Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Oh. My. God. (no, seriously)

I never thought I'd say this but if this project ever got off the ground I would totally find myself buying a Rob Liefeld comic book. Click the pics to check out larger versions of Liefeld's Old Testament!!!

Thrill to the sight of Moses casting magic missile at the darkness!
David and Goliath is one of the awesomest stories in the Old Testament.  But Liefield makes it even AWESOMER.
Noah will kick your ass!
Uhhh, okay.  This one really isn't working for me.

Newsflash! You can make FASERIP open!

Phil Reed is offering to make an OGL version of the engine that powered the original Marvel Superheroes roleplaying game. He's doing this ransom style, just like Greg Stolze has done for several projects. If he can get $1000 in pledged donations, he'll write the game and distribute it as a free PDF. I've put ten bucks in the hat, and I'm challenging all my readers who are FASERIP fans to do the same. Let's make this happen, people! Click here to hop on the bandwagon and make your pledge.
For $1,000 in donations Philip Reed will take two weeks to create a game titled "FASERIP." This will be a new, free, professionally-produced game that is opened so that other publishers may create supplements compatible with it.

FASERIP will be compatible with the old Basic and Advanced games that inspired it; the game's sole purpose is as an open source document for publishers. Players can use the game to play, but they'll gain little new value from the free product planned. It is the new supplements that can be created that will be of true value to everyday players.

FASERIP, if funded, will be created and released as a free PDF. After 30 days all feedback will be considered and the file updated at which point it will also be made available in print at cost.

NOTE: No work has been started. FASERIP will not be created until after it is funded.

If you have any questions about FASERIP please contact

Thanks to Chris at Dorkland for this tip!

Great Random Charts from RPG History, volume I

Today's post is the beginning of a series that will go into at least 3 volumes and may turn out to be an ongoing affair here. Because I love stupid random die charts and it's fun to share. Our first entry goes all the way back to original Dungeons & Dragons book 3, The Underworld & Wilderness Adventure. This one is quick, fun, and still totally useable today. Here's a cleaned-up and reformatted-for-your-TV version of the random castle inhabitants chart from page 15 of OD&D book 3.

Instructions: Roll d6 for castle owner, then d4 for owner's brute squad

1) Lord (Fighter level 9+)

  1. d8 Champions (Fighters 8)
  2. d6 Heroes (Fighters 4) on Griffons
  3. d10 Myrmidons (Fighters 6)
  4. d4 Giants

2) Superhero (Fighter 8)

  1. d8 Myrmidons (Fighters 6)
  2. d4 Heroes (Fighters 4) riding Rocs
  3. d4 Ogres
  4. d10 Swashbucklers (Fighters 5)

3) Wizard (Magic-User 11+)
  1. d4 Dragons
  2. d4 Chimeras
  3. d4 Wyverns
  4. d4 Basilisks
4) Necromancer (Magic-User 10)
  1. d4 Chimeras
  2. d6 Manticores
  3. d12 Lycanthropes
  4. d12 Gargoyles
5) Patriarch (Lawful Cleric 8+)
  1. d20 Heroes (Fighters 4)
  2. d6 Superheroes (Fighters 8)
  3. d10 Treants
  4. d8 Heroes (Fighters 4) riding Hippogriffs
6) Evil High Priest (Chaotic Cleric 8+)
  1. d10 Trolls
  2. d6 Vampires
  3. d20 White Apes
  4. d10 Spectres

According to the rules, each castle also has 3d6 x 10 regular guards, half crossbowmen in light armor and half melee guys in heavier armor. In modern terms these guys would be low level Warriors.

Each castle owner also had a chance of some henchmen/cohort types. Fighters had a 25% chance of a Magic-User level d4+4 and a 50% chance of a Cleric level d4+2. Magic-Users got a 25% chance of a Fighter level d4+4 and a 50% chance of an apprentice Magic-User of level d4+3. Clerics had a fifty/fifty chance of havinf d6 clerical assistants of levels d4+3 each.

In a modern 3.x campaign a little bit of liberal interpretation can really stretch these charts. You could use any kind of fighty classes in place where a Fighter is called for and ditto for various arcane specialties and the Magic-User results on the chart. And anyone who rolls up a Necromancer and stats up a plain Wizard 10 is just being boorish. Give that dude the power to raise up undead armies! For extra silliness whenever a Superhero comes up on the chart, model the character on someone like Batman or Spider-man. "Welcome to stately Wayne Castle. I am Sir Bruce."

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

metal mini mania

Right before their last move my sister-in-law and her hubby gave me some old metal miniatures. They played D&D and a few other games back in the day, but these days their gaming is largely of the German and MMORPG variety. Rob played in three campaigns of mine, but that was before the big move up north. Most of the figures are painted, but I'm going to attempt to paint the rest. In fact, I've decided that I'm going to paint these babies up before I buy any new metal figures. The idea is to get some practice before I go and ruin some nice Reaper figures with half-assed paint jobs.

It's even worse than it appears, but it's all right.
This skeleton band from Ral Partha was sold as "The Grateful Undead", if I recall correctly. I didn't paint this, I just thought it would be cool to share a pic. It's from a small line of comedic fantasy figures. As a kid think I owned two pieces from the line, the John Belushi Samurai and the three-headed 3 Stooges troll.

Fire bad! These golems are early nineties Ral. They were primed and the clay golem partially painted when I got 'em. The flesh golem has some stitchwork that's going to be a challenge to paint. It's so fine you can't see it in this shot. Part of me is tempted to try and modify these figures a little. I'd like to put weapons in the flesh golem's hands and maybe get him a backpack. That way he could be a Frankenstein adventurer for Encounter Critical. I kinda want to repaint the clay golem's diaper to be a bright purple. Then I could use some putty or something to give him some hair and paint the skin green. But those sorts of mods are a bit ambitious right now. I think instead I'll just paint up some golem dudes.

Where there's a whip, there's a way. I'm pretty sure these little lizardish orcs were originally released by R-Kiiv a.k.a. Archive. What's the proper procedure for broken off weapons?

Grr!A close-up of one of the orcs. That polearm blade is substantial.

Grr some more!A different polearm wielding orc by another company. I think this wide-face tusk-mouthed fellow is an early Ral Partha. A lot of stuff needs to be trimmed from the mold lines before he can be painted.

Hi!  We're the miscellaneous monsters!

The lumpish thing on the left appears to be someone's idea of an Intellect Devourer. The body of the beast is brain-like, but someone either misunderstood the critter description or thought it could be improved, because a lizard head has been added by the sculptor. The other guy is a Games Workshop wizard's familiar. He's a furry little goblinoid carrying a sack. Very cool.

The headless body with the face on the torso really grabs you, but the birdlike legs is an awesome touch.It's a shame this picture turned out so fuzzy. These guys are cool. They're Blemmyes or Blemmyae, a legendary race of beings with no heads and faces on their chest. I think they worship Arnim Zola. Skull & Bones, the d20 pirate book Gareth-Michael Skarka worked on, has stats for these dudes, but they don't quite fit these figures. These creatures are clearly Large size, but the Blemmyae from S&B are only medium. Still, that's a good place to start.

Monday, February 26, 2007

I paid 50 cents for what?!

Shopping at the comic store Saturday was tricky, as both my daughter and my nephew were with me. Elizabeth immediately picked up a comic that had Superman fighting a gorilla on the cover. She then proceeded to wander about the store, unintentionally walking out of my field of vision something like 800 times. Meanwhile Cameron was completely overstimulated by all the colorful comics and just couldn't pick anything out. I ended up getting him a handful of Transformers back issues I stumbled across while riffling through the 50 cent bin. Between the bargain bin search and trying to keep track of the kids and half-listening to an argument my sister was having in the game store (which shares space with the comic shop) I ended up getting a tad bit distracted. So when I got home I found that in addition to JLU, Transformers, Young Heroes in Love, Groo the Wanderer, and a bunch of crappy bronze age Marvel mags, I had unintentionally purchased this:

Two quarters I'll never get back.
Man, this thing is like a time machine. Extremely wordy narration boxes, Liefieldian pencils, a villain with ill-defined but world-shattering powers. It's like half the comics I bought in college distilled down to one book.

But it's the cover that kills me. In particular, Nightcrawler. When Spider-man does that spread legs thing it works, because his costume isn't designed like Borat's swimsuit. That pose and that costume work together in perfect harmony to emphasize Nightcrawler's package, or rather his comic code-approved lack of package. Which only confuses me more. It's like this cover is trying to remind me that Nightcrawler has no genitals.

Eat hot plasma, sathar scum!

Yesterday was the second meeting of C-U Run Club '07, our rotating-GM game group where everyone takes a turning running the game of their choice. My bud Doug was up to bat yesterday, and his game of choice was d20 Future, using setting material culled from Star Frontiers. Last week I wrote to the other players "I hope to play one of those silly bug aliens and maybe zap a sathar with a laser!" Not only did I get to play one of the vrusk (the setting's silly bug aliens), but our foes were space pirates and the evil wormlike Sathar. I didn't have a laser, instead my guy packed a fully automatic plasma pistol powered by an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back. How cool is that?

The background story Doug whipped up was perfect for a high octane single session. We were all members of Department 7, the black ops division of Star Law. In the setting the Rangers of Star Law are like Captain America as Science Police. When their good guy nicey-nice methods don't work, they call in the literally take-no-prisoners hard case psychos of Department 7. So basically we had all the perogatives of space cops, and none of the usual responsibilites. In short, we were playing Judge Dredd in outerspace. For my tastes that sort of a set-up is too fascistic for extended play. I know first hand from running such a campaign that if you give PCs that much author-i-tay things quickly get ugly. But as an excuse for an afternoon's worth of Bad People Fighting Worse, the premise was aces.

This cool vrusk by illustrator John Mince was my character pic.It was very cool to see Doug behind the screen. He was the only player to be at the table for all 18 months of my Wild Times campaign, the totally out of hand D&D epic gestalt game where the PCs fought bad guys until the universe melted. He's currently a player in my still-getting-pur-skylegs Eberron game. Doug and I play together in the World of Alidor. His sneaky ranger is the subtle tactician archer and my shouty barbarian is the party meatshield. But this is the first time playing together where he wore the viking hat and I was the player.

And it was cool. Doug pulled a fabulous bait-and-switch on us right at the start. He handed us incomplete, half-assed 1st level character sheets and told us we were first time smugglers about to meet our boss to get our first mission. Only when the jig was up did he hand out our lavishly constructed 13th level black-ops badasses. Then we shot up a cantina full of space pirates. Hot damn! Another thing that I really liked was the way that Doug seamlessly integrated old school Star Frontiers setting material with new school sci-fi trappings. For example, the nefarious space worm menace was planning on using a nanite terraformation bomb to rewrite the local planet's biosphere to be more Sathar friendly. How cool is that?

I should note that the 'network externalities' thingy inherent to the d20 system really shined through, as no one had any significant problems playing this session cold, even with a tricked out high level sci-fi character. Heck, Kathleen hadn't played anything d20 since 2nd edition AD&D and she stepped up to the plate and ran an extremely effective psionic PC. Of course, she's also really smart and a veteran player. And Dave and Stuart were very entertaining, playing Johnny Octagon, a dralasite martial artist and Coco, a gun fu yazirian respectively. Stuart was gliding around Rocket J. Squirrel style, a pistol in each claw, and Dave used one of his blobby pseudopods like a swingline to fly through a windshield and kick a Sathar in the face. Hi-yah!

So yeah, I got to play a cool game with some cool people. My insect alien got to roast bad guys with his plasma pistol. Good times, good times. Next up for the Run Club, yours truly will be attempting a James Bond 007 caper. It's 1985 and the PCs are licensed to rock.

Attention Doctor Rotwang!

and anyone else who likes Mutated Wooky Warriors:

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Meet the newest hero in town!

This weekend I introduced my nephew the ninja to Heromachine. The result:

Electro Generation Widesword Hero!

That's the best character name since Admiral Wolverine Lightningbolt.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Audience participation time!

The name of the game is Creepy, Creepier, Creepiest. Take the three scans below and put them in increasing creep-out order. Justify your answers in the comments section. There are no winners or losers in this game, just fellow victims all wallowing in joint misery.

Scan number 1 comes from issue 10 of The Occult Files of Doktor Spektor, published in 1974 by Whitman. Here we have Lakota, Dr. Spektor's Native American secretary/love interest/damsel-in-distress, dressing up for a costume ball. Note her choice of costume: sexy injun squaw.

The extra creepy part: ol' Doc is totally turned on by Princess Poke-a-hot-ass.

Contestant number 2 hails from the ninth issue of Teen Titans Spotlight (copywright 1986, DC Comics). In this issue for no apparent reason Beast Boy goes to the zoo and starts flirting with a lioness.

I almost fell out of my chair when I reached the point where he changed into a male lion.

Finally, we have Ms. Marvel #7 (1977), wherein we find a picture of Carol Danvers making out with MODOK!

To be honest, I haven't even read this issue yet.  I flipped it open to a random page and got this image.  Speculation on what other horrors may lurk within has unnerved me.

So now that I've scarred you all for life, tell me which scan is merely Creepy, which is a bit Creepier, and which one is Creepiest.

P.S. #1: Don't try to tell me the green dude's name is Changeling. He's Beast Boy on the cartoon and that's all that matters to me.

P.S. #2: This issue of
Teen Titans Spotlight is the first time I've read a story with Robotman in it. And let me tell you, he is rad to the max. Cliff Steele spends the whole issue acting like Ben Grimm, only he's a robot instead of a rock monster. Is he that awesome all the time?

Friday, February 23, 2007

A pic for the Encounter Critical fans

Mutated Wooky Warrior!

Holy crap! 28mm B.A. Baracus!

Is it me or does Sissy look rather mannish?

From the Foundry Street Violence line, available for purchase here.

Put a crazy cat lady in your next dungeon!

Housecat Swarm
Size/Type: Tiny Animal (Swarm)
Hit Dice: 8d8 (36 hp)
Initiative: +6
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 14 (+2 size, +2 Dex), touch 14, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/—
Attack: Swarm (1d6)
Full Attack: Swarm (1d6)
Space/Reach: 15 ft./0 ft.
Special Attacks: Distraction
Special Qualities: Half damage from slashing and piercing, low-light vision, scent, swarm traits
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +2
Abilities: Str 3, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 7
Skills: Balance +10, Climb +6, Hide +16*, Jump +10, Listen +5, Move Silently +8, Spot +5
Feats: Alertness, Improved Initiative, Stealthy, Weapon FinesseB
Environment: Temperate Plains
Organization: Domesticated, solitary, pack (1-4 swarms), or infestation (7-12 swarms)
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: None
Level Adjustment:


A housecate swarm seeks to surround and attack any warm-blooded prey it encounters. A swarm deals 1d6 points of damage to any creature whose space it occupies at the end of its move.

Distraction (Ex)

Any living creature that begins its turn with a swarm in its square must succeed on a DC 12 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1 round. The save DC is Constitution-based.


A housecat swarm has a +4 racial bonus on Climb, Hide and Move Silently checks, and a +8 racial bonus on Jump checks. A cat swarm can always choose to take 10 on all Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened. A cat swarm uses its Dexterity modifier instead of its Strength modifier for Climb and Jump checks. *In areas of tall grass or heavy undergrowth, the Hide bonus rises to +8.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Fragments from Palace of the Vampire Queen

Palace of the Vampire Queen was the first adventure module ever published. You don't hear much about it outside collector's circles because it wasn't done by TSR or any of the big 3rd party outfits like Judges Guild. Nowadays a copy generally commands crazy stupid money from those completist collector types. When one of these babies appears on eBay the seller sometimes posts an image of a page or two. I've swiped a couple of those images, and got a few more from a link at Dragonsfoot, the official home of old school D&D awesome. Click on the small version to see these pages in their full glory. Enjoy.

The product is called ' Dungeon Master Kit - Number One'. The term module wasn't in use yet.

"The kit itself is only a basic outline - you can make it a dramatic adventure." A motto to DM by.

This intro is fabulous. If you can read that and not be ready for a kickass adventure, then you're in the wrong hobby, bub.Part of the leve 1 adventure key. I am totally swiping the Madman and his horde of cats and putting them in another dungeon. Coming soon to Jeff's Gameblog: my 3.5 stats for a Housecat Swarm.

The map itself may be crude but the marginal decoration is absolutely charming.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sweetie, let go of the comic long enough for daddy to scan this one panel.

I usually get my daughter a comic when I hit the store. Scooby-Doo is one of her favorites, but she also likes Teen Titans Go! and Justice League Unlimited. None of those were on the shelf last time I visited the shop on campus, so I pulled a Transformers book out of the dollar bin. Turns out it was a reprint from the original series. And an awesome issue, too. Dig it:

Is it me or is the Shadowhawk about to kick that Stinger's ass?
That's Predaking, the robotic Predator of the Transformers mythos, hunting the most dangerous game, Megatron. Wicked cool!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Nextwave has ruined me

The same comic that got me back into buying new comics has also spoiled me on new comics. I've tried following the new Midnighter and Iron Fist series, but it is just not working. It's not that those are bad comics. They both feature guys in ridiculous costumes beating up bad guys, one of my favorite comic genres. And they're skillfully written and drawn. Heck, a while back I did a little piece of fan art for those two books.

But this new decompression depresses me. This 'written for trade' style is an abomination unto the Lord and I will not tolerate it. If a writer can't advance the plot arc and simultaneously provide a good, complete, action-packed freak-out, then I say ditch the plot arc. Or better yet, bring in a writer than can deliver both a larger story and a fast-paced sinlge issue.

So here's the deal. I'm done with buying new monthlies until someone can approach the undiluted awesomeness of Nextwave. Otherwise I'll be sticking to trades, shitty old back issues, and graphic novels. I'm not paying three bucks for one sixth of a story where I have to wait six months for the big dramatic payoff. Not when that same three bucks will get me 6 issues of random Mantlo or Gerber or whatever from the fiddy cent bins.

Maybe I'll get some new indy stuff or the new Conan comics. Maybe not. I'll keep following the Invincible Super-Blog and Bully and other comics blogs, watching for the next thing that may light my jets. Until then, there's a wild world of back issues and reprints waiting to be read.

Sky Pirates update

So over the weekend an anonymous commenter left this remark on an older post:
Hey I caught your post on mar 2006 of an eberron campaign with sky pirates. Curious how that went and If I could swipe some ideas or even maps off you. Thanks I'll flag your blog.
Thanks for reading the blog, mystery dude. I work on scanning in my maps. So far all I have to offer is a couple of quick-and-dirty skyship deckplans.

In the meantime, let me tell you how things are going in general. Session three of the campaign is scheduled for tonight, so things are still very new and I'm still working some kinks out. The biggest area that needs work is a set of crunchy-but-not-overwhelming mechanics for air vessels exchanging fire prior to the inevitable boarding action. Session one featured the taking of a goblin dirigible and we tried adapting the chase scene rules from Savage Worlds. That worked out okay but not great.

Most of the other changes I've made have gone over pretty well. In order to allow more buckling of swashes I'm allowing PCs to use the reserve points and defense bonus rules from Unearthed Arcana. NPCs don't normally get either of those goodies simply because I'm a lazy DM who doesn't like to incorporate new rules into stat blocks I'm ripping off from elsewhere. We've also tweaked the blackpowder weapon rules from the DMG to make them more useful.

Two big changes to the Eberron setting as written are that blackpowder weapons are uncommon but available and that various airships ply the skys besides the House Lyrandar elemental vessels. The skys are generally a busier place than in the default setting because I need plenty of airborne victims and foes. One other minor change I've made is that Warforged are not "kinda like robots". They are totally and emphatically robotic, in the grand tradition of Robbie and the Cyclons and the Boomers and Aaron Stack.

I can't take any credit for it, but the PCs are awesome-tastic. Pat is playing a Warforged Warlock. The dude shoots laser beams out of his eyes! Doug has one of those new Eberron-flavored badass elves. The fact that this setting makes elves cool again totally blows my mind. Stuart plays a gnome artificer (which I suspect will be a core class in 4e) that emphasizes pistolry and gunsmithing. He's basically elf with a gun, but in pirate drag. Jon (my DM in the World of Alidor) is running the ship's cook, Steven Seagal style. And Jonathan is playing a rogue member of House Lyrandar and is working his way towards the Dread Pirate prestige class. How can you go wrong with these guys?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Precarious Crystalline Structures

On Saturday my wife went to a scrapbooking and rubberstamping party hosted by her sister-in-law. A little bit before the festivities started I got a call from one of my nephews. The menfolk over there were looking for a place to lay low until the whole thing blew over, so they came over and played some games. We started out playing a couple games of Betrayal at House on the Hill. I got to mangle people with Frankenstein's monster in one of the games, so that was pretty cool. We then played a few hands of Fluxx, which sometimes has as much strategy as everyone rolling some dice and the high number wins, but I enjoy playing nonetheless.

Then, for a little change of pace, I got out the Icehouse set. These little plastic pyramids from Looney Labs are game equipment usable with several different games, in the same way that a deck of cards can be used to play a whole bunch of different games. The game we played was Thin Ice, a stacking game kinda like Jenga but everyone has their own structure they work on. You start with nothing and each turn someone picks on or two pieces that must be added to the structure (e.g. "one large piece" or "one medium and one small"). You are out if you end up with more than 3 pieces on the table or if you have more than two in your hands. Here are the last two pyramid towers left standing in the final round we played.

My nephew Ian's tower. He would have won if he just stopped fidgeting with the darn thing. But one adjustment too many caused him to topple the thing.

My structure, which won the final round by virtue of me placing my pieces and then waiting for Ian to self-sabotage.

The fun thing about Thin Ice is that it tests an entirely different set of skills than most boardgames. A steady hand and 3-D spatial thinking won't do you much good in Puerto Rico or Power Grid.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Original Warforged

Since I'm officially back on my miniatures kick, I've been checking out places like Stuff of Legends and Iron Wind Metals. I'm trying to find out if I can put together a critical mass of goofy old figures that would allow me to run Encounter Critical as a miniatures game. I've also been looking at old Dragon issues. Here's a great figure that Ral Partha was advertising circa '82:

I actually had this figure as a kid. I colored him with Dragonscale, the Ral Partha product that did metallic colors with the same powdery consistency of cosmetics like eye shadow and rouge. I think this dude would make a great Robodroid Warrior, especially if you painted a peace sign on his shield. Fight, Mechanical Knight! Fight for everlasting peace!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Local item: The Chief is gone

Chief Illiniwek's Last Dance set for Feb 21

"The names 'Illini' and 'Fighting Illini' will continue to be used..."

link of the day

"Look, Becca, the Faire combines many ostensibly disparate eras, including the Renaissance, Medieval times, the days of yore, the days of Conan, the Dark Ages, the Pirates of the Caribbean, albums by Tool and the Insane Clown Posse, the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block of programming, World of Warcraft, Monty Python’s Holy Grail, the Legend of Zelda, shitty new age Celtic music, the bleachers at a NASCAR race and, finally, all those attention whores in your high school drama club. You can’t be all hung up on authenticity or classification. You just have to wander through the crowds, wide-eyed and innocent, enjoying the swirling, festive mélange of totally made-up cultures. And also you have to eat one of those giant turkey legs, so I can take a picture and use it to make jokes on the Internet." is the devil

Check out these great R-Kiiv brand minis from the 70's.

This guy would be perfect for my next Encounter Critical game.

Space Cowboy!

Is that a sweater tied around his neck?Alien Ninja!

This guy is hella cool.

Evil Wizard!

Death to all fleshy ones!

Attacking Robot!

Holy crap!

Space Lizard with light sword!!!

So why would I declare, purveyors of these fine wares, to be Satan Incarnate? Because of their insane policy regarding selling these old figures. They list ten R-Kiiv figures for sale each month. After that month is over, they discontinue sales and sell the molds. I hate artificially created windows of opportunity like that. I feel like I'm being pushed into buying something.

Still, cool figures. They've got some other great lines as well, that do not have this crappy deadline built into them. They've got a Gloranthan line that includes the dreaded Walktapus as well as this awesome female fighter. No ducks though. Here's a great Cthulhu I hadn't seen before. And the leftmost of these three succubi would make an awesome female balrog. Also: cheap zombies and wicked cool zombies.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Random comics...

...found over my lunch hour at a used book store for a buck apiece.

Help!  I'm trapped in an Aquaman adventure!Every time I see Neptune in a DC comic he's going on about someone swiping his stuff. He's worse than that leprechaun with the cereal.

Sheesh.  Are you sure that's enough guest stars for one issue?  The Defenders aren't busy.  Aplha Flight's probably available too.Until today I had no idea that the X-Men had their own reprint title.

In this issue the Changeling fights Beast Boy and Robotman!

Everything I know about the Titans I learned from the cartoon. When I first glanced at this cover I thought the grey dude was the Changeling.

Demogorgon is awesome

Orcus gets a lot a play these days but my favorite canonical demon prince is definitely Demogorgon. Just look at this guy! A two-headed baboon with tentacles!

As part of their licensed AD&D line Minifigs, now long gone, did a figure very closely based upon this picture from the original Monster Manual.

Grenadier later produced this Demogorgon look-alike but called him Orcus for some unfathomable reason. The head is reptilian instead of baboonish, but it's still pretty neat-o. I have one of these I bought off the eBay, thinking I was getting the Minifig version. Here's a link to a nicely painted version of this figure.

The Aspect of Demogorgon from Wizard's plastic figure line. I like the concept of buying a prepainted Prince of Demons, but the sculpt is too thin and spindly, lacking the look of raw power in the earlier versions.

Reaper's Dark Heaven Legends line has a lot of great figures designed for D&D play. This fantastic fella is called the Demonic Lasher in their catalog. They like to file the serial numbers off, don't you know. On this page you can find a great painted version of this figure.

Rethinking the Favored Class

With all the zillions of new base classes floating around it seems to me that it would make sense to re-examine the core PC races and see if they a different base class would work better for them. My ideas off the top of my head are to reassign the dwarves to the Warmain class from Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved and use the Duskblade (PHB II) for elves to recapture that old school charm of casting spells in armor. The Artificer from Eberron could work for gnomes. Gnome bards leave me cold and illusionist spells never did anything for me. The halfling could be left as is, but I would seriously consider reassign them to rangers in my own campaign world. Half-orc barbarians have been a staple of the hobby for almost a decade now, but back in the day the half-orc was most associated with the assassin class. If halflings are re-imagined as rangers, I could see using the rogue for sneakier, back-stabbier orcs.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I haven't seen this flick in forever

Which B-Movie Badass Are You?

They Live.
Take this quiz!

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

FYI: theRPGsite is down at the moment. This weekend the ownership of the site was completely transferred to RPGpundit and some technical issues arose from moving to a new server. No one has attacked the site or anything like that. Please be patient and everything will be back to normal soon.

Miscellaneous Winter War pics

My brother-in-law Jim and another player (is that Greg?) examine one of the maps in the Blind Sniper room. In the foreground is Jim's son Ian. As I mentioned before he and I crippled each other on round 2 of the game. The fella in the red plaid shirt is Alfred, who won the all-new, all-crazy Board Gamer Agonistes award. Each boardgame ran at the convention was worth a number of points based on total players at the table. The winner got a bunch of those points and other people got some points at the ref's discretion. Al came out with the highest total, though my sister apparently did pretty darn good as well.

My Encounter Critical players. From the left that's Josh, Kathleen, and Doug. They've played in several con games of mine over the years. Our tastes intersect enough to create some magnificently fun one-shots, but I sometimes suspect that we'd drive each other crazy in a lengthy campaign. They'd be busy telling some sort of anime-based storyline and I'd be trying to fight every NPC encountered. Across the table from this terrific trio is Marc, Dave Hoover's son. We all had a lot of fun together.

After buying a bulletproof vest and shield, Josh modified his character illo. Not pictured: the rollerskates he swiped off of a one-eyed mutant midget.

Here's my ten-player D&D freak-out. Josh, Kathleen, and Doug are a little more crowded together in this shot! Everyone is working on characters here. For most events I love making my own pregens, but a nostalgia powered game like this demands random chargen at the event.

One of the vendors, Thompson Productions, had a painting demo table. They had a selection of Reaper brand figures and paints. I painted these two guys. Even with the limited time and selection of colors I thought they turned out better than I expected. This really gave me the boost of confidence I've needed to take minis painting more seriously. And working on the archer's chainmail made me a believer in drybrushing. The pic is terrible, that actual figures don't look very good (the sculpts are nifty, the paint job is terrible), but up close that chainmail looks awesome. All thanks to a simple drybrush of silvery steel over a black base. I'm definitely going to paint some more figures after this experience.

Finally, here's some links to pictures of the monsters I made for the Friday night Clay-O-Rama game.

Klaggor, the Thing from Beyond the Stars!
Mr. Maw
The Stinging Vampiric Two-Faced Snake-Weasel

Little Arty, the Littlest Artillery Piece

Hey kids!

I used Heromachine to put together some black & white illos of various members of Darth Viraxis's Mutant Legion. I brought along a bag of crayons so the players and I could color them. This first one was done by Marc.

Kathleen colored in this one. Unfortunately the sparkly effect of the metallic crayons did not scan well. Trust me, those boots are very shiny. My daughter helped me design this mutant, by the way. She insisted on both the butterfly wings and the hair that is fire.

Kathleen's husband Josh coloered this dude. I like how he emphasized the tradeable limbs.

This bearded lady, colored by Doug, was the first victim of Hansel Manho's charms.

By yours truly.

I am totally going to repeat this ecperiment. A little dose of Encounter Critical brought out the fun-lovin' kid in everyone at the table.