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.


Monday, July 15, 2019

The Innsmouth Collection

Sweet fancy Moses, this is a treat.  Two of the best Mythos artists around, Jason McKittrick and Gage Prentiss, have teamed up to bring us this collection of artifacts from the infamous Innsmouth raid.  You can see them all at the Ars Necronomica art show in conjunction with NecronomiCon Providence.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Hiryak Edition.

This patinated take on the traditional Cthulhu idol comes to us from artist Dan Hiryak.  I like how the sculpt incorporates the visual cues from Lovecraft's sketch of the artifact.


Thursday, July 11, 2019

Al Azif

Morsoth brings us his personal recreation of the Arabic edition of the Necronomicon. Featuring custom printed pages and hand bound in leather.




Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Pleasure and Punishment

At first glance this looks like an unfortunate adventurer being punished by a stay in the stocks.  Luckily, it's actually how followers of Slaanesh are rewarded for service to the Lord of Excess.  The Larping Photographer brings us this snapshot from a Russian Warhammer LARP.



Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Dwellers in the Deep

Joe Broers is back with another fantastic piece.  This time it's a faux bronze sculpture of Deep Ones on the prowl.


Monday, July 8, 2019

Mo' Money

Over the years Michael R. Miranda has produced some amazing paper props.  His latest is this collection of Victorian era banknotes for an upcoming LARP event.


Friday, July 5, 2019

Alchemy Vials

Burned Raven Tales returns to our pages with a collection of alchemical vials.  I love the faux metal finish.


Thursday, July 4, 2019

Great Grimoire

This beautifully well crafted custom grimoire comes to us from the talented Mille Cuirs.  Hand bound in leather with a custom glass eye inset and tooled tentacles.


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Servant of Slaanesh

Geekynerdcouple brings us this ornate Slaaneshi witch costume from a Warhammer-themed LARP.  There's so much to like here, from the beaded dreads to the multiple layers of texture in the robe.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Dragon Journal

This dragon journal from the appropriately named Dragonarium demonstrates why dragons are near extinction- their hides make fantastic book bindings. 


Monday, July 1, 2019

The Curious Case Of The Mystery Mythos Movie: Part Three

Wow.  This is quite the flashback.  Over forty years ago I first came across the ill-fated "Cry of Cthulhu" movie.  For most of that time I only had a vague memory of an article about the project from Starlog magazine in the late seventies.  Ten years ago a discussion of Tom Sullivan's mythos art lead to the rediscovery of that material.  You can read the original posts over here: The Curious Case Of The Mystery Mythos Movie, Part One and Part Deux.

Now author Byron Craft, who wrote the screenplay and served as a producer, has posted some long lost production stills from the film.  These were spotted on Ebay by Craig Mullins.  The bottom maquette was featured in the longer Starlog article, but the top figure, presumably a byakhee, appears to be unpublished before now.


Friday, June 28, 2019

Altar of Cthulhu

This incredibly detailed "Cthulhu Gods Altar" comes to us from Greek artist George Tsougkouzidis. I'm iffy on the "skull with tentacles" take on Cthulhu, but the ornately detailed texture work is phenomenal.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Old Gent

This nicely done faux bronze bust of H.P. Lovecraft comes to us from the gifted Gage Prentiss.  Just the thing for your library bookshelf.


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Hail Cthulhu!

Jason McKittrick's latest Cthulhu idol is a beautiful piece.  I believe it also makes him the most prolific Mythos artist in terms of Cthulhu idols.  By my count this is his fifth take on the subject, following in the footsteps of his original sculpt and the Alhazred, Arkham, Chocolate, and Yuletide idols.


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Cool, Clear Water

This nifty post-apocalyptic water dispenser comes to us from Nuclear Snail Studios.  As the bar has been raised on LARP costumes and weapons I've noticed propmakers creating a lot more environmental props. 


Monday, June 24, 2019

Carnivorous

The talented Karen Main returns to our pages with this toothy carnivorous plant specimen


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Dark Elf

This stunning dark elf costume comes to us from cosplayer Janjagi van Hunters.   It took me a while to realize that the costume itself is surprisingly simple.  It's the amazing makeup and judicious selection of coordinating jewelry that make it so effective.  Photo by Tux Fotografie.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Mark of the Wolf

Burned Raven Tales returns to our pages with this specimen vial filled with a sample of werewolf fur.  The distressed iron finish is fantastic.


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Cthulhu Fetish

This ornate Cthulhu fetish, in black and silver, comes to us from the improbably named Ronin Werewolf.


Monday, June 17, 2019

Leviathan's Tome

The talented Ivana Vuksanovic returns to our pages with this nicely done tome bearing the sigil of Leviathan.


Friday, June 14, 2019

Dwemer Puzzle Cube

Valara Atran brings us her take on the Dwemer puzzle cube from Skyrim.  Personally, I'm partial to the theory that this is what caused the disappearance of the Dwemer.  Fiddle around with puzzle boxes long enough and you're sure to summon the Cenobites.