The Giant's Dollhouse - Commissioned art

Last year (2013) I entered the One Page Dungeon Contest and won the category best fairy-tale for my entry The Giant's Dollhouse. While I plan/planned to explore the world around Pöppelmann (and the childish giant himself) a bit more, I also wanted to see how people with actual art skills interpreted the scenes in the adventure - just for my own amusement. This post is the result of that, nearly a year later (I'm the slow worker here, not the artists).

I highly recommend anyone to commission art for their projects, even if it's "just" for home campaigns or whatever. It's very inspiring and fun, especially when you hear yourself answering "Uhm...ehm...I don't know" when the artists wants to know why you gave the giant a hat, or why he only has one eye, etc.

I'd love to do another round of these!

NOTE: these images do NOT fall under the usual Creative Commons-license. They fall under the standard look how pretty they are here on this website, I should contact these creative people myself and commission them for my own projects.

Scrap Princess

I think Scrap really managed to capture Pöppelmann's inner (sadistic) child in this piece, happily playing with his newest acquisition (princess Amaryllis?). Only a mother could love that smile (Pöppelmann's mother, that is).

Scrap's blog can be found over here (but you probably already knew that).

Jay Penn

I've enjoyed Jay's work ever since I first saw those little potato gnomes in Loviatar, so I was very excited to have him do a piece. One thing I noticed just now is that those three terrified adventurers running away from Pöppelmann actually look kind of evil - like, "we're the evil version of the nice adventuring party". Maybe Pöppelmann is the victim here? And who is that poor fellow being left behind by his so called friends? I think I'm on to something here.

Jay can be found over here (but you probably already knew that too).

Luka Rejec

Luka takes speed-drawing to another level: I'd barely touched ENTER before he was finished.
I like the staff, it feels improved over the old a-gem-in-both-ends (it's so tiresome to flip the staff over just to petrify a puny human). And the cloud beard... I've never seen Pöppelmann so stylish. The hinges on the mountain side is also innovating; I can only assume there's a lock as well, to keep those meddlesome siblings away.

Or in his own words:
Pöppelman the Kindly and his dolls of eternal repose plays above the Seven Woods of Serenity on the flanks of the Fifth Mountain of Fortune.
Luka can be found over there by the cauldron, brewing potions of ink.

Kelvin Green

I think most of Kelvin's work seems innocent at first glance* - only to reveal a horrible backstory when you start to look closer. Here we have a peaceful Pöppelmann playing with his favorite action figures Ur'k Xiq't the Feared and Lady Darnton - the giant looks almost likable, until you think about how he acquired those "figures"...

(* Ok, maybe not those involving tentacles, devolved elder things, or Hans Erikson(s).)

You find Kelvin over at his brainsplurge.

Matthew Adams

Matthew wasn't happy with his piece, so he sent me four (!) instead. He even provided his own wonderful backstories for the first three pieces, which I'll glady share below (from top to bottom image):

Human daisy chain. The giant has gotten some people to remove their clothing and to link up like a chain before turning them to stone. They are now a giant necklace that is sometimes worn for decoration.

Badly painted warrior. A statue stands here with a really roughly applied paint of coat. The giant was trying to paint one of his figures to use in a game, but lacks the skill to complete the job.

Gunpowder Surprise. Some military engineers transporting kegs of gunpowder were taken by the giant and turned into statues. They look good near the big fire, like workmen transporting barreled goods to the cellar. If turned back from stone, the startled workers may accidently drop a barrel of gunpowder into the fire. Players will not know what is in the barrels.

I think they work perfectly as adventure hooks. What if the giants announced a game tournament? Pöppelmann would be busy combing the countryside for humans to use in his figure warband.

Matthew can be found rumbling over here, or drawing war bunnies over here.

Michael Nolan

Working with Michael was really cool*, because all of a sudden you got a mail with a couple of sketches and a request for what I liked and didn't, and I could just write back and say "I like those trees in the first picture, and that hairdo in the second, and that mountain range in the third" - and all of a sudden one day, I had a picture with all those requests perfectly merged**.

(* Working with all these artists was really cool, you know what I mean!)

(** Maybe this is standard practice in the world of commissioned work, I wouldn't know, but it made me feel like a kid in a candy store.)

The woman pictured is Sister Tenderteeth, who painted the portrait of Pöppelmann (the one that hangs in the bedroom, also in the image). I love the details he managed to fit in the picture.

Michael has a blog over at his memory place, and a Behance page here.

Karl-Johan Thole

I was very happy to find Karl-Johans page (a fellow Swede!), even if it was by accident. Since I told all artists to interpret the adventure freely, Pöppelmann got a complete set of eyes in Karl-Johan's piece (good for him, but that stare scares me to death). I find the necklace especially interesting, considering Matthew Adams human daisy chain - does Pöppelmann come off as extremely vain?

You'll find Karl-Johan's work over here.

Subsisting in Bandar Karahc

This is yet another take on Jeff's excellent carousing table, only adapted for characters wishing to earn some quick cash in the city (or prevent perishing).

It's more or less a gamble to see if the work you put in earned you something. Like a Deck of Many Things, but for jobs. These jobs are supposed to be the kind that anyone can do without training or prior knowledge. Also, it's probably most useful for broke characters, just looking to get some cash right now.

Note: Since I forgot to include any money or ways of payment in my current game (it can happen), I'll use the term "BK" (for Bandar Karahcs) in the table below. If you happen to use this table you should probably replace that with gold/silver/copper pieces.

You roll twice: once for what type of job you did (list below), and once to see how many hours you could bare it (1d6).

The second roll is important because it determines whether or not you managed to work long enough to earn anything (or if you just quit in disgust).
Example: (+1 BK / 2 hours) means you'll get +1 BK for every two hours worked (round down). So if you rolled a 5 (meaning you worked for five hours), you'd earn 2 BK (5/2=2.5, or 2 rounded down).

Conditions may be stated as well in simple words (EXHAUSTED, ANGRY). These imply penalties to whatever type of rolls you do in your game (e.g. EXHAUSTED means penalty to all strength based checks). I guess you could allow a save for some of these penalties.
The only condition that's special is PICKPOCKET: roll another d6. If you beat the hours worked (for this particular job) you're good, otherwise you've been picked clean of any BKs you earned so far.

These activities are meant to take place during the day. The player may continue to "work" (by rolling again as stated above) until they're 1) tired, 2) the day becomes night, 3) the GM is tired. Just keep track of those hours worked.


  1. Sort fluorescence fish at the docks. Hands are glowing brightly (random color) the next two days (+1 BK / 2 hours. REEK, ILLUMINATED)
  2. Barrel mover; roll them barrels all the way down to the docks. Don't think about opening any of them, even if the voice inside tells you to (+1 BK / 2 hours. TIRED)
  3. An old woman asks for help with carrying her invisible dogs (all three of them) around town, since their invisible paws are cursed and will burn the ground. She pays with invisible money. (0 BK / hour. ANGRY, TIRED)
  4. Keep the forge burning, keep the scary, cloaked, eyes-glowing-red, oversized blacksmith happy. (+1 BK / 2 hours. EXHAUSTED, NIGHTMARES)
  5. Food taster for Botros abd Diryaq, the paranoid cook. He doesn't trust his own cooking to not be poisonous. (+1 BK / hour. STOMACH PAINS)
  6. Go underground; the sewer's been clogging up at certain intersections. (+1 BK / hour. REEK, DISEASED)
  7. Abdul Tajriba, the promising potion brewer, needs someone to test his latest mixtures on since he's all out of mice. (+2 BK / hour. STOMACH PAINS, RANDOM POTION EFFECT)
  8. Animal wrestler for public amusement. (+1 BK / hour. EXHAUSTED, TORN CLOTHES, BEATEN UP, HOURS WORKED * 10 = HP LOST IN %)
  9. Help a sloppy tanner (+1 BK / 6 hours. REEK, EXTREME HEADACHE)
  10. Messenger by foot. Small parcels that smell of rosewater. Folded notes of unpleasantness where the letters bleed through (+1 BK / 3 hours. SORE FEET)
  11. Load and unload ships as a docker. More barrels, more back pain. (+1 BK / 2 hours. EXHAUSTED, PICKPOCKET)
  12. Rumormonger at the tavern by the docks. Tell them about abandoned limestone towers in the Al-Aalam desert, filled with treasures and tomes. Tell them about enchanted oases of blue-green water that makes you immortal. Tell them about the new menu. (+1 BK / hour. TIPSY, PICKPOCKET)
  13. Collect debts from the cleanest of establishments to the darkest corners of this town. (+1 BK / 2 hours. PICKPOCKET, WATCHED)
  14. Chase away the small djinns emerging from the tiny, southern sinkhole. The djinns are harmless but likes to scare small children. The djinnbusters won't catch them because they contain no fuel, but loud noises and arm waving scares them away (+1 BK / 2 hours. POSSIBLY TARGET FOR ECTOPLASMIC MISSILES)
  15. The proclaimed imp peddler (no imps around though) needs you to run a few errands. Mostly salt, candles and fresh chicken blood. (+1 BK / hour. SHUNNED BY SUPERSTITIOUS LOCALS)
  16. Where there's a caravan there's a camel. And where there's a camel there's... Grab that shuffle and get to work. These streets won't clean themselves (+1 BK / hour)
  17. Help the rat catcher rid these streets of vermin. For some reason, she calls them by name (+1 BK / 2 hours. DISEASED)
  18. Beg (+1 BK / 5 hours)
  19. Take work as a hired mourner (+1 BK / 2 hours. EXTREME HEADACHE)
  20. Scavenge the large pit of Jufra, in the middle of town. Old weapons and armor can be found here lumped together in an enormous pile, although most of it is rusted and bent and broken. The locals calls it Jufra Haram since it's said to be haunted and cursed. Most believe the pit is filling up with weapons from below, where two great djinn clans are fighting each other in an endless war. Climbing into the pit and searching for weapons is dangerous and tedious. (+1 BK / 4 hours. EXHAUSTED, SHUNNED BY SUPERSTITIOUS LOCALS)

The helpful necromancer in Bandar Karahc

There's a tavern located in the oldest parts of Bandar Karahc that houses a man by the name of Musahhar abd al-Baith. He keeps to himself in "his" corner of the establishment with his bottles and decoctions; potions he sells to weary travelers. He's always polite and friendly if approached.

He used to be called "the trickster" some 400 years ago, a nickname now forgotten but still relevant.

Musahhar has in his possession the dagger Ahya. Its blade, when sunken into a dead body, acts like a portal that lets an unholy spirit slip into the flesh and possess it for an unseen future. Striking a living creature with the dagger will exorcise the life essence and turn it into a restless, vengeful spirit; the body will start decaying as normal but cannot be used for possession (spirits call these bodies for "tainted vessels").

If a person asks him for help, but cannot afford any of his potions, Musahhar will gladly offer healing for free. Slowly whispering the word sudad over and over again into their ear, any life threatening injuries will heal up, all traces of poison will vanish, and all weariness will disappear.
    As life returns to the poor person, all hope will quickly disappear as he or she realizes that the helpful necromancer just placed them under a spell. As Musahhar hands over the conceiled dagger (wrapped in leather), the cursed person immediately knows what has to be done: within a week, he or she must stab a corpse with the weapon, and bring a spirit into this world.

If the spell is not fulfilled, Musahhar will get up and start searching for Ahya; for him, the dagger shines like a bright beacon, and this helpful necromancer has all the time in the world to go searching for his blade.

(Original drawing found at Telecanter's. Poorly photomanipulated by yours truly.)

The contagious healer

There's a involuntary hermit hiding in the mountain range, silently creeping and crawling the crags. Through his eyes and hands leaks the power of healing; a simple touch or gaze or phrase makes the pain go away, though he cannot restore the loss of something once cut off - a lesson learned when they took his tongue (later sold as the relic Unsung).

The sand lung in Bandar Karahc

In the outskirts of Bandar Karahc you may find a building resembling a bowl turned upside down. It's covered with rusty plates, like a quilt, and it got exactly one entrance in the form of a small hole in the side, big enough for an adult to enter.

Anyone entering will find themselves following a winding, dark tunnel, sloping downward. At the end of the tunnel is a vast shaft, conical and seemingly bottomless.

Every ten minutes, the void fills with sand from the bottom up. It takes around two minutes to completely fill the space, after which the sand slowly descends again into the darkness.

This strange building is in fact the left lung of an interstellar, humanoid machine race.

These robotic creatures travels through the empty space looking for things to do. Although immortal, old age and the occasional plunge into planets' oceans makes their joints rust, leading to the inevitable and complete dismantling of themselves.
When this happens, their body parts spread across the universe, still functional; an arm may go into orbit around a planet, the head ends up in a sun, while the beating heart with its strong pulses may attract thousands of winged creatures from the reddish deep space.

Bandar Karahc got a lung. There are worst parts to get.


Mawmag, Satan's spies. Save vs. Poison or catch compulsive staring for 1d4 days. Cuddly as hell.