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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:52 pm 
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is this done by one of our illustrious group? :)

about half way down page plus SJ ships!
http://home.earthlink.net/~duanevp/cc2/cc2.htm

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:46 pm 
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Hey, that's pretty cool! Nice find Silverblade.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:57 pm 
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Silverblade-T-E wrote:
is this done by one of our illustrious group? :)

about half way down page plus SJ ships!
http://home.earthlink.net/~duanevp/cc2/cc2.htm


I don't recall talking to Duane VanderPol personally, but I did see that website years back (during a random search for SJ websites).

Those maps are pretty cool. But check out the Spelljammer Files page. 8-)

Perhaps he uses a different name on the SJML or on here.

I'm loving the detail in that Bral map and the level of detail in the clone of the SJ logo is very much making me think we have found a "Thorf" for Spelljammer! :lol: ;)

I don't know how long these maps take, but I really would love to see someone with a project to churn out city maps for spelljamming ports.

EDIT: Duane has updated the website this year, so I've sent of an invite to come over here.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:24 pm 
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me thinks that map will be handy when I try to re-make Bral again ;)


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:48 am 
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I'm glad you like the map. This is my first post here and I doubt I'd be here had not I recieved an email telling me my work was being discussed. Questions, further comments, criticisms are quite welcome.

It's rather old, in fact ALL of the Spelljammer stuff I have on my site is quite old. The Bral map itself I did in October of 2006. The ship deck plans I think I did most of soon after but I recall that I didn't bother to put them up for many months. I made a few cosmetic changes to them perhaps a year ago. The various Spelljammer writings I may have fiddled with inconsequentially once or twice, but otherwise have sat unchanged since I first uploaded the interesting bits on my hard drive - back in 1998.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:03 pm 
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Well your work is very appreciated! :)

to make my 3D Bral I had a hell of a lot of work to do trying to scan the original map in pieces, then assemble etc in Photoshop, ugh. Very bad as I need to work in 16 bit images for heightmaps
so one day I want ot re-do it and make it far better, working from your map, if ye don't mind?, will give me a much easier headstart! :)

(I'd use your map to sort of cut out the rough shape of the Rock,then use it as a basis to draw images that lets buildings, roads etc all get placed correctly. bit difficult to explain, but I use greyscale images to position where grass, road, rock materials are, or are not)

http://www.silverblades-suitcase.com/sj ... ral5a1.jpg


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 10:12 pm 
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By all means use it for whatever you like. It's why it's there. :) One of the things I tried to do when I drew it was to re-do some of the countour lines a bit to give a better idea of functional topography. I don't know how successful I was, but...


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:33 pm 
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Thank you, monsieur! :)

I did the height of the bral model largely by the side view, and then usign photoshhop to make a grident between rough countours I worked out, very pesky to do


next time I think I'll model Bral as much as possible in 3Dcoat where i can literally paint it in 3D


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:13 am 
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Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
I'm glad you like the map. This is my first post here and I doubt I'd be here had not I recieved an email telling me my work was being discussed. Questions, further comments, criticisms are quite welcome.


Thanks for coming over. I do love your forum name.

Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
It's rather old, in fact ALL of the Spelljammer stuff I have on my site is quite old.


Spelljammer fandom has been full of a lot of little guys who have done amazing things that sometimes the rest of us have not noticed. So even if you have retired from Spelljammer and don't intend to come back, I'm glad this thread will give us a chance to thank you for your stuff.

I was kind of hoping you were going to turn out to be our guru of maps. The Mystara fans have one, but we are still looking for one. But I won't try to twist your arm. You have the talent to do these maps really well, but if you don't have the inspiration, you wouldn't enjoy doing it anyway. I think that most people move from thing to thing. I had a big Spelljammer phase back when I played AD&D and pretty much gave it up for about a decade. Ironically, I got interested in SJ after being nagged into playing 3e. I've also had a couple of year breaks since then. Maybe one day, you will feel like doing more SJ stuff. If you do get interested again, please feel free to come here and ask for help.

Maybe some of the other things happening in the Spelljammer might give you some new ideas. There might also be other things on The Piazza that might interest you. Have you noticed that we have a Wilderlands forum? I'm sure that they would be interested in your City of the Invicible Overlord Map. I've just bought Majestic Wilderlands, so I know I'll be checking that one out.

I think your 1e project would be very interesting to some of our members in other forums. We have a guy over here building his own retro-clone (called Dark Dungeons*). It looks like you are doing almost the same thing. Perhaps you could have a look at what he is doing.

* = Yes it is named after the Dark Dungeons Chick tract. :lol:

Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
The Bral map itself I did in October of 2006.


I've got to say that the level of detail on your map is really amazing. I think that a GM could use that as a "master map" and crop out sections of it for use with material about specific districts.

Did you ever make the underside of Bral? I don't see it on the site.

I've been reading Robert S Conley's How to make a Fantasy Sandbox tutorials recently and wondering how well his methods would work for Spelljammer.

Part of his method is to hop from one type of creativity to another. One of his important steps is mapping. It seems like the sort of mapping method you developed for your Bral map (and your other maps) would be a great way to knock out a new asteroid for Spelljammer.

I think that SJ fandom could do things like develop the castle at the centre of the Tears of Selune, individual asteroids within The Grinder or the Stellar Islands, if we could build up our map making skill.

Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
The ship deck plans I think I did most of soon after but I recall that I didn't bother to put them up for many months. I made a few cosmetic changes to them perhaps a year ago.


The deck plans are a very interesting thing. I don't think I've seen anyone else do a fliter (I might be wrong, but if there is one, I don't know about it).

There is something about the original deck plans (and many of the original sphere maps) that don't quite look right to me. I think it is the fact that they don't feel like "proper cartography". We have bumped into another interesting artist who has made some great looking maps for Greatspace on his website. I do wonder what ship cards would be like if they were styled to look a bit more like design plans. I also wonder what they would look like if they were turned into scale maps that could be used with miniatures.

Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
The various Spelljammer writings I may have fiddled with inconsequentially once or twice, but otherwise have sat unchanged since I first uploaded the interesting bits on my hard drive - back in 1998.


I wish I could lock you and Jaid in a thread and make you both have a debate. I've had some really fun debates about some of the weirder aspects of Spelljammer. Your writings seem to suggest you have an eye for spotting these oddities. Some really odd details come out of the woodwork when you look at SJ canon with a microscope. And when people bounce stuff off of each other, you can find hidden "easter eggs" inside SJ products. 8-)

Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
By all means use it for whatever you like. It's why it's there. :) One of the things I tried to do when I drew it was to re-do some of the countour lines a bit to give a better idea of functional topography. I don't know how successful I was, but...


I think your water certainly works.

I think that contour lines (themselves) tend to break down a bit when you start having verticle sides to an asteroid. I can't really see a way to get around that.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:06 am 
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Quote:
I was kind of hoping you were going to turn out to be our guru of maps.
Well I never can tell when the bug will hit me (as it always does) nor what it will be that I suddenly develop a deep-seated need to draw up. I wish I could do campaign-scale overland maps but my attempts have never satisfied me. As you can see from what I have up on my site my interests seem to wander around a bit.

Quote:
Have you noticed that we have a Wilderlands forum? I'm sure that they would be interested in your City of the Invicible Overlord Map. I've just bought Majestic Wilderlands, so I know I'll be checking that one out.
That one was actually so easy to get the basics down because the original map was drawn out in such a graph-paper old-school fashion. It's all the little tweaks and details that take time. Modron was much the same way and so much smaller that I don't think I spent more than a couple days on it. And of course there's Tegel Manor and Thunderhold. But then I already had physical maps of all of these - it was just a matter of deciding to take the time to draw them up in Campaign Cartographer. And they're all in CC2. I have CC3 but I just haven't been able to force myself to start learning it or these maps would REALLY shine. Maybe eventually...

Quote:
I've got to say that the level of detail on your map is really amazing. I think that a GM could use that as a "master map" and crop out sections of it for use with material about specific districts.
Really, no more than was on the original map. Drawing the buildings was actually done rather "quick-and-dirty", but that actually works since it seemed to fit the "architectural style" that the original map suggested. Most of the buildings are odd-angles and haphazardly conjoined and positioned.

Quote:
Did you ever make the underside of Bral? I don't see it on the site.
I recall that I did at one time, but that seems unlikely or I'd surely have it on file here somewhere and I don't see it. Maybe it was that I started to do it but gave it up. Even with the fortress the underside isn't as complex or as interesting to draw, it would almost certainly not have been needed by MY players, and other projects would have drawn my attention away from it. Then too it may have been lost in a HD crash.

Now that you mention it though it feels incomplete to not have it. If I can find my hardcopy Bral maps I'll probably take a swipe at it.

Quote:
I think that SJ fandom could do things like develop the castle at the centre of the Tears of Selune, individual asteroids within The Grinder or the Stellar Islands, if we could build up our map making skill.
One thing I've learned in using Campaign Cartographer is that mapmaking tends to become a hobby in and of itself. People tend to draw maps less because they need or want them for a game than because they just enjoy the process itself. I tend not to draw maps of my own creation so much as draw Campaign Cartographer versions of existing maps for my own enjoyment.

Quote:
The deck plans are a very interesting thing. I don't think I've seen anyone else do a fliter (I might be wrong, but if there is one, I don't know about it).
Well, in a sense, why would you? There's no "deck" to draw. It's too small. I only did it because I got it into my head that I wanted to draw the wings of a Monarch butterfly.

Quote:
There is something about the original deck plans (and many of the original sphere maps) that don't quite look right to me. I think it is the fact that they don't feel like "proper cartography".
Deck plans are a somewhat specialized thing and the Spelljammer ships I think were concerned more with just getting something that fit an illustration than with something that made particularly good sense. If you've read any of my musings on the good/bad of the original Spelljammer material you'll note that I believe the designers really missed what Spelljammer actually was, or what it could be best at. When you give PC's a ship in space and tell them to go explore planets you are stepping solidly into the already well-worn shoes of SCIENCE FICTION. You're talking about the starship Enterprise - the Millenium Falcon - Serenity - even Spaceship Yamato. The game needed to provide deckplans for ships that would support the kinds of stories and adventures seen in the related movies and TV shows. It really needed to be ship-oriented SF like, say, Traveller; it was just dressed up in fantasy trappings from D&D. At least that's how I saw it. So you look at deckplans for a Tradesman and want it to be a fantasy equivalent of the Millenium Falcon and it just isn't. Neither is a Hammership appropriately reminiscent of the Serenity, nor is an Armada taking inspiration from the Enterprise, and the mighty Spelljammer itself is hardly Babylon-5 (though it could be). :)

Quote:
I wish I could lock you and Jaid in a thread and make you both have a debate. I've had some really fun debates about some of the weirder aspects of Spelljammer. Your writings seem to suggest you have an eye for spotting these oddities. Some really odd details come out of the woodwork when you look at SJ canon with a microscope. And when people bounce stuff off of each other, you can find hidden "easter eggs" inside SJ products. 8-)
Between the time when TSR died and 3rd Edition was released what I really really wanted most was to run another Spelljammer campaign. The players I had said they wanted more of it too. Problem was it just didn't work for me mechanically. I looked at it REAL HARD for quite a while and eventually concluded that it was just going to be more effort than I wanted to put into it to make it into what I wanted it to be.

Quote:
I think that contour lines (themselves) tend to break down a bit when you start having verticle sides to an asteroid. I can't really see a way to get around that.
That, my friend, is what sculpture is for. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:15 pm 
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Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
When you give PC's a ship in space and tell them to go explore planets you are stepping solidly into the already well-worn shoes of SCIENCE FICTION. You're talking about the starship Enterprise - the Millenium Falcon - Serenity - even Spaceship Yamato. The game needed to provide deckplans for ships that would support the kinds of stories and adventures seen in the related movies and TV shows. It really needed to be ship-oriented SF like, say, Traveller; it was just dressed up in fantasy trappings from D&D. At least that's how I saw it. So you look at deckplans for a Tradesman and want it to be a fantasy equivalent of the Millenium Falcon and it just isn't. Neither is a Hammership appropriately reminiscent of the Serenity, nor is an Armada taking inspiration from the Enterprise, and the mighty Spelljammer itself is hardly Babylon-5 (though it could be).

I agree with this point (especially old manta as B5 assuming you ditch the hotel california angle). On the other hand, I find your sci-fi ship analogs somewhat odd. For my money, Serenity would be closest to a tradesman, the Falcon seems like a wasp to me (small but heavily armed), and Enterprise reminds me more of something like a cuttleship (stately, but really more suitable for command and research than for war). If the armada is anything from sci-fi, it's got to be Galactica. Seriously, all those flitters...

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:24 pm 
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Wordwyrd wrote:
I agree with this point (especially old manta as B5 assuming you ditch the hotel california angle). On the other hand, I find your sci-fi ship analogs somewhat odd. For my money, Serenity would be closest to a tradesman, the Falcon seems like a wasp to me (small but heavily armed), and Enterprise reminds me more of something like a cuttleship (stately, but really more suitable for command and research than for war). If the armada is anything from sci-fi, it's got to be Galactica. Seriously, all those flitters...


I think part of what he is getting at is that in a lot of SciFi, you can have whole campaigns that take place almost entirely on a single ship, since they're so much bigger and more populated than SJ ships. Ships are like towns or villages in that regard, whereas in SJ, they're much more simply transport or weapons platforms.

Personally, I think we need to NOT view SJ through the lens of what is done in SciFi, and rather through the lens of The Age of Sail or earlier sailing adventures/expeditions.

Jeff

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:40 pm 
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I agree with the age of sail feel for most ships (possibly excluding massive things of a ship like citadels of course), but a lot of that feel is lost because of the pure lack of crew. People were packed onto sailing ships, especially military ships. Check out the Aubrey/Maturin series if you need inspiration; the cinematic treatment of a few plots in the novels was "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0311113/ ). Those novels will get you really thinking about things, but particularly why they took on so many crewmen. Lots of good plot material too. :D

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:51 pm 
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Wordwyrd wrote:
I agree with the age of sail feel for most ships (possibly excluding massive things of a ship like citadels of course), but a lot of that feel is lost because of the pure lack of crew. People were packed onto sailing ships, especially military ships. Check out the Aubrey/Maturin series if you need inspiration; the cinematic treatment of a few plots in the novels was "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0311113/ ). Those novels will get you really thinking about things, but particularly why they took on so many crewmen. Lots of good plot material too. :D


Really, so long as you stay withing the planetary orbits in a single sphere, you can really pack people in. You normally get 120 days of good air with a full standard crew, so if you double the crew, you will still have 60 days. That is more than enough air for flitting about almost any sphere, especially since most landfalls should replenish the air; food/water is a little harder to come by, but still easily manageable unless the PCs really pack the ship full of people or cargo. And that is all discounting various magic to keep you going. If the PCs then want to make some intersphere trips, they can either rely on magic or dump a bunch of crew at a local port and hire new ones at their destination.

Also, most of the "ships packed with people" were either passenger ships, slaver ships, or navy vessels. Merchanters with non-human cargo wouldn't have had all that many more that the listed maximums in SJ, and possibly even less. I know smaller merchant coasters in the bronze age frequently only had a handful of crew in the bronze age/early iron age, for example.

Jeff

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:44 pm 
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AuldDragon wrote:
Also, most of the "ships packed with people" were either passenger ships, slaver ships, or navy vessels. Merchanters with non-human cargo wouldn't have had all that many more that the listed maximums in SJ, and possibly even less. I know smaller merchant coasters in the bronze age frequently only had a handful of crew in the bronze age/early iron age, for example.

Coasters are hardly the kind of ship one would take into space, surely you must admit this. Hell, they didn't like to get out of sight of land, hence the name! I suppose that a dedicated warship could be packed full of people even outside the inner-sphere since those kinds of ship would likely have extra spell-casters on board as well, and they could refresh the air easily enough.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:30 pm 
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Wordwyrd wrote:
Coasters are hardly the kind of ship one would take into space, surely you must admit this. Hell, they didn't like to get out of sight of land, hence the name! I suppose that a dedicated warship could be packed full of people even outside the inner-sphere since those kinds of ship would likely have extra spell-casters on board as well, and they could refresh the air easily enough.


It was an example. It's not like I can point to a merchanter Hammership or a merchanter Man-o-war sailing between London and Madrid in 1524 as an example. :) Coasters in Spelljammer list a max crew of 10, and yet real-world bronze/iron age coasters probably only had that many or more if they were carrying some passengers. Galleons of the size shown in the SJ sets probably also only had 40 or more people when carrying passengers (or surplus crew for long trips away from land to cover possible crew loss). The point is, not all ships were packed with people. It depends entirely on the goal of the trip.

Also, I think any SJ vessel that is not a short term hauler would have multiple spellcasters on board, likely three so they can work in eight hour shifts. With only one, they'd be exhausted the whole trip, and the ship would be dead in the water (or drifting, depending on how you want the physics to work) half of every day (thus doubling the trip time). Also, there's no penalty in the rules for expending a few spells before taking the helm (IIRC), so a spellcaster could cast a Fog Cloud or similar and a Create Food or similar right before they take the helm every time. Also, just for traveling, there's no difference between a first level mage and tenth level mage; I would wager that virtually all freelance spellcasters who have just left their apprenticeships/acolyteships would hire themselves out as spelljammers for merchant vessels for fairly cheap. They could study with the higher level Ship's Mage, and take a shift at the helm. Other than the inherent danger in spelljammer travel, it would be a pretty good experience for low level spellcasters.

Jeff

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:22 pm 
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there actually is a penalty for casting spells before getting on the helm, but it doesn't do anything to SJ travel speed (ie the 100 million miles per day figure), only ship's rating (or as big mac seems to prefer, tactical rating)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:31 am 
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Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
I was kind of hoping you were going to turn out to be our guru of maps.
Well I never can tell when the bug will hit me (as it always does) nor what it will be that I suddenly develop a deep-seated need to draw up. I wish I could do campaign-scale overland maps but my attempts have never satisfied me. As you can see from what I have up on my site my interests seem to wander around a bit.


I think it is pretty hard to do something "big", as there is really not anything to show for until the completion of a mass of work. I've been looking at the Sandbox tutorials (that I mentioned before) recently, because I think that sort of approach is a way to get something now, but still work towards something big in the long term.

Ironically, from a mapping point of view, I would guess that Spelljammer asteroids would be fairly flexible for someone who wants to hop around. They have a definite edge and once you have mapped everything within that edge, there is nothing left to do.

Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Have you noticed that we have a Wilderlands forum? I'm sure that they would be interested in your City of the Invicible Overlord Map. I've just bought Majestic Wilderlands, so I know I'll be checking that one out.
That one was actually so easy to get the basics down because the original map was drawn out in such a graph-paper old-school fashion. It's all the little tweaks and details that take time. Modron was much the same way and so much smaller that I don't think I spent more than a couple days on it. And of course there's Tegel Manor and Thunderhold. But then I already had physical maps of all of these - it was just a matter of deciding to take the time to draw them up in Campaign Cartographer. And they're all in CC2. I have CC3 but I just haven't been able to force myself to start learning it or these maps would REALLY shine. Maybe eventually...


I've not got these original square maps, sadly.

But I have seen some obviously hexagonal Dragonlance maps, along with some really great adaptations by Margaret Weis Production.

Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
I've got to say that the level of detail on your map is really amazing. I think that a GM could use that as a "master map" and crop out sections of it for use with material about specific districts.
Really, no more than was on the original map. Drawing the buildings was actually done rather "quick-and-dirty", but that actually works since it seemed to fit the "architectural style" that the original map suggested. Most of the buildings are odd-angles and haphazardly conjoined and positioned.


Well, whatever you did, it worked.

Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Did you ever make the underside of Bral? I don't see it on the site.
I recall that I did at one time, but that seems unlikely or I'd surely have it on file here somewhere and I don't see it. Maybe it was that I started to do it but gave it up. Even with the fortress the underside isn't as complex or as interesting to draw, it would almost certainly not have been needed by MY players, and other projects would have drawn my attention away from it. Then too it may have been lost in a HD crash.

Now that you mention it though it feels incomplete to not have it. If I can find my hardcopy Bral maps I'll probably take a swipe at it.


That would be really great. 8-)

I would guess that most of the work with the underside would be getting the contours right and lining the edges up to be a mirror of the topside. But you could have some tall plants on the underside (for players to hide in).

The real "challange" would be to create Bral's underdark. Two networks of tunnels with a gravity switch in the middle.

Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
I think that SJ fandom could do things like develop the castle at the centre of the Tears of Selune, individual asteroids within The Grinder or the Stellar Islands, if we could build up our map making skill.
One thing I've learned in using Campaign Cartographer is that mapmaking tends to become a hobby in and of itself. People tend to draw maps less because they need or want them for a game than because they just enjoy the process itself. I tend not to draw maps of my own creation so much as draw Campaign Cartographer versions of existing maps for my own enjoyment.


I feel the same way about creating wiki articles for Spelljammer. I don't "need" the articles for anything other than to put down my understanding of a specific part of SJ...in words.

I suppose, from your point of view. the tiny set of maps from SJR4 Practical Planetology, would be more interesting to work with. Those maps could be turned into larger (more normal) maps by someone with CC2 (or whatever).

Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
The deck plans are a very interesting thing. I don't think I've seen anyone else do a fliter (I might be wrong, but if there is one, I don't know about it).
Well, in a sense, why would you? There's no "deck" to draw. It's too small. I only did it because I got it into my head that I wanted to draw the wings of a Monarch butterfly.


I'm sure a 3e player might enjoy having a deck plan for a flitter. It might come in handy for measuring against something like a fireball area of effect.

Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
There is something about the original deck plans (and many of the original sphere maps) that don't quite look right to me. I think it is the fact that they don't feel like "proper cartography".
Deck plans are a somewhat specialized thing and the Spelljammer ships I think were concerned more with just getting something that fit an illustration than with something that made particularly good sense. If you've read any of my musings on the good/bad of the original Spelljammer material you'll note that I believe the designers really missed what Spelljammer actually was, or what it could be best at. When you give PC's a ship in space and tell them to go explore planets you are stepping solidly into the already well-worn shoes of SCIENCE FICTION. You're talking about the starship Enterprise - the Millenium Falcon - Serenity - even Spaceship Yamato. The game needed to provide deckplans for ships that would support the kinds of stories and adventures seen in the related movies and TV shows. It really needed to be ship-oriented SF like, say, Traveller; it was just dressed up in fantasy trappings from D&D. At least that's how I saw it. So you look at deckplans for a Tradesman and want it to be a fantasy equivalent of the Millenium Falcon and it just isn't. Neither is a Hammership appropriately reminiscent of the Serenity, nor is an Armada taking inspiration from the Enterprise, and the mighty Spelljammer itself is hardly Babylon-5 (though it could be). :)


Hmm. I have read some of your musings, but would like to go through them all again.

I've got to say that I also don't think the original AD&D Adventures in Space boxed set does the ships right. My main thing has always been that the ship combat just does not seem like it is AD&D - it seems like a tacked on wargame. I've never really thought about on-voyage adventure opportunities too much before.

I'm not a fan of making SJ look too much like sci-fi, but Robert S. Conley was suggesting borrowing from Traveller, so your argument is being backed up by commercial authors. And I've got to admit that sometimes I already think it is a good idea...

...provided the sci-fi serial numbers are filed off and replaced with forged fantasy ones. ;)

I'll agree with other people here (that an Age of Sail feel is better than a sci-fi dressed as fantasy feel), but I think that all of the things you mention are valid bits of storytelling to rob.

The USS Enterprise of Spelljammer would definately be something like an elven navy armada. It has multiple decks and is large enough that you could throw a witchlight marauder onto one end of the ship and there could be a long period of hand to hand combat before the crew either win or loose the ship.

The Millenium Falcon is a smuggling ship (pretending to be an honest trading ship). The same sort of thing could be done with SJ's ships. If you look at some of the ship redesigns done by Silverblade, he has grabbed some of the "dead zones" that were not mapped by Jim Holloway. That gives you the smuggling compartments that would allow a ship to sneak things in past customs.

The big thing with Serenity/Firefly is the relatively small crew and a ship that is divided into fairly small crew cabins and a fairly large hold (where bad guys can sometimes hide). The dragonfly (in progress at the moment in another thread) could give you that sort of environment.

I don't know Spaceship Yamato, so I've got no comments on that (other than it is obviously something that sounds cool).

Another thing all three of these ships have is an iconic universe that backs them up. Enterprise has a Federation...rather like the Imperial Navy. The Falcon has an evil empire and a bunch of freedom fighters...perhaps like the Sun Mages of Clusterspace and the Hidden. Serenity has a variety of characters headed by a pair of ex-armed forces people who were abandoned by their own side. You might be able to have a pair of "good" Varen for that sort of role.

The main thing that SJ could learn from Traveller is to discover how to build worlds, systems and flow rivers a bit better. At the moment, we have a bunch of partial details that are all cool, but leave a lot of gaps. Looking at Traveller material, I see detailed maps that show me exactly how the universe sectors fit together.

I would like to see maps made for each planet and then for new locations to be "sandboxed" into the undocumented areas.

Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
I wish I could lock you and Jaid in a thread and make you both have a debate. I've had some really fun debates about some of the weirder aspects of Spelljammer. Your writings seem to suggest you have an eye for spotting these oddities. Some really odd details come out of the woodwork when you look at SJ canon with a microscope. And when people bounce stuff off of each other, you can find hidden "easter eggs" inside SJ products. 8-)
Between the time when TSR died and 3rd Edition was released what I really really wanted most was to run another Spelljammer campaign. The players I had said they wanted more of it too. Problem was it just didn't work for me mechanically. I looked at it REAL HARD for quite a while and eventually concluded that it was just going to be more effort than I wanted to put into it to make it into what I wanted it to be.


I'm not quite sure where your "mechanical" brick wall was.

Are you saying that you ran out of modules and didn't have any new stuff to put in?

What did you try to do to "fix" your game?

Why do you think it failed?

Man in the Funny Hat wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
I think that contour lines (themselves) tend to break down a bit when you start having verticle sides to an asteroid. I can't really see a way to get around that.
That, my friend, is what sculpture is for. :)


:lol:

No that is what Silverblade's Suitcase is for! ;)

Joking aside, I really hope that your map can make Silverblade make a better Bral. He can create the multiple side views, that will show people how steep each of the sides of Bral are.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:28 am 
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AuldDragon wrote:
Wordwyrd wrote:
I agree with this point (especially old manta as B5 assuming you ditch the hotel california angle). On the other hand, I find your sci-fi ship analogs somewhat odd. For my money, Serenity would be closest to a tradesman, the Falcon seems like a wasp to me (small but heavily armed), and Enterprise reminds me more of something like a cuttleship (stately, but really more suitable for command and research than for war). If the armada is anything from sci-fi, it's got to be Galactica. Seriously, all those flitters...


I think part of what he is getting at is that in a lot of SciFi, you can have whole campaigns that take place almost entirely on a single ship, since they're so much bigger and more populated than SJ ships. Ships are like towns or villages in that regard, whereas in SJ, they're much more simply transport or weapons platforms.

Personally, I think we need to NOT view SJ through the lens of what is done in SciFi, and rather through the lens of The Age of Sail or earlier sailing adventures/expeditions.


The ultimate "big ship" is The Spelljammer.

I think that great concepts are great concepts. I think we can steal ideas from everywhere.

AuldDragon wrote:
Really, so long as you stay withing the planetary orbits in a single sphere, you can really pack people in. You normally get 120 days of good air with a full standard crew, so if you double the crew, you will still have 60 days. That is more than enough air for flitting about almost any sphere, especially since most landfalls should replenish the air; food/water is a little harder to come by, but still easily manageable unless the PCs really pack the ship full of people or cargo. And that is all discounting various magic to keep you going. If the PCs then want to make some intersphere trips, they can either rely on magic or dump a bunch of crew at a local port and hire new ones at their destination.


I've got to say that I really like the multiple scale potential of SJ (and think that it is there, but not properly explained).

Seafaring ships (with SJ helms) could be a great way to run a trade shuttle service between a groundling world seaport and a nearby asteroid. If the journey was a short one, you could "pack in" enough crewman to make sure that the ship could be kept seaworthy.

Slightly less packed ships, could fly from world to world, within the same system. Or they could fly from one asteroid (around one planet) to another asteroid (around another planet). These ships could have hulls that perform better in wildspace, so that they can hold their own in a fight.

Much less packed ships, could do the sphere to sphere trips. These should be exploration ships. Maybe they would do some trading, but they should be a minor part of wildspace trade. Just as most countries on a fantasy world should be self sufficient, I think that most planets should also be self sufficient. And most spheres should be self sufficient.

Things traded from world to world and from sphere to sphere should be fairly rare items (with the sphere to sphere trade being a lot more specialised that the world to world trade).

Since this "adventure on a ship" concept was brought up, I've been wondering what could be done with it, and I think it might be something that would be fairly similar to the Commoner Campaign thread that Ash found on the WotC forums. In other worlds: ship based adventures would be a great way to give low level PCs some things to do. You can have ropes snap or fires break out (things that a low level PC can try to fix). You could also have NPC crew who are bullies (to give the PCs some trivial adversaries). Perpaps a crewman might challange another NPC crewman to a boxing match (rather than fight to the death).

And SJ has one trick up its sleeve that science fiction does not have (and the Man in the Funny Hat did not mention): it does not have to have walls to keep the air in.

Rather than being outer space, the space of a crystal sphere (and low level campaigns) is wildspace. There should be all sorts of critters up there (as well as a few random objects drifting around). You could very easily throw in an element of Jaws and have a shiplane get stalked by one or more scavvers. :twisted:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:42 pm 
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Big Mac wrote:
the tiny set of maps from SJR4 Practical Planetology, would be more interesting to work with. Those maps could be turned into larger (more normal) maps by someone with CC2 (or whatever).


Hmm, I've been thinking about getting CC3 and some of the add-ons; this might be an interesting practice project.

Big Mac wrote:
If you look at some of the ship redesigns done by Silverblade, he has grabbed some of the "dead zones" that were not mapped by Jim Holloway. That gives you the smuggling compartments that would allow a ship to sneak things in past customs.


Jim Holloway didn't do the cartography for the ships, just the artwork. Diesel did the cartography.

Big Mac wrote:
I don't know Spaceship Yamato, so I've got no comments on that (other than it is obviously something that sounds cool).


Also known as Star Blazers.

Big Mac wrote:
Seafaring ships (with SJ helms) could be a great way to run a trade shuttle service between a groundling world seaport and a nearby asteroid. If the journey was a short one, you could "pack in" enough crewman to make sure that the ship could be kept seaworthy.


I'm not following how "packing in" crewmen would make a ship more seaworthy...

Big Mac wrote:
Since this "adventure on a ship" concept was brought up, I've been wondering what could be done with it, and I think it might be something that would be fairly similar to the Commoner Campaign thread that Ash found on the WotC forums. In other worlds: ship based adventures would be a great way to give low level PCs some things to do. You can have ropes snap or fires break out (things that a low level PC can try to fix). You could also have NPC crew who are bullies (to give the PCs some trivial adversaries). Perpaps a crewman might challange another NPC crewman to a boxing match (rather than fight to the death).


For actual PC adventures (as opposed to PC backstory or NPC backstory), I'd want more...eventful adventures. Having them ONLY deal with everyday things, or doing so in more than a passing fashion, would be very boring to most players, I think. Now, adventures would reasonably be very railroad-ish at that point, but they should still have opportunities to save the day and suggest plans of attack to the captain and the like. The adventures should be something like: PCs hire on to a merchant ship as guards/spelljammers; during the trip, the merchant ship encounters a derelict. The PCs accompany captain on investigation, and he tells the boarding party to split up, etc. You then can have a fairly standard adventure from there. Instead of a merchant vessel, it could just be an exploration vessel, or something similar. After the PCs gain levels, they can rise in rank in the ship, and eventually the captain dies during the events of one of the adventures, and leaves the ship to the PCs. Then they can have "normal" SJ adventures, where they make all the decisions.

Jeff

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:51 pm 
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AuldDragon wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Seafaring ships (with SJ helms) could be a great way to run a trade shuttle service between a groundling world seaport and a nearby asteroid. If the journey was a short one, you could "pack in" enough crewman to make sure that the ship could be kept seaworthy.
I'm not following how "packing in" crewmen would make a ship more seaworthy...
Big Mac wrote:
Since this "adventure on a ship" concept was brought up, I've been wondering what could be done with it, and I think it might be something that would be fairly similar to the Commoner Campaign thread that Ash found on the WotC forums. In other worlds: ship based adventures would be a great way to give low level PCs some things to do. You can have ropes snap or fires break out (things that a low level PC can try to fix). You could also have NPC crew who are bullies (to give the PCs some trivial adversaries). Perpaps a crewman might challange another NPC crewman to a boxing match (rather than fight to the death).

In many cases, a full crew on a spelljammer would be less than a skeleton crew if the ship were at sea (I am looking at you giff clipper..). Deep water ships require constant "trimming" of the sails, and stand 4 hour watches each with an officer and generally 4-5 crew in addition to a nest watchman.

I recall an extremely successful warhammer fantasy campaign where the characters were all on the lines in a war. Most of the games took place in or about camp, and I think that model could be adapted pretty well for spelljammer with the right group of players, especially if they were all part of one of the more organized fleets (IEN, Scro, Wa, etc.). That warhammer game did eventually get onto the battlefield when one character became an officer, but for almost half a year the battles were handled “off camera.”

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:42 pm 
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AuldDragon wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
the tiny set of maps from SJR4 Practical Planetology, would be more interesting to work with. Those maps could be turned into larger (more normal) maps by someone with CC2 (or whatever).


Hmm, I've been thinking about getting CC3 and some of the add-ons; this might be an interesting practice project.


You might want to check out the Fantasy Cartography with Adobe Photoshop podcast at iTunes. Fantasy Cartography with Adobe Photoshop is also available via YouTube.

AuldDragon wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
If you look at some of the ship redesigns done by Silverblade, he has grabbed some of the "dead zones" that were not mapped by Jim Holloway. That gives you the smuggling compartments that would allow a ship to sneak things in past customs.


Jim Holloway didn't do the cartography for the ships, just the artwork. Diesel did the cartography.


I stand corrected. It explains why the two art styles sometimes don't match up.

Silverblade sometimes reboots a spelljamming ship, if the deckplans and art do not match up. I suppose we could potentially add decks (or whatever) to make a "Holloway version" and then go back and alter the outside of a ship to get the "Diesel version". Both ships could be "variants".

AuldDragon wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
I don't know Spaceship Yamato, so I've got no comments on that (other than it is obviously something that sounds cool).


Also known as Star Blazers.


Thanks. Never heard of that before.

AuldDragon wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Seafaring ships (with SJ helms) could be a great way to run a trade shuttle service between a groundling world seaport and a nearby asteroid. If the journey was a short one, you could "pack in" enough crewman to make sure that the ship could be kept seaworthy.


I'm not following how "packing in" crewmen would make a ship more seaworthy...


What Wordwyrd said...but also taken back to the fact that ships like a Hammership are not very seaworthy. When the helm is shut down you change from a situation where the crew has little to do, to a situation where they almost can't cope with the constant changes that would be needed.

In the Cloakmaster novels, they even had a "seamast", which I take to be an extra mast that is put up to give a ship an additional sail on the sea.

On a ship with oars, I would expect the "steering oars" of wildspace to be insufficient to actually pull a ship through seawater.

AuldDragon wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Since this "adventure on a ship" concept was brought up, I've been wondering what could be done with it, and I think it might be something that would be fairly similar to the Commoner Campaign thread that Ash found on the WotC forums. In other worlds: ship based adventures would be a great way to give low level PCs some things to do. You can have ropes snap or fires break out (things that a low level PC can try to fix). You could also have NPC crew who are bullies (to give the PCs some trivial adversaries). Perpaps a crewman might challange another NPC crewman to a boxing match (rather than fight to the death).


For actual PC adventures (as opposed to PC backstory or NPC backstory), I'd want more...eventful adventures. Having them ONLY deal with everyday things, or doing so in more than a passing fashion, would be very boring to most players, I think. Now, adventures would reasonably be very railroad-ish at that point, but they should still have opportunities to save the day and suggest plans of attack to the captain and the like. The adventures should be something like: PCs hire on to a merchant ship as guards/spelljammers; during the trip, the merchant ship encounters a derelict. The PCs accompany captain on investigation, and he tells the boarding party to split up, etc. You then can have a fairly standard adventure from there. Instead of a merchant vessel, it could just be an exploration vessel, or something similar. After the PCs gain levels, they can rise in rank in the ship, and eventually the captain dies during the events of one of the adventures, and leaves the ship to the PCs. Then they can have "normal" SJ adventures, where they make all the decisions.


I like what you suggest and would like to see it developed.

But I do think that SJ needs adventure hooks for 1st level characters. A large number of encounters that involve creatures could kill low level characters, but mixing in some non-combat encounters could make things a little less lethal.

From a spellcaster point of view, a ship get the same speed from any helmsman (unless it is slowed to tactical speed), so there is always a chance that a spellcaster might be on the helm, when a ship is spotted in the distance.

Jaid wrote:
there actually is a penalty for casting spells before getting on the helm, but it doesn't do anything to SJ travel speed (ie the 100 million miles per day figure), only ship's rating (or as big mac seems to prefer, tactical rating)


I just noticed that I missed this.

Tactical Raiting (TR) is not my thing. It is Static's 3e replacement for Ship's Raiting. (The reason for the change was that 3e uses SR for spell resistance.)

Wordwyrd wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Since this "adventure on a ship" concept was brought up, I've been wondering what could be done with it, and I think it might be something that would be fairly similar to the Commoner Campaign thread that Ash found on the WotC forums. In other worlds: ship based adventures would be a great way to give low level PCs some things to do. You can have ropes snap or fires break out (things that a low level PC can try to fix). You could also have NPC crew who are bullies (to give the PCs some trivial adversaries). Perpaps a crewman might challange another NPC crewman to a boxing match (rather than fight to the death).


I recall an extremely successful warhammer fantasy campaign where the characters were all on the lines in a war. Most of the games took place in or about camp, and I think that model could be adapted pretty well for spelljammer with the right group of players, especially if they were all part of one of the more organized fleets (IEN, Scro, Wa, etc.). That warhammer game did eventually get onto the battlefield when one character became an officer, but for almost half a year the battles were handled “off camera.”


Having played science fiction LARP games for several years with a group that roleplayed a marine unit, I've got to say that a bit of handwaving can get past the fact that an NPC is deciding what adventures the PCs go onto.

Not only do I think this is a great concept. I also think that the concept could be rolled out to many of the other groups within the Spelljammer universe. It would take the right hook, but perhaps the players themselves could create that hook. For example, if the GM gave the players a list of organisations and had them vote on which one they wanted to play, you could get the game off the ground with a central theme.

If, for example, the group voted to be in the Pragmatic Order of Thought, they could all be part of a local cell. The players could still decide on different backgrounds for their PCs, but all backgrounds would end with them joining the Pragmatic Order of Thought. One could be a rescued slave. Another could have a relative that vanished. One could be a refugee, displaced from an asteroid that has now been occupied as a pirate/slaving base.

And if the group voted to be in the Company of the Challace, the GM could then ask them to vote on the home sphere's "evil infidel" and the campaign could be based on opposing and confounding that group. At the beginning, this might even just involve gathering information.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:11 am 
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Big Mac wrote:
In the Cloakmaster novels, they even had a "seamast", which I take to be an extra mast that is put up to give a ship an additional sail on the sea.

Naval vessels rarely removed a mast unless it needed replacement, but they very extremely often left huge swaths of cloth unspread, especially in bad weather.

On a happy note, I have just started reading the first novel in my brand new acquisition: the first 4 spelljammer novels! :o :shock: :P If I am absent for the next few days, you will know why. Actually, if I randomly post a ton of stuff, you will know why too; I guess we will have to see how it turns out. :D

Big Mac wrote:
On a ship with oars, I would expect the "steering oars" of wildspace to be insufficient to actually pull a ship through seawater.

I always envisioned "space oars" as possessing large fins similar to the kind of sails on an eel; they are not entirely unlike the sails on many oriental sailing craft I suppose. That would give you what you need to push against for maneuvering. Ships with normal looking oars I always took to be using magical devices that are essentially man-powered "depowered helms."


Big Mac wrote:
...I do think that SJ needs adventure hooks for 1st level characters. A large number of encounters that involve creatures could kill low level characters, but mixing in some non-combat encounters could make things a little less lethal.[/i]
I think I may be able to help out there. Ignoring for the moment that even hackjammer sails and the like are very expensive treasure for first level parties, all of the most common adversaries for first level characters play a major role in space. Kobalds? Check! Goblins? Check! Humans? (yea, you heard me) Check! Mindflayers? Ok, some things will be off limits for a few levels, but you get the idea. Just try not to involve low level characters in a major war. You wouldn't make first level characters a big part of a major land war would you?

Big Mac wrote:
If, for example, the group voted to be in the Pragmatic Order of Thought, they could all be part of a local cell. The players could still decide on different backgrounds for their PCs, but all backgrounds would end with them joining the Pragmatic Order of Thought. One could be a rescued slave. Another could have a relative that vanished. One could be a refugee, displaced from an asteroid that has now been occupied as a pirate/slaving base.

And if the group voted to be in the Company of the Challace, the GM could then ask them to vote on the home sphere's "evil infidel" and the campaign could be based on opposing and confounding that group. At the beginning, this might even just involve gathering information.

This got me thinking, it might help out somewhat if someone were to put together a little blurb about each of the spaceborn organizations. I don't mean just the ones from the spelljammer books (though by all means include them), but groups like the harpers of toril, and the grey knights who are mainly part of groundling culture, but whose members travel a whole damn lot. Harpers especially would have at least some presence in space I would imagine.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:25 am 
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Wordwyrd wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
In the Cloakmaster novels, they even had a "seamast", which I take to be an extra mast that is put up to give a ship an additional sail on the sea.

Naval vessels rarely removed a mast unless it needed replacement, but they very extremely often left huge swaths of cloth unspread, especially in bad weather.

<speculation>If rigging for wildspace has different needs than rigging for water, then it might actually be a "sea"mast -- a mast which is only stepped when the vessel is in (or preparing for) water.</speculation>

(It might also be ignorance on the part of the author. I don't know -- I own 1 and 3-6, and never read them because I never ended up with book 2. heh.)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:17 pm 
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I put up a nice long post and it seems to have been eaten. Ah well, it was nothing horribly important.

I did find my Bral hardcopy map though and have started on a CC2 map of the underside. If I remain undisturbed by work I should have it finished today.

In fact, here it is:
http://home.earthlink.net/~duanevp/cc2/cc2.htm

Just scroll down a bit and you'll find it.


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