Archive for March 2014

Gilead’s Party   Leave a comment


I went to a wine and cheese party at an artist’s house. We’ve been friends for some 20 years now, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen his house. Heck, he has never seen mine. I wanted some pix because it is my belief that all artists surround themselves with art and cool stuff.  Artists’ homes are just marvelous places to visit.

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Gilead’s house in Gilbert, Arizona, Saturday, March 29, 6 p.m.

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Gilead in his studio. He’s a friendly guy.

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I told you he was friendly.

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Artist tools here, but I really took the shot because Robby the Robot is here.

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Life Masks, Reference books, Painter’s tools.

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Care Bears meet My Little Pony and join the Army of Darkness.

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Jason and Emma Youngdale

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It was also an art sale. I bought a coloring book, Gilead’s Kickstarter feat.

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The  “Porno” pile, prints that he had for sale at $10 each.

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Household gods and knick-knacks.

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Paint your own bookcase and eldritch horrors.

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Cats! Didn’t see any live ones, however.

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The food table–15 different cheeses, 3 different crackers, assorted nuts, and healthy vegetables.

(This is where I got my 3 veggie servings for the day.)

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I don’t know the guys in the foreground, but this is really a picture of Stellar, Gideon’s wife, the lovely lady in the background. She’s in the kitchen guarding the wine. She poured some for me. Yum!

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Jason, Emma, and assorted colorful octopi. Gilead says the tentacle pix are popular and he sells a lot of them.

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More tentacles!

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Gilead also does trees.

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Fish punk fashion.

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Don and Gilead. I say farewell.

If you were at Gilead’s party, or have ever been inside an artist’s house, why not leave a comment?



Posted March 30, 2014 by atroll in artist, fantasy art, Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

Trollgod in Agony: Workout with Julie   2 comments

Some of you may  have seen me talking about my efforts to be healthy and moderately fit. As part of that effort, I actually go to LA Fitness once or twice a week with my trainer, Julie Marsella. On Wednesday, March 26, we went and I asked her to take some pictures. Just to prove I really do this stuff at my advanced age of 66, I’m posting the pix we took that day. Agonized expressions and all . . .

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Posing in a muscle shirt.

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Postures taken from tai chi

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Quit going to tai chi and you forget it fast, but I remember this move.

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We start on elliptical machine or treadmill. Here the machine thinks I have no heartbeat.


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Really getting into it here. I am running the 6 minute mile in this shot.

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Trainer Julie Marsella is actually lifting about 80 pounds in this shot.

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Here she is developing triceps and forearms.

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I am doing crunches. To get my elbows down to my knees means lifting 70 pounds. Not so hard once–try doing it 15 times without stopping.

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The little blue towel is to wipe away the sweat. It’s actually pretty soggy.

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Pull down instead of chin up

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I got my haircut in the morning. I do that about every 3 months. It would be nice to keep it like this–the skull stays so cool, and doesn’t itch as much or as often. As you can see, I’m in agony, but it feels so good when you stop.

You know this really isn’t so special, but I just wanted to document that I really do this stuff, as it would have been inconceivable about 4 years ago.  I am getting leaner and stronger as time passes, and I credit Julie for that. She has the gym membership, and she gives me the encouragement I need to continue.  There are some older and less fit people than me in the gym, and I give them full marks for their determination–most of them doing it without the kind of support I have.  But 90% of the people in there are young and look like real athletes. I don’t think I will ever look like a real athlete, but I’m getting tougher, slowly but surely. Are you?

If you work out, or could kick my butt without working out, why not leave a comment?



Posted March 29, 2014 by atroll in Julie Marsella, Ken St. Andre, Uncategorized, Workouts

Laughing Moon Con 2014   Leave a comment

Today’s entertainment was a trip to Litchfield Park, west of Phoenix, for a mini gaming event held by a high school gaming club. It is called Laughing Moon Con, and is named after the Laughing Moon rpg created by Todd VanHooser, a high school teacher there. This is the second time I’ve gone.  I like it a lot. Go in. Do some gaming. See  your friends. Leave when you’re ready. No muss, no fuss. A good time is had by all.  I had my little camera and took a bunch of pix, and this is how I spent Saturday, March 22, 2014.

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Jessie Foster, leader of the Arizona Men in Black, is, I believe, the best known, and most popular gamer in Phoenix. He was the  fourth person I saw that I knew at the con, and the first to get his picture taken.
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I spent a little time teaching Purple Warrior Girl how to fight. Great costume and makeup!

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I spent a couple of quality minutes with my favorite pirate queen author. Her trolls aren’t quite as big and mean as mine.

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I invented anew game for the occasion. Troll Race used components from the Cave Troll game to serve as a board. Used some minis that Trollhallans sent me as game pieces. The combat system was rock/scisssors/paper and worked well. It was a game about trolls. It started as a race, but always ended in thuggery, with the winner of the last fight also winning the game.

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The Arizona Men in Black were playing Munchkin.

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Jim Miller spent his time playing Dust–sci-fie World War II action.

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You know, Frankenstein’s monster was a zombie.

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Kitt, the car in the old Knight Rider TV series, lives in Arizona now, and sometimes shows up for car shows and game conventions.

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Con Chairman Donald Jacques was promoting the upcoming (May) LeprecCon with firings of his home-made trebuchet.

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Don let me shoot it once. You see that tree behind the Con pavilion. My 5-pound shot knocked a piece out of it (just a branch) As a gunner, I was no threat to whoever might have been living in the target castle.

I spent a little over 3 hours at the Convention, had a good time, left when I got hungry. James and I went home, got some pizza, and went back to doing computery things–my life most of the time.  Wrote a blog, this one, so it’s time now to adjudicate turn 4 of the Dominance 12 game I’m running for members of Trollhalla.

If you’ve ever fired a trebuchet, or gone to a mini-gaming event like Laughing Moon Con, or hugged a pirate queen, why not leave a comment?


Saturday with Sailors at Samurai   Leave a comment

2014-03-08 02.15.45

Saturday, March 9, 2014 I heard there would be a Sailor convention in town at my favorite comic shop, Samurai Comics at 12th Street and Cameback.  I grabbed my camera and went down. The first thing I did was make friends with Sailor Mars and talk her into wearing my hat for a picture, and here it is: Sailor Mars wearing the Trollgod’s (newer) hat.

I have to admit that I am not a big Sailor Moon fan. I watched a few episodes 15 years ago (Time flies when you’re having fun. Sigh!), but I do enjoy cosplay, and to see all the sailors in one spot seemed like two good an opportunity to miss. I was hoping to actually get a chance to talk to several of them, but there was a much younger photographer there with a much better camera, and I really couldn’t compete.  I took the following shots from a distance, because I thought you’d still like to see all the mystic guardians of the Solar System.

The blonde in the foreground is, of course, our heroine Sailor Moon herself.  I did get to chat with her just a little bit.

The blonde in the foreground is, of course, our heroine Sailor Moon herself. I did get to chat with her just a little bit.

Like other superheroes, she has a mundane identity as a simple blonde teenager, and must change into costume before she can fight the forces of supernatural evil that theaten the world.

And here are the rest of the Sailor shots:

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It wasn’t an ideal shoot.  The girls all hung together talking to each other. The only photographer who could get them to do anything was the young guy I mentioned, and he didn’t seem to have much imagination.  A couple of other geeky photographers like me were hanging around, not doing much.  After getting these shots I went back inside the comic store to see if anything else was going on.

The usual Saturday afternoon Magic the Gathering tournament was in progress.

The usual Saturday afternoon Magic the Gathering tournament was in progress.

And there were a couple of artist types giving away 8 X 10 glossy prints of some of the girls in other costumes. They were pretty, but I passed on them since I really have no place to put a picture of Marvel's Black Cat in my bachelor pad. I'm way past that stage of fan boy.

And there were a couple of artist types giving away 8 X 10 glossy prints of some of the girls in other costumes. They were pretty, but I passed on them since I really have no place to put a picture of Marvel’s Black Cat in my bachelor pad. I’m way past that stage of fan boy.

I talked to a few people and browsed through Forever Evil #6, where it looks like Nightwing (Dick Grayson) joins the ranks of superheroes killed in action.  Dick Grayson was/is the original Robin of Batman comics. He grew up and became Nightwing–for those of you not current in D.C. Comics superhero trivia. I’m not going to have a hissy fit about him getting killed. I suspect it’s just temporary.

It is a dark time in the D.C. Comics universe right now.  They just killed the original Robin. Being Batman's sidekick is bad luck.

It is a dark time in the D.C. Comics universe right now. They just killed the original Robin. Being Batman’s sidekick is bad luck.

Then it was time to go.  On my way out I looked for the Sailors. They had relocated, but were not any more accessible. I took these two farwell shots.

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And that’s how I spent my Saturday. It wasn’t a complete waste of time. 🙂


If you’ve ever talked to a Sailor, or loaned your hat to one, why not leave a comment?


King of Spades   4 comments

It all started with this email:

from: Rick Loomis

date: Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 5:37 PM

subject: Famous Game Designers/Origins poker deck:

Important mainly because of the people in the conversation.

The votes are in, and you are one of the four kings this year. Sometime in the next month you need to send me a photo you’d like to use, and a list of the game design accomplishments you’d like to highlight. Also which king do you think is appropriate?
Flying Buffalo Inc
PO Box 8467, Scottsdale, AZ 85252

which left me going “What?”

And then another email showed me things were already moving.

from:  S Crompton
to:  Rick Loomis <>
cc:  “Ken St. Andre” <>,
Bear Peters <>,
Liz Danforth <>
date:  Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 12:44 PM
subject:  Liz is the King of Hearts

Been working with Liz this morning  on her card for the Game Designer deck and we think it came out pretty cool.  I took this photo of her at my house the day we all did the photoshoot.  I added a new background and cleaned it up a bit and TA-DA – the Liz card.


Ken – your next!  We keed a good photo of you wearing your hat, maybe with the T&T Gm Screen in front of you with a dark background… Or whatever else we come up with.



[Note: I am showing these emails just the way they came to me, typos and all.]

When Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo needs a graphic production of some sort, he turns to his main man, artist/writer/compositor Steve Crompton. Steve is our main man for the actual physical production of Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls also.

On the following day I called Rick and asked what was going on. Rick told me that I got the third most votes of the possible game designers to be in the deck. Reassured by that, because I was afraid that it was just going to be a bunch of Flying Buffalo people this year, and in that case, I didn’t want to be part of such naked self agrandizement, I agreed to participate. Rick told me that he had been voted in also, but that he felt that was too many Flying Buffalo people in one deck, and so took himself out of it.  So, I called Steve, and talked to him about it, and he told me to hurry up and send him some pictures and the rest of the info.  Here is my letter to Steve:

from:  Ken St. Andre
to:  S Crompton <>
date:  Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 4:43 PM
subject:  King of Spades

Hi, Steve,

     If I get my choice, I want to be King of Spades. The word spade comes from the latin: spada meaning sword. Swords and sorcery fantasy is my life. Furthermore, in Bridge and many other cards games, the spades are ranked as the highest suit. Therefore, my King of Spades would outrank Liz’s King of Hearts. And why isn’t she Queen of Hearts instead of King of Hearts?
[Too much honesty here, but I decided to narrate this event as it actually happened and let the chips fall where they may. Actually, this shows a petty side of me that I’m not proud of, but it’s there, and it’s me.]
I’m attaching a couple of pix you could use. Pick the one you think is best. My preferences are shown in the order of attachment.
Games to credit me with: Tunnels and Trolls, Monsters! Monsters! Stormbringer. Wasteland, the computer game.
If you have room on the card you might mention Griffin Feathers and Rose of Stormgaard.
P.S. That really isn’t the best picture of me from the photo shoot. I’m thinking you might pull out one of two from last spring–I can’t seem to find them any more, and pick one with a full face shot in it. But I like the one with the yott. I’m doing my wizard impersonation there, and it does have the Trollgod’s Hat.

[and I sent him these three pictures of me]

Ken with yott



from:  S Crompton
to:  “Ken St. Andre” <>
date:  Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 1:36 PM
subject:  Re: King of Spades Ready for you to approv
Ken here is your card!  It took me some work, but I used the big picture you sent and made you look like a mage casting a spell!  Hope you like
Be sure to read the text and edit as you see fit.  Just remember there isn’t much room.
and my reply:

Ken St. Andre

Feb 27 (1 day ago)

to S
Hi, Steve, I like it. Tis a stunning effect, but I think it could be better. How would it look if you took out the rather gloomy blue background and photoshopped in either an erupting volcano? emeral green flames? or a fantasy city-scape?  See attachments, please. I don’t know if any of those would work better, but I’m thinking the whole thing is too dark, and a lighter touch in the background might make it better.
You know me, hard to satisfy . . .
Note: you probably can’t legally use any of these images. I include them just to put different ideas in your head.
[Note: I am not going to show you the three images I sent back to him. I have no right to reproduce them, and I only sent them along as examples of things I would rather see in the background of my card. They showed an erupting volcano, an elven city, and emerald flames.]

Feb 27 (1 day ago)

to me
The idea is that you are in a classic dungeon, but I’ll see what else I migjt have that might work.

Ken St. Andre

Feb 27 (1 day ago)

to sscrompton
And the idea works, but I just don’t like that gloomy blue background very much. Give me something with some red in it, please.

S Crompton

Feb 27 (1 day ago)

to me
All right take a look now.
Don’t forget to read the text too.
14 K Spades

Ken St. Andre

6:20 PM (23 hours ago)

to S
It’s better, Steve. More symbolic, more evocative, more T & T.

Let’s talk about the text. It is not quite perfect.
The fact is that I was a co-designer on Stormbringer and Wasteland. I could make a case for being the primary designer, but other people were also involved and they were important.
So, if you’ve got the space, let’s change the last half of that credits sentence to something like: “and he was instrumental in designing Stormbringer (the RPG) and Wasteland (the computer  game).  That is probably too many words, but it is a more accurate reflection of the truth. Perhaps you can squeeze it all in by reducing the fontsize.
Or perhaps you could just say something different like:
Ken St. Andre, Credits: Tunnels & Trolls, 1975, Monsters! Monsters!, 1976, Stormbringer, 1981, Wasteland 1988, 2002, Tunnels & Trolls 7th edition, 2005, Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2014
and in tiny little  2 point type at the bottom “and lots of other crap”.
You know, when you actually look at the record, I’ve done a lot of stuff in my life/career.
or another approach: Credits: Tunnels & Trolls (all versions 1975-2014), Stormbringer, 1981, Wasteland 1988, 2002-
Thanks for being so careful with it. I want it to be the best Kings card ever.

S Crompton

8:31 PM (21 hours ago)

to me
Ok here is an updated version with new text.
Please proof

14 K Spades (2)

Ken St. Andre

9:27 PM (20 hours ago)

to S
That’s a great card, Steve. I am honored that you put so much time and work into it, and every other King in Origin deck history is gonna be so jealous. Thank you very much for all the effort you put into making this card.
[And that is the end of this story, dear Reader. I have given you a glimpse–the same glimpse that I’ve had–of what will be in the 2014 Flying Buffalo Origins Poker Deck. I’m very pleased to be included as a king, and shown you all what a pain I am to work with. heh!  I have no doubt that Steve remains hard at work finishing up the rest of the deck.  The man is the greatest workaholic I know.]
If you have ever obtained a Flying Buffalo poker deck at Origins, or if you’d like to get one of the older ones from me, or if you plan to come see Rick and me at Origins, why not leave a comment?