Friday, September 24, 2021

Cragrapid Keep

Back in the day... I bought ever issue of Dungeon Magazine I could get my hands on - starting with issue #9. I poured over those issues, reading and rereading the adventures. 

One of the early adventures that has stuck in memory for all these decades is from issue #11 - Wards of the Witching Ways.

Actually, it's not the plot of the adventure that has stayed with me - oh, I remember it - two mages betting on the survival of random shipwrecked strangers - plotting and cheating against each other. 

It's a tournament adventure - and as such, it's an okay plot...

But what I kept coming back to was the maps - the layout of the castle: Cragrapid Keep. It has four levels, multiple entrances and many interesting connections.


The other day I was thinking again about this keep and I decided to sketch a perspective image of the keep - not great (I'm no artist) but it helps me keep things in perspective...












 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Fiend Factory Cover Mockup

 I was reading Grognardia's random roll on the Fiend Folio this morning and I remembered that someone had put together a PDF of all the Fiend Factory monsters from White Dwarf. I found a copy of it a long time ago. It's just image scanned copies of the pages - meaning the layout is... um... variable as is the quality at times. I thought about trying to do some layout work and minor editing... but that's a deeper dive time-wise than I wanted to undertake. 

But I thought a cover would be nice :)

So I grabbed an image of a White Dwarf cover I liked (#26) and did some quick edits to make it a Fiend Factory Cover. Why? Because I could...




Friday, February 19, 2021

Free Map Friday

I'm always looking for new maps so I started drawing some. They're pretty rough - but they're free!






Available for use in any way, including commercially, with attribution:

Map by WR Beatty

If you want a larger image or a different format or just to tell me you used the map:

daenralworld AT gmail

Friday, February 12, 2021

Free Map Friday

 I'm always looking for new maps so I started drawing some. They're pretty rough - but they're free!


Part three of at least three. This is the right section.








Here's how they all fit together.



Available for use in any way, including commercially, with attribution:

Map by WR Beatty

If you want a larger image or a different format or just to tell me you used the map:

daenralworld AT gmail

Monday, February 8, 2021

When Art Works

 Art in adventures is useful for any number of reasons. I use art as reference: both visually ("oh, THAT'S what a Murrful Monster looks like!") and as a kind of shorthand bookmark in the adventure ("I know the Trash Beast encounter is after the four-armed Minotaur - that image is on page...17..."). Sometimes art really helps fill out the layout of the page. A good header or page border  can make an adventure stand out in my mind - I'm thinking particularly of some of the old D&D adventures written in the UK - UK 5-7, B10, O2. 

Mostly what I want from art is that it be evocative. I was leafing through The Gates of Firestorm Peak this morning. I've never played it - I didn't buy it back in the day. By the time it was published I was starting to get overwhelmed by the number of products TSR was putting out and I had discovered Magic: The Gathering (or, as my friend Jim used to call it, "Magic the Moneypit"). We weren't playing much D&D anymore anyway.

But I was looking through it today and several things about the art struck me:

First, the negative. I HATE watermark art on the page. There was a time when I thought it was kind of cool - but now I just find it distracting. It makes the pages just a bit harder to read - and heaven forbid you put italics over a watermark - my old eyes just aren't up to the struggle...

Second, the meh. Headers. I had forgotten how en vogue it became in second edition to use headers and page borders. The thing is, they aren't effective AT ALL. What the UK modules of the past did was a different header for each section (again, kind of a bookmark for where you are in the adventure) and had style. These are just the same two images repeated ad nauseum... I wouldn't mind if it wasn't just kind of page filler - add six more lines of text to each column, please...

Where is this?
Third, the confusing? There's a great image of a guy standing on a narrow ledge in front of a door with runes carved into it.  Thing is... I can't figure out where in the adventure this door exists... I probably missed it somehow? 

Finally, the evocative! I like a lot of the art in this adventure - it really helps set the mood for me. "Giants" staring over a gate, huge skeletons, weird tentacled things and mutated trolls.  Good stuff. In the "really helping me get it" mode, there's a creepy fountain and a crystal room with a bizarre hanging quicksilver pool (which I totally didn't understand until I saw the pic) - heck even the myconid image is evocative (huddled in a group but, to me, still defiant and aloof...).

Here's a couple images (full pagers) that help sell the scenes for me - where a picture really does say a thousand words:




There's this weird bazaar in a great hall - 
with spider-riding duergar patrolling the upper level.



The battle against the BBEG. 

Art does much more for me than just fill in white space. I really appreciate artwork that helps to build the world for me. Dragonlance did this well for me - I got a real feel for the world of Krynn by the consistency of the artwork. Say what you will about late First Edition and Second Edition adventures (oh the many WORDS...), many of them had fantastic art. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Free Map Friday

I'm always looking for new maps so I started drawing some. They're pretty rough - but they're free!


Part two of at least three. This is the left section.








Available for use in any way, including commercially, with attribution:

Map by WR Beatty

If you want a larger image or a different format or just to tell me you used the map:

daenralworld AT gmail

Friday, January 29, 2021

Free Map Friday


I'm always looking for new maps so I started drawing some. They're pretty rough - but they're free!


Part one of at least three. This is the center section.








Available for use in any way, including commercially, with attribution:

Map by WR Beatty

If you want a larger image or a different format or just to tell me you used the map:

daenralworld AT gmail