Thursday, December 15, 2011

Meg Lyman: Artist and Cuttlefish Lover?

     Meg Lyman: artist, engineer, and all around amazing woman. I first met Meg in 2003 at Andy Hopp's first artist retreat, which eventually become Con on the Cob. She has really polished her unique style and expanded into different mediums, culminating into participation in Larry Elmore's legendary painting class this past year! Now, let us ask some questions, shall we?

Is it true you have an engineering degree?
Why yes, that is true. Two, actually. They help with my "real" job. I used to work on airplane engines but now work on gas turbines for electricity generation.

What first triggered your love of art?
It was always just there. I've drawn things that don't exist for as long as I could hold a blunt instrument. However, seeing the work of Ursula Vernon finally inspired me to start painting in 2005, and my earlier stuff has a lot of her influence in it.

Which artist/creator do you admire most and why?
See above, for whimsy and imagination. Also, all my fellow Con on the Cob-type artists, who consistently make an effort to share things they've learned and encourage other artists. For classics, my favorites are Velazquez and Dali.

You draw a lot of octopi, is that your favorite animal?
How could you tell? :) I love cuttlefish, too.

Your blog (@ ) deals with art and beer, really? What is your favorite beer?
I love dark, sweet beers. A favorite is Terrapin Wake 'n' Bake. Also, Southern Tier Creme Brulee Stout, which is a winter seasonal.

What is your favorite medium to work in, also have you tried sculpting?
Gouache! It's a coarser, opaque cousin of watercolors. I am doing more oil paint now as well. I have made a few 3D things, but I really want to focus on learning my current media before I go willy-nilly trying everything. It's hard to suppress the urge.

Do you play any board/card/role-playing games?
Not really. My husband does a lot, so I am quite familiar with it... but my nerdiness manifests itself in other ways.

How did you first manage to get mixed up with Andy Hopp?
A friend found him on the internet and hooked us up through the Wanderers Guild. It was the first time I realized there were art nerds out there. I wasn't alone!

Any upcoming projects we should look out for?
Next year promises to have some changes for the better! I'm looking to keep up the cephalopods, but branch more into other, less cartoony topics. But still whimsical! I love making people laugh.

Is your art site (@ ) all set up, can people at least come and buy your wonderful stuff?
It's mostly functional, but it needs an overhaul. The store is glitchy, so I do all my sales through e-mail/Paypal or in person.
When you arrived at that first artist weekend, you had a broken leg and had been in an accident with a deer on your way there. Is it true that you ate that deer's heart to gain its power?

Nooo...... not at all...
I still have one of the bastard's antlers.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holidays 2011

     Oh the holidays, a time for families and friends to get together. Well, mostly families, I understand that, which is why I have moved my game, so I can get everyone together at least once before the end of the year. It is a little discouraging, but I remind myself that some folks do not have a group that they can play with at least once a month. Part of my desire to play with the full group before the new year is one of them will be unavailable for a few weeks afterwards.

     So with all of this prepping for my Deadlands game, I am sticking with my plan of returning to Dungeons and Dragons afterwards. I have just one or two plot threads in mind, so once the players have taken care of business we will return to the campaign

     On the World of Warcraft side of things, I am enjoying it but my altaholic tendencies are catching up with me. I find myself running different characters around repeating various cooking quests in order to get the various cooking achievements. No wonder I get hungry when I play! On the positive side I always have a toon for whatever mood I am in, so that is nice.

     So, have any of you been stymied by the holidays? Gaming plans falling through? Let me know, leave a comment!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Race to World First

    I was checking out like I do, and was happily surprised to see that I could watch a World of Warcraft documentary, WooHoo! Specifically, Race to World First, which I have been hearing so much about, especially on The Instance WoW podcast.

      Race to World First is a documentary about various World of Warcraft guilds around the globe competing to be the first to complete the initial set of raids in Cataclysm. Currently you can watch it for free through their website and I recommend viewing it if you like competitive gaming or if you are curious what this is all about. It deals mainly with two guilds, Blood Legion and Paragon, as well as some others such as Method, Adept, Ensignia, etc. You get to witness their struggle as they work with each other to be the best, and tempers flare. Their is no drama without conflict, and you also learn about these people and it is just a great thing. I really recommend it, especially since it is free at the moment.

     I love the end, where the co-hosts of the instance decide they are going to group up and do a raid, it just sounds like an invitation to come into the world and have fun, it is not all serious, and who knows, you may learn something too!

PS. I also highly endorse The Instance podcast if you are or thinking of getting into WoW, it is a great show with wonderful personalities whom I really enjoy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Brief Interview with Lee Szczepanik!!

     Lee F. Szczepanik is the driving force behind Daring Entertainment and creator of War of the Dead and Savage Worlds licensee. He has graciously consented to answer a few questions for me, so here we go.

 So, Dawn of Legends was originally written for Mutants and Masterminds then adapted for Savage Worlds, did you feel SW could bring something different that M&M could not?

There were a lot of reasons we brought Dawn of Legends over to Savage Worlds back in 2008. Unfortunately, in hindsight none of them were good reasons. At the time, we were new to Savage Worlds gaming (having just decided to try it as of GenCon 2007), and didn't really understand the game, its fans, or what we should have been doing, anywhere near as well as we thought we did.

Dawn of Legends just was not the product we wanted it to be, which is the major reason it is no longer on the market.

Do you read comics, and if so, what do you read?

Up until this past summer, I used to read Avengers, Captain America, and X-Men from Marvel; and too many DC Comics to name.

As of a couple of months ago, I've taken a break from the Big Two. I'm not just happy with what Marvel is doing right now, and having been a DC Comics reader for the past 30 years, I've grown tired with one universe altering event after another. Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, Flashpoint . . . and now the so called "soft reboot". For me, it's just too much of a particular thing. I'm also a little less than thrilled about some of the character changes.

So, I'll be borrowing the Reboot collections from the local library, but won't be purchasing them.

But that's okay, as I feel the Reboot is geared more at gaining a new generation of readers as opposed to worrying about the older fans (which is fair, I suppose, given the state of the industry).

So, right now I am reading The Walking Dead, and anything by Mark Waid from BOOM! Studios.

 So far in War of the Dead, I have noticed a few nods to popular zombie fiction (comics and movies), not just copying wholesale. Knowing that you are familiar with the genre, what are your favorite things from there?

A couple of key things, actually.  First of all, I love the concept behind the Living Dead. Whether they are the Romero Shamblers, or the Synder Sprinters, the danger of a simple scratch meaning that you are already dead (just might not know it), brings a whole, new level of horror to the story.

The second is the characters. If written correctly, in my opinion, a zombie story should focus on everyday people thrust into an impossible fight for survival. It should boil down to the internal lines each of us possesses. How far would a mother, a father, or a child go to not only survive, but to protect their family and loved ones?  If it came down to it, and such a thing could ever happen, how many would actually be able to survive without the technology and amenities of 21st century society, never mind do so while surviving against millions of monsters trying to eat you.

The concept behind the zombie apocalypse should push the characters to new external and internal limits, and make the readers/viewers take a hard, long look at themselves.

To me, good zombie apocalypse fiction is a reflection of our own problems and fears in the world, through a glass, darkly.

Since WotD is a weekly thing (over a year), did you start off with an outline of what you wanted to accomplish?

We started off with a detailed outline. In some cases, certain weeks actually contained anywhere from 2-4 version of the adventure. These outlines then went to the play test groups.  They ran them, provided detailed reports, and I wrote the published version based upon a middle ground, so to speak, on what the groups did, how they had NPCs act and react, and so forth.

Naturally, since the debut in June 2010, the story has changed a bit. Future adventures have been rewritten (and play tested) entirely. Things that were mentioned as "Coming in the next Chapter" or "Coming down the line" at the end of a Chapter ended-up being changed because the newer versions, as the setting grew over the past 18 months, were much stronger and less forced.

War of the Dead is both a planned campaign, and yet something that remains very fluid.

Now for something a bit different, what first triggered your love of fiction (or games)?

That's a tough one to answer. My first foray into actual RPGs was the old Marvel Superheroes RPG from TSR; as opposed to the more common Dungeons & Dragons (as a matter of fact, D&D is the RPG that I have played the least in my 25 years of gaming).

Before that, though, as I mentioned in the introduction to GET Into Action, my first real experience was the old G.I. Joe toys. I had a vast majority of the old A Real American Hero line, including the bigger things like the G.I. Joe Headquaters, Cobra Terrordrome, U.S.S. Flagg, and most the figures and vehicles.

Anyway, everyday after school, my siblings and I would set it all up and run our own G.I. Joe episodes. We had continuing plot lines, character subplots, and even did our best to imitate the voices from the cartoon show. So, in a very real sense, that was my first experience in both role-playing and creative writing, even before I discovered RPGs.

Which writer/creator do you admire most and why?

No question about it, Roger Zelazny. He was not only my first forray into reading and enjoying it, but thanks to the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, I was able to eventually get in touch with him. First as a fan through the mail, then later as a friend on the phone and at some conventions. Roger read and edited a lot of my early work, and taught me a lot about the business end of writing. The guidance he gave me on story structure, writing in general, and characterization, is something I still use today.

Hanging above my desk is an In Memorium plaque for Roger that was given to me by a local Borders bookstore in 1995. I'd shopped there quite a bit, and the manager happened to know about my friendship with Roger (he was also a fan).  So, after the display that commemorated Roger's death was over, he called me up and asked if I'd wanted it.

Without a doubt, I would not be writing today if not for Roger Zelazny.

Aside from RPG’s, do you write anything else?

In the past, I have been a comic book writer for one of the Big Two, a novelist, a screenwriter, and a script editor in Hollywood.

Presently, besides RPGs, I am working on two novels that will be released in 2013 (or so the plan goes).

Any upcoming projects we can look forward to?

For Savage Worlds we have more War of the Dead on the way beyond the scope of Chapter Four. We also have the World of the Dead plot-point setting, which takes place roughly 7 years after War of the Dead.

Hellspawn will be releasing soon, which is super-heroes and zombies, and draws inspiration from things such as Ex-Heroes, Ex-Patriots, and DC Comics' Blackest Night event.

After all that, I'll be relaunching GET Into Action as a full blown plot point setting.

Outside of Savage Worlds, we have the Daring Comics Adventure Game, which is a new super-hero RPG that has been in design and play test for two years, and will be releasing in 2012. We are already at work on the first two sourcebooks for the RPG, as well.

Besides that game, we will also be releasing another RPG system that is designed to handle Pullp, Fantasy, Science Fiction, and everything in between. We already have 2 settings planned for that RPG, as well.

Finally on the plate, and not slated until a 2013 release, we are working on a very cool Zombie Apoclaypse collectible card game; as well as a board game that I can't mention too much about.

Beyond the gaming industry, Daring Entertainment is putting things in place to expand into the E-novel market. We've just negotiated a deal for that industry that is similar to what we have with Cubicle 7 Entertainment for the RPG industry, and already have a couple of known authors willing to work with us.

 Thanks for your time and I am looking forward to the finale of War of the Dead coming next year, take care!!

Thanks for taking the time to let me ramble!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Avarice, Arizona

     Things have been busy, and crazy. I wanted to post something before the Thanksgiving holiday takes over here in the states. My group got together to work on characters, unfortunately only two(of four) showed up. The city the group will be based out of is Avarice, Arizona and they will all be coming at the behest of one professor (insert name here). Things seem normal except as night approaches and the shadows deepen, a hidden menace seeks new blood. The remaining players will come up with characters and we will start playing the first Sunday in December(fingers crossed).

     So that is the Deadlands game, and coming up I should have an interview for you all. Have a wonderful week and I hope to have another post up this next weekend.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Deadlands it is!!

     So the winner is Deadlands and we will be getting together next Sunday to create characters and fill out group templates. It was a close race between it and Slipstream, but Deadlands pulled ahead in the end.  This means I have to come up with a template this week, check out my post about templates here The poll is still up for anyone that wants to check it out, though it will be coming down at the end of the week. I am really looking forward to starting the new game and hope to have some good stories for all of you.

     Catch you all later and take care.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Today's Game!

     So, this is how it is going down today, I am running the free RPG Day adventure The Wild Hunt to give them all a taste of how savage worlds works. Afterwards I will give them their options and if they are undecided, I will give them whatever you have picked. So far it is a close race between two of them so go cast your vote. I am not going to say which two but they are pretty cool and I would be happy to run either of them. Vote now and take care!

Friday, November 4, 2011

"What should they play" Poll

     Here it is, let me know what you guys think!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What to Play!! part 3

     In recent posts I have let you all know about Low Life, so if you do not know about it you should read my earlier posts. For the moment, let me tell you of Slipstream and its wonderful sci-fi pulpiness.  The titular slipstream is kind of a pocket dimension where the evil Queen Anathraxia rules. This is a land (space?) where Buck Rogers would feel at home, with rocket packs and ray guns. There are several playable races that are given the full treatment but there are even more that where they give you the stats and a brief description. Typical of pulp stories/games, your bad guys are bad, the good guys are good and some secrets might pop up to throw everyone for a loop.

     A world where alien invaders have killed or enslaved earth’s heroes, the villains have to step up to the plate. That is Necessary Evil. A supers game with some twists and turns, Necessary Evil has a lot going for it, especially since it was recently updated and published in the popular digest size. The plot point campaign is great, the creator, Clint Black, is to be commended for introducing the idea of powers that do not cost points per use. It can easily be used to run a supers game outside of the plot point setting. Mmm, super heroes.

     Sundered Skies is set in a fantasy world with a dark secret, a place where a horrible event tore the world asunder and the survivors live on floating islands in the void. People travel from place to place via flying sailing ships, and the traditional races are a bit untraditional in some ways. The light from the “skies” is called the glow and it can cause madness and may transform anyone who has exposed to too much of it. Really, flying ships, it is just awesome like that.

     High fantasy gets some love from Sean Patrick Fannon’s Shaintar. Magic is the manipulation of essence (life) and can be corrupted (darkness) and the antithesis of essence is flame, which is the power of the Abyss. The backstory is amazing, but unnecessary to play the game you have Good versus Evil, though you should not judge a book by its cover as you can play goblins, orcs, or ogres as well as a myriad of other races to choose from. Currently Reality Blurs is publishing an updated version (I have the first printing Talisman Studios version) with all kinds of support. I believe it will show up in 2012, and speaking of Reality Blurs…

     Iron Dynasty from Reality Blurs is an Asian fantasy setting with a little kick (yeah, groan all you want). In the lands of Konoyo, darkness has settled in as bamboo mechs are changing the face of war, causing samurai warriors to become a thing of the past. Oni, ghosts and undead threaten while the various regions eye each other warily.

     So there you have it, this Sunday we get together to decide. Maybe I will set up a poll before then to see what you guys think. Take care, and see you all later.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What to Play!! part 2

  Tonight’s first game is the amazing deadlands, set out west in a United States where the Civil war is “on pause” so to speak. It is 1879 and it seems the dead just won’t lay easily, the Civil War that has been going on for the past twenty years has ground to a halt, and a new mineral called ghost rock is every scientists dream. Throw in giant worms in the desert and it would resemble a western crossed with a zombie movie and Tremors. Basically, there is something big and bad trying to keep the world in chaos, and they are doing a fine job of it. An awesome setting with plenty of support, I am always impressed when I see it being run by the demo team (Evil Mike and Chaos Steve) or the big bug himself, Matt Cutter.

     Next up is weird war II. Remember me saying in the previous paragraph about that big bad force keeping everything in chaos? Well this is the same thing, only set during World War II. The darkness is everywhere and must be fought; you can fight it in the Pacific, Europe, North Africa, or Russia. You can play different nationalities of soldiers; there is naval and aerial combat, as well as tanks and just plain old shooting at each other.

     Last for now are pirates of the Spanish Main, based off the Wizkids property of the same name. Set during the age of piracy you get to play any number of characters from pirates and privateers to missionaries and nobles. While not historically accurate, it fleshes out life at sea enough for role playing, and if you have any ships from the Wizkids games, they can be used here as well. Unfortunately Pinnacle had to discontinue the line when Wizkids went under. Personally I would like to run a fantasy game stealing from this book for swashbuckling fun as the bestiary is predominantly real world stuff with ghosts and a couple other undead thrown in.

     Thanks for checking this out, remember you can check out info on all of these games at the savage worlds site  so until next time, take care!