Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Weight of Water: Part 1

In 2004 Morrigan Publishing put out a call for abstracts for new Talislanta books. I sent in as many as I could think of which, if I remember, consisted of two adventure ides and two sourcebook outlines; one for a Northern Regions and another for the Kang Empire. I was beaten to the Northern Regions (which turned out to be a break, because I love this book) and the Eastern Empire book never got beyond the note stage, but the two adventure ideas were accepted. A month later I was able to submit the first adventure; an low-level romp called The Weight of Water. In retrospect, it is railroady as hell, but I am still quite proud of it and it was hands down the funnest writing I've ever done. I even have have a file full of ideas for a sequel called 'The Glimmer of Glass' (set in and above the Sea of Glass) which I may revisit one day.

I also completed and submitted the second book, but it was never properly published as Morrigan Press soon folded (not unusual for small press, sadly). I'm still quite proud of the second book, which was a cross between an adventure and a sourcebook for the Thaecian Isle chain called Festival of the Bizarre, Inspired by some readings I had done some reading on game design and inspired by the Grand Theft Auto series of all things, I tried t make the Festival of the Bizarre a sandbox with as many adventure ideas as I could think of scrammed throughout the text. Its available through my site and (was available? link is there but it seem to be dead) on the official Talislanta page. I'll revisit FotB at a later date, but a quick skim through unfortunately reminded me that, oh boy did I ever rush that ending! 

Anyway, the real purpose of this post was to celebrate the artwork that accompanied The Weight of Water. I cannot begin to describe the sensation when I first saw the works done by Adam Black, who was nice enough to send them to me soon after he'd finished them. That he had perfectly encapsulated what I was trying to convey still blows me away. And then the book came out with an honest to zod P.D.Breeding Black cover! Copies of many of these still hang in my 'study' (read as: clutter room). 

Cover, by artist, PD Breeding Black
This pic shows Sunbeam, the Muse Queen of Astar in her royal procession into the city of Cymril. It will be her unfortunate assassination that is the inciting incident of the adventure.  

Rajan Death Priest, by Adam Black
Book inlay. This suitably creepy picture hints at who the true villains of the adventure will be. 

Guard Duty, by Adam Black
The players are pestered by Whisps while working as guards for the Procession of Kings.

Assassin, by Adam Black
The ultimate fate of poor Queen Sunbeam.

A Promise of Escape by Adam Black
I particularly like this image as it perfectly captured what I tried to describe in the text. A mysterious stranger offering the captured PCs a chance to escape.

Bartender, by Adam Black
Another favourite. A simple piece describing a mobile tavern-cart run by Pharesian Renegades deep in the Cyrmil Woods. 

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