I am now an achorite

My podcast about low level gaming can be found here and also over here

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Here There Be Dragons!

So I finally got a package from Lulu, one that included two of John Stater‘s books that feature my art, Nod 34, and Blood&Treasure 2e Monster Book II.  His products, many of which feature my artwork, can be had also at OBS.

 

Also in that shipment are GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 4: Dragons, by Sean Punch,

and a slightly earlier product, Matt Rigsby’s GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Adventure 2: Tomb of the Dragon King.  I am going to compare them with a few other draconic products I own; Phil Master’s GURPS  Dragons, and R.Nelson Bailey’s Dungeon Delve 2: Dungeons of the Dread Wyrm.

GURPS Dragons is an interesting product. It was for GURPS 3e, but also had conversion notes for 4e that made it effectively one of the first 4e books.  It is scaled very differently from Dungeon Fantasy, as its 3e templates range from 40-150 points, and the upgraded 4e templates run from 80-200 points, at least for the human types. These dragons seem compatible with GURPS Fantasy, and a number of campaign ideas such as playing dragons, living in a  secret magic technomagical world (not quite Technomancer, which has its own dragons) and living in a modern world where the dragons return.

This makes the appropriately scaled dragons far weaker than the ones presented in either Rigsby’s or Punch’s books.  They also lean toward the “Realistic” as the largest dragon in Dragons is slightly stronger than an Elephant, whereas the Gargantuan dragon proposed by Punch could fly off with an elephant as a snack.  Interestingly, Punch built from the small/medium/large templates for dragons that Rigsby used exactly, but then turned the dial up to eleven.

Rigsby logically builds upon what societal effects you would have with powerful, long lived and intelligent foes; his Adventure is largely populated by the members of a dragon cult that support the draconic society, and also has a couple of potent non dragon creatures; to me, the bestiary alone is worth the purchase.

Bailey’s offering from Dungeoneer’s Guild Games, on the other hand, is a high level adventure for 1st edition AD&D or equivalent system, and provides cunning obstacles in the form of a few select allies of the dragon at the heart of the module, along with the defenses of a lair that took centuries to build, and is frankly, this generation’s Tomb of Horrors. Rigsby’s senior dragon is a powerful foe, with a small army and a hazardous lair.  Bailey’s dragon is a potent foe, and it’s lair is a fiercely scaled threat well suited to the volume of treasure that a dragon would be hoarding. There is a great deal of willful misdirection by that dragon, and a great many things that adventurers would think of have been planned for, which is what one should expect from a brilliant, ancient foe that knows it will always have enemies.

John Stater also provides a number of dragons in his book, along with a variety of imaginative foes. The looseness and variety of options in his game and its assorted flavors (weird, Mother Goose, Pulp) for me means that Blood & Treasure 2e would be one of my systems of choice if I could get a regular group of players together. I have contemplated starting a game on rpol, using my own setting, but the rules from this retro clone. For those that don’t know it, it is a B/X variant with a lot of optional features including feats,, with a ton of class and race options, and a massive array of foes to fight. If you pick up his zine Nod, there is an enormous amount of pregenerated background material, and you can find my artwork in all issues after 27.

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Buy my gear ( at least what Lucasfilm and the Mouse didn’t have taken down) on Society6

Lucasfilm is hunting down clones

space opera cover

A couple if yearyears ago I had released this bundle of Space Opera Stock Art obstensibly for use as more inclusively representative character sheets for James Spahn’s Sword and Planet game, Whitestar. I included 31 pieces of art, including 2 alien brutes, 2 alien mystics, 3 droids, and 6 versions of each of the four human classes, in a mix of male and female, and in each of three ethnic backgrounds, because demographics of folks in Space should look more like  StarTrek the Next Generation than the damn Mercury Missions.

Today after two years, my Society6 shop hadtwo of my Star Knights removed. I am hoping that it was because I had the word “Jedi” in the searchable tags, and not because they were fiund to be offensive. Are they offensive? They were meant to be a means of representation for a population in gaming that doesn’t get enough.

I am thinking it might be the Mouse, as I know they already zapped a “Jedi in the Streets, Sithlord in the Sheets” shirt from that site.

 

 

Guide to the OSR for the Perplexed

Currently making the rounds is a questionnaire from Zak S. Not someone I follow personally, but someone known to make a good random table.

1. One article or blog entry that exemplifies the best of the Old School Renaissance for me:

Pricipia Apocrypha
2. My favorite piece of OSR wisdom/advice/snark:

Not every encounter is going to be your level
3. Best OSR module/supplement:

Kabuki Kaiser’s Ruins of the Undercity The very first OSR item I purchased.
4. My favorite house rule (by someone else):

I cannot remember who wrote it, but there was a great ruling for choosing to let shields  break to absorb the damage of a hit that would otherwise  bypass the armor class. It Jives well with The Thirteenth Warrior.
5. How I found out about the OSR:

W.J.Walton’s RPG Advocate @the Escapist.com where I encountered links to my first retroclone: Dark Dungeons
6. My favorite OSR online resource/toy:

OBS
7. Best place to talk to other OSR gamers:

G+ for the longest
8. Other places I might be found hanging out talking games:

MeWe, This blog, Facebook, Discord, anywhere you find me in meatspace.
9. My awesome, pithy OSR take nobody appreciates enough: 

Henchmen make awesome backup characters
10. My favorite non-OSR RPG:

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. OSR sensibilities, built on an engine I like better.
11. Why I like OSR stuff:

I get work from it. I love the feel of games that remind me of the early eighties, when I had the magenta box and the phb, and I have always wanted to draw like Tramp, Sutherland and Russ. Now I do, and my work is featured in quite a few product lines, B&T, Blueholme, S&WCL and a number of zines.
12. Two other cool OSR things you should know about that I haven’t named yet:

James Garrison’s truly weird gaming blog, Hereticwerks and John Stater. He is insanely prolific, writing for Swords & Wizardry, and Blood & Treasure and dozens of Bloody Basic Variants, including Grit & Vigor. I love his stuff, and that is not just because he is my primary art patron. Buy his stuff, I am all over it.
13. If I could read but one other RPG blog but my own it would be:

Peter Dell’Orto’s Dungeon Fantastic. It is what got me gaming again.
14. A game thing I made that I like quite a lot is: 

Beneath the Fallen Tower. It is published for S&WCL, and I blog a bunch about it, including actual play and conversion notes to my prefered system.
15. I’m currently running/playing:

I run a GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game play by post here, and have since 2013. I am always taking on new players.
16. I don’t care whether you use ascending or descending AC because:

I grew up on THAC0. I prefered to use Len Lokafka’s 5% tables, because  THAC10 was better at describing how low HD critters were; most of them hit AC3 on a 20. I can do the math, it goes either way.
17. The OSRest picture I could post on short notice: 

Orc Fight0001.png

This one is exclusively to be found here, I got paid double for exclusivity, but I can draw you one a lot like this one if you want.

I can be reached for commissions at Gwythaint.ny@gmail.com

you can support my patreon here

and get a quick prospectus of my work here

Blood & Treasure Monster Book II is now available!

I have been contributing illustrations to John Starter Stater’s Zine Nod and to the second edition of his excellent Swords & Wizardry variant, Blood & Treasure.

After two years of work, he has finally released the Blood & Treasure Monster Book II.

I have 16 illustrations in the volume, 14 of which were commissioned specially for it, but there is so much more than my work to recommend it. Over a dozen artists have their work here, and as good as their work is, it is the text they are illustrating that is the star.

The volume of mythological resources mined for this are staggering, and the content ranges the gamuunt from oozes, to extraplanar creatures, undead, dragons, mutant dinosaurs and fey creatures.

The pdf can be got at OBS for $9.99.

The rest of B&T can be found here digitally, and here in print.

You can get the art seen above here.

As always, you can support my work on patreon!

Hall of Judgement, The Nun and progress on Heritage Mini’s

My kickstarter rewards for backing Douglas Cole‘s DFRPG supplement The Hall of  have arrived: Dungeon Grappling (which had its genesis in an article he wrote with Peter Dell’Orto for Tim Shorts‘ zine The Manor) I got these not only because I am a GURPS DF completist, and because I want to support 3rd party GURPS products, so that there will be more of them, but also because of the art. Doug had reached out to me at the beginning of the DG project, but I wasn’t able to work for him because I only digify black and white; I am not proficient enough in illustrator and its ilk to do digital color. (I will paint in acrylics for you (with very little editing possible), but give me specific proportions. I messed up a commission for Charlie Mason by painting it 8×10, and he needed 6×9) The art he chose to use is pretty damn good. He got Gennifer Bone, Michael Clarke, Juan Ochoa, Rick Troula, and Christian Villacis and also John Blaszscyk, Gerasimos Kolokas, Rick Toula, Roland Warzecha, Cornelia Yoder, and Dan Roy. Both books have a nice polished, high end feel to them.

Being largely norse in theme, here is not a lot I would use directly in my faux 14th century France clone game, but there a quite a lot of nice critters in the bestiary that  I do intend to use, and a very thoughtful implementation of humanoids as Fay creatures rather than rival hominids that makes me think of  Alan Gardner’s handling of the svart-alfar in The Weirdstone of Brisingamen.  I also have to implement the Damage Resistance trait from DFRPG for my creatures that are resistant to non-magical weapons, instead of making them all unkillable… like these.

Now, I just blew a couple of Black Tickets to see The Nun, which is Super-Catholic B-Movie Schlock in JamesWan’s shared universe of The Conjuring and Annabelle. Every haunted castle trope was used, but the set! The set was the thing that kept you from imagining that this was an old Hammer Film. It was a terrific castle with dungeons and a backstory that screams for gamification.  Scooby doo style splitting of the party at the worst possible times, innovative use of  (limited number of uses) Artifact, good boss monster, heavy Ravenloft atmosphere, and a bullshit excuse of why their Romanian guide spoke English. If you plan on running a game with these elements, it is worth watching for that alone.

The Miniatures that I deeply indebted myself to obtain are now primed. These are the 8 minis from the Crypt of the Sorcerer on the left ( fighter, wizard, dwarf, hobbit vs orc, skeleton, troll and sorcerer in the back row) and Caverns of Doom on the right (Back row: imp, vampire, skeletons, spider, rats, Dragon, ooze, Hobgoblin vs cleric, barbarian, elf, a different wizard, that same fighter and a thief).  I will update (infrequently I am sure) as I continue painting them.  What I wouldn’t give for the paints that came with the old heritage sets, their chainmail color was great, one of the closest matches I have found is Aquatec’s  pewter paint, but the consistency is different. I may have to use silver ish craft paint and use an ink wash to get the right effect.