Sunday, September 25, 2016

Kickstarter Gem: Monte Cook's INVISIBLE SUN

This is the first time I have ever shared a Kickstarter at the Mazes and not something I plan on doing regularly, but I was so impressed by the game design here (as well as the impressive video demonstrations on the Kickstarter site) I think it well worth sharing with anyone who might have missed this.

Monte Cook is very well known to the games community, having been one of the original crew on the olde ship TSR creating classic Dungeons and Dragons publications. He also worked on games for Iron Crown Enterprises, Wizards of the Coast and other companies, and has authored his own games and settings as well. In addition, Mr. Cook is an author of fantastic fiction. If you want to know about all of his exploits and design contributions, Wikipedia has a comprehensive article.

I am very amazed and intrigued by his latest creation Invisible Sun. The box that the game will be stored in is the only thing "in the box" about Invisible Sun, and even the box is "out of the box" , as you can see if you check out the Kickstarter presentation.

It appears to be a setting that is mutable (you could make it horror, detective, fantastic as desired) but mainly has a kind of eldritch modern fantasy vibe, characters being members of different schools of magic who walk in the modern world but enter extra dimensional and out-of-time spaces and contending with the denizens from these realms, drawing their power to work magic from..Invisible Suns.

The physical components of the game will be some of the best ever made if the Kickstarter succeeds--the aesthetic, the professional art, the custom miniatures included, the board and hardcover thin rules volumes...all are gorgeous. There is even a mobile app to update in game character situations outside the game. You can play the game when you are away from the table!

I have included a link to the Kickstarter, so rather than give you an in depth study here, I recommend you to visit and see it for yourself. The game will ring in at an impressive two hundred dollars or so--and given the level of quality of production, if it is made to last I don't think that unreasonable. That is near the equivalent of four video games or a set of core books and support materials for several modern edition rpg's. I know games so priced are above and beyond for many gamers (yours truly usually in this category), and I didn't say it isn't steep--I just said it's reasonable for the product involved , and I really believe that.

The main thing I love about this Kickstarter, though, is Mr. Cook's demonstration of how we as game designers should always be innovating, thinking artfully about what we are doing, making games that are player and GM friendly, and pushing new frontiers in design, art, mechanics of play, and genre development...getting "out of the box" so, to speak. If it were the film world instead of the game world under discussion, Mr. Cook would be something of a Stanley Kubrick of game design, taking his craft seriously and pushing it in new directions that no one ever expects. 

Update: The Kickstarter was funded already.I'm a bit slow on the draw, but I wil leave this post up because the info is all just as relevant. Cheers!


More Information on Invisible Sun

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lori Nix: The City-New York as Post Apocalyptic Art

Image Property of Lori Nix

Now here is a woman after my own heart! As I have been preparing to run a post apocalyptic game using the Savage World's rpg system, I have been trying to learn rules and prepare model terrain. So, I used the big beautiful Internet and went searching for ideas on model building. 

My specific idea was to use Manhattan as a model, and while looking for some good urban ruin ideas I came across the work of artist Lori Nix and her partner Kathleen, and I was totally thrilled!

Ms. Nix constructs miniatures of New York in ruins, devoid of human life. She then photographs her models and her prints are carried in reputable galleries.

She has been obsessed for many years with the idea of apocalypse, envisioning the reclamation of man's cities by plants and animals, which led her, at a certain point, to create such bleak visions as she has catalogued on her awesome website.  She cites such influences as Logan's Run, Soylent Green and Planet of the Apes.

Image propery of Lori Nix,

Ms. Nix wanders New York and photographs the most mundane  daily urban scenes, then goes home, picks the photos she wants to use, and decides what sort of materials and methods she will use to reconstruct and deconstruct these city-scapes.

The result is a post apoc fan's sweet dream, and a great inspiration to anyone who wants to build some great terrain for an After the Bomb type game.

It is also an art paradise, a great site to lose one's self in as you sit and envision the world of..The End. That world is more beautiful than you might think.

Check it out!

The City

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Model Building is Addictive!

I realize I have been posting a lot of model terrain pics lately but it has been a fun hobby for me and I hope to realize my goal of having a model built for every important encounter and scenario locale on my adventure map.

This one will likely be an old Third Age ruin on the Isle of Kazamir on the Mistwater, being the entrance to an older Jennerak complex inside the island.

Or else it will be the remains of the inner keep of the fortress overlooking the ruined city of Barrow on the shore across from Isle Kazamir.

This one was made in three 1-2 hour sit-downs, it's ready to go for gaming but I will be adding more foliage and trees coming up through the flagstones, as well as fallen rubble.  

I scored the bricks with a pencil but the flaws are owing to having done this after gluing it together--my hand then couldn't fit into some spaces to get straight lines. 

I am planning on using heavy gauge wire mesh

If I make this Barrow's old keep I will need to create several other modules for the town terrain and a nice paper mache hill for the keep.