Aaron Bostian blogging at the Fancy Wars.
Aaron shares the many ways that he gives back in his community. Jonathan discusses the 3 mile walk he is doing on May 18, 2013 to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis. You can DONATE HERE.
We also discuss:
The Wayne Foundation Charity RPG Bundle! It’s live, right now but only until March 31st. $212 of amazing RPG goodies for $25. Complete systems, add-ons for popular systems, original artwork and fiction. 88% off and 100% of the profits will be donated directly to The Wayne Foundation - a charitable organization dedicated to eradicating child prostitution.
Phil Kilcrease of 5th Street Games joins me tonight as we talk about publishing some amazing titles, and the latest 5th Street Games Kickstarter! You may know 5th Street Games from their most recently funded Kickstarter, My Happy Farm – a game I just reviewed not three days past.
5th Street Games is at it again! They’ve got a new game currently running on Kickstarter with a $10,000 goal and they’ve already gone by the half-way mark. Baldrick’s Tomb is their latest entry into the gaming world and it looks amazing! Be sure to check out the 5th Street Games Facebook page! Give ‘em some likes!
Here’s the video from the Kickstarter for your viewing pleasure!
We would love to get your feedback about our show! Contact me with comments: firstname.lastname@example.org, follow me on twitter @trollitc, and also check us out on iTunes! Hell, you can even catch us on Stitcher. While you’re at it, there’s the Indie Talks Facebook page and the Indie Talks Google+ page. MySpace…well, I won’t go there if you wont. Please do rate this podcast on iTunes, and leave feedback through any of these links!
As a fan of the Sevy books I am eagerly awaiting the third of the series which comes out 26th February 2013. I persuaded the author, Sarah-Jane Lehoux, to answer a few of my questions about Sevy, the books and what the future might hold.
1. While Sevy is a definitely flawed lead character she is also a strong female who doesn’t need or want to rely on others to survive. I get the feeling strong female characters are something you feel passionate about yes?
Yes, I’m definitely pro-strength in female characters. There’s been too many years of too much media that portrays women as little more than arm candy, and I’m glad that so many authors are trying to change that stereotype. But it’s not that I want every single female character to be kick-ass fighters; rather, I want them to be realistic people. Women in real life are varied in the strengths and weaknesses they possess, so I think it’s only fair that this is reflected in the characters we create. Same thing goes for male characters. It’s about subverting traditional gender roles and allowing people to be who they are, instead of what society expects them to be.
2. After three books do you think Sevy’s story is told?
Nope. Sevy’s story is far from over. I have two more books in the series in the works that feature Sevy as a main character. And you never know—I love the universe, so maybe I’ll write more books in the future where Sevy will make cameos. She’s a complex chick who’s done a lot of personal growth, but who still needs more time to sort her shit out.
3. I love the way the three books have such different settings which, I feel, affect the language and tone of each. What drove you to write them this way?
Everything I write is inspired by my dreams. Cliché, I know, but it’s true. I have a sleep disorder that causes extremely vivid, bizarre dreams that stick with me long after I’ve woken up. I use the imagery and themes from these dreams as the basis for my stories. For example, I dreamed of a cold, wintery landscape with a hut with a lot of furs and fires, which became the basis of Sevy’s home village of Willing’s Cove, which is a mix of Nordic and Inuit cultures. Shades of War was inspired by a crazy dream I had about a screaming monkey, a woman’s bloody shoe, and a blue and red snake slithering through a jungle. As for Masquerade, all I can remember is water, sand and leering faces. Generally, I’ll take bits and pieces from multiple dreams to create one story.
When I first realized that Sevy’s story could not be contained to one single novel, I wanted to make the series as diverse and innovative as possible. Rather than relying on a traditional European medieval environment, I thought it would be so much more interesting if I mixed up the world and the cultures as much as I could.
4. So these books are crying out for a movie script. Who would you cast as Sevy in the movie?
Ooooh, this is something I often day-dream about. I have Sevy narrowed down to Rhona Mitra or Noomi Rapace. Both of these actors are amazing, so I think they could pull off Sevy’s tumultuous temper without turning it into a farce. I also want someone with a strong face that isn’t exactly pretty but is interesting, and small breasts are a must! If they ever make a movie and they cast some buxom beauty as Sevy, I think I might cry.
5. What would be your ideal day as a writer?
Waking up to a lovely homemade breakfast, which I can eat at leisure while I pursue fan mail Then, ideally, to be able to write, uninterrupted, for hours at a time. It’d be nice if I could put aside the worries and stress of life long enough each day to get a novel done in half the time it usually takes me.
6. Now that the book’s out and once the promotion work is done (and you’ve maybe found time to relax) what plans are you plotting for the future?
I’ll be taking a nice break from all things writerly for at least two weeks after the bulk of promotion for Masquerade is done. Then I have to decide which of three WIPs to work on first. I have a horror, a comedic fantasy, and a YA paranormal that I’ve already started. I think I’ll go with the YA paranormal, since I’m already around 30K, but we’ll just have to wait and see what catches my attention first.
Watch the video trailer then go and order from Mundania Press (available as dead-tree and e-formats)
TotalCon begins this Thursday! After months of planning the time draws near when I get to see tons of amazing people. The list of industry guests is impressive, as always, and there is a multitude of events to attend.
This year I will be in attendance with Troll in the Corner owner, Indie Talks host, and Growing Geeks co-host Ben Gerber. We have some events together and other times we’re splitting off to view the con from different angles. You can be sure that we will discuss our experiences on our respective podcasts. Indie Talks and Growing Geeks will definitely get Ben’s take while Wargaming Recon and Geeks Explicitly mine. Maybe we’ll also appear on each other’s shows for our shared views.
If you are coming to TotalCon this year, I’d love to meet you. Below you can find my public con schedule. Just look for the tall guy wearing either a Wargaming Recon t-shirt or TotalCon t-shirt or Battleground Games t-shirt. I’ll try to post my wardrobe on Facebook for each day so you can more easily find me.
Tom Vasel & Eric Summerer create an episode of the Dice Tower, live. I’ll be in the audience enjoying the experience and learning as much as possible.
Peter “Blix” Bryant of Tri Tac Games Podcast and the ConMen Podcast returns with another Cube of Death tournament. This blends D&D and geek trivia. Come see me make a fool of myself as I join Ben Gerber’s team, along with Wayne Moulton Jr. of Sages of RPG, in our attempt to win the tournament.
Peter “Blix” Bryant of Tri Tac Games, and his co-hosts, create this live episode. They discuss how to run a successful horror campaign. You can bet that I’ll pick Blix’s podcasting brain. Hopefully I’ll learn enough from the two live podcast episodes to be able to run my own before too long.
It is super secret. After the Tri Tac Live Podcast I’ll be in the free play area looking for pickup games, chatting with fellow attendees, popping into the GM Social, and on the prowl for other fun.
When I return to my hotel room I am recording my thoughts on the day. With luck I may even be able to edit and release the recordings from the con, for your listening pleasure.
Con staff, including Promotional Director Angelia Parenteau, share the do’s and don’t's of running a convention. No, I won’t be running a con anytime soon. My purpose is to be supportive of Promotional Director Angelia and the other great con staff who have always been incredibly supportive of my podcasts. I’m not a morning person so I’ll be the guy sitting in the back, half-asleep, wondering if he got enough sleep.
Man can’t live on gaming alone. As Napoleon famously said, “an army marches on its stomach” and so too do I.
Chad Ellis, owner of YourMoveGames, will discuss his game Battleground and teach me how to play. I’ll do my best to capture some audio.
Time to peruse the vendor hall and maybe make a few purchases.
Adrian, Cort, and I will dine on a sumptuous meal as we talk over final prep for our event at 7pm.
I am GMing the Battle of Freeman’s Farm, with Adrian and Cort. American Patriots meet a combined force of British, German, and Native American troops in a “must win” battle for British General John Burgoyne. General Burgoyne needs a clear-cut victory but will he get it? Or, will General Benedict Arnold’s inspired leadership save the day for the Americans?
The fog of war descends as leading elements of the British army approach loyalist John Freeman’s farm just 4 miles north of Saratoga, New York…
Come join in the fun. We provide all the models, terrain, and materials you need to play our recreation of this historical battle from the American Revolution. We’re using 10mm models and Warlord Games’ Black Powder rules.
When I return to my hotel room I am recording my thoughts on the day. With luck I may even be able to edit and release the recordings from the con, for your listening pleasure.
Panelist Ben Gerber assures me that he’s dragging me onto the panel with him to share my knowledge of podcasting. Tom Vasel and Peter “Blix” Bryant are also supposed to be on the panel. Come learn the error of our ways and our successes in an effort to help you find the joy of podcasting.
After Podcasting 1.0 I’m heading home.
We’ll be talking about all kinds of RPG stuff, and other stuff. Things that are interesting and more. I even had my hair done today.
We’ll be covering my start in gaming, what I do here at TC and through various publishing places like DriveThruRPG, Paizo, Amazon and whatnot! Come gather round the strange, glowing panel and virtually stalk us or watch us later!
Welcome back to Epic Level Artistry, where we get to hear from the artists that illustrate the RPGs we know and love. For our second installment we have Devin Night, a designer, illustrator, teacher and family man out of the Midwest. In addition to designing crafts and weapons for your characters to drive and wield, he also creates overhead tokens, a really awesome tool GMs can bring to the gaming table or gaming screen. Devin was awesome enough to take the time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his art and gaming career. Check it out!
How did you get into making overhead tokens? I learned about their existence through the Tabletop Forge Kickstarter and honestly, they’re very cool.
Thanks. I started making tokens shortly into using Fantasy Grounds. It came with a base set of letter tokens for marking character position on a map. Once I realized they were .png files I made some really simple orc tokens. They were crude but as I kept working on the tokens over the years the style has matured and the tokens look better.
Between producing such great work at a high volume and having a family, how do you manage to keep from going insane?
It would be hard to prove that I’m not. Creating is what keeps me sane, I love making stuff, any kind of stuff, from the tokens, to illustrations, game pieces and also shelves. There just isn’t enough shelving designed to hold board games, or art supplies or miniatures. Custom shelving is what I do whenever I need to make something with power tools. But the bottom line is that creating things keeps me feeling good about myself. Also I’d like to mention that my wife is very supportive and my girls are totally awesome.
Do you have time to illustrate your own characters for campaigns you’re in?
I will sometimes sketch things from my games, but I haven’t really had time to do that for the past couple years. I’ve been working on so many projects over the course of the past couple years that when I have downtime I think about doing more… but I usually just end up relaxing instead. Being creative all the time can be very draining. I used to illustrate everyone’s characters. Now I make tokens to represent them in game.
What’s your favorite Classico pasta sauce? (you don’t have to actually answer this one, I just saw the images in your portfolio and thought I’d ask)
I did a bunch of work for Classico right out of college making mock-up boards for a lot of their products and possible product ideas. It paid well and was a great experience, sadly I have ever only had one flavor, which I can’t remember.
What’s your favourite system to play? Is there a setting/system you love making art for in particular? What is it about this world/system that inspires you?
I have been playing DnD for 30 years. I have dabbled in other systems and own a ton of boardgames. Just recently I decided I needed a break from DnD and I have a really yearning for some sic-fi. So once I get the current batch of tokens done I plan on making a set of tokens that are space/sci-fi in nature. Throw in some robots and aliens and I may have a whole new line of tokens.
Do you prefer to GM or play as a PC? Do you find this affects your art?
I actually prefer to DM. I love the story telling aspect and I think I love getting the players to work with me to advance the story. When I GM I’m ore likely to make the maps, handouts and tokens needed to make the game feel more cohesive.
Do you find yourself more drawn to drawing locations or people? Do you have them fleshed out before you bring pencil to paper (to use an old idiom) or do the ideas and the image kind of grow side by side?
I love locations, I could have easily been an architect if my math skills weren’t so horrible. Even though I do a lot of character drawings I feel like I need to improve a lot in that area. I don’t draw as many places as I would like to either. I think it’s just a matter of not having the time to get to all the things I want to do. I like places with history where the people changed the place and where the place changed the people. When I make maps I try think about how a natural environment becomes the home of a group of people, and then how that group of people would change the place to suit their needs.
What’s your preferred medium to work with? Do you work digitally, on paper or some mix?
I work almost entirely digitally now. I used to hand draw everything then color it digitally. Now I do all my rough sketching on paper… I think it’s still the best way to conceptualize. However once I have a rough sketch I go right to re-drawing and coloring on the computer.
How much time would you say you spend in a week making art? How much time in a week would you say you spend gaming?
I spend about 4-6 hours a day making art. I would spend about 10-12 if I didn’t have other things that I needed to do. Like eating, moving around, and taking care of the girls. Now that the girls are in school I’m getting more time to focus on work but I would still love to add about three more hours to the day. I just recently broke up with my gaming group, well more like took a break. We have played regularly every Tuesday night for over five years. It’s fun but right now my heart is just into creating art, and the 3-4 hours we were playing just seemed to keep me away from doing it. I still like to fit in a couple hours or an evening when I can to play board games with friends or family.
Are there any trends, either genre-wise or technique-wise that you’re seeing in RPG/game art that you’re enjoying now? Is there anything you want to see more of or things you don’t like?
I’ve always been a closet Anime lover. I like very stylized and clean art. But there is just amazing art everywhere you look and on any given day I’ll see something that just makes me want to try and push my own work that much further. There isn’t much I don’t like except maybe bad art :) that includes some of my own past work.
Whose art do you like the most? Whose art would you say has influenced you or do you try to emulate?
The list of great artists worth trying to emulate would be a long one. It would also change depending on what project I wanted to work on. I really like Wayne Reynolds and Steve Prescott as far as illustrators go. Full disclosure, Steve and I are pretty good friends who graduated from CCAD together with several other talented people. It was freshman year that I decided to go into design as a direct result of seeing how good Steve was. I figured if I couldn’t compete with him and some of the other guys I would get more computer classes in. Back then Computer classes were reserved for Design majors and getting to use them was easier in the Design track. I have several pieces of Steve’s art hanging up around me and it keeps me pushing to get better at what I do. Fortunately I found a niche making overhead token art that not too many people seem interested in doing.
What tools do you use to make art? What tools/items do you need to game?
Mechanical pencil and paper to get started. Then a 27 inch iMac and Wacom Tablet running Photoshop and Illustrator to make the digital art. Sometimes I will open up Carrara to do quick 3d models of the things I need to draw, or given the time use 3d modeling to complete an illustration. Virtual gaming has really changed the way I play games, though I still buy tons of board games and recently invested a small amount into making my own dungeons using Hirst Arts Castle molds. Making three-dimensional representations of dungeons to play games on just seems so cool. Also the girls will really like it when it’s done.
What projects have you worked on in the past? Can you tell us what you’re currently working on or have in the queue?
I don’t know for sure when this will be posted, but I’ll guess that my Kickstarter has finished and I’m making 200+ tokens of monsters. I’m also making 30 custom character tokens for the Tabletop Forge Kickstarter. I help Rite Publishing with their monthly ezine Pathways doing the layout for the covers. I’m working on maps for the En Publishing Zeitgist campaign and did 12 ship maps for the Naval Warfare Kickstarter. I work a lot with small publishers and indie game developers as well. I just got asked to help with a very cool project, but it’s in the early stages and I can’t talk about it yet.
Are there any pieces you’re particularly proud of? A favourite character you managed to pin down or something really funny/touching/dramatic you captured?
Usually the last piece of work I managed to finish. Like most artists I’m pretty critical of my own work so I’m never really satisfied with things when I look back on them. Most of the work that gets posted to my blog makes me happy at the time I put it up there.
What would be a dream job/commission?
I’ve always wanted to run a hobby shop, one with really big tables for open play and lots of sunlight. I’d also really enjoy working for most major board game companies like Fantasy Flight, my job description would have to include walking around and dipping my fingers into every game and every aspect of those games. From rules, to art, layout, game design and mini visualization. I wouldn’t be happy with just dealing with one tiny aspect of any part.
When you’re not making art or gaming, what are you doing?
If I’m not making art or gaming I’m thinking about it. Sometimes when i have no choice about working I will visualize myself working through a project and make a step by step outline of how to approach a project. When I do get back into the chair the majority of the work is done, I just then need to perform the action of doing it. This summer I spent a lot of time running around with the girls, swimming, biking, and a little camping.
Do you have any advice for people who are trying to find artists to hire? To artists trying to get their work out there?
Look around, there are a ton of great artists, and they are easier than ever to track down and work with. I have worked with more people that I have never met than people who I have ever spent time with. Hang out forums where they post their work. You can get a good picture of an artist by their posted work and how they handle themselves publicly. If you are an artist trying to get exposure.. do your work, do a lot of it, share it with others. Don’t expect to make a ton of money early on, but don’t give it away either. Art is job and even if it is fun, it’s still work. Once you get a job do your best to fulfill the needs of the client in a timely manner and keep communications open.
If you’re interested in seeing more of Devin’s tokens and art you can check out Devinnight’s Token Blog and his portfolio at Immortal Nights. With so many great projects he’s working on, I’m so glad he took the time out to talk to us; hope you enjoyed reading about his experiences and seeing the great art he’s bringing to the RPG world!
Are you an artist interested in being interviewed for Epic Level Artistry? Send an email to trisj at backthatelfup dot com with a bit about yourself and a link to your portfolio. We’ve got a few slots left for this year and will be starting up again in 2013. Happy drawing!
The City of Clocks Fantasy Systemless Setting is currently on Kickstarter and doing well! City of Clocks is a systemless industrial fantasy setting focused on a massive city, rich in history, on the brink of a massive internal conflict.
I had a chance to ask a few questions of James Knevitt, creator of the original City of Clocks and the one responsible for this Kickstarter project.
When did you start gaming?
My earliest memories of gaming are playing Red Box D&D with family friends in the late 80′s, as well as fantasy-style boardgames like HeroQuest. I transitioned pretty quickly to AD&D and its later editions. My formative years in the 90′s were spent playing 2nd edition D&D, the old Marvel Super Heroes game by TSR, Rolemaster, Call of Cthulhu, TORG, d6 Star Wars, the various World of Darkness games as they were released, and a handful of others; there was a lot of minis stuff in there too like Warhammer 40,000 (I started with the original “Rogue Trader” book) and Silent Death. I did get into CCGs for a while, starting with Magic and branching out into a whole bunch of others too, like L5R, Mechwarrior, Cyberpunk, Babylon 5, and Deadlands: Doomtown. In the late 90′s I started to explore games like Cyberpunk, Mechwarrior/Battletech and Shadowrun as my gaming self caught up with my fiction-reading self.
What systems influenced you early on?
Certainly earlier editions of D&D, as well as Cyberpunk 2013/2020, the World of Darkness system and its various permutations, and Legend of the Five Rings. I’m constantly drawing inspiration and ideas from systems that run the lifetime of the hobby but there’s a certain fundamental truth to the games that I’ve mentioned that seems to always work itself into my current thinking.
Geeks Explicitly will be in reruns this week. We recorded the new episode where Jonathan shares what he geeks. After everything was finished, we noticed that the recording didn’t record. Due to scheduling conflicts we’re unable to re-record the episode this week. We apologize for the inconvenience.
A new episode WILL be out next week. Until then, please enjoy our existing episodes.