Friday, 14 October 2016

Visit to friendly local gaming store: Weekend Warlords (UK)

I briefly visited the bricks n mortar site of Weekend Warlords today.  A well stocked store with many tabletop ranges (including, surprisingly, some RPGs) and a large tabletop game play area. Friendly staff.  Not bad for the town of Loughborough in the East Midlands.  ;)

My actual purchases were pathetically small, this was an investigation sortie and we live in frugal times. See photo.


I have yet to play the wonderfully simple Cthulhu Dice, but I am planning to beat a man to death with the large d20 (blue d10 added for size comparison) or just break his furniture by slam-dunk rolling the die in a game.


Online Store


Monday, 10 October 2016

Inked Adventures Simple Caverns cut-up sheets (PWYW) and why modern gaming is so cool with colour printers (designer thoughts)

(Cross-promotional from Inked Adventures (on DTRPG) plus some extra thoughts.)


Simple Caverns Cut-Up Sheets
Pay-What-You-Want on DriveThruRPG

Check out the hand drawn goodness!  Celebrate the simple yet flexible design!
Although there's not much by way of actual cavern scenery in this set (stalagmites, pools etc) I'm rather proud of the floor. It's a good cavern floor, one that works for gaming.

Back when I first played D&D, the GW and TSR's Dungeon Floorplans sets were a much coveted resource. The early sets were very simple, but still more exciting on the table with figures than, well most things we were doing with plan or graph paper.  It was all mainly about room shapes, with colour and a grid (in the first set the wooden sheet was used for doors, chests and tables).  Back to today, I still can't get over the fact that people can print in colour at home and cut-up a colour map. I'm still fairly excited by the idea of making made-to-measure rooms with scissors - it feels so wanton! Unlike those early Floorplan packs, we can now print as many dungeon floor sheets as we want (I say this with total seriousness, my like a vinyl fan arguing with iTunes support).

Being the product illustrator, I think of my designs as disposable (test-prints spill out over the floor, begging to be binned), especially when printing straight to paper of card, but often people want to craft permanent tiles, perhaps applying them to foam core and so on.  "Reusable" is good for the environment I guess ;)  I'm sure it's gratifying to think of the longevity of a lovingly prepared tile, gained at a low price via the interweb, despite the devastation caused to ink cartridges. I think my point is that, as with a battlemat, you can almost instantly craft a very specifically shaped cavern, which you may only need once.  Naturally it's better if you can print straight to card, skip any mounting, but blue tack will also solve those slip and paper curl problems.  I'm talking about Dungeon Floorplans being an influence, but somewhere along the line the notion of the "cavern-flagstone" from 3D-mold sets has definitely infiltrated my thinking.  In games with a grid, caverns our hard to contrive.

I've included some graphics files as well as the printable PDFs  - just the 8x11 sheet graphics as PNGs.  what people do with them in an art package is up to them (as long as they don't resell the designs, or mass-distribute).  Also, I'm including there for the virtual tabletop players, with whom I can't provide IT support. ;) It's up to the purchaser to carve, crop and import cavern shapes into the VR_Table3000SoftBeta or whatever it is these boffins spend their time tweaking, whilst the rest of us elderly gamers complain that we can't get 3 people into the same room every Sunday ...   Okay, kidding, but what I mean this is still mainly a product for printing, chopping up and glueing perhaps.
Mock-up of a possible cavern layout because my photos are not good enough.

Actually, I'll let you into a bit of a secret here.  There's meant to be an Inked Adventures uber-sized sections, tiles and scenery counters pack (working title), but all of the art still lies in an unprepared state and is in a queue behind other just-as-awkward projects.  Somehow the floor illustration from part of that has slipped out and escaped into the greater world.  Maybe I should let the counters escape as well. ;)
Why is it "Pay-What-You-Want"?  I'm not sure.  It's a category I haven't sold through yet, and I can't give everything away for free, not whilst I can't sell both my kidneys.  Man, I'm broke,  Anyhow, I just needed to share about the pack and a little about it's provenance. Thanks for reading! :)

Simple Caverns Cut-Up Sheets
Pay-What-You-Want on DriveThruRPG

Monday, 26 September 2016

Musing upon the illustrating of floor plan products for RPGs whilst really trying to sell you something

A cross-promotional post follows (does it count if it's cross promotional with yourself?  I'm adding some personal thoughts to make it more blog-post-like...)

Designed in a last minute, product-queue-jumping, bubble for Inked Adventures, and inspired by, requested for, TridentCon 2016 (Maryland, US), who have a nautical theme (check out Admiral Fish, their mascot, a sort of Deep One who stayed on the surface and travelled back outwards).  I had intended to publish this on Talk Like a Pirate Day (an odious, but profitable institution), but I failed because my arch nemesis Evil Dr Real Life keeps thwarting my plans to be respectable, reliable artist and publisher with continuity of output.  Confounded again, CURSE YOU, DOCTOR EVIL REAL LIFE!

Smuggler Cavern is  a two page only design, not like the larger cut-up section packs in the Inked Adventures range.  But it is rather nice to look at, if I don't say so myself.  I was tempted to send out a mass email stating "Looks good. Works with stuff. Buy it!" But I thought that would sound a little jaded.  I really don't like sending out mass emails through DTRPG/RPGnow/WGV Onebookshelf because I don't want to come across like some of spammer mails I receive daily (is it me or are there rather a lot of "list" RPG products? "100 Orc Meal Names Part 3"! Horses for courses, I guess.  100 horse and course names?)  But I need the pennies... I needed the dubloons, m'lord!
I might just send that email.

The Smuggler Cavern can be a dungeon/cave entrance/interior or a small landing cove (exterior, no roof).  Being ridiculously strict with old-school genres, I still have trouble mixing the Arthurian Romance style D&D with the aesthetic of the 18th Century pirates of Treasure Island, but I'm learning to relax. Even since D&D Expert Set, I've had to battle with that one. ;)  But hey, in floor plan illustration world, we're just talking barrels, chests and ship wrecks -which are almost pan-setting/genre ("pan-setting/genre", oh for pity's sake Billiam, use English...).  Again, as a floor plan illustrator, I must stress that I believe that empty rooms are infinitely more useful to a DM who already has a specific dungeon in mind, than room plan with countless beautiful details, which are more rewarding for the artist - because it shows off their skills etc.  Details can inspire a DM, but I conjecture that most prefer moveable scenery counters on blanker lay-outs (actually most seem to prefer VTT these days). Hand drawing can slow the process down when it comes to trying to provide both blanks and detail counters, it's all possible, just takes longer.  I get plenty of suggestions for products that I have already have planned, but they won't be complete for years at this rate (part time working until I rob a local diamond mine/post office/megacorp).  But then the old-school player in me wants to champion the resourceful DMs - the ones that tear up a bit of desert floor plan and throw it on top of a tree canopy layout and a sheet blue paper, "You arrive on the beach of the island, there is a jungle beyond is dark and foreboding".   I know it's not much better smeared pen on a battlemat (which are very suited to natural irregularities, coastal, cave and so on), but sometimes colour and texture will help boost the player's imagination.

Smuggler Cavern is a home-printable PDF.  My best results have been from printing straight to card and photopaper. There's a plan to make a pre-print poster available from DriveThruRPG, but I'm still working through the dimensions and details -including how to bundle it in with existing orders so that no-one loses out (naturally there has to be a baseline cost for print and shipping we're dealing with physical products, unlike the noble PDF file).

Here's some pics:

In the background are the black and white / monochrome easy-print options.

Test print photo (ignore edge marks) Figures: WotC.  The Oni is very angry.

Mock up of b/w print trimmed close as a "section" (left).  Low resolution thumbnails (right).

Anyhow, thanks for reading and clicking on the pics.
Yarrr! etc.
Afternoon nap time.
 Inked Adventures Smuggler Cavern link to DriveThruRPG
Smuggler Cavern
$2.50 DTRPG