Thursday, February 28, 2019

Thursday Thaumaturgy: Esratsept Lens of the Mind

The tavern was quiet in the predawn hours, but Alianora sat alone near the freshly kindled fireplace, wrapped in a blanket, and looking like hell when Nimble slide through the door. Latching it softly behind him he stepped near the fire with a slight limp. "Rough night?" he asked.

She smiled weakly at him. "That was going to be my question..." She sighed deeply. "Nightmares. Ever since we rooted out that cult... and a spell... a prayer... I can't get rid of it."

"You were cursed?"

"Yes... no... I'm not sure. I woke up the next morning with a new spell in my head. I didn't ask for it, and it's not from The Light. But it's sitting there, like a toad in mud..." She shivered. "I don't want to cast it, but I don't know how else to be rid of it."

3rd level Cleric Spell
Esratsept Lens of the Mind
Range: 30’
Duration: Instantaneous
Effect: One Target

The caster opens a lens to the outer-dark in the target’s mind, giving the target a brief nightmarish glimpse of the One Who Slumbers Between The Stars. The target must make a saving throw vs spells with a penalty based on their intelligence modifier (higher modifier, greater penalty) or be incapacitated for 1d6 days.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Sculpting a Penanggalan, part 1

Sculpting minis isn’t something I’ve spent much time doing. Why bother, when artists have been working on that skill for years and years. But sometimes you think of something, and you get inspired by other amateurs, and you say to yourself “why not?”

My inspiration primarily comes from a Reaper forumite named Malefactus who makes delightfully creepy mushrooms and other blighted beings. He is so prolific that he even shares his finished minis, and I was fortunate to be so honored with this trio of figures.

I was thinking about horrific monsters, and the Penanggalan came to mind… a floating head, trailed by various organ bits… I’ve got spare heads, and how hard can it be to sculpt dragging intestines and various organs? Turns out, not too hard, actually… Now, before we go any further, understand this is NOT professional quality, but rather good enough for tabletop. Kinda like most of my painting.

I started with a cork holder, a base, a bit of paperclip, and a head from the Mantic Ghoul kit.

I kept Sir Forscale handy to make sure that it was sized appropriately. Then I mixed up some greenstuff and wrapped it around the wire. The stories don’t mention the spinal column/spine coming out with the head, but it seemed like that would be easier to sculpt, so I started by adding in lines to indicate vertebra. Then I made some twisty ropes of greenstuff to be the intestines dangling… and some organ-ish shaped blobs that I’ll glue on.

Looking at it the next day, the intestines should probably be more kinked, rather than twisted. I may cut them off, and redo them.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Stonehell: Snakes in the dark...

Session 88 was played on 2/2

Eiric, wizard 7 (Kat)
- men at arms (Holdred, Adonis: elf model)
-torchbearer (Wennick)
Brie, wizard 4 (Apprentice to Eiric)
A-A-Ron, Thief 6 (Henchman) (stayed in town)
Orpheus, Human Fighter 6 (Henchman)
Darryl, Cleric 6 (Henchman)
Karl, Dwarf 7 (Julia)
- Hobart (dog, lvl 1)
- men at arms (Nargos, RelBex)
Lex the Cheeseman, Fighter 4 (Henchman)
Koltic, Cleric 3 (Chris)
- Grishnaz, Goblin
- men at arms (Remo, elf pirate)
Kili, Dwarf Cleric 3 (Matt)
Lucrecia Thief 2 (Henchman)

In town, Eiric researches what it would take to create a magic dress, Remo the pirate and Adonis the elf merc are hired to replace Mulligan and Vol, and everyone else hangs out in town.

Heading into the box canyon, a clicking sound echoes off the walls, and as they near the back they can see a mass of scarab beetles covering the rock face around the entrance. Opting not to risk the swarm of bugs, they left the canyon and hiked out to the narrow cavern that the hobgoblins used to enter the 2nd level of the dungeon.

Circling around through the halls toward the grand stairs that lead up to the (former) Kobold Korners, they encounter a mob of mixed undead. Kili and most of the henchman flee in terror from the heartless, while Darryl turns the skeletons and zombie to dust. Karl, Orpheus, and Lex all charge in blades swinging. Darryl manages to turn 2, who run off into the dark. Brie and Koltic finish off the one that slipped around to get at the more squishy members of the party.

After finishing off the Heartless, they retrace their steps and collect their lost hirelings. Making their way around to the stairs, they head down into an unexplored area of the 3rd level of the dungeon!

At the bottom of a long flight of stairs they come to a large room  with a shallow reflecting pool that takes up most of the floor space. In the middle of the pool is a 10' rusty iron cube standing on one corner. Their flickering torchlight barely illuminates some motionless forms to the north… statues. Possible victims of the medusa? Watching carefully to the north, Karl pokes the green water, getting his pinky wet. Nothing bad seems to happen, so he splashes into the pool, and starts turning the cube clockwise. It spins easily.

Unknown to the party, their not so subtle or quiet exploration of the room catches the attention of Skelmis, who alerts his mistress Lachesis. She orders him to carefully follow, invisible, and if the opportunity presents itself, to burn them. She’ll be following with Tusk and Rufus to charge in and mop up after.

The party decides to head away from the statues. The corridor turns and opens into a grant, but empty hall. Eiric gives Lucrecia the ring of invisibility and sends her to scout back to make sure the medusa wasn’t following. Skelmis watched it all, and luckily for Lucrecia, Lachesis hadn’t yet started following. Lucrecia returned and reported what she (didn’t) see.

Moving on, the party makes it to the pillared hall with the great bronze double doors. Investigating the room, they discover a pair of secret nooks. The first is empty, but the second contains a bag of coins, and some jewelry. The excitement of the find causes everyone to cluster a little too closely together. Skelmis takes this opportunity to drop a fireball in the middle of the party.

Screams of the dying, the smell of charred flesh, and black smoke fill the room. When the smoke clears, Skelmis is dismayed to see how many are still standing, especially the wizards. His focus shifts to the angry dwarf charging across the room toward him, and in that moment Eiric unleashes a lightning bolt right in Skelmis’ face, and down the hallway… He barely survives, and briefly his mind clears, as with the death cry of Lachesis the charm binding him breaks. Then Karl’s hammer smashes into his skull.

Tusk died with his mistress, but Rufus survived, and charged in, clubbing Karl back into one of the room’s pillars. Orpheus slams his spiked shield into the ogre’s flank, and then sinks his sword into the burnt flesh of the ogre’s neck. The ogre gurgles up some blood, and falls dead…

Gains: Bag of coins and jewelry
Kills: Skeletons, zombie, heartless, Skelmis, Lachesis, Rufus, Tusk
Losses: Holdred, Adonis, Wennick, Hobart, Nargos, RelBex, Grishnaz, Remo

Friday, February 22, 2019

More Frostgrave Plastics!

In spite of what I said I was gonna do with figuring out what figures would be most useful for Frostgrave, I ignored that and just built some more minis. It’s not like I don’t have a zillion minis to choose from anyway.

So I started by building 3 more cultists with spears, because they seem like they’ll be really useful in general. Cause cultist guards, right? I wonder if I’ll be able to get someone to trade heads for more of these skull faced guys.

After playing with the cultists, I moved onto the gnolls. As with the previous kits, my plan was to build 5 without worrying about what works for the game… I ended up using a total of 8 gnoll bodies, using an assortment of bits from the Soldiers, Cultists, Oathmark Goblin kits, as well as a couple of GW beastmen bits. The goblin head on the gnoll body works pretty well...

I also made this dude with a staff. Not sure what he is… But the body is a cultist, the arms are from the goblin sprue, and the head and backpack are from the soldiers kit.

And speaking of the Oathmark Goblins, I put together these 5, again mixing and matching bits from the various kits. For what are basic troops, they’ve got a fair bit of personality. And while they’re called goblins, they’re really more in line with what I’d call orcs.

And then I started really having some fun, giving a gnoll body a goblin head. Gonna sculpt some more greenstuff hair on the neck, see if I can’t make him look more bugbear like… Then I gave a cultist a beastman ungor head. I think he’ll be a beastcrafter wizard or apprentice. , but looks okay, as does the ungor spear. The gor flail on the other hand looks just a little too out of scale. I’m not gonna cut it off… figure he’s a gnoll barbarian?

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Strahd: House of Durst, Dust, and Death...

Have you ever had a sprite stab you in the chest? Has that ever been the best thing that’s happened to you that day?

I do not understand these people. They have this amazing house. They’re clearly rich, but completely off their rockers. Resting up a bit, we headed back down into the basement, and back to the bone room. Some weird worm thing with these tentacles was in the closet. It’s tentacles were all sorts of tingly, and not in the good way. They made Vetsun have the shakes. Well, it might have been the getting smacked against the wall that did it, but I think it was the tingly tentacles. Also the smell… How can anything alive smell that foul? It was like the slaughter house on a hot summer day.

Moving deeper we came to a… theater? There was a really cheap statue that Ember said was probably Strahd, based on a window that only he saw in a vision….. We could also hear rats diggin in the walls.

We’ve gotta get out of here.

But the statue was holding an orb… And, well… We took it, and broke the statue. It was just cheap wood scraps and plaster anyway… The candles flared and suddenly our shadows were after us. We ran… but you can’t out run a shadow, not really. We booked it up the stairs, all the way to the 4th floor… and there wasn’t a door at the top. Just a solid brick wall… and then they were on us. I’ve never felt so cold or so scared. They just reached into me and… then it was all black.

That’s where Vetsun stabbed me in the chest with a needle. Drained, and hurt we caught our breath, looked for a way through the wall, and then slowly headed back down… Maybe we can find a way out. I’m so tired. My arms feel like wet pasta. Even holding the torch takes more effort than I can describe. The scratching in the walls was louder, and as we got back to the theater, the dirt walls crumbled open and hungry corpses covered in dirt crawled out of the mess…

Lady, you sent us here… is there no hope?

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Orville S2 E1+2

Well, that was disappointing. I’ve been excited for the return of The Orville for months now, and the first two episodes did not meet my expectations.

The season premiere was all about the captain and his ex’s issues (she’s dating someone!) while Bortis needs to pee, and the doctor’s kid gets in with a bad crowd. Meanwhile the helmsman works up the courage to ask out the new scientist on the ship.

This was an entire episode of B and C plots stitched together, and nothing at all interesting actually happened. Boris pees (yay?) the helmsman chokes, and new science officer flirts with the captain instead, and the mess with the doctor’s kid gets resolved… that’s it.

Beyond the issues with the fact that this is a boring episode in which there’s nothing that couldn’t have been done on any other sitcom, the whole storyline with the doctor just ruined any sense of disbelief I could manage.

First off, this is a ship with only 300 crew, and somehow the CMO hasn’t met either of the bad kids parents? Hasn’t given a routine examination to the bad kid? Seriously? Also why is the android hanging around all the time? This is seriously the least competent crew in the galaxy.

Episode 2 focuses on Brotis’ holo-porn addiction, which is kinda interesting, but didn’t necessarily deserve the A plot, especially when TNG did this same story with Reg Barkley 2 decades ago… The B story was actually the more Trek-like bit of the show with a scientific/exploratory story that morphs into the attempted rescue of a lost civilization. In the end though, it lacked the emotional weight that it could have carried since so much attention was given to the more titillating(?) addiction story.

I've heard things improve later in the season... but I haven't gotten there yet. We'll see...

Friday, February 15, 2019

Frostgrave Barbarians and Cultists

Instead of watching the Superbowl, I spent the evening working on some more Frostgrave plastics. I built 5 barbarians, and 5 cultists. I should probably actually take some time to consider what rolls the minis will fulfil in the game, rather than just making something that looks cool…

This time though, I was aiming for “it looks cool.”

Starting with the barbarians, I first built the alternate captain figure with the crested head and mace that came with the Folio nickstarter. Then I made a barbarian with the Conan helmet. Amazingly the barbarian box doesn’t come with a nice 2 handed sword, and the one from the soldiers box didn’t really work. I wanted something with more action. Thankfully the gnoll box had what I needed. It only took a bit of clipping to make it work. I still need to clean up the cut, but I’m overall happy with it. There are also a couple of normal barbarians, and then the hammer guy with the Skyrim helmet.

For the cultists, I looked through the heads available, and decided that I really liked the skull faced ones. The hoods are okay, but… eh. Sadly there are only 2 of those heads per sprue, for a total of 8 heads. I built these guys using 5 of them. I’m thinking about using the remaining 3 to make 3 more spearmen. The 2 handed ax is from the Soldiers box, otherwise these guys are straight up cultists.

I still have mold line removal and cleanup to do on them before I get around to priming them. I thought about trying to do it before I built them, but it’s easier to hold them when they’re assemed. Oh, and I decided to use the disk bases they came with. I still need to figure out how I’m going to base them. Snow? Grass? Rubble? I’ll figure something out.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Strahd: Haunted House of Durst

The private thoughts of Zaadia as she finds herself trapped in a haunted house...

Durst Family Mansion
Where the fuck are we?

Yes, haunted house in the middle of nowhere. Got that part. But those mountains over there? They don’t belong there. And where is “Barovia”? And dead kids? And dead pregnant nannies?

This place is seriously messed up. We made it upstairs, and things just got worse and worse. The haunted armor? Sure. The master bedroom with the haunted tiger skin rug? Wasn’t really creepy until we discovered the display case of murder and torture memorabilia in direct line of sight of the bed. That was fucking haunted too.

Most of the time I don’t care what people do in bed together. Or on a tiger skin rug… I know they never washed it. I just know it…

Then we got to meet one of the nannies. Dead of course. And her baby? A bundle of ratty old rags. And her desiccated body was locked out on the balcony.

Bathroom? Haunted, and the dwarf got the shits. Even better was the belladonna, rue, and juniper in the medicine cabinet. Of fucking course there was.

Then one of the ghosts possessed Ember when we tried to go upstairs. I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS. She said it was bad and we shouldn’t go up there.

Kid, I am with you 100%, but we’re all stuck here, maybe FOREVER if we don’t. And I don’t even know where here IS.

The kid was right, it was bad. They were locked in their room until they starved to death. And across the hall? The old storage room where a chunk of the wall and ceiling were missing? Amazingly free of fog. I guess the haunted house at least is keeping that out… and a good thing, as there was a broken window in Gustav's studio, where the creepy paintings of the dead nursemaids sat.

And the broken window? Haunted. Honestly, I was more shocked it wasn’t one (or all) of the paintings. But hey! We found the servant's stairs down to the basement and the family crypt. Ember put the kids bones to rest, and they just kinda… faded out. Checking the crypt of Elizabeth just revealed bugs. I hate bugs. Way too many legs.

Further along and down some more stairs was a weird room… lots of bones, both on the table and all over the floor. And a makeshift altar. We headed back upstairs to decide what to do… I really hope nothing crawls out of the walls… or if it does it brings back my rapier.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The end of G+, the end of Zak?

I started blogging near the end of 2009. The OSR was a small but thriving community of gamers creating some really cool and inventive stuff. Then came 2011 and Google+ and hangouts, and everything changed. Suddenly people were running online old school games with gamers from around the world. G+ became THE place to collaborate on projects, to crowdsource ideas, to share news, to build communities!

And for the most part it was great. While G+ never seemed to catch on among the general population, we gamers kept on doing our thing.

For a good chunk of that time I didn’t have an in person group, and it scratched that itch. In some ways, it was my most productive time as far as new gaming content is concerned. I was coming up with new spells, magic items, monsters, and maps regularly! But as the community grew, and matured (HA!) fractures appeared, and a variety of tempests in a teapot that ROCKED the community (and the rest of the world was completely oblivious to) boiled over.

Zak wasn’t always in the middle of them, but he wasn’t usually far from it. In general, I admired him. He was brash, an ass, and relentless, but he had some creative ideas, and wrote a couple of really useful beautiful books that I’ve used regularly.

There were rumors and accusations, but… it always seemed nebulous. And he had people backing him that I believed. Plus he was being consulted on for 5e and White Wolf’s launch… I figured these guys may have done a background check or something.

Well, I was wrong.

And now, a short time away from the demise of G+, comes this. In some ways the timing is… poetic, coming as it does at the end. Yet it could have, should have happened sooner.

The below is taken from Facebook, shared with permission.

Mandy Morbid
Please feel free to share this widely, on any platform you have.
Dear Zak Smith, aka Zak Sabbath
I know posting anything about you or this publicly will get me labeled “angry”, “crazy” or a “liar”. Despite that, I still need to speak. As a warning, there will be potentially triggering descriptions of abuse, violence and sexual assault to follow.
What I want to convey is my grief. And my shame. There is so much of it. I think when women come forward to talk about their abusers people strip them of their grief. And I am not okay. And I should be angry but I can’t be because the shame is too great. Because the abuse had me taking responsibility for everything and it’s very difficult to stop that after all these years. Everything was always my fault, the problem was me--but it wasn’t.
Eleven years is a long time. I was twenty one when we met in person the first time, and a month later, 22 when I moved in with you. It’s difficult to organize my thoughts about everything that happened, everything that went wrong over a decade.The abuse came in cycles where there were times you seemed to idolize me (in hindsight there was a twisted, sexist, infantilizing angle to the "idolizing" because it was always about my body and not me as a person). There were other times when you tore me down, made lectures that went in circles of manipulation, or fits of rage where you’d scream that I was useless and worthless and slam doors or throw things at the walls. You tore me down to manipulate me, and to get your way.
As time went on you learned you could threaten me in various ways. Killing me if I ever got pregnant and didn’t have an abortion started as a joke but you repeated it so frequently it was clearly a warning. Kick me out if I didn’t want to have as much sex, or lesser reasons.
When we would go out, you would rate the women you were watching, making sure I could hear it. You would see a woman and comment that she was attractive, until you saw she had "small" breasts. Then you would say to me “why do they even make them like that? What’s the point?” As though I automatically would agree with you about a woman’s worth being dictated by the size of her breasts. And how was that supposed to make me feel about myself? You would know that I would not want to start an argument on a nice evening out--finally I was feeling well enough to be out with you and I would ruin it? No. Even in the face of rude or disgusting comments about other women I would stay silent.
I am ashamed. I was often silent because I wanted to keep the peace. To keep you happy. You see, I did know how to make you happy. I am ashamed I did it because I rationalized that was love. You pressured me to find and groom other women sexually. As I grew sicker, and my physical limitations grew, you were more concerned with your own needs than my illness. Eventually, even, you took my doing this for you, and me, for granted.
I saw you mistreat women we were with together, and again I was silent. I choose you over them and I am deeply ashamed. And when it was me who was being mistreated I often didn’t even register it as such because the first time it happened was so traumatic. You told me I wasn’t allowed to stop or say no to sex or fooling around if we’d already initiated it.
I was young and this was during the first few weeks we lived together and no one had ever taught me about consent. You were extraordinarily angry I had stopped, your hands were clenched into fists and they were shaking. I was programmed to accept it, and you always just kept telling me you loved me even if your behaviour never really proved it.
Then you started with the online gaming arguments nonsense, and that put a real crack in our bond. In the beginning I felt genuinely protective of you, my provider, and of course that was my very strong trauma bond. I didn't know better, and I just thought I was caring for the person I loved. Callously, you exposed me to death and rape threats and you then never took the distress this caused me seriously, you were in no way sympathetic to the very real stress these disagreements caused. You enjoyed it. And you gloated over the harm you caused other people. (It was extremely unattractive.) You just used those threats we received as an excuse, used me and my marginalized identities as shields in your continuing misbehaviour online.
That Tumblr post defending you was posted in my name, but you were the one who wrote it. The long one you always referred people to. I feel more shame that I let you use my name, my identity in that way. I feel shame that when people noticed it probably wasn't written by me, we called them sexist. After that Tumblr post I told you I was done being involved in any of your arguments online. You really didn’t like that. You forever afterwards accused me of “never saying anything” when you were dealing with the shit you’d stirred up.
I am so ashamed you let me get dragged into your awful trolling behaviour. One time you had a screaming/throwing fit at me (“useless,” “worthless,” “no one cares about me”) because I didn’t want to retweet something to a big gaming company you were mad at. This was all abuse. That you continue to behave so badly online disgusts me, and I am ashamed that I helped you to hurt or damage others online. I am sorry that I have contributed to the abuse, and I am ashamed that your abuse pushed me to think that it was okay to do.
This behavior is what created the cracks in the narcissistic façade that you built up for me. Seeing the behavior that you normally directed towards me being directed towards others started to open my eyes towards what you were doing to me.
It was then that I slowly began to reassess how you treated me. This process started very slowly as I was extremely ill. And needed to focus on my health and I couldn’t shake my life up too dramatically.
Over the next two or three years my faith and trust in you completely failed. You let me down over and over. And I came to terms with the fact that I had been a trophy wife all along, an object that was owned, not a respected or loved partner. Towards the end you weren’t even trying to keep that mask you wore in the beginning on you were just straight up cruel and cold and abusive and there were no reprieves of loving or sweet acts, it was all gaslighting and narcissism gone unchecked. And there was a lot of my grief and shame at that time. Because I tried so hard to make it work anyway.
I thought if I loved harder, if I loved more I could save us but it was futile because you were already done with someone who wasn’t spending all their energy on living to please you as I’d formerly done.
I’ve grown up. I want to live my life for me. My values and morales don’t align with yours--I’m ashamed I was complicit in your misogyny and supportive of your online abuse (whatever my reasons).
I only began to register the pain and damage done to me by this relationship in the last year we were together and in the year and half since I’ve left. I have PTSD. I am doing my best to focus on healing, and since leaving both my mental and physical health have improved. I’m not okay yet, but I am improved. People can see the difference in photos. Rebuilding a life after a decade of trauma takes time but I will get there.
After this I am including statements about Zak from Jennifer, a long time friend and lover of Zak’s and mine and Hannah who was also involved with us and lived with us briefly. Jennifer was spending time with Zak before Zak and I met, and Hannah was assaulted by Zak.
CW description of sexual assault
Jennifer’s post was originally posted to her facebook and she’s given me permission to reshare it here:
Hey guys, this is a heads up for anyone who is friends with Zak Smith or likes his page. This is somewhat out of the blue but he's been posting more in the past year or so and I keep seeing some of you interact with him or just liking his posts, and thinking: You wouldn't be doing that if you knew him better.
To get to the point: While he comes across as a fun person who is super cool with everything and leads such a compelling and interesting life, and I considered him a good friend for a significant amount of time, he's also someone who has habitually abused and assaulted women. He talks negatively about them when they're not around, and also says really degrading things to their faces. He will aggressively pursue sex and rely on the fact that most women are hesitant to reject a man in a quasi-sexual situation due to safety concerns and social conditioning. Especially when he has presented himself as caring and trustworthy. But I've also seen him physically take women and start fucking them, ignoring their lack of enthusiasm or freeze of shock. He will navigate kink spaces and take someone's presence there, of general involvement in bdsm as implied consent to assualt them. And he is fully aware of what he does, he has described a sexual encounter to me as, I quote, "raping a 12-year-old". The person in question was not underage, but so massively uncomfortable that this was his most apt description. It didn't make him stop.
He's really good at being so blasé about everthing that you doubt what happened or compartmentalize it, then move on. He's also good at talking the talk and walking the walk of being the progressive liberal artist and author who is just so open about having done porn and living his sexuality uninhibited by social norms or whatever. He can be pretty manipulative and resorts to gaslighting.
This post might seem unnecessary at best, and like slander at worst. Especially considering I haven't even personally seen him since god knows when. It's based on my own experiences with him, some dating as far back as 2005, and the fact that almost every mutual female friend has similar experiences, up to this day. Ultimately I've seen him do so much fucked up shit that when I hear anything by another woman I immediately believe them without a shadow of a doubt. And yes, I'm ashamed I didn't speak up sooner. Often things only start falling into place after time passes and you see things for what they are, and when they are confirmed by others who have had similar experiences. By the time I really fully grasped the magnitude, being vocal would have meant intruding on and hurting people who didn't deserve it, with little discernable good to come out of it.
Basically if you know me and trust me, believe me and maybe reconsider your support of him and his art. Besides that I'm not asking you to do anything. And I don't benefit from any sort of outcome in any way.
I'm posting this to a curated audience; if you see this I trust you to at least not create drama. If you don't believe me, I guess just ignore this post? Although I'd prefer if you removed yourself from my list then too. I don't want this to reach him because I don't want to deal with the fallout. I want people to know this to make a better informed decision about who they associate with. The last I heard of him was a few months ago, after he saw that a friend had confided in me about him, and he slid into my inbox with some disingenious bullshit about how sad he was about that situation, trying to influence my opinion. I ignored it. If something like that happens again I will obviously know that someone on this list blabbed and will pretty much delete and block anyone it could have been. Please don't make me deal with all that trouble. Thank you.
And here is Hannah’s account:
Back when I first knew them, I lauded Manda and Zak as a perfect couple. I would see them only once every few years, and when I was with them, they seemed happy. It wasn't until I was with them for an extended period of time that I thought things seemed off. I used to take Zak's general demeanor towards women as joking. Eg, "if I talk to my girlfriend and her friend about their feelings, will I get a threesome out of it?" But now I think that's how Zak actually feels. At first when I kept hearing him say the phrase "chin up" to Manda, I thought he was just telling her to stay positive, but in actuality he didn't like it when she had a tiny double chin when looking down. (Like all humans at that angle.) He also told her things like "You don't need glasses, its more important for you to be pretty than it is to see" and "If you can't even have sex, what good are you?" It was not a joke. For a long time I tried to see the good in him, and hoped that he would change his behaviours once Manda confronted him about them, but he didn't seem to understand that he had done anything wrong. She told him she felt more like a doll than a human, outlined what things had upset her, and wanted to work towards a better relationship. He acted ignorant about things he had said or done, and then threatened people when anyone talked about him. (Which is why I was afraid to write this for a long time. I still am.) There was also a strange incident when we were first hanging out together during which he asked if I was into kinky stuff, to which I replied yes. He proceeded to slap me and choke me against a wall, in public. Now, in a bedroom setting, with clear boundaries and consent, it would have been fine, but out of the blue and in public, it was not okay at all. Years later, I mentioned this to a mutual friend as something that made my uncomfortable, and when Zak found out he made a half-hearted apology attempt. I don't think he actually felt bad, I think he just didn't want me to tell anyone else. I tried to stay friends with both of them for a little while, but after hearing more about what he said/did to Manda, I couldn't keep him in my life anymore. She is one of my best friends and one of the sweetest people I know. I don't understand people who say they "can't take sides" on something like this.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Red Carpet Premiere

I attended the Star Trek Discovery season 2 premiere at Battery Park. I signed up for what I thought I was getting was to see the first episode of the season on the big movie theater screen for free…

What I got what the whole friggin Red Carpet with the cast and directors and composer, swag bag, signed poster, and episode one AND two!

And if I’d have signed up for the 8pm show instead of the 6:30 show, all I’d have gotten was to see the cast briefly, and the first episode.

It was SO MUCH FUN!!

And best of all, the first 2 episodes were great. Seriously well written TV (I only have minor quibbles) and it was so much better than the first 2 episodes of The Orville’s second season... but that's a post for next week...

Friday, February 8, 2019

Frostgrave Sherwood Outlaws

I’ve been itching to assemble some plastic minis for a little while now, and with the new Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago nickstarter currently going, that’s where my thoughts have been. Going through my kits, I realized that I only had a single sprue of the original Frostgrave Soldier kit, not the whole box, like I thought. I had also picked up the Sherwood Outlaw conversion kit to make some of them into Robin Hood type bandits.So, I decided to make some outlaws…

The conversion kit ended up being a disappointment. The fit of the bits was questionable, and for some reason the heads were molded so that the connecting point to the sprue was the top of the head, not the neck. This completely ruined both the heads without hats.

The frostgrave soldier kit itself isn’t bad. There are lots of options to go along with the 5 different bodies. I wish there was a little more customizability with the bodies. Separate torso and legs would have made a lot of difference.

Probably not going to get around to painting them for a bit. I need the weather to warm up before I can spray prime them.

I’m looking forward to building some cultists next!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Monday, February 4, 2019

Stonehell: Tasting the Divine

Session 87 was played on 1/19

Eiric, wizard 7 (Kat)
- men at arms (Mulligan, Holdred)
-torchbearer (Wennick)
Brie, wizard 4 (Apprentice to Eiric)
A-A-Ron, Thief 6 (Henchman)
Orpheus, Human Fighter 6 (Henchman)
Darryl, Cleric 6 (Henchman)
Karl, Dwarf 7 (Julia)
- Hobart (dog, lvl 1)
- men at arms (Vol, Nargos, RelBex)
Lex the Cheeseman, Fighter 4 (Henchman)
Koltic, Cleric 3 (Chris) (Absent)
- Grishnaz, Goblin
Kili, Dwarf Cleric 3 (Matt)
Lucrecia Thief 2 (Henchman)(stayed in town)

Opting to avoid the medusa, the party takes a side passage and finds a room with half a dozen hobgoblins fighting cyber apes. Rather than get involved, they decide to let them fight it out, and give the combatants a couple of minutes to wrap up.

Taking the other passage, they find a looted store room, and then a chapel with a glowing altar. They’re so distracted by it that Karl and A-A-Ron fail to note the gargoyles perched above the door, who drop painfully upon their backs. They hit hard, but they’re put down quickly, though not before Orpheus breaks his knife shield trying to hit them with it.

Investigating the altar revealed only that it’s divine magic, and has some sort of protective effect. When Kili went to lick it, Karl cracked him on the head, causing him to bite his tongue. The blood boiled off in under a minute. The beer Karl poured on it did the same. When Kili tried to stack stones on it, the stones were gently pushed to the floor. Karl then informed everyone he was gonna hit it. Everyone ran out of the room.

Karl flew across the room, crashing through several pews before slamming against the wall.

Leaving the chapel for later, they moved on, and found a cistern with a grey ooze. The ooze ate Karl’s 10’ pole, so he sprayed it with power thirst. The ooze didn’t seem to mind being on fire, so the party decided to just walk away. Thankfully the ooze is slow, and disinclined to leave the cistern.

Checking again, they see the hobgoblins dead, and 4 cyber apes standing over the bodies. The cyber apes shoot a pair of low powered lightning bolts at the party, dropping Mulligan and Vol. Eiric throws a fireball into the room, killing 2. Karl and Orpheus charge into the smoke and slay the remaining 2. Picking over the bodies they come away with a small assortment of coins. Looking into the room the cyber apes had come from they see a ransacked kitchen.

Leaving the double doors for when they come with mirrors, the party heads back to the circular magical chambers. Paying off Wennick, they open the blood doors, and then head south into a circular chamber with a humming 10’ clear quartz crystal. Not knowing what else to do with that, they decide to head back to town

Gains: Coinage
Kills: Cyber-Apes, Gargoyles
Losses: Mulligan and Vol

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Sunday Inspirational Image: Dragon Warrens and other Traps

D&D doesn't have enough low level dragon monsters... And I never really cared for the whole hunting baby dragons... Drakes like these are perfect for that low level dragon need.

By sandara

Friday, February 1, 2019

January in Review

Somehow January is already over. Not exactly sure how that happened, but it did, and February is here.


My Stonehell game has been continuing along, and I had a moment of brilliance this week that my players will have to deal with tomorrow.

With the end of Storm King’s Thunder, we’ve started playing in Curse of Strahd. Gothic horror is one of those tough genres to port over to D&D. There’s an element of inevitability and powerlessness in the face of supernatural evil that doesn’t typically fit the idea of D&D heroics. I’m curious to see how it’ll play out.


I decided to start the year off by knocking out a bunch of ne'er do wells, the Dreadmere Mercenaries from Reaper. Now, I’m not saying these guys will rob you blind, but maybe don’t go anywhere with them alone?

I’ve also been working on the Mordheim Ogre Mercenary. He’s close to done, but more to do.

And for the Curse of Strahd campaign, I needed a mini, and picked Cailleach Deargh, River Widow also a Dreadmere character from Reaper. She’s coming along… I’m thinking about replacing her with a mini from Bones 4, when that finally arrives.

On top of all that, I've also had an itch to work on some plastic kits, and have been poking a bit at the Frostgrave plastic sets... but more on that later.


The Maze of Malcor (Frostgrave supplement)
Central Station
Star Nomad
Honor’s Flight
Orphans in the Black
Pirate Utopia
Central Station

Movies/TV Watched
Ant-Man and Wasp
The Orville (S2, e1+2) I have some opinions...
Star Trek Discovery (SO GOOD!)
Short Treks (1-4) (ALSO GOOD!)
Supernatural (few episodes from season 11)

Finish both Cailleach and the Ogre Mercenary.