Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Stonehell: Hoot-enanny

Session 109 was played on 9/28

Joho, Mystic 5 (Chris)
Borumar, ½ Orc Thief 5 (Josh)
Kili, Cleric of Cthulhu 5 (Matt)

Gathering their supplies the troublesome trio heads to the side dungeon alone. Making their way through the cleared halls, down to the 8th level, they return to the bear’s cave. The bear grunts at them, but looks generally disinterested in getting up out of its corner. The party decides to try to draw it out to let Borumar get behind it. The plan worked, but the bear rounded on Borumar, mauling him before Kili and Joho could stop it. Kili applied some much needed healing magic, and then the party moved deeper into the caves.

They next came to a large, still, dark pond. Skirting away from it, making sure not to disturb the water, they continued on. Their torchlight caught a hulking form coming toward them. It’s massive bulk quickly came into view, the head of a massive owl on a great bear’s body. With an angry hoot, it charged in mauling Borumar. Kili slams hard into the beast’s bulk, knocking it off of Borumar and down to the ground. Behind it reared up a second owlbear that tore into Joho and Kili before being dispatched.

Taking a few seconds to catch their breaths they spy what little remains of the beasts most recent meal, including the backpack of the poor explorer. Just as they bend down to examine the bag, a third owlbear comes charging out of the darkness plowing into the party. They again manage to down their foe, but all were hurting. Grabbing the bag, the party flees the dungeon.

Gains: 4,000sp
Kills: Cave bear, 3 owlbears
Losses:

Monday, October 7, 2019

Drawlloween 2019 part 1

I decided to do the drawlloween challenge again this year. There are a couple of different prompt lists. I started with this one...



And decided to swap in some of the ones from this list.



Here's the first batch!













Thursday, October 3, 2019

Bones Raptors part 1

After finishing up the wolves from my last post, I wanted to work on something else, and settled on these raptors, the Bones Black Owlbear, and then stumbled on the Bloodwolf. Since I'd just painted a bunch of other big wolves, I figured I'd add him to the mix too. But first, the raptors. No link to the raptors as they're not available yet.

I checked out a bunch of pictures from Jurassic Park/World before getting started. Not sure how much that impacted how I ended up painting them, but I was keeping them in mind. I also looked at a bunch of reptile pics. They'd have some impact a bit later.



After the usual hot water & dish soap scrub, I glued them onto Reaper's 60mm oval bases.

Then they were given a coat of Reaper's Brown liner, mixed with a bit of flow improver and clear coat. Then it was time to pick a base color. I first picked grass green, but that was way too bright. Then I tried Wilderness green, but that ended up too bright also. I then tried Troll Hide, and liked that a whole lot better. In the picture below, the Wilderness green is on the left, troll hide on the right.



Once settled, I painted the rest with Troll Hide, then added in a drop of Leather brown, and just splotched it on the skin. I then painted the eyes with NMM Gold Base, and used Pure Black for the eyes. The teeth were painted with Bone, and the mouths were painted with Redstone.



I then used wood glue to attach the base layer of coffee grounds for texture.



Then I went back and used the leather brown to add some markings to a few of them. Not sure how much I like it yet. We'll see.

More to come!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Howling good time: Bones Wolves

In Curse of Strahd, we stumbled into a pack of dire wolves at the end of one session... so of course I had to immediately paint some up. Digging through my collection of minis I came up with 3 useful figures from the Bones line. The Winter Wolf, The Warg, and the Death Dog.

After the usual hot water and dish soap scrub with a toothbrush I glued them to 2" round reaper bases, and then gave them a quick coat of Reaper Brown Liner cut with a bit of flow improver, and clear coat.



After the liner layer, I painted their fur with Russet Brown mixed with a tiny bit of Brown Liner, and Dirty Bone and a tiny bit of Russet Brown for their undersides. Their teeth were also painted with Dirty Bone, followed by Linen White, then I cleaned up around the mouth with Pure Black, also hitting their noses and around the eyes.



I used NMM Gold for their eyes. Their fur was dry brushed with Russet Brown, then added in NMM Gold for successive highlights. The bases were then coated in wood glue, and covered with dry coffee grounds for depth and texture.



Once the glue dried, I then covered the bases with my mix of flock, as well as some assorted ground cover to make it look less uniform.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

September in Review

Yet another busy month at the tower. Took an unexpected vacation, spent some time babysitting my niece, and even got in some reading time.

Gaming
There was only one session of Stonehell this month. The party, now a little short handed, continues to explore the side delve.

Curse of Strahd has us out of the Weaver’s dream realm, and back into Barovia itself. Finally moving the storyline forward. *FINALLY*

Miniatures
I did a little work on some of the minis I brought back from ReaperCon, but the small project I actually finished was painting and basing 4 big wolf creatures. We needed them for the Curse of Strahd game, so I pulled out the big wolves I had, which included the 2 headed wolf, a dire wolf, warg, and the bloodwolf. Blog post on them later this week...

I also got started on the Bones 4 Raptors, and the Bones Black Owlbear mini. Should finish those off soon.

Media
Movies/TV Watched

Brooklyn 99 - almost caught up
Dark Matters - onto season 2
Jessica Jones - started season 3

Books Read

Alexander Kent’s
Richard Bolitho — Midshipman (Richard Bolitho, #1)
Midshipman Bolitho and the Avenger (Richard Bolitho, #2)
Band of Brothers (Richard Bolitho, #3)

Goals
CPA study - taking the test in November
Finish the raptors and owlbear
Participate in Inktober/Drawlloween

Monday, September 16, 2019

Freehand Practice

Painting freehand isn't something I've successfully done. I've had a few attempts that were passable, but nothing better. So at ReaperCon, I took a class on it to get better. This picture is what the teacher did in class, showing a basically finished flower on the hem, guidelines for the pattern on the dress, and the trim on the scarf.



The pictures below are what I've worked on. The scarf, and flower on the back of the hem I did in class. After I got home, I continued to extend the pattern around the rest of the hem.



The extended pattern has been done with linen white so far. That gives me a guideline to work from. It's a little rough, at this point, and I'll need to clean up the shadows and highlights, but it's there, and I think it'll work as long as I keep at it.



One thing that happened as I was doing this was to show me where I'd misjudged how the pattern should go. Thankfully as I'm doing this in a thin white, it's easy to paint over and do it again.



More to come

Stonehell: The Death of Ka'Nefer

Session 106-108 were played at ReaperCon on 8/28, 8/29 and 8/30

This writeup will be a little different than my usual ones. Because I was running this 3 nights in a row, and those night all ran late, my notes are rather crappy. However, one player (Ed) gave me his notes, and they helped fill in my sparse chicken scratches.. The list of characters and players below is both incomplete, and doesn’t specify which players played on which night. There were some that played every night, and a few drop ins that only played one night.

Almost everyone played a pregen character. I made a bunch of fighters, a couple clerics, thieves, and a wizard, elf, dwarf, halfling, and mystic, all level 5, almost all with a magic item.

Koltic, Cleric 6, NPC
Seamus, Cleric of the Great McGuffin (Ed)
Drog, Fighter (Lynn) followed by
Kordar, Dwarf (Lynn)
Chris, Fighter? (Patrick)
Thes Hunter, Fighter (Jacqueline)
Unnamed Thief (Ariel) followed by
Kaylene Vin, Mystic (Ariel)
Irate Jackal (Cranky Dog)
Hogwort the Unmoving, Wizard (Chris)
Kangaroorex, Elf (Rob)
Uros Minos Manos, Halfling (Tompall)
CTD2, Thief (One Boot, then Bobby Jackson)
Unnamed Fighter (Heather)

Koltic, growing increasingly anxious about the swelling of the attendees at the Temple of the Black Sun, decided to recruit some other adventurers in hopes they’d be willing to take on Ka’Nefer. Thankfully a band of nerdowells had just ridden into town, having heard stories of the great dungeon Stonehell. Telling them of the dangers, and showing them an incomplete map he’d copied (and not wanting to share the whole map), they agreed, and the next morning, headed out.

Taking the hobgoblin cave entrance, the party makes their way carefully through the Hobgoblin Redout to the disco room, and past it with one character aged, and another irradiated. They make their way into the Reptile House, though the lizardman caves, and to the entrance of the Prison of Ka’Nefer. There they spotted their first monster, a group of Heartless. Seeing their blackened shrunken skin, the pit in their chests where their hearts should be, and the unnatural blue flames emanating from it, filled the party’s heart with terror, and most of them, including Hogwort, froze at the sight. They survived, but only just, and one by one the remaining party members were paralized at the Heartless’ touch, but they fought on, and defeated the evil creatures.

Descending into the prison, the party viewed Eiric & Co’s efforts to disable the traps and slay the monsters within. Passing through the chamber of the Black Sun, they felt the same evil force frip their hearts. Koltic warned them, but even still, it was chilling. Deeper they went, following the hotter path which brought them to a massive long chamber that looked as if it was out in the middle of the desert. Before them was a long rectangular reflecting pool, flanked by 3 stone pillars on either side. Beyond it hunched a broad black stepped pyramid, at the top a large bronze door. Above all that, in the blue sky, a black sun radiated an oppressive heat.

Thes, never one for the sanctity of a temple, and feeling the call of nature, relieved herself in the pool. This upset the mummy wardens who lay under the sand at the foot of each needle. A well placed web spell kept the fight manageable, and the wizard’s use of “Entangle” on a mummy’s own bandages was inspired.

At the foot of the pyramid, the heat blazed down…

Night 1 Notes: Everyone’s dice were cold! Failed saving throws, poor to hit rolls, crappy damage all around. The only reason the party survived was because my rolls were at least as bad.



Deciding that a rest before taking on the pyramid, the party returned to the Reptile House, and a side chamber that Koltic told them about. Just outside the door, 5 Heartless catch them. Again, much of the party is paralized, Hogwort included, of course, but Koltic turns 2, in spite of the oppression of the Black Sun within the dungeon. The other 3 are killed quickly by a lightning bolt from the wizard, but at the cost of 3 of their own.

Within the chamber the party was going to rest in they find 3 other adventurers (a dwarf, halfling, and mystic) who had fled the undead. Deciding that the more the merrier, they join together, and get some shockingly uneventful rest.

Emerging from their rest, the party returns to the Prison, dusting a dozen skeletons on the way.

Passing through the Chamber of the Black Sun the cold feeling of dread again fell upon the party… then the burning heat of the Pyramid. The mystic, who’s head was wreathed with flames, seemed immune to the heat, so climbed the stairs first, and tried the door. The sheer weight of them was too much for her alone, so the wizard levitated up, avoiding the burning hot stones, but still felt the heat of the sun. Sadly the wizards weedy arms didn’t seem to help. The pair were joined by others, and the door was opened. The rest of the party rushed up the stairs and into the (comparatively) cooler entry to the pyramid. Within the black stone chamber were stairs… the party took them deeper into the pyramid.

Zig zagging back and forth, the stairs opened up into a hot and humid chamber, over 30’ wide, and more than 70’ long. Raised beds along either side contained thick verdant jungle plants and at the far end was an impressive throne and a Black Sun mural that seemed to force anyone looking to bring their gaze back to the throne. 4 highly decorated pillars supported a balcony that ringed the room. On the balcony were shelves containing books, scrolls, tablets, and small statues. The party explores the chamber, and eventually 2 discoveries were made.

Thes, finding nothing interesting on the throne, defecated on the seat. This did not deter others from examining the throne, but it did keep anyone from sitting on it.

First, each pillar contained a secret hiding spot with a canopic jar in it. The jars were Blessed by one of the clerics, whereupon they broke apart and fell to dust.

Second, the throne had a switch built into the arm rest… While the party was all split up, Hogwort triggered it, causing the throne and floor around it to drop down into the Crypt of the Mummy Lords. The previously killed Mummy Lords had been propped back in their thrones, but were very clearly no longer animated. The other 4, sitting on their thrones however, were, and the mummies moved in for the kill. Hogart was obviously frozen in terror. One of the thieves dropped a rope down, and lassoed the throne, triggering the switch. The throne rose quickly, bringing the not quite dead fool, and 3 of 4 of the mummies up. The rest of the party, having rushed to the action begin to beat on the mummies. The mystic jumped on the throne and triggered the switch, dropping herself and 2 of the 3 mummies back down into the crypt. The mummies beat on the mystic, and one of them cast Blindness on her. She failed her save…

With the mummies out of sight, the Hogwort could move again, so he looked over the edge and froze, leaving it to Kangaroorex to the cast fireball down the hole. The Throne, the poop, the mummies all burned quite pungently. The mystic got a little crispy around the edges, but was otherwise okay.

A fresh rope was lowered down, and the party looted the corpses. The blind, near death, and suffering from Mummy Rot mystic managed to lean against the right spot on the wall, and discovered a secret door opening onto Ka’Nefer’s treasury! After checking for traps and magic, they looted it all, and then RAN for the dungeon’s exit, hoping not to run into Ka’Nefer… assuming he didn’t die when his jars were blessed… One thing was clear though, there were still other enemies to deal with, including the heartless that were waiting for them at the top of the stairs leading out of the prison. Thankfully a Protection from Evil 10’ radius kept the party, loaded down with loot, safe, and they bypassed the danger.

Night 2 Notes: The dice were much hotter tonight, but still, the sight of mummies is terrifying! Mummy Rot however is less terrifying than level or ability drain… Also, where the hell is Ka’Nefer?!? I kept rolling to see if he’d show up, but nope!



Back in town, the party throws an EPIC week long bash. They level up, and decide to go hunting the Chosen of the Black Sun directly. Pumping Koltic for more info, they decide to enter the dungeon through the Bandit Caves, through the Mushroom Forest, to the Korners, and into the Quiet Halls. They dust some skeletons on their way.

The Quiet Halls, surprisingly, live up to their name, and the party makes it to the Great Hall where the gong hangs. Wanting to summon Ka’Nefer, rather than go wandering around aimlessly, they bang the gong! A pair of Mummy Wardens soon rush into the chamber, several members of the party freeze in terror, including Hogwort. Koltic turns one, causing it to run off. The other stabs on party member with its polearm, but is then cut down. From that point on, every 5-10 minutes they bang the gong again… and again… and again.

Hours pass before anything else enters the chamber, but when they do, they come from nearly every doorway in the chamber. Skeletons, Heartless, and Wardens.. Because of the size of the room, and the way everyone had drifted around it, there were a lot of individual fights going on. Near the gong, the Mummy Wardens and their pole arms try to pincer the party down in the southern end of the room. A Web spell from Hogwort (not paralized for once) catches 2 of them coming in from the east, and Thes pounds on them.

The skeletons were quickly dusted, and one of the heartless turned, while the wardens were trapped by webs. Ka’Nefer chose this point to appear, at the southern door near the gong (and the webs). He dropped a Silence spell around the wizard who was paralized in fear at the sight of the Mummy Lord anyway. The ball of hate and pointy bits that was the halfling couldn’t injure the mummy he was fighting, but he could knock it down over and over and over, so he did, making it easier for one of the fighters to stab it. The rest of the party, as they finished off their individual fights, began to converge on Ka’Nefer. Seeing the Mystic’s glowing fists and flaming hair, he casts Hold Person on him, freezing him in place. Then the Mummy Lord of Stonehell cast Darkness around himself. This broke the wizards line of sight, and he moved out of the zone of Silence, and cast levitate on himself, rising up toward the ceiling. Sadly the darkness was a full zone, not just a wall. A couple of fighters rush into the dark, hoping to catch Ka’Nefer with a lucky swing. Neither does, and one ends up caught in the webs.

Ka’Nefer steps from the darkness, surveying the battle, and spies the wizard up near the ceiling. He attempts to blind him, but Hogwort shakes off the spell. That distraction allowed Kangaroorex to catch Ka’Nefer and the Wardens in an amazingly powerful fireball! The explosion roasts the remaining Wardens, crisps the monk, burns Thes’ hair a bit, and turns Ka’Nefer into a pile of ash almost instantly. (33 points of damage out of a possible 36).

Ka’Nefer is dead… Gathering their wounded, and the little loot, the party rushes from the dungeon, out the main entrance, and seeing the famous inscription for the first time.

Night 3 Notes: He’s dead… they actually did it… they overwhelmed his resistance to fire, and killed him!! The upper levels of Stonehell will actually quiet down. I had such a blast running this with a new group, seeing how they’d tackle the challenges I put them up against. It’ll be neat to see how my regular group takes having this victory (and the spoils) snached out from under them.

Gains: Ka’Nefer’s treasury!
Kills: Lots of skeletons, a bunch of mummies, and Ka’Nefer!!
Losses: Unnamed Thief, 2 others…

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Stonehell: Swampwalking

Session 105 was played on 8/17

Joho, Mystic 5 (Chris)
Borumar, ½ Orc Thief 5 (Josh)
Lucrecia Thief 5 (Henchman)

Borumar spent time and gold researching around town for info on the dragon. Discovered that about a century ago there was a black dragon that lived in the swamp for a couple of decades before she was killed, though her lair was never found.

The party decided to scout around in the swamp to see what they could see, stumbled upon some heartless, a giant tiger beetle, and an assortment of other swampy wildlife, and decided that they weren’t prepared for a lengthy stay in the swamp, and so returned to town.

Gains:
Kills: Tiger Beetle
Losses:

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Blogiversary: Double Digits Baby!!

Somehow... I'm 10 years on, and still going!


I'm honestly not sure how this thing keeps rolling along, but it does, and what a long strange trip it's been. When I started this thing, I hadn't played D&D in ages, hadn't played in anything that looked like a long term campaign in even longer, but there was that itch that never went away. The urge to create, to explore weird worlds and fill it up with even weirder things for people to play with. Then I stumbled onto the OSR, to G+, to open tables and flailsnails conventions, to anti-gencons, to now having run several long campaigns, playing in others both online and in person!

I'm still painting and building minis and terrain, but I've moved on from Games Workshop's 40K and Lord of the Rings to Reaper and to Frostgrave.

I've moved on from Star Trek to... wait, no, still into Star Trek. I've just added on Discovery and (soon) Picard and Lower Decks. Okay, yeah, and The Orville too.

And real life has been even stranger!

And in case you're curious about the stats:
2343 Posts
299 Followers
1 really salty reader who didn't like the fact that I said Fuck Trump, but Fuck Trump and fuck him.
Uncounted spam comments

What will the next year... or decade bring? Much more of the same I imagine.

As always, thanks for reading.

Monday, September 9, 2019

ReaperCon Classes

As a follow up on my ReaperCon Report, here's a review of the 3 classes I took at ReaperCon. I thought all 3 were fantastic, even though all 3 were very different from one another.

Reaper U: Beginner Freehand (Cocanour) - Of all my classes, this was probably the most helpful for me. I've attempted freehand before, semi-successfully, but getting a hands on practice, with instruction, and getting to see not only my own efforts, but my fellow classmates really helped to gel the ideas. I could see what I was doing wrong, what they were doing wrong, and the instructor showed us how to correct it. One thing I'd have wanted from the class was help in figuring out WHAT to paint, but the HOW to paint it is super helpful by itself.

The instructor's example


My work in progress


Reaper U: Painting Expressive Faces and Eyes (Schubert) - I've taken this class before, and I think it's changed a little since I did, but much of it was very familiar. Why did I take a demonstration class again? Not for the handout, which is great by itself, but because getting to see Derek work his magic, getting to hover over his shoulder and see him apply the paint, watch as he tests the color and see him make the choices he makes... worth it.

Reaper U: Introduction to Painting Translucent Miniatures (Sundeth) - I wasn't signed up for this class, but a fellow classmate from my previous class handed me his ticket since he was off to dinner. The fool. There aren't a whole lot of people working with painting translucents in interesting ways. It's hard, really a radically different mindset than painting regular minis. Doug showed us a bunch of different tools and techniques, and then let us go wild experimenting on our figures. My results were... interesting, but I'm now much more likely to try to do something with my translucent minis. There's something to be said for bring given permission to just... try things. I hope that this class continues to evolve as more people develop new techniques and styles.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

ReaperCon 2019

ReaperCon 2019 is over... And here's how it went.

First, cookies for the folks I was carpooling with from the airport to the convention center. Dark Chocolate Chip cookies... so good...


Wednesday night was the Pizza Dungeon and an open bar. And at least on this first night, they had a decent beer.

After that, it was playing some Stonehell into the wee hours of the night.

The next morning it was back to the great hall for shopping, hobbying, arcade games and ribbon collecting.

And acquiring rare paints! I finally got a bottle of Drow Nipple Pink!

The classes I took were great. This is from Painting expressive faces. I've actually taken this before, but I wanted the refresher, and some new tips. We'll see if it helps.

This is from the dragon class on the other side of the room.

And cause paint water is gross...


There was a fair bit of alcohol to be had after hours.

And a Texas breakfast every morning.

But, really, the alcohol...


My entries in the painters competition. I won bronze again...




While I was running Stonehell late into the night, another group of crazy people painted gummy bears.

It was all her idea...

The artist's alley was great, not just for the stuff they were showing off, but also because they're all so friendly and helpful!

Playing with greenstuff and base stamps.

I won a raffle!!

Ate some fancy caramel candy

And came home with a lot of loot.

And my ribbons collecting was impressive...

But then it was time to go home. All in all I had a fantastic time. The con keeps getting bigger, but also still feels like a small-ish con. Can't wait for next year.