This Month’s Poll: Diesel LaForce, Spelljammer Cartographer

The following conversations was started in the Spelljammer Image Group:

You have done some excellent cartography over the years. The way that you have made each setting feel that it was mapped by different cartographers is especially clever. It is almost as if you make maps “in character”. smile emoticon

Thanks for everything that you did for the Spelljammer Campaign Setting. Do you remember what sort of things you thought about, when you created the style for them?

And, do you ever sell prints of any of your maps at conventions?

To which he replied recently:

Thanks so much for the praise. When creating different styles I look at other maps and illustrations as Well that might fit the feel of the product. Sometimes the writer or editor would ask for a specific look or feel and give me examples of what they are looking for. So there are a few different ways to come up with a map style.

I have not made prints of any maps. Not sure which ones of the thousands I have done would be desirable for gamers. I do sign a lot of maps at cons though.

Again thanks for the praise.

So the Spelljammer Image Group asked us: would we buy his maps if he made prints?  So I’m asking you in This Month’s Poll:

Crew of the Reverie (Remembrance)

Elven StingerGriim (ogre male): AL N; W5; hp 15; AC 10; #AT 1; DMG 2-9; SZ L; STR 17, INT 17
Notable Possessions: Bo staff, Lens of Speed Reading, Periapt of Wound Closure

Not long ago, Griim was a simple ogre sage and scribe of minor note in Steelspace. He was part of a minor order of scribes based out of a derelict mammoth near Corrukai. Griim was training in the fields of history (Steelspace) and Known Sphere cultures. He was part of a group of about two dozen scribes, serving under one Gistor the Gray, an elderly ogre magi. He was dislodged from his relatively comfortable life about four years ago.

The group was visited by Makamo the Glutton, an ogre bushi who came looking for answers to a burning question of his. Much research would be required, so Makamo was allowed to stay in the guest quarters while Gistor researched his books for the answers Makamo sought. Over the course of the next week, many of Gistor’s scribes and servants disappeared. Griim feared the worse, and his suspicions were realized when spied Makamo hunched over Gistor’s corpse, devouring it greedily. Griim and the remaining scribes fled to the cargo hold, where the Remembrance was being stored (Gistor had purchased it a few years ago as a curiosity). Fearful of Makamo’s wrath should he learn that Griim had escaped his grisly feast, Griim fled Steelspace and made his way to the Known Spheres.

Griim uses Change Self spells to disguise his true nature. He usually uses the disguise of a half-orc courier wizard to earn enough coin to survive. Despite his self-banishment from his homesphere of Steelspace, Griim is actually having a good time. He sees it all as a grand adventure, a chance to study up close all of the cultures, kingdoms, and races he’s read about in his master’s scrolls and books. He rather enjoys his freedom from his master’s harsh gaze.

Krosh (hobgoblin male): AL N; Scribe 2; hp 7; AC 10; #AT 1; DMG 1-8; SZ M; STR 10, DEX 14, INT 15
Notable Possessions: Bo staff, signet ring, writing equipment, potion of healing

As a young hobgoblin, Krosh was the runt of the family. Considered good for nothing, his clan sold him to Gistor, and Krosh became a simple scribe under his tutelage. Even as an adult, Krosh is very small for a hobgoblin, both shorter than normal at only 5’11” tall, and weaker than typical. He is quite the pacifist, preferring to sit and chat over herbal tea rather than resorting to violence. Much like Griim, he finds the Known Spheres fascinating, despite the inhabitants being uncouth, uncivilized barbarians. Krosh knows how to handle the wing-sails and his duties are to manage them.

Krosh appears much like a peasant in his mid-twenties from Wa, save that his skin color is a shade of light orange, fairly close to the color of a ripe apricot. Krosh wears sandals, a simple peasant tunic and breeches, and a broad straw hat that helps obscure his unusual skin coloration.

Sakka (hobgoblin female): AL N(C); Scribe 3; hp 8; AC 10; #AT 1; DMG 1-4; SZ M; INT 16, WIS 14, CHA 13
Notable Possessions: Dagger, writing equipment, Quill of Neverending Ink, Spectacles of Comprehending Languages

Bookish, quiet, shy, and “wall flower” all described Sakka, one of Gistor’s underling scribes. Getting away from Steelspace’s structured society has liberated Sakka. When the crew pulled into Bral for supplies and work, she walked the streets like a wide-eyed child, taking in the sights. It is perhaps a small miracle she did not get mugged, but it is likely her meager possessions did not attract any attention.

Sakka is short, 5’6” tall, and has dark orange skin and long, black hair. She is not unattractive, all things considered, but certainly no exotic beauty. She has traded in her drab peasant clothes for attire more commonly worn by the aperusa. Her favorite is a colorful dress, but she has more practical clothes as well. Sakka is near-sighted, which she corrects by wearing spectacles.

Sakka is much more aggressive than Krosh, and knows how to load and fire the catapult. It is actually something she takes pride in, since Krosh does not, and often teases him about it.

Brakkdor (bugbear male): AL LN; Bushi 3; hp 31; AC 5; #AT 3/2; DMG 6-11; SZ L; STR 18/22, CON 16
Notable Possessions: Shikomi-zue (double-bladed) +1, leather lamellar, Ring of Protection +1

Brakkdor is the crew’s ‘heavy’, the only one who is actually trained in combat. A bugbear from Korryl, he was hired on as part of Gistor’s security. When Makamo murdered Gistor, he first knocked Brakkdor unconscious in a swift, dishonorable blow from behind. As Griim and the others fled, they discovered the unconscious Brakkdor, and carried him to safety. When he awoke, Brakkdor was enraged, but even he realized how badly outmatched he was against the likes of Makamo, and sullenly accepted the self-imposed banishment the rest of the group agreed upon. Although he would dearly love to extract revenge on Makamo, he knows that ogre is far beyond his skills and does not allow thoughts of revenge to consume his every waking moment.

Since leaving Steelspace, Brakkdor is probably the most uncomfortable of the Remembrance’s crew to their new life in the Known Spheres. Everywhere he sees enemies, people that would do him and the people he protects harm. Of course, being a seven foot tall very hairy humanoid does not help matters, for most people treat him as a scary monster. Ironically, Brakkdor is surprisingly gentle for a bugbear, and Sakka has noted that he has a soft spot in his heart for children, regardless of race.

Brakkdor’s Shikomi-zue appears as an iron staff with a length of about six feet. With a simple twist of the handle, it can produce foot-long blades from either end of the shaft. This special weapon normally causes 1d6+1 points of damage, either bludgeoning (as a staff) or piercing (the spear tips). Brakkdor is specialized in its use. He also knows martial arts, so he is never completely disarmed.

Tarn Rabbittoe (kender male): AL NG; Handler 6; hp 28; AC 8; #AT 1; DMG 1-6; SZ S; DEX 16; CHA 12
Notable Possessions: Hoopak, lock picks

Tarn stands out with the rest of the crew, as he is neither a native of Steelspace, nor is he a humanoid. He is a kender, which in some peoples’ minds, make him by far the most dangerous member of the crew. This, in some ways, is a very true statement.

Tarn met up with the crew while they were docked at the Rock of Bral. He encountered Sakka while she was wandering the streets, and after some small talk, the two became fast friends. Both share a fascination with wildspace and the myriad of cultures of the Known Spheres. Tarn, of course, hails from Kendermore, and managed to stow away on an odd ship while it was docked in Balifor. He had been wandering the docks of wildspace for almost a decade before he met the crew of the Remembrance, and has become a guide of sorts to them. His knowledge of wildspace and its dangers has kept the crew out of the worst danger, although he still loves a little mischief every now and again to keep things interesting. He genuinely cares for the crew, and would never knowingly endanger them, although he is a bit scatter-brained and often oblivious to danger.


By Adam “Night Druid” Miller