Vision Map 2019

A while back I posted a Vision Map of OSR projects I'm working on. My original goal was to finish them in 2018, but that was a bit ambitious. Here it is halfway through 2019 and how are these projects coming along?
I went through the various documents and artwork to see where things are at. I have a terrible habit, instead of working serial: one project at a time until completion, I tend to work parallel: jumping from project to project as whim and inspiration comes along. So here is a visualization of where these parallel projects are at. The good news is two of them have been completed! Beasties II and Knight Hawks.

If you are interested in any of these and want to see their development, and even help in playtests and early previews you can sign up for my Patreon and get access, along with other rewards. Patreon.com/ThomasDenmark

The Origin of the Basic D&D "Known World" or Mystara Setting

Black Gate got a great scoop on the origin of Mystara, the default fantasy campaign setting for basic D&D.

Lawrence Schick says:
In early ’74 Tom [Moldvay] came back from an SF convention with Dungeons & Dragons in its original white box edition. He DMed a session, I DMed a session, and suddenly we knew what we were going to create together: a fantasy world setting for D&D.
We were both nuts about Clark Ashton Smith, Tom was a Michael Moorcock and Philip José Farmer fanatic, while I could quote chapter and verse from the works of Jack Vance and Fritz Leiber. So we knew what we wanted to create: a single world setting that would enable us to simulate the fictional realities of these, our favorite authors.
Read the full text here:


Knight Hawks, the first expansion for Colonial Troopers

Knight Hawks, the first expansion for my sci-fi game Colonial Troopers has been released. I made a fun cheesy little promo video to give you the gist of what the book is about. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/280570/Colonial-Troopers-Knight-Hawks

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.



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.

Beasties II now on DriveThruRPG

Both Print & PDF versions (including package deal) are live now on DriveThruRPG.


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.

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.

Call for Articles!

I'm putting together a one-shot homage to classic 80's Dragon magazine. It will be called Drakar and have the look, feel, and layout of that era. Including articles, ads, even humor!

In order to fill this up I'm looking for articles from the OSR. It can be an original article, an excerpt from your homebrewed RPG or campaign. This issue is going to be generally Norse Mythology themed, but just like those old magazines it will be a hodge-podge of cool stuff, so anything you enter that is RPG related will work. No bias towards any particular system.

Also looking for ads, that's right, free ad space! Remember those old homebrewed ads of someone's passion project? Hardcopies will be available, and the neato thing is that since it will also be a PDF any links you include in your ad will be clickable to take the reader straight to your web page or online store item.
You can submit your article to tldenmark at gmail dot com. Space is limited so submit your entry now.

Old school ads!

Tower of the Moon

I've really been getting into drawing maps lately! This is Tower of the Moon, a sort of Werewolf's version of Ravenloft. It will soon be an adventure written by the esteemed David Pulver.

ERB Update

It's been a while since I checked the official Edgar Rice Burroughs channel on Vimeo. I visited it this morning and see they've uploaded a few more clips. Each video is a nice vignette of different properties ERB created, mostly of Tarzan, there is a good one on Barsoom too.

I particularly enjoyed the one of Pellucidar. It's surprisingly long and covers a lot of material. The others are much shorter.

Check them out here:

ERB Channel

Tower of the Moon - Isometric Map

I'm doing the art and layout for an adventure called Tower of the Moon written by David Pulver. Here is the WIP map of the tower. Still a lot more details to add and then color it. This has been played extensively in home brewed games, so should be well play tested and be a lot of fun.

Artist Spotlight: Roger Raupp

In the 80's hey day of TSR Roger Raupp was the most ubiquitous artist in the pages of Dragon magazine.

Raupp joined the Dragon staff doing art and cartography, and eventually became the Art Director for Dragon, Strategy & Tactics, and Polyhedron, doing layout, keylining, graphic design, cartography, and some of the art for the magazines.
The earliest Raupp illustration I could find, published in Dragon magazine #40 in August 1980.
I always liked this depiction of a Rust Monster
One of the enjoyable qualities of his work was how down to earth it was in dealing with the fantastic elements of Dungeons and Dragons. His proportions were not overly exaggerated to make a figure super heroic. His women were not drawn impossibly beautiful clad in chainmail bikinis.

The first illustration I recall seeing of his was in Dragon issue 83, the first Dragon I ever purchased. It was for The Dancing Hut, a terrific D&D style treatment of the Russian legend of Baba Yaga.

He painted 72 Magic the Gathering cards in the period it was exceedingly lucrative for an artist to be doing Magic cards. Perhaps this set him up nicely to pursue an independent art career, or to retire on a beach somewhere.

Rudy Didier Rauben
On a forum post in 2007 he posted this:
You'll note that the artist formerly known as Roger Raupp is now going by the name "Rudy Didier Rauben".... or Bonobozo
It seems he wanted to make a radical change in his art career and distance himself from the work he was known for. Other than a book called Immanence of Myth I haven't been able to find much of Rudy Didier Rauben's work.


Super Sandbox Scene - Swamp Village

A New Year and a new series. I've been working on this for a while, you may have seen some of the images I've been leaking over the past month. This is a printable scenery set to use in your RPG. Each month I am releasing a new set. This first one is of an evocative location: a village in a swamp. It has a gorgeous isometic map, battle maps, 2d monsters, props, and scenery.


You can download a free copy here by visiting my Patreon. Absolutely free, you do not have to sign up for anything. https://www.patreon.com/thomasdenmark

10 Predictions for 2119

Some random thoughts on what will be 100 years from now.

All vehicles will be electric. You will be able to order any body style from a catalogue of every car body shape ever made. Classic cars from the 1930's, '40's, 50's, and '60's will be all the rage. They'll be 3d printed.

Meat will no longer be a socially acceptable food (you barbarian!). You will get processed vegetable matter that tastes and feels identical to any meat.

The biggest threat of AI isn't that it becomes sentient and destroys humankind, the biggest danger will be what humans do with AI.

While we may be mining resources on the moon, it is unlikely we'll have a colony on Mars. Perhaps some humans will have visited it and hopefully made it back.

Still no alien contact.

No life outside of Earth discovered.

While the 20th and 21st century were eras of rural folk moving to urban areas, there will be a trend in the reverse.

We'll know more about the Moon, Mars, and some other planets than we do about the deepest depths of the ocean.

Massive portions of the population will be addicted to immersive VR worlds and will permanently retreat there. Entrepreneurs will exploit this and use them as a labor force.

Original IP will be a thing of the past as remixes of what will be Public Domain properties (like Marvel, Star Wars, TMNT, etc.) will be the norm.

Mystery Map - Swamp Village

An iso map of a tiny village built over a swamp. Originally I was thinking it was inhabited by those little frog men; Grippli.

Print and Play Version:

I've relaunched my Patreon to include gaming supplements. I have an entire series of printable material, maps, GM aids, and adventures that I will be releasing each month for patrons. Take a look and consider joining the adventure.