1. cornucopiansunsets:

    Dave Trampier (1954-2014)

    Title page illustration from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook (1978).

    Some obituaries: John Kovalic, Tony DiTerlizzi, Trampier’s local game store.

    RIP DAT.


  2. If you want this sketch, it’s yours for US$70 (including postage).

    Buy here.


  3. Large (A3, 11.69 x 16.53 inches) commission I just finished. The request was for the Golden Age Superman and Captain America, but I got a bit carried away. 

    Pen, watercolour and coloured pencil.


  4. Monster Manual Week:


    Today’s 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual Sketch is the extremely irritating rust monster.

    What’s great about the rust monster is that it can’t actually hurt you – and yet it’s one of the most feared monsters in the dungeon. This is because the rust monster eats metal and is particularly fond of “ferrous based metals such as iron, steel, and steel alloys (such as mithral and adamantite arms and armor).”

    In other words, it wants your armour and weapons – and one touch of its long antennae causes anything metal to rust and corrode, immediately falling to pieces “which are easily eaten and digested by the creature.” Fighting back is not a good idea, because “weapons striking a rust monster are affected just as if the creature’s antennae had touched them.”

    Small wonder that a band of tough adventurers will often run at the first sight of a rust monster; unfortunately, most quickly learn that the rust monster moves much faster than they do. The most effective way of dealing with one is to throw a handful of iron spikes (or other easily replaced metal items) in its path and hope it will stop long enough to eat them that you’ll be able to get away with that precious +4 sword.

    I’ve never understood quite what’s going on with the rust monster’s tail. In theoriginal illustration by David C Sutherland III, it looks for all the world like a propeller. Later versions tried to turn it into something impressive and insectoid, but if you ask me, Sutherland’s version is the best, because it gives the rust monster a ridiculous – almost nerdy – look. Ol’ Rusty never hurts anyone; he’s the harmless annoying doofus everyone wants to avoid.

    Legend has it the rust monster was designed when Gary Gygax found a bag of cheap plastic monster toys in a dime store, including a “figurine that looked rather like a lobster with a propeller on its tail…. [N]othing very fearsome came to mind…. Then inspiration struck me. It was a ‘rust monster.’” I’m sure his gaming group was delighted when Rusty first turned up and started munching on their stuff.

    BTW, one day I might buy one of these t-shirts.

    (Note: this was a commissioned Monster Manual sketch. I’m still taking requests (for a limited time) here).


  5. Monster Manual Week:


    Today’s 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual Sketch is the reprehensible roper.

    The roper is found in subterranean caverns. Looking something like a 9 foot long cigar and able to disguise itself as a stalagmite, a pillar or even a “hump” on the ground, a closer inspection reveals what “appears to be a mass of foul festering corruption.”

    However, adventurers foolish enough to carry out such a close inspection are likely to encounter the feature which gives the roper its name: six “strong, sticky rope-like excretion[s],” which shoot out to grab (and poison) its prey. The dazed unfortunate is then dragged into the roper’s “toothy maw” and “quickly devoured.”

    The AD&D dungeon is full of these ghastly well-disguised monsters, including the piercer (a stalactite that suddenly drops from the ceiling to pierce, kill and devour passers-by), the water weird (which can hide in pools, fountains or even barrels of wine), the lurker above (which pretends to be the ceiling), the trapper (which pretends to be the floor) and my personal favourite, the mimic (which can pretend to be practically anything, but is particularly fond of mimicking a treasure chest).

    My advice? Stay above ground at all times.

    (Note: this was a commissioned Monster Manual sketch. I’m still taking requests (for a limited time) here).


  6. image

    By the way, I’m currently taking requests (commissions) for sketches of monsters from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual (for a limited time). Choose your favourite monster and I’ll draw it for you: http://hicksvillecomics.com/1760


  7. Monster Manual Week:


    Today’s 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual sketch is the Gelatinous Cube. Unfortunately, there’s no illustration for it in the Monster Manualitself, but the Gelatinous Cube remains one of the iconic D&D monsters.

    Essentially 10′ x 10′ x 10′ cubes of jelly-like digestive fluids, “gelatinous cubes are nearly transparent and are difficult to see.” Any unfortunate creature they touch risks paralyzation, followed by full immersion and digestion. Metallic and other indigestible objects are left behind, or even carried around inside the body of a cube for several weeks.

    Sounds disgusting? National Geographic disagrees

    Buy this sketch (SOLD)


  8. Monster Manual Week:


    By popular demand, today’s 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual sketch is the horrifying (some might say ridiculous) Owlbear! As theMonster Manual explains, “the horrible owlbear is probably the result of genetic experimentation by some insane wizard.” Certainly, any other origin for this cross between an owl and (you guessed it) a bear is best not thought about. But however owlbears first came into being, “they are ravenous eaters, aggressive hunters and evil tempered at all times,” with “red-rimmed” eyes that are “exceedingly terrible to behold.”

    The owlbear’s most dangerous move is its Hug attack, when it “grasps a victim and squeezes and bites it to death.” Frankly, once you’d been dragged into that feathery embrace, death probably couldn’t come soon enough.

    The original Owlbear illustration was by David C. Sutherland III, who drew more than his fair share of 1st edition AD&D monsters. Here’s an interesting post by Dungeons & Dragons’ current creative director Jon Schindehette on redesigning the Owlbear for 4th edition. And here’s possibly the best Owlbear picture ever.

    Buy this sketch


  9. Monster Manual Week:

    The terrifying BEHOLDER!

    Today’s 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual sketch is the terrifying Beholder (the Eye Tyrant, the Sphere of Many Eyes)!

    To be honest, I always found the Beholder more ridiculous than terrifying – but that’s probably because I don’t remember ever actually encountering one in the heat of battle. Their multiple eye stalks may look silly, but each one packs a fearsome power: from Charm Person to Disintergrate and even a Death Ray. As the Monster Manual says, “the beholder is hateful, aggressive, and avaricious.” In short: avoid.

    You can see the original Monster Manual Beholder illustration (by Tom Wham) – along with some later versions – here.

    Buy this sketch (SOLD)


  10. Monster Manual Week:

    The dreaded STIRGE!

    This week for my morning sketches, I’m drawing creatures from the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual (1977) – one of the first role-playing game books I ever owned.

    First up is a monster I’ve always found especially terrifying (despite its low level): the Stirge. They usually attack in groups (of 3-30) and, as the Monster Manual explains, “they lay in wait for warm-blooded creatures, swoop down, and when their long, sharp proboscis is attached, the blood of the victim is drawn through to be eaten” (shudder).

    You can see the original Monster Manual illustration (by David C. Sutherland III) of the Stirge (along with later versions) at Bogleech.

    Buy this sketch.