Thursday, December 13, 2018

This is the end...

These notebooks contains the notes from just about every session of Stonehell that I’ve run (on the left) and the Storm King’s Thunder game (on the right).

They’re full. It’s a strange milestone to have reached, especially as Stonehell is still going, with our 84th session scheduled for this weekend, and SKT have a couple of sessions left.

I’ve actually been fortunate lately to have been in several long lasting games. Starting with my Weird New World 5e game, Stonehell, My Brooklyn 5e game, and Storm King’s Thunder, The last several years have been exceptional for gaming and story creation. Except for Stonehell, which is still ongoing, the other campaigns have all come to a natural conclusion (or in the case of Storm King’s Thunder is in the process of wrapping up).

Honestly, I’m blown away thinking about it. In all my years of playing and running D&D, I’ve never seen campaigns run like this. From the time I started playing until relatively recently, games start, everyone is excited, and then.. They just kinda peter out and people get excited about the next game they want to play. Games that run for a couple of weeks, or at best a few months, before switching to something else were the norm. From my school days to the flailsnail days…

The unexpected fortune I’ve had lately to have found gamers that have collaborated with me to spend months (and even years) forging the stories of Thorin the Famous, Eiric, Nessendra, and so many more. I’ve had players willing to travel extraordinary distances to get in game time!

But it’s a bittersweet thing. Endings always are. Here’s hoping that as Storm King’s Thunder ends, we finish it with a bang!

*The Castles and Crusades game would probably be on this list except that I ended up dropping out of it because trying to play on Sunday nights just wasn’t working out. But even that one I played in for about 2 years!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

5e: Lawn Ornaments?!?

From: Sir Fulhoff of Clan Balderk, Knight of Hawk’s Nest, War Mage
To: Helja and Adrik of Clan Balderk

Mother and Father:

The maelstrom is an amazing place, and we’ve spent our time here taking advantage of that fact. I’ve poured over the Archmage Dangledork’s spellbook. For someone of his skills, the contents are rather pedestrian. It’s no shock that he was so poorly able to handle our assault. Nevertheless, I’ll be able to make use of it.

Joda took advantage of the walls of water surrounding the palace to work out in the morning. He literally ran around the palace on the walls of water. It was such a feat that the giants of the palace took the time to watch, gathering in the spots with the best views and snacked on popcorn lobster.

Taking advantage of this, Hilda visited King Hekaton. Only because of her help in freeing him did he allow her to approach and talk with him. She spoke slowly, carefully, knowing that she was treading on dangerous ground. She spoke of his daughters, and of her own experience as one of many siblings, and the loneliness that can happen even when surrounded by those they love. She advised the king to ensure that his daughters know that they’re all loved equally. The king was touched by her words, and promised that he would keep them in his mind going forward.

But first, there is the dragon to deal with. We gathered together in the meditation chamber. The king told us his allies would be arriving at the desert lair of Iymrith from a variety of locations, and by a variety of means. We would be teleporting in directly. He activated the chamber, and we were suddenly being baked by the heat of the dry sun, rather than cooled by the watery light.

The amphitheater was ruined, and covered in statues. Statues that it turned out were all animated. “I can’t believe we have to fight her lawn ornaments” Hilda lamented, drawing her sword, and quaffing the potion of giant size. The rest of the party followed, except for Aramil, and grew between 14-18 feet tall.

Joda ran up the side wall of the seating area. Thorin tried to follow, using Bran’s back as a stepping stone. That was about the point we noticed the trebuchet. The stones started flying toward the king, and he launched a lightning strike at the first one, wiping out the stone crew. Almost everyone piled into the fight. Aramil and I circled around to help flank. Bran tossed ice storms while I kept my spells in reserve, working my hammer more than my magic.

Around the time we’d cut though the first half of the gargoyles, 2 larger stone figures arrived, followed by a distinctive sound… the roar of a dragon, and the flapping of her wings. Iymrith. Her terrifying presence was felt across the amphitheater. I took faith in the Great Digger, knowing she’d sent me on this quest, and it was time to see it to the end.

King Hecaton, at the front of the fight took the first hit from her, as she flew past, tail lashing out. Her wings kicked up a great blast of sand, blinding most of those in the path. I used, and used up, the wand of magic missiles, dumping each and every charge into her wings. The wand crumbled in my hands as the magic was spent. Iymrith flew off, leaving her golems to finish us off. Beyond the amphitheater a spray of sand showed where she’d burrowed into the ground.

Leaping down from the amphitheater seats, I swung my hammer repeatedly into the back of the golem slamming into the king, drawing off its attention. Thorin, further up, was dealing with the gargoyles operating the trebuchet. Hack, slash, shove, hack, slash, shove…

We dropped the golems, and took a moment to wipe the sweat from our brows. Mere moments had passed since we’d arrived, but our blood stained the sands. Below us, Iymrith’s lair awaited… and we could hear her rumbling below…

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


Once again, and for the last time of this campaign, my DM has asked about some minis. Gargoyles. I have a few metal gargoyles painted up, along with some weeping angels that will serve, but I also have some unpainted minis to add to the horde. So time to paint some quick and dirty gargoyles!

Included in this group are the following
Reaper’s Weeping Angels (x4)
Reapers Gargoyle from Bones 3 (x1)
Reaper Bones Vorvorlaka and Bat Demon(bones 2?)
Wizkids Gargoyles (x2)
Random pewter gargoyle

After making sure there weren’t any horrible mold lines, they were all washed with warm soapy water and scrubbed down to remove any oils and dust on them. They were then glued to bases, and all were primed with Grey Liner. I then dry brushed them with Dungeon Stone, Stone Grey, followed lastly by Linen White.

I haven't bothered to flock the bases yet.

They aren’t fancy, but they’ll look good on the table.

I figured 14 gargoyles would be enough for just about any encounter!

Narrators Voice: It was not enough. Not by half...

Friday, December 7, 2018

Blightfang part 2

Way back in May I wrote about painting up Blightfang, but never got around to writing the end of the WiP.

Thankfully, I took notes on what I did!

I added some more highlights of Heraldic Red onto the fin and wings, and then mixed in some Sunrise Orange. The teeth were painted with dirty bone, and then lightened with Linen White. I also went over the less scaly parts of the legs with Jungle Moss, then gave it a drybrush of 1:1 viper green & Sun Yellow.

Not really being sure what else to do, I painted the elbow spikes and horns with the same red/orange as the wings. I then flocked the base, and... that's it! And looking at these pictures, I realized I never cleaned up the base, so it's since been painted black around the edge.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

5e: When the boat's a rockin!

From: Sir Fulhoff of Clan Balderk, Knight of Hawk’s Nest, War Mage
To: Helja and Adrik of Clan Balderk

Mother and Father:

The storm continues to blow around the stern of the ship, while Bran and I watch from the crow’s nest.

Hilda and Joda both continue to cut down the cultists, while Rin chops up another merrow. Bran shoots the half orc mate, while Captain Dangledork the archmage flies up and out of the storm I had blowing. The I called the lightning from the storm to hit him, and then hit him with a lightning bolt of my own. He was staggered, but still standing (flying), and now he knew where the wizard was. My second lightning bolt however continued past the archmage, hitting one of the chains, breaking it, and then through the hull of the ship… cracking it. Two of the cultists fired the mounted ballistas at Aramil. He just dodged the first, and almost was skewered by the second, saved only by Rin’s ancestors.

Continuing to slay cultists, Hilda and Joda dance around each other. Rin hurts, but doesn’t quite slay the next merrow. Bran, having a clear shot at the archmage, takes it, and the black bolt seems to catch him unexpectedly. He blinks in confusion, and falls from the sky, hitting the deck with a bone crunching splat. Bran’s second shot slays the next merrow harassing Rin.

Seeing the archmage drop to the deck breaks the half orc’s nerve, and he rushes into one of the cabins.

Using the storms lightning, I again strike at the chains enchanting the king, and then fly down from the crows next to the cabin the mate entered. He was already ransacking the room. I told him to leave the spellbook, surrender and order the crew to stand down, and I’d let him live. He wanted the spellbook for himself, but his sense of self preservation won out.

Having cleared enough of the cultists, Hilda breaks the remaining two chains while Jode keeps the rest off of her back. The Storm King sucks in a deep breath, and begins to stir. The half orc mate steps out of the cabin, and orders the crew to stand down. The merrow don’t listen, so Rin kills another. The last one decides it would rather live far away than swim in the waters with his dead friends. Bran slides down a rope from the crow’s nest, shooting at the merrow swimming away. Aramil and Joda both lay some healing magic on the Storm King.

Sitting up, his first act is to try to swat the mate. We convince him to let him live, so the King tosses him overboard. The King is suspicious, somewhat confused, but we tell him we were sent by his daughter Seresa to save him. He doesn’t entirely believe us, but showing off the conch shell he’s at least willing to hold off on just wiping us all out. I have the opportunity to search the wizards quarters, and do find the spellbook, as well as some notes, sea charts, and carved into the woodwork the words “Iymrith” “Sisters” Treachery”

Blowing the conch shell, we’re teleported back to the Storm King’s Palace in the Maelstrom. His daughters are delighted and amazed, and he calls a family meeting in the throne room… but the throne is gone. Iymrith has stolen it. The Storm King was astounded, astonished, and amazed at all that had happened, and how foolish he’d been. “She didn’t even change her name!”

After some debate about what to do next, and catching the Storm King up on all that had happened, it was decided that Iymrith needed to be taken care of first. He sent out a call for giants to come to him, and we scryed to discover what we could. Iymrith was upon the throne in a ruined palace in the desert. The ship the king had been imprisoned on was destroyed, and the kraken was in inky black water.

I spent my time again studying magic, while the rest of the party continued to explore the palace. In a few days we were ready to make the assault on Iymrith.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Gravestones part 2

I didn’t expect there to be a second part to this, but I found that I had 2 more gravestones from the old Games Workshop skeleton box. They got exactly the same treatment. Glued to square bases, primed with brown liner, brushed grey, then lighter grey, and flocked.

The brush on primer really doesn't work all that well with flock.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Imyrith The Ancient aka Narthrax

Much like the aboleth I painted a while back, we’ve encountered an ancient black dragon in our campaign, and it looks like there’s gonna be a big fight with her at the end. SO… time to paint a big blue dragon.

I looked at the new WizKids pre-primed dragons, but the only one my alternate FLGS had in stock was the green one, and I was not impressed at all. So I went for Narthrax from Reaper instead. Knowing that she’ll have to look extra impressive on the table, I started out by picking her base. As an ancient dragon, she needs to be gargantuan, or on at least a 4” base. I did Blightfang on a 4” base, and Narthrax is just a bit bigger so she got a 5” base. Then I layered up some cork to boost up her height on the table a bit, and carved it out to fit with her integrated base.

Then it was onto painting. After washing in warm soapy water, I primed her with both Blue and Brown Liner, depending on what color the section was going to be. For the main body, I used True Blue as the primary base color, darkening it with the Blue Liner, and lightening it with Linen White.

The wing membrane, belly scales, and horns and teeth were base coated with NMM Gold Base over the brown liner. For the teeth and horns I then went to Yellowed Bone, and then Linen White. She’s a little too old to go all the way up to Pure White or even Bleached Linen. I’m not really thrilled with the wings yet, but I’m not entirely sure how to make them look better. I think I’m going to do the boring “deeper shadows, higher highlights” thing and start by darkening the shadows.

After building up the scale color, I then added in Frosty Blue (Not to be confused with Frost Blue, which is an entirely different color) to bring up the lightning crackle that I imagine courses over her scales when she’s pissed. I used Nightmare black and Eldritch Purple to paint the transition spots where horns/spines poke out from the scales, as well asher gums and the interior of her mouth.

A few notes up to this point:
She was painted (and still is) entirely unassembled.
Initially I didn’t clean up any mold lines, but there were a few on the wings and head that needed it after I applied paint and saw how bad they were.
I haven’t decided how to paint the rocks, but I’m thinking about using the same recipe for them as the flagstone bases of the minis.