Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An Update to the Death Ray

Welcome to the new look of the blog. Check out the killer picture by Russ Nicholson. I love the detail in this image. Just look at those alien reliefs on the wall through the archway. And of course, the EHP wasting that pesky adventurer with the sickly purple death ray is de rigueur.

Russ has been working with me on projects for Calific, my new gaming company. The company's web site will launch next week. I'll post more about this later.

System Change

I can't seem to stick with any particular set of rules for very long. The current campaign started out with OD&D, got house ruled, and eventually sidelined for a heavily modified Holmes, which I named Holmes YX. Now I've gone and switched to Swords & Wizardry Core Rules. There are a lot of reasons behind this move. Publicly, I'll just say that now there's a vehicle for making available some of those YX rules I spent so much time developing.

I've also been doing a fair amount of work designing a new pantheon of deities for an update to the Yezmyr campaign. I'm quite pleased with the results thus far, and that really gives me pause, I had dropped clerics from play earlier in the year. Now I am reconsidering that move. Primarily, there is the fact that three of my players really run with the strange gods I tend to create. Why should I take that away from them. Moreover, S&W Core supports clerics and I really want to keep my S&W Core support full and clean.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I'm swamped with writing tasks at the moment, so here's another old map from the pile. This one is a medieval Russian fantasy map of the environs of Dyerevshpil (which should translate to "Woodspire"), a covenant of magi located deep within the heart of Kievan Rus'.

We gamed with this map back in 1993. An acquaintance who was studying Russian at the time provided me with all the translations for the place names. I've since lost the original list of place names and associated translations. It matters not, as you don't need to be able to read Russian to understand the threat of this map. There are undoubtedly trolls, dragons, hostile villagers, monks, and witches depicted thereupon. (And for the record, I didn't once think of Baba Yaga while working on this particular map.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Eyrie of Eirik the Elder

Copyright © 2010, Ramsey Dow. All Rights Reserved.

Here's a map I drew maybe eighteen years ago. It's the tower of an old spell caster of mine, Eirik the Elder. Eirik specialized in controlling the winds.

What's most interesting to me about this map is that I can really see the level of influence Terry K. Amthor had on me in earlier years. No doubt it was all those wonderful Middle Earth adventures put out by Iron Crown Enterprises back in the day. Those things were filled with TKA's maps. I didn't play MERP all that much, but I sure read the hell out of all those old ICE adventures. In any case, I still really enjoy this style of map. It draws a stark contrast to the curtain wall approach employed by the upper level geomorphs of TSR.

Looking at this map I realize that I never actually keyed it up. Alas, most of the details regarding the place have been lost to the vestiges of time. Still, seeing this again after so many years makes me want to redraw it and key it up, this time perhaps as the tower of some fell wizard.