Saturday, February 1, 2020

Have Map---Will Travel: My growing collection of D&D inspired maps


Greetings my fellow D&D veterans! Hope the New Year is going well for you all! 
I've been picking up some old school maps as of late...Ebay & elsewhere. Care to take a look? Good...let's get started then....
Maps have always held a certain fascination for me. As a child I would stare at my Grandfather's Atlas and imagine the places he had traveled to...the incredible things that he had seen as a "Knight of the Open Road" during the Great Depression!

So Fantasy maps have also always held a great deal of mystery and awe...the Hyborian Age map of Conan, The Middle Earth maps of Tolkien, and the lands of Narnia by Lewis....all have let their mark upon my creative mind.
I'll start with the older maps that I picked up back in the 80's....not 1880's you wisenheimers! The Middle Earth maps that came with the ICS MERP games were, in my eye, the gold standard of fantasy maps! Here's both Northern & Southern Mirkwood!


Even though they don't fit together correctly (how did that slip by quality control?!?) its still a brilliant map! The close up shows the incredible amount of detail! I've always strove to create my own maps that were just as detailed!
Recently I picked up the "World of Greyhawk" maps...that were created by Darlene for TSR...


I never owned these while I as actively gaming in the past...they are truly beautiful maps. My group of friends were more interested in our own campaigns rather than the TSR modules that came afterwards. Pity...these are magnificent maps!
I also picked up the map to the game "Search for the Emperor's Treasure" that was included in issue #51 of the Dragon magazine!


This map to the Tom Wham game was also created by the extremely talented Darlene...and has the added bonus of having had David Trampier doing the lettering! Being a collector of all things TRAMP I had to have it! 
Speaking of TRAMP...I also picked up the rare board game Divine Right specifically because TRAMP created the map for the game! 




Great detail in the map...the swamps, the forest, wetlands & mountains...the symbols are very similar to the ones TRAMP used in the board game TITAN that he created with Jason McAllister! 
Another recent purchase was a map of Krynn...the World of Dragonlance!

Very cool map! I enjoyed the books...not so much the modules that TSR created ...seemed to "railroaded" for my taste!
Lastly I picked up the map #1 of Judges Guild's "City StateCampaign".

As with everything that I've picked up of Judges Guild this is very high quality! Very detailed and nicely drawn!
And here's a few examples of my own maps...for campaigns I plan to run in the future...and just create at my leisure.


Two Hand drawn & two created on my PC!


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Titan: The Monster Slugathon

Hail fellow Grognards! Ready for another installment of this D&D blog? It's GO TIME!
As I've shared here over the past couple of years...I've been building a David A. Trampier collection...hard to find posters, original art...last week I really took the plunge and added the very rare,but extremely influential & popular, TITAN board game! 
This game was designed by TRAMP & his friend  Jason B. McAllister. They formed the Gorgonstar Co. and put the game out themselves in 1980. Avalon Hill bought the rights and published their own version for the next 20 odd years...leaving the 1980 board game a hard to find collectors item.
Here's a look at the condition of the box & the game contents...

Art on all 4 edges of the box...The Dragon & Behemoth 




Bottom of the box showing some coloring due to age.

And inside...
The rules to the game, "The LAW of TITAN". Very neat pamphlet with the TRAMP minotaur drawing...the original of which sold for over 2K this summer on Ebay!

Everything included & in pristine shape...the game pieces are "unpunched"...as in this game has never actually been played/used.


A warning from the creators...
Not to worry, I won't be playing this copy of the game, nor spraying any "clear-coat" on it to preserve the pieces! 
A nice "tip of the hat" from Tramp & Jason to their friends & brother!

The game board...which is a poster. Slightly different than the Avalon Hill version. You can see how the back of it has become discolored with age.




I can hear you asking..."What did you pay?" You already know...it was a lot of cabbage! I just knew that any real collection of TRAMP's work needed this piece of history. I read somewhere on the interwebs that only 50 or so of this version were sold by Gorgonstar...I really don't know the validity of that number...I just know that with the art...the box, the game pieces & the board designed by TRAMP...that I needed it for my collection. 
I teased this on some FB groups...a Gorgonstar Publications business card that was included with the game!


And...for comparison...here's the TITAN box next to the transparency used in the silk screening of the box covers!

I'll continue to keep my eyes open for more TRAMP collectibles...if any surface. He's my absolute favorite D&D/Fantasy artist.
'Till next time...Up the irons & roll for initiative!
Excelsior! 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A Friend Indeed: The 3 AD&D Books Gifted to Me

Greetings again on a cool Autumn day...the kind that was perfect for D&D back in the early '80s! The smell of cut grass mingled with burning leaves...brings back vivid memories of riding my bike to a friend's house for weekend D&D sessions!
Well...those friends gave up RPG's long ago. One, in particular, gave me a great gift when he did...3 of his AD&D books! Hell of a gift...I've held on to them for 30+ years...check 'em out!

He took care of his books...you can see the wear on them...they were well used "back in the day"! The "Deities & Demigods" is still in fine shape. Which version I hear you ask? Bet you already know...



Yessir! This is the early 1980 edition with the Cthulhu & Melnibone mythos! Yeah...damn fine gift!




Easy to see that he didn't read the description of Elric before he colored the pic! Kinda robust looking for an albino! I'm impressed to this day with hsi coloring ability at that young age! 
I even recognize some of the beings he let me color!



And then the "Fiend Folio"

Now this one is kinda embarrassing...it's not my friend's! I had borrowed his books to use at a convention...it wasn't until months later that I discovered that someone had mistakenly (I hope) walked off with the wrong copy! This book is in very fine/Mint condition!And this copy doesn't have many colored pages...and its in colored pencil to boot! 

These were all colored by yours truly at a later date...ee



I do particularly like the Skeleton Warrior & Mountain Giant!

And lastly, and quite incidentally, my least favorite of the three...The Monster Manual II

I know...that's borderline heresy! I think it's just the fact that I didn't care for the art in the book like I did in the original Monster Manual. No Dave Trampier always really bothered me...he was the best of the early D&D artist...and his absence here hurt the product...in my humble opinion. This is the most weathered of the 3 books...it did get a LOT of use!



3 great books...all vintage! I still half expect my friend to ask for them back one day! And I'd return them if he did!
For an added bonus...here's a closer look at the maps in the back ground. I created them with Wonderdraft for a campaign I'm working on. 

I just took my flash drive to Office Max and had them copied onto 11X17 card stock!

...hope you've enjoyed looking at these great old books! They bring back great memories for me...and AD&D is the high water mark for me as far as D&D!
'till next time...EXCELSIOR!