Tag Archives: tech

It’s a start…

Inspired by Chris Perkin’s superb tutorial, I’ve been messing around and came up with this.

I used MS Paint, because it’s about all I can understand. I enjoyed doing it, and it may make an appearance in a game near you soon!


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Dungeon Mapping for Idiots

I’ve been looking for a simple way to produce dungeon maps for ages. I’m aware of loads of programmes that purport to do the job, from Masterplan to Pymapper, to the tile planner that WotC offer(ed). They’re fine, but still too complex for my simple capabilities.

While messing around with them, I realised I had a simple tool already at my fingertips, that I was well used to using: Powerpoint.

I downloaded some tile images from WotC, and then pasted them into Powerpoint. I set it for ‘snap to object’ and off I went. I didn’t have every single tile, but I had plenty with 2 minutes on Google. I then copied the whole lot into Paint and saved as a JPEG.

Here it is (based on the adventure available in the Free Stuff page):

Now all I have to do is add text and a key. It’s almost too easy!

What do you think?


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Name level

I don’t imagine for one minute I’m the first to spot this, but did you see that the WotC site now includes a name generator. It’s simple but effective. Here’s what I was greeted with:

We’ve generated a name for your
D&D character. It is…
Vicdak Nomad
(Male Shifter Druid)
Also known as…
Vicdak the Fortold
Nomad the Fortold
Crypt-Kicker Vicdak Nomad
Crypt-Kicker Nomad
Crypt-Kicker Vicdak Nomad the Fortold
Crypt-Kicker Nomad the Fortold
Vicdak of the Staves
Vicdak Nomad of the Staves
Crypt-Kicker Vicdak of the Staves
Crypt-Kicker Vicdak Nomad of the Staves
Pretty cool no?

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Why didn’t I think of that?

A lot of DMs are still searching for the holy grail of initiative/condition/hits tracking for 4e. I thought I’d tried it all until I saw this pic over at Newbie DM’s site. It’s actually from Mike Shea the guy behind the excellent Sly Flourish blog. Check it out.

Whos next?

Who's next?


Now, the hanging cards are NOT what made me haave a facepalm moment (cool though they are), it was the Post-It notes actually stuck into the adventure book! Sheer genius, utterly simple, mindblowingly obvious in hindsight. I probably won’t use the initiative cards idea, but the hit point tracking is getting in on the game as of this week.


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The Digital GM

If you are in any way a fan of digital tools at your tabletop, or when you’re deep into your prep then you need to pay attention.

Get Onenote.

It’s packaged in with MS Office 2007 and frankly, it’s worth the price of admission on it’s own. I’ve only scratched the surface of it’s capabilities and it’s spurring me on to create more gaming goodness than I really have time for.

Any tips or tricks you know of?


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My combat tracker for dummies

I use this simple Google spreadsheet. It’s super-simple, and it has to be given my IT skills. I put in the real names obviously!

The autosort function is a lifesaver. I type in the PCs initiative when they call it out, I always ‘take 10′ for the monsters and then hit ‘sort z – a’. Done.

If I’m feeling foxy, I’ll put in a rule under the monsters HP so that it turns red when it gets to ‘bloodied’. I don’t bother with anything for the PCs apart from rounds taken, they can track their own hits.

I simply type ‘x’ into each box when the participants go is done, or ‘d’ for delay, or ‘r’ for ready.

When a monster dies, I highlight the row, hit backspace to clear it, then autosort again.

For conditions, I’ve tried all sorts of nonsense. I use Alea Tools on the battlemat. On the sheet I find it quick enough to just type it in with an abbreviation for duration eg. -2 AC eo?nt (end of (PCs) next turn).

There you go. Enjoy.


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Just a quick post to promote an online tool that I very much like called Initracker.  It’s a combat manager that tracks initiative, hit points, conditions, all the good stuff. There’s no instructions but a fellow blogger takes you through it step by step here.

I’m going to try it with my next session from my netbook and report back. Wonder if it runs from an iPhone?

Obviously, it’s not perfect but it’s pretty close. I’d love to see WotC put something like this in their adventure tools suite.


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My Big Fat Techy Week

I’ve just had a week of interesting tech stuff. I’ve bought a netbook, a term I didnt even know existed last week. It’s an Asus eee 901 in white (eeepc.asus.com/global), and I absolutely love it. Its small enough to put in my man bag and take to work. Potentially I could use this at the gaming table too. The main use however is for browsing while watching tv. Its just not sociable to sit at the desktop while the rest of the family is in another room. My super sexy O2 broadband means I’ve got decent wi-fi speed all round the house so its a winner.

Then, just to show off at work I set up a social network using ning. Big brownie points for me, as they now think I’m some kind of IT savant.

In other news I was introduced to operamini as a web browser on my BlackBerry. Despite a couple of teething issues, its turned out to be really very good. Its clear enough to be able to handle online banking etc, so between that and my netbook I’m pretty well connected.

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Technology is crap. Its supposed to be a labour saving, connected, simple world. Yet things break or go on a go slow and because they are so ‘sophisticated’ I have no real chance of fixing them. Our home pc keeps struggling to connect to the net. I half know why but I can’t make it work. Result: twisted, knotty stomach. I just want to throw the whole thing through the window and go and buy a new one. We pay (through the nose) for Broadband at the mighty speed of 2.2mbps and I can’t make the damn. Thing. Work. Now.
Same with the poxy car. Why can’t things just do what they are supposed to? Just for a while? My fridge does. My microwave does. Even my sodding BlackBerry does!

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