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Troy’s Crock Pot: Twist and Launch

I love it when my gaming interests intersect with real life — or at least — the lives of our family’s mini-mes.

The First Born’s final class assignment for her social studies unit on the medieval period was to construct a catapult. So, armed with scrap wood from my shop, an instructional video from the good folks over stormthecastle.com [1], a table saw and good length of rope, we set about constructing a backyard water balloon launcher.

We settled on making the torsion catapult, since this was the closest thing to a mangonel — which we thought was the engine type truest to the period. Of course we made a few concessions (it was to be a working model, after all, not an era-specific replica), nylon rope being foremost.

From the gaming side, the thing I took away from our little experiment was the feasibility of on-the-fly trapmaking. The next time my adventurers want to play McGyver and construct an improvised trap to spring on unsuspecting dungeon inhabitants, I will have to judge their success based on the materials on hand. (I mean, they can’t exactly run to the Home Depot when they are short a 2×4.)

However, I also (re-)discovered the utility of a length of rope. In fact, in a dungeon setting, climbing might well be the least reason for needing rope. But, if I continue along this line, you might hear me rant — once again — on the necessity of a Use Rope skill in rpgs. (Why 3.5 nerfed it and Pathfinder and D&D 4E eliminated it is beyond me).

All in all, a fun experiment. And there’s a lot of medieval discovery fun at stormthecastle, so if you are in the mood to make a paper castle or a shield of cardboard for gaming needs, it’s a great place to stop and learn how.

Back to the bookshelf

Just picked up the Third-Edition supplement Kingdoms of Kalamar [2] on the secondary market. I look forward to digging into Kenzer’s long-established setting — mining it for ideas and inspiration.

Two other Kenzer products have served me well over the years. (Why it took me so long to dive into the company’s signature setting, I’ll never know.)

The sourcebook on Geanavue [3] has been a “go-to” NPC supplement of great utility and the Villain Design Handbook [4] features great advice to novice (and veteran) GMs on running adversaries of all sorts.

7 Comments (Open | Close)

7 Comments To "Troy’s Crock Pot: Twist and Launch"

#1 Comment By Razjah On June 28, 2011 @ 7:31 am

I have the Kingdoms of Kalamar book. It it very interesting and has a huge map and a hex transparency to use on the two poster sized map.

Another great product from Kenzer is the DM shield. This is the ultimate screen with a ton of fold outs, rules, and other things right there. It even has a pizza matrix to decide what toppings go over best with the group.

#2 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On June 28, 2011 @ 8:21 am

Pizza matrix. Yum!

That’s what’s missing from Geanavue, a pizza parlour.

#3 Comment By Roxysteve On June 28, 2011 @ 9:14 am

Kudos on the construction of some medieval backyard ordinance. Pictures of the catapult please. Also, Playmobil mock-up/webcomic describing the build process and testing. Also downloadable plans and Bill of Materials, backyard siege engine builders club website and club membership etc etc more etc.

#4 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On June 28, 2011 @ 10:19 am

[5] – Sorry I can’t oblige a picture. Camera is broken.

#5 Comment By Razjah On June 28, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

You know that we now have to deny that you ever built a backyard siege engine. Pics or it didn’t happen.

#6 Comment By Roxysteve On June 28, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

[6] – [In voice of Gallaxhar] An American without a camera? Lame.

Seriously man, I can turn around here and put my hand on at least three cameras, only one of which is an actual camera. Make that four cameras. I forgot there’s one in my iPod.

#7 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On June 28, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

[7] – Seriously man, glad you have so many toys. But I do not have a camera at the moment.