Saturday, December 9, 2017

Alien Fetus

This alien fetus comes to us from Brogan Paul Johnson.  I believe the tendrils are African porcupine quills. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Making a Fossilized Fairy

This nicely done fossilized fairy specimen comes to us from artist Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.

Click through on the link and you'll find a detailed look at how she created it. The piece is essentially a 3D sketch, starting with the initial design on art board...

...with the bones of the skeleton then built up with gesso.  That simplified explanation leaves out the rather important step of capturing the shape of anatomically accurate bones using a semi-liquid medium.  As with most things, the basic technique is easy.  It's the execution that requires real artistic talent. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Fun and Games

Alberto Cano of the Cthulhu Project has a new Kickstarter featuring some Mythos inspired playing cards and a fun little Cthulhu dice game.  Admittedly, it's not the kind of thing I'm normally into, but he's my go-to example of someone who does Kickstarters right.  Realistic goals, good production timelines, and, most importantly, a willingness to communicate when the inevitable glitches do pop up.

Blood for the Blood God, Skulls for the Skull Throne!

The artists at Brutal Forge bring us this very well done Warhammer LARP chaos warrior. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Lost Carcosa and the Yellow Sign

A reader that wishes to remain anonymous sent over this intriguing tale.  With minimal editing, I present to you the true story of lost Carcosa and the actual Yellow Sign associated with it:
Imagine:  It's 1896, and the British Empire is at its height.  In the recently acquired protectorate of Malaysia, British civilization is slowly taking hold in the tropical jungle at odds with centuries of native tradition.  Sir Frank Swettenham, First High Commissioner of Malaysia, requests that a mansion be built for himself, and shortly thereafter it is constructed; a wild fusion of Gothic and Tudor styles sporting eight bedrooms, balconies, terraces, and columned arcades.

As its name, Sir Swettenham gives it the title of... are you ready?... Carcosa.

And this is no strange coincidence, in a letter written to the Editor of the British Malaysia newspaper, Swettenham responds to an inquiry over its strange name with the affirmation:

"When this house was finished and occupied I read a book which interested me. It was called "The King in Yellow," and at the beginning of this book there were some verses...
Here he quotes Cassilda's Song, and goes on to talk about how no other name seemed a better fit for a building as characteristically out of place as his Victorian mansion in the jungles of Malaysia. 

Today, this Estate is protected by the National Heritage Act of Malaysia and is operated (again, this creeped me out), as a wellness hotel offering "hospitality and high society living".

Lastly, and this is the thing that drew it all together for me, is the logo of the Carcosa Seri Negara Estates; supposedly drawn to evoke "natural elements, the environment, and humanity."

It's right there.

It's a sign, and it's yellow, and it creeped me out instantly.

I am not making this up.  There's a strange Victorian Estate in the heart of the Malaysia jungle, built by an eccentric British commissioner obsessed with the King in Yellow,  named Carcosa, which is currently being run as a heath and wellness retreat for the wealthy and whose literal logo is a Yellow Sign!

Is it the true form of the Yellow Sign?  An artful coincidence?  Something in between?  It doesn't really matter, because either way this place is begging for coverage on your site, for its storytelling opportunities alone.  If only as an example of how close something can actually get to being Lovecraftian without actually going too far and saying it.  I was happy and pleased and slightly unnerved by the whole affair, and I hope it has the same effect on you.  When reality reads like a novel, that's what I look for in life.

Serendipity or chance or whatever brought this thing about, it's just bursting with promise.  I know your crowd of readers would be as equally pleased as I to learn this quaint little historical fact.

Oh, this is gold. The Wikipedia entry for Carcosa Seri Negara includes the full text of Sir Frank Swettenham's letter explaining the origin of the home's name:

To the Editor of “British Malaya”

[British Malaya, May 1936]


In the April magazine your correspondent in Malaya asks me, in courteous terms, to tell him why I gave the name “Carcosa” to the house that was designed and built for me at Kuala Lumpur by the late Mr. C.E. Spooner, assisted by Mr. A.B. Hubback – as he was in those days – and I have no objection to answer the question even though the simple truth may spoil a number of excellent stories. When this house was finished and occupied I read a book which interested me. It was called “The King in Yellow” and at the beginning of this book there were some verses with a note explaining that they came from Cassilda’s song in “The King in Yellow”, Act 1, Scene 2. Here are two verses: -

“Strange is the night where black stars rise, And twin moons circle in the skies, But the stranger still is Lost Carcosa.”

“Song of my soul, my voice is dead; Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed Shall dry and die in Lost Carcosa.”

I did not call the Resident General’s dwelling “Government House,” or “King’s House,” because neither seemed an appropriate name in Protected States. I did not give it a Malay name, because it was to be the residence of a British Officer; so I took a book name as has often been done before.

As to the word Carcosa, I imagine it was the Castle of the King in Yellow, but the book explains nothing about either the place or its occupant. That apparently can be found in the play, to which there are only occasional allusions. Probably it is a word created by the author’s fancy, though it looks like a combination of the Italian words cara and casa and would mean “desirable dwelling,” as indeed I found it.

The only curious fact is that this name was prophetic for, as I understand, the house has lost its name and is thus, “Lost Carcosa.” The occupant, I am told, is now styled “F.S,” instead of “R.G.”

Yours obediently,

19 April 1936.

The dwelling itself is exactly the kind of grandiose, ornate building you would expect for a High Commissioner at the height of British colonial power.

There's one architectural feature that immediately leapt out at me.  It's particularly noticeable in a vintage postcard of the building showing the original paint scheme of the exterior woodwork.  The rest of the structure has a wraparound veranda of conventional design, but this portico stands out.

Surely I'm not the only one that sees a stylized skull bearing a crown.

Lost Carcosa, indeed.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Face of the Deep

Artist Chris Williams brings us the first pull of his upcoming Deep One mask.  I can't wait to see it painted up.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tome of the Eternal Serpent

This Ouroboros-adorned tome comes to us from the talented Alex Libris. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

LARP Alchemist's Kit

This beautiful alchemist's kit comes to us from leather crafter, and Propnomicon sponsor, Stefan Meo.  I can personally attest to the excellent craftsmanship of his work.  If you happen to discover something you like in his shop you can get 10% off for the holidays by entering code "PROPNOMICON".

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Last Stand

This excellent LARP tableaux is a collaboration between PlaneShifting Art, Talos Workshop, and Aris Ioakimidis Photography.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

It Bites

The talented Karen Main returns to our pages with this toothy creature.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Bandit Stash

This cool little treasure trove comes to us from Jonnathan Haracz. The mammoth tusk is a nice touch. It reminds me of the "not all treasure is gold coins" discussion in the original D&D Dungeon Master's Guide.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Denizen of the Upside Down

This wriggly inhabitant of the Upside Down comes to us from Brazen and Bold Productions.  "Stranger Things" has featured some excellent creature design work.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Faux Tome

Ivana Vuksanovic returns to our pages with this nicely done stash box disguised as a traditional gothic tome, complete with chain.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Heavy Armor

Steven K. Smith Props is responsible for this detailed recreation of the Theron Guard armor from the "Gears of War" video game franchise.  Scroll down his Facebook page to check out a video of him suiting up. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Peddler's Backpack

Here's something you don't see every day- a prop backpack.  Tomàs Barceló Castelà crafted this beautiful piece along with the numerous prop items that adorn it. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Great Grimoire of Cthulhu

MilleCuirs returns to our pages with another wonderful bit of tomecraft, the Great Grimoire of Cthulhu.  The tooling is phenomenally well done.

As an aside, my sloppy typing revealed Google now knows the correct spelling of Cthulhu.  Truly, the stars are right!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Legend of the "Black Knight"

Head over to GNDN to check out their write up on creating a backstory for the Black Knight.  No, not the mounted heavy cavalry, clanking armor kind.  This Black Knight is an alien spacecraft that has been orbiting the Earth for thousands of years, or so a certain sub-sect of conspiracy theorists would have you believe.
For “fun,” I’ve been poking at the Google Newspaper Archive and Wikipedia, and trying to dig up some more articles / background info. Inspired by Ken Hite’s “The Dracula Dossier,” I briefly thought I might phony up a whole, physical mock dossier, but that would be a lot of work, so I’m just going to post my copy-pasted bullet points.
The idea is that you can use this ‘raw material’ to flesh out some RPG thing you’re writing background for. Periodic alien visitation, ancient alien satellite left in orbit, prehistoric human space-faring evidence, etc. Maybe change the names / dates / locations if you need to. I’ve got most of the Black Knight Satellite ‘events’ on my list, and I’ve added some more arguably ‘relevant’ material.

What follows is a great example of Yog-Sothery, brewing up an entire mythology based on a few hard facts and a whole lot of creative conjecture. It's an incredibly effective narrative technique that I'm surprised isn't used more often. Most of the modern Alternate Reality Games do it using faux websites to build up the game world. It's far more effective when you can take our world and make it part of the game, so to speak, by putting a believable spin on actual events.

The Spawn of Propnomicon

I have a post about a nifty bit of Yog-Sothery in the pipeline.  Unfortunately, a small project I was peripherally involved with is taking up a large amount of my time- my grandson, who arrived early this morning.   And so the accursed bloodline carries on!  Heh.

Update:  Thank you all for the very kind words.  My wonderful daughter in law is doing fine, and my son is ecstatic.  I'm looking forward to changing diapers once again.  More importantly, I'll be able to share more stories of changing my son's diapers back when he was a tiny little monkey boy and not the 6' 8" security manager he is now.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Cthulhu in the Wild

This Cthulhu idol in the wild comes to us from Abraham Cruz of InsaneGames Mexico.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Fakest of Fake Vampire Killing Kits Sells. Or Does It?

The long saga of the worlds fakest vampire killing kit entered a new era yesterday. Earlier this month I pointed out that it was once again up for sale. Yesterday it hit the auction block and sold...maybe.

The item listing on Ebay is very strange. According to the bid history a single person bid twelve times and ended up winning with a final bid of $1,100.

What makes that even more unusual is that Sterling Associates had another vampire killing kit up for bid at exactly the same time. This one is pretty nice, in contrast to the sloppy work on the other one. Surprisingly enough, the exact same bidder made exactly the same number of bids and won with exactly the same high bid of $1,100.

The weird bid pattern may be a normal part of auctions taking bids from Ebay and a live venue at the same time. That said, I suspect we'll be seeing both of these kits again.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mask of the Leviathan

The talented Jason Soles is back with this wonderfully creepy Leviathan Cross mask, cast in bronze.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Burial Goods

Mr. Zarono returns to our pages with this Lovecraftian prop tableaux.  One can only imagine what strange ritual the skull, knife, and parchment are part of.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

LARP Healer's Kit

This handy LARP healer's kit comes to us from PropCorn Design Studio.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Cats of Ulthar

It is said that in Ulthar, which lies beyond the river Skai, no man may kill a cat; and this I can verily believe as I gaze upon him who sitteth purring before the fire. For the cat is cryptic, and close to strange things which men cannot see. He is the soul of antique Aegyptus, and bearer of tales from forgotten cities in Meroë and Ophir. He is the kin of the jungle’s lords, and heir to the secrets of hoary and sinister Africa. The Sphinx is his cousin, and he speaks her language; but he is more ancient than the Sphinx, and remembers that which she hath forgotten.

- H. P. Lovecraft, "The Cats of Ulthar"

I suspect Joe Broers does not wear a horned head-dress with a curious disk detwixt the horns, but one can never be sure.  He brings us this nicely done resin figure paying homage to the titular felines of Lovecraft's story.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Bottled Horrors

The gifted Karen Main returns to our pages with this creeptacular pair of leech specimens.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Touch of Innsmouth

Even the denizens of Innsmouth celebrate Halloween.  This stylish Deep One hybrid couple comes to us from Literally Mechanical.  The gills were cast in silicone, while the scale makeup was applied using eyeshadow brushed on through a pair of fishnet stockings. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Crystal Cthulhu

Alex White brings us this Cthulhu figure cast in clear colored resin.  The flawless, bubble free appearance is thanks to the use of a pressure pot to draw off any air trapped during the initial resin pour.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Paper Props of the Great War

This collection of WW I era banknotes and ephemera comes to us from artist Michael R. Maranda.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Elder Sign Coin

"WMN-109" brings us this nicely done Elder Sign coin.  Based on the striations around the sign itself I think it was 3D printed, molded, and then cast in metal.

Update:  As he points out in the comments, this piece is actually based on Zero Mostel's work.  Everything other than the Elder Sign star is copied from his Summon Azathoth circle on DeviantArt.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Fakiest of Fake Vampire Hunting Kits is Back!

Three years ago I ragged on Sterling Associates for fronting one of the fakest vampire hunting kits ever committed to auction.

Now it's back.  Clearly, the original buyer wasn't happy after getting physical possession of their prize.  Were they upset about chair legs being passed off as "hand carved stakes"?  The apparent flame-thrower that scorched the entire interior of the box without leaving a mark on the exterior?  The obvious letter opener blade being used as a dagger?  The upholstery tacks nailed into everything?

Who can say?

What we can see is that the sponsor of this auction is, quite intentionally, making sure there aren't any detailed pictures of the interior.  Their disclaimer has also expanded considerably:

There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to sell a vampire hunting kit. They are, quite literally, works of art. What's dishonest and unethical is trying to pass them off as actual period artifacts instead of evocative assemblage pieces.  Leaving yourself wiggle room to fleece the unsuspecting and gullible is equally odious.

Friday, November 3, 2017

After the Bomb

Sweet fancy Moses, Sander Propworx really knocked it out of the park with this chainsaw and barbed-wire bat.  Both weapons are LARP-safe foam with simply amazing paint finishes. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Crimson Journal

Alex Libris is back with another gloriously hand-crafted leather tome.  This time it's an 800 page journal featuring a tooled leather cover in crimson, brass hardware, and fitted leather bindings.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Trophy Fish

Record lake salmon or barracudas mounted on the wall are a dime a dozen, but this?  This delightful sea creature is a real trophy.  It comes to us from master fisherman Andy.