Oct 29, 2019

Weapon Class - Armor Class

What if Armor wasn't represented by a number, but by a code? To some degree that was the original intent of Armor Class.

Page 38 of the 1st edition AD&D Player's Handbook has an interesting artifact left over from Chainmail that is the Weapon Types and "To Hit" adjustments system. I don't recall ever actually using this in play as it is too cumbersome and didn't seem worth the complication for whatever game play it is supposed to add. Today we think of Armor Class (AC) as an ascending (or descending) number representing improved defense against weapons, and that is true to an extent. More specifically AC represented a specific type of armor which some weapons were better or worse against as shown on the Weapon Types table.

This concept comes from the Man-to-Man Melee Table in Chainmail

Here is a cleaned up version of that table:

Taking notes from that idea here is a further extrapolation of the concept, grouping weapons into classes by their similarity called a Weapon Class. So the number does not represent offensive or defensive strength so much as a short hand or code for the weapon/armor it stands for. They could just as well be called A, B, C instead of 1, 2, 3.

I discuss this idea on the OD&D forum here: https://odd74.proboards.com/thread/14226/weapon-class.


Oct 28, 2019

Inspiration, Swiping, and Copying

This full page illustration by Darlene in the original Dungeon Master's Guide always fascinated me. It represented a type of fantasy that was being replaced by darker, heavier fantasy by artists like Frazetta and that is more of the norm these days. Now, I loves me some Frazetta. I have almost every art book, and am constantly on the lookout for every Frazetta image I can find to add to my inspiration folder. However, I sometimes wonder what books would look like had this more classical type of fantasy become the norm in gaming. Oh, we still see plenty of classic stuff, but it is definitely in the minority.

This drawing Darlene made reminds me of the great late 19th century illustrator Aubrey Beardsley, and he drew a composition that is quite similar. I wonder of she got some inspiration from this?

Composition by Aubrey Beardsley for The Lady of the Lake telleth Arthur of the sword Excalibur, from 'Le Morte d'Arthur' by Sir Thomas Malory.
1893-94 (lithograph)

In the illustration field being inspired, or what is called "swiping" is common and not frowned on by professionals. Everyone does it, even the legends like Norman Rockwell. We all stand on the shoulders of giants, as the saying goes, and there are hundreds of years of art history we learn from, draw inspiration from, and add our little bit to. In fact you can learn a lot about the artists you most admire by looking at the artists they admired.

This post almost belongs on my art blog, but D&D fans are most likely to be familiar with this illustration. Also, I do occasional fan art here that is my interpretation of old school illustrations that inspired me when I was a kid learning how to draw. This is quite different from literally copying or tracing other artist's work and calling it your own.

Oct 26, 2019

The Ultimate Blog of RPG Blogs

I found this out courtesy of the DM In Exile http://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/. It is a truly impressive collection of over 450 RPG related blogs, mostly of the old school flavor. It isn't just a list, but each features a thoughtful paragraph describing the blog. If there isn't enough gaming stuff on the internet for you to read go check it out.


Oct 16, 2019

Re-Imagining the DMG Cover

One of the items on my "would be fun to do someday" list is re-imagining the original ADnD covers in a modern style, but not too modern. When doing fan art or re-envisioning something a few questions come up. How far can you push it? What has to remain the same?

I've collected some references and done some sketches to answer these questions. I don't know if I'll go through with this and actually do full fledged paintings, but I might. One of the first things I sketched were the characters on the DMG and how they would look from the front. I've done a lot of character designs over the years in video games and in tabletop so I took the same approach to these designs. This first attempt is pretty safe and quite conservative with the characters. Not really changing anything. As I was doing this it occurred to me that it is not clear what the girl's character class is. Is she a thief? Or a magic-user? She seems to be holding her hand in a gesture to cast a spell, and a dagger isn't out of place for either class. I think I'm going to go with magic-user, though I suppose making her a thief would round out the party better.

The efreeti as cool as it is, has some opportunities for some really fascinating designs. Especially in the jewelry and its face.

Probably the most interesting part of this would be creating the city of brass floating over a burning ocean of oil. That could be made to look exceptionally brilliant. I haven't done any sketches for that part yet, but I am thinking how the front and back could be better integrated in a wrap around cover.


Oct 14, 2019

Blog Roll!

Some cool blogs I stumbled across in my recent journeys across the internets.

Nuclear Haruspex is an interesting hodge podge of stuff. Some random generators, which are always fun. Some OSR stuff, and some other ramblings about RPGs in general and GLOG (The Goblin Laws of Gaming) in particular.

Cratered Land has a variety of RPG stuff from OSR to Mechwarrior and more. And I appreciate the artists are given credit.

Whimsical Mountain. Primarily an OSR blog.

And Goblin Punch is the source of GLOG.

Here's a rotting pumpkin that looks like a face. Happy October!

Oct 11, 2019

3D-printed Lamborghini

3D printed Lamborghinis are hardly related to this blog, but it does relate to a post I made on predictions for 100 years from now. That post was a bit half baked and was merely a collection of ideas that had been bouncing around in my head and I wanted to get them down. Nothing new or revolutionary in those predictions, they were only my take on some likely outcomes.

One that I'm fairly certain will come true is that car bodies will be 3d printed and you'll be able to order any style you want. It'll probably have an electric chassis. An example of this becoming true is this article of someone 3d printing a Lamborghini. It is only a matter of time before this becomes widely available commercially from auto manufacturers. And they'll drive themselves. Allowing humans to actually drive a metal and glass death machine at high speeds will seem crazy to future generations.


Oct 4, 2019

D&D and Pop Culture: Feast of Legends

What does Wendy's and Dungeons and Dragons have in common? The Fight Against Frozen Beef!

What a surprise this was to see Wendy's published a roleplaying game. Yes, Wendy's. Even more surprising is it is really good! It's not exactly D&D, but close enough that it is unmistakably 5th edition-ish. They've even included a little campaign setting and adventure. This is so weird and remarkably cool for a fast food ad campaign.

I have fond memories of eating at Wendy's as a kid. I can't eat fast food as much nowadays, my taste buds like it but my body doesn't. Also, the one near us closed down and the nearest one is almost an hour away. This makes me want to go get one of those square burgers and a frosty and play some Feast of Legends with my kids.

You can download the free PDF, check it out:


Oct 3, 2019

Bookmark Adventure: Deathly Cell Of Xangarius the Berserk Princess

Deathly Cell Of Xangarius the Berserk Princess
Princess Xangarius was cursed by a vampiric sorcerer, and she was imprisoned in an impenetrable cell deep below Fendal castle.

A bookmark adventure for 2-5 characters of 5th-7th level.

  1. The entrance appears nondescript with a large plain wooden door. It is barred with an iron lock.
  2. Foyer. Two 5th level guards (common fighters) on duty armed with short swords.
  3. Guard Barracks. 2-5 5th level guards are resting here. Alerted if combat occurs in room 2.
  4. Storage room. Various kegs of wine and olive oil, crates of rice, beans, and flour.
  5. A 900gp gem can be seen under the water. A water weird guards it.
  6. Gallery of atrocities committed by Xangarius. Horrific scenes of people and animals torn apart.
  7. Five 6th level sentinels heavily armed with battle-axes and crossbows stop anyone entering. 7A. If outmatched in 7 the sentinels retreat to these alcoves to fight behind cover.
  8. Xangarius, she seems like a meek little girl, but when upset she transforms into a Vampire Spawn. If restored to normal her father will pay handsomely.