Friday, April 29, 2016

T.E.R.O.R.

I had a very painful tooth extraction on Monday, due to age and other issues it has been a painful and slow recovery (tonight I went back and received additional medication from a different dentist who told me the first one pretty much screwed up). 

Thursday I had Staff Duty, a 24 hour mission where we sit in an empty building and make sure privates are not being idiots. It also involves you staying awake overnight. Around 11pm extensive pain hit me and I opted to take a good number of drugs to try to fight off the pain. During this time I wrote the following. I have no memory where the idea came from, simply the act of writing it.

Without further adieu, I give you the ultra top secret T.E.R.O.R.



T.E.R.O.R.

“Ready rookie?” The gruff voice emanated from the mountain of muscle that stood in front of me as he checked the straps on my chute. He gave me a disgusted or disappointed face as he cinched up the strap between my legs. I answered with nothing more than a high pitched whine. “Not too bad on your straps, work on tightening them. If you can wiggle, they are not tight enough.” He turned to the next person in line and thankfully, I ceased to exist to the man.

I faced the back of the plane, the loading door was down and the vast expanse of pitch black sky stared back at me. The emptiness was daunting and left a sickening feeling in my gut. In moments I would be expected to leap into it, happy as a clam. I had once heard that a body striking the earth at a high rate of speed would simply bounce like a ball. In my mind I repeatedly pictured my body bouncing off the earth at 600 mph. It was not a pretty picture.

I light on the sidewall turned bright red and someone shoved me into the rushing air. For a moment I was in heaven, floating aimlessly, adrift in peaceful bliss. Then I looked down at the pinprick sized lights miles below. My stomach fell. I broke out into a sweat. And a girlish scream flew from my lungs as I plummeted to my death.

What the fuck was I doing here?

I was asking myself the same question. Well, in between the constant screaming.

-  o  -

“So what do we do exactly?” I had been hired by a mysterious company but had no idea what that meant beyond the six figure salary  I had been promised. The employment vacancy had been posted on Jobs4Vets.org with the gleeful blurb claiming “Excitement! Adventure! Put your military training to use helping to save the world. Come help us work with third world nations upgrade infrastructure to green energy. Send your resume and detailed combat experience to WeWantYouToJoinUs@TerrestrialEnvironmentRecuperationOrganizationRangers.org. I had sent in my resume, along with all my rating and review documents. Heck I even added in my Sniper, EoD, and HALO training certificates to ensure they knew I was a complete badass.

Ok, so those were forged. I am a badass at Photoshop. Need a Social Security card? Ten minutes. An over 21 driver’s license? Fifteen minutes tops. College degree? About three and a half. So yes, all my documents were forged but I needed to get out of some trouble and these guys, the environment rangers or whatever, promised to get me out of the country, pay me about four times what I made in a year, and fuck, the one year I was in college they taught me one thing: climate change was happening and it was BAD.

How bad can helping other nations upgrade their infrastructure be?

The muscle-bound, tanned Arnold clone stood before me lighting crafts of supplies into the belly of the plane. I was supposed to be helping him but really all I was doing was checking off numbers on a clipboard. He looked like Arnold, but spoke like Dolf. “We sneak into country. Downgrade infrastructure…power lines, nuclear plants, power stations,” he scratches the short stubble on his chin before continuing.  “Den we rebuild.”

“That’s it? We just fly in, ‘downgrade’ what they have and help them upgrade? Sounds expensive,” despite his well-thought explanation I still lacked any semblance of what we did. “Sounds expensive.”

“Dit is. United Nations loans money.” He lifted a crate that easily weighed as much as I. The guy was not even breaking a sweat. He added a big smile as he said the word money.

“After we downgrade - whatever that means - we rebuild? I’m no engineer, heck I could not even fix the plumbing in my parent’s apartment.”

“No, no. We secure loan, build done by da others,” he motioned like it was the most obvious thing on the planet, his perfect teeth glaring at me through a model-worthy smile. “We take down old machines. Da bad machines dat kill planet.”

“Take down?”

“Da!” Then he threw his arms in the air suddenly. “Ba da boom!”

-  o  -

Luckily the pack had an auto-firing altimeter charge the released my chute and I floated in a mostly gentle manner to the ground. Well, I would have if the tree had not gotten in my path. I ended up two feet off the ground and hanging from an old oak tree. I hung there and swayed in place, frantically kicking my legs, hoping I could shake myself free.

A sudden slash with a large knife cut the lines and plopped onto my butt on the hard ground. A black leather clad minx stepped before me. She was gorgeous and took my breath away. I am sure I sat their with my jaw dropped like a complete idiot.

“Get up ranger!” She shouted at me and kicked dirt in my direction. The hiked her black pack higher up on her back, pulled a black-as-midnight Glock .45 from a side holster, pulled a face mask down so only her luscious red lips and pointed little chin were visible, and then darted off away from me.

I scrambled to my feet and unhooked my pack from the chute. Then I ran like a kid chasing the ice cream truck, my mission completely forgotten. She was fast, even with her big pack and I only caught up to her when she dropped beside a parked car.

We were in some shit hole town called Tarim deep inside Yemen. The time was precisely 0217, the Timex issued to me told me so. I was also facing southwest. The moon was in the Waxing Gibbous phase...who the fuck needs to know this and why do they make a watch that tells you this nonsense?

“Parker, right? The new guy?” She asked in a beautifully soft voice. “The sniper and demolitions guy?”

I gulped, I knew very little of either of those topics, beyond what I had read on Wikipedia after accepting the position. “Ye..yeah,” I clearly my throat. “Yeah, that’s me.”

“Mikita,” she extended a hand. “You get the pre-brief? Or those idiots send you out here fresh and clueless? They do that now and again.”

“Yeah, I got nothing. Arnold…ah, I never caught his real name...handed me the chute and pack and pushed me on the plane,” I figured playing dumb might help me here. I got the file from the pre-brief but it sounded like a mission brief from Call of Duty and left me a little in the dark. All I gleaned was something a powerplant that burned gasoline. Our mission was to downgrade it. I was still at a loss as to what that meant exactly.

“Alright, listen up.” She spun around to face me and spread out a small map. She indicated a roughly octagonal shaped structure. “That’s the power plant. We hit the southern tower here, you have the RDX right?”

I flipped my pack around and fumbled opening the top. Hit? RDX? What was she saying? I dug in the pack, looking for something that made sense.

“Here let me,” she reached in and without really looking - course it may have been I was staring into her eyes - she pulled out a small bundle. Then a second one. “You emplace these on the wall of the tower, about three feet off the ground.” Then she stopped and looked at me.

“You seen these before, right?”

“I, uh, yeah, well, not exactly like these. Didn’t have these in the 82nd,” I fumbled around, stumbling over words. “Army always using outdated equipment you know.” I smiled a sheepish, childish grin.

“Ugh, damn Farner, always is sending new guys out without properly instructing them.” She rolled those beautiful eyes and let out a monumental sigh. “You push the red button here until the light here flashes three times. That will connect them to the wireless charge, which is right here.” She pulled out another device, it looked a little like a garage remote control. “When we are clear - and not before - hit the top button and hold it. That tower will not stand a chance.”

“Ah, got it,” I took the two bundles and placed them back in the pack, then placed the remote into my pocket. Then it hit me. “Wait, we are demolishing the tower? Arnold said we were downgrading, he meant blowing it up???”

“Fuck yeah, how else we going to force them to upgrade to the UN’s green energy program? Duh,” she rolled those beautiful eyes again and scampered off in the darkness. “Let’s go Parker!”

-  o  -

I followed her perfectly shaped rear, my eyes locked on to it as we dodged machinegun fire and ran from cover to cover. Heck, I hardly even noticed we were being fired upon because it was that damn perfect. It swayed and bounced with every step in just the right way that a fire burned deep down in me that keep me moving in step with her. We plopped down behind a concrete barrier, the kind used to control traffic.

“Not bad Parker, I thought I lost you back there with the explosion. A grenade I think,” she flashed a smile then checked the clip on her M4. “Almost to the tower, you got the packages ready?”

“I think so.” I was somewhat shellshocked by her beauty and was not even thinking about the packages or what I was supposed to do with them.

Mikita inched up and looked over the top of the barrier, a hail of bullets greeted her and she slid back down. “Shit. Not sure how we are clearing that mess to get to the tower.”

A loud screeching of metal made us turn in the opposite direction. A large heavy duty construction truck, one of those massive yellow things, was barrelling down the road. The truck was not going around obstacles, it was roaring through them, crushing or shattering them. Cars, trees, a doghouse - the truck simply made these things cease to exist.

“Arnold!” I cried, pointing to the large muscle head sitting behind the wheel with a huge smile.

“Alright,” my princess pulled me in close, yelling over the loud crashing sounds. “You fall in behind Arnold and make your way to the tower. I will provide cover fire for you and Lud - that’s his name - after you drop the RDX. Drop it and make your way back here pronto!”

I admit here that I was somewhat taken with her and only partially paid attention to what she was saying to me.

Arnold/Lud crashed through a barrier near us, sending bits of concrete flying. He created the opening Mikita thought I needed and she grabbed me by the shoulder and thrust me into the debris field that marked the path of Lud’s truck. Then she got kinky and added a kick to my rear. I turned and grinned at her.

“Go!” She yelled and pointed her rifle across the open area, sending lead to protect me. “Go now!”

I charged after Lud as he lumbered along, crashing into anything and everything possible, wrecking as much havoc as he could. Across the open area Mikita and the unseen foes traded lead. My small frame was apparently not enough to scare the foes into turning their weapons on me.

Ahead of me, Lud drove directly into the barrier the foes had been using as cover. The enemy fire was immediately cut by two-thirds, the other third still sent their lead at the beautiful Mikita. I quickly gave a glance in her direction, worry crossing my face. She was still doing her best to protect me. I waved. By her reaction, I assume she did not appreciate my momentary pause in action.

Spurred by love or perhaps lust, I jumped into action, sprinting around to the opposite side of the enemy. I ripped one package out of my pack and slammed it in place against the tower wall. It held in place as if by some unseen magic. I ran the twenty yards around the base of the tower and nearly smacked into a mean looking fellow in a white robe and turban, the traditional dress of the people. He snarled at me and lunged, a large knife in hand.

I used what I had ready, my pack, and shoved it between my gut and the mean looking knife. The blade slashed into the bag and nearly split it in two, the remaining RDX bundle slipping to the ground. The fellow’s eyes grew wide, perhaps understanding why we were there. He grunted something in a language I did not understand and struggled to free his knife.

I went to dodge the knife and instead ended up on my knees. Between us lay the bundle and I stretched out my arm to retrieve the RDX. The knife came down into my arm and I bellowed a painful howl. The man in white chuckled at my pain. Anger or pain flooded my vision and I struggled with the knife, finally pulling it free from my arm. I thrust my legs out at my assailant as he reached for the knife but I caught him directly in his man parts. He buckled, legs failing, and came chest first into the knife. A moment later he flopped to the ground, warm red blood pooling beneath him.

“Dat good, leedle Parker,” came Lud’s voice behind me. He snagged the RDX and plastered it to the wall. “Boom,” he chuckled with a grin and hit the button. “Now, we run,” he uttered and nearly picked me up, heading in the direction of Mikita. She laid more lead to cover our escape.

When we made the Clear Line I hit the button. Behind us a four hundred foot tall smokestack turned to dust. The entire region was plunged into darkness as the source of power for over a million people suddenly ceased to exist.

-  o  -

I would later learn the United Nations was two hours away off the coast, their massive Green Energy Platform ready to be installed and operational in less than two weeks - at a massive price tag.

The UN had learned a quick way to solve the problem of third world nations refusing to upgrade to modern green energy initiatives: Assassins. Not the kind that specialize in removing people who were problems, these kind of assassins specialized in removing infrastructure decades old.

Oh, and they also figured out how to do it with a sizable profit. Who were we?

Terrestrial
Environment
Recuperation
Organization
Rangers

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

[map] Mr Hassle's Shoppe

Originally drawn as a practice map for a commission that did not pan out, I thought I would flavor this one up with some text. Hope you like it!

And the obligatory black and white version:


Monday, April 18, 2016

[map] The IMPLICARUS of ARCHDEACON SAN DENARAMIS

The Implicarus is the tomb of the Archdeacon San Denaramis, a once powerful and respected member of the clergy of Bethmoora. His modest tomb - as proscribed in his will - is exactly one turn down from the Black Gate.  Those of the respectful sort will say a prayer to the Archdeacon as they pass.

There have been many attempts by ne'er-do-wells to enter the tomb but the protections that have been placed are formidable and yet to be breached. Inside are two statues, one of Valira, the Goddess of Life, along with an altar. Another chamber holds a statue of the Archdeacon himself. Valira's statue is in solid gold, said to be worth thousands and thousands of gold, while the other is a solid white marble.  A small tomb holds the final resting place of Feladornia, the faithful servant  (and many say the secret lover) of the Archdeacon. The actual tomb of the Archdeacon is hidden in a secret chamber. Rumors say that if the altar or statue of Valira are desecrated, the statue of the Archdeacon will become inhabited with the soul of the Archdeacon and defend the goddess.

Mold and fungus has grown in the pool over the decades and a green slime has taken up residence in a pool that has formed in the farthest chamber. Merely entering this chamber can be deadly as the slime emits a foul vapor into the air which can render a person inhaling the vapors unconscious. The slime will then move to begin devouring the victim.

The black and white version.

Thank you to my supporters on Patreon!

Friday, April 15, 2016

[writing] The Worst That Men Do

Posted as part of a writing contest over on the Google + community Writers' Discussion Group. Six hundreds words or less, inspired by the image and "try to make us feel strongly about (like/hate) your character in the first paragraph." I ended up at just shy of 600 words. It is difficult to tell a compelling story in such a short amount of text!

Please note this is not a continuation of the story I posted earlier today.


The Worst That Men Do
Franco punched the dark skinned man in the face. The man’s head flopped back and then righted itself. The eyes came back unfocused, he was done. I heard Franco utter a chuckle. For good measure, Franco nailed him with a solid right hook, square in the nose.

The man reeled and fell onto his rear with a thump. The plastic jug, half filled with water, slipped out of his hands and landed hard on the sand. I watched in horror as a third of the water splashed out of the jug and coated the dry sand. Before I could react the hot sand absorbed the life giving liquid and emitted a thin whiff of smoke. You would not even know it had been there.

“Dammit Franco, you lost half the water,” I complained and grabbed the container carefully. I lifted it to my nose and inhaled. I turned to Franco and smiled. “Clean.”

The late afternoon sun blazed just above the horizon as we stood on the ridge just outside the wall of ancient automobiles. Franco stood over the man, casting a long shadow over him that. The man blinked, struggling to refocus his eyesight. “Why?” He asked, barely able to form sounds.

“What do you think Mikey? Ice this guy?” He pulled his sawed off shotgun from the leg holster to emphasize his words. The man could focus now and his eyes zeroed in on the dangerous weapon.

I did not answer, I could not. The jug was up to my mouth and guzzling the sweet, fresh water. Franco noticed.

“Jesus Mikey, you know we have to turn that in,” he moved to me and pulled it away. I did not release my grip and water spilled as we tussled the jug back and forth. “Let go.”

“Bugger off, Franco,” I pulled it back towards me and gave him a quick smile. I was joking. “I am thirsty...just having a quick sip.”

“I am not kidding, back off, this has to go into the well,” his grip tightened on the jug, knuckles turning red. His eyes grew hard and shrunk to slits. “Mikey, back off.”

I felt the metal in my chest. I looked down with shocked eyes. The dual barrel poked me in the sternum. “Jesus Franco, what the hell?”

“Back off, I mean it,” he gritted through his teeth.

My .45 slipped out of the holster, I did not think he could see it but Franco is good, he probably expected this. A glint of sunlight from behind him caught my eye. I stopped struggling with Franco.

The dark skinned man had pulled a pistol from his belt and now pointed it at Franco’s back. “The water, give it to me and drop your weapons.”

Franco was just inches from me and looked me dead in the eye. I could see the ideas spinning and twisting within him. I gave a barely noticeable shake of my head, to ward him away from the idea.

He winked in reply. I mouthed no but it was too late.

The next minute happened in a blur. The man fired his pistol as I raised mine and squeezed off a round. The roar of the shots echoed off the sand dunes almost in unison. Franco jerked and fired his shotgun into my gut.

We three lay in the hot sand, blood slowly draining from our bodies. The jug landed between us, again spilling about a third of the liquid.

[writing] Off the Rails

The following came to me tonight while I slept, I awoke with a start a few minutes before midnight and this entire story popped into my head. I attempted to clear my mind and return to sleep but found I could not. This story, the girl and the train, but mostly the main character, would not shut up and allow me to return to my slumber. I had a clear picture of the main character, who he is, where he comes from, and what makes him tick. I have to say I have rarely felt this strong a connection with a character I wrote about. This story is not finished but I thought I would share. Approximately 1800 words, written in one sitting in the space of about an hour and a half. And in my typical fashion, not review, no editing. As is.



Off the Rails

Rough hands threw her to the ground. The rope around her wrists bit into the soft flesh and drew blood. A boot kicked her in the abdomen and flipped her over onto her stomach, her face burying into the earth.

She came up spitting. Blood mixed with the spittle.

“You’ll stay down if you know what is good for you,” said a rough voice.

She blinked through tear-swollen eyes. Bright headlamps tear through the mid-western darkness, casting a spotlight on corn fields. Blue jeaned legs step in front and block her view.

“I said stay down,” the words were emphasized with another kick to the gut. The girl winces and crumples into a ball. She sobs and wheezes with each breath. “I told you to stay away but you would not listen. Now look at you!”

In the distance a train whistle could be heard. The whistle echoed across the fields, the wind twisting the sound into music. The whistle halted the attacks and she softly thanked God in between sob-filled gasps for air.

Then the rough hands grabbed her hair and dragged her to the rails.

- - -

I lurched up with a start. Gasping for air.

My nights are always like this. The image rolls through my mind like a slow-motion film shown in high school science class. Exploding with a fine red mist. And I am awake.

I sat up, take a few deep breaths. The fresh air in my lungs helps clear the air. Not much but at the moment it is all I have. The image fades, it does not go away. It is still urking there in the dark, waiting to spring back and hit me like a wall.

“Fuck,” I say to no one and scratch my two day beard. Without using my eyes my hands find the flask and put it to my mouth. The liquid burns my throat but immediately revitalizes my body. And the image fades into the shadows.

The faint red glow from the alarm clock produces a small swath of light and my eyes turn to the other item on my nightstand. The girls. The photo is old now, the girls are thirteen and eight in the photo but today they would be…

I have to stop and think, do some math - at this hour a struggle. They would be fifteen and ten now. I study their faces, seeing their mother in the smooth cheeks, small nose, and long brown hair. I should hate her for taking the girls away. But I don’t. I understand why.

A knock sounds at the door. “Sheriff,” I hear Sergeant Jones say.

And that is how Jenny fell into my life.

- - -

Jones never fails. She had a cup of coffee already in hand when I opened the door.

“Those’ll kill you,” she nodded at the cigarette defying gravity on my lip.

“So will guns but we still carry one.” I let the cup warm my hands before I let it warm my insides. This wasted a minute and the good sergeant stood silently before me. “Well? I know you did not drive up here and wake up simply for my company. I am good looking, but not that good looking.”

“A girl, found on the tracks.” A pause. I would say a dramatic pause but that would imply this was a unique circumstance. Jones took every opportunity to make everything dramatic. “Out north end of the county.”

“Shit, near the Whitaker farm?”

She nodded and I swore under my breath. Whitaker had a serious dislike of me and the officer after we put his oldest son up the river for beating his girlfriend a year ago. Since then he had been after my badge on every occasion afforded to him. Then Jones added, “Actually on his farm, the Union track that runs through it.”

“ID the girl yet?”

“Gatlin is up there now, should have something by the time I get you up there.” She turned and headed to the driver’s side of the Ford SUV the office uses. She opened the door, then stopped half in. “You know, if you would just get a cell phone, you would make our lives much easier.”

I ignored her comment, an oft repeated, one and climbed in beside her. I gave her a sly grin. “Turn the lights on, might as well annoy Whitaker as much as possible.”

- - -

“Jenny Mathis,” was the first thing out of Gatlin’s mouth when I walked up. “Age eighteen, senior at Lincoln High, a cheerleader. Quite a looker from the photo, boss.” Gatlin handed me a photocopy of what appeared to be a yearbook photo. Bright smile, energetic eyes, long blonde hair. She would have had no trouble getting dates from the local football stars.

Then Jones added “Not much to look at now.” She pointed to a spot lit brightly by three spotlights.

“Jesus Jones, have some respect,” I said and my eyes followed her lead.

I’d seen worse but the train did a number on her. Legs were severed, one at the knee and the other mid-thigh. Her left arm was missing just above the elbow, I assumed it was around somewhere. The head though, it had taken the brunt of the train strike. Most people would have struggled to recognize it as once being a human head. Think if Picaso made lasagna and you would not be far off.

A fine red mist.

I shook my head, mentally forced the image away.

“The train?”

“About four miles up the tracks, took a while to stop it. Rodriguez is talking to the conductor.” Gatlin pulled up her camera up to her face and took a barrage of photos, the flash nearly blinding as the light ripped the night apart.

“Anything there?”

“Rod said her arm is stuck in the front of the train,” Gatlin stated nonchalantly and sent another round of bright flashes my way.

“No, dammit, does Rod have anything pertinent. Any leads.”

“Ah, sorry boss. From the sound of it, nothing there,” she peeled the camera off her face long enough to give me a wink.

Gatlin was not my favorite around the office but she was a good forensic officer. She would document the crime scene and analyze it as good as any FBI agent might. If there were leads here she would find them. This however, does not lessen the fact I did not find her a pain in the ass to work with.

I stepped back and turned away from her, protecting my eyes from the blinding barrage of light from the camera flash.

The track was situated on a raised ridge of dirt, about four feet higher than the surrounding corn fields. These stretched as far as I could see in all directions and ran parallel to the track, which traveled in a generally east to west alignment. I noticed a patch of corn to the north of the site that appeared to have been trampled and walked over to that area.

Pressed into the soft dark earth were clear tire tracks, the kind made by thick tires commonly found on off road trucks. The kind favored by the local farm boys who made up half the teenage population in the area. I knelt and ran my hand along the tread impressions, getting a feel for the depth, width and size of the tires.

“We’ll get impressions made of those for comparison,” Jones had come up behind me. “Send it off to the lab in Springfield. They will narrow it down in a day or two.”

I should state it here and now that I understand that modern techniques have their importance and can often find results hidden from view, but I feel the old way of doing things often serves my purpose. Nothing changes in the world, all events can be boiled down and at their core you will find people. The methods might change, but people do not. People with emotions, desires, greed, and jealousy. In the end, all the technology gizmos will still lead you back to the people.

I simply gave her a look. “The tires are a Bridgestone, offroad series, probably one of the largest size sold locally. Should not be hard to locate around here.”

I took a few steps, counting each, as I walked from the front print to the back print. “They will be on a shortbed pickup, not one of the newer and huge king cabs. This will be a short truck. I am guessing like one the younger kids prefer.”

She did not say anything to me. I lit up another cigarette.

“Well, I guess someone needs to go wake up Whitaker.”

- - -

Before my boot hit the first wooden step the porch light was thrown on. I made it up the three steps before the front door swung open.

“Should’ve known it would be you causing a ruckus out there on my land.” No offer to shake hands. He was dressed in a red and green plaid robe and with his tousled white hair and angry scowl made him look like some enraged Scottish highlander whose wife had been rough up by another clan.

“Calm down now Henry,” I raised both hands to show I was on friendly terms. “There has been a problem.” I refuse to use the term accident, another one of my quirks that drive Jones nuts. No such thing as an accident, everything has a cause, and usually that means someone was not paying attention or being vigilant, I would say. She would roll her eyes. In fact, I turned behind me to see if she was doing just that. He eyes were looking skyward and off to the left.

“Problem?” The old bastard grunted.

“A young lady encountered a train.” This apparently did not register with him, so I added “While it was moving.”

He gave me a confused look. And Jones stepped in to clarify. “She was struck by a train, not much left of her. Up on the north end of your property. Young girl from Lincoln High, about Devlin’s age.”

“Now you just wait a moment,” he started and raised a fat, stubby finger, wagging it at Jones.

“Relax Henry,” I stepped in front of him. This old farmer comes from another generation who still thinks women should be barefoot in the kitchen. I did not want him ruffling Jones’ feathers or I would hear about it all the way back to the station. “We are just informing you of the situation, nothing more. We are on your property and there has been a death. We are simply being courteous.”

He seemed to calm a little and visibly shrink about an inch. His eyes wandered from us out to the lights, barely visible off in the gloom of the night. I thought for a moment I saw a flash of human compassion in his eyes but it cleared quickly and he turned back to us. He inhaled deeply and regained his strength. “How long before you are off my property? You and all your little people?”

[to be continued.....?]

Thursday, April 14, 2016

[map] The entrance to Claim number 19950421-V

I am running a play by post over on the Basic Fantasy Forums and my group is just enter Ghorl Nigral and have located the entrance to the dungeon they are charged with exploring. These are blown up quite a bit but I am hoping to eventually combine a slew of minimaps into a larger single map at some later point.





Tuesday, April 12, 2016

[map] The Six Unholy Pillars of the Vinagroon

This map began as nothing more than a quick idea for a drawing and then I found myself with some freetime.

The Six Pillars of the Vinagroon is a unique stone circle nestled against a steep cliff. In the middle of this stone circle is a deep well that disappears down into darkness, This is the lair of the Vinagroon, a vile, tentacled demon. The small cavern to the south of the lair is a cave where the current priestess of Vinagroon resides, exiting only to satiate her deity by tossing sacrifices into the dark maw. In another small cavern to the northwest rests a glowing statue, a crude vision of the Vinagroon the priestess reveres.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

[map] Today's ick map

I utterly hate it. I messed with this map all morning, trying to make something of it and nothing seemed to pan out. So rather than waste the afternoon as well, I give to you dear internet. Do with it what you will.

And the bnw version:

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Willard of Aquitane and the Stinking Tower of Verroragun

Willard of Aquitane is a brave adventurer, but is he brave enough to vanquish whatever lies beneath the stinking tower of Verroragun? If Willard is brave, and smart, he may find the trapdoor and gain access, otherwise - perish the thought - he will have to shimmy through the ventilation shafts to gain access to the catacombs below the tower. Either way, cotton stuffed in his nose, he is ready to face the odorous fiend that lies beneath the tower!

All due respect to +Luka Rejec for my attempt at his awesome artistic styling.

And of course, the old school black and white version.

If you enjoy seeing these maps on my blog, free for everyone to use in their personal games, consider supporting my mapping through Patreon. Visit my page at https://www.patreon.com/msjackson

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

[map] The Moon Spire

I had a little time alone in the office today with nothing going on, complete shocker there. SO I set about drawing a map on the only thing available, my newest Stormtrooper Moleskine. I used my now constant Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen and omg it bleed through something terrible. I thought I might show you how my maps begin and end. Below is the initial map.

Below is the finished map, scanned in, cleaned up, and color added. As with most of my maps I always include a color and a black and white version, an homage to the origins of our hobby.

The maps above or reduced by over 1/2 in size, if you would like to see and download the fullsize map, please visit my patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/msjackson Without further ado, I give you...


The Moon Spire was created decades ago by the now ill-spoken-of mage Garudein the fourth, the Fouldblade of Nestracurcoum. It was originally intended to be used as a summer retreat from the heat of the blighted desert of the Horrucluem but Garudein found it quite pleasant that he took up residence and rarely left the spire. The Spire is quite magical and will provide all the requirements needed to support life so long as it is replenished by moonlight every nightfall. If one simply retires to bed in the evening, they will awake to find a table full of wonderful food, decanters full of marvelous wine and the oxygen in the spire clean and refreshed as if by a summer breeze.

Sadly, as with most secluded mages, Garudein eventually grew nutty and pushed the boundaries of his magical ability. He lusted for a mate and conducted his experiments, which only resulted in disaster. He was slain by one of his monstrous creations when he attempted to fornicate with the beast without properly announcing himself and his intentions. It promptly slew him and set the previous creations free. Today their various offspring roam the Spire, dining and enjoying the constantly replenished food and wine.

Monday, April 4, 2016

[map] The Beach Head

What began as a way to play around with my new fountain pen, and waste a little time while the family slept in during last week's vacation...

The day prior I had seen the World War II memorial in Washington DC and when I woke the following morning Mark Hunt had released his new WWII game based on the OSR darling, WhiteBox. This is actually the second WWII game being worked on - Pete Spahn is currently finishing up his WWII: Operation WhiteBox which also uses the WhiteBox rules. I have been working on a few WWII maps for Pete and well, let's just say I was inspired by all the WWII goodness floating around.
I scanned it in and cleaned it up last night, adding some color - I do like a little whitewashed color - and playing around with it a little. I wanted to try something a little different for the cliffs, based off a style another mapper uses, 2-Minute Table Top, which I really like. As is typical for me, I am not entirely happy with how it turned out.
I also wanted to play around a little with something that could look like it came out of the era the map depicted, while still remaining a useful map for RPGing purposes. Probably should have added the much cliched coffee stain or folds to give it that really old feeling.
All my maps are free for private use, feel free to print them out or upload
to your favorite VTT and utilize them in your games.