Thursday, April 10, 2014

This blog has moved

To here: Studio Denmark Blog

For a few years now I have been maintaining 3 blogs:

OEF: (this one) a general game design blog that talks mostly about classic games from the 70's and early 80's from a modern POV.

Dungeoneer: a game design blog dedicated to my first published game Dungeoneer which was published in 2003 and is still going strong.

Art Blog: a blog devoted to my sketches, work in progress, thoughts about art, illustration, and conceptual design and occasional finished art work. Not really a portfolio site (for that go to, but you could get some insight into my work and process.

Well, I've decided to merge those 3 blogs into this one. Studio Denmark is my imprint from which I publish art books, games, and various other products mostly for trade shows, some for publishers, and hopefully some soon for retail. So it might seem eclectic as I talk about art in one post, game design in another, and who knows what in the next. But it will reflect my interests and hopefully be of some value to professionals, or aspiring artists and designers, interested in illustration, concept art, or game design.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

RIP David Trampier 1954-2014

I've written here a few times how much I admired Dave Trampier. His passing drives home the fact we'll never see a new piece of art from his brilliant hand, unless (I hope) there is some secret stash of unpublished art somewhere that will someday be revealed.

He was a great one, perhaps the best artist of the early 1st edition era, and sadly his art career ended too soon. But I hope he found peace and happiness as a taxi driver. I can say from my own experience that being a delivery driver while in college was one of my favorite jobs, so I can kind of understand.

You can leave a message on his obituary to say how much his work meant to you:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Kudos to Wizards - Original Edition D&D Premium Reprint is Well Done

When the Original Edition premium reprint was first announced I was quite excited. Then I'd literally forgotten about it until wandering through my local game store and seeing it sitting on the shelf, one lonely copy left. The game store owner told me they'd only received 3 copies and that was all they could get. I'm glad that Wizards chose to make this available in game stores first before releasing it to larger chains and Amazon. This shows some commitment to the local communities that keep tabletop games alive. Albeit on life support.

There are some very interesting and surprising qualities to this reprint. It is really more than a reprint, remastered might be a better term as we'll see. The box is composed of high quality lacquered wood, inside are a full set of dice, the original 3 booklets, all 4 expansions, summary sheets, and some nice art prints. It is a nearly complete facsimile of original edition. All fairly densely packed with only a little air space. It comes across as a nice high quality collector's edition.

First thing I noticed when opening the box is how crisp the printing is. I got out my old original edition set for side by side comparison. Not only is the printing sharper, but the books are about a half inch wider and the same height.
You can see on the cover headers that Wizards used the exact same fonts, next to the original they make the old ones look blurry. I have copies of that font it is called Quentin Caps, and no available version of that font is that sharp, which means they digitally refined it. There are also some minor format changes like emphasis on Rules for Fantastic Medieval Wargames, and then the rest in a smaller font below. The insides have even more delightful subtle improvements.
You can tell they have retyped all the text and layed them out using modern technology for a crystal clear reproduction. Even the art looks cleaner. This is appearing to be a real labor of love beyond what has been done with the previous 1st and 2nd edition reprints. Looking more carefully you can see the line breaks are a little different, and also some word changes. For example referring to these booklets as "books" instead of "volumes". So they did more than just copy the text, some editing has been done. I haven't thoroughly read through them and compared yet, but if my initial cursory inspection revealed changes I suspect there will be more.
The paper is thicker so you cannot see through the printing on the reverse side. With the pages being a little wider the document has a bit more room to breathe, so it feels more comfortable.

Any criticisms I have are minor, and really more of a personal thing. For example it seems strange not to include Chainmail. I can see why Swords & Spells wasn't included, but that really was the mass combat system for the original edition so having it would have made the set more complete. The covers are a brilliant white, too contrasty to me. I'd like to have seen the covers be on off-white or cream paper. This also made me long for Wizards to go a step further and produce a hard bound single-volume, edited, version with redundancies removed, and making it complete by including all the official material from Strategic Review.

So what other piece of nostalgia can Wizards dredge up for us? I think the obvious answer is the D&D Rules Cyclopedia.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Warlor - a sandbox world

Roll 1d6: Creation
1: the gods sang a song, and the lyrics created Warlor. One sour note created evil.
2: a shard of heaven fell and the crash created Warlor. One piece scarred the face of Hatok the most beautiful god, who was so incensed his anger created evil.
3: the lords of creation came together and palavered to create Warlor where they could test their faithful, one lord turned against the others and introduced darkness and deception to the world.
4. a rift was torn in the fabric of the multiverse and a god fell through, the shockwave where she fell created Warlor.
5. ancient aliens, seeking refuge from an enslaved homeworld, terraformed a rocky world and called it Warlor.
6. A god and a demon had an argument, they created Warlor to settle the issue.

How the Warlor map was created.

Step 1.
In Photoshop a blank file was created and the Clouds filter was used on a blank layer. Levels were used to reduce the image to black and white, adjusting slightly between how much black or white in order to create an interesting silhouette.
Step 2.
I found some interesting terrain textures by searching for satellite images. Then hand edited them to fit the contours of the map.
Step 3.
Generated some interesting fantasy names by finding a fantasy name generator (there are dozens out there, in this case I used ). I chose the names I thought sounded cool, slightly modifying some of them.
There has been quite a bit of discussion about this font because of the recent Yahoo logo remake. So I decided to use this font. It is a strong stately font, very legible, and projects strength and class. I like its legibility.

Warlor! A new fantasy world is born.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Trampier Tuesday

Manticore from Monster & Treasure Assortment Set Three.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Against the Cult of the Reptile God

Wizards just made N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God available in PDF.

I have fond memories of running this game back when it first came out. On the surface it follows a familiar formula: quaint village, nefarious goings on, and nearby adventure locals. The added twist is that there is enough going on in the village itself that several adventure sessions and deadly encounters can happen right in the character's home base.

Also I really like troglodytes and nagas, they just seem really sinister and nasty making for great villains. And I also admire Timothy Trumans evocative, dark art work that set the tone for this challenging novice adventure.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Petty Gods

I'm really glad to hear that Gorgonmilk took up the responsibility of getting Petty Gods completed. I thought it was a great idea when I first heard about it, and I donated some art for the interior and the cover.

Looking at the direction it is taking I'm thinking it is a good thing that Gorgonmilk is taking on the job, because it sounds much more compelling as a resource book now!

Hard to believe it was almost two and a half years ago this project started. Damn things can move slow in the OSR. (hello WotRP!)