Monday, January 30, 2012

Your niche group may seem big from the inside, but...

     This past week I was playing in a Heroclix sealed booster tournament, and while I waited in line to purchase said boosters I listened to the two guys ahead of me.
Guy 1: "Pathfinder Battles, what's that?"
Guy 2: "Looks Mage Knight."
That was the extent of the conversation, they did not make the connection between an rpg miniatures game and Dungeons and Dragons. At first I was surprised, shocked even, and then I realized that if they had not tried rpg's that they would be unfamiliar with them. They would not be on the inside. Sometimes when you are on the inside of a fan base it is hard to realize how big (or small) it is.

     I think we should all get together and see how we can expand our hobby. To make it something to proud of, no matter who you tell it to. Take care guys!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sunday's game and Sentinels of the Multiverse

     So this past Sunday's game did not go off as planned (only half of the group showed) but one them had just bought a copy of Sentinels of the Multiverse, so we played that. It was the first time playing it for the three of us but we caught to the basics pretty quickly. The players pick from ten different heroes who each have there own deck, then they decide which villain (of which there are eight) to fight and which environment (of which there are four) to fight in. Needless to say it gives it a lot of replay-ability, which we saw by playing it twice. For the record we were beat both times, though the second game went better as we caught on to how to use our powers and stuff.

     The first game we picked  our heroes and fought the villain Citizen Dawn in Megalopolis. She becomes immune to damage if five or more citizens (read her minions) are in the discard pile. Our strategy seemed straightforward, we had to hurt her and do minimal damage control on the citizens. We started out doing alright, but were quickly locked down by the minions various abilities. Basically we were stuck in a downward spiral with no obvious way out.

     Our next game was versus Omnitron in the Savage primalis(?) and two of us picked different heroes. This went a lot better but still ended in a loss. I think we need more players, at least one. Still I really had fun playing it and felt it captured the comic genre admirably.

     Well that is all for now, please leave comments and questions, and I will get back to you. Take care, bye.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Where to stand in the edition wars?

     A quick little post here in case any of you have not been hipped to this great and hilarious web series Dungeon Bastard. Check out his latest episode here
Go on, I'll wait here until you're done.

     Back? Good. We should be working together to build up our community and not squabbling like a bunch of kids at recess. Like I have said before, play what you want you want and respect other people's choices for whatever game they want to play.

     I am looking forward to seeing what Wizards comes up with, but if I do not like it I have plenty of other games to choose from, and why waste my energy complaining about what is wrong when I can enjoy something I like.

     I will be returning to finish my 4E game in a couple months and hope to complete that campaign with more amazing moments. They left off having just raised the demolished tiefling capitol from within the Starfel crater and set it (reformed) floating above the gaping chasm. Jinx will have a hand in helping their ruling class establish order and the wizard, Quorien, will get an urgent missive from the scarlet spire asking for his aid. Oh I have some great plans when we return, hehehe.

     Take care and please fell free to leave a comment.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Interview with Lydia Burris: Artist of the Weird and Fantastic!!

     Lydia Burris is becoming a fixture at game, fantasy, and horror conventions with her amazing works, which include installation, illustration, painting, and sculpture. Her subjects are typically weird and surreal, teetering between whimsy and creepy. She also provided art for the Savage Worlds setting Winterweir. Lydia’s website is so go check it out when you are done reading this.
For the Winterweir setting book, how much of a description did you receive to start your pieces?

Winterweir consists of two contracts for my work. For the first part, the Winterweir creator Charles Phipps enjoyed my artwork as it was. He chose some available works to spread throughout the book. The second part of the contract involved the commission of creating characters for the book. I was given detailed descriptions of the character races. We chatted back and forth about their design, and I had to make a few changes to some of the characters. It was a great challenge to create something new and specific for the book.

Your work in that book retains your distinct style, my favorite being the squiggly, half formed humanoid on page 115. Do you have a favorite piece from there?

Thank you, the piece you mentioned is called "Tree Girl Dances a Woeful Jig". As for a favorite, I'm going to have to go with the Half-Jotun (the male). Doing full fantasy figures was a pretty good challenge for me at the time and I was most pleased with him.

Did you enjoy your work on those pieces, having an end result that the author would like from your work?

I always enjoy doing commissions, especially for a publication. I feel like it is a game. I ask myself "How can I do art to both please and surprise the author?" - Of course, sometimes I cannot decide upon a style to land on, but it usually works out for the best in the end. The best result is when I have pleased and surprised MYSELF as well as the one who commissioned work from me.

Do you play any card/board/role playing games?

I do not play many games of that persuasion now, only because I'm too busy with the art! I remember being inspired by role-playing cards in Highschool even though I did not play (such as Magic) In college, I was introduced to LARPing, and then worked my way up to tabletop role playing games. (yes, I sorta worked backwards).... My favorites were always the short and funny tabletop games that ended in blood, despair and laughter. (my attention span is too short for the long serious games. I usually ended up doodling all the characters and forgetting the plot) I also love role-playing video games.  

When I was a kid, I used to create pages of drawings for made up video games. I'd create all the monsters, the landscapes, the point system, etc. I also used to make board games. The most ambitious was where I created a little cut-out objects for EACH square of the game, as well as activity cards.

In reading your artist’s statement on your site, it sounds like you are open to experimentation and allowing “randomness” to playing a part in your work. Do you find yourself trying to convey emotions or feelings, that is to say giving up some control to try and capture something not quite tangible?

Yes, All the time! I like to combine reality with the unreal, and the emotions I try to convey are often ambiguous, or have multiple interpretations. I was never an artist who could convey a clear cut message, or use clear images of reality, yet so many people can identify with my work.

If you can recall a specific moment, what first triggered your love of art and the fantastic?

My mother has been inspiring me since I was a baby. The trigger was probably clicked before I could even think coherently, however, I will share this: I remember I was VERY young, perhaps 6 or 7. Mother shared with me a picture of Hieronymous Bosh's hell painting. I remember staring at it for a very long time, intrigued with all the sick little details - the arrows in the butt, the monster in the middle eating people and fully digesting them out the other end. I remember the made up creatures and chimeras that populated the entire painting. This was nothing new for me of course, I had already been drawing crazy monsters for years, this was merely great fuel to stoke the fire.

What artist/creator do you admire and why?

There are many artists I admire. The list would be 30 pages long and typed in small size font.
However, I can say that I admire artists that do not get stuck in one gimmick, artists that change and grow, and have made it big in a world where specialization seems to be king. They are proof that their vision can be important, even if it is varied. I also admire artists that work daily, and dedicate their lives to creation. 

Perhaps I will list a few favorites: Alan Lee (I have been drooling over the Faeries book since I could walk), David Mack, Dave McKean and Bill Sienkiewicz for their wild creativity and their variety, and for breaking rules, Ivan Albright for his obsessive detail, Menton3 for his daily dedication  (An awesome artist I met about 2 years ago who's presence in the comic community has grown tremendously because of his prolific nature), and Clive Barker for his dark, mad and passionate spirit. 

Of course I always have to mention my mother Catherine Burris who was a fantastic artist. She passed in February of 2011, and I always use every opportunity I can to let people know how great she was. She provided me with the materials to let my mind go exploring and she's the one who stoked the fire with inspiration.

Out of the several mediums you work in, what is your favorite?

I'm not sure I could come to one conclusion. The closest I can get to liking one medium by itself is acrylic for the layers and colors I can get. But I LOVE when I create a successful mixed media piece.

Thanks to everyone for the attention!

Thanks for your time, hope all goes well for you and take care everyone!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

DnD Next, eh?

     So on Monday, Wizards announced the are working on the next version of Dungeons and Dragons, and that they will be looking to their fans for some guidance. A move some people see as a misstep, but it worked well for Pathfinder, which most DnD detractors seem to love, so I feel a bit of hypocrisy at work here.  So Wizards would like to create a game that all DnD fans can get behind, which I feel is admirable and may amount to be a herculean task. I hope they pull it off, as I am tired of splintered fan base, and would enjoy playing the game as opposed to feeling I need to defend it.

     I hope they do not go back to vancian magic, as it makes the spell casters essentially one hit wonders. On the subject of modularity that they hope to bring to the game, I wonder if it will be like what Savage Worlds Deluxe brought to that game. In that rule set they give you different ways to deal with damage, for example, there is the traditional and then there is gritty damage which is as it sounds, basically you want to avoid needless combat in that case. Maybe skill lists can be modular, begin the campaign with the question "Are we going to need the full set or just the basic?".

     Of course all of this is pure speculation as nothing specific has been announced from Wizards, just their intentions. I am looking forward to what they have up their sleeves and I pray they are able to bring these seemingly disparate groups under one game. Good luck WotC!! Also, please let me know what you all think, leave me a comment.

Deadlands game update (quick)

     So, this past Sunday's game did not go off, but we got our final player's character made. It took longer than expected, due to the fact the player had no prior experience with Savage Worlds. I had been spoiled by the fact that the other players had some experience with it. Definitely we will be playing in two weeks, so I will have an update for you then.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Welcome 2012!!

     New post, New Year!! Here we are again, I have been a bit lax, but with the holidays over I should be back on track. This Sunday is the second part of my Deadlands game, and I am looking forward to it. We have one person who wont be able to make it, but we shall forge ever onward. The last game saw the group traveling out West at the urging of an old friend. As the train moved into Arizona it was set upon by a desperate group of outlaws eager to divest the occupants of their precious valuables. Of course, a gunfight ensued and the bandits escaped leaving two of their own behind, one unconscious and the other most definitely deceased. One of the characters, a fire and brimstone preacher went to give chased and was brutally shot down. Thankfully the group was able to get him some medical attention (plus spent a few bennies) so he will be arriving in town with the rest.

     For Christmas I received  some Heroclix, which I used to play some years ago and may start up again, soon. In other news, while I am running Deadlands, I continue to cultivate ideas and plots for the return of my 4E game. I am looking forward to it and feel confident that they will get a kick out of it. I hope to bring some more interviews to you all in the coming months. Take care everyone, and goodnight!