Friday, September 22, 2023

Tomecraft in Practice

What is tomecraft?  I first heard the term years ago as a way of describing the creation of fictional grimoires and books of forbidden knowledge.  It covers the entire process, from coming up with an initial concept, through writing the text and finding or making the artwork to illustrate it, down to the final assembly of the book itself.  In many ways it's the pinnacle of Mythos propmaking.

The most daunting part is the final bookbinding.  Turning the individual pages into signatures, mounting them into a page block, and building the cover is an intimidating undertaking.  I say that from personal experience.  Thankfully, their are artisans like Dennis at Four Key Book Arts willing to share their experience and knowledge.

David Stay was kind enough to bring this video series to my attention.  It starts with the decision to rebind the core Dungeons & Dragons rulebooks into a single massive tome and then goes through the entire process of breaking them down, reassembling the pages into a single block, and binding the whole thing in a beautiful leather cover.

It's a long process spread out over four videos.  If  you have any interest in making even a modest tome I highly recommend taking the time to watch the whole thing.  There's something both relaxing and inspiring about watching an expert at work, and Dennis does an excellent job of describing each step of the job.


Thursday, September 21, 2023


 This monstrous ram skull comes to us from the gifted Karen Main.  


Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Bring me the Head of Tuskgutter!

I know the idea of wanted posters in a typical fantasy TTRPG world is a little dodgy, but they're awesome props for players.

Pathfinder's "Kingmaker" Adventure Path is not only a great tabletop campaign but formed the basis of an equally fun video game from Owlcat Games. In many ways, it's a reimagining of the classic hex crawls of old-school D&D. Travel hither and thither, battle the forces of evil, bring civilization to the wilderness, and make lots and lots of money.

I have two versions of a wanted poster from the initial section of the campaign set at Oleg's Trading Post. The first is plain greyscale. Print it out on faux parchment, trim it to size, and you're good to go. The second version is for use with color printers and includes a background parchment texture. Print the "Reward" page, flip it over, and then print the blank parchment image on the back.

I do want to mention the posters should be trimmed according to the faint guide marks in each corner of the page. People handle bog-standard 8 1/2 by 11-inch paper every day. Resizing your handouts and paper props to avoid using standard sheets helps immensely with immersiveness.

To get the full-sized, high-resolution versions of each image, right click, open the link in a new tab, and then right click again to download directly.


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Stop, A Head

This delightfully icky mummified head comes to us from the amazing Ugo Serrano. When it comes to dead things he's in a class by himself.* Just look at that wonderfully dusty patina.

*Please note my restraint in avoiding puns like "ahead of the rest".  You're welcome.  Heh.


Monday, September 18, 2023

The White Grimoire

Another glorious example of tomecraft from the talented Alex Libris.  This white grimoire features hand tooled leather covers and custom cut brass hardware.


Friday, September 15, 2023

Alchemical Vials

Fabelrot brings us a set of nifty alchemical vials.  For anyone looking to create something similar, I strongly recommend browsing the bath care section of your local big box store.  The various bath salts make great bottle filler, with a good variety of colors and crystal sizes.


Thursday, September 14, 2023

Runemaster's Necklace

Fire, forge, and steel.  Wyrdcor returns to our pages with his Runemaster's necklace.  Just look at that amazing patina.


Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Mummified Alien

You'll no doubt be shocked to learn a UFO "expert" has produced a pair of alien corpses for the Congress of Mexico.

"Mr Maussan told attendees the specimens had been studied by scientists at the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM) who were able to draw DNA evidence using radiocarbon dating. After comparisons were made to other DNA samples, it was found that over 30% of the specimens’ DNA was “unknown”, he said.

X-rays of the specimens were also shown during the hearing, with experts testifying under oath that one of the bodies is seen to have “eggs” inside, while both were said to have implants made of very rare metals, such as Osmium."

There are a whole lot of red flags in those paragraphs.  Then things get worse.  I present to you the mummified/fossilized alien corpses:


Admittedly, I'm not an xenobiologist.  That said, I'd be a bit disappointed to find these displayed at a roadside attraction on the side of the highway, much less before an official government body.  They look exactly like the kind of home-made, sideshow-style gaffs that used to show up at gas station "museums" back in the day.  I have a fondness for those old school fakes, but we should really expect better in this day and age.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Cthulhu Tablet

This unique piece comes to us from Hard Waz Creations.  Their Cthulhu tablet shows exactly when the "stars are right" to summon the Great Old One using the included runic incantation.  Hand carved from slate.


Monday, September 11, 2023


One of the joys of the world we live in is how easy it is to see the work of like-minded folks from around the world.  The one drawback?  Translation technology isn't quite up to handling some niche cases.

I know this picture from WarhammerLARP is, well, from a Warhammer LARP event somewhere in eastern Europe.  I know it's gang of players in beautiful costumes manning a recreation of the Hellblaster volley gun from the miniatures game. Even more impressive than that, there appears to be a full sized Imperial war wagon peeking out of the background.

Beyond that, I could use some help.  The Instagram hashtag #вархаммер2023 leads to some amazing shots, but I can't quite pin down where the event happened.  That said, Euro Warhammer LARPs are mind blowing.

Friday, September 8, 2023

Black Book of Cthulhu

This cool tableaux features the latest from Mille Cuirs, a bound journal bearing a custom embossment of Great Cthulhu. I love the prop tablet at the bottom almost as much as the book itself.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Great Cthulhu

Our latest Cthulhu idol comes to us from artist R1 Chung.  It's an undeniably great sculpt, and the paint job is just amazing.  That said, this is another piece I'd really like to see with a stone or metallic finish.  


Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Ross MacDonald, Master of the Craft

Ross MacDonald is the artist responsible for creating prop documents and ephemera for hundreds of movies. That includes one of the most iconic props ever put on screen- the "Book of Secrets" from the 2004 "National Treasure" film starring Nicholas Cage. I stumbled across this interview with him last night and was amazed to see it had just a handful of views. My friends, this is propmaking gold.

In particular I want to draw your attention to the section on book distressing at around the 33 minute mark. It's a great explanation of how moisture causes dirt to migrate from the outside of the page block. As the paper expands and contracts in response to humidity, migrating particulate matter and oxidation triggers the familiar edge darkening found in old tomes. You can recreate it by browning the edges of paper with a flame, but it has to be done in a very particular, precise, and limited way. If you're burning the paper you're doing it wrong.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Lady of the Dead

Morok Art Studio returns to our pages with this idol of Mictēcacihuātl. In Aztec mythology she was the consort of Mictlāntēcutli, ruler of the lowest level of the underworld. 


Monday, September 4, 2023

Runic Pouch

 Wyrdcor brings us this leather mages pouch bearing the Norse vegvisir.  Wonderful craftsmanship.



Friday, September 1, 2023


I love this take on Nyarlathotep from sculptor Sadan Vague.  You really need to click through and take a look at the pictures in their high resolution gallery.



Thursday, August 31, 2023

In His House at R'lyeh Dead Cthulhu Waits Dreaming

It's turning into quite the week for unusual Cthulhu idols, and that's saying something.  This piece comes to us from filmmaker and graphic designer Rémy Gente.  The recreation of sunken R'lyeh is a really nice touch.  


Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Grimt Mask

This amazing Grimt Mask comes to us from sculptor Tomas Barcelo.  He's really captured the feel of something ancient and powerful.



Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Great Cthulhu

This intriguing Cthulhu idol cum incense burner comes to us from artist James Groman.  I expect reactions to the piece are going to be very polarized.  The sculpt is a bit too much of a caricature for my taste, a problem exacerbated by the garish paint job.  Subtle, it ain't.  That said, I imagine it would look quite nice with a patinated bronze or gunmetal finish.

 Hat tip to Todd van Bronkhorst for bringing it to my attention.



Monday, August 28, 2023

From the Alchemist's Repository

Props and Beyond returns to our pages with this Mirroring Dagger from their Alchemist's Repository prop set.


Friday, August 25, 2023

Scroll Case

El Marques LARP shop returns to our pages with this beautiful leather scroll case.  Featuring hand tooled leather and brass hardware.



Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The Key

This Zelda-inspired keystone prop comes to us from Norfair86.  Players in their tabletop game had to solve a series of puzzles to get each piece, and then assemble them to create a key into a hidden temple. 

Note:  For some unknown reason I'm having issues posting on Blogger.  Hopefully it will be resolved in the near future.


Friday, August 18, 2023

Lord of Demons

The talented Maarten Verhoeven returns to our pages with this digital Pazuzu idol.  It blew my mind, and made the movie even creepier, when I first found out the demon from "The Exorcist" wasn't made up out of whole cloth.  That's something you can discover with a simple Google search today, but back in the 70s it was an obscure factoid.


Thursday, August 17, 2023

The Light of R'lyeh

Jason McKittrick of the Cryptocurium is celebrating Lovecraft's birthday with this nicely done illuminated Cthulhu idol.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023


Jason Soles of Gods Below brings us this creepy Excarnate mask.  Cast in bronze with a nitrate patina and inset jade stone.


Tuesday, August 15, 2023

A Pirate's Life for Me

This insanely detailed pirate baldric comes to us from leather crafters Arte sul Cuoio.  Click through on the link for a full gallery of photographs.


Monday, August 14, 2023

Altar of Lilith

Secret Wood Story returns to our pages with this beautiful hand-carved altar to Lilith/Ishtar.


Friday, August 11, 2023

Not of This Earth

Alisa Tochylovska returns to our pages with a bit of a departure from her usual work.  She's brought us a variety of fae in the past, but this time it's a space-suited alien explorer.  Amazing craftsmanship.



Thursday, August 10, 2023

The Tooth Fairy

Can you imagine the emotional scars you could inflict on your kids by telling them this tooth fairy from Umbratheca is just like the real one?



Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Shrunken Head

 I can enjoy the more cartoonish sideshow-style tzantzas, but realistic props like this this shrunken head from Monster Lab Studios are really in my wheelhouse.  


Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Innsmouth, Massachusetts

"During the winter of 1927–28 officials of the Federal government made a strange and secret investigation of certain conditions in the ancient Massachusetts seaport of Innsmouth. The public first learned of it in February, when a vast series of raids and arrests occurred, followed by the deliberate burning and dynamiting—under suitable precautions—of an enormous number of crumbling, worm-eaten, and supposedly empty houses along the abandoned waterfront. Uninquiring souls let this occurrence pass as one of the major clashes in a spasmodic war on liquor."

 - H.P. Lovecraft, "The Shadow over Innsmouth"

Charolax brings us this nicely done vintage-style map of Innsmouth, Massachusetts.  Click through to see some other interations of the project.


Monday, August 7, 2023

Quick and Dirty Corpses

When it comes to crafting props it's no surprise the famed Stan Winston School has some great material.  This tutorial from special effects legend Gary J. Tunnicliffe shows you how to create a wonderfully stringy and rotten skin for a corpse using Barge cement and a blow dryer.   

Friday, August 4, 2023

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Flesh of Gods Edition.

Flesh of Gods Miniatures brings us one of the better Cthulhu idols for tabletop gaming I've seen.  It's available in multiple sizes and custom prints.


Thursday, August 3, 2023

Great Cthulhu

This nicely done Cthulhu idol comes to us from Zombie Carter.


Tuesday, August 1, 2023


As much as I love these goblins from Tom Kuebler I could never have them in my house.  I would have a full-blown heart attack if I stumbled on them in the middle of the night.


Monday, July 31, 2023

Dinosaur Embryo

The talented Ahu Cokol returns to our pages with this excellent dinosaur embryo.