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8/02/2018 8:00 am  #141


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

Ghul wrote:

I just heard back that they are on the case. Apparently, they utilize their own PDF flattening process that can sometimes mess with PDFs that bookmark objects. In our case, most of our bookmarks point to a line of text, but in some instances the bookmarks point to an object (a map, for instance). Apparently this can be a source of trouble.  Hopefully we'll have it resolved today, and I do apologize for any inconveniences that this has caused.

Yeah, Ghul, just redownload Xambaala again and it looks good, Part IV shows, amongst dozens of new stuff, so it must be working now!
 

 

8/02/2018 2:58 pm  #142


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

Yes, sir, it appears they corrected their own error. Would have been nice of them to notify me, but I'm glad that they took care of it. Thanks!


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
     Thread Starter
 

8/02/2018 10:33 pm  #143


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

​Anthropophagi of Xambaala first thoughts
 
It's not a spoiler to say​ Anthropophagi of Xambaala is inspired by Robert E. Howard's Man-Eaters of Zamboula. A player's experience won't be ruined by reading the original story and that goes for other North Wind titles inspired by classic tales of pulp fantasy and cosmic horror.
 
Anthropophagi of Xambaala uses the tried and true formula of civilized area + wilderness area + dungeon that dates all the way back to B2 Keep on the Borderlands.  It’s a popular format and for good reason: a DM can get a lot of mileage out of it and 'Xambaala is no exception. 
 
The maps are attractive and clear. With one exception, a DM can quickly and accurately represent the encounter areas on a mat with miniatures. At the time of writing, I have not had the opportunity to print any of these maps. 
 
Xambaala proper is an interesting location that should attract players; on the DM side it's a nice hub for downtime and generating adventures. I am happy the author provided story hooks and adventure seeds but Xambaala could easily have used twice as many; this is my only disappointment and it's a minor one (in other words, I enjoyed the meal but the portion was too small). I dislike having to come up with story seeds and adventure hooks myself; that's a big part of what I'm paying for when I buy published RPG material. 
 
A DM doesn't need to spin convoluted reasons or railroad players to find adventure in Xambaala. My biggest gripe with published RPG material is that the authors often make crazy assumptions about how players will act during play and the entire adventure falls apart if the players don't follow along. Thankfully, the author avoids this common pitfall. 
 
I love the bullet point summary for keyed locations. This gives me something to work with on the fly without having to digest paragraphs of text or memorize the entire scenario. Here's an example:
 
4. BAZAAR:
÷÷Chaotic, colourful, loud, malodourous, overwhelming
÷÷Animals, merchants, stalls, fortune tellers, dung collectors, guard patrols
÷÷Central fountain

 
This is awesome and should be applauded. Why this isn't an industry-wide standard for published adventures is beyond me.
 
Anthropophagi of Xambaala is an excellent supplement that offers a DM great value and requires little prep to be table-ready.

 

8/03/2018 5:47 am  #144


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

Ghul wrote:

Yes, sir, it appears they corrected their own error. Would have been nice of them to notify me, but I'm glad that they took care of it. Thanks!

Good stuff!

And as you said, would have been nice of them to say, but as we know DriveThru, etc, is still a site.

 

8/03/2018 5:54 am  #145


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

In the spirit of Brock's words, I agree!

Love the location and description of Xambaala as it allows for a GM to create other adventures in the area. And love the fact that its title and some of the idea of demons in the streets and inn of death, it amuses me constantly that it is a based on a Howard story!

 

8/03/2018 6:51 pm  #146


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

As an aside about Brock's observation:

Brock Savage wrote:

4. BAZAAR:
÷÷Chaotic, colourful, loud, malodourous, overwhelming
÷÷Animals, merchants, stalls, fortune tellers, dung collectors, guard patrols
÷÷Central fountain

This is awesome and should be applauded. Why this isn't an industry-wide standard for published adventures is beyond me.

I've seen similar bullet-point or key word area scrips before. I love this and want to start doing this myself, both in my notes and material I intend to publish. Embarrassing admission: One of my own pitfalls running games is my tendency to have these walls of text in front in me, full of interesting tidbits, and yet I fail to communicate a lot of it to the players--even when it's my own text. I think the reason it's not an industry standard is rooted in the fact that module writers have almost always been aspiring fiction writers. Some of us are too enamoured of our prose and hate CliffsNotes.

Anyway, my previous campaign that I want to resurrect someday, is in the Conan-verse and takes place in and around Zamboula. I am enjoying the reviews here for Anthropophagi, especially as it appears the module can serve as a potential reference I can mine for campaign ideas; and as a good, if not "best practices" guide for module presentation.

Last edited by Jimm.Iblis (8/03/2018 8:00 pm)


"Role-playing isn't storytelling. If the dungeon master is directing it, it's not a game."  ~ Gary Gygax
 

8/05/2018 7:38 am  #147


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

Wonder if you have Wesley Connally's 'Shadows of Zamboula? Jimm.

I working on Zamboula at the moment (and stealing some ideas from Xambaala), so any Ideas you have would be good.

Also Iron_chef ideas of Zamboula as an adventure:

http://s15.zetaboards.com/Nialldubh/single/?p=132467&t=912075

https://hyboria.xoth.net/adventures/wc_Shadows_in_Zamboula.pdf

Vincent N. Darlage did NPC characters for Zamboula Conan D20,

Get them at Xoth's

http://hyboria.xoth.net/characters/index.htm

Stealing stuff from 2D20 Conan, as yet, not much stuff there.

 

8/07/2018 5:46 pm  #148


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

Ghul wrote:

Yes, sir, it appears they corrected their own error. Would have been nice of them to notify me, but I'm glad that they took care of it. Thanks!

Jeff and David:  not sure if this is sigificant, but your original file downloads were 53,329 KB for AoX and 39,212 KB for BoKM, but after rpgnow fixed the bookmarks the file sizes are much smaller:  9910 KB for AoX and 9084 KB for BoKM.  Perhaps they reduced the quality of the files too while fixing the bookmarks??  I haven't done an a/b comparision, but thought you'd want to know.

Allan.

 

8/08/2018 8:30 am  #149


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

grodog wrote:

Ghul wrote:

Yes, sir, it appears they corrected their own error. Would have been nice of them to notify me, but I'm glad that they took care of it. Thanks!

Jeff and David:  not sure if this is sigificant, but your original file downloads were 53,329 KB for AoX and 39,212 KB for BoKM, but after rpgnow fixed the bookmarks the file sizes are much smaller:  9910 KB for AoX and 9084 KB for BoKM.  Perhaps they reduced the quality of the files too while fixing the bookmarks??  I haven't done an a/b comparision, but thought you'd want to know.

Allan.

They do this to everyone. You upload your files, and then at some point they adjust them using their compression software to economize their server space and download speeds. There is no getting around that.
 


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
     Thread Starter
 

8/08/2018 1:15 pm  #150


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

Digital proofs are in!

http://i67.tinypic.com/24q34te.jpg


http://i65.tinypic.com/2nbvl21.jpg


http://i66.tinypic.com/2w7piix.jpg


http://i63.tinypic.com/20i73nc.jpg


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
     Thread Starter
 

8/08/2018 3:46 pm  #151


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

Nice! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/love.png


Michael Sipe 1979-2018
Rest in peace, brother.
 

8/08/2018 7:09 pm  #152


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

Looking good!


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

8/08/2018 7:34 pm  #153


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

Can't wait to see them, Jeff! :D

Allan.

 

8/08/2018 8:03 pm  #154


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

Jimm.Iblis wrote:

I've seen similar bullet-point or key word area scrips before. I love this and want to start doing this myself, both in my notes and material I intend to publish. Embarrassing admission: One of my own pitfalls running games is my tendency to have these walls of text in front in me, full of interesting tidbits, and yet I fail to communicate a lot of it to the players--even when it's my own text. I think the reason it's not an industry standard is rooted in the fact that module writers have almost always been aspiring fiction writers. Some of us are too enamoured of our prose and hate CliffsNotes.

Bullet points are much appreciated and will guarantee a better run of the adventure. I must use this format or would also leave out many important details buried in my own "wonderful" text descriptions.
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

8/08/2018 8:27 pm  #155


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

I'll take the other side.

While I totally endorse formatting that facilitates functionality, as a rule, I would rather provide the formatting myself. For example, I'd rather use a highlighter myself to identify what *I* think is important or need help remembering from each key passage. The number of times I have run a module without reading it first and then making my own mark ups in the text/maps myself is exactly zero - and I can't imagine that number ever approaching one. Reading, digesting and interacting with the text via highlighter and pencil helps me learn the material. I know there's a school of thought where the presentation should be such that you can sit down and run a module "on the fly" with no prep, but that approach seems unrealistic to me and, in my opinion, ultimately ends up dumbing down the material. YMMV etc etc etc

To be clear, in Xambaala's case, the bullets don't prevent me from doing that or anything, so if they help someone else, great. 


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

8/08/2018 8:34 pm  #156


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

Chainsaw wrote:

I'll take the other side.

While I totally endorse formatting that facilitates functionality, as a rule, I would rather provide the formatting myself. For example, I'd rather use a highlighter myself to identify what *I* think is important or need help remembering from each key passage. The number of times I have run a module without reading it first and then making my own mark ups in the text/maps myself is exactly zero - and I can't imagine that number ever approaching one. Reading, digesting and interacting with the text via highlighter and pencil helps me learn the material. I know there's a school of thought where the presentation should be such that you can sit down and run a module "on the fly" with no prep, but that approach seems unrealistic to me and, in my opinion, ultimately ends up dumbing down the material. YMMV etc etc etc

To be clear, in Xambaala's case, the bullets don't prevent me from doing that or anything, so if they help someone else, great. 

Yup reading the module would help as well...😄


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

8/08/2018 8:52 pm  #157


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

mabon5127 wrote:

Chainsaw wrote:

I'll take the other side.

While I totally endorse formatting that facilitates functionality, as a rule, I would rather provide the formatting myself. For example, I'd rather use a highlighter myself to identify what *I* think is important or need help remembering from each key passage. The number of times I have run a module without reading it first and then making my own mark ups in the text/maps myself is exactly zero - and I can't imagine that number ever approaching one. Reading, digesting and interacting with the text via highlighter and pencil helps me learn the material. I know there's a school of thought where the presentation should be such that you can sit down and run a module "on the fly" with no prep, but that approach seems unrealistic to me and, in my opinion, ultimately ends up dumbing down the material. YMMV etc etc etc

To be clear, in Xambaala's case, the bullets don't prevent me from doing that or anything, so if they help someone else, great. 

Yup reading the module would help as well...😄

Also, I assume it goes without saying that we're talking room keys that are not bogged down with extraneous details, like, you know, the long history of the broken dresser that contains nothing of value, a complete inventory of every piece of cooking equipment in a kitchen, etc etc etc


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

8/08/2018 11:20 pm  #158


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

 

Chainsaw wrote:

 The number of times I have run a module without reading it first and then making my own mark ups in the text/maps myself is exactly zero - and I can't imagine that number ever approaching one.

Reading an adventure, tweaking it to fit the needs of my game, and taking some notes are all absolutely essential prep work. Any DM worthy of the title does this prep work before a game. That said, if I have to spend hours prepping content that I paid for to make it usable, that's a huge failure on the part of the adventure writer. ​Reading through mountains of poor adventures to find good ones is already enough of a time sink for me. 

I suspect adventure writers are paid by the word because poorly organized text devoted to minutiae and exposition that players will never know or care about is apparently a time-honored tradition in the industry. Perhaps the tradition of useless filler and badly organized text is a holdover from the heyday of lonely fun when source books and adventures were sold to be read, not played. 

 

8/09/2018 6:48 am  #159


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

There is a huge market for adventures meant to be read not played (cf. the bloat of Adventure Paths written for Pathfinder). Nevertheless, I consider adventure writing to be partially technical writing, and as such payment per word doesn't incentivise finding the most flavourful yet equally succinct presentation.

 

8/09/2018 7:55 am  #160


Re: HYPERBOREA: Beasts and Cannibals

I think it's mostly an understatement to say that the Hyperborea crowd is generally in the "less is more crowd".

The Greyhawk Folios and such are the apotheosis of how I think gaming materials should generally aspire to. It has enough details to hang together coherently, but leaves plenty of room to fill out with our flavor and spin.

While I haven't spent much time reviewing Xambaala, I think the bullet points are very nice. The full text is still there. Having the key descriptive details pulled out is very nice. Chainsaw can still highlight what he thinks is important ;-)

I haven't run many of the Hyperborean modules (Rats and currently in the early phase of Ghost Ship) but they feel mostly open and not very plot train-y. No NPC is safe from death and needs to show up in later parts, if you kill the dude that hires you to go diamond searching then things might get tougher to figure out, but it's not terribly detrimental to the arc of the module.


What? Me worry?
 

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