Showing posts from 2020

One Page Dungeon Contest

I threw my hat in the ring this year for the One Page Dungeon contest and am pretty excited about it. Not for the thrill of winning, but for the sheer act of doing and completing something. That was pretty rewarding. I tend to be very ambitious about projects and they drag on far longer than they should. What can I say, I'm not a project manager, I'm an IT Architect and such is the way of things. But I digress! I did it! I was pretty happy with what I turned in. Mostly because it gave me a good model for what I want to do in my Basalt Keep adventure. More on that soon I promise! Anyway, here's a look at the artwork that forms the background for my one page dungeon submission. Cheers and happy gaming!

Basalt Keep of Wilven the Yellow Progress Report 1

Greetings! I've been working on the maps and art for my Sea of O'Sr open world mega dungeon project. I tend to start with the maps and do some art to gel things in my head before I get on with the writing. I dunno why, just the way I'm built. So having said that, I've pretty much got most of the maps drawn and some concept art for myself to start getting to the writing and development tasks. Anyway, here is some a look at some of the art and maps that I do have so far. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Cheers and Happy gaming! Main MAp of the Isle of the Basalt Keep  Cassilda's Tower  The Keep's Crypt Cassilda in Carcosa with the Palid Mask A Mage in the Basalt Keep confronted by one of the inhabitants Wilven delivering a message to trespassers A warrior comes face to face with a Worgrilla in the Keep Uh oh, An animated and angry watch tower Wilven in his laboratory Wilven the Yellow A Yellow Desciple in

Delve! Zine 3 A closer look at the Barbarian nomad class

For the third installment of Delve!, I recreate some of the Oriental Adventures classes for use in Swords and Wizardry Complete. A little context, Delve! Zine issue 3 was originally to be dedicated to summoning/pact magic (that's still in the works), but I decided that for my son Bear's 16th birthday, I would make a change of plans. Bear, much like me when I was his age, has an interest in Japan, manga, anime, etc. He has been playing in our sporadic Swords and Wizardry campaign and I figured that with his interest in Japan, it would be fun to intorduce some character classes that more closely fir with an Asian flavoured setting. So, I got busy and developed four classes for use in a Swords and Wizardry campaign - the Brabarian, the Kensei, the Ninja, and the Samurai. Each has its own destinctive abilities and skills. I didn't recreate and of the magical classes - yet. There just wasn't the time, but I figure that I'll do a magic supplement and a monster supplemen

Basalt Keep of Wilven the Yellow Digital Art Experiment

I have been playing around with some of the digital art tools that I have to see what kind of feasability there was to doing some of my artwork totally digital. Right now, I pretty much do everything traditionally, but then scan it in and alter it as needed. I have an older Wacom Intuos 3 that I haven't gotten much mileage out of, but really wanted to take it for a spin. I also have Clip Studio Paint, Corel Painter 2017, and GIMP, that I kind of dabble with off and on. I am a huge comics fan, and I liked how my sequential art pieces turned out for the Astonshing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea hardback, so I figured I'd like to do some comicbook style stuff in my own style for the Basalt Keep adventure. I really liked the contrast piece that I did in felt marker some time back of Wilven in his lab (below) and figured I'd like to try and do something similar - except completely digitally. I tried out my Wacom tablet in Gimp but was having some issues. The pen was j

Delve! Zine Issue 3 is out on DrivethruRPG

Heya gang! The latest issue of Delve! Zine is now up on DrivethruRPG. Go get some:

Delve! Zine Issue 3 is imminent! Bow, Blade and Blossom, Adventures in the Mystic East

Ok, ok, it has been years since Delve! Zine issue 2. What can I say, I'm a busy guy. Well, maybe, but also I tend to be lazy, and let's face it, the past few years have been a cluster F*** and I just was struggling with some things. Anywho, on the verge of my son Bear's 16th birthday, I decided to get my shit together and put out the third issue of Delve! Well, not exactly, but pretty much. Anyway, I had a quite different plan for the third issue, but since we are doing a Japanese theme for Bear's 16th (he's all about Japan and the manga/anime and culture at the moment). I remembered being roughly his age and being interested in similar things (Robotech was huge for me then as well as things like Lone Wolf and Cub). I picked up a copy of Advance Dungeons and Dragons Oriental Adventures from the Stars and Stripes bookstore in Nuremburg Germany in 1987. I was enthralled. Now, since we play Swords and Wizardry, I figured it'd be cool to introduce some Asian them

Return of the Sea of O'Sr

Some of you may remember many years ago, an initiative in the OSR Blogosphere to encourage folks to create a shared world sandbox adventure setting known as the Sea of O'Sr. Here's one of the main blog posts about it from the Lands of Ara blog: For years, I've had this tucked away in my head and have really, really wanted to get back to this idea of creating a shared world sandbox for folks to adventure and create in. Being a huge Michael Moorcock fan and Elric Sailor on the Seas of Fate being my absolute favourite in the saga, the whole idea of a pandimensional etheral sea with many strange locations has absolutely fascinated me. I still think the idea behind the Sea of O'Sr is a great vehicle for it. Not sold on the name but I don't hate it either. Still a working title. Anyway, I'd like to do more than just small islands like in the original concept. I'd like to encourage anyone who

Return of the Creature Feature! This installment, the Worgrilla

Greetings again all! One of the things I love is to create new monsters. It is an absolute delight for me to just sit around and come up with some new craziness that I can throw into my game at a moment's notice and go. Often, I'll make up monsters on the fly with my home group since I tend to improvise my adventures as I go along. Anyway, in the spirit of that, I was doing a bit of playing around today with Gimp manipulating some pictures for inspiration and came up with a new intelligent pack beastie that I'll definitely use in my campaign. I bring you the worgrilla! Enjoy and happy gaming!   Worgrilla Hit Dice: 6+3 Armour Class: 6([13]) Attacks: 2 fists (2d8), Bite (1d6) Saving Throw: 11 Special: None Move: 9 Alignment: Chaos Challenge Level/XP: 6/400 Description: Worgrillas are intelligent pack hunters that inhabit the dense emerald jungles of the Kundalear mountains of Shangrilah. These beasts are fearsome territorial predators and will

Classless OSR System Update 2

So far, things are going ok. It is a bit daunting to take the guts of an RPG system, tinker with it and roll your own, but I am still optimistic that I can make a playable classless D&D variant that is playable and still compatible with old school RPG materials. So what do I have so far? Basicall the builds for low level Fighters and Magic Users are starting to really come together. That includes variant builds of fighters. The challenges will be to see how well they scale as they level. The plan right now is to have a basic level progression that all characters follow and as they go, they use XP to buy class abilities to mix and match and make the type of character they want to play. So theoretically, there could be those that want to progress and not purchase any class abilities but they would also have very basic combat and magic capabilities. I say basic in that magic theorectically is available to anyone, but all magic has a price and only those schooled in the arts can mitiga

Classless OSR System Progress Update 1

Ok, so I've had some time, energy, clarity of thought, alignment of the stars and planets, or whatever that has allowed me to make some progress on my classless OSR system. I've pretty much been consulting a bunch of OSR games such as Swords and Wizardry (Whitebox/Core/Complete), Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea (naturally :) ), Knave, the Black Hack, and even some 3.5 books and Palladium fantasy, and Arduin Grimoires amongst others for inspiration. So far, what I've decided is to lean heavily on Swords and Wizardry Core for the base system, particularly around attributes and bonuses. I love the Black Hack's take on saving throws. I mean, I really have always wanted to make the difference in say a 14 wisdom and a 15 wisdom quantitatively meaningful. Therefore saves are attribute checks, where the character rolls their attribute score or lower on a d20 with modifications for the type of challenge they may face. As for character creation, I'm still

Blasphemer's Isle

Many, many moons ago, there was a shared worlds concept going around the OSR Blogosphere called the Sea of O'Sr. The idea was that bloggers would create their own islands to populate this shared worlds sea. I really loved the idea and wished it had taken off a bit more (check out the Lands of Ara blog post about it from way back when: ). It was a fun idea and I've often thought about it. In fact, Isle of Maedsid, which is now being worked into a full Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea adventure to be published by Jeff Talanian and Northwind Adventures, actually started off as a Sea of O'Sr concept. Today, in between virtual Gary Con seminars, I dug into some of my old maps and art doodles and came across a map that was originally designed for the Seas of O'Sr project and was going to find a home as a sublevel of the Maedsid adventure, but ultimately just fell by the wayside. Anyway, w

Virtual Gary Con update

I've been participating in the virtual Gary Con XII events and having a great time. I was part of the artists gathering last night hosted by Lloyd Metcalf and did a little doodle while they were dazzling us all with their digital skills. I've not yet really done much mor than dabble in the digital space. Mostly because it sort of wracks my brain trying to get the hand and eye to coordinate and get stuff on the screen. Practice, practice, practice I suppose. I'll give it a go as it does seem like something I should do since I have lots of pen and ink drawings just sitting in my closet. Anyway, here's a wizard piece that I did. I rather like it and think I'll use it in the Delve! Zine issue that I'm plucking away at. I have a notion to do some magic system rules for old school systems for Pact, True Name and Summoning magic. It's a bit ambitious so I may just keep working on it and my classless role playing system in the back ground and try to do something

Of Classlessness and Quarantines

Quarantine has begun here in New Zealand,  or to be precise, it we are in the 48 hour beginning of lockdown prior to it going into effect for the next four weeks. Sure, I will be working from home for the day job, but there is going to be an extra bit of time that I do not normally have to take advantage of. Outside of family activities, I want to get to work on some personal projects. One is getting back to some regularity with this blog. I have also begun working on my classless game system. It is a bit of a daunting task, but really, it is just for me to get it off my list. I mean what serious hobby gamer hasn't taken a stab at their own game system or modification of an existing one? I think it is important to nail down what I want to achieve in order give myself a framework to work in, and probably more importantly, something to hold myself accountable to so I don't go completely off the rails and waste the time I have at hand. Let me start with some things I don't wan

Such a lack of Class

Something I have been ruminating on for a bit is the whole D&D class system. While I love D&D (particularly 1e AD&D or 0e), I have found myself growing a bit weary of the class system and the whole Vancian magic system. Blasphemy I know, but as someone who cut their teeth on Michael Moorcock's works, the current structure just seems to less and less fit my needs. I know that there have been the Stormbringer/Elric!/Basic Fanyasy systems from Chaosium, but they never really scratched that itch for me. Don't get me wrong, the whole Basic Fantasy system is a great system, but my first gaming experience was D& D and I want to find a way to satisfactorily bend it to my view of fantasy. And yeah, that might mean ditching the class based system and changing up the magic system a bit. I ran across the Black Hack and Knave not too long ago, and they come pretty close to what I want. If you factor in the 3.5 D&D rules for pact/truename/rune magic, then you have got my

Virtual Gary Con? Sign me up!

I wasn't planning on attending Gary Con this year, but am looking forward to next year's convention being my first. It's kinda strange having been a fairly active participant in the OSR since 2005 or so, but living overseas has kept me from really being able to meet people in the community (other than the time I attended Gen Con in 2011). Because of that, I feel somewhat isolated from the community and that really does kinda bum me out a bit. However, I am pretty excited about the whole idea of a vritual Gary Con. I know, I know, it isn't the same as being able to attend in person, but not being able to really attend any conventions in person makes the virtual convention attractive to me. I hope that everyone weathers the storm of Covid-19 and stays healthy and safe. We've been somewhat fortunate here in New Zealand to not have had much of an outbreak, but we are at the begining of Autumn down here and I suspect that it might make for a rather hairy cold/flu season.

Let's give this another go

Is there anybody out there? Hello, hello, is this thing on? Anyway, it has been quite some time since I have contributed anything to this blog. More importantly,  or rather, more to the point, it has been quite sometime since I have really felt like blogging or really doing much of anything else. In all honesty, last year was pretty challenging for me in so very many ways and for a lot of reasons. I think that the most challenging part was the loss of my brother. To be honest, we'd been pretty estranged for many years. At any rate, I won't go into the details, but that along with various other challenges in the last year really took the wind out of my sails. I don't think I realised how much of a depression I was in until just about two months ago when the numbness of the past two years really started to wear off and I just started to really feel things again. I think the most striking thing was that I really started to feel passionate about gaming and comics again. That mi