Sunday, 27 May 2012

I'm Ahead of my Time...

...or behind it.

For the last few months I've been working on a game design of my own, it started out as an OSR game, but then I decided it go head and implement a few mechanics of my own. I've just downloaded the 5e playtest materials and had a quick look over the monster stat blocks and they look remarkably similar to my own.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Roll Call!! (more nostalgia)

As I was flipping through my old basic D&D books I noticed some pencil lines around alot of characters in some of Larry Elmore's amazing illustrations (to this day, I still feel his ink & brush work from the basic books was his best). What were these pencil lines from? They are the same dimensions as the character illustration boxes from the basic character sheets. I would find the right crop, get my father to photocopy the page at work, and I would cut the image out, and tape it to my sheet. Instant Larry Elmore character art. I used alot of Elmore's work for my characters' inspiration.

So, without further delay, here's the roll call for my character's I grew up with, probably around age 8 to age 15. There were many more, of course, but these are some that I remember...

First up, we have the fighter... Horace. Yup, I named a character Horace, and I'm fairly certain I took the name from the Monster Squad. Which would date this character to 1987. I can't say I remember much about him, he was made at a time when I went through alot of characters.

Next we have Fleetwood the fighter. Oddly, the name wasn't derived from Fleetwood Mac, rather, it was a name I came up with myself and seem to remember thinking it was pretty awesome. He was a long running character for me, until he was heroically lost... literally. I lost his character sheet. Rest in peace, Fleetwood.

The only non-Elmore character to make it into the list (although to be fair, when she started out I think I used Aleena the Cleric's image from the basic books) is Flo Khan. Yup, I had a character named Flo. I didn't realize until I was older that Flo is generally short for Florence. In my defense, I stole the name. An older kid next door that played AD&D (that I idolized) had a female fighter named Flo, so that's her "origin story." She was my only character that I made from basic D&D that made it into my 2e days. She was a tough as nails barkeep by day, and no-nonsense, ass-kicking fighter by night, that eventually attained a sunblade. When she crossed over into 2e, before our house rule of rolling up charcaters with other players to witness, I rolled a 18/100 strength for her. Then thinking no one would believe me, I rerolled and she wound up with an 18/36.

My final entry for my basic days, and only non-fighter, the thief Greenan. Greenan was a lawful thief, but had no problem breaking and entering when he needed to. I seem to remember taking his name from the novelization of Willow, where Willow is casting a spell, one of the words he says is greenan. But, Greenan's story hasn't ended, he appeared again (after some 20+ years!) in a campaign of mine last year as an NPC that helped the PCs. It was great, because the whole time they didn't trust him, and he saved their asses when they needed it most. I sort of based him off the gyrocopter pilot in the Road Warrior, thought he'd be great as a thief. (Please note: this image was taken from one of my books, you can still see the faint rectangle around his head)

And finally, my favourite, and first character from 2e, Falen Harrwood, a half drow elf ranger. When I saw this image when I was in grade 7 I was just reading through my 2e books and thought this was the coolest looking D&D character ever. I had to make a ranger, and this had to be him. He was a very somber, reclusive character who stayed away from civilized areas, afraid that people would recognize his drow blood line. And no, he did not dual wield! He had a long sword and a shield, and eventually wore a cloak of displacement. For the campaign I'm currently working on, both Falen and Flo will make an appearance (as well as a few others), so as nerdy as it is, I am looking forward to see them in a game again. Falen and Flo were probably last active around 1994.

I may have to make a part 2 to this post, as I found another image of a character — Falen and Flo's child... (play dramatic soap opera music here).

Saturday, 12 May 2012

A Sketch

This is a rough pencil I hope to ink this weekend of a gnoll wielding two flails.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Good Ol' Days

Warning: I may ramble on...

After listening to a bit of the Barrowmaze podcast it got me feeling nostalgic about D&D. After all, for me at least, the best part of the game was telling stories of your characters' (mis)adventures. I find talking about D&D can be just as fun as playing it, and telling stories that involve rolling a 1 are much more interesting than stories about rolling 20s!

So, here's my first (of probably many) posts on D&D and nostalgia. Topic 1: The little game store.

Back in the 80's little game stores seemed to be fairly common, sure, many seemed to go under quickly, but there would soon be another to pop up and fill the void. Sadly, these game stores seem to be a thing of the past these days. A few still exist (there's one not too far from where I live now) but I think a big part of my nostalgic love for them have to do with what was on the shelves: Car Wars, orange spines of AD&D books, zip-lock bags of Steve Jackson's Cardboard Heroes, and rows of amazing, illustrated blister packs of Citadel miniatures. For me, a game store needs to be small, have creaky, old wooden floors and a heavy set guy behind the counter that watches you like a hawk!

I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the first game store I ever went to was Medieval Works in Osborne Village. My older brother was nice enough to take me on the bus one day. I still remember my first purchase (I think I do at least): a Grenadier blister pack of ghouls (I think). There were two of them, they were small, and somewhat bestial looking. Included in the blister was a corpse inside a coffin.

Another store that came about in the late 80's was Hit Points, I remember their massive miniature collection the most. That's the store where I bought my copy of Car Wars: Deluxe Edition. I don't remember Hit Points being around for very long.

The store I spent most of my money at was Campaign Outfitters, which was on Corydon Ave. at the time when it was a truly great store. Tiny, and packed full of gaming goodness. I bought my first 1st edition AD&D book in that store, used, from the owner himself. This would have been in the early 90's when I visited it the most, when I was around 14. I think that's when I noticed a shift in gaming. All these amazing Citadel miniatures they had stocked, weren't being restocked anymore. Instead, they were being replaced by "Warhammer" miniatures. I hated the packaging, and the lack of "character" in the sculpts. And instead of 3-5 miniatures per pack, you were getting 1 or 2. Campaign Outfitters changed locations to a bigger store, and was still pretty good, and I think is still around in another new location, but just doesn't have that feeling it used to have.

Lastly, there's a true Winnipeg institution: Pendragon Games. It was around in the early 80's, and is still there today, albeit in a new location. Every time I go home to visit my parents, I have my pilgrimage to Pendragon. This is a true gaming store. I went in a few years back, and sitting on a shelf was Standard Games' Cry Havoc, from 1981. It's like stepping into the same store that it was back in the 80's. Old copies of White Dwarf (that covered D&D), 1e modules, and there's new stuff too of course, but that's not why I go. I just hope it's still there for my next visit.

And that's my ramble. I'm curious as to what you other old tyme gamers experience of gaming stores, old and new, are. Also, the names of the stores you went to. Do you younger gamers think you'll feel the same way about the "new" gaming stores of today?

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

That stupid, stupid thief...

I noticed this up over at the Barrowmaze II campaign page, so I thought I'd post it here as well. For your viewing pleasure...