Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Nick the Pike, a reintroduction

Who doesn't love a "let me tell you about my character" blog post?

After a disastrous battle, Niccolo found himself unemployed, and friendless after his unit was taken out by some demon thing.. Scrounging what he could from the battlefield and the destroyed pack train, he fled. Never wanting to feel his life thrown away for some faceless lord, he decided to strike out on his own, and seek his fortune where no one could order him into some hopeless battle.

In the years since, Nick has found himself delving numerous dungeons, taking portals with startling frequency between realms. He’s never quite sure what world he’s on anymore, having literally been to hell, fighting in the skeleton wars.

After trying his skills adventuring, he heard a herald calling for contestants in a tournament, but only those of higher station could participate. Knowing how the world worked, he paid the lord who’d organized the event to knight him. Thus Niccolo, aka Nick the Pike, became Sir Niccolo de G’plus. Spending some of his hard earned gold, he purchased a jousting mount, jousting armor, and hired a squire and a herald, and so began the tourney phase of Nick’s career.

Between events, there were other adventures, including a wedding at which his squire was torn limb from limb by a werewolf, and one of his men at arms, Boarface, took leave of Sir Nick’s service. Nick still feels guilty about his squire’s death, and has become even more protective of those in his service. At the same wedding Nick drew several cards from a Deck of Many Things. He was granted a wish, which he has not claimed, and is also watched by an other worldly being who bares him great malice.

Between the demon that launched his adventuring career, the various horrors he’s faced in sprawling dungeons, the violent death of his squire at a wedding, and the frequent feeling of being watched by something unnatural, Nick frequently wakes up in a cold sweat from the nightmares.

To see him is to be generally unimpressed. Somewhat on the short side for a human, and a bit stocky, his stubbly worn face rarely smiles. As a bit of a snub towards his purchased station, he keeps his hair cut down to near stubble, causing “real” knights to avoid his company. He dresses simply in sturdy and fashionable clothing when not adventuring, and in plate armor that looks too fancy for the wearer. His kite shield is painted red, with a white cross of equal lengths that doesn’t quite reach any of the edges of the shield. A stylized portcullis is framed in the top left quadrant, and a black pike stretches from the bottom left quadrant to the top right over the white +. He still carries his old pike, but will drop it to favor his ax with glowing blue runes.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Nick the Pike in Rappan Athuk

Session played on 1/21

Nick the Pike, Fighter 5
Lady Eiric, Magic User
Karl, Dwarf
Darryl, Cleric (NPC)

South of the old keep, the party came upon an ancient battlefield with great plinth in the middle upon which was a mounted warrior, all made of white marble. On the plinth was a locked door, beyond which was a large hall lined with empty pillars that looked like they once held busts. At the far end of the space was a stair heading down…

Taking the stairs, the stonework shifted from white marble shot through with black to black shot through with white. Descending around 80’ the stairway ended in a hall. Carefully making their way down the hall they came to a locked door with a small caged window. Looking through revealed a decently sized chamber with an open doorway at the far end. Not wanting to bash open the door, the party continued down the hall.

Shambling out of the darkness came 5 zombies. Darryl destroyed them with a drunken wave of his hand. Quickly checking over the bodies a small bit of silver was recovered.

Further down the hall, and around the corner a set of 4 matching cells were found, occupied by some adventurers that had been captured. Wharton the elf was very talkative and wanted out. Again, not wanting to make a ton of noise, the party continued on, leaving the adventurers locked up, but with a promise to find the key, held apparently by a gross fat man called “The Abbott”

Deeper into the dungeon the party found a doorway with a purple light that glowed brighter as they approached. Looking in Nick saw a massive worship space. Pews between pillars carved with twisted frog like creatures, a stone altar, a cauldron bubbling with… body parts, and behind all that a giant frog statue with glowing gem eyes. 8 zombies in green robes carrying waxy rods tried to attack, but Darryl destroyed most of them, Karl smashed one, and Nick took his down (with 2 hits).

Searching around the frog statue Karl found a lever, and pushed it up. A spray of acidic gas rained down, burning Nick’s eyes. Stumbling away, he bumped into the boiling cauldron, burning himself. Darryl healed him a little, and Nick downed a healing potion on top of that. Karl was only mildly bothered by the acid.

Pulling the lever opened a secret door that revealed a hallway. Taking the passage they came to a room piled with old wooden coffins, with withered old bodies and nothing else. Beyond that room was another large chamber with 6 small chambers off of it, each with 16 coffins. Written on the floor was Graves of the Lower Priesthood. At the head of the room was a statue with a golden circlet upon it. Starting to investigate the side chambers, Karl opened a coffin. A zombie, unnaturally fast, reached out clawing at Karl at the room reverberated with a loud croaking sound that seemed to come from the statue. 5 other zombies emerged from coffins, 1 from each side chamber. Darrly took care of them easily. Checking another coffin had the same result, as did checking the 3rd, 4th, 5th coffins. A loud croaking sound, and 6 more fast zombies. Deciding that they’d all had enough fun, the circlet was pulled from the statue (6 more zombies), the gems from the frog statue, then back to the prisoners.

Wharton the Elf said that the other prisoners were all part of his group, and that we should free them if we could. Lacking the key, Karl busted down the doors… except for one. Biffin the fighter’s cousin Zor was left locked up, as it was determined that Zor was more likely to run for help from the cultists than go with the party. Biffin offers to join up with the group if they’ll re-equip him.

Passing back up the stairs, through the hollow plinth, and back out onto the ancient battlefield, the party breathed a sigh of relief at seeing the sky again. 

Gains: 50sp, 8 silver rings, 2 glowing gems, and a golden circlet
Kills: Lots of zombies

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Unfinished Business 2020 - The Shelf of Shame

 I mentioned before that I had a number of minis that I started in 2020 that made it to some level of painted before they were abandoned. I decided to pull them all out of their various hiding spots and look at them all together.

So, the common denominator is that they're all character minis. 8 female, 7 male. 

Let's go through them, and why I haven't finished them. 

The herbalist and the halfling both got shuffled aside when I was doing a clean off of my tray, and wanted to work on something else. I'll probably get back to them.

The pirate lady up front, I got one color on her and realized I had no idea what I actually wanted to fo with her, so decided to stop. When I get inspired, I'll get back to her.

The duelist was for the D&D game I was playing in, which ended. Same with the thief girl who is nearly done. 

The Spanish Inquisition... I couldn't get the red where I wanted it, and was getting frustrated.

The mystic woman in red with the fancy trim on her robe. The fancy trim takes a lot of effort.

The celtic lads... honestly they just need a tiny bit of work on their weapons, maybe a bit of shading. Really need to finish them off soon. 

Elf lady in the back... I decided I hated the color combo I picked out. Probably going to repaint her completely.

The two matching druids... I wanted to try painting the bones and metal version of the same mini at the same time, then got distracted.

The wizard... Not even sure he should count. I pulled him out to use up some extra paint from the galaxy cloak class I took. 

All in all adding 15 minis to the shelf of shame wasn't too bad, but I think I'm going to try to take at least half of them off of it this year. We'll see what I get to. I think the Spanish Inquisition minis will probably be first, since I just need to get the red up, and I really should be able to do that. Them and the celtic lads will be easy. 

So what's on your shelf of shame?

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Stonehell: Bearly Worth the Visit

Session 151 was played on 6/14

Eiric, Wizard 8 (Kat)
Karl, Dwarf 8 (Julia)
Daton, Fighter 3 (Jay)
Boris, Cleric 5 (Jeff)
Morgana, Mage 5 (Robert)
Borumar, Thief 7 (Josh)
Plus war dogs

Selling the magical tiara took 4 weeks, during which time Boris brewed potions and wrote some scrolls, while Ladies Eiric and Morgana conducted research. Everyone else chilled out in town, or spent their time looking for buyers.

After the tiara was sold, and the cash divided, the party geared back up and headed back down to the Residential Tombs, pausing on the second level to chat with some of Karl’s berzerker friends.

Once down into the tombs, they came across a small bunch of kobold slackers avoiding their work detail. They then fought a jelly creature which split when they hit it, didn’t seem to care about being drenched in oil and lit on fire, and eventually died at the casting of some magic missiles.

Then the party was surprised by a giant bear, which was tough but fell to the combined might of the party, with the help of the wardogs. Some giant rats were scared off by the dogs, a pair of shadow drained Lady Morgana’s strength before being destroyed. A pair of wights were destroyed by Boris before they could do anything.

Some minor treasure was found, and then they stumbled upon a pair of scared sickly looking depraved berzerkers who were terrified of the party. They let them live, to spread the word that the party is NOT to be messed with.

Some further exploration and they party is ambushed, unsuccessfully, by a quartet of ogres. A pair of “Hold Person” spells and some fine combat meant they were killed before they could fully spring their trap. The Held ogres were killed, and their bodies looted.

Ready to call it a delve, they headed back to town. Lady Morgana needed to rest up after her encounter with the shadows!

Gains: Not enough coins to have made it worth it
Kills: Jelly, shadows, wights, cave bear, ogres

Monday, January 18, 2021

Cardboard Spaceship for #StarGrave part 2

In my first post on this project, I ended with the first coat of primer applied. It took a while for both the weather and my free time to coincide. This past weekend, that happened. After letting the ship collect dust for a bit, I finally got back outside and added a second coat of primer. I then took the family on a long walk in the park. When we got back, and had dinner... well... what else was there to do but work on my ship!

I started with a very rough overbrush of a tan paint that I had mixed up at the local home improvement store for a project some year back. We still had more than half the can, and well... I'm a little lacking in craft paints. 

I thought I got pics of that, but apparently not. 

After that, I mixed in some Ultramarine Blue, and then brushed over the tan with that.

Then I used Metal Tone on the engine bits and the hatch on top. 

After that I added in some variety using Redstone, Cavalier Orange, and more of the Ultramarine Blue. Then, using a sponge and some black craft paint, I added more weathering, and using Filagree Silver, some highlights to the exposed metal.

I also added some spots of what I think of as blaster scorch marks. 

Overall I'm very pleased with my first attempt at making a cardboard model. it's a little rough, but will still look great on a table covered with sci-fi terrain. 

That isn't to say I would make my next one exactly the same way. For one thing, I didn't measure nearly well enough, and while I started with a plan, I was winging it way more than I should have. I was inconsistent in how I did the paneling. I should have figured that out before I started gluing. I also made the top structure way more complex a shape than I should have. Yes, card bends. That doesn't mean you should be making curved surfaces. I should have put in some detail under the top hatch. 

However, now that this is done, it's time to start thinking about the next ship I'll build. Something a little smaller I think.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Stonehell: Looting the Residential Tombs

Session 150 was played on 6/11

Eiric, Wizard 8 (Kat)
Karl, Dwarf 8 (Julia)
Boris, Cleric 5 (Jeff)
Morgana, Mage 5 (Robert)
Kili, Dwarf Cleric 7 (Matt)
Borumar, Thief 7 (Josh)
Plus war dogs
2 M@A

Back to Stonehell, the party descends toward level 4, but are ambushed by a giant spider on level 3. The dog Big Red takes care of the vermin, and the party continues downto 4.

Exploring the old tombs the party encounters a variety of monstrous foes, including giant ticks, Wights, spiders, wraiths, a mummy, gaunt hounds, and berzerkers. Borumar takes the brunt of the damage from the undead, as he is the one who checks the doors for traps and locks.

After repeated draining, Borumar insists that Boris be standing ready to turn the undead, which sort of works. The incorporeal undead often just reach through the doors to grab him.

In the end the party amasses a good amount of treasure, including a tiara that turns whatever the wearer is wearing into a purple lined school girl uniform (think sailor scout) and makes for the surface.

Gains: 5500gp, magical tiara, gems, onyx statues
Kills: Spiders, Ticks, Wraiths, Wights, Mummy, Depraved Berzerkers, Gaunt Hound

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Sligg Soldier

 From Reaper's Bones 4 Chronoscope set comes the Sligg Soldier. It hasn't been released in Bones yet, but the metal version can be picked up here for not much more than it'll probably cost in Bones. 

As with all my other Bones minis, I started out with a warm soapy water scrub down with my hobby toothbrush to remove any oils or mold remover. After that I primed it with Blue Liner. I was working on it at the same time as the cyber troll and the space henchman, which is why I used blue, otherwise I might have picked a different liner color.

After lining, I gave the gun a coat of Metal Tone, and the rest of the mini got Christmas Wreath.

 The stock of the gun then got a couple of different browns to make it look like wood. I think the primary color ended up being leather brown. The skin went from Christmas Wreath to Viper Green with a wash of Runic Purple. It wasn't something I'd planned, but I had the wash handy from working on the cyber troll's skin, and I figured it was worth trying over the green. I think it made for an interesting skin tone. 

The crest got a coat of holly berry red, tipped with candlelight yellow.

The chest was leather brown, with candle light highlights, and the same candlelight was used for the claws.

The belt was painted with coal black that was brought up to a mid-grey color.

Now this little Sligg is ready to blast anyone who tells him he can't have what he came to take. Well, once I finish the base... and clean up that stray bit of yellow on the gun.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Unanswered Comments

A little bit of blog business. Apparently sometime in the last 6 months, blogger has stopped emailing me when people comment on my posts. So there were about 2 dozen comments that people left that got filtered, and twice as many spam comments (which is why filtering is turned on).

So if you left a comment, and it didn't show up, and I didn't reply, that's why.  

Sorry about that... I'll be checking that more often now that I know.

Friday, January 8, 2021

2020 Miniatures in Review


So here it is! A year's worth of minis. A fairly diverse array this year, from Battlefleet Gothic ships to steampunk to traditional fantasy, with a bit of terrain tossed in for good measure. Overall a total of 133 pieces. 

There were not a lot of hero type minis this year. In fact, counting the sci-fi dudes, I think this is all of them... and calling some of these "heroes" is a stretch. On the other hand, I'm really pleased with the conversion of the green knight and Kornovik back there.

Ah, the undead. I wasn't sure how the ghostly wraiths would work, but I think having the armor and parts of the weapons painted works. I have some non-translucent version that will be painted up like the Murkillors. The ghouls were a fun conversion project, and the ogres were a lot of fun to paint. Lots of big space to work on.

Ah, the underdark. Not something I spend a lot of time playing with, but these dark elves from Bones 4 (plus the ones behind them from Bones 1) were calling out to me. Factor in the cool Arachne and spiders, and you've got yourself some fun times! Plus there's the cool hooked horrors and umber hulks...

Bulking out a good chunk of this year's progress was my new space marine fleet, merchant convoy, and a trio of xenos ships from Noble Armada that'll probably count as dark eldar or something. 

Steampunk flying monkeys, a brain in a jar, and a very large iron golem.

Another look at the heroes, plus the temple dragon.

Goblins, vermin, and a dwarf paladin.

And a pair of hags and a bunch of rats to round things out. 

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with my productivity for the year, though there is a not insignificant number of minis that I started and haven't finished yet. Maybe I should pull them all out and share what I didn't finish this year?

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Cyber Troll Heavy Gunner

This picture should look familiar, as it was at the top of the previous post. Today though I'm writing about the "cyber troll" in the back there. The big guy, with the big gun, who doesn't exactly scream "cyber" but more "dakka! dakka! dakka!" as he unloads rounds in rapid fire mode.

Unlike the space henchman, he suffered from some mold line issues, so after being washed, he got additional cleanup work. He's also kinda… flat, though the gun does a good job hiding that fact. 

After being primed with blue liner, I started working on his flesh. I used Ogre Skin as the base color. My initial coats of paint made it look rather cartoonish. Not the worst looks, but not what I wanted. 

The eyes worked through. Don't remember for sure, but I think I used ruddy flesh under the ogre skin. The gun was painted first with the same airbrush metal tone paint I've been using a lot. 

Then I added the sample blue metallic paint to the gun, painted the chaps/overalls with ruddy flesh, highlighted up with leather brown and Osirian Sand. 

The shirt and paints were painted with Denim Blue. 

As I was unhappy with the cartoonish flesh, I mixed up a shadow using Runic Purple. I then used the same purple for the hair undercoat, and then brought it up with Breast Cancer Awareness Pink. The gun got a wash of blue liner. The horns and elbow spikes were brought up with the Osirian Sand I used with both the leather and the denim. 

The bandana wrapped around his wrist was painted with Holly Berry red, with a touch of Candlelight Yellow to highlight it. I also used the red for the lights/buttons on the gun, and on the space henchman's gun. The same Candlelight Yellow was used on the skin as the final highlight. 

The metal plates on the legs and gloves, and the clasps on the belts and boots were also painted with the metal tone airbrush paint, and washed with blue liner. 

And now these two mercenaries are ready to be hired for your crew. They aren't really who you'd want, but they're who you can afford. Good luck. 

Monday, January 4, 2021

Space Henchman

I pulled out a couple of different sci-fi minis to work on, but the short round one was the one that caught my attention after priming. Reaper's "Space Henchman" is a rather derpy looking figure, but still manages to have a fair bit of character in spite of the derpyness. 

As usual, I started with a warm soapy scrub, then primed with blue liner. I know, shocking it wasn't brown... 

Unfortunatly there weren't a lot of WIP pictures. I used the dusky skin triad for its flesh, and Cavalier Orange for the jump suite. The eyes and highlight mixes were done with linen white. The gun was originally painted with metal tone airbrush paint, but then I went over it with a blue metallic sample paint, and then a blue liner wash. 

I have to admit that the name of this mini is rather appropriate in feel. There's nothing to suggest that this guy is gonna be a main character, and maybe not even a named character. I imagine that he'd be rather inexpensive to hire... at least until the bookies/mob come looking for the mone he owes them, or the law catches up with him and his outstanding parking tickets/airspace violations. 

Why something so petty? He isn't bad enough to have successfully done much worse! 

And yes, the base is unfinished. Really it isn't even started. I haven't decided what to do with it yet, and am holding off until I have the other minis in the top picture finished, that way I can do them all together. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

2020 In Review

Well, wasn’t that a fucking ride. In no way, shape, or form can 2020 be said to have been a good year. It had it’s bright spots, but the pandemic, and the insane science deniers and ‘conservative’ politicians that pandered to them caused this to be way worse than it needed to be. Over 300,000 dead. It didn’t need to be that way. At least the vaccine is being rolled out. By next fall things might be looking a little more normal. But I’ll have been out of the office, working from my tiny one bedroom NYC apartment, for over a year by the time I get the vaccine. 

Beyond the pandemic, there's the glaringly exposed racial injustices… the domestic terrorists that stormed state capital buildings armed to the teeth unopposed by law enforcement, the one that blew himself and a city block up, the greedy rich assholes who've only gotten richer while everyone else got poorer...

And then there's the bloody murder hornets! At least, for the time being anyway, that seems to be contained.

All of it being made worse by the insanity of the last year of the Trump administration. Fuck Trump and all his supporters.

And on the personal side of things, I said goodbye to my Lucymonster just before Thanksgiving. 14 and a half years is a good life, but what I’d have given to double it. She was the best, and her loss still hurts.

But like I said, there were bright spots. The pandemic meant that I got to spend a lot more time with my family, including both the last months of Lucy's life, and the arrival of my son.

Also the defeat of Trump in the election was a slow arriving joy. People were literally honking their horns, and cheering for HOURS once it was official. That was a joyous day indeed.

The year wrapped quietly. Both Christmas and New Years were spent home. I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends again, but until we’re all vaccinated that’ll have to wait.

Gaming was limited this year, not just due to the pandemic, but also due to working on the CPA exam. However there was a fair bit of Stonehell played, right up until the arrival of the kid. I am desperately behind on writing up session reports, but hope to begin to catch up on that over the next month or so.

Including some terrain pieces, I painted over 90 miniatures this past year! I still need to pull them all out and make the final count, but that post should go up sometime in the next week or so.

Not nearly enough books were read, but a lot of TV was watched, especially in the last 3 months.

It’s traditional to make resolutions for the new year. I’m keeping mine simple. To be a good husband and father. Those will continue to be my resolutions, but that doesn’t mean I don’t also have some other goals for the year.

The biggest one is of course Survive the Pandemic! This seems more likely now that there’s a vaccine.

Paint more minis! I have a dragon coming that I’m really looking forward to painting, though I have no idea where I’ll put it when it’s done. We may end up moving this year, so maybe there will be more space?

Get back to gaming - even if it’s solo gaming. Ranger of Shadowdeep should fit the bill!

Here's to a happy, healthy, and more sane 2021!