AI Aide update

A small update on the AI Aide project…

The program allows the user to create and save a race to the database and to create a game. There is a small bug in the code that allows you to select an existing race as the race to be used for a new game. The database tool reads tables and can regenerate the database when needed (wipe to a zero state).

Next steps –

  1. A race display which shows racial details, colonies, personalities, and research options.
  2. A screen to create/display stellar systems.
  3. Research projects.
  4. Creating ships.

There is much more to do, but these steps should keep me busy for a while. I plan on releasing test releases as I go. The first will be when I squash the bug mentioned above.

Eldritch Adventures Setting

I spent a few hours this afternoon creating a map for the setting. Over the course of the map creation, some cities got moved from their original locations, and I swapped east and west.

My goal now is to take a country and flesh it out. Give it a ruler, some history, culture and people, along with plot hooks. I will try to get one of these done a month, and release them on probably in the $2.50 – $5.00 range. The biggest hurdle will be the maps. I’m using Campaign Cartographer 3, and it is not the easiest software to get a good map out of. But when you do, you get a beautiful map. The current map is shown below. The only thing changed from the pic to now is the scale by a factor of 4.

Map of the Eldritch Adventures setting.
Map of the Eldritch Adventures setting.

Neverwinter Online Review, Part 2

So, today Neverwinter Online is “live”. They are out of beta, and celebrated it with a grand invasion of the Protector’s Enclave with undead. Many undead. Frequently. That aside, the live launch also introduced Alchemy as a crafting skill.

Alchemy is the new crafting skill. This allows a character to create potions (obviously). The biggest difference between Alchemy and the existing craft skills is the manner in which xp is gained. In alchemy, there is only 1 job per level that grants xp. So you can crank out potions and stuff until you are inundated with it, but your level won’t advance unless you do this special job. This can pose an issue since the item needed for the job seems to be somewhat uncommon. I received one from another alchemy job, out of 6 or 7 jobs. 12-14% drop rate is what I call very uncommon.

In the blog for NWO, the devs also said there will be weaponsmithing, which was a big omission from what I saw previously. This is good news in my opinion, and rounds out the crafting nicely.

Now if there was just something to make nature a viable gathering skill. Or at least a class that uses it.

Eldritch Adventures Setting

Last night I started crafting a setting for Eldritch Adventures. A lot of gamers like fluff and buy material based on the fluff. Right now, EA is all crunch.

So I brainstormed with the help of a random generator from Seventh Sanctum ( I randomly generated things, keeping track of those that struck a chord in my mind. I had a basic idea for what I wanted. Seven realms, 6 in the northern section of the continent, with an elven forest. Bordered on the east by sea, the north by tundra, the west by steppes and desert, and the south by dwarven mountains. South of the mountains, is another realm. More of a collection of city-states than a unified realm.

Armed with some names and a general idea, I began a timeline. The timeline consisted of mainly very rough highlights. Countries founded, countries lost. The six realms of the north are the Iron Caliphate in the Iron Desert, Aleraen, Toszacne, Lenbae, Ptossant, and Cendart. The city-state region is known as the City-States of Racaria. I also decided on general terms for a couple of the regions. Aleraen and Cendart comprise the Low Country, while Lenbae, Toszacne, and Ptossant are the Marches. Racaria of course is the region south of the mountains. The mountains themselves are the Dwarfhame Mountains. The elven forest as yet has no name. It borders Ptossant and the eastern sea. Cendart and a small portion of Ptossant border the sea.Racaria is bordered on the east and south by the sea and the north and west by the Dwarfhame Mountains.

I’m undecided what lies beyond the Iron Desert, with the exception of that being the homeland of the scale-kin.  Far to the east, over the sea lies another continent. This one home to two previous empires. Empire of the Sigil and Empire of the Viridian Ring. Sigil rose and Sigil fell after 1500 years. A thousand years later Viridian Ring rises. This lasts 2500 years, until it is destroyed by an apocalyptic horde of undead. Refugees from the Empire cross the sea and settle Racaria. The six Northern kingdoms are settled from Racaria.

As I progressed through my brainstorming, I came up with some personalities. From an innkeeper with a hidden past, to a thousand year old wizard shrouded in mystery, to the gruff leader of an organization tasked with hunting down fugitives from justice. They mostly have colorful names, Chastity Sunrise, Solitaire Blood, Warden Darkrose. Of course, I needed to come up with some organizations in support of a couple of the people. The Wardens. The Ironguard.

I’ve also named a few of the larger city-states in Racaria; Elrasc, Glory, Adoharr, Linadans, and Hegian. There are also the Guild cities, a loose republic which sits on the Racarian side of the Dwarfhame, and controls most of the trade between Racaria and the six kingdoms. With each country also comes coins.

This is a good start to the world. My next steps are to create a map, flesh out the countries and cities and cultures of each, and provide places for adventures.

Astra Imperia Aide

I’ve recently begun working on a computerized play aid for Astra Imperia. This will relieve some of the book work by computerizing it. As a program of this nature is complex and I’ve only just started, there is no determined delivery date. Over on the Aurora forums, I have posted a couple screen shots of what I have currently.


I’ve been playing the new MMORPG by Cryptic, Neverwinter. It is based on the fourth edition rules of D&D. While I am not a great fan of these rules, they do lend themselves to the online medium quite nicely. The first thing most people will notice are the classes. Instead of the normal generic classes like fighter, wizard, cleric, and rogue; the classes in Neverwinter have very strict roles. The cleric class is called the Devoted Cleric for instance. While I’ve made one of each class (there are five in total), the class I’ve leveled the highest is the rogue class. This class is pure dps. The class does have stealth abilities which are handy, but the stealth ability is on a finite counter during use. Speaking of abilities, each class has two “at will” abilities, along with three encounter abilities and two daily abilities. As you level up you can unlock more abilities but you may only have a certain number ready to be used at any one time. This flies in the face of current MMORPG design with new skills being added nearly every level. It does take a bit of getting used to initially, but in the long run it works. In addition to the normal adventuring, which consists the normal types of quests found in MMOs; there is the crafting. The crafting is not done by the character, but rather by hired “assets” who perform the tasks. There are five crafting skills, Leadership, Leatherworking, Tailoring, Mailsmithing, and Platesmithing. Each one is geared towards one of the classes, with the exception of Leadership which allows you to get money and goods occasionally.

On crafting. There are five “gathering” skills; dungeoneering, religion, arcana, nature, and thievery. Great Weapon Fighters and Guardian Warriors get Dungeoneering, Devoted Clerics get Religion, Controller Wizards get Arcana, and Trickster Rogues get Thievery. At this time, no one has Nature as an innate skill. One can also buy “kits” of the appropriate types. If you do not have a skill, you may substitute a kit for one of the skills (at a reduced chance of success). For the manufacturing side of crafting, there is Platesmithing, Mailsmithing, Leatherworking and Tailoring. Platesmithing produces armor for GW (Guardian Warriors), Mailsmithing produces armor for Devoted Clerics and GWF (Great Weapon Fighters), Leatherworking produces armor for Trickster Rogues, and Tailoring produces armor for Controller Wizards. You may notice that all of the craft skills produce armor. At this point, weapons may not be created by players. There also does not seem to be a secondary market for craft goods, just the ingredients. Leadership is the exception to the armor producing crafts. Leadership gets you crates (for the most part), which give you potions and crafting bits.

Another interesting bit it the hourly divine bonuses. Each hour you may pray at a shrine and receive a bonus. The bonuses include stat buffs, astral diamonds, money, xp, potions. There are diminishing returns on the bonuses, so as you play, your bonus “quality” drops. Each day, you can also get a celestial coin from the prayer. These dissipate if you do not refresh them daily. You can get rewards from these too.

The gameplay is very well suited to solo play. Most content is able to be accomplished by the character plus an NPC companion (granted at ~15th level). Harder content requires a full group. There does not seem to be any mid-ground for people who duo or trio. There are queues for the group content, but it can be a while if you are doing content a lot have already finished.

In addition, there is the Foundry. This allows the players to create their own adventures and publish them for others to play. The quality on these varies from excellent to utterly craptacular. I’ve only played a couple, and the rewards at the end are not controlled by the author, but rather by Cryptic.


All in all, I’d give Neverwinter Online a 3.5/5. More classes and more variation in the crafting would greatly increase this.

Neverwinter Online may be found at