Category Archives: #balladofjohnnybriz

Ballad of Johnny Briz news, plus a second PbP game

As you might have seen, the WordPress site of the Ballad of Johnny Briz comic has crashed, irrevocably so. Not to worry though, I still have all of the strips, and I have uploaded them into a Legacy Site linkable to this main blog. Just as well because I wanted to merge everything into one blog anyway.

For the initiated, and I know there are new readers here thanks to my DMing, Johnny is my answer to Mickey Mouse. With some additional inspiration by Don Bluth and Sonic the Hedgehog. Instead of pure speed, however, Johnny’s a Parkour freerunner. Sonic would blow his doors off in the 100-meter dash, but Johnny will skip over where the hedgehog splash lands en route to the Third Stage. Every now and then he pops up on occasion just to stir up trouble, and it’s the few things from my childhood I like to keep with me in my adult life.

“The Ballad of Johnny Briz” is an attempt at an origin story for the little fellow, which I made during my mid-life crisis with the additional hope that I can keep my art style from stagnating too much. Compressed into so many paragraphs, Johnny is the descendants of a group of lab rats who escaped because they have acquired human like intelligence and set up a community in an abandoned amusement park. Sound familiar? Yeah. The rodents seen “The Secret of NIMH” too, and named Johnny after one of the characters there. (Note: It’s the sole connection to any existing work in this story)

One day, another science lab appeared a bit too close to the village, and Johnny thought he should investigate. He discovered that the lab wasn’t experimenting on animals, but inanimate objects on some special goo that grows and shrinks things, depending on a 1 Volt current sent through said goo. Unfortunately, he fell into the goo on accident when it was set on a positive charge (the grow setting) and he found himself blown up to a cartoon character height!

He managed to escape that lab, and eventually found himself in the arms of Amber Merichello, an animator fresh out of college. After making sure that he’s all right, and dressing him up like a cartoon character would look like, she shared a dream with Johnny about making her own cartoon series with him, hoping to become a local celebrity and maybe find an alternative to working for the big companies. The crux of the story is about Amber, Johnny, and the friends around them achieve this dream.

JB01-02Right now progress in this comic is in a holding pattern. Mainly because I found Dungeon Mastering which has a much better promise for me at this time. However, I am by no means done with this comic. I’ll be continuing this comic as time permits, and updates will be shown, thanks to the mentioned crash, here on this main blog.

There is a chance that you’ll be seeing more of JB in the future, if you keep tabs in the PbP forum: Algaren, another one of my homemade campaigns, will be starting, and I’m planning on putting the mousie boy in there for antics and giggles. I’ll let you know more about the campaign in future postings.

Clutch Time in Encoutners

I told the party last Wednesday (11 Feb 15) that this encounter was going to be a barn burner and I did not disappoint.

Trigger Warning:  Spoilers

For those who’s gotten to this point in Hoard of the Dragon Queen knows, Blagothkus (the Cloud Giant) isn’t on par with the Cult of the Dragon as the Cult hoped.  Let’s just say that he didn’t take too kindly to having anyone take over his home.  Especially when said castle is run by the ghost of this Giant’s life.  So he plans to get to the Control tower across the upper courtyard.  The party escourted him of course.

Right within the mist-shrouded eyesight of Cultist Vampire Sandesyl Morgia.  (Great name for a vampire, may I add)

Needless to say that this was the first real boss battle I have with 5th Edition rules*–complete with Legendary Resistance and Legendary Actions–and inspite of a couple pulled punches (and my lack of a pre-read of all the abliities she can do) I gave the party a run for their money.  I would’ve gotten them a TPK if it weren’t for me controlling the Cloud Giant, who was in the fight as well.

Very good practice for the future boss event at the end, and with three episodes left before the next chapter, I got some interesting encounters to plan.

Starting with the crowd that a certain cloud giant gathered when he protested being snacked on by that vampire.

Behold the next D&D game coming this year.

There might be a good chance that I might stream some sessions with me in a Dungeon Master capacity.  Providing that I can get the game to work on my computer, and have it streaming, you could see me joining the video game streaming community later on this year.

But that’s further down the timestream.

Syn2It took me some talking with some of my collaborators, and a good amount of trial and error, but I managed to get a decent–and unique–hairstyle for Syn here.  Which means that I’ve finally gotten over the blasted artist’s block and can go back to The Ballad of Johnny Briz web comic. Hopefully the wait would be worth it.

So unless something happenes between now and Saturday, have a happy National MGTOW Day everyone (14 Feb 15)

The past week, dated 8 Feb 15

Last Wednesday in Encounters was as expected. I set it up so that it will take them a while, and there’s a possibility for a TPK since it’s the final chapter and both the party and myself are swinging for the fences.

They’re still acting stupid though. They went through Parnast with its requisite battle, and I lead them through a villager, who gave the party a ton of information, including two passwords they can use to enter the castle.

Now then, if you know both passwords, do you actually use them both at once?

Or would that just make the Ogres in the flying castle think there’s something stinky and it’s not them?

Well, that’s what happened, and the orcs managed to get the party to their boss, or what they told the party as their boss, the Frost Giant running the place. They close the door and laugh at the party where the Frost Giant loomed over them and said, in a calm voice that contrasted him tossing an assistant out a window just five seconds prior, “You didn’t just use both pass phrases, did you? I’m about to have my castle rescued by idiots.”

The remainder of February’s really going to be interesting over at Hero’s Hangout.Syn

I know it took me a while for me to make this post, or for that matter the web comic. (Yeah, I know my new year’s resolution was a bit too much to ask, but what can I say? I’m doing it for the practice.) I was blocked with Syn’s hairdo. I wanted it to look different from Amber, or for that matter, Johnny’s, and that’s still a work in progress for me. I’ve got some decent ideas and samples to work with though.

I thought I had a good wip right now, but she still looks a bit too similar. I’ll keep at it 🙂


The Ballad of Johnny Briz: Dream Train

So glad to get back to this project.

For those who are new to me, and some of you are since I’ve gotten into #gamergate, I have this fun little web comic about a young woman out of college trying to find out what to do with her life, wanting to get into cartoons, and finding the industry a little more formidable than it should be. She walked toward a light rail station wishing on a star for something to inspire her, that little spark she needs to get her life turned around.

Much like someone in the Depression sitting on a train looking for something to jump into his sketchbook after losing one of his prized and oldest cartoon creations.

The similarities between the two get pretty uncanny.

The Ballad of Johnny Briz is a tale of one of my older and more liked characters, which combines a classic cartoon from the black and white era with some modern sensibilities. It’s also about the struggles he and his Nakama of humans doing their darnest to get through life, working on their dreams and ideals, and maybe even get successful.

I started this comic a couple years back when I was really down on myself, suffering a midlife crisis and looking for something to distract me from making a statistic of myself. I’m still continuing it for two reasons: One, I like the story and characters, especially when I run the ideas and scenes around in my head; and two and more importantly, I need more practice in human figure drawing.

Just like with dabbling with RPG Maker helps me design more marketable games in the future and even helps my DMing skills. (Which is what I’m really banking on getting some money in.)

As some of you know, web comics aren’t the best places for someone to get successful in, you stand a better chance as just being part of the dreck if you’re lucky, kilobytes of abrasive diatribes that don’t even conceal themselves as criticism and maybe a burn page or two if you’re not. (Guess what happened to me.) By now I’m past the point of even trying to earn a buck off this; I’m doing this for the practice and the fun. And hopefully get a better work ethic going because of it. (Which is my New Year’s resolution.)

I took a Hiatus from making the comic over the holiday season because I wanted to get some other things straightened out and figure out what to do with myself in the next several years or so; it’s one of those times where some inner searching is required. My only regret is that it took a bit too long for my liking, but I digress.

I’m shooting for about 35-50 strips during this coming year. Here’s hoping nothing too heinous happens in real life that just gives my plans the bird. (Ulp! I think I jinxed myself.)