Monday, December 31, 2018

Art Prints?

I did some research on reasonable prints and found that some services are pretty good and fairly reasonable. I ordered two prints from and they really impressed me.

This one is the art I did for the cover of Winds of the Ice Forest. It is printed on heavy watercolor style paper. These prints are archival and have something like a 50 year guarantee against fading. They were shipped as rolled prints and I put them under a heavy book for a couple of months. So I signed this one and I plan to get a frame for it.

The other one is The Rat Queen Dies Tonight map from Black Pudding #5. This one is also on archival paper, but it's more of a bristol type. Like a heavy cardstock, smooth.

For this print I plan to color it by hand and then frame it. I think that would be a really fun way to create some interesting tangible art (most of my work is digital, you know).

I have no idea how to market these things. I suppose for now I'm just going to put them out there and see if there is any interest. If you like collecting originals and/or prints let me know what you think.


The fuckin' OSR. Who would have thought a movement about making and playing old style elf games could generate controversy?

For my part, the OSR is a creative movement and I love it very much. I fully realize there are problems within the various OSR communities and people who want to completely avoid them have every right to do so. I personally don't think of the OSR as a community. It's more like ten different communities with varying degrees of overlap.

No. Much more than a community, it is an artistic, creative movement. It's a way of making and playing games. It's a way of taking an old thing you love and making art with it. For me, that is. That's why I choose to play in this sandbox. Black Pudding is all about playing in that sandbox.

And the truth is that "OSR" is just a handy label. It's short, has a meaning I can get behind, and is recognizable. It's fully interchangeable with other terms like "DIY D&D" or just "old school gaming". And when you drill deep down into it, this isn't even simply about D&D. It largely is, I would argue, just by looking at the actual content being produced. But no, it's more than just that. Whether you're into Fighting Fantasy or Call of Cthulhu it's got a common core.

I was the kid who wanted to buy paper and pencils, not toys. I wanted the rub off decals and markers. Remember those 99 cent rub off things? I can't remember what they were called. You got a little plastic sleeve in which you found a folded up background image, such as Batman's cave or Road Runner roads. And there was a sheet of images of Batman, Robin, Coyote, Penguin, etc., and you would put the image where you wanted it on the background and then rub it off with a pencil or something. And BAM! you created your own image, story, scene...

OSR, RPG, gaming, D&D... it's all about games of WHAT THE FUCK IF. And I love playing what the fuck if better than anything. I guess that's all I have to say about that.

Black Pudding Character Sheet III

Another character sheet, specifically for the Black Pudding OSR Playbook. But of course it works for most OSR, especially Swords & Wizardry.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Alternate Ability Score Method

Some players are not comfortable with the swingy 3d6 method of rolling ability scores. Mainly because of those nasty low results. And why not? This is supposed to be a game of fantastic action, treasure hunting, monster fighting! You want a larger than life PC. And while I actually love the 3d6 method, I find it much better suited to DCC RPG style funnel play than standard D&D play.

Here's an alternate method that avoids the worst of the negative modifiers while still being random and leaving room for low stats. This is a snippet from Black Pudding #6. This section is meant to augment the OSR Playbook presented in issue #4.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Black Pudding #6... and more

Now that I'm in the latter half of my Xmas vacation I finally got around to working on something. Specifically, I'm diggin hard into Black Pudding #6. Specifically, at this moment, the Meatshields segment.

This segment is always super fun for me. I never plan it, I just let shit emerge. I grab sketches and bits of art here and there, strip characters out, reuse, remix, and just let the chips fall where they may. I'm proud of this super goofy bullshit and I hope it shows.

Example... I just gave chewing weed and a spitune to a busty paladin. Because I can and I did. And it's a glorious feeling to be creatively unfettered. I'm not trying to win any awards or impress any particular people with this project. Black Pudding is just my zine. It is exactly the kind of shit that I would do if given the chance to just do some shit. Which is exactly what I'm doing.

Not that I don't care about quality or doing awesome things. I absolutely do want this book to be cool and impressive. Just as importantly, I want it to be useful. Because as much as I believe RPGs are an art form, I also fully acknowledge they are a hobby pastime... a game. And there are practical concerns at the gaming table. I try to give you a bit of a random shotgun blast of fun stuff you can pluck out and use as desired. Much of it does fit into a greater setting-specific context, for me, but I try not to stuff the pages with too much of that.

Later, at some point, I may collect, revise, and remix a lot of this content into a setting book or standalone game. But right now I'm happy to keep letting the muses guide me down random paths of old school roleplaying goodness.

Dwarfen Saves

Heh. I did this last year for Inktober. A bit of a homage to B/X dwarfs. Also, that's the coolest thief I ever drew. He's skeevy and sleezy. The stripes suggest prison... oh so many stereotypes. I think I'll add him to the Meatshields of the Bleeding Ox.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Print and Play Gamer Review

Revisiting a lovely little review of Black Pudding here.

"Now in its fourth issue, J.V. West’s Black Pudding is one of the most entertaining OSR ‘zines going. Each issue offers 28 pages of 70’s-style, DIY dungeon-crawling craziness, prizing imagination over logic and fun over complexity. And while every Black Pudding feature may not fit into every OSR campaign, West’s rapid-fire writing, exaggerated illustration, expressive hand-lettering (yes, West letters most of the content by hand!) and absolutely unfettered creativity makes every page a hoot to read for anyone who appreciates D&D the way they played it in Lake Geneva."

Black Pudding Heavy Helping Vol. One

Fantasy Forest: A Long Lost Inspiration

I just noticed that I have 12 drafts in my Blogger sidebar. What could they be??

Here's the first one. I wrote this back in June, I think. Can't figure out why I didn't post it.


I gotta find this game. I got it for Xmas one year when I was a kid and I think it may have had a bigger impact on my wee brain than I give it credit for. When I try to think about the stuff I like, such as D&D and comics, this game always comes up in my memories.

This would have been the early 80s. I would have been about 11 or so. This was a few years before I discovered D&D. When I encountered D&D the first time it inspired me so much I HAD TO make my own RPG. So before ever holding a single RPG book in my hands I made my own RPG. What did it look like? Fantasy fucking Forest.

I drew a map with a path. I drew monsters on the path, treasure, a castle, etc. At each "encounter", I wrote down two numbers. One was for attack and one was for defense. I then wrote numbers on little pieces of paper and put them into a bowl. I had no dice.

So I ran this game for a couple of cousins who were probably 9-10 years old. It was probably a total clusterfuck but it was my first GMing experience!

I remember making 3 map games in total, using colored pencils and maybe a ball point pen. Unfortunately those items are long, long lost. I would LOVE to find them again. But I don't think they exist anymore.


I've got a ton of old small press comics and zines in storage. Haven't looked at them in YEARS. I must have snapped some pics of a few of them a while back and forgot.

This one is Tony Brandl's Phaser-Face and the Infernal Equinox. This was a little series that was full of charm and wonderful cartooning. I was in the United Fanzine Organization with Tony and I had the pleasure of sitting next to him at a S.P.A.C.E.* event around 2002 or 2003. He was a fun guy. At one point he stood on his table and loudly YAWPED. I'm not sure why but it caused more people to visit us. This particular year was not long after 9/11 and Dave Sim was a special guest (he was always a special guest come to think of it... this was probably around the time or before the time he was sort of shown to be a... nutter?).

Sim stood up and made some comment about terrorism, freedom, or something. There was some dude in the room who shouted over him with a counterpoint. It was this weird moment where I got the impression that a real and important political issue was being discussed and I was totally oblivious to it. I was vaguely aware that there were two broad strokes arguments and I didn't understand either of them. I was fairly clueless... I was there for comics, dammit!

Anyhoo... Phaser-Face was great. If I'm not mistaken, Tony left the small press comics scene a year or two later to go to university and became involved in acting. I have no idea where he's at today. First hit I get on Google is his old website, which appears to be fairly empty.

*Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo, Columbus Ohio.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Black Pudding Character Sheet II

Another Black Pudding character sheet knocked out today. These will appear in issue #6 of the oozy, squishy zine.


EDIT: I am getting old and confused. I had the descending AC matrix on a sheet that was meant to be for Black Pudding OSR, which uses ascending AC. Silly me. Anyway, these two versions posted above cover the two different flavors of OSR gaming. The bottom one is pretty much standard B/X flavor.

Black Pudding Character Sheet

I finally did a superofficial Black Pudding Old School Playbook character sheet!

Download it here.

Where I Am


Sunday, December 23, 2018

A Bit of Dead Wizards

Every time I circle around to noodling about Dead Wizards, I focus on the setting.
The idea was to make this a standalone game, not a D&D-style game. But I really haven't thought of any interesting mechanics for it. It feels like hacking the core OSR rules platform will work just fine. This might even be a setting for an existing OSR rules set, such as Swords & Wizardry or Labyrinth Lord, with tweaks.

The first tweak is magic. In the first city of Kanebok, where the setting is centered, magic is simultaneously queer and yet woven into daily life. Magic isn't a single thing. There are different kinds of magic. But wizards - those who master otherworldly powers and ancient spells - are not trusted. They are not natural. And hanging over the entire city is the belief that the four greatest wizards from the time of the wizard war still linger in some kind of quasi-living state, subtly affecting the living world with their unending machinations against one another.

(See, that last paragraph was meant to be a discussion of how the magic rules differ from standard OSR rules and yet all I talked about was the mythos of the setting.)

Wizards in this setting would not be limited arbitrarily by spell slots and number of spells allowed per level. Instead, they would acquire their magic however they can. It's an organic process. Players would seek out magic and once they find a spell and figure out how it works, they can cast that spell as often as they like. The limiters would be in the cost of the spell. Each spell would be described in a bit more detail in terms of how it is cast so that spell components, casting time, and other costs are baked right in. There is no need for spell slots when you have to sacrifice blood, treasure, money, or soul to cast a spell.

(Frankly, this is how I'd like to run ALL my D&D style games.)

Another tweak was with weapons. I did a couple of pages of notes and screenshots of various archaic weapons from Egypt and other African regions as well as Persia and some stuff from Southeast Asia. My idea was that each weapon would have it's own perks and maybe a drawback. So your basic d8 sword is the scimitar, for example. A great scimitar would do a d10 or d12 and would require both hands to use. If a weapon has a hook on it, then you'd be able to hook targets, disarm, trap, etc. This is all really just being very specific with the classic weapons list more than anything. Giving the battle options more color as well as more mechanical bits and bobs.

The only other rules tweak I had in mind was to use the attack values table as a basic rule for all mechanics. I posted about it here. I still think that's a boss idea, but I just don't know if it's boss enough to justify using it here.

Fugly God

Saturday, December 22, 2018

A.P. Furtado Art

My friend Anthony Furtado did this badass pinup for me years ago when my comic Pan-Gea was being published by Ape Entertainment. I haven't dusted this off in a LONG time. It's so sweet.

The characters are Brig Iceclover in the rear and Fawn Rainchild in the front. These are both Daughters of Gea, essentially amazonian princesses in my grand personal fantasy mythos.

Anthony once did a short comic for Heavy Metal magazine and he worked at Ka-Blam. He's a top notch illustrator.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Krita Colorize Mask

I was playing around with Krita, coloring some existing drawings. In Photoshop, I used a filter called BPelt to do quick flat color fills on line art. It worked very well. All you had to do was create some line art with closed loops... that is, you couldn't have any open shapes. Like if you had a person's eye you couldn't leave the ink line open or else it would just fill the eye with the same color as the face.

BPelt would fill with random colors. So then you could easily use the paint bucket tool to click and fill each area with the color you prefer. Then it was just a matter of the fun work of doing highlights and what-not.

In Krita, there is a tool called Colorize Mask. You click it, then you get a mask on a layer and you can just sort of draw color lines where you want color to go. So you want the ork to be red, just draw a red line in the ork's body. A blue line across the sky, a brown line across the adventurer's face, etc. Then when you finish the mask it will fill those areas with those colors.

It's pretty nifty. For flat colors, this is the only way to fly. Believe me when I say there's no fun in carefully "hand coloring" vast areas of a drawing with a totally flat color. Might as well let Krita do it for you. Then you can pump your efforts into highlights, color adjustments, shadows, textures, or whatever.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Bengei the Bright

For a while now I've been playing in an off-and-on Advanced Labyrinth Lord campaign. Our DM, Andy, has been running some classic old UK modules such as Gauntlet and Eye of the Serpent. For this campaign I created a spellcaster... Bengei the Bright, a female dazzler. The dazzler is a character class for LL I created a few years ago, complete with some of their own unique spells. They are basically a light wizard. I created their own spell list, which includes a lot of magic-user and illusionist spells along with the new dazzler spells. I tried to keep the theme to light, illumination, and anti-darkness.

Despite having several interesting dazzler spells to use, Bengei really loves to cast good old Lightning Bolt! She has fried many a critter nice and toasty with that gem.

The campaign is set in Greyhawk and Bengei hails from Keoland, daughter of a jeweler. Below is the dazzler class as written a while back. Apologies for typos... this needs to be edited, I think.

Requirements: None
Prime Requisite: Cha, Int
Hit Dice: d4

Dazzlers are Magic-Users whose magic centers on light, color, and auditory effects. They are sometimes called “light witches”.


Dazzlers write their spells in books and on scrolls just like any wizard. They use the saving throws and attack values of a Magic-User. They have the same weapon and armor restrictions that a Magic-User has and can use Magic-User scrolls and magic items.


Dazzling Light: A Dazzler can produce light, as a Light spell, once per day per level. The radius of this light can be diminished to that of a candle if desired. Dazzlers may use multiple slots of Light spells in order to produce alternate effects.

# of Light slots

Colorful patterns may be drawn in the air.

Patterns drawn in the air dazzle onlookers within 30' for 1 round if they fail to save vs. Spells.

A burst of light can be issued that will dazzle and blind onlookers within 30' for 1d6 rounds on a failed save vs. Spells.

8 or more
Any 1 of the following spells may be mimicked: Feeblemind, True Seeing, Globe of Invulnerability, Passwall, Magic Missile.

Spellcasting: A Dazzler may learn and cast spells from their own spell list using the Magic-User’s spell progression table.

Hit Dice (d4)

Dazzler Spell List
Italicized spells are Dazzler-specific and are detailed below.

Ball of Light
Beam Trick
Charm Person
Color Spray
Dancing Lights
Darkness Globe
Detect Magic
Floating Disc
Light Daggers
Magic Aura
Phantasmal Force

Detect Magic
Hypnotic Pattern
Mirror Image
Phantasmal Force, Greater
White Dwarf

Continual Light (reversible)
Dispel Phantasm
Hallucinatory Terrain
Illusionary Script
Invisibility 10' Radius
Lightning Bolt
Rope Trick
Spectral Force

Drawing the Darkness
Glistening Guardian
Implant Emotion
Invisibility, Greater
Mirror Shield
Minor Creation
Phantasmal Killer
Phantasmal Monsters

Confusion, Greater
Major Creation
Phantasmal Door
Phantasmal Monsters, Greater
Project Image
Shadow Evocation
Speed of Light
Summon Shadow
Wall of Sun

Phantasmal Monsters, Advanced
Shadow Evocation, Greater
Spectral Force, Permanent
Spectral Force, Programmed
True Seeing

Astral Spell
Limited Wish
Prismatic Spray
Prismatic Wall


Ball of Light
Level: 1
Duration: 1d4 hours
Range: 0

This spell creates a palm-sized ball of light that the wizard can hold for up to 1d4 hours. The ball casts light like a torch and gives off enough heat to keep a small party relatively comfortable in cold weather. The wizard may also throw the ball at a target, causing it to explode for 1d6+1 points of damage (treat as a thrown axe for range). When cast by a Dazzler of level 7 or higher the ball will float and follow the wizard, obeying their mental command. The ball cannot be thrown on the same round it is created.

Beam Trick
Level: 1
Duration: 1 turn per level
Range: 180’

Using this spell the wizard can transform a visible beam of light into a solid that can be walked upon, climbed, or bumped into. The beam is still transparent and can only be seen by contrast against a darker background or by shining through fog or dust. The beam will be large enough to accommodate one person at a time or a single file line of people walking or climbing up it. The beam can be hidden behind, providing the same cover offered by a low wall.

Level: 3
Duration: 1 turn/level +1d6 turns
Range: 0

With this spell the Dazzler may fly in the form of a ball of light at a speed of 180’ per round, leaving a sparkling trail and illuminating the darkness in a 60’ radius. The Dazzler may attempt to fly into a target and deal 3d6 points of damage by making a successful ranged attack roll.

Drawing the Darkness
Level: 4
Duration: Permanent
Range: 40’

This spell will remove all magical darkness from a cube of 10’ x 10’ x 10’ per caster level and replace it with magical light as per a Light or Continual Light spell. Any shadow or darkness-based creatures in the area of effect must save vs. Spells or be destroyed. If the save is made, such creatures are forced from the area and must flee to the nearest darkness for 1d6 hours.

Level: 4
Duration: 1 round/level
Range: 30’

The Dazzler’s gaze becomes a brilliant weapon of light and any creature meeting the gaze must save vs. Spells or suffer 6d6 points of searing, laser-like damage as well as being rendered permanently blind (save vs. Spells for half damage and to render blindness for 1d6 rounds only). The glare also burns through non-magical locks, doors, and containers in 1d4 rounds, shattering them.

Level: 1
Duration: 1 turn per level
Range: 120’

An dirty object, broken or otherwise run down, is made to gleam like a shiny new thing with this spell. Only those with a reason to be suspicious may make a saving throw vs. Spells to see through this illusion. The spell will make broken armor and weapons look not only new, but positively powerful. Likewise, the spell will make a beaten, battered creature appear to be at the height of health and prowess no matter how damaged they really are. The Dazzler may affect an area as large as 10’ x 10' x 10' per caster level. When cast on a broken castle wall, the area affected will appear to be solid and impenetrable. When cast on a door or chest, any would-be burglar will have to save vs. Spells or else find the task of breaking in completely unrealistic.

Glistening Guardian
Level: 4
Duration: 1d6 turns
Range: 90’

The Dazzler fashions a muscled human figure made of light itself. The figure comes to life on the following round and will obey the caster’s every command (verbal or mental within 90’) to the best of its ability. The glistening guardian has an AC 5 and HD equal to the caster’s level +1d4. The creature’s saving throws are the same as the caster. It has a morale score of 12 and can move and fly at 150’ (50’). The guardian can speak and requires no sustenance or rest. It is immune to non-magical weapons but must pass a saving throw vs. Death or be destroyed if within the area of a Darkness spell. When the spell’s duration is up the guardian will disappear. When the spell is cast, an amount of light equal to a torch will be stolen from its source, snuffing it out. If no such source is available the spell will not function.

Level: 1
Duration: 2 turns
Range: Touch

The Dazzler causes a small stone or rock to glow as dimly as a candle or as brightly as 3 torches. The stone’s light penetrates magical darkness. When cast by a Dazzler of level 5 or higher, the stone will reveal invisible creatures or objects and when cast by a Dazzler of level 9 or higher it will reveal secret or hidden doors.

Level: 1
Duration: 1 turn/level
Range: Special

The Dazzler uses this spell to create a lantern of magical light that functions exactly like a real lantern but with the added benefit of penetrating magical darkness. The lantern can be freely carried around, set in a specific place, or blown out at will. If anyone other than the caster carries the lantern the duration is reduced by half. Creatures affected by sunlight must save vs. Spells when in the light of the lantern or else be affected as if by sunlight.

Light Daggers
Level: 1
Duration: Special
Range: 90’

The Dazzler casting this spell hurls 1 dagger of light per experience level at a single target dealing 1d4 points of damage per dagger. The daggers cannot miss their mark, though the target may make a save vs. Spells for half damage. The Dazzler may choose to focus the spell into a single light javelin that deals 1d8 points of damage per caster level. However, the javelin of light requires a successful ranged attack roll with a bonus of +2 to hit.

Mirror Shield
Level: 4
Duration: 1 round per level
Range: 0

The Dazzler creates a round shield that reflects all light, lasers, fire, prismatic attacks, and gaze attacks that are aimed at the Dazzler. These attacks are reflected back to their source, causing all explicit effects to the originator. Attacks coming from behind the Dazzler are not reflected if the Dazzler is unaware and unable to turn. This shield also reflects Magic Missiles if sent by a caster of a lower level than the Dazzler.

Level: 6
Duration: 1 round per level
Range: 120’ radius

This spell will make a visible moon utterly transfixing to all creatures within range that see it and that fail to save vs. Spells. Such affected creatures will stop what they are doing and simply stare at the moon for the spell’s duration (similar to a Hold spell). Beings with more HD than the caster’s level may attempt a save each round.

Level: 4
Duration: Concentration
Range: 40’

The Dazzler creates a cloud of light composed of thousands of individual candle-like points of light that float about, shimmering. The cloud is up to 100’ in diameter per level of the caster and is centered on any object or person she wishes. Anyone stepping into the nebula is limned in light and easily seen by any creature within visual range. Invisible creatures are visible, things hiding in shadows are no longer hidden, and entities masked by other magical means may also be detected. Likewise, all secret doors and hidden traps may be easily detected.
Level: 7
Duration: Instant
Range: 40’ radius

This feared spell creates a 40’ blast radius of blinding light in which nearly nothing can survive. All creatures caught in the blast radius of this spell must save vs. Spells or take 1d10 points of damage per level of the caster (save for half). Creatures susceptible to sunlight must save vs. Death or die (save indicates full damage). All creatures caught in the blast who fail the save are blinded for 1d6 days.

Level: 3
Duration: 1d6 turns
Range: touch

The Dazzler uses an existing cloak or some other fabric to create a softly glowing, slightly undulating cloak of light. The cloak functions as AC 4 armor and grants its wearer +4 to all saving throws. The soft light illuminates 40’ radius, penetrating even magical darkness. At will, the wearer can pull the light down to that of a mere candle.

A Dazzler of 11th or higher level may create a permanent Shimmercloak magic item with 7 days of work and 5,000 gp worth of components, including a cloak of rare material. Appropriate materials may include silk from giant spiders or the pelts of very rare, magical creatures.

Speed of Light
Level: 5
Duration: 1 round
Range: 500’ per level

The caster of this spell issues a bolt of light that carries their form at light speed to any point within the spell’s range or brings any single item or creature from and to any point within range. This speed is so fast as to be indistinguishable from teleportation.

Level: 3
Duration: 1 round per level
Range: 40’

This spell causes a pulsing burst of light to flash on and off and possibly spin or change colors per the Dazzler’s mental command. Those creatures within 40’ of the light who can see it and fail a saving throw vs. Spells are dazzled for 1d6 rounds, unable to look away from the light. Creatures possessing a gaze attack, such as a medusa or basilisk, have a -2 on their saving throw.

Level: 6
Duration: Special
Range: 60’ radius

The Dazzler emits a blinding pulse of sunlight in a 60’ radius. All creatures within this range that are susceptible to sunlight must save vs. Death or die instantly, disintegrated and forever destroyed (save indicates permanent blindness and 1d6 points of damage per level). All other creatures targeted by the Dazzler must save vs. Spells or be blinded 1d6 turns and take 1d6 points of damage per level of the Dazzler. The light from this spell may be blocked by walls, doors, and other solid objects though clothing and armor will have no effect.

Wall of Sun
Level: 5
Duration: 1d6 rounds +1 per level
Range: 20’

The Dazzler creates a wall of fiery sunlight up to 10’ tall and 20’ wide per caster level. The wall radiates heat on the opposite side of the caster up to 40’, dealing 1d4 points of damage per round to all who remain within that range. Touching the wall causes 1d6 points of damage per round per caster level. All creatures susceptible to sunlight will be affected by the wall as if looking into the sun. The wall illuminates an area of 40’ radius per caster level. The wall is only partially solid and any creature attempting to break through it can do so in 2d4 rounds (taking damage each round). Non-magical missiles will burn up when coming in contact with the wall. The wall can be curved or straight.

White Dwarf
Level: 2
Duration: 1 turn per level
Range: 120’

When cast on a living creature smaller than the caster, this spell causes the target to glow brightly with white light and illuminate an area 60’ in radius. This light is not damaging or blinding but is soft and comfortable and impossible to hide. Even if the creature takes cover behind a wall the outline of the creature will still be visible to all within 60’. If the creature becomes invisible while affected by this spell the glow can still be seen even if the physical form of the creature cannot.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Krita and the Dog

I saw Krita a while back, maybe 1 or more years ago. I think it was actually last December right after I got my XP Pen tablet. I have been using Photoshop 6 or 7 for YEARS. I was using 6 when 7 was released and I switched over a year or two later. So I was still using PS 7 until this week.

All of you young folks and/or digital art geeks are grasping your chests, gasping for air. WHY would anyone continue using an old, old, ancient graphics program for that long??

Well, because it works for me. I'm a simple kind of guy and I want to use my art tools, not learn them. I dislike the learning phase because it makes me feel hobbled.

Anyway... I saw Krita and was drawn to it (pun intended) because it was current, well supported, and open source. So I downloaded the bastard and discovered that my cursor was offset by a mile. I tried to re-calibrate and all the usual tricks. Nothing worked. XP Pen and Krita did not get along. So I let it go and continued with PS 7.

Then recently I happened upon Krita again and decided to give it another whirl. This time I found the right answer online (you have to set your tablet as primary monitor) and WHAM... I'm cooking with fire.

Below is the first finished drawing I have created with Krita. The learning curve is not too steep. A lot of my beloved hotkeys are not the same (though I can modify that if I want). But Krita, so far, has not failed to do all the things that Photoshop 7 was able to do (well... the Save For Web function is PH is fantastic and Krita doesn't have it... grumble). What's more, I like the workspace better, the pre-installed brushes are better, and the whole thing seems to work more smoothly.

Still going to take some time. I had a few functions built into PS 7 that I'll have to work into Krita. For example, when I hit F4 in PS it would expand the current selection by a few pixels, fill the selection with black, then deselect it. I really got used to using that for fills. Also I had a lot of custom brushes in 7 that I already miss. I'll have to brush up on how to make more in Krita.

Straight inks with some halftone using the #5 round brush... a classic.

Added flat colors with some highlights.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Trolling We Will Go

Here is a one-page adventure location or encounter for your old school gaming fun. This will appear in the inevitable Black Pudding #6, which is still a long way from being complete.

With this I decided to go larger on my canvas size, trying to make a denser page. Although the zine is printed at A5 size, I always envisioned it being magazine size, or 8.5 x 11 inches. Like the Heavy Helping edition.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Fat Lady

I've been a little out of sorts lately. It's easy for me to get derailed. My blood father died, I got sick, day job was leeching my mind, and G+ is going to die. Not to mention my mother's continuing health problems. Add it all up, throw in watching Game of Thrones for the first time... I'm lucky to be getting any work finished at all. But I am. I have an active playtest of the Rabbits & Rangers RPG going on for Monday nights. I'll be sharing more about that in the coming weeks. I've been finishing up some commissions, including work for the new Advanced Labyrinth Lord single volume, Gary Con XI GM shirt design, and other bits here and there. Somewhere along the way I've found time/energy to knock out a few new ideas for Black Pudding #6. Here's one of those ideas... the Fat Lady old school character class. She rocks!

This is hand lettered on a large digital canvas. Typically for Black Pudding I've been working on 8.5 x 11 inch canvas. I've decided to go larger so I can get more detailed and tighten up my pages. This means I'll be a bit slower at putting out new issues, but I hope the quality will be kicked up a notch. As per my wont, I won't stick to this 100% across the board. I'll throw in odds and ends and do what I like or else I won't be doing it at all. No compromises. This is my shit.

Download here:

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Rub It Review: Al-Qadim

I have only played in a single game set in Al-Qadim and I have never ran any games in this setting. I didn't own a single Al-Qadim book until just a couple of years ago. But I remembered my play experience from 1994 quite fondly and I fell in love with this campaign world... so I started collecting it all. I'm still working on the collection, very slowly, as a casual hobby.

Anyhow. I've already said a lot about Al-Qadim in other posts. For this mini review I'm just going to link to all the posts I've made so far talking about Al-Qadim.

It's so damn good. Even though it has it's flaws... which are almost exclusively related to rushed production and recycling cover art and what-not. But on the whole...


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Troll Bridge Sketches

I worked on a new one-page module called A Trolling We Will Go. It was inspired by the old fairy tale of the three billy goats gruff. Plus I just love classic D&D trolls. Here's the troll, Urnt, as a work in progress.

And in Urnt's river lives a lot of very angry fish. In fact, each person slain by the angry fish becomes and angry fish.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Rub It Review: Dyson's Delves I

+Dyson Logos has been doing adventure maps for years. And they are iconic. So iconic, it's very easy to rip him off and maybe not even know it. That's because he has perfected a craft of simplicity.

Dyson's Delves I is a 152 page book you can score in paperback or hardback from Lulu (link below). From the back of the book: "Being a collection of cartography and detailed adventures hand crafted by Dyson Logos, cartographer and explorer."

One-third of of the book is a series of detailed adventures, generally taking up 2 pages each with a map and keyed area descriptions. In the OSR spirit, these adventures are scripted, merely keyed. The stats are given in classic D&D terms (basic/expert). The adventures are for low level PCs ranging up to level 5-6.

All of these delves are part of the same quasi-megadungeon and you can string them together into an epic crawl or use them individually.

The rest of the book is a series of awesome maps with blank lines for you to fill with your own adventures. Just write in the book, dummy! It's POD.

Obviously the thing that makes this book great is Dyson's actual maps. They are just nice to look upon. They are works of art from a person who as mastered their craft. They demand to be explored. But in addition to that, the keyed adventures herein are pitch-perfect for a good old game of D&D where you roll 3d6 in order and die at zero hit points. You can pop this book out at the table without any preparations and run a game, no problem.

Dyson don't screw around. His maps are featured in the latest D&D 5e offering from Wizards of the Coast, Dragon Heist!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Rub It Review: Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells

On my brief visit to Gateway Games in Cincinnati, I spied a copy of +Diogo Nogueira's Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells so I snatched it up. I had already picked up the PDF, but I had not really dived into the game. I didn't know much about it other than Diogo does wicked art.

A captive in the passenger seat on the drive home, I just started reading and was immediately impressed (while sunlight lasted, anyway). Spoiler alert: this is the best sword & sorcery RPG I have yet encountered. And I haven't even played it.

This is a digest sized 48 page RPG packed with great art and extremely focused, clear writing. I am a fan of games that can deliver their message in as few words as possible, like a good poet delivering the goods. Where I feel that some games do this a bit poorly is that they give you sparse text without enough visuals. The visuals are important, to me, to provide context. SS&SS gives you clear, simple writing plus a healthy heaping helping of art. The art, combined with the words, paints a picture of a world of heroic fantasy in the Conan and Lankhmar vein. Yummie.

Much like Lamentations of the Flame Princess' Rules and Magic book, this book dives right into the meat without any hesitation. We get 2 pages that explain fully how the game works, then we're into chargen with each of the three classes getting 1 page (with art). And that's all we need.

The game is OSR-friendly, but not a clone. Its attribute list includes 4 instead of the classic 6. Physique, Agility, Intellect, and Willpower are all you need in this game. It is a roll-under system that owes a lot of it's mechanics to The Black Hack. It has a clever set of rules for armor and shields wherein the damage die of the attacker is reduced based on your armor. The shield becomes an active tool rather than passive defense. Weapons are divided into size categories that determine their damage die. The encumbrance system is simply that you can carry as many items as you have Physique, which is a method I personally use so I'm happy to see it here.

The magic system is a Willpower test with a difficulty equal to the spell's power. There are 50 spells described in a few pages, and of course you can make up as many more as you like.

I am enchanted by this game. I grokked it immediately and devoured the book in one sitting, which is not something I usually do. Now, I am not necessarily a huge fan of actually using The Black Hack's system to create content or run games. This is NOT a ding against that game, nor this one. It's just that my personal play preference isn't aligned with roll-under as the primary mechanic. Like all RPG and OSR nerds, I'm stupidly picky and pedantic at times. But this game kicks too much ass for me not to use it at some point.

There's a lot more awesome to it, but you can go pick it up for yourself and see. Great game. Great presentation. Get it.

(NOTE: Although I'm a fan of games that deliver the goods in few words, I would not argue that this is the "best" way. I would argue instead that each game deserves the verbiage that best serves the game and sometimes that means more text rather than less.)