Just released this week ( and in time for Halloween) is my latest bundle of stock art : Undead available from DrivethruRPG for $4.99.
I have been doing a lot of work these past months for Gabor Lux’ Echoes from Fomalhaut, and in particular for his upcoming Tegel Manor inspired megadungeon, Castle Xyntillan, and the still-in-development In the Shadow of the City God
Two of his most recent items, The Nocturnal Table currently available as a pdf from Drivethrurpg and featuring work by Mathew Ray, Stefan Poag, and Peter Mullen as well as myself, along with EFF#6: The Rising Tombs which has art by myself and Stefan Poag also, both are suited for describing convoluted weird cities at night. As my own game takes place in such a place, I found this rather interesting. The random encounters in the Nocturnal Table go way beyond the old DMG city encounter tables, and into some very strange places. Otherwise boring encounters with nameless NPc’s are richly described run ins with peculiar named personages, each with a distince flavor. There has been a lot said about demonstrating an implied setting by examining the encounter tables instead of dropping in extensive exposition, for example, regarding OD&D. The Rising Tombs does this with minimal descriptions and small notes, and leaves the reader to connect the dots. In one part of the city, in a sealed community where the swells reside, it is always night with a perpetual full moon. This is atmospheric, but there are some supporting features; The city is ruled by a powerful illusionist, and also the rich folks are near immortal and addicted to potions of longevity… or they may be vampires. The under layers of the city evoke a bit of the depths of Dwimmermount, without dumping pages of history up front. There are, by way of anticipating adventurers who want to burn down the tavern, mentions of an enormous machine that extends into the depths, that might explode like a megaton warhead if tampered with, and the side note that one must wear “sacred vestments” (radiation suits) to safely enter the lower levels of a dungeon. Not only are the routes to this area from a cheap hotel that H.H.Holmes might have built, or through the green room of a collapsing Theater haunted by a phantom… or through a temple of a rat/plague god. These are not your typical entry by sewer dungeons, and definitely not like either my or Hasbro’s taverns with conduits to the underworld. Gabor Lux, (known on forae as Melan), for all his resentment against the Sworddream style of OSR derived play, is firmly in touch with the parts of our hobby that are gonzo and rooted in Weird fiction. It is no secret that I like that style of gaming, as I grew up reading my dad’s virtually complete Appendix N library (assembled as it was printed, in crumbling 35 cent paperbacks, most of which I have been reacquiring from used booksellers), and while a good amount of both Gabor’s and John Stater‘s products are procedurally generated, they go into some far out places that I am happy to illustrate. That headless undead in my stock art bundle is based on one of the encounters in Nod zine, although I forget what issue. I own copies of about eight issues I did illustrations for, but there are 26 other issues of the same grade of super detailed and strange hexcrawls.
Meanwhile, in my game, there have been some odd developments.
The group travelling with the demon hunting celestial Kalima have decided to try and summon her back to the world after a demonologist they were fighting banished her with a hurled Spellstone. I was thoroughly expecting that they would be glad to be rid of such a DM PC, but no plan escapes an encounter with players unscathed. They are enlisting the leader of a Kali cult named Molaram to help in the summoning…
My Wuxia group has traveled into the megafauna rich land of Veroigne, nominally to collect a rice harvest for the Sahudese population back in Northport, and have encountered the odd ecosystem of the rice grower’s village. Swarms of stirges rise out of the rice paddies, but are chased away from the workers by a sacred giant dragonfly, from whom the party received a blessing, much the way the other group in the area had their ranger blessed by the Stag of Veroigne, who was somewhere between the Forrest Spirit of Princess Mononoke, and Bambi’s father. Both groups have seen tracks of giant rabits being stalked by dire wolves.
The group that were hired to hunt a rampaging beast have instead decided to try and take over an abandoned castle, which brings me around to an issue developing around my Juniors group. They have been trying to establish themselves with real property (excepting those among them who have Social Stigma:Criminal, who cannot directly own real property in Northport) and I have been using the Base Perk as a leveled one. Base normally gives you a place that you don’t have to pay rent that is about as good as what you might have, but with a status level of 2 levels lower than your own. At status 0, that is not much to talk about, in this case, a peasant’s hovel or tenement row house in disrepair. I suppose in other settings it would be a back booth in a diner or a leaky basement apartment. Making it a leveled perk lets you raise it by one status level per point invested, which means that at 3 points, it is a clean, functional status 0 home. This group of PC’s are trying to control the housing above an entrance to the dungeon and in particular, to a magical gate. I had originally had them invest in independent income, but that was only netting half a silver a month per point at average wealth, so I converted those points to base. The Initiate in the group has been attracting followers (not yet bought as allies) who have been doing things like basic carpentry, weeding, whitewashing…etc, that have resulted in the area being upgraded. A lot of the things I have been thinking of here were sort of echoed in Necropraxis’ blog about Stronghold Achievements for low level characters.
I miss things like the Mansion advantage from GURPS VtM, and the leveled advantage Sanctuary, from the defunct Advanced Goblins & Grottoes setting from Otherwhere dot org, (sadly even beyond the reach of the internet wayback machine). That one let you build anything from the Batcave (large, secret, secure) to something like the airships of Girl Genius.