End of the Expedition

Khalkhikus is a dragon mentioned in the most recent HarnQuest release. I tried to keep one of the fabled Harnic creatures named in the article in mind when I was illustrating each of the the beasts in this HQ.

For the page one image I wanted a dragon shown proud on high mountain ledge having just exited it’s lair. An unfortunate party of  soon to cooked adventurers is easing along a narrow shelf to “ambush” the creature.

End of the Expedition, (pen and Ink, Oil and Digital) Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

I started by just doing a pen and ink image.

End of the Expedition, pen and ink, Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

I printed this image on heavy water color paper, seal it with a clear fixative and then did a quick paint over in broad shapes in oil paint.

End of the Expedition, oil on paper, Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

It did not scan as well as I had hoped, but it got me started and gave a nice texture with which to play off of. I placed the scanned oil painting in photoshop under the scanned  ink image and set it to multiply- meaning the two images immediately above add up to equal the final image in the article. It did take some work to get the two images to line up. A few more layers were created under the ink and above the color layer. On these layers I painted digitally. These were also set to multiply so the texture of the scanned oil image would show through. The lines in the sky were distracting so those were erased. A few contrast adjustments, drawing refinements and the image was ready. The layers are flattened into one layer- the final image.


A brief word about the story, here. I chose this dragon which is rumored dwell somewhere among the southern Rayesha Mountains, in an abandoned salt mine near Rethem. I know the setting does not exactly scream salt mine, but really wanted the mountain top view. Is this is the entrance to a tunnel that eventually leads down to a salt mine? I would say that if you were running a salt mine and you tunneled into an opening that lead to a dragon lair….well, that would explain why it was abandoned. Is this lair located just above the salt mine? What a great thing for your players to find out.

The articles says “Both the Red Shadows of Herpa, an Agrikan fighting order, and the commander of the Imrium Cohort have offered a reward to any who can bring them proof of the dragon’s demise.”


The group of men about to die, have obviously found the answer to that question. It’s still alive.

The knight leading this quest has called a halt to the party….as if that will help. You can almost imagine hims saying,”Shhhhh.” He is leading a few members of  the mercenary group, the Warriors of the Bloody Mace. Among them a Kuboran warrior is shown, spear ready. He was probably captured by the Agrikans and forced into service for this disastrous expedition.

I wanted the dragon to have the appearance that one could almost wonder if the dragon even sees the expedition below on the side of the mountain, but I will let you in on a secret- It totally sees them.


Please let me know what you think of the updated article. Feel free to offer comments or let me know if you have any questions about this image.



Meredragons- A New Look for the Ilme

Ilme nest, Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

I am going to do a few posts about the newest HarnQuest release. The latest publication has some cool new articles with greatly expanded text and art for some old friends- though “friends” maybe an odd choice of words for a set of articles that will most likely get your player characters bitten, set on fire, or hit upside the head with a mace– that may also itself be on fire.

This HarnQuest has some expanded articles on two Agrikan Orders,  Dragons, and Ilme- the Meredragon, a creature unique to Harn. These articles are an attempt to give new life to creatures with ideas for your game offering many adventure possibilities.
Also on this HarnQuest, CGI decided to start adding color to the first page of all new articles. This decision came after much of the work was done. So while I was excited about the decision, I had not planned for it and had to rework stuff that I had considered finished.

When I started with Harn one of the things that stood out for me was the look of the product. Of course there were the great maps, but the art of Eric Hotz was what really attracted my attention. It had a simple and gritty realism. When I started illustrating for Harn in 2001 I did my best to continue that trend. I learned a lot trying to emulate the standard set by Hotz. I think I have since developed my own style, but it has definitely been influence by the work of Hotz.  So, for the page one art for Ilme I thought I would pay homage to the original Hotz image- 28 years later. In preparation of this article I had been studying and drawing dinosaurs in an attempt to create a more realistic beast by improving on the anatomy and setting.

Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc.

So as you can see in the above image, my image has a very familiar layout with some direct references to the original Hotz image. Hotz did a great job making his work very simple with clear reading subjects.
Honestly, my image could have used a bit more of that, so when I got the opportunity to color the image, that was the main goals, to make the subject read more strongly in this complicated image. I took the scanned pen and ink image into photoshop, colored some of the lines so they were not so black, and then painted color on the layer under the line work. I flattened the image and then painted highlights on top of that.
I would be curious to know what you think of the image, and my nod to the original from 1984.


New HarnQuest- Herpa the Mace

It has been a busy month for me.
I just finished the next HarnQuest for Columbia Games. It has been a long time coming. This set of articles includes Dragons, Lesser Dragons, Mere Dragons (Ilme), and two hot Agrikan Orders.
I posted about the start of this HQ in February. I can’t believe it has been that long.

In the mean time I also worked on CGI’s fancy new website which was unveiled on Free RPG Day. While I had nothing to do with the building of the site, I helped with the look and did all of the icons for the main page. I wanted the site to look much like a medieval manuscript. I am very proud of the art for adding things to your cart, and checkout. You see? it is a medieval cart. Clever huh?


There were a few hiccups along the way for this release, but the exciting thing that held this up is CGI’s decision that all new articles for Harn will have at least one color image. Though Dragons is lucky enough to contain 3 color images. I will discuss the dragon art in an upcoming post.

First is the color version of the image I posted about in the February post, now in full color- well at least some red, yellow and orange. Harn has for years been know for it’s gritty pen and ink illustrations. Those will still be in most of the publications, but the page one color images will add more life to Harn. I tried a few different methods to color the pen and ink illustrations. I used oil paint, digital painting and a bit of water color. For this particular image I used a few methods. The first was to do a very rough water color wash on a new sheet of paper. I did a fast and loose painting which I scanned and laid it under the pen and ink image in photoshop. I then did the rest of the painting digitally.


Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

“Hârn is home to many clerical orders devoted to Agrik, the dark god of war and violence, but none is more mystical than the Order of Herpa the Mace, whose priests are known for their ability to foresee the future with remarkable clarity.”

The above is a description of the article had lots of fodder for illustrating- and most of that fodder I threw in a big pile and set on fire.

Copyright © 2012, Columbia Games, Inc. and Richard Luschek

The above image shows a priestess divining using a deck of cards. I am lucky to have a writing team that trusts me and leaves me pretty free to draw what I want. I get some suggests in the empty spots where the art goes, often they are fairly vague or just suggestions. So, in sense I get to tell my own stories- riffing off the text that I am given. I try to use the space to “say 1000 words“. For the Agrikan fortune telling image I got to make up the look of the cards, the lay of the cards and even added a scroll that shows various spreads for different situations. The spread on the table is the ‘Mace’. You can see on the scroll two other spreads, the ‘Octagon’ and the ‘Comet’ card arrangement. None of these details are mentioned in the text, but I think they add to the story. It would be exciting to see some fanon written about the Agrikan Tarot cards.
I am looking forward to hearing what the Harn fans think of this Harn Quest. I am pretty excited about the results.

If you are not a HarnQuest subscriber, What you are waiting for?!!-
Click here Now!

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Art Musings

The fine folks at CGI have invited me to post on this blog. While I feel like I am part of  the CGI family- I am not sure I will having dinner at the Dalgliesh house on a regular basis (hint), I will be posting updates about  past and upcoming products in the Columbia Games line of products.

I first wanted to introduce myself to those following this blog who may not know me.

I am the Illustrator and Art Director for all of the CGI Harn releases. I have also recently been working on some of the block game products, my first being the Samurai group of blocks for Ancient Kings.  I will post some of the art for that in a few days.
I started playing D&D with my 7th grade teacher in an after school thing in 1981. While looking for a more realistic system, we tried and loved Dragon Quest. Using those rules we began playing in the Harn World in 85. We were attracted to the system like most were by the great maps, thorough world view , and the illustrations of Eric Hotz. We eventually converted to HM core, which we still use- with occasional pieces from HM3 and house rules.
I am 42, I have a biology degree and a fine arts degree from University of Cincinnati, neither of which are of any use to my life now. I eventually learned to draw and paint in New Hampshire studying with Paul Ingbretson. After 3 years there I returned home to Cincinnati where I  have a huge 100 year old house I am always working on with 8 tenants living above. I have a studio in a local park where I paint still life, landscape and portrait. I do teach landscape classes in the warm months and offer private instruction and drawing and painting classes in the winter. I have a painting in the Cincinnati Art Museum’s permanent collection and in various collecting in town and on the East Coast. I like beer, Martinis shaken not stirred and like to watch movies with my wife of 13 years.
You can see my work, both paintings and illustration on my website.

More to come……

Field of Daisies

Field of Daisies

Field of Daisies

Field of Daisies is an introductory adventure for HârnWorld. Although designed to be used with the HârnMaster rule system, it is generic enough for easy conversion for use with other rule systems and can easily fit into any medieval fantasy game setting. The adventure unfolds in the fief of Falkath, a small manor in northern Kaldor, a feudal kingdom in eastern Hârn. Falkath’s knightly lord, Sir Mayald Vobenor, is looking for able-bodied people to search for a missing child. Can the players find the boy or will they end up buried in a Field of Daisies?  http://www.columbiagames.com/cgi-bin/query/cfg/zoom.cfg?product_id=5951

HarnCon 2008

Things are rapidly falling in to place for HârnCon VI, August 29 – 31, 2008 in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

The venue for the weekend is the Marpole Curling Club, which offers a large meeting room as well as a spacious pub, both of which have plenty of tables for gaming.

For those wishing to book accommodations, the Coast Vancouver Airport Hotel offers a special rate for participants at Marpole Curling Club events. The Marpole Club is about 3 blocks away from the hotel. Maps and directions are available on both web sites.

The fee for the weekend will be CDN $30 in advance, or CDN $40 at the door. The advantage of registering in advance (other than saving $10) is that you will be able to sign up to run and/or play games in advance on the web. Advance fees can be paid using PayPal to Brian McNeilly at: bmcneilly@shaw.ca.

The Vancouver Gaming Guild is sponsoring the convention, and we will be using their online registration system to schedule the weekend. You will need to create a profile for yourself in the registration system. As well as a login id, you will be asked to enter your real name, which is used in the game schedule. We don’t use aliases in the schedule since it is much easier to locate “Brian McNeilly” on game day than “Brénan-al-Saél”.

Once you have paid the fee, you will be able to log in to the system, validate your ticket number (which you receive after payment), and input events that you would like to run, or sign up to participate in games already posted on the schedule.

BTW, your login id will allow you to sign on to the VGG Forums, where you can read more about the gaming community in the Vancouver region.

Grant Dalgliesh from Columbia Games will be attending.

Harnic Christmas free adventure on DriveThruRPG.net

We’ve posted a fun-filled holiday adventure set in Geldeheim, Orbaal. The PDF file is available on DriveThruRPG.com and RPGnow.com. Maps and information about Geldeheim accompany the adventure.



Happy Holidays from Columbia Games

Electronic Atlas: Kanday

The Kanday atlas arrived yesterday. What an absolutely wonderful product! Keep producing great stuff like this.
M Burton Hopkins Jr

Feedback about the Electronic Kanday Atlas. To learn more visit:


Gardiren Castle and a new Atlas Map

The newest Harnworld release, Gardiren Castle, is now available from Columbia Games. Gardiren is an important castle in northern Kaldor. It is located in map square K-4 which is also now available in the Atlas Harnica series.


Gardiren is the principal settlement of Nephshire on the northern frontier of Kaldor. It lies on the eastern bank of the fast-moving River Shem, twenty leagues north of Tashal. Vast forests claimed by the Taelda barbarians extend north and east to the Sorkin Mountains. These rich forests and centuries of trade with Azadmere have been sources of great wealth for Clan Curo, a wealthy and ancient clan led by the proud Earls of Neph.

Caer Gardiren’s excellent river port and its control of Medrik Bridge, the only crossing of the Shem north of Heru, ensure control of northern traffic using Noron’s Way. Gardiren is also the western terminus of the Silver Way, the rugged trail leading to the mysterious and fabulously wealthy Kingdom of Azadmere.

Mnemonic for the months of Harn

Here’s a challenge: Can anyone come up with a good mnemonic for the 12 months of Harn? Since starting our promotion at harncalendar.com I’ve thought it would be handy to have a song, quip, or even an acronym to help remember the months.

Email suggestions to grant@columbiagames.com