Sunday, April 6, 2014

[Sunday Spotlight] ars phantasia

This post today is the first one to use the Sunday Spotlight feature and a short explanation may be in order.  The Sunday Spotlight is my chance to draw attention to something related to gaming that catches my attention; it is planned for irregular updating but could develop into a weekly deal.  I may focus on a blog, a single blog post, a new resource, a trend among the blogosphere, or something else entirely.  For this initial post I am focusing on an excellent blog that I stumbled on to by following a link from some other place on the web.  

There are plenty of gaming blogs out there to read so why should you add ars phantasia: reflections on fantasy cartography and game design to the list of blogs you follow and read?  The simple answer is that Tad Davis does not waste your time with diarrhea of the keyboard to drive up his post count but instead offers up posts of substance and insight that can improve your gaming experience. The first post I read there was Testing Out a new Dungeon Format and it immediately grabbed my attention because he detailed a method of writing up a dungeon for practical use at the table that could make your Dungeon Mastering time a little smoother. By using his format you can easily see what to read to the players, search results, traps, and encounters.  Granted, some prefer a different format style or to just wing it with minimal notes but the method presented there is clear, concise, and easy to use; I know I am going to steal borrow it for my own use.  

Although that one post is enough for me to recommend checking out ars phantasia for yourself, I dug around in the archives and found some other stuff of interest also.  Clicking on the Portfolio tab on the home home page will take you to a collection of his impressive cartography work with examples in a photorealistic or hand drawn style.  If you are interested in information on Hexcrawl Procedures you can read about the process used by Mr. Davis.  He also put up a post on Hexcrawl Resources with everything from inspirational reading, design & mapping, hex-mapping programs, drop-in adventures, drop-in maps, and miscellaneous information.  There is a tutorial on Creating Forest in GIMP that he originally wrote for the Cartographer's Guild a few years back.  Finally, Mr. Davis has also come up with an Alternate Armor System for the D20 Fantasy system.  This is something I have always wanted to do an "Armor as DR" system and he has come up with something that is far better than my attempts because it also has a method for wear and tear. 

In the spotlight on ars phantasia above I touched on several of the available posts.  That is just a small sampling of what is available.  Stop by and look around to see what you find.  There should be something of interest for just about any fantasy gamer.       

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