Wednesday, October 8, 2014


[click to enlarge]


Still working out just what that means, but yeah, this is where it goes down.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


SydCon 2014

Just wanted to throw out a big thank you to all those who stopped by and picked up some artwork at SydCon this weekend, and especially the organisers Grant, Ian and Tony. Your support is greatly appreciated. It was cool to hook up with the local rpg community and meet some folks from the wilderlands of G+ for the first time.

Also the first time I've tried selling artwork direct to the hordes, and just about broke even on the printing and framing costs. Tons of art cards to shift online now, so the whole experiment looks to be worthwhile.

Didn't get the chance to get any rpg action in, but did get to try out a bunch of boardgames including Small World, Relic and Spartacus. All excellent fun.

See you round!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Decline and Fall of the Thaumatian Empire

So this is the new stomping ground for my meatgamers: the last days of the Thaumatian Empire. It's the predecessor to Dead West— exiles and refugees will flee the Thaumatian Fall heading westerly across the Sea of Vex to the new continent of Carcassara.

click to embiggen. or just press your face to your monitor.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Helvetica Black and Arial Bold

These two dames have been kicking round my brains for ages.

Free at Last!

Possibly the greatest words ever written by man.

And right now I know exactly how this guy feels. And it feels real good. 
The two major projects I've been going hammer and tongs over are finally at the printers! 
These babies:

RED & PLEASANT LAND, written by Zak S. (I worked the layout) and DEATH FROST DOOM, originally written by James Edward Raggi IV, extensively revised and expanded by Zak S.
(I did the layout, cartography and twenty-one illustrations).

Zak's talked extensively about Red and Pleasant Land on his blog over here.
It's fantastic, and I was lucky to work on it. 

Originally James had someone else lined up for Death Frost Doom—
I was knee deep in Red and Pleasant Land and way behind—
but when I heard the original designer he had lined up for it fell through
I literally begged James for the chance to do it.

It was his signature adventure and I knew my maximum black style
would be just right for the ominous mood. And yeah, hopefully you'll see what I mean.
I loved the endpaper so much it's now the banner of this blog, 
and here's the promo piece I did which shows off the mountain.

Both are out in October. So go get'em.

And the wonderful thing about finally nailing these two pretties? 
I'm free at last to start up a whole bunch of new stuff. 
More illustrations, maps, adventures, and dusting off this blog.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dream Askew Cover Art

Cover art for the queer apocalypse storygame by Avery Mcdaldno, out earlier this year.
 I like this one a lot. More info HERE

Saturday, July 12, 2014

[D&D5E] Combat Stunts: Fighter Probabilities

Following on from the last post about Combat Stunts for Fighters, I've sat down and worked out the probabilities for a Fighter succeeding on a Stunt check from Level 1 to Level 20. 

I've made my assumptions based on a 1st level Human Fighter made with the standard ability array which gives the fighter a starting Str 16, and I've bumped that Str up every level I could. 

The columns shown are only those where the to hit bonus goes up by +1 (so levels 2 and 3 have the same probabilities as Level 1, etc).

AC of
1st Lvl
Str 16
4th Lvl
Str 18
5th Lvl
Str 18
6th Lvl
Str 20
9th Lvl
Str 20
13th Lvl
Str 20
17th Lvl
Str 20
10 64.00% 72.25% 81.00% 90.25% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%
11 56.25% 64.00% 72.25% 81.00% 90.25% 100.00% 100.00%
12 49.00% 56.25% 64.00% 72.25% 81.00% 90.25% 100.00%
13 42.25% 49.00% 56.25% 64.00% 72.25% 81.00% 90.25%
14 36.00% 42.25% 49.00% 56.25% 64.00% 72.25% 81.00%
15 30.25% 36.00% 42.25% 49.00% 56.25% 64.00% 72.25%
16 25.00% 30.25% 36.00% 42.25% 49.00% 56.25% 64.00%
17 20.25% 25.00% 30.25% 36.00% 42.25% 49.00% 56.25%
18 16.00% 20.25% 25.00% 30.25% 36.00% 42.25% 49.00%
19 12.25% 16.00% 20.25% 25.00% 30.25% 36.00% 42.25%
20 9.00% 12.25% 16.00% 20.25% 25.00% 30.25% 36.00%
21 6.25% 9.00% 12.25% 16.00% 20.25% 25.00% 30.25%
22 4.00% 6.25% 9.00% 12.25% 16.00% 20.25% 25.00%
23 2.25% 4.00% 6.25% 9.00% 12.25% 16.00% 20.25%
24 1.00% 2.25% 4.00% 6.25% 9.00% 12.25% 16.00%
25 0.25% 1.00% 2.25% 4.00% 6.25% 9.00% 12.25%

Friday, July 11, 2014

[D&D5E] Combat Stunts: Spicing Up the Fighter

One of my personal philosophies with game design is that combat abilities should never be exclusive.

If you can wield a weapon, you should be able to do what you want with it. The endless list of fighter feats in 3rd Ed D&D and Pathfinder was always a pet hate of mine: any fighter should be able to make a power attack, or a try a quick thrust or knock back or smackdown an enemy. They should be able to rush their shot and hopefully get off an arrow before the melee arrives; fighters should always be encouraged to take risks in combat.

The idea was totally stabbed in the face by DCC with its Mighty Deeds of Arms mechanic, which allowed DCC Warriors to try any sort of combat manoeuvre they could think of; they just needed to hit the target for the deed to succeed. It meant an end to "I hit it with my axe....again" and suddenly in every DCC combat the warriors were constantly asking for details about the battlefield looking for anything they could use to gain the advantage in their fights. 

It was a fantastic and inspired piece of elegantly simple game design. And with the new Dis/Advantage rules in 5th Ed D&D it's possible to emulate the Mighty Deeds mechanic, just with a risk/reward system.

If the fighter chooses to attack with a disadvantage he can declare a Combat Stunt.
If the attack succeeds, the enemy takes normal damage and the Stunt succeeds. 

The Fighter cannot already have disadvantage when they declare the deed.

[EDIT] The Fighter can only make as many combat stunts in one round equal to their # of base attacks.
So a 1st level Fighter can attempt 1 Stunt/rnd, at 5th lvl 2 Stunts/rnd, at 11th lvl 3 Stunts/rnd, and at 20th lvl 4 Stunts/rnd.

[EDIT] A non-fighter can also attempt a Combat Stunt, but they do no damage if the Stunt succeeds.

It's really that simple, and makes Fighters soooo much more fun to play. With that simple mechanic you can do all the basics:

• Power Attack: take disadvantage on the attack roll to gain add your weapon's damage dice to your normal damage roll.
• Disarm: take disadvantage on the attack roll to gain advantage on an opposed Strength or Dexterity Check to disarm (each combatant decides which ability to roll).
 Sweep Attack: take disadvantage on the attack roll and if successful gain an extra attack on an adjacent enemy (the second attack has disadvantage as well).
Smackdown: take disadvantage on the attack roll to gain advantage on an opposed Strength Check to knock your enemy prone.

• Pushback: take disadvantage on the attack roll to knock your enemy back 5 feet.

• Feint: take disadvantage on the attack roll to give the enemy disadvantage on their next attack.
Hobble Strike: take disadvantage on the attack roll to reduce the enemy's move by 10 feet. Multiple hobbles can reduce an enemy to zero movement.

Awesome Attack: take disadvantage on the attack roll to gain advantage on a bonus Intimidation check against the enemy.

... and so on. These are just variant attacks, I've seen Mighty Deeds used for all kinds of off-the-wall advantages responding to the unique environment of the encounter. The key to making it work is this: any fighter should be able to do them.

And what are the probabilities of success?

Well thanks to this guy here [LINK] here's the basics of Dis/Advantage probabilities.

Take your typical 1st level 5th Ed fighter and they will have at least +5 to hit, probably more. If you're attacking a Commoner (AC10), you've got a 64% chance of pulling off a Combat Stunt. Pretty easy. Against an orc (AC13), that goes down to 42%. Still not bad. Against a big slow witted ogre (AC11), the chances go up to 56%, and against a Young Green Dragon (wherever would you find one of those? AC18), your chances drop to 16%. Seems reasonable to me.

And if you take the Archery Fighting Style (adds +2 to your ranged attack rolls) you can pull Combat Stunts off against a Commoner 81% of the time, against an orc 56%, against an ogre 72%, and against that green dragon 25% of the time.

Maybe too much? I'll let you know. I'm yet to playtest them, so no idea how it will play on the night yet, but if you do like these houserules and do take them for a spin let me know how they go.

No doubt when the PBH arrives in August all these ideas will be rendered moot, but if you're looking for a sweet and simple fighter mechanic to match the sweet as 5th Ed D&D Basic Rules, this might be what you're looking for.


The Art of Scenic Dunnsmouth

Scenic Dunnsmouth, written by Zzarchov Kowolski, art and layout by me,
published by Lamentations of the Flame Princess, has been out for a little while. 

You can get it HERE (and really you should, it's very nifty).

All up there's about two dozen illustrations and over fifty character portraits. 

Personally, I'm rather chuffed with it. Here's some of my faves: