Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  Our heroes have defeated 2015.  Here's hoping that everyone conquers 2016 as well!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Our fearless duo Long Neck and No Face are having nothing even approaching a silent night!  Maybe they need to go back to the dungeon.  Here's wishing everyone health, happiness, and great gaming in the new year!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Birthday Fritz Leiber!

He would have been 105 years old today.  Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser remain two of my all-time favorite sword and sorcery characters.  December is quite the month for sword and sorcery author birthdays, with Wagner, Moorcock, and Leiber all falling in a 2 week window.  So today, take a moment to remember (and maybe drink a toast to) one of the giants of science fiction and fantasy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Festivus!

Prepare for the airing of the grievances and the feats of strength!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Star Wars

So, last night my wife and I saw The Force Awakens which I've been looking forward to for a very long time.  I remember quite clearly the melancholy that I felt during the opening crawl of Revenge of the Sith, thinking that it was the last time in my life that I would ever see a new Star Wars movie.  All that I will say is that the new film did not disappoint.  It's not high cinema, it's not Empire (nothing really ever could be), but it's fun and it's Star Wars, and that's quite good enough for me. :-)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

It's that time of year again (Dark Tower Time!)

It's the time of year where I find myself reflecting on Christmases long past, and it's also time to break out Dark Tower and give it a play.  No other game from my childhood evokes such fond memories as this little gem from 1981.  That was a good Christmas!  :-)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy Birthday Michael Moorcock

Michael Moorcock turns 76 today!  The last of the great Sword and Sorcery writers.  December is quite the month for Sword and Sorcery writer birthdays.  May Arioch grant him many more.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Karl Edward Wagner would have been 70

Karl Edward Wagner, fantasy/horror writer, psychiatrist, and hard drinker would have been 70 years old on December 12th.  I first discovered Wagner in a book shop in florida in 1984, when I picked up a paperback copy of Darkness Weaves.  Attracted by the Frank Frazetta cover, there was no way I could resist.  Darker and grimmer than Howard's Conan, Kane was an antihero in the vein of Moorcock's Elric.  No noble savage, Kane was a Machiavellian swordsman, who also dabbled in sorcery to further his frequent goals of world conquest.  I was hooked, and quickly sought out the rest of Wagner's Kane stories.  The novels are a bit of a mixed bag, but I think it's in the short stories where Wagner's writing really shined.  Sadly, Wagner died at 48.  I should very much liked to see where his writing would have gone.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Fish Slide Chamber

Back in the early spring of this year, I ran a Dungeon Crawl Classics funnel adventure of my own design.  The crux of the adventure was a treasure hunt in the tower of a long dead wizard.  The tower was on a small island just offshore, and a motley collection of candle makers, cobblers, and gong farmers braved its mysterious depths.  One of my favorite rooms was the fish slide chamber, which I've tried to represent here with only a modest level of success.  I'll leave it up to your imagination where the slides lead...

Gl├╝ckliche Sankt Nikolaus Tag!

Happy Saint Nicholas Day.  Here's hoping that everyone finds their shoes filled with candy and that Knecht Ruprecht doesn't come for you instead!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Weird Adventure Idea Wednesday

This week's weird adventure idea:

On a rainy afternoon you are hailed by a charismatic boatman at a river crossing.  The boatman tells you a tale that 8 days ride to the southwest, deep beneath the ruins of the Bone Chilling City of Rotting Flesh, can be found the Menacing Maze of Madness.  It is said that there is hidden the Shameful Incense of the Ebony Thaumaturge.  But beware, for the boatman warns you that the Shining Skeleton of Contamination haunts that place!

If you enjoy Weird Adventure Idea Wednesday, be sure to check out these free resources:

1,001 Weird and Wacky Adventure Ideas


Sunday, November 29, 2015

The cover for a new 0 level funnel adventure that I'm working on for DCC.

Although, it's not something that I'd ever publish, I still felt the need to have a cover picture. :-)  The last Dungeon Crawl Classics funnel that I wrote was a bit long and would probably have worked better as a level 1 adventure.  This time around I'm looking to create a tighter adventure involving a group of foolish peasants seeking revenge on the Sorcerer who destroyed their village.  Not a terribly original concept,  I'll admit, but I'm hoping that it will be fun in any case.  Out of curiosity, how many encounters (including monsters, tricks and traps) do folks generally put in their 0 level adventures?

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Evolution of Long Neck and No Face

My Two favorite adventurers, Long Neck the Warrior, and No Face the Wizard, have fced many dangerous situations this year.  I've think I've actually done more drawing this year than miniature painting.  You can get a lot done when you don't worry about things like perspective, anatomy, reasonable color palates, or talent.  :-)  It's good to see that Long Neck has bulked up a bit, but he's still only a Vorpal blade away from disaster with that neck...
Man, that guy needs a sandwich...
Straight legged sweat pants were all the rage...
May need to make the jump to pleated sweats...
It took three milk shakes a day to get here...
Looking buff, smelling bad....

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

This might just make our fearless adventurers into vegetarians...or dinner!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Weird Adventure Idea Wednesday

This week's weird adventure idea:

On a misty evening you meet a filthy peasant along a rutted road. The peasant tells
you that 9 days ride to the northwest, beneath the Abominable Wasteland of the Soul Eating
Serpents, can be found the Cavern of the Celibate Conjurer. It is believed that there is hidden the Spiked Lava Sword of Cruelty. But beware, for the peasant warns you that the Darkened Monk of Eternal Wounds dismembers all who come near that dreaded place!

If you enjoy Weird Adventure Idea Wednesday, be sure to check out these free resources:

1,001 Weird and Wacky Adventure Ideas


Sunday, November 22, 2015

My Game.

     Over that past few years, I've been working to whittle down my RPG collection, purging the games that I will never play.  Over the four decade that I've been gaming, I certainly collected a lot of different RPGs, some of which I've actually played, but many of why just took up shelf space.  This really got me thinking about the question of, "What is my game?", and what do I even mean by "My Game."  By "My Game", I'm talking about the game that I think in terms of regardless of what game I'm actually playing.  This isn't to say that I compare other games to it and find them wanting, but rather that it is the game that permeates my consciousness like a native language.  The game that I dream in, so to speak.    
     Way back in the day, circa 1979, the answer to this question would have been Dungeons & Dragons, as that was the game that I played the most and the one which informed my view of roleplaying as a whole.  As time went on, I found myself wanting more, and I was exposed to more varied systems.  I found other games that spoke to me more than D&D, games that let me do things beyond the strictures imposed by that venerable system.  By the time that I was in college, "My Game" was the Hero System.  It gave me free range to create almost anything that I could think of, provided that I had the time and energy to do the math.
     After college, real life intervened, and I gamed less for a good while, but I kept buying RPGs since I had a job and could better afford them.   However, I would still look at everything through he Hero System lens.  As I got back into gaming, and played newer systems, I found many to be very enjoyable.  Savage Worlds is now one of may favorite systems.  I love that I can create adventures quickly and get a session going without hours upon hours of preparation.  Also, I think that Savage Worlds works really well for the types of games that I like to run (Barbarians wandering around the wastelands killing evil wizards).  I'm also a big fan of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG.  I love the zero level funnel idea and the whole "You're not heroes" vibe, plus Goodman games puts out some great supplements and has amazing artwork.  Far Away Land is also a great rules light system with some wonderful art and some really fun adventures.
     If I were to run a game today, it would probably be Savage worlds, DCC, or Far Away Land, yet I can't call any one of them, "My Game".  "My Game" to this day  is still the Hero System, even though I haven't played it in over a decade, and very likely will never play it again.  I can't create a monster or a magic items for another system without at least vaguely thinking, "How would I create this in Hero?"  So, what is your game?  What system do you find yourself thinking in terms of even when you aren't playing it, and do you still play it? 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Weird Adventure Idea Wednesday

It has been quite a while since I've posted a weird adventure idea.  This isn't for lack of the ideas, but rather for lack of the illustrations to accompany them.  So, without further ado, here is a new weird adventure idea!

On a warm summer afternoon you have a chance meeting with a charismatic soothsayer who is resting near a ruined temple. The soothsayer discloses to you that 23 days travel to the northwest, through the Flesh Devouring Swamp of the Hidden Eyes, lie the Forgotten Tunnels of Time. It is whispered that hidden there are the Pain Vestments of the Abominable Acolyte. But beware, for the soothsayer warns you that the Insane Tentacle Beast of Dementia awaits the unwary in that accursed place!

If you enjoy Weird Adventure Idea Wednesday, be sure to check out these free resources:

1,001 Weird and Wacky Adventure Ideas


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Goodman Games has the best mailing labels

Honestly, To: and From: labels that form a laser battle!  What could be better than that?  Every time I get a product from Goodman Games, it's actually hard for me to throw the mailing envelopes away.  Just another way that they add extra fun to their products.  Well done guys!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

I tend to think that his should be an automatic success.

A few weeks ago, in our Iron Kingdoms campaign, my friend Dan made what I think was a spectacular roll.  When the GM asked for a d6 roll, Dan's die came up corner "corner".  There is no trickery in these photos, the die actually landed and stayed on it's corner.  Indeed one of the craziest rolls that I've seen on my 35+ years of gaming.  Does anyone else have photos of wacky or improbable die rolls?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Some Film Inspiration for your Dungeon Crawling Enjoyment

Several years ago, I came across a lesser known German horror film from 1967 luridly entitled The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism.  As it starred Christoper Lee, and as I am a notorious sucker for bad horror flicks, I was of course obliged to watch it.  While the film falls squarely into the realm of gothic horror, I found that it provides great dungeon crawl inspiration as well.  Let's start with the characters who feel almost as if they were rolled up from a Dungeon Crawl Classics zero level table.  We have a Nobleman, a music teacher, a priest/highwayman, and a serving girl.  These three embark upon an overland journey by carriage to a mysterious castle which is said to be ruined, and about which the locals refuse to speak.  Their journey takes them through a phantasmagoric landscape of blood red skies and a forest where human limbs sprout from the trees, and dead bodies line the roadway.  Upon arriving at the castle they find that much like many classic dungeons, it turns out to be a ruin where only the dungeons below remain.  Descending into the dungeon, the heroes find themselves in a maze of twisting passages filled with secret door and falling portcullises.  Disturbing frescoes festoon the walls, and skulls abound.  The characters are obliged to explore this underworld by torchlight and encounter things like huge buzzards, a zombie, and an axe wielding vampire along with a multitude of deadly traps.  A pit trap opens beneath one of the daring explorers.  A sleep gas trap knocks a character out.  A retracting walkway threatens to drop one of the characters into a pit filled with poisonous serpents.  Now all of these things don't make for a great movie, and the ending is a bit unsatisfying, but the set design is great and it really got me in the mood to do some dungeon designing.  For those interested in checking it out, the film is currently available on Amazon Video, and it's free to Amazon Prime members.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

R.I.P George Barris

Sad news for my 500th post.  George Barris, the automobile customizer responsible for the iconic 1966 Batmobile and the Munster's car has died at the age of 89. :-(  Say what you will about the campiness of the show, but that car was awesome.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Wow, 40 years.

40 years ago today, Queen released the single Bohemian Rhapsody from their album A Night at the Opera.
Queen never seemed to get much respect in their heyday, but in retrospect, they really were quite amazing.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Superhero Dilema

      I like superheroes.  I've really enjoyed the recent Marvel films, I still read Batman comics, love playing the Arkham games, and really like watching the Awesomes, but for some reason, I've never been that crazy about superhero roleplaying games.  Oh, I've played them.  In college we played Champions occasionally, and a few years ago we played a friend's home-brew system, but I've always been more a fan of guys with swords.  So where am I going with this?  Well, lately I've been feeling the urge to run a superhero game, and as usually happens, I'm debating which system I would use.  In my mind, the game would be a one-off, rather than a regular campaign, and I would want the flexibility to create characters of varying types.
     To me, the seemingly obvious answer is Champions / Hero System, but it's not as clear cut as all that.  While I know that Champions and the Hero System have a bit of a reputation for complexity, the core mechanics (3d6 roll under) is pretty simple.  The heavy lifting comes with character creation, which is a bit of a double edged sword.  While Champions lets you create just about anything you can conceive of, it can get a bit overwhelming if you don't already have a concept.  Building the powers can be a bit of a turn-off to some, but once the characters are done, the game flows pretty smoothly.  Combats do tend to take a bit of time, but that's pretty much in keeping with comic books where you generally only see one big fight per issue.
     Mutants and Masterminds of course is in the mix.  I love the DC Universe supplements which means that I'd never run out of ready-made antagonists, but it doesn't seem to be that much lighter then Champions.  Character creation still seems to be the stumbling block for new players, but man is it a beautiful book.
     GURPS is that game that I've always wanted to love, but just don't quite.  Sort of like Champions without all the stats, which is probably why I'm not that fond of it.  Had I come to GURPS before I'd ever played The Hero System, I'm guessing that this would have been my go-to game, but it didn't happen that way.  Plus, I'd need to tote around at least 3 books just to do character creation.
     So maybe Savage Worlds?  It's a great system for pulp games, and would probably be awesome for a costumed vigilantes fighting Nazis type game, but I'm not sold on it for straight up Superheroes.  I need to do a d6 only have for Savage worlds, as I'm just a fan of using d-sixes and.
     Finally, we come to Icons.  I picked up the Assembled edition last winter and it really seems to scratch that more rules light while still doing supers itch that I seem to have.  I like the idea of random superhero creation, and it uses all six sided dice.
     In the end, this doesn't really go anywhere.  I doubt that I'll run anything soon, but it may e a fun diversion for the times when all of our regular group can't get together.  I think that either Champions or Icons would win out, but who knows?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Miniatures Monday

This week or Miniatures Monday, we have the last member of our Iron Kingdoms party, Voldrag the Doomreaver.  The Fellblade was a bit tricky, and I had a tough time deciding which pieces of armor to do in red, but overall I'm fairly pleased with the results.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Miniatires Monday

For this week's Miniatures Monday, we are continuing with miniatures from our current Iron Kingdoms campaign.  Here we have a couple of photos of Ellyon the Warcaster in his coal powered armor.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Miniatures Monday

This weeks for miniatures Monday, we have an alchemist from the Iron Kingdoms.  This is one of the miniatures that I painted to represent the adventuring party in our current campaign.  He's a bit monochromatic, but he is an alchemist, and I'm not sure that they are the flashiest of dressers. :-)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Miniatures Monday

This weeks we have another Iron Kingdoms miniatures.  This one is  a warjack intended to represent our gobber's's steamjack.  All of the rivets took a bit of time to paint. :-)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Wrecking Crew: Work In Progress

It's no secret that I enjoy painting miniatures, and for years I've been intending to paint miniatures to match the characters from whatever campaign we are playing.  Sadly, I tend to be a rather slow painter, and it seemed that just as I was finishing the first miniature, the campaign would end.  This time I set out from the very start of our Iron Kingdoms game to collect and paint miniatures that I felt matched our characters, and amazingly enough, they are nearing completion!  Oddly enough, my Doomreaver (in the center) is the farthest from being finished.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Miniatures Monday

A gobber miniature for our Iron Kingdoms game.  I'm actually pretty pleased with how this one turned out, but then how can anyone be sad about a miniature with a spyglass and a pocketwatch? :-)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Random Artwork: Mountains at Night

Just something that I sketched the other day.  A precariously leaning tower atop some impossible mountains, and yes, the moon is made of green cheese.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Miniatures Monday

Miniatures Monday this week brings us a Black Orc Hero from Reaper Miniatures.  I intend to use this miniatures as on Ogrun for Iron Kingdoms, so I painted him in colors more suitable to that.  I'm pretty satisfied with how this one came out, even though the flesh wash was a bit darker than I wanted.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Miniatures Monday

This week, Miniatures Monday brings us two photos of a red robed cultist wearing some groovy purple slippers and wielding a bloody dagger.  No doubt, this fellow is up to no good, probably out looking for his next sacrificial victim.  I've never been particularly good at painting large areas of red, and while I did some shading on this one, I'm still not particularly satisfied with how he turned out.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

R.I.P. Mr. Steed

Patrick Macnee, who played John Steed in the British spy show the Avengers has died at the age of 93.  He was the epitome of the gentleman secret agent, able to handle the bad guys but always with style and panache.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Miniatures Monday

Miniature Monday this week is...a barbarian!  Don't everyone look shocked at the same time.  :-)  This miniatures is a very old lead mini from a company that I can no longer remember.  I seem to recall that at some point in the 90s, I had figured out who manufactured this guy way back when, but I've long since forgotten.  It's not a great sculpt, but I've always been fond of it for its resemblance to Frank Frazetta's Conan paintings.  It's been sitting in a box for over 30 years and I figured that it was time to finally paint him.  Despite the limitations of the sculpt, I'm reasonably happy with how this one turned out.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

So I finally got around to seeing Mad Max: Fury Road, and I have to say that I was extremely impressed.  I think that George Miller did a wonderful job in setting up a story that was less of a reboot and more of another chapter in Max's history.  It required no knowledge of the previous films to be able to enjoy it, while at the same time containing enough references to those films to keep the long time fans happy.  I will admit that I was a bit skeptical of a new mad max film after 30 years, and even with all of the great reviews I had my doubts that a film which was essentially a two hour chase scene could really be successful.  To my surprise and delight though, Miller managed to maintain an almost constant edge of your seat tension throughout the film.  The special effects were extremely impressive and the set design and art direction created a wonderfully visceral post-apocalyptic world.  I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys action films.  It is well worth the price of admission and definitely a film that should be seen on the big screen.  Plus, those old ladies kicked ass. :-)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Grimtooth is back!

This morning, I discovered the Kickstarter PDF of the new Grimmtooth's Ultimate Traps Collection in my inbox.  I've been a fan of Grimtooth's Traps for years, and still have copies of the first two around here somewhere.  I'm glad that Goodman Games decided to do this.  It really is perfect for Dungeon Crawl Classics.  I can't wait until the print version arrives!  ;-)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Weird Adventure Idea Wednesday

On a sweltering night you have a chance encounter with a glassy eyed swordsman in a lonely graveyard.  The swordsman recites to you a tale that 2 weeks hike to the west, deep in the Ochre Wastelands of the Burning Moon, can be found the Malignant Menhir of the Endless Abyss.  It is alleged that hidden there is the Thermal Unguent of Corrosion.  But beware, for the swordsman cautions you that the Menacing Trickster of the Stars lurks nearby!

If you enjoy Weird Adventure Idea Wednesday, be sure to check out these free resources:

1,001 Weird and Wacky Adventure Ideas


1,001 More Weird and Wacky Adventure Ideas

Thursday, June 11, 2015

So passes the Lord of Darkness

Christopher Lee has died at the age of 93.  He remains to me forever the very embodiment of Dracula, but he was everything from a wizard to a Bond villain, and will be missed.