The time of the wolf is upon us! Art, rpgs and albums come together for this awesome project!

Wolf Ref Study Jan 8bWolfspell, a project I’m illustrating, is on Kickstarter right now, but only until the evening of February 3rd! I want to share a little of what makes this project feel special to me.

Wolfspell is a tabletop roleplaying game by Epidiah Ravachol, whose name you might know from the epic storytelling game Swords Without Master, or the Jenga-powered horror game Dread. Epidiah’s Wolfspell is a game where you tell the stories of rogues, adventurers, warriors and travelers who have been turned into wolves and must achieve their vengeance, source their treasure, or escape their fate as wolves before they can return to their human forms.

As a player in Wolfspell, you are torn between your wolf side and your human side, pitting a wolf die against a blood die on every roll. Working as a pack will keep you safest; a lone wolf might not survive to tell their tale.

As the GM in Wolfspell you are called Winter, and you bring your wrath down on those who have earned it through failed rolls and dangerous choices, while you add challenges, magic and snow to your players’ story.

This game feels epic and haunting to play; communicating through the language and senses of wolves adds a flavour of strangeness and surprise to already solid sword and sorcery tales. As a sword and sorcery fan, and a person who is deeply interested in animal intelligence and communication, this game would have my number no matter what!

Wolf Ref Study Jan 2

But it’s not just that I’m excited for it to exist – it’s not even just that I’m excited that I get to illustrate the cover! It’s extra, extra special because Epidiah had decided that we are going to publish this game as a tri-fold LP case.Wolfspell Work in Progress Mockup

(the art is not finished, stay tuned to see the polished final image!)

You know, the sort of thing you might find holding a double album, back in the days of vinyl. Specifically, the format that gave us some of the most definitive examples of epic magical realism in illustration. The sort of enormous canvas given to folks like Roger Dean and Rodney Matthews. I’m going to be painting one of those!

I’m a sucker for finding musical parallels to other things I enjoy, so using the format to draw a line between this wonderful RPG and the experience of an epic double album just gives me goosebumps!

If all this has you intrigued, don’t delay – check out the Wolfspell kickstarter right here!

And if you’re already a fan of wolves and epic music, let me know below what songs or albums you’ll put on when you play Wolfspell!

Gaming at the Museum – Combining Gaming with Crafts, Museum Collections and Storytelling

So in addition to running tabletop games twice a day for the kids’ summer camp I ran at the Aga Khan Museum, we supplemented gameplay with a few different things: firstly, we spent time every day in the museum’s collection and travelling exhibits; we read aloud stories from the Shahnameh; and we did hands on creative exercises that fed into both learning about the museum collection and enhancing the gaming experience.

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Gaming at the Museum – Writing Campaigns following Rostam’s Seven Trials

For our Dungeon World in the Shahnameh summer camp at the Aga Khan Museum, one of the challenges in the prep was writing adventures for up to four groups of players that kept them all wrapped up in Rostam’s Seven Trials, without tripping over Rostam or changing his story, and didn’t have them competing with each other or deciding some groups or GMs were doing things “wrong”.

I initially considered writing a single adventure and sending each group down the path on their own, as if each was playing their own playthrough of a videogame, but that’s ignoring some of the best things about tabletop games – collaboration and spontaneity. In the end, after a great brainstorming session with Daniel Kwan (who runs a huge collaborative multi-group epic campaign for kids at the Royal Ontario Museum) I came upon a shared map solution.

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Gaming at the Museum – Playing Dungeon World with 9-12y/os – Part 2

Gaming with kids was new to me – I’ve gamed with a lot of adults, and with folks who are new to gaming as well as experienced old hats, but kids was different, and not necessarily in a bad way! Firstly, I’d say that over half the kids were immediately ready to take the game seriously and get invested in the story, despite never having played something like this before. And by the end of the week’s 9 gaming sessions, I don’t think there was a single camper who didn’t care about their character, their quest and their teammates. Here’s an exploration of the challenges we faced as we ran the game and some of the greatest successes, as well:

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Gaming at the Museum – Introduction!

In July I spent a week running a Dungeon World campaign as part of summer camp for 16 kids, aged 9-12, at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. It was my first longer campaign that I’ve designed, and the three assistants I had (who were amazing, thank you all!) had never run any tabletop RPGs before whatsoever. I’d been recommended by the excellent Daniel Kwan, who runs Pathfinder and DnD 3.5 for kids 11-14 at the Royal Ontario Museumwhich you may have heard me raving about on Twitter in the past. It’s a really cool program, and it’s thanks to him that I got the chance to run this one at the Aga Khan Museum!

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