All posts by Lord Rcane

Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 – Larry Elmore

Among the plethora of phenomenal artists at Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 was one of my personal favorites, Larry Elmore. Larry has done several key pieces over the years, such as the covers for the Dragonlance novels, much of the cover artwork for EverQuest, and so many additional pieces of fantasy art that they are impossible to mention or number. He is also quite a friendly gentleman.


My family and I cornered Larry at the booth he shared with Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, and Laura Hickman. My wife and I had been huge fans of Larry for years (too many to count). We had shown our 13 year old some of his work, specifically the Dragonlance art, and she was very interested. While my wife and I looked through the prints that Larry had brought with him, my daughter proceeded to interrogate him about his work.


Larry was happy to talk to my daughter. They discussed his work at length. My wife and I continued looking through his prints and saw one of his book. I remembered that Larry had put together a Kickstarter campaign for one of his books earlier in the year. Specifically, SnarfQuest was funded in January.

If you enjoy fantasy art, you have probably seen the work of Larry Elmore. Many of his prints will have his name on them, but a lot of his commissioned art does not. Check on the credits page of your favorite works of fantasy fiction, he will be listed if he is the artist. Also, check out his website at and look through some of his beautiful artwork.


Here is my 13 year old’s summary of her conversation with Larry:


“One of the few people we were able to interview at Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 was Larry Elmore.  Larry Elmore is known for doing a lot of art work for Dungeons and Dragons and the cover art for DragonLance. He also did the basic art work for Everquest, and then the Everquest group made his art work computerized for the game. He has several books that contain his art work like, Reflections of Myth, Masters of Dragonlance Artand The Complete Elmore.

Do you prefer drawing dragons or humans?

I do not really do a lot of dragons, so I do not really have the chance of drawing dragons.

Do you prefer an item to draw?

No, not really.

Did you like doing the art work for Dragonlance?

I actually made a few rough drafts for Tracy (Hickman), to help them sell to the board. So I was on there from the start.

(End of Questions)

If you want to find more about Larry go to his website at, (linked above)”

Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 – Margaret Weis

I have been a big fan of Margaret Weis since I first read “Dragons of Autumn Twilight”. I cannot remember clearly if I picked up the book when it was first printed in November of 1984 (before I turned 11), but I do know I read it within the first few years of its release. Continue reading Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 – Margaret Weis

Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures – Icons of the Realms – Tyranny of Dragons

With the release of 5th edition, the worlds oldest fantasy RPG entered a new era. Along with this era, a new series of miniatures have arrived. These new miniatures are made by WizKids/Neca and come prepainted in booster packs of 4 figures (including one large figure) for about $16. The quality of some of the previous miniature series had me originally hesitant to purchase this set, but I caved and purchased a pair of boosters. I am glad I did. Continue reading Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures – Icons of the Realms – Tyranny of Dragons

Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 – Preparing for Comic Con – Local Food

Update: We’ve added hours and some website links. 9/1/2014

Attending Comic Con is hard work. Gamers, Cosplayers, Geeks, and Nerds all need food to keep running. There are food courts in the Salt Palace, as well as nearby malls (Gateway and Gallivan), but these are our among our favorite places to visit for breaks at Comic Con. All are within a couple blocks of the Salt Palace and offer some wonderful food.

Continue reading Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 – Preparing for Comic Con – Local Food

Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 – Preparing for Comic Con – Local Vendors to See

Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 is coming up, fast! We are less than one month away from the event. It is time to prepare. Grab your calendar, get a pen, plan which celebrities to see, but what do you do between awesome panels? The vendor’s hall has always been amazing, but here are a few of our favorite local vendors Continue reading Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 – Preparing for Comic Con – Local Vendors to See

Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 Fan Xperience – Gaming Room

With the expanded space of Comic Con, the gaming area has increased in size substantially. In September, a few tables were set aside in the vendor’s hall, but in April, an entire conference room encompasses the gaming area. Continue reading Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 Fan Xperience – Gaming Room

Game On – Aethercon 2013

Are you ready to get your game on?


Come join us at Aethercon! The following games are being run at Aethercon and were written by Curtis Baum.


The following modules are GMed by Curtis Baum:


Friday – 3 PM East – Cult of Life Book One: Trial of Faith

A new religion has surfaced in the village of Shursune. Is this religion as benign as it appears or do they serve a darker purpose?

This will be published by Rcane Publications and be available shortly after Athercon. Be among the first to play this new module.


Friday – 9 PM East – Thief in the Night – Bridgefort Saga 1

A recent string of thefts has the city of Bridgefort baffled. They think the party may be involved. Can the party find the real culprit and put and end to this crime spree?

This module is published by Adventure A Week.


Saturday – 11 AM East – Cult of Life Book Two: Trial of Blood

The party is hot on the heals of a dangerous enemy known as Lord Ravenbrook. They chase him to Ravenbrook City and must work through the area and find a way to get into his mansion, learning the dark history of Baron along the way.

This module will be published by Rcane Publications, shortly after Aethercon. Be among the first to play this new adventure.


Saturday – 5 PM East – The Right to Arm Bugbears – Bridgefort Saga 2

The rumors of a massive army being formed are reaching citizens of Bridgefort. They have a map to several locations where ancient relics may have been lost. Can the party stop these humanoids from acquiring even more power for their army? Can the army even be stopped?

This module is published by Adventure A Week.


Saturday – 11 PM East – The Puppetmaster

Villagers claim they have seen a strange doll out chopping wood in the forest. Merchants are talking about being robbed by puppets. What is the source for these odd events? Is a maniacal craftsman in the forest trying to destroy the village?

This module will be published by D3 Adventures.


Sunday – 5 PM East – Battle for Bridgefort – Bridgefort Saga 3

The humanoid army marches on the city of Bridgefort. The party is among the few defenders that can hold them from destroying the city. Is the party up to the task? Can they finally defeat the mastermind behind the growing army?

This module is published by Adventure A Week.


Additionally, Christi Baum will be GMing:

Saturday – 11 AM East – The Witch’s Challenge

A strange plague has suddenly swept through a small village. The citizens are helpless and many have already died. A visiting witch thinks she can solve the problem, but it requires an amulet buried ages ago. Can the witch be trusted? Will the party be able to cure the plague before the village is destroyed?



And Thomas Stephens will be GMing:

Saturday – 11 PM East – System Crash: Ragnarok

A recent bank robbery has been botched. A new AI is on the loose turning systems against civilians and security forces. What caused it? Can it be stopped?

This module is published by D3 Adventures. It is exclusively free at Aethercon!


Aethercon details:


“AetherCon is a free online RPG convention emphasizing a sense of community. RPGs such as Pathfinder, Shadowrun and Call of Cthulhu will be run with many more games available. Free browser based RPG programs, Roll 20 and Infrno, will be used to run the games. Along with the games AetherCon will have panels and Q&A sessions with industry professionals such as Jim Pinto (Post World Games), G. Earnest Gygax (Gygax Magazine), Mike Mason (Chaosium), Ken Hite (Pelgrane Press), Wes Schnieder (Paizo) and many more. AetherCon will also have a lot of great vendors, such as Paizo and CGL just to name a few, available to sell you some great merchandise and an artist hall in which you can buy original art work and learn art techniques from the artists as well. Plus every Friday, leading up to AetherCon, download exclusive, free wallpapers from these artists as well. You also could win a chance at having one of your favorite PCs immortalized by one the artists on a future exclusive AetherCon wallpaper just by playing! The more you play, the better your chances of winning! AetherCon kicks off on November 15 and runs through November 17 of 2013.”


Check out for details.

Comic Con Foods – Salt Lake Comic Con 2013

Salt Lake Comic Con presented a wide variety of unique merchants and products. Some vendors traveled from across the globe, others were local. These local vendors showed off a lot of the diversity and creativity to be found along the Wasatch Front.


After meetings, chatting, taking pictures, and shaking hands with celebrities for three days, we built up quite an appetite. Two gals, in particular, contributed to the geek culture with food. They baked, poured, molded, and displayed some of the funnest, and most delicious, products available for the chic geek. The Truffle Cottage showed off some of the most unique chocolates I have ever seen. The Mad Hatter Cake Studio had a few of the best geek cakes in the business.


I contacted both of these wonderful ladies after Comic Con and heard back about their experiences at Comic Con. Both of them enjoyed the convention and the added exposure. Both of them work from their homes. And they are both excited about next year as well. Without further adieu, let me introduce them…


Truffle Cottage at Salt Lake Comic Con 2013The Truffle Cottage


Coming to you from Pleasant Grove, Utah (about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City) is The Truffle Cottage. If you missed their booth, or missed Comic Con for that matter, you need to check them out. Jennie loves creating her own flavors, hand rolling chocolates, or molding truffles.


For the Comic Con people, she created several unique products. They sold out quickly on the days I checked in with the crew, but I did get a chance to actually see some of them and pictures exist on the Truffle Cottage website (listed below). As an example, try Companion Cube truffles (Portal 2), Millenium Falcon truffles (Star Wars), Punisher and Spider Man truffles (Marvel), and Tardis truffles (Dr. Who).


Jennie doesn’t stop there, however, she was booked for a few other conventions in the weeks following Comic Con and has created some very interesting objects for Halloween, as well as Easter, Christmas, and any other special occasions.


I have a friend back in Ohio that I still need to buy a few Companion Cubes for a great geek gift.


Most importantly… they ship!


Dr Who Tardis from Mad Hatter Cake Studio at Salt Lake Comic Con 2013Mad Hatter Cake Studio

While we were walking around the area we stumbled across a few R2-D2 units. One of which was edible. The Mad Hatter Cake Studio produces some great looking cakes. Among them R2-D2, the Tardis, and an Xbox 360 complete with controller (games not included nor recommended).


Jenae works out of her home, but she delivers “all over Utah”, as she says. She creates a variety of products, beyond her sculpted cakes. These include wedding cakes and cupcakes among others.


If you are looking for a memorable event, this might be the ticket. I have a birthday coming up and I am not sure which cake to get, but I am starting to get some fun ideas.




Whether you are a chocolate lover or a cake lover, or especially a chocolate cake lover, there are plenty of delicious gifts for geeks and nerds. Support your geek culture and your nerd friends. Whether they are local or across the country, they will love gifts from Mad Hatter Cake Studio or The Truffle Cottage.

Salt Lake Comic Con – Interview with Tracy and Laura Hickman

Greetings fans of fantasy and fiction!

At Salt Lake Comic Con, I got the opportunity to chat with this incredible couple who have been involved in gaming, writing, and game design for over 30 years. I was able to learn some interesting information about them, what motivated Ravenloft signed by Tracy Hickmanthem early in this field (including why they accepted the job at TSR and moved to Wisconsin), and where they are heading now. What an incredible couple!


“Unemployed in Greenland” – direct quote, Tracy said it.


Aside from the initial greeting as being one of their biggest fans, which I am sure they hear thousands of times a year. I proudly presented my original Ravenloft module (1983, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons). As they tracked down their pens to sign my prized possession (and a lovely picture of the two of them) I begin interrogating them about how they got involved in the business.


First, despite what you may suspect, it was Laura who started the addiction to gaming. She was several hours late picking up Tracy when she got side tracked with a gaming group. She then introduced Tracy to gaming and the passion began. This was during the rough times where gaming had first started and was receiving a lot of negative press. I started gaming in this era (though I was 8 or 9 then) and can still remember some of the accusations and insults thrown at gamers. This was during the early 1980s.


When Tracy and Laura first got started professionally in gaming, they were living in Logan, Utah. If you are not familiar with it, don’t feel bad. It is the home of Utah State University and is on the far north side of the state, about 70 miles almost due north of Salt Lake City. Tracy had been working as a movie theater manager for a time until he became, and I quote, “unemployed in Greenland.”


The Hickman family was struggling. They had been unemployed for several months and had children to feed, cloth, and take care of (they married in 1977). Tracy and Laura sent a few module submissions (Pharoah and Rahasia) to TSR (makers of Dungeons and Dragons) in hopes of making money to buy shoes for their children. TSR offered them a job in Wisconsin.


Tracy’s dad, who was living in Flagstaff at the time, begged them not to go. He offered them a place to stay and a job in Flagstaff. Tracy and Laura however decided to take the plunge and headed to Wisconsin.


Between Then and Now


Tracy and Laura worked on several projects since that time. Tracy is well known for his work on the Dragonlance setting (novels and modules). He worked extensively with Margaret Weis on that series as well as several others (Darksword, etc).


He and Laura also worked on novels together. One of the most recent trilogies is “The Annals of Drakis” (published between 2010 and 2012). They have also been evolving their story telling and marketing to the digital age, including the “Dragon’s Bard” where material was downloaded via subscription and a final physical book was received when the subscription was over.


2013 and BeyondSigned by Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman


In March of 2013, Tracy Hickman joined Richard Garriott’s (Lord British) team for Shroud of the Avatar: Forsake Virtues. This project, as of September 8, 2013, has raised over $2.4 Million with over 24,000 backers to date. The PC game will be playable solo or multiplayer and is expected to have initial content available in October of 2014 (


Tracy and Laura have been busy on their own projects. Thursday night, September 5th, they launched a Kickstarter for their newest game. Sojourner Tales is “The storytelling board game that turns your e-reading device into a portal to Imagination and Adventure!” (quoted from the Kickstarter page, listed below). Tracy took a few minutes and used his Kindle to show my daughters (ages 12 and 8) how to play. The game is fascinating with dice, cards, and events changed by the Kindle. It specifically mentions that a print version of the adventures will be available, but the e-book version makes the game faster and easier. (


I very much enjoyed spending time with these two wonderful people. I also cannot wait to see them virtually at Aethercon where they will be answering questions and running the game as a demo. (


Salt Lake Comic Con – Day Three – Local Vendors and Record Breaking Attendance

Today was filled with a lot of people, and I mean a LOT of people. The Comic Con FaceBook page lists Comic Con as Sold Out. Various sources list that Friday broke 50,000 tickets sold and attendance. Based upon reported economic impact from other conventions (specifically the 130,000 attendees at San Diego Comic Con who spent $180 million and the 46,000 people at Dragon Con in Atlanta who spent $40 million, both listed on the average person attending Salt Lake Comic Con will spend about $900 to $1000.


What that means: Take 50,000 people (low estimate) and have them spend $1000 each (high estimate, but easy math). That means $50 Million dollars were spent, much of that is in the local market. There were vendors from around the world (Weta Workshop from New Zealand, for example) but a lot of them were local and really got a chance to shine.


We talked to artists, authors, game stores, costume shops, chocolate makers, cake decorators, a 3d printer supplier, a pinball machine specialist, jewelers, and guys who dress up as dinosaurs. Each of them put their faith in Salt Lake Comic Con and were here showing off everything they could do. And, over the next several weeks, we will be show casing some of our favorites. Every one of these shops is within driving distance of Salt Lake City.


This project will take some time. We want to get hold of people involved at the business and ask them about what they do. I can talk about each of them, and I have a stack of business cards on my desk, but we want the businesses to put in their own words what they do, how they do it, and how they benefited from Comic Con.


In the mean time, it is time to say Thank You! Thank You for reading this blog. Thank You to Dan Farr for bringing Comic Con to Utah and letting me get involved. Finally, Thank You to my family for putting up with me during this crazy week.


We will update this post when numbers become available. I would imagine attendance numbers will be available within a few days. The financial numbers will likely take much longer, but we will try to keep everyone updated.

Update:  The information we have been able to find for first year Salt Lake Comic Con shows an attendance of 70-80,000 people.  To put that in perspective, the first year New York Comic Con had 33,000.  Way to go Dan Farr, Salt Lake Comic Con crew, and special thanks to all the guests, attendees, and vendors for making the show awesome!