Friday, September 6, 2019

Rust City, a One-Page RPG

A post-apocalyptic setting where humanity burned itself to ashes with nuclear fire centuries ago. Most of the world has been scorched of life, and the oceans rendered nearly barren, leaving only small pockets of habitable zones left for the remaining species of earth.

The year, if the human calendar had kept going, is 3576 A.D. The nuclear fallout has wreaked havoc upon the environment, but life, as ever, finds ways to adapt. The heartiest of species survived, and the radioactivity pushed evolution into unexpected paths, perhaps aided as well by the remnants of humanity’s last biological experimentation. Now, four species vie for control over the last sustainable regions: the Kokrouch, the Pejin, and the Rhat tribes have only recently called a tenuous ceasefire as they are beset by a recently encountered species: the Auktoupous. These amphibious horrors crawl from the ocean depths to claim the resources of the land and drag them back into the briny deep.

The elders of each tribe have opted to send some of their champions to quest once more through the ancient ruins of the lost Homahn civilization. The nearest city, infested with terrible beasts and defective automatons, is said to still hold secrets not yet plumbed by earlier explorers. An expedition has been sent to retrieve something, anything, that can halt the threat of the Auktoupous race.

Welcome to Rust City. Try to survive, and don’t you dare leave empty-handed.

Might –
Athletics –
Wits –
Spirit –
Health –
Magic –
Movement –
Combat –

You start with 12 points to distribute across your four Basic Stats. Each stat begins with 2 points before point distribution, and all stats cap at 10.

Next, determine your Derived Stats:
Health – (Might + Spirit) x 5
Magic – (Wits + Spirit) x 5
Movement – 1 + Athletics
Combat – 12 – [(Might + Wits + Athletics) ÷ 3, rounded up]

Next, choose your Race, Profession, and Mutation.

You may pick one of three races. Picking a race nets you a starting stat bonus, and a racial ability.

RHAT – Intelligent rats, you begin with a +1 in Wits, Might, and Athletics.

KOKROUCH – Intelligent, bipedal cockroaches, you begin with a +1 in Might and an extra 20 HP.

PEJIN – Intelligent pigeons, you begin with a +1 in Athletics and the ability to Fly for short bursts.

You may pick one of five Classes. These determine your starting equipment and grant your class-specific special abilities.

COMMANDO – You are a gifted soldier. You start with a needle-shot rifle that has 30 shots (15 damage, 10 range) and a knife (5 damage, 1 range melee, 3 range thrown). You suffer no penalties when performing Ranged Attacks and the CR of your opponent raises by 2 in melee.

TRAPPER – You are a master of traps. You start with a set of caltrops, a 10’ twine rope and grappling hook, and 2 smoke bombs. You gain a +2 to any attempt to notice and disarm traps or dangerous terrain (Wits).

CHEMIST – You know how to mix chemicals for both healing and destructive effects. You begin with a medical spray with 20 shots (neutralizes poisons and recovers 10 health) and 3 nitroglycerin capsules (15 damage, 3 range thrown, 1 range spread) which function as grenades. You gain a +2 on any attempt to identify strange chemicals.

SCANNER – You are skilled in figuring out the functions of old technology and identifying functioning equipment in the wreckage. You have a knife (5 damage, 1 range melee, 3 range thrown), a spike-ball slingshot with 10 shots (7 damage, 5 range), and a hand-held metal detector.

RADIANT – You possess the freakish ability to channel the radioactive energy that permeates the land into beams of destructive force. You can fire a beam of energy from your hands or eyes up to 20 times a day. 25 damage, 6 range.

PLANTKIN – You possess the freakish ability to influence the growth of plants via radiation influxes. This enables you to create tangler traps that ensnare enemies or create vines that be used to assist in climbing, up to 20 times a day.

VISIONARY – You possess the freakish ability to see beyond the normal visible spectrum. You can see to a limited capacity in total darkness and see the aura’s of living beings through walls in a manner similar to thermographic vision, as long there is not too much material between you. You can shift your vision to this at any time, but this causes your other senses to dull and gives you a headache which can prove prohibitively distracting in some situations.

SAVAGER – You possess the freakish ability to achieve a monstrous form. In this form, you can double your HP and Might for up to ten rounds. You can only do this 5 times per day, and when you shift back, your HP is halved from the transformed stat.

Obstacles will revolve around traversing the broken city’s dangerous landscape, attempting to break into sealed areas, and battling wild animals and dangerous machines. You may also encounter some of the dreaded Auktoupous.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

New Art

So, I bought an art tablet for my computer recently, and I've been very sporadically getting back into drawing again. I'm still getting used to digital drawing, and my skill is so rusty, I'm definitely worse than when I quit drawing years ago. Even still, it's a start:

This is the cast of my web novel Graven. From left to right, we have: Shoggoth, Hitchhiker, Strider, Earth Mage, and Max-Out. Hardest part, aside from making it legible, was making sure I got the relative height differences right, and remember all the hair and eye colors. :P

This is a reworking of Gran, one of the continents from one my settings which I haven't written anything new in for some years.

This is Blue Jay from the Mystic Missouri setting, overlooking some ruins in Kansas City that have been subsumed by the Mist Wall. In the background you can also see Cardinal and Kestrel. All three are members of the Aevir, the resident powerhouses of the setting.

This is Perpetua, a character I haven't done any real stories with, but was a frequently used character during my run of Character Creation Battle Tournaments. You can catch a recent profile of her here.

This is Swan from the Intrepid. Funnily enough, I used to always draw her wielding a scythe, even though she never uses one in story. I just like the visual a lot for some reason.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

More Old Art

Tucked away in the corner of my closet was a box full of the really old drawings I did as a child and a young teen, including almost 50 small comics I drew. As much as I liked to draw as a child, I was never very good at it, and by the time I finally started improving, I discovered writing, and drawing fell to the wayside. Since then, I would occasionally do doodles, and finally, I just don't draw any more. To be frank, nearly all the drawings, and all of the comics, are too terrible to post even with the understanding that these were drawn by a kid.

Still, it was an interesting trip down memory lane, and I did find a couple of pieces that weren't any worse than I've already posted here. So, in lieu of any other content at the moment, here's some more blasts from the past:

This is Rayman, one of my earliest superheroes, and the teen member of my first superhero team, the Fabulous Five. As may be apparent, Rayman was inspired by the likes of the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles, who in hindsight, were a pretty huge influence on my creativity when I was young. The Power Universe, my first big superhero setting, is filled with animal mutant hero and villain characters right alongside more traditional capes-n-spandex heroes and living robots.

Here's some ugly, scruffy, pissed-off guy. I have no idea who he is or what his story is.

I actually very rarely ever colored my drawings, but when I actually bothered, I was not-too-shabby at doing fruit portraits with colored pencils. This is unfortunately the only sample that survived.

This was actually a doodle I drew in college, after being long out of practice. Unfortunately, I never got any better at drawing than this, just due to never practicing. Shit, this is better than anything I can do now, and it's just a basic head shot. This is Arcana from the Intrepid storyline.

This is a devil-fied version of Swan, also from the Intrepid story. This is a non-canon depiction. Swan is supposed to have angel wings, but here, I opted to go with the bat-wing route and for some reason gave her an overly decorative great sword. Funnily enough, I had a habit of usually drawing Swan wielding a scythe, even though she never does in the story. I dunno why, it always just looked good on her. But, of course, this doesn't apply here, and I can't find any of my scythe-wielder drawings of her. Oh, well.

Fly Soldier was another Power Universe character, one of the strongest heroes on the planet, and member of the powerhouse trio known as the Three Team. He was also blatantly ripped off from a friend of mine in elementary school, and as such, was scrapped when I got old enough to realize I probably shouldn't just steal characters from friends. I tried to change him up to make him more of his own character, but he never really grew beyond the rip-off. Otherwise, he was yet another animal-themed hero, made in a time when drawing Animal-themed characters didn't immediately make everyone think you were some kind of degenerate pervert.

This is a normal giraffe, drawn free hand using a zoo magazine as a reference.

No idea who this is, but he might have been one of my many, many attempts at doing some kind of "wandering hero in a modern fantasy Earth" characters.

This was the cover I drew to a short story I wrote for a school assignment. We were supposed to make an essay about what we thought Hell was like. I wrote a whole short story about it instead! Believe it or not, this was an assignment for a religion class.

Here's a shitty sketch of my old pet Scottie, whom I eventually based a superhero off of.

Ro-Torr was a Transformers Triple-Changer style robot, with a helicopter, humanoid, and wolf modes. Never used him for anything, just sort of a TF OC, I guess. I was attempting to replicate the style of the clunkier G1 toys.

Various characters from the more cartoony world of "Krazy Komix." Yeah, I had a whole multiverse of worlds, even back then.

Totally forgot about this guy, but Lazor was the big bad guy of my Dream Wars mythology.

The guy with the spear is Mythos, from the Intrepid. The alien on his shoulder is Tentacle, from the Not Exactly Invaders From Mars comic strip I drew as a kid.

When I was a teen, crossovers between different comic universes was the coolest thing ever. So, naturally, with my multiple worlds and kajillion characters, I was going to do the same thing! S.T.A.R. Corps is a teen hero series set in it's own world that deserves its own entire article, what with the huge number of reboots. The New Force was the primary teen hero team of the Power Universe. This was another cover drawn for a story I wrote.

So, because I have a metric fuckton of characters just floating around that I don't do anything with, one of my many ideas is to try and toss a bunch of random characters together to form a team. This has rarely ever worked, although I have successfully done stories that update old characters.

This team was apparently supposed to be one of my many, many groups of adventurers going on an adventure concepts. The characters are, from left to right: Triango-Man, Stencil, Stretcho, Mr. Mechanical-Man, and Power-Bat. These were all old Krazy Komix characters, being revamped into this project. Unlike most of my previous "form a group from a random jumble of back-loggers", I deliberately went with the easy-to-doodle cartoon characters, because they were characters I could actually draw consistently. Yes, I was in college at this point, but I was very out of practice with drawing, and I had convinced myself I wanted to try doing comics again. I'm pretty sure this was never a serious project, but one of my many "practice comics" ideas. I honestly don't even remember what the premise of getting this group together was. Heck, I don't even remember what the title name "Project: Xenn" is supposed to mean.


I never did actually draw the comic, but I did make some fake covers. Haha, they're so badly drawn, but there is some sense of action going on here, enough that I wish I knew what was supposed to happen in each comic. Triango-Man's clearly in deep shit on the first cover, backed into an alley by some big dude. In the second, I think the team is about to be ensnared by a giant clam!

Here's another scruffy dude.

No idea who the kid is supposed to be, although I think that's supposed to be some kind of super-speedster alien he's embracing. I like the completely impractical magic-wand-battle-axe he's hefting. This was clearly influenced by anime or JRPGs or something.

Ah, yes, this classic. Victory Transformer was a comic I drew when I was a really little kid, in which a normal guy is walking down the street, gets attacked by a ghost demon, and instead of dying, he spontaneously turns into a superhero of his own creation, and proceeds to get into one massive extended fight scene with said demon, and numerous other super monsters that join in at random. This coined the now famous phrase among my friends, "Holy crap, I just became a guy I made up!"

This image is (thankfully) not from the original comic, but a single-page re-creation I did years later, to more fully capture the glory of a moment that could only have come from the random creativity of an eight-year old.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Graven: Ebook Edition!

My web novel Graven is now in ebook format!

Graven is a dark superhero adventure. The world has undergone catastrophic changes as the result of superhuman conflict. Entire continents have been lost, a supervillain epidemic threatens America, and the country's greatest superhero team has been killed. To track down the source of these disasters, a band of superhuman bounty hunters must come together and save what remains of the falling world.

You can still read the entire story for free on this blog:

But if you have enjoyed this story and wish to support my work in general, please consider supporting my work by purchasing a copy at Amazon.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Graven: A Web Serial

I'm pleased to announce my first web serial project: GRAVEN! Despite my many ideas, I have struggled for many years with writing long form heroic fiction stories, be they continuous sagas or episodic adventures. This project is largely an experiment for me to learn how to write a longer story, as well as an exercise in self-discipline. It may be a bit of a rough ride, but I intend to stick it through to the end. If you decide to give it a read, let me know your thoughts, and I hope you'll find something to enjoy along the way.


In 2029, mysterious structures called Doorways appeared across the world. Any human that entered immediately disappeared. Thousands were never seen again, but every once in a while, someone would come back out after a few days, garbed in strange clothing and possessing superhuman powers. Despite the odds, many of the desperate, ambitious, and hopeful surged through the Doorways in search of personal power.

Eleven years have passed, and the world has undergone catastrophic changes as the result of superhuman conflict. Entire continents and civilizations have been lost, a supervillain epidimic threatens those societies that remain, and the world's greatest superhero team has just been destroyed. In the wake of this latest tragedy, the world's first superhuman returns to America, seeking to gather a band of powerful bounty hunters. Together they hope to track down the source of these disasters, and perhaps save what remains of the falling world.

Click here to begin the story!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Wyld Hunt

The Wyld Hunt was one of many post-Old Multiverse series concepts that sort of uniquely evolved through the background of several other setting and series concepts. Many of these characters were either background characters in the supernatural side of various hero settings, or were intended to be the "magic-themed" members of various teams. At some point, they just sort of developed their own continuity independent of whatever other hero stuff was going on, and I realized that didn't really fit in a standard superhero universe.

Ergo, this sort of became my first dedicated urban fantasy/modern fantasy type world, with no connection to a superhero universe proper. Although, rechecking these notes, I see that I still had them be tangentially related to an version of Tabitha Cain universe, which sort of still fits, given that at the time , given there were a couple figures in the Wyld Hunt lore that were part of the Tabitha Cain stories at the time. Eventually, however, I realized I didn't actually want to write a bunch of tedious "monster of the week" short stories, so, like most of my series concepts, this never really got off the ground.

I did, however, use several of these characters in co-writes and forum RPGs, so I can at least say some of these guys got some actual mileage in the written word, unlike a lot of characters I made concepts for, but ended up never using.

In the two thousand years since Tabitha Cain forced the Elder Gods to remove much of their influence, as well as most of their creations, from Earth, humanity has moved on. Technology brought power to the masses and the horrible creatures of the night were driven back by increasingly deadlier weapons.  Magic was left behind due its difficult and often impractical learning curve. By the time the later 1800s rolled around, the only authentic practitioners of magic were those who were innately born with magical talent or empowered by accident, and monsters had become virtually extinct. Humanity was on the fast track to a bright future ahead of them, with science as their new beacon. Soon enough, by the mid 1900s, people practically dismissed the supernatural as little more than an archaic notion.

This, however, suited the monsters and mages of the world just fine. Humanity was letting its guard down. Their technology was making them soft and lazy, easy pickings. And though they spread like wildfire across the world, there were always nooks and crannies in which the predatory forces of the supernatural could hide. Some simply tucked themselves away in dark allies and sewers or in the increasingly shrinking wilds. Others insinuated themselves into human society, hiding in plain site.

Thankfully, those with ill intent were not the only ones who retained their supernatural power. Over the decades, empowered champions and defenders rise to protect humanity from the shadows they have forgotten to fear.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Blue Thoughts

The whole bird theme had been a joke, really. Cardinal’s joke, specifically. None of us found it funny, but it’s not like the rest of us had any better ideas. He’d said if we were going to be superheroes, we should stick to a theme, some sort of iconography people could instantly recognize. He settled on the bird idea when he was trying to think of how to fit us into primary colors.

I thought that was really weird, honestly. I vaguely remember from my old comics that hero teams tended to consist of more specialized characters; you’d have your strong guy, your energy guy, your space alien tech guy, your one animal themed character, a wizard, and a mad scientist. Or something like that. And their colors were usually not coordinated, since most teams consisted of people who already had their own solo comics, and thus had their own style independent of the others.

I later found out Cardinal was a huge fan of those goofy Japanese hero-team shows. Still was, even though he was in his mid-thirties. The kind of show where a handful of teenagers all got their powers from sci-fi wristwatches or magic amulets or something. Say a phrase, hit a button, and poof, they’re covered in fabulous spandex and bike helmets, each one a specific color. They’d all have the identical powers of knowing martial artists and shooting laser guns. Also, they had giant robots.