The Mage’s Journal Part 2: Adventuring with Legends.

This Story crosses over with the Lost Reliquary of Karnok Story

The Journal of Edmond Crawsly entry 181:

Once we set out from Karnok the journey to the Crossroads Tavern was fairly uneventful, and despite the difficulty of getting used to sleeping on the ground I was enjoying being in the wild with Merrick. We arrived at the Tavern around dusk, and after eating our meal we sat drinking and talking. As I enjoyed sitting in a chair instead of on a rock the door slammed open as every head in the tavern turned to see who was there, and much to my surprise walked in Prince Algor of the Slime Kingdom with this constant companion Toron. The Prince slammed a sack down on the bar and had a short chat with the Innkeeper. As the two slimes sat down… well, Algor sat, Toron did not have a body per se so he just plopped on top of the table… to eat Merrick made his way over to talk to them. He returned a short time later and explained that we would be traveling with the Slimes back to Karnok. So two days into my journey and I was headed right back to where I came from again, and while that was frustrating I was pretty excited to be adventuring with one of the most celebrated heroes on Jalldoon. Prince Algor rented some rooms at the Tavern for us and promised us quick travel to Karnok in the morning. As I lay in bed writing the day’s adventures here I wonder what kind of excitement adventuring with a Prince would bring?

The Journal of Edmond Crawsly entry 182: 

The next morning we awoke to three Kandanian land Slugs awaiting us in Tavern’s stables. The Prince set up the Slugs Merrick and I would be riding with heavy saddles to keep us from getting the sticky goo covering the Slugs on our clothes. I was rather nervous as I had never ridden a horse before, much less a giant Slug, but Algor assured me that the other two Slugs would follow the lead of his personal mount. We set out to Karnok at a slow pace, and I thought to myself that it would take weeks to get there at this speed, but once we were on the road Prince Algor muttered something I didn’t understand to his mount Ziggy, and suddenly the Slugs were coasting across the ground at very high speeds. I felt the wind blow my hair around as the landscape blurred by. It only took us half a day to get to Karnok on the slugs…the journey had taken us near two days on foot. Up until this point I still didn’t know what we were doing here, but as we left the Slugs at the Karnok stables and made our way back to the Faulty Compass Algor explained that Toron and he had discovered a map in the Field of Tears that they think lead to the fabled Lost Reliquary of Karnok. My mind reeled that we may actually be about to solve a riddle that had vexed adventurers on Jalldoon for centuries. We entered the Compass, and Algor’s entrance was greeted far better than my own was the first time I was here. After a long time of handshakes and praise they finally let Algor sit down with Thaddeus Crumblepot, and after a short conversation ,and many stunned looks from Thaddeus at the situation Algor was loaded up with torches and several leather packs. We made our way to the entrance to the Karnok Sewers, and as the rusted gate was pried open…what exactly are the Karnok sanitation people doing that this gate can’t be opened easily?…we lit our torches and made our way into the stink. Sludge covered every surface, and the smell haunts me to this day, but as we made our way through the tunnels mile after mile we came to a small alcove marked on Algor’s map. Algor whispered some kind of password from the map, and as the wall slowly slid open revealing a clean passage with steps going down into blackness we descended into the unknown.  We went down for what seemed like hours listening to stories from Algor and Toron until the stairs finally gave way to a passage which was where the map ended, and Algor searched the wall until he found a small handle which he turned several times. As Algor finished turning it a slight hiss escaped as what Toron said was some kind of gas pumped into torches lining the walls causing them all to cast a comforting glow in the underground tunnel. As we made our way down the passage I marveled at the construction of the tunnel. Most buildings in Karnok except the oldest of the old showed signs of amateur contractor work, but this tunnel appeared to be built by the hands of a master with intricate carvings of strange creatures lining the walls. Suddenly we came to the end of the tunnel with doored off passages on the left and right, Algor and Toron took the left and Merrick and I took the right with the plan of returning back to the other party if we got in trouble. We walked for a bit before coming to three doors in front of us with one door continuing ahead while the other two split off to the left and right. All three doors were locked, but next to each door was a crank. I wanted to go back and get Algor, but Merrick was convinced he could parse out this puzzle and started turning cranks. The next thing I knew the floor had disappeared underneath us and we were falling through blackness. After landing hard on a stone floor and slowly standing my bruised body up, I cast a simple light spell to look around, and immediately regretted it. The trapdoor we had fallen into dumped us into a natural cave which appeared to host thousands of Dungeon Demons, and my light spell had woken them up! Thinking quickly I cast an even brighter light spell hoping it would blind them long enough for us to make our escape, as I ran I grabbed Merrick and pulled him to his feet. We ran through the natural tunnels in the caves until we came to an old decrepit ladder leading up, but the Demons were hot on our tail so we’d never make it. Merrick spotted a small hole under the rock wall that blocked our path which we quickly decided to scramble under while sending the light floating up the ladder. I only hoped it would fool the Dungeon Demons and make them move on. As we crammed into the tiny hole we heard the rush of the Demons screaming up the ladder, and we listened until we could no longer hear them before we left the alcove. Our options here were limited, we could either follow the Demons up the ladder or go back the way we came and levitate up the hole we fell in… this was an easy choice. We headed back with the faintest of light spells guiding us as we kept our eyes open for any Dungeon Demons left behind, and as we stood under the hole we fell through I began the incantation for the levitation spell. After floating up we both agreed going forward was a fool’s errand so it was back to Algor and Toron, but once we made our way back to their passage we soon found the way blocked by a solid stone wall. Not wanting to abandon them to this place, Merrick and I thought it best to return to Karnok and return with a detachment of the Imperial Guard before any harm came to us. After the journey back to the city we found the Imperial Carriage outside the Faulty Compass, and were both surprised to find Emperor Pullo himself inside the Tavern. Thaddeus Crumblepot had summoned the Emperor soon after we’d left based on what Algor thought he’d found so he was rather worried for the Prince’s safety when we told them about all that had happened. A group of the Emperor’s personal bodyguards was sent with us to return and find Algor and Toron, and we made our way back to the Sewer entrance followed by them. As we approached the grate we heard noise coming from the tunnel, and we were greeted by the sight of Algor and Toron walking towards us. They told us they had in fact found the reliquary, but so had associates of Baron Dracktholme and Master Boshak which lead to a fight. Algor said they had driven the evil ones away, but the vault should be cleared of artifacts before they returned. As the Emperor sent for more guards to clear the Reliquary he called Merrick and I over to him, and he paid us each handsomely for our silence on what was found. We said our goodbyes to Algor and Toron and headed back to the Faulty Compass for a meal and a soft bed before we would depart the city again the next morning. I hadn’t gone far yet, but I already felt very different from the person I was before leaving Syndicate College. I lay here in bed reflecting on my own growth, and how quickly it had come.

The Mages Journal Part 1: A Grand Adventure Begins

The Journal of Edmond Crawsly entry 179: 

Finally, my training at the Syndicate College has ended, and now I start the next path of my journey to be a fully accredited Battlemage. Only my meeting with the Head Mage remained before I would be leaving the College for good. As I made my way across the courtyard I took in all the details for the final time… the bumpy cobblestone walkway underfoot clicked softly as my boots struck each stone, the large trees with their multicolored leaves shaded novice mages studying on the benches underneath, a professor teaching a group of young mages how to cast a fireball in one corner stomped out the bottom of his robes set aflame by a careless miscast, and an air of magic surged through the whole campus invigorating the magical energies of those inside. As I approached the Head Mage’s Tower I was excited to finally see what was inside the tallest building on campus, and I stood there for a moment staring up at the large vine-covered tower before I opened the thick wooden door and stepped inside. Inside the tower, electric lights flickered softly all along a large stairway showing how important the Head Mage must be with electricity being only sparingly used in the City. As I walked up the steps I could hear chanting getting louder and louder until I was just outside the door. As I wondered if I should interrupt the door itself swung open on its own power, and as he saw me the Head Mage stopped his chanting while beckoning me inside. He was just as I always imagined him to be. Wearing a dark purple robe with arcane symbols stitched into it with golden thread…likely enchanted thread, but I have no way of knowing, had several amulets hanging from his neck that were slightly obscured by his long white beard, his dark eyes glowed with power, and on his head sat a pointed hat that matched his robe. As I sat down he explained to me that the final part on my path to being an official Syndicate Battlemage was to spend one year traveling the lands plying my trade. I would be assigned an experienced Ranger to assist me in my travels, and if I survived the year I would be granted the full title and benefits of a Battlemage. All that remained was to choose the new name I would go by as a Battlemage. After a short time, I settled on the name of Crowfoot. The Crawsly family crest is a large black crow, and every member of the family carries a Crow’s foot as a good luck charm so it only seemed natural. The Head Mage gave me a pack containing several potions, enchanted rings and amulets, and a large sum of gold for expenses, but he also said that I would be receiving no more help from the Syndicate until I returned one year later. He sent me on my way with instructions to go to the Faulty Compass here in Karnok tomorrow morning to meet with my companion Ranger. My head swam with excitement as I headed back to the dormitory to spend my final night sleeping inside the college walls, and as I lay in bed writing this journal it was almost too exciting to sleep.

The Journal of Edmond Crawsly entry 180: 

After a fitful night of sleep, I gathered what I would be taking with me on my journey. I filled the pack the headmaster had given me with almost everything I owned. My spell books, an enchanted ring of water breathing my father had given me before I left to become a Mage, the small amount of gold I had stashed away for emergencies, and a small portrait of my family all fit in the pack with ease, and there was even some room to spare. I hooked my small silver dagger to my belt, grabbed my staff, and looked around before stepping out into the courtyard and off to adventure. As the gates of the college closed behind me I was left to my own devices in the busy Karnok streets. People stumbled around groggily as the early morning sun beat down, and with it being so early it was sure to increase as more denizens spilled into the streets to start their day. I found my way through the maze-like city to the market district where the Faulty Compass is located. The Faulty Compass is not only a very successful Tavern and Inn, but also the home of the Jalldoon League of Explorers and their vault of artifacts. The Compass is in a very old looking building built up at odd angles, and with a large round stained glass window in the middle of the roof, and as I stepped inside the dark tavern area it took a minute for my eyes to fully adjust to the gloom. I stepped up to the bar with a very large black-haired Gatonian cleaning a stein behind it and explained I was there to meet a Ranger. He smiled and pointed me to a corner table where two men sat talking quietly. As I approached and introduced myself the ranger introduced himself as Merrick Galstarn, and the other gentleman as Thaddeus Crumblepot the President of the League. Merrick insisted I join the League myself to take advantage of their experience, and the vast discounts across the lands as a member. He also told me my simple Mages robe would not be sufficient for a trek across Jalldoon for a year. So after spending most of my gold on joining the league and a nice set of leather armor…something tells me the league and the Syndicate both make money off sending new Battlemages out fully equipped… I was loaded up with more potions, several maps, a membership card, and the seal of the league to attach to my armor which would show other members my affiliation. Merrick also suggested I wear any enchanted items I possessed at all times in case I need them. I wondered why the Syndicate wouldn’t suggest this themselves, but Merrick pointed out that kind of thing is only learned from experience, and most of the Professors at the College had little to no practical experience in the wilds of Jalldoon, and the Head Mage is so preoccupied with his own studies that it likely never occurred to him. Being better equipped, but far lighter on gold Thaddeus bought us a nice hearty meal. After we ate we left the Faulty Compass to start our journey with the first stop being the Crossroads Tavern on the edge of Barrwood Forest. My quest to be an official Battle Mage had finally begun its first steps toward the end.

Remembering Ralph Niese 1983-Infinity

Last week the Art World and the Indy Toy Scene suffered a huge loss. Ralph Niese passed away, and judging by the outpouring of love for dude he touched a LOT of lives. Seriously so so so many Indy Toy cats had Ralph do work for them at some point. Add in the artists and art fans his incredible style touched over the years, and the world as a whole suffered a massive blow. I was lucky enough to have talked to Ralph many times over the years. Whether it was on FB, October Toys, or any number of message boards across the web. I was even luckier to have commissioned Ralph to do two pieces for me in the near decade I knew the guy. So I really wanted to open the archives, and get some of that stuff on here for the world to see, and to stay as a monument to this man’s genius…

The first piece I ever had Ralph do was way back in 2013 for the 1 year anniversary of Doomkick (back when this was a simple toy review blog..ancient history. Simpler times.) I didn’t even know what I wanted, but I knew after seeing Ralph’s killer Glyos art that I wanted a piece of this guy’s art for my own. We had struck up a friendship over on the OT Glyos forums, and I hit him up seeing what it would cost. Ralph being the guy he was traded me this piece for some American Mass Market toys…the only one I really remember was a Mattel Zur-En-Arrh Batman figure…probably because that figure was so ridiculous…Anyway shipping a box of toys from the store to Germany from the US is certainly worth some good art…much less art from a true talent like Ralph. Not knowing what I wanted Ralph and I kicked back and forth a few ideas, until he asked me to name a few of my favorite toys and characters, and disappeared for a few days. When he came back he dropped this absolute beauty on me, and it has remained the DK FB Banner to this day…despite no longer having ANYTHING to do with the site.

The second piece Ralph did was the Algor v Cultists picture done earlier this year. I had long wanted to get Ralph on some TEWOJ Art, but working on so many projects didn’t leave a ton of budget to pay Ralph’s (totally justified and amazing value) prices. However early in 2020 I had a little extra gas in that TEWOJ Budget tank , and I hit Ralph up with a request for the cover of TEWOJ Comics Issue #3. Algor fighting some Cultists in a castle as direction. Once again a few days later Ralph came back with the above sketch. It blew my mind. Exactly the vibe I was looking for which is why I wanted Ralph to begin with…dude was a expert at nailing the vibe of a project… I told him as much, and how it was about damn time I got him on some TEWOJ shit. His response? ” All you had to do was ask”, and that was the thing about Ralph, this man didn’t see himself as the god among men he clearly was…he was just Ralph, and no matter how long had passed or what the topic was he always that good old boy you loved talking to. We talked about how we now both wanted some cultists figs, and how hard it would be to get him one of the upcoming ROTU Algor with Mount sets, and I told him for him not at all hard…hell id trade him a few sets for some more art, and that was it. Never in a million years would I have thought that would be the last conversation I’d have with a dude who was a couple years younger than myself, but I guess that’s 2020 for you. Had I known it would be the last time we talked there is a lot more I’d of said to him (A recurring feeling this year unfortunately), but we can never know so I’ll have to settle for celebrating the amazing talent dude had any chance I can get, and I know if there is anything after this life Ralph sits at the table with Kirby, Frazetta, Moebius, and the rest of history’s best artists. Enjoy some WIP shots of the Amazing TEWOJ piece below, and the finished cover to issue #3. Do yourself a favor, and go find any of this man’s art you can, and soak your eyeballs in the glory of it. While the world lost a bright talent we’re all better for having witnessed it. Ralph Niese 1983-Infinty a true legend.

Rampageo Press Black Friday Deals!

Hey Gang! How we doing during this awful no good very bad year? Here we are the Holiday Season again, and this year I’m doing something a little special for Black Friday. first and foremost the new TEWOJ Comic Books are BUY ONE GET ONE FREE!!! That’s right guys if you haven’t copped yet now is your chance. So now you can get some books for yourself, and a gift for a loved one for the for the cost of one book, or you can cross two people off your list in one go! Head on over to THE STORE now to order yours! To clarify if you buy a copy of issue #1 you will get TWO copies of Issue #1. If you order a double set of both issues you will get TWO OF EACH ISSUE so the deals are pretty good, and they stack so you could buy two double sets, and you’ll have 4 of each issue! With deals like this I must be crazy!!!! For real though in this time of thanks I do want to sincerely thank everyone who comes out and supports all this stuff every drop you cats are the best around! This is my gift to you! BOGO offer runs Nov 26- Dec 1, and you dont need to do anything to get it beyond buying the books. I’ll be throwing the free copies into every order made in that time!

The other deal is ALL DIGITAL BOOKS have been dropped in price permanently. Head on over to the Kindle Marketplace to snag some digital books on the cheap, and as always if you’re a Kindle Unlimited Subscriber you can read all the books for FREE. This is not a paid ad for amazon I swear it’s just where the digital versions of the book are available and baby, Doc gotta his money. You know this mannnnnnnnnnnn.

Anyway that’s about it for Black Friday Deals, but don’t forget the Ri Teepublic has a TON of art on it available on a multitude of clothing and merch, and those cats will probably be running any number of sales during this time! This is me heading off to cry a bit (2020 am I right?),but coming up sometime next month will be my annual end of year post. You guys…this one is gonna be a doozy so be ready. Until next time stay safe and be well everyone!

-Doc

Who’s Who: Grar

The famed Gatonian Thief Grar is a long time friend of Prince Algor and Toron . His chosen profession is a source of embarrassment to his Mother and Father, The King and Queen of his home nation of Gato. Despite this he still has a good relationship with his parents, and his littermates. Grar is most close with his brother, the Barkeep at the Faulty Compass Inn and Tavern, Oliver. While his profession may be less than noble, Grar himself is a true soldier of good who continually puts his life on the line keeping the planet from the grip of evil.

See ya in the funny pages

Good news everyone! The TEWOJ Comic Books are live! You can get the actual physcial books in the DK Store RIGHT NOW or you can get the digitally on the Amazon Kindle Marketplace, and like all the other Rampageo Press books if you’re a Kindle Unlimited member you can read them all FREE. Issue 1 features two all new Stories from Myself and Terry Thielen, an all new Papa Petrie’s Pies Ad from Tim Wilsie, and the debut of Brazillian artist Alex Magno on the cover. Issue 2 features all the old TEWOJ Comics, and the debut of Terry’s new comic series Dino Girls in a 3 page story. The comics have done very well so far, and its nice to see the direction TEWOJ is heading. That being said issue 3 is in the works as well as couple of new TEWOJ books so keep your eyes peeled here and on social media in the coming months to stay up on TEWOJ.

The Butcher of Karnok

 

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The moons cast their soft glow upon the streets of Karnok as Thulf walked down the uneven cobblestone road weaving through the market district. It had been a quiet Knight for the Cityguard, and he was eagerly awaiting passing by the taverns to grab a flask of Grog. He barely heard the soft rustle of fabric in the alley to his left, but he couldn’t miss the unmistakable death rattle of some unfortunate soul he heard from a few stalls down. Thulf spun around, drawing his sword as he ran back towards the alley. As he made his way between the stacked crates and barrels he heard a light tapping on the roof above, but he was too distracted by what his lantern had revealed! Slumped against the alley wall was a corpse, a corpse that appeared to have been there quite some time based on how incredibly dried out it looked. Thulf pulled his bell from his belt and started ringing it to alert the rest of the Cityguard to his position as he wondered if this would get him a bonus from his superiors. Unfortunately for Thulf he wouldn’t be doing much of anything after what felt like a sack of bricks landed on top of him. Thulf’s last thought in this world was just how dry he felt… Continue reading “The Butcher of Karnok”