Friday, September 26, 2008

Hero's Banner: reliably awesome

Last week our Skype group had a pretty frustrating experience. We were trying to play a game that just didn't work all that well with our play style, and the game wound up sucking to a complete halt. We were feeling pretty discouraged and wanted to play a game that we knew from experience would bring the awesome. Our solution? Hero's Banner.

(Side note: For a while after we picked up the game in 2006, we were pretty obsessed with this game. We group went through a phase of playing Hero's Banner whenever we needed a one-shot game.)

And man, Hero's Banner did not disappoint. Briefly, the characters we have are:

Octavian: crazed would-be emperor, in love with his twin sister
Vasilica: almost looked like he was going to be a nice guy until he had his father, the king, murdered in the heat of battle
Casimir: Was almost a priest when his elder brothers were killed, is tempted to break his vows by his gay lover, is actually a nice guy
Magdalena: feminist member of the high nobility, lesbian, might be a decent human being as well

Kit went to town GMing, and last night's session was HOT. Aaron wound up having a conflict to *not* brutally murder the man his sister was betrothed to. He failed, mostly on purpose, and creeped everyone the hell out.

Vasilica, amusingly, had an emotional breakdown in his very first scene, slapped his father (the King), and charged off with an armed contingent to protect something his father had told him not too. This was made extra awesome in the next scene when he was surrounded by his father's men and ordered to stand down. He did, but in the battle that he didn't take part in, he had his father murdered and then "avenged" the murder.

Magdalena, had a perfectly horrible scene where her mother was pressuring her to have dinner with an odious younger son - owing to the fact that all of her brothers had been killed in the wars and she needed to marry well, but not too well, so she could have a son to pass their family name on to. There was a perfect moment where Magdalena was lippy and tried to bring up her brothers and her mother basically said they didn't matter.

Needless to say, the younger son she was to dine with was insipid and horrible and Magdalena refused to see him again. Later that evening he came to her rooms and made her look like "damaged goods" (I failed my roll and re-roll both) so that no one else would want to marry her. And the next morning her mother started talking about plans for the nuptuals, making the comment 'I didn't think he had it in him'. Horrible.

Casimir got off to a slow start in his first scene; his mother tried to persuade him to steal from the church to pay for some of their family's massive debts but Casimir resisted. His second scene went much better, though. His bodyguard and lover, Gavril, was revealed by Casimir's mentor - a priest - to be a heretic. Casimir's mentor said he had two weeks to either cast him aside or see his friend branded as a heretic. When Casimir confronted Gavril, he promised to reform (he was lying) and then distracted Casimir with sex. Rawk.

Anyway. I did some sketches of last night's session. Octavian came out every bit as psychotic and disagreeable on paper as I pictured him in my head.


I'm very much looking forward to our next session, which sadly might be a few weeks from now. Still, pretty happy that Hero's Banner has come through once again.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Trollbabe: another finished piece

Things have been really crazy lately; I've been spending time getting ready for a rank promotion test which has meant I haven't even had time for Spore, let alone art.

I did finally manage to finish Trollbabe piece.


Two down, three to go.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Finally returning to a normal pace.

I seem to be returning to a more "normal" level of creative output after my post-GenCon frenzy of creative activity. Much of that is due to Spore, which is an evil, evil brain that has been consuming my brain meats. But I've also been working on some other projects, which as of yet are not baked enough for me to want to talk about publicly. Almost! But not yet.

At any rate, here's another inked Trollbabe piece. At Ron's request I pulled the camera back to show a bit more of the context. I struggled with re-working with this, but I wound up pretty happy with it.


I managed to do a few hours work shading the final result and wound up with something I'm pretty happy with - though I'm not sure how I'll handle the background. I guess I'll burn cross that bridge when I get to it though.

Watch this space for coming details about a design project that I'm almost ready to talk about that is not the black ops angel game.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Still crazy productive after GenCon

It took me a while to get back in the groove of working with hatching, but I finished my first Trollbabe drawing and consider it a success.


I'm having a lot of fun drawing Trollbabes and am having serious thoughts about doing finished color versions of these images once I'm done doing black and white versions for Ron.

In other news I now have a second game that I'm pretty sure I'll have to write in addition to the black ops angel game that I've been working on. I blame this on Graham, as he's the one who gave me the idea. More later once I've fleshed out the idea more and am willing to talk about it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Trollbabe: experiments with shading

So now that I've finished sketching, it's time to turn these Trollbabes into finished pieces. Here's the sketch I decided to work on first, plus a bit of added background. Before doing anything else, I just "inked" the drawing using Photoshop.


I don't think my lineart is intricate or interesting enough to stand on its own merits, so it's going to need shading of some sort. Now, it's been a long time since I've done any truly two-color work; I much prefer the ease of greyscale. So I'm going to experiment with shading using different kinds of brushtrokes and/or hatching to see if I can come up with something that I like.

I decided to start with shading the faces and see what happened. Preliminarily, I'm going to say that I like the results - but I'm not committed to finishing the whole image. I'll keep going and hopefully I'll like it enough to finish.

Anyhow, here's the results of this evening's tomfoolery.


Stay tuned for more trollbabes yet to come! Same Trollbabe time, same Trollbabe channel!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The last Trollbabe sketch

So here I am, sad because I've burned through all my Trollbabe already. Here it is less than a week since I started doing sketches and I've done five already.

Of course, I still have all the joy of finishing them yet to come, but it's just not the same.

Anyway. Here's the last Trollbabe, who gives me glee.


It's a bad scan, because the sketch was really light pencil and didn't want to scan well. But oh well, I'm happy with how my troll came out. I still haven't decided how I'm going to finish them, with regards to shading and whatnot. But that will be something I can discuss with Ron.

I've decided that I need to do nice full-color prints of these and sell them at next year's GenCon.