Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Empire of Bone: The Power of Death

In the Empire of Bone, death (and undeath) is a tangible force that imposes itself on the world in various ways:
  • The Restless Dead – Once a living thing dies, they don’t always stay dead. There is a chance they will come back to life in an undead state: as a revenant, a zombie, a skeleton, a ghost, or as an animated “thing”. While many are quite civil about it, many also go about bothering the living with their undead state.
  • Death Rot – The world is awash with entropic energies, causing everything to warp and rapidly. Everything appears to be in a twisted and dilapidated state and drained of color.
  • Dead Sky – The sky has entered into a perpetual twilight, casting a pall on everything. The sun and moon both cast a dull light through the dead sky, with grey days giving way to a thick darkness on moonless nights.
This force of death can be controlled in various ways with those with the right knowledge:
  • Grave Gifts – Every restless dead possesses a special power when they come back from the grave. Usually it is related to the method by which they died.
  • Necromancy – Necromancy means “divination through communication with the dead”. Necromancers can do that and much more with the spirits of the dead.
  • Reanimation – Through creative surgery and applied necro-science, talented surgeons can create mindless undead servants.
  • Funerary Rites – The Black Church possesses certain powers over the dead, and indeed watches over the resurrection process.
This covers a fairly wide range of “dead powers” to work into story and player abilities!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Empire of Bone : The Big Bad

Back on the Empire of Bone project…
We have a defined setting premise: during the early Victorian era, there was an occurrence that changed the nature of the world so the dead came back from the grave. While some undead went about the nasty business of slaying the living, many were rather civil about it and took up their old lives again. Fast forward a few decades and you have a slightly altered mid-Victorian society where the living and the dead co-habit London.
This brings to mind a number of story possibilities, but the biggest is probably the hardest to answer: who is the “Big Bad” of the story, and why do the players care about it? Some ideas:
  • The Undead Problem – Aside from being a bit icky to the living, perhaps the whole world-transforming rise of the dead has a farther-reaching and more sinister element to it. Maybe it’s a pre-cursor to some manner of world-destroying nastiness associated with it – possibly something that was engineered and has yet to reach it’s conclusion. The real trick is making it so that even the undead players have a reason for wanting to stop it – since it could mean the end of their existence if they succeed.
  • Class Struggle – Things have really become upset since the dead rose, and are only really starting to settle down. Now that the living and the dead have gotten used to their new roles, how is it going to play out? There is an underlying class struggle in Victorian society – add the additional complication of the undead and it becomes an interesting tangle of politics to unravel.
  • Outside Threat – Perhaps there is a threat originating from outside the Empire itself - perhaps a foreign power bent on conquering and/or destroying the Empire. Maybe the Prussians have come up with a new manner of applied necro-science that has given them a combat edge and are pressing the advantage.
Of course, the answer could be “all of the above”, but I’m trying to narrow down the options a bit in order to nail down the plot points. Ideas abound!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Steamy Endeavors, Part V

I hoped to post this before heading to SteamCon, but time did not permit. Here is the final results of my thirty-six-shooter.



Sadly I did not get a great hi-resolution close-up of the shooter, but I’m sure some will show up on the web sometime!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Steamy Endeavors, Part IV

Work proceeds apace! Got a large chunk of the detail work done tonight, just need to do some paint highlighting and glue attachment.


I wanted the arm-plate to have some sort of visual texture, so after doing some hunting around online I settled on a nice reddish-brown leather texture. After printing a color of sheets on the laser printer, I cut it to fit the plates.


I didn’t necessarily want to go with traditional gun colors, so I tried experimenting a bit. The picture doesn’t bring out the colors well, but I tried a copper rub-and-buff on the gun, which turned out really well.


I wanted the mounting bracket for the gun to look fairly sturdy, so painted that with a metallic silver.


As you can see, the silver provides a nice contrast with the copper guns.


Again, the picture doesn’t do it justice, but I added brass paint detailing on the barrel and other detail bits.


As another detail bit I added metallic edging to the corners of the top of the arm plates, which goes really well with the faux-leather covering.


As an added decorative touch I added a brass nut at the end of the barrel.


Finished up the detailing on the rest of the plates, and added the nuts to the barrels of the other guns. Just need to do the brass paint detailing on four more guns, then fix the guns to the gun mounts and test it out with the new light gold ribbon I got for it.

If there’s any suggestions for additions/revisions I have one more night to work on it. Comments are welcome!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Steamy Endeavors, Part III

After a lot of spray-painting, sealing, and glue-fixing, I think I have the base prop complete and can start building adding details…


You think six-shooters were bad-ass – taste the fury of my thirty-six shooter! Even in basic black it looks pretty cool, so with decent detailing with metallic paints and trim this should look awesome!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Steamy Endeavors, Part II

Minor update to give you a clue as to where this costume prop is going…


Yes, those are revolver barrels minus the handles, mounted on the arm plates. Tune in tomorrow as further detail work is done!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Steamy Endeavors

I’ll be heading up to SteamCon II next weekend, and part of the zeitgeist of these events is to show off cool costume and prop creations. I’m not really a costume guy per-se, but appreciate the effort that goes into these show pieces.

That being said, I decided to contribute to this creative endeavor. The theme of this year’s convention is “Wild, Wild West”, and I’m building something in theme.



I won’t give away exactly what I’m building until I’m done, but feel free to make your own guesses. I’ll keep posting progress updates - hopefully it’ll turn out decently enough to share!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Foundations of the Empire (of Bone)

I’ve been doing a lot of research into Victorian culture as of late (partially out of personal interest), and actually have a very large map of London 1889 on my wall (Booth’s Poverty Map). Obviously for Empire of Bone I’m not planning to do a highly historical version of London - a wide-spread event which causes a large chunk of your population to become walking dead sort of precludes that. However, I do think it’s fun to include parallels and equivalencies to historical developments at that time. it allows for some tongue-in-cheek humor and subtle wit that some people enjoy when they delve into the background. Plus the history nerds love it!


Originally I was thinking of including of some sort of cataclysmic event that changed the course of human history and throw in “walking dead” as a side-effect. There’s plenty to choose from: The Black Plague on 1348-50 killed off 30-60% of European population, the Great Plague of London killed of 20% of London’s population. The cholera pandemics of the early early-to-mid 1800s killed tens of thousands of people.

Part of the trick is also finding a story catalyst that doesn’t significantly change the style of the world you’re trying to build. Would Victorian society have existed if whatever “undead plague” event happened back in the 14th century? If being undead effectively means immortality I think there’d be a lot of 14th century notions sticking around for a long time afterward.

So what if the event happened within more recent history and with a bit more subtlety? If you establish the event happening in the early Victorian era it would make a lot more sense for the Victorian societal trappings to still exist. And instead of having ravenous dead erupting from their tombs it’s more like dead uncle Edward popping by for tea. It isn’t like ravenous dead won’t erupt from their tombs during the course of the story campaign, it just doesn’t happen right away.

Monday, October 4, 2010

“Empire of Bone” Project

EoB_Skull_Icon “Empire of Bone” is the working name for my bit of personal game writing. It’s a project I starting half a decade ago for Savage Worlds and have recently been prompted to finish to get published. The gist of it goes something like this:

“Welcome to the Empire of Bone, a land of Victorian necropoleis where death walks hand-in-hand with the living. Skeleton chimney-sweeps clean the sooty furnace stacks of the factories where zombies toil many a mindless hour. Reanimators work in fetid labs manufacturing bizarre creations brought to life by the strength of their necro-science. Nobles both living and dead ride in silver-filigreed carriages drawn by bony horses, while necromancers in their long black frockcoats scurry to their lodges to practice their mastery of death magicks. The dark-robed priests of the Black Church keep watch over all, protecting the welfare of the many souls within the Empire. This is a place where death is only the beginning of your existence... welcome home!”

That’s the introductory paragraph for the game - now to get the rest of it done. I’m got multiple sections done in varying stages of completeness – now I just need to flesh it out some more and pull it all together into a cohesive whole. Once I get a bit more meat on the bones of this (so to speak) I’ll be looking for proofreaders and playtesters. Let me know if you’re interested!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Warmaster Undead Army Assembly Complete!

Finally finished assembling my Warmaster Tomb Kings army. I might have to tweak it a little (my dragon rider is missing his spear), but for the most part it should be ready for priming.

Here’s an earlier picture of the existing and new army units:


This is a 15mm scale army, so painting the details on it should be… interesting.

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Creative Endeavors

This is a new web journal dedicated to creativity through hobbies, writing, etc. I hope the creativity expressed here inspires you to be creative in your own way. Cheers!