Category Archives: Dungeons and Dragons

Return of the Star Wars Figures

On a previous Saturday I admitted to the crime of using 12-inch action figures to play the Star Wars role-playing game.  The Dungeons and Dragons RPG world was horrified.  You are supposed to use scale-appropriate metal miniatures.  How can you simulate combat without small figures on a grid?  I have to confess.  It was via x’s and dots on graph paper.  But we didn’t use the action figures to represent ranges and lines of site in combat.  And one of my players was my niece, an actual girl.  So, I guess, to be honest, we were actually playing with dolls.

But it helps to have a lot of dolls.

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Emperor Palpatine, Snow Trooper, Obi-Wan, Jar Jar, Quigon, Droid Soldier, and home-made Mace Windu

We started play after the first two movies in the Prequel Trilogy.

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Wicket, Imperial Walker, Astroboy (What’s he doing there?) Darth Vader, Little Anakin, and Boba Fett.

We got creative with stories.

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Jango Fett, General Grievous, and Admiral Akbar

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Anakin Skywalker

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Robot from Lost in Space, R2D2, Slave Girl Leia, and a Green Orion Slave Girl Dancer from Star Trek

So there is evidence available to my offspring to help them have me committed to an institution.  The truth is, these are not even all of my Star Wars Dolls.  So this morning’s confession session is now at an end, though all of the horrible truth is not yet revealed.

 

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Filed under action figures, autobiography, doll collecting, Dungeons and Dragons, goofiness, humor, photo paffoonies

Star Wars Aliens, Mickified

I spent a good deal of my time as a game master for the Star Wars role-playing game in creating alien characters that fit the movies, the books I read in the Star Wars series, and the game materials.  In this post, I will give you a mini-gallery of the aliens I drew for the game.

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Chee Mobok was a space trader who had a problem with his own ego.  He believed that he was a genius at language and could speak any language he had heard a handful of words from.

The Galactic Common speakers were always laughing at the things he said.

Huttese speakers like Jabba the Hutt were always trying to kill him for say precisely the wrong thing.

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Hethiss was the Jedi Master when my son’s Jedi character was still a padawan learner.

He was wise, but unable to keep his student from doing things in violent ways when a diplomatic solution was called for.

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Merv was a potential terrorist and a suspect in a series of murders on a water planet.  He was, however, the good badguy character.  You know, the villain who has a heart of gold and whose actions redeem him in the end…  As opposed to a bad goodguy who seems to be a hero and ends up betraying everyone.

 

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Fisonna was a street kid from the same planet and same race as Hethiss the Jedi master.  He had the potential to become a padawan learner.  But he also used his Force skills to pull pranks on serious adults.

 

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Odo-Ki was a Gotal with the ultra-sensitive cones on his head.  He had a limited ability to see behind walls and predict the near future.

 

 

 

 

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Nadin Paal was an actual pirate and terrorist with no redeeming qualities at all.  The best thing about him was, that when the time came, he blew up really nicely.  A colorful fireball.

 

 

 

 

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Kehlor was a Herglic, one of the whale people who required specially built extra-large space ships and accommodations.   He was also a gifted pilot.  You can see that he wears the uniform of the Trade Authority.

 

 

 

 

 

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And finally, Klis Joo was a Duro and a Jedi, a gray alien with considerable Force powers.

 

There were many more drawings like this as well.  But these are some of the best ones.

 

 

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Filed under aliens, Dungeons and Dragons, humor, Paffooney

H. P. Lovecraft Gaming

call_of_cthulhu_gw

Back in the early 1990’s my little group of game players turned the full power of nerd obsession on the fantasy role-playing game Call of Cthulhu.  It is a totally weird little game based on the novels and short stories of H. P. Lovecraft.   It is a game about solving mysteries that, if successfully solved, will lead you to confrontations with all-powerful ancient evils that you cannot win against.  And you keep playing until your character absorbs so many insanity points that they go completely insane.  Your character then becomes a minion of demonic and irresistible evil that the next player character you roll up will have to hunt and defeat.  It is not a game you ever win.  You merely have to learn to survive and stay sane, things at which the game is set up to make you fail.

In 1991 the television gods took an old vampire soap opera that I had loved in the 60’s and remade it.  Dark Shadows came back to life starring Ben Cross as Barnabas Collins (the Chariots of Fire guy playing the vampire role that would later have a part in the downfall of Johnny Depp.)  The lead player in our group, a kid who was such a nerd that he would go one to be in the intelligence division of the Marine Corps, decided his character would have to be the vampire Barnabas Collins.  He reasoned that the only way to fight big evils was to fight back with evil that had been converted back to goodness.

And his instincts were good.  Barnabas and his lady love, Victoria Winters, were the only player characters not eaten by the minions of Nyarlathotep in the first adventure.  And Victoria had to be raised from the dead by having Barnabas turn her into a Vampire.

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Of course, the very next challenge would be from a white witch voodoo priestess from New Orleans, the Vampire hunter Sofia Jefferson.  (She was an NPC, not Sofie’s player character).  And she had a special potion that, given to a vampire, would restore it to normal human life.

This was a problem for Barnabas, because he really depended on his powers as a vampire and was not willing to go on without those powers.  So the vampire hunter had to be avoided without killing her and putting an end to her good work fighting evil.  If you can’t tell from the picture, Sofia was blind, yet could see with uncanny vision through sightless eyes.

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The next player character added to survive more than one adventure borrowed Luis’s vampire idea by making his character from the movie Darkman, a Liam Neeson movie about a doctor who had burned his face off, but could become other people by wearing their cloned skin.  He was the lead investigator to help solve the werewolf problem in the bayou , and took on the dark circus adventure where the foolish sideshow people were trying to make money exhibiting the captured Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

20180512_104746

There was a lot of death and horrible murders in those game sessions, but not committed by the player characters.  They had to keep good notes and draw conclusions and manage their characters’ powers and assets.  Notes like these;

And so, while the game never ended to my satisfaction, the players did get the feel of acting in a horror movie and fighting on the side of goodness against evil.  It was weird, but definitely worth doing.

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Filed under autobiography, Dungeons and Dragons, horror movie, horror writing, humor, Paffooney

Interview with a Booger-Man

Eli Tragedy, the old Wizard of the Lower Caverns, returned from Dunsanytowne with his apprentice, Bob, carrying their weekly groceries in Bob’s bag of holding.

“Do you think Mickey finished washing the curtains while we were gone?” Bob innocently asked.

Poor Bob. He was not particularly smart. Sometimes he forgot to wear pants.

But the grumbling old wizard, half-elf, half-human, and half -fermented gingleyberry juice, had to admit, at least to himself, that Poor Bob was far more likeable than that smelly, uppity, idiotic were-rat that was his second apprentice. That lazy, stupid half-rodent was no end of trouble. Maybe Eli needed to give Mickey one of his three halves to try and complete the boy. But not the half-fermented half.

“So, when’s the next full moon, Bob? When does that rat-thing turn back into a real boy so I can smack his behind with the rod of discipline and have him actually feel it?”

“Master, Mickey’s curse specifies that he can only be a real boy for a week on the next blue moon… and that’s not for a long time in the future.”

“Real shame, that is.”

Of course, when they went inside the wizard’s sandstone tower. Mickey was trying to use Eli’s magic hat to clean the flying-monkey poop off of the curtains, and was casting the scrubbing spell backwards, thus increasing the foul dirt that wouldn’t even be there if he hadn’t had the flying-monkey party without getting permission from Eli first.

“Mickey! Stop that! You are supposed to say, ‘Removere simia faecibus exturbandis opitulatur’ not ‘Addere simia faecibus exturbandis opitulatur!”

“Oops!” said Mickey.

“Oh, no! Not you!” said the mysteriously grim stranger sitting at the kitchen table.

The stranger didn’t so much stand up with his ax from his chair at the table as UNCOIL with his ax from the chair at the table.

“Mickey, who is this stranger you didn’t have permission to invite into our tower?”

“He says he is the Booger-Man, Master.”

“That’s Boogeyman, rat-boy.”

Mickey shrugged. “I thought Booger-Man sounded more correct.”

“Ah, so you are here to rob a poor old man’s sandstone hovel?”

“No! Not now that I know it’s YOUR tower!” the Boogerman said vehemently. “You don’t recognize me?”

“No. Should I?”

“It’s me, Pollox the Highwayman. Although, you had probably better call me Paw-Lucks now.”

“Ah, yes! You tried to steal from me on the road to the Cillyburg Cathedral.”

“Yes, and all you had was this magic ax You told me it would make me into an entirely new man.”

“The Wildman’s Ax of Magical Tax Avoidance and Soldier Slaying. I remember it well. It seems to have worked quite like it was supposed to.”

“Every time I fought I soldier, he slew me. And when I returned to life I had a new patch of shaggy white fur, or a new fang, or a bad case of mange.”

“And nobody ever asked you to pay taxes again, did they?”

“I won’t rob you this time, wizard. Just take back the ax and make me human again.”

“Can’t do it. I believe in paying my taxes. But, you can have Mickey. The boy can carry the ax for you.”

The Booger-man took one look at the young were-rat, turned even more pale than the white he already was, and ran out of the tower roaring in fear.

“Addere simia…”

“Stop it, Mickey! That’s the wrong one again!”

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Filed under characters, Dungeons and Dragons, humor, irony, Paffooney, satire, short story, writing humor

More Art Day Role Play

Again I go back to artwork done for Saturday role-playing games, a thing which I started doing in 1981. It filled my life for a time. And it also taught me to be a teacher. After all, the DM (Dungeon Master, or Game Master) has to be a story-teller and a master explainer… just like a school teacher.

A Dungeons and Dragons picture from 1981.
A Shaitan Rider, a villain from 1982.
The Giant Sorcerer’s Hand, a monster from the 2011 family game.
A heroine-ally and her pet werewolf.
The father of mys son’s player character was found at the end of an adventure. He is apparently me with fewer legs.
An enemy necromancer
Two versions of the same weretiger
This unused non-player character would become a novel character in 2019.
Some characters are borrowed directly from TV
Some characters are kept around as potential instant player characters.
A Talislantan librarian from 1992

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Role-Playing Game Art

Here I am back to doing D&D and Traveller on Saturdays. All of the art in this post was once used in conjunction with RPGs played with former students, and my own kids. I was always the game master in the past, and I used drawings and illustrations to help the imaginary adventures come to life.

Zoran-Viktor was a Mirin Ice Wizard from the Talislanta D&D campaign. The player of this character was Victor, a gifted dancer and actor from the school’s theater department.
The Lawgiver was a powerful Non-Player Character in both D&D and Talislanta. The character design came from a metal figure I painted myself.
Zoric was a Talislantan Thaumaturge, the player character of a weird kid who told x-rated jokes better than any other high-school boy I ever met.

Harun the Charmer was only ever used as a player-character once. The boy whose character it was provided the face I modeled it after. He was an absolutely arresting boy that had such a winning personality that people fell in love with him almost instantly.

He spent way more time helping another teacher grade papers than he did playing Talislanta games with goofy old Mr. B.

And I promise, only one of the facts presented here about Harun is a lie, in attempt to protect this young gentleman’s identity. We unfortunately lost him back in the 1990’s.

Crane the Sorcerer was an NPC trapped inside his own crystal ball by his own
evil familiar well before my kids met him in the D&D adventure.
Viktor, the Snow Wizard of Ice Keep, was the father of Zoran Viktor. Victor loved playing Talislanta.
Swordpoint Castle

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Project Conclusions

I did it again. What did I do, you may ask? I executed a plan and finished a project that I have been working on for some time.

Princess Persimmons’s Castle is the remains of a plastic children’s play-set, the brand and name of which I do not know. It was purchased for a quarter at a Goodwill store. I repainted the purple, pink, and blue plastic castle, and added snow.

The Princess herself is an unpainted D&D figure purchased in a game store at the Music City Mall in Lewisville while waiting for the start of a movie, Black Panther, I think. I painted her with enamel.

The three minstrels below are bard figures for D&D, purchased from the same place on two different occasions. They are painted with the same paints.

The background is an old Christmas card, altered with my computer’s paint program to fit the picture-project I had in mind.

And I will be able to place the castle and all the figures in other pictures in the future, as well as use them all for future games of D&D.

There is something very satisfying about completing a project. The picture you had in your head when you started all comes together. And it doesn’t match the original idea. But, still, you have accomplished an act of making art. Of course, when I say, “You”, I really mean, “Me”. But, I’m betting you probably know exactly what I am talking about

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Filed under artwork, Dungeons and Dragons, homely art, photo paffoonies

D&D Saturdays

In honor of all the years I spent playing dungeon master on Saturday afternoons, I am posting pictures to keep the posting of D&D stuff on Saturdays as a tradition.  I really am a bit too achy and ill to post any old orc and ogre stories today.

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H. P. Lovecraft Gaming

call_of_cthulhu_gw

Back in the early 1990’s my little group of game players turned the full power of nerd obsession on the fantasy role-playing game Call of Cthulhu.  It is a totally weird little game based on the novels and short stories of H. P. Lovecraft.   It is a game about solving mysteries that, if successfully solved, will lead you to confrontations with all-powerful ancient evils that you cannot win against.  And you keep playing until your character absorbs so many insanity points that they go completely insane.  Your character then becomes a minion of demonic and irresistible evil that the next player character you roll up will have to hunt and defeat.  It is not a game you ever win.  You merely have to learn to survive and stay sane, things at which the game is set up to make you fail.

In 1991 the television gods took an old vampire soap opera that I had loved in the 60’s and remade it.  Dark Shadows came back to life starring Ben Cross as Barnabas Collins (the Chariots of Fire guy playing the vampire role that would later have a part in the downfall of Johnny Depp.)  The lead player in our group, a kid who was such a nerd that he would go one to be in the intelligence division of the Marine Corps, decided his character would have to be the vampire Barnabas Collins.  He reasoned that the only way to fight big evils was to fight back with evil that had been converted back to goodness.

And his instincts were good.  Barnabas and his lady love, Victoria Winters, were the only player characters not eaten by the minions of Nyarlathotep in the first adventure.  And Victoria had to be raised from the dead by having Barnabas turn her into a Vampire.

20180512_104247

Of course, the very next challenge would be from a white witch voodoo priestess from New Orleans, the Vampire hunter Sofia Jefferson.  (She was an NPC, not Sofie’s player character).  And she had a special potion that, given to a vampire, would restore it to normal human life.

This was a problem for Barnabas, because he really depended on his powers as a vampire and was not willing to go on without those powers.  So the vampire hunter had to be avoided without killing her and putting an end to her good work fighting evil.  If you can’t tell from the picture, Sofia was blind, yet could see with uncanny vision through sightless eyes.

20180512_103425

The next player character added to survive more than one adventure borrowed Luis’s vampire idea by making his character from the movie Darkman, a Liam Neeson movie about a doctor who had burned his face off, but could become other people by wearing their cloned skin.  He was the lead investigator to help solve the werewolf problem in the bayou , and took on the dark circus adventure where the foolish sideshow people were trying to make money exhibiting the captured Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

20180512_104746

There was a lot of death and horrible murders in those game sessions, but not committed by the player characters.  They had to keep good notes and draw conclusions and manage their characters’ powers and assets.  Notes like these;

And so, while the game never ended to my satisfaction, the players did get the feel of acting in a horror movie and fighting on the side of goodness against evil.  It was weird, but definitely worth doing.

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Filed under autobiography, Dungeons and Dragons, horror movie, horror writing, humor, Paffooney

Another Talislanta Gallery

Blood Brothers

Kastur and Pawlucks

 

Harun the Charmer and the Cryptomancers of Clan Omean.

Ice Alchemist

These images were made in the early 90’s as I played an RPG game called Talislanta.  It was a sword and sorcery D&D-like game with no elves, dwarves, or other ordinary D&D creatures.  The blue guys are a race called Mirin who live in the coldest places.  The green guys are Cymrillians and Tanasians, a magic-using race.  There really weren’t even humans among the many weird races of Talislanta.  And drawing these things was gloriously liberating in a fantasy-art sort of way.

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