All RPGs and Storygames by Tod Foley are now available at DrivethruRPG and RPGnow. Bring these games to your table!
Copyrightâs Owners Must Register Before Enforcing Their Rights. An Enforcement of an Age Old Rule, and the End of a Circuit Split. - by Zac Rich
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To help the initiative to update all deprecated code for Drupal 9 we need a standardized format for deprecation messages.New issue for discussion:
Issue #3024461: Adopt consistent format for deprecation messages.
Having a machine readable format for deprecation messages will allow us to develop tools on api.drupal.org to keep track of the current status of deprecated code in Drupal core and contributed modules. This will help drive the initiative to update all deprecated code before the release of Drupal 9.
You can get started quickly by helping us to update an issue summary or two or dive in and check out the full list of open proposals and see if there's anything you'd like to champion!
I’ve been excited by a series of articles I read on The Alexandrian from way back in 2015 on building a city based campaign with a hexcrawl feel (it was called an urbancrawl there). I’ve also been inspired by the way the Steve Jackson Sorcery! gamebook series, which was translated to video games back in 2013, portrays a sort of old-school “anything goes” fantasy. So I thought I would try my hand at using the system roughed out at The Alexandrian to create an urbancrawl with the strange magic feel of yesteryear.
So to start, I need a concept. Let’s go with: There’s a place where several majors rivers meet. It’s a low soft land so rather than form a lake, it just makes the surrounding area mushy and swampy. In the past the inhabitants along the rivers would send boats to the point where they meet and trade. Eventually, a few buildings were erected, a few house boats permanently docked, and a city grew from there. The land isn’t ideal for building, so over time buildings were built on the sinking ruins of older buildings until they became relatively stable. Today the city has a sizable moat around it, and is filled with winding roads and canals and is still a sizable hub for travel and trade. Though well defended from outside attack by its geography, the city itself is in some places lawless and in all places strange, wet and overripe with plots and intrigue. We’ll call this city Juntial (from a sloppy Google translate of “river” and “together” and since the geography reminds me of Mexico city and I’ve got some ideas about how the land was stolen from the natives, we’ll bastardize Spanish instead of Nahuatl)
So the base of the Alexandrian Urbancrawl system is neighborhoods and layers (essentially types of points of interest you might find if you were looking). So I need a few things to get started:
- To know how many neighborhoods I need
- A set of districts to cluster them into
- A set of layers
So how many neighborhoods do I need? If you read The Alexandrian’s set of HEXcrawl articles (another good read), he mentions that his own hexcrawl is 16×16 and WAY too big. That at most you need 10×10 or 12×12. So that’s a good number to aim for. BUT, in the urbancrawl system, each layer is keyed for each neighborhood, so if you have 3 layers, you only need 1/3 the neighborhoods because each one holds 3 things depending on what you’re looking for. Taking another angle, what if we look at the number of actual neighborhoods in a modern large city and then normalize to the size of a large medieval city? That nets you a magic number of 20-30 neighborhoods. And if you have 4 to 7 layers, that will hit your target of 100-144. So that’s what we’re going for.
Next, what districts do we want to cluster into? I jotted down a list and asked another GM for their thoughts and came up with a sizable list that I pared down to a handful:
- A crafting district: While this is a trade city so shops are all over and tradesmen are all over, this will be a small district where craftsmen whose professions make them unpleasant to work or live near. Specifically tanners, papermakers, animal processors, alchemists, smelters, etc… since several crafts of this type require clean water, many produce polluted water, and many smell bad this district should be situated near and inflowing and an outflowing water source and should be on the edge of the city or surrounded by undesirable locations.
- Slums: There should be probably several slum districts with something to keep them distinctive or one larger district. This will be a good location to give the city the lawless and dangerous feel we want it to have.
- Ruined/blasted/magic/university: I definitely want a section of the city that is mostly ruined and full of dangerous and weird things. While I don’t think want a full district for mages or a university, it occurs to me that if a section of a city were to be destroyed and now populated with all sorts of danger and weirdness, that a district that HAD been devoted to wizardry and study would be a good bet. And having a ruined university is a good way to communicate a city in decline.
- Palace: This district houses the current monarch, a mummy whose will is interpreted by a circle of nobles. In addition it houses many government buildings and homes for some nobles and government officials, though other noble houses are scatters all over the city.
- Temple: While temples can be found throughout the city, there is also a temple district where the majority of large impressive temples are found.
- Bazaar: A large central district with a small lake surrounded by a large bazaar, this district holds many of the middle class citizens of the city and many of the tradesmen that are not relegated to the crafting district.
- Docks: Not a district proper, but instead a set of non-contiguous neighborhoods around the various docks in the city.
That gives us 7 districts to work with. If each one has 3-4 neighborhoods, that nets us our 20-30 neighborhood target.
Next, what layers do I want to work with? The Alexandrian articles give a few examples, from which I borrowed heavily and added a few of my own.
- Gazetteer/Landmarks: This is the base layer that just includes a description and a landmark of note.
- Gangs: Since this is a lawless city, gangs run unchecked in most of the city. Even in the more civilized areas, guards are little more than mercenary thugs plying the same strongarm tactics as the rest of the city’s gangs.
- Heist: I have never played an urban game where at least one PC didn’t want to steal everything that wasn’t nailed down.
- Weirdness: Half of what this campaign is going to be about, so it has to end up here. Every neighborhood gets a weird little secret.
- Aboleth: What better weird high level challenge for a semi-sunken city than a couple of aboleths and their minions.
- Patrons/houses/politics: This is another good call from The Alexandrian list. Some players will want to just pick up a job rather than scare up their own work.
- Shops: While this is a trade city and most items should be readily available, I like the idea of each neighborhood having a shop with unique items you can’t get anywhere else.
- Ruins/undercity: The event that destroyed most of the university district also destroyed buildings all over the city. In addition, there are numerous entrances to the sunken levels underneath the current city
- Bugs and fungus: These seem like common enough non-human enemies in a city built in a swamp.
- Cultists: I have this idea that the area was populated by some reclusive people before the city was built. They tried to stop further building before it got too big but were sent packing. Their descendents have infiltrated the city and work to bring it down or at least return it to their possession.
This gives us 12 layers, but we’re not going to count the landmark or shop layer because they’re not adventure sources. So that’s 10. For our target of 100-144 adventure sites, that means we really only need 10-15 neighborhoods, so I’ll aim for the lower end of our 20-30 estimate.
So now we have what we need to proceed, but before I can start laying out a basic map, I have one issue. What exactly IS a neighborhood? I mean I kind of get it, but how does one divide a city into neighborhoods? Well, turns out oddly enough that the modern concept of the neighborhood only dates back to the 1920s. But it’s still useful for our purposes. So the modern neighborhood has the following characteristics.
- Designed to combat dangers of heavy traffic. Treated Neighborhoods as “islands”: This is not really a concern in our city.
- Center the school in the neighbourhood: also not really a worry in our setup.
- Place main streets along the outside: This is really useful. It means that if we want 20-30 neighborhoods, we can essentially take a 5×5 grid map and call all the lines major roads or canals, walls, etc… and all the squares our neighborhood. It will be better to use a distorted grid rather than a perfect one, but the basic setup is the same.
- Make inside streets distinct and curved for privacy: This is of minor importance. We won’t really see them at any level of map I’ll be making, but it’s interesting to know. If nothing else it means that chases along main roads are very different than those inside neighborhoods.
- Shops go along the outside: again a traffic concern. But it makes sense. Another detail that’s not terribly important for maps but interesting anyway.
- Use 10% for parks, open space, etc…: Obviously this will be very different depending on the district and not very important as far as birds eye maps go, but useful for description, etc…
So what are the next steps?
- Rough out a neighborhood map divided into districts
- Make a few minor notes on districts
- List out points of interest for each district for each layer.
- Detail those points of interest only as much as necessary.
In all of this, it seems like the best bet is to go light. If a line or two will do I don’t want to waste time with a full NPC list and tac map. This is already going to be a lot of work. But, I think it’s a very edible elephant. It naturally breaks down into bite sized chunks for digestion. As a reward for myself, if I actually make it to the finish line I may hire a cartographer to map out the whole thing. That will cost a pretty penny I’m sure. On the other hand, a project like this will be an investment for years to come. See you next time with a rough map.
Layout Builder is here.
Chances are you’ve heard about Drupal 8’s Layout Builder, and maybe even seen one of those fancy demos. If 2018 was the year of promises for Layout Builder and other exciting Drupal 8 improvements, then 2019 is the year those improvements get into the hands of Drupal developers and content editors. 2019 is the year these features are live.
Today, the world wide web celebrates its 30th birthday. In 1989, Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web and changed the lives of millions of people around the globe, including mine.Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, in front of the early web.
Milestones like this get me thinking about the positive impact a free and Open Web has had on society. Without the web, billions of people would not have been able to connect with one another, be entertained, start businesses, exchange ideas, or even save lives. Open source communities like Drupal would not exist.
As optimistic as I am about the web's impact on society, there have been many recent events that have caused me to question the Open Web's future. Too much power has fallen into the hands of relatively few platform companies, resulting in widespread misinformation, privacy beaches, bullying, and more.
However, I'm optimistic that the Open Web has a chance to win in the future. I believe we'll see three important events happen in the next five years.
First, the day will come when regulators will implement a set of laws that govern the ownership and exchange of data online. It's already starting to happen with GDPR in the EU and various state data privacy laws taking shape in the US. These regulations will require platforms like Facebook to give users more control over their data, and when that finally happens, it will be a lot easier for users to move their data between services and for the Open Web to innovate on top of these data platforms.
Second, at some point, governments globally will disempower large platform companies. We can't leave it up to a handful of companies to judge what is false and true, or have them act as our censors. While I'm not recommending governments split up these companies, my hope is that they will institute some level of algorithmic oversight. This will offer an advantage to the Open Web and Open Source.
Third, I think we're on the verge of having a new set of building blocks that enable us to build a better, next-generation web. Thirty years into the web, our data architectures still use a client-server model; data is stored centrally on one computer, so to speak. The blockchain is turning that into a more decentralized web that operates on top of a distributed data layer and offers users control of their own data. Similar to building a traditional website, distributed applications (dApps) require file storage, payment systems, user data stores, etc. All of these components are being rebuilt on top of the blockchain. While we have a long way to go, it is only a matter of time before a tipping point is reached.
In the past, I've publicly asked the question: Can we save the Open Web? I believe we can. We can't win today, but we can keep innovating and get ready for these three events to unfold. The day will come!
With that motivation in mind, I want to wish a special happy birthday to the world wide web!
The company says it doesn't "want to benefit from accidental purchases or players regretting a purchase." ...
Every year community members from across the globe meet in Orlando for Florida Drupal Camp. This year Adam, Ryan, and Jonathan from Hook 42 attended. It was a fantastic time to connect with people, to learn, and enjoy some warmer weather. Plus, alligators!
The expansion follows a beta that launched in those same countries earlier this year and opens the service up to PlayStation users in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. ...
This module allows for simple maneuvering between a published revision and forward unpublished revisions. With core revisions, you cannot easily edit a published revision state without losing work or publishing work in progress.
The common use case:
Many forward drafts with a new page section being written. Waiting on approval.
And then... a typo is discovered on the published page! What is a content editor to do? Hold my draft...
With Hold my Draft they can: