Friday, April 28, 2017

MapTool Campaign File v2 for DragonQuest

A nearly month-long RV trip and other issues have kept me too busy to get any new blog posts out but I did manage to get a basic user guide written for the MapTool campaign file that I use for running DragonQuest.  Version 2 of the campaign file includes a number of new macros and a lot of updates to the previous ones.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Mapping with Master Hexes

Hex grids have been used for mapping in gaming since the 2nd edition of Gettysburg by Avalon Hill in 1961.  DragonQuest, published by a company known for its war games, uses the hex grid for tactical and campaign mapping though it wasn't the first RPG to do so.  This post is going to focus on the use of what I'm calling Master Hexes for mapping and isn't specific to DragonQuest.  This concept has been around since the very early days of the Judges Guild (Campaign Hexagon Sub-System) and maybe longer. I'm making no claim on having come up with anything particularly original here.  The inspiration for this post came from several blog posts that I came across recently.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Geography of the Frontiers of Alusia

The Frontiers of Alusia is a campaign setting released by SPI for use with DragonQuest or other fantasy RPGs.  I've used the Frontiers of Alusia (FoA) as a campaign base for DragonQuest off and on since its release in 1981.  The included 22"x34" map has the quality you would expect from the preeminent war game publisher of time.  The accompanying Travel Guide provided basic descriptions of the various named areas and features of FoA and included a basic history of the region plus hints about neighboring areas.  There are ruins, abandoned cities, impassable mountain ranges, deep dark forests, haunted battlegrounds, primitive cannibals and barbarian tribes.  Plenty of adventure hooks and room for GMs to put their own stamp on it.  It's a real shame that further expansions for either the Frontiers or Alusia as whole were never produced.
In the cover sheet Frontiers of Alusia is described as "a thinly settled, semi-explored wilderness."  In keeping with that there are only two settled areas within the Frontiers of Alusia: the Barony of Carzala and the Brastor Holding.  They cover about 4% of the total area.  If you've read any of my previous blog posts then you know that I like to dig into the numbers and I collected a few for the Frontiers of Alusia.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Movement Rate Conversion Charts for DragonQuest

DragonQuest specifies movement for the inhabitants of the DragonQuest world in two ways primarily.  First is the Tactical Movement Rate (TMR) which defines how many hexes an entity can move in a Pulse (5 seconds) during combat and second is the Movement Rate for the Chase Stage specified in Yards per Minute (YPM).  Then Book 2, Magic, comes along and uses Miles per Hour (MPH) for spells like Telekinesis, Windwalking and Shadow Wings which requires conversion to game movement rates when used on the Tactical Display.  It takes no great feat of math to do the conversions but for Telekinesis and Shadow Wings it needs to be done with each improvement in spell rank.  So a while back I threw together a few tables in OpenOffice Calc to do conversions from MPH to both TMR and Chase Stage movement for the two spells but also more general conversion tables.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Backfire Table for Invested Spells

One of the features of the magic system in DragonQuest is the Backfire Table.  Attempt to cast a spell with too little skill and you may end up with a backfire which can have a variety of negative effects from the mildly irritating to the completely incapacitating.  It's not easy being an adept in DragonQuest but not just adepts can cast spells.  The non-adepts can loose magic spells that have been invested in items.  These can also backfire but, to me, many of the backfire results don't make much sense in the case where the spell is cast from an item.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Starting Language Skills in DragonQuest

DragonQuest incorporated languages better than many of the other RPGs around at the time of its release and it still compares favorably to those that came along later.  Though brief at 2/3 of a page, the rules section on spoken and written language still manages cover in sufficient detail what it means to have Ranks 0 thru 10 in a language, touches on dialectic differences, mentions changes to language over long periods of time and which creatures would be expected to have their own language.  Many of the other Skills available have minimum language skill requirements including Thief and Spy.  The rules also detail what language skills a player character starts with.  For humans and shape-changers, they start with Rank 8 in both Speak and Read/Write Common.  For non-humans they start with Rank 8 in Speaking in their native language and Rank 8 in Speak Common.  To me this is where the rules are a bit unfair to humans as well as a bit too restrictive and boring.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Some thoughts on the Mechanician

As written the DragonQuest rules provide little incentive for an adventurer to take up the Mechanician skill.  The brief description of the skill focuses largely on the making of traps, locks and safes.  Not things you might make outside of the Mechanician's workshop.  There are no abilities ascribed to the skill that might be regularly employed by the adventuring Mechanician.  Those devices described in the rules all require tools, materials and, in most cases, a workshop. The Mechanician's ability to create locks, traps and other mechanical devices should give them some insight into disabling or disarming the traditional pit and arrow traps found in dungeons but nothing is said of this in the rules.  The skill can definitely use some love in the form of more detailed abilities and some adventuring-targeted abilities.