Basic Map making – the absolute minimum

As a DM, you lead your fellow players in the adventure of a lifetime! And you can’t do that without a setting for your adventurers to traverse!

There a Few ways to do this, like always!

Base it off of a real-life location

You can simply pick a point on the globe and lift the terrain and cities wholesale. This way, you can point your focus towards the plot and characters of your campaign.

    • Pros:
  • Makes your life easier
  • Can use history for flavor
    • Cons:
  • Expectations of Culture and mannerisms that come with a person’s knowledge
  • There will be history here, and the players might expect use of it

Create your own from scratch

Use map generators or craft a map from your own imagination to craft the most individualized map

    • Pros:
  • You can have whatever you want wherever you’d like
  • Create your own world history
    • Cons:
  • You have to make it yourself
  • Create your own world history

Custom maps can be made multiple ways.

  1. Decide on a central or key location, and build what you need around it
  2. Make a legend, and drop dice (signifying different physical objects) over a piece of paper
  3. Random generator

Use a Mix of both!

You can use a real-life map as a base (for terrain or city placement), and then edit it to fit your lore/characters/villain’s actions

START AGAIN: a prologue

How do you feel about Time loops, dear reader? Does the monotony of the same day over and over and over bore you to tears? Or does the hope to fix your mistakes blind you to the truth that the loop is whispering?

START AGAIN: a prologue has multiple endings, and is based on a series of short comics.

Providing a swift kick in the chest and eyes full of tears, you follow Siffrin in this story in the second person, and meet friends to help you on your quest.

Defeat monsters as you learn about the loop that has trapped you in it’s claws!

The game is available here!

From the Creator’s Tumblr

Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator

With an art style taken straight out of middle-aged engravings, this game is a fun twist on the recipe-style order games that litter both the mobile market and early 2000’s PC games.

In it you can create your own recipes, help the town, and interact with the customers going through your shop.

The game offers customization of your shop and an art style that immerses you entirely in your role as town alchemist.

The demo is free to play on Steam

How to Build a Big Bad Villain

There are a few ways to create the ultimate evil for your DnD (or other media) game!

The Standard

Choose from the prototypes of any popular mass media for the skeleton to build your villain off of!

The common tropes in media range from Evil boss to Mass-murdering maniac. The general tropes for a simple villain include a sad backstory, a tendency for murder, and a longing to take over the world by violent means.

The way to impart your generic villain’s actions is to really expand on the scope of their evil deeds. Don’t just mention the widespread destruction, but show it and its aftereffects. Have the village that your players were going to head to be torn apart, have the most trusted villagers mention their hatred of the Big Bad, and how the villain affected them and their livelihoods.

The Foil

Examine your player characters and their motivations. Pick what drives them, and craft a villain that wants something similar, but does it in a completely different way than your player characters.

You can craft a foil from characters the player(s) already know, and they don’t even have to start as antagonists. With the foil, you can also grow their powers/abilities/fear-factor along with the players, to help with scaling their end-game “badness” level.

Worldly type

This is a villain built out of the world you have created. What would mess up the world you have created? What ideology would cause the collapse of the society you have? What is the worst case magical/supernatural/scientific scenario?

Say your world has a heavy dependency on a particular resource: the villain can hoard it, or they could seek to destroy all of it.

 

Rail Route: The Train Dispatcher Simulator Game

Early Access on June 23

Hypnotizing with it’s elegant minimalism, the spray of numbers and times across the screen a soothing balm to the organized mind. It’s the base form of a puzzle game, meant to challenge you and engage you, driving you to do better than yourself, to improve times, and techniques, and flourish in one of the most classic forms of transportation: the Train on the Rail Road.

The Game engages with that base videogame urge to watch numbers go up, to streamline your new ability to the best of your power.

Upgrade your trains and railways, solve the puzzles given, and even build your own Railways. Edit and Automate your maps to create the smoothest ride anyone’s ever seen in Rail Route: Train Dispatcher Simulator.

An example screenshot from the Game’s Steam page

 

Setting the Stage: How to prep for your first DnD session

Your Stuff

Ready by session One:

Basic World building: Major locations and the breadcrumbs that will lead your players there.

Some starter quest for your players to introduce them to the world or situations you want them to face. This will also serve as a way to help your players figure out the beginnings of where they want to take their characters.

Your Players

Ready by session One:

Character sheets– These can be done as a group (as a “session 0”), or individually with the DM

Backstory– Informed by the world, they can intersect with those of other characters. It might be good to remind your players that the backstory is essentially a “Prologue” to the campaign.

Your Vibes

Ready by session One:

Prospective playlist for encounters: the specifics of which will be up to you. Some DMs like background music, others prefer the actual sounds that could feasibly be on the journey. For music, Video game OSTs can provide what you need. For Sounds, there are YouTube videos with things like 10 hours of ship noises, or failing that, you can look at customizable ambience sites.

Playlists helps your crew get in the mood, and can help with immersion in the story, depending on how you play it.

Sherwood Extreme

A free-to-play spin on the classic Robin Hood tale, Sherwood merges it with what any love about modern PvP games.

Building on the aesthetics of Middle Ages Europe, Sherwood is rendered in stylized polygons, with a wide range of customization for your player character.

Sherwood has abilities unique to Co-op, and maps in environments ranging from seaside pirate ships to nighttime forests.

I Love the way they have the tutorial text integrated into the game’s background scenery. It both blends really well while still catching the eye of the player.

Everything is very visible, but not in a way that’s jarring or takes out of the gameplay. The 3-d word effects for headshots or explosives add a fun, cartoony element. Leaderboards also appear as physical objects in the game, which make the standing feel more solid.

Overall, it’s a fun simple game, that lovers of Fortnite and Apex will enjoy, especially with friends that might be new for this genre.

From their Steam Page

 

GRIS

“Gris is a hopeful young girl lost in her own world, dealing with a painful experience in her life. Her journey through sorrow is manifested in her dress, which grants new abilities to better navigate her faded reality.” (from the Steam Page)

Art, Music, and its deeply emotional storyline are GRIS’s selling points! The game is Simple to play, and also Short (around 4 hours total playtime). It has especially Ethereal artwork for a combined puzzle-platformer, with Tight color palettes that expand as the game continues.

Available on PC, Appstore, Switch, it has 38:1 positive to Negative reviews on Steam, which I think is pretty impressive.

Screenshot by Steam User “Yumesai”

Season

A gorgeous take on the “walking game” genre, Season’s main themes  are “Travel” and “Preservation”.

A stylized game rendered in nostalgic colors, it looks like a fairytale painting. Explore a dying world and collect what remains of a world of life and wonder.

From the offical site:

Document, photograph, draw, and record life. Through a solitary bicycle journey, form your own memories, your own vision of the world around you. Your goal? Protect these treasures from being forgotten. Your quest will lead you to discover a new world; unknown, yet familiar. You will be immersed in different societies that will make you discover the mysteries of the world of Season; a surreal version of the mid-twentieth century, where thousands of years have passed without any progress. Find out what caused the last collapse and what might cause the next one…

By Scavengers studio, due to be released this year on PC and Playstation.

 

Cozy Grove

Capitalizing on the Animal Crossing craze, this adorable game adds a haunting twist!

The lovely artwork is paired with a Real-time environment and missions to go on! There is more to do as more time passes, and game play starts at a half hour and builds to over 2 hours a day.

Cozy Grove is an easier and more character based alternative to animal crossing, and has mechanicsĀ  reminiscent of Stardew Valley.

Decoration canĀ  influences your surroundings, and Item collecting is a relatively large part of gameplay. It’s Good for casual gamers , as it’s mechanics, by design, space out playtime.

With a ratio of 3 Positive reviews for every one negative on Steam, the game garners an 80% on MetaCritic. Most of the Negative reviews don’t care for the segmented, real time play style, rather than anything technical.

The art is light and whimsical, adding to the relaxing nature of the game, while the writing keeps you intrigued with each character’s story .

The game is available in 14 different languages. and on switch as well as PC!

A snapshot of Life on the island