Showing posts from 2011

Happy Merry!

So, we're making the final preparations for Santa's arrival. Daisey is reading the Night Before Christmas to the kids before sending them off to bed. Tomorrow, the kids will awaken to many presents and I'm sure much fun will be had by all. Santa is bringing Bear the collected Lego Heroica set. I'm not sure who will be more excited, Bear or myself. I'm looking to getting my game on Lego style tomorrow with the boy. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays all!!

Weird Adventures is here!

I'm pretty excited about Trey Causey's Weird Adventures. There is quite a bit of interest in weird fantasy these days. Much of that takes the form of the darker aspects of wied fantasy in a somewhat Lovecraftian vein. However, Mr. Causey has take a different path by revisiting the two fisted tales of the pulp magazines and adding in other strangeness. The pdf was just released yesterday ( see here ). There is a hardcover release that will follow up fairly soon. If you ever listened to the old radio shows such as the Shadow, read any of the old pulp stories such as Doc Savage, thrilled at the adventures of The Phantom, Mandrake the Magician, or even more modern fare such as Hellboy and the Goon, then you NEED to add this to your collection. It details The City, loosely based upon New York of the interwar (1920's-late 1930's) period. You can use it whole or take the pieces you like. At 165 pages, there is plenty here to inspire. I look forward to reading through

Older Experiement

I like all kinds of comics. Superhero, fantasy, underground, experimental, comix, indie, etc. A couple of years back I got turned on to Abstract comics. What never ceases to amaze me is how versatile the form is. I don't do much in the way of sequential art because it is pretty demanding and time consuming. However, I toy with the idea of doing comics sometimes. Just a bit earlier, I was going through my large sketchbook getting ready to sketch out some ideas for some paintings that I wanted to do. I ran across this experimental comic that I did I guess about a year and a half ago. Not truly abstract but not exactly representational either. It was fun to do and is giving me some ideas.

Darkly Fantastic Fantasy

Lots of great gaming stuff coming out for us old schoolers and it looks like more goodness is on the horizon. I just purchased my copies of Lamentations of the Flame Princess Carcosa and Isle of the Unknown today ( see here for details ). I have been follow the progress of both and am excited to see the fully realized products. I have the original unexpurgated version of Carcosa and enjoyed it. Yes, there are some rather dark descriptions in there, but I felt that it really hit the nail on the head as far as trying to capture the horrific nature of sorcery as described by the likes of H.P Lovecraft, R.E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, and well, you know the stable. Sorcery in those worlds is ugly, evil, and highly ritualized - not the fire and forget spell slinging that seems to be the norm in modern fantasy. At any rate, I'm excited to see James Raggi really giving this a delux treatment. Another project that is along similar lines as far as dark/weird fantasy is the Astonish

Dining Room Table Art Hack

I don't have a real studio. Well, I guess more precise is that my real studio is the dining room table. I am OK with that as it is my only real option for the time being. However, I do like to see other artist's setups and work environments. Here's a pretty cool blog dedicated to creative spaces for cartoonists. You know, most artists like to work where they feel most inspired. I love to eat so perhaps the dining room table is a pretty good fit for me ;).

A Shout out to a fellow artist

A little while back I completed my work for Autarch's Adventurer Conqueror King . I'm really excited about this project. Today, I just happened to stumble upon Ryan Browning's Etsy shop where he is selling his ACK art. Ryan's stuff rocks and I'm humbled to be able to have contributed a few pieces of art to this project. I highly encourage you all to go take a peek at his stuff, it is well worth it. As for me, I'm thinking about picking up a piece or two so you better go before I decide to spend some money ;). Having met Ryan and Tavis Allison in person at GEN CON this summer, I can tell you that they are great guys and it was fun to work with them. Do yourself another favor and go to the Autarch site and preorder a copy of ACK.

No New Tales to Tell

Well not really from the Bingham camp. However, Trey Causey over at From the Sorcerer's Sroll is putting the finishing touches on Weird Adventures. Check out his latest peek here . It's shaping up to be a truly cool setting/supplement. I'm excited to have contributed some art, but more so because, well, Trey has some damn cool and fun ideas in there. It's an honor to be involved in the project, even just a tiny part. As to other projects, things continue apace. The Team Bingham has been beset by some nasty illnesses that have delayed things a bit, but it seems that things are finally getting back on track. I'm finally nearing a close for the Lands of Ara piece and hope to have the full B&W finished by this weekend. Daisey will provide the color work and at some point, you will get to see it. Also in the works is some B&W art for Small Niche Games. Pete Spahn has a cool supplement planned for his Chronicles of Amherth setting (which I did some wor

For the Love of the Game

Yikes, tomorrow's December 1st?!?! How the heck has this year gone by so fast? I'm winding down my last set of commissions for the year. I'm almost done inking a piece for Carter over at the Lands of Ara blog. After that, it'll be Daisey's turn to work her magic coloring it. It's always fun to get to work on projects for the old school crowd and fellow bloggers. I've also got a bunch of interior work for another old school company coming up. All in all, 2011 has been a major boon year for me with the art gigs. So thank you for continuing to encourage me to keep doing this crazy fun work. It is heartening to get to participate and give back to this hobby that I've loved since I was a kid. At any rate, if anyone has got some projects that they are going to want some art for coming up in the new year, drop me a line. I always am willing to work something out with fellow old school gamers to give back to the hobby.

Put the wine glass down and get back to writing!

Zak S over at playing D&D with Pornstars always has a way of firing folks up. I think he really nails it with his latest post which you can read here . So yeah, even though I'm here in Florence soaking up the art, food and wine (and it's all damn good). I AM still working on some projects. I just happen to be slow as hell (well that and I also like doing art for other people's projects). So, what about you?

Heading in to the Holidays

Whew, this time of year is just plain busy around the Bingham household. I have a few new commissions lined up so I'm sure I'll have plenty of new drawings to do to keep me busy. It's busy at the day job too and I'm a bit tired from my latest business trip. I'm headed to Florence, (as in Italy) next week to have a different take on Thanksgiving with Team Bingham. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and here's another peek at some of my Adventurer Conqueror King art.

Nothing says I Love you like a Morning Star to the Face

So I wraped up my contributions to Adventurer Conqueror King last weekend. I am happy with my contributions and ecstatic that I was able to participate. I cannot wait for the finished work. Here's a peek at one of my pieces: Now I'm working on a piece for Carter over at the Lands of Ara Blog . I am having a lot of fun with this piece. Daisey will be doing duty on the color work so I'm anticipating a very nice piece indeed. She always makes me look good ;). I've decided to rework The Warrens of Polstrus Lev. I'm going to make it a bit darker in tone than the original. I'll rework the original for something else later, but I want Polstrus Level to be part of a series along with Sinister Sightings at Dustcahpel Downs, Isle of Maedsid, Bassalt Keep of Wilven the Yellow, and Shadow of the Umbral Palace. Yes, I'm still working those. Since I'm doing all of the writing, mapping, and art it is taking a while (not to mention my creative ADD). I pr

Pulpy Doodles

Heh, I've been reading quite a bit of classic pulp, swords and sorcery and swords and planet literature lately. I'll admit to this being the first time I've ever really delved into much of this stuff. I'm not sure why, but my only guess is that being a comic book lover growing up that I read John Carter via Marvel Comics rather than through ERB. It is really fun to read the real deal. Of course having said that, I also do really love old comics (especially the older horror/crime/sci-fi stuff). Man, those old Gold Key comics had some awesome painted covers. At any rate, work has slowed down a bit and given me a chance to think more creatively. I'm brimming with ideas once again and that's exciting. Perhaps part of it is that for some reason, Fall always brings on a creative rush for me. Well, I'll ride that wave! Here's a little doodle that I did over my lunch break at work that shows my current creative leanings.

While the Cat's Away...

I hope everyone out there had a great Halloween. We sure did here. I am sure that the kids will have candy for several months to come! At any rate, I've been pretty busy working away at some art and I have a piece to share. This one is for an upcoming release from Expeditiour Retreat Press entitled Mouth of the Shadowvein in their Advanced Adventures line: I always greatly enjoy working on pieces for Joe and Suzi. The adventures always have that great old school look and feel and it is a hell of a lot of fun working on them. I've got some collaborations with my beautiful and most tallented wife Daisey on some covers that I'll share soon. I've also been working on finishing some more art for Adventurer Conqueror King. I'm pretty excited about those as well. Upcoming, I'm dabling in fiction writing and looking on doing something with that. It's still too early to say much more on that front, but I'm having a lot of fun and trying to get in som

Quietly slaving away at the drawing table

I've been busy working on art for Expeditious Retreat Press and Adventurer Conqueror King and several other commissions. It's been pretty hectic at the day job so that has lessened my output level, but I'm slowly catching up. So if I've been quite I apologize, but I've been working! I have acquired The first three volumes of the Arduin Grimoire. Pretty interesting stuff. I like the artwork and the over the top zany nature of it all. Fun stuff. Also, the Tome of Horrors Complete is AWESOME. I really like the small stat blocks and the adventure hook ideas. I've been gravitating towards Swords & Wizardry/OD&D a lot lately. Finally, I hope to get back on some of my projects soon. Isle of Maedsid has really been on my mind a lot lately. Not to mention I'm thinking of collaborating on a Cthulhueque comic with a friend and also writing some short fiction. Ah, if I can just maintain enough energy to get even a small fraction of my ideas off t

Reach for the Stars! Star Frontiers OSR Goodness!!

OK, I know I've seen it mentioned a couple of times but it is worth bringing up again. The OSR is MORE than just D&D retroclones. There is a whole lotta goodness going on out there. One of the games I played as a kid to get a bit of a change from D&D/fantasy was Star Frontiers. DwD Studios has done a great job of supporting Star Frontiers. Some of you might be familiar with the Star Frontiersman zine already. If not, go check out DwD's downloads and load up on some good stuff!

Tome of Horrors Complete: Swords and Wizardry version arrived today!

OK, I've been one heck of a busy boy lately and haven't had much blog time :(. Or for that matter, much time to do much else other than work and draw. However, I hope to change that in the next week or so cause I know you guys miss me ;). At any rate, I just received my Swords and Wizardry version of Tome of Horrors Complete from Frog God games . I believe that this version is a limited print run which is a bit unfortunate as from my cursory pass through, it is an EXCELLENT monster resource. I especially like the plot hooks for each critter, a nice addition. I think I did read somewhere that Matt said they were considering an unlimited edition of the Swords and Wizardry version. I sure hope they do because this deserves to be in every gamers horde. Alright, I gotta duck out again but hopefully I won't be gone for so long next time.

Happy Equinox!

Yeah, it's been a bit crazy around the Bingham household but things are starting to wind down a bit. Kind of fitting since today it is now Fall. I've got quite a few art commissions lined up that I'm pretty excited about. I've done some work for Adventurer Conqueror King that I've been rather pleased with and some great stuff for Expeditious Retreat Press. Alphonso Warden sent me a manuscript that I've agreed to collaborate with him on. He doesn't have a publisher yet, but I feel like Alphonso's work has always been top notch and sure is fun to illustrate. Unfortunately, even though I've been cranking through a lot of artwork, I don't have anything to share with you guys just yet. Soon though, I'm excited for you guys to see the cool OSR stuff that just seems to keep coming out.

Marital Bliss

Today Daisey and I celebrate nine years of marital bliss. I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that any successes I've had have been because of her support and encouragement. We've known each other over half my life now and been married for the past nine years. It is awesome to have a wife and partner who fully supports my geekery and encourages me to reach new heights. She provides much appreciated critiques and a sounding board for ideas. Thanks babe, here's to many, many more years of an awesome partnership!

Slowly Getting back into the groove

Whew, I'm back home and just now starting to recover from jetlag. It is awesome to be home, even if my day job has been positively brutal. However, slaying mosnters on the drawing board is helping some with that ;). I've been working on some pieces for the upcoming relase of Adventurer Conqueror King . It was awesome to meet the team at Gen Con and be part of that whole excitement. It was also awesome to get a copy of the Limited Edition Gen Con release. Reading through it is amazing and I'm incredibly excited to get to participate. Tavis has a really good post on what Adventurer Conqueror King is all about on his blog . I'm hoping to get my first batch of illustrations to them over the next few days. I absolutely love the idea that it is not straight up medieval but falls more into Dark Age era stuff which is what I tend to prefer anyway. This will be one to keep an eye on. Oh yeah, I also need to get back to work on Maedsid. I've got some ideas that

300th Blog Post

I'm still out and about travelling across the country. Right now I'm back with the family in the Springfield/Branson, MO region and having a good time. I've been gone from Bella Italia for two weeks and I must confess that I really am itching to get home though. I miss Daisey and the kids and am looking forward to getting back into the swing of my normal routine. I'm especially looking forward to starting a gaming group up once I get back. I've several pent up ideas that I'm looking at unleashing upon my unsuspecting players. Most of the folks I've lined up haven't played old school rpgs so I'm really looking forward to treating them to the ways of such games. They are all pretty excited so we'll see where it goes. I need to knock some of the rust off of my DMing but it'll be good to be at the helm. I've got a few new commissions lined up and I'm excited to be putting pencil and brush to paper. It feels like it's been

Dungeons and Dollar$: $150 Million Gygax biopic?

I was just reading a Geekdad about the proposed $150 million USD biopic based on Gary Gygax's life and work. Reading through some of the details, I'll admit to being pretty bemused by the whole thing. I'd totally love a documentary based upon Gary, Dave Arneson and the early days at TSR but I cannot see that going into the multi-million dollar range. Maybe 1-3 million (and I think that's a stretch). Gary made D&D and we all have been affected by this to greater or lesser degrees. I'm not sure that trying to make a film for the masses is really the way to honor Gary's legacy. I could be wrong, but looking at the guys that's making the movie's screen credits, I'm highly suspicious. And hiring on a big name actor to play Gary? Why not just have interviews with the folks that worked with him like Tim Kask, Frank Mentzer, Jim Ward as well as Gail Gygax, Ernie and Luke, people in the games business, other big names like Vin Deisel and the like

Cat in the City: Ostensible Cat at GenCon

OK, OK, so it's a week after the fact but I've had a cold and still jet lagged abit. But, I did have a great time at CenCon Indy 2011. I've never been to a major Con so I had absolutely no idea what I'd be in for. If you haven't gone before, I'd recommend going at least once for the sheer spectacle. It was very cool to be able to talk to RPG business folks like Joe Browning, Suzi Yee, Phil Reed, Diesel LaForce and others. It was even more fun to see the reactions to the OSR at a major con. The OSR group booth was pretty busy thoughout the con. I loved interacting with fellow old schoolers. It was a bit surreal to sign books that had my work in them but cool none the less. It was great to have the Gygax Memorial Fund folks sharing a booth and to be able to talk to Gail Gygax. I donated and picked up a copy of "Cheers Gary". I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of the comments in the book that they chose was mine. Yep, that's me on

Another Isle of Maedsid Map and some art

OK, GenCon is almost upon us and I am getting prepared to depart. However, I'm still working on my Isles of Maedsid adventure. Here's a map for one of the sulevels here the Kulakir (baboon/avian beastmen) reside. The Kulakir live on a world that is comprised of floating landmasses covered in thick jungle growth. Here's a map of one of the landmasses that's nearing completion: Here's a peek at one piece of art for Maedsid. It's a spectral black dog, one of the guardians of the funerary mound. The drawing is not yet complete, but getting there. I don't know yet when exactly I'll be done with this so I guess the appropriate answer to that is "it'll be done when it is done." However, I've committed to myself to at the very least have a draft version out before the close of 2011 ;). That is something coming from me since I have been working on my adventure "Sinister Sightings at Dustchappel Downs" since 2006 (and I fu

Getting ready for GenCon and my month long sojourn back to the States

Yesterday was my birthday and I had a great time with my family and friends grilling out and enjoying their company. It is kind of bittersweet as I'll be leaving for GenCon and taraveling about the States visiting family and working. During that time I'll be away from Daisey and the kids. I've done an extensive amount of traveling in my life and leaving my family for more than a few days is never really easy. But GenCon is sure to be fun and going to Florida and spending some time with my 86 year old grandfather will be awesome. He's an amazing man and I'm looking forward to getting to spend some time with him. My Internet connections will probably be spotty and I'm sure much of my time will be otherwise consumed so I'm sure posting here will be sporadic. However, I'm on Google+ and that seems to be a bit more condusive to short updates so if you haven't already, add me to one of your circles and I'll do the same.

Happy Birthday Gary Gygax!

Yeah, I'll jump on the band wagon. But let's face it, some kids get a football when they are a kid or a guitar or whatever and that sets them down a certain path. I was given an AD&D Monster Manual and that has had a MASSIVE influence on my life. The only things that have come into my life that have even been close are my wife, kids, and punk rock, well and beer I suppose ;). At any rate, here's a toast to Gary. Keep rockin the dice all!

Maedsid Progress (Sea of O'Sr Adventure Path)

I never had the chance to play in an Arduin campaign. I've heard quite a few things (good and bad) about it over the years. I think I'm going to try and make a point of finding out a bit more about is at GENCON. For whatever reason, I've been stuck on this wacked out 70's vibe listening to stuff like Hawkind and other space rock stuff and 70's US punk like the Dead Boys and Richard Hell and watching Flash Gordon and other campy 70's sci-fi and fantasy. I'm not sure how much of that is currently informing my decisions I'm making about my Maedsid adventure, but I suspect reading Lovecraft and Moorcock and listening to crazy ass 70's rock is going to have some effect. I really wanting to look over the Arduin Grimoires while I'm gone and see what I think. Ah, who the hell knows. But anyways, I'm working on another map for Maedsid for one of the dimensional sublevels. I'm having fun. Floating arboral islands with open aired temple

So what are your GENCON plans?

I'm mostly hoping to meet some of you folks that I talk to here o the Interwebs and get in on a few ad hoc gaming sessions. I'd like to spend some time at the OSR booth chatting as well as wondering around the hall. This is my first major con so I'm not really sure what to expect. I'm really looking forward to getting a set of Zocchi dice. I ordered some, but hell, I just really want to check out the Game Science booth and pick out some as well as get a dice cup and some other accoutrements. For those of you going, look me up and chat!

Wired Geek Dad blog feature about some OSR projects

A nice little spotlight on our corner of the world today. Over at the Geek Dad blog, he mentions a couple of ways to get your name up in flashing lights in the RPG community . Like me, he is corrupting his son by involving him in various RPG projects ;). Adventurer Conquerer King and Fight On! are explicitly mentioned. Who knows, maybe oneday Bear Bingham will be on the rolls of RPG game designers/illustrators.

On OSR Compatability

I think one of the greatest strengths of this whole nebulous OSR thing is the willingness of folks involved to share ideas and broaden their scope to encompass other ideas all the while still giving full credit and homage to the idea originators. I say that is hella cool. James Raggi is working on a compatability license that lets folks create compatable material with is Lamentations of the Flame Princess game. You can read the preliminaries here . I'm also really excited by the similar but complimentary domain game systems coming out from CKatulik at Hill Cantons ( Borderlands ) and the Adventurer Conqueror King system from Autarch. Also check out the sort of combine forces approach for the domain games over at Hill Cantons here . As for me, I'm looking forward to how I can incorporate these ideas into my Shdows of the Umbra Palace Adventure Path (which also overlaps with the Sea of O'Sr adventure path via my Maedsid adventure). Speaking of Maedsid, I'm not an

Two weeks until GENCON!?!!?

Holy crap, that is coming up FAST! I'd hoped I be further along on a few things at this point, but oh well. I'm very much looking forward to getting some game time in and meeting people. This will be my first major convention ever so I'm not sure what to expect. Actually I have no expectations really I guess other than just to see what is out there and actually meet some of the gamer folk I communicate with online. Anything after that will be a bonus.

Maedsid Update (Sea of O'Sr Adventure Path)

So I'm at just a little over 8100 words. Five dimensions, eight new monsters. And I'm not even half through. I'm having fun and I hope when I do finally get done that others enjoy it. So far the gist is that a sect of druids, in their quest to get closer to their divinity and separate themselves from the world, inadvertantly weakened the fabric surrounding their most holy site and caused some beasties from other planes to get through. I'm going for a somewhat odd mixture here that I hope ultimately pulls together well. Think Celtic flavored druidic myth/legend meets Lovecraft meets Moorcock in a sort of crazy Keep on the Borderlands Caves of Chaos type setting that allows for further extrapolation by enterprising DMs. Yeah, well, we'll see. More to follow but back to work ;).

Advanced Adventures Riddle of Anadi for Sale

I am pretty pleased with the art on this one. You can read about it here . That is all ;).

Maedsid Progress (Sea of O'Sr Adventure Path)

So, Maedsid has definitely grown beyond what I had originally envisioned. So far there is the island proper with adventure sites as well a two level funerary mound (with four other-dimensional sub levels). It's coming out to have something on the order of 100 keyed locations as well as every creature being being unique to this adventure. So far I've detailed most of the first two levels of the funerary mound and am getting ready to start in on the other-dimensional sub levels. I'm thinking that it will be an adventure for 6-8 characters level 6-8. We'll see. Oh yeah, I still intend to release it for free (at least some version of it). I might do a version with art and the like and put it up on Lulu or something for sale at some point.

Ennie Awards Voting

I know that there was some grousing a couple of weeks back about the Ennies. I am pretty ambivalent myself, but awrds do have the tendency to raise awareness and that can only be a good theing for us old school gamers. Having said that, there are several old school publishers listed in the Best Publisher category to include Expeditious Retreat Press, Black Blade Publishing, Frog God Games, and Lamentations of the Flame Princess. You don't have to vote in every category and you don't have to vote for every item in every category. So if you just want to go and cast a single vote for Expeditious Retreat Press, then have at it. Here's the link .

On Druids (brief)

Just a couple of quick thoughts before I have to head out for work. One of the classes that I really was intrigued by in 1e AD&D was the druid. The whole Celtic preist thing really got me. And if I recall, not too many folks played them back at the time. After reading Dragon 119, I was totally hooked. I know most old schoolers revile Unearthed Arcana, but at the time I thought the whole idea of more level progression to the hierophant levels was a cool thing. At any rate, what is the current consensus on the druid class? I really didn't care for the whole animal pet thing found in the later editions.

Black Blade Publishing Imprint of OSRIC

I just got my Black Blade imprint of OSRIC in the mail today. I have the original version which is cool but the Black Blade version is a thing of beauty. James Smith over at The Underdark Gazette did a nice "unboxing" post on his blog with some good photos which you can see here . I did do quite a bit of artwork for OSRIC and it is interesting to see some of that work (now alomost six years on) and see how I've evolved from then to now as an artist. There's also losts of great new art by many other OSR artists in it too (so if you have the Lulu version, the new art is pretty damn keen if you're into that). I tend to vascilate between OD&D/Swords and Wizardry, BECMI/Labyrinth Lord and AD&D/OSRIC. I'll have to consult my newly forming gaming group and see what they would rather game with. I've been doing most of my adventure writing in Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion format so that might be the direction we go. In any event, if you

I think I'll just eat some pie

Wow, lots of crap slinging has been going on around the OSR Blogosphere. I am a bit saddened that Stephan Poag decided to not stick it out since the fun had been drained out of it. Well, as for me, I'm choosing to keep it light and just kick back and have some pie and put some adventure ideas together for my soon to be formed game group! I hope to be back at the DM helm when I get back from GENCON. I hope all's well with everyone else!

Destination Unknown

I sure hope Christian of Destination Unknown is simply taking a hiatus. I really enjoyed hearing about his zine, his game groups, and the different happenings. I know that when you are simply trying to have fun and share with like minded people and some purile, garbage mouthed yob who hides behind anonymity comes along and makes personal attacks sure can take the fun out of it. So, Christian, keep having fun and I hope at some point you'll be back on filling us in on the happenings in SoCal.

Vornheim: A Review

So, I'm the kinda guy who likes quirky stuff. I listen to 70's and 80's punk and protopunk and postpunk. I like to watch Ray Harryhousen movies. I thought Amazon Women on the Moon and UHF are hilarious. I love indie and experiemental comics by guys you've probably heard of like Robert Crumb and Harvey Pekar and stuff by guys you might not have heard of like Brad Jones and Archer Prewitt. So why am I telling you all of this? Because Vornheim by Zak S. Of I Hit it with my Axe and Playing D&D with Porn Stars fame has put together a quirky little city supplement called Vornheim: The Complete City Kit . Vornheim is a slim, hard back book published by Lamentations of the Flame Princess (James Raggi). Vornheim is digest size with b&w interior. The cover has a removable dust jacket that has a map of Vornheim on the inside and a set of instructions to use the charts on the front and back covers of the book. Yeah, pretty much every surface is designed to be us

Pork Products and Prepping for my Vornheim Review

So, Vornheim is one of those products that is not the usual RPG book. I feel like it deserves something a bit different. The key of Vornheim is to actually USE it in crafting your adventures. Zak S has put together a unique experience from city building. So after spending the day in Padova at the botanical gardens and looking at street art, I came home to my grill - my demense to read through Vornheim ( check out my wife's blog for my Vornheim read through ). Vornheim is not a big book. Only 64 pages. But you know what? Those 64 pages are packed FULL. And so is the cover. And the Dust jacket. Random tables and charts, strange characters and locales, and snakes as books. Brilliant. "But I'm not here to bore you with that," to steal a quote from the book. No, I'm going to actually use this tool to build a city and then review the book based on the experience. At any rate, based on the read through, this is great stuff. But being a good read and a use

Hey Hey I Want Some Chinese Take Away Cause I'm the Joker in the Pack!

The kids are both outta school, folks are starting to go on vacation, headed to the beach this weekend.... summer is here!!! I remember being a kid and having long all night sessions playing D&D, Marvel FASERIP, Top Secret, Risk, Axis and Allies, etc. I'll have to break out Dungeon sometime this weekend and play a game with Bear. We're off to Padova today to see the botanical gardens and then back home so I can grill out some sausage and pork ribs. Later I'll do some more work on Maedsid and then watch Exit Through the Gift Shop about the Street artist Banksy. Nothing like an awesomely beautiful day, some pork on the grill, hot punk rock on the iPod, a game book in one hand and a cold pilsner in the other. I woke up with some Adicts tunes going through my head. One of my favorite punk bands. Have a great weekend and have a fun and safe 4th for my American friends!!

Weekly Creature Feature: Kulakir

Here's another creature that I'm working on for Isle of Maedsid. This one has its inspiration in Moorcock's work to add a bit of Swords and Sorcery feel to Maedsid. I've got an idea sort of similar to Keep on the Borderlands with a few different races that are fighting some running battles inside Maedsid. Anyway, as per all my creatures, the Kulakir is designated Open Game Content. Name: Kulakir No. Enc: 3d4 Alignment: Chaotic Movement: 60’ (20’) Armor Class: 7 Hit Dice: 5 Attacks: 2 Damage: 1d8, 1d8 (or by weapon type) Save: F5 Morale: 9 Hoard Class: XVII Description: Kulakir are a degenerate bestial race that was once common but went extinct with the rise of man (or so it is believed). Kulakir are a horrific combination of both baboon and raptor. They possess the savage visage of a baboon with a crest of feathers resembling a fish eagle. They possess the hands of a primate and the great, gouging talons of a bird of prey. A

Ouch!!! How to stop the bleedding?!?!? Free OSR Adventure on the way I promise!!!

I just noticed that I lost several followers today. I haven't been as active in the blogosphere lately due to the fact that I've been focusing all of my normal blog time to working on Isles of Maedsid. So, I'm hoping that I don't lose my entire following before I'm finished. Oh, did I mention that I intend for a free electronic release to include maps and illustrations. It's a Labyrinth Lord/Advanced Edition Companion release but it should fare well for adapting to most other Old School ruleset. Maedsid is also populateded by many entirely new (and open game content monsters) as well. I'm not going to say you won't be disappointed (because some folks just have strange tastes you know), but hell, if nothing else I hope you find some interesting nuggets in there. Besides, can't go wrong with free right? So bear with me, I intend on doing a sort of barebones release prior to me leaving for GENCON. I hope to meet and more importantly GAME with som

Weekly Creature Feature: Lethenex and more on Maedsid

Wow, it's been a while since I last did the weekly creature feature! This time, I've got a new critter that will be making an appearance in my Sea of O'Sr Adventure the Isles of Maedsid. Maedsid will have a both very earthly Celtic/Dark Ages/IronAge/Bronze Age component to it and a more unearthly feel to it. The Isles of Maedsid were ages ago untethered from the fabric of the material plane. Over time, this has caused some dimensional degredation and the Isles have experienced ecroachment of entities from beyond the material plane. The Lethenex is one such creature. I plan on using many non-standard creatures in Isle of Maedsid. In fact, I'm going to try and use only monsters of my own devising so that the adventure has its own consistency and feel. Some of the critters that I expect to be making an appearance are the Alitae , the Arepyiai , the Six Mouthed Goo Monster , the Black Dog , and the Dead Man's Chest amongst others. As with all of my weekly crea

Isle of Maedsid Update

I tell you, writing an adventure sure is more challenging for me than illustrating one or doing maps but I'm greatly enjoying the challenge. I've not decided upon a target level range for this adventure but tend to think this is less important than developing an interesting adventure. I've mentioned that I intend this to be part of a series or "adventure path" of linked adventure. I'm thinking of more of a loose collection of possibly interrelated sites and events than a structured narative. I've got some great images in my head for some cover art I want to do. I've been really wanting to do some paining so I'm thinking of doing the covers as acrylic paintings. We'll see how it works out. Well, short update now time to get back to keying the burial mound!

Reflections (nongaming related)

Wow, hard to believe we've been here in Italy for four years now. It's been a FANTASTIC time. No matter what, Italy has become part of our lives forever. Looking back on my career both for my day job and art related, these past four years have been the most professionally rewarding as well as the most growth and development. I've become a seasoned and well respected IT security professional and have been honored to become the Lead IT security specialist for the US Army in Italy and the Balkans. Artistically, I've grown quite a bit and matured in my style. It has been a lot of fun (and a great honor) to get to work on various OSR projects. Personnally, it has been amazing to watch my kids grow and our little family grow closer together and have some amazing experiences. My wife Daisey posted this great photo retrospective of life in OUR little corner of Italy in her blog here . All the way around, I'm one of the luckiest guys around and I am thankful every d

Happy Solstice

I hope that everyone is enjoying the sunshine! It has been a nice (if a bit on the warm side) day here in the Veneto. I have been working on Isle of Maedsid adventure today. Seems somewhat fitting seeing as how it is the solstice and it is druidic themed adventure. I've been doing a bit of research to give a bit of verisimilitude. I will probably keep most of it out of the adventure and put it in the Campaign setting for my world building project but put just enough in the adventure to flavor it. Check out this Wikipedia entry for Maeshowe for a bit of what I'm getting inspired by. Think: druidic cult that worships a fertility god that uses death/resurection mystery cult themes mixed with some transhumanism, with some Lovecraftian cosmic horror/strange geometry thrown in the mix of a diemnsionally distorting island with a bit of a feel of Arthurian Avalon. Anyway, go soak up the sun!

Isle of Maedsid Maps

So here's the keyed maps for Maedsid. I haven't really done much in the way of mapmaking so this was a good exercise for me and fun to boot. I just sort of let things unfold organically (i.e. by the seat of my pants). I like the results though. Now, I need to flesh out the actual keys. I'm also working on some art to go along with it. This is my first time really trying to do something of this scope but I really like the process behind it. Being an artist though, that can be dangerous... It's easy to get lost in the process and never generate a finished output. But I'm determined to see one project through to the end before the close of 2011! Maedsid Isles Barrow Mound/Ritual Complex Main sub level Sub Level A Sub Level B

Happy (Late) Father's Day!!

To all the Dads out there, I hope you had a great Father's Day. I sure did. Spending the weekend in Tuscany was an awesome adventure for Team Bingham. The kids loved going to play in the sea, even if it was a bit windy. I really enjoyed the walled city of Lucca . I MUST go back for the Lucca Comics and Games convention in August. It quite simply has become one of my favorite cities (along with Venice and Barcelona). I'll highly recommend it to my guests when they visit (especially if they want to go to Pisa - which sadly is a rather large disappointment). We also went to the town of Vinci. Leonardo's home town is tucked away in the Tuscan hills surrounded by vinyards and olive groves. Beautiful! And the Chianti isn't bad either. It was fun picking up a few bottles from Vinci. I spent my downtime reading the collected works of H.P. Lovecraft and trying to work on Isles of Maedsid. I thought I was done with the maps, but hell, reading about fourth dimensiona

Isles of Maedsid Progress

So, I've actually finished the maps for the burial mound (I'll post them later today hopefully). I've got them numbered and now writing up the room/encounter descriptions. I wanted to write a little of what I have in mind for the adventure. As I mentioned, this will essentially be part of two adventure paths. First, it'll be part of the Sea of O'SR adventure path as well as the Shadow of the Umbra Palace Saga. Maedsid is a grouping of three islets that have been used over the centuries buy a druidic sect as a ritualistic isle for the life of their "Summer King" - a temporal ritualistic leader that oversees the prosperity of the Moinar people (a bronze age/iron age like people loosely based on the ancient Celts/Picts/Brittons) and an earthly representative of the god Daegraed, the Lord of the Dawn. The main purpose of the isles over their history is for the members of the druidic heirarchy to elect, coronate, sanctify, sacrifice and inter into the ear

On Old School Adventure Paths

Right now, it seems the vogue for Old School type adventures is the Hex Crawl or similar, non-linear adventure type. I totally am down with that, but I was wondering, is there room for an “adventure path” series of linked adventures? I know there are a few such as the Sea of O’SR project , and the continuation of the 1e AD&D Giants series by R.C. Pinnell. I’m working on Isle of Maedsid, which I see as actually belonging to TWO “Adventure Paths”. The first being the Sea of O’SR and the second, being part of a series that I’ve been mulling over for about the past six years or so that I call the Shadow of the Umbra Palace Saga. Maedsid, and much of the other adventures such as Warrens of Polstrus Lev, Sinister Sightings at Dustchappel Downs, and Basalt Keep of Wilven the Yellow are designed to be able to be used as standalone adventures or as part of a wider (perhaps a bit non-linear) story arc. I’m really interested in exploring higher, non-euclidean geometries/dimensions, tran

Where the Hell have I been?!?!

Mostly at my drawing table finish up some artwork for Weird Adventures . It has been an absolute BLAST bringing to visual life some small corners of Trey Causey's awesome setting. Now with that wrapped up for the time being, I'm going to focus on some of my own projects as the clock ticks down to GENCON. Mostly, I'm going to prep some original art of sale (matted and mounted and ready for framing - if that's your thing!). Also, I've got to key the map for Isle of Maedsid and write it up. After that, on back to the Warrens of Polstrus Lev and Basalt Keep of Wilven the Yellow and in the future, Sinister Sightings at Dustchapel Downs as well as Shadow of the Umbra Palace!

Creative Compulsive Interviews

My wife and collaborator Daisey has started a fantastic new series of interviews with fellow artists of all stripes over on her blog. Her first interview is with a High School classmate who does custom car work. It is great to see the creative process through a completely different medium. Go check out the interview here . Stay tuned for future installments with some of our many artistic friends and acquaintances from around the world. It's a fascinating journey and well worth the read!

Charlie Parker Beats the Devil

I don't want to steal Trey's thunder but I've been doing a lot of art for several projects and not a lot of sharing. So here's a piece I did for Weird Adventures . This is another gaming product that I'm so looking forward to. I it just me or has 2011 been a crazy good year for those of us interested in the Old School stuff?

Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Looks Awesome!

OK, so I just downloaded and did a cursory glance through the PDF. I have to say the game that the PDF presents has one hell of an old school feel and I dig the vibe. I haven't delved much into the rules yet but wanted to give my first impression. There are some great homage pieces to some 1st Edition AD&D artwork and several 1st edition artists are represented inside as well as some of the newer old school ;) guys like Peter Mullen and Stefan Poag. I'm really looking forward to this one tremendously. I have to say that this looks like it will restore my faith in Goodman Games. I wasn't too fond of their direction after 4e came out, but this looks like a return to what they were good at. If you haven't checked out the Beta Playtest rules, you can download them here . I'll read through the rules and give some of my impressions later.

Commenting Problems

I've been having some problems commenting on other's posts with blogger lately. This has been somewhat of a frustration as there are several blog posts that I'd like to be able to comment on but can't. Ah well, hopefulyy this will get fixed soon. On another note, I'm working on more art for Weird Adventures. This has been an incredibly cool project. At some point I need to get my act together and update my online portfolio as the art there is now around two years old and I think my work has grown quite a bit since. I'll post some previews of what I've been working on soon.

BREAKING NEWS: DCC Beta Starts Wednesday!!! ;)

OK, yeah, so not exactly a news flash. However it is pretty cool. Although I'm still kinda miffed at Joe Goodman for not giving me any freelance work after I submitted my portfolio to him five years ago. Just kidding, he actually was very nice and very constructive in his criticism. I've acted upon his criticism and think I'm better for it and might just submit my portfolio to him again and see what happens... In the meantime, I've been working on some stuff for Trey Causey's Weird Adventures. Check out some of the kick ass art he's commissioned from some other OSR artists here . I'm super excited about this setting and have been rereading my Goon comics and been itching to watch "O Brother Where Art Thou?" to keep the mood going. It's exciting stuff! I've also finished the one level dungeon map for Isle of Maedsid. I will have to scan it in and key the dungeon and the island up. I'll post the map up soon.

Transhumanist ideas in Fantasy

Slowly, ever so slowly am I working on Polstrus Lev and Basalt Keep. Part of the problem is I tend to get distracted by reading other people's stuff and it sparks more ideas and makes me revise what I'm working on to incorporate some cool ideas that have been sparked by the material I've been influenced by. Lately, I've been rather taken by the whole Eclipse Phase setting. I'll admit to not really keeping up with the Sci-Fi side of geekdom so Transhumanism and other such concepts were not really on my radar as I'm more of a fantasy guy. However, why limit myself by drinking from one well when there is a whole ocean of cool geekdom out there right? I've really been thinking of my projects in terms of a weird/dark fantasy with Cthulhueque overtones. I've been reading up on theoretical physics and non-Euclidian geometery to fuel some ideas. I'm also now thinking about incorporating some transhumanist themes as well. I was really struck by the i

Reving up my DIY Mojo

Whew, it was a crazy busy weekend of accompanying our guests from Seattle to several cool local attractions to give them a good taste (often literally) of the Veneto here in Italy. It has been lots of fun, but I haven't had much time for other projects. I DID get to work on a commission piece for Trey Causey's Wierd Adventures. I've pretty much completed the pencils so I'll send those off tonight so Trey can see what I've been up to before I start the inking work. I've got a few of my own projects that I'd like to work on before I head out to GENCON. I'm seriously thinking about begining a rather daunting DIY challenge as well. I'm a techie as well as an artist but I feel like my tech-fu is getting a bit rusty (I'm more on the IT Security management side of things than the hands on tech stuff these days). In order to facilitate getting my tech chops back up to par AND benefit my artistic skills, I'm thinking of building a Linux from Sc

Back from Bavaria

I just got back from Garmisch, Germany today. I gotta tell you, I've been in love with the Bavarian Alps since I lived in Nuremburg as a teen. The area has a very dramatic and romantic feel that one can cetainly see where Wagner got his inspiration from. However, it is of course great to be back home in Bella Italia. I had hoped to be able to accomplish some artwork while I was gone, but alas, I accomplished no such feat. Instead, I spent my days listening to some very enlightening Information Security seminars and spent the evenings enjoying the German cuisine. I did recieve my copies of Vornheim and LotFP Grind House before leaving so I read those as well as my copy of a very decidedly non-old school Eclipse Phase (which is a fantastic Sci-Fi transhuman horror setting even if I find myself a bit befudled by the rules - perhaps adapting the setting to Stars Without Number would be more to my taste). I also got a chance to enjoy my Robin of Sherwood DVDs. My wife doesn'

Older Map/Birthday Project: Diceless Roleplay/pseudo LARP

Whew, I just finished off a set of commision pieces and am about to move on to another project. After I finish doing a project, I like to go back and look through my projects to see how I've evolved over time. Looking back through my project pictures, I came across some pictures for Bear's Fifth birthday (wow, was that really two year's ago?!?!). He wanted a knight themed birthday complete with a quest. I desinged the quest and the map. At the end of the quest, I knighted the kids. It was a lot of fun and gets me itching to do some more fun maps. I actually cut the large map up into various sections, rolled them up like scrolls and they found each new piece as they fulfilled the various quest segments. Several Years ago, Daisey made me a really cool Green Man costume that I wore as the "Green Knight" to guide the kids on the quest. Here's some photos of that "project". I've got one more commission piece to finish up and then I'm goi

Light Posting for the next week and a half or so

A lot going on with Team Bingham as we have friends in town from Seattle and I've got to go to a conference in Germany next week so my posting will be sparse. I'm almost done with my latest batch of commissions and am thinking about some of my side projects. I'm getting pretty psyched about recieving my copies of Vornheim and Lamentations of the Flame Princess Grindhouse Edition in the mail. I did one illustration for the grind house for the malefic eye which you can see below:

Been Illin'

As in sick. Bear, Rosa and I all are sick and feeling a bit rough around the edges. Poor Daisey is harried trying to take care of all of the sickos whilst we have company coming in from Seattle tomorrow and she is trying to finish her online finals tonight for her master's program! Fortunaqtely, Rosa and I are feeling a bit better and Daisey's mom is staying with us for a bit so that relieaves some of the pressure. I've got some catching up to do on artwork but I'm pretty much on track. Once this set of commissions is over, I'm trying to think of what the next project will be. I've got a few things in mind. Probably I'll get back to work on Polstrus Lev and Basalt Keep with some other ideas floating around as well.

Sticking my thumb in the eye of the Beholder.

Stefan Poag posted today about a WotC contest (I'm not really sure if it was a contest, maybe a sort of WotC artists jam?) in which several artists do their own take a a Wayne Reynold's beholder painting. Stefan had the incredibly interesting idea that some of the artists in the OSR should maybe do their own take. You know what, I'm so down with that. I'm hoping more folks will also join in. What better way to show the playfulness and creativity of the OSR than by joining in (oh I know - there will be a few naysayers out there with their Eeyore like glumness and negativity but screw em). I've got a couple of commissions to finish up but I'm going to do this. Here's a copy of the picture in question: I'm going to even try to get my son Bear in on the act (it's been to long since I've posted his art here). Maybe if Daisey isn't too overwhelmed with school, she'll even color it. It' be a fun family project. At any rate, I en

Best of Breed

Dan Proctor of Goblinoid Games (Labyrinth Lord, Mutant Future, etc) announced that he has secured the rights to Time Master RPG. I'm only periphrially aware of Time Master and don't know much about it. I think that this is a cool development from what I can tell and from what little I know of the system, but it does leave me wondering, what systems should be brought back? I'm sure there are some exellent older games that suffered from lack of promotion/distribution back in the day and many not so worthy systems that got a fair bit of attion due to advertisement. I like the fact that Dan has done quite a bit to bring support back for older games (and I think he has done a great job of it). But do we have enough DIY toolkits out there already to model most of the settings/genre out there? What's missing? Old West shootouts like Boot Hill? Maybe, but I seem to recall someone working on that. I'm a big fan of TSR's Marver Superheroes FASERIP system. For m

On RPG Art: Keep on Drawing (or painting, or digitizing, or printmaking) in the Free world

The topic of the moment in the blogosphere seems to be on the role of art in gamebooks. This topic tends to come up from time to time on the forums and on the blogs. This latest wave originated with James M. over at Grognardia and you can read it here . Stefan Poag offers further commentary on his blog here , Matt Finch also further expounds upon this topic in his blog here , along with N. Wright at Lawful Indiferent and most recently James Raggi . As an artist that pretty much solely works for small press gamebook companies, I felt that it was only fitting that I chimed in. I think some very interesting points have been made on the topic, especially by Stefan Poag and Matt Finch. It is funny to me how many folks claim that they like low art/no art game books or prefer B&W over color as it help them fill in the details themselves. Frankly, as we should all know, it is really a matter of taste. The role of an RPG book is to convey rules or a setting. Art should complement