Sunday, April 26, 2015

Interview: Steven Helt of the Four Horsemen

This time I interviewed Steven Helt, a.k.a. RPG Superstar 2013 and Famine of the Four Horsemen. Steve was also one of my fellow judges on RPG Superstar this year. He discusses freelancing, Pathfinder Modules, products designed by the Four Horsemen, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, and more!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pitching Villains

Swords for Hire Development recently announced an open call where you can pitch up to three villain concepts. If your pitches are accepted, you are paid to design those villains for the Villain Codex, an upcoming product developed by Swords for Hire and published by Outland Entertainment. In this article, I discuss what makes a good pitch.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Homebrew Files: A Goblin Snake's Lair (layered full-size encounter map)

click to enlarge
I still consider myself a novice gm, but on February 8th, 2013, I was a true greenhorn about to run my 3rd session of Pathfinder on the 9th (for a party of six second level dwarves). Green or not, I like to be prepared, so I had planned a few encounters and had stat blocks on hand for each group of opponents.

For one of the encounters, I was ahead of the game, with notes and an outline already completed. Since I had time to spare before the session, I decided to sketch and print out my own map for that encounter, full size, to be used at the table. My inkjet printer will print on sheets up to 13" x 19", so it didn't take too many sheets to tile together. Still, I sketched with "light coverage" in mind (you know how it is with inkjet ink). Once I finished the map, I decided to add notes so I could have a smaller cheat-sheet to help guide me through the encounter. I'm accustomed to working in layers, so that part took no extra time.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Heroes of the Wild and Giantslayer 2: The Hill Giant's Pledge released!

I heard the PDFs have already been sent to subscribers, and the print copies should be available soon as well! I wrote a few pages worth of content for both of these products, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the final products! I'll be sure to write an article about each as soon as I get my contributor copies.


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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Swords for Hire Development starts an open call about villains

To quote the official announcement:

"Swords for Hire Development (Jacob W. Michaels and Mikko Kallio) is excited to announce its first project, The Villain Codex. This PDF, being done in conjunction with Outland Entertainment, will feature a series of antagonists for gamemasters to pit against their players. The NPCs will be fully fleshed out, with stat blocks, letting a GM simply drop one into an adventure when he needs a statted-up opponent or build an adventure or even campaign around."

Read more here:

The Land of Living Minis

Here's a 70-minute-long high-definition video slide show to set the mood on game night, or while you work on your Pathfinder designs. Besides miniatures, the slide show includes images of dice and a few other surprises. You may recognize some images that appeared previously here on A Sword for Hire.

  • If you have any ideas about how I could improve or further develop the channel, I'd love to hear them.
  • If you have the connection speed, crank it up to 1080p HD and go full screen for the best experience.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Miniature Silhouettes

Figure 1
These images are examples of a technique that I plan to explore further. As you can see in figure 1, they're photos of the shadows cast by miniature figures on tracing paper. Once I have them, the silhouettes can be mixed and matched, and the backgrounds can be stylized independently of the figures. The last image in the series is an example to show how the photos can be combined to make new scenes (it's also one option under consideration as a header right here on A Sword for Hire).

If I can find the time, I'd like to make a ridiculously large composite image with 100's and 100's of figures—something you could scroll for a long time up and down (below ground), left and right, discovering areas as you go. I always loved the cut-away aspect of the cover art on the original AD&D Monster Manual, so that's part of my inspiration for such a project.

gargoyle, werewolf, watch officer, giant caveweaver spider

Saturday, April 4, 2015

On the Design of Firearms, by Garrick "Cyrad" Williams

Guns in D&D seems to divide community opinions. The introduction of firearms to Pathfinder came with no exception. Debates over realism, aesthetics, and mechanics of firearms continue to appear on various forums. However, I did not come to talk about whether firearms belong in fantasy game or whether their portrayals are realistic.

Today, I will approach firearms from a game design perspective, illustrating the design issues of firearms in Pathfinder and how I designed house rules in response to a negative experience one of my players had with them.
A Sword for Hire