Friday, September 20, 2019

Esoteric Order of Dagon Dagger

The Miskatonic Auction Project brings us this ritual dagger from the Esoteric Order of Dagon.  Crafted from bone and cartilage and recovered from the home of a cultist in Innsmouth.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Alchemist's Chest

I love pieces like this Alchemist's Chest from Ukrainian artist Cabinet de Curiosites.  It's probably the autist in me speaking, but fiddling with all those bottles, doors, and drawers is a supremely satisfying tactile experience.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Armory

This collection of primitive LARP spears comes to us from Darren Stocker of Irregular Props.  Featuring heads of faux bone, antler, and knapped stone.

Monday, September 16, 2019

The Fanged Ones

Burned Raven Tales returns to our pages with this intriguing specimen chest, featuring vials of vampire blood and the fur of a werewolf.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Amulet of the Black Pharaoh

Just the thing for the Nyarlathotep worshippers in your life.  Lovesick Dead brings us this nicely done Amulet of the Black Pharaoh.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Great Cthulhu, Nemo Edition

I love a well done faux finish, but there's something to be said for the authenticity of using real materials.  This miniature Cthulhu idol carved from real bone comes to us from Nemo.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Of Unknown Origin

Tentacles, teeth, and diseased flesh.  What's not to like?  Karen Main returns to our pages with this mysterious specimen.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Cthulhu Necklace

Alex White of The Wodewose brings us this nicely done Cthulhu necklace.  It's available in a variety of finishes, but I really like how the black version mimics the glassy look of carved and polished obsidian.

Monday, September 9, 2019

We Are Not Alone

Despite ample evidence to the contrary, so called "scientists" continue to insist that homo sapiens is the sole species of humanity still inhabiting the earth.  Those close minded bigots clearly haven't seen this specimen of a mermaid skull, brought to us by Emily E..

Friday, September 6, 2019

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Cry of the Banshee

Burned Raven Tales returns to our pages with this curious occult artifact, an iron vial of banshee screams.  I love the faux rusted iron finish.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Great Cthulhu, Eaton Edition.

I don't know if it's something in the air, or if the stars are finally right, but I'm enjoying the sudden flood of cool, non-traditional Cthulhu idols.  The latest comes to us from artist Kevin Eaton, who sculpted this fired ceramic "Kthulhu" as a commissioned birthday present.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Bone Cthulhu Pendant

Bone pendant depicting the head of the god Cthulhu.  Of Icelandic origin, found on the coast of Ísafjörður.  Auctioned by Miskatonic University in 1931 and held by a private collector to the present.  Size 20x48x13 mm.
This beautiful bone Cthulhu pendant comes to us from the Miskatonic Auction Project.  As someone who has tried to sculpt a minimalist, stylized Cthulhu I want to point out just how difficult a piece like this is.  Without the ornate textures of most sculpts you need to have a lot of skill to pull it off.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Heavy Metal

Curionomicon returns to our pages with these nifty eldritch pendants featuring Cthulhu and the Old Gent himself.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Great Cthulhu, Anderson Edition.

I love the worn stone texture on this Cthulhu idol from artist Jason Anderson.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Orc Lord

This amazing orc lord costume comes to us from Mark Wehrmann.  It's another example of the high quality work at the Conquest of Mythodea LARP event.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Nautilus Artifact

Was Nemo's infamous Nautilus destroyed by the Loffoden Maelstrom?  We may never know the answer to that question, but there's no doubt the submarine was extensively damaged.  This intriguing fragment of a stanchion was recovered by the talented Michael R. Maranda.

Update:  Based on a comment below it appears the octopus finial is actually a sculpt from artist Michael Locascio.  My apologies for any confusion.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Great Cthulhu, Gallerist Edition.

This cast metal Cthulhu idol is phenomenal.  The sculpt comes to us from the Gallerist.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Skull of the Necromancer

Dolen Carag returns to our pages with this creepy necromancer's skull carved from a real human skull.

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Horror in Clay

This recreation of the infamous bas relief from Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu" comes to us from Zelnick Handmade.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

If I Had a Hammer...

...I'd hope it was as cool as this one.  Marc Wehrmann brings us this glorious costume from the Conquest of Mythodea LARP.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Hail, Brittanic

This snapshot of the passengers and crew of the ill-omened HMHS Britannic comes to us from Abraham Marsh. They were part of the Eterno Lovecraft LARP event produced by The Covenant. The costuming is outstanding.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Miskatonic University Tunguska Expedition

Todd Thyberg brings us a preview of "The Miskatonic Papers", his multi-media project recapping the ill-fated Miskatonic University Tunguska expedition.  The Kickstarter goes live today at noon.

Monday, August 19, 2019

The End is Near

The talented Mechael R. Maranda returns to our pages with this wonderful Cthulhu idol tableaux.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Pile o' Meat

Once in a while you come across a project that crosses the line from "icky" to outright disturbing.  Such is the case with this gruesome silicone appliance from Nick deRosa. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

It's an Honor Just to be Nominated...

I appreciate the well wishes, but I didn't actually win an ENnie award for Best RPG Related Product at GenCon.

For some reason the Kickstarter blog linked to my old Miskatonic University Prop Package instead of the actual winner- Chaosium's Miskatonic University: The Restricted Collection Board Game.

Viking Vambraces

I'm reasonably sure these Viking vambraces from leather crafter Peter Ortiz aren't historically accurate, but they sure are pretty.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Throne of Cthulhu

Here's something you don't see everyday.  Dee Grady brings us a snapshot of this immense Cthulhu throne.  Unfortunately, beyond the fact it was found at a renfaire I have no idea where the photograph was taken.  I've left a comment on his Instagram account looking for a location.

Update:  It appears this is the Bristol Renaissance Festival in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  My thanks to everyone who sleuthed out the location.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Celebrating the Harvest

It's that magical time of year when a new crop of mandrake roots are harvested.  Alice Tochylovska returns to our pages with this freshly picked mandragora.

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Necronomicon, Alex Libris Edition.

Alex Libris returns to our pages with multiple copies of the Necronomicon, part of a ten book private commission.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Leviathan Star

This Leviathan Star amulet comes to us from Jason Soles of Gods Below.  Cast in bronze with a pyritized ammonite inset.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Winged Minion

The talented Tom Kuebler returns to our pages with this creepy winged minion.  And by "creepy" I mean "awesome".

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Blade of the Necromancer

James T. Black brings us this necromancer's blade, a ritual dagger hand-carved from actual bone.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Mystery Cthulhu Idol

I like to think I'm on the short list of people familiar with artists producing Cthulhu idols, but this one posted by Marshall Alvarado on Instagram has me stumped.  It was apparently sold by a vendor at the "Midsummer Scream" Halloween convention this past weekend in Long Beach, California.  Anyone with a pointer to who the artist might be?

Monday, August 5, 2019

Packing Heat

This beautifully hand-tooled leather flintlock holster comes to us from Adhras Art.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Specimen 165b

Jofflin brings us this curious winged creature.  He's responsible for the excellent paint job, while the original 3D model was created by Sam Rowan.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

And My Axe!

Skaal and Co. demonstrates once again that there's essentially no difference between real weapons and their LARP equivalents.  The detail on this combat safe foam viking axe is really impressive.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Tsougkouzidis Edition.

The gifted George Tsougkouzidis returns to our pages with this flowing Cthulhu idol.  I'd rejoice to have a tenth of this talent.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Trophy Skull

Arend Smith returns to our pages with this tusked fantasy skull.  The texture work on the cancellous bone inside the nasal cavity really kicks it up a notch.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Historical Quill Pens and Ink

Townsends has produced a great pair of videos discussing historical quill pens and ink.  I knew oak gall ink had high levels of tannic acid, but never realized it actually etches into the fibers of the paper.  It's a great introduction to the subject for anyone creating handwritten documents for live action or tabletop games.

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Game is Afoot

This well done steampunk LARP detective kit comes to us from Canadian artist Julie Chantal.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Propping Up the Dungeon, Part Deux

TLDR version of Part One:  I like the Pathfinder RPG.  I want to try running a game that adopts the prop-heavy approach of Mythos gaming to a traditional fantasy tabletop.  The large player base for Pathfinder makes it a good venue for that.

So why am I so enamored of the "Kingmaker" adventure path?  There are a couple of reasons, all of them supporting the use of a high-touch, prop-heavy approach.  I won't touch on any major spoilers.

1. The campaign's setup involves a band of adventurers receiving an official warrant to survey and develop a wilderness frontier.  Think "Lewis and Clark" mixed with the merchant adventurer companies of the Post-Columbian colonial period.  In the current era the area being explored is largely unknown, but that wasn't always the case.  There are historical documents, journals, and maps describing what was there in the past...and what may be happening there currently. 

2.  A quirk of the Pathfinder world, shared by D&D, is that magical communications don't become available until characters have advanced a few levels.  Yeah, it's gamey as hell, but it is what it is.  Because of that, and the limits on message spells, most of the communication between the expedition and their sponsors has to be physically carried.   Luckily, there's a reasonably reliable courier service that uses the adventurer's base of operations as a stop on their multi-day journey between the two nearest cities.

This opens up some great opportunities for storytelling.  As epistolary tales like Bram Stoker's "Dracula" demonstrate, letters and messages can help build up an engaging narrative.  It also gives the players something interesting to do during the downtime between tabletop sessions.  As the campaign progresses the number of potential correspondents grows substantially as the adventurers build up their kingdom. 

3.  In normal play players will have absolutely no chance of learning the significant backstories behind various characters and villains.  Based on accounts from players and GMs this isn't a problem unique to Kingmaker, but one found in a number of Paizo products.  Disseminating it via in-game writings makes it available to players without breaching immersion.

4.  Kingmaker already has a number of documents that feature prominently in the plot, including a series of official warrants, flyers posted at the central adventuring location, invitations to some notable public events, etc.  I'm surprised these haven't already been packaged as handouts.

Beyond the adventure specific items I also want to fiddle around with having actual props for loot.  That includes coming up with coinage, gems, potions, and scrolls.  It's going to be a while before I feel comfortable enough to run Kingmaker, so working on those will let me dip my toe into a high-touch approach before diving in all the way. 

As always,  your thoughts and suggestions are appreciated.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Propping up the Dungeon

I wanted to get your thoughts on the Pathfinder RPG in general and the "Kingmaker" adventure path in particular.

I took advantage of a Humble Bundle deal earlier this year to score pretty much every Pathfinder book in PDF form.  It's been decades since I played a traditional fantasy tabletop, but there was soooo much material included I couldn't resist.  At the time I didn't have any real intention to play, but I'd heard some good things about Pathfinder's worldbuilding.

Since then I've been working my way through the material.   I really like how customizable characters are.  The last time I played D&D was back in the late first edition era, when classes like the Barbarian and Cavalier were revolutionary.  The proliferation of classes in Pathfinder, with dozens of archetypes for each, was a pleasant surprise.  As was the insane amount of Cool Stuff each class is capable of thanks to the combination of class features and feats.

Golarian, the default Pathfinder world, comes across as the natural evolution of old school gaming's "anything goes" approach.  That includes features that are direct callbacks to some of the more bizarre locations from first edition D&D, like the infamous crashed starship of "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks".  Oddly enough, it reminds me of the full bore insanity of Dave Hargrave's "Arduin" setting more than classic settings like Greyhawk.  They were nutty, but not "phaser armed insectile slavers from deep space invading the seventh layer of Hell" crazy like "Arduin" was.

All that is just a wordy way of saying I like Pathfinder.  The mechanics are reasonably similar to what I grew up with, so it hits my nostalgia button.  At the same time it throws off the admittedly limited options of classic D&D with a plethora of options.  And, most importantly, there's a thriving player base locally.

Which brings me to "Kingmaker". 

I've said before how odd I find it that traditional fantasy RPGs haven't embraced a prop-heavy approach.  Prop documents, artifacts, and ephemera are hugely popular in Mythos gaming, but strangely rare in tabletop fantasy.  I want to take a crack at changing that, and I think the "Kingmaker" adventure path is a perfect candidate for it.

I'll go over the reasons why tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Amulet of the Ecclesiarchy

This Amulet of the Ecclesiarchy from Warhammer 40k comes to us from artist Stanislav Marseau. All hail the imperial cult!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Beachcomber's Bane

The talented Karen Main returns to our pages with this delightful seaside horror.  I immediately thought of Elizabeth Bear's classic Mythos story "Shoggoths in Bloom" when I saw it.  It's one of the most subtly terrifying stories of the modern era.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Deep One Mask

This nicely done Deep One mask sculpt comes to us from artist Chris Walas and his daughter. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Doctor, Doctor

This beautiful LARP doctor's bag comes to us from German leather crafter Derle Derer.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Enjoy Your Stay at Gilman House

I love obscure props, and this certainly qualifies.  Juna Handmade brings us a key rack from Gilman House, the establishment featured so prominently in the climax of "The Shadow Over Innsmouth".

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Hail Cthulhu

Curionomicon returns to our pages with this bronze Cthulhu amulet.  It has a wonderfully primitive look thanks to the rough texture produced by electroforming the metal.

Update:  The artist was kind enough to point out that the metal is actually copper.  The bronze appearance is an artifact of patination.