rpg.pbem.online

Hex Describe, Face Generator, Text Mapper, and more


#RPG
This thread is for people who want to talk to me about these applications. They allow people to generate a mini-setting including a map, a key, and NPCs, with but one click, powered by the greatest collection of random tables I know. 😅
I keep creating these threads whenever the previous thread reaches about 100 comments because it starts being unwieldy.
#RPG
@J. Alan Henning I noticed that the extensions of the inn names are also in your work-in-progress Google Docs, so I'm not integrating what you posted but I'll wait for the Google Doc to be ready, OK?
@ktrey I guess we could put additional material into divs that are only visible if you click on some sort of button. This can be done using HTML and CSS alone. Thus, we could generate additional content for a hex and hide secondary and tertiary stuff under "Click to explore the hex…" links? Once you print the document, we would need have a quick solution to make this text less conspicuous. Perhaps simply reducing the font size a bit will work. I don't think we'll be nesting these, after all. If we wanted, we could start by hiding dungeons this way. for example?
@Alex Schroeder The Google Doc is ready. You can leave out the new inn names if you don't like them.
ktrey diaspora
@Alex Scroeder yeah, it would have to be in the DOM somewhere probably for it to tie in to everything. An "Explore This Hex" could be nice once hexes reach a certain length. Have an overview visible by default, bit allow for a drill down if needed. I'll muse on this a bit...I think with print style sheets it might be possible to do some interesting things, like footnotes/appendices that aren't necessary to print.
Do you find something like this useful for roleplaying NPCs?

;mannerism
1,bites fingernails
1,blinks often
1,breathy
1,coughs
1,folds arms
1,frowns
1,hands on head
1,hums
1,leers
1,look around frantically
1,looks down
1,looks up
1,often says "All good people..."
1,often says "By the gods."
1,often says "Eh?"
1,often says "Gentlefolk..."
1,often says "Just between us..."
1,often says "My good friends..."
1,often says "Perhaps, perhaps."
1,often says "Who can tell?"
1,often says "You don’t say."
1,often says "You know?"
1,out of breath
1,paces
1,pull ear
1,rub hands together
1,rubs chin
1,scratches nose
1,sighs a lot
1,sings
1,singsongy
1,slump shoulders
1,slumps
1,slurs words
1,speaks loudly
1,speaks rapidly
1,speaks slowly
1,speaks softly
1,squints
1,stares
1,taps fingers on cheek
1,twirls hair
Remembered where I got the idea from, and so maybe the catchphrases are a bad idea. "I will always try to include at least one simple, physical action that you can perform while playing the character at the table. For example, maybe they tap their ear. Or are constantly wearing a creepy smile. Or they arch their eyebrow. Or they speak with a particular accent or affectation. Or they clap their hands and rub them together. Or snap their fingers and point at the person they’re talking to. Or make a point of taking a slow sip from their drink before responding to questions. You don’t have to make a big deal of it and it usually won’t be something that you do constantly (that gets annoying), but this mannerism is your hook: You’ll find that you can quickly get back into the character by simply performing the mannerism. It will make your players remember the NPC as a distinct individual. And it can even make playing scenes with multiple NPCs easier to run (because you can use the mannerisms to clearly distinguish the characters you’re swapping between)." https://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/37916/roleplaying-games/universal-npc-roleplaying-template
I like it! I've used 1000 traits in the past. Mannerisms would work as well. I just fear we need a hundred mannerisms...
I'll integrate the Google Doc ASAP. But it's already bedtime again. Where do the hours go‽
Ugh, maybe this weekend I can find the time!? 🙇
No worries! I’ve been working on my Holmes back.
It is installed! 😄
Oops, I changed the italics to bold in all the subroutines but not in this line:
;town 
1,<br>This is [here village name], a town of [1d6x100] **humans** ([human stats]). The [human houses] are protected by a large keep, [an earthen rampart|a wooden palisade|a stone wall|town wall] and the river. The outer bailey of the keep houses the [most prosperous|richest|wealthiest] tradespeople of the [land|area|region], under the [rule|protection|shelter] of [name for a war party 2]. The inner bailey houses the castellan and [the|town|local] [garrison|guard|watch]. [Entering|Visiting] the outer bailey [requires|takes|is by] [paying|a payment of|a fee of] 1sp per [entrant|person|visitor]. [These|The following] [people|tradespeople] [can be found|have shops|work] there:<ol>[alchemist or not][antiquarian or not][cleric or not][gossip or not][guildmaster or not][herbalist or not][horse trader or not][innkeeper or not][jeweler or not]<li>The **merchant** [human name] [buys] [bulk quantities of|in bulk|wholesale] spices, [ingots|metal ingots|rare minerals], and other trade goods. [townsperson goal]</li>[moneylender or not]<li>The **provisioner** [human name] sells [all standard|all types of|adventuring|standard adventuring] equipment. [townsperson goal]</li>[zealot or not]<li>The **smith** [human name] [sells] new - and [repairs|refurbishes] old - [weapons and armor|weaponry|armor]. [townsperson goal]</li>[new shop or not]<li>The **tavern owner** [human name] runs the *[Royal|Noble|King’s|Queen’s|Prince’s|Princess|Purple|Lord’s|Lady’s] [inn name 2]* here, [visited|frequented] by the [wealthy|well-off|gentry|townspeople|propertied] and [adventure-seekers|those seeking adventure|the rabble-rousers]. [tradesperson goal or feud]</li><li>The **trader** [human name] [buys] [used|old] equipment and [any unusual|rare] finds. [townsperson goal]</li>[factional deputy or not]</ol><br>(For a rumor about allegiances, roll a d10 and a d6. On a d6 of 1-3, tell the truth about the tradesperson corresponding to the results of the d10; on a 4-6, lie about them.)<br>The inner bailey is open [by invitation only|to the select few] and houses these [notable|noted|noteworthy|singular] [officers|personages|people]:<br><ul>[bailiff or not][captain or not]<li>The **castellan** [human name]. (Trusted confident of [name for a war party 2].)</li>[corporal or not][marshal or not][scribe or not]</ul>[And two secret societies feuding]<br>[Another|A third|Yet another] secret society [bides its time|waits in the wings|waits patiently for its chance].
Ironically, given that towns are now just the way I like them, I just mashed together a https://campaignwiki.org/hex-describe/rule?rule=village&load=schroeder and a https://campaignwiki.org/hex-describe/rule?rule=thorp&load=schroeder for tonight's session!
An analysis I did of the three rule sets. I wonder if it makes sense to merge in Peter Seckler's to the main branch so that it will support Smale maps?
Oh, and here's Bluelite, my work-in-progress adaption of Holmes Basic. I'm planning a one-shot of Tower of Zenopus next month. I'm interested in your comments!
Hah, I still have to find a way to work the results generated into my campaigns. Last time I just generated a few encounters in the mountains and ran with a big dwarven forge, a red dragon lair, and some turtle people dancing around a lake, which ended up being a holy order of the turtle knights, offering a party member an iron crown that would allow them to travel from lake to lake if and only if they also participated in monthly quests the turtle people would ask of them. I have no idea what to do now that one of the players accepted the crown… :)
I love those Reddit comments. Such joy! :)
Now that you've all had some time to look at the result of Hex Describe with all the monster images, what do you think? I still think we should remove them again. I feel more inspired to add face generators for named creatures: trolls, goblins, bugbears, the various giants…
ktrey diaspora
@Alex Schroeder Yeah, I'm inclined to agree with you about removing them. Too repetitious and too busy. Until we have a good solution for handling the floats and more variance I think it's worth removing the generic ones for a cleaner look. Love the generated ones popping up occasionally, but seeing the same monster pic multiple times is a bit much :)
Thanks for the confirmation. I removed the images for the moment.

I also added boss treasure for dungeons, and I added new syntax that allows us to specify an alternative if a rule doesn't result in some output. Basically, [[robber treasure]||[unguarded treasure]] results in some unguarded treasure if the robber treasure tables resulted in nothing at all.
ktrey diaspora
@Alex Schroeder Oooh! So two pipes (||) checks for null? That could be super handy actually.
Yeah, technically speaking, I strip whatever looks like HTML tags, and then I check if there's at least one character that's not whitespace in the result.
Yesterday afternoon I realized my players would probably want to seek out an herbalist or alchemist (they needed to brew a potion to cure petrified limbs), so I generated 10 fairie witches and cherry picked from them and then edited the results to produce the following for my session.
Outside the village in the woods is a large hollowed out mushroom that’s been turned into a cozy looking hovel. On the door is a nice big sign saying "Children welcome!" The roof looks thatched with reeds (perhaps one could cut those ropes and go through the roof).

The main room is full of dried herbs hanging from the ceiling, a dissected bird of prey on a table, a cauldron bubbling in the corner, and a broom tucked behind the door.

A halfling child (Rose Thistle), maybe 10 years old, sits in a corner, hands in iron manacles chained to a brick in the fireplace. Her arms and legs covered in long scratches, she is crying for help: “Free me! Free me! Hurry, before she returns! She'll eat us!” If freed, the child will immediately start scratching herself and her eyes and will bludgeon anyone trying to stop her. The child has a fever that the concoction in the cauldron will cure.

Freeing Rose will cause the guard broom to spring to life and try to shoo everyone out of the room (HD 2 AC 3 1d6 F4 MV 6 ML 12 XP 200; only harmed by magic or magic weapons; immune to sleep and charm).

The cauldron is covered with a lid. If you open it, you cannot help but shout in disgust as chicken feet bob up in the broth and disappear again.

This house belongs to Gweined the witch (human), who is out gathering moss (HD 5 AC 6 1d6/1d6 F5 MV 15 ML 7 XP 500; on a 20: magic water fills victim’s lung, save vs. death or drown; beautiful (until kissed), charm male, kiss of mind control (24h), invisibility, turn to fog, curse of water lungs: save vs. death or drown in 1d6 days). She carries a prayer of safety (transports the reader and up to ten targets back to the last temple the reader entered) and a magic tongue dagger +1 with a sticky tongue wrapped around its grip which can pick up unguarded items within 2 yards, consecrated to an ancient god of healing. Gweined lives in the woods to more easily gather the herbs needed for her potions; she regularly helps the halflings of the village.

There’s a rickety ladder leading up to the attic where Gweined keeps her chest of replenishing curses. The inscription reads: "Do not open!" Opening the chest releases all her stored curses. Anybody interested in the chest must save vs. spells or be cursed by one of the following: 1. weakness (strength 3); 2. shakes (dexterity 3); 3. wheezing cough (constitution 3); 4. stupidity (intelligence 3); 5. foolishness (wisdom 3); 6. foul tongue (charisma 3); 7. sloth (every odd roll on a d20 is an automatic fail); 8. lunacy (whenever you see dogs or wolves, drop everything you are carrying, howl like mad and run for the woods to live with your kin); 9. paranoia (do not trust your friends, not accept their help, do not help them); 10. swan (turn into a swan); 11. frog (turn into a frog); 12. martyrdom (take blows for everybody, sacrifice yourself if possible).

There’s a steep staircase leading to a cellar below where Gweined keeps her chest of apples. These are all cursed. When biting into such an apple, save vs. spells or fall into a deep slumber until kissed by true love (if nobody loves you, it’s probably forever or until dogs lick you). Her mirror of entrapment is covered by some linen; anyone seeing their reflection becomes trapped in the mirror until freed by Gweined.
This took up an enjoyable hour at the table, as an elf was out exploring the woods, got suspicious, was about to enter when the "Children welcome" sign caused her to freak out and find the rest of the party. They immediately barged in and rescued the child, quickly realizing she was a danger to herself, and healing her.

The warlock turned invisible and explored the cellar and attic, but decided not to touch anything. Because he was invisible, I decided the mirror had no effect.

The witch returned and they made their apologies and won her over to help them with their antipetrification potion. (She took pity on the party, as three members had petrified limbs - in a prior session I had decided using this would be more fun than full petrification: https://www.gmdice.com/products/body-parts-hit-dice - those with petrified parts suffered dexterity loss.)

Thanks as always to you both for creating this great resource!
This is great. 😀
Interesting post on The Alexandrian:
https://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/43905/roleplaying-games/hexcrawl-addendum-sketchy-hexcrawls

Inspired by that, I would like a more expansive landmark system; something like Table 7 perhaps:
https://app.box.com/s/p0w9in1qmsb6411g0d3djml6vb2qdtoa
I agree with Justin, mostly. I do think that Carcosa can still work because rolling it all up is tedious and because having something written gives me the illusion that it is more real, but more generally I agree with the notion that a Hexcrawl (including the output of Hex Describe) should be playable immediately:
I want to be able to pick up a hexmap and its key and have a fundamentally playable experience.
Yes! I also don’t mind encounters on the map that disappear over time as long as there is a way to generate more (and I think there is). Actually we could have a “generate more” link for every hex, allowing people who saved the output to create more stuff – but that won’t work when printed, of course.

More landmarks is OK, but more landmarks that provide an opportunity for adventure is even better: so a old gnarled Thulsa Oak standing on that plain is cool, but having it be a hanging tree with ghouls left hanging to dry by the undead hunter-killer Gerald is even better. That’s why I’m mostly interested in lairs and locations big and small.
We definitely need more huts, ruins, burnt out villages, sunken villages, destroyed abbeys and churches, desecrated altars, just more signs of a bygone age of prosperity (and buried treasure). Like ruins in Switzerland, except a lot more. I think we’re on the right path.
I wrote a blog post showing how I tape printouts of Hex Describe into my prep notebooks.