Thursday, April 30, 2015

One Page Dungeon Contest 2015: Race to the Reckoning

With a few last minute additions and scanned drawings, I am very happy with my submission for this year's One Page Dungeon Contest. Go check out the dozens of entries that will be released for viewing/downloading (the contest ends in about half an hour after the posting of this). Then come back and check out my entry. A year of blogging, drawing, and mapping has improved my skills considerably. If you have been too nervous to try your hand at this sort of contest, think of it like free motivation to improve!
Next week I'll be returning to my unfinished series and continuing with the biweekly geomorph contest.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

One Page Dungeon 2015: Now in Color!

As I take a break from writing and rewriting short sections of text for my contest entry to sneak it in before the deadline, check out the finished drawing from that sketch from before. My lovely fiance brought her A-Game watercoloring skills.

Do you have enough high speed carriage chases up a mountain in your campaigns? If no, just wait for Thursday when I submit the finished version to accompany this map. If yes, please send me your campaign notes for reasons and go learn about the secret of the seven maps

Also, the second bi-weekly geomorph contest over at Inkwell Ideas has about a week left. I'll be doing another three morphs with the secret ingredient "lava" in a post next week.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

One Page Dungeon Contest 2015: Hug & Carriage

With only one week left to submit, I've knuckled down and started putting my ideas to paper. Here are two sketches for a preliminary layout for my submission. Have you considered entering this year? If you are, and are looking for some proofreading I'd be happy to take a look.

Also, I reached 5000 views! Thanks for visiting my little corner of the internet and I intend on only improving the quality and quantity of content here, so make sure to subscribe!

Hug & Carriage (A Working Title)

All the Count needed was a hug and he had a change of heart. Drive a carriage quickly up the treacherous and guarded roads to return the Count (inside his coffin) to his mansion before sundown or it will be too late to reverse his doomsday machine! Keep his coffin safe or the sun will destroy him. Be careful, he made sure his plans would not be foiled and instructed his minions to keep everyone out (even anyone who looks just like him!), no matter what. There's a fleet of carriages, plenty of skeletal minions, archers, thugs, knights, and even a wizard between you and the defeat of this dastardly machine.
 Will the players stick to the cobble road, risking more minions attacking them or will they try to speed through the rough gravel side roads through the forest and along the cliffs?

I'll be inking and fleshing this out some more over the weekend. I may even do some water colors...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Geomorph Design Contest: Three Thrones

I just wrapped up inking, scanning, and digitally touching up my three entries for the Geomorph Bi-Weekly Design Contest. Let me know what you think!

Throne Room to the Mad King. His paranoia manifested in the design of his throne, which slowly spins to keep him appraised of everything around him.

A cave throne with some strong defenses and a secret escape.

A slight twist, the 'porcelain throne' is the only nice toilet in this barracks latrine.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Geomorph Design Contest: Three Sketches

Inkwell Ideas is running a weekly contest for geomorphs. Seeing as I'm looking to build some more map drawing experience and wouldn't mind winning some dungeonmorph dice, I'm going to enter. Every other week will have a different secret ingredient  I drew up three sketches for the three entries you are allowed to make. Here's the key I'm using. I'll be inking these and posting them in my next post (after the 4/20 deadline). Check it out and try to win some dice!

A design for a mad emperor on a turning throne so he can watch all entrances or surround himself with more adoring subjects...

A cavern throne with an escape hatch under the heavy rug. A double portcullis trap pins foes down in range of the murder holes.

A punny twist on the 'throne' secret ingredient for this week, the 'ivory throne'. It is the nicest latrine, one fit for a king's royal behind. A small jail houses a secret exit in one of its cells.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Terratic Tome: A Review from the Tail End of a Reviewing Frenzy

Hauling dirt up to make raised beds on top of a hill is a lot of work. Since I'm tired and already did a lot of work today, I went and read through my Teratic Tome again to write up a quick review instead of putting up a real blog post.

The Teratic Tome is a compilation of unique monsters, baddies, and creatures that are each accompanied with their own illustration. The illustrations are top notch, black-and-white drawings by numerous authors that also happen to lean NSFW (lots of bare breasts and gore, no genitals as far as I saw). The quality of the writing is superb and my gaming group better watch out, as these monsters are coming to get them. The stat blocks are for a system I am unaware of, but they are easy enough to understand and convert to my preferred edition, Dungeons and Dragons 5E. At 9.99 (6.66 as of 4/14/2015) or $20 for a hardcover, I'd have to rate this as an amazing purchase I'm glad I finally pulled the trigger on.

My top four favorite parts of this book are:
1. A cool 'X' monster, the Xarualac. No but seriously, this undead evil musician murders people to build a big instrument out of bodies like a musical Jeeper's Creepers. The fact that it then secretly places its mechanism in the center of town after finishing is the cherry on top. I like that so many of these monsters jump right out with interesting encounters and motivations.

2. This little devil has fantastic art. The fact that she is all about bloody carnage and battle like some sort of psychotic hit girl that eats childrens' teeth like fine candy makes her interesting outside of cool art on a page.

3. Elves, halflings, etc all get a slight twist for you paranoid human's out there. Who is to say whether the things written here are xenophobic propaganda hit pieces or the dark truth, or both?

4. Querist is just your average crazy-zombie-demon with nonsensical plots that include giving away money to the poor, curing plagues, solving difficult math problems, bullying school children about their weight, and making sure puppies never get adopted. If you ever needed something to happen in your campaign without rhyme or reason, this guy should be on your DM speed dial. 

5. Lastly, many monsters in this book hunt the average sins or petty crimes of your regular joe-schmo villager. Having these sorts of monsters makes the conservative pieces of advice about staying true, being honest, etc some real teeth (or are these just fairy tales cooked up by the morality police and nosy-busy-bodies?). At worst, they have patterns outside of the usual monster tactic of food, treasure, or conquest. Many of them explicitly target horrible people, raising the question of how hard the players really want to protect the jerks among them.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Review: Book of War, Original Edition Delta (2011)

After reading Daniel Collin's post about the 5E battlesystem coming out (and it being wanting), I decided to grab his Book of War and give it a read. It is over three years old at this point and is a OD&D interpretation of mass combat rules using complicated math and simulations to balance everything out (what do you expect from someone who does math and statistics full time?). There's some interesting anachronisms that carry through to wonderfully neat, d6-based combat. 

While I'm too young to have ever played OD&D, I have been playing since 3.5. None of the games I've played in have ever accomplished a suitable mass combat. They either ended up overloading the game master with hundreds of minis, slowing combat to a crawl, or treating blocks of soldiers like a swarm, needing complicated rules for routing and formations. 

I can definitely say that the system presented here would not only suffice as a solid war game ruleset, but provides ready conversions of any monsters, groups, and heroes into a mass combat scale in line with normal D&D expectations. While it is built for classic D&D scaling, I see no reason why the formulas presented would not work just as well with newer editions, including 5E my current favorite. I've tried running mass combat as individual monsters, I've tried treating formations as swarms, and now I'm excited to try this style of mass combat. 

If I've peaked your attention, check out the basic summary here. The book is well done and is well worth the money's I paid for it, and his other books are now on my wishlist. When some good mass combat comes up in my game, I'll follow up with a quick post about how it all worked.

If you like these sort of reviews, feel free to suggest a product or book I should look at next. I'm working on a series of guides for intelligent monsters, continuing my magic items series, painting up my Reaper's Kickstarter miniatures, and more. Follow, subscribe, and share!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mythoard: DIY Easy Unboxing Technique

Step 1: Sign up for Mythoard.
Step 2: Open up your mythoard when it arrives in the mail.

While the content of this little piece is only somewhat interesting, I am a huge fan of the three hole punch style of it. This will fit nicely into a three ring binder for easy access to its small table on the back of random trash items. It would be nice to see more DM style handouts like this in future mythoards. Personally, I don't run many complete modules written by others (I use them for inspiration mostly) but I do like having small tools like this.

I like the small town feel of this little adventure, as it can really be insterted into any town without any major consequences. Maybe I don't read enough, but I hardly see this sort of demon trick cliche adventure hook. It is a cool alternative to the usual tavern job posting or treasure hunting, but is still well-worn enough that players can quickly understand what to do.

The Dungeoneers journal is a quick read with plenty useful tools, tricks, fluff stories, and mini adventures. I found the Political Intrigue section to be an outstanding creation guide to making political intrigue on the fly or improving my characters options for establishing political intrigue within their territories. All in all, a nice reprint of an old magazine. Being on the younger side, it is cool to see old source material like this to help expand my skills horizon.

The Gygax Magazine! Some sections of note from this magazine are the fully fleshed out AntiPaladin and the full spread for the One Page Dungeon Contest winner from 2014. Even the ads in it are pretty useful, as they pointed out some game workshop websites I want to check out for crafting materials and miniatures.

My favorite parts of this month  are the dungeonographer dice from and these fantastic little magnetic monster tokens from I supported the Inkwell kickstarter for the city/town version of those dice, making it a pleasant surprise to get the cave spelunker dice. I wouldn't mind seeing more of this type of thing.

My overall impression this month? They are really stepping up their game. This has a wide variety of adventures, magazines, tables, and stuff. I just signed up for a six month subscription and I'm excited to see what comes next. As a side note, they have just uncapped their enrollment, so if you've been unable to sign up, now's your chance!