Down with the Sickness

after three years of dodging the virus since my initial infection at the start of the outbreak, Covid19 has caught up with me.

Thankfully, after the death of a friend from this horrible plague, I was recently boosted (for a total of 5 shots), and the effects have been mild. No fever, no new loss of sense of smell or taste (I have some permanent losses from the fist time) and only a brief sore throat and some congestion have been the worst of it.

I cannot emphasize wnough the benefits of keeping up to date with the vaccine; I have weathered two separate rounds of infection among my colleagues at work, my family , and constant exposure to patients in the hospital where I work.

Wear your masks, and wash your damn hands!

in other news, I have nearly drawn enough pictures of ruins as to release another stock art bundle soon!

Bad Guys (and good spooky stuff)

No, I don’t mean the corporate executives at Hasbro who tried to take away the OGL,

I mean the kind of baddies that cultists and EHP’s get their altars all bloodstained over.

If there is a moral quandary about murderhoboing your way through the Chaotic Caves because you have a conscience, it can be a relief to find foul foes that are unquestionably the bad guys.

I have made stock art of these galoots previously, but left the statistics to others.

Currently, there is a kickstarter for zinequest5 by Appendix N Entertainment specifically to give your Old School Essentials game something that it is lacking: enemies that are unquestionably evil, for all of your Priests and Paladins to trounce without hesitation.

I have worked for Appendix N Entertainment for a little while now, contributing to a number of their projects.

This one is going to feature some more of my art, like this piece, Arimaniux the rat lord.

If this piques your interest, and you want real bad guys to challenge your high level characters, or just provide a bit of color to your generic evil temple to be shut down by the good guys, then this Kickstarter may be for you. Only $14 for print plus PDF, cheaper if you backed some of their KS that were slowed down by the OGL uncertainty.

Now, if you like a gentler, almost cozy take on the inhabitants of the underworld, Evlyn Moreau has created a beautiful short adventure on for only $6

This is a sweet and smart pointcrawl involving a parade of affable monsters making their way through the multiverse in order to worship at an old hollow tree. Unfortunately some twisted cultists (see there we go again) have corrupted things.

You can end up as an undead character, or some species of goblin (wonderful random tables) as you make your way past a number of complications and glorious set pieces. It is very enjoyable, and as soon as I got it I sent it out to Lulu to get it coil bound, as it is not just a great collection of spoopy art by Evlyn, but a great little game as well.

Bestiaries and Kickstarters

I have been crowd funding a lot of bestaries lately, and two will feature my work.

I recently picked up A Field Guide to Yokai (get it here) This slim volume withblack and white artwork is pretty neat and is like a more affordable version of Matthew Meyer’s book The Fox’s Wedding, which I also kickstarted a couple years ago.

Next up was the big daddy for me, Douglas Cole’s Bestiary for GURPS Dungeon Fantasy: (here) an awesome monster manual with plenty of classic D&D critters with the serial numbers filed off. GURPS was lacking a 4e monster book, and this one is the shit. Full color illustrations for all entries. There are all kinds of goodness in this, from ravens to purple worms, and he is planning on kickstarting some companion books.

I also backed Rod Waibel’s OSR Twilight Fables (fufillment coming soon here) which features full color artwork,some of which is by Brom!

Ok now for the active KS, featuring my artwork.

a Gorgimera for Todd Leback

Third Kingdom Games (Todd Leback) has a kickstarter for a B/X Advanced Bestiary (volume 1) that has a lot of good (black and white) artists working on it already, and is fully funded.

The last KS, and the most ambitious is by Ryan Thompson, the brains behind Appendix N Entertainment, is the Gateway to Adventure Trilogy of hardbacks (here)

This consists of The Class Compendium, the Combat Conspectus and the Caster’s Codex and will have mostly b/w art with somecolor pages as stretch goals.

oh, and by the way, I released my totally not gith and totally not mindflayer bundle of Things from the Void, available at drivethrurpg for 5 bucks.

support my patreon!

Holy crap! right after I posted this, I saw a FB ad for a new set of solo games being kickstarted called Land of Bones- using mostly my artwork!!!!

you can check on them here

Hunting for reviews

While The Redoubt of Chandra is making a lot of sales, there has yet to be a proper review.

Tim Shorts of Gothridgemanor did a very cool unboxing podcast , but I have yet to see or hear anyone else reviewing my little product.

Onthe other hand, someone named discodadda is selling the PoD from drivethrurpg on both Bonanza and Ebay.

They are selling a lot of PoD gaming products as new, with outrageous prices!

Always check to see if you can get something from the publisher at a good rate before biting at a shiny ebay listing…

The Redoubt of Chandra

Finally, the adventure I wrote during lockdown is live on drivethrurpg for $2.95!

The Redoubt of Chandra, (originally the Redoubt of Hades) is set in Northport, my home campaign.

This is a rescue mission set in a megadungeon under the city of Northport, but only shows a portion of the megadungeon that pertains to the mission.

It is written for my publisher’s version of Basic Fantasy Roleplaying Game, Odesseys and Overlords (available here).

I went with O&O because my home game is played using GURPS Dungeon Fantasy and there is only one Third-party publisher that is licensed, and because the introductory materials for O&O are quite affordable.

For recaps of play through the adventure using GURPS check these posts

Support my Patreon

and my other stuff is on sale

Play updates in Northport

As my play by post Dungeon Fantasy game is closing on 70k posts at this point, I thought an update might not be a bad idea.

Currently I have about 11 threads running. There has been some upset lately, as one player with his fingers in most threads just bounced, and deleted all of his character sheets as he went, So that I don’t even have the ability to run them as NPC’s.

The Black Tower.

This is a continuation of several years of play, where a mixed group of characters (several of whom have changed hands repeatedly) signed on with a caravan heading to a place called Al Menir – (yes, very Ein Arris influenced) as a means of getting close to an area where a forbidden tower was supposed to be, although nearly impossible to get to, thanks to a ring of banes with permanent Avoidance cast on them. The long combat with bandits on the first leg of the journey was a near disaster, because the party had been split and took months of RL time to get back together. Gareth, he party’s fire mage, originally rescued from the People of the Pit, has been, like many of that player’s characters, one inclined to burn everything, and ask questions of the dead after. Gorgath the Ogre quit after this, as did Sorsha the shadow elf sorcerous thief. By the time the group got to Al Menir, we had lost Shroud, our other thief’s player to a deployment, and the party leader (built as a knight with allies) to a family emergency.

The group forfeited any actual time exploring Al Menir and headed back to an area they thought the tower might be, adding on a Druid who dropped off the map, and returning with Gorgath, who then quit the game again after problems with Gareth. Gorgath’s magic resistance had been vital in getting to the tower (and his strength in getting through the front door), and entrance by the others was only possible because the tree holding one of the warding stones had fallen after being struck by lightning. They found the remains of an artificer who had starved to death on the grounds because the warding system kept him from escaping. He had a number of detailed drawings of traps, including one of a room that would fill with water and clockwork fish that would latch on to you until you could no longer float to the top and hit the reset valve.

Once inside, and after pointlessly getting into fights with golems that mostly would not bother you unless you tried to hurt them or destroy property, the met a new player – given the difficulty of someone following them in, they decided to play a flesh golem. We worked out stats based on those in Horror and Magic, with the addition of healing by energy absorption, and independent body parts. This was demonstrated by another flesh golem who had been trying to serve essential water and hand their cloaks in the closet but was butchered, and dragged his pieces down to a room with a combination lock that led to a larger room with a glyph. I had originally published this Trick-Trap in a collaborative dungeon for Blueholme called Return of the Blue Baron . So Safwan, the golem was pressed upon by the party to give them a tour of the tower, despite him having ever been in something like 8 rooms, but off they went, top to bottom. Copping a scene from Dwimmermount, I had them run into a crew of Astral Reavers (Githyanki) which I had statted up six years ago. Surprisingly, only a few of the party failed their saves vs psionics, but they tossed most of the loot into the astral plane, or left it behind.

Fleeing to find the master of the tower’s secret spell library (hidden from Safwan by a pentagram spell) they ran into an area with three choices to pass: a carpeted hallway Safwan has never had an issue walking down, a checkered hallway with poison darts, or the above mentioned drowning pool trap. They fought to go into the water trap, when most are wearing heavy armor and none can swim. I reminded them (play takes months and things get forgotten) that they had diagrams of this deathtrap and that there was no way to bypass it without a thorough soaking. It hurts my head sometimes. They decided to go down the poison dart hall in the end.

Damned if you Do

This group of players consisting of Oly the Thief, Ardenas Barehand the monk with a little spellcasting, Aoife the leprechaun Druid with a penchant for turning people into fish, Benny Morales the dungeon Saint of Hermes, Mancini the Guild fixer and his allies Norman the fighter and Kalima the four armed celestial demonslayer, has been rounding up (Friday the 13th the series style) the people who made purchases from the now destroyed shop of Johan Faustus, or at least those who didn’t pay cash.

So far they have found a little boy who got a red rubber ball in exchange for pulling his sister’s hair every time she prayed, a fountain cleaner who could cast silence on people in return for defiling holy water fonts, a gambler who sold his soul in exchange for never being able to lose a game of cards, and are now about to confront a weak bully who is tired of being pushed around and sold his soul to gain power.

Tavern part 3

This thread is for a group of sub-juniors (originally 75pt characters) who had been accompanied into the undercroft of a plague ridden inn to hunt giant rats… Aine the Leprechaun mage who creates animals, Sparky the fire mage, Throg the spearman, and Adolus Hack the cutpurse are the remaining members of this crew, who have bartered with goblins, killed zombies and rats, and run afoul of an Angry Wight who is trying to raise an army of undead. They had been accompanied by the family who owned the inn, but those slightly overpowered folk are busy repairing the upper works of the place.

In addition to selling bits and pieces of undead flesh to Harbash Vinculo, the guild Rot Worm wrangler, and an active plague zombie to the undead obsessed sage Bertrand, they have gone to seek advice from the guild Necromancers. Selan is the chief of these, tied up in negotiations about whether or not partially resurrected (or critically successful create zombie results) like Cavil the Wayfallen is a person or not, or has Social Stigma:Dead and is guild property. I had one of the siteadmins play through part of that years ago back on Play by Web, and the other Necromancer, Dagon, and his two mummified servants that spoke only in consonants (disturbing voice disad) were characters played in my game then… must have been 2002, so twenty years ago! In any case, the party wants to hire them, because Undead cannot have their energy drained…

The Gardens of Summer

This is a crew of dwarven holy warriors, a vindictive celestial priest of Helios, a bouda demon sniffer, and a now NPC’d pixie martial artist, using the Janus gate on temple hill to explore the demiplanes of the four seasons, in search of an incursion of Demons. After wiping out an eldritch/demon cult, they tracked some of the escaping demons to a room with a pointing statue of the two faced god of portals, and found that if they rotated him to point at an archway, a portal would form. They had already explored Autumn, which was lifted from the parody module Castle Greyhawk, met some witches of the Pumpkin Spice Tradition and confronted several demons, before heading to Spring, where they met Persephone, and dealt with a lion headed rolling Baur Demon and several explosive doomchildren. They entered Summer, which is where the Seelie Court holds sway. Unfortunately, they have taken a lot of advice from faerie creatures, whether from the very good fellow Robin, from talking fish in fountains, or from hares riding toroises and fleeing giant racing snails (taken from the “Quest for the Blank Claveringi” by Patricia Highsmith, and from various medieval marginalia, to a rhyming nymph in the tower of the Erl King.

Again, there is ever the problem of asking the wrong questions, and basing things on a humancentric world view – I am in the summerlands, therefore the residents of a tower inside a garden maze are the people who can help me find demons. Perhaps talking fish are not the ideal sources of direction… or did they give a clue by suggesting what to avoid?

Trading with Trolls

Our merry crew of would be merchants, after descending and delivering vegetables, wood and pork to the Trollfolk of the Eastern Reaches, decided to follow the path through the deep underground that the trolls fleeing the great massacre of the Western Reaches had taken. Christine (known more often as Marie, thanks to an evil-twin disadvantage) the blue haired fire witch left a lasting impression of the trollfolk, and one has taken to scalping blue haired elves and thinks they may have gotten her. In any case, only a few escaped her, including the Trollwife Ulo, Rafik the archer, and a number of children and elderly trolls that made their way to the eastern reaches by following an ancient and hazardous path.

On the way west, the group, led by Rushagorn Brodakin, the orcish merchant, and the Deepguard halberdier Darg Wharten, along with Strong Clair, Grohm ‘Tahl the orcish warrior, a few other trolls like Hrunting, (brother to Sventlana, and brother in law to troll-friend Johan), Syvanus the f/mu/t wood elf, Grimaldi the necromantic warrior, and Jendrich the wild mage/ warrior avoided a Living Pit by vreating earth into its gullet, fought their way across the back of a giant sleeping beast who was covered with pits full of eel like creatures… the more they killed, the more riled up the beast became. Then past a lair of fire slorn, and carefully (and magically, with a lot of move earth) past a hallway full of giant stone statues believed to be golems , where they dealt with a skull spirit projector and undead gargoyles, like were first seen at Flax’s library when the trolls were first encountered… and there they met flax. Inspired by the plated mage from Stonehell and from a Mayfair Games supplement I no longer recall the name of that had a wizard inside an iron golem body (at normal human size) … Flax, the apprentice of Abarax, is a ridiculous opponent, but so far, he hasn’t been opposing anyone. To the best of their knowledge, he is a wizard who knows several colleges and is in the body of an Orichalcum golem, and carries a staff and a sword made of meteoric iron.

They made it past that point, rediscovered the old troll warrens, and proceeded west until they were nearly overcome with the stench of a giant dire rotworm that was attacking the tower of the hobgoblin ropemaker’s guild. This construct extends deep into the depths of the dungeons below Northport, but is kept separate by drawbridges. The team beat the Bhole back (it had been released by from the bone gate and had crushed the Ymid’s skiff ages before) and entered the Hobgoblin tower to trade, as had been their aim. Negotiations were bumpy, as almost none of the characters had any sort of social skill, and the Hobs still had hard feelings about orcs after the jugger related riots a while back.

I smell Silver

The Junior House group, originally all 125 pt henchthings with their own 62 point hirelings, and now somewhere around 150points, are trying to follow Jocelyn the mage’s seek earth (silver) spell. Present are also Jareth the cultist of the Elder Gods, Nodwin the priest of Vejovis, Clarence the torchbearer, Charlene the guard, Brodak the orc warrior, and the archers Mellarill and Mario Crowfoot. They are somewher down on the third level, having recently avoided a gelatinous cube, and dealt with the smugglers in service to the underworld figure known as the Plummer. They used salt pork and blindfolds to get past a puddle full of leaping leeches, and parleyed with a flame lord before deciding against tangling with it, but have been exploring the underworks of the old baths, which they presume to have been a dumping ground for plague dead years ago. So far they have been triangulating around what they feel is a sizeable pile of silver.

Vampires, Vampires!

After defeating the beast of Veroigne, and being paid off by Baron Pequenaud for their efforts, the group consisting of Hannatti the swashbuckler, Aethul the ranger, Kirpich the earth priest, Balir the Dwarf warrior have made a concentrated assault on the vampires dwelling in the abandoned tower not far from where they killed the Beast. A general failure to recognize some of their own lore (hey we need seeds can you give us some that your kid is playing with in the corner of the basement, that same kid that is afraid to go out in the sunlight?) and a bit of over purchasing based on incomplete lore – silvered weapons do what against vamps? – finish decapitations of the staked, that is for sure, but no extra damage…

Against the Baron

My mixed Wuxia group, again suffering losses from that one guy who left and took his toys with him, now consists of Chou-Zen Mou, an elder infused wizard, with Gui Ma, a similarly infused horse, Ales, a Shevnian fighter mage with an enemy, Kichiro, a wandering ranger, Shashi Jin, a priest of the harvest, together with the Merry Men of Veroigne and the knights Ser James and his husband Percival. Long backstory ofn those two, previously played by another lost player; James had been heir to Veroigne, but refused a political marriage instead of a love match, which left his sister Lorraine inheriting and merging their barony with that of Marcel Pequenad because Veroigne was short on serfs due to the predations of the plague and the various megafauna like the Beast, and Pequenaud had people to work the land… or he did until they fled to Northport and joined the temple of Vejovis with Nodwin. This group had previously dealt with a number of yokai that the Sahudese villagers could not properly confront without their genealogies – no names, no ancestral spirits. The Omo, Sakemoko, who had sent these stalwarts on escort duty to retrieve the rice harvest, also dispatched his agent to the homeland to retrieve copies of the ancestral names.

Among the Dragonmen

Christine the Firemage, her Golem Chris, her priestess of Helios, Emma, Jednesa the ogress, and the two whip weilding Frog Sisters, along with Masugatan and his follower Valerie went on an expedition to find the Guardian of the eternal flame, from whom Christine might learn pyromancy, since so many augers and diviners in Northport had been killed by a cult hoping to hide their activity. They had originally travelled with the gnome Alchemist McNealy, who was left to figure out how a rival alchemist had discovered how to turn lead into gold before dying. Much of the formulary was destroyed by Christine, whose puritanical views could not tolerate the marginalia in the book. They had dealt with invisible Trigers and then fell onto a group of Dragonmen, waylaying them before they realized they might be involved with the flame temple.

After a march to find the superior officers of the remaining dragonmen, they joined with them and are currently in battle with an organize force of Gnolls.

After the Battle

Accepting a contract to eliminate a group of mageguild inquisitors enroute to determine who poisoned the local mageguildsman who was investigating the Alchemist-sage Emmet who concocted a cheaper version of Paut that did not need that ingredients sold by the guild, and also involved some that were stolen from the guild back in 2013 when I started this game (Vilgar had a barrel that was holding more than its natural volume for the Alchemist) Reanna Dreaganthe thief, Dne Utare the air infuzed lightning wizard, Alice Abernathy the priestess of Vejovis, Aegis the veteran archer, and Dilandua the shadow elf assassin rode south toward St. Remy to intercept the guild patrol. Along the way they liberated the troll who was chained to the bridge, and released to wreak his revenge. A long battle with the guild troops ensued, with a duststorm from Dne being pivotal after Dilandua nearly got fried with a fireball, and they rescued Virgilio Holfeld, a mana enhancing mage who was shackled and bridled with meteoric iron to prevent him from casting, while allowing the guildfolk to use his power.

A great deal of loot was acquired, including spellbooks and documents, but principally armor and weapons (a run of the mill spellbook goes for about $400, but a suit of brigandine costs $5000 more), all in need of some counter engraving of searchable seals.

Dilandua brought the documents, including an ivory document case to Twilight house, where Sorsha the Thief and her cousin Mischa the cabinet maker broke the seals and opened the books. The books are written in Latin, a language used by both the guild and the Triunist Church.

That is our current update on all 10 threads!

In a hole there lived…

I was watching the trailer to the Rankin Bass version of the Hobbit and have been thinking about Rise Up Comus’ Under Hill, By Water. The cover , of course is by Evlyn Moreau, who is all kinds of awesome.

I have been toying with a project inspired by these ideas and images, along with assorted children’s book illustrations of animals all cozy in their beds under the roots of trees. I suppose Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s Below The Root Series was also an inspiration toward building a halfling centric adventure, although the notes in the Dungeon Fantasy Companion 3 about demi-human dungeons and abandoned halfling villages made me think about navigating the under tunnels of a shire.

Previously, my Brass Bell of Dunmoore crowd (we tried to meet today, but work got in the way) had run into a team of halfling ‘Kobold hunters’ who they were able to surmise as being on a road trip/ pub crawl.

The fine Shire of Wooster, or Worcestershire, as it is writ on maps, is Sheriffed by Malsom Reed, has two taverns; Amy’s Cozy Corner, a halfling sized establishment, and The Bell in the Bird, which caters to larger visitors. A nearby dwarven mine ensures a steady rate of bearded customers, and a not so distant bridge brings travelers by boat and mule cart. And with strangers come thieves, who the Sheriff hounds out of town with apologies to the robbed, but rarely any recompense.

Naturally it seems that the thefts occur in the Bird and the Bell, where Harkow Vert shakes his head at the propensity of the bigger folk to try and rob each other as he polishes the bar with an old cloth, but what is one to do if one wants to be a good neighbor? Start excluding the wayfarers bringing coin and hunger? These things will happen.

Now, most farmers will tend to their own nightsoil much in the same way that they compost the manure from their livestock, but large establishments, and the many homes built into the hill without benefit of large fields and minimal gardens need some kind of waste management services, and perhaps some discrete passages whereby the gongfarmers might remove the incidental byproducts of eating establishments…

And what has become my all -time favorite means of waste disposal in fantasy games, there have to be otyughs somewhere… Just ask Tim Shorts about his micro Adventure 102.

Now, the dwarves are agitated about something, and it may take some sorting out over by their minestead, which while barely productive (there is a merchant who would pay dearly for blue gemstones he is convinced can be found there…) leads deep beneath the earth to a waystation on a dwarven highway through the underdark between two major dwarf fortresses.

I have something for the next group of characters I can assemble when I have a night to play and my regular group can’t make it.

Buy my stuff as most of it is on sale.

Better yet, buy this bundle for reproductive justice, it has some of my stuff in it, but some really excellent things as well, and for a good cause.

As always, support my Patreon!

An important Charity Bundle

I am going to get political.

If you have followed this blog, you will know that i am leftward leaning and support gender and racial equality, freedom of gender expression, and body autonomy. If you consider me a Social Justice Warrior or Woke, and mean those s perjoratives, then this blog is probably not to your taste.

That said, my most recent collection of stock art is part of a charity bundle for Reproductive Justice.

Also, my other titles on drivethrurpg are part of the May D&D sale

I will be back to posting gaming content soon.

Support my Patreon if you want to get some of my art out of the bundle.