Sunday, October 9, 2011

Themysciran Heritage for the Smallville RPG

My game group has been quite enjoying the Smallville RPG from Margaret Weis Productions. After a couple sessions, my wife has become enamored of the idea of playing a Themysciran. Themyscira, of course, is the native home of Wonder Woman. I like the idea, too, so I banged out a new Heritage Distinction. Give it a look-see!

Themysciran Heritage
Themyscira (also known as Paradise Island) is an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea. Its all-female population is descended from the Greek gods and are known in legend as the Amazons. Thousands of years ago, the Amazons grew tired of the corrupt and warlike nature of “Man's World” and hid their nation with powerful magics and weird science. After centuries of isolation, Themyscira has recently begun to send emissaries to the outside world, curious to discover if the world is ready for Amazonian enlightenment. Divine ancestry and specialized training have given Themyscirans powers that rival Kryptonians and Martians, but they lose their powers if tied up or otherwise bound.

d4: Earn a Plot Point whenever you Choose to show open disdain for or ignorance of “Man's World.”

d8: Add a d6 to the Trouble pool to use a Special Effect from a connected ability you do not have.

d12: Spend a Plot Point to increase your Insecure or Injured Stress pool.

Connected Abilities: Flight, Regeneration, Super Senses, Super Speed, Super Strength

Limits: Binding

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"New and Magic land" -- an RPG about pioneers

I started this RPG last year, then forgot about it. The 500 Word RPG Challenge last week reminded me of it, and I decided to dig it out again. I spent the day polishing it up. It's not done yet, but this document covers all the mechanics pretty well and should be more than sufficient for playtesting. Check it out, and tell me what you think!

PDF at Google

New and Magic Land
By Joshua LH Burnett (c) 2011

New and Magic Land is a story game that follows the lives of a group of settlers as they struggle to survive their first year in the frontier. By default, the game is set in the American frontier sometime in the 19th century, but there is no reason the game cannot be set in a different time and place. The settlers could be exiled elves trying to eke out an existence in the orcish wastelands, star-faring colonists terraforming a savage new planet, or any other setting where a small group must carve out an existence in hostile territory.

One player will serve as the Gamemaster (GM), and the other players take on the rolls of settlers. The PCs are not the only settlers in the story. There are numerous other settlers with them. Some NPC will form important relationships with the PCs, others will remain nameless extras. The PCs, however, are the most narratively “important” settlers in the group. They are the stars of the show.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lemurian Commission

Behold!  A dangerous Lemurian warrior complete with armor and sonic pole-arm!
Commissioned for Thunderstep's gonzo steampunk campaign.
Fun commission. I liked how the colors turned out on this one. Enjoy!

Molemen & Missives (a 500 word RPG)

Ryan Macklin recently set a  "Flash Game Design Friday" challenge. To quote:

I’m going to give you three mechanical ingredients. You use at least two:
  • Two dice that you don’t add together
  • A single token that sometimes is and sometimes isn’t on your character sheet/possessed by the player
  • a countdown mechanic (whatever the hell that means)
Write a game that takes 500 words or less to explain, which should include a hint of setting.

I chose the first two ingredients and took some inspiration from More Information than You Require to create... 

Molemen & Missives
By Joshua LH Burnett
with apologies to John Hodgman

You are a Moleman, a disgusting yet refined denizen of the Deep Down Dark. You have sharp claws and teeth, acidic saliva, and luminescent mucus. You also have a great love of social philosophy, powdered wigs, and pantaloons. You are part of a committee dedicated to solving problems affecting your hideous community.

The Mole Master
This is what we call the GM in this game, just because.

The Making of a Moleman
Give yourself a Name. Typical Molemanic names include Theopolis, Henrietta, and Hsss'kkk'thiix.

Write down your Vocation, which is your job in the community. Examples include: Fungus Wrangler, Mucus Sculptor, or Grub Knight.

Take 10 points and divide them between the four core Values of the Molemen.

Industry for tasks that involve creation or hard labor.

Learnedness for tasks that requires education or study.

Vigilance for tasks that involve forethought or the defense of your community.

Refinement for tasks that require charisma or style.

You have a Resolve score equal to the sum of your two highest Values. You lose Resolve when you lose Debates. Resolve refreshes at the beginning of each game.

The Wig
Molemen love to talk. Within a committee, it would be quite easy for each Moleman to to try to talk over his fellows, and nothing would get done. Hence, the Wig. Each committee has one wig. Only the Moleman wearing the wig may talk. Once he was spoken, he must give the wig to another committee member. It is considered rude to ask for the wig next instead of patiently waiting your turn. Wigless Molemen can still communicate through sign language or charades, but this is considered gauche. Written communication in the form of long, passionate missives, letters, and pamphlets are quite acceptable and actively encouraged!

Molemen characters are free to do whatever they want until someone tells them they can't. When there's a conflict of interests between two parties, we got ourselves a Debate. Resolve debates as such:

1) Set the stakes.

2) Each side describes what they are doing and gathers a number of d10 equal to the relevant Value.

3) If the opposing side is the Molemaster, he will chose 1d10 to 7d10, depending upon the difficulty.

4) Roll!

5) If you have multiples of the same number, add 1 to the result for each extra die. (If you rolled three 6s, your result would be 8.)

6) If your action involved your Vocation, you can gather some of your dice and reroll them once.

7) The highest result wins!

8) The defeated side loses a point of Resolve, plus 1 more for each multiple the opposition rolled.

9) A Moleman with 0 resolve is out of the game. He's too dejected, depressed, or devoured to continue.

10) Other Committee members can help you in debates. They describe how they are helping you and add 1d10 to your pool. If you lose, your helpers lose resolve too!

I've also made a swanky PDF of the game!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Tale of Gencon 2011 -- Part the Second

My morning game is “Leopard Women of Venus.” You may have heard me mention this game once or twice or thirty times in the past. I have six players, seven pre-gen characters, and no one chose to play the eponymous Leopard Woman. This isn't a problem, but it is surprising. Come to think of it, this might have been the game that Revmindi played in. It's all kind of a blur. Anyway, that game went off pretty smooth, too, and included an awesome off-screen battle between a brigade of Leopard Women and a Lovecraftian Cthonic Thing. All this time, I am also hearing amazing things happen over at Steve's “All Stars” game and Ian's “Happilyeverafter” table.

It's now 2PM and Leighton “Laser Ponies” Connor frantically bustles into the con, just in time to run his “Mythic Action League” game. I wanted to sit in on his game, but he's got a full table and a limited number of pregens, so I decide to leave him to it. Instead I go tot he dealers' room. I've got several hours to kill and it's one of the few times I'll be able to go by myself and not worry about boring people as I narrowly scrutinize obscure indie-games.

I already picked up Cosmic Patrol on Thursday for Blindgeek. Today I'm determined to look at The One Ring, the new Lord of the Rings RPG from Cubicle 7. I wasn't sure of this was the game for me, but after talking to the designer for about 15 or 20 minutes, I gladly shell out the 60 bucks for the beautiful slipcased set. If I get up the gumption, I'll write a full review of the game later. I also ventured over tot he Indie Press Revolution booth. After dithering on whether or not to pick up Dungeon World (an Apocalypse World hack for elf & dwarf fantasy) I pick up the Fiasco companion instead. The guy at the IPR booth was also kind enough to direct me to the “Games on Demand” room where they're running a lot of indie games. That's my next stop.

The Games on Demand room is alllllll the way on the other side of the con in Union Station, but I have time, so I make the march. It turns out the Games on Demand area isn't as “on demand” as I imagined. In my head, I pictured a bug room where occasionally someone would stand up on a table and shout “Hey, who wants to play Dogs in the Vineyard over here?” No, in fact the room is quite organized, with scheduled slots and a rotating roster of games. All the tables are full and nothings starting for another 90 minutes or so. Oh well. I return to the JW Marriot and the Hex Games room where I plop down and browse The One Ring until 7 o'clock.

At 7, Steve, Leighton, and I have a three hour block of seminars to run. Our first is “Sword & Sorcery: You're Doing it Wrong,” which was well attended. I feel like I contributed to it well, even if I inadvertantly shilled a few non-Hex games. This marketing thing isn't a strong suit for me. Anyway, it was a fun panel and I think we did well to demonstrate the Sword & Sorcery beats the shit out of wimpy little High Fantasy. After that was “Unconventional Characters, Unconventional Worlds,” which was also a packed room. I don't remember a lot about this seminar, and I don't thikn I had much to contribute other than pointing out that “a human Fighter with a longsword and medium shield is actually pretty unconventional these days.” Our last seminar was “Hobos: the New Pirates?” where we hook up once more with Ian. I went in thinking I didn't know a lot about hobos, but apparently I've picked up a lot by osmosis. The last half-hour was pretty much a solid pitch session for Hobomancer. I can confidently say that magical hobos saving the soul of America is a concept that people can get behind!

Also, I have repeatedly made fun of Leighton for using the world “zeitgeist” in the seminars. It's a fine word, but I think he uses it more than is tasteful.

After the seminars, we're all delirious with hunger, so we retire to Denny's then back to the hotel room. As is custom, our conversation devolves into the “late-night bantering of stupid ideas that turn out to be awesome.” It was Laser Ponies in the past. This time it's Jesus Hobo Christ. Imagine an alternate history where the Roman Empire invents steam power and hooks up the empire with rail roads. Jesus and pals are hobos, traveling the rails, helping people and fighting evil. A greta idea, and Jesus comes out of it looking pretty good. Win!

Saturday morning comes pretty quickly. We load up on breakfast then jam back to town for our 10 AM games. I sit in on Leighton's Hobomancer game (“The Man Who Hated Freedom”). I'm the ringer, since he has nothing prepared and needs me to bounce ideas off of. It's also “SLU Saturday” and Rob is running three Sex, Lies & Ultrapsies games today. I can only assume that he's crazy. At noon, Mark runs “QAGS in a Bag,” his signature game. I talked to some of Mark's players later that day, and they had a blast. Mark says it was the best QAGS game he'd ever run.

My Hobomancer game starts at 2 PM, and I'm excited. I've never run Hobomancer before, and I think I have a great adventure planned. Most of the players at my table are all people who played in Ian's games this weekend, and they seem like great players. I am not disappointed. They all have solid character ideas, they riff off each other with great skill, and the game goes off without a hitch. There's a train-tunnel to Hell, an evil hoodoo man, a magic marker with cartoon powers, a song-and-dance number, and a couple large explosions. Huzzah!

It's now time for dinner, and the Hex Crew heads off tot he Ram brewery. I guzzle a 24 ounce mug of Ragnar's Fury on an empty stomach. This may have been a bad idea. I fill that stomach with a wonderful swiss & shroom burger and another 24 oz beer—Black Pirate Ghost Ale or somesuch. This puts me in a pretty good mood to go to the Gamers Media Meet & Greet.

I've been looking forward to the Meet & Greet all weekend, a get together for RPG bloggers and podcasters. The event is held at “The House” a bar in the basement of Union Station. More beer for Josh. This might be a bad idea.

It's actually not as bad as that. I get a bit happy, but just enough to overcome my normally crippling shyness (it's not like Archon!). I get a chance to chat with Thunderstep, another fan of Monkeys Took My Jetpack and QAGS. We kibitzed about games and Warcraft for a good long tim e befor ehe needs to skip off to another event. Good guy. I also got to talk to one of Leightons “Mythic League” players who happens to be a puppeteer. Everyone knows I love puppets. I also-also finally get to meet Mark Kinney and the rest of the “All Games Considered” cast. Our podcasts only have one degree of seperation, and it was neat to finally be able to meet and talk to them in person. I also spend some time chatting with the guys from the Undergopher podcast. They played in Mark's QAGS in a Bag game and confirm that yes, indeed, the adventure was awesome. Big fun all around! I head out after a couple of hours and hook back up with the Hex Gang.

Sunday morning comes, and it's my last day at Gencon. Mark Kinney and I had decided to try and get a morning Fiasco game together, but outrageous fortune conspired against these plans and the game falls through. Still, I get a chance to talk with Mark some more ina quieter setting, and that's pretty cool.

My voice is pretty shot at this time, so sitting in on any other QAGS games is pretty much out of the question (might be just as well that Fiasco tanked). Steve is running “Six Gun Seven” and Leighton is running “Leopard Women.” It looks like both of them are going off quite well. Instead, I make one finally walk-thru of the Dealers' room where I find a just-released leela action figure (Doctor Who, not Futurama), a copy of Scott McCloud's “Creating Comics,” and a box of gorilla miniatures wearing battle armor.

And this, my Gencon ends. I eventually meet up with the guys I drove up with and get ready to leave. Hopefully I can get together with the rest of the Hexers pretty soon, either for Hexcon or Archon. I need to hang out with them more.


Game wise, Gencon wasn't really lot different for me than Origins. But I got more networking done, and Gencon is certainly the wiser business choice.

All the Hex games were held in room 207 of the JW Marriott. I barely left this room for most of the con.

Because all our games were so physically close to each other, and because QAGS gamers are a notoriously noisy breed, recording any of my games was out of the question.

Raising Gencon money by doing character sketch commissions was a great idea. Thanks again to all that helped!

I will certainly be at Gencon next year!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Tale of Gencon 2011 -- Part the First.

It's taken a couple of days to process everything, but I'm finally in a mind to give my Gencon report. This was my first “real” Gencon (a couple years ago I went up there for about 18 hours—a total blur). I was there for four days, and the hardest part was adjusting my sleep schedule. I work third shift, so trying to run a game in the tie slot where I'm usually sound asleep was a tricky process.

So let's take it one day at a time. Wednesday night, I crash at my friend's place in Bowling Green. The plan is to leave at 4am, pick up some other guys, and truck on down to Indianapolis. We should arrive at 8am. Of course, I can't sleep. I try to go to crash out on the couch at about midnight, which is when I'm usually starting work. I also have this weird “Christmas Eve” excitement where I can't sleep because I'm all jazzed about the con the next day. After a few fitful hours of up-and-down sleep, I give up at about 2:30 AM. I've had one-and-a-half, maybe two hours of sleep and I know I'm not going to get more.

Despite a few delays, the whole ride goes pretty smooth. I get to the Airport Ramada just in time to hook up with Ian “Edison Force” Engle, deposit my luggage and make a mad dash to the Convention Center. We get to Gencon about 10 AM. Ian has a game to run, and my first game isn't until 2 PM. It's about this time that I run in to my friend Mark. Mark lives in the same town as I do, but we don't get to hang out unless we drive four hours out of state. It's frustrating.

Mark and I hit the Dealer's Room to kill time. I've been told that this year's Dealers' Room is a lot smaller than previous years', but I don't have any thing to compare it too. It's bigger than Origins', and that's plenty big by my standards. The Doctor Who booth is awesome with it's life-size Tardis. There's a huge arena full of children beating the crap out of each other with boffer swords. I am thrilled to discover that Steve Jackson's next Munchkin expansion is for Axe Cop. And I think I made an ass of myself to the guys at the Ennie booth. It's kind of a blur. The sleep toxins are seeping into my skull pretty badly at that point, and the “witty” part of my brain is the first to shut down.

2 PM rolls around and it's time for my first game. Why I chose to run two games my first day is a mystery. “Sindbad and Watwat King of Bats!” is my first game. I ranit previously this year at BASHcon, so I've got a pretty good handle on it. My friend J.J. Lanza has signed up to play the game along with his two sons (12 and 13, I think). It's J.J.'s first QAGS game, so I'm excited that he could play. The game went pretty smoothly. Some players were better than others, but none of them were terrible or were massively offensive (anyone who's run a game at a con knows what I'm talking about). I wish I could have focuses more on the younger Lanzas. They did quite well and have a promising future as gamers.

My next game was at 7PM. Somewhere in this haze I've run into Robert “Sex, Lies & Ultraspies” McCabe. He hands me a 5-hour-energy. I've already been hitting the Starbucks pretty heavy (there's a kiosok right at the end of our hall), so I'm feeling pretty loopy. Also I haven't eaten.

“Curse of the Alchemist” is my 6 o'clock game. It too has sold out. This is a sword & sorcery game in the vein of Conan or the Grey Mouser. I wrote and ran this game for my home group as a Barbarians of Lemuria adventure and converted it to QAGS. Again, I have a decent handle on the adventure, which is good because I'm pretty spazzed at this point. One of my players in this game is Revmindi, a fan/forum-poster of my podcast Monkeys Took My Jetpack. I didn't get too much of a chance to chat with him, unfortunately. “Curse,” too, went pretty smoothly. A few of my players were quite excited when they all got trapped in a room whose walls began to slowly move together to crush them. It's one of those classic traps that you very rarely actually see in games. It was edifying.

Finally, the day is done, and Ian and I go back to the hotel. Steve “Waxman's Warriors” John$on has come into town and checked himself into the room. He's got the air conditioning cranked and offers me a cold Corona almost as soon as I walk in. Let me tell you, happiness is Steve Johnson offering you beer.

There's some banter, I don't recall about what, and I finally get to sleep. The next morning I feel much better. I've slept like a rock, and our hotel has an awesome breakfast. I load up on sausage gravy and lots and lots of coffee. We three head back to Gencon for our 10 AM games.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Gencon Happened!

Back from Gencon and still recovering. I had a great time, but like all cons where I run a lot of games and other programs, it was exhausting. I'm still I bit spent. I'll talk about the 'con more later, but right now I wanted to once again send a big "THANK YOU!" to all the people who participated in the "Send Josh to Gencon" promo. I couldn't have made it without your patronage!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Still Taking Commissions!

Hey gang, just a reminder. The Send Josh to Gencon promo is still going on, and I am still taking commissions.

Full color character sketches are $40.
Black and White sketches are just $10!

To order your commission, please contact me at jlhburnett at gmail dot com!

Howard DeMune Commission!

Howard DeMune is a right proper coyote tailor from a Toon game. That rabbit is his assistant Jeeves.

Quite a fun commission to do!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Jeremiah the Frogboy

Another commission all done and ready! Behold Jeremiah Laplant, frogboy and Student of Charles Fort High.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Zatanna Commission!

My first commission for the new "Send Josh to Gencon" promotion is done!

Zatanna has always been a favorite.

New commission request are coming in, but there's still room on my plate! Checkout THIS POST for more info!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Now Taking Commissions!

Hey gang, Gencon is rapidly approaching! While I'm excited to go, my pockets are a little more empty than I'd like. How can I buy drinks for all my friends like this? To rectify this problem, I'm starting a new promotion, The Send Josh to Gencon Sketch Commission Special!

Full color character sketches are a mere $40. Black and White sketches are a paltry $10.

Any character! Any genre! Immortalize your favorite PC with an original illustration from me, good ole' JB!

Check out my Deviant Art gallery to see the kind of stuff I can do for you!

Contact me at: jlhburnett at gmail dot com

UPDATE: Round one was huge success! Big thanks to all my patrons. Now on to round two!
  1. Zatanna (Finished!)
  2. Jeremiah the Frogboy, in color (Finished!)
  3. Blind Tiger (Finished!)
  4. Hickory (Finished!)
  5. Dickory (Finished!)
  6. Oggie the Ogre Statuette (for OGRE), in color (Finished!)
  7. Mecha Jeff punches Godzila, in color (Finished!)
  8. Kosa, the Fort High kid (Finished!)
  9. Howard DeMune, coyote, in color (Finished!)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cherry Noble -- DONE!

Kerpow! I'm really pleased with how this one turned out. I like the pose. I like the look. I like the Kirby-Dot energy. I like the background design.

Dr. Cherry Noble -- Work In Progress

This is a commission I'm working on for a guy named Trilobite. (Did you know I do commissions? I totally do.) Dr. Cherry Noble (Chernobyl) is a nuclear-powered superheroine from his GURPS game. The girl that created her describes her as "Bianca Beauchamp as Powergirl."  Yeah, I had no problem accepting that request.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

JINGO is here!

J.I.N.G.O. -- America's Greatest Combat Squad is here and ready for you to buy! J.I.N.G.O. is a QAGS setting I wrote based on the millitary action cartoons I loved as a child of the 1980s.  Leighton "Leopard Women of Venus" Connor did all the groovy interior art.  I'm pretty proud of the whole project. GO GIVE IT A LOOK-SEE!

Monday, May 16, 2011

J.I.N.G.O. Cover

J.I.N.G.O. is my next project for Hex Games. I'm putting the finishing touches on layout as we speak.  It's a small book on how to use QAGS to recreate the joys of 1980s military adventure cartoons.  I'm quite happy with it. Leighton "Leopard Women" Connor did a bunch of awesome illustrations for the inside, while I got suckered into doing the cover. Check it out!

Look for the PDF release soon!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Laser Brigade Fanart

I mentioned before how much I love Leighton Connor's Laser Brigade comic (READ IT HERE!).
I decided to draw some Laser Brigade fan art, 'cos I like it that much.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Adventure Jeff Punches the President! (seriously)

It took me longer than I expected. There were some starts and stops (this strip took me four tries to get right), but I finally, FINALLY, completed the latest Adventure Jeff strip. The next one won't take nearly as long (I promise!).  I have big plans down the pipe for Adventure Jeff, along with a number of other comic projects.

Anyway, enough excuses from me. Enjoy!

Read more Adventure Jeff HERE!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Need a name for a new blog.

I want to set up a new blog dedicated to comics. It will have Adventure Jeff, as well as the Warrior Girl of Titan comic I have in the works and the Neo-Golden Age stuff like Stardust. I find myself torn on the name, though. I'm stuck between "Tubular Spacial" which sounds kind of cool and is a Stardust reference, and plain old "Adventue Jeff Comics" even though there will be more than just Jeff. It's simpler and easy to remember/spell, though.

Any suggestions, folks?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Stardust Comic!

Even though Leopard Women of Venus is done, I've apparently still got Fletcher Hanks on the brain!

I've talked about this guy before.

Stardust the Super Wizard has the dubious distinction of being Fletcher Hanks' most famous creation. This Superman analogue doesn't quite "fight crime" in the usual sense. As Leighton Connor describes it, he's more like an Old Testament God handing down cruel judgement.  Like all of Hanks' stuff, he's public domain, so anyone can use him, and several have.  I felt inspired to pen my own Golden Age Stardust tale, and now I'm going to share it with you. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Leighton Connor's "Laser Brigade"

By good friend and Leopard Women co-conspirator Leighton Connor has a new comic he's working on called "Laser Brigade." He's scanning and posting it bit by bit.  It's got robots, spaceships, and pure concentrated awesome.  I really dig Leighton's stuff, you should check it out!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Influence Map

Artist and all around cool guy Jeff Johnson, turned me onto this Influence Map Meme created by fox-orian on Deviant Art. Like Jeff, I'm coming to this thing late, but it struck me as a fun diversion. The goal is to list your artistic influences, with the size of the artist's block relative to their importance to you. Fun times!

Let's talk about 'em...

1) Phil Foglio - Oh god yes. I fell in love with Foglio's stuff in the Myth Adventures books when I was younger. I still love him in Girl Genius and even Xxxenophile. His fun, fluid, expressive cartoon style has been a massive influence on my style, and he's the artist I get compared to the most.

2) Norm Breyfogle - Still my favorite Batman artist, bar none. He's the artist that taught me the importance of shape and shadow.

3) Mark Kistler - A.K.A. "Commander Mark." Kistler hosted an instructional drawing show on PBS when I was a kid called Secret City. I watched it very day, drawing along with Commander Mark. Kistler taught me perspective, foreshortening, and how to make "wooshing" noises while drawing. I still whisper sound effects while drawing, and my "doodles" tend to look like Kistler buildings.

4) Tony DiTerlizzi - I fell in love with DiTerlizzi's stuff back int he later half of AD&D Second Edition's run. His D&D art broke the mold formed by Easley, Elmore, and others. I love how detailed his stuff was while still maintaining  a cartoonish sense of whimsy. He's doing The Spiderwick Chronicles and other kid's books now. He's still awesome.

5) Larry Elmore - I so badly wanted to be Larry Elmore as a kid. He's still my favorite classic D&D artist. His monsters are wonderful, his women are hot, and his composition is excellent.  My biggest thrill was being able to hang out with him at the Con on the Cob "Drink & Draw" a few years ago.

6) John Buscema - He taught me to "Draw Comics the Marvel Way" and was responsible for most of the art in all the old Avengers comics I read when I first got into comics. I used to practice by redrawing panels from Avengers, substituting my own characters.

7) Bruce Timm - The artistic genius behind the golden age of DC animation. I've always loved his simple, smooth, distinctive style.

8) Ben Caldwell - I only discovered Caldwell a couple of years ago, but he's been a huge influence on me in that short time. His style mixes the expressiveness of Don Bluth with the stylized simplicity of Bruce Timm and Mike Mingola.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dungeon Squad!

While scouring through the Jason Morningstar's Bully Pulpit Games site, looking for Fiasco playsets, I ran across Dungeon Squad!

Dungeon Squad is Jason Morningstar's small, rules-lite classic fantasy RPG designed to get young folks into gaming.  It's no secret that over the past few years I've been getting into old-style system-lite RPGs--QAGS (obviously), and Risus, but also older games like Tunnels & Trolls and old "Red Box" D&D. Dungeon Squad fits right in with those. The game is also nice and hackable, easy to modify and mold to lots of different settings and styles.  Jason Moringstar released the game under Creative Commons, and Dungeon Squad's Wikipedia page has links to several different versions that fans have made.

So yeah, I'm really digging the game so far, though I haven't had a chance to play it. I'm hoping to run it next time  one of my game groups has a "beer & pretzels" night. I'm also planning on running it for my 11-year-old son. I've also been taking stabs at hacking the game myself, working on a MMORPG-pastiche fantasy game called "Epic Mount!"

Last week, I found myself with some time on my hands, looking for an excuse to avoid doing "important" and "necessary" stuff.  I felt like playing around with layout and Dungeon Squad was fresh in my mind. I also had a few fantasy illustrations laying around that I had done and weren't attached to anything.  To make a long story short, I went and took Dungeon Squad (which was pretty much just a boring old plain text file) and jazzed it up with a fancy-shmancy layout. I think it looks pretty nice and it was a nice bit of practice for me. You can check it out here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Down the Gullet of the Space-God!

"Down the Gullet of the Space-God!" is done, and you can download it here. As per the contest rules, there are no game stats in dungeon, but you can see the QAGS stats for the critters here.

This has been a fun exercise. I found out about the One Page Dungeon Contest yesterday and was immediately intrigued.  I've written many, many adventures of the years, and it was a fun creative challenge to come up with something unique and new and fit it all on one page.

It all came together pretty quickly. First,  I glanced through the past years' entires to see what kind of things other people were doing. I knew right away I didn't want to make a classic underground fantasy dungeon. Something in space perhaps?  I liked that idea, but I didn't want to do the old "abandoned space station" or "starship overrun by alien monsters" thing. Then I remembered an adventure Ian Engle ran a few years ago where our troubleshooters were crawling through the body of a dead angel under lake Erie. "Hmmm..." I thought, "Giant space god? Something like Towing Jehovah with Galactus?"

Rather quickly, I had a sketched out a thumbnail of the "dungeon" inside a space god. I was pretty happy with it. "Now, I'll just type out some quick ideas then move on to other projects.I'll come back to this later," I said to myself. The next thing I knew, several hours had passed by. I had a complete text written and I was moving on to layout.

Again, this project has been big fun, and I look forward to dong more of this sort of thing. If any of my game-designy friends are reading this (and why wouldn't you be?) I encourage you to go tot he One Page Dungeon page and enter the contest.

Kosmo Monsters

Behold! Here are the QAGS stats for the monsters found inside the dead space-god Kosmo from my One-Page Dungeon, "Down the Gullet of the Space-God!"

Atomic Enzymes
These bizarre creatures resemble giant metallic bats that breathe atomic fire!
Body: 15
Brain: 6
Nerve: 20
HP: 15
YY: 0
Job: Matter Destroyer (13)
Gimmick: Atomic Fire Breath (Damage Bonus: +4) (14)
Weakness: Double Damage From Cold (14)

Cosmic Leukocytes
These crystalline blobs bristle with laser cannons and attack intruding organisms with single-minded ferocity!
Body: 16
Brain: 8
Nerve: 20
HP: 16
YY: 1
Job: Bodily Defender (14)
Gimmick: Shoot and Devour! (Damage Bonus: +3) (15)
Weakness: Single Minded (15)

Repair Spores
These floating, spherical creatures repair bodily damage and only attack if provoked.
Body: 11
Brain: 9
Nerve: 15
HP: 11
YY: 2
Job: Repair Crew (15)
Gimmick: Healing (13)
Weakness: Passive (13)
Notes: Healing: A successful Gimmick roll restores 3HP to the spore or it's subject.

Fusion Elementals
These plasmic creatures resemble liquid pillars of nuclear energy!
Body: 17
Brain: 5
Nerve: 20
HP: 17
YY: 1
Job: Enraged Fundamental Force (16)
Gimmick: Fusion Blast! (Damage Bonus: +4) (13)
Weakness: Unstable (13)
Unstable: If the Fusion Elemental takes 5 points of damage from a single attack, it must make a Weakness roll. If the Weakness takes effect, the monster explodes! This kills the Elemental and inflicts 5 points of damage to every creature around it (make a Body roll to avoid damage).

Mind Phantoms
These translucent, ghost-like creatures whisper unknown names and tear apart your psyche with spider-like fingers.
Body: 12
Brain: 13
Nerve: 20
HP: 12
YY: 3
Job: Monsters of the Id (15)
Gimmick: Mind Eating (14)
Weakness: Howling Insanity (14)
Mind Eating: The Mind Phantom makes an attack with this Gimmick, resisted by the target's Nerve. Instead of a successful attack removing HP, this attack removes points of Brain. As Brain goes down, the character loses memories and personality traits. At 0 Brain, the victim falls comatose. Lost Brain returns at a rate of one point per hour.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

One Page Dungeon

I was just made aware of the One Page Dungeon Contest. I don't know how these things escape my notice. It's got me mightily intrigued. The deadline for submission is April 1st, which is none too far away, but I think I can probably squeak in.

My dungeon is set in space. The mighty space-god Kosmos has died, and the heroes must enter his body and retrieve his core consciousness so a new astro-thurge can be born.

I spent the morning sketching out ideas. When I'm done, I will very probably link back to this blog with QAGS stats (the official entry should be stat-less).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mustache on a Stick?

Indeed. Another of the charming little places I found on the Internet is Whisker Works, an Etsy artisan that sells, yes, mustaches on sticks. It tickles me for reasons I can't explain.

They've got a contest on their Facebook going on right now, You should check it out.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gencon this year for sure!

It is my goal this year to actually go to Gencon. I was all registered to go last year and everything, but life threw me a curve-ball last summer, and things fell apart.

But this year for sure!  My registration is complete, and my events are submitted. Here's what I'm gonna be running...

Leopard Women of Venus
You are one of the mighty Leopard Women of Venus, sworn to protect human civilization! Dare you brave the strange jungles and hideous mutants to fight Spider Priests and the insidious Fifth Column? The fate of Venus rests in your hands! It's Golden-Age goodness in the style of Fletcher Hanks with QAGS!

Sindbad and Watwat King of Bats!
The tiny island kingdom of Zambukistan is known for three things—fabulous riches, beautiful princesses, and giant bats! When Princess Lakshmi is abducted by winged things in the middle of the night, it's up to Sindbad and his daring crew to save the day.

Hobomancer: Bad Train a' Comin'
The railroads run along America's great ley lines, and only the Hobomancers can keep them clean of evil and preserve the nation's soul. Word on the rails is that there's something uncanny killing folks in Stubenville. Time to hop a train and put a stop to it.

Sword & Sorcery: Curse of the Alchemist
The savage land of Vekros is home to bold men, brazen women, scheming sorcerers, and hideous beasts. Only by blood and by steel shall you live! Some say the tablets of the legendary artificer Kaarn hold the secrets to everlasting life. Are you brave enough to face the curse of the Alchemist?

Monday, February 28, 2011

I got you covered...

Well I fixed my banner, which had been misspelled since day one. How embarrassing.

In other news, the much-talked-about Leopard Women of Venus is just about done and almost ready to hit the world. Leighton and I are damned excited about this game, and I hope people enjoy it as much as we have. As a special treat, here's a sneak-peak preview of the cover!

Oh man...

How come no one pointed out to me that I misspelled "stegosaurus" in my banner?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Leopard Woman

My last bit of art for Leopard Women of Venus is completed. Once the manuscript is given a final okay, I'll be ready to start layout.

Here's a picture of the leopard Woman that will appear on the cover.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Leopard Women Art for the Weekend!

For good or for ill, BASHcon is this weekend, and I probably won't get much work done.
Let me toss a couple more finished bits of Leopard Women art at you all before I leave...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Behold the Glories of Venus!

You may or may not be wondering what the surface of Venus looks like. Luckily for you, I have a map!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sketchin' in that Sketchbook

I took a break from Leopard Women of Venus to play some Dungeons & Dragons this past week (I play awesome paladins.) Of course I have to doodle while I play. Here's a couple of things that fell out of my pencil.

This here is Tony, a wizard. I created him a few years ago for an American Harry Potter game I was playing.  I might repurpose him for the Dresden Files game.

I don't know who the Space Bitch is or what she wants or who pissed her off, but man she looks feisty. I wouldn't want to mess with her.  Maybe I should make a comic strip about her.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yet More Leopard Women art!

Production on Leopard Women of Venus continues at a steady pace.  I've been bouncing back between bursts of art and writing. The last few days have been art. Take a look at these pencil thumbs...

Monday, January 17, 2011

American Artifacts 2

New from Hex Games, it's American Artifacts 2! All sorts of object of mystical significance with a uniquely American flair!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Leopard Women of Venus" sneak-peak!

Been working on "Leopard Women of Venus" all day, the new QAGS book that Leighton Connor and I are collaborating on.  I've mentioned it before, but the long and short of it is that it's a surreal sci-fi setting based on the works of Fletcher Hanks.

I focused on threats from Outer Space today. Here's a couple of things from the stars that might kill you.

Giant Kill-Bot
Giant Kill-Bots are 12-foot-tall metal monstrosities that crave human flesh. They are vaguely humanoid with massive grasping pincers and gnashing mouths full of bone-grinding teeth. Also they breathe fire.
Body: 20
Brain: 8
Nerve: 16
Job: Metal Monstrosity (16)
Gimmick: I'm Huge! (15)
Weakness: Ponderous (15)
Skills: Destroy +5
HP: 35
YY: 5
WWPHITM?: A Ray Harryhausen creation
Tagline: “Kill... rend... eat...”
Dumb Fact: The Science Robots are strangely quiet on the subject of Giant Kill-Bots.
Notes: The Giant-Killbots' teeth and claws have a Damage Bonus of +5. Their fiery breath has a damage bonus of +3 but targets every opponent in a 10-foot area. Their metal carapaces give them an Armor Rating of 5.

I'm Huge!
Giant Kill-Bots are massive things possesing great strength. When trying to accomplish a physical task beyond mortal human ability you may roll this Gimmick. While performing purely mundane physical tasks you may use this Gimmick as a Second Chance roll. You may also add the Gimmick Number to Body to figure out the Giant Kill-Bot's base HP (this is already figured into the stats above).

Giant Kill-Bots are heavy things used to the weightlessness of space. As such, they move slowly and are somewhat clumsy. Roll this Weakness before trying any task that requires speed or grace. If the Weakness takes effect, the Giant Kill-Bot crashes to the ground.

Star Demon
Star Demons are hideous monsters from some unknown region of space. A Star Demon resembles a hideous monster head help aloft by two pairs of serrated bat wings. Three slime-dripping tentacles dangle below the creature. Star Demons always operate in packs of three to twelve.
If a Star Demon kills a human, the creature will rip eat the victim's head, then attach itself to the neck stump, taking control of the body. It will then use this host body to mate with a human and create more Star Demons, which will burst out of the human parent's stomach (male or female) in three days. These new Star Demons emerge fully grown and ready to kill.
Body: 13
Brain: 16
Nerve: 18
Job: Predatory Parasite From Beyond the Stars (14)
Gimmick: Disguise (12)
Weakness: Alcohol Aversion (12)
Skills: Seduce +1, Infiltrate +2, Seduce +1
HP: 13 (but see notes)
YY: 3
WWPHITM?: Robert Englund
Tagline: “I feel the need. The need... to breed.”
Dumb Fact: Won't call you the next day.
The HP listed above represents the Star Demon without a host body. When attached to a human body, add the victims original (pre-death) HP to the Star Demon's HP.

A Star Demon's razor-sharp wings and nasty teeth give it a Damage Bonus of +4

Through sophisticated voice-acting, limited shape-changing ability, and clever use of hats, the Star Demon can pass itself off as human when attached to a body. It will have no idea of the victim's personality or history, but can make a passable impression of the host. A successful Brains check against the Star Demon's Gimmick will see through the ruse.

Alcohol Aversion
Star Demons are very allergic to alcohol, even something as weak as beer. If the Weakness roll takes effect, a Star Demon will be repelled by even the faintest whiff of alcohol. If the Star Demon comes in contact with alcohol, make a Weakness roll. If the Weakness succeeds, the demon will take damage equal to the roll, as the alcohol burns its flesh. Sadly, the Science Robots' strict prohibition against alcohol has made the substance hard to find in the caverns.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I've been sick for almost two weeks. If I die, please feel free to use me as a Universal Health Care martyr.

It's put a big damper on all the creative projects I was going to start in 2011, but I'm finally starting to feel better.  I've got plans to do a regular weekly webcomic, and I've started the slow process of putting my name out to a few people. Hopefully I can drum up steady work and start slacking on my day job. Maybe. Hopefully.

Anyway... MAPS! Everyone loves maps! One of the things I've come to realize by lurking on the fringes of the indie RPG community is that gamers love maps. They especially seem to love groovy hand-drawn maps rather than slick, computer-created graphical maps.

Well, guess what? I love maps too!  They've always been fun to draw, and like Slatrtibartfast, I love the little crinkly bits the best.  I've been drawing maps for as long as I've been gaming. I'd love to share some of them with you.

I'm going to start with the more recent stuff.  I'm digging through a bunch of my old notebooks, rediscovering the monstrous maps I made in my younger days.  Once I get those all scanned, I'll be sure to share!

First up is a map of Sindbad's Africa. I did this piece for Hex Games. It was one of the few Maps I've done of an actual real-life place.  The map doesn't show any interior geography, but I still like it.

Next is a map of Tatvash Ni Devah, the barony controlled by my Houses of the Blooded character. This map doesn't have many labels, because it's supposed to be an old artifact of the Ven. Any script is in their obscure language. I love drawing craggy, loopy mountains.

Last, we have Panagonia, home to the Laser Ponies from Hex Games's Laser Ponies RPG. This map was especially fun to do thanks to Leighton Connor's fanciful descriptions of the fairytale geography. Again, I love drawing them mountains.