Eclipse Phase Dual-Morph Character Sheet v1.4
I found a couple of annoyances in the previous version:
- Text above each skill block was too light and blended in with the gray.
- I had inexplicably failed to include a box for attribute base values.
These issues have been fixed in version 1.4, which is I’ve made available at Unpossible Labs. As usual, the OmniGraffle source file can also be downloaded.
I’m always looking for feedback, so if you use ‘em tell me what you like about ‘em and tell me what needs improvement.
Old Photos = Scenario Generators
I like looking through many of the old online photo collections found on flickr. One of my favorites is The Commons, a repository of photos that have passed out of copyright protection. Many of them are provided by national archives like the Library of Congress and the Imperial War Museum. They reveal everything from how housewares were advertised to how soldiers of The Great War looked as they prepared for battle.
Sometimes an image sparks the gamemaster in me. It could be just a spark, a notion for a random encounter. It could be much bigger, the foundation for a lengthy adventure. As an example, this photo brought Call of Cthulhu to mind:
Taken in 1925 in Karnak, Egypt, this photo made me think of the sadness of lost grandeur. The defaced statues also brought to mind some sort of desecration. What was this temple all about, anyway? The Wikipedia entry on Karnak provides a wealth of information. It turns out Karnak was an extremely important to the ancient Egyptians, and was the site of the largest religious complex in the ancient world.
There’s also something in the Wikipedia entry that made me sit up straight:
The temple that Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) constructed on the site was located to the east of the main complex, outside the walls of the Amun-Re precinct. It was destroyed immediately after the death of its builder, who attempted to overcome the powerful priesthood that had gained control over Egypt before his reign. It was so well demolished, that its full extent and lay-out currently is unknown. The priesthood of that temple regained its powerful position as soon as he died and was instrumental in destroying many records of his existence.
Intriguing. Very intriguing. Perhaps it was completely demolished, perhaps not. Perhaps some intrepid archaeologists bent on discovering the truth behind Akhenaten’s temple came across something they shouldn’t have. Perhaps something a hardy band of Call of Cthulhu characters will have to find and destroy? Hmmm… .
The sad thing is, I don’t even run a Call of Cthulhu game. Time to look for some historical photos from Glorantha… .
Play Like a Soldier
If you’re either running or playing in a modern-era, near-future, or post-apocalypse RPG, military field manuals are an invaluable source of information. Field manuals are used by everyone from privates to generals. Every training scenario and combat operation is based on doctrine delivered by field manuals. They cover everything, from finding water in the desert to maneuvering large combat units. As unclassified government documents, they are in the public domain.
Wikipedia’s list of selected field manuals is a good start. If you can only skim through one of them, check out FM 3-21.8 (formerly FM 7-8). It’s the cornerstone manual for U.S. infantry squads and platoons. FM 21-76, the survival manual, is also an excellent source of inspiration for GMs and players alike.
Flickr is Your Friend
There are millions of photos in flickr, and many of them can serve as great visual material for RPGs. Consider the ways you could use photos of:
- Geographic features
Some photos can be used as-is, but it can be even more fun to modify them with Photoshop or another image editing application. In my current Runequest campaign I’ve adopted a chalk & charcoal look, which I apply to all of the flickr images I use. If I were running a modern military campaign, I’d probably use many of the official US military images available in flickr. The sky is the limit for the photos you can find and the effects you can apply.