Friday, April 15, 2011

The Underdarkchocolate Realm

My spouse and daughter are planning an awesome birthday present for me in May. They're designing a dungeon module to run me through and they will have chocolate and other goodies hidden in various rooms for me/my PC to find. I did this for friends' birthdays when I was a lad -- we were pretty strict about not letting the birthday boy open a real present until he had found its simulacrum in the dungeon.
Anyone else ever have a dungeon-themed birthday party?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

[illustration] Urzen

Yet another alien species, the Urzen. I remember that they communicated with each other by scent. They were psionically sensitive to living things, and acted as guardians of nature.

[Illustration] Ferrec

A ferrec.
Another sketch from my Earthlaw campaign sketchbook. This is a ferrec, one of the cute, ruthless aliens I mentioned in my previous post. As god is my witness, I have no idea why there's a ball hovering over her head. It may have been a psychic artifact, or something akin to an Ioun stone.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

[Campaign Graveyard] Earthlaw: AD&D 2e Science Fantasy

My closet is a graveyard of old RPG campaigns -- I was reminded of one in particular this morning when I was cleaning out my file drawer and came across some illustrations in an old sketchbook for a fun little campaign I had entirely forgotten about.
I called it "Earthlaw", referring to the part of the galaxy under Earth's jurisdiction in the far future setting of the campaign. It was a 1000-points-of-light setting before that term was coined -- with a tired, decadent human civilization in retreat, leaving lots of struggling planets outside the Earthlaw facing increasing threats from the monstrous Old Ones who had been driven to the far side of the galaxy eons earlier. Only the jedi, I mean, the Paladins, an ancient order of mystic warriors, could stem the resurgence of the Old Ones.
I tend to dislike SF settings with zillions of alien species -- give me something more like Star Frontiers, with a limited number of well-realized and distinct races. Earthlaw only had about 5 intelligent races:

Humans, of course.
Elders, who were basically immortal space elves who predated humanity, and had been all but destroyed by the Old Ones in an eons-ago battle.
Podians, who looked like floating cuttlefish.
Ferrec, adorable fox-like creatures who maintained a ruthless criminal network across the galaxy.
Urzen, nature-loving bearlike critters.
Chiba, bug like creatures with a single mind distributed among several bodies, each with a specialized function.

We used AD&D 2e rules, modified as little as possible. A hard-drive crash years ago wiped out any files I might have had, although as I go through my spring-cleaning, I'm optomistic I can find my campaign binder.

Here's a picture of a Podian, from my sketchbook, c. 2000.
Podian. Their head-shells were hydrogen-filled chambers

that alowed them to hover in the air. Pencil, c. 2000.

[Illustration] Kat's Hand Crossbow

Someone go build this, kk? Pencil, c. 2003.
I loved Kat's character so much that I thought of doing a comic book about her for a while. I even made detailed sketches of her hand crossbows, and wondered how a repeating model might look (the boxy one at the top).

[Illustration] Look Out Below!

Kat leaps from a building. Pencil, c. 2003.
This is Kat(erina), a rogue PC of mine. She started out as a rogue in 3e, later gained levels as a thief-acrobat. Her backstory was that she was a rich brat who snuck out of her room at night to work the streets of the city of Gravesend as a petty thief. She carried a short sword and two hand crossbows. In this sketch she's wearing a cats-eye, which is a monocle made by dwarves IMC to allow surface dwellers limited night vision.