Monday, June 9, 2008

Tools of the Trade

My campaign tools!

First up is the rulebook. I'm using the Basic Fantasy RPG, but I prefer digest (or its European cousin, the A5) sized books for ease of handling and transportation, and coil binding for stays-open-on-the-table use. Now, BFRPG makes this easy: It is downloadable as an Open Office document as well as a pdf, so grabbing the text in order to do a new layout is convenient and easy. The booklet shown here was done using the version 64 rules, and I'll be doing up a few of the latest version (65 is out, 66, or BFRPG Second Edition, is out soon) when the game starts.

Next up is basic supplies. Pictured is a pad of graph paper (fun fact: graph paper, not lined paper, is standard in notebooks here in Finland so I didn't need to lug my graph paper all the way from the States), a regular notebook (again smaller sized), and a mechanical pencil. I normally don't use mechanical pencils, but finding an electric pencil sharpener in Finland seems to be harder than finding a virgin in a whorehouse...

Next up is dice. After moving to Helsinki, I bought a new set of dice (from Fantasiapelit, a most excellent game store), which is the white set (my "paladin set") pictured. But whenever I travel to a new town and visit a game store there, I must buy a set of dice. I'm in Lappeenranta this week (yes, I bring my basic gaming supplies with me when I travel... what?), and I visited the Fantasiapelit here (not nearly as impressive as the one in Helsinki, but the town is 1/20th the size) intending to buy a set of metal dice. They just have a great *clunk* factor hitting the table. But I wanted the silver ones, not the copper or the gold. They only had the copper and the gold! So what to buy? When I was in Lappeenranta in January, I had bought a pricey set of "rune" dice, that were embellished with all sorts of cool looking nonsense. But they weren't all that easy to read at the table! And I didn't want just another normal set of dice... so when I saw the really big set of dice (those blue ones in the picture), I had to have them! I chose blue because I don't have a set of blue dice and never have... And these rather large dice are for more than novelty value. I make most rolls in plain sight, but when using normal-sized dice, only the people sitting right next to me can see the rolls... maybe if I use the bigger dice, more people at the table will be able to see it, which really makes rolling out in the open more effective.

The referee screen is in the back of the shot. This screen is actually an AD&D 1e screen (with the 1983 DMG cover as an illustration, not the older one with the really cool wraparound painting) with a pasted-on sheet with all the Unearthed Arcana Weapon vs AC Type tables on there. I won't actually use the screen for rules or charts since I'm using a bit of a different system, but having a proper screen is still cool anyway.

The 1E DMG is absolutely indispensible for any D&D referee! The amount of pure inspiration and arcane lore, even if you're not using the rules, is simply awesome. Extensions of some of this stuff, such as Troll Lord's Gygaxian Fantasy Worlds series (which I don't cart around the country when I travel), are also most helpful.

The Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and Their Modern Simulacra. Really, if I wasn't going to use it in my game, I'd have no right trying to sell it to you to use in yours.

... plus my brain, but, well... you wouldn't want to see a picture of that.


  1. Now when I say I've never had a set of blue dice, I mean that strong rich blue... of course I had a set of those baby-blues that came with the Mentzer Basic set. :) Still have them, except for the six sider.

    And I do have a rather deep blue ten sider that I think came with the DC Heroes game. Not positive about that though, and it's not a full set so it doesn't count anyway.

  2. As I have set my world in 1650 Earth (with notable changes for monsters and magic), I find myself smiling at your references to Finland.

    I have divided south Finland into Etela and Lansi, two provinces of the Kingdom of Sweden; but the north is part of a great Elven principate, extending into Karelia and the Barents Sea coast.

    Tell me what you think of Finland as "elven country."

  3. Tell me what you think of Finland as "elven country."

    It'll work as far as language and how elfy the people look anyway when they keep themselves trim, but...

    ... no elf I ever heard of would drink as much as your average Finn, and they certainly wouldn't piss and vomit on the streets as a matter of course. :P