Ideas Blog

Here you'll find blog entries describing my random ideas for the Wiki. This is mostly for the sake of brainstorming and should serve to replace the Realms of Randomness page.

The ideas presented here are not necessarily the future of this campaign setting, but I will try to edit the pages to indicate their current status as they are used or abandoned.

Displaying GCS Character Sheets

I've had an interesting idea how to display GCS character sheets within a DokuWiki installation.

It's a complex, multi-part idea, but here's the gist:

  • GCS files are XML
  • XML can be easily manipulated via XSLT
    • Normally done for display purposes
  • PHP can run XSLT on XML files
    • DokuWiki pages can include PHP code
    • The phpwikify plugin could be a big help with this
  • JavaScript can also do this
    • DokuWiki can include JavaScript via HTML tags
    • DokuWiki has the ability to include custom scripts
      • The file would be “conf/userscript.js” or I could make this into a plugin and load from the plugin's directory

Basically, I'm hoping to write PHP code to read the character sheet data and display it in the wiki, just like any other page. Unfortunately, I've got no idea how to do this. I've simply done research to confirm that it can be done. This method has the advantage of a speedy website: the PHP code would produce regular HTML that will get put into the website just like every other page. It would be completely seamless.

I will probably chicken out and use the JavaScript approach, since I don't even know where to begin with PHP and the JavaScript XSLT example I looked at was very simple. This should work on any modern browser, so long as JavaScript isn't disabled.

I could even skip the JavaScript step, include a reference to the XSLT file in every GCS file and then display them via an iframe (I hope). The XSLT reference could easily be added by my website build script. This will probably be my short-term solution. The iframe approach could also be used as a noscript fall-back, but I need to remember that iframes require a plugin.

The one difficulty I foresee is the requirement of doing a few calculations to display a character correctly. I'm going to have to learn more about XPath, in order to do this kind of stuff. I probably won't bother with calculating point totals for quite a while, as it's pretty much a moot point, anyway. The character sheet can't be edited without firing up GCS, after all.

The first step I've made toward this lofty goal is to build a GCS export template. This has helped me rough out what I want the final page(s) to look like. From this, I can build a simple XSLT file with only a few relatively simple modifications. There's also the side benefit of giving users that want it a DokuWiki export template.

Regardless, I think this is going to be a fun project to implement and it should make the wiki much more accessible. I know I've gotten quite a number of complaints from people on the SJGames forums along the lines of “I can't read your character sheets, because I'm not installing a program to do that! I'm not using it/helping you with your question!”

Update (11/4/13)

I've got a rough plain-text xsl file built that displays everything just find except for point totals and possibly attribute adjustments from templates. I've even got modifiers showing up the way they're supposed to. As it turns out, calculating points totals seems possible (I'm almost sure of it), but it's going to be a complete and total pain. This may take much longer than I'd hoped.

Update (11/5/13)

I've built a bash script to pull GCS files from the wiki and convert them (using GCS itself) into DokuWiki pages. It does the job, but it has some nasty caveats. The splash screen for GCS pops up over and over while it's running. It's really annoying and completely occupies the screen for the duration, making the screen it's on effectively unusable.

This is from a command-line usage of the program. Big, huge bug. I do believe I filed a bug report about that some three or four years ago. So far, the author has ignored it.

I may incorporate a VNC server into the script and shunt the GUI parts of the program into it. I just have to figure out how to grab the X server's display number on startup of the server.

I really don't like this solution, but it works.

2013/10/28 06:41

Household Golems

Golems made from ordinary tools can become quite amazingly useful. See the Candle Golem and Lantern Golem for two good examples.

Household Golems:

  • Burning Glass
  • Chest, Wooden
    • It carries your stuff for you
  • Compass
    • Knows how to read a map and point the way
    • Special ones could detect and point out other things
  • Corrective Spectacles
    • These never get lost and come when they're called
  • Hand Mirror
  • Musical Instrument
    • Plays music on command
  • Rope
    • No one will ever expect the rope to be a golem!
  • Tall Mirror

Other Household Golems:

  • Personal Servant
    • Pocket-sized, but unfolds into a small golem with pencil-thin limbs

Not Exactly a Household Golem:

  • Bomb Golem
    • Made out of a Chinese Iron Bomb (p. LT85)
  • Firecracker Golem
    • Origami golem with a body full of black powder
  • Mini-Trap/Man Trap/Monster Trap
    • Has a nasty bite and knows how to hide!
  • Tent
    • It sets itself up!
2013/07/09 08:56

Explosive Fireball + Teleport Combination Spell

The title says it all. The caster would appear to explode but actually teleports away a split second before the explosion.

Edit (10/22/13): This has now been written up as a spell.

2013/07/09 08:52

Racial Golems

  • Golems made of materials appropriate to specific races and cultures
    • Part of another adventure?
    • Standardized golems by race and/or tech level?
TL Materials
0 Bone, Clay, Copper, Flesh, Ivory, Leather, Stone, Wood
1 Bronze, Gold, Silver
2 Chain, Concrete, Glass, Iron
3 Porcelain, Steel
5 Rubber
6 Aluminum, Bakelite
7 Plastic, Titanium
8 Ballistic Gel, Carbon Fiber, Silicon
Race Material Notes
Brownie/Pixie Action Figure
Crystallinus Crystal
Dark One Tar
Dwarf Mithril
Elf, Drow Adamantite
Elf, Faerie Gold
Elf, Half-Elf Clay
Elf, High Topiary Need to build a template
Living plants carefully grown and trimmed in the desired shape
This would require daily watering and possibly time spent rooted in soil
Would have No Legs (Sessile) or No Legs (Portable) if potted
Elf, Grey Marble
Elf, Rockseer Stone
Elf, Winged Glass
Elf, Wood Leather Need to build a template
This is layer after layer of tanned leather, stitched together with leather strips
Optionally with a furred layer on the outside
Ghoul Bone
Goblin, Primitive Garbage
Goblin, Advanced Rubber
Gnome, Forest Scarecrow
Gnome, Rock or Deep Aluminum
Need to build a template for aluminum
Grippli Bronze
Halfling, Furchin Ice
True Ice
Halfling, Hairfoot Porcelain
Halfling, Stout Iron
Halfling, Tallfellow Wood
Human Steel
Human, Pygmy Ivory
Kobold Rags
Leprechaun Treasure I've got a file for one of these among the mosters
Medusa Petrified Human I've got a file for these in an adventure
Modron Origami
Orc Iron Chain
Orc, Orog Steel Chain

Current Status: Unused

2013/07/09 08:48

Adventure: Fall Apart Dungeon

  • Dungeon that falls apart around PCs.
    • PCs take the central item of treasure from the dungeon
    • This triggers the collapse of the entire structure
    • The PCs must escape quickly or be trapped

Current Status: Unused

2013/07/09 08:46


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