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Roleplaying Tips Weekly E-Zine Issue #299

150 Benign Urban Encounters


Edited by: Isaac Calon

This Week's Tips Summarized 

150 Benign Urban Encounters

  1. 150 Benign Urban Encounter Ideas

Readers' Tips Summarized 

  1. Peanut Butter Wiki
    From: Dave Schaefer
  2. Fun Trap Ideas
    From: Edge
  3. 200 Adventuring Company Names
    From: Forrest
  4. Rhetoric For Your Games
    From: Johnn
  5. Group Name Tip
    From: Elena of Valhalla
  6. Mark Your Figures With Discs
    From: Scot Newbury

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D&D MINIATURES - Singles & Sets

VESIVUS should be your first stop for D&D (and Star Wars) miniatures - available by Mail Order or direct pickup from Vesivus in Edmonton. They sell boosters at astoundingly low prices, and have the largest selection of miniatures you're likely to find on this continent.

Special: D&D WAR DRUMS Preorders for $125 CND/$110 USD. This is for a case of 12 boosters, each with 8 randomized miniatures. This offer is only available for another week -- so be sure to contact them at "[email protected]" to get yours Now! War Drums Starters, and War Drums Singles will also be Available on March 3rd (the date of release).

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A Brief Word From Johnn 

RPG Advocacy Tips - Supplemental #21 Now Available

Whew - the RPG Advocacy tips Supplemental Issue is now online. It's a big sucker - thanks very much for the great tips submissions on this sensitive topic! You can get the issue here.

Tell Me About Your Character

The Escapist is looking for gamers to participate in TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER, a new column of interviews with diverse and interesting gamers and the characters they play.

Find out more here.

TiddlyWiki Your Campaigns

I stumbled onto a neat organization tool recently and have been using it for my Eberron campaign with success. It's called TiddlyWiki, a free, client-side wiki you can customize with your own styles and numerous community add- ons and plug-ins.

The blurb on the creator's site about what a TiddlyWiki is reads:

Welcome to TiddlyWiki, a free Micro Content Wiki by Jeremy Ruston. It's written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to run on any modern browser without needing any Server Side logic. It allows anyone to create personal, self-contained hypertext documents that can be posted to any web server, sent by email, or kept on a USB thumb drive to make a WikiOnAStick. TiddlyWiki is published under an Open Source License.

To get your own, free TiddlyWiki, or to learn more:

If you have questions about TiddlyWiki, or wikis in general, feel free to ping me. Also, be sure to read Dave Schaefer's Peanut Butter Wiki tip in this issue for more about wikis.



Johnn Four

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World Building Library Debuts

Welcome to Expeditious Retreat Press' latest project! World Building Library is a series of articles, exploring different aspects of real world phenomena and integrating those elements into a role-playing environment. Look for the first titles at your favored vendor of electronic products: Items of Myth and Legend: India I and II, Tibetan Deities, and Tibetan Exorcisms.

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150 Benign Urban Encounters

This article has moved to the Articles Section.

Small Dice Tray

10" diameter, 8" felt rolling surface, sturdy wood construction. The perfect accessory for the well-appointed gaming table.

Small Dice Tray at RPG Shop

Readers' Tips Of The Week: 

1. Peanut Butter Wiki 

From: Dave Schaefer

I wanted to mention another cool wiki I found after being inspired by Jon Thompson's wiki tip from issue #282. It's called Peanut Butter Wiki and it's great! The wikis are easy to set up and use, look clean, and are totally free. Two different games I play in are using pbwiki now, and it's an awesome way to collect, share, and update information about the campaign. Best of all, PBWiki does the hosting, so you don't have to spend time or effort setting up your own server.

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2. Fun Trap Ideas 

From: Edge

Despite playing in a world full of magic, strange creatures, and outlandish locations, I still end up finding the idea of automatic dart traps a little unrealistic. The level of engineering apparent in ancient cultures found in games is amazing. Maybe too much so. Here are a few ideas for simpler traps that anyone could build without the help of a kobold trap master.

The Door Axe

A large axe is attached to the top of the door frame, either held against the wall above the door, or attached to the ceiling. When the door is opened a thin wire attached pulls the axe which swings right through the open door. Damage varies based on the qualities of the axe. A Reflex save allows the character to avoid the cut, provided his friends aren't all rushing in after him. An alert character can see the wire and bypass harm.

Bucket on the Door

Anyone can have a bucket, and it shouldn't be hard to find something grotty to put inside. Poisons, vermin, oil (ready to be lit), slippy slime, gluey substances, blinding powder, tar, or even water.

[Editor's suggestion: In a cold-weather campaign being soaked can be lethal. A freezing body might experience shock, and water acts like superglue as boots, eyelids, and fingers are frozen to whatever they touch.]

Floor Board Spikes

Rather than tricky and complex mechanisms to shoot spikes, why not use rotten floor boards that give way to spikes an inch below. To make things nastier you need a longer fall and bigger spikes. Creators can avoid it by stepping on the few planks that aren't rotten, but made to look like they are.

The Ant Nursery

Some ants excavate large nests underground. If enough weight passes over one it will collapse, leaving the unlucky victim in a pit filled with furious, biting ants. Any character falling in will have to climb crumbly dirt walls while enduring hundreds of stings.

Lantern Trick

A simple trap, but one that can be versatile with preparation. The container below the flame has had easily- overlooked holes put in just above the oil level. If the lantern is tipped or dropped the oil will spill out and set the whole thing ablaze. An adventurer who uses this lantern could find it bursting into flames in his hand, and might spill more oil over himself. Movement like running, climbing, combat, or leaving it swinging from a backpack will surely set it off.

You could also set it up with a simple mechanism to knock it off its wall hanging or drop it from the ceiling, causing it to smash open and splashing burning oil on all adjacent. In the right circumstances it could just be set down somewhere likely to be disturbed. Try positioning it over an oiled floor, in a room full of hay, or near grain sacks full of grain dust. This trap must be set just before the 'visitors' arrive, and for every second it burns it loses potency.

You Broke My Vase!

For when you don't have a handy alarm spell, a poorly- balanced vase or pot makes a fine improvised alarm. The pot could be set leaning against a door that, if opened, causes the vase to fall and smash. It could also be tied to a trip wire.

The Creaky Door

This one can be a great short range warning. Imagine the rogue's frustration as they try their hardest to quietly open those rusted hinges.

[Note from Johnn: great trap ideas Edge! Simple, real, and fun. Do any readers have trap ideas like these? It would be great to do an issue on simple traps for your games. E-mail your trap ideas to Johnn ]

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3. 200 Adventuring Company Names 

From: Forrest

In my campaign, naming your adventuring group is expected. Any group of such powerful and well-armed individuals is expected to purchase an adventuring charter from the government offices. To get the charter a group must have a name.

In at least one case the patron of the group procured the charter, and since he paid he got to name the team (or I did as GM). This is one way that the GM can keep an eye on weird or silly names. Another is requiring the group to only use an original name (sort of like the current company naming policies most places require). Any silly names have already been taken.

Here is a list of names I compiled, in no particular order.

  1. Company of the Silver Skull
  2. Knights of the Filthy Lucre
  3. Company of the Scarlet Swords
  4. Company of the Broken Lantern
  5. Company of the Bloodshot Eye
  6. The Little People
  7. The Gray Riders
  8. The Pyromaniacs
  9. The Savage Company
  10. The Salvage and Recovery Team
  11. Companions of the Keg
  12. Brotherhood of the Blade
  13. The Underdark Raiding & Expedition Company
  14. The Company of the Broken Arrow
  15. The Company of the Fell Rune
  16. The Company of the Bloated Corpse
  17. The Wildmen
  18. The Wilderness Restoration Society
  19. The Revenue Generation League
  20. The Castaways
  21. The Old World Expeditionary Force
  22. The Emancipation Organization
  23. The Executioners
  24. The Embattled Company
  25. The Courageous Company
  26. The Elfin Admiration Society
  27. The Honor Society
  28. The Wilderness Abatement League
  29. The Monster Extermination Brotherhood
  30. The Sisters of Pain
  31. The Odd Squad
  32. The Aborigines
  33. Adventurers at Large
  34. The Beautiful People
  35. Dealers in Abuse
  36. The Abysmal Failures
  37. The Company of Public Acclaim
  38. The Accidental Death & Dismemberment Team
  39. The Company of Glorious Accolade
  40. The Accomplished Company
  41. The Society of Harmonious Accord
  42. The Martial Fraternity
  43. Ace Troubleshooters
  44. The Masters of Acquisition
  45. The Company of the Adventurous Addiction
  46. The Adamantium League
  47. The Admirable Adventuring Society
  48. The Gentle Admonishment Sorority
  49. The Regulators of Adversity
  50. Aegis Society
  51. The Gatherers of Affluence
  52. The Brawlers
  53. The Agents of Agility
  54. The Aggravation Eliminators
  55. The Adventurers Allegro
  56. The Altruistic Company
  57. The Altercationists
  58. The Amazonian Sisterhood
  59. Ambuscade Inc.
  60. The Amorous Company
  61. Lions of the Underdark
  62. The Anarchists
  63. The Antagonist League
  64. The Aquatic Company
  65. The Ardent Adventurers
  66. Adventurers Ascendant
  67. The Atrocity Force
  68. The Balladeers
  69. Band of the Bare Blade
  70. The Band of Battle
  71. Battle Brotherhood
  72. Battle Force
  73. The Bawdy Band
  74. Beast Slayers
  75. Beast Slayer Specialists
  76. The Subterfuge Company
  77. The Bedlam Boys
  78. The Bellicose Band
  79. Company of the Bitch
  80. Bitches & Bastards
  81. Bizarre Force
  82. The Blackguards
  83. The Bad Guys
  84. Bluff & Blunder
  85. Brotherhood of the Brave
  86. The Company of False Bravado
  87. The Brazen Company
  88. The Ladies of Ill Repute
  89. Freebooters of the Briny Deep
  90. The Expedition & Brigandage Society
  91. The Fire & Brimstone Brood
  92. Brutality Inc.
  93. The Brutal Buccaneers
  94. The Buccaneering & Enrichment Society
  95. The Personal Enrichment League
  96. The Cohorts of Destruction
  97. The Lords of Destruction
  98. Company of the Hunting Horn
  99. Brotherhood of the Sacred Bull
  100. Sisterhood of the Sacred Bullock
  101. The Bungling Through Crew
  102. Looters of the Lost Cairn
  103. Company of the Precipitous Withdrawal
  104. The Calamity Resolution Society
  105. The Cohort of Campaigners
  106. The Dungeon Capitalization League
  107. The Capricious Company
  108. Caravan Escort & Protection, Inc.
  109. The Castration Company
  110. The Catastrophic Event Society
  111. The Shining Cavaliers
  112. The Crotchety Cavaliers
  113. The Celebrated Companions
  114. The Celestial Cohort
  115. The Celestial Sorority
  116. The Brotherhood of the Orb Celestial
  117. The Celestial Beauties
  118. The Celestial Buccaneers
  119. The Celestial Cabal
  120. The Infernal League
  121. The Celestial Blades
  122. The Celestial Heroes
  123. The Celestial Sisterhood
  124. The Demonic Pack
  125. The Celestial Raiders
  126. The Courageous Cadets
  127. The Centaur Squad
  128. The Ceremonial Guard
  129. The Celestial Champions
  130. Champions of the Crucible
  131. Forgebrothers of Adversity
  132. The Chainmail Champions
  133. The Companions of the Honorable Challenge
  134. Challengers of the Underdark
  135. The Challengers of Adversity
  136. The Challengers of Chaos
  137. The Chaotic Company
  138. Seekers of the Big Haul
  139. Seekers of the Celestial Coin
  140. Tymora's Troop
  141. The Challengers of Horror
  142. The Troop of the Dark Tomb
  143. The Band of Blood
  144. The Berserk Gang
  145. Companions of the Lady
  146. Masters of Destiny
  147. Band of the Brave Ballad
  148. Champions of Justice
  149. The Injustice League
  150. The Seven Swords
  151. Opportunity Knocks
  152. The Lord's Men
  153. Kingsmen
  154. The Maiden's Watch
  155. The Femme Fatales
  156. The Sword's Edge Company
  157. The Liberators
  158. The Spearhead Society
  159. The Lords of Order
  160. The Myrmidons of Mayhem
  161. The Order of Infernal Glory
  162. The Witch-Hunters
  163. Exterminators of the Undead
  164. Followers of the Holy Light
  165. Brotherhood of the Holy Sword
  166. The Sword Sisters
  167. The Sword Watch
  168. Guardians of the Unfailing Watch
  169. The Guardians of the Holy Word
  170. The Unholy Guard
  171. The Never-Ending Patrol
  172. Guardians of the Supernatural World
  173. Keepers of the Crystal Goblet
  174. Seekers of the Eternal Beast
  175. Keepers of the Peace
  176. Enforcers of the Common Good
  177. Followers of the Way of the Weapon
  178. The Apostates
  179. The Free Fighters Guild
  180. Companions of the Mithril Golem
  181. The Adamantium Order of Punishment
  182. Keepers of the Iron Crown
  183. Cohorts of the Infernal Agreement
  184. The Divine Guard
  185. Guardians of the Divine Rose
  186. Fruit of the Vine Society
  187. Followers of the Divine Glory
  188. The Sorcery Squad
  189. The Warfare Admiration Association
  190. Delvers of the Unknown
  191. The Triumphant Troop
  192. The Abyssal Assembly
  193. The Select of Society
  194. The Mounted Constables of Law
  195. The Marshals of the Eternal Flame
  196. We Happy Few
  197. The Ignoble Band
  198. The Gentlemen of the Bloody Gauntlet
  199. The Inspired Order
  200. The Followers of the Unforgiving Way

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4. Rhetoric For Your Games 

From: Johnn

Check out this site of the top 100 general speeches, political speeches, and movie speeches for interesting content you can use for NPCs on soap boxes, adventure parts, and player handouts and other props:

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5. Group Name Tip 

From: Elena of Valhalla

For my lighthearted group, I selected an acronym at the start of the campaign and told it to the players, asking them to find its meaning, taking all the time they needed. This gave me something to use for the website and mailing list right from the start, and it also proved fun, with many alternative meanings born at various stages of the game. This might not be a good idea for everyone as it could hurt the suspension of disbelief.

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6. Mark Your Figures With Discs 

From: Scot Newbury -

The question often comes up during a role-playing session, "how do I mark a figure on the battlemat?" My solution: make discs out of dowels.

For those not familiar, dowels are short wooden rods you find in craft stores or in the craft department of your local super-store. They come in a variety of diameters. I recommend the 1 inch variety as it matches up with the size of your typical battle-mat grid. Be sure to pick up some paint as well; 4-8 colors should give you enough variety.

Cut small sections of your dowel (be consistent with the size) and paint them in different colors. When a character has a particular effect placed on them you can slip one of these discs under the figure. Since the discs are painted, you can easily tell which effects are in place.

If you have a figure that's larger than a single square, just slip a disc under each corner of the figurine to mark it.

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Thieves' World Gazetteer

The Thieves' World Gazetteer presents all new information on the world of Sanctuary, expanding the focus to reveal the peoples and places in the Known World. This volume includes extensive details on the gods of Thieves' World, a comprehensive history, and a discussion on the cosmology and planes, along with a slew of new cultures, backgrounds, and other supplementary information. With the Thieves' World Gazetteer, Sanctuary is just the beginning of a larger world of adventure!

Thieves' World Gazetteer at RPG Shop