Sep 14, 2022

Warduke Wednesday

 

From the AD&D Coloring Book - The Crown of Rulership

Sep 9, 2022

Frazetta Friday


COMBAT
(1965)

Cover art for Blazing Combat #1 Warren Publishing


A print of this was hanging on our barracks wall when I was in the Army, I always thought it was incredibly powerful full of energy and emotion.

Sep 8, 2022

Knotted Tongue Louse

Knotted Tongue Louse
Tiny Beast, Chaotic, Urban

No. Appearing: 1d4+1 (1d6+1)
Armor Class: 17
Hit Dice: 1/2 (2hp)
Move: 0’ (0’)
Attacks: 1 bite
Damage: 1 slashing
Save: 15
Morale: n/a
Treasure Type: Nil
Intelligence: 7
XP Value: 16

Replace tongue: target infected must Save vs poison or the louse lodges itself on the target’s tongue.

The eggs of this louse can be found in barrels of low quality old ale, musty water in dungeons, or in witch’s brews. It infects its host by being consumed when it is but a tiny egg. It attaches to the tongue and slowly devours it, replacing the tongue. This takes 2-7 weeks and is relatively painless because the louse secretes a numbing fluid. It then has full control over its host’s verbal output. It will say inappropriate things at inopportune times and develops a distinct personality, roll on the table below. 

Personality (roll 1d6):

  1. Sarcastic
  2. Belligerent
  3. Dishonest
  4. Contrarian
  5. Indecisive
  6. Insulting

A cure disease will remove it. Some sort of regeneration will be required to heal the tongue, the victim will be mute in the meantime.


A New OSR Blog: Rhoringhad

A new OSR blog? The heyday of old-school RPG blogs has long been over, much of the discussions have moved to various social media and forums. For many of us though blogs were, and still are, the best! (well, maybe G+ was right up there until Google unceremoniously shut it down)

It isn't as often these days you see new OSR blogs pop up.

Richard Whitters was art director over at Wizards of the Coast on both the Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons lines. I've long enjoyed his work as it was a combination of old-school aesthetic with a bit of contemporary style. Really outstanding work. He is clearly someone who's loved D&D since the early days, and it shows in his art. Check it this cool Bulette he drew:


He has started a blog with fellow designer Matthew Walsh to document the development of a new OSR RPG called Ruttigers. I like this stated goal for the design: "Old School: Essentially, similar to the Classic play style, but set to hard mode, much like some of the oldest of old school games."

He's released a sneak peek of the initiative system and it is a nice streamlined method that takes advantage of the best of side-based and individual-based initiative. 

Check it out:

https://rhoringhad.blogspot.com/

Image

Sep 7, 2022

Warduke Wednesday

 A new Warduke drawing by Timothy Truman (well, new to me as I haven't seen it before).


Credit to @YoDanno for posting on the Twatter app: https://twitter.com/YoDanno/status/1565088071896502273


Jugular Seeker

 

Jugular Seeker
Medium Plant, Chaotic, Forest

No. Appearing: 1d4+1 (1d6+1)
Armor Class: 17
Hit Dice: 6+2 (26hp)
Move: 20’ (10’)
Attacks: 1 bite or 2 claws
Damage: 1d6+1 piercing, 1d4+1 slashing
Save: 15
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: Nil
Intelligence: 12
XP Value: 75

Attach: target bitten must make a STR check, if they fail the Jugular Seeker latches on to the victim’s neck.

Drain: target is drained of 1d6 hp per round until dislodged or the Jugular Seeker is satisfied.

Regenerate: recovers 1d6 hp per round while in contact with soil from a grave.

Weaknesses to Sunlight, Garlic, and Holy Water: The Jugular Seeker takes 2d12 damage per turn while in contact with these things.

This carnivorous plant is possessed by an evil soul. It seeks out the jugular veins of creatures from which to feed on. 

Appearing as a common monkshood with a faint blue-green bioluminescent glow this plant can be found in enchanted forests and haunted woods. When the blood of an innocent victim is spilled on it, and a vampire has been impaled nearby, this can create the right conditions for the plant to be possessed by the spirit of the vampire.

The Jugular Seeker much like vampires, is harmed by sunlight, garlic, and holy water. And it prefers to be planted in soil from a grave, especially from the home land of it’s vampire soul, where it will regenerate 1d6 hp per turn while in contact with this dirt.

An exorcise spell will banish the evil vampire spirit from the plant.

Sep 6, 2022

Infectious Mushroom Crab


Infectious Mushroom Crab
Small Beast, Chaotic, Underworld

No. Appearing: 1d4+1 (1d6+1)
Armor Class: 19
Hit Dice: 3+2 (14hp)
Move: 90’ (60’)
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 bite
Damage: 1d4+1 slashing, 1d4 piercing
Save: 14
Morale: 6
Treasure Type: Nil
Intelligence: 2
XP Value: 75

Grapple: on a successful hit with both claws the target must make a STR check or become grappled. Grappled targets will be automatically bitten the next round.

Infect: target bitten must Save vs poison or become infected and will slowly transform into a Mushroom Crab over the course of 2-5 weeks. One limb at a time.

Mushroom crabs often infest damp or watery areas of the underworld where they feed off of debris left by other inhabitants. They are mostly reclusive and solitary, but during breeding season they seek out living prey which to infect and propagate. During these times they become highly active and agressive.

A Cure Disease spell can halt the infection, though any parts that have been transformed will remain.

Some witches insist that mushroom crab makes a delicious soup that has restorative properties.

Haunted Sapling


Haunted Sapling
Large Beast, Chaotic, Forest

No. Appearing: 0 (2d6+1)
Armor Class: 16
Hit Dice: 5+2 (22hp)
Move: 90’
Attacks: 2 claws
Damage: 1d6+1 slashing
Save: 12
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: Nil
Intelligence: 10
XP Value: 195

Blight: trees near them will become tainted and eventually become Haunted Saplings.

Distrust fire: And those who wield it.

Surprise: On a 1–3, in a forest, due to being mistaken for a tree. Encounter occurs at 30 yards or less.

Animate trees: Each individual can animate 1 tree (within 60’; may switch trees at will). These fight as haunted saplings with movement rate 30’ (10’).


The cursed spawn of tainted Treants, Haunted Saplings are giant (12’ tall) humanoid looking trees. They dwell in forests and are primarily concerned with protecting the plants of their home with a vengeance.  They can speak common but talk in a slow long-winded and circuitous manner.

Unlike normal Treants, Haunted Sapling’s are malevolent and ill willed. They don’t just want to protect their forest, they want to see the elimination of any creature that may harm the woods, and particularly those who weild fire and axe.

They infest the trees and their blight spreads throughout the entire grove they live in, until the woods themselves seethe with anger.

Sep 5, 2022

Grungeling


Grungeling
Tiny Beast, Neutral, Swamp

No. Appearing: 1d6 (2d6)
Armor Class: 11
Hit Dice: 2 (8hp)
Move: 30’
Attacks: 1 bite
Damage: 1 piercing
Save: 16
Morale: n/a
Treasure Type: Nil
Intelligence: 9
XP Value: 50

Control: target bitten must Save vs Paralyze or fall under the complete control of the Grungeling.

This tiny barnacle like creature attaches to the base of its victim’s skull. It injects tiny filiments that slowly replace the synapses in the victim’s brain, eventually gaining full control. The host will develop a wanderlust and will seek out new swampy areas. The creature will be barely noticable as a small crusty mole or scab.

Under fetid and rotting wood where fungus grows thick these creatures lurk and wait for suitable hosts. They will attach to any intelligent or semi-intelligent creature, including animals, but prefer humanoids. They infect their host and use them to traverse to new areas where they can release spores into. Once they’ve done this the Grungeling perishes and will fall off like an old scab. The host will then return to normal, though they may be a bit groggy and confused for 1d4 days.

Removing the Grungeling by force may cost the host 1d4 points of damage.


Sep 2, 2022

Frazetta Friday


Frank Frazetta The Amsirs and the Iron Thorn Painted Book Cover Original Art (Fawcett, 1967).

https://www.frazettagirls.com/products/at-the-earths-core-print


Fearmonger

Fearmonger
Medium Beast, Chaotic, Extra Planar

No. Appearing: 1 (1)
Armor Class: 18
Hit Dice: 8+2 (36hp)
Move: 90’ (60’)
Attacks: 1 bite and 2 claws
Damage: 1d6+1 piercing, 2d4+1/2d4+1 slashing
Save: 12
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: V
Intelligence: 17
XP Value: 750

Fear: target must Save or become incapacitated, cowering in fear unable to perform any actions other than basic defense for 2d6 rounds.

Ethereal: they can become ethereal at will.

 Cocoon: if a target is incapacitated, the Fearmonger can encase them in a cocoon (DC 15 to break out) in 2-5 rounds. To preserve as a snack for later.

Ethereal Gateway: can open a gateway to the ethereal realm and pull cocooned victims in, then close the portal so they are trapped forever with him.

Spells: they may recall 1d4 spells from the magic-user they absorbed. Choose randomly.

A Fearmonger is a vestigial humanoid creature that dwells in the ethereal realm. It appears as a bloated carcass with strange vine like growths wrapped over its form. It is created when a Cosmic Horror absorbs the life force of a powerful mage, sometimes they metamorphose into a Fearmonger. These larger more powerful creatures seek to devour the life energy of anyone it encounters. They feed off the fear their presence brings. 

Common Spells Known

  1. Charm Person
  2. Sleep
  3. Mirror Image
  4. Haste
  5. Slow
  6. Confusion


Sep 1, 2022

Ear Worm

Ear Worm
Tiny Beast, Chaotic, Underworld

No. Appearing: 1d4+1 (1d6+1)
Armor Class: 17
Hit Dice: 1 (4hp)
Move: 30’
Attacks: 1 lunge
Damage: 1 piercing
Save: 15
Morale: 6
Treasure Type: M
Intelligence: 2
XP Value: 15

Luring Hum: target must save vs spells or be charmed and put its ear near the Ear Worm.

Acid Juices: exudes toxic juices that inflict 1hp per hour.

Larvae: devour their prey from the inside over the course of 3-18 days.

This dangerous carnivorous worm emits a pleasant hum that lures prey, when the target is near the worm jumps into the victim’s ear. This temporarily immobilizes the victim who will then be slowly devoured by the Ear Worm’s acidic juices. It will lay its eggs, which will hatch larvae that devour the prey from the inside.

It will not be obvious from the outside that a host is infected with Ear Worm eggs, they will lose 1 Intelligence point per day so will slowly become more vegetative.

The larvae can be removed by a loud thunderous sound, which is likely to cause damage to the host and a hum will persist and resonate in the victim’s ears for 1-6 weeks making them temporarily deaf. Lost Intelligence points will not recover unless a Cure Serious Wounds or better is used.

 

Aug 31, 2022

Death Nettle


Death Nettle

Tiny Plant, Neutral, Forest

No. Appearing: 1d4+1 (1d6+1)
Armor Class: 12
Hit Dice: 1+2 (6hp)
Move:  Once it uses all of its stings it takes 2-5 days to regrow new ones.0’
Attacks: 1-4 stings
Damage: 1d4 piercing
Save: 15
Morale: n/a
Treasure Type: Nil
Intelligence: 1
XP Value: 25

Death Sting: target stung must Save vs Paralyze or be incapacitated for 1-4 days.

Appearing as harmless plants growing in fields among other normal vegetation, until a tasty target comes within range. The Death Nettle unfolds its barbed tentacles and reveals its skull-like face and attacks.

Once it stings an opponent and incapacitates them the Death Nettle will slowly envelope the creature and start digesting it over the course of 1-4 days. Once it uses all of its stings it takes 2-5 days to regrow new ones.

Death nettles were cultivated by the monks of Nakari, goddess of death and darkness, while they were bored trying to fill time between their mediations.

Warduke Wednesday

 


Aug 30, 2022

Cosmic Wanderer

Cosmic Wanderer
Medium Humanoid, Chaotic, Extra-Planar

No. Appearing: 1 (1)
Armor Class: 17
Hit Dice: 6+2 (26hp)
Move: 90’ (60’)
Attacks: Touch
Damage: 2d6+1 Necrotic
Save: 15
Morale: 6
Treasure Type: V
Intelligence: 16
XP Value: 500

Necrotic Touch: target touched must Save vs poison or take an additional 1d6 necrotic damage. Limb will rot away within 2-5 days unless cured.

Etherealness: 3 times per encounter can become ethereal for a round and cannot be touched or affected except be effects that can affect ethereal things.

A Cosmic Wanderer is a lost soul condemned to wander the cosmos in search of a home it will never find. Whether an explorer who lost his way, a wizard experimenting with magic he didn't understand, or a cursed individual tossed into the ether, they have been traveling for so long that they've lost all comprehension of time and space. Their physical bodies are deteriorated and barely recognizable as human. 

They have also developed a malevolence and hatred of all mankind and will seek to take the life from anyone they encounter with no remorse. It is possible that under some circumstances a remove curse spell cast by a powerful cleric could restore their humanity.

Aug 29, 2022

Blighted Grimalkin

Schrödinger's cat was neither live or dead...it was UNDEAD!

Blighted Grimalkin
Small Undead, Chaotic, Urban
No. Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 13
Hit Dice: 4 (16hp)
Move: 120’
Attacks: 1 bite or 2 claws
Damage: 1d6+1 piercing, 2d4 slashing
Save: 14
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: M
Intelligence: 9
XP Value: 95

Depending on how the Grimalkin was made determines its special abilities, it has one of the following as well as Poison Immunity:

  • Bloodcurdling Howl: up to 3 times per encounter. Opponents within 15’ must Save or take 2d4 Thunder damage.
  • Necrotizing Claws:if a target is struck by the Grimalkin’s poisonous claws they must Save vs. Poison or a limb will rot off in 2-5 days unless cured with Cure Disease or Remove Curse.
  • Regeneration: it quickly recovers hit points at the rate of 1d4 per round unless the damage is done by fire, lightning, or acid.
  • Resistance: Fire
  • Immunity: all Grimalkin are immune to Poison

Blighted Grimalkin are familiars that have been separated from their witch, they are a disturbing omen that foreshadow grim events. Plagues, crop failures, still borns are said to be caused by their presence. They appear as undead cats, with matted fur, hollow eyes and a nauseous stench.

If slain on a full blood red moon in autumn, in the presence of its witch it can come back as a blighted grimalkin with a Bloodcurdling Howl.

If it is buried in a cursed graveyard, it may come back as an undead with Necrotizing Claws.

If the witch it is bonded to dies by decapitation the grimalkin also dies, and comes back with the power of Regeneration.

If the witch it is bonded to dies by fire the grimalkin dies of a heartbreak, and comes back with the fury of hell in its eyes and it is Resistant to Fire.



 

Aug 17, 2022

Cities on Mars

 Using AI to generate cities on Mars.

I've become quite fascinated with using this tool to create concept art and ideas to use for reference, but many of them are compelling images on their own with little or no corrections and refinement in Photoshop to fix the weird little artifacts.
















Aug 12, 2022

Arson Roach


Arson Roach
Small Beast, Neutral, Underdark
No. Appearing: 3d4+1 (3d6+1)
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 2+2 (10hp)
Move: 30’ (60’)
Attacks: 1 bite or special
Damage: 1d4+1 slashing
Save: 14
Morale: 6
Treasure Type: Nil
Intelligence: 1
XP Value: 25
  • Radiate Heat: up to 3 times per encounter. Opponents within 15’ must Save or take 1d4 Fire damage.
  • Burning Gore: when killed body explodes 20’ radius, Save vs. Breath or take 1d4 Fire damage.
  • Resistance: Fire
  • Vulnerability: Cold

Arson roaches are dog sized creeping crawlies with flaming hot internal organs. They can spew out liquid fire and are nearly impervious to heat. They also spread disease and pestilence. 


Aug 8, 2022

Rakshasa Beast


Rakshasa Beast
Medium Beast, Chaotic, Extra Planar

No. Appearing: 1d4 (1d4)
Armor Class: 16 (Natural Armor)
Hit Dice: 7 (28 hp)
Move: 120’ (40’)
Attacks: 1 bite or 2 claws
Damage: 1d8+1 piercing, 1d6+1 slashing
Save: 11
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: C
Intelligence: 6
XP Value: 750

  • Savage: once per encounter can go into savage mode for 1d4 rounds, +2 attack and damage, -4 AC. Will be fatigued for 1d4+1 rounds after.
  • Illusions: can appear as a less threatening form such as a harmless housecat, the illusion dissapates in combat.
  • Immune: non-magical weapons.
  • Resistance: weapons less than +3.
  • Regenerate: recovers 3hp per round.
  • Limited Magic Resistance: has +4 on saving throws against spells and magical effects.

Certain conditions can cause a rakshasa to go feral and turn into a wild uncontrollable beast. They forget their civilized nature and revert to pure animal form.

A rakshasa is a human-feline hybrid, fearsome and hardy in stature. They have fangs, claw-like fingernails, and fierce malevolent eyes. Their features often resemble a tiger or other fierce feline beasts. They give a bestial growl and are known to consume the flesh of their prey they particularly enjoyed hunting.

Originally rakshasa are evil spirits in mortal flesh, who escaped the infernal realms into the material world long ago. Many of them become high ranking royalty by using their powers of illusion. Some go mad and become Rakshasa Beasts.

- - -

This is the beginning of a series on creating monsters with AI. The images are created using Midjourney and other AI image manipulation tools, and a bit of retouches in Photoshop. The descriptions are then written up.


Aug 3, 2022

Warduke Wednesday

 


Cool Warduke fan art by Tone Rodriguez

Aug 2, 2022

Artificial Intelligence Art

 


Recent Artificial Intelligence image making tools have hit the art community like a flaming meteor crashing into our world. Previous programs were interesting gimmicky little toys, but the new crop of AI art creators have become mind-blowingly good.

For those of us who make a living as illustrators it is somewhat alarming. Will art directors be able to just generate the art they need by typing in a few keywords into a program? Well, not yet, but it is clear that this technology is going to have a huge impact. Like all technologies this is only the beginning, in a decade or two artists may become more curators than creators. Meaning they will use AI to draw hundreds of images, directing the process, and choosing the best images for a project rather than actually drawing and painting.

There was a time that artists who worked digitally in programs like Photoshop were accused of "just pushing buttons and the program creates the art" but nothing was further from the truth. It still took a lot of skill and craft to create illustrations digitally. Years of practicing learning how to draw anatomy, composition, design, etc. went into digital image making. These AI tools however may actually live up to that accusation.

It isn't hard to imagine that this will gobble up the art market from the bottom up. Clip art and beginning artists will be replaced, then mid-tier artists (like myself) will feel the competition, finally as the technology matures it will be able to create masterpieces with full control from the user. Already it is impressive.


I've used it to help complete the art for Saints, Gods, & Relics. And I'm using it for the next Beasties monster book I had already mostly written, but was just waiting to draw the creatures, then in just a couple of days I was able to use AI to create dozens of stunning (and disturbing) monsters and characters to fully illustrate the book (which I'll be previewing here soon). It still required my skill as an artist to do post-processing, clean up weird artifacts, and fix things. But the results I think are quite amazing.


I believe over the coming months we are going to see a virtual flood of AI images filling the pages of independent tabletop games.



Aug 1, 2022

More Options for Clerics

 The cleric is one of the most interesting additions to the original edition of DnD.

In many ways the militant holy man is a bit of an odd fit among the general swords & sorcery genre that informed the early development of the game. There is really nothing quite like it among the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Fritz Leiber, Robert E. Howard, JRR Tolkien and so on. Even CS Lewis doesn't have anything resembling the Cleric anywhere in the Chronicles of Narnia.

We have to dig back into history and lore to find warrior monks. Friar Tuck, the orders of Knighthood like the Templars, and further back perhaps to Old Testament times with some of the Judges of Israel. The most likely inspiration was Dr. Van Helsing, particularly as he was portrayed in the Hammer Horror films that Gygax and Arneson enjoyed so much.

While you could argue that the entire booklet Gods, Demigods, & Heroes is specifically for the Cleric, the class itself is a bit neglected in the early Little Brown Books. The Monastic Knights class treatment I made a while back was an attempt to fill that gap. Though with that class my intention was to revise the cleric from less of a priest and more into a holy warrior. A niche between clerics and paladins. A less restrictive paladin if you will. 

I was having this conversation with David Pulver about the cleric and he mentioned he had written an entire treatment for the Cleric for his homebrew campaign. I was immediately intrigued and we soon agreed to publish it as an OD&D supplement. That was two years ago.

This project has been sitting on my backburner that long. I'd pull it out dabble with it, work on layout, and sketch some art, then put it back. I'm sure David was wondering if it would ever get made. Well, that time has come. It is a book that fleshes out the cleric class without breaking game balance. We'd joked that we could call it Old School Religion, OSR if you will, but ultimately Saints, Gods, & Relics was a more fitting title.

The book is now available in PDF & Print, and as a bundle.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/401377/Saints-Gods-and-Relics



Jul 29, 2022

Warriors of the Red Planet Review

 The RPG Pundit has reviewed Warriors of the Red Planet. Overall a positive review, but he does really go off on the Scientist class and their gadgets. Which is one of my favorite things about the game book! One man's junk is another's treasure, and all.


To justify gadgets getting better as the Scientist levels up imagine that he improves its functionality as his understanding of science increases. Anyways, I don't think the weird science gadgets are out of place mechanically or thematically in this game at all.

If the RPG Pundit doesn't like the Scientist, he's going to really hate what I did with the Engineer class in Gunslinger where I doubled down on the gadgets concept. And I think it came out pretty good. You can be the judge once it's released.

If you love the Sword & Planet genre you might also like World of the Last Sun, while not exactly a S&P RPG it is written and designed in the same spirit.

Jul 25, 2022

Wizard Tower - Watchtower of Arom the Shadowy Count

 Arom, the shadowy Count of the province of Gasharakim, in western Baulephor, was known for dabbling in spells of surveillance and far seeing. He was particularly interested in the outer realms beyond the sphere of the world where alien worlds revolved in a peculiar dance around the sun. He became paranoid and was convinced a fleet of invaders would descend on Tarniss in skyships of battle and wage war on the domains. His most powerful scrying device, an enormous whirling sphere of mirrors and glass globes is said to still be intact in his great watchtower.

Arom passed away long ago, his warnings of interplanetary invaders never coming to fruition, but some of his cult still believe the Count was correct and it is only a matter of time until the invasion begins.




Inspired by Adventure Bot: Adventure Module GG1 Furious Watchtower of Arom the Shadowy Count 

Jul 19, 2022

Gunslinger Update #10


Breaking radio silence here for an update on Gunslinger. The silence wasn't intentional, it is just that I had my head down working hard on the book and lost track of time. At this point we are about 2 weeks past the date I wanted to send the files to the printer.

After reviewing the latest physical proof I felt there were still a few things that needed more work. There were 3 main areas I wanted to improve.


Layout

The book looked good on screen, but it didn't look as good printed out on physical copies. One bit of a surprise is that the font size was too large. I wanted the book to be easy to read and reference, especially during play, but the font size seemed a little too much like padding. So it was reduced by 1 point. This affected the layout on all the pages, and so that all had to be reworked. The gaps it left were filled with more art.


Art

Still the largest hold up is completing all the art. This is developing into a well illustrated book full of high quality art. It is a truism that Quantity + Quality takes time. I could have rushed it to meet a deadline, but I wanted to do a better job with the art and also draw more creatures.


Creatures

The writing is nearing completion. I keep thinking it is essentially done, but the Creatures section seemed a bit too thin. The original idea was to make Gunslinger very realistic and it didn't include many fantastic creatures. This left the encounters chapter lacking in excitement, so this section was revisited and greatly expanded. If a Referee wants to run a gritty realistic campaign they can use just the normal animals, if they want to spice things up with a little more of the fantastic that is now included as well.


I should also mention that there are some other little details, such as drawing more maps, fleshing out the random tables, and adding more adventure hooks. But these aren't as major or time consuming as the 3 main things mentioned above. I'm aiming to have this ready early next week, and of course everyone will be getting their updated PDF as soon as possible.

Thanks for your patience pardner, adios for now.

Jul 14, 2022

WotRP Companion Update - Psychic Warrior

A while back it was teased here that Al Krombach, the highly learned scholar of all things Sword & Planet, was assembling some strange new alien concoctions in his laboratory to unleash on the gaming world. While I've only heard whispers and rumors of what these marvelous assemblies of the written word might be, the little I have seen has filled my imagination with a sense of wonder and excitement, filling my mind with a yearning to visit a distant Red Planet inhabited by giant four-armed green aliens, battling dastardly pirates careening through the thin atmosphere in skyships, and encountering captivating princesses as dangerous as they are beautiful.

Then a note, sent via a mysterious Gridly Wave Transmitter, arrived in my studio with a fragmented message. I managed to piece together some of what it said. It was the description of a new character class known only as the Psychic-Warrior. My understanding is that it is reminiscent of the original Elf -which was a sort of Fighter/Magic-User hybrid in the First Fantasy Roleplaying Game.

PSYCHIC WARRIOR
Some Fighting Men and Women with heightened telepathic and extra-sensory abilities will seek out training to allow them to combine these abilities into something greater. A Psychic Warrior uses their innate abilities to enhance both their martial and defensive abilities, and gains a limited but potent selection of Mentalist powers as well. Charisma is an important ability for Psychic Warriors, and those with a score of 13 or higher gain +5% to experience earned. Psychic Warriors may use any weapon and armor, and use the same Saving Throw table as Fighting Men (see Warriors of the Red Planet).
 
Psychic Warriors roll d8 for each Hit Die (to a maximum of 10HD).
Psychic Warriors have the following special abilities:
 
Psychic Enhancement (PsyEnh): The Psychic warrior focuses his or her extra-sensory abilities to enhance their combat abilities. They may apply a bonus (as per the chart above) to one of the following each round, selected and stated at the beginning of each round: Attack Roll, Damage Roll, or Armor Class. For example, a 5th level Seer-Hero may elect to apply his or her +3 Psychic Enhancement bonus to attack rolls one round, and to Armor Class the next.
 
Mentalist Powers: The Psychic Warrior learns Mentalist powers of their choice per the chart above, selected from the powers available both from this tome and Warriors of the Red Planet. Each power may be used once per day, and the Psychic Warrior requires a minimum of six hours of uninterrupted rest or meditation to regain the use of those powers. Most Mentalist powers in general allow a saving throw to prevent its effects, and Psychic Warriors with a Charisma score of 13 or higher may add their Basic Ability Modifier to powers that involve a to-hit or damage roll. For more on Mentalist Powers see Warriors of the Red Planet.






Jul 13, 2022

Warduke Wednesday

 Say hello to my little friend the Morning Star.



Jun 29, 2022

Can AI Draw Like David Sutherland?

 I've been participating in a beta for MidJourney, an AI image creation algorithm that takes key words, searches the internet for thousands, millions of images and creates an original graphic. The results are dream like, strange, and sometimes really well composed.

There are many AI image making systems in development, for example Artbreeder and Dream are ones I've dabbled with. This technology is just in its infancy and is already exciting, intimidating, and a little scary for those of use who make a living doing Illustrations.

As an experiment I challenged the software to replicate the style of David C. Sutherland III. The results are interesting, but not particularly convincing. The images are more abstract than illustrative, and they don't really capture the fine line work at all. I've found in general it is difficult to get the AI to draw decent line work, it tends to do either painterly or photographic much better. Here are some of the results.








This was only a first attempt. There are a lot of techniques such as refining keywords, emphasizing words, feed it images to work from, and so on that can help to improve the results. The keywords I used for this batch were: knight fighting a dragon in a dungeon, and a paladin in hell fighting devils. As you can tell the answer to the question "Can AI draw like David Sutherland?" is currently no.

I'll be continuing to play with the software as it improves, but for now illustrators don't have much to worry about. Then again, master Go players never thought they'd get beaten by a computer either. We live in interesting times.


Discussion thread: https://nightowlworkshop.freeforums.net/thread/33/ai-draw-david-sutherland-iii

Jun 15, 2022

Warduke Wednesday

 Warduke wants to defeat Strongheart because he's such an annoying goody little two-shoes.



Wizard Tower of Karogul the Grotesque

Karogul was a misshapen and grotesque man. Born with terrible birth defects and a hideous appearance, he was nonetheless a kind soul and an extremely gifted wizard.

When he completed his apprenticeship and left his master to find his way, he traveled to many of the most impressive cities in the lands. He took copious notes of architecture and was determined to make his own wizard tower a lustrous spire of great beauty. He succeeded. He passed away ages ago, but his legacy remains. The spire has withstood the test of time.

Dark forces have infiltrated the spire from the caverns below and are defiling this great monument to a great wizard.