Stuffed Crocodile

Mazes, Martians, Mead

Monthly Archives: February 2013

[Tools] Old School Tool

Now that is something nice I came across today when looking through the categories at Sourceforge (I was looking for a task managing tool that could sync with Google Tasks, I ended up in the Games section…): a Java based  GM screen tool for AD&D or OSRIC (although it can be adapted for 2e and 3e). Java-based means it will run pretty much on every system that has Java on it, and GM Screen tool means it is supposed to replace the usual paper one with some additional functionality.

Even better it is actually quite customizable, with all the tables in the program being changeable and extensible as far as I have seen. So if I wanted, for example, to use the whole thing for my campaign and I had specific armour for my campaign that was not in the OSRIC book, I could add it easily via the main window to have it accessible in the GM screen window during actual play.

That GM screen window is actually what this is about: the window can be used as a convenient GM screen that allows to look up stuff and calculate things on the fly. The combat and save tables can be found in there, as can the magic item tables, and the latter ones can generate treasures on the fly. Neat. I might think about using this during my next game.

What the whole program is not is a replacement for actual rules, or for a real campaign planner. This program is only there to help during the game. Considering that I already have been using my notebook as a DM screen I think this program might make the whole thing a bit easier.

The Trap Door

Sometimes stuff bubbles up from the depths of my subconscious that I didn’t know that was there for decades, like in a pot of a very inclusive stew that all of a sudden shows the head of a small monkey[1]. In this case what it too was me and my girlfriend talking about speech development in children and how that is hampered with cartoons in an early age (1-3 years old), when all of a sudden I remembered a series I watched avidly for a while in my early teenage years. I remembered it was kinda gross and claymation, and full of monsters and strange beasts living in a castle.

E Voila… The Trap Door. A British series from the mid-80s, with monsters and bizarreness galore, all created in gloriously animated claymation. It’s about a monster called Berk (yes.. seriously) working for the big boss upstairs, having to deal with all the strange stuff coming up from the dungeon. It seems to be a bit of an classic in UK (and well, I saw it in Germany in the 90s), but only 40 5-minute episodes ever were produced, which is a bit of a shame.


[1] one of my old pastor’s favorite stories about his travels in Africa