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”

Sauce ’em up like Prego

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Hey Gang!

Been sometime…jeez I think since the 6 year celebration post…which was AGES ago. The past few years have been straight crazy with hit after hit after hit. I swear its been a fairly trying time, and I have been fighting to stay above water in a lot of ways both personally and professionally. Now however, it seems like we are finally out of the woods after some changes with free time going up and stresses going down. Throughout all of this my dude Sanjeev has been cooking up some hot fire which has been worked on feverishly in the background. Let’s run down this fire before I dive into looking forward to a whole new decade. Continue reading “Sauce ’em up like Prego”