So. Many. Hats. & Whats Next?

The Many Roles of a Game Master

Any game master or storyteller with any experience is well aware of the many roles they must fill when running a campaign in 5e or any RPG. Writer, Storyteller, Actor, Referee, Cat-Wrangler. To run a game that is fun, engaging, and fair, can be a difficult challenge. A GM wears many hats, and most the skills, techniques, and practices carry over when creating original content for any RPG.

Moar Hats!!

When branching out into creating your own content you discover many new roles and challenges. I am finding so many new hats, I think it might be advantageous to grow an extra head or two. In addition to the roles above, I know have to be a manager, editor (at least for the first drafts, another set of eyes will do the actual editing.), and Cartographer. I must also be in charge of commissioning artwork, or find suitable stock art or art in the public domain. I have to juggle all these roles and still find time to actually craft lore, and create content for the projects before me. So Much to do.

The Next Step

Obviously I have much work to do, and I’ve been having a problem with what to work on next. I have a lot of great ideas, but I’ve been feeling a little scattered, and just need to narrow my focus a bit. Get one thing done at a time, and start checking off the boxes on my to do list.

Over the next couple months I will start reaching out to other writers, and artists. People I know, respect, and trust to help me bring my vision to life. I could do this alone, but if I want it done in a relatively reasonable time frame. I’m gonna need help.

If you are interested in helping out, please feel free to reach out to me on Facebook or via email at triplemoongames@gmail.com.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Building a World #3: Player Races

This seems like as good a place to start as any. The basic choices any player must make when creating a character is Race and Class. This post will be brief summary of the various races that make up the peoples of Veyrn. More detail will be provided in future pexels-photo-226721posts, dedicated to each of the races as development continues.

There will likely be many familiar races here along with a couple of new additions unique to Veyrn.

The Races of Veyrn

Changelings (NEW)

The peoples of Falta tell stories of the fair folk, the Fae. They give warnings about children taken and replaced by things not quite human. The Fae use the changelings to learn about the outside world, letting them live among the mortals, before returning to take them home. Some cultures have learned to accept them, others kill them on sight. They are the rarest of the races, and even they do not often know their true origins. Most appear as members of the race their were left with, exact copies, while other bare strange marks or deformities, that reveal their unnatural origins.

Dwarves

Ancient and proud the dwarven people claim to be the oldest of the civilized peoples. Hailing from the Harradim mountains the people of Thangnor are a stubborn and rigid society. Believing themselves to have sprung from the bones of ancient beings of stone and fire, known as the titans. They believe the mountains to be the remains of these colossal beings.

Humans

By and large humanity makes up the largest and most influential portion of the inhabitants of Veyrn. Once part of a great empire that spread across the whole of the main continent, they have since broken into several smaller nations, each with their own cultures and beliefs.

Elves

The elves of Erysalen are a dying race. They claim to have orignated in a realm known as The Grey, a realm of eternal twilight and home of the Fae. They escape their bondage at the hands of the Archfey, and fled to Veyrn. They built their own kingdom, and lived in relative peace. They remain vigilant however that the Fae must someday return to reclaim their people.

Half-Elves

Trapped between their human and elven ancestry they are few in number, and tend to dwell among human and elven communities. They are generally accepted by humans, but looked down upon by the elves. With a few exceptions they do not have any lands to themselves, instead trying to exist wherever they can find acceptance.

Halflings

The river folk of Barsa make their homes along the hills and banks of the great rivers that flow across the center of the continent. They are a peaceful and accepting folk, and tend to avoid getting drawn into the politics and machinations of others, preferring to live in peace.

Hobgoblins

Once native to the western continent, the people of Karsh, have long since been forced out their ancestral homes. They remain extremely honorable, and capable warriors, known for their ferocity on the battlefield. They live nomadic lives, selling their services to any that is willing to pay for their skill at arms. They are known to hold to a contract to the letter, and being relentless until the job is done. Woe be to the person to fails to pay or breaks a contract with them, for their vengeance is legendary.

Frauki (NEW)

The froglike inhabitants of the Kingdom of Steill are peaceful society of noble swordsman. Bearing an archaic for of speech and customs, they live in their jungle home and their knights defend it any who would harm them. They get involved in world politics, fighting always on the side of justice, adhering to code not unlike the codes of chivalry. They are known to have some of the finest swordsmen in the world. The legendary sword, Caliburn, is both their symbol of leadership, and a blessing from their goddess The Lady of the Lake.

Hey what about?

You’ve probably noticed that a few races are not listed as player options. Gnomes, Half-Orcs, and Dragonborn. The dragonborn don’t really fit into a setting where dragons are rare to the point of being mere myth, and I couldn’t really think of a reason to include them without compromising the integrity of what I am trying to produce. I choose to leave out gnomes as I plan to have a wide range of spirits, including the elemental spirits of Paracelsus introduced in the 16th century (Gnome, Undine, Salamander, and Slyph). I felt that having gnome spirits and a player race might create too much confusion, and rather than rename either of them, I opted to leave out gnomes.

Half orcs were a bit harder to leave out, and I went back and forth several times of their inclusion. There ARE Orcs, so it would make sense, that there would be half-orcs. Orcs are not as common as they are in other settings. I may add them back in at a later date, but for now they remain on the cutting room floor.

 

 

Building a World #2

Creating the Map: Part Two

When we left off with our world map we had a nice group of continents, with some oceans and some decent looking coastlines. Our next step is to add some major geographical features that will help give the world more definition and provide natural barriers and obstacles to over come. I will say this up front, we are not geologists, we know rivers run downhill, and basic things like that. We are trying to create an interesting map, not a 100% scientifically accurate one.

veyrnstepthree

Step Four: Adding mountains and forests.

So I added several mountain ranges and forests, some of these will serve as major plot points and points of importance to the setting.

It’s worth noting that this is meant to be a world map, a general overview of the continents, in time each country and kingdom will get a significantly more detailed regional map, with much more than I can reasonably fit into a map of this scale.

I understand it may be difficult to get a good look of what the features look like from this

closeupstep3

A closer view of the north eastern section of the main continent.

small an image. Here is a closer view of one of the areas, so that you can get a better idea of what the map really looks like upon closer inspection.

With the terrain features in place you can get a better idea of what Veyrn looks like.

This map is mostly complete. It just needs some cities, villages, and names to round it out. Most of the settlements wont make it onto a map of this scale, they will be more apparent on the aforementioned regional maps. I did add a few however, primarily major cities

veyrnstep5

Step Five: Adding cities, towns and country names.

and settlements, that will be detailed in the setting book.

I will add additional details in the future, things like names of the seas, oceans, and mountain ranges. This gives me a good starting point to get to the more interesting stuff, such as the inhabitants of this strange new world.

 

RPGs & Creative Integrity

I had a talk with a friend this afternoon, about RPGs and the projects I’m working on. The concept of creative integrity game up. This concept is basically staying true to yourself and your creative goals despite the influences of others.

Creative people of all types I feel face pressure from others to create works based on what people think will sell, and what they feel people want. While there is some merit in taking business trends into account when create something, I feel that it should never be a primary consideration.

This topic came up when I told him about an experience I had on one of several RPG creator groups I am member of. Now I haven’t published anything yet, and am still new to this endeavor. I had expressed my love for RPGs that are almost as much fun to read as they are to play. Games like Vampire: The Masquerade, and Changeling: The Lost immediately came to mind. Games with depth to their stories, and presented like works of fiction with rules to bring those stories to life. In response to this statement I was immediately told “Your readers don’t want that.”

As I said I haven’t released any RPG material as of yet, so I didn’t have any readers. My preferences were rejected by this person and a few others because those aren’t the kinds of products trending currently in the 5e community. So what do I have to say to that?

Honestly? “Fuck you, random internet stranger.” I promise to stay true to what I love, and the types of games I enjoy. My primary goals are not to make money. I’m not under some delusion that I can amass riches and fortune from this endeavor. I’ll honestly be happy and content if I break even. I will not alter my aspirations based on what others think I should make, or what popular trends are currently at the top of any charts. I will stay true to myself, and create products I like, that would enjoy playing. Whatever I create will be born out of love for the game, and a desire to brings the worlds and stories in my head to life.

That is the only promise I can make.

Building a World #1

Creating the Map: Part One

Many great stories begin with just a map. When starting to craft my world I began with ideas and concepts of the people first. How their cultures developed and what elements of the natural world influenced that development. I used these idea to draw a sketch of the world that would become Veyrn.

VEYRNMAPSKETCH.jpg

Step One: The Sketch

I’d been sketching maps by hand for years, even since I started playing roleplaying games almost 20 years ago. I don’t consider myself an artist by any means, but they’ve proven to be effective if not beautiful.

After drawing them by hand for many years I eventually switched to programs such as Campaign Cartographer, which allowed me to create simple but more more appealing and colorful maps I could use as reference and share with my players. I used to sketch a rough map, then recreate it by hand. The results were not perfect, but usable. It was difficult to make the image I’d drawn on paper never quite matched what made it to the computer screen.

Then as I was creating this map I thought of a handy trick (which I discovered others use as well after the fact.) I used my sketch as a background in my CC3 file then traced the continents using the tools provided. The result was much better than anything I could have done by hand. I had discovered a handy and useful trick to get my ideas onto the computer screen that accurately reflected the ideas in my head.

Veyrn 2.0

Step Two: The continents traced into CC3+

 

With the continents down (the tracing process took me all of 15-20 minutes.) My next step was to make the coastlines pop a bit more.

CC3 comes with handy tools to add effects to your maps (I swear Profantasy Software is not paying me for this blog, I just really like their tools.) So I added some effects to add some color and definition to the map.

Veyrnstep2

Step Three: Coastlines and ocean shading.

These effects added a coastline to it and some more detail to the continents to make them look quite a bit better than they did previously. It took a bit of trial and error to get it the way I wanted, but as an amateur at this I am pretty pleased by the results.

So this gave me a great starting point to begin adding detail to my map.

In part two I’ll describe the next few steps in the process, and show you the results.

 

The Veyrn Campaign Setting

What is Veyrn?

Pronounced (Vair-in), Veyrn is my campaign setting for 5th edition. It is the setting I’ve used for my home campaign for the last several years, and is being revised and expanded. My goal is to have a fully fleshed out world that any game master can use to run adventures. It will allow for a variety of story types, from classic adventure, to wilderness survival, even horror.

quill-and-ink-11What will be shared on this site will be bits and pieces of the design process as I go about fleshing out this world and creating a book for eventual release. This will not be a completely open design process, but I welcome any and all constructive feedback and comments regarding this or any other projects.

Design Goals

Below is a list of design goals, we will be referencing this during the creation process. These are the standards by which will be judging ourselves on. Much of it can be summed up as “Story first, rules second.” This list can also be found the “About” page of this website.

  • Create a vivid detailed world, with many interwoven cultures and history.
    • Use real world myths and legends blended into classic fantasy. The idea being to create something familiar, yet undoubtedly fantasy.
    • Draws inspiration from history, and its conflicts.
    • Every culture should provide numerous characters ideas and provide options for various character types.
  • A story hook on every page.
    • Each section of the text should spur the imagination, giving inspiration for players and game masters alike.
  • Encourage Roleplaying
    • Provide resources for building backgrounds appropriate for Veyrn, that help build interesting and unique characters.
  • The book should be as fun to read as it is to play.
    • Include stories and fluff, peppered throughout the book to give context and insights into the myths, cultures, history, and religions of the various peoples of Veyrn.

Our hope is to create something that engages the imagination, and makes me say “Damn I need to play that!”

Introducing Triple Moon Games

Welcome!

This is my first post and my first step into publishing 5e products using the OGL. I have thought about this for a long while and have finally decided to take the plunge and do something I love, creating games and stories for roleplaying games. I hope through this blog, to build an audience and collect feedback on the creative process, and eventually ( I don’t have a time frame for my first release.) publish content for the 5e game.

candlebookInitially I had planned to release products for the Dungeon Master’s Guild. There are a lot of reasons this would have worked quite well for me, and I even started to create an adventure to publish on the DMG. However, despite how many advantages this would have given me, there were a few drawbacks that kept me from doing what I really wanted.

The biggest for me was the lack of ability to keep the rights to any material produced for the Guild. Anything published there can be used by anyone on the Guild (including WotC) and technically no longer belongs to the creator. I’m pretty possessive about my material and the idea that someone else could use it without my blessing didn’t really sit well with me.

The second big drawback for me were the limitations in regards to setting. As of this post only Forgotten Realms and Ravenloft can be used for DMG products. I thought I could get around this by writing “setting neutral” material (which IS allowed) The work on the adventure I was producing felt somehow hollow. It wouldn’t have been a bad product, but the lack of setting outside the immediate area of the adventure made it fall flat for me. I wanted to be genuine to myself, and my craft. I just couldn’t do that by playing in someone else’s sandbox.

 

So because of this I have thought long and hard about how I wished to proceed. In the end I have decided to do my own thing, using the OGL and similar licenses to create roleplaying products. To this end I have created Triple Moon Games, as a vehicle to create my work. I hope others will enjoy things I will be creating, It will undoubtedly be more work than I could even anticipate, but I hope in the long run, worth it.

I understand this site is pretty bare bones at the moment, but stay tuned. The best is yet to come..