Saturday, August 6, 2011

GenCon Saturday Night

Well, 4 days of crazy gaming and generally goofing off are now coming to a close. I spent the day going to seminars, closing up my business in the auction room (bye-bye 4E stuff) and shopping for the wife and kids. The boys will be elated with the new LEGO mini fig bits that I picked up with the proceeds from my auction items.

The auction is really a great way to fund a few of your purchases when you come to GenCon. Most of us who've been gaming for a while, probably have a few surplus items lying around, and it just makes sense to run 'em through the auction. The company that runs the auction gets into you a bit with commission and what not, but it's still nice to be turned loose into the exhibit hall with some spare cash in your pockets.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Swords & Wizardry Whitebox Tonight at GenCon

Posting from my Droid here but just wanted to see if anyone wants to game while here at the con. I'll be in the lobby outside the RPG area in the JW Marriot, near 201.

GenCon Day 2 More Madness

OK, so yesterday's Will Call line was maybe 45 minutes. Day 2 was a nightmare for those poor devils. I heard 2 hours and it was certainly The Mother of All Convention lines, doubling back upon itself before running out the door, down the street and God knows where. I think that next year to spread the OSR cheer, some of us should run games of S&W Whitebox up and down the line just as a service for our fellow gamers. Speaking of the OSR:

OSR Booth FTW!

So, yeah dropped by first thing and threw down on some OSR goodies. I'm going over there to hang out for a bit, maybe run into some of the blogging crew. Hopefully run some S&W Whitebox tonight. I had to hit the auction first thing this morning to drop off some items. I always dig through the stuff I don't want pile of junk to fund more goodies.

Oh yeah, shock of all shocks, old Scadgrad got in on a Pathfinder session where I got to play a Ninja. So, of course I flipped out and did some backstabbing for like a gazillion points of damage, which of course the bad guys shrugged off because they have like 5X gazillion HPs. Was a good session though and the DM ran a fun, loose game with not too much in the way of power gaming. Ninjas are so sweet. :)

Scadgrad is da Black Ninja lurking on da rooftopz

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

GenCon Day 1 The Will Call Line; a Cautionary Tale

Made it to Indianapolis in about 10 hours, easy ride up with the Mrs and Dan over at Tales from the Tower. Had some rain a bit of the way, but all-in-all, not bad. Wednesdays are pretty much just a get here and get your stuff stowed away. I really must warn you about the perils of the Will Call line. In the name of all that does not suck, please get your registration sent to you via mail so you don't have to participate in this frosty Hell:

OMFG Look at this Damned Line

The line stretches all the way back to Chicago. I'm not kidding, it's just simply ridiculous. One can walk right up and register off the street in just a very few minutes, but woe be the gamer who registered early and decided to brave the Will Call line. I think most of these poor souls waited at least 45 minutes and I heard of some hour-long waits. Ouch.

In other news, LEGO Minotaurs are way cool:

Holy Minotaurus Batman!

I'll have some more pics tomorrow. Also, I just downloaded my S&W Tome of Horrors Complete and it's everything that I thought it would be. On a quick skim it's just an incredibly impressive collection.

More tomorrow...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Off to GenCon

D is for Demon (Vrock)
Leaving for GenCon in the morning, very early in fact. It's about an 11 hour drive from Richmond and I'm droppin' the Mrs off at her BFF's house in Cincinnati. The kids are off to spend some time with the grandparents. I suppose next year, the 2 boys get to tag along with dad. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing some of the OSR crew and picking up some nifty OSR product. I'll try to post a few times with pics of the entire sordid affair.

I finished up my grades today for my 3 online class and so now I've a few days to get back to the drawing board. Still have a bunch of demons to draw and it looks like I'll be pitching in some illos for Mythmere's new monster book.

In other news, I've conscripted the other artists in the family to help me with my next d20 list. I'll have some grubby Zombie variants when I get back from Indy complete with guest illos from the wife and 2 of the kids.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Swords & Wizardry Whitebox with the Kids

OK, well, of course the illustration here as nothing to do with the post, but I just like to share the illos I'm doing as I get to them. These dudes are of course one of 12 demon illos I'm working on right now. I've got a fair few monsters to draw in the coming months which should be fun.
D is for Demon (Manes)

So, Swords & Wizardry Whitebox, right, what about that then? Well, last week the fam and I went back to Tennessee for a visit with the folks. I actually brought along S&W W to get a "face-to-face" session in with a few friends with my old RPG group. In fact, we still game together on Sunday evenings, playing a bit of LL/AEC down in the depths of Stonehell. We use MapTools and Ventrillo for our game now and though it's not as cool as sittin' around the game table, it's still fun to game with dudes who are scattered all around the country.

I have no clue what the current version of WotC's D&D Essentials looks like, but man, 0E is the way to go for introducing new players to fantasy RPGS.

At some point during our visit, my 11-year old nephew picked up my S&W W book and began leafing through it. He's an avid video gamer and is very familiar with CRPGs so all of the sudden, he was full of questions. My two sons of course have done a bit of dungeon delving with Dad, so they were excited to play and soon we'd pulled in a couple of other cousins. Before long, we had a quick group of 3rd level heroes readying to explore the depths of Dyson's Delve, which, given the relatively small size of its levels, makes it perfect for speedy play.

I would wager that over the next two days of the visit, we probably spent six or eight hours at the game table. I have no clue what the current version of WotC's D&D Essentials looks like, but man, 0E is the way to go for introducing new players to fantasy RPGS. Like most folks who run 0E or S&W W, I tweaked the system somewhat, using the B/X version of the Elf, EGG's 15+ Ability bonus and EGG's Death at Minus Character Level, but it's a Helluva little game. I'll confess here, I came to D&D in the Moldvay era and soon "matriculated" to 1E AD&D and until last week, I had no experience with 0E. After all these years of RPGs, it's abundantly clear to me that one really needs to actually spend a few hours playing the game before you really grok the game. Sure the paucity of hit points, the D6 for all wepaons, etc. seem limiting, but man, it's still a great little game. Why the Hell WotC/Hasbro isn't still selling this old gem is beyond me. Seriously, Monopoly as a board game is far clumsier than 0E and yet it continues to sell, probably with a set of rules that pre-date the LBBs.

OK, off the soapbox. If you're like me and missed out on the LBB era and you want a nice travel edition of D&D, you should really give S&W Whitebox a try.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pitching in some illos for the Massive Monograph

B is for Boggart.

And Bugbear…

C is for Cockatrice…

And D, well, I'm sure there'll be all sorts of folks wanting to contribute dragons, so I thought I'd roll with demons. Out of the goodness of his heart, James said he would be cool with me taking the old 1st ed AD&D demons out for a test drive which just sounds like all sorts of fun to me. Of course, I'll post them here as I plod through the buggers starting with Manes and ending with Yeenoghu.

Oh for those who have no clue what I'm up to here. Check out James blog and find out the details. Essentially, what were working toward is the final word in DIY OSR monster manuals. I figure once this baby is done, and considering I snagged one of the S&W Tome of Horrors from Frog God, I should be all set for monsters.

OK, so yeah, we all know that's a lie. There's always room for more monsters. But I think those 2 tomes should go nicely together and since I'm kind of a "monster drawing dude", I'm pretty happy to help out. I've also got a few other projects in the works, and I'll try to share those in the coming days.

Oh yeah, just had to give a shout out for the kit bash excellence of Small But Vicious Dog over at Vaults of Nagoh. I'm an old fan of WHFRPG and I really dig this treatment. If you're the sort of gamer that "gets" the black comedy of The Old World, you're going to laugh yourself silly at Chris Hogan's rules and musings. Well done sir.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Random Lairs for the Wilderness Sandbox

Whew, been a while since I've contributed anything here, too bogged down with real life work and gaming I guess. I've had this list for a while now, but I wanted a new illo to accompany it. Here we see our brave heroes stumbling back to civilization only to be set upon by owlbears. I think Dan has a recap of the actual story (and it's pretty damn funny really) so maybe I can dig it up and post a link. I certainly hope the d20 lair list can be of use for your sandbox games.

UPDATE: Here's the link for the original story from our campaign.

My campaign does a fair bit of wilderness exploration and since I find myself making up lairs on the fly from time to time, I thought it might be fun to make Ye Olde D20 List of Lairs. This list is specific to an area that is mostly wooded hills, but once could tweak it for use in other terrain types. So the next time your party stumbles into that group of Owlbears that just happened to be near their lair, you’ll be able to describe something that’s a little more in depth than “you find the monsters’ lair”.

1. a  small cave hidden at the base of a hill, 1-2 on a d6 indicates a deeper complex lies within, unbeknownst to the creatures lairing here.
2. a group of deadfall timber, oaks and the like, blown down by a windstorm many years ago, visibility very limited and dangerous to approach (-1 penalty on surprise for PCs and very short encounter range if monsters are present).
3. a series of overhanging cliffs beside a small stream creating a few very shallow caves (d4 in number), the stones and grounds in and around this lair are covered with moss, PCs being unaccustomed to the location must check DEX or fall when hit in melee.
4. a forgotten village, wiped out by plague several generations ago (d6 hovels remain extent), a cellar in one of the structures holds hidden secrets (treasure, map, weapon stash, etc. as determined by DM).
5. a lost wagon train (d4+ 2) , the ruined carts may have been circled or turned over in a last ditch defense giving any defenders present superb cover (-4 to AC) against missiles.
6. an abandoned burrow of some extremely large animal sits on a hillside overlooking a grassy plane, the hillside is riddle with large boulders making it easy to sneak up to the burrow entrance.
7. the ruins of an old abbey, 1-2 on a d6 indicates an extensive series of catacombs beneath, otherwise a simple cellar.
8. an old mining camp beside a stream where a few odd nuggets of gold were once found (1-2 on a d6 the stream is still a valuable, untapped resource), a d3 foundations of simple wooden structures remain.
9. a dense thicket of undergrowth, considerably taller than a man growing on the side of a rock-strewn hill. PCs suffer a -2 to surprise if there are monsters in the lair due to the lack of visibility. Any encounter will begin at very close range (5-15 feet).
10. the lair is transitory, probably only established within the past few days, consisting of a few small bed areas in the tall grass of a meadow. If the monsters are of a large size and there are any present, the encounter will occur at a good distance beyond the norm allowing for an extra round or two of missile fire.
11. a small island in the middle of a creek or river, accessible due to rocks and stone that create rapids around the island.
12. the ruins of a homestead, long abandoned, only a single building remains intact (roll a d6: 1-2 barn, 3-4 the house, 5-6 storage shed). A cellar may be present that remains unexplored (1-3 on a d6).
13. a natural rock formation surrounded by tall oaks, monsters if present use the rocks as a lookout post making surprising them unlikely. This vantage point allows them to spot intruders at a distance and either prepare a defense or withdraw.
14. a series of caves, high on the wall of a river gorge or box canyon. These may be assailed from above by rappelling down if the party has such equipment and skill. Otherwise the climb up is a long one and intelligent monsters if present may enjoy a number of rounds of missile fire dependent on the speed of the party (Move 10=6 rounds, 20=4 rounds, 30=3 rounds, 40=2 rounds). One of the caves as an unexplored deeper complex on a 1-2 rolled on a d6.
15. a natural ditch or gulley on the side of a forested hill or meadow. Monsters if present are afforded and early warning unless PCs are extremely cautious and will gain a surprise bonus (-2 to PC dice) or flee if faced with an overwhelming force. This gulley is long and deep enough to allow the monsters to escape without being seen 50% of the time.
16. a small, abandoned hill fort built in ages past, the structure is still very difficult to negotiate due to its single zig-zag entrance which remains a formidable obstacle if the monsters are present and intelligent enough to utilize its defensible features. There may be a more modern keep or tower, now fallen into ruin perched on the crest of the hill (indicated by a 1-2 on a d6). An unexplored complex is found at the top of the hill on a 1-2 rolled on a d6.
17. a rocky outcrop jutting out from a low hill, it is littered by ogre-sized stones scattered across the forest here. Massive hemlock trees grow amongst this rough stretch of ground, their roots intertwining with the large rocks to create d6+1 rooms. Due to the confusing terrain, the monsters if present enjoy a +2 benefit to both surprise and initiative.
18. the ruins of a wizard’s tower, demolished and abandoned in a long forgotten age. A secret trapdoor beneath a flagstone has escaped the view of the monsters and a set of stairs spirals down into the darkness below. Roll a d6 and on a 1-2 this is a very small dungeon, perhaps a room or two, a 3-5 indicates a substantial complex, a 6 indicates a massive, multi-level dungeon.
19. an abandoned orchard or vineyard, remains here among the encroaching forest. There may be substantial rations available here dependent on the season.
20. a large series of caves (d6+2), excavated in the side of a rocky cliff or hillside by some forgotten group of industrious mining humanoids in a forgotten age. One or more of the caves (indicated on a 1-3 on a d6) may hold a hidden, unexplored complex.

As promised, here's a PDF that I've placed on Google Docs for easy access. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Amherth Work Continues

Still cranking on this project and my thanks go out to Peter who has been patiently nudging me along through a surprisingly busy spring semester. I've a few more things to get finished before Finals Week and that should give me a brief respite before starting up again for Summer. I only teach online course during summer semester, but those take far more of ones time than you might realize.

At any rate, about the work here, these are all traditional pen and ink and are on some level, my own homage to DAT. The heavy blacks might be a bit much, but my thoughts are they will add a nice bit of "color" to the layout, giving a nice contrast to the type. I'm not sure I have a favorite, but I'm partial to to the tree trunk croc monster. Can't wait to use one of those guys on some unsuspecting PCs.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Amherth Map Sneak Peak

So, the goal here was to create a world map for the setting, that maintained a degree of antiquity. I like the look of these sorts of maps and think they add a sense of verisimilitude to your game setting.

The map is still awaiting final proofing, but should be completed within the next 24 hours. Pete will, I'm sure, have an announcement for the final publishing date, but the proof I've seen is really solid; great work by both Peter and Johnathan.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Yet Another Illustration for Amherth

Once again working in traditional pen and ink. I was trying to create and abstract sort of space to capture the murky depths of the rivers and lakes that this race inhabits. As a kid, I really loved the Creature from the Black Lagoon films and I'm sure you can see a bit of that here. I purposefully tried to avoid a Sahuagin look and Pete was kind enough to indulge my idea of a catfish look for these guys.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Illustration for Petespahn's Chronicles of Amherth

Here's a sample of one of the Big Bads swimming around the tidal areas of Petespahn's upcoming Chronicles of Amherth. I've got some maps to do for Pete as well as more illos so stay tuned.

This one is is pen and ink rather than the digital woodcut style that I also do. The heavy blacks lends it a sort of Jack Kirby Meets Trampier vibe, or maybe that's all in my head. Pete's got some great ideas, fun stuff to do illos for, so can't wait to get crackin'.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Campaign Map for Stonehell PDF

By request and as promised, I made a PDF suitable for printing on your home inkjet. It's on google docs and can be found HERE. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Campaign Map for Stonehell Dungeon

I'm not sure if there's anyone out there looking for a small campaign map for Stonehell Dungeon, but since I finished one up for my online MapTool campaign, I thought I'd share. If anyone wants a more print-friendly copy, I can upload a pdf for you. This is a small portion of my campaign world of Averlorn and the idea is that "your crazy uncle gave you this map just before he died". It has a few other potential adventuring sites that you can develop and the town of Kephi might offer some fun intrigue. The portion of the map to the East is a rather steep escarpment where the land falls away to a trackless desert.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Petty Gods Illustration

Here's my entry for the Petty Gods project. Ouk of the Stump, God of Men Who are Not Whole. It's a digital woodcut created w/ Painter X. Hope you like it.