Saturday, May 24, 2014

Savage Worlds - East Texas University: Fund it Now!

Seeing as I'm a resident of East Texas and I love Savage Worlds, I feel like I would be remiss if I didn't talk about Pinnacle Entertainment Group's latest kickstarter: East Texas University

East Texas University is a horror-themed setting for Savage Worlds. As the name implies, the setting focuses on the fictitious East Texas University and the nearby Pinebox, Texas (which fans of the 12 Minutes to Midnight setting might be familiar with). The line will initially have two 96-page, full-color books in Pinnacle's graphic novel format. The first will be the core book that presents the setting and the specific rules tied to it and the second book (Degrees of Horror) will present a Plot Point Campaign designed to take the characters from lowly Freshmen to ETU graduates.

As a horror and Savage Worlds fan, I definitely want to get my hands on East Texas University. I've always wanted to run a supernatural campaign that used a school as the primary setting and this might give me the chance to finally scratch that itch. Thankfully, the campaign already reached its stated goal and will be funded within a few days. However, don't let that stop you from kicking in more money because they have some pretty cool stretch goals and items you can get (unique bennies, an ETU GM screen, etc.).

If you like horror and Savage Worlds, you should give East Texas University a look and donate a few bucks to their kickstarter campaign. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Short Hiatus

Due to a few unfortunate circumstances in my everyday life (I won't bother you with the details) and the feeling that I need to recharge my creative battery, I'm going to take a short hiatus starting today. It won't be very long and I plan to resume posting on the 2nd of June.

Until then, I hope that everyone has a good day and a fun time gaming. See you all in a week or so!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Official D&D Release Dates Finally Revealed!

The Shiny New Covers
The wait is finally over! After some serious speculation last week over at EnWorld, the official release date for the next edition of Dungeons & Dragons have finally been revealed. On July 15th, the Starter Set will be released. Like the Pathfinder Beginner Box, this box set will include the first five levels of the game and give new Dungeon Masters everything they need to start playing. The currently listed price on Amazon for the Starter Set is $19.99.

Unlike the previous edition, the three core rulebooks will be released on different dates. The Player's Handbook will hit shelves on August 19th, with the Monster Manual arriving on the 30th of September and the Dungeon Master's Guide coming out on November 18th. All three will be $49.95. Personally I find that a little disappointing, but Wizards of the Coast must have their reasons.

Between the releases of the Monster Manual and the Dungeon Master's Guide, Kobold Press is scheduled to release two adventures for this new system: Hoard of the Dragon Queen on August 19th and The Rise of Tiamat on October 21st. Both adventures will be $29.95, which is kind of expensive in my opinion for an adventure. Wizards of the Coast outsourcing the first official adventures for this new edition to a 3rd party publisher is a rather interesting development.

It's also interesting to note that none of the products sport the "D&D Next" moniker. I know that might not be a big thing to most of you, but it is to me. I HATED the "Next" title and wished it would die a fiery death. Thankfully, it looks like I got my wish. Its a minor thing, but it definitely makes me happy.

Although my enthusiasm for this new edition of Dungeons & Dragons started to wane during the public playtest, I'll most likely purchase the three core rulebooks when they're released just to add them to my collection. I highly doubt they'll see much use at my gaming table, but you never know. I might actually be blown away with what I find inside those books. Only time will tell.

((*UPDATE*)) As most people already know, the Starter Set will NOT include rules for character creation (which I still feel was a strange decision). However, the interesting news is that Wizards will be releasing a free PDF called Basic Dungeons & Dragons that will be the core rules for the upcoming edition. I honestly like that it'll be free and it makes me more interested in giving it a look.

Game of Thrones Reviews: "Mockingbird"

I want a spin off called "The Adventures of Brienne & Podrick"
After an eventful trial and a heartbreaking betrayal, Tyrion gains an unlikely ally. Meanwhile in Meereen, Daario asks Daenerys to allow him to do what he does best. In the North, Jon's warnings about the vulnerability of the Wall are ignored. In the Riverlands, Brienne and Podrick gain a new lead while Arya learns more about the Hound. Finally, a shocking turn of events happens at the Eyrie. 

 While "Mockingbird" was another example of the "slideshow" episode that seems to be very common this season, I definitely felt it was one of the better ones. Almost every segment was at least interesting and didn't overstay their welcome. The ones I didn't care for (specifically Melisandre's talk with Stannis' wife) were thankfully over and done with before they grew annoying. 

The episode also felt like the perfect buffer between Tyrion's trial and the trial by combat that will happen next week. It gives us time to breathe and build the anticipation for what's to come next. Also, it doesn't hurt that "Mockingbird" has one of the best endings this season, just begging you to come back next time to see what's going to happen. 

Although its yet another "slideshow" episode, "Mockingbird" is at least entertaining to watch and strings together the different segments nicely. It does its job at building the tension for next week's trial by combat between Gregor Clegane and Tyrion's new ally. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fantasy With a Twist

In recent years, I've noticed an interesting trend in fantasy campaign settings that I believe deserves some discussion. While more "traditional" fantasy campaign settings like Forgotten Realms continue to be popular, there seems to be a rise in what I'd like to call "Fantasy With a Twist" or "What If?" campaign settings.

I guess I should explain what these terms mean. "Fantasy With a Twist" or "What If?" settings are fantasy worlds that change/exclude certain elements associated with the more traditional settings or add new elements that present a unique twist to the idea. These kind of settings are usually presented in the form of a "What if?" question (Hence the use of that term).

For example: "What if your fantasy campaign took place on a dying world where magic is scarce and the planet is mostly badlands and deserts?" or "What if your fantasy campaign was based on the cultures & mythologies of Africa instead of Western Europe?"

If you were to ask me why these kind of settings are popular at the moment, I would guess it has to do with the belief that traditional fantasy settings are boring and played out. That people want something new and unique to sink their teeth into. Something fresh that hasn't been done again and again.

While that's great and some of my favorite campaign settings fall into this category (Dark Sun, Iron Kingdoms, Planescape, etc.), they have their own pitfalls and someone wishing to design such a setting should approach such a project carefully.

First, you should make sure your concept actually has enough weight to carry an entire campaign and possibly more in the future. Some ideas might sound cool on paper, but don't have enough legs to carry it further than the initial concept. Secondly, make sure there's more to the setting than the initial concept. You want the setting to feel like a living, breathing world, not some two-dimensional experiment with little to no depth. Finally, make sure you can express the setting in some relatable way. While you might understand your setting perfectly (you created it after all), you're players might not. Instead of creating a headache for yourself, make sure you can express the ideas in ways they can understand them.

Although I feel like traditional settings still have their place and always will have their place, these "What If?" settings can offer a breath of fresh air every now and again and I think that's perfectly fine. Just make sure you approach these kind of settings with caution and actually make it interesting instead of relying on a gimmick.

I don't think that's too hard, right?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

"Dragongazing" by William O'Connor

((Click HERE to check out O'Connor's Website))
Whether they'd like to admit it or not, I think everyone loves dragons. Why wouldn't they? Dragons are incredibly powerful creatures that can inspire immense dread one moment and incredible awe the next. They've been the stars of numerous works of fiction and have been present in numerous campaigns have ended with the heroes facing one of these titanic beasts. 

While I personally prefer dragons to be monstrous entities that come close to be forces of nature in their level of power, I would be lying if I said I didn't have a soft spot for the more whimsical side of dragons and didn't indulge in that love every so often. I think that's why I love the above piece by William O'Connor so much.

 I love how he captures this rather beautiful scene of a young boy looking up at the starry sky with his draconic company, who is curled around him. The piece has an aura of platonic intimacy that I like, giving you the impression these two are very close and care for each other. I know that sounds really sappy, but I think we're all allowed to be sappy on occasions. This picture always manages to bring a smile to my face.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cleric House Rules: Spontaneous Domain Casting

Based on my love of fantasy deities and the religions built around them, it shouldn't be surprising the Cleric is one of my favorite classes. I enjoy roleplaying a character who's so dedicated to a specific deity they've chosen to become apart of the clergy. I also don't mind being a support character, casting spells that enhance my fellow adventurers and make our tasks that much easier.

Because I have this preference, I'm always looking at new rules that could make the Cleric more interesting or unique. One idea that found its way into my head was inspired by one of the miscellaneous sidebars littered throughout the 3rd Edition version of Unearthed Arcana: Spontaneous Domain Casting.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the mechanics associated with the d20 version of the Cleric, I'll elaborate. Each Cleric chooses two domains associated with its chosen deity. These domains grant them additional spells they can memorize and a few unique abilities. The Cleric may also spontaneously cast either cure or inflict spells by sacrificing one of their prepared spells. Which kind of spells they can spontaneously cast depends on the Cleric's chosen alignment.

This proposed house rule would change that. Instead of spontaneously casting cure/inflict spells, the Cleric may spontaneously cast the spells associated with their domains by sacrificing a prepared spell of the appropriate level. For example, a Cleric with the Fire and Sun domains could spontaneously cast burning hands or endure elements in place of a prepared 1st level spell.

While the cleric would receive one less spell slot per level (the extra slot they receive to prepare domain spells), I like how it makes a player's choices even more important. The domains you choose now determine what spells you can spontaneously cast and these spells help make each cleric more distinct. Clerics who just so happen to worship the same deity might not just have different domains, but can utilize different spells as well.

When I was running 3.5, I probably would have been very hesitant to utilize this house rule because the "spontaneously casting cure/inflict spells" rule allowed Clerics to prepare more varied spells while still being able to pull out a healing spell in a crisis. However, Pathfinder Clerics receive the Channel Energy ability that can be used to heal people, so I'm not sure it would be as detrimental to switch out these rules there. Because of that, I might just utilize this house rule for my future Pathfinder campaigns.

What do you think? Do you think it's a good idea to allow Clerics to spontaneously cast domain spells instead of cure/inflict spells? Do you think it might cause some unforeseen problems?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fantasy Fiction Tuesday: A Witch Shall Be Born (1934)

Cover of the Dec. 1934 copy of Weird
 (vol. 24, no. 6)
Conan the Cimmerian is one of the most iconic fantasy protagonists of the past century. Created by Robert E. Howard in 1932 via a series of fantasy series published in the literary magazine Weird Tales, Conan is a barbarian, a thief, a mercenary, and a pirate who has numerous adventures throughout the ancient lands of the Hyborian Age. Many consider him to be the quintessential Sword & Sorcery protagonist, having influenced numerous writers and remains a popular character to this very day.

Like most people my age, my first exposure to the character was John Milius' Conan the Barbarian starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in the titular role. While I know the movie doesn't hew very close to the original tales, I would be lying if I said I didn't love it and haven't watched it countless times over the years. I even have a soft spot for the very flawed 2011 film starting Khal Drogo (a.k.a Jason Momoa or Ronon Dex for you Stargate: Atlantis fans out there).

Eventually, I managed to find a collection of Howard's stories at a used book store that I frequent on a regular basis. The very first story within that collection (titled Beyond the Black River: The Weird Works of Robert E. Howard, Vol. 3) was the 1934 novella "A Witch Shall Be Born", which ended up being the first Conan story I ever read.

"A Witch Shall Be Born" tells the tale of a witch named Salome who replaces her twin sister Taramis as queen of the city state of Khauran. This act brings her into conflict with Conan, who has been made the captain of the queen's guard. After being crucified and left to die, the Cimmerian is luckily saved by a passing band of desert raiders who he later takes control of so he may rescue the queen and save Khauran from ruin.

The critical consensus for "A Witch Shall Be Born" is that it's an average example of the series that would be forgettable if it wasn't for a certain scene (which I will touch upon in just a moment). While I do agree there are definitely better Conan stories out there, I feel like "A Witch Shall Be" works as a decent introduction because it shows you what the Cimmerian's adventures are generally like and what you can probably expect from other works within the series. The theme of barbarism vs. civilization that is common throughout the series is present here, the story shows us that Conan is more than just a big barbarian and has some interesting layers to his character, the slightly Lovecraftian elements rear their alien heads near the end of the tale, and you can feel how much confidence Howard had in his writing.

It also doesn't hurt that "A Witch Shall Be Born" contains one of the most memorable scenes in the entire series: Conan's crucifixion by the Kothic mercenary Constantius for his defiance. The scene is visceral and graphic, burning an image into your mind that refuses to leave. We see Conan in a horrible situation that would break a lesser person, but he manages to survive through pure determination. Hell, he even kills an overeager vulture with his freaking teeth. If that isn't badass, I don't know what is.

Although "A Witch Shall Be Born" is nothing spectacular and there are definitely better Conan stories out there ("The Tower of the Elephant" and "Red Nails" are two of my personal favorites), I feel like this novella works as a decent introduction and allows new readers to experience one of the best scenes in the series. If you're interested in checking out the Cimmerian's original literary adventures, give "A Witch Shall Be Born" a shot.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Game of Thrones Reviews: "The Laws of Gods and Men"

Will the Gods find Tyrion innocent or guilty? Stay tuned...
After learning about the mutilation of her brother, Yara attempts marches against the Dreadfort with the hopes of bringing Theon home. Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Davos and Stannis attempt to arrange a deal with the Iron Bank of Braavos while Daenerys learns that her brand of justice isn't as black and white as she thought. Finally, back in King's Landing, Tyrion is tried for the murder of King Joffrey with a surprise twist that will leave him devastated.

"The Laws of Gods and Men" is easily one of the best episodes this season, proudly standing beside the earlier "The Lion and the Rose." Like it's predecessor, the episode's first half bounces around Westeros and Essos, giving us quick updates about what is currently happening with some of the other plot lines. However, the second half of the episode is structured perfectly, allowing the tension and emotional beats to slowly build throughout the scenes until they reach that powerful ending. 

Peter Dinklage continues to be one of the best actors one the show. Although his speech during the climax was excellent, Dinklage captured the hopelessness that Tyrion must be feeling through his posture and tone of voice. You feel that he has given up and knows he's doomed, which makes his anger at the end and the choice he made all the more satisfying. Although everyone during the trial is terrific, Dinklage is easily the standout performance. 

My only concern is that "The Laws of Gods and Men" feels more like an episode that you would see closer to the end of the season, which makes me wonder what the final four episodes will contain. Hopefully at least one of the next episodes will be just as good as this one. 

"The Laws of Gods and Men" is just as good as the previous "The Lion and the Rose", presenting a fantastic second half that has you wanting to see more. The performances are great, the writing is solid, and the ending was perfect. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Why I Love Tabletop Games

The d12, finally getting its time in the spotlight.
At one point in time, every tabletop gamer is asked a specific question by someone who isn't apart of the hobby. The person asks, "Why do you play these games? Why do you spend so much time and money on them?" Everyone has their own preferred way to answer that question, with some preferring to keep it short and to the point while others like to give more in-depth explanations about why they care so much.

Seeing that I'm writing this post dedicated to the subject, you can probably guess which side I fall under. 

Like most of you, I have numerous reasons to justify my love for tabletop games. However, I don't want to make this post a long diatribe about how these games are amazing and why I care about them so much. Instead, I've boiled it down to three main factors that keep me coming back to this hobby. 

First, roleplaying games give me an unique outlet for my creativity. Ever since I was a little kid, I've always loved to create stories and worlds during my free time. Its why I usually have a pencil and a notebook near me at all times. These games allow me to channel that creativity into something that I can share with my friends. However, unlike a short story or a novel, I get to see these ideas grow and evolve based on my players' contributions and interactions. 

I also love how you can change and warp these games to either fix problems within the rules or to better fit your preferences and play style. When playing a video game that just so happens to have a rather nasty glitch, you can't really do anything about it unless you are the game designer or have those skills. However, you can simply change or ignore rules within a tabletop game that ruin the experience for yourself and your group. You can also add rules at your liking and personalize the game to some degree. 

Finally, and most importantly, I love the social aspect associated with tabletop gaming. Life can be tiring and its really relaxing to gather around a table with a few of my best friends to play a roleplaying game such as Pathfinder or a board game like Settlers of Catan. While we play these games, I get to spend time with people I truly care about, having a good time whether we're working together to save a village from a tribe of vicious goblins or building settlements and roads in an attempt to gain the most victory points. All that matters is that we enjoy ourselves and the time we have with each other. 

Next to comics and movies, gaming is one of my biggest passions in life. I've been apart of this hobby for over a decade and I see myself remaining a part of it for many years to come. I love these games so much I decided to create this blog so I could share my love with like-minded individuals and discuss different topics that exist within the hobby. 

You know why I love tabletop games. Why do you? 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Five Questions With Lone Wolf's Liz Theis.

Lone Wolf Development, the company behind the incredibly popular Hero Lab, recently released an awesome new product called Realm Works that promises to streamline campaign management and make the GM's job much easier. Luckily, I was given the opportunity to ask Liz Theis from Lone Wolf a handful of questions about the product.

First, tell us a little about yourself. Who are you and what is your role in the creation of Realm Works? 

"My name is Liz Theis. I'm the Community Development Manager for Lone Wolf. I handle all of our marketing (social media included), communications (monthly newsletter, website updates), manage our forums, and talk to awesome bloggers and podcasters such as yourself."

What was the first roleplaying game you ever played? Are you currently playing/running any games? If so, do they utilize Realm Works?

"The first game I ever played was Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. My dad was the GM, and I played a unicorn. I believe the story was that I had to find my kidnapped mother. I finally found her kidnappers (a group of lizardmens or orcs). Instead of fighting them, I apparently confronted them and asked, "Why can't we just be friends?" That threw my poor dad off, but I'm sure he handled it like a pro.

Right now, I'm currently playing in a remote Pathfinder game with our long-time group in Illinois. My GM picked up Realm Works when it released, so I'm sure we'll be seeing it soon. I'm currently putting in a custom game for Hollow Earth Expedition into Realm Works. Right now I'm developing the overarching plot, and I'll be fleshing out the people, places, and events within that plot soon. I'm hoping to run the campaign for some of the other Lone Wolf staff members in the Bay area."

What is Realm Works exactly? What is the program's basic premise? How does Realm Works make the game master's job easier? 

"Realm Works is a game-system neutral, campaign management tool. Built be a team of experience GMs, they set out to solve many of the problems and roadblocks that GMs run into over and over.

You can create a richer world by bringing your content to life with images, statblocks, and even audio and video files. Once built, you can automatically link your game details together and visualize your world's relationships and connections. If you're trying to save time, you can cut down on your prep by reviewing session summaries and finding your notes within one tool.

You can even use our patent-pending Fog of World tools to share your world. This ground-breaking technology can be used to share every aspect of your story with your players – maps, portrits, NPCs, locations, relationships, plots, and a whole lot more, either on your laptop screen or an external monitor.

To see Realm Works in action, check out our Virtual Tour."

One of your most popular products is Hero Lab. Does Realm Works have some compatibility with Hero Lab? If not, do you plan on doing so in the future?

"Just like you can add and view an image in Realm Works, you can also add and view a Hero Lab portfolio within Realm Works. It makes it incredibly easy to bring up an NPC! Just upload the portfolio, and you can access the character with just a few clicks!

If you want to edit the portfolio, you'll need to open Hero Lab separately."

One of the first additions planned for Realm Works is allowing GMs to add published content to their campaigns. Do you have other features similar to this that you would like to add to the program in the foreseeable future? What are they? 

"The next big update will be a Realm Works Player Edition. The Realm Works Player Edition will give players access to review content revealed by the GM on their own computers outside of the game session. Players will even be able to independently lookup information, review what they've learned, and make notes with same powerful linking capabilities as the GM version for a small cost." 

I would like to thank Liz Theis for giving me her time and answering my questions. Those of you who are interested in Realm Works and would like to purchase it, you can do so HERE. This sounds like an amazing product that's worth every cent.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Game of Thrones Reviews: "First of His Name"

Arya Stark, CN Young Female Human Aristocrat 1/Swashbuckler 1
As Tommen is crowned the new king of the Seven Kingdoms, Cersei and Tywinn discuss the land's financial issues and how crucial the Tyrell alliance is to them. Meanwhile, Daenerys contemplates invading Westeros while also learning that her control over the cities of Slaver's Bay isn't as strong as she thought. In the Riverlands, Arya learns another harsh lessons from the Hound while Sansa discovers the Vale might not be as safe as she hoped. In the North, Jon leads the attack on Craster's Keep and Bran's group must escape the mutineers and continue on their journey.

While the ending gives us something exciting and we get to see those horrible mutineers get what they deserve, the majority of this episode was dedicated to setting up things to come in future episodes, looking back at previous events, and answering questions that have been floating around since the very beginning. 

Don't get me wrong, "First of His Name" is a decent episode that does have its moments. For example, I liked the scene with Arya practicing her water dancing techniques and the Night's Watch's attack on Craster's Keep (even if that entire subplot was a little superfluous to the overarching plot happening at the Wall). I just wish the episode balanced the exposition with more things actually happening. Also, I wish they handled certain reveals better, like Lysa and Petyr's involvement with Jon Arryn's murder which was just blurted out in a dump of information. Since that is a piece of information that changes what we thought happened and what lead to the War of the Five Kings, you thought they would make it a more interesting reveal. 

With that being said, I will admit that it was nice to see callbacks to previous seasons and showing how they are still relevant to what is happening currently. We see that Arya still respects Syrio Forel and his style of fighting, we learn the truth behind the event that basically set off the entire plot, and we see that Daenerys is still contemplating whether she should sail across the Narrow Sea and retake her homeland or stay on Essos to reclaim Astapor and Yunkai. 

While heavy on exposition and I feel like it fumbles a major reveal, "First of His Name" has a few interesting scenes with one that feels rather cathartic after events in the previous episodes. Also, it's nice to see the continuation of plot points that were introduced in earlier seasons remain relevant and learn the truth about some of them. So, all in all, this was a very mixed episode for me.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Three Casual Games That Everyone Should Play

On a semi-regular basis, my gaming group and I like to travel down to our local FLGS (Halflings Hideaway) and have a different kind of game night. Instead of playing some Pathfinder or whatever roleplaying game we just so happen to be playing at the time, we decide to take a break and crack out a few board/card games.

Most of the night generally consists of long bouts of Munchkin, Settlers of Catan, Cthulhu Fluxx, Dixit, and Chez Cthulhu. However, we usually try to play a few casual, light-hearted games in between those bigger ones to give ourselves a breather and a moment to collect ourselves. 

The following are three casual games that I honestly love and believe everyone should play at least once. They're easy to learn, play relatively quickly, and act as great palate-cleansers. Most of these should also be easy to find and on the cheaper side (with one exception). Since I like all of these games equally, I'll present them in alphabetical order: 

1. Get Bit!
((Product Page))
Get Bit! is a card game designed by Dave Chalker. Each player is attempting to escape a hungry shark who would love to take a big bite out of you. Throughout the game, you play cards to determine how fast you are swimming. The fastest swimmer move his miniature to the front, the slowest swimmer falls to the back, and those who play matching cards don't move at all. The final swimmer alive wins the game. The game is incredibly simple, but has a nice visual aspect and trying to predict what cards your opponents have and will play is really fun. The only downside is that its a little on the expensive side for a quick, casual game (roughly $25).

2. Love Letter
((Product Page))
Published by AEG, Love Letter is a card game where you take on the role of one of the many suitors to the lovely princess of a small kingdom. Hoping to give her a number of letters to show her your love, you must prevent the other suitors from beating you to the punch. You do so by playing cards, which have their own special abilities. The person with the most points when the deck runs out or the last person remaining in the game wins the round and receives a token of affection. The number of tokens required to win is based on the number of people playing. Love Letter is a very simple game that actually has some depth to it. While playing, you are also trying to determine what cards your opponents have so you can raise your own chances of being the winner. It's really good if you're playing with individuals who possess really good poker faces. 

3. Zombie Dice
((Product Page))
Steve Jackson Games has published a few products that could have easily made it onto this list. However, I can only choose one. After thinking about it for a few moments, I decided I had to give the spot to Zombie Dice. As the name implies, Zombie Dice is a dice game where you take a cup full of multicolored dice, shake it vigorously, and pull three of them out and roll them. Each die has three symbols engraved onto them: a brain, a blast, and a set of footprints. Your goal is to roll as many brains as possible. However, you should be careful because if you get three blasts, you loose all the brains you've earned that turn. You can also choose to roll additional dice, but you have to include dice that landed on the footprint symbol with the new grouping. The player who earns thirteen brains wins the game. Like the other games, Zombie Dice is really simple to learn as well as really fun to play. 

Question Time: What are some of your favorite casual games?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Fantasy Art Thursday: "Guardian Gnomes" by Caleb Cleveland

((Click HERE to go to Caleb Cleveland's DeviantArt page))
I've always had a soft spot for gnomes. They always seem to get the short end of the stick when compared to the halfling. Their interesting takes on gnomes is one of the many reasons why I enjoy both the Eberron and Golarion settings. 

The above piece depicts a group of gnome adventurers from the Kingdoms of Kalamar campaign setting fighting a horde of vicious kobolds trying to enter their warren. I love the detail Caleb Cleveland put into this piece. I like how each gnome looks different and seems to have their own unique personality. I also like how the kobolds look different and have different armor, making the horde look more visually interesting. 

This is just a cool action scene that shows how awesome gnomes can be. It actually makes me want to run a short, all gnome campaign.