This is so stupid

I think this weeks mass hysteria about WotC revoking the perpetual Open Game License and closing down half of the RPG industry with that move is probably the dumbest thing I’ve seen happening in the 24 years that I’ve been following RPG news and discussions.

People even admit that they are “just repeating what I’ve heard” and that all the current panic is based on is an unsourced “leak”.

Update: More sources are coming out with claims that make it seem increasingly unlikely that it was all a hoax. But I don’t redact my original assessment; I amend it:

This is even way dumber than I thought.

Comments problem

It has come to my attention that there was a problem with an error message appearing under some circumstances when trying to write a comment on a post.

I tracked it down to a known problem with my spam-block plugin, which I now realized hasn’t been getting any updates in over 5 years. I switched it out for one that is getting ongoing support, so the issue should be fixed now.

In case there are issues with comments in the future, I’m now on Mastodon under, so that’s another way to contact me about comments not working when comments are not working.

The Savage Frontier – Hexmap of the North

Probably my most commented post on this site has been the hexmap of the Savage Frontier that I made nine years ago. I’ve always been very happy with it, but with a recent interest of starting a new campaign in the region, I’ve been thinking that I could do a lot better now. And here it is.

(Updated to new version from September 2023.)

The map is directly based on the map from the 1st edition sourcebook FR6: The Savage Frontier, with some additional markers from the 2nd edition The North box. This map uses a 6-mile hex grid over the original AD&D maps. 3rd and 4th edition Forgotten Realms uses considerably altered maps, so distances won’t match exactly with any of those sources. 5th edition maps of the Sword Coast seem to have returned to the original AD&D map shapes but slightly scaled down. Treating the hexes as 5 miles across should get very close to matching the distances of 5th edition sources.

This map comes in three versions. The GM map, which includes all the map markers and labels; the player version, which includes only those places that would be commonly shown on maps the PCs would have access to; and a blank map without any markers or text.

The Savage Frontier – GM Map

The Savage Frontier – Player Map

The Savage Frontier – blank map

The idea behind the three versions is that GMs can easily make their own custom maps showing the area relevant to their campaign or adventure and only include the places that the PCs in their campaign would know about. To make your own custom version, simply open the GM map and the blank map in GIMP, Photoshop, or a similar image editing program, with the blank map covering up the GM map below. Then make the blank map on top partly transparent and simply use the select tool and delete key to make holes through which the labels and text you want are visible. Then set the opacity back to 100% and export the map as a new file. You can then crop the new map file to only the area that you need to make it easier to handle or print out, or do whatever you want with it. Or you can take the blank map and draw whatever icons and text that you want. I would share the original .xcf file, but it’s over 200 MB in size, which is rather impractical.

Use the way in whatever way you like. All I ask for is a link to this page with the original files if you post or upload it somewhere else.

I got a Mastodon

I know, it’s a mammoth. Shuddup.

So with everyone cheering at Elon Musk for finally doing something good for the world by sparing no expenses to shred Twitter, there’s been some recent hubbub about Mastodon. Any many people pointing out that Mastodon isn’t just open-source twitter.

I’ve only really seen Twitter in the Alexandrian page and often thought it looks like it could be a really useful tool for sites like mine, but never considered using it. Because it’s Twitter. Just like I won’t touch Apple, Facebook, or Google. But a similar open-source tool from a nonprofit? And now people seem to have a significant interest in it?

Small RPG sites like this one aren’t the kind of thing that they were 10 years ago. There’s a lot fewer than there used to be, though with new ones still coming up regularly, and many of them only have new posts every month or two, unlike the nearly daily or even multiple daily posts that you see in the early years of many older sites. (Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because most of them say nothing of much relevance.) It also used to be that pretty much all sites were on blogspot, but now there’s also substantial numbers of wordpress sites hosted on private servers. And unlike blogspot, there is, for some reason, no widget that lets you show a list of the sites you follow sorted by most recent updates in the sidebar. Which makes following what others are writing on their sites more laborious, and also more difficult to find new sites. There is of course RPG Planet, which aggregates RSS feeds for sites that are signed up, but I don’t find it to be a perfect solution since it always shows you all the sites that are signed up, even the ones you really might not care for but update pretty frequently. And the first two sentences of a post typically don’t tell you much about what a post is actually about. Also, lots of blogspot sites only allow comments with a google-account, and other people have told me that I am by far not the only one who refuses to use one on principle.

I think Mastodon could be a useful tool to help reaching new audiences for sites like these. As it stands, it seems to me like a pretty closed system that you don’t really are aware of unless you already know about it. I still somehow get pretty frequent comments on my posts even though the only way to find my site is through the link in my Giant In the Playground and Enworld signatures and RPG Planet. (Also Dragonsfoot, but if you hang out there you’re already in the in-group.)

What I want to try out is to put up messages on Mastodon every time I have a new post on my site, with a link and a short summary of what the post is about. (Like Justin Alexander does on Twitter.) I think it would also be useful to share messages of “I just saw this post on another site and thought it’s interesting”. Putting such short posts here on this site would make the whole place look cluttered up and I want to keep what is posted here to meaningful articles that are still worth reading if people browse the site some years later. For simple shoutouts like that, something like Mastodon seems a much more fitting tool. And I can put my opinion out on posts by other people who don’t accept comments without some account or registration, even though the odds of them seeing it is probably pretty low.

I think there is potential to boost the sphere of small private RPG sites with Mastodon, if it can get sufficient momentum. Quite possible that two months from now, everyone has forgotten about it again already, but this sudden surge in interest because of Twitter might be an opportunity.

This is why I have now made a Mastodon account where people can get updates about new posts on Spriggan’s Den. And why I want to encourage other site owners to also give it a try, as well as readers. Maybe this could be a new boost in interactions, which can also be conductive to more ideas worth writing about. And unlike Google+, there’s no significant risk that the service will be shut down in a year or two. :p

Wizards of the Coast are shitheads!

I was thinking about an appropriate title for this post, but since I am hosting this site on my own rented web space in Germany, I can call it what it is.

Anyone who’s been following WotC’s history of social sensitivity and awareness to any degree knows that it’s always been an embarrassing shitshow. I am giving them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are just totally oblivious of what they do and have no conception that there might be anything wrong about it.

I usually don’t bother getting involved with these things about who use this or that insensitive or loaded word and all the drama around it, but this takes the cake.

For the annual marketing event of queer pride month, WotC is releasing queer themed downloads to show their proud support of queers. Content that is region locked. So as to not offend foreign markets where they would like to continue doing business without impact to their profits.

You fucking shitheads!

I’ve never been involved in any of this queer pride stuff, but the whole supposed idea behind queer pride month is to stand up against discrimination. And they bow down to kiss the feet of those who are discriminating.

I just don’t have words. Scummy comes to mind, but that’s not even in the right ballpark. That’s more like Nestle making selfies handing out a bottle of their own branded water to people dying of thirst. Or the NRA trying to console the relatives of shooting victims by handing out free guns so they can feel safer now. Though the later sounds like something that they probably do.

But Wizards of the Coast are fucking shitheads. I don’t see them anyone getting fired tomorrow over this stunt.