Archive for October, 2008

Generating a city


So I’m really lazy when it comes to creating cities for DnD, and this book is no exception. a few years back I wrote a samll utility to generate a city from a given xml file full of choices. After attempting to use it to generate some towns, I found it really wasn’t finished and the code was unreadable (it was perl after all, and city generation is complex). So, I’ve rewritten it in Ruby, and while it’s not done yet, here’s a good example of what it’ll produce- see if you can figure out what the madlib words are…

Name: Jamvita, Town (15938246)
Population: 3322 (Large Majority)
Government: Royalty                                                                                           
         Moral: unreliable  (chaotic -26)
         Legal: undecided  (neutral -3)
                70%     2350    Elf
                16%     537     Human
                8%      268     Goblin
                3%      100     Half-orc
                2%      67      Gnome

Jamvita, population 3322.
You reach Jamvita at nightfall (~08:00pm). It is a Town with a Large Majority population.
The Town is run by a chaotic neutral Royalty. Law Enforcement is is loose, and law-breakers will face a Tribunal, then be sentenced to forced labor.

There is a secondary power in the city, an Ex-Blacksmith, that avoids confrontation with current leadership, while secretly is pulling strings with a trade adversary.

The first tavern you see is the Angry Bag Tavern, a regular, surprisingly dirty Tavern for the high class, where violence is ignored.


            Name: Millland Rock, Small Town (71347337)                       
            Population: 1042 (Majority)
            Government: Cult Leader
                     Moral: dependable  (lawful 23)
                     Legal: unconcerned  (neutral 14)
                55%     574     Elf
                19%     198     Human
                12%     125     Gnome
                10%     104     Dwarf
                3%      31      Goblin
                1%      10      Half-elf

Millland Rock, population 1042.
You reach Millland Rock at mid-day (~04:00pm). It is a Small Town with a Majority population.
The Small Town is run by a lawful neutral Cult Leader. Law Enforcement is is loose, and law-breakers will face a Magistrate, then be sentenced to community service.

There is a secondary power in the city, a thieves guild, that openly denounces current leadership, while secretly moving to assert black market dominance.

The first tavern you see is the Salty Monkey Taproom, a large, surprisingly filthy Taproom for the middle class, where violence is not tolerated. Local law enforcement protects the establishment, although craps and prostitution can be found in the back rooms.

If you dig deep enough, you can find the following Black Markets:
– good Thieves guild
– neutral Adventurers guild
– powerful magic item trade
– stolen goods gem trade
– rare art trade

Geeked for NaNo


So I’ve been furiously preparing for this year’s nano, and thought I’d share this map.

This is from the first part of ziggy’s journey.

Ziggy’s exploits


So it’s been several years now since I first created Ziggy, and as I’ve mentioned before, I’ll be writing this year’s NaNoWriMo about him. The storyline will mainly take place before any of the games he was in took place, however some of the events will be retconned into place.

I’m looking for bits of storyline and events from the DnD sessions, from IRC, and from the neverwinter nights module. (note at some point I need to decompile the module and strip out some of the backstory.) What actions, sayings, or responses did he have to others? what kind of trouble did he save you from or get you into?

Those of you who’ve dealt with ziggy, what do you remember?

Also note- I don’t plan on mentioning anyone else’s characters, however if you give me permission to, I’ll include them in cameo appearances.

Shameless Virtual Panhandling


So I made the mistake of going to guitar center and trying out a epiphone G-400 on a fluke- I was just looking for a book and stumbled across the lefty. I’d never played one before and messed with it for a few minutes before leaving empty-handed.

It got stuck in my head- it felt way different than my pathmaker or strat. A few weeks went by and kept thinking about it. Jackie and I were in the area and we stopped by again and I spent more time with it. I realized then that I really wanted that guitar, but short of an armed heist, there was no way I’d be able to afford it.

So now I’m turning to the interwebs for help. If you like any of the posts on my site, please donate with the Donate button to the right. I’ll keep the meter updated as I get more cash for it. I’m planning on selling some of my equipment to help fund it, so that’ll get the meter going.

Fretboard Memory



So I’d like to create a simple memory game in Flex, however my brain is stuck in music/writing mode rather than code mode, so I’m going to ask some people I know who are learning flex if they’d like to help. It will start off with 2 modes and a couple options- relatively simple, but in the future might move on to more modes (once I read their code, I may be able to tweak and append on myself).


The goal is to help teach myself and other musicians to better understand the fretboard and recognize the relationship of the strings, chords, intervals and scales on it.


  • Mode 1: Guess this note: A note will light up on the fretboard and ask “what note is this?” Users Will fill in the blank. All halfsteps will be presumed sharp for now. future difficulties include “sharp, natural or flat?” Options include fill in the blank and multiple choice answers.
  • Mode 2: Find the note: a user will be given a note and asked to find a note on the board. difficulties include: entire fretboard (default), per string, per box, per random selection of notes
    From here down is wishful future thinking:

  • Mode 3:What’s the Interval? a user will be given 2 notes and asked to select which interval it is. Options include the ability to limit intervals to certain types. difficulty includes per string, per box, per fretboard
  • Mode 4: Chordal stuff could be a lot of things, but it gets complex fast
  • Mode 5: Recognize the tone Will record strings and play, and user will try to recongize by ear
  • Mode 6: Tune my string trains tuning a guitar by ear- raising or lowering the pitch of a tone until it sounds like the note on the fretboard.
  • Mode 7: Show my chord User select a type of chord (mdim7), then select a note on the fretboard and it shows how that chord is created from that root note (finds the min.3rd, then 5th, then dim 7th)
  • Mode 8: Recognize a scale/modeWhat’s being played? C Major?, G pentatonic? options include per string, per box, or per arpeggio.

Implementation thoughts

Since I don’t know much about flex/actionscript, I’m not sure how much of this would actually be applicable. One thing I’ve been thinking about is what type of data structures would be needed- it would be simple enough to represent the fretboard with a matrix of notes, presuming you only allow sharps.
However if it gets much more advanced, you’re gonna need to have some notes have multiple values (the note above G could be either G# or Ab). So you could define a Note Datatype and overload the equivalency type functions (&lt’,> ,=). You’d also need to define a Scale since it’s a circular array. Then again you may want to represent each individual String as an object and represent it’s relationship with all of the above as well as the other strings… Lots of directions to run.


  • Box: A section of the fretboard 4 or 5 frets wide and spanning all 6 strings. Usually used in the context of a mode
  • Mode: Not to be confused with game modes, a mode in music terminology is a segment of a scale starting at a given note. The Pentatonic scale only has 5 notes, and therefore only has 5 possible modes.
  • Interval: an Interval a series of two notes- point X to point y. There are 12 possible intervals, corresponding with the 12 notes in a chromatic scale:
    From Root note:

    • Minor 2nd
    • Major 2nd
    • Minor 3rd
    • Major 3rd
    • Perfect 4th
    • Tritone
    • Perfect 5th
    • Minor 6th
    • Major 6th
    • Minor 7th
    • Major 7th

(let me know if I need to define any more.)

Anyone have any thoughts or other input?

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