Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Castle Greyhawk: Invaders!

Welcome back fans of Greyhawk! We're cruising along up to page twelve in the second chapter of our ongoing Castle Greyhawk graphic novel. Follow the link above to get all important lead-in dialogue from Scott Casper. Alternatively you can view the page HERE, courtesy of Maldin's Greyhawk.

Artist's Commentary: This page flowed quite well as a result I'm very happy with the direction of things. The composition of characters with text worked out brilliantly too. I always try my best to give Scott exactly what he asks for in his scripts. Many times I don't know how the word balloons will fit on the page until I start sketching and even then it's a challenge. For this reason I have to draw everything on the panel just in case, knowing full well details like belts or sleeves will get covered up. There's tricks to avoid this but a little overlap doesn't hurt. Anyhow, I love this page's composition, the mannerisms and expressions. All of it. Enjoy!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sea Princes: The 33 Golden Toli Captains

In my current Sunday Hold of Sea Princes game there is a long-running quest object/s called the Golden Toli Captains. These are merely oversized (and overpriced) gold coins with no magical properties except a certain compulsion on the local ruler of Hokar. I've often mentioned these coins in my campaign posts. At long last, here is some backstory on the 33 Golden Toli Captains.

For many decades the accepted gold coinage in the Hold of the Sea Princes has been the gold Admirals minted out of the capital of Monmurg. Twenty years ago in Port Toli however, the rulers of House Toli wanted to defy the economic conditions in the Hold and tried to start their own currency. The first of the series, the gold "Toli Captain" was indeed a work of art and was designed to be larger than most gold coins, befitting the arrogance of Port Toli. The coins were to be minted in the mining town of Hokar, but early into development the plan was ended by the Prince of Monmurg as House Toli relented. The plates for the infamous Toli gold pieces were destroyed but the Marquis of Hokar, Symeon III a metal-smith and enchanter of note, had managed to strike 33 of these coins before this happened and he locked them away in his dungeon vaults to be used at a later time for his own purposes. Only he and his son knew what ulterior plans they had for the coins.

Symeon III died before his dream was realized and his lazy son never followed up on the plans of his father. Only after "the incident" in the Mines of Hokar did Symeon IV fear for his life and start a search for the invaluable Toli Captains. The 33 coins are all "master work" quality items worth much more than their weight in gold, possibly 200-400 g.p. apiece to a collector (the Marquis has offered anywhere from 500-1000 g.p. for each). One side bears the likeness of a typical Port Toli captain while the other side is imprinted with a Sea Princes vessel. Due to their being lost in the cavernous Mines of Hokar, they are not pristine and most should be scratched and dirtied.

Notes for the DM: The golden Toli Captains are rumored to be magical or perhaps hold a resonating effect if they all gathered together. The ruler of Hokar's obsession over them and the fact they were minted by a mage is hard to dispute. Besides their ridiculously treasured value, the 33 coins are unfortunately just plain gold. The true motives of the Marquis (his father's dream) is to use the combined masterwork coins as a special tribute to the enigmatic pirate group known as the Fivefold Council in a bid to gain their unrivalled personal protection; the fabled Ward. Though there is no guarantee the Council will be pleased with this gift, the chance to impress them with a thematic work of art such as the Toli Captains is worth the time, money and effort (and deaths of PCs) for the slovenly Symeon IV who lacks the adventuring spirit of his forebears.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Random Greyhawk Trading Cards

Today I'm sharing and discussing some hidden gems of Greyhawk lore. Back in the heyday of 2nd Edition AD&D, TSR put out sets of trading cards based on the many settings supported back then. The cards were probably ahead of their time since you rarely hear about them anymore, much less see their info used in general D&D setting canon. I think there is a lot of good stuff here to be mined for any avid Greyhawk fan. Here's a few random bits to grab your interest:

First up is Jallarzi Sallavarian. Nothing new here except this is a sweet illustration of her that I hadn't seen till recently. She kind of has that big 80's hair-smugness about her. Well, she is nobility after all. Now compared to her illustration in From the Ashes, I think I prefer the sleek, curly-coifed Jallarzi with the arm length gloves. Tastes may vary I guess.

For completeness, here is the back of Jallarzi's card. This card as you can see was part of a set showing all the Circle of Eight as of the timeline events in Rary the Traitor.

Next up is a curious Magic Medallion that is evidently from the Greyhawk setting. The back of the card is much more intriguing...
Who is this wizard named Pax? My guess is he was erased from existence for being audaciously arrogant enough to mess with the perfection of Mordenkainen's magic. Either that or he was kicked to the curb when Mordy found a comelier student in Rautheene from the Wizards Three articles.
Lastly there is Willara the gnome. The trading card sets are replete with unique setting specific NPCs. This one is kinda neat though typical for NPC gnomes...
A Neutral Evil gnome? Shock! Willara also sports Gauntlets of Ogre Power! Not bad. Apparently she got them from this devious Thartis fellow who works for Ivid the Undying (who sits the Malachite Throne). Overall a fun entry; my favorite part being the end, where Willara hopes to be a name to remember. Fail.
That's it for now. Plenty more cards to muse over another time.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Castle Greyhawk: Into the Woods

Welcome back loyal readers! We're already up to page eleven in the second chapter of our ongoing Castle Greyhawk graphic novel. Follow the link above to get extra exposition from the mind of Scott Casper. Alternatively you can view the page HERE, courtesy of Maldin's Greyhawk.

Artist's Commentary: The scene has shifted to Captain Drake and his bandits as well as a mysterious new character. This wizard and his ominous master should prove to be a long term threat for the heroes of Castle Greyhawk. I dig drawing Drake, but his bandit group is refreshing as well because they are not uniform in appearance. One recurring bandit looks like a chubby alcoholic pirate while others look like serious professional soldiers. With such a mixed band of characters I'm anxious to see where these aimless villains go next.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thor 2 and Marvel on TV

Not a Greyhawk post I know, but Thor: the Dark World is finally upon us! Those who know me know that I'm a big Thor comic book fan (not to mention Loki), but few probably know my second favorite Thor villain is Malekith the Accursed, the dark elf antagonist of this new movie. I've been keeping myself in media silence for a long time and I'm sure the wait will be worth it.

Speaking of Marvel movies, I also just read this news item about Marvel doing a series of 4 made-for-Netflix shows using B-list heroes such as Daredevil and Luke Cage that will culminate into a Defenders team up show ala the Avengers movie set. Sounds exciting. first Agents of Shield, now this. DC comics take notice!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New Article: Enfrahl (Bone Demon)

Over at Canonfire!, prolific demon-scribe grodog has been kicking out more in his series, the Demonomicon of Iggwilv. First is a detailed account on the Demon Lord Orcus himself (in 1st edition stats). Then this follow up post covers a new summonable demon servant of Orcus, The Enfrahl. Grodog writes:

"The Enfrahl are surreal horrors created through the whimsy and caprice of the Lord of the Undead---a cross between ossified guardians, bone sculptures as performance art, and sentient, demonic knick-knacks, the enfrahl represent all that is twisted and grotesque in the imaginings of Orcus and his ilk.  That they are intelligent and aware is all the more damning….”  --- Iscladoc the Dark, from his _Commentaries on The Demonomicon_."

Anyone looking to explore more about the Prince of the Undead and his minions will find grodog's insights useful for their campaign. Enjoy!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Actual Play Podcast: Tower of the Ape

Tonight, I'm promoting the gaming podcast Gamerstable, which I'm a minor part of, and two of our most recent episodes. None of this is Greyhawk by any stretch but I'm confident you'll enjoy the subject matter. We played a vibrant story called Tower of the Ape, set in the Hyborian Age of Conan using the Savage Worlds game system. The Gamerstable guys went all out on the special effects and background music for this fully licensed actual play, the likes of which you won't find anywhere else!

Here is the first two episodes of the Tower of the Ape:

Episode 1: Shadows of Sultanapur

Episode 2: Kozaks and The Kah'mar

Be sure to let my friends know what you think of the campaign in the comments section.