Friday, March 31, 2017

Charm City Gameday 5/20 GM Signups!

Okay locals, by now you should know the deal! Charm City Gameday is a wonderful little local RPG con held at Games and Stuff in Glen Burnie, MD. This year it's being held May 20th!

Now, I've written a time or two about Charm City Gameday, like when I talked about running Prince Charming, Reanimator for DCC, or getting to play FATE L5R, or when I wrote about how I go about planning to run game at a con, or when I wrote about the stuff I picked up at the conor getting to play a game I'd been wanting to actually try forever, and loving it!

Basically, this is a great con, and if you're local, I highly recommend it.

And if you've been wanting to try your hand at actually running a game? Signups start today at noon! Just head on over to Charm City Gameday and fill out the form!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bones Goblin Shaman

March's Hangout Figure of the Month is the Goblin Shaman (either the metal or Bones version). Since I was going to be painting one goblin, I figured that I could always paint some more! I did a quick check to remove the worst of the mold lines, and then gave them a good wash and scrub with dish soap and a toothbrush.

 I then mounted them on corks with hot glue and primed them with Brown Liner.
 The base coat for their skin is Pumpkin Orange. It took a couple of layers to completely cover the liner.
 I used scarlet on the shaman's jacket/robe thing, and Void Blue for the shaman's hat, while the other goblins got red caps.

 The staff topper was grey with red on the eyes and wings. The goblin caps
The beard and fur are both grey, then highlighted with grey mixed with linen white. The skin highlights were also brought up with increasing amounts of linen white. It's hard to see, but the eyes are green.
The staff topper was highlighted with grey/linen, while the spikes got pure black, with Dragon Bronze. The bracelets also got pure black with Dragon Bronze that was then highlighted with Dragon Bronze/Mithril
The feather starts with void blue, then it's mixed with green, then green, then mixed with yellow, then pure yellow at the tip. The moss on the base was also green, with a drybrush of mixed green/yellow.  The spider is brown, with yellow spots.

At this point he's just about done. I brought up some of the highlights on the staff topper, and his hat. Made the fur a bit whiter with a dry brush of pure Linen White, as well as painted the fur that runs alongside the staff. Never would have noticed that detail but for the fact that one of the other guys doing this figure as part of the same hangout challenge did the metal version, and pointed it out. The detail is a bit crisper on the metal one.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bones Lich Lord OSL

Since I've been playing the Thaw of the Lich Lord campaign, I figured I might need a Lich Lord! With my last Reaper order, I included Bones Lich 77280, which is just about as close to the official mini as Reaper has. Additionally, over on the Reaper forum I was challenged this month to paint a style or something I've never painted before. So, looking at the cover art for Frostgrave, I got my answer: One Source Lighting (OSL).

As always, I started by washing the mini, and then affixing it to something to hold onto to paint it. In this case, a bottle of craft paint.

I base coated it in Grey Liner, and then, since I didn't really know how else to move forward with the lighting scheme, tried to dry brush linen white where the glow from the hand would shine.

After the grey liner, I used R.A.M. Black over the robes, and Dirty Bone on the skeleton, and dark Red on the tabard and sash.

I brought up the green with Catseye Green, and Clear Green, with Clear Yellow and Linen White to really bring up the brightness.

The metals used were Scorched Metal, Dragon Bronze, and Dragon Gold. The staff was Ebony Black dirty Dirty Bone bring up the highlights.

I used Pure Black to make the shadows sharp, and the Clear Green and Clear Yellow on the metal.

And honestly I'm not really sure where to go from here. The guys on the forum want me to build up a nice scenic base, but that's going to move to the back burner for now.

I'm reasonably happy with the OSL effect, and given that I did the majority of the painting over just a couple of hours, I'm actually okay with it as is.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Iron Fist (eps 6-13)

Warning, this post contains spoilers!

I have not read a single issue of Iron Fist, or to my recollection a single issue of any comic that had Iron Fist in it, so my impressions of the show, the character, and everyone in it are based strictly on these 13 episodes, and the universe that Marvel has built with their Netflix productions. And what a universe they've managed to create! With complex flawed characters they've managed to tell some really really good stories, setting a high bar for street level super heroes. Then there are the villains... Kingpin and the Purple Man? Okay, so Luke Cage's rotating cast of bad guys was a bit of a flaw in that series, but even still... when it turned out that Madame Gao and The Hand were the focus of Iron Fist, well that was enough to make sure I watched the whole series.

I really liked how they made sure that while the Hand was clearly a threat no matter what, that it wasn't a faceless monolithic organization. There was conflict within it, and we got to see it as Madame Gao and Bakudo, who, let's give the guy props, did a great job as a villain in his own right, fought for control of the Hand. It's going to be really interesting to see how things shake out in the Hand with Bakudo's "death." Sure, Gao clearly has some Xanatos Gambit level planning going on, but I'm not counting Bakudo out just yet.

Colleen Wing and Claire saved the show from from Danny Rand, who after 15 years in a kung-fu monastery, still apparently thinks like a 10 year old. How he managed to become the Iron Fist with all his emotional issues and lack of control is beyond me, unless his masters figured that prophesy beats competence. The fact that Colleen is not only a member of The Hand, but also a recruiter and trainer for it? Awesome! Had I been thinking about it, I probably would have seen it coming, but it managed to catch me a little off guard.

I really like that Claire is not taking the craziness that her life is lying down, but found someone to train with so she can better defend herself! It's not gonna help much against someone with powers, but it might keep her safer against the various Hand soldiers. She also remains the only sane character in the show, even after everything she's been through.

As for Joy and Ward? Poor messed up rich kids. These two are gonna need therapy for YEARS. I didn't expect that Ward would get a redemption arc by the end of the show, but he did, and it worked. Hopefully he'll be a better man now that he's out from under his dad's thumb. We'll see... Joy's arc was rougher, and by the end of the show she's clearly not in a good place, and it doesn't help that Danny's best friend from K'un-Lun is telling her it's all Danny's fault.

Speaking of Davos, the only thing that bugged me about his arc was that it so closely mirrored Mordo's arc from Doctor Strange, though I think it was played better here. Probably because the longer format allowed the story to unfold more naturally.

All in all I thought Iron Fist was okay. Had it been on basic cable TV, I'd have loved it, and it's flaws would have been much more easily forgiven, but as I said above, Netflix MCU has really set itself a high bar. This was a decent entry into the MCU, and has set things up nicely for the Defenders, and maybe for Iron Fist season 2, which I will happily binge watch also!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Iron Fist (eps 1-5)

Netflix dropped Marvel's Iron Fist this weekend, and while I didn't manage to finish it, I did find the time to get through the first 5 episodes, and expect that I'll finish up the series by the end of the week.

There's already been a lot written about the various issues that Iron Fist has just from it's core concept (poor little rich white boy orphaned in a plane crash, raised by monks in a mystical Himalayan monastery, comes back with supernatural powers to save the day, bringing with him a host of politically incorrect racist issues). And those issues are all as true today as they were when the comic came out in the 70's. There's also the complication that as the 4th and final member of the Defenders to be introduced, Iron Fist is somewhat constrained in what it can bring to the table. On top of all that, there's the fact that Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage set a high bar for what might be the weakest concept of the quintet.

With all that acknowledged, Iron Fist still manages to be an entertaining show, even if it's the weakest of the set. Danny Rand coming back to the real world 15 years of time in a mystical monastery? Rather a lot of fun! I appreciate that in some ways he's still that 10 year old boy, or at least he's channeling that boy, regressing a little as he tries to find his footing, and is rebuffed by those who knew him before.

Connie Wing is a great support character who is being set up for a nice story arc of her own. I really appreciate that she isn't a clean cut 2D character, but more of a conflicted real person.
The Meachums are an interesting pair, storywise. I'm a little unsure of how they're going to work Joy's story line, but Wade, ever and always an ass in his dead father's shadow, is clearly going to fall like a domino soon. I do kind of think that after a decade spent running Rand Corp that they'd be better at it. Then again, I expect people in power to be competent, when clearly they so often aren't.

The Night Nurse of course makes an appearance, and as always she's the one in any of the shows who, as my friend Hanna put it, "continues to be the only rational person in this universe."

Then, of course, there's the real bad guys, the Hand!
Every bit of Madame Gao has been wonderful, and I want more!! And while I'm only about a 1/3 of the way though the show, the hints as to where this is going, and where it might go with the Defenders? Tantalizing... 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Reaper's Phone Box aka TARDIS 2.0

As I'm using The War Doctor and #9 as my apprentice and wizard for Frostgrave, they of course needed a TARDIS! Now I have already painted one of Reaper's Telephone Box but I gave it away as a gift. So, time for box 2.0!

After cleaning up the mold lines, I primed it with Blue Liner.

I then brought up the color by mixing Blue Liner with Heather Blue

The whole thing got several washes of GW's Asurmen Blue.

The windows were blended up from a mix of Stone Grey and Linen White, While the spot for the sign on the door was Bleached Linen. The door handle and keyhole are filagree silver (I think)

 I made the Police Box sign using MS Word and printing it out. Each sign, when trimmed had a sharpie marker run along the edge to blacken it. The lintels where the signs would go got painted black (I don't remember which black I used. Noir probably) and then a touch of superglue was smeared across it, and the signs stuck on. The sign on the door was made the same way.

I might just have to give it a scenic base...

Friday, March 10, 2017

Stonehell: Questions... Lots of questions...

Session 28 was also played on 2/19.

Wilhelm, drunk Dwarf 5 (Julia)
-Helmut, war dog
-Xerxes, Human Fighter 1 (Henchman)
-Yolanda, Human Fighter 1 (Henchman)
-2 torch bearers (Z, A.A.Ron)
-6 men at arms (O, T, U, W)
Nilbog Dracon, human wizard 2 (Matt)
Eiric, wizard 1 (Kat)

Stayed in town
Tink, a pretentious Elf (but I repeat myself) and former barkeep (Hanna)
Shelly, a vegetarian recovering alcoholic halfling Thief 3 (Nadia)
Frank, halfling 1 (Emily)
Yaqen, elf 1 (Shaun)
Leroy, human fighter 3 (Mike)
Sarin the Ugly, Human Fighter 1 (Josh)
??? (Laural)
Unnamed, Elf 1 (Nicole)
Karlaih, Human Thief 5 (Mollie)

As our usual Friday night game got shifted to Sunday, we started earlier, and decided to keep going after playing our usual amount of time. Since the characters had made it back to town, I gave them XP, and then we continued as if they'd rested and recovered from their previous run in the dungeon.

While restocking in town for their usual supplies they stopped by the local jeweler, Boss Ogo, to pick up a chunk of quartz for Rocky.

The journey to the dungeon, and into it was uneventful, but on the way to Rocky, they spotted, and were spotted by a group of the Ghost Beggars with their distinctive yellow and black checkered cloth. Both groups decided to avoid contact and continued on their own ways. At Rocky's, they gave him the quartz, and then asked their questions:

Q: Where exactly in stonehell is the magic school?
A: In the sacrificial chamber of Galishma, now defiled in the second way, jump the pit to find the door"

Q: Can we ask you a second question
A: Yes


Q: What is the exact path to get to the school safely?
A: There is no safe path.

Annoyed at both Rocky and themselves, they head back to the Korners, and spend a day sulking over mushroom beer, and then return to Rocky the next day.

Q: What is the safest route to get to the sacrificial chamber?
A: *Long string of cardinal directions*

Q: Is the wizards school located in this or another level, and which?
A: This level

Q: Where is the key to the great stone doors (27)?
A: In the heart of a shattered hero.

The party spends a while discussing the answers they've gotten so far, and then head out toward the Contested Corridors. While exploring a stone colored toad popped out of a pile of rubble and attacked, its tongue wrapping around Nilbog's neck. Wilhelm charged in and swung his ax first severing the tongue and then cleaving into the toad's skull.

Deeper into the halls, they come to an octagonal chamber painted with scenes of a hot dry desert, and containing a statue of a sphynx. Inscribed on the statue's base were unreadable runes. Nilbog used "Read Magic" to decipher them, and when Wilhelm threatens to smash it, he calls out the statues name, and she speaks her riddle.

"People are hired to be rid of me, I am often under your bed. In time I'll always return you see; bite me and you're dead."

Unable to come up with the answer, the party tries to leave, and is blasted by hot sand. Someone yells out "mold!" and the party is again blasted by sand. Wilhelm hefts his pickax and smashes the statue. The injured and fallen are gathered up, and everyone heads back to the Korners to recover.

Kills: 1 toad

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thoughts on running Stonehell

I've been running my Friday night Stonehell game for nearly 30 sessions now, and it's been a fun experience. It's absolutely scratched my old school dungeon exploration itch, and watching my players get familiar with the dungeon, and use that knowledge from game to game is really gratifying. Of course it hasn't all been perfect. As with any long running campaign, I haven't always brought my A game, either from illness or just not always being in the mood.

My game group has shifted, as some players who preferred the more role playing elements dropped out, and new players filled the vacant seats. It's been a great way to meet new people though! One particularly interesting aspect is the gender balance. Early on, it was predominantly a female group, with many sessions only having women playing. Currently it's a more evenly balanced group, but still tends toward female majority depending on who attends.

From a top down view, my players have explored most of 1A (Hell's Antechamber) and 1B (The Quiet Halls), and have explored good chunks of 1C (The Contested Corridors), 1D (Kobold Korners)and 2A (The Asylum) and 4B (The Living Caves East). They've also visited the Reptile House, Without Doors, Hobgoblin Redoubt, The Monster Dorm, and so very very briefly The Chamber of Many Faces.

One thing I've noticed is that while the whole dungeon is open to them, they seem to really like having a few plot hooks to bite onto. Ages and ages ago, I mentioned Malfesance Nul, the guy who talks to the dead hiding out in the Quiet Halls, and in spite of the most experienced player's objections (also the most experienced character's objections) that seems to be the quest du jour.

Seeing how the NPCs in Stonehell react to the PCs has been a blast. Since their initial encounter with the berzerkers they've been on really friendly terms. It hasn't hurt that every time the party has encountered them that they've shared their beer. On the flip side, the cowardly actions of the death priests looking for Malfesance Nul in the face of the ghoul assault means that Bob and Co. are likely in for some pain if they happen to encounter the party again.

Rocky, and his love of quartz resulted in the party stumbling on 2 of the most powerful creatures in the Dungeon, and living to tell the tale, not that the party has any idea who those people were. I'm also not sure if they've groked that Rocky doesn't always tell the truth... Even when cryptic, they seem to think he's telling the gods' honest truth.

Design wise, I still (mostly) like Stonehell's layout. Maybe it's because my players (and therefor I) have spent so much time in 1A that it's the quadrant I'm least happy with. Then again, at this point it's pretty depopulated, so they tend to just breeze through it. The Contested Corridors is pretty empty since they all but wiped out the orcs. The northern half anyway...

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Chainmail Orc Druid Showoff

Last night I finished up my orc druid. He isn't great, and wouldn't win any painting awards, but he's a done to a solid tabletop standard. And since I don't actually need him for anything, I'm not going to overstress about it.

The leather started with Ebony Flesh, and was lightened with Pumpkin Orange. The hair was done with the Redstone triad, with a bit of Bleached Linen for the final highlight. The bone is mostly Dirty Bone and Bloodhowl's Heavy Sepia Wash (custom mix). The unicorn horn started with a base of Skeleton Bone, with Sparkling Snow over it. I really like the semi-metallic effect! The feathers are Twilight Purple, then highlighted with a mix of the Sparkling Snow

Now, onto March's Hangout Figure of the Month: the Goblin Shaman!