Under the Laser

 I'm going under for surgery in about 12 hours so that means 12 hours of wide-awake brain-shrieking anxiety and terror 😐

So I'm hoping that means I'll get some mapping done. If not, I'll go find Twitch streams of people doing graphic design; that can be soothing.

It's times like this I really wish I had a Discord full of like-minded gamers, but I only know like, four like-minded gamers on the whole planet and they're mostly day-people.

Here are some recent development snaps from Hammondal: Light of the Candle Islands:

Tonight my mind is turned to thoughts of alphabets ... partly because I'm working on an important font commission for a fellow creator in the nerdspaces, and partly because I'm thinking ahead to how I want Hammondal to look on the page. My current jumble of thoughts includes the following sparks and tangents:
  • I'm going to be working with some seriously book-weighted type. I get genuinely heartbroken when I see cool fantasy worlds from ye olden times republished with faint, spidery, featherweight type and the pages look blank if you squint. This is not just an "I'm about to have eye surgery" thing; type with some meat on its bones is a warmth thing and this book will look warm.
  • Back when I was the Uresia guy, I built my page design around my cartography aesthetic, so the whole thing would look like a piece. Now that my cartography aesthetic has evolved an extra ten years (yep, the ASL Edition of Uresia came out in 2012), that means I can take the same approach and end up with a very different look, one with more of the textures and color-palette of my newer maps.
  • This brings me back to the alphabet, because I keep seeing, in my mind's eye, a set of initial caps with the same aesthetic as the town map. If that doesn't make sense, that's okay. My mind's eye is on it, and it's got a thing going. I can't say for certain that the book will have these initial caps, but I can say for certain that I'll give 'em a try and see how it goes.
  • I'm definitely doing some building interiors. This is partly because I just happen to think building interiors are a nice thing to have in a fantasy city book. It's also, in this case, to give a more definite sense of scale, since a lot of readers are used to fantasy cities with larger, 19th-century style buildings, filled to abundance with 5'×5' squares to smite foes in ... while Hammondal's aesthetic is a bit more pre-industrial, a bit cozier (Hammondal totally has some 19th-century things too, but I'm pretty selective about where). I love creating building interiors; I just haven't given myself many excuses lately, but I intend to here.
  • If I do building interiors I feel obligated to at least attempt some front-elevations and/or side-elevations. I've never really done those before, but the charm of the elevations in 1st-edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, or League (Pelinore from Imagine magazine), haunts me and shames me: I must attempt it. I've got a plan as to how; we'll see how it goes.
  • I want lines and boxes providing clear divisions on the page. I'm really feeling some of that 80s look, as always. I never like to imitate a particular look from the past but, as with Uresia, I want to evolve forward from those looks, and ignore some of the awful side-roads of the 90s on.
  • As always, I want to play with color in a way that looks good in black-and-white. No matter what, I always design with the understanding that many gamers are using black toner or inexpensive inkjets, and those printers, not the screen or anything else, are my target medium. Every other medium gets some love, too, but never the deciding vote.
  • There's no art budget, so maps and incidentals need to shoulder the load. I'm cool with that. I'm good at maps and pretty good at incidentals. And doing more of them will help me get better.
And I apologize for dumping random thoughts on you ... that's not really my habit with Rolltop Indigo, but ... like I said. Surgery. Freaking out. No like-minded gamers to talk to. So, you get to be my Dear Diary. Thank you for that. I know you didn't volunteer, but, thank you anyway. Assuming the surgery goes well: more soon.