Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ideas in 16-Bits.

Techno Boots. Art By: Me
Weirdo Head Monster. Art By: Me

A couple Pixel Art pics I've done for an upcoming adventure I am starting to work on to be published by a couple of a super awesome folks, once I finish another project for another awesome publisher. More to come tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ad Astra Per Aspera

Alice in Spaceland. Art By: Me
Feeling kinda meh, so I drew Alice in a spacesuit. Not happy with the hands.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

I'm your tour guide baby, I'll tell ya anything you want to know...

This has nothing to do with the post. I am trying my hand at pixel art for an adventure I am writing. Art By: Me

Author's Note...
This is a technique or a tool I came up with, though I am sure I'm not the first, to help folks who too often get bogged down writing details about an area. I love, to my detriment, adding detail to my worlds down to the color of the mailboxes and the reason for it; sadly, I really have gone this far off the deep end before. What I present here, hopefully, is a tool that is in some way intuitive to use; it won't work for everyone. So, if this thing is totally useless to you, you're a better writer than I.

A writer of worlds is a tour guide...
Over the last two weeks I spent a considerable amount of time crammed into a bus while a woman told me things about the areas we were driving through. In other words, I spent two weeks on a coach tour; it was Scotland, and it was a great experience.

Most of the time the guide didn't have very long to give us information about a particular spot before reaching another one. She had to condense down the most entertaining/interesting facts about a site into a few sentences, perhaps a whole paragraph if she had time. While this method didn't give me the whole story about an area, it did give me a working knowledge of its history and points of interest.

More pixel art for that adventure I am writing. Art By: Me

Each day we would also have a number of sites (no more than 3) we'd stop at and wander around with another tour guide to get more in depth information about the place. From the tours I got enough information about a place that I could speak about it with some authority in conversation.

Laying in an uncomfortable hotel bed one cool Scottish evening, I realized that this format was perfect for world building, especially for those (me) who tend to add far too many details about a particular world.

How to use this...
Think of yourself as a tour guide, and your readers/players as the people needing guidance through your world. As a tour guide you only have so much time between sites to tell folks about interesting facts, and your riders have only so much patience before they will want to get off the bus to do their own thing.

What to tell 'em...
The Basics
When the guide on the bus would talk about an area or city, she'd generally give us information in the following format: basic ancient past, basic distant past, basic recent past, basic present. Let's take Edinburgh (awesome city) as an example:

Basic Ancient Past: Edinburgh's name comes from Din Eidyn or Etin, the name given to a hill fort built in the area sometime before the 7th century AD.
Basic Distant Past: The Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh was the seat of the monarch of Scotland until James the first took the throne of England, uniting the two countries under a single monarch.
Basic Recent Past: While Edinburgh boasted a number of industries, it was primarily known for its financial, commercial, and educational contributions that continue into the 21st century.
Basic Present: After British legislation in 1998, Scotland was given a greater degree of independence from England which allowed for the establishment of the Scottish parliament in the city of Edinburgh.

A person can draw a rough outline of the history of Edinburgh from the set of facts given: people have been living in the area since before the 7th century, it used to be capital of Scotland until James the first, it is more of a financial and cultural power rather than an industrial one, and it once again serves as a capital for Scotland. 

A pic I drew for a cool dude for an adventure he is writing. Art By: Me
 
When designing an area of your world try to keep to this format, you can always come back and fill in more later, but now you have a solid foundation to build from without becoming bogged down in details.

Points of Interest
Give the major areas/cities of your world a few points of interest, at least two but no more than six for a major area, that you can write a sentence or two about. These will give the area a bit of depth without overloading your reader/player. Points of interest can be anything from a small cafe where a famous author wrote their first book or a hill that a folk hero/villain was beheaded on.

Major Sites
Everywhere that is interesting has at least one site where cool stuff has, will, or is happening that a reader/player will want to visit or know more about. Try to keep the list of major sites in an area pretty short, again you don't want to overload folks with information. Its at these sites that you can devote some time into writing details about, these details can then be used to build a real history of a place off of the four bits of information you came up with earlier.

When you write about these places, try to imagine yourself walking through them yourself with a tour guide talking in your ear. While you can add finer detail here than in the previous places, keep in mind you want to give the reader/player information that will allow them to understand the place well enough to tell other people everything you told them without being boring in the process. It is entertaining to tell folks about a mad scientist and her ghoulish experiments at the local medical university, it's boring to tell folks that the 11th Duke of Cornwall did a number of experiments to determine the effects of North American wheat on European voles.

The black and white version of the previous pic. Art By: Me

It's over, you can go home now...
This method isn't for everyone, and may not work for anyone but myself. What I've tried to do is give a tool to you folks, like myself, who tend to get wrapped up in the details of an area you might be working on. Often I have spent way too much time writing about things players/readers really don't care about, when I could have been adding more to overall world. If this tool isn't useful to you, then more than likely you aren't the same kind of crazy as I am.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

I'm back!

This is an alternate costume for a piece I did for a cool dude's upcoming supplement.
This is a weirdo costume I came up with at the airport in Amsterdam
I drew this on a bus on my way to duh duh DAAAA LOCH NESS!!!
So, I am back friends after my vacation in Scotland with a brief stop off in Amsterdam. While I love living in the states, Scotland and the Netherlands are pretty cool. Everyone in Amsterdam was pretty cool, and Scottish folks are SUPER AWESOME. Anyway, I will be back to doing stuff on the blog now that I am energized to be back at the grind stone!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Some Sci-Fi Stuff



Here are a couple sci-fi things I made a weirdo energy glove thingy and a phasing energy scarf. I may make up some stats for my current game I am running in meatspace: Numenera. As always, I dig comments, questions, and suggestions.


What I wear is an expression of who I am.

 
A knife dancer. Art By: Me

Author's Note: Here is more information about the Manukari, a group I have based upon: the Romani, Indian Culture, and Noh & Kabuki theater. I have also included 4 magic pieces of head-wear that are commonly used by the Manukari. The first post about the Manukari can be found at this LINK. The Manukari are part of the Dreamland setting I am slowly working on, which can be found at this LINK. The systems I used to make the magic items are: OSR / LotFP / AD&D, Into the Odd, and Pits & Perils. I am willing to convert these things to over systems by request. As always, I look forward to any comments, suggestions, or questions you may have.

But Who Are They Really?
They are like any other group of people, filled with saints and monsters while the majority live between. There are those who revel in the richness of their own culture, while others forsake it for another. In the end, they are human, and in being so have no single story, but rather a multitude from every individual.

A common factor, as common as individuality would allow, is a love for dance and music. One might blame the blood and its influence of genes, while others might point to culture, however, the Manukari hold that it is their souls that call them to love the rhythm of step and strum.

Their magic is based in song and dance, and from it they are capable of wonders both terrible and great. Accordingly, their arcane crafts are focused upon song, dance, and pageantry. One might find these creations in bazaars in far lands, or pawned in dingy shops nearby. While at one time they held their creations dear, their fall from grace has lead to times that become leaner by the day.

A Manukari child dressed in traditional clothing. Art By: Me

With the youth abandoning their caravan homes for sessile life in cities, the nomadic families have become thinner with years. In the hopes that new blood might reinvigorate the Manukari culture, the elders have been allowing those who prove to possess an Atmamanu (a Manukari wise soul) to join their families. Others who assist the families, and show honor, are allowed to journey through the lands with them, or are given rare gifts as a sign of the Manukari's favor.

Perhaps you might hear more of these vibrant, but enigmatic people, perhaps not. A storyteller tells stories as their mood strikes them, and this one may wish to remain silent on the tales of the Manukari. What is less perplexing is their arcane crafts, which I lay before you, an offering for you to take or leave as you please.

Headdresses and Masks
Part of the Manukari culture when concerning dance and song is pageantry. It is not merely enough to dance and make music, one must show outward signs of the message being communicated. Each headdress or mask is linked to a set of dances, each set having its own theme. To gain the benefits of these magical crafts one must dance or make music for a short time before the piece awakens to bestow its blessing. The amount of time needed in order to awake the headdress or mask differs from piece to piece. It is up to the GM/System as to what constitutes a successful roll to dance/make music.

Head-Wear of the Manukari. Art By: Me

I – Headdress of Thana Muse of the Dead
This headdress is used during funeral rites, at the bedsides of the dying, and places where the dead have become restless.

OSR / AD&D / LotFP
Dance/Music Requirement: 5 Rounds
Benefit Duration: 1 Hour
Benefits:
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer are immune to the pains caused by death, though not the effects themselves.
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) are receive a bonus to their saves versus necromantic or death effects. +1 at 1st level of the wearer, and another +1 for every 4 levels after the 1st.
The wearer gains a bonus to their AC against undead creatures. +1 at 1st level of the wearer, and another +1 for every 3 levels after the 1st.
The wearer is capable of striking incorporeal undead with any weapon they are wielding as if the undead was corporeal.

Into the Odd
Dance/Music Requirement: 5 Rounds
Benefit Duration: 1 Hour
Benefits:
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer are immune to the pains caused by death, though not the effects themselves.
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) are receive a bonus to their saves versus Arcana and other supernatural effects that drain Strength or effect the soul of the individual. At Novice the bonus is +1, the bonus increases to +2 at Expert, and +3 at Master.
The wearer gains a bonus to their armor against undead creatures. At Novice the bonus is +1, the bonus increases to +2 at Expert, and +3 at Master.
The wearer is capable of striking incorporeal beings with any weapon they are wielding as if the being was corporeal.

Pits & Perils
Dance/Music Requirement: 5 Rounds
Benefit Duration: 1 Hour
Benefits:
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer are immune to the pains caused by death, though not the effects themselves.
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) are receive a bonus to their saves versus necromantic or death effects. +1 at 1st level of the wearer, and another +1 for every 4 levels after the 1st.
The wearer gains a bonus to their Hits when attacked by undead creatures. +1 at 1st level of the wearer, and another +1 for every 2 levels after the 1st. (Hits lost only refresh if the the headdress is reactivated).
The wearer is capable of striking incorporeal undead with any weapon they are wielding as if the undead was corporeal.

A dancer wearing a Mask of Shivsa. Art By: Me

II – Mask of Shivsa Muse of Blades
The mask is warn by those who guard the Manukari caravans, or during the rare instances a family caravan goes to war. Those who wear these masks tend to wield long-knives and shorts-words.

OSR / AD&D / LotFP
Dance/Music Requirement: 1 Turn (10 Rounds)
Benefit Duration: 4 Hours
Benefits:
The wearer gains a bonus to AC in combat. At 1st level the bonus is +1, this bonus increases by +1 for every 4 levels after the 1st.
The wearer gains a bonus to-hit with Slashing weapons. At 1st level the bonus is +1, this bonus increases by +1 for every 3 levels after the 1st.
The wearer gains a +50% bonus to their movement rate.

Into the Odd
Dance/Music Requirement: 10 Rounds
Benefit Duration: 4 Hours
Benefits:
The wearer gains a bonus to their Armor in combat. At Novice the bonus is +1, the bonus increases to +2 at Expert, and +3 at Master.
The damage die of Slashing weapons wielded by the wearer increases by 1 step, even when impaired the lowest damage a Slashing weapon may do is 1D6.
The wearer gains a +50% bonus to their movement rate.

Pits & Perils
Dance/Music Requirement: 1 Turn (10 Rounds)
Benefit Duration: 4 Hours
Benefits:
The wearer gains a bonus to their Hits in combat. At 1st level the bonus is +1, this bonus increases by +1 for every 3 levels after the 1st. (Hits lost only refresh if the the headdress is reactivated).
The wearer gains a bonus to-hit with Slashing weapons. At 1st level the bonus is +1, this bonus increases by +1 at level 8.
The wearer gains a +50% bonus to their movement rate. 

A dancer wearing an unnamed mask. Art By: Me
 
III – Mask of Kossa Muse of the Wounded
This mask is worn by healers and doctors, granting them the ability to heal fresh wounds, aide the poisoned and sick, as well as regenerate lost limbs (though at a cost to themselves).

OSR / AD&D / LotFP
Dance/Music Requirement: Any
Benefit Duration: The benefits of the mask only function while the wearer is dancing, plus for 1 round afterward.
Benefits:
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) heal 1 point of damage per round.
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) are receive a bonus to their saves versus poison and disease. +1 at 1st level of the wearer, and another +1 for every 3 levels after the 1st.
The wearer gains a bonus to their AC while dancing. +1 at 1st level of the wearer, and another +1 for every 3 levels after the 1st.
The wearer is capable of regenerating the lost limbs of others, however each time this is done the wearer loses a digit off their hands or feet. While this may be done a few number of times without ill effects, too many fingers lost will mean an individual is unable to hold items, while the loss of a big toe will severely effect someone's balance. When the digits are lost, the individual feels no pain, and a smooth patch of skin is left where the digit once was.

Into the Odd
Dance/Music Requirement: Any
Benefit Duration: The benefits of the mask only function while the wearer is dancing, plus for 1 round afterward.
Benefits:
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) heal 1 point of damage per round. This healing does not effect points lost from stats.
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) are receive a bonus to their saves versus poison and disease. At Novice the bonus is +1, the bonus increases to +2 at Expert, and +3 at Master.
The wearer gains a bonus to their armor while dancing. At Novice the bonus is +1, the bonus increases to +2 at Expert, and +3 at Master.
The wearer is capable of regenerating the lost limbs of others, however each time this is done the wearer loses a digit off their hands or feet. While this may be done a few number of times without ill effects, too many fingers lost will mean an individual is unable to hold items, while the loss of a big toe will severely effect someone's balance. When the digits are lost, the individual feels no pain, and a smooth patch of skin is left where the digit once was.

Pits & Perils
Dance/Music Requirement: Any
Benefit Duration: The benefits of the mask only function while the wearer is dancing, plus for 1 round afterward.
Benefits:
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) 1 Hit of damage per round.
Those in a 10 foot radius of the wearer (including the wearer) are receive a bonus to their saves versus poison and disease. +1 at 1st level of the wearer, and another +1 for every 4 levels after the 1st.
The number required to hit the character while they are dancing increases by 1. 10 to 12 for 1 Hit and 13 for 2 Hits. This increase means that only individuals and monsters with bonuses to-hit are capable of scoring 2 Hits on the dancer.
The wearer is capable of regenerating the lost limbs of others, however each time this is done the wearer loses a digit off their hands or feet. While this may be done a few number of times without ill effects, too many fingers lost will mean an individual is unable to hold items, while the loss of a big toe will severely effect someone's balance. When the digits are lost, the individual feels no pain, and a smooth patch of skin is left where the digit once was.

An unmasked Manukari woman. Art By: Me

IV – Headdress of Tellov Muse of Ways and Roads
These headdresses are worn by caravan masters/mistresses, as well as those assigned to guide members of the Manukari.

OSR / AD&D / LotFP
Dance/Music Requirement: 5 Rounds
Benefit Duration: 2 Hours
Benefits:
Anyone within 10 feet of the wearer is able to see perfectly in any natural lighting condition, be it low-light or complete darkness.
The wearer is able to see perfectly through any type of darkness, even magical darkness. Furthermore, the wearer may see through fog and smoke without hindered.
The wearer is enabled to find the shortest, most direct route that he or she is seeking, be it the way to or from or out of a locale. The locale can be outdoors or underground, a trap but not from spells like the maze spell. The ability will enable the wearer to select the correct direction which will eventually lead him or her to egress, the exact path to follow (or actions to take).

Into the Odd
Dance/Music Requirement: 5 Rounds
Benefit Duration: 2 Hours
Benefits:
Anyone within 10 feet of the wearer is able to see perfectly in any natural lighting condition, be it low-light or complete darkness.
The wearer is able to see perfectly through any type of darkness, even magical darkness. Furthermore, the wearer may see through fog and smoke without hindered.
The wearer is enabled to find the shortest, most direct route that he or she is seeking, be it the way to or from or out of a locale. The locale can be outdoors or underground, a trap but not from confinement created through supernatural means. The ability will enable the wearer to select the correct direction which will eventually lead him or her to egress, the exact path to follow (or actions to take).

Pits & Perils
Dance/Music Requirement: 5 Rounds
Benefit Duration: 2 Hours
Benefits:
Anyone within 10 feet of the wearer is able to see perfectly in any natural lighting condition, be it low-light or complete darkness.
The wearer is able to see perfectly through any type of darkness, even magical darkness. Furthermore, the wearer may see through fog and smoke without hindered.
The wearer is enabled to find the shortest, most direct route that he or she is seeking, be it the way to or from or out of a locale. The locale can be outdoors or underground, a trap but not from spells like the maze spell. The ability will enable the wearer to select the correct direction which will eventually lead him or her to egress, the exact path to follow (or actions to take).

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

And they wept upon the shores of dream and memory.

The Dance of Edges and Blades. Art By: Me
 
Author's Note: Here is a legend of the Manukari, a group I have based upon: the Romani, Indian Culture, and Noh & Kabuki theater. I plan on expanding on them further, but I wanted to present this part to see what others think. This culture is an expansion on my Dreamland setting (LINK). I would really dig hearing your opinion as well as suggestions for possible sources of inspiration.

Manukari
Left behind to dance the dance of dreams and sing the songs of sleep, performing along waking shores of Rem. Once nobility in the court of a dreaming king, grand lords and ladies, their right to rule founded in a talent for expression. Each bent knee and will to the wounded poet king Eoin Leutz, a lord lamed by a mundane world made hard by casual cruelty.

King Eoin with his wise court in tow crossed the world, collecting creators whom mundane society had little use for. They became an avalanche of dances, stories, and music as they moved over countrysides made almost monochrome in earthen hues. Towns, bored as any place mired in the mundane, celebrated their coming and became melancholy at their departure.

I think I may start making collages again. Collage By: Me

In time the king and his court became too wondrous for a quotidian world, soon finding themselves on the shores of the Rem Sea. Upon its prismatic waters, the pier-city of Traumstadt was founded, the stone of its construction mined from the petrified bodies of stillborn gods. Having never emerged completely from the waters of birth, the dead deities stood like small mountains out of dream waters.

Wounded in both spirit and flesh, the king soon grew tired of his city, wanting for better lands on which to gain respite. Taking half his court with him, he set off across the dreaming waters to find a true Dreamland, one that did more than merely act as a border to sleep. Leaving incredible wealth to those who remained, a wealth he refused to tell of its acquisition, he left for places that may have only been fantasy.

King Eoin's final commandment: dance, sing, and speak of fine things, call to the dreams of all until the king calls. There, upon the shores of Rem, those that remained sat a wept when they remembered their king. Soon their tears would run bitter, as they were made paupers from nobility.



Eoin had left Bahram, his bastard son born of a dalliance between the king and a living poem, to reign over those remaining who had taken to calling themselves the Manukari. Soon, Bahram's heart was made dark through the whispers of Marchen, turning him from the Manukari. Tales twist into arenas both true and false when called to make testament of the nature of Marchen: some say man and others woman, some speak of one and others many, some say old while others speak of youth.

Bahram cast out the Manukari from Traumstadt, calling them thieves and lairs in tones that the people would believe. Now, made to survive by hand and wit alone, they wait for their king upon the shores of Rem, at times weeping for his memory.