Saturday, 30 January 2021

A Fountain. A Flower. Some Tentacles

I resumed my solo campaign of Rangers of Shadow Deep and I'm keen to keep going (you can follow the campaign here or via the page in the header above). However one game into it and, I found that I needed a specific piece of terrain and somewhere along the way I also need a specific monster. So, if I wanted to continue I needed to make them. So I got busy.

The most pressing thing I need is a fountain. I made this using the lid of a yoghurt container glued onto a cardboard base and some odd bits and pieces. I've had the figure sitting around for a long, long time. I think it came from a set of 15mm ancient slaves. The problem is, is that the figure is about 23mm tall. It took a while to find a place for it but here it is:
The water is just a couple of thick layers of GW 'Ard Cote. I would have liked to a use some water effects but there's two problems with that: 1) I've never used water effects and I don't know how to apply it. 2) I don't have any water effects. So that solved that problem
And here it is with a couple of figures for scale. 

The plant I need is called a Darkroot (or something like that). It needs a body and a bunch of tendrils or roots or something. I got a set of large plants last year. They are Reaper Bones figures and they look suitably weird. I only painted one of them and the other has been sitting on the bench waiting for its time to come. So I painted it this week.
In the game the plant has a bunch of roots or tentacles that attack the player characters. These I made by rolling up some greenstuff and twisting them into weird shapes. I then flattened their bottom edges and glued them onto bases. Add some paint and that was it. They look suitably slimy and threatening.
This is the first plant I painted. I think it looks better than the opened up version. It has a very Lovecraftian look. I'm not sure which scenario it turns up in during the campaign, but at least I have it ready for when it makes its grand entrance.

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Snakemen Review ~ Ghost Archipelago/Frostgrave

I wanted some general purpose bad guys. I'm sick of using orcs/goblins and, besides that I also rebased all of my goblins onto multi-bases for big battle games. I liked the look of the Frostgrave Gnolls and I also liked their companions the Ghost Archipelago Snakemen. Which should I get?

Obviously, I went with the snakemen. I think it's because I re-read R.E. Howard's King Kull stories in early 2020 and it gave me a bit of a soft spot for some antediluvian saurian evil doers. Unfortunately I'm not sure if I made the correct call. 
These figures are sort of okay but there's just something that's off with them and I don't know what it is. It might be their short arms, their hunched up look, their lack of tails or something else. I just can't place it. Maybe I'm just feeling a bit uneasy about painting tiny replicas of our Reptilian Overlords. They'll probably send out their secret agents to "suicide" me for posting this.
Painting-wise, these guys were a challenge. I wanted to make them appear without any metal or with minimal metal such as silver or gold. I was going for a sort of  Aztec/Mayan look with obsidian weapons etc. Surprisingly, this made it difficult to paint some parts of the models until I thought of adding bone to substitute for metal. I tried to make a fair bit of their armour and embellishments look like nephrite jade which I thought would fit in with the overall aesthetic I was aiming for. I'm not sure if this worked. I might have to give those areas a coat of gloss varnish.
Overall, I think they look wrong. I tried to add some colour (other than green and brown) to their cloth covered areas. Unfortunately I think that by doing so I've given them a sort of Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles vibe. 

I'll keep painting them until I've done the whole box. That way I'll have a bunch of weird evil-doers but... I should have gone with the gnolls.

Thursday, 21 January 2021

A Lich In Time Saves Nine

A lich in time save nine in time to stay alive 'cause we are so divine.

So the song goes... Or something like that.

Anyway, I painted the Frostgrave Lich Lord figure. This is another of those figures that has been sitting on my table, half done for the past half a year. I can't remember why I bought it in the first place. I have several other undead figures that could represent a lich.

I feel that this figure has a bit of a Robert E Howard/Hypoborean feel to it. It doesn't look like most fantasy figures with their pseudo-medieval style. This figure does look a bit ancient. It painted up well and looks pretty nice (even though it looks a bit too cheerful.) Trying to differentiate all the blacks and greys on this figure was a bit of a challenge but I feel that it came out okay.
Orc Champions: I really like this pair of figures. They come from the Mantic Terrain Crate which I'm still wading through. Of all the figures in that box I think that this pair are the best ones I've painted so far. If I could, I'd buy more of them but they don't seem to appear among the normal Mantic figure range. That's a shame because they're really nice.
This pair have been recruited into my army of evil doers and they'll take their place as champions or commanders of my goblins. Lovely figures.
And now for the monster of the week: Mr Roper... I call him George.
This figure is another Reaper Black Bones figure. It's pretty large at about 2.5" to 3" tall. I've seen this figure online & I thought he looked pretty good in the shop. When I put it together I began to have second thoughts. The central figure looks nice and vicious with great detail but the tentacles are really pretty crappy. They have almost no detail and they don't match the body at all. 
I tried my best to make it look okay but I'm pretty disappointed with it overall. It there was some sort of texture on the tentacles this figure could look great. I could have done some greenstuff work on them but I couldn't be bothered putting that much effort into the figure. It's cheap and, unfortunately, it's nasty too. I thought it could look good as a central enemy for a game and guess it can till fill that roll. It just won't look as good as I wanted. Not my favorite monster figure. 
A thumbs down for me on this one Reaper Miniatures.

And that's it for now. I did also paint up a pair of WizKids leopards as Snow Leopards for Frostgrave. But the figures are so insignificant a uninspiring that I didn't bother posting any pics. They may appear in a Frostgrave battle report sometime in the future.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Solo Frostgrave ~ The Writhing Fumes

 So, in the end I decided to continue with some solo Frostgrave.

Following from their previous venture into frozen ruins, the wizard Zanzabax and his apprentice Marzbar, once again lead their band of treasure seekers into Frostgrave. The takings from the previous venture were substantial and it was hoped that similar gains could be made. All of those hired previously survived with only Jasper the archer suffering an injury that has seen his health permanently reduced by 1 point. 

This time Zanzabax will be leading his band into the area of The Writhing Fumes (Scenario #1 from Perilous Dark). They stand under a bronze statue of a long dead magical practitioner from the ancient past and plot their course of action...

I've read and watched some battle reports for this scenario. All of them have stated that it's pretty much impossible unless you cast the Wall spell over and over again to block the way of the vapour snakes. Some of the reports I've seen recommend toning the scenario down a little bit. So, I replaced the Large Vapour Snakes that start the game on the table with Regular Vapour Snakes

I also needed an end point because there seemed to be no end for the scenario. I had limited time so I decided to finish the game at the end of the same turn that the door was opened.
The wizard and his band of treasure seekers start in the south-west corner of the sector. They make their way in two directions. Zanzabax leads one group to the east and center whilst his apprentice, Marzbar leads a second group northwards.
Zanzabax attempted to cast a Fog spell to block line of sight of a writhing vapor snake. Unfortunately his spell failed. When the vapor snake moved it didn't quite make it to the wizard.
The halfling tracker, Nob Undersack and the thief Rosco made their way, surreptitiously, into the protection of a ruined house. Unfortunately for them, a vapor snake randomly moved into their line of sight.
Thrak the barbarian and the thug, Mungo rushed to the aid of the wizard and slew the vapor snake that threatend him (by moving within 1" of the creature it was obliged to lock into combat with them).
The spawning-point where the first vapor snake appeared now sprouted another pair of the writhing beasts. Zanzabax tried the same trick of casting a wall of Fog and was, this time, successful. This paved the way for the wizard and barbarian to make their way towards the door that lay ahead which is reputedly guarded by twin ballista constructs.
Marzbar the apprentice sent the thief Lazli and Big Vern, the head thug, ahead to seek treasure if any could be found.
While Nob Undersack sought out a long rout around the dangerous vapor snakes, Mungo moved in to the house to help Rosco. The vapor snake attacked and wounded the ruffian before the thief could step in to help. 
Keeping to the ruined streets, Marzbar is assailed by one of the vapor snakes confused by the wall of Fog. In the fight he is bested and lightly wounded by the gaseous creature. To his aid came the archer Jasper who, with a mighty swing of his weapon dissipated the vaporous beast.
This wasn't to be the first of Jasper's mighty feats this day.
Unfortunately the wall of Fog was not to last and dissipated in a sudden icy gust.
Before moving onward and seeing possible danger, the wizard cast a spell on Thrak and a magical Shield of blue light surrounded the tough barbarian. (Shield spell).
Lazli and Big Vern hatched a plan. Vern would go out a draw the attention of a vapor snake which was hovering over what appeared to be treasure and Laz would go and grab the treasure. So Big Vern moved out with his spear held forward and the vapor snake struck. "Arrr, this 'ere beasty stinks like old farts," quothe the big rough man.
A closer inspection of the area revealed that Zanzabax had unwittingly strolled into the line of sight of one of the dreaded Ballista constructs. A heavy bolt flew past just missing the surprized thaumaturge. Only a slight deflection as the bolt passed an an intervening wall saved the mage's skin. (Zanzabax gained +1 to his roll for the intervening corner of the wall in between. If it wasn't for this +1 he would have taken 9pts of damage +2 for being a ballista... Ouch!)
Meanwhile, Undersack is taking the back passage to get where he needs to be.
Following up on her plan, Lazli runs up and uncovers some treasure which she greedily gathers up.
If being in the line for fire of a ballista isn't enough, a Large Vapor Snake appears at a point between Zanzabax and Nob Undersack.
With his wits returning after his brush with death, the mage cast a Burning Light spell on the big coil of writhing, stinky vapor blinding it and enabling his own escape towards cover, and allowing Undersack to continue his sneaky backdoor shenanigans.
Having gained the heights of a central building Marzbar casts the same Burning Light spell on one of the ballista constructs blinding it and rendering it unable to shoot. (He rolled a 20 for this spell casing. meaning that at the end of every turn when the construct had the chance to shrug off the spell, it would need to roll a 16 or better because of the +4 to its Will rolls.)
By the side of the apprentice, Jasper moved up drawing his bow and targeting the other ballista. He hoped his arrow would upset the construct's internal mechanisms and cause some damage.
The arrow flew and disappeared into the internal parts of the construct. It wizzed, clanged and banged and toppled over onto it's side. Springs and cogs shot out and the thing lay inert and lifeless.
Still trapped inside the ruined house, Mungo and Rosco are still trying to fend off the attacks of a single vapor snake. They seem to be out matched and Mungo is worsted by the smelly creature leaving Rosco to fight for his very life.
Likewise Big Vern is bested and laid low. The creature looms over him for only a moment before turning and advancing on Lazli hiding in a corner.
Sneaking up behind the blinded large vapor snake, Nob Undersack procures the second treasure and prepares to make a run for it.
Left alone and without help, Syd the ruffian is also taken down by a vapor snake. 
Under attack by the vapor snake that took out Big Vern Lazli now has to contend with a second (large) vapor snake that has appeared as if from nowhere (she's sitting right next to the spawn point - green bead).
Before the treasure hunters can move onward the large vapor snake next to Undersack shrugs off the effect of the Burning Light spell so Zanzabax is forced to re-cast it to keep the creature at blinded. (It can only move 1" when affected by the spell.)
From atop the central building Marzbar casts a Push spell that manages to push back one of the fart snakes attacking Lazli. She then manages to fight off the remaining snake but she can't kill it. At least she now has a slim chance of escape.
Rosco manages to slay the vapor snake blocking his way to safety. He was now able to run to relative safety.
As Zanzabax, Thrak and Undersack advanced on the mystical door, two more vapor snakes appeared at the nearby spawn-point. Once again the mage cast his Fog spell. Being more half a half a dozen or more turns into the game these same vapor snakes, with no player characters in line of sight make their way towards the Door when their time to move comes up.
Threatened from behind, Marzbar casts another Push spell. This time it's much more successful and the vapor snake threatening them is pushed farr off the edge of the building and destroyed (it was previously wounded fighting Syd the thug).
Having escaped certain doom Rosco makes a run for it and straight into the presence of one of the large vapor snakes. He held it off but will he make it?
Some photo's failed...

Marsbar and Jasper descended the building where they were perched, drawing off the vapor snakes that were threatening Lazli who made her escape by the slenderest of margins.

Thrak took on the vapor snakes that were closing in on the door enabling Zanzabax to Teleport himself to the door (although he had to reduce his Health by 5 points to make the casting roll). He needed to make a TN14 Fight roll to open the door and with a mighty effort he rolled an 18. This allowed Undersack to make a dash and get through the door. Thrak was still standing and holding off the snakes thanks, in part, to the Shield spell cast on him earlier by Zanzabax. 
So, by my own decree: The game shall finish at the end of the turn in which the door is opened...
The game came to an end. Besides that, the call went out that dinner was being served in 10 minutes.

Perfect timing.

Big Vern came through in perfect health. Mungo has a serious injury and Syd is pushing up daisies. The remainder obviously escaped for, with the opening of the door the vapor snakes vanished as the magic holding them together was dissipated. (Either that or because the game ended for dinner.)

Zanzabax is now level 4 and has a new spell - Elemental Shield. Gained form a grimoire found after the game in their Library headquarters. The treasure carried off by Undersack tuned out to be another grimoire: Destructive Sphere. I had to learn one new spell so I chose the easiest one to cast. Lazli didn't manage to get her treasure token off the table before the game ended so it was lost.

As suggested in the rules, I decided to use the rule for rolling to see what magical treasure might be available to buy (out of game) from the Magical Black Market!  Four dice rolls and I rolled only two items - Horn of Destruction and Dagger +2 Damage. I couldn't knock back the dagger so I bought it for Zanzabax. He now has only 30 gold in his treasury.

Big Vern has been upgraded to Infantry Man (basically I paid 50gold and decided Zanzabax bought him some armour and a twohanded weapon). Syd has been replaced with Mungo's brother: Jerry (Thug). But Mungo will miss the next game so I'll need another thug to stand in for him. 

I enjoyed this game much more than the first couple I've played. Treating the "soldiers" as minor characters makes a huge difference to the solo narrative game. I'm rolling for their injuries like Wizards and Apprentices to help give them a bit of individuality. Hence Jasper only has 9 Health points following the previous game.

I'm not very keen on the next scenario and can't see how it will work. Besides that, I don't own any Gnoll figures. So my cunning plan is: I'll play through the Thaw of the Lich Lord campaign. It might need a little bit of tweaking but I think it should work well. Besides, I just finished painting the "official" Lich Lord figure.