Saturday, August 11, 2018

Ninja Character Class

For Black Pudding #5, it's a ninja class. I wanted them to be fast and stealthy, not combat machines. They are assassins with a particular shtick.

Like all classes in Black Pudding, this one assumes old school rules such as Labyrinth Lord will be used. The classes that appeared in the OSR Playbook in issue #4 are self-contained to those rules, they are not meant to be used with Labyrinth Lord. I might not have been clear about that up front but I kinda figured the context would be enough. Clever readers of BP are smart people, so I don't do much hand holding.

Also, this zine is all about whatever in the actual fuck I want to do at that moment. So that's why some pages are all hand written, other pages are all font-based, and other pages are a mix. It really is driven by the Muses and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Smoke bomb! I'm gone.

The Boatmen

The boatmen fiddle with the oar on choppy waters. They skitter and crank at one another. It's not really a language so much as a necessity. They are going somewhere and they aren't really good at it.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Gravity Guard in blazing color

Here's a color version of the gravity guard, a monster from Black Pudding #1.

I've been messing around a lot more with color lately. I'm a cartoonist by nature and I tend to think in terms of black ink lines. But I'm no stranger to color. I just  haven't explored it to the same degree. I'd like to explore it a lot more.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Rub It Review: Star Frontiers

Hey, who doesn't love pseudopods and needler pistols? I know I do. Picture a young JV, c. 1985. This 14 year old (soon to be 15) with big glasses and no romantic prospects has been holed up in his room with the classic 1983 D&D red box for months, generating campaigns without any players. He makes his way to Sophia's Bookstore at some point because he knows they have a rack of RPGs. There he witnesses many amazing things, including a Frank Frazetta art book that blows open his ideas about fantasy and this purple box set called Star Frontiers: Alpha Dawn. The cover is rad. Tubular. Totally awesome. It has a crashed ship. It has aliens. It has a pretty redhead. James likey. Somehow James manages to get this incredible treasure in his hands and takes it home. At my advanced age I'm unable to remember how this came about. It was at least a year before I got my first paying job and my family was poor. But my mom was (is) stellar so she did most likely witness my memorization and found the funds to drop $10 on it. Now witness young JV in his room, in his gawdy looking 70s swiveling chair, opening this shining, glistening, purple box with utter reverence and complete magical charm all over his youthful face. Ah, the sorcery of discovery. Especially discovery of the vastness and coolness of Pan-Galactic space. The game comes with two rulebooks, a big double sided grid map, a bunch of cool counters, d10 (two of 'em?), and an adventure module called Crash on Vulturnus. The first rulebook is the 16 page Basic Game Rules in which we learn, well, the basics. It's like a short and sweet intro. I fully confess right here and right now I never actually read this one. I skimmed it, looked at the art, and went straight for the next book. The 64 page Expanded Game Rules is where it's at. Here you get the full version of the game you just bought, not some condensed version for babies. So this game is basically Buck Rogers and Star Trek mashed up. But it's got a spirit of its own. I have heard people compare it to Star Wars, but I reject that comparison. There is not remotely spiritual or mystical or prophetic here. This is a wild west game of lasers and credits. Sure, Han Solo would be right at home in Pan-Galactic space. But there's no room here for the Jedi order or ghosts. Hey, don't let that get you down, though. They DO have electric swords. In this game you play the role of a mercenary, mechanic, scientist, spy, medic, pilot, or whatever kind of gig you choose to specialize in. It's a skill based game, so there are no classes. You choose between four races: human, yazirian (monkeys with glider wings), dralasites (amoeba people), and vrusk (bugs). As new PCs, your adventures will most likely involve working for the Pan-Galactic Corporation in some capacity or another. It's a percentile system. All actions are resolved by rolling d100 and trying to get under a target (usually an attribute score modified by a skill or something like that). You get to use all kinds of cool toys ranging from the aforementioned electric sword to the vibroknife to the laser rifle to the gyrojet rifle. You can program robots, bypass security, and blow shit up with Tornadium D-19 (kaboomite). Oh, and if you get shot at with a laser pistol hopefully you will be wearing your albedo suit. The weird thing about Alpha Dawn is that it has precious little to say about space ships. There are no rules in this box for flying them, for example. That fact lent this game a tremendously terrestrial vibe for a space game. I played this with cousins and school friends and most of our adventures involved running around the giant grid map of Port Loren, blasting holes in the city trying to capture escaped villains or battle sathar invasions. Space travel was always hand waved. Of course this game is followed up by the second box set, Knight Hawks, which was ALL about the space travel and space combat. I didn't own Knight Hawks and I never got to play with it, so I have no nostalgic attachment to it. Back in 2012 I ran a couple games of Star Frontiers for some local friends, one of whom was a HUGE fan of the game and owned 100% of all it. My friend James Koti, may he rest in peace, was a giant Star Frontiers nerd and wanted to use all the shiny books. But I was just running a game for nostalgia and I only wanted to use Alpha Dawn. It was fun, but I suspect he really wanted to run with it much longer and much farther. In hindsight, now that James is gone, I really wish I had ran harder and longer with the game. I ran it again for my Monday night pals, who I lovingly call the Doomslakers. That was a year or more ago. I ran the module Mission to Alcazzar, which I heavily modified. In our game, we spent at least 3 sessions on board the Nightrunner dealing with some very dangerous mining bugs, which were the central threat of the adventure as I ran it. The module is basically a very terrestrial hex crawl and has little in it to suggest space. Our adventure ended with a naked mad scientist riding an armored mining bug trying to kill the party. There was a lot of hand grenade action going on and of course all the robots in the CDC compound were set to kill. A good time was had by all. I love this game, and it's 90% because of nostalgia. I believe the system is good, but has rough bits I don't love as much. The way skills are figured is a bit wonky, I think. But hey, it all works. In the end I think my mom could not have spent 10 credits on a better product.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Black Pudding Review at Print and Paper Games

Jeff George over at Print and Paper Gamer gave Black Pudding a nice, lengthy review that is much appreciated.

I will make a couple of clarifications, just to avoid confusion. Some confusion is undoubtedly caused by my lack of explaining myself in the zine so the blog author is not to be slighted here for it.

Black Bestiary: This title for the monster section only appears in issue #1 because after including it I did a Google search and realized that Black Bestiary was a name already in use by multiple entities. I normally Google stuff like that first, but in this case I didn't. So I decided to drop the name and just not worry about it. Now I am free to sprinkle monsters through the zine wherever I want, which is better for the chaotic nature of the venture.

OSR Playbook: The article says this was hand-lettered, but it is not. I use a couple of fonts. I did combine the use of Elsene with hand-drawn flair for the character class headers. The rest is not hand lettered. Also, the article states that there are 4 classes but there is no Cleric in the mix, so there are really only 3.

Thanks again to Jeff George for the very kind review!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Black Pudding Print... with goodies

Black Pudding #4 in print with goodies!

When you buy a Black Pudding from across the pond (weird phrase, right?) you can get it in a bundle with other goodies like graph paper and character sheets! I mean, who wouldn't want that?

That Peter Regan knows what he's doing.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

R&R: Ready and Willing

Here's a new Rabbits & Rangers drawing for the upcoming project. This was based on a sketch that  had been sitting around for at least 3 years, maybe more. I had actually started inking it over a year ago and finally sat down and knocked it out this morning. Turned out pretty cool, I think.

I don't like predicting what I'll do in the future because I'm constantly changing my mind and in the end what I do is what I end up doing. Hell, that's what Black Pudding is... just the stuff I do, not the stuff I planned to do. There's a difference. If I did all the stuff I planned to do I'd be the most prolific creator in history.

This drawing made me think about flying rules, which I cover fairly well in the current book. I am going to re-write that section to make it simpler, less fiddly. But the point is simple. A bird character can't fly and carry their normal amount of equipment. The bird in this drawing cannot fly without doffing their cloak, at least. I say in the book that you can hold one small item and still fly. So the staff would be out too. But I'm considering some ways in which a flying caster could still fly with a staff, as part of the fabric of the setting. Like a spell or special skill they learn. I'm not sure yet.