Friday, September 22, 2017

Gary Con Game Approved


I'm registered for next year's Gary Con X and just had my game proposal approved. Here's the 'long' description, which per the submission form will appear on-line:

Return to the Tower of Zenopus

Forty years ago adventurers first braved the dungeon under the ruined tower of the wizard Zenopus. Fearsome monsters were overcome and fabulous treasure recovered, but the doom of Zenopus was never revealed. The stairway leading down to the dangerous passages was eventually bricked over by order of Lady Lemunda, current ruler of prosperous Portown. However, recently your party uncovered a previously unknown means of entry. What secrets remain to be discovered in the old dungeons? Meet at the Green Dragon Inn and adventure as Boinger, Zereth, Murray or another character from J. Eric Holmes' stories (pre-generated characters will be provided). This adventure from the Zenopus Archives celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Holmes Basic D&D set.


And the 'short' version, which I assume will appear in print:

Meet at the Green Dragon Inn and return to the dungeon under the ruined tower of the doomed wizard Zenopus, forty years after adventurers first braved the passages. What secrets remain to be discovered? Play as Boinger, Zereth, Murray or another character from J. Eric Holmes' stories. This adventure from the Zenopus Archives celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Holmes Basic D&D set.

I plan on running the game twice, once on Fri, once Sat. I requested 9 AM - 1 PM (4 hours) for each day, but they are not scheduling until they get more submission.

Submit your games here: http://garycon.com/events-submission/

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tales of Peril - Dust Jacket Flaps


In the previous post, we looked at the cover art for Tales of Peril. 
Moving inside, here are the contents from the dust jacket flaps:

Front Flap, upper: Quote from the Maze of Peril, Chapter 9, "Visible and Invisible", providing a preview of the battle against the Dagonites.

Front Flap, lower: List of contents. Focuses on highlights, and is more explanatory than the table of contents.

Back Flap, upper: Two paragraph biography of Holmes, different than the one that appeared at the back of the 1986 publication of Maze of Peril. It mentions his medical career, his Korean War service (which I don't think is well known), and gives an overview of his writing career.

Back Flap, lower: Photo of Holmes gaming. I've included a larger version of this photo above. Photo by Steve Pyryeztov. This photo is from the same session as the one near the front of Holmes' book Fantasy Role-Playing Games (1981).

In these photos we see Holmes running a game at his chalk board table in his basement. In his book, Holmes wrote "My own gaming table is spray-painted with "chalk board paint" so that the green surface can be marked with chalk and then, when the characters move on, a new set of doors and walls can be drawn around them. In this way, the little figures never move off the table, they only move to new positions as the scenery shifts around them" (pg 93). 

An earlier photo of Holmes at this same table can be see in the post, Holmes' Little Metal People Take II.

Looking at the above photo in more detail, we see chalked dungeon corridors, and Holmes pointing at a battle occurring at an intersection of these corridors. 

The wizard with staff held aloft vertically appears to be "ME4 Wizard" from Minifigs' Mythical Earth line. Thanks to Tony at the Cryptic Archivist for posting a picture of this figure in the Holmes Basic group recently. I'm sure some of our readers will ID some of the other minis.




Under Holmes' arms are visible at least three of the dime-store Hong Kong-manufactured monsters that inspired the Bulette of D&D. See this post by Tony DiTerlizzi, a former TSR artist, for more history and photos of these toys. I had several sets of these myself as a child. 

An AD&D Players Handbook rests on the table under the elbow of one player, so at this point (1980-81?) they were using the AD&D rules.

Behind the players are shelves of boxes filled with comic books. Each box has a comic, or just the cover, attached to it to show the contents. Between this picture and the one in the book, I can make out one cover for the Incredible Hulk Special 2 (1969)In this picture it's the barely visible box with the "K" to the right of the player with glasses. In the book, the Hulk is clearly visible on the cover.

This post is part of the Tales of Peril Book Club.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Tales of Peril - Cover Art

"Amazon Assault" by Ian Baggley, original art for the front cover of Tales of Peril 

Tales of Peril is a work of art, and the editor Allan Grohe deserves a round of applause for assembling such a beautiful tome.

The stunning front and back covers for Tales of Peril are by the artist Ian Baggley. They illustrate Underworld action scenes from the Maze of Peril novel, which I will mention again when we get to those portions of the story in the read-through.

I wasn't familiar with Ian's work prior to this, but his previous credits include the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerors of Hyperborea RPG, as detailed by grodog here. His Tales of Peril contributor biography states that "he trained at the Toronto School of Art where he focused on drawing, portraiture and oil painting". 

A gallery of Ian's fantasy are can be seen here on his Deviant Art page. I've posted the images from this page above and below so you can see the original art used for the covers.

I love these shadowy brazier-lit compositions, completely fitting for a book that heavily features the mysterious and dangerous Underworld. In the Introduction, Allan refers to Ian's "signature charcoal medium (with some fine detail work in gouache and ink)".

The subject matter of the front cover is striking - why is that ship in a cavern? - and the perspective draws your eye right into the scene and the book itself. The back cover subject matter brings to mind Dave Trampier's classic Players Handbook cover, with the giant statue with gem-like eyes, flanked by braziers. It's also sort of a zoom-in of the front cover, where the statue can be seen in background.


"Dagon" by Ian Baggley, original art for the back cover of Tales of Peril

This post is part of the Tales of Peril Book Club.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tales of Peril Book Club




Now that Tales of Peril has been available for a few months, I'm starting a new blog series called the "Tales of Peril Book Club". For it I will read through the entirety of Tales of Peril and make post(s) for each chapter/section. I encourage you to read along with me, and the posts will be directed to those who do, and thus will contain spoilers. You have been warned!

I've already re-read the 1st chapter of the Maze of Peril and made several pages of notes, but the first post(s) will deal with covers/index/introduction/etc, so you have a bit of time to get the first chapter read. I expect writing notes/blog posts to take me longer than actually reading the chapters, so posting frequency may vary depending on my schedule. I may split some chapters up into multiple posts if they are getting long. We'll see how it goes.

If you still need a copy, see How to Order Tales of Peril from Black Blade Publishing.

Index of Posts
Cover Art
Dust Jacket Flaps
Front Matter (including Introduction)

The Maze of Peril Chapter 1, Entrances
Scene 1 "The Green Dragon Tavern Was Crowded, Dark, Noisy"
Scene 2 "Rumors of the Fabulous Treasures of the Underworld"
Scene 3 "Murray the Mage, It Is
Scene 4 "Tromping Through the Wilderness"
Scene 5 "The Ancients Worked on a Grand Scale"
Scene 6 "A Map of the Dungeons Explored So Far"
Scene 7 "The Grisly Business of Devouring the Corpses"

Discus
sion Threads
OD&D Discussion
Dragonsfoot
Knights & Knaves Alehouse
Acaeum
The Piazza
RPG.net
Enworld
Yog-Sothoth

G+ (Holmes Basic Community)
Facebook (Holmes Basic Group)
Twitter (Zenopus Archives account)
Tumblr (Zenopus Archives account)
MeWe (Holmes Basic Group)