28 September 2011

Crypts and Things Final Cover

Here it is:

Great work, as always, by Jon Hodgson!

Apparently the scene was inspired in part by this cover of Dark Horse’s The Savage Sword of Kull collection (a reprint of the Marvel Comics’ ‘Kull’ tales from the late 1970s and early 80s):

As always, more information on Crypts and Things can be found at Newt Newport’s blog, Sorcerer Under Mountain.

(FYI: Newt used my ‘Akratic Wizardry’ house rules in writing C&T. So, needless to say, I’m a huge supporter of this project!)

25 September 2011

A Real Hobbit-Hole

There now exists a real 'hobbit house' in Wales (as reported in this article):


It looks rather nice and livable. And, at £3,000, surprisingly affordable!

The article refers to it as a 'hobbit house', but Tolkien fans will know that the proper English term is 'hobbit-hole', and that hobbits themselves refer to them as 'Smials' (widely believed to be one of the few words that they retained from their pre-Westron tongue).

16 September 2011

Conan, Lecturer at Trinity College

I taught at Trinity College Dublin for three years. And although I was a lecturer in a different department, I am amazed that I did not encounter this remarkable academic during my time at that venerable institution!
Dr Conan T. Barbarian, B.A.(Cimmeria) Ph.D. (UCD). F.T.C.D.
Long Room Hub Associate Professor in Hyborian Studies and Tyrant Slaying.

Dr Conan T. Barbarian was ripped from his mother's womb on the corpse-strewn battlefields of his war-torn homeland, Cimmeria, and has been preparing for academic life ever since. A firm believer in the dictum that "that which does not kill us makes us stronger," he took time out to avenge the death of his parents following a sojourn pursuing his strong interest in Post-Colonial theory at the Sorbonne. In between, he spent several years tethered to the fearsome "Wheel of Pain", time which he now feels helped provide him with the mental discipline and sado-masochistic proclivities necessary to successfully tackle contemporary critical theory.

He completed his PhD, entitled "To Hear The Lamentation of Their Women: Constructions of Masculinity in Contemporary Zamoran Literature" at UCD and was appointed to the School of English in 2006, after successfully decapitating his predecessor during a bloody battle which will long be remembered in legend and song.

In 2011/12, he will be teaching on the following courses: "The Relevance of Crom in the Modern World", "Theories of Literature", "Vengeance for Beginners", "Deciphering the Riddle of Steel" and "D.H. Lawrence". He strongly objects to the terms of the Croke Park agreement and the current trend for remaking 1980s films that he believes were perfectly good enough in the first place.

He is happy to hear from potential research students with an interest of any of these topics, but applicants should note that anyone found guilty of academic misconduct or weakness in the face of the enemy will be crucified as an example to the others.
(Found on this [seemingly legitimate] webpage. It looks as though a practical joke had been played on the TCD English Department?)

13 September 2011

In Praise of Erol Otus

Ranking my top five favourite fantasy role-playing artists of all time is a difficult endeavour. On any given day, any one of the five artists I’ve selected could be my ‘number one’.

Perhaps I should not have bothered with an attempt to ‘rank’ them at all? It certainly would’ve been simpler to declare them all to be my ‘five favourites’.

Nonetheless, given that I’ve started this ‘countdown’, I may as well continue with it. And so I declare my third favourite FRPG artist of all time to be the truly unique Erol Otus.

Here is the cover to the first issue of Dragon that I ever purchased:

Even after thirty years, I still find Otus’s cover to Tom Moldvay’s version of the Dungeons and Dragons Basic Set strangely evocative:

Otus’s pictures for the Cthulhu Mythos in the AD&D book Deities and Demigods forever shaped how I view H. P. Lovecraft’s alien, eldritch creations.

Here is Cthulhu himself (looking slightly hung-over, I think):

And a Shoggoth!

Also from Deities and Demigods, from the section on the Michael Moorcock’s world of Melnibon√© and the Young Kingdoms, is this picture of Elric’s great nemesis, the Pan Tangian sorcerer Theleb K’aarna:

Here is the creepy Mad Hermit from the classic module, “The Keep on the Borderlands” (B2):

(I wonder how many player characters, over the decades, have been ambushed by this unsavoury fellow’s pet cougar?)

No survey of Otus’s work would be complete without a picture of the seductive Queen of the Demonweb Pits, the Drow Goddess Lolth:

Here is one of Otus’s own player characters from the Rogues Gallery:

And finally, here is a very recent tribute to Gary Gygax:

Anyone interested in seeing more of Otus’s work should definitely check out Jeff Rients’ ‘Erol Otus Shrine’!

(FYI: my post on number 5, Russ Nicholson, is here, and my post on number 4, Pete Fenlon, is here.)

12 September 2011

09 September 2011

Drunk Swedish Elk in Apple Tree

This story has absolutely nothing to do with FRPGs, but I found it too entertaining not to post here, if only to get this blog up and running again.

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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who divides his time between Milwaukee and Toronto.