About Me

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Greetings, Heroes!
Greetings, chance visitgors!
This is an inaugural posting of the Blog to support the Midlands first edition Advanxced Dungeons and Dragons campaign. By this I mean to make the gaming experience more vivid and the texture of the game more tangible for the players, though I hope the visitors also will enjoy the beauty of the art what glpses of the game may be seen.

I decided to start the first posting with some of the llustrations of what the Midlands campaign world looks like.
Leonian Crossbowman
The first mage is of a Leonian Crossbowman. I think that it captures the spirit of the Midlands campaign. For a time, a warbow compted in medieval Europe for supremacy with the crossbow, until the perfectio of the Arbalest and the advent of the gunpowder. Each weapon, however, had its own place in history and in battlefield. While the longbow belongs to the high and mighty Elf of Tolkien's LOTR and the free spirited English Yeomen, who spent their lives practicing high archery, the humble crossbow, primitive and inferior in the beginning, and deadly efficient towards the end, signalled the end of the age of Chivalry, when a mighty knight can be brought down by a mere conscript with one week's training with an arbalest. In the beginning however, crossbow was the weapon used for defense of towns and castle walls, often given to the young and the old in a last ditch effort to save the home. It is in this spirit that a crossbow appeals to me as the spirit of Midlands.

 Midlands Crossbow soldier.
This to me best exemplifies the Midlands soldiers, who have finally conquered the region and who are its rulers by the time the Heroes arrived on the scene. The raging intensity and dedication to battle on the face of the soldier, functional armor modern in its spirit, combination of sword and magic driven to its extreme effect drivig the tradition bound defenders behind the walls and then turnign the foundations of those walls from stome to mud by means of arcane magics, and then laving the defenders buried alive, rletless in their pursuit to unify all under the banner of Midlands.

Satilla River
This is the river along whose muddy banks the Heroes have been trudging northwards for the past couple of game sessions.

Stonecutter Knights
Stonecutters were people who initially invaded the native inhabitatnts of the region, and then themselves were invaded by Midlanders. In their arms and armor similar to Anglo-Saxons, this knight is pondering the fate offered to him by the Marker Stone - Move forward and lose your life, go left and lose your horse, go right and lose your way!

Left Behind
First settlers, Volgans and Stonecutters, left on the fiedls of battle that would eventually become the fertile fields of the Blackland Barony, where our heroes find themselves adventuring.

Flying Carpet Ride
This wizard is dressed as a nobleman and is likely flying along the river Hob from the great trading cities up North towards the frontier regions of the South, towards the occult mysteries of the Twilight and possibly as far as the shores of the Demonlands, a Ruined Empire, where whole cities once floated among the clouds, all came crashing down to the ground one day, leaving roaming demons and arcane mysteries in its wake.

Kraitland Fencers
Immideately to the north of Midlands are the lands of the Ancient Realm. Kraitland is but one of its many and varied lands. It is known for its aggressive swordsmen, and its fencing instructors, who prefer to duel with great two-handed swords and fight without any armor, so as to show their contempt of death. Our Heroes are part of a group that formed around a wandering fencing instructor named Gristaad, a giant hulk or a man in faded finery, who showed fencing tricks to the drinking men at arms during county fairs, and who has gathered a body of students, who decided to seek their fortunes on the dark edge of of the Demonlands, where the land is free for those who can control it.

The paintings above is the work of Viktor Vasnetsov, a 19th Century Russian painter, who drew the mythological landscape of the Great Rus', if you like it, I strongly urge you to check out the rich colors and the awesome detail of his work in Wikipedia, where you can see all of his major paintings in good size and full resolution!


  1. Looks great! It won't let me use "Silva" ID in comments though... only Google ID.

  2. Silva, it did... you appeared as... Silva!

  3. Brooser Bear,

    I looked up that wikipedia for Viktor Vasnetsov, some very nice stuff. I've seen some of his warriors before, the three horsemen staring off to their left and looking fierce! The article mentions Vasnetsov is a co-founder of the folklore art movement, would the other co-founder be... Ivan Bilibin? Love that guy's illustrations. Or, maybe the reason no one hears much about Vasnetsov, is that the other co-founder was Gygax, and he STOLE all the credit!

    A few days ago, I looked over the pics of Gygax, young and old, and compared them to Solzhenytsin, and you're right... he does have the same squint. So, what is this Russophilia thing you have, ancestry in the Russian-Outback?

    Why is the state called "Leon?" Is that something to do with a transplanted N. Spain country? (Leon and Castile)? Is it any Earth analog? What climate does it have, temperate, mediterranean, Russian steppe?

    That quote of the other lone horseman reading the stone: "Move forward and lose your life, go left and lose your horse, go right and lose your way!" Hahaha! That had me guffawing.

  4. Actually, I was born and grew up deep in Siberia in a small town of about 850 people. Moved to NYC and ended up enlisting in ski troops and was a battalion point in a unit that was called the "Black Cat Battalion" # 13. Apparent Rusophilia must be the casual reaction to the Rusphobia I encountered along the way in the US, and besides, setting a fantasy world in a Slavonic heart of Europe is sure to throw the players off balance, especially the American ones, but Russian kids too, they are mostly ignorant of history as most kids are these days. The Papal Kingdom of Leonia is based on a Lion, that is the official symbol of Vatican, and in Medieval Europe you had to get the Papal blessing to put a lion on your coat of arms. Did you catch the comment and two articles on Gygax in that thread. Thur-Sun is usually busy with us and I am pulling double shifts and taking public transport, my car is in the shop, so I am pretty much brain dead now. Will do a post on Gygax later. Did you check out those two articles (on D&D and a thread on Larraine Williams?)

    Vasnetsov painted in the Middle 19th century and his stuff had more to do with trying to revive nationalism among the Russians by going back to their mythic roots than with fantasy and fairy tales.

    The climate is continental with 4 seasons. My own Appendix N would include Henryk Sinkiewicz and Hermann Hesse for the inspiration behind the Midlands campaign, also a desire the play the kind of D&D I wish I could have played.