Saturday, June 8, 2013


As I countdown to the release of my free 4e fanzine this coming Tuesday, I wanted to shine the spotlight on some people that helped make this first issue everything it could be. Today we take a look at the Crypt Thing, Robert Waluchow.

I first became aware of Robert's blog ( ) by way of 4thcore. I really appreciate the 4thcore movement, as it incorporates a lot of my own philosophy into its design. I like challenging combat and old-school adventures, and 4thcore delivers both. I started checking out other 4thcore affiliated sites and came across Rob's. I had an instant appreciation for his blog; unlike many sites, it is primarily focused on cartography. I really liked his style; it feels like a mix of hand-drawing and technology, an interesting balance. 

One of Rob's awesome creations

Over time, Rob started sharing some of his artwork as well. I love the style. Check out the Vrock Seer below!

Vrock Seer, Crypt Thing style

As I started work on my magazine, I took the chance of approaching Rob about him helping with the mag's cartography. I thought, "What do I have to lose?". The worst he could tell me is no, but if he helped, I knew I would have a real up-and-coming talent in the world of D&D cartography helping me. Thank the gods that he said yes. Over the last year+, Rob has shown amazing patience with me, making edits, and taking on a LOT more work than I originally gave him. I am eternally grateful to him for his help. I can't imagine what it would be like if he hadn't helped me. I wholeheartedly recommend designers out there hiring Rob to help with your work. He is a pro and a great guy.

I decided to ask all of the contributors a few questions to help shine the light on how they got into the hobby and about their work. Here is my Q&A with Rob:

Q: How did you get into gaming?

A: I got into role playing games in the mid 90’s playing AD&D 2nd Edition. Unlike many other role players, I didn’t have anybody to shepherd me into the hobby. I had a vague general impression of Dungeons & Dragons, but had never been exposed to it. The catalyst for my entry into the hobby came (appropriately enough) from mapping. One day while I was daydreaming during class, I spied a fellow class mate drawing. My interest perked, I leaned in to see what he was drawing and saw a map of a sprawling fantasy kingdom. He was fleshing out a homebrew setting for use in Dungeons & Dragons. I marveled at the audacious free-form creativity employed for use in a game. The idea of creating a unique world whole-cloth and having a group of people interact with it and experience it was too alluring for me to ignore. I rushed out, picked up the core rulebooks, and began blundering my way through learning the ropes of running a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. I’ve never looked back since.

Q: Can you tell us about Crypt Thing?

A: Crypt Thing is a blog I started up a couple of years ago in order to share the maps I create for my home games with a wider audience. There is a myriad of blogs out there that deal with Dungeons & Dragons and role playing games in general, but I found that most of them discuss game theory or offer advice on running games. Precious few offered concrete tangible tools that Dungeon Masters could use and drop right into their games. So I decided to create a venue to showcase my maps and offer them up unlabelled so that readers culd take them and use them in their own games however they saw fit.

My greatest joy as a Dungeon Master stems from when the players discover a new location: that moment when I drop a lavish new map down on the table. Their eyes light up as they pour over the map and begin to explore the nooks and crannies of the creation. It is my hope that I can help others foster this experience in their own games.

Q: Can you tell us about your ties to Fourthcore?

A: My tie to fourthcore is chiefly one of rabid fanboyism. I love the incredible works of SVD Press and Dungeon Oracle. The way these designers have eschewed the appeal of a wide audience to fearlessly bend the game and create adventures the way they want to play has been eye-opening and inspiring.

I've been playing Dungeons & Dragons for 17 years, and Revenge of the Iron Lich remains my favourite adventure I've ever run.

I'm also quite active with FourthcoreTeam Deathmatch. Created by C Steven Ross, (author of such great blogs as DMG 42 and Triumph and Despair) FTDM is an amazing pulse-pounding team-based death match that utilizes the 4e ruleset. In addition to playing it every chance I get (lookout Gencon 2013!), I've designed two of the maps, E4M1: Court of the Storm Lord, and E4M1: Vault of the Spider Queen.

Also on the fourthcore horizon, I'm currently working on the illustration and cartography of a new fourthcore module by Anthony Franchini, called "Pit of the Void Locust". Privy to the design process, I've been able to look under the hood of this one. If you are fan of fourthcore, you're going to love this module; it's evocative, deadly, and ludicrously difficult.

Q: You mentioned on your blog that you were working on an adventure; any progress on this?

A: Sadly, my ambitions always seem to outpace my reality. Between professional and personal obligations, I have found precious little time to work on it. As I'm sure you are aware, there is a mountain of work involved in taking an idea from a form that you yourself can run at the table and turning it into something you can share with a wider audience. I'm committed to seeing it through, but I have no set timeline for doing so.

Still, I've got some work coming down the pipe, including Pit of the Void Locust, more maps and a tutorial on how I draw and colour my settlement maps.

Thanks again Rob, for everything.

I am proud to leave you today with a juicy sneak peek of Rob's work in the magazine. (Why yes, that IS the first level of a 4e megadungeon!!!)

Told you he was a bad-ass!

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