Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Savagery and Sorcery

So for quite some time, I've been playing around with the idea of running a game that I call The Savage Sorcerers of Sungor.  It was intended as a Savage Worlds fantasy setting.  The idea was to have a game world that was inspired by Thundarr the Barbarian, the Den and Taarna segments of the film Heavy Metal, and Gamma World.  This was then all to be done up to look like a Frank Frazetta painting.  Now this all sounds and looks good in my head, but of course things have been holding me back.  I kept telling myself that I didn't have time and was too busy to work on the world, and maybe partly that was true, but the real issue that was holding me back (beyond laziness) was that I didn't have a map.  I could see places in my head, but they had no spatial relationship to one another.  I knew what things were, but I had no idea where they were.  I needed a map, and started digging through my folders to find one.  I had worked on a map a few years ago that I really liked and thought that is might just do, so I cleaned it up in GIMP and I was pretty happy with the results.
I like this map a lot.  I could do a lot of things with this map, but this map isn't Sungor.  Something just wasn't right, and honestly I couldn't say what.  It just didn't feel right for the game that I wanted.  So things languished again as I had no map.
I've been meaning to play around with Campaign Cartographer for some time, and owing to having lots of unplanned free time over Christmas while I fought off some sort of virus, I got the chance.  I loaded the map above into Campaign Cartographer and traced it, adding some land to the west along with a few more islands, and then I set to work adding in the terrain.  What I wound up with was this:
Now this is more of what I imagined Sungor looking like.  It has the Smoldering Sea where the ancient and terrible city of Sungor lies.  It has the Great Bog, where the mighty hero Yaard was birthed.  It has the Western Wastelands, home to all manner of mutant horrors.  It has the trackless Jungle of Hroon with its lost cities and giant serpents.  It has the vast Crater of Uul, wherein lies the sinister city of the Wizard Lizards.  In short, this was the map that I was looking for.  Well, maybe a bit more brown, but I'm still learning the tool.  So, does this mean that I'll run the game?  Maybe, but even if I don't, I've got a map to start from and something to start working on adventures to amuse myself.
I did a bit of adjustment to the background color to make some of the terrain features easier to see.  I'm still not sure which version I like better, but this one certainly prints better.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Miniatures Monday

This week's Miniatures Monday has a holiday theme.  The dreaded Krampus Lurks outside a humble dwelling, while inside the naughty children cower.  The naughty children will be punished by beatings with the Krampus's switch, while the VERY naughty ones will be tossed into his barrel and taken away, never to be seen again.  Germanic Christmas was not necessarily the happiest time of the year...
Lurking outside the door
Avoid the barrel at all costs
I had trouble deciding what color to paint him since I've seen depictions of Krampus in a number of different colors.  In the end I went with a dark shade of purple highlighted in grey.  I tried a darker wash on the horns than the one that I usually use, and I think that they came out looking pretty good.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter is here

Sunset on the Winter Solstice as seen from my window.  Thus begins the longest night of the year.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Here is eternal spring; for you the very stars of heaven are new

For here, even though winter approaches and the days grow short, I can still find some measure of springtime.

So I realize that there is a whole generation of kids that grew up dreaming about going to school at Hogwarts, and for most of them it was just that, a dream.   I was very fortunate, for very long before there ever was a Hogwarts, and the stars were new,  I went to school here.  So eat you heart out Harry Potter. ;-)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Free Maps - Hero System

I haven't done a Free Map Friday in a long time, so I'm way past due.  Here is a set of maps that I did about 9 years ago for a Fantasy hero game.  It's a lost tomb and includes the overall map along with scale combat maps for use with miniatures.

The whole tomb complex

Combat Map 1: The Chasm
The chasm ledge was crumbling and there was some sort of cyborg tentacle creature down in the water that kept trying o drag the PCs to their doom.
Combat Map 2: The Flooded Hallway
There were hidden pits in the flooded hallway, mostly a nuisance, except for heavily armored PCs. :-)
Combat Map 3: The Flooded Chamber

There were skeletons under the water near the columns waiting to rise as the PCs past them.
Combat Map 4: The Antechamber of the Statue
I seem to recall that the statue was a trap...
Combat Map 5: The Crypt
And there was something nasty in that sarcophagus.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Barbarian Twins

Here are two identical miniatures that I did in different paint schemes about a year apart.  The one on the left is older, and I like to think that the one on my right shows that my skills are improving a bit.

Have Yourself a Barrowmaze Christmas!

The miniatures from the Barrowmaze Complete Indiegogo Campaign just showed up and they are really sweet!  I've long been a fan of Otherworld Miniatures, but the shipping costs from the U.K. have kept them a bit out of my price range.  I was really excited that Barrowmaze was going to include miniatures from Otherworld, and now I have them in my hands.  I'm sure that I will be painting some of these in the coming months, so stay tuned for more details.
The miniatures come in a very nice zippered case with foam inserts.  Very professional!
The book should be showing up any day now!

Death in the Tower of the Tongue!

So tonight we finished our zero level funnel foray into Cyclopentaxor's castle.  The party has already been depleted by two characters after their encounters with the skeletons and the bat people, so it was with 10 remaining that they faced the iron throne of skulls.  There was skeletal liquification, incineration from within, creative uses for a skeleton-less corpse, a water slide (somebody got stuck in the pipe), and a pitched battle with a giant tongue that tore the flesh from its victims.  Five of the original twelve characters managed to survive, and I think that it all went fairly well.  I for one had a blast.  :-)  There is a lot more to say, but I'm not sure that I could do it all justice.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Miniatures Monday

This week's miniatures Monday takes us to the lightless caverns far beneath the earth.  There in those night haunted vaults dwell the dreaded mushroom people!  I can't help but imagine that a small village of Smurfs lives on him though.
For next week I plan to have a bit of a holiday theme to celebrate the season.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Holiday Adventures

A mysterious envelope arrived in the post today...

This year's DCC Holiday Adventure!  Trials of the Toy Makers.

Toy making gnomes, murder, and missing children.  It must be Christmas!. :-)  Get your copy here while you can!

Miniatures Monday

This week's Miniatures Monday brings us a barbarian war chief.  I'm not sure how he keeps that helmet on his head, but it does look stylish!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Magic Potions

I came across this last night.  It's a tequila bottle, but it looks like it would make an awesome potion bottle.
So what sort of potion do you think would be found in this?  Would it be baneful or beneficial?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Presents of Christmas Past

As I've grown older Christmas has become a lot less about the gifts to me and more of a winter version of Thanksgiving.  I enjoy sitting by the fire sipping a drink and talking with family and friends much more than I enjoy unwrapping gifts and certainly more than I enjoy going to the mall.  This doesn't mean that I don't like gifts, just that they have become a lot less important to me.  However I do hold on to very fond memories of gifts that I received at a time when Christmas was really a lot more about presents to me.  So I give you a photo of part of my Christmas haul from I believe 1982, which could more appropriately have been called a very D&D Christmas.

It was a great year for D&D and a great Christmas.  Garay Gygax was still with TSR, and my parents got me some of the very best that the game had to offer.  I finally had my very own copy of the Dungeon Master's guide with its vast array of arcane knowledge that I could use to bedevil my players.  I got a Dungeon Master's Screen so that I could shield my maps and notes from the prying eyes of players who wanted to try to get an advantage over my adventures.  There was a booklet of Hexagonal Mapping Paper so that I could draw my own wilderness maps like the one that was in the Isle of Dread.  Dungeon Module I1, Dwellers of the Forbidden City was under the tree and the evil frog men that dwelt within it did not disappoint.  Now these had all been on my Christmas list, but then there was a surprise.  My parents were always good at getting me things that I wanted but didn't know that I wanted yet, mostly because I didn't know that they existed.  Probably the best example of this of all time was the Dark Tower boardgame from Milton Bradley that I had received the Christmas before.  I'm sure that I'll be writing about that in the future, but that year the surprise was The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.

Now I had never even heard of this adventure, but as I unwrapped it, I knew that it would be awesome!  just look at that great cover painting by Erol Otus.  Who cares if I could even pronounce the name?  Tsojcanth.  It just sounded awesome.  I'm guessing that while my parents were Christmas shopping, most likely at Walden Books, as that was the best place in our area to get D&D stuff, they must have come across this and been as enthralled by the picture as I was.  It turned out to be one of my favorite adventures ever.  It had it all: a great wilderness trek through the mountains, a vast labyrinth of caves, a foxy vampire queen, and yes, even an underground river.  It was the best D&D related surprise ever and a great Christmas like all of the Christmases in those days.  So this holiday season, as we gather to game, or to talk about gaming, or just to hang out, let's remember those people who first encouraged and indulged our love of gaming.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Miniatures Monday

This week's installment of Miniatures Monday brings something other than a barbarian.  A viking!  So, yeah, it's a barbarian. :-)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Miniatures Monday

This week we are moving back to some familiar territory with a barbarian.  I painted an identical copy of this miniature last year, but with different colored fur and a different sword.  I'm fairly happy with how the black sword with the evil green glow turned out.
He has a twin brother too.  I painted an identical miniature with a slightly different color scheme a while back.  maybe I'll post it later this week as a bonus.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Miniatures Monday

After a rather long hiatus, Miniatures Monday has finally returned.  To start off, I've decided to go with something a bit different.  I tend to work a lot with earth tones, but I was experimenting with some different color schemes and the result was this.  So here we see the evil Purple Knight advancing with his glowing green sword.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Look what arrived today in time for my Birthday!

The second Dwarven Forge Kickstarter set!  Two boxes.  Thats an awful lot of caves and caverns.  I'll post more pictures once I open them.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Phantasm V Ravager Teaser: How did I not know about this until now?!?!

I can't believe that Don Coscarelli actually made Phantasm V.  Don't get me wrong, I'm ecstatic but amazed.  It will be great to see Angus Scrim as the Tall man one more time, and of course Reggie.  Supposedly it's in post production and it's unclear whether it will get a theatrical release or be straight to video like the previous two.  In any case, I can't wait!

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Forever is the realm of the young, for only they lack the perspective to see that even the horizon has its limits.

A sorcerously glowing lightning cloud!

I saw this cloud on my walk around the neighborhood the other night and was pretty impressed with the lightning that was flashing and glowing within it.  We don't get to see clouds like this around these parts very often.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Where Have all the Miniature Gone?

I know that Miniatures Monday has been missing for that past several weeks, and I apologize for that.  Things have been quite busy, and while I have been painting, I haven't been finishing, which of course is trouble if I actually want to post anything.  I do have one completed that I may try to photograph and get up on the sight tomorrow.  If not, by hook or by crook, he'll be up for August 11th.  In the meantime, I took a quick shot at some works in progress.  These should be finding their way to the blog in the coming weeks and months.
Some partially painted miniatures.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Like Star Wars

Let me say it without reservation.  I like Star Wars.  I grew up on star wars and have always wanted to pilot the Milenium Falcon.  I also love role playing games, and have been playing them since I was 10 (which was quite some time ago mind you).  I have however never run a Star Wars Roleplaying game.  Enter Edge of the Empire.  I like the system.  Character creation is a bit heavy lifting for my taste, but it gets the job done and the dice mechanic is very nice and does a great job of providing story/color opportunities for the game.  It would seem that with all of those things lined up that Edge of the Empire would be my go to game, but it's not.  It's just not the genre that really holds me as a Game Master, and that makes me feel bad, because it incorporates a lot of things that I love, and it had a gorgeous rulebook.  I'm a sucker for gorgeous books.  But it's not my own free flowing world that I can craft to reflect my vision.  It's still at some level George's vision.  I am torn.

Monday, July 28, 2014

100 years ago today..

The aging Emperor the the Austro Hungarian Empire, Franz Joseph declared war on Serbia, officially beginning a war that would change Europe and much of the world forever.  He would not live to see the world that resulted.  Not an auspicious anniversary.
Perhaps it's time to break out my copy of Avalon Hill's The Guns of August.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Star Wars Cantina Fight!

After a two week hiatus due to illness and out of town visitors, we returned tonight to a galaxy far, far away.  The party, fresh off their victory over the Tusken Raiders managed to capture a Bantha and use it to tow the repulsor rickshaw back to Hobo the Hutt's palace outside of Mos Gamos.  Once at the palace, they learned that Meffyx Thar, Hobo's majordomo, who has slipped away during the fight with the Tuskens was in fact helping the Black Suns to move in on Hobo's territory.  Hobo dispatched the party to track Meffyx Thar down and end his miserable life.  The party tracked the errant majordomo to a seedy cantina in one of the roughest parts of Mos Gamos.  Here we see the party as they put their plan for rooting out Meefyx into action:
The cantina just before the fight broke out
Chaph Losac went in through the front door to scout around, while N.O.R.M-4N kept watch over the Kitchen entrance.  After Chaph deiscovered a guarded side room, we called Sair Nartano in throug the kitch to surprise the guard.  Shots were fired and Kelsera came in through the dancer's entrance, while N.O.R.M-4N came in through the kitchen and avoided the wookie cooks who were distracted while dealing with a grease fire.  Sair tricked the pilot into opening the side room door with some splendid mimickry, and he and Chaph shot the two people with Meffyx.  Meffyx threw a stun grenade disguised to look like a thermite grenade and in the confusion fled the bar, only to be gunned down by Kelsera with her Tusken slugthrower.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014

Miniatures Monday - Purple Worm

A gigantic purple worm erupts through the cavern floor seeking adventurers to snack upon!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Last Night in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...

Last night we played the second session of our Star Wars Edge of the Empire.  This week, our "heroes" were joined by two new companions.  The party is now as follows:

 Sair Nartano, a young and impulsive human explorer with a fondness for the ladies
N.O.R.M-4N, a droid mechanic an pilot with a strong attachment to the ship
Chaph LoSec, a human assassin of few words
Kelsera, A Twi'lek bodyguard for the infant leader of her clan

Following the events with the thermal grenade at the moisture farm, the group found themselves attacked in the desert by a horde of Tusken Raiders.  They managed to acquit themselves quite well in combat, killing most of the sand people and driving off the rest, but three of the party were wounded in the battle.  Chaph LoSek made a heroic but sadly unsuccessful attempt to dive onto an out of control speeder, but alas, all of the party's transport, except for a repulsor rickshaw were either destroyed or absconded with.  The party now finds themselves facing the unpleasant task of finding their way back to civilization.

In the heat of the battle, Meffyx Thar, majordomo to the Illustrious Hobo the Hutt fled the scene...

I must say the Edge of the Empire dice system goes pretty well with my tendency to make it up as I go. :-)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014

Miniatures Monday - Spartan

A mighty female warrior, her bronze armor gleaming in the sun,  stands ready to defeat any foe!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Miniatures Monday - Cold Drake

A deadly Cold Drake prowls the frozen caverns of the underworld searching for frozen food!

I was practicing my dry-brushing technique on this miniatures which is from an old Ral Partha cast.  I think the result was rather good.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Batman: The Cult - Jason Todd's finest hour

Looks like we're out of places to run to...  Guess we stand and fight.  At least we'll be going out in style.

A lot of folks seem to remember Jason Todd's time as Robin with little if any fondness.  He really didn't have much of a chance, starting life as a clone of Dick Grayson and then being changed into a street punk after the whole Crisis on Infinite Earths business.  I had stopped reading batman before Dick Grayson left and didn't come back to it for some time.  When I did come back to Batman, it was through a graphic novel that I came across in Phantom of the Attic.  It was the summer of 1988, and I had just started college.  The cover of the book was embossed with a manhole cover surrounded by bloody handprints.  Batman in the sewers; that seemed right up may alley.  I was about to get my reintroduction to Batman, and it was also to be my introduction to Jason Todd as Robin, and he kicked ass.

The Cult is primarily focused on Batman and his struggle to overcome his own fear, but it's Robin who is the hero of the story.  It's Robin who has to rescue Batman (multiple times), and hold Batman together so that he can eventually defeat Reverend Blackfire.  Batman is weak and broken, but Robin is the man of action.  So for me, I can't help but fondly remember Jason as Robin in a story where he didn't have to be a pain in the ass street kid who stole the wheels off the Batmobile, but rather got to be the hero who saved the Batman.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Miniatures Monday - Adventuring Bard

An adventuring bard keeps both his lute and his sword handy!  Here we have a bard from Reaper Miniatures.  Certainly not my best work, but still passable I think.  I've never been that good at painting either blonde hair or white shirts. :-)