Sorry, no rip-off of the Headstones today. If you aren’t familiar with the song, here is an ear-worm before you proceed with reading:
Actually, the wife and I had a chance to play Dungeon Down last night. There was a slightly different line-up this time, and a chance to try a few rules revisions…including tabulating experience.
Hayden of course made a return, and if she isn’t included in a game I think it would be safe to say it means my wife wasn’t playing.
The elf rogue and human ranger seemed obvious choices, but it was Brother Roberto who would really shine. More on that later.
The dungeon crawl started with a lot more intensity than the last delve. As modules are revealed based on line of sight, the lantern carried by Brother Roberto illuminated the length of the corridor and several undead lingering. Far more pressing were the swarms of scarabs that carpeted the base of the stairs. As the first section of the dungeon held a trap, the cunning ranger Irdath set out with his artifice skill to prove the path. His first step down the stairs triggered the arrow-trap, which fortunately did not reset. Gritting his teeth he fired an arrow into the closest scarabs. As the party funneled down the stairs, Brother Roberto healed Irdath and the rest of the party made short work of the scarabs.
With precisions shots and almost supernaturally lethal poison, Irdath felled the lead two skeletons. Brother Roberto chanted a prayer of rest, destroying the last skeleton and stunning the Mummy Warrior with the ritual. With another arrow, Irdath sent the mummy to his eternal rest. Aside from the arrow wound, the party was sweeping through the dungeon without any real pause. The copious piles of treasure made the fight difficult but promised rich rewards.
Irdath calmly walked to the torch sconce as he instinctively knew it wasn’t quite right. Despite all his cunning, he wasn’t able to find the method to open the hidden treasure cache. Tricks are skill challenges that test various attributes. The Hidden Treasure require Sorcery to figure out. Irdath was able to use Cunning in place due to his Artificer skill. Despite this advantage, he wasn’t able to open the secret cache. No party members had a Sorcery high enough to have any chance of opening the hidden treasure, leaving it for the next adventurers.
The water basin ahead looked suspicious, and eying the inscription, Irdath was confident he could solve THAT puzzle. Walking forward, his Cunning paid off as he confidently read the inscription:
“To summon the beast, recite this text aloud…”
The ravenous mocking beast shifted from the basin disguise, snarling at the adventurers. Irdath stepped backwards as he nocked an arrow, confident he could fell the beast. To his surprise, the arrow skidded across the tough hide of the vicious beast. Brother Roberto concentrated his faith to strike the Fear of God into the fell beast. While the divine fire seared the beast, it did not quail in terror. Instead, the holy fire smoldered ineffectually. Brother Roberto switched to his sermon voice and, with threats of eternal damnation, he smote the beast with a righteous light, reducing it to naught but ash.
At this point, Hayden dropped the useless trash she had found to see what was happening behind her. Even Brother Roberto was overcome with avarice as the party looted the stacks of treasure. Irdath found some valuable iron ingots which he stowed in his pack. Meanwhile, Inglorin and Brother Roberto found some valuable treasure that was best suited for Hayden.
With the Axe of Rage and Sleeveless Shirt, Hayden felt her rage rising to an almost inhuman level. The dwarf grinned with anticipation of the next fight.
Irdath calmly walked forward into the gloom, wary of the deadfall in front of him…
…but completely oblivious to the pit yawning in front of the deadfall. Irdath is able to disarm traps with his Artifice skill, again using his cunning. He not only failed to avoid the trap with his cunning, he failed to defend against it. As a final insult, he wasn’t able to climb out of the pit until healed by Brother Roberto. At this point, Hayden wistfully recalled how Harley so deftly disarmed all the traps. Well, at least he looked a lot less comical as he blundered through them all.
As the party regrouped, they realized the intersection ahead was all that stood between them and a horde of goblins. While the rest of the party maneuvered to ready themselves, Hayden boldly walked into the junction of the corridors…
…to realize that sometimes discretion may be the better part of valor. She quickly jumped back into the corridor, out of the potential cross-fire.
As the goblins swarmed forwards, the goblin archers fired arrow after arrow towards the party.
The lead goblins screeched with rage and fear as the arrows of their brethren struck them down. One arrow did fly past the goblin swarm and struck Inglorin in the throat, sending the elf to his knees as he bled from the fatal wound.
It is possible to fire through friends, objects, and even enemy miniatures. There is a chance of striking something along the way. Some miniatures, like Irdath, have a skill enabling them to ignore the first obstacle. The goblins do not have such a skill and the sheer number of goblins in the way resulted in fratricide.
While the goblin deaths were a gruesome reminder of the cruelty of the race, the dark necromancy of the Skeleton Sorcerer animated the corpse of the lead goblin. The ghastly skeleton laughed at the adventurers as it peeled back the goblin flesh it no longer needed.
As Brother Roberto whispered a holy blessing, Inglorin stood back up fully healed. Gripping her axe with deadly determination, Hayden sprinted across the corridor as fast as her short dwarvish legs could carry her. In the midst of the goblins and skeleton, her death seemed quite likely. The goblins slashed at Hayden as arrow after arrow struck the berserker. What started as a scream of pain slowly changed in pitch to her berserker roar as her blood stained the floor. Despite a change requiring checks more often for Undying Warrior, Hayden still was the unstoppable juggernaut from before.
As Irdath fired a volley of arrows at the goblin archers, the lead archer and one of the goblins around Hayden skrieked as the barbed arrows stuck home. Inglorin charged the Skeleton Sorcerer seeing the deadly threat he presented. His ancestral blade slashed the unholy corpse to no effect. Brother Roberto walked forward chanting a prayer for the dead to banish the unholy abominations. His prayers did weaken the skeleton but the sorcerer simply laughed at the divine ritual. Even with the crippling effects of a deadly wound, Hayden quickly dispatched the small horde that gathered round her.
Gripped in the madness of her rage, Hayden stepped over the goblin corpses to strike down the goblin archers. A hidden pressure plate sent a wave of poison darts at her. As her arm still stings in the cold from the last darts, her rage addled brain was able to comprehend dodging them was the best option. Beyond the cowering goblins, her eyes adjusted to the gloom enough to spy zombies rising from crypts in the dark corner.
With a brief bit of swordplay, the skeleton sorcerer was felled by the elf rogue while the goblin archers were slain in a mist of blood and urine with the nigh-unstoppable berserker in their midst. Brother Roberto was quick behind, knowing that Hayden would need his healing or last rights before long. A bit surprised by the zombies, he absently brandished his holy symbol to turn them from the unholy living dead to brightly glowing lights.
At this point, the game only proceeded a bit further. In fact, it was Irdath who finally showed his worth by disarming a trap. His sole reason for being in the party was as trap master, and he triggered every trap he found. And was wounded by it. By this point Hayden was critically eyeing the ranger and wondering if maybe Harley was a better trap specialist.
As a final laugh, Irdath went to solve the trick of the false wall…and found “It’s a Trap”. Expecting another wound, instead Irdath drew False Alarm. For how poorly he did, we decided to call that a win for the Charlie Sheen of the game.
Each of the characters has a strength in the game and the same basic design. Irdath was designed to be a bit of an all-rounder. He has very high level in Cunning, and no really low level attributes. He does, however, lack the modifiers required to make his skills relevant. Based on this play-test I think there will not be any similar characters. Instead, the weaknesses will be evident for the heroes.
I explained the experience system and we figured out what would have been earned by this delve. Irdath would be less useless with what he earned. Having his pack full of treasure helped with that. Inglorin found a magic shield that will make him more survivable, but his poor luck was what spelled his doom. He has the same Stealth that Tara the Silent had, but he failed to make it work even once.
All in all, I am happy with what was learned and proven by this game. Hopefully something inspired you today.
I have found a bit of time to squeeze in a few more details on the half-timber houses.
Instead of boring you with details here are a couple action shots showing off the outcome of delving into secrets man was not meant to know…
Stumbling about after a night of drinking, Anirion and Hayden are shocked by the sight of an eldritch horror from beyond the stars…
Fortunately the ever studious Marius had excused himself from the tavern to…study architecture.
Will the protective fire from above tip the odds for the tipsy travelers?
A very quick note this time, but a chance to play with some figs and show off the effects of a bit of brushwork after the ugly stage.
It has a been a while since I have done any updates so I decided it was time to maybe throw a few up online. I have actually accomplished more than what is shown, but these each have their own charm so I have selected them.
As proof my goals for this year are somewhat on track, I have some paint on the row houses. They look outright terrible right now, but that is mostly due to the painting process. In fact, that is why I have the close-up picture.
Obviously, the roofs are not done. In fact, some don’t even have paint on them. I put the roofs on last after the areas they would otherwise make difficult to reach were painted. The painting itself is at what I call the ugly stage. That point where everything seems to fall apart but really it is just a few minor touches until it is finished. I built the stucco “daub and waddle” parts in three stages:
- Painted with a thick cinnamon brown colour. The thick paint provides some irregularity that helps paint stick while also giving the look and feel of a stucco. The brush strokes were visible to give an idea of thickness.
- A heavy stippling of a khaki was applied. Again, using thick paint gave more texture.
- A light stippling of white. This paint was a bit thinner but still thick enough to leave a bit of texture. Word to the spend-thrift, this was all done with cheap $1 craft paint. It is all very thick to begin with and almost an exponentially small cost compared to hobby paint.
The timber will be repainted and then dry-brushed. The horrible looking bricks will pop after a quick wash. All in all, the longest part left is actually the shingles. I am thinking of trying to paint them in strips off the houses to make painting and construction easier.
Next we have the “web room” under construction. This has been painted during construction as I was hedging my bets. Before I put the arches in place I was worried they would be stuck in place and make painting impossible. So I threw paint on the spots that would be tough to reach once assembled. After the paint dried I realized my archway could slide under the floor pieces, so it is still detachable. Once painted, I will glue the arches in place. This is the web room for a very simple reason: there will be all sorts of spider webs. It will be home to my giant spider demon (who is getting a lot of duration and attention to mimic a real-world spider pattern).
Finally the library has some progress. Behold, my books. Sort of.
I will be using a trick I have seen numerous times. Use wood, cut to size, wrap a card or paper cover and viola – books.
What you see here is not quite enough for one bookshelf. I have 7 bookshelves. Sigh, a long project for these books. I am hoping the results will be worth it. By comparison, I have been following another project making use of far more books. http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/57523-library-diorama/
Not a lot of work to show, but useful tips in there I hope.
As an unexpected turn of events, the wife had a night off and there wasn’t anything on the books. So I asked her if she wanted to try out the dungeon crawl game. As you may have already guessed, we got a chance to delve into the mysterious depths.
As I will go into in more depth down the road, I have the game designed to be played a few ways, we opted for the random dungeon approach where-in cards are drawn to determine lay-out, content and of course rewards.
The first thing encountered by the intrepid heroes was a well room over-run with goblins. Tara the Silent quickly leveled her crossbow to kill the lead goblin archer and calmly sent the lead swordsman to his doom before Harley had even drawn his sword. Astrid had trouble concentrating with her Entrancing Gaze as she side-stepped a pit trap, but eventually got the sultry look down pat and sent the goblin to his doom with a smile on his face as dark energy overwhelmed him.
Without pausing, Hayden leapt towards the third rank of goblins and felled all three with a mighty Cleave. Not to be outdone, Harley sprinted past Hayden to skewer the last two goblins with his Cleave.
The first combat was quick and bloody. All the goblins have only 1 wound each and pitiful defence. Had they been able to strike back, they may have been able to hurt or kill one party member but the two mighty heroes (Hayden and Harley) both made short work of them.
As Harley had the best (only) armour in the party, he took the lead to explore the murky depths with his lantern.
Harley cautiously walked towards the corner and was struck above the breastplate deep in the shoulder. Fortunately, Hayden had a healing potion to help him along.
Now here is where I realized turn order wasn’t clearly defined. As Harley had been moving so far ahead of the party we called a mulligan and moved the rest of the party up. After this, my wife suggested a simple turn order mechanic: until a fight is declared, move miniatures as you wish in any order. Once a fight is declared initiative is determined and miniatures act in order.
Harley turned the corner to come face to face with the grisly sight of zombies screening Mummy Warriors. Tara quickly dropped two zombies from an astounding distance in the dim light before moving in to get a clear shot on the mummies. If she had not been the marksman she was, she may have struck Hayden or Harley.
Astrid again trusted to her Entrancing Gaze to seduce a Mummy Warrior. To her horror, the ghastly undead grinned back with no effect. Repressing a shudder, she blew the fell creature a kiss as she again focused her Entrancing Gaze on the Mummy. This time her dark magics seduced the will of the Mummy and he turned to face his former allies.
Hayden leapt into the fray felling the last zombie as the Mummy Warriors fought. The seduced mummy was jerky and clumsy, quickly being felled by his former ally. This distraction enabled Harvey to step in and decapitate the long dead warrior with a swing blending artistry and expertise.
I was a bit surprised when my wife pointed out a typo on the card. I could have sworn it said Dead-end.
She was able to help me discern what it really said though. It turns out the dungeon wasn’t done yet.
Rounding the winding corridor, Harley shone his light into the pitch blackness of the room to see eldritch lights sparkling back at him. With a creaking shuffle the skeletons moved in. The enveloping darkness cloaked Tara as she blending into the shadows like a ghost.
A spectral finger marked the doom of a skeleton for Astrid while she focused her Entrancing Gaze. With all her arcane powers focused on this devilry, little was left to strike down the skeletons. Hayden stepped forward to protect her companion while Harley, fearless after being healed of the arrow-wound, stepped into the midst of the skeletons. The skeleton spearman used his reach and stabbed at Harley in the same unarmoured spot the arrow had struck, sliding deep into his chest, felling the brave hero.
The game has a mechanic allowing critical hits (dealing double damage) if the attack doubles the defense roll. Just as Harley was able to kill a two wound mummy with one swing, the skeleton was able to drop Harley with a well-placed stab. It was a pure game of chance there as the first attack by the skeleton was a 1 and his second a 6. Poor Harvey rolled a 1 on his defense the second time, and even with armour, was left with only a 3.
The fight was looking desperate as the skeletons closed in on Hayden, cruelly hacking the unarmoured warrior. As blood stained the floor, the skeletons clacked their ghastly teeth in triumph. Little did they realize Hayden was a berserker, an Undying Warrior. Driven by her might, she ignored the fatal wounds and slew the skeletons that surrounded her while Tara dropped the spearman.
Astrid knelt before Harley and whispered soothing words as she administered the party’s last healing potion to revive the brave warrior.
Concerned now that no treasure had been found, Astrid poked her head into the small closet to the North of the throne room to find a complex puzzle had been worked into a skull sculpture. With barely a moments hesitation, Astrid moved the pieces of the puzzle box to reveal a chest.
The bard smiled with pride and a bit of larceny at her find. She was quite satisfied, until the chest smiled back.
As Tara sprinted onto the dias to try to see what was moving in the room, Astrid unleashed a mighty War Cry. So powerful and unexpected was this roar, the Mimic cowered in fear.
Hayden charged the foul beast, leaving a trail of blood in her wake. Her mighty axe swings went wide in her rage but Tara again showed almost supernatural marksmanship by dropping the beast with only two shots.
Undying Warrior is an ability that enables the hero to still carry on with fatal wounds. Each turn Hayden needed to test to stay alive. She survived the rest of the dungeon because of this ability, and some pretty good dice rolls by my wife.
As the party carefully opened the other door, they saw a long corridor and a difficult fight. A Darkspawn Cultist had both a swarm of scarabs and a Skeleton to assist him with his diabolical plans. The dead-end behind him left no avenue for escape.
Tara dove into the room past Hayden, standing on the edge of the precipice while a deadly bolt flew from her crossbow to drop the skeleton. Astrid calmly blocked the bridge and prepared her Entrancing Gaze with hair flick and touch-up of mascara.
While the scarabs flowed across the bridge, the party gaped in horror as the Darkspawn Cultist waved his tentacles and the skeletal corpse reknit itself into a miniature parody of the foul sorcerer.
Tara calmly shot the minion while Astrid sliced the beetles to fine paste, raising the morale of the entire party. The Darkspawn Cultist let out an unnatural sound that could only be the laughter of the unholy creature as the minion again restitched itself together. The only saving grace was the fact that the dark magics failed to reanimate the beetles.
Fearing nothing, Hayden sprinted across the bridge to face the eldritch mini-me. Although she triggered a poisoned dart trap, the warm tingle of the venom simply drove her further into her frenzy. Harley limped across the bridge boldly placing himself beside the Cultist as his longer legs enabled the further run.
The only treasure that was uncovered was the sacks and crates found in this last corridor. In fact, no treasure pieces were actually called for by the corridor cards drawn.
The pile of sacks looted by Tara were quite ridiculous. The MVP of the party was left with a worthless treasure.
Harvey walked to the end of the corridor to search the sacks in the trapped section. A Scything Blade trap resulted in a collective groan as we both expected Harley to die. Then, even with his reduced stats, he managed the almost impossible and survived the trap that would have killed the (1 wound remaining) hero.
All in all, I am very happy with the play test. My wife really enjoyed it and wants to play it a lot more. There are few bugs to work out, but the biggest thing is she wants me to figure out an experience system. I did have the bare bones of one sorted out, but now I seem to have forgotten where I wrote it down.
Hopefully something inspired you today. I know tonight inspired me to paint a few more figs and sections for the next play of Dungeon Down.
The past couple of days have given me a bit of time to work on some projects and a trip to the hardware store yesterday meant the missing insulation foam has been purchased. For those interested, I will provide a running commentary on how this insulation holds up. All my previous pieces were done with blue (high density) insulation foam whereas I bought pink foam this time (slightly lower density). It turns out the hardware store in this small town doesn’t stock the blue stuff, but the pink is substantially cheaper so I don’t think my test will result in much worse than lost time if it turns out to be less robust. I have worked with the pink stuff before almost exclusively. In fact, a friend and I built a modular table as a gift for a couple that games together (we game new modules after the initial few piece were given). Since they were the first in the group to have kids it limited the ability to go out to game. So we built the initial table as a Christmas gift and subsequent modules as other gifts. Long story short, it is pretty sturdy and robust. The weight of the modules I am concerned may drop the height a few millimeters.
Anyhow, I managed to use up my stockpile of floor tiles doing the lay-out for two rooms “spider-room” and “library”. This is my first library and I eventually want several of them, including one with multiple levels and staircases. What can I say, I love libraries. I used to love going through them and seeing what I could discover. I remember finding a second edition Nuremburg Trials transcript at my university tucked away (which is actually older than the institution) and being so excited. It was the kind of unexpected mystery find I was always hoping for in libraries since I was a kid. Well that and secret tunnels and dungeons when you pulled the right book or moved a piece of furniture. I watched a lot of mystery shows as a kid, and not just Scooby Doo.
As the basic layout shows it will have very restricted lines of sight. I left lots of room to move and still place treasure tokens while still giving the enclosed feel of a library. The shelves are bare now, but I will set to work on making books, scrolls and the odd doo-dad to stock them. The table will have a few books as well.
Being creative and innovative, I thought a secret door behind a bookcase has never been done before. Ok, so it is a stereotype, but it looks cool. The shelves aren’t glued yet to allow ease of paint the rest of the module and of course stock the shelves. As the shelves broke in the mold several cracks were left when I glued them back together. I think it adds to the character of the decrepit library feel.
Not too action oriented, but here is a miniature I bought for use as a female wizard. I saw it and actually thought of a character my wife played in DnD ages ago. Her character was always looking for new knowledge and mysterious objects but my wife didn’t know the references most of what she found pointed to (Lovecraft Mythos, famous canon sorcerers like Mordekainen, Bigby, etc). So in the end she (my wife) always puzzled over what she found. This mini made me think of how her character must have been.
Hopefully something was inspiring today, if nothing else to go to your local library. Maybe you can work with the meddlesome kids to stop old man Jenkins. Or maybe you can just read a good book.
I am sure this title can be interpreted many ways:
- A typo in my summary of my success at completing projects last year.
- A prophetic vision of the outcome of this year.
- Or a simply defined goal.
Like many miniature hobbyists, I have countless unfinished projects. This year I have decided to focus on finishing (some of) them, and that means going back to some older ones.
First we have part of my ambitious town project. I intended to start small (with a square) for use in Confrontation (and other 28mm games). I did detailed work and actually built each building individually to reinforce stability and provide the slightly off-kilter appearance these buildings show in European towns and cities. At the far right the building with no timber shows where the project stalled. The edging was a bit tedious but mostly other projects (and life responsibilities) took over. I was reminded of my goal when I played a game of 40K recently and used this to fill some table space. Goal for this year: finish this building strip and complete at least one more row.
Next we have the start of some dwarven ruins for use in Lord of the Rings. I actually have a few pieces I intended to use as scatter terrain. What was completed was finished in one weekend. The intent was to build terrain for the battle of Balin’s Tomb from the main rules. I have a Fellowship and I figured this would give me a reason to finish painting them. After the initial flurry of activity, little else was done. This particular piece needs paper cladding and work to define the raw stone (Styrofoam) vs worked stone (foamcore). Also completed were a small plaza and raw stone building with stairs to a higher level. Goal for this year: finish the 3 pieces started and three more scatter terrain pieces.
The next unfinished project is much more recent, in fact it was one of my stated goals to finish in 2014. Instead of using the light tank, I will instead turn the two hulls (and add another) into a wheeled IFV to proxy as a Razorback for my 40K Space Marines. As they will be filling out an existing army, I see them as more likely to be finished. Goal for this year: build 3 Razorback scratch-builds.
Now I am sure some of the more regular readers will notice that I have a long gap in posts, and nothing here mentions the HOTT Orcs. Well, as I mentioned in my last post, the rust wash was a bit over-done on the orcs. It pretty much crushed my morale on these figs as the rust wash was the last part and now I am not sure if I can repair it or I need to go the route of stripping. Here are a few pics.
The second picture was done with a shadow to show just how rusted out they are. I have seen metal that rusted, but normally they were pieces of heavy machinery left in a field for decades. I have had a few opinions and universally they are not good. But, despite being discouraging, I will pick up the brush and finish this project. Goal for this year: finish my orc HOTT army.
Now this isn’t to say I expect all my time to go onto these projects, and this year I will expect some other random things to get thrown at me. I will be doing more Hirst Arts dungeon pieces. To tie into that, by summer (hopefully) I will have my Bones 2 Kickstarter miniatures…roughly 100 figs to populate my dungeon and provide more painting fodder for my voracious 5 year-old daughter who is taking up the brush. I have also been taking my time to finish a few choice models, a novelty for me. I also am thinking about how to do a better modern/sci-fi city scape and I might go to Blade Runner, the new Total Recall, and 3rd World Slums for ideas to do some terrain for skirmish.
Of course that also brings up the small collection of a small strike team I bought and haven’t assembled/painted…
But all of this is not to say that last year was a wasted year. In the span of this year I managed to build (and paint) a small dungeon.
I also completed a scratch-built dreadnought in a relatively short timespan…well short considering my work responsibilities and trips during that time.
And let’s not forget the completion of not 1…
But three DBA armies.
Ok, maybe two and a half since the Brittons/Gauls/Galatians aren’t painted.
I also painted quite a few single miniatures.
A longer post than usual for me, and quite heavy on pictures (even if most are recycled). I encourage all the folks out there to set goals but be flexible. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into this hobby, and the minute it starts feeling like work is the time it stops being fun. It is all that wandering from project to project that defines the enjoyment of the hobby. Having the freedom to walk away from a project that has lost its grip on your attention is part of what keeps it enjoyable. The ability to pick up a new one also keeps those embers smoldering. If nothing else, I hope this post inspires you to revisit what attracted you to this hobby in the first place. Hmmm, seems a bit like a Hallmark card there.