Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Castle of the Bloated One - Ruins of Ja'ron Fer'oc: Level 9

December 29, 1977 Original Concept

"You want to know what happened to the Legion?", the old bard leaned forward and whispered. The children moved closer to the fire, transfixed by his words. "Very well... the fields were covered with human, elf and dwarf. The Legion's finest warriors battling The Wite; a horrible mass of orc, hobgoblin, gobber and undead. From my vantage point smoke rose into the air, billowing upwards from the mass of bodies burning everywhere. but ..." the bard faltered, choking back a sob ... "but... through my gossamer eyes ... they weren't moving, silent screams unanswered, frozen in place mid-strike. The Legion had fought their last battle".

Five of the children started crying, reaching blindly for comfort from each other, when the oldest boy glanced up, anger and tears reflected on his face, "I don't believe it!". The old man nodded "aye, ti's true ... for the fields were covered in glittering ice".

Level 9 was based on that passage from my notes. A larger level featuring snow, ice, fissures and crevices, along with a wilderness look and feel. Presented below is the Ruins of Ja'ron Fer'oc: Level 9.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Castle of the Bloated One - Ophidian Level 8

December 26, 1977 Original Concept

A chance viewing of a silly 1973 horor movie titled "Sssssss" led me to purchase a couple golden books on amphibians and reptiles. Over the next few weeks I slowly worked on a monster who could bite a humanoid and subsequently they would transform into a snake-like creature. Like the vampire, infected humans would be under their master's control. I called them Sssnapes (highly original *rolls eyes*), and added them to my trove of beasties. Six years later the Ophidian would appear in Monster Manual II and I instantly thought, that should have been mine!. C'est la vie...

Thus, Ophidian Level 8 is presented:


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Castle of the Bloated One - Organ Donor Level 7

December 19, 1977 Original Concept

Luray Caverns, August 10, 1977.
My family had traveled down to Falls Church Virginia to see my Aunt Marie & Uncle Andy - the same uncle who first introduced me to Miniature wargaming, stamps and coins. After spending a couple days at the Smithsonian, my Uncle took us to Luray Caverns and there I was introduced to a wonder. The cavern is impressive, all the moreso when you account for the ghost stalactite that one can see from 7 or so different places during the tour, and just how cool (literally and figurately) the place is. The bombshell for me however is the stalacpipe organ in the main cavern, operated by a custom console that produces the tapping of ancient stalactites of varying sizes with solenoid-actuated rubber mallets in order to produce tones.

As we listened to this amazing instrument, my mind instantly started working on the next level of The Castle of the Bloated One. We purchased one of the original 33 albums (vinyl, ah how I pine for thee) and I used it, along with the images I'd taken on the trip to lay out Organ Donor.