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Great Wyrm
 
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:30 pm
Posts: 1870
Location: Layfayette Hill, PA
 Post subject: RttToEE
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:41 pm 
It is my turn to DM our group-world adventure thread and I have decided to undertake the mega module the Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil.

Most of our group games locally, but with MapTool we are able to bring in long time roaming friends. At the start, we will have 5-7 locally, and 2-3 remote. Our local players will try to have 1 laptop per 2 players. That conserves table space, reduces server load, keeps folks from surfing email (harder to surf if 2 people need the machine) and support those of us without laptops or computer savvy.

We will have a conference room phone connected to Skype via the D-Link phone-to-USB adaptor. So far this has worked very reliably for us.

We will have video streaming from the basement and hosted on Ustream.tv. This is primarily to allow our remote folks to see the DM or animated players. Generally it will get very little use. I also have the Broadcaster Studio virtual webcam device that will let me stream audio, video, windows, pictures, etc. directly from the hosting PC. I figure this will be useful for the odd visual aid (like streaming a particular view from the Forgotten Realms Atlas as I generate it real time). The single video stream is much lighter on my bandwidth than trying any of the other variety of video sharing. With Ustream I have a single feed to their server, then my remote players use Ustream's bandwidth to get the video.

I am constructing the campaigns in MapTool 1.3b31. So far I have laid out the maps for a Dungeon magazine module I am using as warmup, and have entered the starting dungeon/temple areas of RttToEE. I have yet to populate them with monster tokens but that will be done before we start. I also have to put in the overland and town/city locals.

When I get the campaigns populated I will put them up for comment should anyone want to suggest better/faster ways of generating the campaign files. I should have one up by the end of this week.

This campaign starts Friday the 13th so I hope to start with a TPK to set the mood right :twisted:

P.S. Here is the ustream URL if anyone really wants to be bored out of their socks:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/cylons-game-night


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Codeum Arcanum (RPTools Founder)
 
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 4:16 pm
Posts: 11390
Location: Austin, Tx
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:36 pm 
Sounds like you're all geared up for a fantastically good time :) Let us know how it goes !

_________________
Dreaming of a 1.3 release


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Cave Troll
 
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:27 pm
Posts: 99
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:29 pm 
this sounds great! can't wait to hear more.


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Great Wyrm
 
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:30 pm
Posts: 1870
Location: Layfayette Hill, PA
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:10 pm 
Our group historically has a hard time getting motivated to generate session notes. Then a year later we can't remember why we started on the long quest...

Generally we reward the session secretary a 10% xp bonus (with a minimum of 50xp) for writing the notes.

With the RttToEE I have raised the reward level for my crew (with one of the goals to get more feedback on the use of MapTool):

I am modifying the rewards for session notes. First let me define what I require of the notes.

1) Date of session
2) List of attendees AND their levels
3) Synopsis of the events
4) Notes on technical success/troubles with our electronic environment
5) Notes posted in text in the forum by Thursday evening preceding the next session

I will add XP.

The reward for writing notes will now be:

1) +50% of the nights XP
2) Gold Pieces = XP bonus
3) or a minimum of 50xp + 50 GP

I reserve the right to increase/decrease the % as we progress, but will always announce any change before the next set of notes are written.

I have been enjoying the magic shop in Doug's Shackled City. I will probably not have a single shop like SC, but there will always be things available for purchase. The goal of these gold piece rewards is to assist in item purchases or spell book population or whatever. As you may notice, at a minimum you will be able to buy a potion of cure light wounds for writing one sessions notes. More likely you will have 500-1000 extra gp for writing the notes.

I am hopeful this reward increase will stimulate real interest in generating the session notes. I would expect a person would call dibs (or dice for) the rights to generate the notes that week. If this is insufficient incentive, let me know and I will try to think up something else (like everyone permanently loses 1 random stat point for a week where there are no notes, or wraith thieves visit you in between sessions and steal the gains of the previous session).


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Kobold
 
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:07 am
Posts: 17
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:43 pm 
Hey, saw you were starting up a RttToEE game and was wondering if you'd want the maps I've made for it, as I'm currently running a group through as well. I was going to wait to upload them until they were all created, but I can toss you the ones I have so far.

I have all of the moathouse, above ground temple, and about 2/3 of the CRM. They are all set at 50px per 5ft. Keep in mind they aren't perfect scale copies, but most of the features/rooms should be in generally the correct place ;)

I have them as the raw bitmaps and as compressed .jpgs at about 3200x4000 resolution for the biggest maps. The jpgs come to about 2.2 megs apiece which seems to work well enough in maptool, at least among my players.

So ya, just let me know if you want the jpgs or the bitmaps and ill zip em up and post a link.


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Great Wyrm
 
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:30 pm
Posts: 1870
Location: Layfayette Hill, PA
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:40 pm 
CJack42,

Thanks for the offer!!!

I have harvested a TON of images from the web (the ZansforCans site has a great RttToEE library). One of the map sets was already edited to use a graphic program with layers to do a projector type of FoW mechanism. I took those and saved out a single layer map that has no DM information on it (no traps, no secret door, no room numbers). I assembled the entire CRM into one image. But as I looked at it I saw that it would quickly become an impossible MapTool map as the VBL layer alone would choke an elephant, let alone all of the monster tokens and visual aids I would want to add:

Spoiler:
http://gallery.rptools.net/d/20455-2/CRM-LGM.jpg


So instead I will have that full image on one map and manually erase the Fog as my players explore to give them a high level view of the dungeon, and use each of the separate segment maps to populate the dungeon for exploration.

But I am ages from needing the CRM. So getting additional source material would be great. So if you find some idle time, feel free to toss em up to Rapidshare (or whatever) and I will see what I can use!

I will be posting up my campaign files for general review/use as I get them to a working state (VBL done, Monsters added, other objects and visual aids added).

One thing I am finding, I tend to be leaning toward lighter weight vs. fancier. What I mean by that is I have found some really nice versions of the Welcome Wench Inn, and the Moathouse, and other spots. These are often 3k+ x 3k+ in size and very pretty. I find resizing them down to about 1000x1000 or less is much lighter weight but sacrifices some of the prettiness.

Some of my players still grumble things like: "why can't we just use our imagination", and, "what's wrong with markers and a mat". These of course are the players that do not have laptops and have to share with others, and they are not setting their mindset to be patient as we learn how to use this new medium. So basically, faster is > everything else for them. Of course they quickly forget all the time we spend drawing on the mat, and things like we have stopped using mazes in adventures as without fog of war, they are just too darn hard to represent in a time efficient manner.


Last edited by lmarkus001 on Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Great Wyrm
 
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:30 pm
Posts: 1870
Location: Layfayette Hill, PA
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:21 pm 
Here is my "warm up" adventure before we actually head into the RttToEE...

The Hive (Dungeon 127) by Phillip Larwood

http://rapidshare.com/files/120327925/M ... cmpgn.html


Construction Notes:

I found the process of adding tokens to be rather tedious. If I want each token to have macros to do core things like Spot or Attack, then I need to put a fair bit of data into a token.

I think just rolling via real dice (or a generic macro button) may be the way I will go for much of what I build. Dropping a token and giving it an image is trivial. It is the fancy stuff that takes forever.


Last edited by lmarkus001 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Kobold
 
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:07 am
Posts: 17
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 2:36 pm 
http://rapidshare.com/files/120340419/RttToEEmaps.rar.html
That has the bitmaps and jpegs in it, as well as some handouts. I'd give you the MT campaign files but they are spread out amongst a years worth of development versions so probably would be of little use.

You may need to adjust the grid in MT for some of the maps, I wasn't as stringent with making everything work perfectly in the beginning. nothing difficult though. Hope you can make use of them.


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Great Wyrm
 
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:30 pm
Posts: 1870
Location: Layfayette Hill, PA
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:15 pm 
Nice maps! Thanks for sharing!

I like your temple map a lot, I am trying to decide if I have the time to redo that part of one of the campaign files...

The CRM areas look really nice, I will have to look at them closer as I get ready to build up that campaign file.


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Site Admin
 
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:20 pm
Posts: 12103
Location: Tampa, FL
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:32 am 
I have the Outer Fane with VBL added to it and all DM-specific stuff on a layer that only the DM can see. In addition, I've used stamps with Notes so that the players can click them to see the room description or get other information. I have not done that for all rooms, however. And many times the stamps have GM-specific notes that the players can't see to serve as reminders.

I have also done the Inner Fane, complete with VBL. It's a little tricky to do, but I decided to use a single map and put all of the different levels on it. I added VBL as indicated by the grid (ie. VBL always fills a grid square or leaves the grid square completely empty) as this allows the players to know which grid squares are valid for movement. But it kinda' messes up the players' view of the map, IMO. If I had to do this over again, I might fill the entire map with VBL, then carve out the areas they can see. That prevents them (somewhat) from moving into areas that I don't want them moving into.

I have, of course, somewhat customized my RttToEE campaign, but mostly via NPCs and background and not so much through maps.

I have not set up any token macros for the NPCs, as I use DM Genie for all of that stuff.

I'm particularly proud of how Level 9 of the Inner Fane turned out! Read the description of that area and you'll see what I mean when you try to figure out how to put it into MapTool...

Drop me an email via this forum and I'll use a reply to send you back the files I have. They worked in 1.3.b20 (I think) so they should still be fine now.


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Great Wyrm
 
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:30 pm
Posts: 1870
Location: Layfayette Hill, PA
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:17 pm 
My first session will be this Friday...

I have posted up my overland campaign that has Homlet and Nulb included (we are setting our campaign in Cormyr in the Forgotten Realms).

http://rapidshare.com/files/121286324/M ... cmpgn.html


I have my first technical difficulty.

I want to have audio and video if possible. As I mentioned I am planning to use Ustream.tv for the video feed and Skype for the audio (because of the D-Link USB to Skype adapter).

Well it turns out the D-Link drivers eat 30% of my cpu. Then Skype takes its chunk bringing me to around 75% cpu utilization. If I add in the video I am at 92+% utilization and I have not even launched MapTool...

So the video is going to wait a bit. I have found a nice phone-to-PC audio jacks cable and once I build or buy that, I will probably change to using Ventrilo. I expect the cpu utilization to drop massively as Ventrilo is far less resource hungry and the internal audio system should be way less than that stupid D-Link device.

http://www.vital.pri.ee/PSTN
or
http://www.chat-cord.com/


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Great Wyrm
 
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:30 pm
Posts: 1870
Location: Layfayette Hill, PA
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:19 am 
Here is my Moathouse campaign file:

http://rapidshare.com/files/121452168/M ... cmpgn.html

I am choosing to not script the more complicated foes (like those with PC caster levels). But most of the critters have macros.


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Great Wyrm
 
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:30 pm
Posts: 1870
Location: Layfayette Hill, PA
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:32 am 
Session 1 - Technical Report

The Good:

Stable - I had 7 machines in total connected and all connected effortlessly and maintained the connections through the night. Things that have changed since our last trouble ridden night include:
    1.3b31 vs. 1.3b30
    Put the repository on a web server
    Host box was not running the Cytrix VPN client
    Ran the 512M memory version vs. the Web launch version


Fast & Easy to setup - All users had to get the 1.3b31 client downloaded and running with 512M memory. I was able to help everyone get that done quickly and without any complications.


The Mediocre:

I have an Actiontec router and I use the MAC address restrictions to limit who can access my network. It turns out that that router seems to have a limit of around 10 MAC addresses that it can store. So I opened up the network for the evening just to not have to mess with it. For the future, I will probably disable the wireless bit of that router and use a nice SMC router I have.

Skype - Skype audio is wonderful. We had clear consistent professional conference call quality the entire evening. But Skype + the D-Link USB-phone adapter use up 85% of the cpu of the 1.6GHz Athlon 64 processor laptop I was hosting on. This left very little processor for MapTools. Next week I am replacing the D-Link CRAP with another link so we will see if that is sufficient. Also the new adapter will allow me to use Ventrilo which is far lighter.

MapTool performance - I have a very busy map that was just too much for the system configuration. It has a bunch of stamps and a lot of VBL squares (it is an outdoor setting). When I swapped to that map, and attempted to drop a PC token onto it, my processor pegged at 100%. It then took me about 20 minutes to drop the 6 tokens on and Edit them to give the players rights to their tokens.

I think there is a need for a way to associate a token to a connected machine that does not require the Edit window. That window was taking 1-3 minutes for me to open as the processor was pegged. I will make sure all player tokens are on all of my maps now as that process took forever... especially since I could not drop an entire party at once.

MapTool privacy - I set a bunch of maps in my campaign file to NOT PLAYER VISIBLE. While that worked, the map names were still visible to the players in the pull down globe icon. So they know that there are some 6 odd maps in the campaign that are to be found, and they have clues to where to look based on the map names (for example, on map is named Mill so now they are on the lookout for a mill).

Video: As my processor was at 92-100% all evening, I decided to not run any video as there were no resources to handle it.


The Bad:

D-Link USB-Phone adapter: This thing is total crap. Every time I need to connect it, I must reinstall the drivers. That installation often takes multiple attempts. Once I get it working, it takes up ~40% of my cpu. Stay away from this junk.


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Deity
 
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 7:56 pm
Posts: 6309
Location: Middle of Nowhere, NM
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 10:01 am 
lmarkus001 wrote:
MapTool privacy - I set a bunch of maps in my campaign file to NOT PLAYER VISIBLE. While that worked, the map names were still visible to the players in the pull down globe icon.


Not supposed to do that and I can't reproduce that here. Were the maps set to hidden before the players connected? Before the server was started?


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Site Admin
 
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:20 pm
Posts: 12103
Location: Tampa, FL
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 5:56 pm 
Regardless of the answers to Phergus' questions, I would still like to have two names for the maps: GM name and player-visible name.

Or the ability to rename the map would be fine, too.


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