Pathfinder Character: Gnome Illusionist

This character is the result of severals campaigns. He started at level 6 and was recently retired at level 11, when we decided to start with new characters and new adventures. As a result his equipment is a bit arbitrary and worth more than allowed when constructing a new level 11 character. He has the craft wondrous items feat, which would allow to create his equipment for a lower price.

Name: Blimmderox Rattlezak

Race: Gnome

Class: Wizard/11

Ability Scores

Raw: STR: 5 DEX: 14 CON: 15 INT: 20 WIS: 8 CHA: 13

Equipped: STR: 5 DEX: 16 CON: 15 INT: 26 WIS: 8 CHA: 13

(Point Buy 20: STR: 7 DEX: 14 CON: 13 INT: 18 WIS: 8 CHA: 11, +2 CON/CHA -2 STR Race Bonus, +2 INT from level 4+8)

Combat

Hit Points: 11D6 + 33 

Initiative: 11

Reflex: 6 Fortitude: 5 Willpower: 6

Armor Class: 20 Touch: 16 Flat-footed: 17

CMB: 1 CMD: 14

Quaterstaff: Attacks: +2 Damage: 1d4-3 Crit: 20/x2

Ranged Attacks: Attacks: +8

Feats

(6 regular + 2 wizard bonus + Scribe Scroll)

Traits

  • Reactionary: You were bullied often as a child, but never quite developed an offensive response. Instead, you became adept at anticipating sudden attacks and reacting to danger quickly. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Initiative checks.
  • Fidgety: +2 Initiative (can’t find the English name, but it’s from Gnomes of Golarion)

Illusion School

Forbidden Schools: Necromancy, Divination

Extended Illusions: Any illusion spell you cast with a duration of “concentration” lasts a number of additional rounds equal to 1/2 your wizard level after you stop maintaining concentration (minimum +1 round). At 20th level, you can make one illusion spell with a duration of “concentration” become permanent. You can have no more than one illusion made permanent in this way at one time. If you designate another illusion as permanent, the previous permanent illusion ends.

Blinding Ray: As a standard action you can fire a shimmering ray at any foe within 30 feet as a ranged touch attack. The ray causes creatures to be blindedfor 1 round. Creatures with more Hit Dice than your wizard level are dazzled for 1 round instead. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.

Invisibility Field: At 8th level, you can make yourself invisible as a swift action for a number of rounds per day equal to your wizard level. These rounds do not need to be consecutive. This otherwise functions as greater invisibility.

Gnome Traits

  • Small: Gnomes are Small creatures and gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.
  • Slow Speed: Gnomes have a base speed of 20 feet.
  • Low-Light Vision: Gnomes can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
  • Illusion Resistance: Gnomes gain a +2 racial saving throw bonus against illusion spells and effects.
  • Gnome Magic: Gnomes add +1 to the DC of any saving throws against illusion spells that they cast. Gnomes with Charisma scores of 11 or higher also gain the following spell-like abilities: 1/day—dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation, and speak with animals. The caster level for these effects is equal to the gnome’s level. The DC for these spells is equal to 10 + the spell’s level + the gnome’s Charisma modifier.
  • Gift of Tongues: Gnomes love languages and learning about those they meet. Gnomes with this racial trait gain a +1 bonus on Bluff and Diplomacy checks, and they learn one additional language every time they put a rank in the Linguistics skill. This racial trait replaces defensive training and hatred.
  • Obsessive: Gnomes receive a +2 racial bonus on a Craft or Profession skill of their choice.

Equipment

(82000 GP at level 10, crafting allows to spend up to 164000)

As this character is the result of multiple campaigns it acquired gear worth 106800 gp, mainly by crafting the more expensive items.

  • Headband of vast intelligence +6 (36000) – +6 Intelligence
  • Hat of disguise (1800) – This apparently normal hat allows its wearer to alter her appearance as with a disguise self spell.
  • Cloak of displacement, minor (24000) – This displacement works similar to the blur spell, granting a 20% miss chance on attacks against the wearer. It functions continually.
  • Amulet of natural armor +1 (2000) – +1 Natural Armor
  • Lenses of detection (3500) – These circular prisms let their wearer detect minute details, gaining a +5 competence bonus on Perception checks. It also aids in tracking, adding a +5 competence bonus on Survival checks when tracking.
  • Snakeskin tunic (8000) – A snakeskin tunic is a tight, form-fitting shirt crafted from the scales of a giant snake. When worn, it grants a +1 armor bonus to AC, a +2 enhancement bonus to Dexterity, and a +2 resistance bonus on saving throws against poison.
  • Bracers of armor +3 (9000) – +3 armor bonus
  • Verdant boots (12000) – The wearer of these boots can, on command three times per day, cause her current square to sprout a thick canopy of fruit-bearing or otherwise edible plants. These plants count as difficult terrain and grant cover to any Medium or smaller creature within the square. They also provide enough food to sustain two Medium creatures for 1 full day. While the plants can grow on surfaces that would not normally support vegetation such as a wooden floor or cave stone, they cannot sprout on surfaces explicitly hostile to vegetation. The plants are usually of a sort common to the terrain or climate of the area in which they were produced. They disappear after 24 hours or when completely harvested, whichever comes first.
  • Ring of sustenance (2500) – This ring continually provides its wearer with life-sustaining nourishment. The ring also refreshes the body and mind; its wearer only needs to sleep 2 hours per day to gain the benefit of 8 hours of sleep. This allows a spellcaster that requires rest to prepare spells to do so after only 2 hours, but does not allow a spellcaster to prepare spells more than once per day. The ring must be worn for a full week before it begins to work. If it is removed, the owner must wear it for another week to reattune it to himself.
  • Ring of protection +2 (8000) – his ring offers continual magical protection in the form of a deflection bonus of +2 AC
  • Quaterstaff

Skills

(ranks only, 3 skills maxed by headband, 7 ranks per level)

SkillRankTotal
Knowledge (dungeoneering)1122
Perception1118
Knowledge (arcana)1122
Spellcraft1122
Bluff1112
Stealth1118
Knowledge (planes)920
Disguise910
Craft(Sculpting)720
Linguistics516
Fly410
Knowledge (nature)416
Knowledge (nobility)113
Knowledge (engineering)113
Knowledge (religion)113
Knowledge (geography)113
Knowledge (history)113
Knowledge (local)113

Situational Bonus:

  • +10 Disguise when using Hat of Disguise
  • +2 resistance bonus on saving throws against poison
  • +2 racial saving throw bonus against illusion spells and effects.

Ghost Sound – The Ultimate Utility

Ghost Sound is one of my favorite spells. It’s a great utility spell, that can be really powerful in many situations. It can be used in combat as well as in role playing.

Ghost Sound is a level 0 illusion spell available to bards, sorcerer and wizards. Gnome Magic allows gnomes to use Ghost Sound once per day as a spell like ability. It last 1 round per caster level and produces as much noise as 4 humans per caster level. The produced sound can be virtually anything.

The usage of Ghost Sound always depends on the situation. In combat it can be used to create a distraction, may allowing your allies to land attacks of opportunity or delaying actions of your enemies. Out of combat Ghost Sound can be used to support a lie or distract guards. I gathered some examples below.

In combat

This was one of the first times I successfully used Ghost Sound. My group fought a bunch of goblins in a cave. We were out numbered, the melee fighters were completely surrounded. As I had no higher spells left I used Ghost Sound to do something. Creating the sound of 16 charging Knights in the tunnel leading into the cavern, I were able to convince some goblins, that our back up troops arrived. Most of them tried to flee allowing the fighters to get the upper hand in the fight.

To use Ghost Sound in such a way, it is important to make it convincing. Firstly the source of the sound should not be directly visible to the target. Not even goblins will believe you, if you create the sound of an charging army on an empty plane. Secondly the produced sound should fit into the surrounding. If you are in a cave use the sound of giant insects, goblins and kobolds instead of bisons. The Bestiaries provide lists of monsters for every terrain type. At last choose sounds creating fear in your enemies. The descriptions of monsters often state their enemies or fears. You might can find something by knowledge rolls.

As a gnome you can use the metamagic feat Threatening Illusion to flank a foe. The targeted field is considered as threatening enemies. The feat raises the spell level by one but a threatening Ghost Sound is still a good choice for level one spells. The effect probably will only last one round, but your rogue will thank you.

In role playing

The real strength of Ghost Sound comes into play once combat is over. The spell can be used in almost any situation.

Causing distraction is probably the most common use of Ghost Sound. It begins at the towns gate by creating the sound of a brawl to distract the guards to avoid paying 2 silver coins per feet. When you reach the market distract a merchant with the sound of fighting chickens in his cages, to allow your rogue to acquire a splendid lunch. Whenever a NPC has to be distracted, Ghost Sound is a good first choice.

Ghost Sound can be used to support your statements or to alter the attitude of an NPC. If you want to convince a NPC that the group on the next table is plotting to kill him, we will be more likely to believe you if he hears constant mumbling. The guards might help you if the bandits scream about killing guards and taking their wives. General advise: let the target hear what he wants to hear in order to support your own needs.

Conclusion

As Ghost Sound is a level 0 spell it is tempting to use it all the time. However keep in mind that Ghost Sound is only as effective as your game masters allows it to be. At some point the GM will snap, if you repeat the same trick over and over again. My advise: only use Ghost Sound occasionally and describe it precisely. Also explain what effect you are looking for. You won’t always get the wanted effect, but putting more effort in the descriptions makes it more likely.

Pathfinder Character: Black Courtesan

I’ve played this character in the previous campaign(s) of our group and it got retired. The idea was to create a strong social character that also fulfills the role of a classical rogue (disabling traps and opening doors). She still has some use in combat, but is very squishy and should stay hidden or behind the tank at any time.

Vashta Nerada (name origin) is a female half-elven rogue. She used to work as a courtesan but found people tend to pay more for the possessions of her clients than the clients for her services. Being a trained courtesan she has no problem to seduce victims and infiltrate mansions and strongholds. Her social skills and profession allow her to penetrate strong security measures and obtain objects of desire while the owner is fast asleep.

Name: Vashta Nerada

Race: Half-Elf

Class: Rogue/10

Ability Scores

Raw: STR: 10 DEX: 18 CON: 10 INT: 14 WIS: 10 CHA: 18

Equipped: STR: 10 DEX: 22 CON: 10 INT: 14 WIS: 10 CHA: 20

(Point Buy 25: STR: 10 DEX: 16 CON: 10 INT: 14 WIS: 10 CHA: 16, +2 DEX Race Bonus, +2 CHA from level 4+8)

Combat

Hit Points: 10D8 

Initiative: 8

Reflex: 13 Fortitude: 3 Willpower: 3

Armor Class: 22 Touch: 16 Flat-footed: 16

CMB: 7 CMD: 23

Shortbow: Attacks: +16/+11 Damage: 1d6+2 Crit: 20/x3

Shortbow(30 feet): Attacks: +17/+12 Damage: 1d6+2 (+5d6 +5 bleed on Sneak Attack)  Crit: 20/x3

Dagger: Attacks: +14/+9 Damage: 1d4 (+5d6 +5 bleed on Sneak Attack)  Crit: 19-20/x2

Feats

(5 regular + 1 skill focus from race)

  • Point-Blank Shot – +1 attack and damage on targets within 30 feet
  • Precise Shot – No penalty for shooting into melee
  • Weapon Finesse – Use DEX instead of STR on attack rolls with light weapons
  • Weapon Focus(Short Bow) – +1 bonus on attack rolls with one weapon
  • Skill Focus(Perception) – +3 bonus on one skill (+6 at 10 ranks)
  • Skill Focus(Stealth) – +3 bonus on one skill (+6 at 10 ranks)

Rogue Talents

(4 Normal, 1 Advanced )

  • Bleeding Attack: A rogue with this ability can cause living opponents to bleed by hitting them with a sneak attack.
  • Fast Stealth: This ability allows a rogue to move at full speed using the Stealth skill without penalty.
  • Trap Spotter: Whenever a rogue with this talent comes within 10 feet of a trap, she receives an immediate Perception skill check to notice the trap.
  • Sniper’s Eye: A rogue with this talent can apply her sneak attack damage on ranged attacks targeting foes within 30 feet that benefit from concealment.
  • Stealthy Sniper: When a rogue with this talent uses the Stealth skill to snipe, she only suffers a –10 penalty on the Stealth check, instead of –20.

Traits

  • Charming: Blessed with good looks, you’ve come to depend on the fact that others find you attractive. You gain a +1 trait bonus when you use Bluff or Diplomacy on a character that is (or could be) sexually attracted to you, and a +1 trait bonus to the save DC of any language-dependent spell you cast on such characters or creatures.
  • Elven Reflexes: One of your parents was a member of a wild elven tribe, and you’ve inherited a portion of your elven parent’s quick reflexes. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Initiative checks.

Equipment

(62000 GP at level 10)

  • Darkwood Shortbow +2 (8350)
  • Dagger +1 (2302)
  • Mithral Chain Shirt +2 (5300)
  • Corset of the vishkanya (3000): As a free action, the wearer can compress herself to fit through tight spaces as though affected by a squeeze spell (Advanced Race Guide) for up to 10 rounds per day. While using the corset’s magic, she gains a +5 bonus on Escape Artist checks.
  • Cloak of Elvenkind (2500): +5 Stealth
  • Eyes of the Eagle (2500): +5 Perception
  • Vest of Escape (5200):  Hidden inside these are magic lockpicks that provide a +4 competence bonus on Disable Device checks. The vest also grants its wearer a +6 competence bonus on Escape Artist checks.
  • Belt of incredible dexterity +4 (16000): +4 Dexterity
  • Boots of the Winterland (2500): The wearer of these boots is able to travel across snow at her normal speed, leaving no tracks. (And more)
  • Hat of Disguise (1800): This apparently normal hat allows its wearer to alter her appearance as with a disguise self spell.
  • Headband of alluring charisma +2 (4000): +2 Charisma
  • Mind sentinel medallion (3500): The medallion grants a continuous +2 resistance bonus on saves versus mind-affecting spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities.
  • Sleeves of many garments (200): The wearer of these sleeves can, when she slips them on, choose to transform her current garments into any other nonmagical set of clothing.
  • Apprentice’s cheating gloves (2200): The wearer of these gloves can employ mage hand and prestidigitation at will.
  • 2648 GP for other equipment and toys.

Skills

(ranks only, 11 ranks per level)

SkillRankTotal
Acrobatics1019
Stealth1030
Diplomacy1018
Disable Device1022
Disguise1018
Sleight of Hand1019
Sense Motive1013
Perception1024
Bluff10
18
Knowledge (local)510
Linguistics38
Climb47
Intimidate311
Escape Artist211
Swim14
Perform (Dance)19
Knowledge (dungeoneering)16

Situational Bonus:

  • +10 Disguise when using Hat of Disguise
  • +5 to find and disable traps (Trapfinding)
  • +3 Reflex/AC vs traps (Trap Sense)
  • +2 Resistance bonus versus mind-affecting spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities
  • +1 Bluff/Diplomacy versus characters that are (or could be) sexually attracted to you (Charming)

Aligning Player Movement with Camera

In a game with a static camera (looking down at the level) it is important to align the character movement with the camera. Failing to do so creates a distorted input feeling as the input and the actions of the player character don’t correspond to each other. To achieve a correct movement, the directions have to projected from the screen onto the scene.

Wrong movement along axis of the coordinate system.
Wrong movement along axis of the coordinate system.

Naive implementations of player movement use the axis of the coordinate system as directions. Left and Right correspond to the [1,0,0] direction and Up and Down to the[0,0,1] direction. This implementation is correct and usable as long as the camera is correctly aligned to this axis. If the camera is not aligned the movement directions no longer correspond to the perceived directions of the player (see image above). To correct this we have to extract the directions from the camera.

Corrected movement
Corrected movement along projected directions.

To compute our new directions we unproject three points from camera space to world space. Most framework/engine have built in functions to do this ( godot, opengl, unity ). We have to preform 3 unprojections for the points: (0,0), (1,0) and (0,1). By substracting the result of latter two from the former we obtain two 3D-Vectors that represent our new directions. To receive planar movement direction set the height value (mostly y) to zero and normalize the vectors.

Godot:

 var p0 = cam.project_position(Vector2(0,0))
 var pH = cam.project_position(Vector2(10,0))
 var pV = cam.project_position(Vector2(0,10))

 camH = pH - p0
 camV = pV - p0
 camH.y = 0
 camV.y = 0
 camH = camH.normalized()
 camV = camV.normalized()

camH is the horizontal movement direction and camV the vertical. Instead of using the axis of the coordinate system ([1,0,0] and [0,0,1]) as movement directions, use camH for left/right movement and camV for up/down movement.

Pasta Arugula Salad

header
This is my favorite salad. It’s suitable for most occasions and can serve as a main or side dish. It takes around 20 minutes to prepare.

ingredients

The ingredients (in a copyable fashion):

  • 500 g Pasta
  • 250 g Mini Tomatoes
  • 250 g Mozzarella
  • 125 g Arugula
  • 100 g Green Pesto
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Mustard
  • 1 Handful Grinded Parmesan Cheese
cut_and_cook

 
Cook the pasta as described on the package (al dente). While the pasta is cooking you can cut the mozzarella and the tomatoes. I divide the tomatoes once or twice, depending on their size. The mozzarella is cut into pieces roughly the same size as the tomato pieces.

Add everything to the bowl, except the arugula! It takes a long time mix everything up if you add the arugula directly. Mix the ingredients until everything is coated than add the arugula and mix it again.

Giving Pathfinder Professions More Meaning!

I wanted to add additional mechanics to professions in Pathfinder to give them more meaning. At the moment the only usage of a profession is to earn some money. Occasionally some professions can be used in other ways; for example fixing a cart. These additional mechanics should give players more incentive to pick a profession, instead of spending their points on perception.

Cook

Preparing a Lavish Meal:

To prepare a Lavish Meal you need one pound of fresh ingredients per small or normal creature to feed. Additionally you need spices worth at least 1 gp. per person. It takes one hour to prepare the meal. If you want to feed more than 10 people it takes an additional hour per 10 people. You need a fire, or any other sufficient heat source, a pan and a pot.

Everyone eating a full Lavish Meal is healed. The amount of HP recovered depends on the Profession(Cooking) throw of the cook. A normal Lavish Meal heals 2 HP. You can only benefit from a Lavish Meal once per day.

The DC Profession(Cooking) to create a Lavish Meal is 20. For every 5 by which your check result exceeds the DC, the meal heals additional 2 hit points.

Woodcutter

Find Weak Spot:

You can analyse wooden objects, e.g. wooden doors, to find their weak spots to break them more easily. If you know the weak spot of an object the Strength DC to break it is lowered by one point. Additionally the objects hardness is lowered by one point.

It takes 1 minute to find a weak spot. You can use the bonus as long as you can see and access the found weak spot. Once you found one, you can describe it to other persons to allow them the same bonus. You have to stand next to the person, when she is breaking or attacking the object.

The DC Profession(Woodcutter) to find a weak spot is 20. For every 5 by which your check result exceeds the DC, the Strength DC to break the object and the hardness are lowered by an additional point.

Brewer

Splendid Drink

To prepare a Splendid Drink you need herbs worth at least 2 gp. per small or normal person. You can create at most 10 drinks with one Profession(Brewer) throw. It takes 30 minutes to prepare the drink. The drink has to cook for 4 hours before it is usable. You do not have to tend the drink while it is cooked. Splendid Drinks can be filled into flasks, waterskins or similar containers. A Splendid Drink has to be used 1 week after its creation or its effect is lost.

The DC Profession(Brewer) for brewing a Splendid Drink is 20. A Splendid Drink grants a +1 bonus to any skill check for 10 minutes. For every 5 by which your check result exceeds the DC Profession(Brewer), the drink grants an additional +1 bonus on skill checks. Tasks that take longer than 10 minutes, e.g. crafting, do not benefit from Splendid Drink. A Creature can only benefit from a Splendid Drink once per day.

Scribe

Prepare Letter of Recommendation

It takes 1 hour to create a Letter of Recommendation. You need parchment and ink worth at least 1 gp. and a quiet environment with a suitable surface to write on.

A Letter of Recommendation gives you a +2 bonus to one diplomacy throw against a merchant or an official instance, e.g. a mayor or town guard. The person the Letter of Recommendation is used against will keep it, regardless the result of the diplomacy throw. You can only use one Letter of Recommendation per diplomacy throw.

The DC Profession(Scribe) to create a Letter of Recommendation is 20. For every 5 by which your check result exceeds the DC, the diplomacy bonus granted by the Letter is increased by two points.

Driver

Spare Horses:

While driving a curt you can use Spare Horses to travel longer. You need to drive the cart or wagon the full 8 hours to uses be able to use Spare Horses. You can also use the skill when the cart is pulled by other animals than horses.

Spare Horses allows you to travel 1 hour longer before the horses get exhausted. The DC Profession(Driver) of Spare Horses is 20. For every 5 by which your check result exceeds the DC, you can travel an extra hour before your horses get exhausted.

Librarian

Support Research:

You can support an ally, including yourself, in his research. You need access to library or a book collection with at least 100 books. You have to support your ally for at least 1 hour. A person can only be supported once per knowledge check.

The DC Profession(Librarian) of Support Research is 20. A person you support in his research gains a +2 bonus on his knowledge check. For every 5 by which your check result exceeds the DC Profession(Librarian), the target gains an extra +2 bonus to its knowledge check.

Gambler

Test your Luck:

Your are used to risk everything for the chance of winning some coins. Even outside the tavern you can test your luck. By testing you luck you gain a luck points applicable to skill, attack and saving throws.

Test you luck is a move action. If success you gain luck points. You have to use the luck points in the next round or they are discarded. Luck points are applicable to skill, attack and saving throws. You have to apply the luck points before throwing the dice. You can split up you luck points, for example using 1 point for an attack roll and 1 point for a skill check.

The DC Profession (Gambler) of Test your luck is 20. If you succeed you gain one luck point. For every 5 by which your check result exceeds the DC Profession (Gambler), you gain an additional luck point. Once your fail the skill check profession (Gambler) you can’t use Test your Luck for the rest of the day. Additionally your next skill, attack or saving throws is performed with a malus equal to the luck points you gained that day. You can’t do a useless check to dismiss the malus.

 

How to prepare a Campaign without rail-roads

I posted this on reddit a while back, just adding it here for completion.

When I plan a campaign, I separate the planning phase in two parts:

  1. Planning the main story arc
  2. Preparing for a session

Planning the main story arc

First figure out in which world you play want to play. Who are the big players? Kings, Gods, established heroes, etc. .
Create a small list of attributes for every important NPC. The list should contain their motives, morales, personality. The lists will help you to stay consistent and to act upon the PCs actions quickly.

As you won’t be able to tell what will happen in the course of several sessions only make a rough plan of events that will happen.
Set up an initial list of events that will occur if the party of heroes would not exist. Example: the evil guy tries to summon an evil monster in roughly 10 days.
This timetable will give you a rough framework for your campaign, without rail-roading the story. After each session you should revisit the timetable and figure out how the actions of the heroes have changed the course of history. Example: If the PCs killed a commander of the evil forces, the raid on a village in 2 weeks can’t take place.This fixed timetable also means that the players can miss certain events if they are to slow or ignore a story plot. E. g. If the party needs four weeks to stop an event something else will happen without a chance for the PCs to intervene. With the timetable and rough descriptions of the event you got an overall story arc that is not written in stone and can be changed by the players.

Preparing for a session

When planning a session take a look at the timetable to see what is up next. Think through what can happen in the next bit of the story and possible actions of the PCs. You will never find all possible decisions, so don’t even bother writing it down ;).
When you got a rough overview for the session, you can start to prepare.

Create groups of enemies fitting into the scene. Create local maps of villages, dungeons and other sites you want to use. Figure out how the enemies will behave.
Example: 2 groups of goblin guard the mage tower. On a small balcony hovers an all-seeing-eye warning the mages if it sees anything unusual. The door to the mages bedroom is trapped with Trap X. etc. .
If you have difficulties improvising, spend more time describing details of the sites the heroes visit. Have a lot of stuff ready you can use if needed.

At the end you should have a detailed description of the places the party will visit. From that point on the players decide. Listen to their actions and look up what could happen.

Example: They sneak through the fields -> give the goblins and the eye a perception throw and act upon it.

If you notice that it will get to boring, use the assets you created to add more into your world. Maybe 2 goblins decided to plunder the kitchen, and they notice the group.

Hopefully I gave you a rough idea how I plan my campaigns.

TL:DR

  1. Have a rough story arc for the campaign.
  2. Create detailed descriptions of sites and enemies for every session and only act upon the actions of the party

Create tileable textures with GIMP

The input material

I took photos of the grass in my backyard to create a grass texture. The camera was held at shoulder height pointing down. I cropped the image into a 1:1 image. Try to keep the image as big as possible. Do not scale it into your desired dimension yet!

input_image
Original image of grass

Make it tileable!

There are two methods to make the image tileable/seamless.

The easiest way to create a tileable texture is to use the “Make Seamless” tool (Filters->Map->Make Seamless).

If you aren’t satisfied by the results of the Make Seamless filter you can also do it by hand.
Start by applying an x/2, y/2 offset by using the Layer->Transform->Offset tool.
This will offset the image in such a way that the opposite border match each other perfectly, but it only shifts the problem. You should notice that there are two lines, one horizontal, one vertical, were the image doesn’t fit together. You can remove the visible borders in various ways, e.g. using the clone and blur tool.

seamless_grass
Texture made seamless

Removing the midrange frequencies

At this point we cloud use the texture, but we will go one step further. The image still contains midrange frequencies, that we want to remove. The midrange frequencies will produce ugly tiling effects if the texture is repeated often.

Start by duplicating the seamless texture and apply a tileable blur (Filters->Blur->Tileable Blur) onto the duplicated version. Choose a high radius, roughly 10% of the images size. This will create a layer containing the mid and low frequencies.

To preserve the low frequencies create a new texture below the two existing. Use the Color Picker with a big radius to select an average color of the texture and fill the new texture with this color.

We now have one layer containing the mid and low frequencies, one containing the low frequencies and one containing all frequencies.

To create a layer containing the high frequencies set the mode of the blurred layer to “Grain extract” and move it above the original layer. By Merging these two layers you gain a new layer containing only the high frequencies. After merging set the mode of the resulting layer to “Grain merge” and merge the two remaining layers. This creates our final image containing the high and low frequencies but no mid frequencies.

finished_grass_texture
The finished grass texture

Note: I scaled the images to save bandwidth