The Value of a Setting Bible and Its Contents

    A book of arcane knowledge, open on an old, wooden, desktop reading easel. The pages are covered in symbols. A drawer is open. A key next to the book.

    A book of arcane knowledge. By Belissa Minomi.

    Do you have a Setting Bible? What’s in it? Do you even know what I’m talking about?

    Regardless of how you take notes, I’d love to sell you on the value of creating a Setting Bible for your group’s campaign.

    If you don’t know what I’m talking about, a Setting Bible is used by novelists, screenwriters, RPG designers, world-builders and creative collaborators to record the various “truths” about a shared setting, or world, they are building.

    It can…

    • Describe the people, places, organizations and things that populate the setting.
    • List facts and ideas about how the world operates.
    • Provide consistency and, by doing so, supports a greater sense of realism throughout the stories that are told.

    A Setting Bible is not a play log – though it may at first seem like one.  It is also not a GM Notebook filled with spoilery notes and ideas to explore during prep. A Setting Bible is a great place to lay out the group’s expectations about the fiction of the setting, the mechanics that will be used and the social contract everyone agrees to enforce at the table. Hand it out to new players to bring them up to speed on the setting.

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    Collaborative World-Building with Spark

    Whoa. First experience with A Spark in Fate Core and serious collaborative world-building.

    For the past few years, I’ve been very interested in getting a consistent, face-to-face Fate Core game going with adults who were willing to meet about twice per month in my suburban home. It took awhile, but I finally managed to find a great group of people, we managed to get our schedules coordinated and, with beer, wine, some awesome Chinese food (and some finishing touches around my firepit later that evening) we managed to pull together what I hope is a great foundation to a lasting campaign.

    This is the story of how we did it.

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    “World-Building Resources” page is up!

    The City of Dawn Harbor, a Fantasy Map by Dyson Logos.

    The City of Dawn Harbor. A Map by Dyson Logos.

    UPDATE October 3, 2017.  With the move to a new theme, I’ve got more options for how I organize the site so the “World-Building Resources” page has been replaced by better categorized “Resources” at the top.  Let me know what you’re looking for; I might have something squirreled away in my Google Drive.

    In case you missed the addition of the “World-Building Resources” link at the top of the page, just wanted to let you know it was there. The World-Building Resources page provides a curated list of online resources I find myself recommending to others.  I’ve found these resources to be useful, inspiring or interesting.

    We’re starting out small. In general, the rule I’ll follow is that nothing goes on this list until I’ve had some time to check it out myself first.  If that varies, I’ll call it out in the description. I want to feel confident about recommending it to you.

    What kind of resources are you looking for?  Let me know in the comments and I’ll keep my eye out.


    The Observer Effect

    It’s been a while since I managed to get something up but, if you’re reading this, I don’t want you to think that I’m not dedicated to this effort.  I am. After all, I am on a journey to Master CC3+.

    Posts in mud

    It’s hard work, keeping a blog. It requires dedication and effort…and sometimes it still feels like you’re pushing through mud up to your knees.  Sloooow going.

    But…man! It is sloooow going. The journey is taking much longer than I anticipated.  So much so that I don’t even feel like I’ve started.  I’m caught up in the Observer Effect, a strange and should-have-seen-it-coming side-effect of my attempt to be very public with my journey.

    Because I tend to go deep rather than to go broad, I’m spending a lot more time researching and digging through online resources for good, relevant content than I originally thought I would. Back when I set myself the goal to post at least three times a week, I could not fully appreciate the amount of effort it was going to take to meet that goal.

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    Basic Select Techniques in CC3+ (Part 2)

    In Part 1 of this 2-part series on Basic Select Techniques in CC3+, we covered a lot.

    If you practiced, you should have gained finer and finer control over the entities that you selected. You started by picking up everything on the map and progressed to being able to select and deselect specific entities until you only had a single entity selected.

    There are, however, some situations where more specialized, but still fundamental, techniques are required.

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    ProgramData Example Maps Missing

    Great. Now, I'm lost.  The path was right here a moment ago.

    Great. Now, I’m lost. The path was right here a moment ago.

    Hey there Dear Readers.  Sorry to interrupt the 2-part series we’ve got going on Basic Select Techniques in CC3+ (Part 2 coming soon) but I wanted you to know about this situation I recently ran into with the ProgramData folder. Read on!  

    Excuse me.  Yeah.  Hi.  Got a minute?  I was wondering if you could help me. I seem to have lost my…um…my ProgramData folder? (winces).  I swear it was just here a minute ago.  Do you mind if I take a look at yours?


    You can’t find yours either?  Dang.  I don’t know about yours, but mine had all these Campaign Cartographer 3+ Example maps in it. Since I’m new to Campaign Cartographer and really trying to…you know…master it, it would be great to have them.  I can’t follow the examples in the User Guide without them.

    Oh, wait, there it is! See it?  You don’t? Here, let me show you…

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    Basic Select Techniques in CC3+ (Part 1)

    Dave the Minion Says "Whaaaaat?"


    My oldest boy is a geek like his dad – he’s getting into Tabletop Roleplaying Games, I have to stay on my toes to beat him at Dominion or Netrunner, he’s into robots, and does some programming.  He’s competing this year in FIRST Lego League with 7 other boys from his school.  His team placed in their regional competition and are going to the state competition on February 7th.  I’m the Assistant Coach.  The team has been practicing about 12 hours a week for the past month.

    Why am I telling you this? Because when I want to do something as basic as select a symbol or other entity on a map, I don’t have a lot of time to mess around.  My guess is that you don’t either and if the simple things aren’t simple, you’ll get frustrated and give up on Campaign Cartographer and miss out on the beautiful maps you could produce with it.

    This past Sunday I intended to start making some maps; instead of making maps, I learned an awful lot about how to select objects on a map…and I’m going to share what I learned with you.

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    Learn to Master CC3+

    I’m on a mission.

    I don’t just want to learn Campaign Cartographer.  I want to master it- become an expert in it.  Compose beautiful maps (like, Michael Schley and Pär Lindström beautiful) and eventually see my maps make their way onto your dining room table amid your bags of funny-shaped dice.

    I want to create something that you cannot not use – a regional map, battlemap, city, dungeon, inn, anything! I want to create something that inspires you.  Something that allows you to focus on the story you are trying to tell about the heroes within it and not on the resources needed to support it. I want my work to save you time.

    You get on The Road expecting you know where you are going; along the way, you learn differently

    “The Road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began…”

    “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

    ~ Bilbo Baggins to Frodo
    J.R.R. Tolkien

    Time.  There’s the rub. Between obligations to both family and clients, the amount of free time I have to learn is somewhat limited.

    I have to admit that, while I have a hope, I’m not entirely sure where I’ll actually end up on this journey.  I also don’t know how long it is actually going to take.

    That’s okay.  At least I have a map that will help me find my way.

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    Install Campaign Cartographer 3

    Updated 2 February 2015 – Added instructions for fixing the following issues:

    • DD3 install: ‘Runtime error in setup script: Source File DD3 Line Number: 473 ” is not a valid integer value’
    • CD3 install: ‘Runtime error in setup script: Source File cd3 Line Number: 401 ” is not a valid integer value’

    ProFantasy makes install of Campaign Cartographer 3 (CC3) really easy…but even though it is easy, doesn’t mean things can’t go wrong.  I’ve done this before and even I ran into a few issues that had me searching the forums.  Despite this, I was done in about 60 minutes (including the time it took me to download everything I purchased from ProFantasy’s site).

    If you landed here, you, like me, ran into some problem during your install and went looking for help.

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