Saturday, February 18, 2017

Dundracon 2017

All setup and ready to go. Looking forward to the reactions to the new games!

Thursday, February 16, 2017


This is sad news to hear. I was always impressed with the creativity and vision of Loren Wiseman in his Traveller RPG.
Hobby game pioneer Loren Wiseman has passed away, according to a post by Munchkin Line Editor Andrew Hackard on the Steve Jackson Games forum.  Wiseman was a longtime game designer who co-founded one of the earliest hobby game companies, Game Designers’ Workshop, in 1973.  He was the co-creator of Traveller, which launched in 1977 and is still being published today.

Mongoose Publishing has printed a new edition of Traveller. Go roll up a character in honor of Loren, hopefully your character doesn't die during the creation process.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dungeons and Dragons and Science!

What do asteroid 2017 BQ6 and a mollusk named Gastrocopta sharae have in common? If you answered Dungeons & Dragons you might be right!

Gastrocopta sharae is named after Shar, the goddess of darkness, caverns and secrets in Dungeons & Dragons.

And asteroid 2017 BQ6? Well, it kinda sorta looks like a die you'd use playing D&D.

Go science!


New Books Just in Time for Dundracon

I've been attending Dundracon for close to 20 years now. Many of those as a dealer. There was a time I did a lot of RPG character portraits, but there is only so much you can take of "my character has a small scar under his left arm pit from the time he fought the night stalker. Also make sure he has the star emblem of the fire goddess on his front and the sigil of the brotherhood of chromatic darkness on his back."

Wait, you want me to draw his front and back in one drawing? That's not possible. How are we going to see the scar under his plate mail armor? And what in the seven heavens is chromatic darkness??

"But that's what I'm paying you to do, he has to show the emblem and the sigil, that's my character, it means everything to me..."

Sorry, got off on a tangent there.

I have a ton of fun at that convention, though I've drifted more towards boardgames over the past few years, I do try to hop into the occasional D&D game or some other classic RPG I enjoy.

I announced the completion of Raiders of the Lost Artifacts and Freebooters, well copies just arrived! And they do look pretty great, probably the best ones yet. However, just a few typos that I need to fix before releasing them to the public. I was hoping to have these for sale at Dundracon, but with these typos...I know all books have typos and minor erros, however this is a little beyond the threshold. I guess I could include an errata sheet.

At any rate, I'm going to fix the typos, upload new PDFs then make them available for general sale. I still have a lot of show prep for this weekend, I'll aim for sooner but they will be available next week.

The Book of Drawings came out really good. The blacks are deep & rich, no breaking up of the lines on the pen & ink work. This one is good to go.

Hmm, drawings of pirates, I wonder why I'd be drawing buccaneers, cutthroats, and scalawags? Is that Anne Bonny and Mary Read? I wonder.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Dr. Strange Edition or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love 4th Edition

I wasn't a huge fan of 4th edition D&D. The game didn't feel right. To me it was a betrayal of decades of D&D history. I was at Gen Con the year it was released. After playing a game and being asked what I thought of it I didn't know how to respond. All I kept thinking was what the fuck was that?? (pardon my French).

The only thing I can liken it to, in terms of the history of D&D, is Swords & Spells. A game which was not received well at all by the gaming public, and was quietly left to wither away. Today you can easily pick up copies of it on eBay for under $30 (you'll see it often listed for much more but don't be fooled). When you do get a copy in your hands you'll see it is usually in a pristine unplayed state. Maybe some minor shelf wear.

Because nobody played it.

What's wrong with Swords & Spells? Compare the simplicity of Chainmail, where a unit has just a few traits like movement speed and combat ability, this makes mass combat, or skirmish level combat fairly easy and quick to resolve. Now imagine you took Chainmail and added on the detail of an RPG character to each unit. Resolving even skirmish level combat could take hours and would be quite tedious.

That's a lot what 4th edition is like.

It's not an RPG, it's a skirmish combat game with layers of special abilities, maneuvers and all kinds of detailed tactical level combat options. If this had been marketed as a skirmish combat game with a box full of minis then it would have made more sense. A successor to the D&D crown it was not. However, it did find an audience as witnessed by the success of the Penny Arcade podcasts of live play.

Setting aside my personal feelings for it, I can see that it is a tight and well designed game. This video gave me some insights and made me think a bit differently about 4th edition. I'm still not a fan, but there are some good ideas in here.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Mad Max: Fury Road Car Porn

Fury Road was a tour de force of heavy metal post apocalyptic car porn, and I loved every minute of it.

A movie like that deserves a great RPG! There have been many post-apocalyptic RPG's, my favorite has always been 2nd edition Gamma World, but I did briefly get into Car Wars. While I liked it the tone was a little too silly, and the rules unnecessarily complicated, so my interest in it waned quickly. I've often thought of designing a new Mad Max style RPG using the OSR style like Swords & Wizardry. But it would take some heavy modification and a lot of play testing. The star of the show would really have to be car-to-car battles and the ability to modify and upgrade your vehicles. I'd want to capture that dramatic, cinematic action like in Mad Max somehow.

This gallery of the cars made for Fury Road is a visual feast. You can really enjoy all the details that went into the designs.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Thomas Denmark's Book of Drawings

I made a new art book in preparation for convention season. It will be first available at Dundracon and Emerald City Comic Con, and at the other shows I go to.

It is chock full of drawings, 60 pages worth! That's sixty pages of fantasy, science fiction, and imaginative pen & ink drawings. This book is filled with wizards, warriors, dragons, femme fatales, pirates, orcs, goblins, mummies, undead, spaceships, space stations, dinosaurs, witches, princesses, fighting men, monsters, tharks, banths, manticores, weirdos, dungeons, centaurs, paladins, stirges, and a whole lot more.

Or you can get it now online!