A WebComic set in Mystara

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A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby warriorneedsfood » Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:17 pm

I'm drawing a webcomic set in Mystara. I'm posting a link to it here in case you Mystara guys would be interested in seeing my interpretation of things.

I'm starting the story in Karamekios. It is named The Keep on the Borderlands.

I'm running characters through King's Festival (B11) and The Keep on the Borderlands (B2). And I'm laying the foundation for Wrath of the Immortals. I'm writing the story, but the results of the battles are based on dice roles. Which is fun because since I don't know the result of the battles, it really changes how the I write the characters getting involved in the fights. It's a part time project and I don't have a regular post schedule, but it's fun, and I'm hoping some of y'all might enjoy it.

I have much more of the story written than drawn and posted on-line. But I know the story to it's conclusion and I have follow-up stories started for Horror on the Hill and The Queen's Harvest. And if you stick with me, I might even get to The Isle of Dread and The Veiled Society.

The depiction is Not Safe For Work. There is nudity and will be sex, not to mention the usual violence that is inherent in D&D Games. But I try hard to make it frank instead of gratuitous. Just so you know.

http://thekeepontheborderlands.webcomic.ws

I am interested in what Mystara fans have to say about the comic. So I just figured I'd post it here. :oops:
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby Havard » Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:00 pm

This is pretty good. I like your drawing style, especially as the story progresses and I am warming up to some of the characters. :)

Keep us updated when you upload more! :)

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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby Ashtagon » Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:08 pm

Your cleric is nuts! I like it!
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby Hugin » Fri Dec 11, 2015 7:12 pm

Just got to the point where they are entering the cave. Really enjoying it so far. I think it's cool that you did the combats using D&D rules instead of just making it up; cool concept.

And like Havard, I like the drawing style too. I'll be following this - thanks for sharing it with us!
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby willpell » Fri Dec 11, 2015 7:45 pm

Bookmarking to view when not in a government office.
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby frogimus » Sat Dec 12, 2015 1:02 am

Really good style - it's like the comic strips in the 80's era Dragon magazine. It's also fun to watch your work progress over time.
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby ripvanwormer » Sat Dec 12, 2015 3:00 am

Ashtagon wrote:Your cleric is nuts! I like it!


The choice of making her a cleric of Benekander was perfect. An Immortal so new that his cleric makes up theology as she goes along.
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby warriorneedsfood » Sat Dec 12, 2015 6:19 am

ripvanwormer wrote:
Ashtagon wrote:Your cleric is nuts! I like it!


The choice of making her a cleric of Benekander was perfect. An Immortal so new that his cleric makes up theology as she goes along.


That kinda was the idea. He speaks to her, even intervenes, but there is no church or dogma other then a couple of kooks in a remote monetary.

Thanks for all the kind words everyone!
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby willpell » Sat Dec 12, 2015 5:29 pm

I've now read everything you've gotten posted so far. Here are my thoughts in more or less the order they occurred to me.

My favorite part so far was the random encounter with the gnomes. :mrgreen:

Big fan of Illyria.

Like your Bugbear design with the horns. Don't know if you invented that idea or if it's Mystara-standard. (Not as fond of the orcs, but there are no shortage of really neat orc designs out there...while not many properties have bugbears, and yours is probably the single neatest-looking one I've seen.)

The gritty tone is a bit surprising; I don't know whether I like it or not, but it's certainly different. Not a lot of stories out there, in this Political-Correctness-crazed age, where a party of Player-Characters sit naked and bound in a dungeon, matter-of-factly discussing whether the orcs are going to rape them to death or just eat them.

The nudity is what prevents me from reading the comic at work, but it's not a great payoff, apart from the previously mentioned thematic interestingness. Don't quit your day job for a career in hentai, is what I'm saying. (And I'm especially not a fan of how much of the nudity is male, but that's obviously just a personal opinion.)

Overall, while it was entertaining to read in a sitting, too little happens on each page for me to check back regularly for updates. (That's not a criticism or anything; I know how hard it is to get stuff done on a schedule. I'm just saying "it is what it is" - regardless of what Lake Superior State University may think.) I'll try to remember to come back to this several months from now, when enough pages will have piled up to be worth another read-through.

The "First" death of Trenton? I presume resurrections are to come?

I would probably be getting more out of the comic if I could understand the rules. The character sheets are posted, but mean nothing to me. I found some things hard to follow while reading through; a lot of the comic is going over my head, due to my lack of prerequisite knowledge. But so it goes; not everyone can do "The Order of the Stick", and this was pretty decent for what it is.
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby warriorneedsfood » Sat Dec 12, 2015 6:42 pm

Super thanks for the criticism Willpell! Just some clarifying questions:

When you said you found some things hard to follow, can you be more specific?

I guess I'm assuming that readers understand that this is a story taking place inside a table-top Dungeons and Dragons game. If some things are going over your head, can you point to a section where you found something vague enough that took you out of the story?

As far as the nudity and un-PCness goes, that is how almost every single table top campaign I have ever played has gone. The male nudity is my version of fairness. If I'm going to draw nude women, the dudes are going to be showing skin too. My goal is not hentai, but when character get laid, I'm going to draw that too.

Trenton does return if I ever get that far. I do recognize that the pacing on each page might not be the best choice for a web comic. I'm sticking with this style for this comic to it's conclusion, and as my skills develop I'm considering different ways to present the next stories. Maybe more of a comic strip, maybe more exposition to speed things up. Not sure yet, but I digress; my earliest inspirations to draw where Larry Elmore and Jim Holloway from the old D&D books. And Heavy Metal magazine and Hayao Miyazaki are big influences as well. So I think the pace has derived from the idea of the sitting down and reading a graphic novel and you picked up on that. Thanks for mentioning it, it gives me something to think about.

Oh and the Gnomes cracked me up too. Why does every random encounter need to be a fight?
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby willpell » Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:45 pm

warriorneedsfood wrote:When you said you found some things hard to follow, can you be more specific?


Not really. When something bounces off of my brain, I tend to just kinda forget it. The only things which stand out as being easily-identified sources of confusion are the party switches, particularly when the bunch of adventurers showed up to rescue our original party. They may have been mentioned in preview pages, but this didn't really make things less disorienting when they turned up.

I guess I'm assuming that readers understand that this is a story taking place inside a table-top Dungeons and Dragons game. If some things are going over your head, can you point to a section where you found something vague enough that took you out of the story?


I wouldn't say I was 100% drawn into the story in the first place; it was okay, but this was not one of the rare examples of a webcomic instantly grabbing me so that I have to continue reading it. (The last time I can think of that happening was a D&D-type comic whose name I unfortunately don't remember - the main character is a girl in a petticoat whose only friend is a talking book. It was another one that I binged in one sitting, but sadly have never been back.)

The only thing that I can recall a particularly strong negative reaction to was the battle against a giant ferret, which struck me as incredibly goofy. (Similar to Gary Gygax's weird obsession with badgers.) Maybe that sort of thing is typical in this setting, or maybe it was just one of those weird things that happens at the game table sometimes. The D&D Weasel (and a ferret would be pretty much the same, I'd assume) does have some interesting mechanics in gameplay terms, but that isn't really going to translate well to a traditional storytelling medium.

As far as the nudity and un-PCness goes, that is how almost every single table top campaign I have ever played has gone. The male nudity is my version of fairness. If I'm going to draw nude women, the dudes are going to be showing skin too. My goal is not hentai, but when character get laid, I'm going to draw that too.


You have been in some strange campaigns, I would say. But otherwise OK, I figured that was probably where you were going with this (the "fairness" that is). It's not the choice I would have made, being an unapologetic believer in the Male Gaze (superhero comics are an example of what I regard as "doing it right", however many women complain about them being anatomically unbelievable). But since my own attempt at creating a webcomic involved recycled computer sprites, got about 8 strips made, and never went online (only one other person has seen it as far as I know, though I may have exhibited it at a convention room party once), I won't criticize too hard about other people doing what they prefer with their own product.

Trenton does return if I ever get that far. I do recognize that the pacing on each page might not be the best choice for a web comic. I'm sticking with this style for this comic to it's conclusion, and as my skills develop I'm considering different ways to present the next stories.


As someone who has followed three or four strips for more than a decade, I will definitely say you should stick with it. Practice makes perfection; I've seen it happen repeatedly. Keep working on it, and also keep promoting your work; maybe eventually you can live the dream like Jeph Jacques, Randall Munroe, Rich Burlew, or Tarol Hunt. All of these show tremendous improvement over time, and all of them are now making their living this way. Granted, that's four (and probably like twelve others I've never heard of) out of thousands, but still. It's definitely always worth trying to make this work, so long as you keep a good balance with the rest of your life.

So I think the pace has derived from the idea of the sitting down and reading a graphic novel and you picked up on that. Thanks for mentioning it, it gives me something to think about.


Yeah, the needs of the medium are very different. The page that's up currently is a good example of the kind of "workhorse" strip that's acceptible in the middle of a brief binge (such as one manga volume or the like), but absolutely should not be anyone's entry point, as it has been mine. There's not really anything terribly interesting happening, none of it looks spectacularly well-drawn, and you don't know who the one character is or why you should care about her. You want to have a "splash" page to take care of these issues; the immediate predecessor, with the dismembered ghoul taking up almost the entire thing and some lovely exposition beside it, is much much better, but still has the bottom panels seeming rather boring. I would say that the best recent page (other than the full-color drawing of the cleric which you posted as filler - ironically that's probably far and away the best single image you've provided, even though you were doing it just to "throw us a bone") is comic 117 (although the top panel of 123 got a lot better the second time I looked at it - I completely missed Sarkin shivering and sleepless in his bunk on first viewing). That one isn't exceptional in any single way, but it has a great balance of interesting things happening - hints at the larger story that it's in the middle of, a neat discussion of one character's evident flaws, and a panoramic view showing us a lot of the current and former participants in the drama.

Oh and the Gnomes cracked me up too. Why does every random encounter need to be a fight?


Exactly. This was one example of where "underwhelming" was the absolute perfect effect for the situation. (It sounds kind of mean for me to say that you seem to be good at that, but if this was a slice-of-life comic about three friends in college, the tone that most of the strips are setting would be perfect; it only seems strange when compared to the usual flash-and-panache of the most famous D&D strips.)

Now you just need to get better at dialing it 100% in the opposite direction, when that's what's called for. Obviously doing really impressively epic pages is going to be a lot of work, but there are probably all sorts of cheaty shortcuts that you can use to make things look splashier with minimal effort; sadly I'm not an industry professional and I don't know what they are (although stuff like "don't waste too much time crosshatching trees and grass" springs to mind; sometimes a well-detailed background is important, but a lot of the time that's probably energy you could spend better on the action and the characters).

Keep at it, and best of luck man. Visual artists of any variety (well, other than ridiculous Jackson Pollock types) always have my support and encouragement; there are few ethical issues that I don't do a fair bit of fence-sitting on, but pretty much nothing is wrong with providing more beautiful, interesting, and otherwise cool imagery, so that our free time can be filled with entertainment, inspiration and serenity.
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby Havard » Sat Dec 12, 2015 8:29 pm

willpell wrote:The only thing that I can recall a particularly strong negative reaction to was the battle against a giant ferret, which struck me as incredibly goofy. (Similar to Gary Gygax's weird obsession with badgers.) Maybe that sort of thing is typical in this setting, or maybe it was just one of those weird things that happens at the game table sometimes. The D&D Weasel (and a ferret would be pretty much the same, I'd assume) does have some interesting mechanics in gameplay terms, but that isn't really going to translate well to a traditional storytelling medium.


Yes, the Giant Ferret and the Giant Weasel are both fairly typical for Mystara as these appeared in the D&D BECMI edtion. Giant Badgers did not AFAIK.

Not saying your criticism isn't valid, but I am glad that this comic is true to Mystara and makes use of its more common monsters and characters.

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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby warriorneedsfood » Sun Dec 13, 2015 3:01 am

The Giant Ferret was in the adventure. The characters there are going through the King's Festival. and there was a room with a Giant lizard and a giant ferret. So since this comic is about realistic characters going through OD&D Adventures, you get what you get! As the characters go up in level, the fighting is going to get more and more dynamic. As a result, the story will probably get more heroic and less gritty... but we'll see, it's all about the dice roll.

Seriously, thanks for your feedback.
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby Robin » Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:00 am

Nice work
Please continue...
even though it is not precisely TSR/WOC or USA accepted due its violent or sex nature
I like it..
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby Sturm » Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:35 am

Very funny, I will check for the updates :)
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby Hugin » Tue Dec 22, 2015 6:24 pm

Loved the "disco skeleton"! Such a great visual.
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby Robin » Wed Dec 23, 2015 7:17 pm

;)
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby warriorneedsfood » Wed Dec 23, 2015 8:33 pm

Robin wrote:Nice work
Please continue...
even though it is not precisely TSR/WOC or USA accepted due its violent or sex nature
I like it..


Thank you!

I didn't want to tell a PG story. I like the idea of characters dealing with the horrible situations they find themselves in in an adult fashion. I've written a couple of the characters dealing with PTSD and survivor's guilt in later chapters.

And other than nudity, I haven't gotten to the sex yet. :twisted:
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby robertneaves » Wed Dec 23, 2015 8:54 pm

Unacceptable in the US? I need to start reading this.
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby warriorneedsfood » Mon Oct 03, 2016 4:37 am

I've posted a lot more since I last pitched this comic. I figured I would necrobump this thread just in case people might be interested.

http://thekeepontheborderlands.thecomicseries.com/
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby Robin » Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:40 am

I continue to love your work , your story and your style
My emotion while reading; :D :) ;) :shock: :lol: :P :twisted: :halo: :roll: :| :mrgreen: :ugeek: :o :( ;) :) :D :cool: :? :evil: :mrgreen: :lol: ;) :o :mrgreen:

but would you be willing to do a commision ?
I desperatly need a single picture for the Friendly Fungus to be used for here, pandius, and in my compilation materials, and my artist suffers from MS, and can't do it anymore, and My RL sucks to be able to put a drawing pen on paper as yet http://www.thepiazza.org.uk/bb/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=13325&start=50#p155276
Of course you'll be recognized as the artist by name and link to your site.
I imagine them as wandering in a bar on a large table, doing their things (poison filter, bringing object, purring if treated wel reaction, etc. ) with some characters around questioning these "things"
remember, they seem not to have eyes (very tiny all over in pores).
If you love them like I do, you may of course add them to your storyline, but that's completely up to you.
Hope to hear from you soon
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby Hugin » Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:34 pm

warriorneedsfood wrote:I've posted a lot more since I last pitched this comic. I figured I would necrobump this thread just in case people might be interested.

http://thekeepontheborderlands.thecomicseries.com/

Thanks for the update, WNF! I'm glad to be following this comic again.
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby warriorneedsfood » Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:00 pm

Robin wrote:but would you be willing to do a commision ?
I desperatly need a single picture for the Friendly Fungus to be used for here, pandius, and in my compilation materials, and my artist suffers from MS, and can't do it anymore, and My RL sucks to be able to put a drawing pen on paper as yet http://www.thepiazza.org.uk/bb/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=13325&start=50#p155276


Why not? I'll draw something up this week.
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby Tom Bulls Eye » Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:17 pm

That was good reading. Thanks for bumping the thread.
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Re: A WebComic set in Mystara

Postby Robin » Wed Oct 05, 2016 1:17 pm

warriorneedsfood wrote:
Robin wrote:but would you be willing to do a commision ?
I desperatly need a single picture for the Friendly Fungus to be used for here, pandius, and in my compilation materials, and my artist suffers from MS, and can't do it anymore, and My RL sucks to be able to put a drawing pen on paper as yet http://www.thepiazza.org.uk/bb/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=13325&start=50#p155276


Why not? I'll draw something up this week.

Awesome...I'll await it eagerly :lol:
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