Monkey Morning 18 Cover + Illustrations

More art is coming in from the artists. Lots of stuff to show you today 🙂

Art production for the main rulebook is fully under way and the artists are blowing me away with their contributions 🙂

Here’s Jon Hodgson’s cover in progress

And here it is again on its own as a static image…

Jon Hodgson’s cover a work in progress at sketch state

Next Dan Barker has finished off his full page illustration for the adventure “If you see Buddha on the Road”

Dan Barker’s If you see Buddha on the Road

Kickstarter Launch Delayed

Just to let you know that I’m delaying the Kickstarter launch until this coming Wednesday (11th January).

Nothing major, I’ve just got a couple of things I want to get sorted before the campaign starts.

So see you Wednesday!

23 Days of Monkey, Day 22 The Cover by Jon Hodgson

How I know Jon Hodgson, one of the leading lights at Cubicle 7 and more roleplaying/gaming art credits than I can comfortably fit in my head, from his time as the ‘comic specialist’ in the mighty Travelling Man shop ( a glorious den of gaming, comics and general geekry) where he was the cheeky monkey who helped me out when the ‘rpg specialist’ around. Many years later he remembered me and was graceful enough to do the cover for the first edition of the game, which was a huge personal boost for me and the game. Jon has a firm grasp of mythic storytelling, witness his magnificent work on C7’s The One Ring, and his past generosity made it a no brainer to ask him to do the cover art for the 2nd Incarnation. Jon has a fierce schedule of work these days and I’m very happy found a gap and he’s said yes!

This is the provisional cover for Monkey the 2nd Incarnation, which is the same as current cover but with the ‘trade dress’ (that’s titles and logos) rearranged.

Current Cover by Jon Hodgson

But we can do better than that! 🙂

If the campaign funds Jon will be doing a new cover with all four of the pilgrims. This is something I wanted for the first edition, but at the time I didn’t have enough money to afford it. In those days D101 Games ran on pennies. In fact I blew the entire art budget on the front cover! Fortunately after a bit of a search I found enough good public domain art for the interior art.

Jon has also done the cover for the Ministry of Thunder Adventure collection which is one of the Stretch Goals for the Kickstarter Campaign. (see Day 12 for more details).

Ministry of Thunder cover by Jon Hodgson

23 Days of Monkey, Day 21 Dan Barker

As our journey nears its end, time to talk about another of the artists who will be working on the book : Dan Barker.

I’ve been a big fan of Dan Barker’s work since I came across him in the classic Tales of the Reaching Moon fanzine for the gaming world of Glorantha in the 90s. As a rather rabid fan of Glorantha at the time some of my favorite pieces were his full page illustrations which were intended to be cut out and pasted over the piss-poor illustrations in Avalon Hill’s Troll God box set.

Bina Bang by Dan Barker

Bina Bang by Dan Barker

Dan’s work then and the bits he’s done since show’s he’s got a firm grasp of the mythic storytelling that Monkey requires, as well as the strong technical talent that I want for the new version of Monkey.  He’s also got a wicked sense of humour, that comes out in some of his pieces (which as my Grandfather who was a senior art lecturer said is essential for a working artist’s work).

This humour is in full evidence I feel in this ‘test’ piece that Dan sent me last year  (if you are not getting it look at how Monkey is riding his cloud).

Monkey riding the clouds by Dan Barker

Monkey riding the clouds by Dan Barker

Dan is also a big fan of the game. Both he and his partner Gwen regularly run the game at conventions that they attend. Dan has been one of the voices that has been pushing me to get Monkey 2 done and he was the first people to run the new game.

So I’m more than happy that Dan is joining the merry band who will be Journeying West to produce the new Monkey the 2nd Incarnation!

Day 21 of 23 Days of Monkey, Kickstarter opens on 8th January 2017.

23 Days of Monkey, Day 20 Journeying West

Today we look at how adventures work in Monkey. How Monkey supports the narrator creating them, and how the Players can drive and take control of the structure in play.

Adventures in monkey come in two different forms: Scripted Adventures and Adventure Seeds.

Scripted Adventures fall somewhere between traditional roleplaying game write ups, were every last detail and possible action is written down, and more modern approaches that rely heavily on improvisational techniques. The reason for this is because the Players are firmly the stars of the show and are playing lesser gods, whose only weaknesses are their own failings. So even the most cleaver plot or tough monster can quickly be overcome or even circumnavigated by the players. That’s where the fun lies for them and the Narrator’s job is to provide a ‘toybox’ environment full of thrilling locations, exciting potential Actions and a cast of engaging Major Story Immortals, their Supporting Characters and the mass of unnamed Extras for the Player Immortal to play with.  Not only will the 2nd Incarnation have at least one example scripted adventure (the ever reliable “Bag of Wind” which featured in the first edition) with a second being added if the stretch goal is reached (see Day 9  “If you see Buddha on the Road”), but it will also provide a clear template for narrators to use to quickly generate their own Scripted Adventures.

Adventure Seeds have long been a part of most roleplaying supplements were an idea is worth expanding into an outline for an adventure, but page count is limited to prohibit a fuller write up. In Monkey the 2nd Incarnation it’s my intention to have a section of Adventure Seeds that can explosively act as the starting point for a full sessions play in a format that gives enough inspiration to Narrators and players.

While Monkey is very much like a traditional roleplaying game, in that it has a referee called a Narrator who is the adjudicates rules disputes, vetoes implausible player actions and reacts to player actions by describing how the environment and non-player characters change as a result, it is also does this in full cooperation with the players whose characters are firmly the centre of the story that emerges through play.  Part of this ‘player-centric’ approach is that players can directly influence the structure of a scenario in three ways.

Stealing the Scene: Scenes are the building blocks of an adventure in the same way as in a film or play. Normally the Narrator gets to describe the location and circumstances that the players find themselves in. Under special circumstances the Players can ‘Steal the Scene’ from the Narrator. For example the Narrator is getting ready to describe the Palace of the Many Plumed Tyrant Demon, but the players collectively and unanimously decide that it would be better for them to have the next scene in the Western Heaven asking their Patron Deity, the Wise Planet Venus advisor to the Jade Emperor himself, how to defeat the Many Plumed Tyrant Demon, since they have no idea and have been defeated by it in previous scenes. Hence the scene shifts temporarily to the Western Heaven.

Being under the Spotlight: At the beginning of the scene one of the Player Immortals has the ‘spotlight’ and are able to put their character first in describing what they are doing. This happens naturally in the book, where some scenes focus on Monkey but others start out with what Pigsy, Tripitaka or Sandy are up to. It’s something I wanted in the new version of the game because it helps quieter players, who are perhaps swamped in all the banter produced as more outwardly players get excited.

Playing the Immortals Weakness: The player can gain an extra card to put to one side to play in a later action by briefly describing how their Immortal’s weakness gets them and the rest of the group into trouble.  For example the light-fingered Fox Spirit Red Fur, whose weakness is Theft, and companions are trying to sneak through a large crowd of people avoiding the attentions of the local City Guards. Red Fur’s player mischievously reckons its worth playing Red Furs Weakness , and alerting the City Guards to the group’s presence in the crowd, to get an extra card for later on. So Red Fur cannot help herself and tries to unsuccessfully to pick the purse of a very fat and very loud passing merchant. Such extra cards, which the player may have no limit of, must be drawn without looking at and stored face down until played in an Action.

A player who has the Spotlight may also Steal the Scene and Play a Weakness. For example Pigsy’s player, who has the spotlight Steals the Scene by deciding the Pilgrims should abandon the dusty road to India and the Demons that await them, and take shelter in an Inn and partake of its food and wine to excess instead (playing Pigsy’s Weakness). Instead of encountering the Demons on the road, the pilgrims encounter them as they are hung over and debauched as they burst weapons drawn through the Inn’s main door. Pigsy’s player smiles slyly to himself and draws an extra card face down.

Day 20 of 23 Days of Monkey, 3 days until the Kickstarter opens on Sunday 8th January.