Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Vampire Duchess

This is an almost wonderful picture. The play of the moonlight on their skin, the glass, the blood.... The tinting of the light on the floor as it passes through the glass, the pile of skulls in the corner, and the flow of the two figures...

Vampire Duchess by Steven Stahlberg

There's so much to like in this piece that the one thing I don't like stands out like a sore thumb: the supposed need to cover the "naughty bits." Clearly both the vampire and the victim are nude. The draping of the cloth over their breasts just seems so artificial, so unnecessary to the picture's composition. It doesn't add anything, except somehow making it safe for general public viewing... or something like that.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Whispers from the Well 1/17

Your weekly update of the goings on in Stonehell
As reported by the tavernkeepers of the Ogre Face Inn

Dry Well Gets Fresh Blood

Trips down the well have been rare lately, much to the chagrin of both the Patrons and the Bookies of the Ogre Face Inn, but a band of intrepid souls came together right here in this very taproom and headed down into the stony hell below us. The biggest of the group was Gorak the dragonborn barbarian. Joining that wall of raging muscle was Varis the elven ranger, Lance the half-elf warlock, Linx the half-elf bard, and Jasper the human cleric.

While they have yet to return to the Inn, information provided by Keiter the Kobold our intrepid on the scene reporter told of a tense run in between the group and a workband of the little dragon-folk that ended peacefully enough, and added some coin to the coffers of Chairman Smee. There was also something of a bumble with the Great Stone Head and a trio of wasted questions! Pure rookie mistake, and we look forward to getting a first hand report one that soon.

Whispers from the Well

The Checkered Bandits have been recruiting in the market, and commissioning some specialized equipment from the kobolds. No reports on just what equipment has been ordered or delivered.

The Open Sore Orcs seem poised to attack the Howling Wolves Goblins once again.

Hobgoblins have been seen in the market. Are they mercenaries?


The Ogre Face Inn is looking to restock it’s supply of goblin-moss. Can be obtained from either the Market or directly from the Howling Wolves Tribe. Up to 10gp per bundle.

Ixa the Jeweler is looking for opals, black opals especially.

Damiel the Alchemist pays top coin for the glands of various creatures: fire beetles, spitting cobras, phase spiders, etc.

Monday, January 19, 2015

#6MMRPC Week 20 Blacksmith & Lightbox

Caffeine Forge has been running a Monday Miniature grpup event for a while now, and every now and again I manage to paint the coming week’s mini. This was one of those weeks! The mini was the blacksmith.

A rather simple figure. I wanted to see what I could do with him in a relatively short time, so I gave myself 2 episodes of Stargate SG-1 to get him done. The color palette was fairly limited, and mostly browns and greys.

And I’ve been talking about doing it forever, but I finally got around to making a simple lightbox. The box itself is just a cardboard box with the sides replaced with white tissue paper, based on various designs I've seen posted various places online.

I've also started working on the mini for next week, Barnabus the Pirate, doing some more work on the KotDT minis, mostly painting eyes, and fixing yet more mold lines. After spending so much time working with Bones minis, I'd forgotten how much prep can sometimes need to be done to metal minis!And I also decided that Duke Gerard's armor with the blue wash wasn't working, so I rewashed him with purple to better fit my theme.

I'm really going to have to practice with the light box... but still better than without it!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Ancient Sagas of Everlance: Rats and Dead Things

This report covers the sessions played on 1/4 and 1/11

Cast of Characters:
Kelmar - ½ Elf Ranger
Beska - Human Mage
Myshkin - Human Paladin
Gifilte - Human Monk of Love
Arkane - Human Paladin
Lorain - Human Bard
Sima - Human Thief
Dwarf Fighter

The party investigated the Black Pearl recovered from the sunken tower. It boosts a spellcaster’s powers, but also has a flaw that draws powerful monsters toward it. The party was initially split on what to do with the pearl. Myshkin favored finding someone trustworthy to hold onto the pearl. Kelmar (me) wanted to complete the job and hand it over to the Madam, even knowing she was going to be handing it off to another since it seemed like it’d be more trouble than it’d be worth. But in part because the Madam couldn't (or wouldn't) divulge who was to get it, nor would she increase the reward for turning it over, the party decided to hold onto it, handing it over to Beska so that she can take advantage of it’s boost.

However, pissing off a high power underworld figure with numerous connections to other powerful people doesn't make sticking around in town a comfortable situation. So off to the tunnels where the adventurers were trapped. With luck they've been able to hold out for the days the party has spent taking care of other business.

The initial foray into the tunnels first turned up some rats (why is it always rats?), followed by a mist filled room that also had an unfortunate number of zombies. The unprofessional wandering around the mist filled room meant that for the most part the party members could only see 1 or 2 of their fellows. Half of the party dropped before turning tail and heading back out of the dungeon to the local village.

After resting up for another couple of days the party headed back to the tunnels. On the way out of town they picked up a dwarf fighter anxious to test his mettle. Exploring some side tunnels, the party found and defeated some skeletons, and opted to hole up in the tunnels, rather than run back to the village.

My character, Kelmar, hovers about 100xp away from 2nd level… I really don’t want to die moments before getting those extra HP!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

General DMing Questions from Venger

Over at Venger's Old School Gaming Blog, Venger posed some questions about DMing. These are my answers.

On average, how satisfied do you feel about your GMing? Does that feeling or your perception change when you're at the table running (in the moment), hours after, days after, months or years after?
I'm usually satisfied, if not pleased, with my DMing. I put a lot of effort into my time in the big chair, and as long as I feel like I'm doing that, I'm happy.

Have you ever had a (you assumed) moderately satisfied player from the past come up to you months or years later and tell you how much he appreciated your GMing or that you were a great GM compared to what he encountered later? Ever had a player tell you how much you sucked?
I have been complemented by past players, and it's a great feeling! I've yet to have someone come and tell me I sucked.

Does grumbling, complaining, whining, etc. bother you when it comes to either house rules or a particular ruling vs. book rules (RAW)?
Not really. I tend to be fairly relaxed when it comes to the rules, and I usually try to work with my players to come to a mutually satisfactory decision. On those rare occasions I've had to rule by DM fiat it's usually because of something the PC's don't know.

Do you ever feel that you don't receive enough credit, recognition, accolades, understanding, or appreciation for your GMing?
After winning the IRON GM competition, I can't really say that I do.

As a GM, do you feel the need to "entertain" players beyond your usual GM duties?
I'm not entirely sure what Venger meant by this. In general I feel like the duties of being a DM are enough that I can leave non-DMing player entertainment to the players!

Do you think it's best to keep yourself separate or apart from the group to some degree, similar to an employer around his employees? Or are you just "one of the guys" and completely informal and chummy with the players when you're not actually GMing? What about when you are GMing?
Depends on the group, and how comfortable I am with them. My usual take is to be a little bit reserved from the players at the table. Away from the table, it's all good.

How often do you get one or more players in your group asking if he (or she) can GM soon? How do you feel about that? Do you generally take it as a compliment because obviously you make it look easy and fun? Or do you take it as an insult for encroaching upon your turf?
Again, this depends on the group. Some groups it never happens, and others it's semi-regular. I appreciate when it happens, so that I get a chance to see things from the other side of the screen.

How often (if ever) do you wonder how much players are enjoying the game, each session, the campaign, and your GMing? Do you regularly ask for feedback? If you do, are changes ever implemented?
I ask when I'm unsure of how they thought the session went. Sometimes it's easier to tell than others. A year+ ago I was asking more regularly than I am now.

What are the three most important qualities for a GM to have?
A sense of fairness, patience, and the ability to react to off the wall ideas.

Do you have a particular word, phrase, question, or statement that you frequently employ during the adventures you run? What is it?
"Is that what you're actually going to do?"

How long, generally, before you start to feel GM burnout?
Usually it's around 9 months to a year if I'm running things solidly. At this point I thought I'd be there already, but I think the holiday break helped, as does my Sunday night C&C game where I'm a player.