Those tree people always seemed so nice in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie. But, looking at this picture, I am no longer so sure. What did Johnny do to deserve getting ‘manhandled’ by a tree like that?
Excellent picture courtesy of “The Horrors of it All“!
I’m avoiding doing some chores by posting these excellent images by Fletcher Hanks:
I’ve been going through some serious artists-block lately. Here’s one drawing I did in my notebook while sitting at the airport that I kind of like — perhaps the first step to conquering the creative constipation.
Jobe Bittman (also see Spellburn) was part of a one page dungeon contest a while back (see his really great map here — I love love love 3d cut-away illustrations)… and he turned that 1 page into a little book which apparently you can buy soon (I don’t have that info yet; will update when I do).
He asked me to do the cover/1st page illustration, which is pretty cool — see somebody’s autographed copy below. I’ve seen the front cover in a PDF version (I don’t have the real thing yet) and it is HELIOTROPE done up in the old circa 1978 TSR 2 color printing style — looks really cool.
Will add more details when I get them!
This photo is from Rick Hull, someone on Google+ who owns this copy and was showing it off on google+.
UPDATE: Here is the cover in color. The lizard dude who is getting squished in the demon idol’s hands and has his eyeballs popping out cracks me up:
We finally got back from our 2 weeks in Portugal. We had an excellent time but I am still catching up on sleep. We spent time in Lisboa, Sintra, Ericerea, Evaro, Coimbra and Porto — not enough time in any one place, but we only had two weeks. There was so much to do, but I think my favorite thing was visiting Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra. All of Portugal is great — the people are great, the food is great, and there is a castle on every hill and a fantastic looking church down every narrow, crooked street, but the Quinta Da Regularia was really weird and fun.
The Quinta was built in the early 1900s by some millionaires with all sorts of strange ideas about alchemy, the masons, astrology and I don’t know what else. They were also probably pretty devout Catholics since they built a really fancy chapel on the property. The property is fairly large and wooded, but filled with small paths, gardens, caves, grottoes, amphitheaters, etc. I get the impression that the place was constructed as a ‘symbolic artwork’ that you were supposed to walk through, by passing through certain passages and tunnels, you were suppose to symbolize the transmutation of lead into gold via alchemy (or something like that). There were tunnels and grottoes everywhere, and a really elaborate ‘palace’ house, extensive gardens and even some secret stone doors.
There are towers like this one (above) scattered all over the property. While they provide negligible defensive value, you can climb up ‘em and look around. The place is such a maze it’s really hard to get a sense of how big it is.
You can climb up the towers via tiny little staircases that might be a problem if you are a ginormous fatty — while walking the whole Quinta is not particularly hard exercise, if you can’t walk 100 paces without stopping for a rest, it will kill you and they will have a really hard time getting your body out because some of the places are pretty tight.
Once you climb up one of these many towers that are dotted all over the landscape, you will probably see something like this (above). Like all of Sintra, it’s on a hillside and the builders added paths, streams, walls, statues, gardens, etc. You can walk 10 or 20 feet and discover a new grotto or path or statue. It’s fun to just explore.
Here Annie is opening one of the three different stone ‘secret doors’ we found (above photo). You have to be pretty strong to open them; Annie keeps herself fit and is up to the task. The stone doors lead to tunnels, staircases and passages (which are pretty fantastic but I didn’t get a lot of photos because they are really dark inside). Some of the tunnels terminate in one of two ‘wells’ that are deep pits with spiral stairs that curl around the shaft so you can climb up and look down or down and look up. Like this:
There’s really so much more, and these crappy photos don’t do it justice — after a while I just stopped bothering to take pictures because they really didn’t give a good sense of the place and I just wanted to keep looking and experiencing it rather than trying to figure out how to take pictures of it. But a lot of Portugal was like that.
This map probably give a better idea of how elaborate and fantastic this place is:
Someone named Jack emailed me recently to ask why I wasn’t a part of the usual haunts and discussions out there on the web. He asked, “Was it something someone said?”
The short answer is, “No.”
The slightly longer answer is: I’m just not spending a lot of time online these days. I don’t know when and if that will change. I didn’t make any conscious choice at any single point and say, “That is the last fucking straw!” or whatever. I just dropped out of the google+ thing and stopped visiting all the forums and what-not because I just didn’t find the rewards equal to the time investment they required. I have not changed; I’m just less interested in having broader conversations with strangers on topics that don’t reflect what I am doing these days.
Some have suggested I create a ‘facebook artist page’ and I still haven’t decided if I need a ‘facebook artist page’ that is distinct from my ‘facebook page’ or not. I think I just use my facebook page for looking at pictures of kittens in sombreros and posting the occasional snarky comment and seeing pictures of other people’s kids or hearing about the marathons they are running or the meals they are eating; the point of a broader ‘strategic multimedia outreach’ has yet to become a reality for me.
I’m doing things (some of which don’t involve the internet) and working on some private commissions as well as some projects that are probably 2 or 3 years late and getting older.
If you have clicked on the etsy shop link on the right, you will find that there is nothing in the store (and there hasn’t been for some time). Etsy has been pretty good to me in the past but isn’t fitting into my current schemes very well — again, because of the time involved. If anyone has suggestions for a good way for an artist like me to sell original artwork that has been previously published in things like Goodman Games DCC adventures, please post or email.
If anyone wants to say hello, the best way is probably to just email me (at sbpoag(at)gmail(dot)com). After the 18th of August 2013 I will be out of the country for 2+ weeks. I will probably not have access to email in that time.
The hero Arthix promised the Lord of Thambar that he would nullify a particularly troublesome seven headed hydra that dwelt in the bottom of a well and guarded a giant diamond which the Lord coveted. Hundreds of heroes had tried and failed to defeat this hydra because it was in the habit of using all seven heads to look in all directions, thus sneaking up on the hydra was impossible. Arthix asked for the loan of seven of the Lord’s most desirable concubines. Greed for the diamond drove the king mad; he readily agreed.
Arthix took the seven concubines and chained them in a circle around the well, each one the exact same distance from the well and each one an equal distance from each other — like numbers on a dial. The hydra crawled up from the well with each head looking in a different direction as was its custom. Each head saw a writhing, shrieking, delicious concubine and each head strained to pull the beast towards that desired morsel, but each head was equally strong so the beast remained stationary as the concubines wailed and cried and each head pulled in a different direction with exactly the same force. While the hydra was preoccupied, Arthix snuck in, stole the diamond and ran off. One of the concubines managed to wriggle free of her chains, and, likewise, ran off. The head that had been eyeing her turned its attention to the next concubine in the circle… suddenly that concubine had two heads straining towards her and the hydra slowly pulled itself in her direction since the pull of the hydra’s heads was no longer equally distributed. The hydra devoured the unlucky concubine and then devoured the other five concubines in turn.
The escaped concubine followed Arthix back to his boat and begged him to take her with him. After they escaped the island together, she chopped off his head with his sword while he slept, threw his body overboard and sailed for the mainland.
The Lord of Thambar’s soldiers arrived and saw the bloody garments of the dead concubines on the ground and that the diamond was missing as a swollen bellied Hydra crawled back into the well for a nap. They rushed back to report these finding to the Lord of Thambar. When he learned that he had lost both the diamond and seven of his concubines, the Lord of Thambar was furious. The Lord of Thambar sent out his huntsmen to all the corners of the land to find the Hero Arthix and return with his head, but since none of them thought to check the bottom of the sea and everyone assumed all seven concubines had perished, the search came to nothing.
Meanwhile, the concubine sailed her ship to the busiest port on the mainland. She changed her name and used the proceeds from the sale of the diamond to live life on her own terms rather than having to be a concubine for the totally unlikeable Lord of Thambar.
And she lived happily ever after.