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Of Dysons & Doodles II

Still in the “I’m not sure what I’m doing with this, but I’m going to keep trying” phase of the Daily Drawings, I continued working in a variety of mediums and styles. I even went back to my partially-redrawn AD&D1e monster manual and added another illustration to it (the Giant Goat), while having fun with the OSR.

I also hit a few pieces I really like – the Defenders of the Obelisk at left here is probably my favourite early piece from this attempt at drawing stuff, and the Shunned One on the right (from the Empire of the Petal Throne RPG) made me realize that I was getting almost decent at this – certainly a lot better than my attempts at Drawlloween a few years ago.

Somewhere around the three week mark I started drawing dice. Dice are fun, and I had a lot of fun getting them all crinkly and weird and abused looking. These are pretty iconic of what I would love my “style” to be – Thick heavy bold lines detailed with little crunchy weird bits.

More dice (because everyone needs a natural 20 illustration at some point) and a return of the Gazing Beasts of Triumph Mesa – one of my cooler “monsters” from my B/X campaigns. I had a thing for various eyeball monsters like these and Obscene Eyes and of course Gibbering Mouthers.

And here the style from the dice starts to finally show up on other subjects. This kneeling imp is pretty much what I was trying to get to when I started this whole Daily Drawing exercise. A body shape that makes sense, bold lines, crinkly details… But I’ll keep experimenting as the days go on, with over 90 more drawings already done since these were drawn.

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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Of Dysons and Doodles

A few years ago I tried to take on #Inktober (or was it #Drawlloween?) with sharpies and pens and managed to get partway through the month before other things interfered. Last year I decided to map my way through Inktober & Mapvember (61 maps in 61 days – that’s a hefty chunk of the 150-170 maps I draw every year!).

So I bought some new sharpie markers (because I really like the freedom that comes with a fat black free-flowing marker) and decided I’d try drawing something, ANYTHING, every day. It started simple, with elements from the various games I was playing in (my cleric in the Monday Labyrinth Lord game I’m in runs an undead horse driven coach line, and my priest in the Tuesday NeoClassical Geek Revival game was talking about the might and majesty of Crom).

It didn’t take long (four days?) before I was adding detail work with my usual felt-tipped technical pens and exploring elements from a variety of games I am or have been involved in. And from that it wasn’t much of a leap into drawing stuff meant to go INTO those games and books. To try to work on a style that could be used for illustrations for games. Hell, to establish a “style” at all instead of a continued series of doodles and drawings.

So now I look back and I’ve got 113 days of these daily drawings. The images in this post are the first 13 of these daily drawings in chronological order. I post them as I draw them to my various social media streams (Google+, Twitter, Facebook), and will collect them into posts of a dozen or so that I’ll put up on the blog every few days until I’m caught up, then I’ll probably do a collected drawings post for each week going forward – until I burn out on the Daily Drawing grind and move on to something else.

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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Raph Lomotan

Ce dessinateur a commencé dans un studio de jeu sur mobile, et il aime d’abord les jeux micro. Ce qui ne l’empêche pas de dessiner pour Pathfinder, Starfinder ou Numenéra

(Source: Guide du Rôliste Galactique : les dernières news du jeu de rôles)
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Pride Dice!

For the last two months I’ve been drawing something every day to learn how to draw more than just maps. Today’s piece started as the five platonic solids, and I threw in the d10 in a separate illustration to bring it up to six (even though the d10 isn’t a platonic solid).

When I combined them together, I decided to colour the set in the traditional pride colours, but I would much rather go with the 8 colours of the original pride flag (the missing colours are pink at the top for sexuality and turquoise after green for magic / art).

So the question is, which dice do I add? I love the d5, but from most angles it isn’t really immediately apparent as to what it is. The other odd-sized dice (7, 9, 11, 13, 15) are all very awkward looking. So I guess either a d16 between the 12 and 20, or a 24 or 30 at the bottom.

Which dice would you use?

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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Neoclassical Geek Revival – The Dyson Logos Edition!

My doodles and drawings have found a new home!

I’ve been playing Zzarchov Kowolski’s Neoclassical Geek Revival RPG for a few years now, and have designed the character sheets for the previous two editions of the game. But of course, that wasn’t enough.

Zzarchov is Kickstarting the latest edition of NGR, and this time there will be a number of styles to choose from when you get the book or PDF. And one of them will be mine – I will be drawing every piece of art in this volume from cover to character sheets.

But there are other artists to choose from also! Versions of the rules will be available with Scrap Princess’s art, Alex Mayo’s, and if the stretch goal is reached, Chris Huth’s!

The Kickstarter also includes two other incredible books – a print omnibus of Zzarchov’s incredible collection of adventures, and a new adventure for NGR (City of Tears) that I did the cartography for and that is downright amazing.

So get in there and get yourself some NGR!

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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Vault of the Cave Morphs!

Based on the cave work I did for the Descent into the Depths of the Earth tunnels and passages, here are five cave geomorphs that can be used to link up to any existing tunnels. They are all 2 squares wide at the entrances just like the existing encounter area maps for that adventure, so they mesh best with the secondary tunnels but can be used as constrictions in primary passages or widened areas in tertiary tunnels.

Vault of the CaveMorphs!Vault of the CaveMorphs!

These were my first experiment using a sharpie marker as the foundation of my map drawing – for a number of these geomorphs the outer walls were drawn using a dying marker instead of my usual felt-tipped technical pens. They were drawn using a 07 gel pen for most details and hatching (the same pens I used back when I first started drawing maps), and the sharpie marker for the walls. I used a Squarehex PoGI (Pad of Geomorphic Intent) and drew them while watching “The New Girl” on TV with MissGladiator (and while digging through my Twilight 2000 materials, as you can see in the photo below).

This experiment with a sharpie marker in February (I drew these in February and am finally posting them now? WTH?) is what inspired me to buy a bunch more Sharpies which has lead to my current line of “Daily Doodles” that you can follow along with if you follow any of my social media feeds (on Twitter, FaceBook, or Google+).

patreon-supported-banner

The maps on Dyson’s Dodecahedron are released for free personal use thanks to the support of awesome patrons like you over on Patreon. Every month 400 patrons come together to make these releases possible. You can help too in order to keep the flow of maps coming and to improve their quality – and even get a map of your own!

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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Lockhart’s Delve

Once the basement of a small fortified temple, Lockhart’s Delve has been home to a variety of creatures and groups since the destruction of the temple proper. Some maps of the old temple of the moon god show two entrances into the lower levels – one into the basements and another into the connected crypts. But some fifty years ago the crypt entrance was completely filled with stone and earth under the orders of Short Terog, an ogre adventurer who made this her home for a time.

Lockhart's DelveLockhart’s Delve

Most recently, the Blackguard Lockhart has used the structure as barracks while assembling their forces to cross the dark barrens and assault Oceansong Harbor. Since the fall and subsequent recapture of Oceansong Harbor, the dungeons have seen little use except by the shadows of the kobolds who came here looking for their clanmates.

The blame for this dungeon falls squarely on the shoulders of Evey Lockhart. Four years ago she challenged a few of us over on Google+ to try doing our art in a medium we normally didn’t use. As I was poor at the time, instead of buying other art supplies, I tried drawing a dungeon map using software instead of my usual penwork.

I hated it.

But finally, four years later, I’ve gone back and redrawn the original design in my current style.

patreon-supported-banner

This map is made available to you under a free license for personal or commercial use thanks to the awesome supporters of my Patreon Campaign. Over 400 amazingly generous people have come together to fund the site and these maps, making them free for your use.

Because of the incredible generosity of my patrons, I’m able to make these maps free for commercial use also. Each month while funding is over the $300 mark, each map that achieves the $300+ funding level will be released under this free commercial license. You can use, reuse, remix and/or modify the maps that are being published under this commercial license on a royalty-free basis as long as they include attribution (“Cartography by Dyson Logos” or “Maps by Dyson Logos”). For those that want/need a Creative Commons license, it would look something like this:

Creative Commons LicenseCartography by Dyson Logos is licensed
under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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Ola Larsson

Ce dessinateur suédois ne joue plus au jeu de rôle – plus le temps. Mais il lui arrive encore de dessiner pour des ouvrages de JdR, comme par exemple Mutant Année Zéro.

(Source: Guide du Rôliste Galactique : les dernières news du jeu de rôles)
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Headquarters

Headquarters

“We found this place just sitting there in the wasteland… and wastelands being wastelands, we moved in because it was fairly defensible and gave us some cover from the storms and sun. But for some reason… every… single… villain… wants to take the place over, move in, and run their evil army from here. Running a small anarcho syndicalist commune from a giant skull is a lot more perilous than you’d think!”

This map gave me a lot more trouble than I would like to admit. It also includes a number of mistakes that I made in the drawing… stairs that interfere with each other, or that don’t appear properly from section to section… Meh. It looks cool enough that I’ll just ignore the glitches and run it as-is. 

patreon-supported-banner

The maps on Dyson’s Dodecahedron are released for free personal use thanks to the support of awesome patrons like you over on Patreon. Every month 400 patrons come together to make these releases possible. You can help too in order to keep the flow of maps coming and to improve their quality – and even get a map of your own!

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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Just a page edge

Last week while playing in Zzarchov’s Expeditions to Xan Than Du campaign, I was drawing our explorations map on a sheet that I had filled with hex-dots from S. John Ross’ HexPaper Pro font. And, because I like this particular style… I accented it:

So, for those of you who like using my various item card frames and similar certificate designs, here’s the graphic file I used as the background – free for your personal use:

Click for high resolution

Combine it with a map, graph paper, or a wanted poster. Whatever works for you.

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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Release the Kraken on Aurelon’s Keep!

Release-The-Kraken

Every month that Patreon funding remains over the $400 mark I sift through my back catalog and bring up a selection of maps that my patrons then vote on as to which will be released under the free commercial-use license. Our second release this month goes back to the very early days of the Patreon campaign – Aurelon’s Keep.

Aurelon's Keep (with grid)Aurelon’s Keep (with grid)

A victim of a fairly recent power struggle, Aurelon’s Keep was besieged by a small attacking force and rapidly conquered with the assistance of a few earth elementals who built up the ramp leading to the destroyed wall and completely bypassing the outer bailey and main gates.

Today it is home to a few poor clans of goblins and their ilk who base hunting and gathering operations from the old wooden buildings of the keep while keeping away from the old stone keep itself that they believe to be haunted.

Aurelon's Keep (without grid)Aurelon’s Keep (without grid)

The keep map itself is based on one I started a campaign with back when the Rules Cyclopedia was released (I distinctly remember bringing my brand new copy of the book to the University gaming club with the original version of this map in the inside cover to launch the campaign). This map shows its age in that it still has “pencil-thin” walls for the wooden building walls, something I try to avoid when drawing maps these days.

For this commercial-use re-release of the map, I cleaned up the scan a little bit and painstakingly added a grid for those who prefer them on their maps.

kraken-patreon-supported-banner

This map is made available to you under a free license for personal or commercial use under the “RELEASE THE KRAKEN” initiative thanks to the awesome supporters of my Patreon Campaign. Over 400 awesome patrons have come together to fund the site and these maps, making them free for your use.

Because of the incredible generosity of my patrons, I’m able to make this map free for commercial use also. Each month while funding is over the $400 mark, we choose a map from the blog’s extensive back catalog to retroactively release under this free commercial license. You can use, reuse, remix and/or modify the maps that are being published under the commercial license on a royalty-free basis as long as they include attribution (“Cartography by Dyson Logos” or “Maps by Dyson Logos”). For those that want/need a Creative Commons license, it would look something like this:

Creative Commons LicenseCartography by Dyson Logos is licensed
under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

 

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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Hexes! Colour! Amazingness!

If you follow me on any social media* you know about Deven Rue & Rue Ink. Deven draws stunning regional maps, and her colour work has been incredible. She also drew the new cover for the Challenge of the Frog Idol adventure which I still plan on releasing one of these days when I don’t have 73 deadlines rushing at me like an out of control truck. But another awesome thing she does is she takes my commercially-released maps and colours them and releases these remixes to her supporters on Patreon. The three maps in this article are all maps of mine that she has coloured.

( * Social media links: Facebook, Google+, Twitter )

Then we have S. John Ross, the man behind Cumberland Games & Diversions (and the mad genius who brought us not only the simple genius of Risus, but also the Pokethulhu Adventure Game and Encounter Critical and piles of other fonts and goodies). He’s been making and releasing fonts forever – but one that gets updated every now and then is his HexPaper Pro font. A single font with 62 glyphs for drawing hex paper (and graph paper, iso paper, and so on too, but really, the emphasis is on the hexes).

The hexes are lovely. I’ve showcased three different styles here with maps I’ve drawn and that Deven has coloured, but there are so many more. They make me want to make new BattleTech fields of combat, maybe sit down with Deven and design some alternate Advanced Squad Leader boards… and I’ve always kind of wanted to take a hack at the classic original D&D wilderness area – the board from the Wilderness Survival game.

And with a few isometric glyphs in the mix, I’ll definitely be printing my own isometric paper at whatever scales I need for future iso maps!

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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Liar’s Cave (with video)

Last month I upgraded my video rig for recording when I draw a map, and now I’m learning a few basics of how to edit one of those videos. So let’s start off August with this video of me drawing a small dungeon & cavern map.

Liar’s Cave was once an elven outpost cut into the stone of the natural cave by a variety of magics. The elves that built it and lived there were outcasts among their kin, and survived with just the bare necessities of a few dozen lacquered human peasants as furniture, a library of a few thousand esoteric tomes, and less than a decade’s supply of finely-prepared intoxicants. Needless to say, they were desperate.

Liar's CaveLiar’s Cave

The stench of elven desperation was enough to attract other predators hunting for their arcana – the elves only ended up living here for less than a decade before the complex was completely wiped clean by something. It has been used a few times since by one group or another. For many years the lowest section of the structure was flooded with cold water dividing the structures into two distinct mini-fortresses. It isn’t known who finally drained the water, but now a series of small drains keep this area from flooding (but it remains very wet and the floor is slippery to the point of danger).

Somewhere along the way the cave picked up the sobriquet of Liar’s Cave – and most people know of it that it is up in the hills in the bush about six hours walk to the northeast. But few know anything of the history and most don’t even know about the structures within.

patreon-supported-banner

This map is made available to you under a free license for personal or commercial use thanks to the awesome supporters of my Patreon Campaign. Over 400 amazingly generous people have come together to fund the site and these maps, making them free for your use.

Because of the incredible generosity of my patrons, I’m able to make these maps free for commercial use also. Each month while funding is over the $300 mark, each map that achieves the $300+ funding level will be released under this free commercial license. You can use, reuse, remix and/or modify the maps that are being published under this commercial license on a royalty-free basis as long as they include attribution (“Cartography by Dyson Logos” or “Maps by Dyson Logos”). For those that want/need a Creative Commons license, it would look something like this:

Creative Commons LicenseCartography by Dyson Logos is licensed
under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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Old Adcopy Map

I drew this up around the same time that I finally got around to registering dysonlogos.com – it was the first draft for a pillar ad that I had bought space for in a magazine that never ended up being published.

It’s pretty simple, because honestly I have no idea how to promote my work besides saying “Hey, check out my maps!”

So here’s a map. With a web address. You can date the map pretty closely by the floor styles. This is just as I started drawing in floor tiles on my maps, so was probably drawn in late 2015. (Turns out on review that I drew it in June of 2015, so a bit earlier than my guess).

Maybe it is best that it never got published, eh?

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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The Ascent to Lucas’ Watch

Up along the edge of the cliff face overlooking the Bay of Eels are a set of steep stairs cut into the stone. A number of niches and chambers have been cut into the cliff along these stairs over the years. The top-most of these is a landing and set of chambers known as Lucas’ Watch where the aged Sorcerer-Priest once sat for days at a time watching over the bay or retreating within the cold stone structure within when the weather became too hostile.

The AscentThe Ascent

The lowest two flights of stairs are much older than the upper flights and rest at a shallower angle. They lead to a landing that in turn has the entranceway to an old crypt where unknown ancients were once interred – the lower crypt still bears the bas relief carvings of strange gods and geometric shapes that also decorated the long-absent sarcophagi that were here. The upper crypt on this level on the other hand has been fairly heavily damaged by later work which included adding a shaft between the crypt itself and the upper level.

The upper flights of stairs along the cliff face are much steeper – running at 45 degrees up the stone face. After the first 40 feet there are a pair of alcoves cut into landings 20 feet apart. Above that is the hermitage of the sorcerer-priest who spent the last twenty years of his life here, seeking redemption according to some, and waiting to face down a great evil according to others.

I drew this particular map as an exercise in “hard mode” isometric drawing – it was drawn without actually using isometric paper in the process at the end of a week of drawing isometric maps nearly every day. Some people found the two 45 degree angles in the lower passages difficult to interpret, so I made a quick photoshop recut of the map (above) where I replaced the two 45 degree turns with a single 90 degree turn that I cloned from the upper landing – once you see the corner represented as a 90 degree turn, it is easier to see the two 45 degree turns which result in the same basic thing in the proper map.

patreon-supported-banner

This map is made available to you under a free license for personal or commercial use thanks to the awesome supporters of my Patreon Campaign. Over 400 amazingly generous people have come together to fund the site and these maps, making them free for your use.

Because of the incredible generosity of my patrons, I’m able to make these maps free for commercial use also. Each month while funding is over the $300 mark, each map that achieves the $300+ funding level will be released under this free commercial license. You can use, reuse, remix and/or modify the maps that are being published under the commercial license on a royalty-free basis as long as they include attribution (“Cartography by Dyson Logos” or “Maps by Dyson Logos”). For those that want/need a Creative Commons license, it would look something like this:

Creative Commons LicenseCartography by Dyson Logos is licensed
under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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Behind the Fallen God

 

Behind the Fallen GodBehind the Fallen God

We rebelled.

We fought the priests and the blue-skinned mercenaries they had hired from other worlds with the money they had made on the backs of the people. Blood ran red and purple in the streets for days.

Then a brave soul climbed upon the idol of Sur-Es-Allo and was not immediately struck down by madness or disease. And to one of the idol’s tentacles he tied a length of strong hemp rope.

And we pulled.

We had intended only to destroy the idol, symbol of the priesthood. But somehow we were not expecting what we found behind it.

20161124_172542-01

This map was drawn as part of the Mpavember challenge and really got me into drawing isometric pieces for a while. I’ll post a bunch of them next month – there are some in the collection that impress me still (including this one). I’m obviously getting more comfortable with the illustrative aspects of my work now.

patreon-supported-banner

This map is made available to you under a free license for personal or commercial use thanks to the awesome supporters of my Patreon Campaign. Over 400 amazingly generous people have come together to fund the site and these maps, making them free for your use.

Because of the incredible generosity of my patrons, I’m able to make these maps free for commercial use also. Each month while funding is over the $300 mark, each map that achieves the $300+ funding level will be released under this free commercial license. You can use, reuse, remix and/or modify the maps that are being published under the commercial license on a royalty-free basis as long as they include attribution (“Cartography by Dyson Logos” or “Maps by Dyson Logos”). For those that want/need a Creative Commons license, it would look something like this:

Creative Commons LicenseCartography by Dyson Logos is licensed
under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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Nicolas C. Boone

C’est un nouveau venu dans le monde du JdR : à part quelques parties de Pathfinder, il a fait surtout des jeux en ligne. Mais il a bien aimé dessiner pour Firewall et il espère bien en refaire à l’avenir…

(Source: Guide du Rôliste Galactique : les dernières news du jeu de rôles)
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Mirelyn’s Skyrealm – Structures!


This week is a series of posts about Mirelyn’s Skyrealm – a map I drew at the beginning of December as part of a cartographic challenge. The challenge was to draw a map of a “floating island” and the map that will unfold over this week was the result. I don’t normally give a lot of work-in-progress material for my pieces, so I’ll discuss what I did as I went along for this one. 


With the base map of the Skyrealm done, it became somewhat of a race against time to see how much more I could do for the map. As it stands, the isometric view of the island (posted Tuesday) is much more of an illustration than a functional map. I had finished the island drawing with six days left before the map was due…

20161208_185227-01

The goal was to produce as many interior maps as I could – with emphasis on the major fortified and stone structures (particularly the fortress on the left side of the main island that hangs off the island proper). So I scrambled and started working on the fortress map which would normally be a full map or even two on my production schedule as it consists of four floors and spans two pages.

skyrealm-wip-new-1

But then from the fortress there is an underground tunnel to the tower… and then from the tower to the landing pad! That’s three more maps (landing pad and under the tower, plus two levels of the tower itself!) But there was a whole other pressure on me for this one –

I did NOT want to rush this map. The goal was to get these maps done at a fluid and friendly pace without stressing myself. After all, I had spent a month rushing maps last month and while I was looking for a challenge with this map, I didn’t want something that would make me regret taking it on.

20161222_194621

 

So I just kept drawing for four days… fixing up structures and working on making the floors nice and crinkly, the walls nice and bold, the hatching pretty and not rushed, and then moving on to the next structure or floor.

So tomorrow I’ll post the finished structure maps to go with the isometric island map.

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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Draw Your Character

People often ask how I got to the point I’m at with my maps and drawings. The answer is almost always “practice”. But I often forget to mention what got me started.

Well, really, who got me started.

While I initially blame my first D&D crew and thus Gygax and Arneson, the reality is that one particular game author changed how I looked at drawing and made me start doing it even though I was horribly uncomfortable with the unskilled quality of my work.

Jonathan Tweet is the man to blame / credit. In 1992 Atlas Games published Over the Edge which was EXACTLY the game I wanted to play at that point in my life. And there was a rule in the game that you HAD TO DRAW YOUR CHARACTER.
draw-your-character

It made a HUGE difference.

That connection, even to a crappy illustration, was big. It did engage different parts of my brain. It did make my character better. And that made the game better. And I transported it to other games. And I kept drawing things that would help connect me to these games. And all that drawing made me improve in my drawing skills and made my games better.

And that’s where this all began.

I still feel the most important part of a character sheet is the illustration box.

(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)
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