Remember that I excitedly announced that 13th Age was up for a 2014 ENnie Award or 3? Well, evidently the winners are selected by popular vote. If you are so inclined, please follow this LINK to the ballot and vote for 13th Age in categories Best Game, Best Rules, and Product of the Year. (Then go ahead and place your bets secure in the knowledge that you rocked the vote.) Voting ends tomorrow, so don’t hesitate.
Boltstrike Pillar is a massive stone column that twists and
turns seven stories into the air. The tower has been a node of
supernatural forces for ages. It may have started as a moreor-
less natural formation, but over the centuries it has been
partially hollowed out and carved into living spaces and magical
workshops. Around the tower is a walled area with a few stone
and timber dwellings and storage structures, a well, etc. Other
features of the living space outside the wall depend on which
icon holds power. -p. 301, 13th Age Core Book
Boltstrike Pillar appears in Chapter 10, the “Blood and Lightning” adventure in the 13th Age core book. Below is the rough draft and a bonus sketch for a different adventure that Rob was toying with at the time.
I have a couple years to go before I can say I’ve been a freelance illustrator for over a decade, but I have been doing it long enough to know that receiving any kind of accolade for a project is an extremely rare occasion. So it was much to my delight to discover that 13th Age has been nominated in three different categories including Best Game in the ENnies, The Gen Con EN World RPG Awards. Cause for celebration IMHO, and especially humbled to be considered among the other nominees.
I couldn’t help waxing nostalgic about how I got involved in this project back in 2012. I had no idea how many hours and how much enthusiasm I would foster for the project between then and now. My very first illustration for 13th Age was a pencil drawing of the Archmage, if I remember correctly. You can see this Announcement Post about that piece back then. I was trying to remember which interior piece I worked on first and I don’t know if it was the absolute first, but the Clerics were definitely one of the earliest. These are the clerics as seen on page 188 of the core book: I hadn’t seen what Lee Moyer did to finish this piece until I saw it printed in the book, 2013. You can image what a treat that was for me. My memory of the piece was the pencil version that I handed over to Lee the previous year as seen here: Below is the rough sketch that I submitted to Rob Heinsoo. I hadn’t figured out how I was going to depict those spirits emanating from the male cleric’s magic item, and apparently it was compromised by the Diabolist because demonic spirits seem to be escaping rather than angelic ones! The clerics in this sketch were a bit light on armor for Rob’s taste, so I think he sent me some snapshots of tabletop miniatures for reference, but I can’t find them! It was all the way back in 2012 after all. Seems like Ages ago…
13 True Ways has arrived. The first expansion book for 13th Age is now available to pre-order from the Pelgrane Store. Kickstarter backers will get the PDF before Monday, and pre-order customers will get it June 30. http://www.pelgranepress.com/shop/
Pelgrane Press offered a tantalizing preview of the layout from 13 True Ways today. Check it out HERE. (Don’t strain your eyes too hard…I’ll post larger images of those illustrations to my blog soon;-)
Today I’m peeling back the process of creating the illustration of the Great Bear Druid found in the upcoming 13 True Ways book. This piece almost got the cut because I think both Rob Heinsoo and myself may be a little overeager when it comes to the druid class. There may have been a concern that the druids were overtaking the book, but evidently enough balance was restored to keep this piece. This drawing came together rather quickly. Below is my sketchbook page of the druid summoning his Spirit Bear and then a smattering of ungainly goblins. The next stage was done in Photoshop. I arranged the various sketch elements into a composition and added some digital paint. Lee Moyer swung his sorcerer’s wand around and brought contrast and clarity to the image. One thing I’ve learned from working with Lee is the importance of creating a composition that can still read when reduced to the size of a postage stamp, a valuable “big picture” skill that he has keenly developed.
Rob wrote about the druid class at his blog. Here’s an excerpt: “As you’ll see, the druid class is a beast. The challenge of embracing elements of traditional druidic roles (wild healer, animal shifter, elemental magician, summoner, warrior of the wild) became huge fun as I took new approaches (talents defining spell lists and abilities, carefully calibrated summoning mechanics, spell lists tied to specific terrain). It’s definitely the biggest of all the class design jobs. I hope it turns out to be as much fun to play as it was to design.”
Behold, a dwarven commander whose troops carry the flag of the Emperor! Read Rob Heinsoo’s notes on the commander at this post.
I’ll work backward on the process this time around, for some variety. Below is the original image that I sent Lee Moyer. Lee added the Emperor’s flag to the final illustration, as you can see above, not to mention greater contrast and golden light illuminating the scene. (Could that light be reflecting from a guarded treasure trove, perhaps? Or perchance they have encountered the fleeting essence of The Gold Wyrm?!)