Exquisite Corpses v2 is slowed but still coming…

A friend sent me an email asking ‘why are you redoing Exquisite Corpses?’ and I thought I would reproduce my answer here, since if he is wondering why, others may be wondering why too (Hopefully I’m not revealing anything here that Jim LotFP does not want to be general knowledge, but as far as I know, all of this has been scattered through several posts on LotFP anyway)

(if it matters, the pic at right is not from my book — I just thought it was cool).

Anyway, message reproduced below:

…The publisher wants to print ‘Exquisite Corpses’ with perforated tabs
rather than ‘cut-em-yourself’ pages and the printer has restrictions on numbers
of pages, etc., for these special print jobs. So the base number of monsters
(40) was chosen because of the number of signatures in a print run (multiples of
32 or 8 are our options— so we added 32+8=40!)To make the book possible as a
commercial product, we have had to make certain changes… which will also
(hopefully) make it more appealing to the users. Instead of having lots of info
scattered through the text AND the illustrations so the user has to flip back
and forth, the current idea from Jim (which I think is a winner) is to have it
all in one place — on the illustration itself and the facing page. So if you
lay the book down flat and flip the tabs so you have a lizard head, woman’s body
and bird’s feet, hopefully we can cram all the info you need to know to run with
that critter with options on that two page spread. That’s the idea, anyway…
and that’s the part I am struggling with.It’s been a long series of me emailing
the guy (Jim) who is publishing it back and forth to arrive at this point. In
the process one of us might come up with an idea and email it to the other, then
I would mull it over and Jim would go to his printer and talk about it, come
back to me and say, “I don’t think that’s going to work but how about this,”
etc., rinse and repeat. So v2 of Exquisite Corpses is going to be very different
than v1 in execution, although concept is the same — hopefully v2 will be more
user friendly.It was originally hoped it would be ready for Gencon, but there
were a lot of changes and I had a ‘crisis of confidence’ in some of my artistic
decisions and needed more time on them, so finally Jim said, “Take your time;
don’t worry about deadlines, let’s just try to make it as good as possible.” In
the meanwhile I’ve had my other comissions and some ‘life stuff’ to worry about,
so E.C.v2 has moved to the back burner, although I am trying to remember to stir
the pot occassionally so it doesn’t burn or spoil. In other news, last night I
finished 4 more drawings for (blank).

Thanks for the interest — I miss playing with you guys… please have
someone write a session report!


Music and Salesmanship

Anyone else remember those pictures of Boris Yeltsin doing ‘The Funky Chicken?’ I can’t decide whether I like Boris more or less after seeing them — sort of the same feeling I got when watching our former President, George W. Bush, funk out with African drummers on the Whitehouse lawn.

Michelle Bachmann recently got taken to task by musician Tom Petty because her crew used his song, “American Girl,’ at one of her rallies. I’m not that familiar with Petty’s “American Girl” pop anthem, but, if memory serves, it’s lyrics might be a bit at odds with Bachmann’s Bible Beater values (something about “making it last all night” makes me think Petty’s American Girl is a bit of a libertine). But I guess since the song has ‘American’ in it, her team feels this gives it relevance. Plus Petty is probably popular with a demographic that doesn’t find much traction in her bible-thumpin’ ways. Anything to appear hip, I guess. But this is apparently just one of a growing number of cases in which a pop star has said to a political candidate, “Hey, stop using my song!”

I remember being a bit taken aback when I heard “London Calling” by the Clash being used to sell Jaguar cars on TV. The context in which I first heard that song seemed greatly at odds with the idea of a luxury automobile. As I recall, the ad just had a few strident guitar riffs and Joe Strummer barking out, “London Calling” and leaving out all those depressing lyrics about the end of the world… perhaps the admen thought that maybe the American ex-punker who had given up on revolution and gotten a career and was now rolling in it would feel the siren song of the half remembered dreams of his former self and head on down to the dealership and buy a really expensive car without really stopping to think about it. Devo as pitchmen for Honda scooters seemed a much better fit.

The world is just getting so fucking weird. Guy DeBord had no idea how right he was.


Zombies, as a genre, have probably officially jumped the shark…

This ad came in the mail recently. “In a world devastated by lack of sleep…” I don’t know what to say.


Updates for Khunmar / other work

I’m still thinking / working on the new version of Exquisite Corpses; the entire concept/layout has changed several times in the course of the past 2 months and I need a bit of time to stew it over.

A while back I did a few illustrations for ‘Mines of Khunmar.’ I was thinking of doing a 1/2 pager to introduce each level, but that is probably too much work for a freebie. Perhaps after I win the lottery. See some previews below.

Meanwhile, I have more work for another client coming up, but that’s all I can say for right now.

Below is a picture for level 1b (which I believe is just east of level 1; I don’t think this level appeared in the free preview pdf I released a few years ago). It looks like the party’s torchbearer is finding out that the Vargouille’s bite is worse than it’s bark. I’m not sure if ‘Vargouille’ is released under the OGL and if I need to make a subsitution or create an ‘offbrand’ version. I haven’t decided what kind of compatibility the public version of Khunmar will have when and if I ever finish it.

This (below) is level 1a (just north of level 1)… an abandoned mine filled with challenges (getting in is supposed to be hard; getting out alive is supposed to be harder). The ‘giga snails’ are not particularly fast moving, but probably well beyond the capacity of a lower level party; hopefully the party can keep moving and not get caught in a dead end passage. But once your 1st level PC is underneath the snail, it’s probably time to roll up a new one.
This is level 1 — the entrance to the kobold caves. My only regret is that I made the kobolds about 2x the size they ought to have been… I dunno if I can fix that or not. The challenge is getting across the bridge alive — the bridge is defended by spearmen and archers on the kobold side. Hopefully that magic user brought a ‘sleep’ spell along.

Updates for Khunmar / other work

I’m still thinking / working on the new version of Exquisite Corpses; the entire concept/layout has changed several times in the course of the past 2 months and I need a bit of time to stew it over.

A while back I did a few illustrations for ‘Mines of Khunmar.’ I was thinking of doing a 1/2 pager to introduce each level, but that is probably too much work for a freebie. Perhaps after I win the lottery. See some previews below.

Meanwhile, I have more work for another client coming up, but that’s all I can say for right now.

Below is a picture for level 1b (which I believe is just east of level 1; I don’t think this level appeared in the free preview pdf I released a few years ago). It looks like the party’s torchbearer is finding out that the Vargouille’s bite is worse than it’s bark. I’m not sure if ‘Vargouille’ is released under the OGL and if I need to make a subsitution or create an ‘offbrand’ version. I haven’t decided what kind of compatibility the public version of Khunmar will have when and if I ever finish it.

This (below) is level 1a (just north of level 1)… an abandoned mine filled with challenges (getting in is supposed to be hard; getting out alive is supposed to be harder). The ‘giga snails’ are not particularly fast moving, but probably well beyond the capacity of a lower level party; hopefully the party can keep moving and not get caught in a dead end passage. But once your 1st level PC is underneath the snail, it’s probably time to roll up a new one.This is level 1 — the entrance to the kobold caves. My only regret is that I made the kobolds about 2x the size they ought to have been… I dunno if I can fix that or not. The challenge is getting across the bridge alive — the bridge is defended by spearmen and archers on the kobold side. Hopefully that magic user brought a ‘sleep’ spell along.

RIP Peter Falk

Just read this morning that Peter Falk AKA Columbo has died.

Watching ‘Columbo‘ on TV was a part of my growing up; his TV ‘cases’ always seemed to be the same… some over privileged twit commits a murder with a perfect alibi… Lieutenant Columbo comes in to ask a few questions and blunders around, seemingly impressed by the twit’s power and prestige. The twit patronizes the unkempt detective (who seems straight out of Brooklyn) and grows impatient at the seemingly inane questions, and, just before leaving, Columbo catches the murderer in a web of lies and forces a confession.

After all the gritty and dramatic cop shows over the decades that followed, this would probably seem like pretty tame stuff, but I remember loving it as a kid, mostly because Falk’s Columbo was so likable and charismatic and his opponents always underestimated him. If I remember right, Columbo wasn’t one of those detective shows that kept the identity of the murderer a secret; you saw who committed the murder right at the start. The ‘reveal’ was not finding out ‘whodunnit‘ but what tiny and overlooked detail would bring the murderer to justice.


Stonehell: First Impressions

OK, I know it’s already been out forever but I finally got around to ordering Stonehell Dungeon by Michael Curtis after having read about his campaigns on his blogs (one blog is Torch, Pole and Rope; the other is Rotted Moon). 134 pages for $13.00 seems like a bargain to me.

I’ve only read the first couple of pages and skimmed through the rest, but so far am very happy about my purchase and feel inspired to hopefully get off my butt and do something with Khunmar once I get some of my other backlog of projects squared away.

Likes: Brief entries for room descriptions, lots of options, map on one page and key on the facing page to prevent lots of flipping of pages during play. Lots of charts for random stuff and suggestions on how to make Stonehell your own.

Dislikes: Almost no art (sad face) but I suppose that makes the compact layout possible. Not all of the info for a given location is in one place (i.e.: the description of an area on the surface near the entrance is partially in the introduction to that ‘level’ in one place and partially in the key. I guess that’s needed to keep the key compact enough to fit on one page but I’d be worried that I would forget something important if I was referencing only the key.

This is apparently just the first volume; more levels are to come!