699 – “…and now, for the real test!”

Prof. Tunny probably goes through a lot of interns that way; kind of how Murphy Brown went through secretaries…


Like everyone else in the world, my family and I are sheltering in place from this stupid virus. We’re all healthy (so far!) and I hope you all are healthy as well.
One positive thing about this is that, via Zoom, I am now DMing with my game group back in CA! Didn’t realize how much I missed it, but I did.
Stay safe, stay healthy, keep 6 feet away from everybody, and take care,

~Rob

698 – A bard whether you like it or not!

That’s right, Jaine! Testify!!

In other news, Real Life has been smacking me in the face lately. Actually, it’s been calling me names, beating me up and taking my lunch money. I appreciate all your support and patience, folks. Cartoon next week to make up for it – pinkie swear. πŸ™‚

Take care (and wash your hands! Like, a lot!),

~Rob

Jaine's Audition (and career?) Ends

697 – We’ll Keep Your Application On File…

Oh, Jaine. Don’t you just want to hug her and/or buy her a stiff drink?


Okay, I’m going biweekly, as of NOW. *sigh*

Sorry for the delay, folks. Hang in there, the best is yet to come!

Take care,

~Rob

696 – “Westhame’s Idols Have Got Talent with the Voice!”

Howdy folks! Jaine is finally going to do it – she’s finally going to perform her magnum opus, The Ballad of Dhur! Also, that priestess in the center? That is the alter ego of none other than longtime MeatShield patron Amy Hamaker! As a patron at the Archmage level, she became entitled to a cameo in a MeatShield strip of anyone chose. This is her PC from a campaign we were in together years ago. Hope you enjoy your cameos, Amy!

Would you like to have a cameo in a MeatShield strip? You can! Just go to the MeatShield Patreon page and take a look at the reward tiers available

In other news, I’ve decided that I’m going to be switching to a biweekly schedule until I can well and truly get my feet back under me. Look for the next strip in two weeks!

Take care, folks!

~Rob

695 – Just a little paperwork…

I’m sorry for the extended silence, folks. I wish I had a better story, but the truth is, I fell victim to procrastination on an epic scale and mismanaging my time after working all day. Anyhoos, the farther along it went, the harder it was to break out of it. I’m back now. Thanks for all the kind comments while I was busy trying to get my head out of my butt. πŸ™‚

In other news, Jaine is free and now all that’s left is… the dreaded THESIS!

Take care,

~Rob

Mea Culpa

Hi folks. Sorry I’ve been incommunicado for this long; not intentional on my part, trust me. I’ll spare you the details and just say that this month has been very hectic and crazy-making. Stupid real life things getting in the way of making comics, essentially. I will have the next strip online on Monday, Oct. 28 and I will (fingers crossed for luck) be able to get back on a more reliable update schedule for you all.

Thank you all for understanding and for your frankly uncanny support. πŸ™‚

Take care, everyone,

~Rob

694 – It’s exactly what it looks like.

10 years ago today I decided to start a webcomic loosely based on one of my favorite things: D&D. After a much needed sabbatical, I have come to the following conclusion:

MeatShield will continue!

I’ll be changing things up a bit, though. For example, I’m exploring the opportunities presented by a new format, which you can see in today’s strip. More changes will be phased in over the coming year.

Thank you to each and every one of you. To paraphrase Quark of DS9: β€œGood readers are more precious than gold-pressed latinum; cherish them.”

Onward to Year ELEVEN!

Take care,

~Rob

Sabbatical

Hi folks.

I’m well-known for making short stories long, so I’ll get to the point: I am completely burned out, creatively. This is probably the worst case of burn-out I’ve had since I started drawing the strip. I no longer have the drive to do the one thing I’ve wanted to do since I was five years old: draw cartoons. This both sickens and saddens me.

Sure, working a full-time job for the first time in over nine years, coupled with a two-hour round-trip commute each day, is a contributing factor, but this malaise is something that has been building for well over two years now, if I’m being honest with myself.

After much soul-searching, I’ve decided that I need to take a sabbatical. Priests get to take one after five years; I guess cartoonists get to take them after nine? Making comics should be bringing me (and you all) joy. I just need to step away for a while and find that joy, that spark, again. Maybe with MeatShield, maybe with something else. I need to take the time to figure that out, too.

Also, not for nothing, but I’ve been at this for 9 1/2 years. Despite my stubbornness, I haven’t been able to make MeatShield profitable enough for it to be my full-time job. I’m not all about the money, but being able to keep your family fed and put a roof over their heads are important and valid concerns.

My sabbatical starts now – I apologize for doing so in the middle of a storyline. My tentative plan is to return on September 9, 2019, the ten-year anniversary of the strip. Thank you so much for the support you’ve shown me for all or part of the last 9 1/2 years. Whether you discovered MeatShield nine years ago or nine days ago, your support as readers has really made a difference.

So bear with me during this time of recovery and exploration. I’m looking forward to seeing what bigger and better things are out there for me creatively, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Take care,

~Rob

693 – Smitty the Props Guy

Yes, the prop guy is missing fingers on his left hand. Name me a shop teacher who didn’t at least have part of a finger missing. Also, cedar may not be rare here, in the Real World, but in Ardris? Like Smitty said, that stuff ain’t cheap.

In other news, I have just decided that the props guy is named Smitty.

Take care,

~Rob

692 – Watching the Detectives

(apologies to Elvis Costello)

Hmmm… curiouser and curiouser. *insert Evil DM Laugh here*

~Rob

691 – The Scene of the Crime… Again!

Umm, how is that you know how much blood is in a humanoid body, Philo?? Never mind, I don’t want to know.


Now we need to put all the pieces together, call Angela Lansbury, and get all the suspects into one room for the big reveal.

Nah, that would be too easy. πŸ™‚

Take care,

~Rob

690 – It’s a FAKE!!!!

Becky is getting more patient – she would’ve kicked that guy’s butt for the “sweetcheeks” crack, and then we’d have three people in jail.

BTW – I forgot to draw the white feather in the fourth panel. Let’s all just imagine that it’s there anyway. πŸ™‚ I meant to draw it, at any rate.
~Rob

689 – Brother Leon, CSI

UPDATE – 3/29/19 – I’ve recently taken a position with the American Heart Association to be able to pay some bills and get decent insurance for me and my family. It’s a great thing, but I haven’t had time (or energy, especially) in the past two weeks after coming home at 6:30 at night to get the comic done in the timely manner that I’ve been striving for. I plan on getting work done on it this weekend and I’ll have the Patreon Sneak Peek for all $2+ patrons up on the Patreon page later today. Next week, that cartoon will post on the main site (where you’re reading this) and I should be able to get a handle on this thing.

TLDR: Started new job, the Patreon sneak peek will be posted later today, the new cartoon for this site will post next week. Thanks for understanding, you guys are awesome. πŸ™‚


If he did have tenure, it didn’t do him much good. Next up: Becky checks out the spear!

Take care,

~Rob

688 – Splittin’ the Party, CSI Style!

The game is afoot! The game is also a-hand, a-neck, and a-spleen!

~Rob

687 – Maybe the spell’s called Badgering the Dead?

For all the D&D grognards out there: yes, I know that the rules state that Speak with Dead can be cast again in 10 days time after being cast by someone else, but according to the house rules for MeatShield, it’s a one-time only deal. In my strip, as in my games, story trumps rules every time. πŸ™‚

Take care,

~Rob

686 – Wow! Murder!

Eli Oduglig, Attorney-at-Law, at your service. His mom gave him that briefcase when he graduated night law school (435th in his class!).

Take care,

~Rob

685 – Blue Hawaiians are their specialty

Cop 1: “You do know you’re under arrest, right?”

Dhur: “Yeah, whatever, dude. Just get me outta that froo-froo place!”

~Rob

684 – It probably IS his first rodeo

Not that Jaine and Dhur aren’t in big trouble, but consider this: this guy is a campus cop at a school for bards and other artsy-fartsy types. The biggest problem he’s probably ever had to deal with is breaking up heated arguments between a bunch of drunk undergrads.

BTW, not besmirching the “artsy-fartsy” types – I am one, kinda.

Take care,

~Rob

683 – Dun-dun-DUNNNN!!!

So, what do YOU guys think happened here? Let me know in the comments. πŸ™‚


I know I’m in the minority in this, but I’ve never liked Clue – neither the board game nor the movie. I might like it more if it also came with options like “Mister Redbeard in the conservatory with a Battleaxe!”

Nah, I probably wouldn’t. πŸ™‚

~Rob

682 – Being Sort-of-Royalty has its advantages

They are a chatty folk, those bards. Also, yeah, her mom calls her “Sunflower.” I think it’s cute. I call my kids “Peanut” or “Sweetpea” interchangeably – so there. πŸ™‚

Also, I have no idea what that guy/girl is behind the counter. Some sort of fey creature? I dunno. πŸ™‚

~Rob

681 – It’s bigger on the inside

Gastropubs is defined by the Chambers Book O’ Info as “an excuse to charge customers $17 for an artisan grilled cheese sandwich.”

Dhur’s in for a big surprise…

Take care,

~Rob

680 – That’s your school?

When I was around seven years old, my father’s work transferred us to San Francisco. On one of our family outings we drove across the Golden Gate bridge and my mom pointed out the Palace of Fine Arts to me as we drove by it on our way into the Presidio and then to the bridge. I remember thinking that the rotunda WAS the entire palace and that it was a secret entrance to an underground theater or something. Remember, I was seven at the time and as a comic book loving kid, the idea of a secret underground anything was awesome to me.

So, yeah, the orb’s the entire Conservatory. πŸ™‚

Take care,

~Rob

679 – Last minute traveling is the WORST

I thought about putting a sign on that booth that read “Sail the Friendly Seas,” but decided against it – too close to home (United Airlines, whose motto is “Fly the Friendly Skies”, employed my dad for 33 years).
Also, welcome to the first cartoon of 2019!
Take care, all!
~Rob

678 – CARL!!!!

Dammit, Carl! If you’re going to steal something (especially something as big as a ship), you don’t broadcast that you did it! That’s like back during the Depression and bank robbers would rob banks and as they’re leaving shout out, “and they ask you who robbed this bank, tell ’em all it was us, Joltin’ Jack and the Scuggins Gang!” The hell, people?


This is the last MeatShield comic of 2018! I’ll be taking the next two weeks off for the holidays. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and I’ll see you all again on January 11, 2019!

Take care, folks. πŸ™‚

~Rob

677 – All the feels, Ch’p.

NO I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING THERE’S SOMETHING IN MY EYE THAT’S ALL–


*ahem*

Take care,

~Rob

676 – How much do holy artifacts go for, anyway?

Don’t remember where Ch’p got those robes? Click here!


This works on two levels. First, selling a valuable artifact to help a friend is exactly the kind of thing Ch’p would do, and secondly, I’ve been wanting to get him back into his red-and-gold robes for a while now. Win-win.

Take care,

~Rob

675 – Dhur critted his Insight check

Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day. πŸ™‚


Hey, I got myself interviewed! Yay! Kurt Sasso of Two Geeks Talking interviewed me recently and the interview is now on YouTube.It’s a teensy bit long (about 40 minutes) and due to video streaming problems at the time of recording you can’t see me, just clip art from the strip, but boy howdy was it fun! Go check it out!

Take care,

~Rob

674 – Where’s the Genius Bar?

How much was it? Let’s put it this way: if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.:)


I will be taking Thanksgiving week off from the strip, as both my kids and my wife have the entire week off! How often does that happen? In the meantime, I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and I’ll see you all on the 30th!

Gobble gobble,

~Rob

673 – The MeatShield Primer!

Know someone who might like the strip but is intimidated by having to wade through 660+ strips just to get caught up? The MeatShield Primer is the perfect jumping-on point! Tell your family and friends! Post it on the social media outlet of your choice! Print it out and slap it up on game store bulletin boards! Pass it out at bus stations! Anything will help! Thanks!

Take care,

~Rob

672 – The World According to Vorpal

I took a page out of Dave Kellet’s book and drew a slight departure from the main strip. I’ve always wanted to do a short strip featuring Vorpal and what she gets up to when she slips away from Becky. Yes, slips away – Vorpal purposefully finds a way out from under Becky’s gaze. She’s just a puppy, after all!

~Rob

671 – Vorpal has expensive tastes

I should put out a MeatShield book titled Tales from the Moaning Lungfish, which would be a play off of the title Tales from the Vulgar Unicorn. Don’t know if I will or not, but that would be a cool title, IMHO.

Hasta,

~Rob

 

670 – Traveling by Map… Again!

We bring the epic of the Empire of the Mithril Skulls to a close, only to face a newer, greater threat: Thesis Presentation! It hasn’t been touched on in a VERY long time, but Jaine is actually a Bardic Graduate Student who has been working on her thesis project, a ballad about a great hero. There was a bit of procrastination on her part and when the deadline began rearing its ugly head, the only hero she could find was Dhur.

Take care,

~Rob

669 – I knew I forgot something!

Yep, they have a ship now. In case you don’t remember, here’s where Dhur was given his assignment.

Take care,

~Rob

668 – The rabbit died, Nomos.

We’ve seen Maureen before. Guess she found someone to give her foot rubs and not steal the covers at night. πŸ™‚ Why didn’t Nomos notice Maureen was “in a family way?” He’s been a bit busy running a rebellion to depose a bunch of evil mages – I think Maureen will give him a pass this ONE time.

Take care,

~Rob

667 – I don’t need an eye exam, mortal!

Imagine how Philo is going to feel when he sits down to plan out his next gadget knowing that a being of immense cosmic power is WATCHING HIS EVERY MOVE WITH GREAT INTEREST.

I don’t know about you, but that much pressure would stick me with the world’s biggest case of writer’s block. Or artificer’s block. Whatever. πŸ™‚

Take care,

~Rob

666 – That went well.

Poor Leon. Maybe he can join AARP now? That discount isn’t anything to sneeze at.


Foradain, one of MeatShield’s longtime readers, asked last week what I had planned for “the devil’s comic”, i.e. strip #666 (this one). To tell the truth, it kind of snuck up on me. Instead of making some sort of in-strip reference to “the devil’s game” (as D&D was referred to in the early 80s during the ‘Satanic Panic’), I decided it would be best to just keep on keeping on. It’s just a number, ya know? That’s the same thing I told myself on my last birthday *cough*.

As of September 9th, 2018 (a.k.a. last Sunday), MeatShield has been around for NINE YEARS. That is astounding. My daughters had just started kindergarten when I began – now they’re starting their first year of high school! Wow.

Onwards to Year 10!

~Rob

665 – Leon’s Choice

Before any D&D diehards start talking about the rules being broken here, know a couple of things:
  1. Yes, I do know that Brother Leon is too low in level to be casting Resurrect. He’s about 3rd level, whereas casting the Resurrect spell requires the cleric to be 13th level or higher.
  2. This is a D&D-inspired webcomic, not a “by the book” webcomic. If it fits the purpose of the story, I’ll bend or break the rules as I see fit. Within reason, of course. πŸ™‚

Take care,

~Rob

664 – A Price Must Be Paid

Daaaang, son! Way to live your faith Leon!


Hey, want to see what happens next? For $2 a month you can join the MeatShield Patreon community and get early access to the latest MeatShield comic, one week before the rest of humanity! That works out to about 7 cents a day – not too shabby!

Also, would you like to see a little video series I put out called The MeatShield Minute? How about getting a custom color digital sketch of your own? Have you ever wanted to be IN a MeatShield comic? You can! Just go over to the MeatShield Patreon page and join the community!

By joining the MeatShield Patreon community, you help keep this strip running and help me fight off having to get a day job πŸ˜‰ If you’ve ever thought about joining up, now is a great time to do it!

Take care,

~Rob

663 – Oh no, Philo

Yes, for those of you new to the strip, that purple guy is indeed Philo. Philo’s a changeling, which we found out about wayyy back here.

Take care,

~Rob

662 – SHOOMP!

Like any evil wizard worth his salt, Malvat Magh has a contingency spell in his back pocket. Will we see him again? Time will tell…

Take care,

~Rob

661 – No Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator required!

Maybe that gadget of Philo’s in panel one is a Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator? You’d have to take that up with Philo.


Ugh. Just ugh. This summer has been brutal. I moved from California to Texas with my eyes open – I knew humidity would come into play, I’ve dealt with it before. However, HOLY CRAP does this summer suck! The combination of heat and humidity are way worse than I’ve ever experienced before and I’ve been in South Florida in August, so I know what I’m talking about.

Just thought I’d complain a bit. I’m done now. Sorry to bother. Be about your day. πŸ™‚

~Rob

660 – MORE!!!!!

Well, then. I guess the bad guy wins – oh, look, there’s Philo! Problem solved. Maybe.


Quick Note: Some time has opened up in my schedule recently so now’s the time to order your commissioned art! Go take a look at the Commissions Page and think about what you’d like! Cut-off time will be September 3, 2018.

Take care,

~Rob

659 – Malvat Magh

Wow. That’s pretty cold, Malvat, looting the body of one of your dead apprentices. Then again, what D&D player worth their salt hasn’t at least thought of looting their buddy’s corpse when their character dies?

Ray: “You know, until you get raised from the dead, you’re not going to have much use for this Staff of the Archmage, Gary… and why don’t I take this stapler, too?”

Gary: “um, okay, but I’m going set the building on fire.”

Take care,

~Rob

658 – CHOMP!!

Good girl, Vorpal, good girl!!


We are now moved into our new place in the Lone Star State, just in time for record heat waves approaching 109 degrees. I would write more, but it’s too freaking hot, folks. I’m going to Costco now so I can hang out in the walk-in produce freezer until they kick me out.

Stay cool, everybody,

~Rob

657 – Philo’s on the move!

Ahh, yes, the Great Onomatopoeia Battle of 2018, I remember it well… I love sound effects. πŸ™‚

And now, in a continuing service, an entry from the Encyclopedia Ardrisia…

ARTIFICERS

Magic exists in many forms on Ardris. There is divine magic wielded by devout clerics or self-righteous druids; arcane magic controlled by studious wizards, unpredictable sorcerers or irreverent bards. Then you have the folks who figure there’s GOT to be a cooler way to cast a fireball spell without using bat guano, usually involving a lot of gears, steam, and bronze tubing. These are the Artificers.

The practice of Artificery is a very new and experimental one. As such, it attracts new students bored with the traditional ways of magic like moths to a flame. “Sure, I could learn to cast Lightning Bolt. That is, if I really wanted to wave my arms around like a lunatic, mutter a lot of nonsense words, and then use some fur and a rod of amber as material components (which get consumed in the process, I might add). Wouldn’t it be far cooler if you could make a handheld device that could do the same thing? Plus, spellbooks are heavy.”

In addition to their talent for creating magical devices, artificers are also especially good at working out the functions of existing magic items, determining if items are cursed, and they are trained in techniques to drain and store the magical essence contained in most magic items (destroying the item in the process) and reapplying it to one of their own devices, which greatly lowers the creation cost.

There are no academies or conservatories that teach artificery. Most artificers learn their art either from a mentor or through dangerous trial-and-error. It is theorized that the number of living artificers in the world would be much higher if only some of them had used basic safety protocols or at least thought twice before ingesting 10 pounds gunpowder (we’re looking at you, Uncle Todd – RIP).

Famous Artificers include “Doctor” Ocnohr the Crafty, who invented the Follicle-O-Matic hair regrowth apparatus; Meobre of Mikiltuum, who created both the blasting rod and the world’s first folding kayak; and Tekeb Mohs, who invents the first time machine in about 45 years.

The Encyclopedia Ardrisia , volume 1 (Aahz to Attempter, the Great), Kilanio University Press, 48th edition.

Yes, Artificery is a real word. πŸ™‚

Take care,

~Rob

656 – Roll Initiative!

Temporal Duplicates for the win!


For the past week, I have felt the same way as Fuschia in the second panel as I’ve been fighting bronchitis in North Texas in the summer. Yech. I’ll come up with an interesting blog post for next week’s comic. In the meantime, I’m going to go cough and blow my nose for a while. πŸ™

Take care (and stay well!),

~Rob

655 – YARRGH!

I really like how this one came out.:)


Well, folks, as much as I tried to work ahead (and I did – boy howdy, did I) and have comics ready to go while I was moving my family across the country, I didn’t quite hit the mark. So, after today, MeatShield will be on hiatus until July 6th. However, I will be posting The MeatShield Minute on the Patreon page from the road, so no worries there.

What’s The MeatShield Minute? Glad you asked. I recently re-worked the rewards tiers on the MeatShield Patreon page. Everyone who joins at the $5 level (or “Monk” level) gets access to a weekly 1-5 minute long vlog where I discuss D&D, comics, or anything that pops into my pretty little head. By the way, do the kids still use that word? “Vlog?” Is that still “hep?” πŸ˜‰ Also, if that’s a bit much for you, everyone at the $2 level (“Bard” level) now gets one week early access to the latest MeatShield comic!

See you all in a few weeks from the Lone Star State!

~Rob

654 – You just don’t get it, Scott, do ya?

This reminds me of that scene in the first Austin Powers movie where Dr. Evil is reprimanding his son, Scott Evil, for wanting to just waste Austin and be done with it instead of detailing his entire intricate evil plan to him before subjecting him to sharks with frikkin’ laser beams!

Or words to that effect.

Hasta!

~Rob

653 – What do we have here?

They got their matching robes at Blue Hand Troll’s House of Stuff and Things. Hmm, haven’t heard from Blue in a while…


In a little under three weeks, I will be leaving California for the Lone Star State. While I’m not maudlin about leaving LA, there are some things about Southern California that I will miss (other than friends and family):

  1. No or very little humidity in the summer.
  2. Cool evenings even in the middle of summer.
  3. KTLA Morning News and KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic. I know I can watch/listen to them online, but it’s not the same.
  4. Being less than an hour away from the Pacific Ocean.
  5. The Los Angeles Dodgers. I’m a third-generation Dodger fan who’s moving to Texas Rangers Country. However, I have no problem rooting for the Rangers since they are American League and the Dodgers are National League. The odds of the two of them facing off in the World Series is so remote as to be laughable. However, if it does come down that, Go Big Blue!

Things I’m looking forward to in Texas:

  1. Whataburger, Taco Cabana, Texas Land and Cattle (Texas’ answer to Black Angus), and Texadelphia.
  2. HEB Central Market
  3. The State Fair of Texas
  4. Half-Price Books
  5. KERA
  6. No state income tax
  7. People who are friendly on the street, even if they don’t know you from Adam.

I’m sure there’s more to add to both lists, I just can’t think of any more.

19 days and counting…

~Rob

 

 

652 – Too Little, Too Late

You’d think they would have come up with a plan for this waaaaay beforehand.

Hasta,

~Rob

651 – Anyone got a Plan B? Or C? How about D?

Update from the Land of Packing Boxes

Our move to the Lone Star State next month soldiers on, step by step. My house is slowly filling with cardboard boxes bought from a place called (imaginatively enough) Box City. Funny story: when my girls were little and they would ask me where we going, if I wanted the destination to be a surprise I would tell them that we were going to some really boring location, such as the Cardboard Store ( a name I made up with my huge brain). Lo and behold, the “Cardboard Store” actually exists!

Anyway, I am working my butt off to get 8 strips done win the next few weeks so that there won’t be any hiatus, even though I said previously that there would be one. Cross your fingers!

Take care,

~Rob

650 – TINKLE!!!

It’s been a while since we had any wanton violence – Dhur needs to keep in practice.

Take care,

~Rob

650 – You gotta think of your future in a job like this.

The thing about Chinchillas is that they can live to be up to 20 years old. My brother-in-law recently found this out with his little girl, who wanted a chinchilla and he figured it would be around 5, maybe 7 years, tops.


Thanks for all the wishes of luck for my impending move back to the Lone Star State. Right now, we’re at the stage where we just want to get everything packed up and go now, but we can’t because the girls are still in school and we still have to live in the house until mid-June. I’m surrounded by cardboard boxes that my wife and I are just aching to get assembled and filled.

See you all next week!

~Rob

649 – He wears white after Labor Day, too!

That Rochar, he’s a rebel, that one.


Last week, I mentioned big news. The big news is…

We’re moving back to Texas!

This is something that my family and I have been mulling over for over 5 years. Southern California, while it never has been the most affordable place to live (unless you live waaaaaay out in the desert), has become too expensive. Plus, my wife’s family lives in the North Texas area and my daughters are about to start high school, so this is the best time for us to stage a move like this so they can have 4 years in the same high school. The lack of state income tax and already having good friends in the area only sweetens the deal.

This does mean that in mid-June I’ll be putting the strip on hiatus, as it’s kind of hard to drive a U-Haul and draw at the same time. πŸ™‚ More details as I get them.

Take care,

~Rob

648 – In your face, Maureen!

A couple of random thoughts:

  1. If there were ever to be a MeatShield convention, I would be disappointed if it weren’t named Vorp-Con.
  2. Volothamp Geddarm, or “Volo” for short, is essentially the Rick Steves of the Forgotten Realms, only Rick Steves has common sense.I could see Volo endorsing a chain of cross-planar fast food joints. If you don’t know Volo, then you’re probably living a blessed life.
  3. Ambush Bug is my spirit animal. He was the Tick before the Tick was the Tick, if you know what I mean. πŸ™‚
  4. Big announcement coming in the next few weeks! Stand by!

Take care,

~Rob

646 – I Got It!

Apparently Philo lost his 3-D goggles at some point. I don’t think he cares. πŸ™‚

Take care,

~Rob

645 – Love is in the air….

Not too sure what’s going on here? Take a look at this and then this. That ought to bring you back up to speed. πŸ™‚


Tonight, my friends, I get to play D&D. Not run D&D as a DM, but play as a player. Ever since Xanathar’s Guide to Everything came out, I have been chomping at the bit to play a particular kind of fighter listed in that book: the Arcane Archer. Basically, I want to play Green Arrow/Hawkeye in D&D. πŸ™‚ My character is a half-elf named Corvus. He’s awesome. Just in case you were curious.

Now, some among you who are really familiar with the rules of D&D Fifth Edition may be thinking, “Rob, that’s not the most effective race to choose if you want to play an arcane archer. You should have chosen an elf, tabaxi, etc. etc…” To you I say, “Thanks for the advice, but the character’s backstory, and by extension the overall story of the game itself, is more important to me than number-crunching. That, and me am cartoonist – not good with the maths and the logics. ;)”

I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Take care,

~Rob

644 – Long time, no see, Philo!

I’ve been wanting to bring Philo back for a while now. That look on Jaine’s face makes it all worthwhile. πŸ™‚

No deep insights or pithy comments this week, folks! See you next week!

Take care,

~Rob

643 – The lab is next to the rec room

Hmm, that coat looks familiar….


I’m thinking of restructuring the rewards tiers for the MeatShield Patreon membership. Here are the reward tiers as they stand now, with editorial comment afterwards:

  • $1.00 per month (Barbarian Level) – Access to the MeatShield Patreon Feed. I don’t think this needs to be changed too much, but I do need to post more on the feed itself other than “Hey, there’s a new Sneak Peek available!”
  • $2.00 per month (Bard Level) – Benefits include the above plus your name on the MeatShield Patreon Wall of Awesome. For an extra dollar a month, that does seem a bit weak.
  • $5.00 per month (Monk Level) – All of the above, plus access to the newest MeatShield comic one week early. I think this is a solid reward, but may be at a slightly higher price point than it needs to be.
    Then there’s a huge jump in price to…
  • $20.00 a month (Archmage Level) – You get all of the above plus after four consecutive pledges at this level, you get a cameo in a MeatShield strip. So far, two cameos have been done and I had a blast doing them. I don’t think this one needs to change in either reward or price.

Some rewards I’ve toyed with include getting a social media avatar with four consecutive pledges, access to live streaming me drawing on Twitch, etc. I’m open to any all suggestions. πŸ™‚

Take care, everybody!

~Rob

642 – “Maybe it’ll be more of a challenge if I wore a blindfold?

I have a dilemma: I would love to play in a D&D group on Twitch, but what often happens whenever I want to play D&D, I end up DMing. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I do enjoy it, but I wouldn’t want to be the DM of a Twitch stream; I’m no Matthew Mercer or Chris Perkins. In case anyone’s interested in recruiting me, I’ve been drawing a D&D comic strip since 2009 and spent some time in the late ’90s doing stand-up comedy, so I both know the game and me am a good talker and funny. πŸ˜‰ Have your people call my people.

Take care,

~Rob

641 – Rochar and Markie the Wonder Dog

I gotta say, The Inconspicuous Inn is starting to grow on me as a tavern name, supplanting my previous favorite, The Inn of the Moaning Lungfish.


Here we finally meet Rochar, a D&D character run by MeatShield Patreon patron Foradain! Described as a halfing archer and ranger, Rochar is slightly taller than most halflings and has as both his animal companion and riding mount Markie, a German Shepard mix. He’s in one more strip after this and has an important part to play in Nomos’ rebellion.

See you next time!

~Rob

640 – Welcome to the Rebellion!

They’re giant floating skulls, not rocket scientists. πŸ™‚


Who’s Rochar, you ask? Glad you did! Rochar is the name of a D&D character of one of my longtime readers and frequent Patreon patron, Foradain! I haven’t mentioned it much lately, but if you become a patron at the $20/month level, you get the reward of having yourself or your D&D character appear in a cameo in a MeatShield strip! Go check it out! If that’s a little too steep for you, there are other contribution options too!

Take care,

~Rob

639 – Nomos to the rescue!

As always, Dhur has the right idea: either beat the bad guys up until they can’t move no more or if it looks like they can totally kick your butt, hightail it outta there. πŸ™‚

Take care,

~Rob

 

638 – Where are your papers?

I kind of view the Skulls like the Rover in the BBC TV show The Prisoner, except they’re skulls. And they talk. And can probably vaporize you with a look.

Take care,

~Rob

638 – Welcome to Nabbai!

Figuratively! They can figuratively smell fear!


Yes, I about near killed my hand drawing all those bricks. The next comic strip I do is going to be nothing but talking colored shapes, like triangles and polyhedrons.;)

Thank you all for participating in the survey I posted in the last blog post. So far, 89 people have taken part! The survey will be open until Monday, Feb.12, so if you haven’t taken it yet and would like to help me out, just click the “Previous” button above and scroll down to the blog post.

I’ll be putting up some of the info collected later on, once I get done going through it all with my crack marketing team (read: me and my awesome and marketing-savvy wife). Thanks once again! πŸ™‚

Take care,

~Rob

637 – Bro Hugs!

Bad attitudes don’t last forever. At least, in Ghar’s case they don’t. πŸ™‚


I have a favor to ask: I’m trying to get better about marketing MeatShield. It’s one step on the road to being a full-time cartoonist, so I whipped up this little survey to get some very basic info. Help a dude out and take it? It’s completely anonymous. Thanks!

Thanks for wanting to help me out by taking my survey. Unfortunately, this survey was closed on Feb 12, 2018. ~Rob

Take care, and thanks again!
~Rob

636 – No Vital Organs Were Damaged

Dhur, what did we learn today?
“Uhh, never give anyone a weapon they “think” they know how ta use.”
What else?
“That it’s a good thing I use as much product in my hair as I do.”


I love traveling by map, don’t you?

Take care,

~Rob

635 – Ewww! Mommm!!

Parents know just how to embarrass you, especially in front of your friends.


We’re back! I finished up my temporary assignment with FEMA on Dec. 14, then drove to North Texas for the holidays. Over my time at FEMA, I helped survivors of FIVE different disasters (four hurricanes and the Northern California wildfires). I learned a lot. One of the things I learned was this: as much as I’m glad I was able to help the survivors, I would much rather be working as a full time cartoonist, so 2018 is the year I’m really going to try to make this happen.

These aren’t necessarily New Year Resolutions; just goals for the coming year, both professionally and personally. Here’s what I’ve decided to do:

  1. I’ve removed the advertising from the site, (except for the Patreon ads) as almost everybody and their brother uses adblocking software (I know I do) and the checks from Google have been fewer and farther between, so there’s really no point to keeping ads up.
  2. Work is resuming on Book Three – “The Tomb of Errors”, which had unfortunately fallen by the wayside. Also, to those of you who have ordered commissions, work will resume on those as well – I appreciate your patience.
  3. Due to the fact that I rarely use it, I will no longer be using Twitter.
  4. I will learn how to ask for help. This is a big one with me, as I usually don’t want to bother folks with my problems. I have to keep reminding myself that sometimes people are only too happy to help me out, but only if I let them know I need the help.

I think that’s enough for now. Welcome back everyone!

Take care,

~Rob

634 – I was on a roll

I have some news; some good, some bad.

The Good News: After over 8 years of unemployment, where I was attempting to make a living as a cartoonist, I have taken a job with FEMA, helping survivors of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The Bad News: Due to the nature of FEMA deployment, I will be working 7 days a week for the foreseeable future, working 10 hours days. Added to that the 1 hour commute on both ends and I will barely have time to sleep, let alone draw and post new MeatShield comics.

What all this adds up to is I need to put MeatShield on hold until roughly January 20, 2018, which is currently the end of my deployment. I apologize to all of you, Patrons and non-Patrons alike, but doing this is the best thing for both my family and the survivors I will be helping.

Thank you all for reading and being there for me. I hope to see you all in about 4 months or so.

Take care.

~Rob

633 – You gotta have faith!

This is the kind of thing that happens when your primary weapon is an intelligent magical artifact – every once in a while, it has something to say, and it’s usually something you don’t want to hear.


I made this announcement earlier in the week on the MeatShield Patreon page, but realized that I should mention something here: Starting next week, all $5 and up patrons on the Patreon page will be getting access to the new strip one WEEK ahead of time. There will be a mid-week post to set all that up. Go check it out!

By the way, Becky’s not being racist; it’s more like a blood feud, like the Hatfields and the McCoys (kids, ask your parents or go look it up on Wikipedia).

Take care,

~Rob

632 – DUERGAR!

Wow, Becky sure is ticked off! In other news…

MEATSHIELD – YEAR EIGHT!

Eight years ago today I launched Meatshield.net! Since 2009, a lot has happened, good and bad. I’ve met (via the Interwebs) a lot of great people, learned a great deal about being a cartoonist and a business owner (still working on that last one), published two books with a third one on the way, lost a parent, and seen my girls go all the way through elementary school and into junior high. Through it all, you folks have been there for me: reading, commenting, and (hopefully) sharing the exploits of the Royal Unnamed Adventuring Company #47. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. πŸ™‚

Next week, we start Year Nine!

Take care,

~Rob

631 – One condition

Wow, wonder what set Becky off?

*Evil DM laugh*

See you next week for MeatShield’s 8th anniversary!

Take care,

~Rob

630 – Have we met?

You ever look at pictures of yourself when you were a lot younger and shook your head at your fashion and/or hairstyle choices? That’s kind of what it’s like for me looking back at my older work, which I recently had to do to see how I drew both Mona (Dhur’s Mom) and Ghar. Man, I had very little to no idea of proportion back then! My character’s heads were SO big back then! *sigh*


Every so often, I come across some cool D&D-related stuff online. I may be late to the game with this, but I have been trying out this new website for generating character sheets that is actually pretty cool. OrcPub2 (not to be confused with the earlier OrcPub) is a pretty responsive character generator and they’ve got a Kickstarter going for a mobile version, which would be awesome. Go take a look!

That’s all for now!

Take care,

~Rob

629 – He’s a laugh riot, all right.

Hey, no one said parenting half-orcs would be easy!


  I have a tiny favor to ask, folks. I’ve been learning more about SEO (search engine optimization). This is so that more people can discover MeatShield, and thus live better, slimmer, debt-free, happier lives with clear complexions and thicker, more lustrous hair ;).
  What I discovered is this: that while “liking” or “favoriting” my posts and tweets is nice, they do nothing for me from a SEO standpoint. Shares and retweets, however – those are gold. So here’s the favor I ask of you: If you do indeed like the strip, great! Thanks! Please hit the “Share” or “retweet” buttons also. That’s it.
   Some of you already do this (because I see when you do it – and thanks for that, you guys!), but I can use all the help I can get.
   Thanks.
Take care,
~Rob

628 – Jerkface!

Just a little after-dinner conversation about underground escape networks. Like you do.

Don’t remember Dhur’s brother, Ghar? Click here for a refresher!

Take care,

~Rob

627 – Scones make the world go ’round.

He might do some Almond Cranberry Biscotti too if he has time.


I am taking next week off, folks, as today (July 29) is my birthday and a week off is my birthday present to myself. I’ll see you all week after next.

Take care,

~Rob

626 -“I’m helpering!”

Just read the blog post title with the voice of Ralph Wiggums from the Simpsons. It’ll make sense. πŸ™‚


Okay, last time I had a little mini-rant about Doctor Who. It’s nice to know that most folks reading this are pretty much of the same mind as I am regarding Jodie Whittaker’s casting. You folks rock.

Now, on to the next topic: D&D Beyond.

D&D Beyond, if you haven’t heard of it, is Wizards of the Coast’s online character builder/campaign manager. On the face of it, it looks pretty slick and is more-or-less responsive. The current version is their beta build, and it will be going public on August 15 for $3 per month for players and $6 per month for DMs and groups. The only problem I have with it is that you have to buy the online versions of the rules for full functionality. For example, the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and the Monster Manual together cost $29.95. In my opinion, if you already have the print books, there should be a provision to get the online versions for a discount or free, unlikely as that might be.

Overall, I think it shows promise. However, I reserve full judgement until I can see the full version in play – the version available in the beta test only allows access from the base game’s System Resource Document. This ends up severely limiting your character build options. I also wonder how content from WotC’s Unearthed Arcana articles (such as the Mystic or the Artificer) will be slotted in, if at all. There is an option to get access to homebrewed content, so maybe it will take that form. We’ll see.

That’s all for me – take care everybody!

~Rob

625 – Reunited!

Man, you leave him unattended for two seconds…


I’m seeing lots of “Doctor Who’s gonna be a WOMAN??? Nuh-uh! He’s a dude!” (or words to that effect) posts popping up on my Facebook feed, many by people that I ordinarily find to be progressive, rational people. My response? About. Frikkin’. Time. They made the Master into Missy and NO ONE had a problem with it and Michelle Gomez hit it out of the park. The Doctor a woman? Why the hell not? I’m sure Ms. Whittaker will do a great job and bring her own subtle nuances to the role that all of the former Doctors brought.
Also, to anyone out there who is applauding Ms. Whittaker’s casting by saying that she is breaking the gender barrier for being cast as the first female lead in a sci-fi TV show? Kate Mulgrew (a.k.a.Captain Kathryn Janeway of Star Trek Voyager) would like to have a few words with you. Just saying.
~Rob

624 – Last Light! Now GIT!

Poor Brother Leon, trying to bail out the sinking boat that is the Bitter-Ore clan.

See you next week!

~Rob

623 – Toots? Really?

Plus, Becky talks to her god and he talks back. She also has a puppy that has a history of eating entire inns.


I am off for the Lone Star State as of July 4th, so my daughters (in their first airplane ride ever) may get to watch the fireworks from above! I plan on keeping the strip updated while I’m away, so no worries there. However, since I won’t be writing one of these posts until after July 4th, Happy Independence Day, America!

Also, to all my Canadian friends, have a great Canada Day (July 1st)!

Take care,

~Rob

626 – “…Or was it ‘The Goats,’ plural?”

Nothing like having a little… leverage on a scumbag. πŸ™‚


Often, when I write my characters, I hear their voices in my head. I’ve talked about this before. I used to hear either Billy Bob Thornton’s character from Sling Blade or Yosemite Sam when I wrote Carl, but now? Now, I hear Michael Rooker’s voice as Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy. Still very redneck-y, though.

Take care,

~Rob

625 – She minored in Rogue Studies

Yes, Carl named the ship himself. No, that’s not a typo. πŸ™‚


Since my daughters’ birthday lands on Father’s Day, my family decided to do Father’s Day for me today (6/17/17). Twin #1 made me several handmade chocolate candies, which were awesome.:)

Twin #2 made me this:


She took a Beginning Ceramics class and at the beginning of the class she decided to make me a Green Lantern Power Ring for Father’s Day! This reminds me of a story…

In 2008, I was living in Las Vegas and applied for a customer service job with Zappos.com. Their job application was… unique in that it looked kind of like a coloring book. It had a word search, a trivia quiz and the following question: “What superhero would you be and why?” I answered it with the following: “I have been waiting for years for someone to ask me that! Green Lantern, and I’ll tell you why!” I told them why, although I don’t remember what I wrote.

So, uh, yeah, I like Green Lantern.

Take care (and Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there),

~Rob

624 – Hey there, Carl!

Long time no see, Carl! Forgot about that ol’ thief Carl Bitter-Ore (or never heard of him)? Click here to see his debut!


No, this isn’t The Patty Duke Show, folks (kids, ask your parents). Carl and Leon just look a lot alike. Case in point: in my family, the men look a great deal alike. I bear an extraordinary resemblance to my father (except for the nose he broke playing football), and so on with my grandfather and his brothers. So, it can happen. πŸ™‚

See you next time,

~Rob

623 – View from a Burlap Sack

“You had one bloody job to do, Reg. We are SO getting fired!”


Work continues on Book Three, and you can see the new book’s logo for free at the MeatShield Patreon page!

I’m still looking at a July 1st release date for this one, which will include all strips from #301 to #476, as well as Encyclopedia Ardrisia excerpts  and other bonus materials. More news as I have it!

Take care,

~Rob

622 – Mrowf Indeed

No question, Vorpal knows her name. πŸ™‚

Take care,

~Rob

621 – Nighty-night Stupids!

I thought clerics were supposed to have high Wisdom scores?


Breaking News: I expect to have the third MeatShield Book, The Tomb of Errors, available by July 1st, 2017! As in the last two books, this will have special additions to it, including Philo’s stats. However, I am entertaining suggestions for other bits of bonus material. What would you all like to see in the next book?

Take care,

~Rob

620 – “Who knew liquor was THAT flammable?”

Dhur just put one whole point into his Bluff skill and is itching to use it!


While I was drawing this strip, something occurred to me: how would a Dungeons & Dragons-style city handle emergencies like fires, giant sinkholes, hurricanes, and earthquakes? Would there be a department that handles such matters, like a fantasy-world version of FEMA? I mean, sure, you might be able to call upon the Royal Mage or whoever for the occasional fix, especially if whatever happened actually affects them directly (i.e. There is a fire threatening the city library, or a giant’s hurled boulders just smashed the best brewery in town). However, after being called upon for the 12th time to help with a fire at the local creamery, any wizard might get a bit… testy and resent the time taken away from their studies.

Given that I have established that in Ardris (the world MeatShield takes place in) there are artificers (which, for the uninitiated, are kind of like magical MacGyvers, making magical devices out of almost anything), I imagine they would be the ones called upon to help in this manner. Not that they would be terribly happy about it either.

Do you have any ideas for how the City-State of Kilanio might normally put out a fire like this? Leave me your ideas below in the comments!

Take care,

~Rob

619 – He said it involved something called a “Flaming Moe?”

So, this is happening…

I’m really excited about the Patreon campaign starting back up, if you can’t tell. However, It dawned on me that some among you might not know all you get by becoming a patron of MeatShield. Here’s a look at the Patreon reward tiers:

Babarian – $1 or more per month
The call of the wild sings through your blood as a Barbarian! You’ll get access to the MeatShield Patreon news feed, with tidbits of news, ramblings and musings! Who doesn’t love ramblings and musings? Other than orcs, that is. That’s a given.

Bard – $2 or more per month
You have a fine appreciation for the arts and have become a Bard! You have earned my thanks and gratitude, access to the MeatShield Patreon news feed, along with your name (or the name of your D&D character) inscribed upon the Patreon Wall of Awesome on the main MeatShield site!

Monk – $5 or more per month
You have centered your chi and become a Monk! As such, you are entitled to not only the previous rewards, but also to view the newest MeatShield comic one day early here on Patreon!

Paladin – $10 or more per month
You have taken up arms to defend the helpless as a Paladin! Such holy might grants you all of the above rewards, plus access to a special Patreon-only sketch blog, updated three times per week!

Archmage – $20 or more per month
The secrets of the multiverse are at your fingertips as an Archmage! This arcane knowledge grants you all of the previous rewards, plus, after four consecutive pledges at this level, a one-time cameo of yourself (or whoever you’d like) in a future MeatShield strip!

MeatShield will always be available to read for free right here, but there is oh so much more available to you as a patron and more rewards to come… as soon as I think of them, that is. I’m open to suggestions!

In the words of Joel Hodgson, “Think about it won’t you? Thank you.”

Take care,

~Rob

618 – Hush, Lyria’s reading.

After the last strip, this one and the one following it, I think I’ll be done drawing bookshelves for the foreseeable future. πŸ™‚


Lyria is the creation of loyal and longtime MeatShield reader Janessa Ravenwood. Some among you might remember that I had a Patreon campaign running for about a year. By contributing at different tiers, you got different rewards. At the tier Janessa contributed at, she was rewarded with the ability to have either herself, someone she knows, or a character of her own creation make a cameo appearance in the strip! Ergo, the “Semi-reclusive wizard with a limited social life, Lyria Iliathor.”

Think you might like in on some of this action? Glad to hear it. I have set a date for the Patreon campaign to resume: May 1st, 2017.  I’ll be announcing its launch on both the Twitter feed and the MeatShield Facebook page.

See you next week!

~Rob

617 – The Toviat Library

*massages hand and wrist after drawing the third panel*

Ouch. That’s a lotta detail.


And now, in a continuing service, an entry from the Encyclopedia Ardrisia…

THE TOVIAT LIBRARY

Situated on the grounds of the University of Kilanio, the Toviat Library is the greatest repository of knowledge in the world. Named after Oslof Toviat, the first dean of the University, the library is also the home of the editors and researchers of the Encyclopedia Ardrisia, which is (as of this writing) currently undergoing revisions for its 49th edition.

The library covers 434,712 square feet and consists of five floors (two above ground, three below). Noteworthy features include the Elavι Genealogical Research Center, the Sutter Thaumaturgy Wing, and the library’s Restricted Research Section, which houses tomes and manuscripts that are either so ancient and delicate as to require specialized care or are so unpredictably powerful that they are best kept out of the hands of the average patron. Access to the Restricted Research Section is by appointment only.

There are over 2,500 seats for in house study. During the fall and spring semesters, the building is open 85 hours a week. The Library is heavily used with a gate count of nearly 1.5 million annually, and over 25,000 reference questions answered per year by very beleaguered and frankly underpaid librarians, many of whom contribute to the Encyclopedia itself.

The Encyclopedia Ardrisia , volume 46 (Tenser’s Slipped Discs to Tripwire Stew), Kilanio University Press, 48th edition.

Take care,
~Rob

616 – Royalty hath its privileges

Jaine’s mom has connections. She was a bard, after all – those people pop up everywhere… πŸ˜‰

The aforementioned EA article on the Taivot Library is being postponed to next week when it will be more appropriate. Also, apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time. πŸ™‚

Take care,

~Rob

 

615 – Long Live King James

I’ll be frank with you folks: some of these strips, while they do advance the story, are also just for me. This is one of them. For those of you new to the strip, I lost my father in June of 2015. His name was (and is) Jimmy Chambers. I planned on naming the soon-to-arrive infant king of Westhame after him several months ago and I’ve finally gotten to it now. Better late than never, Dad. πŸ™‚

I’m taking the next week off, as it is Spring Break here and I have two 12 year-olds bouncing off the walls wanting to go swimming every day. See you in two weeks!

Take care,

~Rob

614 – There’s nothing Neitzche couldn’t teach about the raising of the wrist!

Why do I hear Tracy Morgan’s voice when Dhur says “we’re gonna get drunk”?

Next week, a new Encyclopedia Ardrisia entry: the Taviot Library! See you then!

~Rob

613 – Aww, Shucks!

One of the rules of writing comedy (or whatever it is that I do) is that you shouldn’t explain the joke. Explaining a joke is the surest route to killing said joke. However, I realize that not everyone reading this has been playing D&D since the late 70’s, so… I’m about to explain the previous strip. God help me. πŸ™‚

OK, here we go: back in 1975, Gary Gygax (the co-creator of D&D) created the quintessential adventuring party-killing story (or module) called The Tomb of Horrors. It was (and is) renowned for being fiendishly difficult and among the many traps and terrors in that module is the Green Devil Face. It looks much like the one seen in the last strip and many a soul has been disintegrated by climbing inside inside the devil’s mouth because the mouth actually functions in a similar manner as a magical artifact called a Sphere of Annihilation. Anything that comes in contact with it is completely and utterly destroyed, except magic items (such as Franz’ sword).

So, there you go. See you all next week!

~Rob

612 – RIP King Franz

*Apologies to Aaron Williams :)*

Apparently Yeagar wasn’t available to help out.


Sorry, King Franz – ain’t no coming back from that.

Not much to talk about today, folks. See you next week!

Take care,

~Rob

611 – The Queen Dowager

Ah, Aniera, I’ve missed you. I guess she changed her mind about marriage. Sadly, however, this DOES mean that Jonus would be Jaine’s step-brother… if he hadn’t been disowned and thrown back into his prison cell.

Take care,

~Rob

610 – “And put out the little soaps shaped like roses too!”

And now, in a continuing service, an entry from the Encyclopedia Ardrisia…

Kilanio Royal Palace

Also known by the nickname “Warpwood Estate,” the palace of the ruling family of Westhame has it origins dating back to the founding of the kingdom by The Magnificent Nine, the heroes who explored the western half of the continent of Ardris. Built by hand by the paladin Kilanio herself (and it shows), the palace is a rustic affair of timbers, stonework, and stucco, the last being a common building material due to the temperate climate. It is also small, dated and drafty. However, the people of Kilanio are fond of tradition and history, so Warpwood has stayed the home of the ruling family, as much as they would have it otherwise.

Warpwood Estate has a total of 10 bedrooms, 4 indoor bathrooms, a wine cellar, throneroom, offices and recently, a nursery.

The Encyclopedia Ardrisia , volume 14 (Jynga Riot to Kodann Armada), Kilanio University Press, 48th edition.

I had planned to launch the new Patreon page this week, but I have instead spent most of this past week working on the strip, finishing a commission, and learning how to use iMovie so that I can put out a decent video for said Patreon page. When I have it ready, you guys will be the first to know.

Take care,
~Rob

609 – Kilanio, The City of the Seven Towers

One of these days, I’m going draw a comic strip that doesn’t have a metric ton of detail in it. No cityscapes, no horses, etc. Yep, one day… πŸ™‚


Next week, I’m going to be restarting the Patreon campaign for MeatShield. I’ve learned a few things since I ran my last one and I’m ready to dive into those waters again. Recent events have galvanized my resolve to make MeatShield a going concern, but I can’t do it without you folks. I kind of feel like the PBS pledge drive people: “…and at the $25 level, you get both the exclusive totebag and the coffee mug!” I’ll let you all know via the Twitters and the Facebooks when the Patreon campaign goes live. I’ll be re-tooling the rewards to make them more appropriate (and producible, on my end) to a Patreon campaign and not a Kickstarter (which was the model I used before). Wish me luck!

See you all next week!

~Rob

608 – Dwarves can be Emo too, ya know

Note to observant and/or longtime readers: Yes, I did retcon Kilanio’s descriptor just a tad, from “City of Towers,” to “City of Seven Towers.” Why? Two reasons: 1) It sounds cooler this way, and 2) seven towers are a lot easier to draw than an entire city of them. πŸ™‚ Besides, there’s already a City of Towers in the Eberron campaign setting.

Also, there were some comments recently about what game system MeatShield is modeled on. For the record: I don’t have any one game system in mind when I write the strip, although obviously D&D would be the frontrunner. However, it could just as easily be Dungeon World, Hero System or GURPS (Okay, maybe not GURPS). Jaine casts Fireballs because she came upon some bat guano (the material component for that spell) and cast it because it helped the story along. Story trumps (I hate using that word now) everything, including game system accuracy. That’s also why, although Ch’p is a monk, he’s not that good at healing and has never cast a clerical spell in his life.

Take care,

~Rob

607 – How have they managed without one this long?

In D&D, there has always been four classes that, nine times out of ten, make up your standard adventuring party: Fighter (or “fighting-man” as it was originally called), Wizard (or “magic-user”), Rogue (“thief”) and Cleric, the guy who can heal with a touch and ward off undead. The fact that our little gang of misfits has survived this long without someone there to patch them up either speaks to their toughness or to the fact that most of their fights haven’t been all that bad. Either that, or Dhur owns stock in a Healing Potion Brewery. Hmm… beer that heals… I like that idea. Too bad it already exists: I believe it’s called Guinness Stout. πŸ™‚

Anyway, welcome to the Unnamed Royal Adventuring Company #47, Brother Leon!

606 – She has a Kung-Fu Action Grip!

Speaking of action figures and their accessories… I have an awesome brother-in-law who is all about the 3D printing on a professional level and a while back he asked me to make a turnaround sheet for the Nailmoor Sledge (Becky’s talking, ornery hammer). A few months later, this is what he showed me:

20161202_232824AIn’t that neat? So, might anyone want one of these as a keychain fob or something like that? I’m gauging interest right now.

See you next week – oh, and Happy New Year (belatedly)!

~Rob

605 – Divine 401K, anyone?

I’m pretty sure Becky knows how short the careers of most paladins are and the odds of collecting on any pension; she’s just grousing right now.


I’ll be taking the next two weeks off for the holidays, so in the meantime, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Holidays to any other holidays I may have missed. See you in 2017!

Take care,

~Rob

604 – It’s hard to get humility out of rugs

I have recently been told that I am hard to shop for vis-a-vis Christmas. I contend that I am easy to shop for – just buy me the books listed on my Amazon wish list, but not everyone wants to buy nothing but books for me. This puts me in a “First World Problems” sort of situation of asking for advice on what to have people get for me. Any ideas?

Oh, and if any of you are so inclined, here’s my Amazon Wish List.

See you next week!

~Rob

603 – Mmmm, Ram Kebabs!

This cartoon is going live on Wednesday, November 23, which is the day before Thanksgiving here in the US. I know it’s a tad clichιd to talk about what you’re thankful for at this time of year, but here goes (I’ll make it short, I promise):

  1. I am thankful for my wife and my children, who have helped me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
  2. I am thankful to have a roof over my head, food on my table, unpolluted water to drink, and decent schools for my kids.
  3. I am thankful for my family and friends, who love me and support me even when they don’t necessarily understand what I’m doing. Case in point: My wonderful mother-in-law reads my strip even though D&D humor is definitely not her cup of tea.
  4. I am thankful for the stress release valve and creative outlet roleplaying games can be. I’ve needed it, especially after the past year and a half.
  5. I am thankful for all of you. A cartoonist (or any artist, really) cannot do what they do without an audience. An actor without an audience is just somebody reciting lines on stage to themselves. A writer or cartoonist without a readership is much the same. Thank you for reading and for commenting and just generally being the best readers I could ask for.

That’s what I’m thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I’m taking next week off, so I’ll see you all on December 7.

Take care,

~Rob

602 – In the spring, they have pony rides.

Just in case you all missed it: Dungeons and Dragons was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Play! Like many of you, I had no idea that the Toy Hall of Fame existed, but there you go.

Take care,

~Rob

601 – Yietzas!

Yes, in my world, magical clothing/armor have endure elements imbued in them. Why? Because comics, that’s why. πŸ™‚


This strip is going live on Election Day here in the US. Today is probably the most stressful election in decades for everyone, no matter what side of the fence you sit on. Like a lot of you, I’m scared. I’m scared because polls can be wrong. I’m scared because there is a chance, however slight at this point, that a man with little to no self-control and non-existent morals may end up in the Oval Office.

I don’t care who you vote for. Vote for Hilary. Vote for Stein. Vote for Johnson. Heck, write in Dhur! He would definitely do a better job than He Who Must Not Be Named But Whose Name Rhymes with Dump. Just don’t sit at home. That way lies the Dark Side.

Okay, I’m done. Remember, his full name is “Dhur, Son of Dhoh.”

God help us all,

~Rob

600 – You can never go wrong with ointment

We should all fear Becky’s Slapping Hand, for it is powerful.


For those of you who are new to the strip and are wondering why there is a DING sound effect over Dhur’s head in panel #4, allow me to explain: The way I work experience for these characters (a la D&D) is that every 100 strips sees them go up a level. In World of Warcraft, the DING sound effect denotes a character leveling up. We’re at Strip #600, so now the gang are all at 6th level now (or in Becky’s case, multiclassed as Fighter 3/Paladin 3). Now they can really start to do some damage. πŸ™‚

Wow. 600 comic strips.  Pretty sweet.

See you next time,

~Rob

599 – MA!!!!

I’m really enjoying playing D&D again, after DMing for so long. Wanna hear about my character? SURE you do! πŸ™‚ I’m running a Human Diviner named Elias Banrion (Elias from the Prophet Elias, Banrion from the Irish for Queen, as in Ellery Queen – here’s who that is). Elias  (Eli to his friends) is a fully licensed Inquisitive from the City of Sharn on Eberron who was transported, along with all the other PCs, to the Village of Barovia in the Ravenloft campaign setting. So far, it’s been awesome.


In the midst of writing the above paragraph, I received a call from my best friend. His mother passed away at 8:30AM on 10/24/16. Paul’s folks were always like second parents to me, so I kind of feel how I did when my Dad passed away over a year ago.

Take care, everyone.

~Rob

598 – Dhur, stop trying to help.

He’s like an eager 5-year old who’s just been entrusted with setting the dinner table and wants to help EVEN MORE!!


And now, in a continuing service, an entry from the Encyclopedia Ardrisia…

Chronomancy

The practice of Chronomancy deals with the magical manipulation of time. One of (if not THE) most dangerous fields of arcane study, Chronomancy allows a wizard schooled in it to speed up, slow down, or even halt time itself for a brief period, relative to the caster. Chronomancers who are truly masters of the craft are even able to travel through time, although unshielded time travel can wreak havoc on the psyche. Often, shielded vessels of some sort are employed to maintain sanity and to maintain relative dimension in time and space.

One of the trickiest chronomantic spells is the Temporal Reversion Field, which allows the mage to magically envelope a large area, cause inanimate objects within that field to revert to their original conditions, and then lock those conditions into place in the current timeframe. One would imagine this would make home restoration a breeze, but there is the downside of completely rupturing the space-time continuum.

There is little to no modern day research being done in this field, as far as we know. The most recent research was known to have been done somewhere in the southern regions of the Empire of Kunac over 200 years ago.

The Encyclopedia Ardrisia , volume 4  (Candletakers to Czarn Keep), Kilanio University Press, 48th edition.

See you next week!
Take care,
~Rob

597 – “You haven’t lived until you’ve read Shakespeare in its original Klingon”

I realized something earlier today:  Jaine is loaded with magic. She has the following:

  • The Verdant Mantle, which allows her to talk to animals and keeps her young (among other things);
  • Shondella’s Blessing of Connection, which allows her to understand any language (for the rules wonks out there, she has the Tongues spell cast on her along with a Permanence spell);
  • and not one but TWO Bags of Holding (those pouches on her belt), where she keeps most of the party’s gear.

I don’t think Jaine needs any more magic items for a while. If this were a real D&D game, I’d be accused of being a Monty Haul DM! πŸ™‚ Yeesh!


The Patreon page will be going back up in a couple of weeks, as I need to retool and relaunch it, hopefully this time with a video and simplified tiers of patronage and rewards.

Take care,

~Rob

596 – You get an “A” for effort, Dhur

Winning streaks don’t last forever, Dhur. πŸ™‚


I have decided that MeatShield needs to go back to a weekly schedule, effective today. There’s an old saying: “First you get good, then you get fast, then you get good and fast.” I’m working on the fast part.

In other geeky news, I’m going to get to play D&D again! I usually DM and my esteemed brother-in-law is going to be running Curse of Strahd, just in time for October. I usually play oddball characters with personalities based off of TV characters. I once had a 2nd Ed. psionicist named Rasag the Incredulous whose personality was based on Ed Chigliak from Northern Exposure – kids ask your parents. Recently, I ran an Oath of Vengance Paladin whose personality was based loosely on Matthew McConaghey. This time around, I’ll be playing a straight-up wizard, something I’ve surprisingly never run before, personality yet to be determined. He’s going to be more like a detective than the typical wizard. Looking forward to it!

See you next week!

~Rob

595 – A broken clock is right twice a day

It was bound to happen – Dhur contributed something meaningful to the party beyond just “beatin’ up bad guys and takin’ their stuff.”

Not much to talk about today, folks. Take care and I’ll see you on Friday!

~Rob

594 – At least Vorpal’s having fun!

Don’t remember our old pal Gary? Go take look here to refresh your memory.


Just to head off any continuity questions: if it was two years ago, why are the ruins still smoking? Good question, you have a fine eye for detail.:)  To answer that, I’ll ask you this related question: if it was two years ago, why hasn’t any snow accumulated along the tops of the ruin walls? Hmmm. Ponder that, my padawans. πŸ™‚

See you all next week!

~Rob

593 – Home in Ruins

What a difference 3 months makes!

Thank you all for the extraordinarily kind words during my hiatus/sabbatical/vacation/whatever you call it. I feel much better, less burned out, and ready to draw! I really needed that. πŸ™‚

So, who might that ghostly figure be?

Take care,

~Rob

** MeatShield – A Look Back and Forward **

I started publishing MeatShield on September 9, 2009, wanting to create a “sort of Dungeons & Dragons sitcom.” Since starting the strip I’ve moved four times, I’ve made a lot of good friends, published two books, and learned a lot about the life of a cartoonist.

However, for the past year, I have been running on fumes, from a creative standpoint. It has not been uncommon for me to be writing the next strip on the day it was due to run. Sometimes that’s a good challenge and I relish it, and other times it is just a challenge. The weeks where it has been a challenge and not a fun one have been more and more frequent of late. I need a break, folks.

There are other webcartoonists whose work I admire and several of them have taken long hiatuses, publishing their work in “seasons,” similar to how TV networks release their shows. As of this week, that is what I am going to do. MeatShield will be on hiatus until September 12, 2016. My Patreon campaign will be placed on hold as well until that time.

Over the next few months, I will be doing the following:
• Finishing all outstanding illustration commissions
• Letting my creative batteries recharge
• Writing the next season of MeatShield
• Taking care of myself, which I have not been very good at lately.

I will still be maintaining a social media presence via Facebook and Twitter, which will be the most effective way to get ahold of me. Thank you all for your understanding and your support over the years. I could not have come as far as I have without all of you.

Take care,

~Rob

592 – We’re going to need 14 tons of spackle.

William Faulkner once gave this piece of writing advice: “In writing, you must kill your darlings.” This refers to those parts of a story that the writer has fallen in love with but aren’t needed for the story anymore and can perhaps even be distracting to the reader.  It can be a character, a phrase, an image, a joke, or in this case, a monastery. We are now entering a new storyline for our heroes, the Unnamed Royal Adventuring Company #47.  Buckle in for….

THE EMPIRE OF THE MITHRIL SKULLS

Take care,

~Rob

591 – Is this outfit machine washable?

So, what do you think of Ch’p’s new duds? His previous robes were the traditional robes worn by W’Shaa monks during their Fielding, the red and gold color scheme of which is then reversed for monks that remain in primary service to the monastery (i.e. non-adventuring monks). For the monks that are also adventurers? They can wear anything they darn well want! πŸ™‚

Oh, and to address the questions and discussions from last week about the history of Dhur’s literacy: Dhur has been functionally illiterate this entire time, since day one. However, he has managed to learn a few tricks here and there to get by, which is common for a lot of folks that struggle with illiteracy in the real world (and I am in no way way ridiculing them). If you’d like to help kids in their fight with illiteracy and growing their creativity, go check out 826LA, a non-profit that encourages creative writing and reading in the Los Angeles area. They also run the Time Traveler’s Mart, the sales from which go towards 826LA – I’ll see you there yesterday πŸ˜‰ . There are chapters of 826 in several cities in the US, check out the 826 national website for more info.

Take care,

~Rob

590 – Vague Rewards ‘R’ Us!

After all the crap that’s been thrown at our little band o’ heroes, I thought some rewards were in order. Oh, and yes, Dhur was functionally illiterate (once he has something read to him, he’ll remember it, but otherwise…) He will probably use this new gift to find out just how much he’s been overcharged at restaurants and bars. Havoc will ensue. πŸ™‚

Take care,

~Rob

589 – Pancakes make everything better!

I see the Three Lost Masters always saying “At Your Service!” as being along the lines of the The Doctor from Star Trek Voyager saying, “Please state the nature of the medical emergency.” It’s just a preprogrammed greeting that they can’t vary. Until now, that is. Oh, and they have legs now, too!

588 – Divine Maternity

No, Ch’p is not a demigod. He is awesome, just not that level of awesome.

See you next week!

~Rob

587 – The Vast Meadows

Poor Vorpal. When ya gotta go, ya gotta go, Becky.

Hasta,

~Rob

586 – Vorp! Again!

Let’s hope Ch’p’s arm doesn’t get chopped off when the portal closes… or when Lisette gets a hold of a butcher’s knife. πŸ™‚


You have no idea how long I’ve been wanting to clean Ch’p up, but the storyline never seemed to give me a chance to work it in until now. His Naruto look-a-like days are now over!

Take care,

~Rob

585 – You’re going to meet your god dressed like THAT?

Not telling you what to do, Ch’p, but if I was on my way to meet my god, I’d at least shave and put on deodorant. Just saying.

See you Friday,

~Rob

584 – Check yourself, Dhur

Look at it this way: if all your people were known for was overeating, running around barefoot, and hanging around with dodgy wizards, you’d be a tad defensive too.


I’m a day late with this, but May 5th was and is a very important holiday in the history of the United States. I’m of course talking about National Cartoonist’s Day. Started in 1990, it celebrates the publication of the very first American comic strip, Hogan’s Alley, by Richard F. Outcault in 1895.

I bet it’s a Federal law or something that you have to shower any cartoonist you happen to know with gifts and libations. I like coffee and books. πŸ˜‰

Take care,

~Rob

583 – Passing the Divine Buck

And now, in a continuing service, an excerpt from the Encyclopedia Ardrisia…

SHONDELLA

Long after the Grand Conference, when the gods and goddesses of Ardris collaborated on the creation of the world, a new goddess simply appeared one day. There are many theories as to how Shondella arrived in Ardris, including but not limited to:

  1. Shondella is the offspring of two of the other gods and goddesses of Ardris.
  2. Shondella originated from another world and came to Ardris via interplanar travel, deciding to stay.
  3. Shondella was simply a very powerful (and short) mortal adventurer who somehow attained godhood.

No one knows which of these theories, if any, are correct. What is not in question is that once Shondella appeared, she got to work. While the other gods had cornered portfolios of influence such as Weather, Fate, Death and Librarians, there were other obvious concerns that did not have a divine caretaker. The busiest of bees, Shondella took all of the following portfolios upon herself:

  1. Fertility
  2. Children
  3. Wisdom
  4. Family
  5. Protection
  6. Diplomacy
  7. Community
  8. Prosperity
  9. Conviviality
  10. Honest Toil
  11. Multitasking

Shondella is the mother of the halfling race, many of whom share her industriousness, friendliness and short stature. Shondella is one of the few deities of Ardris who regularly walks among mortals, appearing as an attractive halfling woman with flowing reddish brown hair, dressed in well cared-for robes and sandals, and carrying her signature weapon, a birch quarterstaff called Achiever. Most halfling families lay an extra place at their table for Shondella at mealtimes, as there is always the chance that she’ll show up that night, hopefully with dessert.

The Encyclopedia Ardrisia , volume 41 (Santor’s Sibiliant Swords to Slaadipuffs), Kilanio University Press, 48th edition.

582 – Heroine Worship

To give you an idea how this is affecting Lisette, consider this: to monks of the W’Shaa, meeting the Three Lost Masters is a huge religious experience. Kind of like Elijah walking in the door to attend your Seder, or Elvis showing up at your barbeque. πŸ™‚

Take care,

~Rob

581 – Lisette

Forget Master Teo? How could you, when all ya gotta do is click here! πŸ™‚

Running a bit behind this past week, hoping to get caught up soon. Thanks for your patience, folks.:)

Take care,

~Rob

580 – What’s-her-face?

If this hasn’t happened to you, it will. It sucks.


I’m thinking of cleaning up the website a bit. I need to know if having the Facebook and Twitter badges on either side of the blog post makes a difference or not. What say you?

Take care,

~Rob

579 – Investment Opportunities Abound!

To be fair, expecting Ch’p to know about the W’Shaa in Scrybl is kind of like going up to someone from Texas and saying, “You’re from Texas? My cousin lives in Texas! Do you know him?”

Take care,

~Rob

578 – There’s Gold in them there Ice Chunks!

Hey, it’s Jerry! Remember him? Click here to refresh your memory!


And now, in a continuing service, an entry from the Encyclopedia Ardrisia.

Primordial Elements

Terr. Aer. Fajr. Aquo. These are the names of the Inner Planes, each corresponding to a classical element (earth, air, fire and water, respectively). In isolated areas of each one of these planes (and their affiliated quasi-planes such as Ashfrakseno, Voerhal, Laforni, and Vapistor, to name a few), there are small naturally occurring deposits of matter that embody the primordial essence of that plane. These primordial elements maintain a constant link with their plane of origin and are extraordinarily rare. They are most commonly sought out as components for powerful spells, although they also have their mundane uses.
• Primordial fire cannot be extinguished by any means and will burn through all but the sturdiest materials.
• Primordial earth can be used in farming, making fields incredibly fertile or as a component in building nigh-impregnable structures like forts, castles and convenience stores;
• Bottles of primordial air or water can be used as constantly replenishing supplies of air or water, respectively.
Likewise, primordial ice will never melt and will freeze all but the most insulated of materials, while primordial lightning is an artificer’s joy, providing power for their contraptions that circumvents magic altogether.

There have been rumors for centuries that a fifth Inner Plane, called the Plane of Heart, exists. This concept is often (and quite rightly) scoffed at by the world of Academia, including the High Dean of Kilanio University, who proclaimed the idea to be “lame.”

The Encyclopedia Ardrisia , volume 21 (Owlbadger to Psuedomen), Kilanio University Press, 48th edition.

577 – Ice Ice Baby

Sorry about that subject heading, couldn’t resist. πŸ™‚


I probably should have warned you all last week, but this week (the week of April 5th) is Spring Break for my girls, which means every time I’ve tried to be productive in some way, I’ve been interrupted by 11-year-olds wailing “Dad, we’re BORED!” Thus, this week will be a one-strip week. Monday cannot come soon enough. πŸ˜‰

Take care, everybody!

~Rob

576 – Lockpicking don’t come cheap

You know what I love? I love it when I post the new social media posts for the latest comic strip, but then forget to actually post the new strip on the website. Yessir, that just makes my day. πŸ™ Sorry about that, you guys.

No April Foolery today, promise.

Take care,

~Rob

575 – Gold-plated Ridin’ Hogs for EVERYONE!

Because, let’s face it, Dhur is one of those guys that if he existed in the real world would be tooling around on the biggest, loudest, most obnoxious Harley he could lay his mitts on.


It’s been brought to my attention that The Unnamed Royal Adventuring Company #47 (our heroes) have been woefully bereft of actual treasure during their travels. Will that change? Wait and see!

Take care,

~Rob

574 – Jaine and Philo, sittin’ in a tree….

I thought about having Ch’p say “Word” to Dhur in that last panel, but I decided that a) I didn’t need it and b) It would show my age. Like I did just now, home skillet. πŸ™‚


I ran a bit behind this week, so this week will be a one-strip week. Next week, we’ll be back to the regular schedule.

I have a favor to ask of you all: if you use AdBlocker as part of your regular internet use, please whitelist meatshield.net. Right now, MeatShield is (barely) staying afloat fiscally mostly due to the kind contributions of my Patreon patrons. Before Patreon, the only ways I made any money with the strip were via book sales and ad revenue. Then AdBlocker reared its head. I use AdBlocker, as do many of you, and I have no problem with it. However, when folks started using it, I saw what little money I made via ads shrink to nearly nothing. As Dhur would say, “C’mon, help a dude out, y’know?”

Thanks,

~Rob

573 – A Kiss Goodbye

I guess this is what happens when you make an ice sculpture of someone (and then confess a longstanding crush).


Believe it or not, it’s rather hard to draw people kissing, especially since it’s something I’d never drawn before. Y’see, it’s like there are two Robs in my head: Past Rob and Future Rob. Past Rob will often come up with awesome story ideas but without actually thinking through what it will take to realize them, trusting to Future Rob to actually do all the heavy lifting. I have come to the conclusion that Past Rob is a dick:

Past Rob: “Yeah, and then Jaine kisses him! Awesome, huh?”
Future Rob: “But I don’t know how to draw people kissing!”
Past Rob: “Not my problem, dude! Figure it out!”
Future Rob: “I hate you, Past Rob.”

Take care,

~Rob

572 – The boys (and girls) are back in town!

Ahh, yes, Scrybl, the City of Shortcuts, how I’ve missed you.


I’m back from the land of influenza! I haven’t had the flu as bad as I just did in YEARS. Yech!

I had some fun with the architecture in this one. Since Scrybl is an interdimensional city, with creatures from all planes of existence walking its streets, it only makes sense that there be no one unifying “look” to the city. Brownstones can easily exist side-by-side with buildings made from what looks rainbow sherbet, and so on.

Since my schedule got so out of whack, we’re going to reset it: New strips will preview on the Patreon site on Sundays and Wednesdays, then go live on the main MeatShield site on Mondays and Thursdays. Sound good? Sure it does! πŸ™‚

Take care,

~Rob

 

571 – Butterfingers in the Astral Plane

UPDATE – 3/2/16 – Apologies, folks: the new MeatShield strip will be delayed due to this cold/flu thing that has smacked me and my family upside the head.


Welcome to all our new readers from Facebook! Hope you like what you see! Our heroes are currently finding their way back to the extraplanar city of Scrybl and Philo’s likely incarceration upon arrival. You know, a Tuesday. πŸ™‚

By the way, Dhur’s (now lost) loot includes the following:

  • Blackrazor
  • Ashbringer
  • Flying Carpet
  • Alladin’s Lamp
  • Two bags of Gold Coins
  • Rod of Lordly Might
  • Bag of Devouring

Take care,

~Rob

570 – Dhur has his priorities straight

Can you ID all the items Dhur looted? All $5 and up Patreon patrons already know the answer (so please don’t spoil it :)!


So, it looks like Warner Bros. wants to make the next D&D movie more light-hearted and closer in feel to Guardians of the Galaxy. When I first read that headline, my kneejerk reaction was “Aww, Man!! D&D is NEVER going to get a break in the movies!” Then I read the rest of the article, and concluded that they had a point:  the only fantasy movies we’ve seen have been very serious and self-important, like Lord of the Rings and the Narnia movies. We need something that can encapsulate both the sweeping epic feel of the Forgotten Realms, yet can also bring a touch of humor (a touch, mind you) to the proceedings. I have yet to be involved with a D&D game that was 100% serious, nor have I ever met anyone who has. There are always going to be gazebo stories, the Head of Vecna, and Monty Python references in D&D and if some of the spirit of that can be seen in the movie, all the better. Just so long as we don’t have to see Marlon Wayans or that guy with the blue lipgloss in it.

Take care,

~Rob

569 – Haunt Me Baby One More Time

If you had told me an indeterminate number of years ago when I was in high school that one day my job would consist of drawing cartoons that included (among other things) a flirty ghost, I’m honestly not sure how I would have reacted.

Life’s a funny thing, y’know?

Take care,

~Rob

568 – I guess we just got lucky!

Apologies to John Kovalic. πŸ™‚


 

Y’see, there is no Wand of Wonder in the world of Ardris, but we do have the W’Shaa Abelskiver of Cosmic Chance (the recipe’s full name in the W’Shaa Cookbook of Light)!

Take care,

~Rob

567 – Lowered Expectations

This all goes to show that investing points in a Craft skill (like, say, Craft: Cooking) can come in handy, folks. πŸ™‚


As promised, here is my review of the new rules for the Mystic and Psionics in 5th edition D&D:

Wizards of the Coast uses the Unearthed Arcana articles on their website to try out new rules and options. Past articles have presented prestige classes and rune magic, how to adapt the Eberron campaign setting to 5E, adapting the class kits from 2nd edition to 5e, and now, psionics.

I’m one of those players who likes to play the more obscure character types, like the artificer in Eberron or the psionicist in Dark Sun. I remember reading the psionics tables in the back of the 1st edition Dungeon Masters Guide and where, in order to even get the powers, you had to roll to see if just trying to gain psionic powers would end up killing you instead! Kinda hardcore, but I did end up with a paladin who could also use Ego Whip (Whip it! Whip it good! – Geez, I just dated myself)!

Psionics has gone through a number of revamps over the editions, but some of the key components have stayed the same: a psionic power point pool, being able to supercharge your powers depending on how many points you devoted to it, decent armor availability and some signature powers, such as the aforementioned Ego Whip, Intellect Fortress, and the Tower of Iron Will. Some of these also make appearances in the 5E rules, but some key items that would seem to scream out to be included are absent, such as telekinesis. One of the most common psionic abilities in popular fiction is absent here. Wizards have Mage Hand as a cantrip, why not the Mystic? Dress it up if you have to and call it something like “The Unseen Hand” or something. Grr. Other “traditional” psionic powers like teleportation and the actual mind-reading aspect of telepathy are also absent; you can control someone’s mind (to a limited extent) but you can’t delve into their memories or determine what they are thinking at that moment without their cooperation.

Having said all that, the rest of the rules seem decent enough. To run a psionic character, you choose the Mystic character class, which quite frankly rolls of the tongue a lot better than “Psionicist” ever did. When you do, you choose one of two Orders to follow: The Order of the Awakened and the Order of the Immortal. The Awakened are what most people think of when they think of psionics: telepathic, otherworldly, and more preoccupied with learning new secrets than going out to thump skulls. The Immortals are essentially what used to be referred to in editions past as a Psychic Warrior: martially-inclined, using psionics to make mind and body one. Knowing me, I would probably make an Awakened Mystic (as opposed to a Drowsy Mystic?).

This is the second version of the 5E psionics rules and in this one they have included a little something that they learned from the 5E magic system: a psionic version of cantrips called Talents. Like cantrips, talents can be used for free and are somewhat low-powered, like being able to give yourself nightvision for an hour, or being able to alter your density slightly so as to increase your movement speed.

The “Too Long, Didn’t Read” review: Overall, not bad, but not great either. Best to wait until they work the kinks out. I do look forward to seeing how much farther they take their ideas, though.

Take care,

~Rob

566 – Manners Maketh Man… or Dragon?

One of these days, I’m going to manage to draw my characters “on model,” which means that they have a consistent appearance from any angle. That being said, I really like how Gelidek came out in the last panel. πŸ™‚

That’s all I have for now; on Friday, I’ll have my thoughts on the new Unearthed Arcana over at the D&D website: Psionics and Mystics!

Take care,

~Rob

565 – Double-Ick!

Not to be confused with The Doubleclicks, who are an awesome band and force of nature. πŸ™‚

I imagine being a ghost bound to a plaque with two other guys, one a relative and the other a bore, might put a crimp in anyone’s love life.

See you all on Tuesday!

~Rob

564 – Intentional Food Poisoning

Just in case you don’t feel like slogging through 560+ blog posts to find it, here is the definition of a W’Shaa Fielding:

Once a W’Shaa monk reaches the age of 20, he or she is sent out into the world on what is called “Fielding,” where they are to learn all they can of the outside world, battle evil where it is found, and discover new recipes for the W’Shaa Cookbook of Light. Most usually return with tales of thwarting the undead, rampaging orc hordes or truly horrible ginger snaps that needed to be not burned but rather exorcised. The most famous of the W’Shaa, Amos, disappeared several years ago. It is believed that he will come again someday to stand against the darkness with his trusty staff of power and his macadamia nut caramel bars. May we all live to see the day.

That’s all for now, see you Friday!

~Rob

563 – The Lost Masters of the W’Shaa

Go on, Ch’p, it’s your birthday, she likes you, it’s your birthday…


Actually I’ve never put it into any of the comics, but today is Ch’p’s birthday. Just in case you wanted to get him a present or whatever. πŸ™‚ Not telling what year, though. πŸ™‚

Take care,

~Rob

 

562 – Many Hands, Light Work

The Halfling language is, in my world, Welsh. why not?


One of the things that I love about doing this strip is the feedback I get from all of you. There have been more than a few times where a very thoughtful “atta boy!” from one of my readers has brightened my day, and I mean that sincerely.

An astute new commenter noticed my little Welsh joke, but unfortunately, I can’t put his/her comment up on the site because he/she provided a fake email address. Only thing is, the way I have my website set up, if you want to comment on anything, you have to provide a valid email address. I don’t do anything with them; long-time readers can attest to just how much spam I’ve sent them once I had their email addresses (read: none).  Once you do, it goes into my “pending authorization” file until I approve it. Once you get approved, you no longer need to wait for authorization and can post comments to your heart’s content.

Sorry about that,

~Rob

561 – Halfling – the Rodney Dangerfield of D&D Languages

Halflings – they just don’t get no respect!


Recently, Geek & Sundry posted a article about how the characters in Harry Potter would break down into D&D statistics. Trying to figure out what class and, in some cases, races our favorite characters from other media would be in Dungeons & Dragons is a long time source of friendly arguments and/or heated debate. Reading over this article, I don’t have very many problems with it, except for one thing: they forgot one particular spell from all of the characters’ spell lists, one which is pretty common in the Harry Potter universe: Wingardium Leviosa. Mage Hand, anyone?

Mischief managed,

~Rob

 

 

560 – A.K.A. The Birthday Cake Maneuver

Hey, it worked against Old King Cole! No one ever talks about what happened to Old King Cole AFTER he cut open that pie. It might explain why his reign over his vaguely-Western European nation ended so soon. I think about this stuff too much.


For gamers of a certain age (mine), the following can send chills up your spine: “After being swallowed up by dense mists, you suddenly find yourself in the land of Barovia. In the distance, high on a mountain peak, sits Castle Ravenloft.” After a long absence from D&D, the gothic horror world of Ravenloft is back! I played in a Ravenloft campaign exactly once, but that one time was memorable: we were all turned into living marionettes and were later hunted by packs of werewolves. This was during 2nd Edition, and I was running a psionicist (yeah, I’m THAT player) named Rasag the Incredulous, whose personality, dependability, and speech patterns I based off of Ed Chigliak from Northern Exposure. It was a ton of fun, even though I was the only character not freaked out by being sucked into the Demiplane of Dread.

Tread carefully in the mists,

~Rob