Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Stonehell: The Hidden Stash

Session 134 was played on 4/9

Karl, Dwarf 8 (Julia)
Hobart (dog)
Joho, Mystic (Chris)
Alwin, Elf 2 (Robert)
Boris of St. Gregory the Great, Cleric 2 (Jeff)
Elwood, Cleric 2 (NPC)
Torchbearers -
Arms-people -

The party finally makes its way into a section of caves they recognize, and starts heading up to level 2 to find the acolytes' cells. They face some zombies, find a glowing light on the ceiling of one chamber, find some glowing runes in another, face some wights guarding silver bars, kill some rats and other vermin, before arriving at the chamber spoken of in the note, complete with the hive of giant bees. Alwin uses his sleep spell on the hive, and the bees all settle down for a nice nap. Then the party sets them on fire.

After the flames die out and the smoke clears, the party begins digging under the flagstones. Karl finds the stashed treasure!

Heading for the exit, they wipe out some zombies before reaching the surface.

On the road back to town, a great shadow passes overhead. A black dragon! The beast swoops down, casting sleep on the party, sending Elwood and the torch bearer to sleep. On the next pass, as the party spreads out, it spits acid, catching Alwin. His flesh bubbles and burns, and he drops to the burned ground in a wet mess. On the next pass it drops down clawing and biting Elwood, tearing him apart. Boris charges in hammering the scaled beast, while Joho circles around to the other side.

The dragon tries to charm Boris, but he shakes off the enchantment, lashing out with his hammer. Joho slams his whole body into the neck of the dragon, flipping over and then under it, feet planted firmly into the ground. He launches a final blow up into the dragon’s jaw. The dragon’s head snaps up, and the crunch of bone can be clearly heard as his spine cracks.

Neither Alwin nor Elwood can be saved. What’s left of the injured party returns to town, hires a big wagon, and then retrieves the dragon’s body, bringing it first to Lady Eiric’s estate.

Gains: silver bars, gems, jewelry
Kills: Various vermin, skeletons, zombies, wights, and a BLACK DRAGON!
Losses: Alwin, Elwood

Friday, June 26, 2020

Stonehell: To the Trade Hall

Session 133 was played on 4/5

Karl, Dwarf 8 (Julia)
Hobart (dog)
Kili, dwarven cleric of Cthulhu 5 (Matt)
Alwin, Elf 2 (Robert)
Boris of St. Gregory the Great, Cleric 2 (Jeff)
Elwood, Cleric 2 (NPC)
Torchbearers -
Arms-people -

The hammer was gone… And Karl was pissed. Retrieving Wilhelm’s Hammar Karl began by finding and beating as many people as he could find that he’d been drinking with… mostly the bums. After breaking more than his fair share of jaws, fingers, and legs, eventually he got a description of someone who might have taken it. A dark haired human beauty with a distinctive yellow and black checkered sash.

Elmalia… the wererat.

Gathering a few friends who were at hand (mostly to keep him from killing anyone unnecessarily) they head into the dungeon, straight for the wererat lair.

Arriving without other encounter, Esmalia agrees to talk to Karl, mostly to keep him from slaughtering everything he sees trying to get to her. She explains that she was just hired to do a job, and that if he wants his hammer back, he should take it up with King Deepeyes down in the Hermitage. Karl is still ready to kill everyone and everything, but Boris manages to negotiate a deal. Karl doesn’t kill everyone, and Esmalia takes them down to the Fire Beetle Bar where she met with the Hermitage envoy.

Karl reluctantly agrees. She takes them down through 2 different elevator rides. She warns the party that they’d better be on their best behavior. Leaving the elevator down on the 6th level, they come to the Customs post, guarded by a number of Vrilya. Half a dozen warrior types, and a slightly less physically intimidating bureaucrat. The charge is 100gp. Esmalia pays her own way, but leaves the party to pay their own way. In return they receive a glowing necklace. As long as they wear it, they’ll be allowed access to the Trade Hall.

Keeping their sightseeing to a minimum, they pass a whole host of underdark dwellers. Mostly Virylia, but bugbears, hobgoblins, orcs, minotaurs, and other creatures that they couldn’t identify. In addition, there were a number of slaves being used for menial tasks. Most were pale figures with large eyes and stringy hair.

Passing through the corridor, they come to another customs check, and return the necklace before heading out of the Virylian controlled area. Just outside was a small light hanging above a shingle painted with a fire beetle rearing up. Entering the smokey establishment revealed mostly Virylia customers. Behind the bar was an old dwarf. Esmalia made the introduction. Oguldahba Crope served the first drink to the party for free, and listened to their story.

While interested in seeing them take down Deepeyes, he didn’t think the few of them could safely make it across the bridge, let alone into the Hermitage. He did offer to help them out should they return, but for today, he doubted they’d survive.

The party returns to the Trade Way, exploring the public areas a bit, stopping in to visit a fortune teller. The old elf was skeletal, and weird. Boris pays to ask about the acolytes cells, and she confirms that they can be found in the Halls without Doors.

Karl pays to ask about his hammer. She reveals that there is something the king wants more than the hammer, and that there is no way to break the curse on the king without killing him.

Heading back up, the party encounters an ochre jelly in the caves, that gets split into 4 by Borumar shooting it. They eventually burn it to a smelly crisp. They then wander the caves a little lost…

Gains: lots of info
Kills: Various vermin

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Half Orc Paladin Conversion

Back before all the craziness, and before I dropped out of the Curse of Strahd game to focus on studying for the CPA exam, a new player joined the group, and she was running a half orc paladin. That's not really something I've got a lot of in my collection, and cause I like it when all my fellow PCs have good minis to represent their characters, I got to work converting one. 

I started with Reaper's Erick, Paladin Initiate

Then I got a cutting... I carefully removed the head and sword, but didn't take a picture of that. Then, digging through my bits box, settled on a head and hammer to match what she said her half orc looked like 

Then with some paint...

At this point I still need to give him a base. Sadly I was wrapping this up as everything shut down for the corona virus... so I haven't had a chance to drop it off.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Kornovik the Outcast (pt 6)

Finishing up some details, including the bit, bow (from the Reaper Bones 3 weapon sprue)  & quiver (from the Frostgrave barbarian kit), skull (from the Frostgrave Wizard's kit).







I also gave Kornovik a vest, cause there was just too much bare chest going on.


Finally I added sand from Hawaii. 



Okay, for real, painting next.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Retro-Review: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

The Death Star has been destroyed! But the Empire's grip on the galaxy is still growing tighter. The rebellion is staying just ahead of Darth Vader...

It's generally accepted that ESB is the best of the Star Wars movies. It's darker than the first, introduces some amazing new characters (including Lando, Yoda, Boba Fett, and Willrow Hood), and has one of the most repeated (and misquoted) plot twists.

The special effects are even better than before, from the yeti monster to the AT-ATs to Yoda himself. There's something so amazing and timeless and real that comes from practical effects. As good as anything in the prequels, the effects here far surpass them.

As with ANH, I watched the "updated" version for this review. I actually had to go and look up to see what had changed. It was far more seamlessly done. Plus the shots of Cloud City I have to say were much improved (IMHO) with the changes.

So, is it weird that I praise the old effects on one hand, and then praise the updated effects that were cut in? Maybe.

Either way, as Lando and Chewie fly off, leaving Luke and Leia behind to go find Han, things wrap on a bit of a downer, and you're left feeling rather emotionally drained... Time for a short break, then we Return for the next Retro-Review!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Kornovik the Outcast (pt 5)


Looking carefully, and over a day or two, I realized that the orc legs that came with the beast were just... too short. So I was gonna need to make them longer, which means raising Kornovik up some. 


That also meant that the saddle was far too short too, so that needed bulking up. 


I decided not to do anything fancy with the pants. As much as I'd have loved to do something like the woven leather of the pants Kevin Sorbo wore as hercules, I just wasn't gonna try something that intricate. Maybe next time. 


And because I can't leave well enough alone, or do just what I'd planned on working on, I also added the reigns, the stirrup straps, wrapped over the split bracer where I'd done the hand swap to cover the obvious gap. 







Next time will be the finishing details! Then on to painting!! (I hope)

Friday, June 19, 2020

Kornovik the Outcast (pt 4)

Weapon swap time!


But what to choose?

Decided on the beast man Gor spiked ball, but it needed a longer pole. The beast man gor standard bearer arm worked. So drill and pin and...


No, wait, that's too long...


Thankfully the glue wasn't dry yet. Trim, drill and glue...



That's better. 

Then to pin him to the beast!



Tomorrow is leg day.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Retro-Review: Star Wars A New Hope

We're back to the beginning... A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away...

There's been so much written about Star Wars since it first lit up the big screen back in '77 that there is literally nothing I could say that hasn't been said in fan discussions, college papers, books, magazines... It is literally a cultural touchstone, a cinematic masterpiece, a sci-fi work that everything that has been made since is compared to.

And look, I'm a Star Trek fan at heart, but even I feel the stirring in my chest when Luke stands out watching the twin suns set and John William's score kicks off.

In the decades since, with prequels, sequels, books, comics, cartoons, and everything that has come from this first movie, it's impossible to watch it with the innocence of someone in 1977. Can you watch Alec Guinness and not think about Ewan McGregor? (or James Arnold Taylor?) Can you watch and not think about Chewie knew Yoda, or how Vader is Luke and Leia's dad?

That said, I tried my best.

A New Hope stands the test of time. The special effects are still special, the music is AMAZING, the acting is better than a silly sci-fi romp deserves, and there's little that needs improvement. I have watched both the original versions and the improved ones, and honestly... Some of the improvements are actually improvements. I like the extra characters in Mos Eisley, and the slightly expended landscapes.

But one thing that absolutely needs to be said: HAN SHOT FIRST.

That said, A New Hope is wonderful... though i kinda wish we could have gotten something a little closer to this fight.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Kornovik the Outcast (pt 3)

Okay, so this was terrifying...




But, uh...







Yeah, alright... I think that's okay...

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Ghoulishly converted Ghasts

Sometimes the simple conversion is the best one. I had a Reaper Bones Ghast mini that I'd painted from Bones 1, and then got 4 more of them from... Bones 3? Not wanting 5 figures that were exactly the same, I decided to do a few basic conversions, mostly just repositioning the arms. 

The original ghast...

Ghasts with their arms and heads cut off. 

And everything glued back into place... Should have done another head or two... I didn't bother doing any sculpting to hide the gaps, largely because these are mooks that'll only briefly appear on the table. 

And here they are all painted up. Each one is wearing rags of different colors so that on the table they'd be easy to identify. 
Flocked bases, and they're done. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Kornovik the Outcast (pt 2)

More work on my Kornovik.  First, I cut more of the orc away from the beast. The stub I'd left behind was just too much to work with, so off it went. Gonna be interesting to see if I'll be able to sculpt in the thighs well enough to blend the torso with the legs that I didn't cut away. 




After all the cutting, I finished sculpting in the fur. You can't really tell except on the left flank. Most of the other spots were hard to photograph and harder to reach, like the inside of legs. Once that was done I started to sculpt in the saddle and a bag with a strap over the back of the beast. The original mini has a much taller saddle, but my initial attempts to recreate it didn't work so this lower rounder shape is what I ended up with. I think it works...  But now I have to wait for the greenstuff to cure before I can do anything else.



And here are a few bonus shots with the rider, bow and quiver dry fitted on to give an idea of how it'll look.