Thursday, 18 December 2014

Shinobi Fiction

He’d done it again. His hunger for discovery, or his greed for treasure, had led Jade away from his companions. “Stay together and don’t split up!” was the mantra of his friends. The wise paladin, Gabrius, had warned them of the evil that tainted the mountain pass but Jade had never been one to follow.

A reflection of light had distracted the ninja momentarily but that was all it took for him to tread down onto weak shale rocks and collapse into the grotto beneath.

At first he thought the cold was due to the water in the cavern but he soon learnt otherwise. A dark cloudlike form rose from the depths and battered Jade like an uncontrolled gust of wind. Then he felt the wounds on his body and to his horror, he watched his blood being absorbed into the cloud. The cloud coalesced and before his eyes, the creature began to take form. His form!

Developing a series of short narratives to accompany some art pieces I've done based on the adventures of my longest running AD&D hero.

Monday, 8 December 2014

The Preserver Cometh!

Hi everyone or anyone...

The finished first draft of Feast of the Preserver is coming up fast. I'll hopefully have some solid time to focus on finishing the conclusion and getting onto the art soon.

I'll be putting out a call for playtesters in the usual places soon. The cover will be as below - except for the year lol.

 Having gained a promotion for next year, I can tell my writing days are to be reduced further. But where there's a will, there's a way.

Cheers all and stay tuned...

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Adventure Musings

I sat back tonight and a had a big think about the point in writing and illustrating adventures. A friend of mine wrote a comment about "no more doing things that require too much effort for so little payoff" and considering the amount of effort that goes into taking an adventure through to publishing compared to the monetary gain, this could be one of those things.

IF, I based this process on financial return I'd have to say I'd agree with that philosophy. But I get more out of the process than just a desire to turn a profit. Sure money is nice but so is creating something. 'Nuff said on that.

Feast of the Preserver is getting close to being finished in terms of the writing. I'm hoping to complete the 1st draft by next week. With the renovations at home almost completed, I'm pretty close to having a dedicated creative space for writing, illustrating and painting. I'll post some photos when it's done.

Below is Brian's first pass at the village of Barrowton from the adventure. I'm really excited to see what he comes up with next. He is, like myself, hindered by externalities that eat up his time and sometimes squeezing some writing and drawing in can be very difficult.
I absolutely love working with Brian.

As I've been so busy I've found myself needing assistance with some of the goals I have for Shinobi 27 Games. As a result, I'm happy to announce that I have a new collaborator, Jon Hild, working on a campaign supplement called the White Sands and Turquoise Waters Campaign Setting. Jon has published numerous Dnd net books and wanted to try his hand at publishing some of his work. His idea, I believe, is very different to the usual medieval campaign setting. I won't say too much but this is in the pipeline - once Jon gets his head around the news his wife is expecting.

Whilst I'm at it, I've also decided to get some assistance on Curse of Mistwood. It was stagnating and since I've been focusing on Feast of the Preserver and The Freezing of Claeridge Pass, I'm hoping to get a more experienced adventure designer to stitch the pieces I had into a more coherent adventure. If he's available and keen to be involved, I'll give further details in the next blog.

The last thing I'll mention is something I'm working towards. The White Sands book will, I hope, fint into a larger campaign world that I'm setting my adventures in. I have been busy designing cities and faiths that fit within the campaign world which I'm planning to call The Shattered Dominion. Mistwood, Claeridge Pass and Barrowton are all found in the westlands of Dominion. I have an expanding map that I hope to populate with adventures, campaign details but mainly some cool adventure hooks for GMs to flesh out themselves. Cheers all.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Coming... sometime... hopefully soon.

I have been a busy camper. Here in NSW, Australia, our senior students are just completing their Trial HSC exams. I have a lot of teacher work to do... but I've also been inspired to get cracking on my writing.

I have 3 adventures in various stages of completion and I have been communicating with some awesome RPG producers for contributions in terms of cartography and yes, sadly art. The pain in my drawing hand is still a factor with me at the moment and I'm sourcing alternative illustrators. The good news is, coming from an illustrator background, I know some talented people.

So, I'm thinking my ghoulish adventure, Feast of the Preserver, will most likely be finished first. The adventure is about 60% completed in terms of writing and the cover is 80% finished. Here is the working cover and a brief introduction.

Barrowton was once a small, thriving mining village. The mines in the foothills of the Crumbling Mountains once provided the richest source of silver in the region. For a time, life in Barrowton was pleasant and prosperous but eventually the mines ‘dried’ up and finding silver became harder and harder. Eventually the mine was closed down and many families moved on.
Some, however, decided that life in Barrowton was worth fighting for and they stayed on to keep the town alive. One ‘visitor’ would change their definition of ‘alive’ forever.

 I hope to have more news soon on some of the slowly cooking products I have in the works.As I get closer to saying goodbye to my senior classes, the more productive I can become.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The shape of things that were...

It's been a good coupe of months since I wrote in this blog and so...

Teaching is a great job at times. I really enjoy watching a kid go from "I don't get it" to "Ohhhh, now I get it". It's the best feeling a teacher has. But with that comes a lot of work. Marking is very time consuming in my field, teaching Legal and Business but I have been lucky this year with my classes, I'd say I have an 80% satisfaction rating for my students - great kids.

Onto the games.

As indicated by the intro, teaching has occupied most of my time. I've been stewing over adventure and art ideas during the process of teaching. When I wrote The Trolls of Mistwood, I had the full synopsis of the adventure down and knew where it was going to take me, but the sequel is a slippery beast. I have the basics and I have written a fair amount but I'm bouncing around the place because I keep getting conflicting ideas as to how it will conclude. I know the players will determine the end but I want something for the playtesters to come away from that is satisfying and not full of holes - as I feel it is now.

On a brighter note, after months of complete art rest, my drawing hand is feeling great. I still have some tenderness in it but I am easing back into the art.

So this brief blog is just to say, I'm still here, the adventures are still coming along but I'm not on a deadline, so they will not hatch before they're ready.


Sunday, 27 April 2014

RPG Art 2

So interior art is something that you either love doing or you toil through it. I usually love the work but with recent arthritis developments in my drawing hand, I can feel the toil coming on. I have to say I can become engrossed in the interior art or I can really struggle if the writer is vague in their descriptions. Some of the most fun interior art, for me, was working on Paul Wolfe's Tomb of Curses. He has a wacky imagination and I really felt I could cut loose on some of his ideas. My favourite piece from that book is called Sacrifice to Qo and I just fell in love with that part of the adventure. I drew about 3 thumbnail sketches before I settled on the following:
The original piece is on A3 bristol board but I used digital brushes to add a lot of additional cross hatching and light effects. I find it more economical in terms of time doing the main inking on paper then moving to digital for pictures with large dark areas. The perspective is such that the editors could place the piece as a portrait or landscape and it still works at the extreme angle.

I was lucky enough to get some work on the Wicked North Games' D6 Steampunk Western: Westward. Basically the editor listed the art he needed completed and the rate he offered for each piece. I would have loved to have done more work on this book but it was very competitive. I did get my first couple of preferences but my favourite is a piece called Ghosting. Ghosting in the game is assassinating an unwary opponent before they are able to defend themself. Since it was a western I had to make my 'ghoster' Clint Eastwood but I gave him a steampunk hand.

Initially sketched in pencil then scanned into my PC for digital paints. A few Clint Eastwood reference shots for character and Ta Dah!

The last piece I'll post today is an interior piece from Angels, Daemons and Beings Between. I really enjoyed this piece but my son recently pointed out I had actually just drawn Ice King from Adventure Time. I hadn't actually seen an episode till long after this piece was completed but I can't help laugh at the similarities. This is King Halgaz Bekur, or as my son insists, Ice King:
 In my next blogg, I'll focus a little more on some older work as well as an update on Claeridge Pass and Curse of Mistwood.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

RPG Art 1

One of the most enjoyable things I've been doing over the past couple of years is doing commissioned art for RPG products. More than cover art, I've had the awesome opportunity to work on some excellent RPG material for interior art as well.

Whilst I'm busy writing some new adventures, I thought I'd reflect on some of the commissioned RPG art I've completed and maybe look at some interior work as well, in later posts.

I love digital painting. When I have the inspiration, I can spend a lot of time painting away at my workstation. I like digital painting more than traditional pencils and inks these days, although many of the digital paintings start as pencil on paper.

For DCC, I was commissioned to work on the ill-fated Angels, Daemons and Beings Between as an interior artist but I loved the project so much I took on the cover art too. Based on an interior piece for the patron, Hecate, this is what I came up with:

The book is really a great product. With Daniel Bishop and Paul Wolfe as the writers, I really thought this book was a winner. Distribution and communication issues has marred this product but I still think the book is lightning in a bottle.

Since this was crowd funded, there were a whole lot of promises that made the final execution of the product difficult. I'm not going into the unfulfilled orders or anything like that I just want to look at the covers that I was proud to contribute.

Paul wrote an adventure with Sean called Tomb of Curses. Using a rough draft of the adventure with some ideas about the content, I came up with the following:

Daniel wrote The Revelation of Mulmo, a huge adventure that I have been enjoying reading on the DCC Play-by-post. Here is the cover for that one:

I'll be talking more on RPG art in the next blog. I'll share some work I did on Westward, a steampunk, wild west RPG from Wicked North Games.

Feel free to leave some comments below!

Monday, 24 March 2014

Curse of Mistwood gets a cover

So tonight I finished off the first draft of the cover for Curse of Mistwood. I've dropped 'The' out of the title to better reflect the references to this adventure in The Trolls of Mistwood.

What can I say, other than HAGS!!!!

Oh and for those who are familiar with The Trolls of Mistwood, that sword laying on the steps should be familiar.

I'll be working on the cover for The Freezing of Claeridge Pass as my next painting but that is around work commitments and of course the writing of the two adventures.


Friday, 21 March 2014


Ospreyan are reclusive birdmen who play an integral role in The Freezing of Claeridge Pass.

Standing around 7 feet tall, the ospreyan are magnificent predators who fish rivers and coastal waters for food. They are highly intelligent and on occasion share time amongst humans. It is not uncommon to find these magnificent creatures walking the streets of the great city of Claeridge Pass.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Getting Haggard...

At this stage, The Curse of Mistwood is getting to be The Hags of Mistwood. I'm so busy with the two projects, I'm I'm getting burn out.

Nonetheless, I thought I'd present this lovely lady who is featured on the cover of The Curse of Mistwood.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Freezing of Claeridge Pass

So, a bit of an announcement - the adventure I'm working on in my non-Mistwood time is to be called The Freezing of Claeridge Pass. This is a bit of an into...

North of the Gravic Swamp rises the impressive Glass Ranges, so named for their icy, reflective peaks that hide amongst the clouds on overcast days. The Glass ranges cut through the west and to the north, dividing the lands into a smaller, warmer southern land and a vast temperate midland.

Amongst the Glass Ranges stand two particularly impressive mountains. Some refer to them as the twins or the southern gates but their given names are Mount Kosios and Mount Istus. Between the two is the main trade route between the southern lands to the midlands.

Nestled in this highland pass, between the two, is the impressive trade city of Claeridge Pass. This fortified city serves as a trading hub between the lands to the south and those to the north. Even the reclusive dwarves of the Silver Plains send caravans of goods into Claeridge Pass for trade.

The Lord of Claeridge, Obediah Montief, rules the city. Each of the 7 districts elects an official who represents them in Lord Montief’s council. These councils meet weekly to discuss the political and economic standings of the city as well as any potential risks that may arise.

I'm pretty excited to be expanding the lands around Mistwood. This world started as a map I did of some western realm. The Trolls of Mistwood was the second synopsis of around five that I bullet pointed out on holidays a year ago. I thought building that adventure posed a challenge as an introductory adventure but now I'm working on two more complex and hopefully more exciting adventures.

I hope to have some more art and details for The Curse of Mistwood soon.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

YouTube time

This is a video review for The Trolls of Mistwood. I was really happy with Brandon's response to the game and thought I'd share it here.

In terms of The Curse of Mistwood - I've been working on the cover between writing periods... here's a preview - someone has their eye on you.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

In the post today

When I got home from work today I was pleasantly surprised to find my printed copy of TOM (The Trolls of Mistwood) had arrived.

I had to look it over to approve it for print on demand and wow, I approve. I'm really happy with the quality of the print. Any day now it will be activated on RPGNow. Below is a link to a video of me opening the print copy.

Trolls in Print!

I've been busy writing The Curse of Mistwood when I have down time. It's starting to click in terms of story and I'm actually starting to like it more than poor old TOM.

I should have a preview of the cover art ready over the next couple of weeks.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Hecate - Goddess and Witches

For the purpose of economy of space, I only included the introduction to the patrons in The Trolls of Mistwood. I remembered when Daniel J. Bishop was working on Angels, Daemons and Beings Between he posted a draft of Hecate to promote the book. For those who want further information on Hecate, visit Daniel's blog below.

Hecate Preview

On the cutting room floor...

For those interested, this section of background was edited from The Trolls of Mistwood. I may reintroduce it at a later date to a later product but I thought it might be fun to share on here.

A concise history of Mistwood
This section of the adventure is for the benefit of judges that wish to build a campaign base from the village of Mistwood. The following sections are purely for the judge to have a feel for the village and the events that lead up to this adventure. It is recommended that the judge read this section to help establish the mood and circumstances the village finds itself in.

The town of Mistwood was settled four generations ago by silt eel fishermen. Located on the eastern bank of the Gravic Swamp and west of the Misty Woods, Mistwood became famous for its fishermen and the enormous silt eels caught there. The 25-foot long silt eels were (and still are) considered a delicacy in many of the more affluent cities of the West Coast but more importantly, the eel secretes oil that is the only known cure for the “Blight,” a plague that spread across the southern realm before the settlement of Mistwood. The Blight killed entire villages in its wake until a healer discovered the secretions from the silt eels could cure the disease. There was no other place as abundant with the creatures as the Gravic Swamp.

What the villagers of Mistwood didn’t realize was that the silt eels had an existing predator that hungered for the eels as much as the village’s clients. On the northern borders of the swamp, beneath the bridge spanning the Gravic River, lived a clan of trolls. These vile creatures were notorious for raiding travellers crossing the bridge on the South Road. They were the very reason the silt eels were shipped out of Mistwood, rather than being transported by caravan.

For over ten years, the trolls disregarded the village as it grew and prospered, and the Blight was all but eradicated. But with the village’s success, more and more silt eel fishermen came to Mistwood and eventually, with over-fishing, the silt eel numbers diminished. When the trolls had to scout further into the swamps to catch the eels, they discovered the cause of the silt eel shortage and decided man flesh would be a suitable alternative.

And so the infamous troll siege of Mistwood commenced. At first, the villagers were easy pickings for the trolls. A villager here or there simply vanished. But the trolls became emboldened and began to openly raid the village, carrying away screaming men, women and children. It was at this time the young leader of Mistwood, Baron Johan of House Willow, mounted a defense by erecting a palisade around the village and appointing a night watch to sound the alarm if trolls were about. The attacks were frequent but with the diligence of the watch, few fatalities occurred. The village was, however, still under siege and as the winter months approached, food became scarcer. Fishermen tried to bring food back but many lost their lives to the trolls. Times were dire for the folk of Mistwood.

It was on the winter solstice that the enchantress, Glyndel, arrived at the gates of Mistwood. Her grace and beauty were almost unearthly. She immediately sought out the heroic young Johan and made a proposal to rid the village of the trolls. No one was sure of the deal made with the enchantress, only that she left the village that night and returned a week later with a magical sword named Clawreaver. It was a troll slaying sword, enchanted for the very purpose of decimating the foul denizens of Gravic Swamp.

Johan renamed his night watch the Troll Killers of Mistwood and led them into the swamp. The tales of the troll purge became legendary throughout the southern realm, and the title of Troll Killer of Mistwood commanded renown and respect. It is said that had the Troll Killers not ended the troll siege, the Blight may have decimated the people of the West. The purge lasted over a year, during which time Glyndel frequently visited Johan and it became clear that the two were deeply in love. They were joined in marriage.

At the completion of the purge, no trolls could be found throughout the region and Clawreaver earned its resting place above the hearth of Johan’s fireplace. Glyndel bore Johan a beautiful daughter and, for a time, life in Mistwood became prosperous once more. But none should expect life to remain so.

One evening Baron Johan returned home to find his beautiful wife gone. She left a note explaining she had to return to her family but she would return in time. She never did and Johan raised their daughter, Larissa, with as much love any child could want.

Twenty peaceful years passed in Mistwood. Fishing rules were made to preserve the silt eel numbers and once more the Gravic Swamp teemed with the valuable fish. Larissa grew into a fine young lady, headstrong and beautiful.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The Curse of Mistwood - Development continues

A lot of brainstorming and writing happening between family time and work has been happening. The first draft has gone through a lot of changes - the structure of the narrative has taken some new directions and it's a welcome evolution when you tease out new ideas and replace some that weren't quite jelling.

This attractive lady is the Methuselah of Wartaren, seated upon the Throne of Undying Wisdom. She's one of the major NPCs to be met in The Curse of Mistwood. And her little throne is quite important to boot.

On other news, I'm excited to announce that Brian has started working on a new series of maps for another project. The map is for the lair of a particularly nasty large, winged scaley creature.

I wish there was more dedicated time for these projects but family and work are first priority.

That being said, I was very happy to find out the print version of Trolls has been shipped, so depending on their method of transport, I'm hopping to have the prototype in the next week or two. Stay tuned and I'll be posting some photos when it arrives.

More art to come from Curse too.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Interesting times at home. I'm currently working on 3 new adventures - slow and steady.

The Curse of Mistwood has started to come together. This afternoon I was penciling up some draft covers. I know working on the art is not really progressing the adventure but I have been writing as well.

The adventure takes place shortly after the events of The Trolls of Mistwood. Life has returned to normal in Mistwood except for a few loose ends. Such as a Baron that just happens to be a Prime Troll.

The PCs need to remove the curse from the Baron by tracing the source to an alternative world where the main sentient beings are...

Well, hopefully I can get this adventure up and ready this quarter.

Another adventure, as yet untitled, is a resurrected adventure I wrote back in the late 80s, early 90s for a regular gaming group I was with. School friends. I found it and was looking over the old grid paper maps and realised this adventure needs publishing.

Lastly, I'm trying to put together a shorter project for D.A.M.N magazine. Hopefully for a future issue.

Well, that's it for today.
Cheers, David.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

G'day all. This is a new blog I'm trying to put together to outline what I'm doing with Shinobi 27 Games.

Shinobi 27 Games is a little games designing think tank I hope to use to create and sell RPG adventures.
My first product, The Trolls of Mistwood, has just gone on sale. I'm quite excited about its release. Written and illustrated by me and with cartography by Brian Van Hunsel, The Trolls of Mistwood is the first part in what I hope will make a great series of RPG adventures.

The adventure is retailing for $8.99 on At 40 pages, and many long hours in the making, I think it's a bargain.

Also available are two full color Fine Art Maps from our cartographer, Brian Van Hunsel. The amount of love and detail in each of these PDF maps makes them an excellent addition to compliment the adventure. These are selling for $3.99 each.

As a special offer (and an incentive for feedback), I'm offering one of these maps as a reward for any customer purchasing The Trolls of Mistwood who is willing to rate and write a review for the adventure. This is for a limited time only.

The product can be found here: The Trolls of Mistwood

My next blog will focus on designing the next adventure as well as some other projects I'm working on.

RPGNow Banner