Wednesday 19 June 2024

Introducing my new skirmish game Campaign Managment Tool

In my last post, I mentioned that I'd be spending some time on building gaming tools. I achieved a bunch of things on my roadmap but in this post I want to tell you about a particular itch I had, and how I've built a new thing to scratch it.

I play skirmish wargames like Necromunda and Mordheim. In these games, there's quite a bit of admin to do outside the actual playing of the game. Of course, you need to maintain your gang or band by hiring new members, buying weapons and equipment and the like, and there are brilliant sites and apps that manage those gangs like and battlescribe.

In addition to the core admin of maintaining your listing, these games often have dice rolling admin to do. Income, injury, and marketplace rolls. These rolls are best done in public and with a witness as they're pretty campaign shaping. This is where I often run into a problem. I want to spend my time at the local game store actually playing games, or at least socialising, not doing admin. When it's getting late, I want to run for the early bus, not make those post-battle rolls.

Enter the City In Darkness Campaign Manager!

While keeping your gang roster on your site of choice, you can now make those public rolls using this campaign manager. Getting Started:

  1. Sign Up with your email (no password required) at
  2. Create a Campaign and share it with your fellow participants.
  3. Add your Forces (I call gangs, mobs, armies, whatever; forces).
  4. Make Rolls and enjoy!

  5. Why should you use it? It's a tool designed to make your wargame campaigns smoother and more transparent.

    • Public Rolls: Everyone sees the outcomes, ensuring transparency.
    • Accountability: Only admins can delete rolls, and the system handles all rolls.
    • Automated Rolls: Automatically handle pre/post-game rolls for income, recruitment, and injuries.
    Actually, that last point is partially wishful thinking. By automatically, I mean the dice will be rolled automatically, but you do need to tell me what dice need to be rolled and provide the explanation of what you're actually rolling. What I have built so far is the bare minimum and I'd love to hear suggestions on making this handle more stuff. My motivation here is to augment all these other list building tools out there, not replace them, so suggestions along those lines would be wonderful. To this end, I've started a discord (, because everyone needs another discord server to join) where you can get support and make suggestions.

    So ideally, with this tool, you can save precious game day time and keep everything fair and square. Perfect for ensuring everyone’s on the same page!
    No more hush-hush dice rolls or waiting around. Get right into the action! We hope this becomes a valuable asset for your gaming group. Happy campaigning!

Wednesday 14 June 2023

 Gaming tools

I'd like to start writing again. It isn't quite ten years since I started this blog, and the city of darkness is nearing the 20 year mark, but prolonged absences mean I feel like I have more to say on the topic. Lately, I have also been spending more time on the tools I build for myself to aid in wargaming and roleplaying. I might as well write about those here too. I realise this blog is becoming more apologies about not writing, than actual writing. Maybe this time it'll be different? Maybe not.

Let's find out.

You won't have noticed, but this blog now lives on, rather than the top level domain. After running separate apps for my various projects for many years, I got sick of maintaining them all separately. I have now blobbified them all together (technical term) and they now live at

Which projects exist right now?

Right now? Practically speaking, none. They're all broken in minor ways. I will fix them up over the coming weeks, but until then this is more of a teaser than anything else.

Necromunda Companion

Helps out with games of Necromunda at the table. I can't remember the special rules for any of my gangers, so provided with a Yaktribe gang url(, this little page will present all the rules for that gang, in a handy phone-oriented format. Necessarily, this tool contains a bunch of text from the game books and so to avoid the dubious copywrite violations involved, the only users of this tool are myself and people I have personally verified to actually own the physical books. Does this count as fair use and so is actually fine to share? I have no idea, and I can't be bothered consulting a lawyer to find out. 

Character Sheet

A standard set of interactive, fillable character sheets for a few different systems. 

  • StarWars - Edge of the Empire
  • Scion 2nd Edition
  • Vampire: The Masquerade 5th edition

I built this primarily to sharpen my frontend skills. I figured character sheets would be a challenge from a layout and aesthetic perspective and this largely worked. I'm happy with how they turned out. The trick is though, what is the point of them now? FantasyGrounds, Roll20 and the others all have character sheets, and a lot more. Mine sometimes look a bit nicer than Roll20s, but I have none of the gaming functionality that the VTTs provide.

So why put them online? To continue to build my skills, I suppose. I also plan to run my vampire game using it. One thing I think that is lacking in Roll20 and others, is a bit more shared note-taking space for both the players and GMs. I plan to add this to my character sheet app.

GM Screen

A canvas where a GM can lay out stories, encounters, maps and art, and even gaming pdfs open to the right pages, zoom in and out at will, and even share bits of it with the players. Now that sounds interesting! I hope anyway. I feel like there are some generic tools online right now to help with note taking, but I think there's room for something targeted at GMs, with some specialised features that will come in handy. This is the least complete of my builds, it's not even available to preview yet. It's an ambitious build that I'm not even sure I can pull off. Watch this space.

So there it is:

  • Something useful, but legally dubious
  • Something useless
  • Something that doesn't even exist yet

On the other hand, I have written something for the blog, for the first time in years. So I'll call it a win and finish with a bit of a roadmap of what I plan to tackle next. 


In no particular order

  • Get Necromunda Companion back in working order (small)
  • Add Shared note taking to Character Sheet (medium)
  • Add a GM information screen to Character Sheet, unrelated to the proper GM screen below, this will just present all the character stats in a game in a very condensed format. Think being able to see all the disciplines (or passive perceptions) the players have in one place
  • Continue my research into the proper GM screen. How can I make a performant, responsive, nice feeling tool before adding any actual features.

Monday 27 February 2017

Random UK / Ireland placename generator

I combined a list of random placename roots in the UK and Ireland to create a generic placename generator
It is extremely simple, there's no way to clear the list and I can't bothered capitalizing words other than the first one. I got the base words from Wikipedia and used the frankly awesome Last Gasp Grimoire choose your own generator tool to base it off.

Generate Generic UK / Irish Placename

Tuesday 3 January 2017

New Year, New Summary

My short break from the blog turned into a little longer than expected, but it's a new year, so I'm going to start trying to post regularly again. I have a bunch of topics on the backburner in various stages of completion. I'm running a group through the Anabella Girando adventure right now, so I'll wait and see how this new group handles it before publishing. My town history generator is done, but it needs some tweaking and I'll probably remove the mechanics associated with town growth, since they don't add much value.

Right now though, I decided it was time for a fresh little overview of the various races, places and portals of the city, so here it is, with links to articles in greater depth.


Goblins: Clever engineers that threw off the shackles of the evil god that created them and now enforce their goodness through temperance leagues and other clubs and societies.

Orcs: Gentle seafaring folk who live aboard their greatships and rarely venture onto dry land

Halflings: Live communally in small villages in the homeland, but more conventionally in the city, the home hearths of Astre owe their current form in the city to the Halflings.

Dwarves: If not a dead race, then certainly dying. No child has been born in the mountainholmes for more than a century and the remaining Dwarves spend their time in a stupor, unwilling to do much besides eat and sleep.

Humans: Come from many of the worlds connected to the City, but mostly from the many shattered kingdoms of the old empires of Tikreti.

Kobolds: Recently civilized tribes from the swamps, they appear more and more often in the city as traders of fish, fowl and other products of the swamps.

Worlds Beyond Portals:

Benoch: The area around the portal is low lying hills populated mainly by Halflings. Large river near the portal makes it a huge trade route to the many kingdoms that formed from the fallen Tikreti empire.

Orlock: The source of the Aqueduct, the goblins beyond the underground exit to the portal are proficient engineers, building dams and canals above and below ground.

Copia: Portal exit is to a vast swamp populated by Kobolds and much worse. A massive project to build a causeway across the swamp is nearing completion, will enable much better trade with the dwarves of the mountainholmes beyond the swamp.

Ilum: Leads to a floating pontoon that orc ships occasionally dock at. The nearest land is more than a week's voyage from the portal.

Interesting Sites:

The Palace of Justice: Next to the Night Palace, Court cases in Nocte are known for their entertainment value, creative punishment, and mad Judges.

The Pits: Home to the poorest and most desperate of Nocte's peoples, the pits burrow deep below the city into the rock.

The Night Palace: The palace of the Duke of Nocte, although the Duke himself hasn't been seen in many years, is known for lavish balls and its intricate gothic architecture.

The Home Hearths: Each morning, all the citizens of Nocte eat breakfast in one of the almost 50 hearths, tended to by the Priests of Anwyn. The elite of the city do most of their business deals in the hearths.

Walker's Square: The largest open public space in the city sits next to the Palaces of Justice and is the site of all executions in the city.

The Anchor: In several Nocte neighborhoods, massive chains, with links the size of a horse, can be seen randomly piercing walls and spanning streets. These chains hold up parts of Nocte that jut out over the edge and have allowed people to build wider and higher than would otherwise be possible. Most of the chains originate from the Anchor.

The Aqueduct: The City's only water source stems from the underground canals beyond the Orlock Portal and is so important it has an entire legion of guards to protect it.

Thursday 10 September 2015

Dark Albion Review Part 1

I am in two minds about Dark Albion and I can’t quite figure out why. I think I will do my usual steal random bits for Nocte thing, but before that I want to do a more traditional review.

Dark Albion is a pseudo-historical setting based on England during the War of the Roses. Notable pieces of pseudo-ness include replacing the Catholic Church with The Church of the Unconquered Sun(TCotUS) and replacing the French with actual frogmen. Both of these substitutions are easily reversible, thus making the setting almost wholly historical, but I question the inclusion of one of these elements at all.

While the frogmen are a hilarious adversary as surrogate Frenchmen, replacing the historical church seems to me to be just avoiding conflict with modern Christians. If the Church of the Unconquered Sun could bring more depth and interest, or even an interesting spin on the historical church then it might be a warranted change. I find no such thing in Dark Albion and so I must conclude the author did not want to incorporate fantasy constructs such as clerics into the historical church to avoid any controversy that might result.

I might be being a bit harsh with that criticism. The brief history of TCotUS does a good job explaining clerics and the miracles they perform, and since TCotUS is so similar to the Catholic Church, it is still possible to use all the interesting historical details of the Church almost directly. The author even takes pains to point out that the history of the church can be brought across almost entirely intact.

Despite the weighty 280 pages, the book only manages to skim the 30 years of the era and this makes it feel incomplete. Luckily, since the era of the book is a popular one in film and fiction, there is a wealth of extra setting material available so I can’t really criticise the book too much on that score. Dark Albion focuses on the start of the period, instead of a more piecemeal approach, which helps somewhat, but I feel it could have done with more focus. Instead of including information about the various continental powers, The 14 pages used could have been put to better use. Especially useful would be some more examples on how to use the extensive list of NPCs to get PCs involved in the Rose Wars. Some advice is given in this regard, but a lot more would be welcome.

So that’s the negatives and writing about them above, they seem to loom large. On the whole though, I really enjoyed Dark Albion. It takes on an era that is undeserved by RPGs, it is well written and I really like the artwork. Others have criticised the use of royalty free images, but the volume and quality of the art is not to be understated. The number of interesting and detailed NPCs that can and should interact with one another in a relatively small geographic area is possibly unparalleled in a RPG. Should you buy this book then? Certainly. Other people have done a better job extolling Dark Albion’s virtues, so I will leave that to them, but I did want to get my reservations about the book off my chest without being too negative about it.

On a side note, you will probably have noticed that I have not posted in a very long time. For a while I was focusing on other writing, then I have some good excuses about moving countries etc. Normal service should resume soon, starting with some random inspiration from the pages of Dark Albion.

Sunday 8 March 2015


Elves do not exist, a myth, a fairytale. But why then, are there so many stories of their glory, but also their wrath? There are worse things in this world; the undead, dragons, and all manner of savage creatures. There are more beautiful creatures in this world too, unicorns, nymphs and the like. Why then, do the stories tell of the great and powerful elves?

The great empires of forgotten ages, elves. The wars against the heavens, elves. All the stories of tempted mortals, elves. If they did exist though, what would they be like?
There are places in the world where reality stretches thin. In these locations, usually deep within forests, or underground, or at the peaks of mountains, the world of the elves seeps into our own. In these places the normal laws of nature do not apply. Trees grow a hundred times taller, mountains form eldritch shapes and the creatures grow wild, both in form and behaviour.

Strange Elvish Terrain
Roll a die
D10 Terrain
1 A series of trees woven into a natural wall
2 Trees a hundred meters tall, naturally formed stairs winding their way up the trunk
3 Fingers of rock, thrust up through the sward, as thin as a finger, in precise geometric patterns
4 Entire villages made of gingerbread and populated by man-eating fairies
5 A spring of pure white wine bubbles forth from a white marble statue of a chicken
6 Giant crystals in incredible colours, some the size of a house
7 Purple mist permeates the area, causing euphoria in anyone breathing it
8 Hundreds of statues of varying races. They whisper secrets to each other
9 A river of water, black as ink, winds its way through the trees
10 A huge canyon stretches as far as the eye can see. The clouds floating below look oddly solid.

Wild Creatures
Roll two dice
D10 A With
1 Horse A unicorn’s horn
2 Duck Pure silver fur
3 Chicken The ability to breathe fire
4 Bear Long, stilt like legs
5 Wombat Ten legs
6 Deer An engorged head
7 Badge A fearsome roar
8 Lion Two heads
9 Ostrich Giant claws

Saturday 14 February 2015


I have been tweeting for a while now under the @CityInDarkness moniker. It's time I added a feed to the blog, so that's what I did. I tweet about my own blogs, but mostly about all the incredible blogs and ideas that I find around the web. I hope you find it useful.