Sunday, September 25, 2016

Thomas Cole, DM

Inspired by the If Romantic-Era Artists Ran D&D Campaigns post on the Against the Wicked City blog, here's one for Thomas Cole. An early 19th-century American landscape artist, most associated with the Hudson River School, Cole also painted European ruins (while traveling), historical & biblical scenes, allegories and fantastic landscapes.

As DM, Cole would start the first level PCs with a ruined tower over a seaside cliff, the former abode of a strange wizard...
Italian Seacost with Ruined Tower

And then onto a sturdy keep on the border of the wild lands...
Fountain of Vaucluse, thanks to A Wizard in a Bottle

Then deep into a wilderness hexcrawl...
St John in the Wilderness

And into the dungeons beneath the ruins of a castle built by a mad demigod...
Ruins of Kenilworth Castle

In search of stolen artifacts hidden in a mountain with a white plume of smoke...
Mount Aetna

Against the giants...
Titan's Goblet

And finally on to the other planes of existence...
Youth

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Monster Face Bookmark


More of my endless monster faces, this time in the form of a bookmark & blue ink. This one is from a year or so ago, but just scanned recently.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Jeff Talanian on Holmes Basic



Jeff Talanian (aka Ghul) is the author of the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea RPG (a 2nd edition of which is on the way). Earlier in his career he was Gary Gygax's wingman on the Castle Zagyg series, co-authoring the Upper Works boxed set. 

Earlier this year Jeff was interviewed on the Dead Games Society podcast, Episode 20, where he talked about Holmes Basic for the better part of an hour.

Here's the DGS blurb for the show:
"The Dead Games Society talks with Jeffrey Talanian, creator of Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers, about his favorite dead edition of Dungeons and Dragons, the legendary Holmes Edition! It’s a great hour of hearing Jeffrey’s memory’s regarding this great out-of-print edition so beloved by the gaming community."

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the show:
17:09: "Well, one of my favorite things about it, sort of harkening back to when I was a kid, was there was a certain mystique to it, a sort of magic to it ... you can have so many sessions of game play with it for three levels, 48 pages..."

17:52: "Magic-users have so much more resources in that they can start creating scrolls at first level ... so if you have the money you don't necessarily have to be limited to throwing that one spell at an early level"

18:25: "...The initiative system is so much easier to grasp than what later came out with AD&D. Basically in Holmes it embraces a system that's ordered by dexterity..."

25:54: "...I think an open-ended game is anything but Basic because ... there's so much that you can do with it ... contrary to having hundreds and hundreds of pages of rules where everything is defined."

At 28:55, Jeff does a great reading of the first two paragraphs of the Background of the Zenopus Sample Dungeon, which he follows with "...if that doesn't grab the imagination of a young person back then ... it did for me anyway"

Q: How do you think the Holmes edition influenced the later D&D editions?
 36:55: "I would say format more than anything. It was much more of a digestable format ... it seemed like a more playable game as opposed to say a reference ... the whole intention of Holmes of being an introductory set for young people, it was perfectly aimed...

41:00" "...it's the edition that I introduced my kids to ... I think introducing it to kids is a great thing to do. I introduced my kids to D&D through the Holmes set and we made that transition to the blue Expert set."

...plus much more. Listen to it!