Get it at Lulu for $24.99! The thing is loaded with my art!
Get it at Lulu for $24.99! The thing is loaded with my art!
The immensely prolific John M. Stater has released the first book of the latest edition of Blood & Treasure. While it has elements of a 1e retroclone, the game has some of the better features from 3e, namely Feats, as an optional set of rules.
There are 13 basic classes, with something close to forty variant sub-classes; a slight modification to duelist gives you archer, the bard can be a jester, and a monk can be adjusted to be a ninja or a ronin. Clerics can be specialty priests, with simple equitable alterationd, magic users can specialize by college, and Sorcerers may have one of several bloodlines.
Best of all, humans don’t seem to be lacking when stacked against the other races, because they get a sizeable xp bonus, and the GM (called Treasure Keeper)’s choice of either an extra feat, if they are being used, or a bonus to Saves. To me, this feels like template balancing, and I like it far more than level limits, which this game has none of.
The system flows smoothly, the presentation is great, and there are seven pieces of my art in this book, with more to follow with the companion pieces.
You can get it here. Now hop to it!
GURPS is my home, and has been ever since 1989, but half of what I steal in tone and content come from the byproducts of the OSR. The game I run is Dungeon Fantasy, which was essentially Steve Jackson Games attempt to recreate the feel of mid to late eighties dungeon delving. This came about around the same time as the reaction against D&D 4e, and in aroundabout way, makes it a relation, if a very distant one, to some of the OSR, if only tonaly and not mechanically.
In addition to Swords & Wizardry based content in my game and my pdf library, there is S&W based money in my wallet. Not only have I been making a small, but appreciable amount of pocket change selling my OSR friendly stock art, but a much larger collection of coinage has come my way because of one member of the S&W community has been buying it directly. John Stater has been my primary patron, and in addition to being extremely prolific, he has directly comissioned dozens of illustrations from me; check out these two that are boing to be in Nod 29:
Go out and buy it as soon as it hits drivethrurpg. And save your pennies for the second edition of Blood and Treasure, which is out inthe very near future, believe me I will blitz it, for while I gain nothing financial from any of his sales, they do spread my work around.
I am also working on a largish stock project, for the S&W Whitebox derived WhiteStar. Here is some of that work:
Look for it in the months ahead, in a more refined form.
I recently completed a commision for John Stater, to draw some filler for the next edition of his elegant BX/3.0 retroclone, Blood & Treasure. Following his notes, I worked the images around a related group of adventurers. The origin of the cleric’s outfit lies with this guy, with his oddly generic religious symbol (an inverted triquetra?):
A few years ago, I was approached by another gamer on social media to make fresh illustrations of the GURPS 3E Iconic characters for some pregens he was distributing at a game he was to run at a Con. This is the full profile of those characters:
The original character set had Dai Blackthorne, a thief, a Ranger and an Archer, but lacked a basic cleric, and the only mage type illustration was a different scale, and looked more Gandalf like. I must admit, in my privileged mindset, that I only drew Anglo characters initially, but had started to involve myself in so more inclusive gaming groups, and gradually became aware of how lacking in representation my work was. As a student of art history, I was familiar with the existence of a multicultural presence in Europe, check here if you don’t remember seeing images in medieval and renaissance art. The resulting grouping was a little more open, and GURPS has everything in it, after all.
I am still working on my fantasy taxonomy project for another gamer, but I am open to commissions still.
Recently, I was asked on social media if I made use of Creatures of The Night, a GURPS product line of fairly disturbing horror creatures. I own the 3rd edition of the book, but rarely use it, as my current game line is 4e DF, and that particular volume is scaled more for modern Horror. I immediately responded to the questioner that I had made some heavy uses of a critter called the Interloper. As one of my favorite things in D&D like games was the Mind Flayer, right along with the assorted races of Gith, the tentacle headed, intellect devouring playable race was right up my alley. They weren’t genius level psionic villains intent on subjugating the world and darkening the sun, they were slightly oafish beasts compelled to consume the minds of sapient beings to avoid degenerating into imbeciles hellbent on breeding. It makes for a much more angsty enemy. At some point I will re-stat them, and brand them as Elder Things and drop them in on my delvers.
Currently, the Jugger playing henchmen have been joined by a debased elder touched elf, along with another archer, a pair of weird mages and a necromancer. Definately, I am going to include some elder things. Nothing as fierce as a Mindwarper, but maybe a Ymid. Of course, the party of full strength delvers heading back into troll country are going to probably face some of the enemies of the trolls… the people of the pit.
This week I purchased a pdf of Pits & Perils, by Old House Rules. The artwork actually comes from medieval woodcuts, the font is typewriter and the feel is of a mid seventies gaming zine. The game is wonderfully minimalist, almost like Searchers of the Unknown,except you do roll for an exceptional attribute – only one (unless your roll boxcars). The presentation is wonderfully evocative of the very beginings of this hobby, and a great bargain, as it is currently running for $4.99.
Pursuant to my current commissions, I also bought Blood & Treasure Compleat. John Stater, I must say is insanely prolific, with 27 issues of his mammoth zine, in depth reviews of old Dragon Magazines on his blog, and new micro game rules being released regularly, I must say he is probably one of the most prolific designers I know.
In any case, B&T reads like B/X as 3.0, with great little subclasses simply designed and an easy flow. I like it, but as most of its art is open source, and while not bad, I can see where my work will be cut out for me. The book was made with love, and is worth it for those who recoiled at 4e, but like a little more complexity than most Whitebox Retroclones, or even Labrynth Lord Advanced Companion, which I happen to enjoy.