Friday, February 24, 2017

Zak Smith vs Adrian Smith, Final Round

Alright, third try at doing an homage to this Adrian Smith piece from Realms of Chaos for my book Black Metal Amazons of the Devoured Land.

(You can click all these to enlarge)

So, to review. Here's Adrian's original, pencil on paper:
Here's my first attempt, pen and ink, full color:
Adrian clearly rips my jaw off and feeds it to me

Round two, black ink only:

Nice bits but still a clear victory for the alphabetically hegemonic Smith.

And now the last round, acrylic paint on paper, win or lose I'm not doing it again after this:


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Paintings: Black Metal Amazons of the Devoured Land

Slowwwly but surely working on pictures for Black Metal Amazons of the Devoured Land coming sometime (never ask, if we knew we'd tell you) from Lamentations of the Flame Princess. 

These are finished paintings yet or very good photos, but they get the idea across. Acrylic paint on paper. Click to enlarge...


Mad Queen Rindr of the Maggot Sisterhood

Amazon of the Maggot Sisterhood

Amazon of The Thirteen

Belphegor, the Beast

Ulvenbrigad Amazon
Drowning Demons

Malicia Orgen of the Thirteen

Frost Giant of the Hatemountain

The Necrobutcher


Amazon of the Frostbitten Moons

Witch of the Thirteen

Amazon of the Maggot Sisterhood 

Jex Amon of the Frostbitten Moon Amazons

Nidhoggrr, The Glistening One

King Ovv

Misshaped Frog

Cromlech, the Crow

The Noctambulant

Ratatoskr, the Slandering Marmot

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

We Eat Blood And All Our Friends Are Dead. Now available.

So my friend Sarah Horrocks (writing and art) and I (also writing and art) did a video game for White Wolf--the Vampire: The Masquerade people. It's called We Eat Blood And All Our Friends Are Dead, part of the World of Darkness: Preludes pack.

Basically it's a choose-your-own-adventure in text-messages.

You can get it on Steam here or mobile or mobile again.

If enough people like it we might do more. :)

Friday, February 17, 2017

We Are Having The Desired Effect

This came through for Patrick and me via the Satyr Press mailbag...

Hi guys,

I'm of that generation where I could be lifted right out of Stranger Things.  I picked up the red and blue books a few years after they were released, and then specifically remember my joy buying the Greyhawk full color map and actually taping it to our dining room wall.  I'm still surprised my father let the map stay up there all through junior high!

I've gamed ever since then, with only a couple of "dark" years where there was no gaming and did a couple of tours of duty in my 20s in the industry itself (was an editor and writer for Atlas Games and then did a few supplements for the amazingly esoteric Skyrealms of Jorune).  Then I went on to be a business professor and ultimately a consultant.

I'm happily now running a D&D 5e session with a group of mostly newbies ... including one Broadway actor, one improv comedian, a software exec, etc.  Fascinating group.  Probably the best group in terms of diversity I've ever gamed with.

The reason why I want to thank you is that through products like Maze of the Blue Medusa and Deep Carbon Observatory, I've rediscovered what it really means to run a game.  I got lazy over the years.  Grab the fancy, full-color Pathfinder modules, spend a ton of time prepping battles that would take hours, worry about online maps, etc.  I also played narrative game systems ... FATE, Fudge ... but even there I sometimes found myself searching for the easy way out -- fully developed scenarios I could just pop open and run.

The best game-mastering I ever did in my life was running the diceless game Amber back in the 90s.  I had the pleasure of meeting Erick Wujcik and doing a couple of games with him at GenCon, crammed into somebody's hotel room.  It REQUIRED me to make shit up, to listen to the players, to try to always keep things going and stay one step ahead.  

Prepping for some of my recent 5e sessions, culling from your material in various bits here and there but always making it my own, I've got my mojo back.  I'm inventing magic items and crazy curses on the fly, pushing the limit on mixing of genres ... comedy, then horror, then action, rinse/repeat.

So, for helping me get my DM mojo back, MAJOR appreciation.  Good luck with everything.  Wish I had more time to write again, as I'm that inspired.


Mark Frein

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Man have you seen the TSR UK Series?

 For some reason, people like to wax poetic about old TSR modules like Keep on the Borderlands (What if nearly-identical monsters lived in nearly identical caves?!?) and the Giants series (What if you fought the same kind of giant 15 times then got to another one and fought a different kind of giant 15 times?) despite the fact they all bite. 

With the bar for appreciating TSR modules so low, I am kind of amazed I've never heard anything about the TSR UK series which--you guessed it--featured artists and the writers from the UK, including, I think, early White Dwarf adventures. They're a mixed bag but as a whole feature off-beat art, excellent maps and some intriguing structures (in The Gauntlet, for example, you have to take over a dungeon, then hold it against an assault).

Do you remember anything about UK1-UK7? Don't be shy in the comments.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Vornheim Campaign Index

This is quite fucking useful:

Matt Strom over at the Ice And Ruin blog has created (all by his lonesome without telling me) an index of all the world-material entries for my D&D game that are on this blog--everything from the Maidenmother Crone to the Jade Fang of Tiamat and all that.

With over 1000 entries on this blog, it can be hard to sort through this stuff.

Thanks Matt!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

In The Half-Court

(shockingly, not about basketball)

Me and Patrick are working on some kind of Anti-Camelot project...
Part One
Part Two
Part Three:

Humans say there is no law in the Half-Court of the Half-King where the half-elves thrive, but there is--and it is that everything must happen sometimes.

Crimes must be punished half the time--but half the time they must not. Treaties must be half-honored, women half-respected, children half-raised, dangerous magic half-banned. The genetic chimeras prowl the half-sown fields and swim the hot and then cold again waves.

The passionate and unreliable King Thanacharis would call himself True Neutral--but this in no way suggests the abstractedness of the modron, serene remove of the druid, or the selfishness of those who give no fucks. His knights come on hybrid horses to fuck your mom and send her roses, then eat her whole and buy you shoes. Their net goal is to cancel themselves out, like youtube comments. Wildly that and then wildly this--seeking zero, signifying nothing.

Any half-elf is welcome in the half-land. Half choose to live in that half-enlightened land of half-seelie and half-unseelie laws, and half prefer to remain diasporic, welcomed widely, but home nowhere.

They are trouble half the time--which is a lot if you think about it.

Strange Characteristics of the Half-Knights
Roll d100 until the knight's characteristics cover overlapping domains (14 and 15 for example, or 3 and 90, or 9 and 11) or the knight becomes too complicated to keep track of

1, Invulnerable Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning
2, Invincible at night
3, Invincible by day
4, Invulnerable from the right
5, Invulnerable in half-light
6, Invulnerable every other round
7, Invulnerable every other day
8, Only there half the time
9, Touch reduces/raises you to half hit points
10, Half-mad, half-genius
11, Left hand cures the same amount of damage the right deals
12, Radiates indecision
13, Friendly every other round
14, Zebra-skinned of dark and pale
15, Two beings, divided down the center
16, Despised by their own mount half the time
17, Knight on one round, wizard the next
18, Immune to anything middle-gray to black
19, Immune to anything white to middle gray
20, Immune to anything a cold color
21, Immune to anything a warm color
22, Invulnerable when attacking a position
23, Invulnerable when defending one
24, Obedient to their liege on alternate days
25, Chivalrous one round, corrupt the next
26, Can only roll 1s and 20s
27, S:18  I:3 W:18 Cn:3 Ch:18 D:3
28, S:3  I:18 W:3 Cn:18 Ch:3 D:18
29, S:18  D:18 Cn:18 I:3 W:3 Ch:3
30, S:3  D:3 Cn:3 I:18 W:18 Ch:18
31, Every other word is elvish the other half are common
32, Takes two steps forward, two back, never gets anywhere
33, Smites as a standard paladin one round, as an oathbreaker the next
34, Aura of healing one round, damage the next
35, Immune to magic and magic weapons one round, immune to ordinary weapons the next
36, Blessing aura one round, Curse aura the next
37, Aura of healing on the left, aura of damage on the right
38, Immune to magic and magic weapons on the left, immune to ordinary weapons from the right
39, Blessing aura on the left, Curse aura on the right
40, Blind on one round, x-ray & dark vision the next
41, Invisible by day, Faerie Fire'd at night
42, Silence aura one round, causes painful din the next
43, Smells corrupt and then sweet
44, Always accompanied by twin (roll again, characteristics divided between them)
45, Conjoined twin (roll again, characteristics divided between them)
46, Halfling sized on Wednesday night, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 12' tall otherwise
47, Follows opposing gods on alternate days
48, Prudish at night, lascivious by day
49, Aquatic by day, air-breather at night
50, Prudish by day, lascivious at night
51, Air-breather by day, aquatic by night
52, Paralyzed on the right side
53, Deformed on the right side
54, Darkness aura one round, blinding light the next
55, Always honest for 5 minutes, then always dishonest the next 5
56, Reckless one round, prudent the next
57, Follows the etiquette of a knight for 5 minutes, then the etiquette of a lady for 5
58, Paired knight and squire--they switch roles every minute
59, Elf on the left, human right
60, Elf left, orc right
61, Always wins initiative, then always loses the next round
62, Veteran (+10 to hit) one round, novice the next
63, Attacks then flees, then attacks, then flees
64, Ugly and then beautiful on alternate rounds
65, Spreads disease one hour, healing aura the next
66, Heat aura left, cold aura right
67, Manic depressive
68, In front of you one round, behind you the next
69, Always inside at night, always outside by day
70, Outside by night, inside by day
71, Invulnerable from the front
72, Invulnerable from the back
73, New armor on the left, ancient and worn armor on the right
74, A wealthy lord for one minute, a beggar for the next
75, Harnishly realistic for one minute, a terrifying enchanted fey creature the next
76, Sleeps for five minutes, awake for five
77, Dual wields: one sword normal, the other held in "icepick" grip
78, Only attacks creatures on the right side
79, Only attacks creatures on the left
80, Alive for 2 rounds, dead for 2
81, Sick for one round, causes sickness the next
82, Blind for one round, causes blindness the next
83, Dead for one minute, death aura the next
84, Drunk for one round, causes drunkenness the next
85, Transposes positions with foe every round
86, Swaps weapons with foe every round
87, Swaps abilities with foe every round
88, Swaps hit point totals with foe every round
89, Swaps goals with foe every round
90, Only takes half damage
91, Deals half damage on one round, then double damage the next
92, Left half undead
93, Left half stone
94, Left half glass
95, Left half glass, right half stone
96, Left half magma
97, Left half ice
98, Left half magma, right half ice
99, Only appears for five minutes at dawn and dusk
100, Left half unarmored body, right half empty armor

In large battles, legions are formed of knights aberrant all possessing the same characteristic and paired with another.

Although the Half-King may or may not, GMs may wish to pair individual half-knight antagonists with partners with half-knights with complimentary vulnerabilities to present more of a challenge.