Meowls and Headless Screamers

When I was creating artwork for my Undead Stock Art Bundle, I illustrated the above nasty, which I was sure John Stater had included in an issue of his excellent zine Nod..,and it turns out it was from the very first issue, currently available from Lulu.com (use the codes ONEFIVE for 15% off and ONESHIP for free shipping).

With his permission, the creatures (one of many listings in that book):

 

Headless Screamer

Headless screamers arise from the corpses of the beheaded. They are cruel and chaotic beings who delight in tormenting the living. Headless screamers look something like zombies with a noticeable red slash across its neck. They can throw their heads with alarming accuracy, and in fact do not need to throw their own head, for the headless screamer’s intelligence and animating force are in the body. Many of these creatures keep four or five heads handy. Thrown heads have a range increment of 20’. The thrown head will snap its jaws, dealing 1d8 points of damage to anyone hit and then latching on if the target fails a saving throw. A latched head inflicts 1d4 points of bite damage each round until removed. Headless screamers can telekinetically retrieve these heads and still move or attack each round. Headless screamers can also emit a shrill shriek from the air hole in their necks. Anyone hearing this must succeed at a saving throw or suffer a ‐1 penalty to hit, damage and save for 1 hour.

  • Headless Screamer: HD 4; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 claw (1d6) or 1 thrown

head (1d8); Move 15; Save 13; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Throw and

retrieve head, scream, immune to cold.

I GURPSified this as follows:

Headless Screamers (DF)

ST: 14  HP: 18 Speed: 5.00

DX: 9  Will: 8 Move: 4

IQ: 8   PER: 9

HT: 12  FP: 12   SM: 0

Dodge: 8 Parry: 9 (Unarmed) DR: 0

Throw Head (14): 1d crushing plus follow-up bite for 1d crushing

Bite/Punch (12): 1d crushing.

Scream: affects all hearing as Fear spell

Traits: Bad Smell; Bloodlust, Cannot Learn; Darkvision, Doesn’t Breathe;Doesn’t Sleep; Fragile (Unnatural); High Pain Threshold; Immunity(All mind control); Immunity to Metabolic Hazards; Intolerance: Living; Indomitable; Injury Resistance 1(cold); Injury Tolerance (No Blood, No Head, Unliving); Returning weapon (head: costs 1 FP); Sadism, Temperature Tolerance 10 (-115° to 60°); Unfazeable; Unhealing (Total). Affected by pentagram, True Faith, and spells that affect evil

Skills: Brawling-12; Wrestling-12 (+2 ST when grappling) Throwing-14.

Class: Undead.

Notes: Headless Screamers are  truly evil, and cannot be negotiated with. They appear as normal zombies with obvious throat wounds. They can see  even without heads, and usually keep 4-5 heads handy for throwing or wearing; Heads have range 7/14, and can return telekinetically to their hand.

 

Another creature I recently illustrated, as seen above, is the Meowl. Stats for Basic era games can be found in Timothy Brannon‘s new tongue-in-cheek book on witches.

GURPS DF stats are as follows (a blend of the Owl and Cat familiars from DF 5-Allies):

MEOWL [39]

ST: 3 [-70] HP: 9 [12] Speed: 6.00 [0]

DX: 12 [24]* Will: 12 [10] Move (Air): 12/24 [0]

IQ: 10 [0] Per: 12 [10] Move (Ground): 2 [-20]

HT: 12 [20] FP: 12 [0] SM: -3

Dodge: 9 Parry: n/a DR: 0

Bite or Claw (16): 1d-5 cutting.

Advantages:

Combat Reflexes [15]; Enhanced Move 1 (Air) [20]; Flight (Winged, -25%) [30];  Night Vision 8 [8]; Silence 2 [10];Teeth (Sharp) [1]; Vibration Sense (Air) [10].

Disadvantages: Familiar [-22]; Laziness [-10]; No Fine Manipulators [-30] Curious [-1].

Skills: Aerobatics (H) DX-1 [2]-11; Brawling (E) DX+2 [4]-14; Flight (A) HT+1 [4]-13; Observation (A) Per+1 [4]-13; Stealth (a) DX+2 [2] 14† Survival(Woodlands) (A) Per+1 [4]-13.

Class: Animal.

* Cost reduced for No Fine Manipulators (-40%).

† Includes +2 for Silence

 

Further Traits

Masters of an Meowl familiar can buy Common Sense (GBF,

-40%) [6]; Combat Reflexes (GBF,-40%) [9];

Flight (Controlled Gliding, -45%, GBF, -40%) [8]; ];

Luck (GBF, -40%)[9]Night Vision 3 (GBF, -40%) [2], 5 [3], or 8 [5], or Dark Vision

(GBF, -40%) [15] and Silence 1 (GBF, -40%) [3] or 2 [6].

Those who buy Flight can also add Enhanced Move (Air; GBF,

-40%) [12/level], but only to reduce deceleration.

 

At some point I have to write up my view of witches for DF. In the meantime, I have finished up some illustrations for Gabor Lux, hopefully Castle Xyntillan will be on sale in time for the Holidays; at the moment it is in the proof stage.

 

As always, buy my stuff, and become a Patron!

Excellent Customer Service at Necrotic Gnome

As you may know, if you follow this blog, I am a big fan of Gavin Norman‘s Setting Dolemenwood which is available in print and PDF at Drivethrurpg.  I have contributed art to Wormskin #7, and also made an amateur translation of the Demihumans of Dolmenwood into GURPS format.bxdod

(Incidentally, the Kickstarters of both DFRPG Monsters 2 and The Citadel at Nordvorn have both funded Whoot!)Winter_s_Daughter_Cover_470x.png

The latest of the Dolmenwood books is Winter’s Daughter, a beautifully illustrated adventure about encountering an elf of the Winter Court.  I wanted it, and initially leary of the international shipping rates, opted in for just the PDF at 6 euoro ($7.05). I later rethought this, and Gavin walked me through just ordering the print version (don’t ask him to do this again, anyone in their right mind (i.e.: not me) would have ordered the combo plate for 12 Euro, and what turns out to be a mere 7 Euro shipping. My reluctance came from a package that cost me $56 to ship to Canada. In any case, I managed to screw it up again, and Gavin took care of it all. For a while, I was concerned that I was going to get it and he wasn’t going to get paid, because PayPal took three hours to process the transaction, and I was sure I had screwed up.

I own almost everything from Necrotic Gnome in print, and I have to say they make a lovely Dunsinian product that is easy to convert to any OSR system, and as I have shown, to the Dungeon Fantasy Role Playing Game as well.  Gavin has also Streamlined B/X into the lovely digest sized Old School Essentials line, which works beautifully with the setting, as does John Stater’s Bloody Basic: Weird Fantasy Edition. If you like slightly creepy faerie adventures with nonstandard characters, I cannot reccomend the entirety of Wormskin and the other Dolmenwood line enough.

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.

Support my work on Patreon!

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

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!

A New Year and a Round Number

One BookShelf isn’t showing it right now, but I have 50 titles that contain my work.

The problem has to do with the most recent product featuring my stock art, the RPG Pundit’s Lion & Dragon

Despite not currently having an artist’s listing due to OBS `accidentally ` deleting the listing for this entry and then reinstating it incompletely, you can see that the book has quite a bit of my art.

There is some other lovely stock art as well, some by Jack Badashi, and several nice pieces by Henry Justice Ford. Production quality is as good as found in Dark Albion and Chaos Cults.

The system itself is very OSR, although the magic system is supposed to conform to magical traditions of the fourteenth century. There is a serious nod to DCC in the startup at 0 level with extra characters.

I was approached last year to do some work on this project, but either my rates were too high or my politics too far to the left for the Pundit’s taste, and he settled on buying a few stock bundles instead.

My family set me up with some excellent gaming and drawing things for Yule, from a light board and steel ruler, and a microphone for Discord, to a stack of gaming books for 5E, GURPS and SWCL. I love my Family!

I am looking to run a tabletop game at a minicon this month, using SWCL and Beneath the Fallen Tower. I have to get writing it…

And I have some commissions for John Stater’s monster book 2 for Blood & Treasure.

GM’Day Sale and Interview

denis-mccarthy-cirsova-advert

Iwas just interviwed by Paco Garcia Jaen of the Base Secreto, a gaming coffeeshop in Madrid for his G*M*S Magazine podcast. We talked about my preferences for stock art that tries to be a little more representational, because the more people who can see someone like them in a game, the more people will play, and the more people who play, the better the chances are of everyone being able to have a good time.

 

One Bookshelf is running a 30% off sale for the next several days on all of my stuff, along with tons of other things. Each of my stock art packages come with 8-31 images. I am not selling just the cover image here. If you have been on the fence, now might be a good time to pick some of it up.

Also on sale is Blood & Treasure 2e, including the Treasure Keeper’s screen. Please buy them; I get nothing for it, but when John M. Stater sells, he can afford to hire me for more projects.

Get them, and other products of his, here.

 

It’s GM’s day. Get your GM something nice.

 

 

Like a book of my Stock art

Reviews and Mail

20161019_131919

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.

20161019_145821

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!

nod-30-cover

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:

trio

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.