Showing posts with label art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art. Show all posts

Saturday, August 18, 2018

#RPGaDAY2018 DAY 18: Art that inspires your game.

Day 18, Second Weekend.


DAY 18: Art that inspires your game.

There is a lot of art out there that inspires what I do.

For starters, I LOVE old woodcut artwork and early prints dating from the witch craze.


Something about them really transports me back in time.  Yeah it's the junk-art of it's day but something really grabs about it.

I also love the 1970's Occult Revival. While most of that are photographs, but there is still look here I want to capture in my own games.


 Among the "names" of this time is Rosaleen Norton, the Witch of King's Cross.



And at last.   The 80s with Larry Elmore.








Thursday, January 11, 2018

This Old Dragon: Issue #52

It's August 1981.  I am hitting what is about to become the "Golden Years" of my D&D Basic playing.  Up to this point, I had been relying on a poorly Xeroxed copy of Holmes Basic (I never even knew what the cover was till almost now) and some monsters from the AD&D Monster Manual.  I had started playing a year and half before because of my interest in Greek myths.  So that had lead me to the MM and then to D&D proper. Though I was still not exactly playing proper D&D. Just a DIY version that I think many gamers of a certain age went through.  From here though I discovered The Hobbit, Tolkien and the wonderful world of Fantasy Art.  Seriously, no issue of Dragon has better captured what was going on in my life than this Issue #52 of This Old Dragon!

Ok. Let's stop here and look at this cover.  The Art is pure fantasy, but not really D&D is it.  Doesn't matter.  Dragon has had some great artists grace their covers over the decades. Many started here and got famous. Some were famous before but still growing in their fame.  Not this artist.  This is Boris Vallejo.  He was famous and popular before this.  Dragon made a lot of A-listers in the world of fantasy art, but Boris was an A-lister already.  Let's look at this cover again.  A Faerie Dragon hatching from an egg. A woman looks on (likely a faerie herself) while mountains float in the background.  It's not D&D as it was then, but it could should have been.  I want to rank this among my favorite covers, but that feels unfair.  Kinda like watching Michael Jordan join the 92 Dream Team in the Olympics.  Yes we love Mike, yes we know that he is going to kick everyone's ass. But he is the best professional there is and everyone else he meets is also great, but only at the start of their career. Still, we have more Boris in this issue and I have not even opened it up yet!

Next page is a big ad for new D&D Basic Set.  I loved these ads and wanted to find them all to see how the story progressed.


The Dragon Rumbles deals with the various different looking dragons that have appeared on their covers the last few issues.   Gamers like things to be well defined I guess. I know I was no different then.  Also don't give money to Michael Stoner and his Beholder Zine.  I guess a bunch of readers did and he ran off with the cash.  Some things never change.

The Letters cover various praise and criticism of the last few magazines.   It's issue 52 and some readers want Dragon to "go back to the way it was".  What was I saying about change?

Robert Plamondon is up first with a feature on Clerics in The Role of the Cleric.    This is immediately followed by This Land is My Land... by Douglas Loss which also covers clerics, churches and land and The Sense of Sacrifices also by Douglas Loss.
All articles strive to give the players of clerics more insight on how to play these classes with an eye towards medieval realism AND good fantasy play.  In a way this pre-sages the "feature" issues we will see more of in the next 5 to 6 years.

Sage Advice covers various questions about spells and a lot about clerics.  If you are into clerics then this is a good issue to look back too.  Interesting how there is so much in this issue that appeals to me now AND would have appealed to me then as well.  In 81 I was all about clerics, Basic D&D and already thinking a little about my future witch classes.

The next article is a two for one deal, and a must read for any student of D&D's history.
Basic D&D Points of View...From the Editors Old and New by J. Eric Holmes and Tom Moldvay is a fascinating look back at the "1st Edition Basic Game" and the "2nd Edition Basic Game".  There is an interesting disclaimer on the first page of the article that says "the opinions expressed are those of the authors and not Dragon or TSR."  Interesting. I wonder what they say to merit such a notice.


Holmes is first discussing his version of the Basic rules.  His rules, he says, were designed to teach people how to play the game that had not seen the game played before.  By contrast, the "three little brown books" (what we refer to as "White Box" today) were for people already playing and are "incomprehensible" to new players (his words, not mine, but I tend to agree).
Here we learn that Holmes had the express permission from Gary to create a "beginners guide" to D&D.  He used wording from the White Box where he could and he wanted a Spell Point system (!) that Gary quickly rejected.   The classes chosen were the ones they felt starting players would want to try.  Given this logic, there is a clearer path to AD&D from Holmes Basic D&D. 
Holmes then compares his edition to Moldvay's "2nd Edition".  We are given reasons for the simplified alignment system and for the use of a Caller.  In general, I get the feeling that he approves of it and lauds many of the new ideas it brings.
Moldvay says his piece on why a new edition of the Basic set was even needed.  I think anyone that has read and played both editions can see the reasoning now but was the reasoning then?  Well, they wanted to correct some of the flaws found in the earlier edition (corrections that Holmes applauds) and they wanted the rules to follow the same outline as the upcoming Expert edition. So now Basic flows to Expert and not to Advanced. This shift seems to come from the idea that that Basic rules need to be flexible to allow the DM to do what they want while AD&D needs to be more rigid and codified.  I wonder though, what was the business decision to move to a new separate path of D&D? Not just what gave us the Moldvay D&D, but what prompted the desire for an Expert Set so that a new Moldvay-edited Basic was needed?

I can go on forever about Basic D&D. But we are only to page 17 as is!

Moving on we get a new one from Len Lakofka in Leomund's Tiny Hut. This is so new in fact that I think this might be the first ever Tiny Hut article ever!  There is an introduction by Gary himself.  This installment covers giving more depth to the humans of the Flanaess.  Cool article and one that every Greyhawk DM should have handy.  Actually, it is good for most DMs. The article is pretty long, longer than most Tiny Hut articles in my memory.

Paul Montgomery Crabaugh gives us The Undercover Job Guide for Top Secret, though I think it could work with any spy game.  I have to admit looking at the starting salaries for some of these jobs in 1981 is interesting.

Bryce Knorr has the big feature of this issue. Boris details the life and art of Boris Vallejo.
We get eight pages of information about the man and his art.  I would have liked to have seen more art, to be honest, but I understand that it could not have been cheap to get us what we see.  Also there four photos of the artist that are all essentially the same. Not sure why that was included.  The article itself is very interesting

Giants of the Earth is next. This time Katharine Kerr covers sorcerers that like to hang out on islands.  We have Shakespeare's Prospero, Ariel, and Caliban. Though sadly no Sycorax.
She does give me a wonderful version of Circe though.  Circe, of course, is a Magic-User here, but I built my own version as a witch and shared that with you all yesterday.



Our centerpiece is an introductory Gamma World adventure Cavern of the Sub-Train by Gary Jaquet. A fun adventure on a subway line.  A fun little adventure that captures what I liked best about Gamma World; taking something as mundane as a subway line and turning it into something exciting and dangerous.

Ooo. Just when I thought the issue could not get better we get a Dragon's Bestiary!  Victor Selby and Ed Greenwood give us a lizard thing in the form of the Rhaumbusun and the vaguely Lovecraftian Pelins by Lewis Pulsipher. 

Ok. If you are keeping score at home this issue has content from Ed Greenwood, Lew Pulsipher, a bit from Gary Gygax, Tom Moldvay, Eric Holmes, Katherine Kerr and Len Lakofka. Oh. And art by Boris.  To quote a popular song on the radio of the time "They Don't Write Like that Anymore"!

Michael Kluever has a good bit on the history of siege warfare in Knock! Knock!
Great if you can't tell your catapult from a trebuchet.

Next, we get a new class. No! Three versions of the same new class!
In Wanted: the editors tell us about getting three new Bounty Hunter classes all at once and they can't tell which one is the best.
The contributors are Scott Bennie, Tom Armstrong, Robert L. Tussey,  and Kenneth Strunk. With the last two giving us our last Bounty Hunter class.
Back in the day, I would have totally worked out one class from these three.  I wonder if I should try it for a Class Struggles someday.  That could be fun really.

Lew Pulsipher is back again with some DM advice in To err is human, to repair divine.  It's interesting since a lot of it runs very counter to the adversarial DM philosophy that was popular then and often misattributed to all old school DMs and creators.
This is followed up with The best DMs will look further than the book by Tom Armstrong.
Both articles could be reprinted today and still hold 100% true and valuable.

The Minarian Chronicles continue with The evolution of the Shucassamites by Glenn Rahman.  I really don't have enough of a background to speak to this, to be honest, but I am fascinated about learning some more.

And the hits keep on coming!  John Prados is next with his Simulation Corner (a feature that completely predates my first time encounters with Dragon).  His continuing series is on game design, or maybe I should say his first one since this is 1: Choosing a Topic.  I love all the Game Design posts, blogs and videos I can get to today, but some of what they are saying was already said here if we decide to go looking for it.   In this overview, though he mentions some of the new up and comers in game design that sadly are not around at all today.  If there is a meta-lesson here it is while game design is not rocket science, managing a game company still takes a fair amount of knowledge, skill and no short amount of luck. 

Reviews are next and we look to another "Basic" this time Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying, reviewed by John T. Sapienza, Jr. in Basic Role-Playing Made Easy.  He gives these basic rules a "highly recommended".  Given that the same rules still exist more or less in the same format and guise some 36+ years later it is a good indication that he was correct in his assessment.

Off the Shelf reviews books by Larry Niven, Robert Adams, and C.J. Cherryh.  A paperback book will set you back $3.00. 

We get some comics namely What's New and Wormy. But none of the small ads that dominated the pages before the comics.

Wow. Seriously. How packed was this issue?
When Ed Greenwood is providing the "lesser" content you know it is good. 

This is Dragon at it's best.  Great articles, helpful tips and plenty of things you can use on your table for $3.00. 

Want to know what White Dwarf was doing at this time?  Check out my White Dwarf Wednesday Issue #20.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fundraiser for Mona Dowie

I met Mona Dowie online, via Facebook.  We bonded over our shared love of witches, Stevie Nicks, and coffee.

We were paired up on Petty Gods and she produced the art for my characters Nox and Syla.



I loved these so much I HAD to have her do some art for my then upcoming Swords & Wizardry projects.  I sent her some basic ideas and she sent me some art of my iconic witch Larina.


She was sick then and things have only gotten worse.

+R.J. Thompson let me know of a GoFundMe going for her.  You can find that here:
https://www.gofundme.com/Mona-Shaffer-Dowie

Please donate what you can.
+Erik Tenkar over at the Tavern is going to match the first $250 donated by the OSR crowd.
http://www.tenkarstavern.com/2017/06/follow-up-osr-artist-mona-dowie-has.html

So until further notice, I am donating ALL profits from my Green Witch for Swords & Wizardry (which features the Larina art) will be donated to her GoFundMe page.
It's not much, but it is something I hope.

Whether you buy my book or donate directly please help her out.
The OSR is full of some great, generous people.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Lazy Sunday: S&W Witch Edition

This morning I am sitting here, drinking my coffee, reflecting on the amazing women's marches around the world.

I am also working on my next "OSR" project, the Swords & Wizardry Witch.  I have loads of text, I just need to make sure it all works with the feel of S&W.

Today, I got my first bit of official art in the mail.  Here is my iconic witch, Larina, and her winged cat familiar.


This art is from +Mona Dowie.  We found each other after she did some work on Petty Gods.
She did the art for my characters Nox and Syla.

I love this. I like that she is sitting there watching the moon while her cat is asleep on her cloak. Her familiar is sleeping because according to Mona, "Supernatural or not, they're all lazy little fuzzballs sometimes."

This is going to be a lot of fun.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Larina gets "Rather Gamey" (?)

So last year (snerk-December) I was talking with Shawn at +Studio Arkhein and the mad genius over at Rather Gamey. I really enjoy his posts and art and thought it might be fun to get some custom art in his style.

Well here are the fruits of his labor!



I have to say I am pretty thrilled with this.

She looks like she is getting ready for some moonlight dancing by the fires of Beltane.
Actually, the NSFW version on his site is more appropriate for moonlight dancing by a bonfire.

Love the little differences artists can bring to my character.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Larina Nix by LadyDeddelit

One of the things I *LOVE* is getting art of my characters.  Art is one of those things I can't do. But I know lots of great artists.  One of my favorites is LadyDeddelit.  In fact, I stalked her for a long time till her commission slots opened up.  She specializes in character art, in particular, RPG style characters.

For a few Euros I was able to get another one of my iconic witch Larina.


Commission 75 Larina part 2 by LadyDeddelit on DeviantArt






I am so pleased with how this turned out.
She does great work.  I love these "character sheets".

Monday, August 8, 2016

Gen Con 2016 in Review

I am back from Gen Con.  As always we had a great time. I am on my lunch so I thought I would fire off an update.

Every night was devoted to the Against the Giants adventure. We didn't get as far as we wanted, we only got through G1 The Hill Giants and +Thork Hammer aka R.C. Pinnel's G4 The Stone Giants.




They encountered their first drow of House Eilservs from Erelhei-Cinlu.
Since I am running this all under D&D 5e I am making the Drow of House Eilservs all partially Warlocks of Tharizdun, whom they know as the Elder Elemental God.  The G4 module played into this rather nicely.

I bought some things of course.  Mostly stuck to Castles & Crusades books.


Can't wait to dip into Victorious!

Went to the ENnies.  I didn't win, which I will admit was disapointing.
I'll post more later on this.

I did get a chance to meet +Zak Sabbath, Stoya and Charlotte Stokely at the ENnies and that at least was cool.  Zak took home 3 of the 5 ENnies he was nominated for, that was also cool.  My son loved his speech thanking Satan.  My son threw up some horns for that.  I also got my copy of Maze of the Blue Medusa signed by Zak and Stokely.



Opted to play a lot of different types of games this year.  Played a great game of Castles & Crusades.
Played some Exploding Kittens (really fun) some Munchkin (also fun), got into a board game at the Mayfair group, but didn't really care for it.  Tried to find a board game we all liked, but no success there.

I got some more art for my game room from Wayne Reynolds.  I think I want to get one of those frames that holds three pictures at once.



Wonder how much he would charge to do some art of Larina....

I picked up a copy of Gettysburg for a friend.  Picked up some more dice. Signed up for the Star Trek playtest.  Was going to pick up Pathfinder Horror Adventures, but there wasn't really anything new in it for me.   I might grab it later at my FLGS.

Loved all the Cosplay.  My son went as Jacob from Assassin's Creed and found a like-minded friend.


There were tons of "Harley Quinn"s but also a lot of "Rey"s from Star Wars. I thought that was cool.


While the con is still dominated by middle-aged, bearded white guys I am seeing a lot more families and kids.  This is a great thing.

Ate and spent WAY too much.

Not sure if I can make it next year.  It is later in August and my kids' school starts before Gen Con.

All in all a great time.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

New Art

I love art. One of the skills I wish I had was the ability to draw or paint.
Sadly, I don't. But that is ok. I know lots of people that do.

Avionetca is one of those people. She does FANTASTIC character art.
So when she had a slot open in her commission schedule I had to jump.  So here is my iconic witch Larina, Avionetca-style.


Full character sheet.

http://avionetca.deviantart.com/art/WebWarlock-Larina-the-Witch-620193449
I am inordinately pleased with this.

When her commissions open up again I might get her to do Larina's daughter Taryn.
I love this character and I never get tired of seeing her brought to life.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Witch Queens Gather...In my Game Room!

Last week it was my pleasure to share some new art I had commissioned.


Well, today my (slightly) early birthday present has arrived.


It's huge, 20" x 30"!  And it is going to look great on my wall.


+Jacob Blackmon did a FANTASTIC job.

It will join some of the other witches I have collected over the years.





I know I should take better pics, but I was in a rush this morning before work.

They say art inspires, well looking at this art this is what popped into my head.

"Outside of the Goblinwood, in the shadows of the Broken Mountains lies the village of West Haven.  Every 13 years on the Summer Solstice the witches of the world gather here to discuss plans, share secrets and keep informed of matters in the world.  Ancient pacts and rituals prevent the witches from harming or to cause to harm each other.

On the night before Midsummer's Eve someone killed Elena the Fair, Witch Queen of Summer.

Now chaos reigns as the witches prepare to go to war with each other.  Old alliances are destroyed and new pacts are formed.  Winter has come early and if a new Witch Queen of Summer is not found and the old one avenged the world will plunge into everlasting winter."

Yeah. I'd play the hell out of that game.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Witch Queens Gather...

They are getting along now, but is War in their future?

Larina, Feyia & Iggwilv

This fantastic art was created by +Jacob Blackmon who has done tons of great RPG art including a lot of the art in the upcoming Strange Brew, which features Larina quite a bit.

If you like his work then pop over to his DeviantArt page, his Patreon page, Facebook or Tsū pages.

I am thinking of making this the "unofficial" cover of my War of the Witch Queens campaign. Which is fine given it is something I am just planning on doing in my home game and not publish.

I just need to do something cool enough to live up to the awesome in that picture.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Zatannurday: Tribute to Darwyn Cooke

Last week we lost a great.  Darwyn Cooke died after a brief but aggressive battle with cancer.

I loved Darwyn's style and his heroes always looked like they were happy to be heroes.  They were the best versions of the characters.  Maybe not always the version we wanted to see, but better than the "grim-dark" heroes so many artists (and filmmakers) seem to want to do.


I loved how he always showed Wonder Woman smiling.


And of course when she didn't need to be.


He knew how to make Selena sexy cool.






And of course he knew how to draw Zatanna.

But I enjoyed Minutemen Before Watchmen Comics the most.



Silhouette became something else under his care.


But this video was also something he did well. For Batman's 75th Anniversary.



We are going to miss you Darwyn. You and your influence on the DCU.


Monday, September 28, 2015

What Is Your Holy Grail Item?

As gamers I think there is a little bit of a collector in us all as well.
After all we all came into this hobby at different points so different things were "rare" or "must have" to us at different times.

Well I finally picked up one of those items I have been searching for for a while.
The AD&D 1st Ed Monster Cards.


I know these have been on eBay many times.   BUT these were still in their shrink wrap.


Yes I opened them.  I am still much more of a gamer than a collector.

Each one of these is a little work of art, it would be a shame to not enjoy them.

This collection was always one of my "Holy Grail" items.  Not because of it's significance to the game or even my own games, but because of the rarity.

I would pass by these little decks in the bookstores back in the 80s and think to myself "oh I'll get those next time."  then there wasn't a "next time" (lessoned learned there kiddies).

For the longest time I never could find these.  Plus I wanted to get a complete set of all four and I wanted to make sure they were in good shape.

Well these came along and I couldn't say no. Not after all this time.

What is your "must have" item? What have you been searching for to complete your collection?

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