Monday, April 22, 2019

Read Wormy from First to Last

Happy Birthday Dave Trampier!

Dave and I have something in common, we share the same birthdate. I was reminiscing about the Wormy comic strip and found this website that compiled them all together in an easy to read format. You can start from the very first one and just hit Next to see the next one. You can get through the entire run rather quickly and appreciate just how great this strip was and also see Dave's artistic growth. The artwork starts out good and by the end is truly remarkable!

So, celebrate Dave's birthday with me and read Wormy.


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A Chainmail Retro-Clone

I've been playing around with the idea of creating a Chainmail retro-clone. Now that Beasties II is done, this is the next book on my schedule. The original book itself, like all early TSR products, is a scattershot with random organization. For example poring over the text for information on any unit type shows bits of valuable game information scattered across various tables and sections.

A while back I did a little personal project to reformat the original Chainmail to make it more useful for my gaming group. Since Chainmail is not public domain I couldn't disseminate it, other than showing a few fair use page examples (I was even warned on one forum not to post any more images of it).

I wouldn't be the first to make a retro-clone of Chainmail. There is Grognard which you can learn about here. Also there is Platemail, and the excellent Swordplay & Spellcraft that takes it into an RPG direction. There are probably others I don't know about. Grognard is closest to what I envision for a retro-clone as it stays close to the source mechanically, but it doesn't get the aesthetic quality I'm seeking. So here is a little example. This takes all the information of an Anti-Hero unit, puts it all together into one stat block with a cool illustration to decorate it.

Division: Chaos
Point Value: 20
Combat 1:20: 4 figures as unit type +1 die (see below)

Combat 1:1: 4 figures as unit type (see below)
Combat FC: Hero
Hit Points: 4
Move: see below
Charge: see below
Road bonus: as unit type
Missile Range: by weapon type
Morale: n/a

Special Abilities:
Never need to check morale.
Add 1 to dice of their unit for 1:20 combat results.
Last figure in unit to be killed by regular missile fire or melee.
May engage in regular melee with normal troops, 1:1 combat with other heroes/anti-heroes, or engage with fantastic creatures on Fantasy Combat table. (See below)
A Hero-type, armed with a bow, shoots a dragon passing within range overhead out of the air and kills it on a two dice roll of 10 or better (9 or better when firing an enchanted arrow).
Anti-heroes have the fighting ability of four figures. Their class of figure is dependent on the arms and equipment of the Anti-hero types themselves, who can range from Light Foot to Heavy Horse.
Melee (1:20) Combat: Anti-heroes are the equivalent of 4 figures. They move, charge, fire missiles, attack and defend per their class. When meleed by regular troops, four simultaneous kills must be scored against Anti-heroes to eliminate them. Otherwise, there is no effect upon them.
Man to Man (1:1) Combat: Similar to Melee Combat.
Fantasy Combat: Anti-heroes may be attacked individually by enemy troops of like type (such as other Hero-types) or creatures shown on the Fantasy Combat Table. Anti-heroes may act independent of their command in order to combat some other fantastic character.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Dream Cover - In Search of the Unknown

Frank Frazetta was born this day February 9, 1928, in Brooklyn, NY. I'm dedicating this "Dream Cover" post to him.

In Dream Cover posts I imagine being the art director on a project and who would I contract to do the art. Once in a while an image strikes me as being the perfect cover for something and I'm tempted to make a post about it. In this case a question came up on Twitter about if you could own just one Frank Frazetta art which one would you take? Wow, what a question! At first I thought it would be a simple task of looking through some favorites and picking one, but it wasn't that easy. Besides the quality of the image there are personal feelings about where, when, and on what the first time you encountered a Frazetta image. In my case the first of his work I ever saw was Spider Man and it blew my mind how powerful it was. Keep in mind that this was in the 70's, long before the internet and before the proliferation of fantasy art we see these days.

Then, there was Moon Maid the very first Frazetta painting I saw on the cover of an Edgar Rice Burroughs' book. This introduced me to the writings of Burroughs and made me a life long ERB fan. This may just be my favorite painting of his.

One that I have the most nostalgia for was this cover he painted for Illustrators of the Future. While it's not one of his best (it's still amazing), it was the first Frazetta original painting I saw in person. And it was the cover of the first book my work was published in. Apparently this was right after he recovered from a serious medical condition that threatened his life and career, so this was a bit of a comeback piece for him.

A trip through Frazetta's work is always fun, and while I was looking around I saw his cover for "The Secret People" (Lancer, 1964) which I believe started his career with ACE. To get back to the topic of this post: the Dream Cover would be this image and it is almost perfect for module B1: In Search of the Unknown. Just put some fantasy armor on those foreground characters.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Beasties 2!

This little book of monsters for your OSR game has been sitting on the backburner long enough. This is one of those little gems I'd take out and work on every once in a while between other projects. It's been long enough! I powered through the completion of this book, tying up loose ends, and trimming the fat. What it is, I hope, is a worthy successor to the first Beasties book. It has the same quirky charm, more useful beasties, some interesting NPC's, and other little goodies. Oh, and a ton of art! These monster books take so long for me to do because of how much art they need. But they are so fun.
I'm selling the PDF directly on my webpage, so I'm able to pass savings on to you.