Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I'm Back! Making your own Wet Erase Maps and Tiles

I know I have been gone a long while. Things have kept me busy, mostly arts and crafts so let us start there.

As I have posted before, I have several terrain tiles available on drivethrurpg. But I have been struggling to find a way to use wet-erase markers on them. I have tried polyurethane sprays, modge podge, laquers...the results either destroyed the printouts and paper or let the wet erase ink bleed through. I tried Contac sheets but can never find the permanent adhesive version in stock anywhere. And the wet-erase inks didn't sit well on the coating.

Looking on the internet, the typical advice was to get the items laminated, but heat lamination doesn't actually adhere to the page. You have to keep the plastic border so that the front and back laminations stick together. If you are trying to make a large map, you would have to pay a lot for a full sized print and then a lot more for giant sized lamination. It's going to be somewhere around $40. I needed a way to laminate several 8x10 pages into a relatively seamless map.

Then I discovered that there is a way to cold laminate. This may not be news to some people, but I can say that no one on the internet had suggested it before in my research.

These are 9x12 sheets with a PERMANENT adhesive backing. Print a tile image onto cardstock, then apply one of these sheets, then trim. The result is remarkably like Paizo's Gamemastery tiles in feel and finish. I have already done an overnight test with black, red, green, and blue wet-erase inks and all erased cleanly the next day.

With this technique, I was able to print up 9 8x10 sci-fi terrain pages, laminate them, then tape the backs together to get a sci-fi wet-erase deck plate map that is 24x30 inches and fold-able. If you have seen the Paizo sci-fi flip-mat, you will know why I felt compelled to make my own. Theirs is too dark for black ink to show up well when drawing the walls and chambers. Now I have a wet-erase sci-fi map for all of my Savage Sci-Fi adventures. (PS: The tile set will be available soon on drivethrurpg. As usual it will be pay-what-you-want. I'll let you know when it launches.)

That's all for now, but expect more posts soon.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

6x6 Swamp Tiles Are Now Downloadable at DrivethruRPG

Yup, I been busy doin' tha art thang. Find the HERE.

I've also been looking into a way to coat my tiles to make them work with wet erase markers. The only advice online that I could find was to cover the tiles with a sheet of poster frame plastic. That's great, but not portable. It would be great if I could pre-draw any features on my tiles and transport them to the game.

Here's what I have done so far:

Lamination - Ordinarily would work, however the side lips of the lamination would interfere with the tiles abilities to butt up against each other.

Modge Podge Glossy Acrylic Sealer Spray - I put three coats on a tile but the ink still bled through to the paper underneath. It might work if I added more coats, but I don't want to spend $10 per can and have it only treat 6 tiles. I have a lot of these things. Plus a knowledgeable friend advised me that Acrylics can yellow the work, wear off, and don't age well.

PVA Glue (Elmer's) - I honestly thought this would work and it almost did. The problem is that PVA glue is water-soluble, even after it has dried. As soon as I used a wet rag to erase the ink, the glue became liquid again and things went bad.

Polyurethane Spray (Glossy) - My knowledgeable friend suggested this and it is also about $10 per spray can. You can get it from Home Depot. It will take longer to cure but can likely do the job in two coats. We'll see.

And speaking of Home Depot, they have this little "Start your own fairy garden" miniatures for $2 a miniature.  There was a great, to-scale Water Well that I picked up. everything else wasn't much use to me. Not a bad find.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

6x6 Forest Tiles Are Now Downloadable at DrivethruRPG!

So I have been working on some more Terrain Tile sets for use with RPG miniatures. Partly because many of the Paizo Flip Mats are no longer available, partly because it's improving my Photoshop skills, and mostly because I can.

The tiles are 6" x 6", with or without grid lines and can be downloaded HERE. It's Pay What You Want, of course.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sci Fi Companion Ship/ Vehicle Sheets

There was a request on the Pinnacle Boards for one. Truth to tell, I haven't had much to show off or talk about recently so this makes for a good post. Here they are.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I've Been Doing It Wrong, Too

In short, D&D has lied to us, and that lie has become very pervasive.

This guy is very entertaining and seems to be more historically accurate.

As for the long space in between posts, well I've had another motorcycle accident as well as a busy holiday season. As for the accident, this time it was a raccoon hit squad duo charging out in front of my bike. I have a broken thumb, a badly twisted ankle and bruised foot, and a bit of road rash.

It's time for me to stop riding. Three accidents in three years is not a good average, even if none of them were my fault. When the fireman who shows up to the accident remembers you from last year, it's a sign.

Friday, December 16, 2016

More on Chases and Vehicle Combat

I've been delving more into Vehicle Chases and Combat, mainly because I want to keep them abstract and not need tabletop miniatures. I've done some personal hacks during game to keep things running F!F!F! but I want to codify my house rules so they aren't constantly changing in game (due to my forgetful nature). Here's what I have so far.


Honestly, I'm going back to the Explorer's Edition for Chase rules. It handles range and catching your opponent better (imho) than the SWDEX rules. So...

Determine the chase duration. I'd go with 5-10 increments. Pursuers start at 0. Prey start at 1 increment per range of head start (1 short, 2 medium, 3 long, 4 extreme). The goal for the Prey is to reach the end of the chase without being stopped, at which point they escape. The goal of the Pursuer is to stop the Prey before they get there.

In a chase, each vehicle is dealt an initiative card and its occupants act on that card (in the event of a foot chase, each individual character is considered a vehicle and gets their own initiative card). At the beginning of their turn, each vehicle makes a Piloting roll (Driving for cars, Agility for running, etc.) with + 1 if their vehicle is faster than their Prey or Pursuer, +2 if their speed is double their Prey or Pursuer). A success moves the vehicle forward 1 range increment. A raise moves them forward an additional range increment (additional raises do not move the vehicle further).

As always, a draw of a club for an initiative card indicates an Obstacle that must be avoided with a driving roll or the vehicle suffers damage (I'm lifting the modifiers from Daring Tales of the Space Lanes).

Obstacle Table
Card              Modifier
Deuce                -6
3-4                     -4
5-6                     -2
7-10                   -1
Jack-Ace            0

The range of the attack is determined by how many range increments there are between Pursuer and Prey. Each range increment counts as a level of combat range (if Prey is one range increment ahead, the range is Short, 2 is Medium range, 3 is Long, 4 is Extreme). When in a fast paced chase, you don't need to worry about exact inches or weapon variables.

Pursuers may fire forward-fixed weapons at their targets. Prey cannot fire forward-fixed weapons at their Pursuers.

Turret Weapons from any vehicle (Pursuer or Prey) may always attack at a -2 Unstable Platform penalty. Passengers in a vehicle that wish to fire personal weapons in a chase count as turrets.


To me, a dogfight is a close combat affair (dare I say melee?). All dogfights occur at Short range so their are no range modifiers to worry about.

To initiate a dogfight, an attacker must pilot their vehicle to close range (0 range increment if it's a Chase) to his target and declare that he is initiating a dogfight.  Other vehicles within Short Range may join this dogfight with a successful Piloting roll, providing a Gang Up Bonus.

A dogfight is rapid movement affair best captured in abstract. However, due to such intimate ranges, vehicles are harder to hit. When in a dogfight, attackers must roll against the target's Evasion (Pilot skill + the vehicle's Handling)/2 +2 ). Gang Up bonuses apply.

Turret weapons may always attack, with the -2 Unstable Platform penalty.

Fixed Forward weapons may only be used when the attacker's Initiative card is a 10 or higher. Yes the means that there will be times where both sides are attacking each other in the same turn. It simply represents the furious movement as they dodge each other or fly at each other in a dogfight.

Escaping a Dogfight
Vehicles that wish to flee a dogfight or break the tangle of close combat must succeed a Piloting roll with a raise.

That's my design so far. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Chase Rules Ranges Fix

Last night a ran a game for friends and a chase came up. This is the first time I've ever had to run a chase using the new SWDEX rules. Before I just did narration and a few die rolls.

Well the common complaint came up: "Why, in the same round, am I shooting at long range and my target is shooting back at short?" It's a valid concern and it does break some verisimilitude in game.

My fix? Why it is Trappings, of course.

In this instance it was a car chase through crowded city streets. The odds of a fire fight at long range were very unlikely given the cluttered terrain, so I kept all combat in Short Range. I didn't change the modifiers from the cards at all. Instead of using them as range modifiers, I described them as circumstance modifiers; "You don't have a clean shot from your vantage point", "The car is too unstable for accuracy", "Your line of sight is obscured by the vegetable cart your driver ran through".

This worked fine for my players, Just be mindful of the type of environment where the chase takes place. Open space makes for a boring chase and really just boils down to who has the faster ship. I wouldn't use the chase rules for that (I would for a dogfight), but a Chase through an asteroid belt or mine field...

Before running a chase, make some notes of the type of obstacles that would interfere with a character's aim.

Edit: I should mention that according to the rules a vehicles can only attack lower cards, but I treat passengers with guns as turrets, meaning that they can always shoot with the unstable platform modifier and having a lower card already imposes a larger penalty on them.