[Eldritch Secrets] As promised…

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…here is another page spread, but this one with an illustration! This illustration was done by Justin Hernandez, a very talented artist that I’ve been fortunate to work with on several projects now.

[Eldritch Secrets] Artists!

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I have finally found and signed those artists that I would like to work with on the Spell Compendium project. Its a small group of excellent artists, new and old (and by that I mean in the industry).

Let’s see;

The first I contacted and who agreed was… Darren Calvert. I remember seeing some of his work during the golden 3e era, and more recently, in some of the Open Design products. His style is slightly cartoonish, but also what I would call high fantasy. His colouring is even somewhat flamboyant and especially colourful, which I really like. I have a series of illustrations that will be perfect for his style, especially the following spells; Draconic Whip and Force Bombard.

The next to sign on was a chinese newcomer called JinnFeng. He actually works for a studio called Noah Ark Studio, and you can find some of their work here. I have only seen some of his environments, so I’m taking a bit of a chance here, since I need him to do mostly character and object work. He is apparently very adaptive and can suit his style to the others on the project. I really look forward to seeing what he can bring to the project. Some of the spells that he will be illustrating are; Armor of Flames and Stomach of Holding.

Then I talked to Florian Stitz. He is working heavily on other projects at the moment (Pathfinder projects, I believe), but really wanted to participate. He has promised nothing, but will see if he can’t find the time to do at least a few pieces. I’m really hoping that he can find the time for the following illustrations; Mirror and Gruesome Appearance.

The next to jump aboard was a young artist who had contacted me a while back. I didn’t have anything for him at that time, but I think this project will be well suited to his particular talents. His name is Carlos Torreblanco, and yes, if you are a Pathfinder fan, you might have seen his work in the Pathfinder fanzine, Wayfinder. I’ve asked Carlos to do a large amount of smaller illustrations, which among other things, will showcase some of the odd material components.

Next up was a Headless Hydra Games favorite, and yes, I’m speaking of Justin Hernandez! I’ve worked with Justin on several projects and he has always delivered excellent work. This time he will deliver colour work, and I really look forward to seeing the pieces that he will be illustrating. Justin will be illustrating the following spells; Arm to Pick and Animate Mageship.

At this point, I knew that I wanted at least a few full page illustrations. Why? Just because it would be cool and untraditional (not many publishers offer the money it takes to buy full page interior art). I was happy to learn that Jeremy McHugh wanted this gig! I remember seeing Jeremy’s art in many of the books that I really like, Bard’s Gate, among those! He will be doing two full page illustrations and a few minor illustrations, among those; Eerie Forest and Hand of the Chuul.

And of course, there is the cover art! This has already been commissioned and delivered, and if you are wondering who did it, well, his name is Adam Denton and you can find his portfolio here! You can see the cover… in colour… above!

Almost forgot to mention Rene Walk! He will design the logo/title and the background/borders for Eldritch Secrets! I really look forward to see what he comes up with, but I’m sure that it will exceed my expectations by a mile!

[Eldritch Secrets] Open Playtest!

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I’ve decided to make a small selection of spells available… for free! Of course, the plan is to get people involved in the playtesting of Eldritch Secrets, but really, there are no strings attached to this free pdf. If you just want to download them for use in your home campaign… please do!

If you are interested in seeing what Headless Hydra Games is working on, please head on over to our RPGNow store. Just follow this link;


If you have any suggestions, feel free to either write them here, to me personally (storyguide.axel@gmail.com) or at the Paizo messageboard;


All suggestions are welcome, in fact, I would deep appreciate them!

[Eldritch Secrets] Levels…

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So, how are the levels represented in Eldritch Secrets? This is the third round of statistics… and once again, I’m not really surprised, except to say that I had imagined that there would be more 0-level spells.

0-level spells: 32 (13,2%)

1st-level spells: 47 (19,2%)

2nd-level spells: 43 (17,8%)

3rd-level spells: 45 (18,6%)

4th-level spells: 33 (13,6%)

5th-level spells: 28 (11,6%)

6th-level spells: 26 (10,7%)

7th-level spells: 12 (5%)

8th-level spells: 12 (5%)

9th-level spells: 11 (4,5%)

[Eldritch Secrets] Classes…

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The second piece of statistics is concerned with the classes and how many spells each has.

Exclusive spells (to one class only): 117 (48,3%)

Bard spells: 59 (24,4%)

Cleric spells: 88 (36,4%)

Druid spells: 60 (24,8%)

Paladin spells: 19 (7,9%)

Ranger spells: 35 (14,5%)

Sorcerer/Wizard spells: 176 (72,7%)

This is pretty much what I expected, however, there are no spells exclusive to rangers and paladins… and I might like a few of those.

Eldritch Secrets!

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Today is all about doing statistics on Eldritch Secrets! I want to find out if there is a balance between the classes, levels and spell types (offensive, defensive and utility spells).

If any class is under-represented, I may have to add a few spells for that particular class, but honestly, I expect the book to be rather balanced.

I also hope to find out exactly how many spells are exclusive to only one class. Each class should have at least a few spells that are exclusive to them, even the ranger and paladin class!

News time!

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It’s been a while since I used this blog, but I guess now is the time to take it up again… mostly because I have something to blog about!

I finally finished the last of the playtest pdfs for Eldritch Secrets, and yes, it has taken me longer than I would have liked. But anyways, the pdf has gone out to the contributors and now I await their last judgement!

I hope to begin the final design by the 1st of August, which is probably a bit optimistic, but you can always hope. I will also start assigning artists by that time, and I have decided to make this the first full colour project of Headless Hydra Games.

First Mor Aldenn adventure… done!

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For more information on the publishing of my very first Mor Aldenn adventure, go here; http://cityofmages.wordpress.com

[Art Directing] The Grimlock!


I finally got around to writing the first real art direction post, just had to wrap my head around which monster to choose for the very first post. As you can clearly see from the illustrations and title (obviously) I went with the Grimlock, one of the first pieces that were finished. I went with this very piece because it really sums up the artwork in this book, or so I believe.

And what do I mean by that?

Well, I mean that most of the pieces are quite dynamic, detailed, but still quite simple, and yes, most of the illustrations are monsters only, meaning no backgrounds. If I had had a bigger budget for the artwork, the first thing I would have added was some environmental backgrounds, but sadly, I’m working with a severely limited budget. There is also another way that this illustration sums up the overall feeling of the artwork; it is monsters that we know, and yet, not quite like we are used to seeing them.

The artwork for the Grimlock was created by Mario Zuccarello (www.zuccarelloartworks.com). Mario used the following description when illustrating the Grimlock; “The muscular humanoid stares at you with dark, eyeless sockets.”

First Impression

This sketch really captured the savage feeling of the grimlock. It may not be looking directly at you (like the description says), but it is certainly charging you or someone in your party, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to spare your life! This evil humanoid is a fierce opponent; it is both strong and healthy and then it wields a simple, yet lethal battleaxe. You could certainly take this creature, but not without getting a few scratches or perhaps loosing an eye. Imagine an entire tribe charging you head-on like this, and your chances may not be so great. Scared? Well, you ought to be!

The only comment I had for the artist was; “The battleaxe (in D&D terms) is just a one-handed weapon.”

Final Impression

I could have asked the artist to change the pose of the creature, so that it looks directly at the reader, but does it really matter? I didn’t think so, and aside from the size of the battleaxe, I found (and still find) this a very strong piece. It really captures the feeling that I want the reader to get when first meeting the Grimlock.

So what do you think? Does it look anything like you ever imagined a Grimlock? Does it need to be even more savage? More subterranean? More fierce and evil-looking?

Wizard’s Path – the collector’s edition!

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I know, we are far from finished with the Wizard’s Path, but I just wanted to let everyone know, that if you’ve bought all the pdfs, you will get the collector’s edition of Wizard’s Path pdf for free!

The collector’s edition will feature even more artwork (and a full-colour cover) and all the crunch from the series, plus… more crunch!

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