First off, go out now and get your hands on Diogo Noguiera’s Old Skull publishing’s Sharp Swords and Sinister Spells. It is a nifty rules light version of a swords and sorcery game, currently pay what you want, with many of the sensibilities of Dungeon Crawl Classics and a very pulpy tone, such as one might find in Cirsova.
Secondly I just got my grubby little hands on a bunch of dragon magazines, including issue#138. One of the articles was called The End of The World, which I know a lot of my friendsand family feel last week launched us toward. The particular flavor of apocalypse presented in the magazine was a reboot of the campaign after the black plague hit. It was about renewing the world after changes out of your control had occurred. This was the basis of my Northport campaign, set forty years after the plague had struck. Much of the territory of the campaign has been left in the form of explorable ruins, and property is fairly easy to acquire, as at least a third of Northport is still vacant. It is an ideal circumstance for adventurers, as so much remains to be explored, and there are plenty of folk in need of champions.
I look toward the new political landscape much the same way. It isn’t what I wanted, it threatens some of those I love, and I am not going to sit down and complain about it, I am going to act on behalf of those who need defending.
Third item has to do with some art I originally released to my patrons, and should be releasing soon: Dungeon Scenes 2.
Meanwhile back in my game, The juniors crew has invested in real estate, acquiring the property directly above the Bone Gate so that they can maintain access to it, at least as long as it is there. I had casually mentioned that they could acquire it, and I am handling that as individual purchases of the Base perk, which amounts to a room each within a couple of row houses. This could lead to them becoming landlords, which I would handle as Independent Income.
Meanwhile, I have had a sudden influx in players wanting to start with guild rank, and they have already become rivals. The guild has its hands in a lot of pies (as evidenced by the number of ranking members who have points in independent income) including a push toward gaining access to set up shops in the undercity. This was kind of a feature in video games, where right before a boss fight you would run into a kind of dungeon merchant, and I have seen it in Stonehell as well. My PC’s are not quite heading toward the Papers & Paychecks route, but how manyadventurers have started as caravan guards, or in this case, taking care of the inkeeper’s rat problem, only with worse…
One of my personal Appendix N reads (mine, not Gary’s) is Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising Sequence. The final book, Silver on the Tree, has the last of the Old Ones, Will Stanton, and Bran Pendragon off hunting a magic sword in the sunken lands on the coast of Wales. There, they are confronted by one of the sword’s guardians, an undead unicorn, Bran called the Mari Lwyd. According to wikipedia, the name means Grey Mare, which could be taken to be Grimoire. The custom of pantomiming a dead horse seems to have originated as part of a Yuletide Wassailing tradition, but what amounts to an undead faerie creature surely belongs around Samhain as well. So naturally, I am using it as my costume for the Village Halloween Parade this year.
In the story, it was destroyed by “a flying may tree” moths that had been flocked on a hawthorne bush. The moths may well have been the souls of its prior victims, much like those that fought the boggarts in Charles deLint’s Tapping the Dream Tree.
I would love to build some stats, but right now I don’t have the time… although I would start by taking the wight template from Fantasy, the horse from Basic, and add in the descriptors Faerie and Undead, give it Terror and a vulnerability to spriitual attack, not sure how to parse that.
And I don’t have time to really flesh out this dead horse because I am working on delivering moire art to my patrons. You can be one too!
This great batch of 25 mm plastic figures come to me from Mike Monaco, of the Swords & Dorkery blog. Last summer I correctly guessed how deep into a mammoth cave system Mike was able to descend, and he sent me these. He had them packed up to go on a shelf in his garage, and just stumbled upon them. They are really great and appropriate to my current game. The dude with the blue shield looks like Haskell the Crafty, and the uge ensemble of naginata wielders resemble both one of my player’s Wuxia character, Chye Isuel (Translates to mean “Mountain Dew”) as well as a crew of guards with sacrificial parry and teamwork I had put in place to specifically block the attacks of the 17 ST, Tetsubo wielding Yakuza enforcer Jin.
Naturally, their planned deployment in x-parrying his tetsubo failed miserably; The players had just defeated a crowd of ninjas attacking from murderholes in the ceiling of their lair; a mixture of gas grenades and explosive fireballs striking ninjas festooned with bandoliers of nagtatapos smoked out the ninjas… and injured party members who had climbed up into the rafters with the ninjas as the attacks were made by the rest of the party. We are pbp, and hours had gone by between posts, but they still dove into the areas as they were being firebombed. Nearby they found a door without any metal fittings, and labeled in Sahudese with an advisement that fire was not welcome. The players quickly figured out that this might be the armory where the black powder for preparing nagtapos were stored, and wisely decided to fire an explosive fireball at the room…
Had the spellcaster not been talked out of this plan, the adventure would have ended abruptly as the tunnels collapsed. Entry into the ninja’s lair had been difficult enough. I had one character, who had some area knowledge and urban survival swearing that good rolls to those skills would let him find a handy manhole cover that would lead directly to the target location. He was displeased to learn that good rolls would advise him that A) Tunnels existed in this part of the city, and B) where the locked buildings with official access for the Department of Sewers and Aqueducts were, but would not create a door by searching, as it might in Dungeonworld.
The actual entrance was inside a guarded warehouse with a basement, but not accessible through the basement, only through a trap door under a crated marriage bed surrounded by barrels full of salted corpses being shipped back to Sahud for burial. Definitely not a casual find…
So, with the squire/adept still holding a fireball he had burned HP to raise, the crack troop of coordinated Naginata wielders rounded the corner, ready to nerf the Yak, and got roasted instead, although not before Shima made an appearance…
Shima is a minor villain, who had organized a diversion of brawling laborers, that the party slaughtered, who is basically an honorbound sumotori brute with power blow, and one of the few npcs I had handy who could have ended the yak early. he had his hand smashed by Jin’s tetsubo, although it was since restored by another character currently in another thread.
The other groups are converging; Hitomi (now npc’d after the player bailed), travelling with a telekenetic mentalist, a Chye Isuel the errant knight/minstrel and the overbuilt nymph bard (run by the same player who has Gorgath, and is equally weaponized) are now linking up with the Juniors group, along with the last remnants of the team trying to rescue the goblin kwik and orc cheerer, mostly so I can render the groups npc free, as I am forever losing players but trying to keep the story going.
Deep underground, the group negotiating with the trolls had launched an assault on the city of the People of the Pit, defeating a giant berserker pit person, and discovering the mental abilities of an Unknowable thing which was whisked away by a giant tentacle from beyond when I rolled an 18 on a mental blast attack. Everyone gets colorful crits.
Meanwhile in other mail related news, I now have the two core books of John M. Stater’s Blood & Treasure 2e, and cannot wait to get a physical copy of Nod 30!
All three of these items are thick with my illustrations, and this issue is so full of clever gonzo old school references, from Robot monsters to excellent rules for character race generation. Plus, it is worth the 3.99 just to get the backstory on how these three races from the Undiscovered Country relate:
John Stater isn’t just prolific, he is very imaginative and funny. I was paid for this work already, I make nothing from his future sales, save that they make him flush enough to continue to buy work from me, but there is a lot of good art of mine in his publications.
Another set of publications I advocate for are the wonderfully pulpy issues of Cirsova Zine. I grew upo reading my way through my Dad’s collection of Sword and Sorcery books; when I got my DM’s Guide, I didn’t have to search for too many items from Appendix N, he had most of them. The collected authors of Cirsova 1 and 2 do an awesome job of bringing back the feel of adventure fiction penned around the future ruins of earth. Great stuff, all of it, and check out the blog – I am tempted to drop an ad for my work into issue 4.
additionally, I have just launched a patreon! My aims are to raise enough money to upgrade my website to one that would allow for linkbacks, and then to replace my old scanner with a better model.
What you get: for $1, access to digital artwork loaded up every one to two weeks, and with increased levels, linkbacks to your blog once I get that upgraded, suggestions on the category of art (and eventually composing the type of stock art I am selling).
Further levels would get you specific commissions of quarterly or even bimonthly commissions, and even quarterly digitized color paintings by commission!
This blog will continue to show shaky photographs of all of my work, but patrons will have access to the cleaned up, print ready images.
Now that my major commissions are done, I can get back to the GURPS to SW project I have been after…
Oh, and by the way, I bought into the Cirsova kickstarter, and just started reading the three books I have from it. While I haven’t gotten far, the authors I encountered sure seem to have the feel of the sword and sorcery books my dad had. Good stuff, makes me think of a lot of the DCC adventures I have read.
Right at the same time I finished a 3 part epic painting for John M. Stater, to be sold soon as part of a GM or Treasure Keeper’s Screen for Blood & Treasure 2e, I discover that Aegis Studios, my publisher, has launched a massive 70% off, not just on my stock art, but on everything in their drivethrurpg store.
For those who have balked at my pricing, or have spent almost everything on the fully funded Steve Jackson Games’ Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game kickstarter, which is up tomorrow, now is your chance. I will make next to nothing on these sales, but I love my art to be seen. Seriously, the whole catalog is going for $4.30, and individual prices run from $0.45 to $1.20. You cannot miss at these rates.
$0.45 for 12 images
$0.60 for 7 images
$0.90 for 16 images
$0.60 for 10 images
$1.20 for 31 images, a steal!
Get it at Lulu for $24.99! The thing is loaded with my art!