Newest Green Lantern Trailer

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Yep, it looks awful.

Last Night's New Game of Thrones Trailer

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For those of you who missed last night's behind the scenes look at the upcoming HBO series A Game of Thrones, here is the third trailer that aired.  It is by far the longest with a running time of one minute.

Game of Thrones Trailer and Photos

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HBO played a short spot on their upcoming adaptation for A Game of Thrones. Have a look!

I loved the look at the Ned and Cat's discussion of him going South.  Kit Harington as Jon Snow continues to look awful to me.  I'm sure he is a good actor, that isn't what I mean.  I am speaking solely about the way he looks.  Jon is perhaps my favorite character so I really hope they don't mess him up on the show.  Only time will tell.  Everything else looks great.

Speaking of great, here are some amazing photos that HBO has released...

There are so many great pictures in there that I hardly know where to start.  My top three would probably be the Picture of Jamie (now HIM they got right), the last picture of Tyrion (probably from the Highroad fight scene), and the picture of Ned with Arya.

Tonight HBO is going to be running a big Game of Thrones promo.  The fifteen minute preview is going to air at 8:45PM right before the season finale of Boardwalk Empire.  No doubt there will be a wealth of new material shown there, so don't miss it!

30 Minute Map Referendum

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Still chipping away at the 30 minute map tutorial.  The damn thing just seems to keep changing in an attempt to streamline and simplify things.  I also don't think I have a gift for writing these things in a way that is easy to comprehend. 

The changes I've made have made the map look a little different, but I'm not sure if it's for the better or worse. Here is the original map I posted last week...

And here is the newer, more simplified version...

What is the general preference?  Try to ignore the window dressing and color palate differences and choose which style you would rather have for your game. 

Once I have a general idea where the preference is I'll go from there.  

JourneyQuest Episode 7

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The adventure continues!

30 Minute Map: A Preview

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I was looking back at my five minute map tutorial the other day.  While I think it was great and I got a lot of great emails from people that it helped, it got me thinking what else was possible given a short amount of time and little to no artistic talent (the latter being something which I am well known for). 

So I am now working on a new technique called the thirty minute map.  Like the five minute map it relies on Photoshop to randomly generate terrain through the rendering of clouds.  However, unlike the five minute map, it allows for more detail, and for the map to be made on more of a regional scale. 

I'm still working out a few kinks and cutting the fat out of the process, but I thought I'd give a preview of what a test map using the technique looks like.  

Keep an eye out for the final technique coming soon!

A Dance With Dragons Nearly Complete?

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I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much much, but according to a source George R. R. Martin has completed all but five chapters of the fifth novel in his amazing A Song of Ice and Fire series.  The source, Senior Editor of Spectra, Anne Groell, has said that she would like the manuscript finished by the December.  This would mean an announcement of a release date in January, and depending on how fast the turn around is, we could see the book around March or April 2011.  Hmm... right around the same time HBO will be premiereing its Game of Thrones series.  Sounds like good timing to me!  

George has said time and time again that he will let everyone know when the book is completed so hopefully we'll hear from him soon.  Until we do we should all table our hopes and expectations. 

As much as possible anyway.

The Birth of a New Campaign

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As Gamemaster's we never quite know when we still stumble across a small spark that will ignite a blaze of passion and form a campaign.  The spark can be any number of things; a book, a film, a comic, or any number of other things.

My most recent spark came while I was wandering the Connecticut Renaissance Faire and came across a small camp.  The camp itself was roped off providing a single entrance.  Next to that entrance was a sign that read:

Now one of my good friends that I game with (AngryBear) loves all things German and is currently majoring in German in college.  He had planned to go with me to the Fair, but unfortunately had to work.  Wanting to show him what he was missing I sent him the picture above.  Then I wandered into the camp, curious to know more.

The Geld preparing a midday meal
Though this was only the second Renaissance Fair I have been to, but this was the single greatest thing I saw at either one. The camp was a miniature version, of course, but they had sleeping tents set up, a cook fire, a weapons rack on display, and a bunch of friendly soldiers and camp follower to answer any questions you might have.  One such gentlemen came over to ask me and my wife if we had any questions.  He may have regretted that decision later as I kept him around bombarding him with all manner of questions long after my wife had rolled her eyes and walked away.  This gentlemen, and the other members of the troupe, were a wealth of great information.  He took me over to the weapon rack and showed me all of the most common instruments of war used by the company.  I got to hold most of them and even give a couple of them a swing.  Once I was out of question the I thanked the man and took one more last look around the camp before going to find my wife, but on the way out the man stopped to let me know they were performing an arms demonstration at 3pm on the green. 

We got back in time for the demonstration which was a real blast.  These guys were very funny, passionate about the subject matter, and just a blast to watch.  Here is a short video of them doing their thing.

As we were leaving the demonstration my wife was apparently asking me some pointed questions about lunch but I didn't hear her.  The cogs were already in motion. 

Everything I had learned at that camp and at the demonstration had me convinced that a D&D game in which the PCs were part of a mercenary company would be awesome.  With a ton of historical info to draw from, as well as a number of fictional sources like The White Company and The Black Company, there are endless possibilities.   

When I got home I got started on the campaign right away.  The Mercenary company I had just learned about was a Fähnlein, so I started there.   From there I moved onto Italian mercenary companies from the late middle ages through the renaissance.  I'm still in the process of getting my hands of some books to mine for material such as Condottiere 1300-1500 Infamous Medieval Mercenaries and Medieval Solder

With a solid foundation of the subject matter, I turned my attention to my fictional company.  I made some quick decisions based on the research as far as size; 400-500 fighting men with about 600 camp followers for a total size of roughly 1,000 men women and children.   The man who led the reenactment company said that he was the younger brother of a Baron and that is how he had the funds to muster and pay for his company.  That worked perfectly for me.  So my first NPC, the leader of the company, was the younger brother of a Baron.  I decided he was the middle son of three, and through he got on very well with his younger brother, he generally disliked his older brother.  So when his father died and his older brother became Baron our Mercenary Captain took his inheritance, mustered his very own mercenary company.  I settled on the name Eldon Ventris for him, a name that speaks to his adventurous spirit.  Eldon is somewhat cold and cutthroat, but in many ways he is what the life of a mercenary has made him.  Gold is what keeps his company alive and together, so when it runs out the Company's time has run out.  His greatest goal is to see that that never happens. 

Some art I created for the campaign using Terragen and Photoshop.
I had ideas for some other NPCs, a grissled old veteran sergeant who serves as Eldon's second in command, a weary old healer who serves as the company's medic, etc.  But first I wanted to find a name for the company itself.  A lot of great names for a mercenary company have already been taken; The White Company, The Black Company, The Brave Companions, The Great Company, and a host of others.  I wanted something that spoke to Eldon's feeling that he and his men aren't the favored sons of their fathers, and are in some way outcasts.  So I settled on the name "The Black Sons."

That was about all I finished that night, but by fanning the flame immedielty I made sure that the spark that was my visit to the Das Geld Fahnlein wasn't wasted.  Instead, it is well on its way to being the foundation of a very solid campaign.  If you are lucky enough to come across your own spark, don't wait.  Get right into it or you may loose your inspiration before it comes to fruition. 

Another Failed Map

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It's been a while since I tried anything new mapping wise.  Yesterday I had an hour to kill so I decided to give satellite view map a shot.  Not pleased with the result.  The Mountains and hills came out ok, but everything else just kinda stinks.  Oh well, another one for the scrap heap!

Get the First Piece of Advanced Hackmaster Today

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Kenzerco is now accepting Pre-Orders on the first part of AHM, the Hacklopedia of Beasts.  Though the physical book won't be out until sometime in the spring, anyone who pre-orders the book will immediately be able to download a PDF copy to hold them over.  Those who spring for the early version need not worry that their PDF will be anything less than a complete version of the book.  Any changes, additions, or alterations to PDF will be made available via subsequent download at no additional cost. 

This product is expensive, but the quality of the book really makes it worth it in my opinion.  Those who have the hardcover Aces & Eights have an idea of the kind of quality I'm talking about.  The print version of the book will be a full color, leather bound hardcover book 384 pages long.  I can't wait to get my hands on the real book, but until then I love being able to have a PDF copy to tide me over. 

JourneyQuest Episode 6

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Episode 6 of season 1 entitled 'Bardic Immunity' has been released.  The episode focuses on the Bard that has been following the party in order to records their Epic Quest for the ages!