Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Devil's Workshop

The old saying goes, "Idle hands do the Devil's work." Well, in an effort to curtail anything untoward during my downtime, I like to engage in ridiculous and random acts of creation, and right now I'd like to share the forbidden fruits of some of my recent labors.

First off, as I mentioned recently, I have been seduced by the siren song of index cards as a game management tool. I have started creating NPC cards for each of the characters my players will encounter in a particular game session. I have started doing this for two reasons:

  1. I have an obscene amount of blank 4x6 index cards that have been sitting in my office unused for untold eons. Where did they come from? Nobody knows! They're like the druids that way.
  2. Creating frivolous things using office software is a past time I enjoy just about as much as D&D, and I don't need to convene a group to do it.
As a first step in my indexing efforts, I created a template, which presents a character's stats in an easily scanned* format and, which can adequately portray most NPCs or monsters. If you want to check out some examples cards completed using the template, you can see them here. I am now gradually converting many of the NPC stat blocks, which I had previously recorded in a myriad of mismatched ways into this single clean and compact format.

The second project I recently launched involves the barbarian dream house I got my players as a Christmas gift. Basically, I gave them an in-game present -a castle, which now serves as their base of operations, and which provides an opportunity for a different type of game experience. As part of the terms of ownership, my players are tasked with maintaining and managing their new base. They have taken to the task with gusto, and have already made numerous improvements. To help keep track of the structural renovations and modification projects they have launched, I decided to create a virtual 3D model of the keep in Google SketchUp... like ya' do.

Along with being a D&D nerd and an office software nerd, I am also a big ol' SketchUp nerd. You have not lived until you've moved into a new home having plotted out all your furniture placements in advance using SketchUp. When the gf and I moved into our current place, we did just that and had almost no fiddling with furniture on moving day. It all just fit. Perfectly.

Anyway, if you haven't heard of it, Google has a very robust free version of the program available for download. That was the version I used for a long time before I managed to finagle a copy of SketchUp Pro in exchange for providing an introductory seminar on the program at my old grad school. Yes, I am that level of leet SketchUp nerd.

Anyway, these are just a couple examples of the sort of trouble I get into when my hands get idle.

mmm... forbidden donut!

* scanned as in the DM frantically hunting for a stat in the midst of a combat encounter, not the thing which puts photos on the 'puter

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