Thursday, September 29, 2016

#3MMRPC Weeks 1 & 2

If you've been following the blog for a while, you know that I've participated in an online event known as the 6 Month Mountain Reduction and Painting Challenge hosted over at facebook, and have been mostly successful at it. Well, I apparently missed that a new round started up this month, though it's a 3 month challenge this time. Despite being a couple of weeks late, I'm sort of tossing my hat into the ring. Why only sort of? Because ReaperCon falls right in the middle of the challenge, and I know that I'll be picking up stuff there, so I'll fail at the first part of the challenge guaranteed.

Here are the rules...

The 3 Month Challenge runs from 15 Sept to 15 Dec.

1. No purchasing of new miniatures, EXCEPT if you use a joker. You get three jokers to use on a figure purchase. Could be a blister pack, an ebay bundle, or a single can't splurge. The only exception to this rule is if you need bitz or A FIGURE (Singular) to complete a unit/warband etc.

1.1 - There is an opportunity to "earn" additional jokers. If you complete an entire project (whole unit/army/warband etc.) with pictures of starting, WIP, and completion, you earn yourself a Joker.

2. Gifts do not count against you. Holidays, birthdays etc. Also, if you're given gift cards by your hobby illiterate family or friends, you can without penalty use them on anything you want miniatures wise.

3. Paints, terrain (or materials), and other hobby supplies do not apply to the no purchasing rule.

4. At least one hobby related blog post and/or Instagram update a week. If you instagram, be sure to hashtag your pic with #3MMRPC

5. Zombtober will be part of the 3 month challenge so, Zombie related stuff during October is ENCOURAGED. Other theme suggestions are welcomed.

And to show what I've been working on...

This week I've been blocking in the base colors for Warfare Wombat, treasure token, and Tetsu Ko.

Last week I painted up these teleport pads for my monthly Frostgrave game.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Frostgrave Frost Giants part 2

I'm almost finished with my giants. Good timing too, since they're going to be on the table on Saturday.

At this point they really just need a tiny bit of detailing (sword hilts, teeth/bone decorations, and ties/straps) and they're done! 

Part 1 here

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Black Libram of Nartarus

The Black Libram of Nartarus is a DM's supplement for Castles and Crusades focusing on the dark art of necromancy.

Structurally this 35 page softcover is divided into 5 sections. The first is 2 pages long, and discusses the necromancer as a quasi-class. It's an interesting mechanical feature where to gain necromatic powers on top of whatever spell casting class powers you'd normally get, you spent XP. Why it isn't an additional XP cost to each level? Maybe so you aren't locked into it at every level? It's as clear as mud, which they literally point out...

There are also 3 additional powers that aren't locked by level to gain a bonus on saves vs undead, the ability to control undead (clerics only), and the chance to necrotize their flesh for an AC boost. All 3 powers, and upper level spell casting levels, come with charisma/reaction penalties.

The second chapter is spells. These spells are alphabetical, ranging in levels from 1 to 9. And then there are 2 more selections of spells from 2 specific spell books. Each of these are also listed alphabetically, but separate from the others. I really don't know why all the spells weren't put into one big list, and then the specific spell books listing out the spells they contain. Or even having the spells marked to show which books they're included in.

There's no index of spells by level. Also the 4th spell is missing it's name and level.

Sacrificial magics are covered in the third chapter, which takes up all of a single page. Nifty way to boost a spell caster's power by killing people or animals. There's also a bit about willing sacrifices, and a mention of innocent sacrifices, but those aren't covered. A reprint of the cover image takes up about a third of the page, and examples another third, so this is a pretty thin chapter.

New magic items are detailed in the fourth chapter, which is slightly longer than the third, and contains 9 new magic items. Nothing particularly noteworthy here.

The final chapter covers artifacts and relics. Actually, it only covers one, the titular Black Libram of Nartarus. As an example of a powerful book of necromancy, it works, and probably deserves the page it gets. As to whether it deserves it's own "chapter" is another question entirely.

Chapter 6 is monsters, and aside from the spells, this is the longest chapter in the book. Not hard to do, since the previous 3 chapters were about a page each.

Wait... weren't there only 5 chapters? Well, that's what we were told in the introduction... yet, here were are at 6. This chapter proves some aquatic versions of some standard undead, shadow animals, and a few old standbys like barrow wights, crypt things, and demilich. I do rather like the goat and the red jester though. Bright spots in an otherwise uninspiring and amateurish book.

As for the art... The poor cover image is repeated inside as I said before. What I didn't mention, is that it's used TWICE inside the book. The image on the back cover is also repeated in the book. There are 21 other images, mostly monsters. None of them are particularly noteworthy, and give the impression of having been chosen from either prior works or from a collection of fantasy art off of RPG Now. Of the 6 women depicted, all are in some sort of bra/halter top, and 3 are victims, 2 are monster (including a floating vampire thing biting into some adventurer's belly armor?) and one is some sort of spell caster.

This book has issues. Beyond the incredibly poor editing, bland at best artwork choices it's also a specifically NPC-centric class book. It doesn't outright proscribe their use by PCs, but...but I really don't get the point. And if you're going to do it anyway, at least do it well, and The Black Libram of Nartarus just fails all around.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Terrain: Library Bookshelves

My first attempt at bookshelves for the library scenario looked like this.

Not even done, and I can see it's not a great plan... It'll be a lot of work to make it look okay.

It needed to be simpler. So back to it. I have lots of these bits cut out...

Add a little hot glue...

And a spot of paint...

Not bad... a little unstable, and maybe too tall? Either way, they need something, so after a trip to the hardware store for some washers, I have this:

I need to put some paint on the washers, but they're much more stable now. I offset the washers so that the bookshelves could be placed back to back, making a spot wide enough for a mini to easily stand on. I'll need to trim the bottoms a little bit to make that actually work, but...

I think this is going to work!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Reaper's BaseBoss!!

Reaper minis is at it again with another kickstarter! Don't worry, it isn't for a metric shit ton of Bones minis... this time it's for a metric shit ton of bases!

And, because reaper is awesome, they're doing a contest where they're giving away A Massive F**k Ton Of Round & Oval Bases to 10 winners! It's insanely easy to enter too...

What Can I Do With All Of My Bases?

Man, we can't think of everything but if you have an idea, email it to Here are just a few things you could do with all of your bases

Tile your bathroom
Bring back Pog
Play base Blind Man's Bluff
Use them as poker chips
Cover your neighbors car with them
Mount the most awesome figure you have ever painted on the most incredible base ever produced
Make an engagement ring and get married
Create assorted jewelry and hit a game con
Build a road
Fill your friends swimming pool
Trade them with friends
Perfect gift for that favorite mother-in-law
Anyway, you get the idea and all we need is your support!!

This was one of my entries:

Adding a little base to some overly acidic coffee.

So go! Pledge! Enter!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

7th Blogiversary

7 years... Who'd have thought it? I certainly didn't when I started writing. And given the number of blogs I've seen come and go over that time, I'm beating the odds.

So what does 7 years look like?
1733 posts
1,049,890 page views (at the time of writing)

All in all not bad...

What's to come? Who knows. With everything that happens in life, I'm trying to give up on making predictions. I'm bad at them. However, I still have lots of terrain to finish, a mountain of miniatures to paint, and my ongoing Stonehell game, so I don't think I'll be lacking content.

Thanks for sticking with me!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Terrain: Grand Temple

So those stairs I was working on? They're for this!

But you've seen that already...

I decided it needed something more. So the other night I pulled out my foam core and knife and cut to cutting...

Here you can see the stairs where they were designed to be used.

I'm undecided what minis will go up there are statues, but my frostgrave buddies are gonna bring a bunch of minis of different scales so we can try to replicate the forced perspective that the ancients pulled off so well.

I also need to figure out what I'm gonna do for the rest of the temple. Maybe a ruined version for the other side?

And since I haven't done an update in a while:
Square Mausoleum Building, 6" per side with a door in each wall. - DONE
Ruined Wizards Tower - Brainstorming
Side buildings allowing access to the upper wizards tower. - Brainstorming
6 Statues - DONE
12" square ruin. - In progress
Haunted Houses - Six small stone monks huts with no roof. - DONE
A Well or Fountain. - I have an idea...
Four 2" diameter discs to act as teleport points. - Ready to paint
6 Columns or ruined columns. - DONE
Underground Library - Prototype stage
Plus enough scatter terrain to cover the board - In progress

It's taking a while, but it's coming along!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Stonehell: Stink Trap and a Spider

Session 18 was played on 8/26

Wilhelm, drunk Dwarf 4 (Julia)
-Hamlet, war dog
Tobias, Human-Cat, Cleric 2 of Persephone (Mollie)
2 torch bearers/linkmen
7 men at arms

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 2 (Mike)

After paying a professional scribe to redraw their map, Wilhelm gathered as much of his group as he could, and headed back to the dungeon. Once again... for the 18th+ time they skipped the gatehouse and headed right into the dungeon. In their haste they forget to stop and see the dwarves about the explosive batshit.

Heading down the well, they follow an old path from the map, and destroy the spear trap that killed Lexi. They pass through an empty room covered in a mural depicting a forest glen. In the hallway at the next intersection was a toppled rocking horse. Wilhelm sets it upright then took the turn. The next door opened into a chamber with a labyrinth carved into the floor. One of the hirelings spends 20 minutes walking the path while everyone watches. He comes off the maze with a goofy grin on his face.

Further down the hall at the next door, was a room with a bunch of half finished baskets, and extra reeds, all dried to the point of crumbling at a touch. Even further down the hall, Wilhelm opens the next door, and ends up being sprayed with some really disgusting smelling stuff that doesn't easily wash off.  While Wilhelm tries to clean himself, he sends half the hirelings to go walk the labyrinth.

Heading back the way they came, the party sees a bunch of the pale degenerates near the rocking horse. They see the party, and realize they're seriously outnumbered, and they run! Opting not to chase them, the party presses on into the unknown...

The next room is fairly large and contains half a dozen sunken tubs full of dark stagnant water. Using their 10' pole, they probe the tubs, and find one with a body in it. The fairly recently cooked elf looked like he'd been boiled alive. Luckily, he'd died with loot.

Down the hall, the next room contained a thick veil of spiderwebs. Wilhelm, feeling quite full of himself, charges in to fight the giant black spider. He call's Hamlet to help him. The dog says "NOPE" as do the rest of the hirelings.

by Dean Spencer

"What do I pay you for?" he yells as he hacks at the arachnid. Moving with startling agility it finds a way through his armor and bits him, but the venom is ineffective against Wilhelm's dwarven constitution. The second bite however leaves him foaming at the mouth and twitching on the floor. Thankfully he felled the spider before the venom kicked in. Tobias uses his healing magic on Wilhelm, which heals the wounds, but doesn't seem to have any effect on the poison. Dragging the twitching dwarf from the room, they scurry from the dungeon and back to town.

Gains: 700gp
Kills: 1 Giant Black Widow Spider

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Temple of Time

That this is all foam... Inspirational... Very obviously not mine! All images from the Stonecutters Guild.

It's things like this that make me realize I need to step up my game.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Frostgrave Frost Giants WiP

I got these 5 giants a little while ago for Frostgrave. Chris (the gent who hosts our monthly games) found them online, and ordered some for me as well as for some other guys in our group.

This is the box art.

Shortly after getting them I cleaned up the worst of the mold lines, stuck them on some of Reaper's bases from the Bones kickstarter, and primed them black using Army Painter black spray primer. That was a couple of months ago. This past week, I actually got around to doing some painting...

Their skin is Denim Blue, the leather and hair is Ruddy Flesh, and the pelts are Stone Grey. I gave them a wash with Griffin Sepia Wash, then painted their eyes white.

So far so good!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sunday Inspirational Image: Kirkstall Abbey by Moonlight

Walter Linsley Meegan, Kirkstall Abbey by Moonlight
Leeds Museum Discovery Centre, Leeds Museums and Galleries

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Frostgrave: Adventures in a Frozen city

On Saturday, the usual suspects got together for another game in our Frostgrave campaign. As my poor necromancer and his apprentice bit the big one last game, I had to start out with a new 0 level wizard. However, my group decided to let me have my new wizard move into my old wizard's inn and take over the warband.

The scenario for the game was The Wizards Tower and The Crypt (where my just completed terrain piece took center stage). My warband never got close to the crypt, but from what I saw it spurred a lot of activity.

Queen Elsa of Arundel and her sister Princess Anna arrived at the gates of Frostgrave looking for something to help them better control their elemental powers!

Their initial impression of the city was a combination of awe and confusion. The layout of the buildings was baffling! But ahead of them was a tower that called out to Elsa. She had to get to it!

Elsa commands one of her treasure hunters to scout ahead, and gives her magical skates to manage on the ice (Fleet Feet). Anna tried to send the other treasure hunter toward a ruin with a blast of wind (Leap), but fails. The crossbowman take up covered positions.

On the far side of the tower a necromancer and his dark forces are also advancing toward the same tower. She can't let him have it.

Rathgar the man at arms takes the thug and thief toward a bridge that spans this part of the city. A skeleton looks down from the railing and begins to climb down toward them, while the thief climbs up to get a better view.

As Elsa approaches the tower, she spies a graveyard on the far side of it. Appropriate since that's where the necromancer was coming from. Her knight and the treasure hunters advance first, and Elsa tries to block the necromancer with a wall of ice, but injures herself.

Apparently the skeleton was originally carrying some treasure!

The necromancer summons an imp to harass Elsa, but it turns on his zombie, so Elsa and the treasure hunter begin their climb.

Over by the ruins, Anna and the crossbowmen spy another treasure, but also more of the necromancer's forces, and a skeleton. It charges Anna, but she easily shatters it's bones. Then she erects a wall of ice to try to block the necromancer's apprentice (hiding in the church) and minions from getting to her and the treasure. 

The other treasure hunter rushes over to assist Anna and bolts for the treasure. One of the necromancer's minions scaled the ruin, and claimed the prize. Anna zapped him with an blast of ice (Elemental Bolt), but failed to kill him.

Meanwhile the treasure hunter found a large iron cauldron with stuff in it, and starts hauling it down out of the tower. Elsa having experienced the magical field of the tower realizes it's keeping her from using her own magic, and starts to climb down.

The thief starts to make off with the treasure, but Anna's treasure hunter leaps up to catch him. Blocking the way is a man at arms, and from around the far side of the ruins rattle two armored skeletons (wandering monsters). Suddenly the treasure hunter is surrounded. He fights off the skeletons, and realizes he can't catch the thief at this point, so makes a run for it.

While all this was going on the animated skeleton dog Princess charged the necromancer, but he and the archer beat it off. This left him open, and one of the crossbowmen took a shot wounding the necromancer who drops to the snow. Elsa blasts the archer with an elemental bolt, but fails to kill him.

The necromancer's apprentice finally emerges from the church, only to be struck down by the crossbowmen.

Back at the bridge, the thief tosses the treasure off the side, and starts to climb down after it. 

Unfortunately he doesn't make it down before the game ends, and so it goes unclaimed.

Back at the inn Elsa and Anna go through the contents of the cauldron. It's stuffed with coins (170 gold) 2 books of magic containing the formulas for Steal Health and Banish, and scrolls of Steal Health, Circle of Protection, and Wizard's Eye.