New Stock Art on Drive thru: Half Orcs!

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In addition to the merchant Rushagorn Brodakin, and Darg Wharten who is ugly enough to pass as an orc blood despite being human, This set of eight includes a martial artist, a spellcaster, two warriors, an assassin and two thieves.IMG_20170629_160527

This should be available on my page in a day or so.

My Patrons got it earlier, and you could too at my Patreon!

 

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My work is also featured in a superbundle of awesomeness that benefits Contessa. There is a boatload of Dyson Logos stuff, and about twenty other products. Get it here!

Update: I bought the bundle myself, and have been looking over Fire on the Velvet Horizon. Wow. Scrap Princess’ work is completely opposite mine in style, yet is powerfully evocative and ominous at times. The written descriptions in this peculiar bestiary is thoughtful and strange, if difficult to look at for long, as the typography and art overlays are very retro zine, brutally primative, but strikingly effective.

I make nothing from this, but it will help some folks have a good gaming experience at Gen Con.

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Blueholme work nearly done

I have just one more picture to do, something about missile combat. I have been looking at come of the other work by my cohorts, and I must say I am excited for this project to be done.

Erik Tenkar recently sent me an advance copy of Swords &Wizardry Continual Light, and I joined the Swords & Wizardry Light Legion, so as to better work on Beneath the Fallen Tower. (I had also acquiered Monstrosities, Tome of Horrors Complete  and Tome of Horrors 4 for conversions). Oddly enough, the adventure hook I put in that would lead to an encounter with a fire Slorn scaled better with James Spahn’s abreviated stats for a SWCL dragon than with the Fire Lizard I had planned on porting from Tome of Horrors  Complete. Naturally this encounter was one of those our starter characters would have been gravely outmatched by, but no one ever said the world had to be balanced.

Likewise, the necromantically inclined apprentice wizard in the adventure scales perfectly as one of Spahn’s alternate classes.

My work has been published in two otber gaming suplements. Nod 32 ,by John Stater, has a bunch of my Mesopotamian art, along with some Circus folk for Grit & Vigor.

One of my Dungeon Scenes showed up in Christopher Clark’s systemless adventure, Bastion, the Border Village of Namar. It has good use of clip art throughout, and a decent cross section of plots, some of which revolve around a demon cult that uses succubi to lure in members, much like the Saturnal cult withintbe sewers of Northport. The one thing that felt off to me was the way every female character had some kind of attractiveness rating,and none of the male characters had more than the most cursory of physical descriptions.

You can pick that up here.

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Similar themes, different outcomes: or why I should read kickstarters through and not simply buy because of cool Art

The reason I bought into Beneath the Inverted Church was entirely based on preview art that showed up in my G+ feeds. The art in question is some good linework by Scott Buoncristiano, like this piece of his:

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I didn’t bother to read through the Kickstarter, and by the time Erik Tenkar reviewed it, I had forgotten that I had backed it.  I find there to be thematic alignments between BtIC and Zak Sabbath’s wonderful Alice inspired A Red and Pleasant Land.

Both involve characters entering a hostile and evil demiplane subject to the caprices and obsessions of the truly villainous inhabitants, and having to pass into an even more warped reality through mirrors.  If the main enemy in BtiC was any other type of demon than an “Inverted Cupid” the types of horrors encountered would have been more palatable.  As they follow that specific type of evil, it enters into a questionable territory. Not, mind you, and unfamiliar one. Plenty of the flavor text in  ARaPL is just as graphic, with one major point of difference.  The evils of ARaPL are just that, Evil, and at no point are the characters forced to really participate in the Red Queen’s games in order to complete the adventure. They can capitulate, it is true, but it is not required that they do so. They can run, they can kill, and most certainly, they can die, but they needn’t do anything graphically uncomfortable.

That aside, there are a lot of interesting mechanics to the circumstance of travelling through, or opening mirrored portals.  While the Stress mechanic is reminiscent of San points loss in CoC or Fright Checks in GURPS, they unfortunately generate the problem of dictating how a character feels.  You can tell a PC that the image they see through the glass is revolting, but strips a little agency when you tell them that they are disgusted, but cannot turn away, at least without incorporating some type of Saving throw or resistance check.

The looking glass world in BtIC is called the Invert, and like that of ARaPL, is a very hostile place, and also quite alive. Not only are you faced, when gazing at a reflective surface, with loathy images that induce stress, but it can see you. In the case of several locations called mirror doors, there are two types of interactions; the first is to be magically (and forcibly) drawn through the glass, which only allows passage of flesh and a substance called Stained Salt (a super hardened mineral that looks like stained glass), a process that will maim or kill dressed and armored characters, or  to “seduce” the sentient mirror door by showing it something both novel and  indecent.  This goes beyond a “tell me your darkest secret” kind of thing, and quickly drifts into an uncomfortable place that might demand an alignment check from characters dealing with the toll keeping aspect of the mirror world (if not their players walking out on the game). Now, there is an “out” built into the setting; the first encounter the characters have is with an amoral bandit who likes to defile the corpses of his victims in a way that would make Dahmer blush, but is accompanied on his crimes by a merry band of artists who record the atrocities in their sketchbooks.  There are some examples of the content of these images, and a money making opportunity for characters to sell them off so that they can be destroyed by grief stricken relatives of the deceased depicted therin, but primarily in that you can bypass the damned doors by showing them pages from the book, which is still pretty nasty.

The monstrous opponents in BtIC do look amazing, again thanks to Scott Buoncristiano’s artwork, and could easily have crawled out of the Teratic Tome, or the Random Guest Table from a Red and Pleasant Land. (One of my favorite parts of that book!)

By converting the primary opponent from a lust demon into one of violence, one could remove all of the sexual content from this and play through, but the characters without the picture book of mutilated corpses might have to shed their own or each other’s blood to open the doors… There are enough mechanical ideas in this to be interesting, but culling them from the rest of the material is not for the faint of heart.

 

Edit: Instead   of showing the Magical Mirror Doors some novel perversion,  you could instead require characters   to recite new or original poetry to the door, as the Blatant Beast  did to Harold Shea in the Incompleat Enchanter.

On other notes: Two products with my art just hit drivethrough. As usual I don’t get anything from sales unless it is one of my own products, but check these out:

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The Blood & Treasure Keeper’s Screen, by John Stater and The first issue of Charlie Mason’s Whitebox zine, wcThe Wizard’s Scroll

Snatch em now, the art is good!

 

 

Three Important Things

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.

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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…

I am in business now!

In addition to all of my products over at DrivethruRPG, I am now a vendor on Society6, where you can buy prints of many of my pieces.

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.

Blood & Treasure 2e is out!

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.

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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!

 

 

Art Spotting

This week, my stock art has turned up in two places. One is on Michael Smith’s blog, where he discusses a low rent variant on Leomund’s various pocket dimensional  real estate spells, in this case Poultrycanon’s Tiny Panic Room, which also has the sub variant of Halstrom’s Wee Rendevous.

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I was perusing my Artist’s  page on Drivethrurpg  when I found that Ultanya Publ7shing had credited me  in a recent product, Gonzo Con.

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Naturally, I  had to buy it. It is an adventure  for level 0-1 characters and involves ordainary gaming con attendees and staff being zapped into actual characters… pretty much what all of us wish for when we go to a con, although probably without being attacked by a giant gelatinous  D20. From what I have read so far, this little system neutral  adventure, for under $3 is worth the money. I can’t help but try and support  those who support me.