Role-playing design notes

Random notes on the design of Gods & Monsters, and maybe even Men & Supermen if I can remember what I was drinking when I wrote it.

Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

Cover image source files

Jerry Stratton, February 25, 2007

Mr. Seven: Mr. Seven on Cover image source files

If it weren’t for POV-Ray, Mr. Seven is what the graphics for Gods & Monsters would look like.

Starting with The Vale of the Azure Sun, I’m also releasing the source files used to create the cover image of these books. I use the Persistence of Vision Raytracer for most of the cover images. POV-Ray is the best tool I’ve found for people who can’t draw but can program.

I’ve included here the best drawing I’ve ever done by hand (not including maps or other things for which rulers and compasses work). It’s done in colored pencil, my favorite medium when the game master is on the phone. Compare Mr. Seven to the covers on every Gods & Monsters book except The Lost Castle of the Astronomers. If I can use Persistence of Vision, anybody can.

One of the nice things about 3D source files is that you can add objects, re-use objects, and change the perspective of the scene very easily. That can make such a tool useful for generating adventure images once you’re comfortable with it.

For example, when I decided I wanted an image for Silver Sails, I was able to re-use the image I used for Simple Photorealism using Persistence of Vision. I went out on the web to find some ancient ship models, added them in flying through space, and in a few minutes had a graphic of far better quality than Mr. Seven.

While it may not come out for a while, The House of Lisport will have a cover designed using GIMP, which is also an impressive software package, and released under the GPL. Although it isn’t quite as useful for you as a 3D source, I’ll be including the GIMP document along with that adventure when I release it. I also used GIMP to create the terrain of the Vale.

I’ve been planning on uploading the scene files for the other books for quite a while, but haven’t gotten around to it. I hope to do so at some point, but because the files are strewn about my home folder, it will take some time to break through my natural procrastination, organize them, and write the instructions.

If you’ve subscribed to the Gods & Monsters RSS feed in your podcast reader, you’ll find the Simple Photorealism tutorial waiting for you there. Go ahead and try it: it’s a lot of fun.

  1. <- Fifth 2005 Update
  2. New reference sheets ->