Monday, February 22, 2010

Mapping Javarta

In fits and starts the Javarta campaign lumbers into motion once more... This weekend I began the process of transforming thumbnail sketches and mental notes into a map of the campaign area.

I used an outstanding Photoshop tutorial created by Tear over at the Cartographer's Guild to guide my mapmaking. My goal was to capture the look and feel of southeast Asia, and create a setting consisting of numerous archipelagos and imposing interior highlands the PCs can romp around in (and get romped on in). The map isn't finished; vegetation, rivers and labels await.

This detail shows less than 10% of the map, and represents, in terms of real-world analog, a compressed combination of the lower Cambodia/Thailand peninsula, and the Indonesian islands. (Scale is 50 miles per hex.) Speaking of hexes, the hexgrid came from a website that designed the grid to my specs, and generated a pdf complete with alpha channel so I could dump it into Photoshop with no muss or fuss. I love the internets!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Media finds D&D angle to campus killer Amy Bishop story

It's been a while since we've had a really good "stone cold killer loves to get some D&D" story run in the media. Last big splash I recall were some early- to mid-90s stories on wayward Goths who embraced White Wolf products with gusto.

Next up in the queue is Amy Bishop, the University of Alabama instructor who allegedly gunned down three professors when denied tenure, and may committed murder before. According to the Boston Herald:
Accused campus killer Amy Bishop was a devotee of Dungeons & Dragons - just like Michael “Mucko” McDermott, the lone gunman behind the devastating workplace killings at Edgewater Technology in Wakefield in 2000.
Bishop, now a University of Alabama professor, and her husband James Anderson met and fell in love in a Dungeons & Dragons club while biology students at Northeastern University in the early 1980s, and were heavily into the fantasy role-playing board game, a source told the Herald.
The article, written by Laurel Sweet, goes on to state that "the popular fantasy role-playing game has a long history of controversy, with objections raised to its demonic and violent elements. Some experts have cited the D&D backgrounds of people who were later involved in violent crimes, while others say it just a game." Personally, I'd like to see thoughtful commentary in murder stories on a variety of other pastimes enjoyed by the suspects... you know, like football (any flavor), bowling, or pachinko.