Category Archives: Dungeons and Dragons

Wizards on Ice

I need a quick and cold post for today, so I will turn to the ice wizards of Talislanta.

Ice Alchemist

Viktor, the ice-alchemist, and his son Zoran-viktor are Mirin, a sort of ice-elves who live in the frozen ice-world of the far north.  Viktor’s people are cold-resistant enough to wear bikinis in freezing weather (but smart enough not to).   So Viktor managed to become the Mirins’ most powerful user of the magic of chemistry by developing hot stuff. In the picture he is brewing a bit of the really, really hot explodie stuff that melts a Mirin bad guy.

Juan Ruy

Juan Ruy, the Mirin prince,  built many ice castles out of his magical substance known as iron-ice.  It was far harder to pierce than steel and impossible to melt with fires less hot than dragon’s breath.  With it he built frozen castles vertically to the highest heights.  And they still stand, primarily because I haven’t played that particular D & D game for more than two decades.

But this is what I love most about the Dungeons and Dragons game.  It is a never-ending game played in worlds of shared imagination where every person at the table adds something to the story.  It is interactive, and it retains the unique twists and turns created by the players.  I created the scenario.  The player behind the character Juan Ruy created the idea of iron-ice that completely changed the story.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, foolishness, humor, Paffooney

Saturday Night D & D on Sunday

Yesterday I forgot that it was Saturday.  But that doesn’t matter much in a D & D campaign.  You may not play at regular times… or at all, like this week.  But you do what you can when you can.  Just like in real life.  So let me share a character gallery, in order to give me my weekly dose of fantasy sword and sorcery nonsense.

These illustrations all come out of my D & D notebook.  They are done in colored pencil on colored paper.  Many are copied from models in catalogs, action movie stills, comic books, and illustrated Dungeons and Dragons products, but always interpreted in my own style and costumes.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, foolishness, Paffooney

Eberron

When you play Dungeons and Dragons the way we constantly do, it helps to have an over-all campaign, a world created by gifted imaginers to play in and use as the setting for all our adventures.

61SF1XS7W1L._AC_UL320_SR248,320_

There are good published campaign worlds to choose from.  We chose the Eberron world because it was so thoroughly magical and and steam-punk in nature and artwork.

This is a world where magic and alchemy have taken the place of science in the world’s technology.  Instead of airplanes, the magic-technicians known as magewrights in Eberron bind the living air and fire elementals to their ships and use elemental magic to fly.

582c1f1c60f338a7d979c7083c97eef1

Even robot-like constructs called warforged are built by magewrights to become, not only warriors to fill out armies, but sentient individuals with personalities and complex problems and emotions.  Book in the illustration above is a warforged wizard.  Book is his name.  Warforged are very simple artificial people… but also complicated.  They name themselves after weapons, armor parts, and random things.

D&D_-_4th_Edition_-_Eberron_Map_Breland

A campaign world provides places and non-player characters to interact with.  As well as monsters to kill and exotic locations to kill them in.  Eberron has its unique peoples, like Shifters.  Shifters are a race of people who are the result of humans loving lycanthropes… you know, werewolves and weretigers and weresharks and other were-things.

F59BBBDB-5303-4256-AF98-C816F91EEB24-13519-00001B428D8BA64D

 

Our family game got involved from adventure number one with the secret service of the Kingdom of Breland, the Dark Lanterns, so Breland and it’s cities became something of a home base.

D&D_-_4th_Edition_-_Eberron_Map_Sharn

The city known as Sharn, City of Towers, became a particularly fascinating home base.  The Broken Anvil Inn in the mid-reaches of Dura became a sometimes place to live and alwaystimes place to drink liquor and recruit weird friends.  And this is a vast city with a cluster of mile-high towers and a population of various peoples and monsters from throughout the continent of Khorvaire.

So if you have been reading any of my Saturday D & D posts, and found the place names confusing and hard to remember, now you have this post to read and confuse you even more thoroughly.  How do I, as dungeon master, keep it all straight?  I don’t.  I bought the books and I am constantly looking stuff up.  In fact, I often assign number one son the Player’s Handbook for Eberron to look up that stuff, number two son gets the Campaign Guide to look stuff up in, and the Princess handles the Monster Manuals.  (Really, I have spent a ton of pennies on the books and have too many to juggle them all myself.)

So we play the game in a world called Eberron and share the fantasies and stories of world where magic is science and science is magic.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, goofiness, humor, illustrations, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Updating the Cardboard Castle

When my health is poor and my day is limited mostly to the bedroom, there are still ways to pass the time that create a tangible something.  Something I can hold in my hand.  A piece of art.

This weekend has meant more work on building my castle out of cardboard.  (I am not planning on living in it myself.  Imaginary D & D characters live, fight, and die there.)

C360_2017-06-02-20-35-30-693

I actually painted the wizard in red and the Amazon in front myself.

So, I don’t draw all the elements myself.  I have found published sources of easy-to-assemble cardboard castle parts.  Then, with my arthritic fingers, scissors, tape, glue, and miniature-making muscle memory I proceed to create castles.

C360_2017-06-05-08-24-17-097

This weekend’s castle-creating came about with the help of a supplement purchased at a book store, my favorite used bookstore.

It was called Map Folio 3-D and was published in the last decade by Wizards of the Coast, a publisher whose D & D products I have been buying since they published Talislanta books in the 1980’s.

It has cut-out walls and doors and details that you can cut out and slap together.

You may have noticed I even cut designs off the cover to use on my versions of the buildings they designed.

C360_2017-06-05-08-25-37-910

So, that plan took me from this above to this below.

C360_2017-06-05-08-20-41-934

I did the village inn and a barn/workshop.  And put into the center of the cardboard castle, it adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the scene.

C360_2017-06-05-08-22-55-944

So there you have it, a little bit of the doofy art-noodling that Mickeys often do.

2 Comments

Filed under artwork, Dungeons and Dragons, making cardboard castles, photo paffoonies

Borrowing Characters

I admit it right from the start.  You don’t have to sniff out any Scooby-Doo-like clues to get at the fact of it.  For my family D & D game, I steal characters whole.  Mostly from things the kids have watched and loved on TV or in the movies.

maxresdefault (1)

These mostly ad up to funny side bits and digressions.  In the epic chase across the continent of Khorvaire they conducted when the adventure involved chasing a secret-agent vampire who had gone rogue from his government spy service, they had to receive important information at one point from a randomly generated pair of characters.  So I stole whole this pair from a Cartoon Network favorite show.

D&D6165 001

I turned Flapjack and the Captain into a half-elf with a crazed addiction to candy and sweets and a blue goblin capable of mind tricks and random evil that he doesn’t really mean to commit.  They have only appeared in one adventure so far, but I kept them around for use again, if the time is right.

Sc345

Vanellope from Wreck-It Ralph makes a sweet gnome and convenient comic relief character for when you are journeying in the Dark Dimension and visiting places like Castle Ravenloft.  I have not actually used her in an adventure yet, but I have one prepared in a haunted cross-dimensional ghost-castle.

 

And some characters are lifted whole out of game supplements and pre-made adventure books.  Some of my favorite characters are things that you were supposed to kill in the adventure, but charmed and made friends with instead.  Like the denizens of floating Cloud-Castle Tempest.

 

Cloud giants1

                                                                                                         The big ol’ Tempest kids

The supplement listed the giants of Castle Tempest as being evil and secretly cannibalistic, preferring to eat human adventurers.  I turned them into a widow and her cloud-giant kids lost in time (in the game world we are using giants once had a high-technology empire that fell back into dark ages, so I merely had to make them into accidental time travelers).  Not all adventures have to be about chopping the heads off monsters and stealing their stuff.  A family like this makes for interesting and bizarrely out-of-proportion friendships and troubles.

So, not everything that makes my Dungeon-Master fictions interesting is entirely my own work.  Like good comedians everywhere, I am not above stealing a joke.

Leave a comment

Filed under characters, Dungeons and Dragons, humor, Paffooney

Comedy Relief in D & D

Scannabcde

Dungeon Masters all tend to run their own style of game.  Some like complex puzzle-solving dungeons with complex traps and mysteries involving hidden rooms and old secrets.  I admit to having done that.  Some like hack-and-slash adventures where the slaying of hordes of mindless monsters can last for hours.  I admit to having done less of that.  And some, like me, are all about the people… even if the people happen to be monsters.  Monsters can be people too, right?  Just ask Herman Munster.

And my favorite kind of character is the random buffoon or fool who is essential to the plot.

Eli Tragedy

Eli Tragedy is such a fool.  He began as a computer character whom I used as me in a long ago 80’s computer D & D game called The Bard’s Tale.  It was mostly about collecting doodads and dimbledy-dumb in dungeons, and finding the right keyholes, eyeless idols, or shop keeper to use them with.  But later incarnations were also me, but as a very wise but outwardly idiotic wizard who always knew the answers to the sphinx’s riddles, but would never tell until it was funny to do so.  He also had a number of apprentices.  Bob was rather dim.  But he could do light spells pretty good… so Eli sent him down dark tunnels to see what might be down there that would want to eat him.  Usually over the objections of the player-characters who really wanted to know what was down there, but had grown fond of Bob and his blunderings.    And even burly fighters with a lust for treasure can actually have a heart.

Scannabcdegf

Mickey the wererat, was another apprentice who caused more than his fair share of chaos.  (A wererat, as I’m sure you know, is a lycanthrope that is human by day, but turns into a rat-man by night.)  Mickey had a penchant for stealing the wizard’s magic hat and using it to do horrendously stupid things that created really big messes for the player characters to clean up.  How do you stop an army of sentient gummibears bent on painting your castle with pink frosting?  It had to be dealt with.  (And why did Eli keep that old hat around, anyway?  He never used it for anything beyond letting Mickey steal it.)

Scan63

And, of course, there was the incident with the mermaid whom the players rescued from the Black Reef.  She was a bard with a harp and quite capable of making the magical music that helps dungeon divers  do their dirty-work deep in the dungeon dwellings of dangerous denizens.

They rescued her, and thanks to a fins to feet spell, were able to take her back to Sharn, the City of Towers, to be the bard for their adventuring group.  Unfortunately the fins to feet magic does not include a summon pants spell in it.  And how do you convince a mermaid to wear an article of clothing that no other mermaid ever needs to wear?

Walking around town with no pants, however, proved to be a boon in disguise.  (Boon as in a good thing, not short for baboon.  That would be another tangent entirely, a baboon in disguise.)

Scan64

The owner of the Broken Anvil Inn, where the adventuring team was living, asked the mermaid to go on stage for a song.  She started to sing a seriously sorcery-sort of song… while not wearing pants, and became an overnight sensation in Sharn.  She helped his business so much that he offered the adventuring party a place to park their carcass permanently.  So now, if you go to the Broken Anvil Inn in Sharn, it is pretty likely the entertainment will be the Princess Anduriel, mermaid bard, singing and playing the harp.  And she still won’t be wearing any pants.  The crowd loves her for it.

So it should be obvious to you now the kind of Dungeon Master I truly am.  And it will also help to explain why my kids are totally mortified by the idea of me dungeon-mastering for their friends.  “But, Dad!  We have to be able to show our faces in school Monday morning you know!”

Leave a comment

Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Siege at Castle Evernight

Evernight Keep 1a

I believe I gave you fair warning that I would be telling the story of how, in our family D & D game, we conquered a castle that was occupied by the forces of evil.  Well, this is it.  It happened in the castle I described as an adventure setting last week.

The heroes, led by the halfling Gandy Rumspot (number two son’s character) and Mira the Kalashtar (daughter the Princess’s character) were asked by the Kingdom of Breland to investigate what happened to their ally, the Duke of Passage, Dane Evernight, in the Kingdom of Aundair.

Scannabcd

So they loaded up their trusty airship and flew to Passage.  Where they immediately learned of two mysterious boys made completely of stone and, yet, still living.

stone boys

They found the two in the city square north of the castle.

Druealia the wizardess; You two boys are golems?  Living statues?

Angel statue;  We weren’t before Dr. Zorgo took us into the lab.  We were castle pages to the Duke of Passage.

Gandy the rogue;  He changed you?  Who is this Dr. Zorgo?

Faun statue; Zorgo was the Duke’s court physician.  When we woke up in the castle, everybody had been turned into some sort of golem.  Stone golems, rag golems, animated statues… even the Duke himself.  None of us remember much about our lives before our minds were put in these new bodies.

Mira the Kalashtar; We have to get inside the castle and put things right!

Wyzolal

So, the question became, “How do we get into the castle without this Doctor Zorgo finding out and turning us into golems too?”

The answer came from a visiting professor from Morgrave University in Sharn.  Professor Hootigan was a sentient giant owl.  Not only could he warn them about the dangers of facing a mindflayer, a psionic monster who can read your thoughts and attack your mind, which Zorgo actually was, but he could fly the two lightest members of the adventuring party up to the summit of the castle, bypassing all the many traps and defenses that Zorgo had most likely laid.  And it didn’t hurt that both Hootigan and Mira were psionically able to protect the group from Zorgo’s mind attacks.

Scannab

So up they went.  Hootigan’s flying skill roll was high enough to not only get them inside, but get them in quietly enough not to awaken the sleeping stone gargoyles who guarded the heights.

They were protected from Dr. Zorgo’s routine mind probes of the castle by Mira’s mind-shielding powers.

Once they were past Zorgo’s lab, they soon discovered two different things.  Zorgo hadn’t yet changed the Duke’s daughter, Sien, into a golem yet.  She was still imprisoned in the castle’s dark pit, called an “oubliette”.

They also discovered that fighting golems was extremely difficult.  They discovered this in a fight with three golems they dubbed Moe, Curly, and Larry for some mysterious reason.

Scannabcde

After a very frustrating slap-fight in which they discovered that you can’t kill or wound a rag golem with weapons, they finally won the day when they discovered all they had to do was stop the Larry golem from playing “Pop Goes the Weasel” on his fiddle.  That took away their will to fight.  And they were even helpful as former faithful servants of the Duke.  They revealed that all the golems in the castle were controlled by one golem-control wand wielded by Dr. Zorgo himself.

Scanna

First they sneaked down to the oubliette and rescued Duchess Sien.  Then they had to steal back her magical armor and swords.  Many more golem guards and gargoyles were in the way of achieving their goals, but they used a bit of trickery to turn the odds in their favor.

They tricked Major Jak Pumpkinhead into thinking that the castle was being assaulted from the front.  When all the castle defenders rushed to the front towers, Gandy closed the inner gates on them, locking them all inside their very own defensive positions.

Scannabcdef

Finally they confronted Dr.  Zorgo himself.  This time Mira’s defensive mind shields were not so successful.  Zorgo incapacitated Sien Evernight and Gandy Rumspot with mind attacks because they did not have their own psionic defenses (and because Mira rolled a 4 when she needed at least a 10 on the 20-sided dice).  Dr. Zorgo set the golden golem that had once been Duke Dane Evernight on a course to killing Mira.  At the last possible moment, Mira threw her magic dagger at Zorgo’s golem wand, rolled an 18, and destroyed it.   The gold golem, realizing he was now free, exacted his revenge.  He grabbed Dr. Zorgo and plunged off the balcony of the castle’s summit with him to a jarring destruction at the bottom of the 300-foot tower and cliff.

Scannabcdefg

It was a mostly “happy ever after” event.  The player characters now owned a castle, provided that Fate agreed to marry Duchess Sien and become the new Duke of Passage.

The numerous golem servants, having nowhere else to go, and no longer being human, elf, dwarf, or whatever they had been previously, stayed on to be castle servants.  Duke Evernight’s golden head was retrieved from the bottom of the cliff and, still able to talk, was to be the useful adviser of the new Duke.

That is pretty much typical of our D & D adventures.  Full of slapstick humor and mindless destruction, it was a whee of a time that made us laugh and enjoy time spent together playing weird imagination games with various toys, props, and dice.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, family, heroes, imagination, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life