Archive for August 2010

Help me win King of Monsters

As many of you know, I was picked as a finalist in Kobold Quarterly’s King of Monsters 2 competition for my entry, the Horakh. The final phase of the competition relies on public voting. I’ve already gotten alot of support from my friends, family, fellow bloggers and my tweeps, but I still need more votes to cinch the title.

The number one complaint I have heard is voting is difficult. If you follow the steps in this short guide, you can vote for me in less than a minute.

1.) Follow the link below to the registration page:

http://www.koboldquarterly.com/kqforums/profile.php?mode=register

Skip down to the “Login Details” section. You only need to fill out a few pieces of information here.

Email address: Use any email address you have.

UserID: Make up a unique user name.

Password and Conform Password: Type a password here.

State/Province: Your state.

Date of Birth: Birthday in the format MM/DD/YYYY so Jan 1, 1970 would be 01/01/1970

Click Submit.

2.) Follow the next link once you have successfully submitted your registration.

http://www.koboldquarterly.com/kqforums/viewtopic.php?p=13701#13701

You should how see a voting screen. Click the circle to the left of ”Horakh by Jobe Bittman’ and submit your vote!

It’s that easy an takes less than a minute.

Thanks in advance for your vote.

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Creating Your Own Minis

In preparation for the DM Challenge at PAX Prime, I thought it would be a cool idea to incorporate the monster I designed for Kobold Quarterly’s King of Monsters 2 contest called the horakh.  I looked through my garbage bags full of minis – YES! I have a sickness – but I couldn’t find quite the right fit. I needed something memorable. This is the DM Challenge after all! The current champion is none other than Dave “The Game” Chalker. (Note: You can read the details of his win here.) But that was PAX East which is basically a watered down version of PAX to suit the taste of the simple folk who dwell on the East Coast. This is PAX Prime. The real PAX in Seattle, aka RPG mecca. The competition will be fierce. I need to bring my A-game or none at all.

There was no other choice. I had to create my own Horakh mini. I grabbed my biggest bag of minis, dumped it on the hardwoods and picked through it like a hobo behind Morton’s Steak House only instead of seeking out the choicest morsels of filet minon, I was seeking out the cheapest ass minis I could find. The first rule of kitbashing miniatures is Never use expensive minis. The horakh is a gnome-sized insect that can leap fifty feet, sucks your eyes out of their sockets and plant eggs in your skull. It has a translucent digestive sac on its back filled with the eyes of its victims. I needed something small, insect-like and cheap. I finally settled on the “runespiral demon.”

In case you haven’t run across the runespiral demon, let me fill you in. It is perhaps the worst D&D miniature ever conceived. It’s a bug with hands and it has a rune-carved shell with a fin. Don’t ask me what events preceded the creation of this beast, but I assume a shark demon was on the outs with the missus, got drunk and had anonymous sex with a turtle demon. Ninth months later, or whatever the gestation period of demon sharkturtles is, there’s a surprise. But (so sad) the baby dies. The demon nurse carves its name on the shell and throws it in the trash, but that’s not the end. A bug demon with hands is digging through the trash. He finds the shell and crawls inside. It’s a comfortable fit and he decided to make this his new home. He finds his other demon bug buddies and they all hang out at the hospital waiting to get their own shells. It takes a while, but I guess they have alot of time in the Abyss.

I suddenly had an idea how to make an approximation of my monster. I could sculpt eyeballs and suspend them in a blob of glue. I snatched three runespiral demons. With an Exacto knife, I cut off the dorsal fin and scooped out a little pit. The pits would hold my eyeball sacs. Then, I painted an black base coat on the minis and set them aside to dry.

Next, I sculpted some Might Putty into tiny eyeballs with viscera attached. If you plan on kitbashing your own miniatures, you must get Might Putty. It’s cheap and it lasts forever if you are only using it for miniature work. Once the eyeballs dried, I painted irises and slathered some red paint on the viscera ends.

The next part took a few days. Once my eyeballs dried, I squeezed a small bead of glue into the dorsal pit of my former runespiral demons. I used Weld Bond, but you could use any glue that dries clear. Then I placed a few eyeball sculptures onto the glue and put the minis on the shelf. The following day I checked them. The glue had mostly dried clear. I then put down another bead and laid a few more eyeballs on top. I waited a few hours and put on my top coat.  I wanted a clear thick coating on top to simulate the sac membrane. Weld Bond glue has low water content so it doesn’t run or drip much. I was able to use my mouth to blow the glue into the areas I wanted and I didn’t have to worry about it running down the side on my new minis. Weld Bond is also great for making cardstock gaming terrain. The low water content keeps the glue from making the paper warp and curl.

After the last coat of glue, I couldn’t be impatient anymore. I had to wait about 3 days for the outer coat of glue to completely dry. I wanted to make sure it was ready for the final steps. It turned out pretty well. The glue hardened and became as translucent as I hoped. I could see the eyeballs inside the sac but they needed a little tint. I swabbed some Formula P3 brown ink on the glue and dabbed off the excess with a paper towel. It worked perfectly and gave the effect I hoped it would. Once it was dry enough to handle, I drybrushed the horakh with bronze paint and filled in the eyes. Check out the pictures below. If you haven’t voted for your favorite monster for the King of Monsters 2 yet, public voting is open. I’d really appreciate your vote. Follow this link and register to vote for the Horakh.

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I made the King of Monsters 2 Finals

It’s official. My monster, the horakh, was picked as a finalist in the King of Monsters 2 contest. In case you haven’t heard of the contest before, here’s the low down. Kobold Quarterly periodically runs a monster building competition open to all. Designers can submit their monster’s statblock in Pathfinder/3rd Edition or 4th Edition D&D formats complete with flavor text, but no longer than 800 words. A panel of RPG celebrity judges picks 10 finalists, then the public votes on the winner. Public voting opens next Monday, August 30th. You have to register on the koboldquarterly.com forums to vote. I hope I can count on your vote.

The statblock on KQ is limited to RTF format only. You can find a more 4th Edition-friendly statblock below. You can also download my .monster file here. You can import this XML file directly into Adventure Tools to tweak the monster for your group’s level. The statblocks are posted for information purposes only and are owned by Kobold Quarterly.

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Gencon 2010 D&D Minis Revealed

On the last day of Gencon, I was finally able to snap some pictures of the new Lords of Madness set. The display was well hidden. It was the bottom shelf of the glass counters in the Wizards booth… right on the floor. The exhibit hall was wall to wall geeks. The only way to see it would be to be right in front of counter and look at your feet. Luckily, I caught a tweet from bensrpgpile that helped me find it and even then I circled the booth twice. I apologize for the picture quality. I was squatting down on the ground trying to get pictures while oblivious gamers were stomping on me trying to buy Magic the Gathering cards. Some of the pictures are badly out of focus. I did get good shots of the monster cards though. Enjoy!

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Gencon 2010: Self Publishing Crash Course by Luke Crane

I attended Luke Crane’s “Self Publishing Crash Course” today. It’s was chock full of great information for anyone who has ever wanted to publish their own game. Luke Crane, author of Burning Wheel and the Mouseguard RPG as well as other successful titles, graciously shared the knowledge and experience he has gained over the years.

Topics covered include:

– The pitfalls of working with a printing company

– Tips for getting your art/layout/etc done cheap

– Setting a price for your game or book

The talk is humorous and very informative.

Self Publishing Crash Course

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Settlers of Catan on Surface at Gencon

If you are heading to GenconIndy, Vectorform and the Microsoft Surface team have a big surprise for you. Settlers of Catan on Microsoft Surface is heading to GenconIndy this week. A new video of game play was posted today and it looks amazing. Surface is shaping into the holy grail of tabletop gaming.

The most interesting revelation in the video is the use of physical dice on the virtual game surface. I’ve closely followed the D&D on Surface project, but I find its reliance on virtual dice a weak point. I hope the D&D Surface project gets released at some point and benefits from the phyical dice technology.

[Note: I misspelled the company name of the developer earlier. The company name is Vectorform. Many apologies.

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