Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Inspirational Image: God Heads

Long forgotten, the old gods were buried deep, but their rest has been anything but peaceful. Millennia have passed since their names were known, and no one now worships them. Yet they yearn to hear the prayers of the faithful. It is rumored that if a sacrifice is made to the old gods, and prayers given up to them, they sometimes respond, for even old forgotten gods are still gods.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Where's the Archmage?

Terrible month for blogging for me... You'd think that with Snowzilla, and days of teleworking rather than spending hours commuting would free up more time to write and post. Well, you'd be half right. I have been writing more, but not blog posts. I've been working on some stories, but they're not ready for posting yet. In addition, they're mostly hand written, so difficult to share anyway.

I've also been doing a fair bit of painting, and need to post those pictures, and write up some of my thoughts on painting. tl:dr version - painting monsters is way easier than adventurers.

Galactic Civilizations II has also sucked up some of the time I'd devote to the blog.

The game is just as addictive as Sid Meier's Civilizations, but In Spaaaaaace!!! Plus it really lets you play with ship customization. Seriously, I probably spend more time tweaking ship designs as I get new techs then I do actually playing.

Anyway, that's what's up here. There's more coming... Promise!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Inspirational Image: Ice Village

In honor of Snowzilla 2016, here are some pictures from some real ice villages from around the world!

Looks cozy, but probably best not to think about the toilets...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Nissa, Lady of the Blade

"That's a mighty big sword for such a little girl."

Nissa sighed loudly, and the bartender just stepped away shaking his head.

"Maybe I can show you how to really handle such a... big weapon?" he said just a little louder.

The taproom had gone quiet. Nissa turned away from the bar and looked at the idiot before her. He was big, both tall and wide, with thick meaty hands. Not old, but no longer young.

"How exactly do you think this is going to go?" Nissa asks. "That I'm just going to swoon over your bravado? That you'll just overwhelm me and force me to bend to your superior bulk? Do you really want to fight me? Just wrestle around a little before I go with you to your flee infested bed? Or is it a lice infested pile of hay?"

His grin fell as she spoke, and his face reddened. Nissa smiled up at him and took a swig from her mug. "Now leave me alone." She held his gaze until he shifted his weight back away from her.

Turning back to the bar, she calls out to the bartender "Refill please?" and holds up her mug. A meaty hand falls hard on her shoulder, and spins her around. The upraised mug is redirected and smashes solidly into the big man's head.

He staggers back, pressing his hand to his bleeding cheek. "Why you..." he snarls, and swings his other fist toward her.

All but pressed against the bar, she throws her weight back, kicking her feet up, and lays flat on the bar. As his fist passes harmlessly over her, she kicks out, both feet pounding into the man's gut.  He falls back as she's pushed off the top of the bar. She lands on her side, and springs back to her feet while he gasps for breath, hands on his knees, half sitting in the side of a table. Blood drips along his jawline, and drips from his chin.

Nissa vaults back over the bar. "Things not going as planned big guy?" He glares back at her, reaches down and flings a stool toward her. She knocks it to the side, sending it clattering against the bar. "Throwing punches that miss, throwing stools that can't connect. Seems like there isn't a whole lot you can show me." She stalks toward him. He pushes himself upright, fists held between them. "Are we done?"

She can see him waver, uncertainty in his eyes. It hardened when another yokle yelled "Come on Garth, you're not gonna let that girl show you up are you?"

He looked briefly at him, then back to Nissa. "You're gonna be sorry."

"No doubt..." Stepping forward, she slaps his fist aside as he begins to swing, slips low, and hits Garth again in the gut. He curls low, and she slams his face down onto her upcoming knee.

"Are we done?" She yells to the room. Silence answers her. "Good." she says, and turns back to the bar.

Nissa, Human Fighter 4
AC 3, HD 4, #AT 1 bastard sword, Dmg 1d8+5, MV 120' (40') Save F4, ML 10, TT U+V, AL N, XP 75
Nissa stands a mere 5' tall, but is very skilled with the bastard sword (2 weapon expertise slots for 2-handed use, 1 for 1-handed). She has served as a sell-sword, body guard, and dungeon delver, and vastly prefers dungeon delving, as the pay is significantly better. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Into The Antechamber of Hell

This first session of Stonehell was played on 1/8. We are using the Rules Cyclopedia rules set (mostly).

Tink, a pretentious Elf (but I repeat myself) and former barkeep (Hanna)
Jorgen, a recovering alcoholic Dwarf 1 (Julia)
-Guard Dog
Shelly, A vegetarian recovering alcoholic halfling Thief 1 (Nadia)

After arriving at the Keep-Town of Arnson, the three fair folk finish supplying themselves with what they think they'll need to delve into the former prison. While getting ready to head out, they encounter Buckman One-Eye and his map scraps of dubious quality. Tink purchases one scrap with some indecipherable writing on it. They also debate the value of picking up some hirelings. Eventually they decide that they can handle this initial foray into the dungeon on their own, and head out.

At the entrance to the box canyon, they come to the old gatehouse and the ruined wall. A quick look at the gatehouse shows it to be covered in graffiti, which they spend some time reading. Tink finds a small map scratched into the wall, with a note "We Left It Here". She copies it down and then they skirt along the outside of the gatehouse and into the canyon itself. They're greeted by a rather pastoral scene. Grass and bushes, a small waterfall and pool in the distance, as well as a herd of deer drinking at the pool. Small cave openings dot the canyon walls. The caves are all ignored, but they do stop at the pool to refill their waterskins. Finding the temperature abnormally warm for a mountain stream, Shelly dives in to check it out, and finds a small crystal sphere embedded in the center of the pond, but she's unable to do anything to it with her dagger.

Map Scraps

The front door of Stonehell is within a small chamber at the very end of the canyon. Within the chamber are names scratched on the walls, adventurers who'd previously dared enter it's depths, and a stone stairway going down... They take a moment to scratch their own names on the wall before beginning the long walk into the dark.

Descending about 100 feet the stairs emerged into a large chamber with 5 doorways. Picking the wall with a single door, they found a ruined kitchen. Beyond that was a trashed feast hall, and then a room that had been completely burned, obfuscating whatever it's most recent use had been. Following through the only other door, they found themselves back in the entry hall, completely turned around and confused. Vowing to buy some paper to map their route, they decided to explore a little more first.

Picking another door, they entered a room full of debris, and a rusty iron gate blocking the only other exit. They poked about the trash, looking for anything interesting, when a swirling wind began to blow the debris about, and a booming voice called out "Fools! Flee before your bones rest here evermore!! Hahahaha!!!" As the echo of the laugh faded, the wind dropped, and all returned to stillness.

Everyone held still in the sudden silence. Eventually, everyone breathed a sigh of relief, and got back to dungeoneering. Jorgen forced the gate open, and the party found a room with a large stone wheel set into vertically edge on into the wall. It was marked with symbols, and a pointer. Each took a turn spinning it, Shelly first, who felt more experienced for having done so. Tink got a chunk of amber, and Jorgen's treasure was doubled (a whole 5gp).

Moving back down the other way, they came to a room with a dry fountain. Shelly checked it out while Tink and Jorgen kept watch. The poking about triggered something, and with a loud HISSSS a green vapor poured from the fountain. Shelly and Jorgen began coughing immediately, while the dog fled the room. Tink thought she smelled eggs, but was otherwise unaffected and unconcerned... until Shelly and Jorgen began coughing up blood. She shepherded them back to the room with the wheel of fortune where they spent a restless time trying to get some sleep. At some point in the middle of the 'night' they heard voices on the far side of the door, but after a time, they went away.

After their rest, the party decided they needed to head back, heal up some more, get some paper for mapping, and maybe bring a cleric back with them, or at least get some healing potions... But the way was blocked by 4 pig faced humanoids! Rather than fight, everyone opted to talk. The orcs wanted the dwarf. Tink offered her braid. The orcs wanted the braid and the dwarf. Tink countered with her braid and the dwarf's beard.  The orcs agreed. Jorgen began to object, but Tink's dagger had sliced off the length of the beard and her own braid and tossed it to the orcs before Jorgen could get a word out. The orcs laughed and snorted in their own language, and stepped aside.

The party made it back to the surface and to town without further incident.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

DDS Adventurers! Thief & Archer

I've made some good progress on my Reaper Bones elf archer and half elf thief from the Dragons Don't Share set.

I started by giving them both a good coat of brown liner, as suggested by many over on the Reaper forum.

I then hit both with some pale flesh, but didn't really like it. The thief's clothing is soft blue.

I put tanned flesh over the pale flesh here, used vampire shadow for the grey sleeves and boots. Her hair, and the archer's armor are vallejo's Red Leather.

It's hard to see, but I did paint her eyes, and for once, they don't look like crazy eyes! I'm planning on some more cleanup for the face, to wash and highlight her hair, then do the detail work on her armor and equipment, and finish with the weapons and the base.

The archer is going to stick pretty close to the box art color-wise, which means the reddish brown leather with a drab green everything else.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Blackstar & David Bowie

I can't claim that David Bowie has been a huge direct influence on my life. Yet, he's been a constant one. His music across the decades has been ever present, resonant, and interesting. His final work is probably was weird as anything he's ever done, and well worth a listen. He also manages to make the most interesting music videos, and he crams an entire campaign worth of ideas into each.

Seriously, so much inspirational stuff in there...

But no matter what, he'll always be the Goblin King to me...

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Suddenly Stonehell

Unexpectedly, I'm going to get to run the Stonehell campaign I've been wanting to run, using classic D&D.

Due to a combination of factors, my Friday night group is putting the Star Wars campaign on carbonite, and I suggested some old school dungeon crawling as an alternative.

I don't think any of them have ever played an edition of D&D prior to 3.X, but I did run my 5e campaign in a more old school, let the dice fall where they may style, so that shouldn't come as a shock. THAC0 on the other hand... that might take some work.

I've got a lots of options, as far as what sort of dungeon crawl to run, from Dyson's Delves to Rappan Athuk to my own work in progress dungeon... but I really do want to run Stonehell. Plus, I've already e-mailed them a brief history of the dungeon and a couple of rumors.

I think I'll use LL/RC to run it, at least behind the screen. From the player perspective it'll probably be a little more stripped down, and look more like S&W 

Things I need to do prior to game:
Reread Stonehell intro areas
Meatshields henchmen
Make a couple of pregens?
Decide if I want to include the changes that have happened in my 5e Stonehell game...

I think that's it!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hobby Progress

While a bit of chaos can spur creativity, too much of it shuts me down. So I spent a chunk of the weekend going through and organizing some of my minis. My Bones I and II minis were a jumbled mess, and I wanted to tackle the Paint a Mini a Week project (PaMaW? MaW?) in a more systematic approach. I figure that if I focus on sets, it may help keep me from flitting about too much. We'll see if that ends up being true.

Spreading them out all over the dining room table I began by sorting the Bones I minis as they were broken down in the kickstarter: Core set, Fighters, Elves, Klocke Classics, etc. and putting them into a figure case in that order. Then I did the same thing with my Bones II minis, but I quickly ran out of space. That happens when you have hundreds of minis...

The next best option was to bag them since I don't have another empty case. A few of the larger minis I didn't bother to bag, and just tossed in the box with the bags.

Of course all of this is a bit of a distraction from what is actually the first painting project of 2016.

Dragons Don't Share! 
I've just about finished the tower ruins, only need to add some ice and snow, and paint the treasure pile on the dragon's base. But since I want to paint an ACTUAL MINI, I'm going to start with one of these guys. Either the archer or the thief I think...

Hmmm... need to clean the archer a bit. Didn't notice the flash before...

Of course this doesn't address all the other minis I have, but we're not going to talk about that right now. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Cloisters

I've been spending some time recently in NYC exploring around, and during one of my recent visits, I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection of medieval European art at The Cloisters. It's a really impressive collection, and well worth the visit.

I had no idea this was in the USA!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Sunday Inspirational Image: Mythic Underworld

The New Year, the future, the undiscovered country, the mythic underworld... The only way to find out what's out there, is to go explore it.

Are you ready?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Looking Ahead! 2016 Edition

It's the season of lists, and because I do better when I have a concrete idea of what it is I want to do, here's the list* of things I want to accomplish** in 2016!

Finish hiking the Pennsylvania section of the Appalachian Trail (late April/early May)
Match the post count of 2015 (at least)
Finish the Dragons Don't Share set (January)
Finish the $25 Frostgrave Terrain Challenge
Play a full Frostgrave campaign
Run Stonehell using a classic D&D type rules set (Maybe Wednesdays??)
Paint 1 mini per week/52 minis over the year
Continue my Friday night game (currently Star Wars)
Begin building my Hirst Arts Dungeon!!

What's on your list?

*tentative and subject to change
**blog related