Monday, December 27, 2010

Vampire art

Scott Washington's Relentless Dungeon
Release date TBA

Influences: Bat wings for the cloak, Spawn, D&D Ravenloft Count Strahd von Zarovich, Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee versions of Dracula. With other monsters I've had to give some thought to combining genre differences for the monster, but Dracula pretty much shouts 'vampire'  for any genre.

Initial sketches for the vampire:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

D&D Tomb of Horrors TPK

Total Party Kill
It took three months, but the party finally met their death halfway through the heroic tier of the Tomb.
How did it happen? We broke our adventuring rules:
1. Never split the party: I faced a losing battle with a large-sized Undead while the others tried to take out medium zombies. In the back of the party the halfing rogue was putting distance between himself and the fray while taking potshots. A large Ivy monster took advantage of the stray halfing and grabbed him. At this point I felt that a retreat could very likely possibility, so I rushed over to release the rogue from the Ivy in preparation for the retreat. That only meant that I was now tangled up with the Ivy monster. The paladin replaced my stand with the giant, and the healer stood between us trying to keep us alive.
2. If a retreat is called, you must follow: Several times we said the word 'retreat,' but for some reason or another, we just kept fighting. There's really no excuse for this.
3. Don't do anything risky: I tried to save the halfling. We all at one point decided to risk our lives and not retreat.

So now that we're all dead and trying to figure out whether to resurrect or roll up new characters, I'm creating a few edits, and vow to enforce the rules more actively.
1. Never split the party.
   a) Focus fire on one target [unless there are multiple ranged enemies]
2. Follow retreat.
   b) Don't hesitate to retreat even if it's just outside the entrance to regroup and try again.
   a) If needed, leave other party members for dead, otherwise you're breaking rule #3.

Oh yeah, there was a 1 square hallway we could've just walked over to, where we wouldn't have had to fight the large creatures.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kitchen of Terror

Non-disclosure again for this animation. However, I will be updating with promotional stuffs later. You'll get to see my work, just through a filter.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Troll & more work

Started a third project, Kitchen of Terror, which I'm super excited about. It's about anthropomorphized vegetables being cut up and cooked for human consumption.
Also still workin on Scott Washington's Relentless Dungeon, and cranked out another monster art piece today, but still needs a few revisions.
Above is art for the Troll monster. Again I tried to base it on common concept of what a troll is crossed with the fantasy D&D style troll, and ended with a mutated version of one of those troll dolls.
The hair still bothers me, but I need to move on. When it's seen in the game it'll only be 200 pixels so I have to keep myself from putting a lot of effort into each monster.
The face is a bit based off of the trolls from Ernest Scared Stupid, which traumatized me as a kid and is one of the few movies that gives me the willies, even to this day. That made it a bit difficult to work on this piece.
I struggled again with the skin color. Goblins, orcs, trolls and ogres all have green skin in my subconscious for some reason, so I have to force myself to come up with alternative palettes. The goblin was green, so the troll is more blue-green. Trolls in Warcraft are blue, but they're basically elves with tusks. Ogres from oblivion are blue so I'll really have to come up with something else if I paint an ogre. Maybe more flesh colored I suppose. Orcs in D&D are gray, so I'll probably do that if I paint an orc. Maybe brown-green.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Another monster for the game, Relentless Dungeon. I tried to go for angry cat ears but they ended up looking more like horns. Add that to the stance and it's more of a gargoyle than an imp. But there's so many variations of these fantasy monsters that you can't really define what is what. It's all fiction anyways, so I'm not going to stress too much about it.

I really like the end result of this one. This is my favorite of all the monsters because of its creepy pose and impish expression.

I don't have a sketch version this time as the process went pretty fast. Instead is an alternate version before input from others, along with a thumbnail.

The first version was too bulky. I was hesitant to remove the part of his back above his head, but it gives him a better silhouette. I usually start drawing things very muscle-y so I can get proper anatomy, and is also probably due to drawing superheros as a kid when I was learning to draw. 
Two thumbnails were drawn quickly so I could get a feel for both the bottom and upper portions of the monster without making it too cluttered with dark lines.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Skeleton art asset

 I painted a skeleton in Photoshop for an upcoming indie game called Relentless Dungeon from Scott Washington.

I'm not a fan of skeletons as monsters because it's too much of a stretch of the imagination for me. How can they move around without muscles and tendons and all those bits? I get so annoyed in horror movies when a skeleton lurches out of a coffin and coughs up dust. How can they cough without lungs or a throat? That's just silly. So when I went to paint a skeleton monster I wanted to draw a complicated transparent glowing magical muscle structure holding the skeleton together.

I realized working at such a small resolution would make it extremely difficult to convey that message to the player. In the end I bit the bullet of artistic mediocrity and did it the way every other skeleton has been done for the sake of readability.

 In a later revision I put the blue glow-y bits back in a much less noticeable way, but still enough to satisfy me and my skepticism of skeletons as enemies.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Zombie art asset

For the upcoming game, Scott Washington's Relentless Dungeon.

I've been trying to keep the color palette for each monster visually different, so the zombie ended up being these pale maroon-like red colors.

I didn't want to draw too much clothing on the monsters because the monsters should be what is emphasized, not their equipment. In the case of the zombie I put his rotting stomach bits falling out and covering up his business.

To the right is the initial sketch for the zombie. I was thinking of having strips of clothing hanging off which then turned into strips of skin. That worked better to convey that the zombie is rotting. Which is what zombies do. And eat brains.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Deviant Art contest entry

Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D
Envision the Executioner contest on
It took some work, but I did my best.
I've been playing Resident Evil since elementary school.
Here's hoping I win.

Didn't even make semi-finalists.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Executioner sketch

Requesting feedback
Please give a critique. This is still in the rough stage. I need to be sure the composition is good before I start painting and everything.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Envision the Executioner

Contest on Deviant Art

The contest is for the upcoming move Resident Evil Afterlife.
My first sketch was too flat and not frightening enough.
The composition of the second sketch works better, I think.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tomb of Horrors

D&D 4e level 8 campaign
I've heard of its infamy. One-hit kill traps from indeterminate origins. Acid pits. Gelatinous Cubes.
...Sounds like fun. I'll probably die horribly, but going into the game with that knowledge means that I will be entertained instead of frustrated when my character dies in a surprising, and probably creative, way.
Tomb of Horrors is based on a campaign with the same name from decades ago, in first edition. After rolling dice for a year and a half I've been looking for some real dungeon challenges. My only deaths so far have been from my not retreating. Which is real stupid on my part.
My character will be a Bugbear because I've been craving to use large-sized weapons, which deal one die-size more damage (meaning I roll two 6 sided dice instead of a twelve sided die for a Fullblade). I really wanted to use a mordenkrad with the Dwarven feat "Dwarven Weapon Training", but there's just no way I could create an oversized Dwarf capable of wielding large weapons.
I will also be Fighter class, because its simplicity matches my play style. I have trouble remembering lots of different features, especially the magic users. Also I haven't played a fighter before.
Our five person party have met to min/max our party together, making sure all the skills are covered, and the COA if somebody dies.

We're probably still going to die horribly, but we created some definite rules:
1. Never split the party
2. If a retreat is called, you must follow.
3. Don't do anything risky.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Goblin game art asset

I painted a goblin in Photoshop for an upcoming independent game from Scott Washington.
I started with brainstorming some dramatic attack poses. I knew I wanted a semi-stylized goblin with a simple blade.

 After choosing the pose, the appendages were shortened to fit the stature of a goblin.

This was the first monster I painted, and I was very rough with the coloring. I'm not happy with the Tarzan-style loincloth, but I had to crank out monsters faster so I moved on to worry about other things. I worked in the resolution of the picture to the left.

 Later after I had painted the bulk of the monsters for the game and level up my skills as an artist, I went back and tweaked the lighting, a few features like the nose, and added a shadow on the floor. The picture to the right is the size shown in the game.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fury of Dracula

The Board Game
This game plays a little different in that one player (Dracula) is pitted against a team of four other players (vampire hunters).
Players hunt down Dracula across Europe, who usually frustrates the hunters by escaping when cornered/discovered. Dracula wins by hiding vampire brides in his trail and waiting a certain number of turns until his vampire track is full. Hunters win by killing dracula, who is even a challenge during the day.

This game is a lot of fun because of the twists each player can pull on the other side. I've probably played this over a dozen times. With new players Dracula usually wins, which makes the players want a rematch even though the game is pretty lengthy (around 4 hours).

Each game card has flavor text on it featuring bits from the book Bram Stoker's Dracula. I also enjoy the secrets whoever plays Dracula can keep from the other players. He can listen to the other players track him down and plot accordingly.

I suggest you play with pennies or something similar to mark places on the board Dracula may have gone to. ...You'll need lots of them.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Chaos in the Old World

Warhammer Boardgame
This was my introduction to the Warhammer universe. I enjoy the dark setting and detailed art. Players control gods that summon demons and cultists. What game nerd doesn't want to do that?
Each player has a specific way to win. Each player gets closer to winning by dominating territory, and/or totally ruining it. Like most games, it takes same strategy to be the winner.

I've always been impressed by the intricate detail and often grotesque nature of Warhammer. The art style and themes of this game does not disappoint.

It's not the most complicated board game I've played, but definitely not for casual gamers or young impressionable kids.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Arkham Horror: Innsmouth Expansion

The Board Game
Any Call of Cthulhu game is going to test your patience and your character's sanity. Innsmouth is as difficult as ever. This expansion even gives you options to make it MORE difficult.

I ended up getting taken out by the second monster and making a new character instead of spending the rest of the game nursing him back to starting level.
I enjoy the works of Lovecraft, especially the PC game Dark Corners of the Earth and the stories concerning Innsmouth. So playing the expansion with a risk of your character turning into a Deep One (fish-person) adds more excitement/danger to an already craaazy game.

By our record keeping, we've only win Arkham Horror once a year. Even with cheating, massive unintentional and some intentional, the game just beats you down again and again. Although it's endearing since that fits with the style of the mythos.

My favorite part of the Innsmouth expansion is developed personal stories for each character. Not many people bother to read the back of their character cards, but I enjoy delving into the dark world of unnamable terror that is Cthulhu.

Galaxy Trucker

The Board Game
This one takes a few turns to get the hang of, but it's still fun while you're learning. The players each build a space ship out of a pile of parts as fast as they can, and then launch it into space.

The game has the flavor of Hitchhiker's Guide if you enjoy reading flavor text.

I had a heck of a time actually making the trip there. One time I wasn't paying attention while building and sealed off half of my building area, so I ended up launching half of a ship.

Small World

The Board Game
Fight over territory with control over a race and a power. Die rolling is infrequent [1d6 with 3 blank sides, a 1 2 and 3]. The interesting thing is that you can choose a new race to take new territory and set the old race into decline to hold onto the old territory.
I really enjoyed the high quality, stylized art of the game. It stays in the fantasy genre yet still makes fun of it a bit.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

PW is what I expected MGS3: Snake Eater to be. Don't get me wrong, MGS3 was still a good game, only in an unexpected way. As a MGS fan I get chills as Big Boss develops his sanctuary for soldiers without a country, knowing that it will all be inevitably taken down to his son, Solid Snake.

The boss battles are with mechs: armored carriers, tanks, metal gears. This is a change from the uncanny special forces units that usually make up boss battles in previous MGS games. The near-supernatural powers of the past bosses were interesting and fresh at first, but after a while they became ridiculous and silly.

Players have frequently complained about the lengthy codec conversations in past games of this series, but in PW these conversations have been cut down during gameplay. All that extra stuff is now available outside of combat missions, served in a retro tapedeck. Codec calls in-mission are now strictly related to what the player needs to know at that exact time. All of the extra background information on the setting and characters is optional and the player can now go listen to it if desired.

The cut scenes have improved from the previous canon MGS game on PSP, which are made up of 2D paintings by Ashley Wood. Even though I enjoy the MGS comics drawn by Wood, I felt the pace and spirit of the previous game was hurt by those cutscenes. Mostly I was disoriented because it was so different. The cutscenes in PW are still 2D, but now include a level of interactivity that starts to make up for my previous complaints.

One thing I've always enjoyed about the MGS series is how much I learn about real history and science without feeling like I'm in school.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I don't have time to properly write out the events of the last session, so instead here are my notes. The Evil tried to possess one of the player's hands, but he used two drama points to succeed on the roll.

A Farewell to Arms
Arthur has things to do to take care of his people, and introduces you to his wiseman, who offers to take you to his tower to give you a comfortable place to rest and ‘feast.’

In the Tower – workbenches are filled with strange chemicals and bubbling concoctions [Int + Science] All mostly harmless and quite useless – though oddly he has invented Windex, hasn’t realized it, and may never know. The Wiseman is served by the castle staff, such as scullery maids. Since this scene is in the movie, Perception and Occultism to identify Deadite on first sight.
Apply full rest.
roasted haunch, moldy bread, and watered-down wine.
Wiseman wants to chat with Bob about the Merlin thing. WM already knows about Arthur becoming king, but is curious to how Bob knows, and doesn’t want to hear of his future.
Sheila is dresses in a revealing tunic. She looks good. To Henry, She says, “I pray thee to forgive me. I believed thee to be working with the darkness that has descended on this land.” She touches your hand.
[after Henry responds] She stares deeply into his eyes.

[get back to own time] Only the Book of the Dead has the
power. A power which we both
require. It contains passages that
can dispel the Evil from this
place and return you to your time.

It is in a place far from here.
It can only be retrieved by the
Promised one. Other Warriors have
tried. Their widows grieve still.
We have waited long years for you.
Our only hope is the Necronomicon.
Thou must undertake the quest for
it. thou must travel to
a distant cemetery. There thou
shalt find it.

The Wiseman will not lightly discuss such dark and foreboding things,
use Knowledge + Int to discuss the Book with the Wiseman
Bound in human flesh, this vile tome was crafted in ancient Sumeria sometime
around 3000 BC. Legend has is that the book
was created by the “Dark Ones.”we know
little about them.
The book is sometimes called
the Book of the Dead.
The tome mainly addresses rituals of the dead,
such as funerary rites and burial incantations. It also
describes what happens to the human soul after it
sheds its mortal coil, as well as the horrible things
humans become if their life was tainted.

IF ASH IS THERE: The book is sometimes called Necronomicon ex Mortis. It is inked in human blood. the thing has made its way home again to sumaria as well, for it
was found back in Sumeria in the early 1970s by
Professor Raymond Knowby. The Book of the Dead also hints at the existence
of an evil force that lives in a sort of limbo between
the land of the living and the realm of the dead. Certain passages in the Necronomicon call this
creature forth, while others give it the ability to possess
human forms—both living and dead.
ASH ROLLS INT + NOTICE: The book seems to be sentient in some way. The
hideous face that adorns its cover sometimes animates
when no one is looking, its long forked tongue
lapping at the blood it inevitably causes to be spilled.

INT + OCCULTISM: The book is sometimes called Morturom Demonto. Latin forms were obviously given to the vile journal centuries after it was crafted, so we know it has journeyed far from Mesopotamia where it was first made. Somehow,
By the many places
the book has been, it seems it can travel through
time—or more precisely, manipulate itself through
the actions of others to travel through time.

Old Chambermaid spills a pot of some concoction. What do you do? She apologizes profusely and starts trying to clean it up.
A. If anyone goes to help her, she transforms and ATTACKS.
Her eyes go milky white, her teeth and nails go black, her skin turns to rough leather, blue veins snake across her face.
B. If they don’t help her: A soldier moves over to the maid and starts chastising her. “See here you clumsy old woman! Clean up this mess at once or I’ll SWALLOW YOUR SOUL!” The soldier splits the old lady in two with his sword, then spins to reveal himself as the possessed. ARMORED AND ARMED.

Wiseman, “Capture the Witch! Capture the Witch!" (can torture it with sunlight)
DEADITE AIMS FOR HANDS [Bob]– cuts out the fleshy bit between thumb and pointer fingure
collapses. Her face turned away from you as it lays in the dust. the Wiseman approaches her. kneels and reaches for her.
…awakens from her false slumber with a terrible BARK. In a
frenzy she hurls WISEMAN JOHN into the fireplace. He SCREAMS and
rolls in the dust, extinguishing the flames.

Slay me and ten
will rise to take my place. All
will die.

Interrogating Deadite:
The undead aren’t actually dead. They’re demons.
They’re not the boss. The boss is an ancient evil that lurks “between the places known by man” and lives in the “dark bowels of man’s domain.” It is evil in its purest form. It is the raw hatred of the wilderness and the cosmos that despises the intrusion of the monkeys called man. It is older than history and crawled upon the earth even before the dinosaurs. If there was a Mother Nature, this is the abused stepchild she kept locked in a basement. IT WATCHES, IN THE WOODS
After the fight: While you recuperate the Wiseman retires to his study Studying ancient texts and mixing up a noxious potion.
If asked, Wiseman has this to say after consulting his tomes: [help him sift through scrolls with languages / Occultism + INT rolls]
The Watcher was oppressed by cosmic powers that be. It desires payback for the existence of The Promised Ones and their special powers. It is called a malignant curse that arises simply to torment and kill the champion. …and to destroy all of mankind. The Watcher has arisen from the Misty Forest [the dark bowel of mans domain] and is spreading evil from the pines like some malignant plague.
It is late in the evening by the time players are finished with the Deadite and Wiseman – they should quest for the book when it is day
[Frye first then if he passes, Bob, Henry] Willpower doubled roll to resist Watcher’s Brains score of 17 or be taken over by evil. Add one to Str and Con.
After possessed, get another roll if have a sentimental piece “as an anchor for the tortured soul within”
Evil leaves by morning. (drop Str and Con back down)
building a gauntlet : INTELLIGENCE +
To create plans for a prosthetic mechanical hand, you need at combined 10 success levels using Science and Knowledge
To actually build it, you need 5 SL using Mr Fix-It
Then to attach it, you need 3 SL Mr Fix-It
The next day, when players prepare for journey to Misty Forest: Arthur offers them horses. Ash’s is named Trigger. They are loaded with food and water
Sheila knits Ash a cape

The Wiseman, Arthur and his warriors ride with you to the edge of the Misty Forest.
This is the edge of the land ruled
by the Dark Spirit. This path will
lead you to an unholy place. A
cemetery. There, the Necronomicon

Monday, June 14, 2010


Since none of the regular players showed up, I had a new player start as Ash in the cabin, playing through the end of Evil Dead II where Annie makes the evil in the woods into a thing of the flesh, and Ash has to fight it until the portal shows up, pulling the evil, Ash, and his car through time and space and into Army of Darkness.
I gave him 10 extra drama points since I wasn't counting the session as a part of the AoD campaign proper, and was more like a warm-up exercise to learn the system and what-not. The Ultimate Evil is like the Final Boss of the series, and the rulebook says that even a full party would have a tough time fighting it, and some may die. So my plan was just to have the portal appear right before the evil kills Ash.

The Evil Summoned
A large fleshy/tree rotten-apple-head monster is summoned, and Kool-Aids his way through the front of the cabin. This is the Ultimate Evil.

Ash uses a Drama Point for Righteous Fury, which gives him +5 to all combat rolls for the rest of the encounter. There are requirements for this specific use, usually the whole party is below 1/2 Life Points, but since Ash is alone and fighting the Evil, I say that he can use RF since his friends and girlfriend have all died in the last two days of the story.

The Evil claws, grabs, crushes, and tosses Ash across the room. Ash repays in kind with bye sawing into The Evil's left eye with his chainsaw hand and unloading both barrels of his shotgun into the other, both at the same time. He then lights himself on fire and jumps into the Evil's mouth. The Evil, being mostly made of wooden trees, is weak against fire. The Evil grabs Ash with it's vile tongue and tries to swallow him whole. Ash counters by grabbing the tongue and slicing it off using the Evil's own teeth. Groovy.

The Evil uses 5 Drama Points to keep healing, and stomps on Ash with a tree trunk through the ceiling of the cabin. Losing the fight, Ash falls back to the back of the cabin. The Evil responds to Ash's retreat by begining to demolish the cabin, smashing against it with animated trees. [Since I can't have my newest player have a 'rocks fall and everone dies' I open up the portal to stop things from getting hairy]
The Evil grabs onto the cabin walls to stop itself from getting sucked through the portal. Ash goes through the back door and heads over to his car, parked a little too close to the front of the cabin and the portal. The player rolls high and is able to start the car and gain some feet of ground against the portal's pull. In a characteristically Ash-like moment, the player decides to face the Evil instead of driving away. Ash spins his car 180 degrees, floors it, leaps out and rams into the face of the Evil, which has now been pulled away from the cabin towards the portal. The Evil shrivels up and 'dies' [or appears to die, but has most definitely been defeated for now] and disappears into the portal.
Having lept from the car at the last second, Ash grabs futily to get a hold on the ground, fighting the portal's pull. Things from the cabin start flying out towards him and the portal. The kitchen sink heads right for him, which he kicks away. Then the cabin rips away from the foundations and follows the sink. Ash gets smacked in the face with a cabin and is pushed into the portal, leading him into the Medieval Dead...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


This week we replaced one player with a new one, and introduced two new characters. Nobody was willing to take up the mantle of Ash, but instead the new player created Bob, a gamer, and the player who played the Blacksmith created a new pirate character, Capt Frye. The player of Henry continued to play Henry, only this time with plate mail armor.

Arrival of the Promised One
We start a few weeks after Henry barely escaped from the Mill with his life. As deadites reaked havoc, Arthur and Henry have declared war on each other. Now Henry finds himself running from Arthur's warrior band who have captured Henry's escort Knights. Henry finds himself taking refuge in the last place he ever wanted to return; the Misty Woods.
Meanwhile the other two player characters are tumbling through a funnel cloud that inexplicably picked them up during an otherwise ordinary day. They tumble weightless through a soundless void. Only the steady beating of their hearts. Suddenly a bright light and the funnel cloud electrifies. Their bodies rip through time and space.
In the Misty Forest, Henry sees a supernatural electric portal open in the sky and two bodies fall through the canopy into the woods near him. Dark and heavy storm clouds blot out the sun.
Henry silently investigates the two strangers as they dust themselves off.

The two new characters introduce themselves as Pirate Captain Frye, and a smelly nerd named Bob. Bob is essentially a modern day table-top gamer, and is astounded by meeting a pirate in real life. "Scurvy my timbers!" Bob says to Frye, which only returns puzzled looks from Frye. They look around the foggy woods and see they are on a pebbled path with a sign post up ahead, pointing forward to 'The Mill' and wherever pointing backward is completely scratched off the sign. There is a dirt road branching off from the path but it looks less traveled. They decide to stick to the main path. The black of night covers the forest. Bob takes out his iphone and switches on his flashlight ap. Frye is puzzled at this strange and interesting device.
After several hours pass they realize they've been going around in circles. "Dirt path it is, then." [This is what we call 'railroading'] Henry follows the travelers as they take the dirt path, but stops as he hears a sound of hooves behind him. He turns to see one of Arthur's knights in full plate armor riding atop an armored war horse bearing Henry's own red and yellow colors. The horse stops at the end of the path and doesn't move. "Who are ya?" Henry asks.
"I've come for your pretty flesh... GIVE IT TO US!" The rider responds, and charges forward. Henry briefly considers using a crossbow, but promptly turns and runs for his life. He dashes through a startled Frye and Bob who follow Henry without second thought as he is clearly running from something dreadfully frightening.

The forest becomes less green until all the trees are dead and barren. The path opens up to a clearing, all the trees have been chopped down and there is a 12th century brick cabin with wooden window shutters smacking against the house in the wind. in front of the house a mound of dirt sits before a quickly constructed wooden cross. Henry makes straight for the door, but pauses at the memory of the blood geyser when they opened the Mill. The horseman is nowhere to be seen, but there is movement in the woods.
Bob tries the door, but it is locked.

The nearby grave explodes, blasting dirt everywhere as the silhouette of what might be a small child bursts from the ground. "I'VE COME FOR THE GROGNARD!" It says and points towards Bob.
Bob finds a key nearby and as he opens the door an arm bolts out and grabs him, pulling them inside.
A plain bearded man nervously locks the door and tries to console a woman and a small girl.
Bob questions the man, who reveals that the dead have begun to rise a fortnight ago. Evil lurks in the woods, but will leave at sunrise. Their home is all they had so they refuse to abandon it. Until now the evil has let their home without bother.
Bob pulls out a book, titled 'Dungeons and Dragons' and looks up Zombies. Frye checks out the front window for signs of danger, but can only hear the wind and a deep feint rumble saying "JOIN US." The woman sends the little girl to bed.
Bob's book tells him Zombies are weak against bash damage, so he asks for a hammer, but the man only has a small carpenter hammer, which Bob takes. Henry asks about the grave outside and about the dead rising.
"That's my son. He died recently." The man says. The group is interrupted by a scream from the bedroom where the girl went to sleep, followed by a crash of glass breaking. They open the door to a broken window, and an empty bed. The couple begin to weep. Bob and Frye prop the bed against the window to prevent anyone, or anything, from getting in. They go out to the main room and the woman spots something outside, running to the window she sees her daughter skipping outside.
"Come outside and play with me, Mommy." The little girl pleads.
"SHELLY!" The woman screams. Henry has had enough and fires a flaming crossbow bolt from across the room through the window at the little girl. Unfortunately he rolls a 1 and hits the man in the leg instead. His pant leg catches fire. The woman frantically opens the front door and bolts outside. Bob tried to tackle her down but is too slow. She flees into the night and Bob locks the door again. The man puts out his flaming leg and Frye wraps his crispy leg. He asks to be laid down on a bench. Henry pulls the bench from the window and puts it infront of the fire.

The candles lighting the room suddenly flicker and dim as a crash is heard from the back door; sounds of a horse kicking the wooden door. Frye pushes a bookshelf in front of the hallway leading to the back of the house, barricading themselves in the front room. The fire in the fireplace begins to go out. Seeing some kindling near the front window, Bob takes a fire-poker and tries to finagle a log from a safe distance from the window. He successfully retrieves a log and as he confidently turns around the undead boy leaps through the window and grabs Bob. Bob falls backward on top of the boy, releasing himself and then rolling over. The boy jumps up and dangles off the floor like a puppet with unseen strings.
Henry slices into the boy's head, and It tries to attack Henry back with its claws, which scrap harmlessly against his shiny new armor. Frye fires a musket-pistol under its chin. The deadite boy falls limp. They stab it through the heart to be sure it's dead. Henry is astounded by Frye's fire-stick, and Frye responds by refering to Bob's magic light device.

The man asks what is going on, and the party assures him it's nothing. There's a knock at the door and the woman's voice pleads, "Sam, please let me in. I found Shelly." The party refuses to open the door and instead Henry punches Sam in the head, knocking him unconscious. The check his pulse to be sure he's still among the living. The rest of the candles go out, leaving only a lantern near the front door, and the other unbroken window.
Bob cautiously goes for the lantern, but is again grabbed by a deadite crashing through the window, this time it's the woman. After the group fends her off, she escapes through the window.
The cabin quiets down and bob takes out a chemistry set to mix something flammable to feed the dwindling flame in the lantern. As the room briefly fills with light the group sees the little girl in a shadowy corner of the room. Henry runs over and rolls a 1, tripping over the lantern and extinguishing the last light source. Frye [who has a 'reckless' Quality] grabs Bob's iphone and throws the glowing thing at where the girl was. The girl catches it in the air, and points it at the party. They can only see the light source and not their tormentor.
"We're gonna get you... time to go to sleeeep... not another peeeep... we're gonna get you..." The girl taunts them. Frye is frozen in terror.
The bookshelf slams to the floor as the hallway becomes un-barricaded. Frye fires blindly into the hallway, [with a natural 10] shoots the woman in the torso, which he can see from the flash of his gun firing. The iphone has gone dark. Bob takes the gun and tries to shoot the lantern, which he assumes has spilled oil on the floor. He misses. Instead, they grab the flint and steel they find near the fireplace. Knocking over Sam, Henry flips the bench over and breaks off the legs. They tear the cloths off Henry and wrap the wooden clubs to make torches. The room is lit, and empty. They get the fireplace going again. Bob pours flammable liquid on the floor making a small perimeter around themselves and Sam. Hours pass.

Sam's burnt leg trembles and black veins snake from under his bandage, reaching across his body. With a new found fireaxe Bob and Henry go to chop off the offending leg, but Sam rockets from the floor and marionettes above them. Henry slices at its neck [reducing it to -100 Life Points] and decapitates the Sam-Deadite. Sam's head flies over to the other side of the room. They burn the body and wait for dawn, which comes without event.

The doorknob turns. The door slowly opens with a loud creak. Nothing comes through. There is no sound. Henry grabs Bob, picks him up, and tosses him in front of the doorway to see what's outside. Landing badly, Bob sees nothing. The party warily goes outside and wanders through the woods. As they navigate the shifty forest, the trees begin to animate and grab Bob [who rolls a few 1s and then fails a save throw] with vines. Two large branches wrap around his body and pull him at tremendous speed into a solid tree trunk [nearly taking all his Life Points]. Henry rushes over and chops away the moving tree parts, freeing Bob.

A few hours later they emerge from the Misty Forest and are greeted by the bright rising sun and dozens of Arthur's warriors. Mounted horsemen ride towards them, led by Arthur. Arthur points to the back of his band to Henry's men in chains, and tells Henry to surrender. Henry doesn't go without quarrel. Arthur positions his men around the group.
Bob speaks up, "Arthur? ...Pendragon?" At this, an elderly man in a dark cloak and long white beard steps out from behind Arthur, "My Lord Arthur, I believe he is the Promised One, written of in the Necronomicon."
Bob gawks at the old man and turns to Henry, "Is that Merlin?"
"That's the Wiseman." Henry responds.
The Wiseman stares at Bob, astounded.
Arthur Brings his sword down across Bob’s chest. A thin red gash.
Arthur declares, "He bleeds. As a man bleeds. The one written of in the Book would not bleed. I say to the pit with him! If he is truly the promised one... he will emerge."
Arthur's men cheer, "Aye! The pit's a fair test!"
Gold Toothed Warrior adds, "To the pit with the blackards!"
The Players are hit in the back of the head, surprised and stunned. They see cartoon bats floating above their head. Their weapons and most of their equipment are confiscated. Gold Tooth and the other warriors secure the party to a set of painful iron shackles.
Arthur shouts, "To the castle!"

[for the sake of brevity I'm going to omit the parts that are totally linear to the movie, like Arthur's and Sheila's dialogue]
So Arthur throws the group into the pit, where a deadite waits for them. The player of Henry asks me if Deadites are allergic to sunlight, and grabs the Deadite and uses 2 drama points to toss the Deadite 30 feat in the air, it bursts into flames, and Arthur's men chop it into little bits. The crowd begins to cheer for the players.
Three more Deadites apear and get real bitey with Frye, who drops unconscious. Henry charmed a knife from a warrior before he was dropped in the pit, and the party dispatches the rest of the monsters before finding a hidden rope to climb up. They find their weapons and Bob hold his shining iphone above his head to impress the primitive screwheads.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Army of Darkness RPG

Tabletop/ Pen and Paper Game
This week I started running Army of Darkness RPG by Eden Studios. It's a d10 system. My only other experience running a game was All Flesh Must Be Eaten. Only 3 players showed up: an experienced player who chose to play Duke Henry the Red, and two players brand new to tabletop gaming, who chose to play the Wiseman and the Blacksmith. The Wiseman was a bit weak, and I was planning for combat with the undead, so I gave him some healing potions and a sleep spell which weren't in the pre-made character sheet.

The Evil Awakens
The first thing I do is forget to give exposition on the 12th century England setting, how King Edward sits in the thrown, yadda yadda. But instead I start with: “We start before the events of Army of Darkness, and before the evil plagues the lands. Lord Arthur and Duke Henry are at peace. Henry is visiting Arthur’s castle to discuss trade and stricter boarder regulations, namely, keeping Henry’s men out of Arthur’s territory.“

“The castle lies near a cliff, its North and West walls nearly flush with the cliffs. The castle is solid, with thick walls and tall towers overlooking the most obvious approaches. There’s a dry moat around the entire wall. As you travel inside you view the single large gatehouse equipped with a double portcullis, drawbridge, and murder holes. This is the only way in or out as far as you know.”
Henry’s high Knowledge roll gets this about the castle:
“Arthur’s castle isn’t very big compared to other castles of this time, and it’s not particularly elaborate. It’s a mishmash of styles—reflecting the regular ruling family’s on-again, off-again approach to keeping up with the neighbors (and has nothing to do with limited set design budgets). Some of the towers are swuare and over 200 years old, while others sport a snappy round design which offers more protection from heavy missiles in a siege. There are probably 500 people living in and around the castle.
Inside the castle walls you see stables and a hitching post to the left, and a row of 4 catapults to the right along the southern wall which sports several shacks selling various goods. At the center next to an open hole in the ground there is a tall tower that dwarfs the eastern tower. Connected to the tower is a building, probably quarters. The north-east quarter is walled off to the peasantry. Many things, like the knight’s shields, bear a symbol of a black lion on a silver background.”

The discussions make very little progress. As Arthur and the Wiseman escort Henry to the Workshop, where the Blacksmith is. They are approached by a messenger. “There has been no word from the Mill, and anyone who has gone to check it out has not returned.”
Wiseman advises Arthur not to investigate the Windmill without some kind of airplane. Arthur (Non Player Character) has no idea what a plane is, but knows it would take far too long to build. Wiseman sends carrier birds to see if anyone is at the Mill. The birds roll a 2 and do not return.
A missing peasant Mill worker appears into the Workshop. Wiseman succeeds on a spot check and sees “very nasty claws in serious need of a hacksaw manicure” before the worker has a chance to do anything.
The player asks to use the sleep spell at this point. This is just an introduction to a Deadite enemy, and I know there is much tougher combat ahead, so I recommend not using it. [I still need to learn to let the players make their own decisions]
Wiseman bashes the Mill Worker with his staff, which knocks him back. His hood falls and reveals a rotting face.
The Worker Uses ‘Horrify’: using a spinal column as a cane, he dances with the top of his skull as a hat. He jumps, sinks down, get back up and lasso all around, spin, claps his hands, does the robot, then the sprinkler, and finishes it off with a Henry Winkler. [This is taken from Evil Dead The Musical].
Deadite: "I'll use your brain as a loofah!"
This horrifies the characters in the room, forcing Arthur and his knights to run screaming in terror, or faint on the spot, leaving only the Player Characters. Henry and the Blacksmith both have Nerves of Steel, so the Fear Test -5 leaves them merely startled.
Henry, “I’m standing next to the weapons rack? I grab a spear. What’s the floor made of?”
Me, “It’s an earthen floor, and whatever you’re doing it’s gonna earn you an Experience Point.”
Henry impales the Deadite straight through the torso, pinning it to the ground. It pulled itself off like Bloody Mary in Sean of the Dead. While trying to attack it again, Henry rolls a one and knocks his arm on a nearby wall-mounted torch, setting his arm on fire. Wiseman pulls the cloak from the Deadite and puts out the fire. The Deadite grabs Henry who in turn skewers it through the jaw with a sword. The blacksmith [which the player gave a name of Smithy Black] grabs a hammer and smashes its head like a watermelon, splattering the Cast with gore. However, the corpse continues to twitch, its claws reaching for Wiseman. Henry sets the twitching body on fire.
After the fight is over, Arthur returns and tries to play off his cowardice. Wiseman changes his mind and advises Arthur to investigate the Mill immediately. Arthur wants Wiseman to go with them for Deadite advise, but he refuses. So the player of the Wiseman has to switch to another character, and she chooses a horse. War Horse, in fact, with barding. [I warn her that she won’t be able to communicate or make group decisions]
The Blacksmith is good friends with the Miller, so he goes with Arthur to investigate. Henry has been looking for something more interesting than a drunken bar fight, so he insists on coming along. Arthur resists much of this, but feeble NPC is easily convinced.
The quickest way to the Windmill location is through the nearby forest.
The group finds a corpse of a woman near the forest who died in an unusual way. “Tree branches have punctured her vital organs, she looks like a pincushion for splinters. Whatever did this was no crazed Mill worker.” Fear Test -4 for NC-17 gore. Arthur and all his men run away. Again. This is mainly to go easy on me, as I am having trouble keeping up with learning/teaching the rules and controlling NPCs at the same time.
With a roll of a natural 10, Henry makes a colorful joke which keeps one of Arthur’s knights from running away, but is still a bit shaken. Plus, someone’s gotta be riding War Horse.
Henry rolls for his own knights, who seem to be tough and don’t mind the sight of mutilated corpses.

The Woods have become enveloped in a mist. The fog cover has turned the forest into a dark and loathsome place.
“After walking for several hours, you realize you’ve been going around in circles. The trails have been changing when you aren’t looking directly at them, trees vanish and appear out of nowhere. Suddenly, trees begin blatantly moving unnaturally before your very eyes.“
A Knight nearest to a tree inexplicably becomes entangled by vines/tendrils. They pierce his skin. The Cast Members try to fight off the animated trees from pulling knight off the path, but eventually some larger branches gab hold and rip him away from the group at a terrible speed.
After the players decide to continue on, they hear nearby a horrible scream silenced by a sickeningly wet crunch.
It takes several rolls to look for a way out of the woods while trying to evade/escape vine attacks. Eventually the woods open to a desolate clearing.

“You see the tall Mill, its giant blades creaking eerily in the dim moonlight, which you savor over the now-too familiar fog of the woods.” Successful spot check reveals The blades are turning, but there is no wind in this desolate place.
War Horse breaks open the door, splintering it with one kick. A Blood Geyser erupts from the doorway.
“A stream of putrid blood douses all of you in like a fire hose, causing you to slip and otherwise knocking you around like big bloody rag dolls. Make a Wil roll or lose a Drama pt. After 3 Rounds, the stream stops.” 2 players lost Drama Points. Henry’s knights run away. The blood dies down and the Cast is miraculously clean by the next scene.
The Miller’s workers are found inside, merely skeletons and rags of what used to be their clothing. The Miller himself is a Deadite, and attacks Henry. During the fight 3 of Henry’s knights come back from the woods, but are now also deadites. Their swords do ungodly amounts of damage. [at this point I remember that slash/stab does twice the damage, after getting past the armor. I also realize I forgot to give the players a chance to get armor] Henry drops below 0 Life Points several different times. War Horse tramples, squishes, and bites the deadites into submission, and even grabs a sword in its mouth and cuts a Deadite in half.
Henry need immediate medical attention and has to be strapped to War Horse and get thru the woods (the quickest route). Blacksmith is unable to calm his spooked horse. They get a bit lost in the woods, but there’s no way I’m killing off Henry the Red before Ash even shows up.
They get back to the castle and the Wiseman reveals that there is hope; “A Promised One will deliver us from the terrors of these Deadites. “

Damage is really high for enemies. No more deadites using swords.
A White-Board will help for keeping track of where people are.
If there are more than 3 enemies, have them attack different players instead of all ganging up on one person, which is mainly why Henry took such a beating.