Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Call of the Light

As some of the others have done, this adventure started out as a stubborn visual I couldn't get out of my mind: a massive heap of automaton parts under the baleful light of a lamppost.


What brought them there? Why, the call of the light.


As always, thanks to my generous patrons, the art and text for this month's adventures are free for non-commercial use under the CC-BY-NC creative commons license. Enjoy!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Isometric Dungeon Tutorial #3 - Village Well

Short little post today to point people to a third isometric drawing tutorial, this time a village well.

After a long dry spell of suffering with OS-basis video editing, I'm back to using a real editor, so I can make the whole thing go by much faster, while still stopping to call out a few things I've breezed by in the past, notably freehand circles.


Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The Cleft of Five Worlds

For better or for worse, the visual that inspired this image has been in my head for more than a decade: a huge, vertically stacked dungeon region, dominated by the massive circular structure created by a cabal of aloof wizards.

Now I finally know what's there!


The Cleft of Five Worlds is an adventure region. Rather than a specific, detailed adventure, it describes a bunch of adventure sites and settlements in relation to one another.

I will revisit it to flesh out its parts in later months, but the enterprising among you will have no trouble stocking it or ripping out bits you want to use elsewhere in the meantime!


Saturday, 1 October 2016

Lair of the Lantern Worm

Deep in the desert, a Heelan death cult flirts with a horror of the underworld to snatch secrets from beyond the gray veil.  Click on the thumbnail to download the free PDF:

Although I expect most people will use it standalone, this adventure caps off something of a Heelan trilogy which started way back with The Oracle's Decree, and was expanded on in last month's The Roots of Ambition.



This adventure is also slightly unusual in that it features art by Juan Ochoa, who did an amazing job on a Heelan proudskull.

As you all probably know by now, this goodness (or badness?) is supported by a bunch of generous folks who back my Patreon campaign. If you find this content useful or inspiring, consider tossing a buck in the jar!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Isometric Tutorial Videos

I've started a series of isometric tutorial videos, showing how I draw various pieces of dungeon architecture. So far I've done some stairs and a set of arched double doors.



I'm using graph paper from Incompetech, specifically the "isodots", with the dots set to light blue. Using cyan dots lets me pull them out easily with Photoshop (using a black and white adjustment layer with the cyan slider set all the way to white).


The basic points I cover are:

  • block out the 3D space the object is going to occupy
  • ensure you're rigorously following the isometric lines - all drawings are flat, so this is important to reinforce the impression of three-dimensionality
  • finding points in 3D space often happens by finding the intersection between a vertical and a horizontal line (as with the stair creases)
  • texture adds character, but must also follow the isometric axes or you'll quickly spoil the 3D impression
  • circles are tricky - as with other shapes, first draw the square tht the square that the circle occupies, then draw it as four separate arcs
  • draw your objects from the front of your dungeon to the back so you don't accidentally
  • draw in pencil first (ideally blue, so you can use the same PS trick to remove it without having to erase)
  • use a waterproof pen, so you don't smudge your ink
  • use thicker lines to indicate depth changes between objects
Hope it's useful!

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Roots of Ambition

A money-mad alchemist wages ecological war on a desert plateau. An order of animists, a long way from home, tends to their nascent god.

On the Big Map, the plateau is located in the dry north, on the border between the Far Blightlands and Firevault, but you can place it in any arid spot in your campaign world.  It runs standalone, or as a possible follow-up adventure to The Oracle's Decree.


A force in this adventure is a soil mother, one of my favorite monsters, first concocted for my "Burning Grunweld" campaign some years ago.

One of the inherent difficulties in sketching out a whole region and its factions in just two pages is that, because of the huge amount of terrain involved, it's not stocked at hex-crawl densities, and is probably best run more like a point crawl with Lord of the Rings-style encounter densities. This is particularly true if you're running it in a confined time slot like a con.

Speaking of two pages, you'll notice this is the first of my adventures where I'm trying a new layout, deliberately built as a two-page spread. I've chosen to have the map span the gutter, which is a bit of an experiment.

I couldn't resist the wide sweeping effect, but cutting the map in half is a definite trade-off. If you want the map in its unblemished whole, download the image, below.



Once again, many thanks to the patrons that throw money at me when I make these. Because of their generosity, all of the text and imagery in this month's adventure is free for use non-commercially under CC-BY-NC.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Lenses of Heaven

This adventure started out with a weirder-than-usual kernel - immigration control in space.

The legendary astral city of Saaru has long been sought after by sages, adventurers.. and invaders. Once far too easy to reach, Saaru's gods sealed it off behind a hidden choke point, Tlarba.

But over the long centuries, the order that swore to protect Saaru from daemons has itself become corrupt, and what at first looks like a bureaucratic delay will soon become a nightmare for any who pass through the lenses.


Inserting Tlarba into your campaign world is easy enough - place it in front any otherworldy, interesting destination, or use it to intercept adventurers teleporting or using magical portals of whatever sort.


Thanks again to my many patrons, who along with a bunch of folks on G+ voted for this adventure to be next!