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James V West
I roll 7 on the floor of the sea and feel the perfect water washing over me.
I roll 7 on the floor of the sea and feel the perfect water washing over me.
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DCC RPG character sheet finished. Probably going on the back cover of Black Pudding #6.
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Working on a DCC RPG character sheet. Didn't plan on it. I'm in a life funk right now and when I can sit and make ANYTHING happen, I'm happy about it. This is looking cool so far, I think.
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Conan and Belit, by the incredible Stephen Fabian.

First, Stephan Fabian is just beyond phenomenal. All the work he did for D&D products were fabulous, even if some of those late-era TSR products weren't the best.

But regarding Conan...

I've been listening to this audiobook:

http://pulp-lit.com/270.html

"This collection contains all of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Cimmerian stories published during his lifetime, contextualized with biographical details of their author."

I'm in the middle of "Queen of the Black Coast", which is where we get Belit. Although I had read some stories years ago when I was a teen, such as "Tower of the Elephant" and "Rogues in the House", most of REH's Conan tales are new to me (not counting comic book adaptations). I have some thoughts about them.

I always forget just how culturally specific these old authors are. In fact ALL authors have this potential problem. We all have bias. With Howard and with most of the heroic action pulp writers (I'm thinking of Burroughs specifically) there is this ideal superman character that we're following along with. This superman is better than other men at nearly everything, but in particular he is better at being a MAN. That is, he does action best.

Conan cannot be matched in prowess or strength. John Carter was unmatched in those categories as well. These characters are clever, capable of intuiting things and figuring things out even better in most cases than the less-human cultures they encountered. In the case of Conan, there is the added element of his barbarism. Conan is not civilized and Howard makes sure you never forget this fact. Conan doesn't fight like a trained soldier, he fights like an elemental force of nature. Animal instinct, wild rage, and pumping red blood make him nearly unstoppable, especially against any enemy coming from civilized sources.

This drove me nuts when reading "A Princess of Mars". I almost laughed out loud at a few points because John Carter's ability scores must have been all 17 or 19 (that Martian gravity helped). I was remembering junior high when I was trying to run my first D&D game and my friend was dismayed because he rolled some ability scores that were less than 18. I imagine John Carter was that kid's favorite dude.

It isn't quite a bad with REH. It's funny to hear him describe Conan as a lion, tiger, panther, bull, or ox each time he wants to impress you with Conan's prowess. But it's cool. I have always loved Conan so this is a guilty pleasure for me. I'm also OK with the overt sexism because hey... the poor bastard killed himself like 80 years ago and I'm not going to lecture him about how women don't necessarily swoon every time they are faced with danger.

My favorite bit so far is when, in "Queen of the Black Coast", he describes to a ship captain how he split the skull of a judge because clearly the judge and all the officials around him were insane. I actually did laugh at that part, in a good way. I also love how Conan is always accompanied by a lovely lady. He could be lost in an impenetrable wilderness a thousand miles from the nearest city and he would find a hot chick.

Anyway... none of that is why I was posting this glorious image.

I was thinking about the fact that Belit is a killer. Pirates are described in Howard's world as raiders. They literally steal, rape, and murder and yet there is some kind of nobility to them. Conan, whose sense of honor and fairness is pretty intense, allies with and becomes a pirate at times. Does that mean Conan is going to pull alongside a fishing vessel and murder the crew to steal their stuff? What about making landfall near a village and slaughtering everyone, stealing the women to rape, taking slaves... none of that seems to compliment the brooding noble savage character that I have in my head.

I only just got to the part where Belit stops her crew from killing Conan so maybe Howard addresses this. Maybe Conan is never described as engaging in rape and murder. I don't know. So far Howard has carefully NOT included Conan directly in such activities but he has definitely put Conan into a position of being involved, if it should come up.

#meanderingthoughtsaboutoldstories
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Who is the artist? The band is called KIND... which is a terrible name for a band if you want to be searched out online!!

The cover is wicked. Looks like some anthropomorphic space rangers crash landed. Totally Star Frontiers or Albedo. Or TMNT and Other Strangeness.

Anyone know the artist? Alexander von.... V something.

EDIT: Alexander von Wieding is the answer.

https://www.artflakes.com/en/shop/zeichentier
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Zarp failing a stealth check.

I'm trying to remember when I created this character. Definitely between 2000 and 2002. If I remember correctly, I came up with a setting name for a game idea and shortened it to Zarp, which became this character instead of a setting. I did a bunch of short comics featuring this guy. Some of you out there might still have copies lying around in the dusty corners of your dungeons.
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Still around. Look me up when the ship goes down. Add my blog to your RSS thingies. Follow, like, friend, comment, or tell me to go to hell. Or not.
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Blast from the past! This is my art for the cover of Goodman Games' DCC RPG tournament module Death by Nexus! Some familiar faces there in the crowd such as Yddgrrl and Bobugbubilz. But also I slipped in my own DCC patron Hella Nor. If you met me at Gary Con lo these long years ago you might have been given a little mini patron book featuring the devil girl.

Hey... this would be a blast to color!
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I lost my mind twenty times a year!

WTF does that mean??

Never unchain the night, bucko. That's what that shit means.

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See? I even did a god damn cover mock up. Shit, looking at old files, I did a LOT of noodling and doodling on this idea. Who doesn't love elfs and boobies?

I might be an old motherfucker but I feel 13 sometimes. And I like it.

(NOTE: This is not a finished thing. I don't have a book. I have an idea for a book. Ideas are glorious. Ideas are the backbone of RPGs. The reason I fell headlong and lifelong in love with RPGs is because of their potential not their actuality. This is the same reason I always loved browsing the stationary and pens more than the toys.)
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Someday.... some motherfucking bloody day.
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