Feb 24, 2017

Raiders and Freebooters update

Busy week here at the workshop. The edits are completed on Freebooters, just need to have another set of eyeballs double check before I export the PDF and it will be done.

The edit list for Raiders is basically completed, I still need to go through and implement them on the document. It's all been fairly minor stuff like indents and English instead of American spelling on a few things. The HD was left off the Occultist class. Couple of tabs missing on the equipment list. You know, all the little things that seem to never end once you're "done".

I wanted to have them both out this week, but it was way too busy around here. Even had the kids off to their grandparents for the week and I'm still behind on work.

I'll leave you with this classic encounter from Raiders, the Femme Fatale! And an illustration for her that didn't quite make it into the book (another smaller one was used):

Femme Fatale
HD: 1
AC: 6 [14]
Atk: by weapon; often dagger or revolver (1d4 + poison)
Luck: 14
Move: 120’
CL/XP: 1/100
Special: Irresistible, poison vial, communication with the enemy

Dangerous women who rely on their personal charms and alluring beauty to lead male adventurers astray who must make a Luck roll vs. wisdom to not be seduced. Includes exotic foreigners such as the stereotypical Chinese “dragon lady.”  Achingly beautiful but “too good to be true,” the Femme Fatale is often armed with a hidden vial of knockout poison to slip into a drink, or a concealed radio to summon up the people they are secretly working for...

Feb 18, 2017

Dundracon 2017

All setup and ready to go. Looking forward to the reactions to the new games!

Feb 16, 2017


This is sad news to hear. I was always impressed with the creativity and vision of Loren Wiseman in his Traveller RPG.
Hobby game pioneer Loren Wiseman has passed away, according to a post by Munchkin Line Editor Andrew Hackard on the Steve Jackson Games forum.  Wiseman was a longtime game designer who co-founded one of the earliest hobby game companies, Game Designers’ Workshop, in 1973.  He was the co-creator of Traveller, which launched in 1977 and is still being published today.

Mongoose Publishing has printed a new edition of Traveller. Go roll up a character in honor of Loren, hopefully your character doesn't die during the creation process. http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/rpgs/traveller.html

Feb 15, 2017

Dungeons and Dragons and Science!

What do asteroid 2017 BQ6 and a mollusk named Gastrocopta sharae have in common? If you answered Dungeons & Dragons you might be right!

Gastrocopta sharae is named after Shar, the goddess of darkness, caverns and secrets in Dungeons & Dragons.

And asteroid 2017 BQ6? Well, it kinda sorta looks like a die you'd use playing D&D.

Go science!


New Books Just in Time for Dundracon

I've been attending Dundracon for close to 20 years now. Many of those as a dealer. There was a time I did a lot of RPG character portraits, but there is only so much you can take of "my character has a small scar under his left arm pit from the time he fought the night stalker. Also make sure he has the star emblem of the fire goddess on his front and the sigil of the brotherhood of chromatic darkness on his back."

Wait, you want me to draw his front and back in one drawing? That's not possible. How are we going to see the scar under his plate mail armor? And what in the seven heavens is chromatic darkness??

"But that's what I'm paying you to do, he has to show the emblem and the sigil, that's my character, it means everything to me..."

Sorry, got off on a tangent there.

I have a ton of fun at that convention, though I've drifted more towards boardgames over the past few years, I do try to hop into the occasional D&D game or some other classic RPG I enjoy.

I announced the completion of Raiders of the Lost Artifacts and Freebooters, well copies just arrived! And they do look pretty great, probably the best ones yet. However, just a few typos that I need to fix before releasing them to the public. I was hoping to have these for sale at Dundracon, but with these typos...I know all books have typos and minor erros, however this is a little beyond the threshold. I guess I could include an errata sheet.

At any rate, I'm going to fix the typos, upload new PDFs then make them available for general sale. I still have a lot of show prep for this weekend, I'll aim for sooner but they will be available next week.

The Book of Drawings came out really good. The blacks are deep & rich, no breaking up of the lines on the pen & ink work. This one is good to go.

Hmm, drawings of pirates, I wonder why I'd be drawing buccaneers, cutthroats, and scalawags? Is that Anne Bonny and Mary Read? I wonder.

Feb 13, 2017

Dr. Strange Edition or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love 4th Edition

I wasn't a huge fan of 4th edition D&D. The game didn't feel right. To me it was a betrayal of decades of D&D history. I was at Gen Con the year it was released. After playing a game and being asked what I thought of it I didn't know how to respond. All I kept thinking was what the fuck was that?? (pardon my French).

The only thing I can liken it to, in terms of the history of D&D, is Swords & Spells. A game which was not received well at all by the gaming public, and was quietly left to wither away. Today you can easily pick up copies of it on eBay for under $30 (you'll see it often listed for much more but don't be fooled). When you do get a copy in your hands you'll see it is usually in a pristine unplayed state. Maybe some minor shelf wear.

Because nobody played it.

What's wrong with Swords & Spells? Compare the simplicity of Chainmail, where a unit has just a few traits like movement speed and combat ability, this makes mass combat, or skirmish level combat fairly easy and quick to resolve. Now imagine you took Chainmail and added on the detail of an RPG character to each unit. Resolving even skirmish level combat could take hours and would be quite tedious.

That's a lot what 4th edition is like.

It's not an RPG, it's a skirmish combat game with layers of special abilities, maneuvers and all kinds of detailed tactical level combat options. If this had been marketed as a skirmish combat game with a box full of minis then it would have made more sense. A successor to the D&D crown it was not. However, it did find an audience as witnessed by the success of the Penny Arcade podcasts of live play.

Setting aside my personal feelings for it, I can see that it is a tight and well designed game. This video gave me some insights and made me think a bit differently about 4th edition. I'm still not a fan, but there are some good ideas in here.

Feb 10, 2017

Mad Max: Fury Road Car Porn

Fury Road was a tour de force of heavy metal post apocalyptic car porn, and I loved every minute of it.

A movie like that deserves a great RPG! There have been many post-apocalyptic RPG's, my favorite has always been 2nd edition Gamma World, but I did briefly get into Car Wars. While I liked it the tone was a little too silly, and the rules unnecessarily complicated, so my interest in it waned quickly. I've often thought of designing a new Mad Max style RPG using the OSR style like Swords & Wizardry. But it would take some heavy modification and a lot of play testing. The star of the show would really have to be car-to-car battles and the ability to modify and upgrade your vehicles. I'd want to capture that dramatic, cinematic action like in Mad Max somehow.

This gallery of the cars made for Fury Road is a visual feast. You can really enjoy all the details that went into the designs.


Feb 9, 2017

Thomas Denmark's Book of Drawings

I made a new art book in preparation for convention season. It will be first available at Dundracon and Emerald City Comic Con, and at the other shows I go to.

It is chock full of drawings, 60 pages worth! That's sixty pages of fantasy, science fiction, and imaginative pen & ink drawings. This book is filled with wizards, warriors, dragons, femme fatales, pirates, orcs, goblins, mummies, undead, spaceships, space stations, dinosaurs, witches, princesses, fighting men, monsters, tharks, banths, manticores, weirdos, dungeons, centaurs, paladins, stirges, and a whole lot more.

Or you can get it now online!

Feb 7, 2017

Announcing Freebooters

Now that Raiders! is in the can, I'm looking forward to my next OSR project.


There have been a lot of Pirate RPG's over the years, I don't know if there is a definitive one within the OSR (more informed individuals than I can let me know). But I wanted to do something that was pretty historically accurate. No supernatural nonsense or anything like that, just straight up pirates seeking fortune and glory in the New World.

Ok, there is a teeny bit of supernatural in one of the optional appendices, a Voodoo character class called the Bokor, but she's done with a great deal of taste and respect for the genre and history of the region.

Here is an overview of what Freebooters will be about:
  • Character classes: Sea Rover, Musketeer, and Striker (& optional Bokor)
  • Ship-to-ship combat
  • Grappling rules
  • Lots of background detailing the rich history and adventure opportunities in the area
  • And a whole lot more

Raiders! is Off to Print

I loaded up the files and hit submit and ordered a proof copy at 11:58pm last night. Usually takes about a week and a half to get the proof. If all looks good I'll open it up for sale on DriveThruRPG with the excellent print/PDF combo deal.

Here is the Table of Contents:
The final character class choices are: Mercenary, Treasure Hunter, and Scientist. With the Occultist as an optional class. The other character classes that didn't make the cut may turn into a separate supplement as they still need refinement (and art). But the ones we've chosen align nicely with the spirit of the Original RPG + Greyhawk.

I didn't set out to make a 124 page book! Also, the font size is smaller than previous books. It is quite packed with information. This one was by far the hardest to make. I'm a bit anxious to see how it will be received.

Also, I recently lowered the prices of two adventures:
Guardians: Power of Fear
WotRP: Mechanized Men of Mars

They are a terrific deal if you're looking for some adventures to run and want to try out these systems.

Feb 2, 2017

A new director to attempt to adapt Dune to film

Many directors have aspired to get Dune to the theater. No one has yet succeeded. Oh, I know there have been some called Dune, but they were less than successful attempts. Denis Villeneuve director of Arrival is now signed up to try his hand at a Dune adaptation.

The only Villeneuve film I've seen is Arrival, apparently his other works are excellent. While I liked it I thought the hype was greater than the film. The story was quite cliche' to anyone who has ever read a sci-fi novel. However, what made the film good was the cinematography (by the immensely talented Bradford Young, who btw will be filming the Han Solo movie), and the outstanding directing by Villeneuve. Also the lead actress Amy Adams brought her A game as she always does.

Acting in all of the complex parts will be key to the success of a Dune film. The characters in the book are much more dimensional and multi-layered than in your typical science fiction story. All of the machinations, plots, intrigue, and tragedy that simmers together into a complex stew against the sweeping backdrop of an interstellar empire is a tall order to pack into a 2, or even 3, hour film.

My ideal would be an epic 5 movie series. I'd combine Dune Messiah and Children of Dune into a single film. While I love all the books (Dune Messiah took a long time to grow on me, it's still my least fave) God Emperor of Dune is the movie I really want to see.

The spice must flow.