Random Encounters (Friday, February 27 2015)


Welcome to Random Encounters, the weekly round-up of interesting bits and pieces from across the worlds of gaming that didn’t really fit anywhere else. Roll a D4 and begin:

1 – How to Draw a Map from FantasticMaps

Great tutorial here on creating your own sweet-looking fantasy map in Photoshop (or GIMP). Breaks everything down cleanly with step-by-step instructions (and Photoshop file downloads!). You will require a graphics tablet, so it’s probably more useful to dedicated artists than to other people, but it’s excellent nonetheless.

2 – What’s a Freelance RPG Writer Worth?

Very interesting investigation by the folks at EN World into what the major RPG publishers pay their writers per word (or otherwise). Probably recommended reading for anybody looking to get into the business.

Freelance writers (as opposed to those on salary) tend to be paid per word. The rate varies from publisher to publisher, and on how experienced the writer is. Ed Greenwood, for example, can command a much higher rate than a new writer can. Obviously only you, the freelancer, can decide what your labour is worth – and if you’re an experienced freelancer you probably already have a pretty solid idea what that figure is. But if you’re a new writer, you may be a little lost. In this article, which I’ll continue to update with new information, I’ll tell you what rate a new writer can expect from various publishers.

3 – Campaign Backbone

Good advice from Richard Whitters on DMs looking to build a cohesive campaign that hangs together internally and always has somewhere to go.

In this case, let’s say the bog walker is actually an albino troll that is cursed with silence in a 10-foot radius around it. The curse was placed on it by a warlock, who wanted to keep it from telling a secret (the troll cannot read or write). With this brief note, you have now defined a fun encounter, and you might later drop another plot hook: what secret is the troll keeping? To find the answer, the characters will need to break the curse or find another way to communicate with the troll; maybe the spell is broken when the troll is killed, and it moans part of the secret with its dying breath.

4 – A first look at Settlers of Catan: The Movie

Seems like the script for this particular movie adaptation has leaked early.

The ROBBER rides into the desert. TWO SETTLERS watch him warily from over a pasture fence.

You’re sure you don’t want to rob us?

I’m sure. I think I will just sit here now.

You’re weird.

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