Friday, April 26, 2019

They Mostly Come at Night... Mostly

I remembered, halfway through the morning, that it's Alien Day today, so I did a quick sketch as my morning tea was cooling down.



I quite like the idea of cooling tea as a timer for a sketch; a time limit forces me to draw without indulging in fiddliness, and means I can't hide deficiencies in my drawing behind detail. I also get a cup of tea out of it, which is a nice bonus.

I used to draw these aliens all the time, as I got a bit obsessed with Trident Comics' old Aliens magazine, which reprinted Dark Horse's comics. This is the first time I've drawn one of the creatures in at least ten years, I think.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Homage to Barovia

My GM didn't like the player handout map in Curse of Strahd so asked me to draw a different one.


(click here for a high resolution version for printing)

I think it's probably a bit too fancy to be an in-universe map drawn by feckless peasants, but maybe it's the equivalent of those gaudy tourist maps you get when you go on holiday.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Death Cave Doom

I've been drawing some people dying in horrible ways. This is for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, of course.






Friday, March 22, 2019

Something Familiar, Yes?

It's #DrawDeathsHeadDay today and it's #HellboyDay either today or tomorrow, depending on whom you ask, so this was probably inevitable.


The image is based on the cover of Thor #126, by Jack Kirby.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Thanks Larry


Larry DiTillio wrote many of my favourite things, including Babylon 5 and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, but it's the brilliant Masks of Nyarlathotep that I thank him for most of all. Thanks Larry.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Danger Illustrated


I last saw The Prodigy in 1998, I think, at a chilly Reading Festival. I always meant to see them again at some point, but I never got around to it.

Thanks for all the mad clowning, Keith.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Master of None

"Make bards funny," they said.

"I'm not sure I can," I said.

"It doesn't matter, the project's been cancelled," they said, which is probably for the best, as I am not a natural comedian. Or even an unnatural one.

Anyway, here are some jokes about bards. Except the third one, which is about bards, but doesn't qualify as a joke, even if you squint.




Monday, February 25, 2019

Testing in the Shadows

I am writing a new adventure for the Lamentations of the Flame Princess role-playing game; well, in truth I seem to be in a constant state of writing three or four adventures for LotFP, but I don't tend to mention it unless one is nearing publication. I'm not quite there with Terror in the Shadows, but it exists in complete enough form to be tested, which is lucky, because I started running it for my group on Saturday.

It's set in Paris in 1625, and is an investigation-based adventure; our first session consisted of lots of wandering around the slums, talking to people and looking for clues, and the closest the party got to a fight was when they apprehended a randomly-encountered pickpocket.

My goals with the test are to see how robust the mystery is in general, and also how well an investigative adventure fits into a D&D-like ruleset. So far the players haven't made use of any character mechanics -- no one's cast a spell yet, for example -- but the investigation seems to be progressing well, with no bottlenecks or dead ends threatening to scupper play.

The test has been useful in showing me where there may be gaps in the adventure -- no major holes so far! -- and in giving me ideas for further details to make it more interesting. The most enjoyable bit for me was seeing the players putting together bits of information and turning them into a series of -- sometimes contradictory -- theories about what's going on; since I've written the mystery, the solution is obvious to me and my fear was that it would be clear and straightforward -- and thus boring -- to the players too.

I suppose what I'm saying is that playtesting is good; that is something that's rather obvious and no one needs to be told, but there it is.

We should be meeting up again this weekend to continue the investigation. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Bones

The Dead City wasn't always known by that name. Once it was a thriving metropolis full of scholars that mapped the world and the stars, and were as arrogant as they were wise.

The wizard-kings of the Dead City foresaw the End and found a way out. It will surprise no one at all that this plan went wrong, and ZAP! that's how you end up with a city full of intelligent skeleton people. These skeleton people are known as Bones.

The Dead City is somewhere far away on the left side of the world map and most Bones have either been away for so long that they have forgotten where it is, or have no desire to return.

It is, of course, full of fun things for adventurers to find, including the spells needed to create more Bones, piles of treasure, and unhinged skeleton-wizard-kings.

If using races, treat Bones as human. Bones can be of any class or profession.

Bones do not need to breathe, drink, eat, or sleep -- although can mimic those actions -- and are immune to disease and poison. Bones age, but suffer no ill effects and can live forever if careful.

Bones do not heal, and healing magic -- if used in your campaign -- harms them by the same amount it would heal a living creature. Reversed healing spells may heal Bones, at the GM's discretion.

Specialist artisans, sometimes called bonesmiths, are able to repair damage to Bones, including age-related deterioration.

If your campaign includes the turning of undead, this works against Bones, but as their life force is stronger than most undead creatures, they are never destroyed by turning, but flee instead.

Some Bones remember the End and the rituals that changed them into their current forms, and have been scarred by these memories. A Bone player can choose to roll on the following table to generate a psychological issue relating to those memories.

I SURVIVED THE APOCALYPSE AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY PSYCHOSIS (d12):
  1. "I survived, so I must be special."
  2. "My grasp on life is fragile and everything is dangerous!"
  3. "I survived death itself; I am invincible!"
  4. "I do not deserve to live when so many others did not."
  5. "I did not survive; this is some sort of hell."
  6. "The wizard-kings caused all of this. No magic can be trusted."
  7. "Every living thing must be made like me before another End occurs."
  8. "What do you mean I look like a skeleton? How absurd!"
  9. "I can return things to how they were. All I need is..."
  10. "One day I woke up like this. I remember nothing before."
  11. "Life is meaningless. All life. Including yours."
  12. "All life is precious and must be preserved."

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

From Hell's Heart, I Stab at Thee

Dallas M asked on the zombie social network that is G+ "What's your favourite B/X death condition? I usually do 0 = death."

The first thing that sprang to mind -- because there's something wrong with me -- was this:

At 0 Hit Points you explode, doing d6 per level damage to everyone within a radius of feet equal to your Constitution score.

It's more or less the Heart of Woe magic item from Warhammer, but everyone gets it because exploding player-characters are great fun and you shouldn't be stingy with fun.