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Super New Year

After a long year, it is rewarding to look back on how the year progressed and note achievements.  It also doesn’t hurt to acknowledge failures with a bit of chagrin either.

I started 2015 with a fairly short list of goals to achieve, let’s start off by reviewing those.

1. Finish the half-timber row of houses and build another one.

Well, that was a bit of a bust.  I have the first row nearly finished…just need to shingle two more rooftops.  I have zero progress on a second row of buildings…not even a plan drawn up.  The building does look good, I think.

Half-timbered row house terrain.  Est. circa 2009.

Half-timbered row house terrain. Est. circa 2009.

Scratchbuilt half-timber row-houses.  Reaper Miniature Marius Burrowell.

Scratchbuilt half-timber row-houses. Reaper Miniature Marius Burrowell.

2.  Finish the dwarven ruins and complete some additional scatter pieces.

Yeah, all I managed to do was basecoat that piece.  Complete failure on this one.

Dwarf ruins for use in Games Workshop Lord of the Rings.  Figures by Games Workshop.

Dwarf ruins for use in Games Workshop Lord of the Rings. Figures by Games Workshop.

3.  Build 3 scratch-built tanks/APCs.

Yeah, nothing to report here.  To be honest, these have been back-benched as I find I am playing less and less of 40K again.  So much time to set-up and not a game I enjoy playing that much.  Maybe at some point they will get finished.

Devil Dog half-finished project receiving a new powertrain.

Devil Dog half-finished project receiving a new powertrain.

4.  HOTT Orc army finished.

Well, I did manage to repaint two of the pike units I botched.  But that is it.  Also a project that has gotten bumped down in priority.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

So now it begs the question…what did I accomplish this year?

In counter point to #1, I have the start of a sci fi urban city, complete with 4 cars (and another 3 in various stages of completion).

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

CarsGroup1

In counter point to #2, I have completed 5 dungeon sections and 4 in progress.  The most complex in progress being the library but still playable at its current state.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Hayden Hasslefree Miniatures.  Alain Iconic Cavalier, Brother Roberto and Jolie Female Scribe by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Hayden Hasslefree Miniatures. Alain Iconic Cavalier, Brother Roberto and Jolie Female Scribe by Reaper Miniatures.

I don’t really have a counter to not finishing the orc army.  This year I have completed painting 62 miniatures.  I am surprised by the large number myself, but it is all there through my past posts.  Wow, that is quite the accomplishment alone.  In fact, there are more that were painted but never posted because they turned out badly.

Reaper Bones monsters...cue the rampaging hordes and ominous music.

Reaper Bones monsters…cue the rampaging hordes and ominous music.

Also accomplished this year was substantial leaps forward in Dungeon Down development.  This might be ready for the eyes of the general public pretty soon.

So what does this year bring?  Well the title is a spoiler.  I have been bitten by the superhero bug lately.  Between the excellent movies coming out and the tv series my wife has gotten wrapped up in, I feel more than a little nostalgia for comic books.  So I took the plunge and ordered my first batch of heroes (and villains) in tights.  This brought my attention back to (some of) the Hasslefree Miniatures modern miniatures I had kicking around.  After looking at them, I realized that I have a dead ringer for Black Widow and Nick Fury (from the comic books anyways).

Ekaterina by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Ekaterina by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Cobra by Hasslefree Miniatures

Cobra by Hasslefree Miniatures

I know that my Nick Fury is actually supposed to be Kurt Russell from the “Escape From” series of movies but once I am done, I am fairly confident he will look like a good Agent of Shield.

As I bought these models for cool factor without a plan for them, I feel this is a good move to use them.  As a plus, they will also be painted into tactical combat style so will still be used in other games where warranted, well not so much these two as the others below.

Nomad, Deano, and Widow by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Nomad, Deano, and Widow by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Undead Outlaw by Reaper Miniatures

Undead Outlaw by Reaper Miniatures

Also added into the mix is the start of my own version of the Saint of Killers from Preacher.  I decided to go more undead with him, and I will have to tone down his abilities just a little bit…this cowboy could do more damage than the Avengers on a bad day.  Pretty crude so far, but he is a WIP.

Now the only issue I see might come out, is trying to find a game system to use.  Pulp City seems like a great game, and I read through the quick play rules.  Seems to capture comic book style fights and cool hero abilities.  There are a couple downsides to that system.  First, it is card based…so you need to use their miniatures.  So I can’t take Ironman and play him, unless they have an Ironman equivalent (they don’t as near as I can tell, hence my example of him).  The other one is the complexity.  This game is a dense read and complicated.  This is not a quick pick up and play or teach new players.

I have been toying around with a modern setting version of Dungeon Down.  I had a good set of basic principles that used the same basic mechanics but had a team going through a facility/alien ship/sewer/etc.  So those ideas have a basis for doing a superhero game.  But how do you represent the superheroes and the minions/less than super support?  From my experience, the game already does that.  A level 1 monster is not much  of a threat to a party of level 2 heroes.  But, I have witnessed 3 goblins with bows completely kill a party.  I have also seen higher level guys hammer away on each other for several rounds with minimal effect.  The simple balancing of forces using the levels mechanic still works too.

So all that said and done, I will be working on a super hero game setting this year with all the trappings that go with it.  This means more terrain including cars.  It means lots of minis painted and assembled.  It also means it is a slow burn project that will still let me do other projects too.

So I hope to inspire you to have a super year too.  And remember: no capes.

The Incredibles.  Used without permission.

The Incredibles. Used without permission.

 

 

WIP it Good

Or for those who like words spelt right: Whip it Good.  I have had very little hobby time since my last update, but I feel that time has been fairly productive.  In addition to progress on the stair room featured in the last update, I have a couple more projects on the go.

Vanja Fire Giant Queen by Reaper Miniatures

Vanja Fire Giant Queen by Reaper Miniatures

First we have Vanja at the 99%.  Since taking this pic I have added highlights to her hair and I will obviously finish her base.  Only a tabletop level right now, I still have the option to make her better with corrections to my errors.  For now, this girl can proudly shake off the kiss of death of being featured in an earlier WIP.

I went with metallic paint for the jewelry with very crude light source added to the jewels.  A simple but effective paint scheme.  I notice other people have done her with a bare midriff but I think the layered armour look is better.  At about 18′ maybe she could get away with the chainmail bikini but I would rather she wore proper armour.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

A couple new dungeon sections have been started.  In fact I have finished one (barring paint of course).  The two-level storeroom pictured helped me realize something about my molds.  There are 1″x1″ floor tiles and 1″x1/2″ floor tiles.  Or so I thought.  When I did the previous stair room I noticed that one of my walls didn’t line up properly and my bricks had gaps.  I just chalked it up to my skill fade and sloppy work.  It wasn’t until I did this piece I realized that the half-wide pieces are in fact about 1/32″ longer than an inch.  this means using them as floor tiles will have an uneven length.  So this wall has a few weird gaps in the walls I have had to deal with and it isn’t 100% squared off wall to corner.  Oh well, live and learn.  I think this piece will look good enough.  More importantly, it give me another multi-level piece.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

I have been wanting to play around with levels and adding a vertical dimension to my games of Dungeon Down.  It isn’t to say it changes much, just gives some visual variety and cool changes.  The changes in level do give some more options.  I am also thinking of doing some corridor sections with stairs too just to add to the multiple level options.

To further enhance the multiple levels I have also put together these two pieces.  Don’t let the simple shape fool you, I have not completely lost it.  These are not giant dice either.  So what are they for you ask?

These next few pictures demonstrate how they can support multiple levels.  Simply put, these let me turn any piece into a second floor piece.  I will throw a few more together obviously for the larger pieces and to let me have entire lengths of corridor that span distances.

A pretty short update today, but hopefully still inspirational.  This year has been a bit sporadic due to busy periods at work but I still managed to keep it more or less current for the regular readers.  My next update will likely see my year in review, including my shameful lack of achieving hobby goals.  Happy New Year in the interim.

Diversity is the key to success

Or at least I was led to believe from the Economics sections in my sociology courses.  I have had a bit of time to work and I am hammering away on a few different projects.  I realize I have quite a few half-finished projects so I am trying to finish them.  Today is brought to you by WIP-Inc and the letter W.

Thund Bloodwrack by Reaper Miniatures.

Thund Bloodwrack by Reaper Miniatures.

Previously shown as an example of a new tattoo technique I was trying, I figured I would finish him off.  This barbarian’s pose is very striking.  I see in the giant photo of shame that I need to do more washes to make his skin more natural and his muscles to pop more.  What I have done is thrown some highlights onto his sword.  I want a black sword with a hint of green reminiscent of uranium.

I am actually amazed how similar he is to one of my favorite old RPG characters – Barghev.  The only thing he needs are 3 more axes and shaggy hair and beard.  If I decide to get another one for this project, I will go in depth on the character on a later post.

But, he is a character I will never play again.  The campaign world was in a system designed by our GM.  Whenever he came out with a revision, he fast-forwarded a few hundred years so we were forced to make new characters.  As consolation, this character eventually became a god of death…for goblins, but a god none the less.  Something to do with destroying several thousand over the course of game sessions all by his own hand.

Fly Demon by Reaper Miniatures

Fly Demon by Reaper Miniatures

Fly Demon by Reaper Miniatures

Fly Demon by Reaper Miniatures

Also on the block of newly started figures is this creepy little guy.

I did up the fly very simply with wet-blending and highlights while I was waiting on something else.  The eyes are obviously just blocked out at this time, I am not sure if I want to try painting on a whole bunch of tiny dots to show the faceted eyes.  The wings will go for a green-tinted white, darker green on the veins.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Also new on the workbench is a new dungeon module for Dungeon Down.  Most of my free time has been dedicated to updating the card backs, adding a few new cards and building some foam-core board sections.  Why you ask?  Simple – Christmas gifts.  Two versions of the game have been given out, one for the couple who we regularly play with, and a second to a very close friend who I am certain will enjoy it.  If nothing else he has a new use for his eclectic miniatures collection.

For this latest piece (and a few more I have in mind), I am playing more with multi-level sections.  I will also make up a few bases to raise up sections to the second story when required.  The stairs and bookshelf aren’t attached yet for ease of painting and this section still needs the walls for the second level to be laid down.  Overall, I think it looks very striking and the forced route of movement will make it more challenging for combat.

By the power of half-painted Grey Skull...I HAVE THE POWER.

By the power of half-painted Grey Skull…I HAVE half THE POWER.

This update saw a little bit of everything.  I figure since my hobby time has been in short supply for a while, the variety of projects will be refreshing, and gives me a chance to work on several things at once.  Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else, to seek out those figures that have meaning and paint them up.

Grim dark in the middle of the day

This afternoon I had an opportunity to have a new play-tester play his second game of Dungeon Down.  A few things were learned, but a lot was confirmed.

A veteran of many delves, Marius found himself with several new companions for this particular dungeon.  He set forth with an initiate paladin and two wizards…or rather a witch and wizard.  As they trekked to the abandoned ruins they sought to explore, Marius was sure he could trust the sorceress much more than the snickering elf wizard seemed to imply.  The quiet, stoic paladin was a tough nut to crack as he did nothing but mutter prayers and play with his rosary.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon.  Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Mummy Warriors, and Mummy Captain by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon. Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Mummy Warriors, and Mummy Captain by Reaper Miniatures.

First entering the dungeon, the adventurers saw the dungeon swung to the right with naught but moldering sacks in a dim corner to the left.  The shuffling sounds to the right were the only warning of advancing mummies.  Continuing his previous lesson on tumbler lock technology over the previous 20 years, Marius was distracted and needed to fire two bolts to drop the first mummy.

Before the paladin could even loose his sword, the two mages made quick work of the other two mummies, the dart from Joliee exploding the Pharaoh in an explosive burst of smoldering cloth.

The various piles of treasure scattered about were quite rewarding to the party and soon they had various magic items equipped as they proceeded down the long corridor towards a junction point.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon.  Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Goblins, and Beetle Swarm by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon. Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Goblins, and Beetle Swarm by Reaper Miniatures.

In the ruins of some crates, the unshakeable explorer trailed off on his lecture about the merits of sliding versus rolling latches to be amazed at the swarms of trained beetles the goblins were controlling with their screeching language.

So dumb-struck was he that his first shot sailed wide above the diminutive beasts to clatter harmlessly against the wall.  The second shot struck home and sent a goblin to a loud and messy end.

Again the sorcerous heroes displayed prowess and expertise as first Joliee fired a mystical dart of energy straight through Marius.  Her pleading apologies and the callous laughter of the elf wizard were the last sounds to be heard by Marius before he slipped into the blackness of unconsciousness.

As the paladin lifted his still glowing hands from him, Marius knew he had been close to death.

“I am so sorry, I have never missed with a spell before.  You have to please forgive me…”  her pleading was an incessant stream of begging between choked back tears while the smirk on the face of the wizard told a different story.

In Dungeon Down, as I have mentioned numerous times, shooting obstacles (including other miniatures) has a chance of hitting the obstacle.  Joliee  manages to remind the player of this an incredible number of times through-out the game.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon.  Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Faceless Horror, and Burning Spheres by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon. Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Faceless Horror, and Burning Spheres by Reaper Miniatures.

Regrouped and recovered, the party proceeded cautiously towards the junction.  In the shadows of a storeroom, several ominous shadows lingered.  As he approached closer he saw a sinister grick slink forth to attack the party.  Taking a few steps forward to ensure his clear shot, Marius slew the serpent-like monster with a single bolt.  As he shouted over his shoulder to warn the party, the hulking mass of a Gibbering Horror struck Marius dead with fear.

Not wanting to risk further deaths, the party reorganized in the narrow corridor as Joliee threw-up a wall of fire to protect them.  To their collective horror, Marius again was struck dead by fear before he had even fully stood upright and even the paladin felt his heart quiver for a moment as unholy energy gripped him.  The final insult to the party was as a Bone Horror absorbed the slain Grick and moved towards the prone form of Marius.

Bone Fiend by Reaper Miniatures.

Bone Fiend by Reaper Miniatures.

Mystic energy crackled through the air as spell after spell hammered into the Gibbering Horror with only a single errant bolt striking the wall instead.  Once the massive bulk of the beast was felled, the corpse slowly reshaped to be knit into the ever-growing form of the Bone Horror.

I’ll take a moment to explain the Bone Horror.  In the game I have a few abilities that interact with corpses.  Healing is the most obvious (and most often used) ability.  There are monsters who can turn the dead into skeletons or create minions of themselves.  The Bone Horror works a bit different.  It absorbs corpses to gain additional wounds.  In the first game it was used, the Bone Horror was a 6 wound monstrosity before the party was able to deal with it.  In this game it was a mere five wounds but was left as the lone monster facing the party and was quickly killed.

Marius again was revived by Erick and proved his composure by taking the lead into the storeroom.  The rest of the party wasn’t too sure of this thief until the prearranged signal…his gurgling death scream.  Joliee rounded the corner first to see Marius being devoured by a unit of shelves.  The mimic curled behind wooden shelves to try finishing its meal as her first blast of eldritch magic seared away part of the chimerical form.

Anirion followed suit and destroyed the abomination with a searing dart of his own.  The nervous paladin stared at the thief, carefully examining him before he let the gnome stand.

“You’re worried about nothing.  Just some bad luck.”

His loud voice did draw more of that bad luck as a hulking minotaur came into the room followed by a troll.  With two quick twangs Marius brought the bellowing minotaur to his knees, bright red blood pooling on the floor.  The troll leapt over the prone minotaur and swung at the nimble gnome, barely connecting with him, but smashing a stack of crates to kindling.  Joliee ran forward and flashed up a wall of fire near the corridor, engulfing the troll in flames.  Stepping beside her, the elf wizard sent the troll’s head flying back down the corridor with a flash of heat and light.

In all the flurry, none noticed the foul mockery of the paladin that stepped into the room until he began reciting unholy scripture at the paladin.  Gritting his teeth and gripping his holy symbol, Erick fought back the stygian powers of the evil champion.  Bewildered to still be conscious, Marius dove backwards and fired his crossbow at the anti-paladin.  He was gripped with terror as he watched the anti-paladin smile…until blood spilled from his mouth and the villain fell down lifeless.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon.  Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, and Spikeshell Warriors by Reaper Miniatures.  Zombies and Ghouls by Games Workshop.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon. Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, and Spikeshell Warriors by Reaper Miniatures. Zombies and Ghouls by Games Workshop.

The corridor again ended but not before revealing more treasure for the party to divvy up.  By this time, all four were feeling confident about their abilities as numerous magic items and additional equipment made packs heavy.

Doubling back to the corridor fork, a dog sized spider, hunting cat and skeleton sorcerer were quickly dispatched as the heroes twirled around reanimating bones to destroy the skeleton sorcerer.  Marius again was felled, this time by the webs of the spider.

By now, the paladin initiate was questioning his change in vocation.  Marius reminded him of Prior Al.  Old feeble Al had tried to train as a knight.  He had unshakeable faith, but he lacked any sort of coordination.  That was how he cut off his foot.  Well, the right one.  The left foot was apparently from some sort of carpentry accident.  He found himself distractedly trying to remember which eye the old man told him he lost during his first joust.

Woken from his reveries by the twang of a crossbow, Erick was sure he would be reviving the thief again soon.  To his surprise, Joliee stepped forward and rocked the entire dungeon with the force of her magical blast.  As he wiped the dirt and dust from his face, he was surprised to see Anirion point the fully alert gnome to lead on.  How is it a fight happened and the gnome didn’t die?

Hirst Arts modular dungeon.  Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Chimera and Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon. Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Chimera and Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

Marius and the sorcerous heroes plunged forward to the sound of an ear-splitting roar.  Too far away to hear the shouts of his comrades, Erick was confused by the twang of crossbow, death wail in the distance and roar of flames.  Flames?  In the dungeon?  How could that be possible?

This game marked the first encounter with my Chimera.  I have created this beast as a Level 4 monster.  I wasn’t sure about the stats.  At first I thought it might be a bit tough, then I saw the stats aren’t insurmountable.  In fact, in play it was the dice that made the difference.  If a few rolls had been a bit higher, or at least not 1s, the party would have easily bested this monster and carried on to finish the dungeon.  Not as visible in the picture is the Babau.  As I mentioned in a previous post, this demon will warp in and out of reality to harass the party.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon.  Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Chimera and Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon. Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Chimera and Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

The biggest danger from the Chimera was his breath.  His first round saw him squeezing into a narrow corridor (reducing his defense) to burn the gnome and two wizards.

Erick did step into the fray and revived Joliee, only to have her fall to a second gout of flame.  Erick himself stood against flurries of attacks by the poisoned tail of the Chimera and the scrabbling claws of the demon until the poisoned sting finally pierced his platemail and sent the deadly poison coursing through his veins.

The fight was very tense with the Chimera and it was brought down to it’s final wound.  With the ability to do flurries of attacks (with a chance to hit itself), the Chimera almost did itself in.  On one turn, it almost hit itself 3 times in a row (defending against its own attack by a single digit in all cases).  I was left trying to tell the poor play-tester that the party doesn’t die every time.  But he was ecstatic.  He was actually the first to admit the party kill was mostly due to his own mistakes.  And bad rolling.  The one and only time the paladin had to save the day and he fails to heal Joliee and then subsequently rolls 1s for his defenses against the Chimera and its poison (when even a 2 would have kept him alive).

Hirst Arts modular dungeon.  Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Chimera and Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon. Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Chimera and Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

Having a solo play-tester for his second ever trial of the game gave me a few solid observations.  First of all, I did very little coaching on what the sheets meant, which dice to roll, and which ability was used for what.  Since my goal is to design a simple set of rules that was easy to remember, I would say that bodes well.  The only rules issues I noticed were that he had to be reminded to include dice penalties due to wounds and he wasn’t 100% sure what the difference between Miracles and Spells was until I threw out an idea that has guided my design:  Sorcerers are selfish and only affect themselves and others while Miracles help others.  That cemented it for him and he could even identify who used what stat on the bad guys by the skill effect.

The next observation came directly from him: the Cunning heroes may have more opportunity to gain experience than other heroes, but only if they lead from the front.  Marius accounted for more kills and disarmed 7 traps.  He also would have only earned a total of 1 experience from combat as he was dead at the end of every fight but one.  The more solid Mighty heroes are more likely to survive and both Sorcerous and Resolute heroes benefit from flexibility and only really face death if they are foolish.

The final observation was a confirmation of what I had noticed before: the game plays best with more players.  It is both more challenging and rewarding when there are more players.  Ideally each adventurer should be individually controlled and the dungeon to be controlled by a player as well.  This makes mistakes both more and less likely and the risks and rewards from treasure more exciting.

I hope this was inspiring to you today, if nothing else, I feel confident sending out demo rules for those interested now.

Playing the Album Backwards

Nothing like the history of urban myths to start things off.  If you aren’t aware, the story goes that (insert band name) wrote Satanic verses into their songs but they can only be heard if you play the album backwards.  As a perfect example, have a listen to this: Warning: Likely to Cause Brain Damage. Anyhow, I have managed to do some painting, mostly of demons.

Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

First up, we have the Reaper Bones Babau.  This is the demon who was able to play cat and mouse with the party during the last game of Dungeon Down. I went with a fairly muted colour scheme as I wanted it to evoke stealth.  In DnD, this particular demon drips with venom.  The description makes it red, but I wanted to go with green instead and show it dripping down the rock instead of coating the mini.

Nabassu by Reaper Miniatures.

Nabassu by Reaper Miniatures.

Nabassu by Reaper Miniatures.

Nabassu by Reaper Miniatures.

Also painted on the demon front is the Nabassu.  Now this is a demon I am not familiar with, so I looked it up online.

Demon from Fantasia.  Image used without permission.

Demon from Fantasia. Image used without permission.

Apparently this is a demon who starts in the mortal realm and then shifts to demon realms afterwards.  I wasn’t sure what to do with such a vague description so I just went with the stereotypes of a demon from Heavy Metal album cover to Christian movies.  Oh Disney did it too. In game terms I just went with a big tough guy who can stare down individuals to strike fear in their hearts.

Erick Initiate Paladin by Reaper Miniatures.

Erick Initiate Paladin by Reaper Miniatures.

Erick Initiate Paladin by Reaper Miniatures.

Erick Initiate Paladin by Reaper Miniatures.

Erick Initiate Paladin, Brother Roberto, and Imrijka by Reaper Miniatures.

Erick Initiate Paladin, Brother Roberto, and Imrijka by Reaper Miniatures.

I did manage to throw some paint on a couple new adventurers.  Truth is, I am not very happy with the results.  I am not sure if it is a bit of painters fatigue, the bad primer (it left the figs pebbled) or just a bad selection of scheme. Anyhow, I went with a rather simple paint scheme.  I wanted to go with a Templar style but I realized I had a knight with a white tabard already,  In fact, I have another guy in a red tabard so it isn’t really the most unique choice either. On the other hand, he seems a bit out of scale with the other characters I have thus far.  As demonstrated when he his beside my other divine inspired heroes.

Nabassu, Babau, Brother Roberto, and Imrijka by Reaper Miniatures.

Nabassu, Babau, Brother Roberto, and Imrijka by Reaper Miniatures.

Nabassu, Babau, Brother Roberto, and Imrijka by Reaper Miniatures.

Nabassu, Babau, Brother Roberto, and Imrijka by Reaper Miniatures.

Of course the action shots will showcase these demons, but it also shows off my latest modular dungeon terrain. This unholy temple will serve as the boss room for the Vrock demon but also adds a bit of interesting flavor and confused line of sight with the pews. I may go for a more elaborate temple set-up at some point too, but I am happy with the simple room but interesting effect.

Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to try playing some songs in reverse.

From the ashes…

Ok, maybe a bit melodramatic, but I did have a few figs consigned to being stripped redeem themselves with a bit of work.

Elia Shadowfeet by Reaper Miniatures.

Elia Shadowfeet by Reaper Miniatures.

Elia Shadowfeet by Reaper Miniatures.

Elia Shadowfeet by Reaper Miniatures.

Before we get into that, I did manage to get some nicer pictures of Elia so now her smooth skin and subtle shadows are at least visible.

Not an amazing paint job, but at least now my brushwork is more clear.

Ironically, in the game of Dungeon Down last night, the party was wishing for a Cunning Hero (read: Thief) and I showed them this girl who would have been a very valuable addition.  More on that below.

Skeleton by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeleton by Reaper Miniatures.

My wife was wanting to learn to paint too, mostly because our daughters are doing it.  So I sat down with her one afternoon and had her first brush on primer her first chosen model…and then I handed her one to learn dry-brushing on (a naked skeleton) and then told her to paint this guy above.  She did very nice blending and subtle highlights with minimal instruction.  Most of the white is actually plaster dust (doing Hirst Arts again has put that all over my workspace).

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

While she was painting her skeleton, I figured I would hammer out these skeletons too.  I also had a few side projects where I would show her what a wash did, or multi-colour/layered drybrushing.  I also did wet blending to show her that, but told her to try it after she felt more comfortable with putting on highlights by hand instead of trying to blend up to them.

Aaron the Conjurer by Reaper Miniatures.

Aaron the Conjurer by Reaper Miniatures.

Aaron the Conjurer by Reaper Miniatures.

Aaron the Conjurer by Reaper Miniatures.

Aaron the Conjurer by Reaper Miniatures.

Aaron the Conjurer by Reaper Miniatures.

Aaron is the Phoenix of the post today.  I had originally wanted to paint a mage with orange robes so put on the first few layers and it came out all chalky.  So I was frustrated with him.  In the end I decided I would test techniques on him before I stripped him or put him in the bottom of a drawer.

With that in mind, I tried wet-blending an Asian flesh.  Which came out fairly well.  From there I tried putting in the hair and saw the Fu Man Chu could be pulled off.  Once that was done, I wondered if a wash and wet blend up to highlights could fix the robes.  In some places it worked better than others obviously, the back turned out the best I think but the front leg looks suitably worn and faded too.

Finally I just started playing around with wet-blending the spell effect from dark blue to white.  I simply blocked out the other colours and threw him aside, still confident I would strip him.  At the game of Dungeon Down though the couple who regularly plays were amazed with him.  So now I guess I need to go back and touch up the details and smooth out the rough spots.  Or not.  For tabletop I think he looks quite good.

Woody, Halfling Ranger by Reaper Miniatures.

Woody, Halfling Ranger by Reaper Miniatures.

Another mini who may (or may not) have pulled himself from the proverbial doghouse is the Halfling here.  While painting him, I though it would be cool to make him match Elia like brother and sister.  Instead of opting for a Rnager-themed paint scheme I felt like going more for Perregrin of Minas Tirith.  I was liking the basic colour blocking…but the skin just kept coming out patching and coarse.  I did go back with a flesh wash that repaired some of the sins…but I am still not happy with him as a whole.  And he certainly doesn’t look like a match for Elia, even as her ugly brother.

A few touch-ups are still needed too, but the question is if I can fix his skin.  I tried using some blonde paint to give him a beard to cover up the sins, but it is just too tough to notice on such a small mini.  Any suggestions would be appreciated…otherwise he will sit in shame or get stripped.

Anti Paladin by Reaper Miniatures.

Anti Paladin by Reaper Miniatures.

Anti Paladin by Reaper Miniatures.

Anti Paladin by Reaper Miniatures.

Cassiatta by Reaper Miniatures.

Cassiatta by Reaper Miniatures.

Also playing Phoenix were these two sinister figures.

The Anti Paladin was given a quick dry brush but I spent a lot of time blending his cape and the shield was separate and I was blending, highlighting and drybrushing it to this state while watching Netflix waaay past my bedtime.

Cassiata was simply a rough and dirty series of wet-blend drybrushes to get a purple girl.  Mostly because I knew both my oldest daughter and wife would find a girl in purple cute.

The Anti Paladin shield is his focal point and the eyes are drawn to it (overlooking the poorly done eyes).  The pair though fulfilled a devious role in Dungeon Down.  As a new breed of tough monsters in an attempt to increase the difficulty of some fights.  These two combine cleric-hunting with defending weaker monsters.  Paired with the very efficient melee and thick armour kept the game on track.

Let me explain that last part.  Due to my being busy and the work schedules of the couple, the regular Dungeon Down games had been side-tracked and we haven’t even had time to grab a coffee with this couple in almost 3 months.  So the two women were gossiping away and talking girl stuff after we were a few minutes into the game with the two men looking bored.  So we just pushed on and when these two appeared both the women were suddenly interested in the game as they saw Alain backing off from a fight.

The nastiest critter of the game was a demon (the first one in fact) who had Ambush.  As mentioned in previous posts, Ambush lets a monster deploy in a non-standard way.  Some monsters can even reuse Ambush.  The demon’s Ambush let him deploy beside a wounded miniature.  It could then reuse Ambush by using Stealth (an ability that uses Cunning against the Cunning of others).  Since the demon has very Cunning, it had free reign to pop into existence, finish off a wounded hero and then disappear again.  Since it could do the Ambush even if it was a wounded monster, it kept popping in and out until finally Brother Roberto was felled in combat.  A healing potion could bring him back, but left him wounded…and the demon came in.

Alain valiantly stepped in front of Brother Roberto (using one of his skills) and shrugged off the demon’s attack.  When it stepped into the shadows to disappear, Alain rolled higher on his cunning and ran the demon through with a single sword thrust.

As this monster was despised by the party and deemed nasty, everybody agreed he needs to stay.  If nothing else he encourages the use of a Cunning hero.  An unpainted mini right now, he has earned a paint job.

The game was great fun and ended up ending on time since we kept visiting and getting side-tracked as good friends enjoying themselves are wont to do.  To give the action shot, here is the final shot of the dungeon where we ended it.  This is a great shot as nobody was repositioned, so I took about 20 shots until I got one I was happy with.  If I had zoomed in a bit more it would have been that much better.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Hayden Hasslefree Miniatures.  Alain Iconic Cavalier, Brother Roberto and Jolie Female Scribe by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Hayden Hasslefree Miniatures. Alain Iconic Cavalier, Brother Roberto and Jolie Female Scribe by Reaper Miniatures.

Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to try experimenting on the minis that are already consigned to stripping…it’s not as if you have anything to lose.

 

 

 

Dungeon Delve to a Dead-end

I’m back, but only for a brief while.  After a month of business at work (actually closer to two) I finally have a bit of time off.  It is short-lived and work will have me busy again for the next month.  At least it will be a trip this time to Las Vegas and California…I know, sometimes work can be so tough.

Anyhow, before work got very busy I managed to squeak in a game of Dungeon Down.  What really separated this game from others was the end state: we actually had the game finish with a dead-end and a boss fight in the second to last area.

I won’t comment too much on the pictures as they are over a month old and my memory isn’t the best.  I will mention that it took a few pictures before I realized I had the wrong light setting.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe.  Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe. Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe.  Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe. Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe.  Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe. Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Dungeon beast re-enacting his favorite scene from ET as we played.

Dungeon beast re-enacting his favorite scene from ET as we played.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe.  Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe. Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe.  Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe. Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe.  Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe. Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe.  Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe. Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe.  Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe. Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe.  Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe. Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe.  Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Reaper Miniatures Brother Roberto, Alain Cavalier, Joliee Female Scribe. Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  The dungeon complete for this delve.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. The dungeon complete for this delve.

What is worth mentioning is the boss fight.  In that fight it was a closely fought one where each player plotted their turns carefully and worked together to beat the boss.  What made this one more dangerous was his very dangerous bow and ability to charm the players.  When they saw those threats they saw the need to take him out first, even if he was unpainted.  This was done by having Hayden clear a path for Alain while Roberto and Joliee ran interference.

What was also interesting was how the now experienced heroes played.  There were few monsters that were threats for any one hero and the combats were quick and deadly.  That being said, there was one fight that had almost the entire party dead from the waves of monsters who sought out the isolated heroes.  So even at the higher end of good, the heroes were still vulnerable to the random encounters.

That made me feel the game is balanced and all the players decided to try new characters for the next time, even trying out the character creation rules I have devised (in fact the same method each of the existing heroes was created).

Not a lot of words, but plenty of pictures.  Hopefully the smaller update is no less inspiring.  Stay tuned – another update is in the works.