Thursday, October 27, 2011

Some More Dwimmermount Art

This time it's courtesy of Mark Allen, who's done so much excellent work for other old school products in the past. I was honored that Mark agreed to help me out with this and was extremely pleased by how this piece turned out. Enjoy!
©2011 Mark Allen

59 comments:

  1. Mark Allen is fantastic! So, when's it coming out! Gotta budget. :)

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  2. Very nice! So, the first codex will include all of your "house rules" for Labyrinth Lord? Then the second codex will provide details on Dwimmermount itself? Will the third also include descriptions of Dwimmermount? And I assume the surrounding territories will be described as well.

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  3. That's a great piece, and much better than the stuff from that other hack.

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  4. Beautiful picture. I especially like the historically-accurate look of the fighter's armor and weapon, and the vividness of the rock and wood texture.

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  5. So, when's it coming out! Gotta budget. :)

    The product in which this particular piece will appear should come out fairly soon, within the next couple of weeks or so and it'll be fairly cheap, so budgeting will be easy :)

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  6. So, the first codex will include all of your "house rules" for Labyrinth Lord? Then the second codex will provide details on Dwimmermount itself? Will the third also include descriptions of Dwimmermount? And I assume the surrounding territories will be described as well.

    The first one is house rules for LL, yes. The second describes new monsters and treasures from my campaign. The third is the setting and referee-related rules. Dwimmermount itself is getting its own complete product and I'll have more to say about that later.

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  7. That's a great piece, and much better than the stuff from that other hack.

    He'll fit right in with the hack writer :)

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  8. I especially like the historically-accurate look of the fighter's armor and weapon, and the vividness of the rock and wood texture.

    I was really impressed with it, too, but then Mark is an awesome illustrator.

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  9. Ok, great. Thanks for clearing up the contents of the three releases! You might have done that already on the blog, so apologies if that's the case.

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  10. That is amazing.
    I'm not even going to waste time explaining why I like it, because there isn't a single thing about it I don't like.

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  11. /somethign is wrong with that art...there's a warrior in plausible armor and a female magicuser that isn't a 20-somehting she-demon showing her mid-riff. Madness I say, madness. ;-)

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  12. I hate to float a Baby Ruth bar into the pool party, but I'm not liking the characters too much. This knight/warrior at a dungeon entrance just looks too much to me like the illustration of what old school Dungeons and Dragons would look like in a jr. high school history book 200 years from now, drawn by somebody who only got two sentences of description about the game. Maybe after 3 years + of checking out the OSR, I'm just getting tired of "iconic" old school imagery. It was all cool and nostalgic at first, but now I'm kind of heading back towards what made me grow out of a lot of things like classic dungeons (the more of this old school homage stuff I see the more attracted to Carcosa and even old school Runequest I get).

    Not bad art at all in general, and the tunnel and entrance does stir up those old school good feelings a tad. I just don't like it with that knight/paladin/fighter/cavalier/whatever-he-is in it.

    And the lady? What the hell is the old broad at the Ren Faire who works at the Toad-in-a-Hole booth doing schlepping into a dungeon? Are you freaking kidding me? I'm all for changing up from the hot, half-demon sorceress chicks (hmm...maybe not), but c'moan. I tell you what, you get girls to play in your D&D game, this certainly is not the image of their character you had in mind when they said "can I play an MU?" Or maybe they had to roll 3D6 in order, did pretty bad, and just said "screw it. She's old. Nobody said you had to be young and athletic to tackle the Tomb of Horrors."

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  13. I think it's pretty dang spiffy.

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  14. Madness I say, madness. ;-)

    They do say the mind tends to go as you get older ...

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  15. I tell you what, you get girls to play in your D&D game, this certainly is not the image of their character you had in mind when they said "can I play an MU?"

    So what you're saying is that women are shallow and superficial and would never play a character who isn't young and beautiful?

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  16. Very nice artwork.

    Although I was never a fan of the great helm when dungeoneering. A bascinet (or open-faced) helm gives much better protection because you are able to see your opponent clearly, and more importantly, the opponent approaching you from the side. Plus they are hot to fight in.

    And the illustration shows quite nicely why my favourite dungeoneering weapon (as a fighter) is the shortsword. Nothing better for close quarters. Horseman-weapons, such as the longsword, just don't cut it. <grin>

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  17. Reread what I wrote James. I was calling on my own superficiality and wasn't taking a knock at women at all.

    But out of the two dozen + females I've had as regular players since I was in my late teens I don't think any of them ever created a character that was much older than their early 30's. I don't think that is superficial at all, but it's the truth of it. They weren't always beautiful and boxum, but they certainly never rolled up a crone.

    For all I know that is an NPC guiding the fighter in that pic (charm person?), so it's cool. It's just that if it's meant to be a character, having her be a lady in her 60's wearing peasant garb is a strange change-up to me. IMHO. Perhaps others will find it barrier-breaking or thinking outside the box or whatever. Most of your readers seem pre-sold on anything you show at this point, but on this point I just differ from the majority. Mob rules.

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  18. Maybe the fighter's a woman? It would be hard to tell under all that metal.

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  19. I continue to be knocked out by the artwork! This piece is absolutely exellent.

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  20. >>Reverance Pavane

    "A bascinet (or open-faced) helm gives much better protection"

    Erm, an open-faced helm doesn't give much better protection that a great helm by its very nature of being open-faced. :)

    Also, as a confirmed pedant :) I feel the need to point out that historically bascinets are a later time period than great helms.

    Of course, d&d (and fantasy rpgs generally) are notorious for lumping together arms and armour from different time periods

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  21. My last character was a 63 year-old cleric who drank too much booze. He was great - he thought maybe if he went adventuring, he might be able to salvage his crappy career as a holy man. Heh!

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  22. So what you're saying is that women are shallow and superficial and would never play a character who isn't young and beautiful?

    I've never played an unattractive character, nor have any of my girlfriends... so for the most part yes. Not always necessarily beautiful, but always at least somewhat cute or attractive... and in my experience hardly anyone makes an adventurer who isn't young.

    As to the art itself I do have to agree with brunomac... It may just be my late entry into the hobby, but the whole "ren-faire" look that seems to be in vogue to the old-school community just looks... silly to me, particularly in conjunction with the idea that old-school play is a little grittier and more mercenary. A certain amount of stylization to make adventurers look cool is a good thing. I'm not saying full dungeonpunk, but...

    Well... look at Johnny Weismuller in a pair of brown trunks, Errol Flynn in a green unitard and felt jerkin, or Burt Ward in elf booties and green underwear.
    Now look at Tarzan as drawn by Disney, Jonas Armstrong with a cowl and leather armor, or Robin as drawn throughout the 90s and oughts.
    Which one looks more like a reject from a panto, and which one looks like someone that knows how to throw down? Keep in mind I'm not asking what's more accurate to the text (Tarzan) or the period (Robin Hood), I'm just saying that they look more like they might be taken seriously, without being excessive at that.

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  23. Rach, I don't say so because you agree with me to a degree, but damn you are wise beyond your years. I wish I could put it as well as you do. All those updates you mention were great.

    Going forward without losing what is good about the subject. Heaven forbid, even adding to what is great about it.

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  24. @Red Cardinal: I do disagree, since it allows you better visibility in what is already a very limited visibility situation. [This allows you to block and parry much more effectively. Of course I'm assuming that a fighter knows how to use his armour and weapons to best effect, rather than just stand there and take it.]

    Sure people can thrust toward the face, but your instincts actually help protect in that situation (and would provoke the same shield response anyway). So, you are slightly more vulnerable to an archer's critical hit. I'd take the extra visibility any day.

    But more importantly it allows you to see a lot more of what's happening outside of combat, which greatly increases your survivability in the dungeon environment. Hence, less likelihood of taking damage, hence better protection. <grin>

    As for the time periods, well, I agree we are talking D&D here. And I suspect that in a magical universe where magic armour exists the art of metallurgy is going to be much more advanced (after all, it was the basis of the magical aspects of alchemy in ours), and thus it is more likely to be produced earlier in the "ahistorical record," and for much the same reasons. The great helm has the simple attribute that it was easy to produce with quite primitive metalworking techniques.

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  25. @Bruno,

    I think your looking at the picture in the wrong way: Instead of asking how the hell would this old magic user lady be exploring the dungeons of Dwimmermont, you should be thinking what could be the reason she's there at all. Obviously the knight is acting as her guardian and it looks like they're not just rummaging around killing uglies and taking their stuff, but on a mission of some sort that only they know. I don't know if James has any plans of making those two as NPC's, but I certainly will. It's not only a a good illustration but makes you think a bit.

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  26. Iron: nice that I could be looking at it the wrong way, while you have it all figured out with zero evidence to anything you said. But still...all sooooooooo obvious.

    If this gets you thinkin', then some actual unique and inspiring artwork must make your melon explode like in Scanners. Like I said, many of JM's readers are pre-sold, so stick figures going down a dungeon would probably get a nice round of golf clapping going on here.

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  27. If this gets you thinkin', then some actual unique and inspiring artwork must make your melon explode like in Scanners. Like I said, many of JM's readers are pre-sold, so stick figures going down a dungeon would probably get a nice round of golf clapping going on here.

    I'm sure there are plenty of other blogs out there you can visit, if the atmosphere here doesn't meet your high standards of creativity and open mindedness. It grows tiresome when every single comment you make is contrarian to no good purpose. I get it: you're a freethinker who's "grown beyond" of all this stuff we silly fuddy-duddies somehow still think is cool. Great. Move on and leave us to our delusions.

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  28. Bruno: Thank you. I'm practically blushing.

    James: I can say that I'd probably enjoy the occasional bit of stick-figure art, myself. One thing I am very fond of about old-school art is there being room for many different styles and interpretations of the same subject matter in the same book. Modern RPGs tend to have more unified illustrations that tend to all kind of feel similar, even if I do think they have a more exciting style. As a matter of fact the 4e "Player's Strategy Guide" supplement was that it had some more offbeat artistic choices, including a few pieces (as well as the cover) being done by Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade.

    As always I don't wish to seem contrarian, but I like that I have a different, more new-school viewpoint and I hope that it proves useful to James and the readers of this blog in making their game the best it can be by offering a contrasting opinion to think critically about.

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  29. I'm sorry you see negative in all the comments I've made, present and past, but in reality most have been of a positive bent towards you. But I guess when all you hear is applause for so long, even the smallest disagreement of styles is going to be viewed by you as a scathing YDIS jab, especially if it's in your own comments area that you obviously want to keep "pure."

    If ass-kissing sycophant action is what you are seeking, then yeah, you won't get it from me. But you've got plenty of people using words “outstanding," "fantastic," and "knocked-out" for what seems to me an obsession with same-old same-old. I would think you'd welcome the occasional dissenting opinion just to be "open-minded," or at least to be humble to some degree. Or at least to avoid an embarresment of booty smooch riches.

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  30. When you make a picture, not everyone's gonna like it.

    However the only reason I can think of to actually go ahead and comment on it would be:

    -to encourage an artist if you do like what they do, or

    -voice some point of view that should matter to the person making/showing the work and make them think about changing something, (like "I can;t tell what that thing on the left is")

    Nothing about any of this is more than "I personally don't like this picture" or "I don;t think some other person will like it".

    Unless James is trying to make huge $$$$ off this project by selling to people with sensibilities unlike his own (which he isn't) then he has no reason to care if you like it or not. If you do like it that's great, that's encouraging--it's helpful in this discouraging world to say something encouraging, if you don't it accomplishes nothing to register your opinion if it has no constructive suggestion embedded in it.

    "James you could maybe get some more girls to play in your dungeon if the girl was drawn different" doesn't actually help unless James cares all that much who buys the dungeon.

    That's the awesome thing about the hobby business--you only have to please you and people like you.

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  31. it accomplishes nothing to register your opinion if it has no constructive suggestion embedded in it.

    Indeed. I've never understood the need of people to drop by a blog or forum to post variations on "I don't like it" when, clearly, others do. There's nothing useful in that kind of comment and it only serves to generate negativity where there was no need for it.

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  32. Right:"Hey corporation with a market monopoly on a form of entertainment and therefore major cultural impact over decades of children, take all races genders colors and creeds into account when you make things!"

    Wrong:"Hey guy who is printing 2000 of something in his basement and maybe selling 400 of them if he's lucky (while his wife yells at him to get off the damn Mac) to like-minded folk because he loves it and it's his major and perhaps only source of creative expression, fuck what you want---make it the way I want because most people are like me and it's your responsibility to Grow The Hobby!"

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  33. How's the Fighter going to get that door open, when his hands are full with sword & shield? >:)

    Zak S:
    "Right:"Hey corporation with a market monopoly on a form of entertainment and therefore major cultural impact over decades of children, take all races genders colors and creeds into account when you make things!"

    I find that corporate attitude incredibly annoying, personally. If Tolkien had done that, LoTR would have sucked. If REH had done that, Conan's Hyborea would have sucked, etc.

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  34. @S'mon

    You missed the point:

    those guys weren't companies, they were artists.

    Besides: I didn't say the companies should listen, I just said that that it wasn't totally pointless to bitch at them and at least ask them to listen to you. They publish a variety for things, they may be able to make room for you by hiring ADDITIONAL artists and writers who are more up your alley.

    Unlike bitching at artists and writers, which is totally pointless. They gotta make what they make.

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  35. Like: if you're Random House: publish RE Howard. By all means. But publish Chester Himes too.

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  36. "How's the Fighter going to get that door open, when his hands are full with sword & shield? >:)"

    It's simple: he's going to kick the door in.

    Nice art by the way, Mark Allen is my favourite in black & white.

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  37. I also have a problem with the art, and it is the same problem I have with fantasy when it becomes generic: it is interchangeable and devoid of its own character.

    The man is a knight, the woman is a crone, the stair is a stair and the door is a door. All four are almost improbably generic representatives of an idea. That door right there is the generic fantasiest door one could draw, the kind you find in Ye Olde Englande-themed restaurants. Its "fantasy doorness" is unchallenging and obvious. As a piece of artwork, this one does not suggest, does not invoke, does not add, it only describes. It says, "two adventurers, an armoured knight and an old crone, descend into a dungeon on a winding staircase, terminating in an old door". There is nothing more in it. As a result, the scene is technically proficient, but flat and easy to forget. There is no reason for it to exist other than break up text and consume white space.

    That does not mean I consistently want art with Otus-inspired weirdness (when that becomes a genre, it produces its own generica, some of it http://lotfp.blogspot.com/2010/02/furious-rant-in-pictures.html actually done by Erol when trying to imitate himself). Rather, I want art that goes beyond the repetition of general fantasy images. Even art depicting the vanillaest AD&D campaign can be good art: Trampier's graphics worked from the same pseudo-mediaeval imagery as this illustration, but he added a scruffy aesthetic to his characters. David Sutherland, another TSR alumnus, infused his work with a comic book-like dynamism and an amateur charm. Therefore, their artwork is memorable even when some of it was technically sub-par.

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  38. I'd like to point out that I did not make an attack on the artist, actually I like his style that I see on his website (there's what seems to me like actual art genius there in a sketch of London bobbies coming up on Jack the Ripper that I like a lot). I don't attack artists, but I do bitch sometimes on what they are given to work with.

    Although for some reason I find it weird almost to the point of disturbing when somebody would want no dissenting opinions on a blog about games, but if it's your house I guess you can shout out rules about it. But to say it has no meaning or doesn't add (especially the very weird defense of "he's just a guy in the basement printing out small runs on his own dime so leave-em alone!"), well, my chiming in got another couple of people to speak up with their alternative opiniions, and to me that is doing something worthwhile...people discussing something in a thread. "Wow - that's amazing!" is not great conversation to me. Guys like James R. at LOTFP seem to actually thrive on alternative, sometimes to the negative, views on his work. I'm getting more respect for people like that the more I see of it.

    But James, I will say this in all honesty, at least you don't delete out the negative comments which some others actually do.

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  39. @Bruno

    Here's James:

    "Hey guys, I'm making some steak and eggs to eat. There's enough for everybody so if you want some you can have it."

    A handful of people:

    "Yay! Eggs!"

    You:

    "I don;t like eggs, I don't think some girls I know will like eggs, and, furthermore, all you people are a mob for saying you like them"

    "Ummm....we should care why? And we're a mob why?"

    "Whatever, man, you're stifling my dissenting opinion!"

    ______________________

    Did you honestly, totally, completely, no shit, -entirely- miss the part of all the stuff posted before where the explicit criteria for making posting your "dissenting opinion" worthwhile is that you do it for a reason?

    Nothing in any of your posts includes a -reason- why JM should care about what you think. (Or why a handful of people who disagree with you and are trying to encourage an egg-making guy are a 'mob'.)

    Include one, then you've earned your right to have your "dissenting opinion" be worth typing out.

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  40. Like, do you see this as just a "dissenting opinion"?:

    "Like I said, many of JM's readers are pre-sold, so stick figures going down a dungeon would probably get a nice round of golf clapping going on here."

    That's just pissing on people for liking something you don't.

    And James called you on it--and that's when it got nasty.

    And you'll go "Well, jeez can't you guys take a joke?"

    Really, of all the human beings on planet earth to direct your razor wit toward, why do you pick a dozen people who are fans of a goddamn person making a goddamn aid for a goddamn game hardly anyone anyone plays?

    Do you pull a Simon Cowell whenever you pass a music student playing a cello on the street for nickels?

    "Hey, you suck!"

    "Fuck off!"

    "This is America I have a right to a dissenting opinion you tyrant!"

    Yeah: you are totally allowed to have an opinion.

    And the rest of the world is totally allowed to ask you what the fuck your opinion has to do with anything important to them.

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  41. Zak, calm your nerd rage. I can't really answer you with a straight face, becuase while you rant about this subject here, over at LOTFP you're calling dissenting opinions gold and having a good time with it and suggests it moves product. Why not here? Because it doesn't match what you currently want to say and the point you are angrily trying to make. Helluva two-faced huckster, dude. Stop trying to be the angry girlfriend to the guys with blogs you like, getting in the face of a guy at the bar talking mess to your man. Offer James the respect of letting him have the rebuttal, rather than you're raging bitch-on.

    No, I don't do a Simon Cowell number on anyone, but I do know what I like and what I don't. I've praised plenty of things James posts over the years, and don't shit or piss on anything he does. I don't think knocking what I don't like about a particular piece of art is that shitty. That going so far is an attempt at bad humor is pissing on it, well, he made his point personally to me and quite well. Seeing as YDIS (which seems to have vanished, which I'd like to know more about) targeted James with an especially assholish post last week, I can for sure see how my timing was pretty bad, and I should have tried to be more like Rach in my critism. If my humor mixed in fails, then it's on me. For that James, I apologize.



    On another subject, I would like to thank those of you who contacted me with congrats on the sweet Caddyshack reference. At least I got a couple laughs in the midst of my harshness. Happy Halloween all (even you Zak).

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  42. "I can for sure see how my timing was pretty bad, and I should have tried to be more like Rach in my critism. "

    Great.

    Good.

    There you go.

    That's all you had to say.
    ___________
    Advice:

    Stop trying to make jokes. Or work on them harder.

    Calling me an "angry girlfriend" and a "huckster" is just doing the same thing all over again.
    _________

    As for two-faced:

    If you can't simultaneously make noise about something you care about

    -and-

    realize that noise moves product

    -and-

    make a joke about it.

    Then you are really not grasping the Southern California lifestyle.

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  43. Look, I've never been a big OS fan. I've got a lot of respect for the OSR because I really believe, especially with the release of 4e (which I detest), that we need to go back and examine the origins of role-playing (particularly with D&D). I don't comment often, but I feel the need to throw my own two pennies into the mix.

    One of the biggest issues I have with the OSR, though, is the outright worship of all things OS. I'm sorry, although I enjoy a lot of the OS elements, I find the art generally uninspiring, especially when compared to the later 2E period. This picture that was posted isn't bad, but it is not equal to Elmore. Sorry, Trampier's art is good but it isn't equal to Elmore either. The angles, poses, and overall framing of most OS artwork is primitive, frankly. I'm not trying to say that Trampier or other OS artists suck--indeed, they're far more capable artists than I will ever be. However, I do not see the excessive virtues that many OS fans seem to attribute to it.

    I agree with Rach and Brunomac whole-heartedly. And I do believe that almost everybody on this comment thread is misunderstanding Brunomac's complaint (perhaps purposely). Brunomac is threatening something that has become a sort of sacred cow, especially here on Grognardia. And I believe that sacred cows SHOULD be threatened. Self-examination and self-criticism is a virtue. OS art has a strong nostalgia appeal, but if some people are growing tired of it and desiring different artwork and say as much, construing it as an ad hominem attack and responding in kind indicates that many OSR reformers are becoming ossified in their tastes and have a deeply vested interest in not having their bubbles burst. What Brunomac seems to be addressing (and the point that everyone seems to be missing because they're all too busy being offended) is that artistic tastes ARE becoming ossified and he's tired of it. By pointing out the flaws in the artwork, he's not criticizing the artist, but the art and indicating why he's tired of it.

    One of the first things I learned in college was that one cannot identify too closely with one's work because IT WILL BE CRITICIZED and if one's work doesn't get thoroughly assessed one's style and skill will never improve. Indeed, if one only is praised, even for mediocrity, then mediocrity is all they'll ever deliver.

    If you guys are all so immature as to take offense, I'm sorry but I thought we were all adults here. Let's please act like it and stop taking this stuff so personally.

    As for the criticisms regarding the female in the picture... please. I mean, frankly, the straw-man was absolutely PATHETIC. I'm surprised Brunomac actually confronted it. It's a non-point. You guys basically latched on to an aspect of his argument and purposely blew it up in order to make him appear to have said something he didn't and imply that he's sexist. Straw-man attacks and ad hominem sophistry don't make you right. They just make you bad at making a logical argument. We should be above this sort of thing. We are not enemies. At least, I'd like to think we aren't.

    Mark's picture isn't bad. It's good. I like it. It's actually superior to a lot of OS art I've seen in OS materials. It's well shaded and the artist really captures the three-dimensional depth of the passage leading up the stairs. I like that.

    However, it is indicative of a style that I find is getting beaten to death. The angle of the picture is perfectly flat and the positions of the characters look a bit stiff. The subject is excessively typical for the OS. I'd like to see something a bit more creative. Since Dwimmermount grew out of an attempt to run a sort of Platonic ideal of an OS game, that's not necessarily a weakness, admittedly. The problems with the art don't mean Mark did a shitty job. It means he can improve; he should improve; life is about improvement.

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  44. @Dave Cesarano

    You said:

    "Trampier's art is good but it isn't equal to Elmore either."

    As if it was a fact.

    Bruno said:

    "Like I said, many of JM's readers are pre-sold, so stick figures going down a dungeon would probably get a nice round of golf clapping going on here."

    (which was inexcusable--then admitted:)

    "If my humor mixed in fails, then it's on me."
    ________________

    Pretending everyone's complaining "Oh no criticism" is a strawman argument.

    The problem is there's a way to make your view known in a helpful way, and there's a way to make your view known

    as.
    if,
    it.
    never.
    occurred.
    to.
    you.
    that.
    other.
    people.
    aren't.
    all.
    like.
    you.

    Which is what is happening here.

    And it's not helpful because instead of highlighting your ideas, it highlights you.

    So: Dave, improve. You should improve; life is about improvement.

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  45. @bruno

    "...while the trust fund non-LA.."

    I suppose if I fact-check this you'll just say it was one of your famous "jokes".

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  46. That's cool Zak, I have sort of hit my "reading drama queen meltdowns" limit for the month.

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  47. Then, hey, don't make frat boy jokes about your favorite blogger and his readers because he goes into a little back-and-forth with you

    -and-

    don't make a personal attack on one of my best friends out of nowhere based on nothing more than "you heard her name and occupation"

    Because those things are what is going to make me notice that you are acting like a jerk on the internet.

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  48. So: Dave, improve. You should improve; life is about improvement<<<

    So is your comment to Dave to "improve" a "joke", or are you just that into being a pretentious, arrogant dick?

    I said I wanted to go ahead and try to leave the negative behind in James comments (not because of your meltdown, but out of respect to him) butyou know what dude? Despite how unsavory you find my words, Dave was not insulting to you, James, or anybody here. Insulting him over his fairly insightful and respectful comments just because he calls you on your overly dramatic bitching over all this shows you for what you really are. It takes away any of the meaning your ranting anger may have had. Jeez dude. Save your bile for me if I'm the one you're having a problem with.

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  49. All,

    While I understand that things can sometimes get a little heated in these conversations, I'm going to step in here and remind everyone that, while it's OK to criticize ideas, it's definitely not OK to criticize people. Disagree all you want amongst yourselves and/or with me, but doing so politely and without resorting to veiled or not-so veiled attacks on others is far more likely to get your point across.

    As for art, I'm too old to argue about it as if doing so could somehow change anyone's opinions about what they like. But I do know what I like and that's what I've commissioned and will continue to commission. If others like it, too, awesome. If they don't, c'est la vie. The great thing about old school gaming is that it's not about any single thing and, for every stodgy old stick in the mud like mean, there are plenty of others going out on a limb to do other things. If you're expecting neophilia or avant-gardism at a blog called Grognardia, you're going to be in for a disappointment.

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  50. I get it James, and again I apologize for starting any mess with how I went about expressing my opinion. I don't think my opinion matters that much in the grand or small scheme, but as a three-year reader of your blog, and having been originally inspired by it to put myself out there as a blogger. I maybe felt a little overly entitled/aggresive in putting my personal feeling out there. Sort of like picking on a best friend, something like that can get too comfortable.

    Again, I like the artist. And I understand and truly believe you are sharing your stuff just out of joy of sharing it. Your a writer, so a bit of payback for costs is understandable and makes sense.

    Like I said, I'll try to keep it to the positive (or at least leave out "frat boy" stuff as best I can) from here on in, and if I want to go ape-sh*t over something I'll do it at my little blog which doesn't get much attention anyway.

    Safe Halloween to you and your family. Enjoy that Drac flick and have Snickers-fueled dreams of classic horror! Peace.

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  51. I like the piece as a tongue-in-cheek fond reference to the dodgy fantasy artwork of long ago. As a serious piece of illustration the concept and execution is decent highschool.

    Here's my question, is the effusive praise mostly on show here in appreciation of the inherent self-parody or is it for reals?

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  52. Here's my question, is the effusive praise mostly on show here in appreciation of the inherent self-parody or is it for reals?

    "Inherent self-parody?" Are you "for reals?"

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  53. Hi James, Thanks for your reply. I looked at the art again and realise it is actually very good independent of any critical perspective. Apologies for my earlier post.

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  54. I like the style, like the (arguably) appropriate armour and gear, I just wish there was something else. Some drama, some suspense.

    Almost all the old pictures that ever stuck with me had something going on. The dwarves looking at the magic mouth in the old player's handbook is a perfect example of what I am talking about. They made me to wish I was playing in the campaign that I assumed (as a kid) inspired them.

    Even something peering around the tunnel behind them would help (and could still be added in). Anyway I like the artist, will definitely be supporting this product and buying it but that's my feedback even if you don't want it.

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  55. I find it amazing that this one image, which is a single small piece out of many that'll be included in an upcoming Dwimmermount product, continues to generate such comment. The fact is that this illustration looks the way it does because I asked Mark to draw it this way. It's meant to be both a call-back to the art of the past and a subtle indictment to the art of the present, where all the women are young and beautiful and all the warriors wear spiky armor with lots of buckles and no helmets.

    Like or don't like, I don't care, but please don't criticize Mark either for his artistic ability or the lack of "drama" in the piece. He drew the illo the way I wanted it drawn, so any criticism of it should be directed at me, not him -- and you already know my feelings on the piece.

    Seriously, guys, this is one illustration where I decided to have some fun by playing with the past and poking fun at the present and everyone goes ballistic over it. The mind boggles.

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  56. "it's OK to criticize ideas, it's definitely not OK to criticize people. Disagree all you want amongst yourselves and/or with me"

    This really is a super attitude for a blog where rational discussion can be cultivated without cheap personal bias interfering. Thumbs u

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  57. As to youth... well, I think there's a logical basis for it. Adventuring is strenuous activity and above a certain age one's body may find it difficult to keep up. Same reason you don't see a lot of people in their 60s decide to start climbing rocks or spelunking or stuff.
    The armor on the fighter I like more than I initially did, but I still feel it looks... plain. Wear and tear from being used, etchings on the greaves and gauntlets, a fantasy creature on the tabard instead of just a lion... something like that would help it, in my opinion, to stand out.

    Shit, I'd love to see a knight with a Displacer Beast on his heraldry, that screams flavor to me. Perhaps his ancestor was quite brilliant at dodging death blows.

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