Work has been very busy of late, but fortunately with the new fiscal year, a lot of the year end nonsense is wrapping up for me. Good news for you, is that I could find some free time today.
Today has been fairly productive, as I polished off quite a few different figures for the ongoing RPG campaign.
Up first is a zombie ogre. I like how this model looks, and eventually I will go back and finish his base. The fact this zombie is literally held together with bandages makes him look like the redneck special…a bit of duct-tape and good as new.
I decided to add some blood-stains to the bandages and applied a rust wash to the metal…but I am not satisfied with how that turned out. When I finish the base, the rust may get a rework.
This guy will be a nice surprise for the group in the RPG campaign. The first encounter they had was an ogre running a toll-bridge, which was actually a cover for a group of bandits. They paid the ogre, and killed all but one of the bandits. This will be the ogre making a reappearance, just a lot more worse for wear.
Also getting some paint is one of my two filth beasts. For those unaware, this is a miniature interpretation of the otyugh.
This is essentially a disgusting natural garbage and filth disposal as it eats rotting organic material (including it’s own feces). Yuck. It also spreads disease with all its attacks for some reason.
I grabbed two of these minis as it is good dungeon fodder for any game you are running, and are tough enough to challenge even parties well past their level.
These two monsters will play a role in a loop-closing adventure. The party has been hanging around the same village for some time, although they burned it to the ground and evacuated the villagers, so it is more rubble than village.
A few weeks ago, they stumbled across a battlefield cursed by a slain necromancer (which had been hinted at to them since they first arrived). There will be a couple of new players joining the group this week and they will lead the party to the ruins of the necromancer’s stronghold (for treasure and to hopefully stop the necromancer and his army from rising over and over again). These two will add some tougher opponents in the mix with the various undead that don’t stay dead.
Looking ahead for a monster type I am short on figures for, I painted up several of the wolf-types I have.
Up first are the Hellhounds. Rather than a demonic creature, I went for a more mundane look. I did this for two reasons. First it gives me more versatility, and second these really remind me more of the art for dire wolves in the D&D books than hellhounds.
Next is the shadow hound figure. Although transparent purple and meant to be used as an ethereal monster, I thought it would look cooler as a giant werewolf/demon hound/giant canine. I went for a grey with this one, but I likely will pick up at least one more to go with black. This reminds me very much of the werewolf in the Never-ending Story that hunted the champions of the Childlike Empress.
For all three of these, I had primed them weeks ago and quickly did wet-blending to get them hammered out.
If you haven’t worked with Bones before, you can paint them as soon as the brushed on primer is dry. But, and this is important, if it isn’t fully cured the primed has a habit of peeling and rubbing off while painting. The subtle transitions on the wolves were from being able to apply pressure. The Filth Beast has less smooth transitions as the primer kept rubbing off since it had only been dry for a couple hours when I started.
To show off scale, here are all of my wolf-types. For proxies as wolves, I now have several. Conveniently, these will also be useful for an encounter I have prepped for when the party follows the lead for another treasure.
A lot of diverse miniatures today, so hopefully something inspired you today. If nothing else, it shows what a quick afternoon of wet-blending can do for you.
Well it is that time of year where people get together and spend time with family and friends. I hope that you had a most excellent holiday.
Christmas is also the time of year the guy in red comes to visit. By coincidence, I managed to paint a red guy while cooking a turkey.
This Reaper Miniature is a supposed to be an Ice Troll. As they are kind of scarce around these parts (gets too cold for them I think), he didn’t really strike me as an Ice Troll. Instead, the horns seemed to evoke more of a demonic or devilish image so I went with a red-skinned beast.
Sadly, my photography skills are again lacking. But, to be fair I spent a half hour fiddling with my camera. It had the battery out so long it erased all my settings. So I fumbled around a bit until I could get a passable photo quality. The depth of my red is not shown, as I spent most of my time trying to get that just right it is a bit demoralizing. Take my word for it, in ambient light the red has natural shading so hold shadows very well. The one thing I rushed was the rust. I think it looks a bit harsh. I need to go back to experimenting as I seemed to have forgotten my rust wash technique.
As close as we get to an action shot, I have Jolie. She isn’t too sure what he is, I guess. Either way it shows the scale of this rather impressive beast.
Hopefully this post was inspirational, if nothing else to get you to put down your phone and go spend time with family and friends.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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).
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.
Today will see quite the bit of activity on the blog. Now I won’t say I have been busy (vacation from work, no kids and wife at work means lots of free time) but a few of these are actually finished versions of stuff that has been sitting on my hobby desk.
To start off with, I borrowed (shamefully stole) an idea using the translucent Bones to create a functional fire effect.
I’ll be honest when I say I was giddy with delight and couldn’t stop playing with it. When the wife came home I broke her brain a bit when I showed it to her. But, once she figured it out she thought is was cool but I saw her get a bit disappointed. As for myself, the more I played with it the less cool it became and I had concerns about how to improve it.
What I have done here is drilled a hole in the bottom of the fireball and added an LED. I drilled holes in the base for the wire and threw together a quick insulator/switch with paper breaking the circuit and pressure down closing the circuit.
The LED I bought wasn’t the best choice. They were thick and round and I even cut down the size a bit to make it work. I have several more of these LEDs and I will try trimming them down even more. If you can buy the smaller lights (or ideally the fibre optic lights) they are easier to work with. If I were to do something like a bigger fire elemental I would take it further and put multiple thin lights in different spots and then build a simple circuit to do fading/flickering and inconsistent patterns. It has been maybe 30 years since I built electronics but the schematics are easy to find. Parts not so easy in a small town like I live in.
I did also wrangle a couple of the local 40K players into a game of Dungeon Down. Most of the pictures didn’t turn out, but the total party kill by the goblins in the boss fight turned out great. I had some great feedback on how to adjust experience as the thief player racked up tons of experience from disarming traps.
The miniatures that got some attention though are quite diverse (but nothing is blue).
First we have Elia Shadowfeet by Sandra Garrity. This is an amazing sculpt with a lot of personality. This is a newly painted model but I have been slowly working away on her for a while now. So she isn’t new per se, just newly finished.
Sadly my photographic skills have muted out most of my brushwork. The expression is very vibrant, and more than a little cheeky. As shown beside Jolie, she is quite short. I didn’t cut her integral base all the way flat as her feet are very delicate and each toenail sculpted…so she is a bit taller than she should be.
As an Aside, I notice I have been using Jolie as a size comparison model which is funny since yellow is so tough for me to photograph and she never matches the same shade from picture to picture.
The Cave Troll has caught my eye since I first saw it in Bones. Sadly, it has been sold out of the Reaper online store for a long time. My trip to Sentry Box gave me a chance to grab this little guy. I went with the “traditional” green for a troll and did his various boils and warts in yellow which I blended back to green. His belly blending turned out much better than the Squog I did a few weeks ago so I am quite happy with that. Despite not being much taller than a regular miniature, his bulk makes him seem much more threatening. All in all, I think he will be a great addition to the little goblins.
The Bone Fiend is a miniature I am not too sure about. Some of the details are a bit soft.
I am not sure if this is due to it being Bones, the nature of the sculpt, a bad casting I have, or even my spray paint leaving residue. It is worth noting this guy is 25-28mm scale, not 28mm heroic scale so it is a bit smaller than the other Reaper Miniatures. That said, it is in scale with the cowboys they make, my Hasslefree special ops team, and my historic minis. I may grab more of these when they are released in the store to use in other games like HOTT.
Seeing this reminds me of an old fantasy novel I read (that may have been written by Gygax) that had the undead melding together. It also described undead in a hideous fashion I had not seen before or since. The graphic description of twitching nodules of flesh and the grasping fingers and hands of severed limbs as they were hacked apart was quite ghastly. As they were on a ship they couldn’t burn the morass of undead remains after the fight and instead they were mashed to pulp to be rinsed off the deck with buckets. Yeah, a bit more graphic than most fantasy out there, and no neatly de-animated corpses after “killed”.
Dragoth was another work in progress that took a long time for me to finish.
First shown in the background of a Dungeon Down game, I have 99% finished him (I still need to add the bricks to his base). I opted for a verdigris bronze armour and a rusty sword reminiscent of the undead king in the original Conan movie: Conan the Barbarian (1982).
I did try marble on the stone throne and wasn’t too happy with the result. I will go back and try again after a lot of practice. I was aiming for black marble with green and white veins. With time I am sure I can capture this effect.
The last miniature to get showcased is probably the one with the effect I am happiest with. I did wet blending across the board to make the gums, fingers and tentacles all read as different colours without any harsh transitions. Although I did a quick and easy paint job, the effect is very good.
I am sure you noticed none of the bases match my dungeon. Sadly my final highlight shade actually went moldy in the paint pot. As I mixed the shade myself, I tried mixing it again. So far, I have my shade too dark. Then again, I did also rush the final drybrush so it was more of a wet blend than drybrush. Again, something for the to do list.
Of course an action shot is required to close the post. Here we see an angry troll storming into the throne room of the eternal king. A bit out of the ordinary for my action shots I know, but I wanted to do something more in character for the finished minis.
If you missed it in the shots above, that more characterful approach includes having the thief hiding and looting the treasure. The whole implied backstory is the halfling antagonizing the troll until it could do her dirty work. I really like the sly smirk I managed to capture in the last picture.
Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to try some new techniques to give a different effect to your minis.
The latest mini was actually a bit of a longer project than usual for me. It was really due to the contrasting colours and trying to figure out the best way to blend them in without having too stark of a contrast. Likewise, if the contrast isn’t there, then it all blends together.
I think I have done a fairly good job on keeping contrasts in place for the Bones chimera. the only downside is everybody who sees it calls it a dragon. My oldest girl just got confused as I tried to show her it isn’t a dragon. “What is it?” “A dragon!” Can I paint it?” (yes that is her response to every dragon she sees) “Are you sure? I don’t think it’s a dragon. What does that look like?” “A lion. Oh, it’s a lion with wings.” “And what’s that? Is that a dragon head?” “What the-” (yes she actually picked that up somewhere) Now that it is painted, I am sure she will be excited to see it when she gets back. My daughters went away for the summer and there will be a couple changes to daddy daughter time. First, my youngest keeps wanting to paint, so I will do what I did with the oldest: she will sit at the table and paint pictures with the same paint I use and get her used to cleaning her brush, thinning paint and mixing colours. I also picked her up a Bones figure that should be easy to paint. The second change will be getting my oldest daughter playing a game. She has been interested in mini games for as long as she realized that daddy plays games with his toys. So I did some asking around and the Ganesha Games system is fairly easy for kids to grasp. So I bought the rules online and had a quick read. I think it will be fairly easy to teach her and I am thinking of the best way to tie the rules into education type stuff…but I know that will happen anyways. I recommend you check out Ganesha Games if you haven’t heard of them. A Song of Blades and Heroes is a quick fantasy skirmish with simple and easy to manage rules. I think it will be like DBA where the complexity of the play is on the table, not in the books: Ganesha Games. I know she will be very excited, mostly so she can play with her painted figures (which haven’t been shown on this blog yet but may in the future) and with the spider queen – I’ve been told numerous times she is the boss of all of her guys. While grabbing figs for the kids I had to buy a few for myself. The Vanja Fire Giant Queen had my interest when I saw it since I knew she would tie into the Kickstarter Giants very well. I can’t say if she will get painted right away or if I will wait until I paint the Bones 3 Giants at the same time.
As an aside I should mention that my wife and I went to a big city for our anniversary (1 year and no casualties) and we went to the Mecca of gamers. I have to say most couples would not have had the experience we had in the store. We stopped in with intention to buy a couple figs to teach her painting and to see if they had in a box of Greeks for my Persians to finally have an enemy. After all was said and done she had spent 4 times as much as me and was still looking for stuff. I guess I did a good job nerdifying her in the 10 or so years we have been together.
Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to stretch your imagination to see how you can tie in your hobbies with your family.
Last night was a quiet one at home so I managed to get a couple more minis painted. As the title suggests, one was a dragon. Not the large and glorious one, instead one of the hatchling dragons as a test of the scheme I want to use on Cinder.
Ok, so reading labels hasn’t been my strong suit – technically this is supposed to be a red dragon. As the pictures show, I didn’t even try getting the mold lines off of this little guy so there are some pretty obvious ones.
I wanted to see how subtle I could get the shift from black to purple. I am trying for a stark contrast but I wanted to try a technique. As I have 3 more hatchlings, you will likely see some different techniques done.
So why black and purple?
Basically Cinder has some very striking horns. As the picture below shows.
Those horns seem a bit familiar…almost like Maleficent. No, not Angelina Jolie. Haven’t see the movie, not interested. Instead I mean the classic Disney witch/faerie and her dragon form.
Now the colour scheme should hopefully make sense.
I do want the belly to read purple but not in the stark cartoon style. A subtle transition is my goal. As for the wings, I figure if the pale belly in purple it makes sense the wings should be too.
Any input on colour scheme would be appreciated.
Also finished was one of the Boss monsters for Dungeon Down. Although he has been tried already, it was in his shameful unpainted state. Now, he looks a bit more threatening.
I saw him as a nod to the Wild Hunt’s Huntsman figure. For those unfamiliar with this myth, here is a good over-view: Wild Hunt. One thing not discussed in the article is that the Wild Hunt could recruit those it didn’t pursue. So seeing the Huntsman and hearing his horn would cause you to run: either with the hunt or from it.
To replicate that in the game, I gave him a charming spell and a really good bow. As I mentioned in an earlier post, he scared the players just by looking at his stats.
Of course another action shot is due, so I figured why not show two shots.
Hopefully something inspired you today. If nothing else to try pulling inspiration from your childhood to add an unexpected spark to your hobby. I am hoping the finished dragon reads enough like Maleficent that anyone who has seen it makes the comparison.
Ok, so bad puns aside, a bit of soul will help you with the future puns: Rock Steady – Aretha Franklin
A bit of free time today due to Canada Day and a bit of brush work was managed. This was a bit difficult with the injured finger but even more painful for the eyes.
The Vrock is apparently a dancing bird demon in D&D, but to me bird demons always evoke either Babylonian mythology or the bird daemons of Tzeentch in the Games Workshop universes. The GW scheme and concept drove me to the colour scheme, but this horrific assault on your vision could also be put on a square base and used with my Persians in HOTT – the colours match anyways, or at least the sheer number of colours match.
The blending was done quickly on the legs, arms and tail with the head being a blending of dry-brushed highlights to transition.
Overall I was hoping to include as many colours as I could. Something struck me as unholy and bizarre in including every colour. At one point I described this as a picture painted by a toddler that a crayon eating clown threw-up on. I think the only base colour missing as a key colour is brown.
For action, we have poor Joliee trying to figure out what exactly she is looking at.
Although a short post, hopefully it inspires you to try horrific colours on the horror critters you paint up.