Schools of Magic

January 13, 2018

Over on Matt Colville’s subreddit, The3rdCraigRobinson was after pendants for the eight schools of magic in D&D:

What I’d like to do is have the officially sanctioned Wizards of the Ordo Magica wear pendants identifying the school they belong to. Badge of office. Casting Focus. And most importantly, they will serve as “Papers” to keep from getting bodied by over-zealous Witch Hunters they encounter. And one “Initiative/Novice” Pendant low level Wizards use before they choose a School. Like a large obsidian ring with 8 smaller rings of various color metals. Kind of like a miniature version of Maester Chains in Westeros.

Oh, and in case anyone else can name the 13 Dwarves of Thorin’s Company but can never recall the 8 Schools of Magic, here’s a brief refresher:
Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy, Transmutation

While I’d like the symbology to be recognizable and evocative (heh!) of each School, I do want to avoid cliches.

So I took a stab at them. If they’re going to be pendants, rings, seals and so forth they need to be something easily wrought, cast, cut, or carved. Simple is always better, and we want to avoid cliches of fire for evocation, skull for necromancy etc. Here’s what I came up with:

Disguise Self

November 4, 2017

“I cast Disguise Self” – Mazwin Gelbard Trundleclink

Update: I fancied giving it a splash of digital colour:


November 3, 2017

“The marks on your fingers start to burn.”


October 31, 2017

The wonderful Board With Life are running a fanart contest for their new D&D campaign, XP Academy (seen here), specifically for the first arc, Bullies, which finished this week.

First and foremost, this podcast is just funny. Laugh out loud funny. And I get a shit-ton of ideas for adventures from it (I’m currently running a group through my take on XP Academy).

Here’s my entry (well, first entry, I hope to knock out a few silly little ones too):

It took me forever to colour (I have a lot to learn about this drawing lark!) but I’m pretty happy with the result.

XP Academy (updated)

July 27, 2017

I’m doodling heraldry again…

(Also it’s for D&D again.)

Board with Life‘s Adventures in the New World campaign is coming to a close and the next campaign is XP Academy. A Harry Potter-esque school for heroes.

Of course, I couldn’t resist thinking about school arms, crest, and motto.

Update: I’ve put together a cleaner version (not including the supporters yet):

And the original sketch:

The arms were obvious. Four quarters (like our four Hogwarts houses) but for the four core classes: Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, and Rogue. Sword, wand, hand and daggers to represent each.

For the motto I wanted something a bit clever. After dancing around a riff on hic sunt dracones for a while (and a brief dalliance with an XP/expecto patronum something or other) I got it: Solve for XP.

It riffs on ‘solve for x’ as a common maths question, has a sense of school patriotism (‘solve puzzles and challenges for XP Academy’), and literally describes what the characters will do. (Then Google translated into Latin cos, you know.)

For our crest we have a Dragon emerging from a Dungeon (for hopefully obvious reasons).

And for our supporters we have a Beaver and an Owl. The Owl represents knowledge, learning, wisdom. The Beaver represents hard-work, and reflects the story from medieval bestiaries where beavers would bite off their own testes to escape hunters (heroes: know when to run!). It was also an excuse to draw a heraldic beaver. They’re pretty weird.

Who knows if this is anywhere near what Donald had in mind! Luckily I won’t have to wait long to find out.

In the meantime I’ll maybe work this up from idle doodle to something a bit cleaner (that mantling needs work for sure). Update: I did!

Noughts and Crosses

May 4, 2017

A reply to “What’s the best hack/edit to make the boring Tic-Tac-Toe game more interesting?” on Quora:

  1. Each player starts off with 100 chips.
  2. Each turn (including the first), the players submit a silent bid for how many chips they are willing to spend for the right to make a move.
  3. The bids are revealed and the player who made the highest bid pays that amount of chips to the other player and then makes his play.
  4. Repeat every turn until the conclusion of the game.

This is brilliant (and, I imagine, not a game for the AP prone). A high bid can buy you the coveted centre space but now your opponent has a bidding advantage over you, at any given point how much is a given space, or even the opportunity to play a turn actually worth?

Modern board game design is ace.

Edit: Another reply mentions another version I’ve seen before and liked. Each square on the grid contains its own gave of noughts and crosses, winning that game wins you the square on the parent board. The twist is the mini-board on which you must play is determined by the square last played by your opponent. e.g. They place a O in the top left square of whichever micro-grid they’re playing on so you must play on the micro-grid in the top left square of the parent board.