dicepool, the probability of getting a hit is p. For the exploding dice, we need to account for the possibility of getting another roll. Let’s call p_{max} the probability of exploding. So first there is a chance of getting a hit. Then there is a  p_{max} chance of getting another roll that gives a hit with probability of p and again there is a probability p_{max} of the additional die exploding and giving another roll with probability p of getting a hit and so on. This can be expressed as p + p_{max}\left(p + p_{max}(p + p_{max}(\ldots))\right) This can be expanded asp +p \cdot p_{max} + p \cdot p_{max}^{2} + p \cdot p_{max}^{3} + \ldots Continue reading “Dice pools – Addendum”

Dice math – Part II: Dice pools

In part 1, I covered some properties of a linear dice mechanic using d20 system as an example. Another very common mechanic is the dice pool. The basic idea is that the player rolls multiple similar dice and counts the number of dice that have result equal to or greater than a target number. The number of ‘hits’ is then the result of the roll. Games that use it are numerous: Shadowrun, World of Darkness, Burning wheel, Warhammer (the miniature game!). For example, in Shadowrun, the dice are d6s and the target number is five. So rolling 7 dice and getting numbers 2,3,3,5,6,1,4 would result in two hits. Sometimes there are additional complications, like exploding dice, re-rolls or botches. I’ll cover these on a separate post. The next part is going to be a little math heavy.

Continue reading “Dice math – Part II: Dice pools”

Map – A (Small) cultist dungeon

Here’s another map. This one features a small dungeon that local cultists have used as a meeting place for their rituals. It has also two hidden entrances: one via a secret door (marked with an S) and another through a small underground pond. The main chamber opens to a cliff and sometimes sacrifices are made by forcing people to jump of the planks extending over the edge. The cave is often deserted unless a ritual night is at hand. Again, this one would also favor lower level play.

The likely location to find this dungeon would be nearby a small town or a village where most of the villagers take part in a murderous cult in exchange for protection and favors. They could worship either a genuinely powerful entity or a weaker spirit that has, for example, minor healing powers.


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Map – Smuggler’s Den

I recently started making hand-drawn dungeon maps again and here is one for you to use. The map is about a semi-hidden cave that is being used by local smugglers or thieves to gain a clandestine entry into the city. Room 1 has a very small opening to the sea/river (or even a lake, whichever body of water you prefer) to spot both incoming shipments and to get an advance warning on possible hostiles. There den is not often deserted and you can usually find at least a couple of unsavory characters inside.

In DnD 3e/Pathfinder terms this location would best serve levels before 5, since it has limited space and tactical depth for higher level characters.


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Dice math, part 1 of N

Most RPGs feature at least some mechanics with uncertainty and from both the designer and player perspective, it is important to know what you get out of them. Often their properties are intuitively clear, but I thought it’d be fun to go through them in more detail than usually happens in a gaming session. Even though pieces like this might be available somewhere, I wanted to go through the math and simulations myself. This is part 1 of N of series where I’ll go through the properties of different mechanics. I’ll start with a staple: A linear random number generator (RNG, usually a die / dice). The most popular example of this is probably D&D and it’s spawn (eg pathfinder).

Continue reading “Dice math, part 1 of N”