Episode 20 – Some Fantasy Books I Recommend!

This week I just ramble about four fantasy authors and my favorite of their books. I chat about Frances Hardinge, Nancy Springer, Jeff Smith and Joe Abercrombie and what I like about my favorite books of theirs and not only just how good they are for reading but also how they might be inspirational for running Dungeons and Dragons campaigns or rpg world-building or homebrew tabletop scenarios.

Time Stamps
00:00:00 – Opening (News & Sundries)
00:03:30 – Frances Hardinge
00:10:34 – Nancy Springer
00:13:50 – Jeff Smith
00:18:05 – Joe Abercrombie
00:28:53 – Hobby Progress
00:32:39 – Section Charlie

In Section Charlie, where I share something or someone cool I’ve come across on the internet, I highlight the Instagram account DungeonMapster! He does full maps of various scenes, his artwork is beautiful in a sort of storybook or comic book style, and he does both gridded and un-gridded maps, all kinds of terrain, full villages and cities and dungeons and he even releases Build Your Own kits, where you get a bunch of assets or map tokens, like individual structures, towers, ground debris, etc. with which you can create and decorate your own maps.

DungeonMapster on Instagram
DungeonMapster on Patreon

SHOW NOTES

Frances Hardinge
Nancy Springer
Jeff Smith
Joe Abercrombie

Watch the YouTube version of the podcast which contains time-lapse footage of working at the paint desk!

Show Transcript (excluding interview content)

Welcome to CryinMo’s Tabletop Alchemy! I’m CryinMo, a.k.a. Ignatius Fischer, and I’m pretty hyped to say this is episode twenty of this podcast about my midlife return to all the hobbies I enjoyed a long long time ago. I’m back into Dungeons and Dragons, I’m back into Warhammer, I’m back into miniature painting and terrain crafting, I’m newly into skirmish games and being an interviewer and all in all I’m just happy to be here enjoying the art and creativity of our niche fantasy sci-fi tabletop gaming community. I want to thank all of you out there who are giving the show a chance and I hope you’re all getting goals met and playing new games and enjoying old games and doing your best to survive while being creative.

This podcast is intended for all ages – usually – and I’m hoping it provides you with something to listen to while you’re hobbying or thinking about hobbying. You can find episodes on most of the big podcast apps and you can watch the YouTube version on … you guessed it, YouTube, where I usually include video of whatever I’ve been working on at the paint desk. You can find all episodes and their show notes as well as links to all of my social media accounts at cryinmo.com and if you’re so inclined you can support me and the show by either becoming a patron at Patreon.com or simply by leaving a rating or dropping a comment on whatever app you happen to enjoy the show on. As always I give a shoutout to my patrons, their support definitely helps keep the show – and me – going. Much appreciated, you guys, thank you.

All right, today … there’s no interview. Bum bum bummmmm. I know, just try to hide your disappointment, so I can ignore it. All right, this episode I’m just gonna ramble, your favorite!! I know, I know, trust me, you’ve been waiting for me to get to rambling about nonsense ever since I started doing interviews. I get it, I’ve heard the fans, you can sit down, take it easy, I’m doing it. 

All right, yeah, that’s facetious. I know the interviews are most popular and I have plenty more interviews coming up. But sometimes … sometimes I just wanna listen to myself blather on, because I’m an egotistical narcissistic maniac that way. I can’t tell you how much I LOOOOVE editing my own voice! Seriously, it’s my favorite thing to do, hands-down, bar nothing. Me, listening to me, that’s what makes my life great. 

That almost sounds serious. Okay, let me get somewhat serious and just explain that, while I definitely love doing the interviews and have no plans to stop with them, once in a while I do just kinda wanna talk about things I dig or things I’ve been thinking about. I guess basically what I’m doing is like just one giant section Charlie for this episode. That’s pretty much what this is.

So I’ll probably do something like this, episodically-speaking, for movies one day, maybe tv shows, et cetera, I don’t know, but today, as per the title of this episode, I’m chatting about books that I dig. In particular, books in the fantasy genre and books that I think are kind of outliers in the whole top-forty best-seller list type of thing, whatever. These are just books I felt like talking about and they are books I feel are inspirational to some aspect of tabletop gaming, whether that’s world-building or character building or location ideas or just ambiance, or even ideas for rpg campaigns, maybe even magic systems or rule ideas, all that kind of stuff. So let’s jump in!

The first author I want to talk about is Frances Hardinge. She’s an award-winning British author and has one unique distinction – she’s the only author I’ve ever sent fan mail to! That’s right, the only one. And she even replied to my fan mail! That’s right, I’m famous by proxy, hold your applause, there’s plenty of time for that at the end. But I digress – Ms. Hardinge, whose last name I’m only hoping I’m pronouncing correctly, is what I call a “stupendously wondrously talented writer”. That’s a technical term. Let me quote a paragraph from her novel The Lie Tree, a paragraph the last line of which is one of my favorite lines from, frankly, ANY book. The setting is Victorian England, all right? Here we go:

>> Back in the trophy room the gentlemen would be taking the leash off their conversation. Likewise, here in the drawing room, each lady quietly relaxed and became more real, expanding into the space left by the men. Without visibly changing, they unfolded, like flowers, or knives. <<

They unfolded like knives!!! The setting is a small island town and estate type of place in Victorian-era England. They unfolded like flowers, or knives. So good, so so good. And it’s definitely Ms Hardinge’s vocabulary, or rather, her writing style, her descriptions and word choice that fully captured my attention when I first encountered one of her books. I don’t even remember how I found one of her books, I might have actually found it in a library one day while perusing the fantasy section in the kids area while my daughter looked for storybooks to check out. Frances’s first novel (‘cause now we’re on a  first name basis, see?), her first book happened to be the first book I read of hers and it’s called Fly By Night. Now, I recommend anything Frances has written, but my two absolute favorites are Fly By Night and A Face Like Glass. Fly By Night does have a sequel which I thoroughly enjoyed as well, that one is titled Flytrap in the US and Twilight Robbery in the UK I believe. 

But yeah, Fly By Night is just a really cool book. The main character is a twelve year old girl called Mosca and she becomes an orphan in the first couple chapters. The interesting premise in Mosca’s sort of medieval/Victorian-ish world is that the government is basically outlawing reading and writing. And Mosca’s father has been banished for writing inflammatory books about tolerance and freedom. I stole that last bit directly from Frances’s web site’s description of the book. Ms Hardinge’s world building and character building is far out, I could basically do a whole episode just talking about this book, I’m sure. Check out some of these character names: Eponymous Clent, a delightful swindler; Mabwick Toke, the leader of the Guild of Stationers; Quillam Mye, Mosca’s father; Mandelion, the capital city. And I forgot to mention Mosca’s sidekick, the homicidal goose Saracen. Apparently geese are not to be trifled with. So, I’m not the person who should be doing this sort of review – well, I guess that’s why this isn’t a review or anything like that, I’m too hindered by my own lack of skill in writing to actually articulate the tremendous skill Ms Hardinge employs in her story-crafting. But the world in this book is fully realized without being a chore to read about, it’s like she’s sewn in all these sort of second-level details beneath the top-level character and environment description, so you’re constantly learning about the world almost subconsciously. You learn about the political factions in the city and the realm, you meet wicked villains who are not stereotypical and you meet heroes that are fun and there are floating houseboat coffee shops where writers meet and there’s a Lady In White who just sort of evokes Alexander Dumas’ Three Musketeers and a villainous group called the Birdcatchers, it’s just very very cool. And all of this written so young readers can enjoy it, which makes it, you know, easier for me. There’s something going on under the surface that I can’t possibly elucidate for you cause I’m just not smart enough, but there’s something about Frances Hardinge being a wonderful writer writing about a world in which writing is being criminalized and she’s woven “writing” air quotes into the writing of the story itself. One little example is how the table of contents is one of those alphabetical lists for the chapter titles, so each chapter is something like Chapter 1: A is for Arson; Chapter 2: B is for Blackmail, et cetera. That’s just surface level fun, but there’s definitely something in the woven structure of the story itself coupled with the writing that just speaks to the joy Frances finds in words and wordsmithing. 

All right, the second book I really want to hype is A Face Like Glass. This book features another young female protagonist, and of course Ms Hardinge’s way with words is really one of the greatest reasons to read one of her books, but the world building in this one is phenomenal. I can see all kinds of details being usable in Dungeons and Dragons campaign writing or homebrew world building. There’s a character called the Kleptomancer who’s like some kind of steampunk Robin Hood, there are Facesmiths because in this world people have to be taught expressions in order to use them, except for the heroine Neverfell, she has to wear a mask all the time because she’s inherently expressive all the time. Oh the subtext is HUGE. There are Cheesemasters who craft and create esoteric cheeses that actually produce what is essentially sorcery, magic spell type effects and they are highly sought after – ostensibly because cheese is difficult to make and even moreso when the cheese is supposed to create some kind of magic. I mean cheese and magic, c’mon! How much more fairy tale can you get?! The entire setting is underground and the society is fully stratified, you know, with classes and ranks. It’s just a fully imagined setting and again the characters are particularly drawn and unique and that’s the word, unique, there’s a sense of uniqueness here that has enough of a basis in modern fantasy – not modern like urban fantasy, just modern as in contemporary-produced fantasy fiction – the uniqueness isn’t like art house film or anything, it’s all very accessible. And again, written for young adults, very digestible and yet, again, her wordsmithing is so fun to experience. 

All right, well, check out Frances Hardinge if you get a chance, and let’s jump over to another author now and in particular one of this author’s book series.

Nancy Springer is an American author who’s written a ton of books, she’s probably most famous for … well, I was going to say her Sea King trilogy or the I Am series, (I am Morgan Le Fay, I am Mordred), but as I just literally found out today, the day I’m writing the script for this episode, she’s gonna be famous for the series I always thought she should be famous for, and that’s because her character Enola Holmes is making it to the big screen! That’s right, looks like Milli Bobbie Brown has been cast as Enola, who is the Nancy Springer-created younger sister of Sherlock Holmes. Helena Bonham Carter is set to play Mother Holmes and Henry Cavill is Sherlock himself. The Enola Holmes series, currently I believe there are six novels, is a mystery series for YA (and older!) readers, with titles like The Case of the Missing Marquess and The Case of the Left-Handed Lady. These are fully set in straight-up Victorian England, Sherlock is a peripheral character but has a definitive presence and in the first book, Enola is 14 years old and her mother vanishes, but it seems that she has left of her own accord, and has abandoned Enola to an empty house and the sort of overbearing oversight of her two much older brothers. Ms Springer covers all kinds of thematic territory in these books but at the fore is always the mystery and the adventure of a young woman trying to get ahead in a very patriarchal society. These books are just super fun, if you’re at all into classic whodunit style mysteries or kid adventures like the Goonies and well, I mean these aren’t horror stories like Stranger Things, but if you dig the Victorian Era and of course if you like Sherlock you’ll probably dig these books. I’ve recommended them numerous times and they’re also fantastic for young adult readers, I’d say easily in the range of 12 – 16. Enola is very clever, Nancy writes quick evocative description in a constantly moving narrative, the books are never slow, the pay-offs are great and really, they are all about the character of Enola herself and she’s a fantastic strong female character to be able to look up to. I love these books now and I would have loved them when I was 12 or 13, they would have been one of those books that I stayed up with a flashlight under the bedsheets to finish reading! Anyone younger than me probably won’t know these books but I was a huge fan of The Three Investigators when I was a kid and Enola Holmes would fit right on the shelf with those. 

Well, I’m sure you’ll hear more about this character now that a studio adaptation is being produced, so keep an eye out for trailers and spoilers and all that stuff. And, sort of as an afterthought, in thinking about what the books entail, I think this movie has a genuine chance of being a decent adaptation – the books are not overly long nor overly complicated … well … okay, who knows, I’m sure the books will be better than the adaptation as per usual, but you know there’s a chance! There’s a chance we could get a good movie-going experience out of the deal. We’ll see. Actually, now that I’ve looked up the director … well, who knows? This is his first feature, he’s done a ton of television. I don’t know how to make a guess on that, my initial instinct is to be you know “trepidatious” but whatever, here’s to hoping it’s fun! 

All right moving on, let’s talk about … graphic novels! That’s right, one of the greatest stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading – and not only reading but basically performing! For my daughter, when she was probably 6 to 7, I did all the characters with specific voices for the entire 9 volume graphic novel series called Bone, by Jeff Smith. And I actually got to shake Mr. Smith’s hand at San Diego Comic Con one year, and you can too, he’s always attending comic book conventions and yeah, he’s super cool and as far as I know Bone is probably his most successful work, he both illustrated and wrote the comics, which indeed debuted as individual comic book issues before being collected into the graphic novel format. Kiera even gave me the hard back Omnibus for my birthday, it weighs about twenty five pounds AND it’s the colorized version. I say colorized because the original graphic novels and comics were entirely black and white and they got a color treatment – which is actually very nicely done – but they got that much later after publication. 

So Bone is pretty much a work of genius. On the surface, when you initially look at it, it seems like it shouldn’t work because you have these three main characters, who are I guess of a race called Bones and the main character is called Fone Bone (that’s with an F), his shiesty cousin is called Phoney Bone and his doofus cousin is called Smiley Bone and they are all drawn in a super specific cartoon style, like Casper the Ghost or something like that, but everything else in Bone, the world, all the other characters – except maybe for the Dragon, he’s oddly cartoony too – all the other characters are much more realistic, like they are all definitely medieval type humans, the rat creatures are kind of like hairy orcs or goblins with sharp fangs and the Bones are weird cartoon guys. Almost like a bit of Roger Rabbit feel. But somehow, some way, it all just works, just flat out works and it works really well. The Bones are specifically lost and trying to find their way home and get caught up in this huge Lord of the Rings style, Dungeons & Dragons type of story where they have to help out some folks and they share screen time with other heroes that are actually mightier than they are but they support and help them as friends and they face crazy odds together and monsters and prophecies and evil mages and societies and its just this really well done adventure story, but, what makes it super fantastic of course are the characters. The characters are  – heh, literally – so well drawn they are captivating. I mean, I was able to do about ten to twenty unique voices based on what the characters looked like and sounded like in their dialogue and I never ever got lost or forgot what a character sounded like. I’ll always remember, when I first did the hissing voice for the main villain, my daughter freaked out and really did not want me to do that voice she was terrified. But I did it anyway and I’m sure it scarred her for life. And yes, I’m sorry I did that, so, you know, warning to you parents out there, when you see the black word balloons with the inverted white text that’s all wavery and just sort of makes you automatically hear a hissing sibilance in your head – keep it to yourself unless your kiddo is like 10 or something. Which they’ll probably be reading it themselves at that point. Anyway, Bone is just a fantastic family-friendly but still edge-of-your-seat fantasy action adventure with true bits of comic relief and true bits of tragedy and thematic commentary on growing up and accepting responsibility and loving life and being part of a society, I cannot recommend it enough. If the black and white originals throw you off, the colorized version is equally gorgeous and Jeff Smith’s fantastic ability to evoke emotions and action and movement and ambiance with his inked pen strokes and his pitch-perfect characterization of dialogue, this story is just a joy to read. 

All right, the last book I want to recommend is not for kids. Probably not for young adults either, but who knows what those rebellious youngsters are gonna do. The British author Joe Abercrombie has written probably around 9 novels, maybe more, all of them I believe are set in the same world. He writes what some people call “grim dark” and I suppose the world setting is “low fantasy” which implies, to me anyway, that magic is not a prevalent detail. In fact, in most of the books, magic either doesn’t really appear or if it does it’s usually only wielded by a single individual and/or it’s very mysterious. 

So first off, let’s talk about “saving the world”. This is – by far – my own most personal disliked story trope. Which means that I dislike almost all generic fantasy fiction. I really am tired of the “child of prophecy”, the “save the world from imminent destruction”, all of this sort of big tier, top level, James Bond double oh seven saves the life of every man woman and child on the planet nonsense. I only really enjoy the first half of the first movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. As soon as our characters get lost in piles of huge armies, I just sort of tune out. I’ve always said for the longest time that I want to see Tarantino do fantasy – I want to see Reservoir Dogs in D&D. And Joe Abercrombie suddenly appeared with what essentially is this same view point. As a writer, he’s like Tarantino, George Martin and Sergio Leone had a creative brain child. All right maybe that’s a little much but you get the picture.

I highly recommend all his books, I think his first trilogy is completely badass and awesome to read, it’s called The First Law trilogy, consists of the titles The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings. Dammit, I’m looking at his newly re-vamped website right now to get some information and he’s just released the first book of his new trilogy! Argh! Hang on, I’ll be right back. Gotta buy it on iBooks real quick.

Okay, fourteen bucks … I just downloaded the sample, I’ll buy it in a few days, trying to pace myself. But oh man, the inside cover art is a helm with a wolf crest and under the helm are a bunch of clockwork gears! Abercrombie’s doing steampunk or something, holy moly I can’t wait! 

All right, back to the topic at hand – my current two favorite books of his, even tho I like all of them, don’t get me wrong, read ‘em all, but my favorite favorite is Best. Served. Cold. This book is so good that even tho I have no hope in really any world of ever being able to afford (not to mention, capable to make), I’ve checked almost every year to see if the film rights are available to option. Spoiler: no, no they are not. That does not mean a movie will get made, it just means someone is sitting on the rights. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think Best Served Cold can be a single movie but it probably couldn’t be a trilogy either. Two movies would work and probably an eight episode HBO mini-series would actually be the best format. Best Served Cold is basically Kill Bill meets Game of Thrones directed by – let’s be specific – early Guy Ritchie. Or maybe, really, directed by Tarantino or Sam Peckinpah, someone like that. 

My second current favorite novel of Joe’s is (see, I’m on a first-name basis with the guy already, I know how to network!) – my second favorite is Red Country and Red Country is almost a 100% straight up spaghetti western where the world is just on the cusp of the invention of gun powder. So there’re no guns or anything, people still carry swords, but it’s all about a wagon train cutting across a new frontier and mercenaries and slavers and dust and gambling wild west towns with warring saloon factions, it’s freaking awesome. 

But back to Best Served Cold. This is an ensemble piece and the lead character, who is a hardcore swordswoman slash strategist, her name is Monza Murcatto and she’s the Duke of Orso’s most feared and famous mercenary captain and at the beginning of the book – slight spoiler here, but not really, cause it’s literally the first chapter – she is murdered by her employer. Well, attempted murdered … attempted victim … I don’t know how to say that – some bad dudes try to kill her, think they have, and they quite literally almost do, but she survives, barely, and swears revenge on each individual who was in the room when it happened. Then she goes about assembling a group of some of the most fun and depraved, murderous outlaws she can find and systematically goes through her list. Of course, nothing ever really goes as planned but the story is brutal, the action is insanely well-paced, even as she hunts down the men responsible for the attempt on her life and the death of her brother she is hunted in turn by one of the coolest assassins (in my book) since Artemis Entreri. Check this quote out from the website: Her allies include Styria’s least reliable drunkard, Styria’s most treacherous poisoner, a mass-murdered obsessed with numbers (Rainman-Like – that’s my interjection) and a barbarian killer who just wants to do the right thing. Springtime in Styria … means revenge. Oooh, it’s soo good! 

The poisoner Castor Morveer and his creepily ditzy assistant Day, this like cute little blonde girl, are two of the funniest and craziest characters I’ve ever read. And I don’t mean funny like slapstick, I mean grimdark funny, like, oh, where did I put that antidote, I swear I put it in this pocket, or maybe this pocket, or – Day, do you have the antidote? He’s about to die kind of funny. The first target this crew goes after results in a scenario that unfolds with some cat burglary reverse-heist awesomeness – I have a particular fondness for the cat burglar genre slash character, I don’t know why – and this huge … accident … that results in a … I can’t really say anything cause it’s all spoilers. Let’s just say that the outcome is particularly dark and unexpected and really darkly funny. To me.

But the characters are all very different from one another, I feel Joe’s writing of his lead character Monza is incredibly nuanced and it’s just an awesome book. All of his characters sort of reappear in the background of other books here and there, there’s definitely a cohesion to his world that is very well done. There’s some magic here that would make for some great D&D-style gimmicks and just some scenarios that would make for the most stupendously cool D&D movie even!

All right, well, I got through these recommendations! I was kinda going thru my head about what I’m currently reading and what I’ve got on my radar at the moment. I am eagerly awaiting William Gibson’s new novel but I’m not sure when that will release, the drop date keeps changing, but it’s a sequel to his last one, The Peripheral. These are sci-fi books so I’m not gonna talk about my love of all things Gibson. That’s for the sci-fi podcast. Except I don’t read too much sci-fi. Cyberpunk or near-future is more my jam on that front. But anyway, speaking of sci-fi, I interviewed an Australian miniature painter who currently produces Warhammer 40k dioramas, he’s known on Instagram as TheRealBrokenFingers and his interview will drop in a few weeks, but some things he said about the Black Library – that’s the Games Workshop stable of literature, all of it describing their 40k and Fantasy universe – he said some things that made me seek out a couple of specific authors and I ended up purchasing one of their books to read – my first ever 40k novel, it’s called Black Legion and it’s written by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. It’s interesting and I’ve been doing some additional research into the wikis online about the whole 40K lore and it’s as wild and far-reaching and random as you might think it would be, but the writing of this particular book definitely evokes the whole Games Workshop gothic pseudo-religious grimdark vibe and yeah, I’m finding it kind of interesting, at least this particular book. I’ve read samples from a smattering of the Black Library and to be perfectly honest none of the writing has hit me as particularly great – don’t be offended, I’m notorious for being very difficult to please and liking only what I like. There is an astonishing amount of lore out there however and I find that fascinating. There’s one thing that bothers me about the whole 40K universe or setting as a story setting and it’s the thing that has always made me shy away from even bothering with the Black Library stuff and this is going to for sure give away my stupid short-sightedness and lack of understanding of what’s out there. But the whole concept of the 40K universe, in fact, the tag line for the whole thing is: there is only war. So all the fluff talks about all this war, all this destruction, progress is virtually impossible due to the massive scale of tyranny and death running rampant through the galaxy and all I do is wonder, where are the actual people? Like where is the every day guy like me hanging out? Like if my only options are to fight in an army for eternity or be a slave to some hellish warp-spawned chaos god, I don’t think I’d wanna stick around. So the whole universe has seemed inaccessible to me as a reader, as an audience member for the telling of any stories. I get that crazy badass things can happen in war, but if the result of all that fighting is only more fighting, I don’t know, man, it just doesn’t sound … fun. Hahaha.

All right, but that said, I’m giving this book Black Legion a shot, it’s interesting from a sort of “hmm let me see where this goes” sort of view point and I’ll stick it out, see how it develops and wraps up. I will say that the reason I bought it was I was intrigued by the opening scene and the main character, who is a psyker, which is basically a mage or wizard in the 40k universe, and he’s the lead military commander’s assassin. So I thought that was cool – a sci-fi mage assassin who infiltrates minds and has a demon cougar thing as a familiar, yeah, kinda cool.

All right, that’s it for my Books I Dig bit, how about some hobby progress?

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This week I got three figures painted and three figures primed for next week. I can’t imagine I’ll finish three figures a week, that’s insane, but it sounds good. I finished up those thee back-stabbing goblin assassins, the Warhammer Nasty Skulkers, I got through them relatively quickly and while they are not the best, they are totally decent tabletop quality, which is what I go for. I realized after photographing them for Instagram that I am probably never going to achieve anything above tabletop standard because 1) I simply don’t like to spend too much time on any one model but more importantly 2) I can’t physically see good enough to get blends and layering that work on a macro scale which the camera can see. And of course that’s not necessary at all when it comes to tabletop gaming but I do see things a lot differently when I see the macro shot big on my computer versus what I see when I’m actually painting. But that’s fine, I don’t mind, I’m just having a good time getting stuff done!

And what did I get primed for next week? I asked Kiera to choose a figure for me to paint, and she chose a female monk from the Bushido game, literally the only figure I own from that game, she’s a fantastic little model and I will never be able to do her justice but I’ll do my best. I got her mounted on a cool base that’s sort of rose-bush themed and she just looks awesome on it! I also built and primed up one of the Scout Troopers on the speeder bike from Star Wars Legion, that’s gonna be fun and I primed up the only Dragonkin figure I own, he’s like a dragon kin mage or wizard or warlock type from Reaper Minis. Yes, I’m afraid of painting the smaller details on both the Bushido and Reaper miniatures but I’m not gonna worry about it, I’m gonna dive in and splash some paint and drown ‘em in washes and move on! Yes! I also got in the mail one more figure from Star Wars Legion – sigh – I picked up the Jyn Erso miniature, I just thought the sculpt looked so cool I wanted to paint her up. So there.

All right Beastgrave is currently tempting me and I’m fighting that off, also there are three figures in my shopping cart on Relicblade.com that I’m doing my best not to purchase – but man they are cool! Argh! Let’s go to Section Charlie!

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Where I highlight someone or something I’ve found on the internet that I think is cool and worth saying loudly that I like! 

So this episode I’m going to shout out the very cool Instagram account called DungeonMapster. Now, as luck would have it, I literally just scheduled a day to interview this gentleman about his fantasy rpg mapmaking chops and Dungeons and Dragons in general as it appears that he is a Dungeon Master as well as a Dungeon Mapster! But seriously, check out this guy’s art on his instagram, and then you can link over to his patreon and even purchase some of that incredibly cool art yourself! And his patreon is insanely cheap too – $1 or $2 gets you either high resolution maps or full PSD files of those maps (and to be honest, the real selling point of those PSD files are the words “well-organized” preceding the words “PSD files”). That is so very cool – on his instagram you’ll see that he does full maps of various scenes, his artwork is beautiful in a sort of storybook or comic book style, and he does both gridded and un-gridded maps, all kinds of terrain, full villages and cities and dungeons and he even releases Build Your Own kits, where you get a bunch of assets or map tokens, like individual structures, towers, ground debris, et cetera with which you can create and decorate your own maps. All right, his stuff is great, I can’t wait to chat with him about his art and about playing D&D. As always, visit cryinmo.com for the show notes where you’ll find links to DungeonMapster and all the books and authors I rambled about and drop me a note either through one of my social media outlets or a direct email to cryinmo@gmail.com with any fantasy book recommendations you might have for me! 

All right, that spits a grapefruit seed this eye, I hope everyone out there has a wonderful week, I hope you get some gaming in, I hope you get some reading in, I hope you just get some plain old fashion having fun in. I’m Cryinmo and you’re you, this world is what we imagine it to be, so go on, imagine something far out. See ya!