The only thing that RedBrick didn’t accomplish yet, is to spread fan material. No, I don’t mean the spread of books, in this section the work of RedBrick is superior, I think of fan material like Earthdawn posters, miniatures, shirts and so on. Actually RedBrick got two shops where they sell Earthdawn merchandise products. But I think those shops need an update with new products. So why not include new Earthdawn posters?

That’s the main thing I miss: Earthdawn posters. Yes I know it’s always an expense factor to sell posters, but I think the fans would grab them with no hesitation, even when looking at a high price. I remember the good old times, when I received an additional Earthdawn poster for free, when I bought my first Earthdawn book. I know that the Earthdawn posters of FASA are very rare today and that’s why I am very proud to say that we in our group possess three of them.

This one I received for free with one of our books

SDC10056

Those two were acquired via Ebay

 SDC10059SDC10060  

I guess that other Earthdawn posters exist and if I remember correctly one shows the cover of the Living Room’s Second Edition sourcebook. I never saw this LR poster anywhere so I guess it was just handed with the sourcebook or only a limited amount was exclusively sold.

So question on you all: Do you possess any Earthdawn posters? Which? And how did you get them and what posters would you want to be made? Just leave a comment.

clip_image002The following interview was held between Wojciech “Sethariel” Żółtański (earthdawn.pl) and Delano Lopez – author of “Kratas: City of Thieves”, an Earthdawn sourcebook.

Can you tell us something about your personal experience with Earthdawn. When was the first time you came upon Earthdawn?

I was already playing Shadowrun when Earthdawn first came out in 1993, so I was there at day one. Younger readers may not know that Earthdawn began as a prequel, or spin off of Shadowrun, when both were produced by FASA. Even though I had played many different role playing games, and would continue to play others, Earthdawn quickly became my favorite. I bought every FASA Earthdawn book, (I didn't manage to get all the miniatures, though). The combination of high fantasy, the rebuilding of a post-apocalyptic world, deep history, and Lovecraftian horror, really attracted me to the game. I respected the way that everything in the game world was well thought out - like having a good reason for “dungeons” i.e. kaers - to exist.

From what perspective have you been discovering the world of Earthdawn, more from the perspective of a gamemaster or a player?

In Earthdawn, and in roleplaying games in general, I usually am the gamemaster. This makes sense of course, for a project like Kratas, because, as I would when gamemastering, I had to make up many characters. locations, and obstacles for the players to encounter.

What kind of gamemaster are you? Do you think it could have got any influence on Kratas sourcebook?

Well, there are two main roles a gamemaster must play - storyteller, who sets up the action with character, setting, and conflict, and referee, who controls the action during combat. Both are crucial but I am more skilled at the former than the latter. Thankfully for a sourcebook like this, I'm mostly doing the former, and there are folks on the edit team more proficient with game mechanics. They spent a lot of time tweaking game stats, like the new talent knacks.

How did it happen that you started writing Kratas sourcebook for RedBrick? Had you worked on anything similar before?

I had written a few non-roleplaying articles that had been published, and I had written a number of Earthdawn things - magic items, new disciplines, stories, etc. - that had been published on fan sites - the great old Strands website, Sako Eaton's Bantero Soulforge site, the Earthdawn Publishing Trust's Book of Tomorrow. I had actually written the proposal and outline for the Kratas Sourcebook and sent it off to FASA shortly before they stopped publishing Earthdawn. Once Redbrick got the rights, I dusted off the old proposal and sent it to them. Redbrick liked it and gave me the go ahead.

How long did it take you to complete "Kratas: City of Thieves”? clip_image002

It took me about two years working in my spare time to write the first draft of about 250,000 words - though that amount includes the three Kratas Shards that are forthcoming, as well as other things that did not make the final edit. It then took another year or so for us - the Redbrick team - to complete the rigorous editing process. It was a team effort, of course.

What was the most difficult part of the work?

One of the hardest parts is actually coming up with new names - it's important not to get in a rut and make enough variety so that the names are consistent with the established game world, yet are distinctive enough to give each character his own identity.
In-game continuity is also very important to me, so I spent a lot of time going through all the published Earthdawn works to make sure I would not contradict or ignore anything already published about the city. I put together a big file of every mention of Kratas, Garlthik or Vistrosh in any of the FASA books or novels- in the process discovering a few continuity errors that I had to reconcile.

What was the most enjoyable or easiest part?

It's hard to say which is the most enjoyable. I love writing the original fiction pieces, as well as creating characters and locations. I enjoy creating interesting back stories for characters and delving into the history of Barsaive. One aspect of this work that was both challenging and rewarding was working with the editorial team. They - all the folks listed in the credits as senior and associate editors - put a lot of effort into the work and contributed much, adventure ideas, fiction pieces, etc. It was really a collaborative effort. I also was very pleased with all of the great art, maps and the layout work that was done on the book. It's quite a thrill to see one's ideas presented in such a beautiful way.

Creating "Kratas: City of Thieves” were you inspired by real life situations or events in the world?

Sure. Much of the city was inspired by my time spent living in Guatemala and Nicaragua. Those countries are still recovering from civil wars, as Kratas and Barsaive are recovering from the Scourge. Guatemala City is very dangerous and lawless, so most shops have armed guards, and it is not unusual to see private residences with high walls that are topped with broken glass, razor wire and electric fencing. Nicaragua still doesn't have street addresses, you give directions by saying things like “300 meters east of where the old gas station used to be.”
Years ago I also did a study of skinhead gangs in the U.S., and learned a lot about gangs and organized crime. I modeled some of the gangs on that information. For example, the Forsaken, with their oath of enmity to the Force of the Eye, were somewhat inspired by the Bandidos, a real life motorcycle gang who once swore that “All Hell's Angels Must Die.”
clip_image002[5]The Dinganni Plains, and the creatures therein, are based on the “Llano Estacado,” or “staked plain” of my home town of Odessa, Texas.
In a much more general sense, my thinking in game design is heavily influenced by my career as a professional theater set designer. When designing a set for a play, I am not creating a complete work of art - I am only creating a background in which the director and actors will create the final work. In a similar way, when creating a sourcebook or adventure, I am not telling the story, I am only creating a framework within which the gamemaster and players will tell the story. In some other game systems, the game designers will get too wrapped up in telling the story and advancing the metaplot, that they will forget that their job is ultimately just to provide options for the gamemasters and players.

You pay a lot of attention to details. Many names in Kratas sourcebook are meaningfully created, derived from or inspired by classic literature and drama. Can you tell us something about it? clip_image002[5]

Not only do I think that it is important to pay attention to details in general, but as Naming in Earthdawn has magical importance, it becomes doubly crucial. It is also a way to acknowledge to the reader one's source of inspiration - a little wink, as it were. I'm thinking particularly of Ghagin here.

Can you give some more examples of such names and processes behind its creations?

Here's another example - in one of the upcoming Kratas Shards, there is an obsidiman named Blackstone - which makes perfect sense, as her skin is black, and made of stone - but there were also a famous father and son pair of American stage magicians with the last name "Blackstone" which fits, but to explain more would give away some of the plot of the Shard.

"Kratas: City of Thieves” for Earthdawn Third Edition has been published. Are there any significant differences between the new edition sourcebook and the Earthdawn Classic Edition version?

Did you contribute in any way to the conversion of Kratas sourcebook to Earthdawn Third Edition?

I'll answer these two questions together. I was not involved in the conversion, and it is my understanding that none of the game setting elements- characters, plots, adventures, etc- were changed, it is just a matter of making the game mechanics line up with the changes made to Third Edition. I am more interested in the game world elements - characters, plot,etc. - than the game mechanics - and Redbrick has folks that are very focused on those mechanics.

Thank you for the interview and waiting for your future works.

You already know that Telarus creates awesome Earthdawn stuff. But with his last project he did in his modeling class, he surpassed himself. I contacted him to tell us a little bit about the working process and to give us some insight and inspiration.

Hey, first of all, why Garthik? Why did you choose to build a sculpture of him?

This bust of Garlthik One-Eye in the Greco-Theran style (lol) was the final project for a 12 week class of Figure Sculpture, focusing on the human body and rendering realistic proportions and volumes. Earlier in the course we had sculpted a life size human skull from reference and then worked on a quarter scale human nude from a live model. The final project guidelines were a photo-realistic bust of a fictional character at around half scale. Many of the previous student-work focused on video game or comic characters, such as the Hulk, or Gordon Freeman from Half-life. When I got the assignment, I immediately thought of a few Earthdawn iconic characters that I wanted to see rendered as sculpture. Other early possibilities included Queen Alachia, King Varulus, Aardelia, Omasu the Troubador, and Vistrosh the exiled Blood-warder. I narrowed it down to 2, Garlthik or Alachia, and went looking for concept art.

Garlthik_finalBust

 Which pictures gave you inspiration for the 3d model? 

It was actually quite difficult at first to find good concept art of Garlthik or Alachia. With some pointers from the team @ the RedBrick forums I tore through all of my 1st ed source material. I unfortunately don't have my copy of The Longing Ring anymore, where Garlthik and J'Role make their first appearances in fiction. Then I found my Gamemaster's book from the 1st ed Barsaive Box Set, which has excellent character art for the major personalities of Barsaive done by Jeff Laubenstein (he has some sample work up on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=138269&id=559123932). It just so happened that the start of the Characters chapter had a full-page pic of Garlthik from a different angle than the picture on his character entry page. This gave me both sides of the face drawn by the same artist, and was very helpful in capturing all of the details in the finished bust.

How long did it take you to build it. I mean working hours?

I worked for 3 weeks, about 10-15 hours a week, so probably about 45 hours in total.

Well we see the raw sculpture on your progress pictures so far. Which techniques and which tools did you use to build the sculpture?

I built the sculpture up from a basic pipe-and-wire armature filled with crumpled paper. As you can see from the work-in-progress images, I centered enough clay to form a basic skull volume with eye-sockets and brow, and then began to add layers of clay where muscles and flesh should be. You can see this process most around the eye sockets, where I actually first placed a sphere of clay to give the layers of eye-lids a convincing shape during the final smoothing and detailing. As for tools, I mainly used an exacto-knife (or 'hobby-knife') for sharp edges and hard lines, a couple of wooden sculptor's tools with different curves and edges, and a large eraser that I then carved into individual finger-like tools with the exacto-knife. This was surprisingly the most versatile and useful tool as I could re-carve them and trim them to different shapes for specific areas of detail. Almost all of the folds of flesh around the mouth, cheeks, eyes were done with these tools.

Garlthik_wipImages

Which parts were very tricky to complete?

Getting the correct volume for the skull-mass was tricky at first. I added height to his forehead and filled out the sides and rear of the skull more than a few times. The mouth and tusk took a long time to get the expression quite right, attaching the ears (which were build separately) and detailing the hair and eye-patch were carefully done. These were all delicate details near the end of the process.

So if I would start to build a sculpture like this as you did, which advices could you give me after your class and the problems you encountered during your work?

Firstly, the smaller the scale at which you're working, the less details you can accomplish in the piece. I worked with oil-based clay, and recommend this as is is not as messy as water base clay, does not dry or crack, and has different levels of softness depending on the temperature. Warming the clay under a heat lamp, or in a microwave for 10 seconds at a time until soft allowed me to build up the head and neck shapes very quickly. Then, when the clay cooled, I could sculpt and carve out the finer details as they clay responded better to the tools. If I needed to add more volume to a spot, warming a small piece of clay in my hands would allow me to smear it on quickly and blend it in.
I definitely recommend sculpting from life at first. Buy a replica skull and try to model it as exactly as possible. This will give your mind, and more importantly the muscle memory in hands and arms, a sense of the correct volumes and proportions. Then, look for video tutorials. I found many excellent tutorials on youtube and other video sites.

Where is your sculpture right now? Do you have any plans for it (like a model for further garlthik works or so)?

Garlthik is currently in my studio with some of my other finished projects. I do plan on using the clay bust as a reference when I work with 3D digital characters, and hope to model some other Earthdawn characters and adepts when I take the Organic Modeling in 3D course.

Great work. Build more :-) and thanks for the short interview.
 
You're very welcome! You can see more of the work-in-progress images, images of the earlier class assignments, and some pics of my class-mates' final projects at my Facebook album: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=150452&id=540513827&l=f4e8519aa0

Okay here's another puzzle for you all. This one is a little bit easier than the last one. Enjoy.

Well finally welcome to the new year 2010 on the Earthdawn Blog. A new category inspired by Elidis is rising. Have fun solving this jigsaw puzzle.


Picture used with friendly permission by RedBrick.

It took me 22:14 minutes to solve it, without any help, beat that.

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