Wednesday 25 May 2011


Click on the picture to enlargenatify
I have no idea where this is, only that it looks cool. You don't want to be paddling your canoe into this shit, you bet.

I'd use it lke this:
  1. Give the party information that the entrance to some underground cave complex or tomb or something, containing something they want, is behind a waterfall on the River of Certain Painful Death (or whichever river you prefer).
  2. Provide them with landmarks to look for so that they'll know when they're in more or less the right place.
  3. Allow them to struggle up-river through dense jungle for three or four weeks.
  4. Eventually, when you're getting bored with their suffering, tell them that they've spotted the landmarks they're looking for and have them start casting about for the waterfall.
  5. Show them the picture.
  6. Have a digital camera handy to capture their expressions.
But then, I'm kind of a bastard.


Black ball-point pen on cartridge paper

For some reason, when I think of Chaos (in the Moorcockian sense) I alway think of tentacles. Tentacles and eyeballs.

I got really bored with this before it was half-way finished.

Friday 20 May 2011

Build Your Own Cult For Fun And Profit

Click to bloat
I was flailing around last night, trying to put together a credible cult for use in an upcoming episode of my D&D campaign, and my poor old brain was overheating a bit with the work, trying to come up with a multitude of interelated personalities and agendas.

Then I had an epiphany — it occurred to me that I had a ready-made Evil Cult right at hand in the Nazis. It fulfilled all of the requirements, having just the sort of organisation, personalities and inner rivalries that I wanted to represent.

The best part is that it was already made up; all I have to do is to assign new names to the various personalities, maybe give a few of them some powers (the "Hitler", for example, would get some clerical and mind-control powers), and Bob's yer uncle. Instant Evil Cult! It should work for cults of any size, from a couple of hundred, lurking in the shadows, to massive cults oppressing whole populations.

Now to crank up the Everchanging Book of Names and get to work. Now let's see, who's going to be the "Göbbels"......?

Thursday 19 May 2011

The Caunter Scheme for the A9 Cruiser Mk.I

This "dazzle" scheme was named after its inventor, and was used by British forces in the Middle East and North Africa 1940-41.

Mike Starmer has written an excellent reference about it — there's a review of it by Peter Brown on the PMMS site. I'd really like to get my hands on a copy, but I've never seen on in the flesh.

There seems to have been a different implementation of the scheme developed for each individual vehicle type. The one shown here is specifically for the A9 Cruiser Mk.I

I've been painting all my WWII wargames stuff for the 1940 French campaign, but I'm tempted to start doing some stuff for the desert war, if only because wargaming that theatre of operations would require a lot less in the way of tabletop terrain models. On the other hand, the Caunter scheme is kind of a pain in the arse to paint... though it does look pretty.

Click on the image to bloat it to gigantic size.

Wednesday 11 May 2011


I've been taking the opportunity, during my break from GMing, to think about multi-classing. Or dual-classing, or whatever.

At present I'm using a sub-class system, in which a bunch of abilities is tacked on to one of the basic classes and just adds about 15% to 33% to the experience points needed to rise in level, but I'm not entirely happy with that. I'm tempted to rebuild all the sub-classes as fully-fledged classes and move to a more open-ended multi-classing system, similar to the d20 system.

My design aims are these, more or less:
  1. No species-based restrictions on multi-classing (because, phooey)
  2. Fairly easy prerequisites for most classes, enabling at least 1 in 3 normal characters to multiclass if they so desire
  3. Simplest possible prerequisite chains (without enabling ludicrous class combinations)
  4. Simplest possible level advancement requirements (i.e. experience points)
  5. Maintain compatibility, as far as possible, with by-the-book 3rd-party resources (e.g. adventure modules)
  6. Maintain character-level HD cut-offs (i.e. no more HD after 10 levels, regardless of how those levels are composed)
  7. Character levels are counted individually by class, not together (e.g. a L3 fighter, L5 thief is NOT an 8th level character)
  8. Experience is always split between all a character's classes, even if for any reason they can no longer advance in a class
At present my thoughts are somewhat inchoate, and tending towards the general.

I'm thinking (so far) that multiclassed characters would be allowed the best saving throw and attack of any of their classes, with any weapon allowed to any of their classes, but be restricted to the lightest armour of any of them to be able to get the benefit of all class abilities. For example, a 5th-level fighter, 5th-level thief would attack as a 5th-level fighter, could use a two-handed sword, but could not wear any armour heavier than studded leather, nor could he employ a shield, while doing thief things. A magic-user-thief could carry and use a longsword, and attack as a thief, but can't cast spells in any sort of armour. And so forth.

I'm also thinking about the time and training that is assumed in the background of any of the basic classes. For example, a 1st level magic-user is generally assumed to have had a fairly lengthy magical apprenticeship even before beginning their adventuring career, and a 1st level fighter is assumed to have had considerable military training. It may be that some sort "apprenticeship" period should be required before adding one's first level of another class could be allowed: often enough, that would have little impact on the game, since it could be glossed over with a simple decree by the GM that "two years pass while you do your basic training..."

It would mean that it wouldn't really be feasible to start on a multiclassed career half way through an adventure, but that's not such a bad thing in my view. I never liked the way, in D&D3e, a player could just announce that they were going to spend their experience to get a level in some class just because they happened to need access to those skills right then and there.

I guess I also need to think about how energy draining attacks should be applied against characters with two (or three, or four) classes, but I'll get the bones of the system worked out first.

Saturday 7 May 2011

Mike McMahon's Sláine

2000AD, for those unfortunate enough not to be aware of it, is a British weekly comic that has been in publication since 1977 (Wikipedia entry here). Its most famous character is probably Judge Dredd, but another is Sláine, a Cuchulainn-like barbarian warrior. He's been drawn by several different artists in very different styles, but one of my favourites was Mike McMahon, who drew the strip from progs 335 to 360.

These two images are from near the end of McMahon's run, and illustrate an encounter between mystically powered sky-ships.

I love McMahon's scratchy, angular style, and I also really like the fact that most of his warriors are wiry rather than hugely over-muscled. It's a style that really suits the milieu, I think.

Click on the images to see them larger.

Wednesday 4 May 2011

OSRIC -- The Embiggening

The good folks over at Black Blade have, as many of you will already know, done a massive and luxurious hardcover imprint of OSRIC. They added some art, replacing the old green divider pages with full-page black&white drawings, one of which was supplied by Your's Truly (page 307, for those who are interested). Since dealing with small sums internationally is a huge pain in the arse, I asked Jon Hershberger if he'd be willing to pay me in kind (that is, with lovely shiny RPG material) instead of in Yankeedollah, and he agreed.

Yesterday, the package arrived. It made quite a thump when the courier dumped it unceremoniously on my front porch and took off like an amphetamine-fuelled greyhound out of the starting-blocks.

The packaging was.... thorough. Yes, let's say thorough. Multiple layers of cardboard, bubble-wrap and water-resistant tyvek FedEx envelopes. The OSRIC book itself was encased in no less than FOUR FedEx envelopes! Fortunately I keep sharp knives to hand, or I'd be struggling still to penetrate to the inner layers. Anyway, I got through it and revealed the booty...

The new imprint of OSRIC is a pretty hefty tome. It's about as thick as the AD&D PHB and DMG together, though that's not bad considering that it also includes pretty much all of the 1e Monster Manual as well (minus the critters not covered by the OGL, and including a few others from the FF and MMII).

Here it is, sitting with Monsters of Myth, alongside my 1e and 2e manuals and the D&D Rules Cyclopædia (the other stuff are various of my workbooks and sketchbooks). I keep them on a shelf right by my computer; I don't really know why, as I seldom refer to them while I'm sitting here, but it makes me feel good to have them close to hand where I can gloat over them, my precioussss. Yessssss.

Now I'm really tempted to run an OSRIC/AD&D1e game. I suspect though, that what I'll actually do, is keep playing my hideous bastardized frankenstein S&W/D&D/RC/AD&D1e/2e campaign.

And why not?