This update is a bit delayed as my work is starting to pick up. I am sure this will be the last update for the next couple of months, but then it gets into a much quieter time at work, and some time off.
This weekend saw an opportunity to play Dungeon Down again, the couple who did the play-testing last time were asking when we could play it again.
The party was slightly different this time, as Hayden was back in the running. The others stayed the same, as both of them were quite attached to the characters they led to their death last time. As there has been a bit of delay, and some of the details are a bit hazy, this update will be a bit less cinematic.
Descending the stairs, the party found the stairs branched in two directions before ending. To their right was a dead-end and some nasty goblins while the left revealed skeletons and a veritable horde of goblins.
Throwing caution to the wind, Alain dove down the stairs to the right to cut down the goblins. After a bit of jockeying, eventually Hayden cut-down a zombie, with Alain stepping in to fell the other two. As the goblin swarm advanced, Joliee pushed past the mighty heroes to slay nearly all the goblins with her Blast spell.
After consolidating in the now blood-slicked corridor, Alain led the way into the storeroom ahead. With his first step he thought he heard some grinding, but it wasn’t until his second step that a volley of arrows struck him, one arrow hitting him hard in the seam between gauntlet and vambraces. As he grunted through the pain he heard the grinding of gears and a click as the mechanism reset.
Before he could shout a warning to the others, greed swept through the party and they ran into the room. Arrow after arrow strafed into the party, weakening them all. With reckless abandon, Joliee continued to plunder the room as was slain by another arrow as the mechanism failed with the squeal of metal shearing and gears grinding.
Some traps have a mechanism to reset. In fact, the most dangerous traps are more likely to reset. A total of 7 arrows were fired from the trap before the party managed to disarm it. We’ll call it disarm, at least that’s how the story in the tavern will go.
After the party finished looting the store-room, they proceeded down uneventful corridors until stumbling onto the Gauntlet defended by skeletons. After a long sprint down the corridor, Brother Roberto invoked divine favour and Turned all the undead with his prayers and chants.
After so many mystical puzzles in the corridor, the scribe demanded time not be wasted and all the puzzles should be left to her. Her haughty demands did raise eyebrows, but the fountain raised a smirk on Alain’s face when an arrow burst from the depth of the fountain basin and felled the scribe. With a sigh Brother Roberto again healed the scribe from her mortal wounds.
As the party explored past the Gauntlet, Alain demonstrated puissance and finesse as he first bested a Gibbering Horror and Grick with a single sweep of his blade and then sprinted the length of the room to plunge his blade into the abomination Mind Eater that emerged from the darkness.
At this point things get a bit, well recycled is a good word. First, the corridor cards got mixed up so the ones already drawn were being drawn again. As the deck only held enough for one of each terrain piece, it meant we were short of pieces. The easy fix of counting pieces didn’t work either: because the one corridor had been so long, it was disassembled as the party advanced.
After realizing the balcony would pose an obstacle with no rope, Alain was surprised to find a coil in a treasure pile right outside the entrance to the room. (Serious not Deus ex Machina, the randomly drawn treasure was a rope)
Before braving the balcony (everyone was hesitant to face a total party kill after the climb again), the side passage was explored revealing another storeroom. Such avarice struck the party that the looting began even before the monsters were slain.
The game makes use of actions that can be used to move, attack, open doors, or even loot treasure. So if a player elects to, they can spend actions looting treasure even in a fight. In this fight, after slaying the Darkspawn Cultist, Alain knew he couldn’t easily scratch the Spikeshell Warrior’s thick shell so elected to start looting chests.
The trepidation felt over the balcony was justified. As Alain climbed the rope he saw a set of stairs descending. As he set foot on the first stair he saw unholy eyes gleaming at him while the ground shuddered underfoot. Charging into the fray, he was able to make out more undead eyes in the distance.
As sections are revealed when you step on them, it is possible that multiple sections are revealed at once. If monsters are in them too…well it can be an issue. The monsters revealed posed a difficult fight.
As the intense melee played out, Alain carved his way through the skeleton, only to have it arise and the charging mummies reach him. Hayden fought the Ant Lion and was critically injured while Joliee used her spells to kill the Skeleton Sorcerer who could potentially bring skeletons.
The tension mounted as Joliee was wounded and Alain slain. Hayden was technically dead too, but she kept passing her roll to stay on her feet. Brother Roberto brought back Alain with difficulty while Joliee was slain by an errant trap as she moved into range to try blasting the Darkspawn Cultist. Alain was a bit nervous at that point.
Most traps target Defense, and Alain had it in spades. His player laughed off most traps and it took a good roll (and a 1 on his defense) to get hurt by arrows or blades. Spells he was weak to, and he saw that there were traps that targeted Resolve (one of his lowest attributes).
The game pushed on not much further until the Boss room was found.
A mechanic in the game is that Boss fights are randomly included. A Boss is a special card with both set-up rules and a stat line. For example, the Boss they faced was immobile but he could heal undead and turn corpses into skeletons. The fight took a lot of combined effort by the party but eventually they carved an opening in the almost perpetual horde of skeletons and the Undying King was slain.
Dragoth the Defiler was actually who I had in mind when I built the Throne Room. He is still a WIP, but even at this stage he really pops in his home.
I think the Boss mechanics worked pretty well and make for interesting fights. There were a couple of rules changes made after the game and I am still trying to get the best player card to get it all in one easy to use package. It shouldn’t be too long before I have something I can share with others.
Hopefully something was inspiring today, if nothing else to set up a recurring game.
So I have begun looking at adding the embellishments to my urban terrain to make it look a bit more urban. In other words, the graffiti, ads, and posters or various roles that litter the walls and most every flat surface in larger urban centres.
I knew there are options out there, and my initial searching let me stumble across this forum post: http://gaming.yaktribe.org/community/threads/collecting-streetsigns-and-posters-thread.2685/. I printed out the picture as is…and I was a bit disappointed by the size. The graffiti was the right size but the posts were a bit large…and a bit grim dark for much use outside of 40k. Still, it was a great starting point and I used a few of these right away. The picture below shows some of the posters used right away.
Then I set to creating my own and adding a bit more variety. As I am looking to do more of a low income/slum type area the key thing that always captures my attention are the wall-papered buildings. But instead of stylish prints, it is invariably election or political posters. Most of the time, they are just layered on top of each other.
So with that in mind I set myself to searching for pictures that met my vision.
A bit of Google-fu later and I have created the following document. I did not create any of the images nor do I hold copyright. These images are used without permission. Insert other waiver type statements and a sprinkle of holy water to keep the lawyers at bay. Anyway, feel free to use my image sheet. It is sized to standard letter paper (8.5″x11″ or something in metric for those outside North America) and I think meshes pretty well with the scale.
Anyhow, the background and ideas should be pretty clear, the question I am sure you have is what about execution? Again, my pictures are more eloquent than me, even when out of focus and over-exposed.
Aside from my digital arts and crafts, these are applied in the exact same way posters are in real-life. Apply paste to the back, smooth onto the building, and then apply paste overtop. Instead of watering down my PVA, I used straight PVA for a better bond and to make sure it didn’t start diluting the paint on the walls.
The next step for the posters is to figure out how to make them more distressed. At this point, I have to say I am not happy with how I painted the big building. The brush strokes for my highlights are too obvious. I need to either do the same technique I did on the dungeon modules or find another option. The option I am thinking might be the best is to price out an airbrush. Out, that price tag is going to be scary.
Anyhow, the more viable choice is to do a heavier dry-brush with a bit thinner paint then I smudge the paint and smear it with my thumb leaving most of it on me and a thin highlight across the top of the terrain. The smooth featureless walls do make that a bit tougher. But I can try that on the next buildings:
Not too much different about these ones. I did sand the walls (lessons learned) and painted them the same day I did the plaster. Maybe leaving a day curing time might be the better way to go next time. If you are trying to use a similar design, I didn’t attach the doors until after the plaster was dry: the first couple buildings ended up with a bit of texture on what is supposed to be a steel door. I found some different size straws so there is a bit of variety on sizes and components on these two.
Finally, I did use the plaster to do cladding of the first of the Dwarven buildings/mines pieces. A small step forward but this is one of my yearly goals so any momentum is good. On a related note, the half-timbered houses have the shingles progressing. It is very tedious work and time consuming, but the final project is worth it.
Of course a post by me wouldn’t be complete without the action shot. The poor sergeant can face against the graffiti artist while you get to see how the posters scale.
Hopefully something was inspiring today, if nothing else I hope you can break that boundary between media types to improve your projects too.
Last night saw a chance for some new players to try the game I have been working on and was a pretty good success. Rather than bore you with ramblings on mechanics I will dive right into the narrative. I apologize for the lack of pictures and poor quality. I grabbed my camera and didn’t adjust the light settings before taking pictures. Also, I was distracted as the game played much faster than normal.
After celebrating their last incursion both Hayden and Marius Burrowell were quite drunk and in no fit state to again risk the dangers of a subterranean expedition. Finding two worthy adventurers, Brother Roberto and Joliee travelled to nearby ruins in the company of Tara the Silent and Alain, Cavalier.
Walking into the depths, Alain stumbled across an arrow trap that made loud ringing noises as the wooden shafts shattered on his mail. however, that same noise acted as a warning gong to alert the nearby mummies to his presence. In the blink of an eye, Tara dove down the steps and felled one of the undead horrors before it could even shamble a step forward. Likewise Brother Roberto and Joliee also slew undead horrors, leaving Alain to calmly stride forward and hack down the last undead abomination.
The noise of that melee did also bring the attention of two large swarms of spiders and a hungry grick slithering down the corridor. The crossbow of Tara twanged the funeral dirge of the lead spiders while Brother Roberto and Alain combined prayers and steel to dispatch the second swarm. With nothing but a nonchalant whistle, Alain skewered the grick with his long lance.
In the game I decided that spears and polearms should work differently than other melee weapons. So they are actually a ranged weapon and use a different attribute (Cunning) than melee attacks (Might). Alain is a Mighty hero (on par with Hayden) so his lance attacks are not as effective but do have a longer reach.
Alain took the lead once again with his confident swagger, only to stumble into a deep pit. His stalwart nature meant he was unharmed, but he did need to shift his position around for a few minutes before he could un-wedge his armour from the narrow hole to climb out. While the rest of the party scrambled through the piles of treasure and argued over loot, Joliee noticed the torch sconce was slightly tilted.
No matter how hard she pushed on it, she couldn’t shift it. Shifting her concentration to the astral realms she saw enchanted script flowing around the empty torch bracket. Invoking infernal mystical knowledge she moved the torch upright with sorcerous power. Rumbling below them and in the distance, a mechanism settled into place.
Joliee managed to solve a Trick which (again randomized) was part of a puzzle. This comes into play later on as the complex puzzle unravels.
Again taking the lead into the depths, Alain walked towards a promising pile of treasure when unholy gurgling and hissing drew his attention into the inky blackness.
Hissing, growling, and gurgling in a cacophony of unintelligible sound a Faceless Horror slithered through the corridor towards him protecting a Darkspawn cultist hissing with delight. Sprinting forward Tara rounded the high stack of crates to fire into the Darkspawn cultist almost hidden behind the heaving amorphous mass of mind-bending horror that barred the path. Whether it was her speed or the bulk of the creature that fouled her shot, the bolt flew harmlessly into the wall and shattered.
Brother Roberto was so far behind the fearless knight that he was forced to run to catch-up. He was helpless to do anything and instead watched in horror as the Faceless Horror terrified Tara causing the sharpshooter to die from fear. The Darkspawn Cultist hissed with delight as Tara’s noble form was wracked by aberrant spasms and her body reshaped into a horrid miniature version of the Darkspawn Cultist.
Alain gritted his teeth and steeled his resolve as he stepped over his fallen comrade to stab at the Faceless Horror. Whether guided by noble spirit or countless battles, his sword was true and slew the abomination with a single thrust.
Despite being a higher level creature with very good stats and numerous dangerous skills, Alain managed a critical hit that was triple the defense roll of the Faceless Horror and managed to kill it outright with a single attack.
As she rounded the corner, Joliee reacted in horror at seeing the violated corpse of her companion and seared the minion with sorcerous light. As the smoke cleared, Tara’s body has returned to her former appearance, although still inert and lifeless.
The flying spells and miracles created eerie images of light and shadow while the healing energy of Brother Roberto and the deathly spells of both the Darkspawn Cultist and Joliee arced through the dark corridors. As Tara opened her eyes, her agonizing headache faded with the increased glow from Brother Roberto’s hands. Looking around she saw the three dead monsters and Alain calmly cleaning his sword blade as he faced the darkness ahead.
As the game is intended to be quick and fast there are no complex healing versus revive spells or items. So a healer is very essential and more than a bit over-powered. Granted, the Darkspawn Cultist making minions or the Skeleton Sorcerer raising the dead as skeletons give a equally powerful edge to the monsters.
After pausing to regroup, Alain sensed tremors beneath his feet and stared in disbelief at an animate brain. Walking on absurd legs, the Thought Eater marched in front of the nearly impervious Spikeshell Warrior lumbering down the corridor.
With her allies blocking her path, Tara dove past the stoic knight to have a clear shot at the Spikeshell Warrior.
Unable to bring his sword to bear, Alain tried stabbing the beast with his lance, instead striking Tara in the back. Although she was not wounded, the scuffle left her off balance and she was horrified as her mind was wracked by the psychic probing of the Thought Eater as it’s mind stretched out for Joliee.
A very simple mechanic gives attacks a chance to hit friends or foes in the way. In a previous delve goblins massacred their allies with arrows falling short. This delve, Alain hit Tara instead of his target (but failed to wound) and the Thought Eater hit Tara (wounding her) instead of Joliee.
The Thought Eater reached out with it’s mind again and Joliee screamed in pain as the psychic assault brought her to her knees. As her eyes cleared she realized the alien mind had left her with pain but also had learned sorcerous knowledge from her: the beast could now cast Blast.
Before she could shout a warning, the Ant Lion smashed through the floor behind her and stabbed deep into her torso with razor sharp chitin limbs.
The Ant Lion is obviously too big for the corridor. Something I have built into the game is the ability for big creatures to squeeze into the narrow confines of a dungeon. If a creature in in a space too small for it, it drops to level one for defense. This made the giant beast vulnerable to attacks.
Whirling around to face the new threat, Tara launched a bolt from her crossbow into the smooth spot of chitin below the furiously chomping mandibles. More than a little surprised, Tara realized the drunken foppish gnome in the tavern was telling the truth when he said he slew one of those with a single shot. She reloaded her crossbow as she spun, burying her second bolt deep into the shell of the Spikeshell Warrior.
Her celebration was short-lived as the Thought Eater drew forth sorcerous energy and blasted the knight with eldritch energy. While the spell crackled harmlessly around the warrior, Tara was again knocked out. Again, the knight gritted his teeth and instead cleaved into the unnatural creation with sinews of steel, killing it outright.
Raising his eyebrows at the turn of events, Brother Roberto began the healing of his injured companions. He was really starting to regret this trip without Hayden to lead the way. She may have left the floor slick with her blood, but at least it was only her blood most of the time.
Resuming their grim advance into the darkness, an intersection beckoned ahead. Brother Roberto held back the knight and raised his lantern as he advanced revealing a Pharaoh and a swarm of scarabs in the room ahead.
Counting discretion as the best course of action, the party rallied behind Alain as Jolie can a wall of fire to block one of the side corridors. As Tara took careful aim, her bolt skipped along the floor and wall scattering the swarm of beetles with the ricochets of her shot.
As Alain braced himself for the charge of the undead king, Jolie sparked the tinder dry bandages with her Dart spell returning the restless spirit to the hell from whence he spawned.
Rounding the corner, Brother Roberto’s light revealed the corridor to be choked with clambering and cavorting goblins while the room beyond housed a Skeleton Sorcerer, Mummy warrior, and another swarm of scarabs.
Having been too bold in his advance, the rest of the party was stuck running to catch up except for Alain who was close enough to stem the rushing tide of goblins.
His intervention was short-lived as goblin arrows flew towards the priest and sent him to have a brief chat with the powers above. The only consolation was the high pitched squeak of a goblin as the flurry of arrows dispatched one of the goblins. Foul necromancy made short that celebration as the goblin torn off the cooling flesh to arise as a more powerful skeleton.
As missiles flew and spells were chanted, Joliee risked life and limb to revive the fallen priest. Her heroic act was short-lived as arrows again struck down the priest. Alain knew that he needed to secure the sorcerer before he could use his healing potion to revive Brother Roberto.
In an amazing feat of skill Alain carved his way through the goblins and skeletons that rose around him. Finally his path was clear to the liche. Sprinting the gap with his lance held low, he barely grazed the skeleton’s armour with spear tip.
But never before was such a graze so powerful. The sparks from the grating steel on steel ignited the dusty robes of the spell-caster and the razor sharp edge nicked the strange gem around its neck. With a quiet crack the unholy lighted dimmed from the liche’s eyes and the bones collapsed dead.
Ok, even by my Lovecraft inspired vocabulary, that was verbose. However, it was pretty epic. Alain was no match for the Skeleton Sorcerer if it cast a spell on him. Remember he isn’t as good with his lance? Well he scored a triple critical hit and outright killed the powerful spell-caster.
Following some minor skirmishes, Brother Roberto lifted a tapestry to reveal a devious mechanism.
By this time the party had found a Hidden Treasure that required 3 Tricks with Links to be activated. Joliee had activated one, and Alain had activated one. So the best thought was to find the next trick, get the treasure and call the game.
Instead, the next trick revealed a deadly blade that hurt Alain. A treasure did reveal a rope and so the party traipsed off to climb the balcony in the web room…hopefully to find another trick.
By this point we had actually used all the dungeon tiles I have assembled (which means all the cards too). The monsters had been cycled through too. So going on meant shuffling everything again and carrying on.
That decision would prove to be a fatal one. The room atop the balcony was home to a Darkspawn Cultist, Ant Lion and Spikeshell Warrior. The chokepoint of the narrow entrance left each party member following Alain to have no choice but move into the room. From there the Spikeshell Warrior and Darkspawn Cultist finished them off. The Ant Lion appeared to kill Joliee leaving Alain alone to face the monsters.
Oh, by the way the next room (which was revealed) held mummies and scarabs.
Sorry, no heroics. A total party kill.
Now here is the good part, the brand new players (who have never played a board game like this before) were ecstatic. They wanted to play again (just not that night since it was late).
There were a few points that came out, mostly on changing the player cards…something I was planning to do anyways. And when I said what I planned to do with them, it was exactly what the female player was looking for.
There was one issue with the night though. After the party died, my wife wouldn’t stop commenting on how Hayden could have survived that. Hayden could have killed them all. And a few other Hayden comments. Despite how good the archer she played was, she really wanted Hayden. Lesson learned: let the wife play the angry berserker in the game and not in the house.
Hopefully this was inspiring for you. If nothing else, I might be asking some folks for help in trying out these rules once I get the more clearly written and the products a bit better. Hopefully this inspires you to want to give it a try. Don’t worry, the Hirst Arts dungeon is optional.
I did find a bit of brush time yesterday, but I didn’t feel like doing an update until I had it all finished. Also, I spent last night doing another playtest of the dungeon crawler with the couple I mentioned months ago. Expect an update shortly on that.
Obviously, the second Charger got some paint. All together this was finished painting in about 40 minutes. Brushed on blue, done in layers with varying thickness to add an uneven paint texture. White done same way (yes it is actually a two-tone). Liberal brushing of brown. Add in headlights, windows and assemble. Brown washes and liberal dry brushing of brown. I would have been done quicker if I wasn’t distracted by the kids and the movie I was watching at the same time.
I also managed to get the Quonset hut finished.
As I mentioned when I first showed the WIP, I went with simple block colours. Washes at the seams and then brushed on metal with a rust wash over that. The sign took the longest as I wanted to make it a bit more detailed. I see this as either an ominous military facility or some sort of shop/store/mechanic shed. Quick and easy, this fits the bill for a slightly different building for variety.
With the three urban pieces (five if you count the cars) I figured an action shot was worthwhile. The Cadian Guardsmen have found a pretty nasty shoot-out with some gangers, and the rifleman on the balcony didn’t think to clear the building before he took his spot.
Not quite an action shot, but I do have some pics proving the cars do scale with the dungeon. But parking is still a concern. Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to stay tuned for the update on the Dungeon Delve last night.
A common object in nearly every modern city is the automobile, and yet I seem to be lacking them completely in my terrain and miniature collections. So with one fell swoop I can make cars that function as terrain and vehicles. Inspired by the Chicago Skirmish Wargames Club (http://chicagoskirmish.blogspot.com/) and their use of scale cars I bought two of these Dodge Chargers for about $10.
As this picture shows they were over the top police interceptors. But a bit of acetone and presto, bare metal. I disassembled it first to save the plastic bits. These are 1/43 scale and I think are a bit too big. Beside figures they look fairly close. I will be looking at 1/46 or 1/53 going forward but these worked out well.
As shown by the two minis it scales approximately the right size. I intend to use these as the vehicles for my modern/sci fi assault team (at least until I get some SUVs). Even beside the Quonsit hut they look fairly good.
I might be a bit biased but I think even a bit of paint makes them pop even more. I realized after painting this that I will need to use a varnish of these just to stop the paint from rubbing off. Overall a good effect for minimal effort. All together I spent an hour on this car and the second one is waiting for paint too.
A short one, but hopefully it inspires you to shop for some bargains to repurpose them.
With the weekend came a bit of spare time which naturally means some miniature work done.
I managed to throw some paint on the split level apartment building with some rambling about plaster. If you aren’t interested, scroll down to the pictures. Ooh, pretty colours.
The split level plaster did flake off a lot more than on the smaller house. There are a few reasons for this. First, since it wasn’t continuous, I think the plaster had a tougher time relying on itself for support. This is coupled with the lack of cardboard to absorb the water and bond too. Note: try sanding the foamcore to help the plaster adhere. Second, I think I let it dry too much. The fully dry plaster was brittle while the paint helps to seal and reinforce it. Note: don’t let it dry for more than a day before painting. Third, I put it on thin and smooth…too thin and smooth. The thicker areas stayed on and kept the concrete look I was aiming for. Note: be generous with slathering it on. Still with me? Hopefully you take heed of my mistakes to save yourself trouble.
As the garish colours attest to, I was aiming for the bright and cheery look many apartment buildings tend to display paired with the tradition of brightly coloured and cheery slums. As with the first building, I put the colour patches on in an irregular fashion to look like chipped and faded paint. Only one tone for yellow and red, but with smudging with fingers and uneven brushing it looks like a few shades.
The Dremel got a bit of a work-out today as I repurposed a vertical fan. This is part of the outer casing that reminded me of a sheet-metal structure. I added card reinforcement and the door and outer face panel to give a coherent feel. I will paint this in a faded primary colour with the metal (and rust) peeking through in a few spots. Nice and sturdy, this piece will give a bit of variety without being fragile.
This is a bit of a landmark for me. This marks the first time I have broken down appliances for terrain. In addition to the Quonset hut, I have parts for a few generators and gears and gubbins. More interesting for pieces may be the broken DVD player waiting for my eager hands.
And of course the action shot. My Necromunda Scum is facing down a half squad…and with his plasma pistol things don’t look good for the Imperial Guardsmen.
Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else it shows what a bit of work and experimentation can give you.
I took a pause in my other projects to throw together the start of a sci fi urban terrain section. There are two reasons for this project.
First, I do enjoy playing on urban terrain in most sci fi games so the more the better. The preferred terrain of course would be specific to the game. As nice as the half-timbered houses look, it does seem a bit jarring when there are spacemen and aliens fighting in them.
Second, there are a few new players in town of 40k, and overall we are short a few pieces in the club collection. So I wanted to figure out a quick and easy set of buildings that would be easy for new folks to build if we do a hobby night.
Anyhow, here are the pics of the first one done.
This was made with foamcore, card, and a drinking straw. I coated the building with plaster prior to painting to seal a few gaps and give it a concrete structure. Buried under the thick plaster are some detail panels I added. Fortunately I only had enough plaster for this one so I could learn my mistake for the second one.
This was the first project where I successfully tried using plaster on a building. I did a test a couple weeks ago doing a skin over an older building I had. I had tried using plaster to clad a structure before but the plaster actually warped and lifted off of the building all those years ago. I don’t remember my step by step from then, but I think I am doing it differently and better this time.
And here is a WIP of the second building done.
All together these took 3 hours of work (not including glue, plaster, and paint drying times) over the course of two days. A second theme following out of these will be the building of shanty shacks. I figured out a new way to build them since doing the cobbled-together walls would be too fragile. So I intend to build a solid foamcore skeleton with cobbled on sheet-metal and junk to build the shacks. The buildings in the style above will form the core of the shanty neighbourhood.
Anyhow, short and sweet but hopefully inspirational to try a small scale project for a change of pace.