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1  Products / Mistborn Adventure Game / Re: Pronounciation of "Sazed" on: January 10, 2012, 08:37:45 PM
At first I pronounced it "sah-zed", then I learned that Brandon pronounces it "say-zed", which kinda ended the debate for me. "Word of God" and all that.

It does make more sense when fitting it with the shortened form, which is pronounced as it's spelled, to rhyme with "haze".
2  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Wanna see the Spellbound cover? on: June 13, 2011, 03:46:55 PM
The cover for Mistborn is much better, I promise. I think with Spellbound I put a lot more attention into amusing details than I did into good lighting or paint technique.

There's a bunch of fun stuff in there, some of it is pretty subtle and I wonder if readers will make the connections, but it's hopefully the sort of illustration that inspires repeat examination.

3  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Gear and Weapons art on: April 30, 2010, 12:38:05 AM
I love drawing gear. The best way to get a high fantasy look without losing a sense of realism is to begin the design in real, historically accurate basis, and then work off that to create something which looks fantastical and factual at the same time.

Armor designs are always a trade off between protection and flexibility. The nice thing about fantasy is that you can imagine materials that allow for thinner, lighter metals or more intricate fittings.
4  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Ben McSweeney's art on: March 25, 2010, 04:00:53 PM
I may have cheated her hips high to make for the appearance of long legs. Heavy bosoms are heavy, though I think here I should have put in a touch of highlight on her belt to keep the shadow of her chest from blending into the shape of the breasts themselves.

As odd as it may seem, most of these pieces are now well over a year old (almost two in some cases), and predate my marathon graphic novel experience (still ongoing), which has done a world of good for my B&W drawing skills. I find it all too easy to pick out the mistakes in work that dates back more than a year.

5  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Ben McSweeney's art on: March 25, 2010, 05:33:55 AM
By the way folks, if there's any piece of mine in the books that you'd like to see in more detail, let me know and I'll see if I can post it either to DA or even here. So long as it's been published either in the core book or one of the modules, I think I'm free to post at least a net-resolution version of it online.

For example, as the subject of Ogres was raised:

I can't post everything, to catch 'em all you must buy the books of course! But so long as it's okay with Pat & Alex I'll see what I can do.  Cool
6  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Ben McSweeney's art on: March 24, 2010, 06:37:43 PM
There's also a supersized version of it that you can see in the ol' DA Gallery:

I'm fond the female Ogres myself. I don't know if it's exactly what was intended when Ogres were described to me, but nobody's complained so far.


And there should be some new posts related to the CtA artwork popping up there soon, now that the books are out.
7  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Questions on the era of FC guns. on: February 13, 2010, 03:45:18 PM
C'mon folks, we make up worlds, we're not bound by history. The original point (as I understood it) was questioning the legitimacy of firearms, possibly somewhat advanced firearms, in a Fantasy world.

What I was saying is that you can justify it, if you set down some ground rules to keep them from being overwhelming.

I mean, in a world with magic, one would wonder why a firearm is much better than say, a rod that shoots fireballs (presuming anyone could pick it up and use it with the right command word or whatever). Hell, a fireball-shooting-rod would probably come with less penalties attached. Perhaps a gun would work better in a magic-negating field, but perhaps it's more prone to mechanical failure.


The superiority of the sword in Japan well into the 19th century has a lot to do with ALL these factors. The authorities made possession of firearms a capital crime, even for people in authority (can't have the local lords stockpiling), the technology was largely impractical to the common warrior, and due to national isolation the actual weapons themselves were fairly rare. One man might have a gun, but that doesn't make him automatically superior to a man with a sword, unless the GM drops their end of the game.

A good example of this might be found in Kurosawa's Yojimbo, starring Toshiro Mifune. While one of the villains has a six-shooter that elevates his status amongst his cohorts, he's ultimately no match for a ronin armed with a kitchen knife and a battered katana.
8  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Questions on the era of FC guns. on: February 12, 2010, 10:47:17 PM
Indeed. One way I've treated in the past is that the gun is the weapon of a certain class, like the nobility or the samurai. To be in possession of one without the corresponding place in the social hierarchy is an executable offense (and if your society allows for a class like the samurai, where they have the right to judge and execute on the spot, that can be extra dangerous).
9  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Questions on the era of FC guns. on: February 10, 2010, 08:29:15 PM
Yep. Innovations in firearms tech tend to happen very quickly once a new trick is figured out, but then they tend to hold for a long time when a design is more-or-less perfected. If you can work out the metallurgy, engineering and chemistry, there's no reason semi-modern guns can't appear much earlier in history.

For instance, the revolvers of today are very similar to those from 150 years ago. Once you've invented cartridge ammunition and the double-action trigger, there's not much else to improve upon (unless you want to move up to semi/fully-automatic weapons).

One easy way to maintain control is to keep their manufacture and maintainance a specialized task. Even if you allow for the somewhat advanced revolver mechanism and cartridge ammunition; the ammunition should be incredibly expensive (discount if you save that brass), you need specialized equipment to re-load the cartridges (you HAVE to save the brass!), and it's likely to be prone to any number of mechanical failures (for instance, you have to disassemble and clean the weapon regularly to prevent things like a buildup of crud between the cylinder and the breech. Use the weapon too many times between cleanings, and the odds of it jamming go up quite fast).

There's also an ungodly cloud of smoke and stink that happens every time you fire a black-powder weapon. In close quarters with little air-flow, a handful of shots is going to make it hard to breathe or even see in very short time.

There's nothing wrong with having a special weapon like that... but it's use should and does come with penalties.
10  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Ben McSweeney's art on: February 10, 2010, 08:00:31 PM
I do, but very randomly. What usually happens is I pop up, comment here and there on interesting threads, come back to read replies, reply to replies as needed, and then stuff happens and I don't check in for a while.

I usually check DeviantArt at least once a day, though, I'm always easy to contact there.

I just wanted to say that I love his art and I hope he will illustrate other Crafty books as well. His attention to detail sometimes reminds me of Geof Darrow's. Well done, Ben Cool

Thank you! It's very gratifying to hear that people like the work, and I hope to keep doing this sort of stuff for as long as they'll keep paying me to do it.

Has he done any other members of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse?  His War is outstanding.

Thanks! I haven't done any more Horsemen illustrations, that particular piece was based on the main character from the video game Darksiders, designed by Joe Madureira. It was drawn for a monthly competition at, a comics-focused arts forum where I've been a member for 6-7 years. It's the second-most-likely place to find me online.

These days I'm mostly working on a graphic novel for Humouring the Fates (the production studio I work with), some freelance concept work for a certain fantasy author, and waiting for the next gig with Crafty!
11  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Questions on the era of FC guns. on: February 09, 2010, 07:08:38 PM
One of the times that I have wanted to strangle a player - I was mentioning the Colt Peacemaker revolver and he complained that he was interested in Victorian era weapons, not Wild West.... It had somehow escaped his notice that the Wild West was the Victorian era, just on a different continent....


The period we think of as "the Wild West" or "the Old West" can run anywhere from the mid 1800's (the "Great American Expansion" kicked off in the 1840's, the Gold Rush was around 1850) to around 1910.

The "Victorian Era" comprised the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to her death in 1901.

I suggest you use piano wire.
12  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Improvised hurled weapons on: February 09, 2010, 06:49:10 PM
Just to muddy up the works, wouldn't how the grappling hook is being thrown be important?

When throwing a grappling hook up to the top of a wall, you have it on the end of a rope, which you whip around in a circle a few times to build momentum, and you add to that when you toss it. Hence you could throw it up a few stories (30-40ft?). Of course, a lateral throw with that same momentum would go further, but in neither case are you just throwing it like you would a rock.

If that's the case, as an improvised weapon it's an unwieldy hunk of 3 or 4 (probably blunt) iron hooks welded, beaten and/or tied together, and I'd go by weight with the usual factors for improvised weapons.

Are you trying to hook something, or are you grabbing the nearest object and hurling it at someone's head? Is it on a rope, and does the person using it have experience with the hook as a tool?
13  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: That Pesky Lance on: February 09, 2010, 06:01:17 PM
If you're imagining a "lance" as a tourney weapon with a mounted plate ("vamplate") about 1/4 of the way up to shield the hand and prevent it from sliding up the shaft upon impact, then on the ground I would treat that as an improvised pike with a small penalty for awkward application.

That is, assuming you consider a "spear" to be a blade-tipped pole up to 10 feet long, and a "pike" as anything longer than that.

A lance can be used effectively without stirrups (according to Dr. Wiki, Byzantine cavalry used both overarm and couched long spears), but you might impose a check to prevent being dismounted violently if they actively use it in a charging attack.
14  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Cool things you notice about Fantasy Craft's art on: August 17, 2009, 09:11:58 PM
Thanks for the kind words, everyone! I'm glad that you enjoy the linework so much, I had a blast putting it together.

And I am a fiend for hiding stuff in the details. You've only scratched the surface so far, fellas. Some things were laid out in the descriptions (like the duel bribe), others I slipped in myself just for giggles. Not every drawing has a detail subtext or gag, but I like to put 'em in when I can. As an illustrator I often work my personal logo into drawings (sort of a second signature), and finding where those are hidden can be fun.

In retrospect I think using Henley's "Invictus" as the translated text was a mistake...  I enjoy the poem immensely, it's got a nice ominous, deep feel to it, but it is a real poem in the real world (public domain). I did check with Pat and Alex at the time and they allowed it, but in retrospect I probably should have just made up half a bit of some sort of nonsense spell or message. I was being self-indulgent. It's a bad habit.

At any rate, if you have any questions about the illustrations I drew I'll be happy to answer 'em. I check the board every few days just to see what's up with the game, and of course I'm easily contacted through DA.

And hey, I'm not the only artist there either! I hadn't seen the rest of the work until the book came out, I'm in good company with the other artists who put in their time on the book. There's some great stuff I wish I had drawn.

15  Products / Fantasy Craft / Re: Anti-dungeons on: June 17, 2009, 02:28:54 AM
Google Image Search. Learn it, love it.

There was a show on the History Channel called "Cities of the Underworld" that was a wealth of hooks for buried cities. It's surprising how often we build on top of old structures without really doing anything more than blocking them off. Ankh-Morpork is a great example of a fantasy city where this happens, but there's plenty of real ones.

In Edinburgh, Scotland, there is a 120-room underground complex built within a bridge/aqueduct, The South Bridge Catacombs. Originally built to house industry for the market district atop the bridge, it was abandoned and became a notorious red-light district and murderous slum before being cleared out. Nowadays it's a tourist trap and historical landmark, but you can imagine how a similar structure could house anything from the thieves quarter of a thriving city to the dungeon environment of an abandoned and ruined metropolis.

Another reason that an entire area of a city might be built over and sealed off is a plague. If the city is vertical and packed enough (perhaps it's geography restricts space and prevents sprawl), you could create a pretty interesting dungeon complex on the premise that at one point in the past, a plague swept through the city, and the government closed off and buried in an entire neighborhood, sealing the houses and bricking over the streets with the sick and dying inside.

100 years later, they're breaking out. MWAHAHAHAHA!!

Arches, aqueducts, vaults, basements, sewers, buildings with sufficient strength to withstand burial, all provide excuses to create chambers and passages.
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