Trial of the War Master: Duel at Goblin City

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Trial of the War Master: Duel at Goblin City

Post by DannoE »

Hey guys,

My favorite part of making comics is the design phase. Comics are collaborative, which makes them both better and more frustrating than prose. Anyway, if you're new to the medium, then you my have never seen this before, which is why I'm posting it.

This story is a 8-page short that was supposed to go into a friend's anthology. Unfortunately the artist had to withdraw from the project before we finished it, so we missed the deadline. But I think you can still enjoy what's here. I do.

Trial of the War Master: Duel at Goblin City
A short script by: Dan Head

Page 1 – 3 Panels

1 (inset to 2): VEDRA is looking back towards where TAND’LION is standing amidst a circle of Fire Elf trading wagons. She is exasperated at his slowness. T’l is buckling his sword belt even as she is yelling at him.

VEDRA: Come on Tand’lion…

VEDRA: We don’t have all day!

2: This panel takes up most of this page, so that we can get a nice wide view of Goblin City. The Goblin City Market is a large market populated by hundreds of different demi-human salesmen and traders going about the standard routines of commerce in an open market type setting. Goblin City is set into the side of a cliff with a massive overhang, so that it is sort of half above and half below ground. That should give you some space to work with as you decide how exactly you want to set this up visually.

Here we see VEDRA gesticulating wildly, and talking smack. TAND’LION is walking fast to catch up with her. T’l’s slave TALISA is several steps behind and running to catch up.

BLOCK TEXT: Trial of the War Master: Duel at Goblin City

Caption (scrolling): In the chaos of the Elder days, myriad dark races warred upon each other and upon humanity. The darkest of peoples were the Fire Elves, slaves to Usu Anati, their wicked God of Fire. They hunted the peoples of the world as food for the Fire.

Caption: To fight their wars and defend their interests, the houses of the wealth sought the strength of the powerful. These were the War Masters…

V: We have business to attend to…

T’L: Yes mistress.

V: These lying dogs ought to think twice about cheating VEDRA Il’Danati with a War Master standing at her side.

Page 1 Continued…

3 (inset to 2): Two-shot of Tand’lion and Vedra walking side-by side. VEDRA is rubbing her hands together in anticipation. TAND’LION is stoic. Maybe we can see TALISA behind and slightly out of breath.

TAND’LION: Goblin City is a dangerous place, mistress, and I am but a Journeyman. Perhaps it would be best if you —

VEDRA: Nonsense. House Il’Danati has debts. Today is the day we repay them.

Page 2 – 5 Panels

1: Close up of VEDRA. Her face is a mask of righteous indignation.

Caption: It does not take long…

VEDRA: You lying swamp slug! If you think you can cheat the Scion of House Il’Danati…

2: Est. shot. VEDRA and T’l are in a small vending stall in the Trading Bizarre at Goblin City. This is similar to what you would find at any Flee Market in the US. VEDRA has been negotiating with a gnomish merchant named TOBIAS, and now she is making her play. Caught up in her own importance and in the role she is playing, VEDRA gestures to TAND’LION impatiently. TAND’LION looks exasperated. Behind him we can see TALISA following like a pet dog.

TOBIAS is a cunning merchant. He has seen this before and is unimpressed. TOBIAS is a pompous ass dressed in fine clothes, and he has a long nose with a wart on it.

VEDRA: Don’t just stand there, TAND’LION. Do something!

TAND’LION: Mistress, I am a War Master, not a member of the Trading Guild. I cannot just accuse—

VEDRA: But he cheats! His weights are not—

3: TAND’LION realizes that this is not going to end without violence. He has stepped forward and is glaring down at the tiny merchant standing opposite his mistress at the bargaining table. TAND’LION’s hand is on the hilt of his rapier. If we can see TAND’LION’s face, he should look appropriately menacing since he is trying to intimidate TOBIAS here.

TAND’LION (menacing): Is this true? Are your weights incorrect?

TOBIAS: No! Of course not. This stupid wench…

Vedra: WENCH?! Why you little—

4: Close-up of TOBIAS. He looks angry at having his cheat called by a person whom he considers to be from a lesser race.

TOBIAS: Enough!

TOBIAS: War Master TOLGARIS, remove this penny-pinching offal-eater and her fool from my stall.

TOBIAS: Suddenly, I find their smells offensive.

Page 2 Continued…

5: War Master TOLGARIS has just walked up, and now he is trying to intimidate TAND’LION. He is a large, powerful looking Lizard Man War Master who is older, taller, and more muscular that TAND’LION. He wears jewelry over his chain mail shirt, and he has a large sword (*beep* sword or broadsword) buckled across his back. TOLGARIS should look menacing here. He towers over TAND’LION and VEDRA.

TOLGARIS: Is there a problem, merchant?

VEDRA: TAND’LION, he can’t just—

TAND’LION: Be quiet mistress. Let me handle this.

Page 3 – 8 Panels

1: TAND’LION turns to face the waiting TOLGARIS and bows low. TOLGARIS does not return the bow. TOLGARIS looks pissed and annoyed at having to deal with any of this nonsense.

TAND’LION: Well met, War Master…

TAND’LION: It would seem that we have a dispute.

2: Similar shot. TAND’LION has recovered from his bow. He is trying to be reasonable. TOLGARIS is trying to intimidate now.

TOLGARIS: Indeed? I see no dispute. Merely an Apprentice War Master operating without leave from the Guild. Where is your Representative, Apprentice?

TOLGARIS: Answer me quick, boy, or you’ll answer my blade.

3: Close up of TAND’LION. His face is impassive, but his politeness is gone. He has stepped forward, and now these two are nose-to-nose.

TAND’LION: I have passed for Journeyman, as you well know, TOLGARIS, unless you have forgotten your facts as well as your manners.

TOLGARIS: Arrogant *beep*! Master Po would never have allowed—

TAND’LION: My Master is not here. The Guild saw to that long ago.

4: TOLGARIS bows his head slightly as if in prayer and touches a knuckle to his chest.

TOLGARIS: Ah yes… As Above, So Below.

5: TAND’LION sneers at this, an invocation of the God of Earth, a God that he does not worship.

TAND’LION: Hah! The God of Fire rewards strength and treachery.

6: TOLGARIS is aghast at this, a blatant and open blasphemy against virtually every civilized religion in the known world. He makes the sign of the protective horn on his forehead to ward off evil spirits.

TOLGARIS: Ssss. Usu Anati take you all!

Page 3 Continued…

7: Again TAND’LION bows. This time it is an elaborate, formal affair. As TAND’LION speaks, TOLGARIS is incredulous. He doesn’t want to fight TAND’LION, and he is trying hard to convince the younger War Master that he shouldn’t have to.

TAND’LION: I will meet you on the Field of Honor, Master TOLGARIS.

TOLGARIS: What?! But you can’t. You’re only a-

8: TAND’LION steps in close and delivers this next line as a threat. Resigned to the fight, TOLGARIS sneers at TAND’LION.

TAND’LION: I can, and I will. You will meet me on the Field, or I will see you stripped of your rank and privilege in front of the Guild—

TOLGARIS: Boy! I will have your head!

Page 4 – 4 Panels

1: Very Large Panel. TAND’LION and TOLGARIS face off across an open courtyard in front of a crowd of onlookers. We should see VEDRA and TOBIAS the Guildsman prominently featured in the crowd, and if you have the space for it let’s make sure that we some of TOBIAS’s goons as well. TALISA is taking TAND’LION’s coat and acting as his valet. TOLGARIS has his own valet, an older, better-dressed and basically more competent-looking young dwarf or goblin.

TOLGARIS: Times must be tough in the House of Po, TAND’LION. Your second looks like an escaped brothel slave.

2: Two shot of TALISA and TAND’LION.

T: You *beep*! My Master will—


3: Close up of TOLGARIS. He is taking off his own robe in an I’m-about-to-whip-your-ass sort of manner.

TOLGARIS: You should teach your mutt some manners, Journeyman.

4: TAND’LION has drawn his rapier and stands with it before him as though he is ready to fence. Perhaps we can see him standing across the field from TOLGARIS (suggestion): ... gers-6.jpg

TAND’LION: I’ll instruct my pet after I have finished instructing you, War Master.

Page 5 – 4 Panels
Note: after you get this penciled, I’m almost certainly going to have to add some narration to make sure that the point gets across right. No big deal, but I’m not going to write it in yet.

1: TAND’LION stands ready with his hatchet and rapier drawn. His Chi is flashing all around him.

2: TAND’LION stabs high with his rapier. TOLGARIS blocks it with his own broadsword using an inside block. This has the effect of taking TAND’LION off balance while keeping TOLGARIS’s blade close to his body. You see this technique portrayed in the Yoda vs. Dooku fight at the end of Attack of the Clones. Note how close Yoda’s blade is to his body. That is what TOLGARIS is doing.

Now imagine TAND’LION outstretched like Jet Li here, and you begin to see how TAND’LION is going to get himself into trouble here.

We don’t necessarily need to get quite this dramatic, but we do want to show that TAND’LION, the young hothead, is using a lot of effort and energy while TOLGARIS, older and wiser, is using economy of movement to wait for his moment to counterattack.


SFX: Clink!

3: TOLGARIS blocks a TAND’LION hatchet strike with another inside block.

SFX: Clang!

4: TOLGARIS hits a standing sidekick that throws TAND’LION across the courtyard.

Tologaris: Ah-Yah!

Page 6 – 6 Panels

1: TAND’LION is on the ground dodging to one side as TOLGARIS tried to decapitate him.

This wasn’t exactly the pic I was looking for, but you get the idea. Imagine this guy in the scene where he is actively trying to take Luke’s head off.


2: TAND’LION is flipping TOLGARIS back over his head. He does this by basically kicking back so that TOLGARIS is thrown forward. Let me know if this is confusing.

3: TOLGARIS is getting up off the ground where TAND’LION just threw him

TOLGARIS: Huh! Even a young hothead cannot keep that up forever.

4: TOLGARIS strikes with his sword, and TAND’LION blocks it with his hatchet. This is a wider, wilder block than what we have seen from TOLGARIS.

5: TAND’LION ripostes, stabbing again with his rapier, which is wide of TOLGARIS.

6: Close up of TOLGARIS. He has just stepped back, disengaging for the moment, and we see his Chi flaring.

TOLGARIS: I’ve seen your game now Journeyman. I’ll have your head soon.

Page 7 – 6 Panels

1: TAND’LION is ready and in a defensive stance with his hatchet leading.

2: Now TOLGARIS slashes wildly, and TAND’LION ducks underneath. TOLGARIS is off balance here, having tried for a killing strike.

TAND’LION: Tough talk, War Master!

3: TAND’LION stabs up into TOLGARIS’s chest with the point of his hatchet. TOLGARIS’s eye’s are wide with shock as he abruptly realizes that he has just lost this duel and is about to lose his life.

4: Close up of TAND’LION rearing back to deliver the killing blow with his rapier. He is going to lop of TOLGARIS’s head, but we’ll do that off panel.

TAND’LION: Give Master Po my regards when you see him in Hell!

Page 8 – 5 Panels

1: TAND’LION is standing in front of where he just killed TOLGARIS. He is victorious but exhausted. WM TOLGARIS is dead, and his body is now headless in the background. TALISA running towards TAND’LION.

TAND’LION: Apprentice indeed…

TALISA: Master TAND’LION… You did it!

2: Closer shot of TAND’LION slowly sinking to his knees. His chi dying out. He is expended. TALISA is supporting him.

TALISA: I’ve got you, Master.

3: Establishing shot. VEDRA is standing over TOBIAS the GUILDSMAN. She sneers at him now that her War Master has defeated his. If there is room, we should see that TOBIAS has a several large goons standing behind him.

VEDRA: Now merchant… Perhaps we can discuss those improper weights? Or am I still an offal-eater?

4: TOBIAS THE GUILDSMAN is standing with his arms crossed and with all his goons behind him. They are cracking their knuckles, or brandishing clubs in a we’re-gonna-whip-your-ass sort of way. TOBIAS looks smug.

TOBIAS: Yes… Maybe I was mistaken.

TOBIAS 2: I see now that you are the fool, and he is the offal-eater…

5: Tobias’s goons surround TAND’LION, VEDRA, and Talisa. TAND’LION is exhausted and leaning heavily on Talisa. VEDRA is summoning whatever magic she can, but it is evident that they are heavily outnumbered and in a tough spot. In the background, Tobias is smug and triumphant.

TOBIAS: Hmm boys…? What’d’ya think?

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

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And now the pics.

Post by DannoE »

Okay, so like I said, I enjoy the design phase the most. Here's Tobias the gnomish merchant:


Here's Tolgaris, the lizard-man War Master:


Here's the design for Tobias's market stand:


And here are the thumbnail sketches for the pages. Thumbnailing is a bit like outlining for a writer:



"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

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