Kids RPG Journal – #57 Monster Bestiary

I’ve spent the last few nights cranking out more of the monster doodles to get them ready for the harrowlands site and future game-play. It seems I can get two or three done in a night when I have time to sit for a while, I’d guess each one takes me about an hour to sketch, ink, and color.

monster doodles: ankou, banshee, barrow wight, draug, fekst, ghoul, mummy, orco, red cap, revenant, valraven, vampyr, white maiden, wraith
monster doodles: ankou, banshee, barrow wight, draug, fekst, ghoul, mummy, orco, red cap, revenant, valraven, vampyr, white maiden, wraith

So far, I have fourteen monsters drawn out. I made my way through all of the walkers (undead), and am into the wargs (bestial and trollish monsters). I’d guess I have another 40-50 to go before I get through the current catalog of monsters. I probably won’t try to do those all at once, but space them out with other content and get a few done every week.

  • Hungry dead: ghoul, vampyr, barrow wight
  • Lonely dead: draug, mummy, wraith
  • Grieving dead: ankou, banshee, revenant
  • Cold ones: fekst, white maiden, valraven
  • Teeming: orco, red cap

As I complete each drawing, I am uploading a portrait and thumbnail to the site. When all of the monsters are completed, I’ll convert the existing pages to show a thumbnail of each one next to their description. 

harrowlands monster listings

Having the illustrations completed will make it a lot easier for me to work on making the custom moves, mannerisms, and precautions for each monster. This will allow me to have a whole library of monsters ready to go for any game. Creating my own monster manual has been a fantasy of mine since I was a kid, so I have the added benefit of making 9-year-old Matt very happy.

Kids RPG Journal – #56 Monsters Simplified

While we were out camping, I spent a little bit of time drawing and coloring some monsters working in the new super simplified drawing style. I sketched out about twenty or so monsters from my notes in previous sketchbooks and am starting to work on them in Clip Studio.

sketchbook monster doodles

It seems I can do a couple a night if I get a little quiet time, which is much more conducive to my goals than averaging one drawing a week. More illustrations in a quicker time, allows me to make more content and spend a little bit more time writing.

This will also help me explore more monsters on the Harrowlands website than I’ve gotten to recently, and that is always a good thing.

Ghoul

simplified ghoul

Vampyr

simplified vampyr

Barrow Wight

simplified barrow wight

Draug

simplified draug

Wraith

simplified wraith

Kids RPG Journal – #28 Setting Limits

One of the concerns I have with the game, is my boy’s tenacity to stick with one thing and do it over and over again. It can be a song, a saying, a joke, or in the case of earlier role-playing experiences, shooting things. While playing No Thank You, Evil! the boy’s would approach every monster the same way, by firing their eel-blasters at them every time. I had to work overtime to get them to expand to find other options.

While I’m sure as they play through, they’ll use a lot of other skills and resources to deal with problems, I’m hoping to not have it be an issue early on in the game. Judging by the things play-acting during the character creation stage, the shocking weapon ability may be a go-to. To get around this, I’m looking to set limitations on the number of times certain moves can be used.

I definitely don’t want to get into a resource-management style game with arbitrary limits, but I do want to encourage different options and ideas. The idea of having prepared spells is not appealing to me, it was never one of the fun parts of D&D, and with the limited number of moves already, seems overly restrictive.

I briefly toyed around with the idea of basing the ability to continually use certain abilities until the player rolled a failure, and then the ability would be gone until the character rested, but I didn’t like the option of it possibly failing the first time they use it and then not having it for the whole day, I don’t want using their abilities to be punitive.

Yesterday, I was working on finalizing the character sheets and needed to make a decision so I could complete the design. I went with an energy pool along side the health pool, so that the players can use all of their abilities multiple times in a day, but not necessarily spam them. Like health, I kept the energy pool very simplified, a maximum of six-eight “stars”, and certain abilities requiring the use of a star.

energy pool for using certain custom moves denoted by stars

Naturally, most of the abilities requiring energy are combat related, as I want to encourage more investigation and role-playing, but I did set one of my wife’s divinatory moves to require a star. These abilities are marked with a golden star next to them on the custom moves section.

stars on custom moves denoting the energy requirement to use.

This way, the moves can still be cool and the boy’s can still use them liberally, but not to the point of it becoming dull.

These are the moves I set as requiring energy to use:

  • Vicious Bite (attack)
  • Fearsome Howl (fear)
  • Thunder Touch (push opponents)
  • Storm Charge (attack)
  • Burning Touch (attack)
  • Earth Memory (divination)
  • Channel ├ľnd (healing)

We’ll see how it goes and if we don’t like it, I can always drop the energy pool concept without too much reworking.