The comments and views expressed here do not reflect those of my employer, my doctor, my bookie, or anyone really, including myself.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Things I Will Do Next Time After Attempting To Jury-Rig A Line Tester Using Curtain Rod Hardware And A Step Ladder:

1. Secure the camera better so the first three drawings don't jitter around all over the place giving everyone seizures.

2. Turn off the Auto Focus so half the images aren't blurry.

3. Replace the batteries in the camera so they don't run out before you're done.

4. Post it using something other than Blogger's lousy player. Seriously, what is that? (After I posted it I saw I was You Tube. Maybe there's a setting somewhere so I can fix it, I dunno.)(I think it's a bit better, now.)

Yes, I know I could save myself a lot of hassle by just drawing stuff into Flash, but where's the fun in that? 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Morcalavir the Inscrutable

Ever see a bald elf wizard? Me neither. It seems like an Idea Whose Time Has Come.

Why Inscrutable? Not sure. Perhaps he's very difficult to scrute.
Classic spell, or symptom of a skin condition?
Another classic.
On the other hand, the more I draw him the more he reminds me of Charlie Brown.

Here's a bonus elf; more of a standard elf really:
There is so much about this picture that bothers me, don't even get me started. I've been told I shouldn't criticize my own drawing so much, so seriously, don't get me started.

Are you trying to get me started?

Well don't.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014



In case you're curious, 5th edition is quite nice so far. The DM has made some minor tweaks, but that's the way this game is supposed to be and the fact that it's flexible enough for him to do that is a good thing. The combats are smooth and fast, the character background stuff is fun, and if things are ever slowed down due to someone looking something up, it's usually because of me because I'm one of those annoying people who does that.

My apologies to the rest of the gaming community.

And just so you know: Jessica is the kind of Teifling Paladin that when face to face with a Bugbear can talk him into letting her kill one of his guards and have Casey's Monk pummel the other one to death right in front of his furry face BEFORE THE FIGHT EVEN STARTS. Then the Bugbear slipped and fell to his death down a garbage hole. Man, I was jazzed about that.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Work Windows

The building I work in is on the site of what was once a mill. A big sprawling thing that employed many of the people in this town before it closed. They've demolished most of it since then, but looking out the North windows you can see what's left of it hulking and rotting there.

If you look beyond there's some trees. Something to break up the post-apocalyptic vibe.

On the other hand, the South side faces the river. In the summer the sun sparkles on the water, and boats of various sizes glide up and down. There's green woods on the opposite shore, and the whole is much more picturesque.

In the break room where I take my lunch most days, you get a good view of a concrete column sticking up out of the water that was once part of a pier, but is now being reclaimed by nature.

You can tell it was square when it was new, but the tides and current have scooped out underneath, and rounded the corners down into nonexistence. Depending on where the tide is you may only see the top, or you may see all the work the water has done. It's very calming to look at for some reason.

This is in the summer of course. The winter turns it all into tundra, but we're in New Brunswick after all.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mood Yoda (and 5th Edition!)

On Valentine's Day this year, my delightful wife gave me a card that included a punch-out-put-it-together Yoda. I highly recommend obtaining such a card from one of your own loved ones, because with the application of a few green sticky notes, you can create an honest-to-goodness...
Mood Yoda!
Get yours today! Seriously, I'll just wait here.


Also topping today's event's, I only just now discovered that Wizards of the Coast has put the new 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Basic Rules on their site as a free pdf download. They did this ten days ago, so if you care you probably already know, but still. I haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to it.


When viewed from the correct angle, this Kinder Surprise monster appears to have a wang.

Ha ha! Wang.

I'm guessing this was done intentionally at the insistence of Nathan Fillion.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

MacBeth Sketches

What it says on the box.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Free RPG Goodness

Role playing games are fun, but can get pretty expensive. Between books, minis, modules, maps, special dice, snacks, and other sundries,  it ain't easy to do on a budget. This is especially true if you're playing the latest version of whatever, because the companies that make it wanna turn a profit and tend to favor box sets and elaborate full colour hard covers, and that stuff isn't free.

So here's some stuff I've found that is free. Most of it has been around for a while, but it never hurts to put it all in one place for my own sake as well as yours, and you may find something you haven't seen before. I don't think I'll put any random generators on here though, 'cause that a whole 'nother bag o' snakes.

Dragonsfoot: This is one of the first "homebrew" style sites I ever found. It's a whole mess o' 1st and 2nd Edition  AD and D content supplied by contributors to the site, so it can be a bit of a mixed bag, but free is free and chances are you're gonna have to modify a professionally published module you paid money for anyway. There's homebrew classes, spells, modules, reference sheets, you name it.

Labyrinth Lord: Speaking of old school gaming, I've played this 1st Edition D and D clone a few times now and had some good fun with it. You can buy the books if you like (I did, it's nice to have them at the table with you), but the PDF "no-art" versions are free for download. If you look around the site a bit, you'll likely find some more free stuff as well; I just downloaded the Mutant Future rules for the game, didn't even notice 'em before.

Free Adventures:  Some of the links on this  post are dead; looks like Wizards of the Coast killed a lot of the free 4th edition stuff they had kicking around for some reason. However, looks like plenty of the 3.5 ones still work. I was going to post a link to the full 3.5 archive they used to have, but it looks like they killed a bunch of that too. But if 3.5 is your thing....

The Hypertext d20 SRD: An enterprising soul named Jans Carton has put together this speedy reference for the whole darn system, as well as some nice extras like a "dice bag" and spell and monster filters. It's not a download like the other stuff on this list, but if you use a lap top or something at the gaming table very often, holy geez would this thing be handy. God bless the Open Gaming License. And speaking of the OGL....

D20 PFSRD: Here's Paizo's version of the same thing. It doesn't have quite the elegance and ease of use of the one above, but it's got all the Pathfinder additions and alterations, and still makes a handy reference.

GURPS: This stands for Generic Universal Role Playing System. I haven't played it before, but this free download has got me interested. Which is obviously it's intent, but still. It uses only six sided dice, so that makes things a bit easier, and it can be modified to fit basically any setting, time period, planet, dimension, what have you. The PDF download in the link doesn't seem to have quite enough info to run a game (at least not easily), but it looks to be a good introduction for prospective players. Even if it's a marketing ploy to get you to buy the books, it's a darn good marketing ploy, so kudos all round.

That should be enough to keep you busy for now. I'm always looking for more, so leaving links in the comments is good.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Not a Book Review #1: it's not a book review.

I enjoy reading. I read first thing in the morning, last thing before I go to bed, and during my lunch breaks. I like to mull over what I've read when I'm done, and occasionally even have thoughts about books that might (MIGHT!) be worth sharing. That being said, I'll probably never write a book review. The reason for this is the kind of books I tend to prefer.

Like many people who enjoy reading, I usually have more than one book on the go. I recently finished three books more or less at the same time: Tales of the Dying Earth, by Jack Vance (which is actually four novels published under the one title); Batman: Hush, By Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee (which is actually issues 608 to 619 of "Batman" published under one trade paperback); and The Bhagavad Gita, traditionally ascribed to the sage Ved Vyasa (which is actually part of the epic Mahabharata).

Presumably you see my issue. "Hush" was published over a decade ago, Vance published the first "Dying Earth" novel over 60 years ago, and scholars figure the "Gita" has been around since at least 200 BC. Loeb and Lee were getting a lot of press as these were two major creators at the top of their respective games, Vance has been a major influence on science fiction and fantasy (not to mention gaming) throughout the latter half of the 20th century, and the Mahabharata is studied and beloved by Hindus the world over. Not exactly the same scope, I'll grant you, but that's not the point. My point is: what the heck am I going to review? What am I going to add to the mountains reviews, commentaries, and studies that these works have already engendered? If I say Hush was cool but his motivation was actually kind of stupid, or express an interest in how the Dying Earth stories became increasingly satirical as the novels went on, am I saying anything that hasn't been said a hundred times before by someone who said it better?

Probably not. But recently I decided that I should stop moping so much, and do what I do best (other than moping) which is : The patently ridiculous and ill-advised.

Next time on "Not a Book Review": I will attempt to compare the themes of these three completely different works in a deep and meaningful way. Should be entertaining, or at least embarrassing, which passes for entertainment in a pinch.

Post script: I can't help it; I gotta bitch about this one thing in "Hush". Jim, your work's great, your layouts are fun and dynamic, but you kept doing this thing where you have the panels go across both pages instead of one page at time as is usual. Now maybe this worked OK in the original comics run, maybe it happened on the "staple page" (although I doubt it because you seem have made it a running thing where it was the second page of each issue), but in the trade it just puts panels splat in the middle of the binding. In most cases, this wrecked the art and pacing, and sometimes made it hard to tell what's going on at all. Jim, please don't do this anymore.

Batman and Catwoman kiss in a scene reminiscent of Walter Kovacs'
childhood drawings in Batman: Hush

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mal-Nuk, son of Borth

Mal-Nuk, son of Borth!
Exactly what you'd expect!
Mal-Nuk, son of Borth!
He can almost walk erect!

Mal-Nuk, son of Borth!
A jaunty sort of bloke!
Mal-Nuk, son of Borth!
The "erect" line wasn't initially a dirty joke! But it may as well be now that I've called attention to it! I mean, I just meant he can stand upright, but if you're going to take it that he walks around with an erection all the time, I suppose you can go ahead if that sort of thing amuses you!

I intended on spending some time waxing rhapsodical about the all the mechanical and flavor aspects of RPG multi-classing in general, and the Barbarian-Rogue in particular. I have some very interesting and insightful thoughts on it, that are utterly unorganized, unprepared, and very likely unoriginal. But as it turns out, I'm not in the head space for that at all today. I'm more in mood for disjointed commentary and spontaneous  improvised verse.

And isn't saying "it wasn't meant as a joke" really just another kind of joke? Somewhat akin to the "no pun intended" people? Yes, yes you did mean to make a pun, I can see it in your eyes that you think you're being very clever about your pun, but you think I'm too stupid to notice it and so you say "no pun intended" to draw attention to your clever, clever pun. Am I angry or bored with you? I honestly can't tell anymore.

Maybe next time more RPG stuff. I'm also planning a rip-roaring little piece about how I think it might be nice to do a book review someday. It's going to include all my excuses for why I never actually do a book review.

Perhaps by then  there will be less mind static spilling out of the spaces between the words.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Her Majesty's Irregulars

So it seems I've begun to post again. Shall I recount all the thoughts, feelings, and world views that resulted in my abandoning this blog over a year ago? And then shall I follow it up with an explanatory analysis of my motivations for this attempt at beginning again? Or shall I simply continue on as as though there was no interruption, like a coma patient who finishes a sentence he started five years ago right before he lost consciousness?

I agree. Reality is boring, mystery is fun.This is a boring mystery, so I should at least break even.

To business:

Some time ago I was going to try running a Dungeons and Dragons campaign where all the magic in the world had faded away, leaving only remnants of the spells and monsters that had once shaped the land. These had retreated to forgotten corners of the globe, only occasionally breaking out to threaten, raid, and kill. The PC's would be working for a secret agency of the government created to combat these creatures, at least at the start, and any demi-human PC's would be some of the last of their kind recruited into service to help defend the clueless populace from supernatural evil. Essentially, I wanted an Elizabethan Hellboy vibe.

The Oath of Her Majesty's Irregulars:

We are the secret invisible shield
That ne'er will buckle, splinter nor yield
We strike from the shadows 'gainst all that is feared
The Eldridge, Unholy, and Unspeakably Weird

My thoughts on how they would hide and disguise themselves (intended for 4th Edition, which may not have been the best choice for this sort of chicanery):

Disguises: Every member of the HMI is trained in the deceptive arts, so all PC’s get Bluff as a bonus skill. Thus, disguises will always hold up to a cursory glance; the PC’s need only make a bluff check if they’re interacting with someone or they’ve drawn attention to themselves in some way. Checks can be made against passive insight, or a DC of the DM’s discretion (+2 bonus to check for half humans). Also left up to the DM’s discretion is whether a particular disguise would work, eg. a hat covering the ears will work fine for an elf, but not so much for a dragonborn.  Circumstances will also grant bonuses and penalties, such as whether the lighting is good or bad, the PC is drunk, etc. Success means the target buys the disguise, and the PC may interact with them normally. Failure (or not being in disguise) against any random NPC’s that aren’t already involved means we roll on the table:

1.    Target is shocked, and is unsure of how to proceed. You may make an Intimidate attack vs. Will as a free action (-2 for half humans). Hit: If Non-com or bloodied, will retreat, screaming hysterically. If combatant, grants combat advantage (save ends). Miss, or no check made: Will stand up to you, and call for help. May attack, if not already fighting. 
2.    Shrugs it off, thinks he is seeing things. May swear off drink for a while.
3.    Thinks you’re deformed human, and is put off by it. -2 to Cha. Based checks.
4.    Thinks you’re a deformed human, and is moved to pity. Will try to do something nice for you.
5.    Fear leads to anger; immediately attacks you.
6.    Recognizes you for what you are, and is a fan of the old tales; very happy to discover they are true. Will keep the secret quiet, but will otherwise act “fan boy”, following you around, asking questions, and trying to be your friend.
7.    Recognizes you for what you are, and is a conspiracy theorist. 50% chance he thinks you work for the government, 50% chance he thinks you work against the government. Either way, will tell everyone he knows about you. Only 5% chance they believe him. May try to follow you.
8.    Assumes you’re in costume. May direct you to the nearest theatre, or advise you of the correct date of Corvusnox.
9.    Wasn’t really paying attention, just caught a glimpse; you may make another Bluff check, but at -2.
10.    Just plain scared. Non-com is mute and immobilized with fear, combatant grants combat advantage against only you for rest of encounter.
11.    Is familiar with all things supernatural, and will take you in stride. May have non-human friends. If shop keep, may secretly trade in magic items.
12.    Turns out is also non-human, and will reveal it to you. Roll on “non-human” table. If a shop keep, may trade in magic items.
13.    Was on edge of madness, and has been pushed over by you. Roll on insanities.
14.    Terrified. Turns into a wailing, gibbering mess. Surrenders immediately.
15.    Enemy spy. Know exactly who you are, and who you work for. Will pretend he doesn’t notice or will feign fear (makes a bluff check against your insight) but will report you activities to his superiors at earliest convenience.
16.    Doesn’t know what you are, but is strangely attracted to it. Will hit on you. +2 to Cha. based checks.
17.    Not sure what’s happening but knows he doesn’t like it. Will keep quiet now, but will try to attack you when you’re back is turned. May try to get reinforcements.
18.    Sees what you are, claims also to be of that race, but isn’t.
19.    Immediately bolts.
20.    Devoutly religious, and assumes you are some sort of devil. Will attempt to banish you with chants, prayers, holy water, etc.

When I finally ran my first session, it ended up being a variation of the Fool's Grove Delve, heavily amended to suit my own tastes. Feedback to that one was mixed, but I still wouldn't mind trying out Her Majesty's Irregulars one day.

I think it would likely work better as an AD and D campaign, though.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Magician

The Magician cleared his throat gently.

 "And now," he announced," for my final…"

He trailed off as he squinted through the spotlight and tried to see into the nighted gallery. The auditorium had been sparsely populated when he had begun his act, but now he could see only a single shabbily dressed man snoring softly in the second row, and a shadow near the back that was either a very fat man rolling about on the floor or a couple making love.

"My…my final…"   

He stepped backward as he straightened himself, and his foot nudged a small pile of scrap metal that had once been three steel hoops that had twisted, bent, and tangled, but stubbornly refused to separate. He felt a tap on his right shoulder, and glanced over at a paramedic trying to get his attention.

"We're taking her to get stitches," he said, jerking his thumb back towards the Magician's Assistant. She was being helped off the stage by the other paramedic, having suffered a nasty saw-cut to her ribs earlier in the evening. "You might want to put those out," he added, waving his hand at the half-dozen smoldering dove corpses scattered about the stage that were currently filling the air with the stench of burnt feathers and cooked fowl. The Magician turned back to the spotlight.

"Um. And now…"

He was interrupted by the sound of what was undoubtedly someone's phone going off, a tinny rendition of a decade old pop tune. "Hit me baby…" it was singing. No one was turning it off, and the person on the other end wasn't giving up. "Hit me baby…"

The show must go on. He had been told it his whole life. His whole performance career anyway, and wasn't it really the same thing? The show must go on. He said it to himself every night. Except this time, at that moment, he made the supremely dangerous mistake of asking himself why.

He felt his scalp grow warm as the rabbit in his hat relieved itself.

"Fuck this." He palmed a miniature smoke bomb and threw it to the ground. A thin tendril of smoke struggled out of it and quickly dissipated. The trap door opened under the Magician's feet, and he dropped away out of the spotlight into the darkness beneath the floor boards. 

He banged his chin pretty badly on the edge of the hole on the way down.