Saturday, 15 March 2014


It is entirely possible that the guys who will be playing the 13th Age campaign with me will see this, but I was so happy with the design of the fanglings that I wanted to post the pic.

I had a silly long list of creature concepts for an encounter for the party as they venture out beyond Tearhold Tower. The fanglings are small humanoids with a mouth fill of rows and rows of jagged teeth. They have some simple tribal tech, but they really enjoy tearing things to pieces with their teeth. They have doglike pets as well that (if it seems possible) have even more teeth.

Diving into photoshop I used the pencil tool and my SurfacePro2 to sketch if the basics before a refinement sketch layer that was still really pencil. Using a soft round brush and black or white i painted away beneath the multiply sketch layer to get all the tone and shading in. A quick background splash and some fun text and things were looking good. A few more additions and adjustments later and it was time for a colour layer at the top before it was complete. Here is the b/w version as well.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Replicator Gen5 and Other Fun Things

One of the great revolutions that we are in the midst of is personal fabrication of all its various flavours. The rise of the 3D printer as an affordable service or in the office/home device means we can now craft highly detailed and complex objects right there on the desk. Despite the high-profile exceptions where the printed components are actually used for medical or engineering applications - the vast majority of 3D prints are made for prototyping and models.

Here at UNSW Built Environment we continue to explore and expand our in-house options. The new Digital Fabrication Lab (pictured above on a nice quiet morning) has another suite of student access machines above what we already have in the Workshop comprising 6 x Replicator2s and 2 x LaserCutters. The same space has a few staff and research machines as well: Replicator2, Replicator2X, Up Plus2, Mcor Iris and the Zund Cutter. Around the faculty you will find more machines of various sorts in people's offices - particularly the Industrial Design staff who just love this tech.

Anyhow, I was admiring the new 5th Generation Replicators that Makerbot have released/announced. It looks like they have addressed many of the little issues we have with the machines and that should make for a far more reliable and friendly machine. The new filament feed system and extruder looks the business and along with assisted leveling and a nicer reel holder I am hoping it will be more approachable and reliable than ever. The inclusion of the camera is very cool. I was starting to explore options for adding cameras to our Replicator 2 machines so we could do several things at once: Monitor a build's progress, Easily create timelapse video of builds for people, help stop people doing stupid things and feed cool footage to a status page so people can see if there are free machines. I am not sure if the Gen5 machine's camera can do all of this, but having it included is the first step.

Oh and would it not be simpler if they called them Replicator 3s or Replicator 5s even rather than just Replicators. That is just plain annoying - like Apple - sigh.



The robotic arm driven plastic extruding printer created by Petr Novikov and Sasa Jokic during their internship at the Joris Laarman Lab is fascinating to watch and is yet another option in the expanding world of digital 3D printing. See the Full article on DeZeen.


Yep, just as it says the Big Rep is, well Big and that is a real bonus. One of the things about almost all the 3D printers available is that they are relatively small. Great for hand-held product design or models, but requiring clever construction in many smaller parts for anything larger. So Lukas Oehmigen created his Big Rep which you can see here in action via the Wired Article - a groovy 3D printed table would be awesome (plus, I like the infographic animated video as well)


Maybe I should mention a couple of other pieces of tech that I have my eye on. First the Form1 3D Printer that uses a resin set by laser in true Stereolithography style.


And lastly how cool would it be to have one of the full-colour powder based printers like the 3D Systems Projet360 and its cousins.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Special Dice

My Loch Maiden game has one special set of dice called the Mood dice which are rolled by a monster when trying to impress the maiden. There are four moods of different colours, so the normal caltrop style D4 seems like the obvious first choice. A little swarm of D$ dice with a point of each colour would actually look very cute on the table. The main concern is how hard these babies are to roll, ie very. I am thinking I will model up some variants and see if I can improve that experience, even if the result is less Platonic. Curving off the corners will hopefully give them a rounder feel and since it is colour we need to see the result will still be easy to see. (Next step to model some up in 3ds Max and print them out on the Replicator2 or even the Iris as a test.

Barrel Dice by Mindlessdrone link

There is an alternative dice type, the barrel dice which look very pretty and the 4 sided version is more like a shard or a splinter and having a handful of them could be quite fun to cascade onto the table. The colour will be the only face that presents 'upwards' and that is pretty nice. There may be more problems with the dice landing on each other with this method (test this perhaps). Maybe I should find the most 'thematic' choice between the two???


The other special dice on my mind at the moment is the 13th Age escalation die. This special die tracks combat rounds with things ramping up through the fight from 0 to 6. Perhaps a special 7 sides die would be perfect, but 7 sided dice are a strange beast (very odd shapes). I guess we can just use a big fancy D6 as most people do, though another alternative would be a big ol' D8 which has the 0 to 6 numbers and one spare face for something else like the 13th Age logo perhaps...

Photocube escalation die link

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Theria meets 13th Age

Here is a host of info for our game world as I look at a switch to 13th Age from D&D 4E to get a different mix of impromptu group storytelling and a lighter combat mechanic. I took ideas that have come up in discussions so far to detail up more of the world and a suite of Icons as well.

Principles of the world

  souls fade beyond most vision and gently waft away
  these soul rivers of souls (people and creatures) flow away to the east
  theories about where and to who/what
  magic can draw souls back along the river - cant wait too long
  Undead are linked to this flow
  This flow used to lead to another plane - where now?
  no contact with them at all
  demons etc that are here are trapped
  in some places there are wells full of demons and their spawn
  They and others are still trying to reopen links
  Once there were many Portals to other realms and many races came
  The islands were forged from the bog as huge catacombs were crafted
  Alignment with the stars meant the best places for land shifted over time
  Ages came and went
  The last age ended with the sealing of the world
  Cataclysmic battle took place deep beneath the earth
  To protect the world from the Hellplanes a ritual was cast
  The casters chose to separate this world from ALL the planes
  This all or nothing bid to save everything worked at great cost
  The battles were titanic, sealing the world from the gods was violent
  The world was safe, but civilisation splintered
  time passed
  Theria formed and built the Tower Stands
  The Therians fall - insanity?
  appears to be a finite resource
  flows through the world as well as being embedded in it
  Can have magical storms, droughts and currents.
  Magic items draw from the spirit flow - often animals
  There was a vast pantheon of Gods, but no contact since the sealing
  holy power still able to be siphoned - linked to arcane flows now
  Source is now relics and holy sites - still tuned to those gods
  Worship now much more aligned to the religions than the Gods
  These religions often cover a range of gods with common alignment
The Chain
  The habitable lands form a chain of landmasses rising out of the vast swamp
  The Tower Stands is a piece of one of the larger islands in the North
  The bog is treacherous but traversable using special ships
  There are still rumours and old tales of more islands far away
  The Chain is huge already and the islands can become isolated


01 G Sir Garren
  Commander of the Long Blade from Flagsmarch
  Head of the main protectorate in the Stone Woods, Rangers, Soldiers and Guards.
02 G Dromb Runefire
  Elderly Dwarf King in the mountains, guardian of the gate lore
  He has many dwarves, golems and constructs.
  New passion to build a vast engine to drill down to the World Core.
03 G Lady Cale
  Priestess of Seers Tower
  The tower is full of seers divining the future - well guarded
  She acts on the visions, dispatching or calling upon assistance
04 G High Councillor Tanis
  Elected leader of Flagsmarch, loves politics, order and civilisation
  Fears beasts and all threats to the city and the lands
  Personal private force called the Banner Watch
05 ? Jean-Tresor Endul
  Warden of the great Stardance Tower - largest population after Flagsmarch
  Rumours of Therian sanity issues
06 ? Thaelyn StarMyst Elf Princess
  Stunning HighElf who married the Drow Illusionist Thraex
  Reclaimed the Elven Spire and wants to reunite the Elves
07 ? The Cat
  Respected figure in the Underworld - many would follow them if called
  Burglar, bounty hunter, collector, thief - has a passion for artifacts
08 ? Qan
  Possible uniter of the Scattered - the many tribes, wildfolk and gypsies
  Leads through her magical tattoos that they all have
09 ? Libra the Merchant
  Powerful trader with a large network of legal and other commercial links
  Drug lord - controls the supply of Moon Weed
10 Drak'r Lord of Scales
  Destined leader of snakes, reptiles and dragons
11 E The Fallen
  Ancient Undead in the Swamp - hates the living
12 E Valandir Thornheart
  Wood Elf Druid who loved/loves The Princess - feels betrayed
  Turned to the power of Demons and Domics for revenge
13 E Khel the Organon
  Plague Mage experimenting with birthing all manner of new spells
  Created the 'deep rot' spell that is spreading and mutating

I had fun thinking up Icon ideas that would be interesting for us to link characters to as well as having various motivations that might take our world in unplanned directions.


I just found this set of Icons on the 13th Age SRD and they are full of hooks and intrigue as well.