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Beyond here lie dragons

The New Lost Castle of the Astronomers

Jerry Stratton, September 26, 2010

In the slow, glacial migration from Siberia (Word) to Alaska (Nisus), I’ve just uploaded the new, easier to read and use version of the very first Gods & Monsters adventure: Lost Castle of the Astronomers. It’s in 9x7 format for easier use at the game table, and remember that if you print it out, 9x7 is pretty much the same ratio as 8.5x11 landscape.

The big difference between now and 2003 is the state of digital photography and manipulation. I knew exactly what I wanted on the cover of Lost Castle when I first started writing it at the turn of the century: an eerie image of the forest outside my grandparents’ farm. Real Dandelion Wine/The October Country kind of stuff. But I didn’t have an image of high-enough quality, and even if I did, my image manipulation skills and the tools available to me weren’t enough to pull it off.

Ten years later, every cheap camera is print quality if used right, and GIMP has come a long way. Import the image, pop a hue-mode filter layer over it, and ripple it. Then, the time-tested inversion for the back. In less than an hour1 I modified a photo of the forest around Loda Lake into exactly what I wanted for the Lost Castle cover.

The GIMP file is in the resources archive, and, as usual, if you are subscribed to the RSS feed in iTunes or your favorite reader, you should have a copy of the PDF waiting for you.

  1. It took that long because I played around with it—a lot. The reason computers don’t save time is because they increase options. My maps take a lot longer to draw nowadays, too, because I can “quickly” try a lot more options even after “putting pencil to paper”.

  1. <- Fight On! 9 PDF
  2. Isle of Mordol ->