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, 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 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 has been a “go-to” NPC supplement of great utility and the Villain Design Handbook features great advice to novice (and veteran) GMs on running adversaries of all sorts.