Apr 20, 2010

D&D Comics News - The Old and the New

There's been some recent news regarding D&D Comics that not everyone may have seen.

Recently, there was a post on the blog Das-Ubernerd. The post included scans of some very early TSR (those were the folks who made D&D a lot time ago, go ask your parents or the old heavy set guy at your local game store) ads. The ads were for the Dungeons and Dragons game and appeared in the form of a full single page comic.

Subsequent pages would continue the story of a band of adventurers in a dungeon. The artwork is awful, as is the dialog and plot, but I think these are the earliest D&D "comics", not to mention a great look into what the hobby was like back then--each ad includes a little order form to be sent through the mail to receive a full-color catalog; a far cry from the flash-movie, order-now and get next-day delivery world we currently live in.

The other bit of comic news is much more recent. It seems as though IDW, a leading comic book publisher, has the rights to do new D&D comics. They plan to do a Forgotten Realms book, a core world book (whatever THAT means), and a Dark Sun book. Additionally, there's rumor that the comics may also be made available for the recently released Apple iPad, giving me one more reason to break my resolve and get a Pad before a 2.0 version of the product.

I'm excited for the new comics, especially Dark Sun, which is the new campaign setting that will be released later this year, but I'm also a bit sad that they won't be picking up where the Devil's Due Publishing left off--they were in the middle of the Legends trilogy, as well as adapting various story stories for the Worlds of D&D comic.

Hopefully IDW will have better success, and (more importantly) a better run company, allowing Dragonlance comics to return to print in the near future.

For the old-school ads/comics, check them out for yourself on the Das-Ubernerd blog.

Apr 5, 2010

LEGO Inspiration for a Dungeon Master

As I've mentioned before, I'm a big fan of LEGO, and on more than one occasion used LEGO elements in my game, from scenery pieces, to my LEGO centaur, as needed.

A few months ago, I attended Brickfair, spending a lot of time in the "castle" area and taking plenty of pictures. While many of them did not turn out as I hoped (I'm a better DM than I am a photographer, at least I hope so), I did pull a few out that I think I'll be looking at again as inspiration.

This person's layout was huge! I could have shot several dozen photos trying to capture all the elements, for example, the forest leads into an agricultural area, leading into a city, castle, port, ocean... you get the picture.

I took pictures of the trees because that's one Lego element I like to incorporate in my games. As much as I like dungeon tiles and terrain maps, for trees and rocks, and other obstacles, they don't convey the full scope of the battlefield the way 3-d elements do, and LEGO trees, like the ones seen here, should be easy to make, and can be made various sizes and foliage depending on the type of forest needed.

This photo I include for a different type of inspiration. Instead of just looking for common 3-D elements I want for my game; this scene, with a huge battle wagon and undead minions fighting a group of knights is a great inspiration for the finale battle of a module or whole campaign.

Just looking at this scene, I can start to see key elements of battle, such as the small, riderless flying creatures around the battle wagon--are they air support for the undead, or allies of the forces of good? and the fire behind the death head symbol, is that a mass projectile or just the rallying symbol for the troops... and what's inside, powering this vehicle, a team of ogres? a giant? a dragon? It's all up to the DM to decide...

... and it's good to be the DM!