Sunday 28 February 2016

Some Frostgrave cultists

So this guy is currently leading my Frostgrave warband:

The guy on the right, that is, not the guy on the left. But until now I have not done any cultists for him. Finally, I have done two, using my traditional prime-up/drybrush/tint speed-painting method and applying a layer of colour every time I finished a section of writing or editing.

This oaf is my Infantryman; because he's better than a normal Thug, he's been given a yellow sash and kerchief to mark him as special. At some point he'll get some snow on his base.

(I have since touched up the belt, which has some missing colour.) This guy has a painted shield expressing his devotion to the mysterious yellow-robed figure, which I think looks pretty good considering that my freehand skills are ... not. I like the dynamic pose, even if it is unrealistic.

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Low content mode incoming!

Just as a heads-up: I have a big deadline coming up in a couple of weeks and a lot of my smaller projects are going into hibernation until it's cleared (well, they're cleared; I actually have two). I'll try to post the occasional painting photo if I get any done -- I'm still going to try that thing where I reward myself with a colour when I finish a section. But in terms of longer posts, I wouldn't expect much for the next few weeks. Normal service should be restored before too long, though.

Monday 8 February 2016

Painting when I should be ... doing anything else.

Deadlines are coming thick and fast this February, which is both good (because productivity) and bad (because ... well, deadlines!). So I did some painting Saturday anyway, because I have to have a break every now and again or I'll go nuts.

Anyway, the clearing of my painting table continues, mostly with stuff for Frostgrave and/or D&D.

This Reaper Bones priestess has all of the things I hate about Bones -- lots of mushy fine detail and wicked, hard-to-spot mould lines -- but overall I think she didn't come out too badly. She was definitely a speed paining job, as you can tell from the somewhat patchy white robe, but she looks fine at arm's length. Her red-and-white colour scheme is meant to make her match with ...

This Lance and Laser model of Takenegi, the Red Emperor, which I painted in like 2002 or 2003 after buying it on one of those trips to Leisure Games where they don't really have anything you want but you came all the way to Finchley so you feel like you have to buy something. Actually, I quite like this model but have never really had a use for him. The Foundry gladiators are roughly contemporary paint jobs with newer bases. I realise they don't match, but whatever. I think they could be a fun beginning for a sort of sword-and-sandal warband. 

This statue is originally from the Lord of the Rings game, and came from Freecycle. It's a bit of an experiment in using coloured washes to keep all the stone stuff relatively consistent while not just being what TerraGenesis used to call GGWSWGG (Generic Games Workshop Space Wolves Grey Granite) The big clump of vegetation is part of a doormat I got at a car boot sale. I'm not 100% sold on this Army Painter snow, but it's good enough.

Thursday 4 February 2016

Frugal gaming: two, count 'em, two, pound store monsters!

Just over a year ago, I picked up this ogre-type model from a local Poundland. It's part of a line inexplicably called Journey to Creation or possibly Mythical Creatures. Anyway, it's your basic Poundland toy, seen here with Torchy the Torchbearer for scale.

I always planned to make a D&D monster out of it, but my PCs at the time weren't really at giant-fighting level, and would just run away anyway, so I shelved the project temporarily. That is, for a year. Anyway, for this week's game I decided I needed a tougher level of opposition, so out it came. I snipped off the pony tail, shortened the horn, glued the legs in place and crudely filled the gaps with epoxy putty. I trimmed the mould lines a bit, although they're still visible in places. I stuck it on a spare base from the Reaper Bones II Kickstarter.

Here you can see the model with modifications. I also scratch built a weapon out of a twig from the path outside the house, some lengths of jeweller's chain, beads, cocktail sticks and sticky gems for scrapbooking; the original one a) didn't give a good sense of hugeness, and b) stunk. I also added some sand to the base and a little skeleton just for variety.

I sprayed the whole thing with Halford's grey car primer, then drybrushed up with cheap grey craft paint and Vallejo Medium Sea Grey. I painted it with thinned-down washes of various inks including Army Painter Strong Tone and VMC Russian Uniform.

Here he is in progress. As you can see, there's actually some OK detail on the toy, just obscured by its original crappy paint job. Here is the finished product, complete with weapon and some adventurers for scale.

Total cost: toy £1, twig free, chain maybe like 50p, beads about 20p, shield maybe 10p ... call the whole thing £2. The model's not perfect, and with more time I could have dealt with the mould lines better, but for £2 and a few evenings' work I'm calling it good.

This next model started life as a dinosaur skeleton I got for something like 30p from an Animix pick-and-mix box in a zoo gift shop. I thought he might make a fun opponent but that he needed something extra. I stuck him on a spare Renedra base I picked up at SELWG a couple years ago; I had spares after basing some mortars.

 I crudely sculpted some claws for him, then added a skeleton rider; the rider was part of a job lot of Warhammer Tomb Kings models I picked up in a charity shop years ago. I sold the character ones to recoup the cost, so honestly he was basically free.

I primed the whole megillah with Army Painter coloured primer:

Then just drybrushed up from a mixture of VMC US Field Drab and Ivory to pure Ivory.

Did the spear in bronze, painted the shield and Bob's your uncle.

Total cost: dino < 50p, skeleton basically free but we'll call it 10p, shield maybe 10p (I got a whole pack of them for £1) ... let's say less than £1 all told. It makes me want to play a fantasy wargame just so I can field a whole unit of these magnificent bastards. I might even make the future ones proper saddles and so on.

I used them in my D&D game, and the giant got walloped when the team's Eldritch Knight used her patented Gust of Wind rocket-jump to get up onto his shoulders and cave his melon in with her warhammer. The skeleton dinosaur fared a little better, but they both got a positive reaction from the players which is what I was hoping for.

The frugal gamer strikes again.

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Space goth junkie skeleton dungeon

Many old Doctor Who stories make good RPG scenarios, in that they're largely about rootless adventurers arriving in a complex -- but not too complex -- situation with a variety of competing oddballs at work. There are even a few dungeons -- like one I recently watched for my Doctor Who podcast. This is the Fifth Doctor story Terminus and it's ... not great. But like a lot of not-great things, it has excellent game potential.

Check it out. This is Terminus: 

It is a giant space station built by an unknown alien race; seemingly derelict, it sits at the centre of the universe. 

The Doctor and his companions wind up for unimportant (for our purposes) reasons on a spaceship which is travelling to Terminus. The ship is occupied only by a robot crew and has a bunch of sealed compartments. Meanwhile, some space pirates also land on the ship. They look like this: 

As the ship nears Terminus, the compartments open revealing that they are full of people who suffer from "Lazar's Disease," which is basically leprosy but a sort of future plague. They are a bit medieval. It transpires that Terminus is basically a sort of leper hospital and/or place that lazars go to die, owned and operated by a shadowy company called Terminus, Inc. Running the place for the company are these guys, the Vanir: 

... or Space Skeleton Goth Viking Slave Knights, as I like to think of them. They are hooked on a drug called Hydromel, which the company controls the supply of; it is a glowing green liquid that comes in vials they plug right in to the front of their armour. They have high-tech staffs, or possibly staves. Oh, and they all hate each other and are vying to be Top Vanir, presumably because that guy gets first pick of the drugs. 

Their armour protects them from the radiation that floods the station, except in the Forbidden Zone, where they dare not go. Only the Garm walks there: 

The Garm looks like a big scary monster (well, a big stupid fat space dog, actually, because 1983 Doctor Who budget) but is actually a pretty chill dude who is trying to use the radiation to cure the lazars. He is also wicked strong. 

Despite the Forbidding, one of the Vanir, a particularly brainy specimen named Bor, has gone off into the Forbidden Zone to figure out what's up with some anomalous readings he's getting on his staff thingy. He is missing and the others are arguing about what to do about it. 

Bor has discovered that there is a big-ass radiation leak (which is what creates the Forbidden Zone) and is trying to fix it. Also (relatedly?) there's the abandoned Terminus control room, which is inhabited by a dead alien in a space suit, who was killed when Terminus, I shit you not, travelled back in time, experienced an engine malfunction that caused the Big Bang and was rocketed forward to now. The remaining engine is also malfunctioning and could blow at any moment. You can deactivate the engine, but the deactivation lever is stuck. 

I think that means this guy is actually God, doesn't it? 
So anyway, you've got several distinct zones -- docked spaceship, where the Vanir hang out, medical bit, lazar quarters, Forbidden Zone, engine room. You've got multiple factions, each with their own particular agenda and resources. And you've got a weird old structure that none of the different groups inhabiting it currently understand. Once day I'll write it up for Stars Without Number. In my copious free time.

Unsuccessful shows are often actually the best for game-ifying, since good games and good stories don't necessarily require the same things.