Oh Look, Some Art

As mentioned in the previous post I’m currently doing some D&D character art while URBAN ANIMAL is on holiday break. This lil guy is Lucien, a 10-yr-old Elf Wizard with (currently) a whopping AC of 11. But what he lacks in armor he makes up for in spell slots.

I leaned into Zelda (yes, I know his name is Link) territory with the pointy hat and the grass green, because I wanted it to harken to that but still be its own thing. Jad helped me tone the green down so it would be less Santa Helper and more Fantasy Adventurer. Thanks Jad!

I personally really enjoy the book harness. How does it work? I don’t know.

Here’s the b&w art

Dungeons & Dragons

“I’m not trying to kill you. I’m trying to turn you into a hero.”

That’s the go-to reassurance I tell players whenever they start to wonder why I’m making their lives a living hell. Whether or not it actually reassures them is another matter entirely. But that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that with a few well-placed descriptions, some dice rolls and carefully curated music , they — the players — are invested in the story, and the world is real to them.

And then you drop a dragon on their face.

I started DMing seriously sometime around 2015, when my wife and a few of our artist friends wanted to jump into the world of D&D for the first time. At the time, my relationship with the game was a mix of bad experiences as a player back in college, listening to Mr. Sark and Brian Posehn’s crew playing NERD POKER, and then getting what I could from watching Chris Perkins run the PENNY ARCADE games. So I started pretty loosey-goosey with the rules, but as I got more comfortable and CRITICAL ROLE became another resource, running a fantasy game for a bunch of friends became second nature. I feel like just watching that show makes you a better DM by osmosis, thanks to the patron saint of dice rolling, Matthew Mercer.

Here’s a vlog Jad did in 2015, from our first D&D Session

Running a game is a lot like staging a play. But instead of having a small village putting on a show, you’re just one guy playing the displaced orphans, the love interests, the nameless threats. The monsters. The allies. The gods. It’s a lot more work, but it’s also a lot more control. And control is good. For whatever reason I’ve never been keen on using the countless modules that come with the games, for two reasons: 1) I don’t like the idea that the players can find out exactly where the story is headed by doing a little bit of research, and 2) I like being surprised by how the players shape the world around them. I’m a bit of a discovery writer in that I don’t have a clear idea of how things will end when I begin something. And that’s fun.

Flash forward to COVID times, and the campaign I run for my wife and our close friends is on hold due to various work and family commitments. But for now I scratch that D&D itch by running two separate campaigns that are both streamed weekly on Paperbug TV and Shmekm — both being comedy and video creators on Facebook. I’m supposed to be doing character art for both campaigns, so expect to see stuff about that here soon.

It’s a good, special kind of fun being able to reassuringly tell my friends that they are heroes one and all, as I lock them in a room with monsters.

Speaking of monsters, URBAN ANIMAL continues this weekend with Episode 78 for free-access readers, and 81 for Fast Pass readers. I’m really happy with how this season has been received despite the big risk we took for most of it, character-wise. If you’ve been reading, you know what I mean. I’ll probably talk more about that in a future entry. Peace!

UA will be on pause over the holidays so we can relax and spend time with family. We will resume on January 9th!