Posted in Linkdump, Uncategorized with tags on August 3, 2010 by munkybut

Goodreads is a book that lets you see what books others recommend based on books you’ve read now.  The following is a list of books that all have to do with disaster-capitalism.

A guide on how to use checkinstall (sudo apt-get install checkinstall) to install from source while maintaining the database of the files on your computer.  Useful for uninstalling.

Amaya is a free/opensource program that is quite similar to Dreamweaver.

Eloquent Javascript is a fantastic site when it comes to learning Java.  A lot of information, a lot of examples.


Darkness Within 2: The Dark Lineage

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on August 1, 2010 by munkybut

Darkness 2 - The Dark Lineage

From the makers of the amazingly good Darkness Within, comes Darkness Within 2: The Dark Lineage.  The first one left me shaking in my boots, so I can only assume this one will too.  I’m excited!

The Plot Stat Block

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 8, 2010 by munkybut

I came across a very interesting idea today.  Over at Campaign Mastery, they have come up with a stat block used for DMs to organize their campaigns.

The plot stat block

  • Plot name
  • Synopsis
  • Why is this plot fun?
  • Truths and lies
  • Adversaries
    • Adversary name
    • Adversary goals
    • Adversary resources
  • Notable NPCs
  • Notable locations
  • Notable items
    • PC wish list
  • Critical path
    • End conditions
    • Grand finale
  • Plot twists
  • Detailed description
  • Plot hooks
  • Keywords
  • Plot log


The stat block makes some assumptions to keep it focused on managing your plots. Your game system, campaign and global setting already exist. Each plot works within these pre-established game elements. It also assumes you have more than one plot, be it character-based plots, side quests, back-up plots or what have you. If you have just a single plot, it then becomes your campaign, but the stat block is missing some items that I would add for campaign level planning. The block pays off most when multiple plots work beside each other at different stages.

Block elements are ordered based on best ongoing reference. You can fill elements out in any order as you plan and design and play. Too often tools of this nature get optimized for the design stage instead of the operating stage when you need to use it in-game or during planning time. For example, plot hooks are near the bottom because once the players are hooked, you will not need those again.

The block also does not go into design detail for each element. Read the archives here for help on designing specific game elements, and our other website,, has more even tutorials and tips. Plus, stay tuned for future posts that delve into more help on fleshing out specific items within the plot block.

Plot stat block details

Plot name: Give it a compelling name you can use publicly so your group gets excited about it as well.

Synopsis: 1-2 sentences describing what the plot is about. When juggling multiple threads, this will remind you what the plot is about. If you make the synopsis inpsirational, it will also put you in the right frame of mind when GMing or planning it.

For example: “Three-way drow civil war gives topside an opportunity to vaquish their ancient foe once and for all. But Lloth is merely thinning the herd and will wield the victorious side against Riddleport once its wounds have been licked.”

Why is this plot fun? It is easy to get lost in the details and planning and execution, and to forget the big purpose of the plot, which is to entertain you and your players. Write a note here about why this plot thread will be fun to play so you can refer back to it often and remind yourself of what’s most important.

Truths and lies: This can be a fun and simple random rumours table (with T and F noted per entry) or a more complex listing of facts followed up by washed information and disinformation.

Adversaries: I prefer the term adversary over villain because opponents in your plots can break out of the typical villain mould. For example, the PCs might learn their opponent the whole time has been the paladin PC’s parents who were (over) protecting their beloved son. Another example is a volcano; just a non-intelligent force the PCs must contain in a man-against-nature plot.

Where applicable, provide basic information about each foe:

Adversary name

Adversary goals

Adversary resources: What does the foe have at his disposal to achieve his aims? Money, gangs, sensitive information?

The stat block assumes you have full write-ups about key NPCs elsewhere. Listing who they are, what they want and how they can get it here gives you a nice overview of options at any given time.

Notable NPCs: Other than PCs and adversaries. Name + Role is sufficient. For example, Early – neighbourhood blacksmith, potential ally, has exotic item contacts.

Notable locations: Some regions are mandatory adventure areas, such as a villain’s home base. Other locations are notable because they make awesome potential encounter areas or are related to important plot details.

Notable items: Magic items, relics, exotic items, and anything that has a name. For example, the first time the PCs fought sahuagin, which launched that plot, they took several of their tridents as loot and then flashed them around town. Word of the Sea Devil Forks spread and these became a notable item I added to my stat block.

PC wish list: I ask players what treasure and rewards they would love to get their hands on. Answers are usually types of magic items, but I occasionally get requests for rare spell components, exotic equipment, pets and followers. If a player ever requests you deliver a feeling, emotion, certain scene or character personality-based encounter, praise them heartily. Normally everyone is all about the bling.

Critical path: Before you unleash your plot, you at least need to know if the PCs can solve it or resolve it. Lay out the steps, phases, acts, chapters or whatever method you use to plan plots here. For example, if using the three act structure, list the acts and their scenes. The path should not straightjacket you or the PCs. Use it to ensure a great finish is possible, but expect to react to gameplay and change plans as you go.

Also use the critical path for a sanity check when too many details float in your head and you cannot think how to keep the plot moving forward or cannot keep the plot straight.

How many campaigns have you run? How many have reached a conclusion? Your critical path should have two sub-items to help you improve your chances of finishing more campaigns – end conditions and grand finale. You can hang your hat on completed campaigns, they give you more GM confidence and they increase player interest in gaming long-term.

End conditions: How can the plot end? Include successes and failures.

Grand finale: Use this just to store ideas for awesome climactic encounters. Avoid scripting the final encounter until it becomes a for sure thing, then do extra planning to make it powerful and memorable. Until that time though, note potential ways the plot could end in epic fashion. Use these ideas to gently steer things to increase the odds of one of your cool ideas triggering.

Plot twists: Put surprises here whether they are a for sure thing or just an idea. Also good to note: red herrings and misdirections.

Detailed description: List out all the gory details here including background and story so far. Use this to help you with consistency. I GM myself into a corner by add-libbing details then realize between sessions I have logic errors with the game played to date, or I have created a knot of details that have to be reconciled somehow. Figuring out the facts and truth ahead of time gives you more power when GMing.

Plot hooks: At least three ways the PCs will get attracted to this plot and then actively engaged with it.

Keywords: Tags that let you reference plots for filtering, sorting, triggering and re-use. More useful if you put your stat blocks in software with a keyword or tagging feature.

Plot log: Notable facts and events that relate to the plot. I list session # and in-game date, then describe the event. Often this covers faction actions in response to PC activities. I did not log much in the past, but since reading Mike’s posts I have come to see the value in tracking factions and plot-related details. Plus Riddleport has many plots and factions, so the logs help me refresh what is going on. Updating the logs also help me plan for the future in a lightweight way.

Here is a link to this document via GoogleDocs:–KlnMEV39Jgsi235kMUEp8dnVVJNvYoP4


Link Dump

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2010 by munkybut is a wonderful site for creating a simple and elegant personal website.  Also a great inspiration for my own site. is a great place to find a job with a startup company.  Makes it quick and easy to find a non-multinational to work with.

HTMLDog is a terrific site for the HTML beginner.  I’ve learned a lot.

Ajax Animator is a free open source no-install Flash alternative.  I cannot recommend it enough.

ZeroDayScan is a website built to scan your website for vulnerabilities.

Lastly, Pathfinder Template is a fantastic little template site with many of the Pathfinder rules already built in.  It is also a terrific way to create an ObsidianPortal-esque site.

5 Documentarys That Will Change Your Life

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 1, 2010 by munkybut

Gaming Music

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 1, 2010 by munkybut

I have recently come across two great sites for RPG music!  The first is:

This is the band O* Erdenstern’s webpage.   They have made half-a-dozen albums featuring soundtracks that cover each type of environment.  This music is best suited for more fantasy driven RPGs.

The second is:

This is a webpage created by the same band, only this page contains music that is much more suited for Call of Cthulhu type games.  Sadly, the site is in German, so the 13 letters are unreadable.

Fantastic sounding roleplaying games

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 1, 2010 by munkybut

I have recently come across, the makers of such awesome looking (and sounding titles) of:

Don’t Rest Your Head

and Don’t Lose Your Mind