Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday Inspirational Image: Altair

The sounds of the vendors hawking their wares was subdued in the mid-morning, as the day settled into it's slower rhythm.  The alleyways thinned of men as they took time in the cafes and smoke shops to discuss the latest happenings either in the palaces, the temples, or the streets. Lately, there's been more from the temples and palaces than usual.


The smell of sweet strong coffee mingled with nutmeg and cumin in the slow moving air, and tinging it all, harder to nail down, the smell of trouble stirring.

Image by Klaus Wittman

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Painting at work: Week 2


Okay, 2 weeks in, and I think things are going well. I've managed to apply paint 8/10 of the past work day lunchtimes.

Progress:
Lady mage is coming along. Trying to do some decent shading using Burgundy Wine and then I'll be highlighting the dress blending up with some Linen White. I'm not convinced by the lavender bit in the middle. I'm generally happy with how her face is coming along. She does need a bit more work there, and her hair just looks too muddy. I wish the detail with the hairnet she's wearing was a little sharper. Thinking about adding pearls to it. So far it's progressing pretty well. In looking back over it, most of the stuff with detail work is on what I painted yellow. I should have done that in blue so that the gold would stand out better. Ah well.

He's coming along nicely. Now that I've base coated the armor, he's looking much better. Face is still a little soft. The shield arm is really in the way.

I'll probably not be able to finish them off this week unless I bring them home to work on. Which I might, simply because of the detail work to do on them, and then start in with the lizardmen after Thanksgiving.



Thoughts
Need to bring in a pin to unclog bottles. Paperclips don't do it.
Leather brown doesn't cover all that well by itself
Don't bring different minis in the future. You've only got minutes to paint, it divides your focus.
Not having my magnifier is a pain. I keep expecting it to be there

Friday, November 17, 2017

Who You Gonna Call? Part 3

One of the less than fun things about painting these guys is the fact that their cream-ish colored jumpsuits are right next to black equipment. Which means touch ups and highlighting on black are stressful!



So one of the interim steps I took while working on them was to give the mini a coat of sealer, and to keep an extra clean brush at hand, so that if (when) I slip, I can use the clean wet brush to just wash off the black before it has a chance to set. It's a trick I learned over on the Reaper forum hangouts, and in situations like this, it's a life saver!



Once I took care of that, it was back to working on the equipment. I added just a touch of Dragon Blue to the black I've been using, and wet brushed it onto the edges of the equipment. Because the surfaces are so angular and without much texture, dry brushing (my usual go to) wasn't going to work.



After getting the black and highlights done, it was just down to detail work. Bits of green and red were added to the backpack and the device on their hips. Hose fittings and belt buckles were painted Shadowed Steel.

With that done, it just leaves the base... So close to done... And I'm not sure I actually have sand fine enough to mimic asphalt...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fable

I don't spend a lot of time playing video games anymore. I used to! Back in college I spent a TON of time playing Civilizations (2+3) and then Galactic Civilizations while working on my Masters. Before that it was Super Mario Brothers on my NES, Super Mario 3 on SNES... Aside from that, it's mostly been flirtations. I tried WoW, played through Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire, and very once in a while I'll play some Halo or Star Wars Battle Front and shoot up some aliens or Imperials... but mostly, I spend my time not playing or even thinking about video games.

But sometimes I have the urge to play something that I don't have to think too much about that's a little more than just shooting alien scum. My options are somewhat limited though. I've already played KotOR, and Jade Empire. My other option is Fable. I've briefly played it several times and never got very far into it. Then every time I put it down, I forget everything, and have to start over. It wouldn't be so bad, but the tutorial/intro to the game takes a couple of hours by itself.



Well, I've started up yet another instance of the game. We'll see how far I get this time. As long as I can keep at it, and I use the online walkthroughs so that I don't miss anything important, I should be able to actually finish my play through. For once...



So far I've gotten through the intro, completed several missions, bought a couple of houses, and got married. Only failed at one quest so far, mostly because escort missions suck.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Death in Stonehell

Going back to write up some session reports, it occurred to me that I wasn't sure how many characters had died in the dungeon. I really only had the vaguest idea actually... thankfully I've kept track. Almost every session report lists out who died. Some sessions in the teens just listed numbers, rather than names, but I went through each report, and made a list of who they were (or at least how many), what they were, and when and how they died.



From the 1st to the 53nd session there have been a total of 78 character deaths. Most of these have been 0 level hirelings, mostly Men at Arms. There have been a few torch bearers, a couple of demi-humans, but mostly it's been human warriors.


There have been a total of 10 leveled character deaths.

It's interesting how some times multiple session go by without any deaths, and then a bunch of people die...  don't think there's any real trend in the timing of the deaths, but there's clearly one in the class of people that die!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Stonehell: Demonic Hob-Scorpion Assault!

Session 47 was played on 9/19

Eiric, wizard 6 (Kat)
- men at arms (Lindal the Elf, Gar, E)
- Naideen(dog)
A-A-Ron, Thief 5 (Henchman)
Orpheus, Human Fighter 5 (Henchman)
Karl, Dwarf 4 (Julia)
- Hobart (dog)
- men at arms (Kanye, Stable Boy, MonGo, Barr)
Daryll (NPC Cleric 6)
Brie, wizard 1 (Apprentice to Eiric) - Stayed in town researching

Skittering around the corners, the massive red demonic hobgob-orpion bellowed, and several of the hirelings screamed and ran. Those who stood their grounds launched crossbow bolts at the monstrosity, but none could penetrate its demonic armored skin. A-A-Ron let loose a screaming arrow that cut through his chest and out the other side. Eiric finished her incantation, and the boom of thunder and flash of light of a lightning bolt sent the demon staggering. The smell of burning flesh, sulfur, and ozone filled the hall.


Manscorpion by DoodleMoogle

As the demon shook off the blast, and pushed off against the wall, charging for the party, Eiric quickly launched another lightning bolt! When everyone’s eyes could finally see again, the demon lay unmoving uncomfortably close to the barricade.

After a brief pause, while everyone waits to see what’ll happen next, Karl and Orpheus leap over the barricade and charge around the corner. MonGo and Stable Boy follow. Unfortunately the waiting hobgoblins with crossbows pepper the two of them with bolts. Piling in, with Lindal, Gar, E, and A-A- Ron shooting from cover, the first line of hobgoblins are cut down, but reinforcements, complete with a spell caster who provides magical darkness to counter Eiric’s magical light. Lindal and Gar both drop from crossbow bolts, while Orpheus splits the hobgoblin lieutenant from shoulder to belly button. MonGo and Stable Boy also drop. The hobgoblin shaman flees the fight.

Orpheus, blind in the magical darkness stumbles into the wrong hallway, and finds himself by the elevator, where a couple of hobgoblins look on in horror. He kills them, and the ones mucking about with the elevator machinery. He flips the switch, sending the elevator down.

Karl follows the priest through the darkness and into the very edge of the hobgoblin’s territory. Finding himself without backup, he returns to the rest of the party.

Speaking of, while Karl and Orpheus were off on their own, the party stripped the hobgoblins of their goods, and took the tail of the scorpion. The heads of the hobgoblins are chopped off and dropped back around the entrance of the hobgoblin lair. Checking the rooms the kobolds had occupied, they find where the priest had been staying, and destroy the shrine within. Gathering up their goods and their dead, they head back to their holdout.

Kills: 1 Demonic Manscorpion, 12 hobgoblins, 1 hobgoblin Lt.
Gains: demonic scorpion tail, 48gp, 1000sp, gold broach (18gp)
Losses: Gar, MonGo, Stable Boy

Monday, November 13, 2017

Lizardmen: Prep Work

Way back when, I painted up the Reaper Bones lizardmen that came with Bones 1. I'm not actually sure when that was, since I don't seem to have blogged about it. Or if I did, I didn't tag it properly.



Anyway, here they are. I remember they were relatively quick paints, and it was nice to knock them out. Then Bones 3 happened, and I got 16 more. 4 archers, 4 spear armed, and 8 with clubs and shields (2 poses). I also just noticed that they all have quivers with javelins... I don't think those are options in Ghost Archipelago... Ah well...



There's also the lizardman from Bones 2 core set who is a little smaller than the others, and has a more saurian less lizard looking head. I'm not 100% sure on him, but strongly considering making him a shaman or something. The Medusa is probably going to be painted up for the November Hangout Figure of the Month...

These guys are Phase 2 of my Paint During Lunch At Work experiment. I started with a couple of fairly complex figures, and now I'm moving on to try batch painting. I'm bringing in a few new colors that are lizardman specific.

After giving them all a good wash and scrub with dish soap and a toothbrush, I checked them all over for mold lines, and debated basing them. In the end I did decide to base them all, since it gives me something to hold onto when painting them. Plus it makes them more stable on the table, and gives me a little room to play with grass and stuff.



Now, a bit about mold lines for those tackling them. First up, the archers. There's a big mold line right where the foot and bow meet. Also a minor mold line on the underside of the upraised arm.



The spear armed lizardmen were rather mold line free. A bit under the chin, and on the base between the feet. Actually a bit under the chin and between the feet was fairly common on all of them.



The forward facing club lizardmen had a bit under the chin, between their feet, and a bit under the tail. Also the loin cloths are somewhat delicate since they're not molded against the leg for some reason like it was on the one from Bones 1. I'm guessing that wasn't intentional.



The rear facing club lizardmen had the bit under the chin, between their feet, under the tail, and across the upper arm carrying the shield.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Who You Gonna Call? Part 2

Work on my Paranormal Exterminators has continued, slowly. I need to pick up some masking tape to cover the slots in the bases. Either that, or cut off the tabs and glue them to other bases. What I opted to do in this case was fill it in with green stuff. Since I'm just planning on making it look like they're standing on asphalt, I mostly just need the hole filled.

You can see the 2 different methods I tried for these guys. One was to fill in the slot with green stuff from below, and smooth it out on top. The other was to make a very thin sheet and just lay it over the slot.




Back to the figures themselves, after giving the skin a flesh wash I went back and did some highlights. I really struggled with painting their eyes. Not the doing it, but whether I *should* do it. In the end, I decided that yes, it was worth doing. I can only get better by practicing the hard stuff. The characters I'm calling Zedd, Ray, and Pete I painted with green eyes, while Egon's glasses were painted with linen white and Frost Blue. I even went a little crazy and tried to really give the iris a highlight, and add the white dot of light reflection. This was less than successful.



Thankfully these guys aren't a contest entry.



I also did a little bit of detail work on the equipment. Kind of difficult to make equipment that's mostly black look interesting. Especially against the jump suits. Honestly painting so much black and other dark colors around the light jump suits was probably the hardest part of the mini. Not helpful were my dying brushes. I really need to replace and upgrade some of my tools... I also need to make my shadows deeper, and my highlights brighter.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Painting At Work

I decided to bring a travel paint kit to work so that I can paint during lunch.



I picked an assortment of (mostly Reaper) colors mostly based on what I had doubles of... these paints will likely rotate based on what I'm painting or what I feel like I need more of, but currently I have:

  • Sapphire Blue
  • Burgundy Wine
  • Heraldic Red
  • Marigold Yellow
  • Pumpkin Orange
  • Golden Glow
  • Tanned Leather
  • Fair Skin
  • Grass Green
  • Vampiric Highlight
  • Warpaints White
  • Cloudy Grey
  • Walnut Brown
  • Ebony Flesh
  • New Gold
  • Dragon Copper
  • Warpaints Armor
  • Honed Steel
  • Flow Improver
  • Brown Liner
I also have 2 brushes, a GW Starter Brush (size 1 or 2 I think?) and a no name size 000.

I figure if I can get even 10-15 minutes 5 days a week, I should be able to knock out tabletop level paint jobs on a mini a week. We'll see how it goes this week.


The minis are Devona 77036 and Almaran the Gold, Paladin 77058

And after the first sitdown, these are my first thoughts:
  • Bring a bigger brush for base coating or base coat at home.
  • Base the minis first so there's something to hold onto!
  • Need to find somewhere to stash them while they dry.
After I finish these 2, I think I'm going to work on the Bones Lizardmen as stand ins for the Snake-men from Ghost Archipelago. We'll see...

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok

Over the weekend I made it out to the theater for a 9:45 am showing of the newest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

This review will contain spoilers!



I saw it at the Alamo Draft House, and they did this cool thing before the previews where the showed clips from the previous movies that included Thor, and giving basic plot summaries. It was useful, because I'd almost completely forgotten what happened in Thor 2: The Dark World. Seriously, of all the MCU movies, I think it's the only one I haven't seen multiple times. Thankfully, even without all that, Ragnarok stands on it's own.

It's also something of a reboot for Thor, who never really seemed to quite fit in with the rest of the Avengers. He was always just sort of there, and part of that is the fact that even among Iron Man and Captain America, Thor is... well, a god from a magical realm... Kind of at odds with everything else, up till Doctor Strange anyway. There's just something a little goofy about Thor, his hammer, the rainbow bridge, etc that doesn't fit in with the aesthetic of The Winter Soldier or Ant-Man. In a lot of ways Hulk has the same problem.

On the other hand, that bright Jack Kirby craziness fits right in with the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ragnarok took not only it's color pallet from that series, but also the goofiness of it all. And it works! It fully embraces the weirdness, and crafts an amazing story out of it.



To offset the goofy is the darker side of the story. Thor and Loki's older sister Hela, as portrayed by Cate Blanchett, was pitch perfect! Her costume, taking it's cues from Loki is form fitting and no nonsense, except for that horned helmet, and looks fantastic as Hela tosses swords in her attempt to take her rightful place (oldest child) on the throne of Asgard. I can't get over how much ass she kicked, and all without one instance where it felt like she was a female villain. Hela was clearly the bad guy first, and a woman second.



Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, was also spectacular at kicking ass and taking names. I really enjoyed her no-nonsense way of handling Thor, Loki, and the Hulk! I hope that she gets a fair amount of screen time going forward. I'll be disappointed if she doesn't show up in Infinity War.



As much as I enjoyed Jeff Goldblum's GrandMaster, Topaz's reactions to Goldblum's acting stole each and every scene they were together in.

And the bit with Doctor Strange, where he was having none of that Asgardian bullshit? Brilliantly done. Can't even imagine his reaction if/when the ship arrives on Earth to set up a new city... Of course with Thanos in the picture, that'll probably be near the bottom of his priority list.

In short, if you liked Guardians of the Galaxy, and thought Thor 2 was forgettable, you'll probably like Ragnarok!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Prince Chamring, Reanimator, Revisited

I ran FT0 Prince Chamring, Reanimator by Daniel Bishop twice in 2014, and hadn't given it too much thought since, as I got distracted by running D&D 5e both at home and at my FLGS. Wednesday, I found myself unexpectedly running it again.

Originally I'd planned on running a special Tales from the Floating vagabond Halloween adventure based somewhat loosely on Jason X (In Spaaaaace!!!!!) and had brought the book and my notebook to work to finish prep at lunch. I then forgot to bring it home with me.

Go me...

Since my options are a little limited based on what I've got on my shelf, I decided to run DCC instead. And as I was going for something Halloween appropriate, twisted fairy tales seemed a good way to go. So I grabbed it, some pregen zero level characters, and the quickstart rules, and headed off to game.



Without telling them what was up, I dropped the character sheets onto the table, and jumped right in. The bailiff had barely finished telling the characters what they'd been "volunteered" to do when the jester of the party started in. The bailiff motioned to the men at arms, and 2 crossbow bolts silenced the joker. "Anyone have anything else to say? No? Good. Get going."

Not even 2 minutes in, and the first character was down!

The party (all 27 of them, plus a cow and a lamb) took the wide passage to the castle. They came upon the large section of shattered wall, choked with bones and rose vines, and discovered the small crack in the adjacent tower, and also the trap door leading underground! Two dwarves jumped down the hole, ignoring the ladder. The second one fumbled his check, and landed on the first, killing him.

And then they split the party! Half explored below ground, discovering the ancient tomb. The other half visited Dr. Chapman's laboratory. As usual, I had a lot of fun playing Dr. Chapman, and at the end, when one character asked if there was anything Chapman needed, he gave that character a piece of blank paper that will become a scroll of Patron Bond (though he doesn't know it yet). Chapman gave his warnings, and his gifts, and sent the party on its way. One character tried to take the bottle with the imp. He ended up a mass of charred flesh. After that no one else tried to take anything.

In the tomb, the party encountered the hobyas, but only lost a single character in the encounter. They collected loot, and made their way to the chapel. A few offerings were made... And I just realized that I got distracted and forgot to to give out the blessings... ah well, next adventure.

The two halves of the party, met back up. The owner of the cow tried to bring it through the gap in the wall, which did not go well, either for the character or the cow. The party decided to head into the main section of the castle toward the tallest remaining tower. There they encountered the fairy princesses. One PC decided to head up the stairs while the rest of the group searched through the feast hall, rousing the dragon. The PC ran back down the steps, while the dragon leapt from the balcony down into the middle of the feast hall.

The fight was tough going, and several PCs dropped each round. Some ran. Sadly, bad initiative rolls meant that most of the PCs all got to go before the dragon pretty much every round.AC 19 is nothing to sneeze at, and for 0 level characters with crappy ability scores? Even harder. WHen one PC managed an 18, I let them know about burning luck. That was the final blow needed to kill the beast!

Deeper in the castle another PC died when they were playing around with the spinning wheel. The floorless room didn't slow them down for long, through when they asked the demon in the mirror how to get across, and he answered "You walk" they weren't amused.

No one tried to kiss Beauty, seeing what state she was in. They bundled her up, and brought her to the Prince. Remembering the words of Dr. Chapman, they just watched the bloody carnage, then looted the bodies before fleeing the undead horde.

Next week, we'll level up the surviving characters to level 1, then continue with our regularly scheduled 5e game. I think that the DCC game will get played at least semi-regularly going forward, because that was a lot of fun!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago: First Thoughts...

Far from the frozen wastes of Felstad, the new setting for Frostgrave takes place in a mysterious archipelago of tropical islands that tend to pop out of existence for centuries at a time. Islands inhabited by all sorts of strange creatures, from dinosaurs to snake-men, with treasures both magical and mundane to tempt the bravest of treasure hunters.



Those familiar with Frostgrave will find a lot familiar in the rules. The core of the system remains pretty unchanged, with only a few changes to the system, but they're some interesting changes!

Most obviously, your main character is a Heritor, the descendant of a previous treasure hunter in the Ghost Archipelago who retains a bit of extra magic in his blood, and is looking for the source of that magic to boost it back up.

Joining him is a Warden, a magic-user of middling power. Hedge-witch to the mages that prowl Felstad. With fewer spells of lesser potency than their colder counterparts, they seem at first under powered, but I get the feeling that in play they'll hold their own.


Interestingly both the Heritors and the Wardens track their XP separately...

The rest of the crew is a similar mix of thugs, thieves, and various combat specialists. The recruiting mechanism is different here than in Frostgrave, as only half of your crew will be specialized, and the other half will just be sailors. And if you need to replace specialists, it's going to cost you an expensive trip back to the mainland!

The new rules for moving in water and small boats seem like they'll be fun, and I like that aquatic monsters get the equivalent of a 2" move onto land to show their reach from the water. It stinks that the Bones 4 minis are still more than a year away... I need so many of them now!!

As with Frostgrave, there is a sad lack of example battlefields shown, with only the briefest discussion of what the tabletop should look like. Thankfully the scenarios do give some clear descriptions of things that need to be included on the field, including various ruins, standing stones, and a tall tower/temple. I think I'm going to use the jungle islands of Indonesia as my inspiration.

One thing I miss in the rule book is the little snippets of quotes and stories that helped make Felstad seem like a more magical place that just the rules and scenarios suggested.

All in all, I'm looking forward to making my first Ghost Archipelago warband, and I think I'll be working on that just as soon as I finish up the Paranormal Investigators currently on my painting table!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Who You Gonna Call? Part 1

The Paranormal Investigators of course!

These fantastic minis from Crooked Dice were pulled out to work on shortly after ReaperCon and right before Halloween. They’re great sculpts with a minimum of flash or mold lines that need dealing with. I'll be sticking pretty closely to the paint scheme chosen by Crooked Dice, since it just feels right.



I also got the potato ghost, but that’s one big hunk of metal that may end up on next year’s melt table rather than as something I paint up. In addition to being a large lump of metal, there’s also no pre-drilled hole for the flight stand. He’s more useful to me as scrap. I’ve got other ghosts.

After cleaning up the exterminators, I primed them with Reaper’s Brush-On-Primer mixed with a drop or two of flow improver. This was my first time thinning the primer, and I’m not sure I’ll do it again in the future.



For the base coat of the jump suits I used Desert Stone with just a tiny bit of Brown Liner to darken it up a shade. The various bits of equipment, gloves, and boots were all painted black.



The straps for the backpack and elbow pads were painted with Olive Grey, and the elbow pads were then given a coat of Rainy Grey. Egon, Venkman, and Stance’s skin was painted with Tanned Flesh and washed with flesh wash. Their hair is Nut Brown. Winston has Nut Brown for his skin and Brown Liner for his hair.

"Death is but a door. Time is but a window. I'll be back."