Saturday, February 18, 2012


By now most of you who read this blog know that we use the World of Fletnern (available at this link for FREE!). On Fletnern, there are several races that are not considered to be “native”. Yep - They are from other planets. Planets, dimensions, realities, does it matter?
Eons ago I remember reading a series of novels (that were turned into comics if I recall correctly) where “demon” was short for “dimensional traveler”, and “demons” were simply people from other dimensions and not actually evil creatures from hell. I kind of like that. Sure I call some of the minions of the less nice gods “demons”, but those are different. When you need something truly creepy, you can just have someone summon something from another dimension. It doesn’t have to be a magical creature, just something so alien (sorry but it is the best word) that it seems to be perfectly evil.
Why? Well magical creatures are magical. They likely don’t have to eat, they are more likely more esoteric, and well, magical. I like having things like aliens rats - sort of a cross between an armadillo and a retriever. I had a slime dog that looked like a glowing dog, but its bones were able to smush. It was a real dog, but it could go through tiny cracks under doors and such. These are creepy creatures, but they’re flesh and blood. Sometimes, you don’t want the glowing dog to be some astral/ethereal ghost creature with a death gaze, but instead a really nasty predator that eats its prey and leaves a trail.
How do you bring them in? Here’s an easy way. Think of a double helix - you know, like DNA. Now have each strand spin in the opposite direction. Well the two strands will bump into each other, at different points as they go. That’s what the spiral stairway is like. Not exactly (I can’t have it too easy to figure out), but sort of like that. That means that every once in a while the worlds arranged on the spiral staircase will bump into each other and the “shells” around the two worlds will break down, allowing people to travel from one to the other. Better hurry or you’ll get caught there and won’t be able to get back until the worlds bump again. Might be a couple years or 500. (The spiral stair is NOT physical; it is sort of a ley lines kind of thing where the magical aspects of the worlds bump. That makes it even easier to keep the players from figuring it out.)
How’s it work? Well, random critters might wander across and now you have some truly monstrous creatures, but very rare. (Bigfoot anyone?) You can have nomads wander across and not be able to get back, setting up weird race villages hidden in the ______. You can have invaders or explorers come across with full knowledge of what the stair will do. Maybe they’re raiders looking to loot and get back before the doors close. Lots of possibilities! Single adventures or whole campaigns, use it as you like! Of course, they could use starships, but that seems to take the fun out of it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Worldly Weather

I spend time trying to explain/write down/document the weather patterns on Fletnern. I do this both for an understanding of the “regular” weather, but also because a good storm can make for an adventure by itself. The problem is that I keep thinking from a scientific point of view, and Fletnern is a magical world. (Let’s not kid ourselves; it is not like Earth being a scientific world means that the meteorologists have any clue what’s going on.)
What does magic have to do with weather? Well, there are weather spells, but that’s pretty localized stuff. I’m talking about the gods and spirits and elementals. In Rhum, the wind should blow from east to west because of the way the world spins, but it blows from north west to south east. The explanation is that the mountains nearby upset the wind patterns, but it is more than that. The spirit of the north wind brings cold weather to Rhum and the people fear him. That fear strengthens him, and they must appease him. If they do not, he blows hardest and brings the cold down from the north. The spirit of the south wind is only remembered as an afterthought and does not receive much adoration from the Rhorics. For this reason, he is willing to concede the region to his rival and allow the “normal” wind patterns to change.
A huge nearly god-like-in-power earth elemental walks north underground along the eastern coast of Hughijen. He frequently encounters barriers that prevent him from continuing on his way. When he encounters such barriers, he starts pushing. It may take him decades, but eventually, the barrier gives way and he will move ten, twenty, maybe fifty miles north, before encountering another barrier. Then he pushes again, possibly for decades. When a barrier gives way, it causes an earthquake, some of them have been massive, including the recent one that sent Detheb refugees by the boat load to Drentae. (This is in some ways a mythic explanation for “earthquake storms”.)
So, I guess I can make up whatever weather I want as long as I can explain it with the right gods, elementals and magic. I’ll keep pretending there’s a science to it, but sometimes it really is an “act of the gods”.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Board Enterprises Reviews

You know what - Some people get us and some people don’t. No really, we’ve had reviewers write things like, “I just don’t get where they were going with this.” You know why? Because they’re gold farmers. I’m not just trying to belittle people who write bad stuff about our products. But Board Enterprises products are focused at an underserved portion of the market - Those mature players who want help building their worlds and enhancing the role-playing aspects. Hopefully you can tell by most of our blog posts - We’re trying to get your players to become invested in their characters and your world. A little bit of passion there will go an enormous way to everyone having fun and coming back time after time. That is what I always strive for as a GM - To get the players to care at least a little bit.
There is an enormous segment of the market out there who see FRPGs as they do their video games - How much damage does it do? How much gold do I get? How quickly can I make my next level? If any of those three questions defines your style of role-playing, then Board Enterprises products are not for you.
We focus on role-playing - What happens to your character between missions? Who are the people who inhabit the world (the ones you are not out to kill)? Can a weapon be cooler than it is effective? Would my character actually agree to do this mission, and if not, what else would he do? If any of those questions appealed to you, check out our stuff, but be careful when you read some of the negatives reviews.