Friday, November 23, 2012

Fan made Hobbit Trailer

This is spliced together footage from the official trailers and various TV spots with additional music added. The editing job on this is just fantastic.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Here is an orchestral-style song I composed, entitled Discovery, Departure, Defeat, that would work well for background music whilst playing your favorite RPG. There is also a short song called Seeking the Enigma on the same Soundcloud page.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Finally, new paintings!

I've uploaded some new paintings to my art site The Art of Eugene Jaworski

Click on the titles below and enjoy!

Manifestation of Numora

Nergahal's Aerie

Worg Riders

Dan (AKA Svarnos, Gjord), I really liked the orchestral piece you you put up on Facebook the other day.  I loved the transitions from the slow moody parts to what I call the battle "scenes". Great D&D music or even for a fantasy film. Could you possibly post it to this blog?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Inside the Dungeon! Boardgame

The reboot of the Dungeon! boardgame is almost here. I'm not sure but the dungeon looks smaller than in the older incarnations of the game and it looks like there are less rooms.  It also looks like some of the rules are printed right on the board (which is probably a good thing) and I can't make out what that row of numbers on the side would be for. Overall I do like the new look.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Better Game

A great list of suggestions about making your role playing experience better.  This is by Sean Patrick Fannon who was the editor for the DriveThruRPG newsletter. He is leaving his post and he left behind this insightful message.

I would recommend you all to read this as these ideas could really improve our game.

Sean's Ten Suggestions for a Better Game

It's been a long while since I wrote one of these myself here. It seems fitting, however, to close out my run with some final observations that I hope will help all of you enjoy gaming more.

Cheesy as they are, lists are fun. So here's the sharp cheddar, friends -

1) Remember it's a Game. At the end of the day, you are playing. The very essence of play is to engage in an activity that is supposed to be fun for everyone involved. Seek that fun, grab hold of it, and enhance it in any way you can.

2) Remember it's More Than a Game. Let's face it, most gamers put a lot more of themselves into an RPG than they would ever invest in a game of Monopoly, Mario Cart, or even Blood Bowl. There is a legitimate and compelling emotional commitment in the act of roleplaying, and that means what happens to a character in a story will affect the player. It should; that's the magic of the hobby.

3) Play Well With Others. This is a shared experience almost by definition. Despite the reasonable tendency to get lost in your character's head, you owe to everyone else who's set aside a few hours of their day to acknowledge and support the need for everyone to enjoy themselves. Before stabbing that back, stealing that potion, or going off on the king because you've had a bad day at work (and, thereby, have made the entire band of heroes into outlaws), take a moment to think it through. If it's going to screw everyone else over, is it really worth it, even if you're doing it “in character?” Seriously. You know what I mean here.

4) Be There for the Game. Don't be the one who shows up at the table, opens your laptop to your favorite MMO, Facebook game, or fanfic site and “phone it in.” If all you're really there to do is hang out, plugged into the `Net, and toss a few dice, find an online craps game and leave the seat open for someone who wants to actually play a character in a shared story. This kind of behavior is horribly disrespectful to everyone else, and especially your Game Master.

5) Be a Character. No one expects you to be a master thespian, but you can pretend to be someone who actually reasonably belongs in the setting. If you're playing heroic fantasy, nix the modern slang. If you're playing space opera, maybe not so much with the F-bombs? You don't have to do accents (though they really do help if you can), but try to talk differently than you might to a coworker at lunch about the latest sports event of your shared interest. More importantly, make decisions that come from the mind and insight of your character, not your more omniscient perspective of the bigger picture.

6) Metagaming sucks! Three of your teammates are down in the basement of an office building, attempting to repair the elevators. Your character is in a submarine, 2000 miles away, with no radio contact. Quit telling them how to open the main breakers! You're not there, you're interfering with the scene, and you're screwing over the roleplay. How is this not obvious?

7) Help the Game Master. It's not easy, which is why only a fraction of gamers ever bother trying to do it. Between the need to be a master of the rules, a crafter of interactive stories, a world-builder, a referee, a scene director, and any number of other tasks, GMs can get a bit overwhelmed. Getting them a soda, helping move the miniatures on the map board, and cleaning up after the game are far more sanity-saving than you might ever know.

8) Go For It! Quit analyzing ever single move like a chess master, and quite worrying about the minutiae of all the possible modifiers. Will it look awesome on a movie screen? Can you see your character looking like a total badass, no matter what happens? Then do it! Not just because your GM will appreciate you adding zing to the moment while your fellow players start thinking of what they can do to look just as cool, but moments like that are what the best gaming stories are made of.

9) Quit Complaining! You didn't like that ruling. OK. Make a brief, respectful case. Maybe the GM did forget something, and if so, he'll probably appreciate the politeness and the memory boost and make a change to fix things. If he doesn't, write a note to talk about it later, then let it go. If you gotta, go outside and yell at a tree; no one at the table wants to hear about it, as they are there to, you know, play a game.

10) Game With Friends, Befriend Those You Game With. You share hours together, weaving tales, experiencing life and death together. How in the hell are you not friends with these people? Do things together. Have dinner parties. Go play mini-golf. Vacation together. Seriously, you all know each other better than just about anyone else can; cherish that and make the most of it. Few people in life get to have as many close friends as you can just by embracing the fellowship of people you game with.

This is some of the best advice I feel I can leave you all with, so I will leave you with that, one one final thought.

Roll the dice, have some fun.

Safe journeys, friends.

~ SPF (09-04-2012)

Monday, July 30, 2012

New Website

I've moved my online gallery to
Please direct your browser there as my old site is no longer available.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dungeons & Dragons Calendar

Thinking about D&D

I'm putting up a calendar of possible D&D session dates.  Let me know if any of these dates would work for you guys. As usual I'm open pretty much every weekend and I would be up for other days as well. The calendar is listed through July right now but I'll make adjustments as soon as I get some feedback.  I'm having a little trouble posting the calendar here so i'll try it in its own post.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Feedback from the Playtest

A good article is up about what the overall opinions are for the D&D playtest.  It looks like things are headed in the right direction. Article here.  I would suggest signing in and taking the survey as you all had a chance to try out the playtest.

In addition to the 1st edition rules (reprints coming out next month) it looks like Wizards are covering all bases by reprinting the 3.5 edition rules as well.  Looks like their desperately trying to win their fan base back. Here and here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

D&D Art Test

Here are the images I've submitted for the D&D art test.  If you're curious the guidelines for the art test are given here it may explain the choices I made for the paintings.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bounded Accuracy & Coup de Grace

This is one of the design features for 5th Edition that I'm most interested in.  I think if the designers can pull this off it will make for a more fun gaming experience.  I like the idea that even at higher levels each roll that players make won't be like having to do a math equation and the characters abilities won't be just a string of bloated modifiers.  As one of the designers said, "I don't want the character sheet to look like a tax form."
Bounded Accuracy

It's Lono's favorite thing to do and we've been saying it wrong all this time!

Coup de Grace is the subject of many arguments. People will often gleefully tell you it's pronounced "coo de grah" because of the way "gras" is pronounced in "Mardi Gras". They're wrong. "Grace" and "Gras" (which means "fat") are entirely different words. "Grace" has a strong "ss" sound at the end of it, and the phrase is pronounced "coo de grass".

Taken from the D&D Ultimate Pronunciation Guide

Don't get me started on Gel-a-TAE-nEus Cube, NEE-crow-mancer, and Puh-LA-din.

Monday, May 28, 2012

D&D Playtest overview

   Thanks for coming out and trying out the playtest on Saturday.  I was surprised that the pre-generated characters survived considering that they marched right into two of the most dangerous areas of the Caves of Chaos (the Owlbear den and the Minotaur's maze).  I would like to see how they react to some of the less formidable creatures of the caves.  I don't know weather it would be feasible, but I would like to have at least one more session before I give my feedback.  Remember that you can give your feedback as well.

  One thing that I did notice was how there were no rules for disengaging from combat allowing characters to dart in, attack, and then step away from an enemy with no repercussions. This was also due to the fact that characters (and monsters) could break up their movement every round instead of the traditional move and attack or attack then move.  It allowed for a more dynamic flow to the battle but I can see how this might be abused by both players and their adversaries.  "Tim the Enchanter" used this to great effect although he did get himself gored by the Minotaur.  This was a playtest after all so all the rules aren't in place yet, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Here's a great article from the designers that goes into the choices that were made for the playtest. It helped clear up some things for me and I think you might find it interesting.

I'm always looking for dates to play our Malavon campaign, so as usual let me know.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

D&D Art Test

These sketches are going to be the foundation for my paintings for the 5th edition D&D art test.  The images are in line with the guidelines of the art test so they are not really original ideas.  One is a shaman of some monstrous humanoid race, one is a night watchman from a northern clime (with a pseudo-Slavic influence), and the last is a temple in a cold rocky terrain. Hope you like them... paintings soon to follow.

Hobgoblin Shaman of Maglubiyet

Night Watchman

Temple of Kelemvor

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

D&D Playtest

The 5th Edition public playtest is coming up on Thursday May 24th.  Apparently it will have pre-generated characters and the scenario is the classic Caves of Chaos from the original Gygax module Keep on the Borderlands.  I'm hoping that three of us could get together to try it out (If four of us were around we'd be playing our D&D!).  I'm looking at Saturday night. Let me know if any of you are available.

In the meantime here is an interesting article about it from Wired.
Where is D&D headed next?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

D&D on Sunday

Sunday 4/29/12 at 3:30pm
Get ready to return to the hidden halls of the mad wizard Talos!

In the meantime enjoy some new art.

Dungeon! is soon to be back in print

I'm looking forward to see what changes they make to this old classic.  The price seems almost to good to be true however.

Here's the link Dungeon!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

D&D Tomorrow

I'm still typing out the synopsis.  I'll probably combine tomorrows session with last weeks and just bring you guys up to date when we start playing.

See you all at noon!

Enjoy a recent painting by Larry Elmore.
The Falling

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Story so Far ...

     Having braved the encounter with the guardian Water Elemental the party aboard the seafaring cog The Triton approached the dock below the Tower of the Four Moons.  A contingent of gnomish warriors awaited them.  The gnomes were respectful but curt to the heroes as they led the party along with Captain Malrick of the Triton up the winding path towards the Tower. The leader of the gnomes named Fonkin told them that the sorceress Aness awaited them in the main hall.  The party felt as if they were being treated more as prisoners than guests as the gnomes escorted them with drawn weapons into the Tower.
     The Tower was obviously formed by sorcery.  Made of an unusual red granite the walls of the tower looked smooth as if they flowed into shape.  Over 200' tall with four branching "arms" holding four smaller towers the structure was an impressive sight.  The tops of the towers were crowned with stalagmite-like battlements and the central one had a ghostly magical image of the moon Wyrlos (blood red in color) floating above it.  Svarnos had seen this place before as he had his wizardly schooling here. The heroes were led into the cavernous entrance past a 12' tall statue of  an armored knight.

     The main hall was a large circular pillared room with many arched doorways leading from it.  In the center of the room was a magical fire-pit of ever changing colored flames.  Against the far wall from the entrance were nine chairs carved into the likenesses of seated dragons with half raised wings. The center chair was a step higher than the others and decorated with mithril silver — the throne of the Archmage.  

     Aness and her apprentice Vanen awaited them here and the gnome guards were sent away.  Aness looked much healthier since their last meeting becoming again a vision of elven beauty.  Vanen greeted them as old friends along with his gray cat familiar Mara.  Aness told the group that the reason for their gruff greeting was because the wizards of the Tower had learned that the Archmage was dead.  It was a time of uncertainty and turmoil in the Tower.  Before the party could begin to tell Aness anything she cautioned them to silence as a three dark figures entered the hall.

      A man with pale skin and a tattooed bald head wearing black and red robes entered the hall flanked by two robed and cowled warriors holding falchions.  There was instant tension in the room as the group saw the sneer that this man gave them and the elven sorceress.  The vulturous man demanded to know the reason outsiders were allowed into the Tower in this troubled time. Aness shot back that it was her personal affair and that her friends are no threat.  The man told her she could not do whatever she wanted even though she was acting as sub-Magus (Note: Svarnos knew this title meant main wizard of the Tower in the absence of an Archmage) a title that he would contest before the other wizards.  The man stormed out followed by his robed guards.

    Aness led the party out of the hall and told them the man was the wizard Zalaren the Lord Necromancer of the Tower.  Zalaren thinks that he should be sub-Magus now that it is known that the Archmage is dead.  She expressed fear that the rivalry would come to a head soon.  On their way up the Tower the party came across a rough looking gray bearded old wizard leading two young  fledgling apprentices.  The wizard turned out to be Surtnir Svarnos' old master.  Surtnir  told Svarnos that he should come visit him later so they could catch up. Aness then took the group through the twisting halls to her private chambers.

    Her chambers were in the northeast tower.  They were taken to a study with fine furniture (oak table surrounded by several comfortable chairs, a bookshelf with stained glass doors, brass braziers, couches, rugs) with her stone golem standing in one corner of the room.  The party sat down and told Aness of their adventures in Riveon.  She was overjoyed to hear of the adventurers success in procuring the last Shadow Cylinder and the party handed it over. The elven sorceress removed the Geas spell that she had them under and now they were free to speak of all they knew (She even remembered to remove it from Eldan even though he was not there).  So, Aness told the party that she did not know how the secret of the Archmage Moandor's death was discovered.  She thinks one of them must have used magic.  Some of the wizards were angry that she did not tell them immediately but she did not trust them all and it appeared that she was right not to.  Within days of the secret being discovered news came to her that the Shadow Dragon's minions began to stir in the North.  Moandor was the only power in Malavon capable of thwarting the Shadow Dragon and now that he is gone the evil creature may have decided to finish what it started 100 years ago.  She believes someone in the Tower may be in league with the Dragon.

     Aness then took the party to a room on the lowest level of the northeast tower.  She wished to put the Cylinder in her vault in the Chamber of the Stones.  The two dark 6' high pyramid shaped stones are artifacts from a forgotten age that suppress magic forces.  This is how she was able to protect herself from the evil influence of the other Cylinders.  The party remembered that they saw one of these stones in Riveon and Aness was curious to how it got there and if it would be possible to obtain it.  The stones were set in a sunken room with stairs leading into it.  The room had entrances to some barred cells and vaults lining the walls.  Aness had Galifynakus and Gjord remove all their magic items and she gave them a key to take the Cylinder into her vault.  A spell caster and even magical items would be adversely affected by the power of the stones.  In one of the cells was an alluring woman that pleaded for the pair of warriors to free her.  It was then that they noticed that she had small horns and bat-like wings — a imprisoned succubus!  They decided to ignore her pleas.  In Aness' vault were the other Cylinders and they added the third one to it.  They went back to Aness' chambers and had grand meal of suckling pig, vegetables,  and good wine.

     The sorceress told them that she would need four days to prepare to free the Scroll of Myrthas from the prison of the Shadow Cylinders.  This would be done atop the central tower on a night of the new moon where the greatest arcane powers are focused.  Four the next four days the party was confined to the northeast tower but were allowed outside to get some air with a gnome escort.  Gjord, the dwarven bard Norgrim, and Galifynakus worked on a song about their adventures in Riveon to pass the time.  Fionnula and Martijn wandered outside the Tower and found a beach of reddish sand and monolithic red rocks not too distant from the Tower.  Lono brooded over being stuck in the Tower.  Svarnos was able to visit with his old master Surtnir (The Master Evoker of the Tower).  Surtnir told him he was going through surviving old records and diaries of former masters of the Tower.  Some of these writings were hundreds of years old.   It is known that the Tower holds many secrets one of the most interesting that he read concerned a secretive wizard named Talos that was a tenant of the Tower some 200 years ago.  In Talos' diary there was mention of tunnels and rooms beneath the Tower where he would conduct some of his darker and stranger experiments away from the prying eyes of his colleagues.  It also mentioned that he created a magical teleportation circle that could take him anywhere in the realm!   Surtnir also showed Svarnos a new spell that he created called alter familiar. Surtnir showed his former pupil the results of his spell, his own raucous raven familiar had gained the power of invisibility!   Svarnos spent the days scribing new spells into his spell book (including the new spell alter familiar).  

    On the eve of Redleaf the 15th Aness, Vanen, and our heroes collected the Cylinders from the Chamber of Stones and proceeded up the long winding stair up to the roof of the main tower.  The light of the illusionary Wyrlos glowed with an eerie red light.  The night sky was dark and moonless but it was sprinkled with stars and the air was cool and breezy.  In the center of this top level stood a sturdy wooden table with 9 chairs arranged around it.  Aness placed the Cylinders upon the table and began to read an incantation from the scroll left to her by the Archmage to break the prison of the Cylinders.  The incantation rose in pitch and intensity and the air around the onlookers tingles with energy as Aness uttered the final words, "Armon hakadi aka-deev! Shalizarn hakadi Zoatha!".  The Cylinders suddenly melted into a black viscous liquid which ran off the edge of the table onto the floor.  The revealed fragments of the scrolls looked as if they were made of a shimmering paper thin metal swirling with ebbing colors.  The edges of the fragments began to crackle with power and slowly the pieces moved together to form one scroll the seams sparking and fusing togther.

     It was then that the party noticed that the black liquid of the  three melted cylinders slithering snake-like on the floor behind the sorceress.  As they called a warning the "snakes" rose up into the air becoming three black spheres.  Aness tried to dispel them but they resisted her magic.  The spheres formed a large (10' per side) triangle hanging in the air behind the sorceress.  A grey misty area began to form within the triangle.  Aness reached out to grab the scroll upon the table but the energy coming from the mending scroll gave her a painful shock for her efforts.  Before the onlookers could come to her aid they were aware of a new horror taking shape behind each one of them.  Their own shadows had risen up from the floor with a unnatural life of their own!  The shadows attacked and the party fought with all the might and magic at their disposal.  The touch of the shadows drained the strength of those they attacked and Lono in particular was drained nearly to death.  Aness , who was being assailed by her own shadow, finally got a chance to call upon a powerful spell to banish the otherworldly creatures.  One by one they began to puff out of existence but the party saw with dismay that the spell was too late for one of their number.  The dwarven bard Norgrim was drained unto death, he would sing no more.  Aness snatched the now mended scroll from the table but the party could see behind her a great grey-white reptilian eye peering at her through the grey mist of the triangle.  Before anyone could react a great claw and forearm formed of wispy smoke and shadows shot through the triangle and grasped the elven sorceress! Martijn and Gjord tried to attack the arm but their weapons passed through it as if it were truly shadows and smoke.  The arm began withdraw with the writhing sorceress in its clutches.  But before Aness was pulled through the triangle gate she let out a scream and with a heroic effort freed the arm holding the scroll of Myrthas.  This she threw with her last strength to land at the feet of the heroes.  She was then pulled through the gate which vanished with a deafening thunderclap and a puff of grey smoke.  Aness had been taken by the Shadow Dragon!  Vanen fell to his knees sobbing his mistresses name while the party stood stunned by what had taken place.  Svarnos picked up the odd metallic scroll upon the ground and unrolled it the others gathered around him and they began to read for the scroll was written in the Common tongue.  Each word that they read was etched into their memories so they could recall it effortlessly and this is what it said—

To those who would be free I ask your forgiveness.

Know that a millennia ago, through my ambition and arrogance, I foolishly opened a gateway to the Demi-Plane of Shadow.  With forbidden sorceries I sought to gain the power and knowledge of that dark dominion.  I realized my error instantly as the hungry sentience that dwells there tried to force its way into our world. I thought I had closed the portal in time but it was long enough for a great unseen malevolence to slink through.  This was Zorvoath the Shadow Dragon.  He came through as only a wyrmling but in your age he will be an ancient dragon of terrible power.  He has remained concealed in the secret places of the world for a thousand years biding his time as his strength grew.

The fact that you are able to read this magic scroll means that he is no longer in hiding but he is on the move.  It also means that you are not in league with the Dragon for to his minions this scroll appears void of writing.

Using my gift of foresight this is my attempt to stretch my hand through space and time and offer amends for what I have done.  I would save Malavon from becoming a kingdom of shadows and horror.

I must be cryptic for if you are captured Zorvoath would tear this knowledge from your mind and thwart any hope of stopping him. Before I tell you what must be done I would have you know this.  A millennium is a long time, much may have changed in the world and my vision from the past is dim.  All may not play out as I would desire. Furthermore, if you do not wish to take on this task I would ask you to pass it on to others who will and I would suggest that you flee Malavon.

But, if you do take on this quest and you are successful, I can say only this.  I have foreseen that glory will be yours. Also, consider the peculiar set of circumstances that have placed this scroll within your hands.  This scroll was created by binding strange forces of the multiverse that have a sentience of their own.  Your possession of this artifact may not be a coincidence.

What you need for your quest can be found within my stronghold that lies near the Duskwood.  With this scroll in your hands you will be granted access to my tower.  For all I can see from the past you may be standing within my tower now.  I hope this is so.

First, in the conjuration pentacle located in the underground vaults, all must speak these words,

“Amon Amarth Kalamand”

The stones and inscribed glyphs of this place are a nexus of arcane forces.  If the magic still holds after all this time it will aid you in your endeavors. You are welcome to take any other items you may find useful within the vaults beneath the tower.

Next, seek my staff; it is of ironwood with a sapphire at the pinnacle cut into the sign of Numora, you should find it in the upper reaches of my hold. This is the key to Skolelos and on that isle ancient oaths will be fulfilled and the Shadow Dragon will come to know fear.

That is enough to begin.
May fortune be yours and let the immortals protect you.


     The party did not have long to contemplate this as the door to the top of the tower burst open with a throng of gnome warriors ready for battle pouring through.  Behind them came a tall woman with blond hair with black streaks in it, high cheekbones, and a stern countenance.  She demanded to know what was going on as they had heard the sounds of battle and the loud thunderclap that shook the tower.  The party demanded to know who she was and she proclaimed that she was Nesa the Mistress Conjurer of the Tower and it was her place to ask questions not theirs.  A heated and confused argument ensued.  The party was not sure what they should reveal to this woman.  The adventurers would not answer her questions and told her to fetch Surtnir.  The Conjuror told them to drop their weapons but the heroes refused with Gjord being the most vocal.  It almost came to blows but the Conjuror cast a powerful charm spell upon Gjord that made him drop his weapons and back up like an automaton. The party, already weakened, realized that resistance was futile and dropped their weapons.  The gnomes took their gear and began to march them down the winding stair.

D&D this Saturday March 3rd

We're aiming for 5pm.
We'll be using the soft cover Player's Handbook (the Lulu copy).
I suggest you re-familiarize yourselves with your characters as its been a while.
See you Saturday!

Art by Bill Willingham

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Guy smuggles the 5th Edition from WOTC!

I guess the cat is already out of the bag.  This version sounds like its going to be phenomenal!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

More stuff about 5th edition D&D

Reading some of the quotes from the designers makes things look a little more promising.  Check out this link to EN World for more info.
D&D Fifth Edition at EN World

Monday, January 9, 2012

What I would like to see.

So WOTC is asking for player input for the 5th edition of D&D.

I know that whatever they come up with will probably be loaded with unnecessary rules that will make combat even more tactical and less abstract and thus more complicated.  There will still be way too much focus on character development to the point where it detracts from the playability of the game.

What I would like to see (although it would never happen) is to see them dip back into the past of D&D and design their own "retro" version if you will.  I know that there are a lot of retro options out there already, but I would just like to see what they would do with it.