Friday 29 September 2023

Wizkids Special Kobolds and Civilians


I had these Wizkids models sitting around for a while, so I decided to get Brushchewer to get them finished. First up are these three Kobold "specials" - an Inventor, a Sorcerer and a Dragonscale.

The Inventor is armed with all sorts of nonsense, like a scorpion on a stick and a hornet nest. The sorcerer doesn't have actual wings - they're home made ones to reinforce his status. The Dragonscale is a fightier senior Kobold. I love these characterful Kobolds as ways of complicating a "standard" fight in characterful ways.

These Pathfinder Wizkids miniatures are simple fantasy civilian types. A peasant and a noble are the sort of thing you'll have a use for every now and again, and having them to hand is definitely useful.

Wednesday 27 September 2023

Work in Progress Wednesday: Otherworld Miniatures

I used a bit of my time off to sort out the undercoating on this batch of Otherworld Miniatures. They had an overstock sale on (and currently still do for an interesting assortment of minis), so I picked up an assortment of the models on sale at the time.

I really love the old school aesthetic of Otherworld. On reflection, I shouldn't really have picked these up - I could have spent the prep time on these finishing painting something else instead. But the love of these sculpts got away from me this time...

First up, some antagonists. The model on the left is a "bouncer", but could also work as a bandit, mugger or thug without a problem. The Gnoll Chieftain is a great imposing figure and can act as a good end boss for a smaller adventure, or named henchman for a more powerful villain. Meanwhile, on the right, we have an "evil cleric" who has a lot of potential, whether as a member of a rival adventuring party or joining the villainous henchman category.

Next up is a female rogue, a barbarian and a female dwarf. The barbarian being at rest means he can work as a merchant from nomadic northern tribes as well as a PC. The other two are great generic models that might suit a character, an antagonist or an ally. I love using models like this as bandits and villain hirelings because it looks like every one of them has a personal back story.

On the more magical front, we have a cleric with a flail and a wizard, who definitely looks like a less experienced spellcasting type. I'm still not a fan of the use of crosses with Otherworld's clerics, but I think you can work around it. Unless you're running a setting where the PCs are very unusual, I feel like your antagonists should also have access to spellcasters of one sort or another, so like the other purchases, these can do double duty as antagonists as well as options for player characters.

A couple of blacksmiths never go amiss for civil life scenes. You may not always run a combat in town, but I have a deep fondness for civilian models of all types.

Finally, these two models are advertised as brigands, but the personality of them remains so strong they could easily end up being someone's PC or an ally. I'd kind of assumed the one with a spear was a dwarf, but he is quite tall for that compared to the other miniatures - he's clearly bending over in his pose. So I'm unsure if he's actually a dwarf, or just a bearded human with a spear...

Now to see whether or not I can make up for the impulse purchase and actually get them painted some time soon . . . 

Monday 25 September 2023

Infinity - Learning Nomads for ITS 15

My friend Riker was looking for a practice game of Infinity, so I threw together a list for Supremacy out of the ITS 15 mission pack. I wasn't happy with the list going into the game - I felt I hadn't got the balance right and that it didn't have enough good long range guns. However, I ran out of time to fiddle with the make up of the list further so went in with the list I had.

Riker was bringing White Banner, as he was going to a tournament the following weekend and hadn't played in a few months. I won the Lieutenant roll and chose deployment, leaving Riker to choose turn order.

I covered most of my approaches with Repeaters - Robin Hook covered the right flank, while a Moran Maasai covered the centre. I had a Reaktion Zond in the centre with a servant remote nearby to recover it if need be.

On the left, I had the Intruder deployed far edge on the left flank. I held back from the centre of the board on this flank, as a QAZ Creature was hiding behind the centre pillar. I had a Libertos set up here to act as a road block to attacks on this flank, as well as Billie sitting out with his flash pulse.

Unfortunately, the left flank wasn't covered well enough, as a Shaolin monk (played here by Liang Kai) managed to get up to the Intruder and forced her to reveal. I brought my Morlock up at the start of my first turn to try and clear the Shaolin, but had misjudged placement and the Intruder was caught in the blast of the chain rifle and went down, taking out my only long gun.

The two Long Ya remotes of Riker's list were an absolute nightmare to deal with. My Libertos had a swing at taking one out, but while it went down, the engineer was close enough to revive it. These ARO remotes are an absolute bargain and I am a little jealous of Yu Jing for having them.

On the right flank, the Beast Hunter gave the Daoying and the Shang Ji HMG a bit of a scare with the Heavy Flamethrower before being taken out, before Robin Hook, under the cover of an Eclipse Grenade, got them both into Repeater range.

Unfortunately, some good BTS rolls meant I wasn't able to land an inhibiting hit on either of the heavy infantry. I returned the favour as Robin had rolled +4 ARM as her Booty roll and became an absolute nightmare to clear.

In the end, I lost handily as I wasn't able to clear the wide range of ARO pieces on the board to advance. The list definitely needed another long range high burst gun to clear problems - I also need to think about making sure all avenues of advance are covered. Riker commented that the Nomad repeater coverage was incredibly intimidating, which I'm happy with as that's intended.

More games are needed to really dial in what I want to use, but I'm loving playing around with the various profiles Nomads have available to them. I haven't quite got things right yet, but I'm excited by the possibilities...

Friday 22 September 2023

Wizkids Pathfinder Monsters

I've had a whole bunch of Wizkids miniatures sitting around waiting for paint for ages. I decided it was unlikely they'd make it to the front of my queue, so I asked Brushchewer to get them painted. These sculpts, erm, aren't very good. Sorry Brushchewer!

This set are for Pathfinder - a Cultist and a Devil, and a pair of Doppelgangers.

I thought I'd write a few thoughts about using cultists and devils in Pathfinder, although I haven't had a chance of playing Pathfinder yet. So I went to look up Devils and Cultists in Pathfinder . . . and none of their devils look like the model, and their official Cultist stat block doesn't use magic.

So really, these are generic "baddy horrible floaty humanoid" and "baddy spellcaster" than a particular stat block. But both are good reliable stalwarts that you'll be able to fit into a bunch of fights.

Doppelgangers are a pretty well established trope baddy to use in fantasy RPGs. You want to be careful to give ways of players working things out before the reveal rather than just play an undetectable gotcha, but there's a good bunch of options for them.

In Pathfinder, Doppelgangers are a level 3 threat, so something players are likely to see in the earlier part of a longer campaign. The could be a hidden surprise as part of a more complicated plot, a mastermind of a scheme, or a lead to a next arc as players discover a henchperson of the villain was actually some kind of spy or infiltrator...

Wednesday 20 September 2023

D&D Minis - Monsters of Wildemount Set 2

Recently Wayland Games held a flash sale of pre-painted Wizkids miniatures, so I grabbed a couple of boxes of Critical Role miniatures. First up is the "Monsters of Wildemount Set 2" box. This is populated with models from their second campaign, set on the continent of Wildemount in Exandria.

The Gearkeeper Construct is probably based on an encounter in Season 2 where the players were asked to deal with an out of control construct. There's a stat block for it in Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, which places it as a pretty hefty mid level threat for players. It's a pretty horrid stabby monster with a whole bunch of nasty abilities that characters will really dislike when they find out about them.

It might be a bit glossy for my liking, but I'll live, I guess.

The Gloomstalker and Moorbounder are monsters from the area known as Xhorhas. The Moorbounders are used as mounts at times in Xhorhas but both are dangerous predators that are pretty well known to fans of Critical Role, so good signifiers for "you're in the world of Critical Role now". The Moorbounders are suitable at pretty low level, while the Gloomstalkers would need a party to have gained a few levels before facing them.

And now, a whole bunch of aquatic villains and monsters, as there was a significant oceanic theme to a good section of the campaign... The yellow critter is a Swavain Basilisk, a big mid level aquatic monster with a few risks for an appropriately levelled party. This sort of monster makes absolute sense in the world as most "low level" commoners and sailors would be absolutely wrecked by it, making it a believable threat.

The other larger monster at the back is a Merrow Shallowpriest, a powerful spellcaster who can either be an end boss for a lower level party, or an excellent addition to a group of aquatic attackers against higher level characters.

At the front on the right is a Sea Fury, a powerful hag that provides a good higher level threat when a "normal" sea hag isn't a sufficient threat. It's got a bunch of spells and abilities that make it a moderate threat, but doesn't just feel like a skilled combatant, as that wouldn't really fit the "feel" of a hag.

Finally, the front left monsters is a Sahuagin, specifically one intended to be used as a Warlock of Uk'otoa, one of the setting's "big bad" monsters that had a chunk of influence on the story of the second Critical Role campaign. It's pretty comparable in many ways to a PC Warlock at the mid levels, but with quite a few more spells available and a couple of neat tricks easily explained as boons of its patron. I also suspect that as a relatively low hit point caster, it's rarely going to end up using all its spells before PCs take it down, but the "use each of these six spells once each" build is much easier to track than a PC with fewer hard choices for a DM to make when they're trying to focus on delivering a narrative.

This isn't a bad set, but it feels like you'd probably want a whole bunch of Moorbounders, and several Gloomstalkers, while both the Merrow and the Suhuagin Warlock are part of a bigger encounter that needs different models. It's definitely not a good "first box of monsters", but a good expansion of odd stuff that will still see some use and provide some interesting challenges to players.

Monday 18 September 2023

The inevitable indecision of copious free time

With Empire LRP finished for the season, and two weeks of holiday booked with a good chunk of it set aside for hobby time, we reach the inevitable point of having too many things to do and desperately trying to avoid failing to do any of them.

Lets have a look at the problem, shall we? On the painting desk, I need to finish up the Mutant Marshes terrain pieces, and paint up the Dungeon Fiends Starter Set. I'm enjoying painting both, but neither are particularly quick jobs, so there's no easy brain chemicals for finishing something here.

The "assembly" tray needs a little sort. With the decision to get my O-12 commission painted, they can all come off this tray and off to a box to await sending away. There's a few half prepped minis that need finishing up, some repairs, and a few "ready to paint" models that live here until the paint tray has space for them. Of course, the first day I was ready to undercoat things, the heavens opened with rain forecast all week.

There's then the Dark Tray of Sadness. Abandoned things, older "in need of repair" models and so on. I probably need to sweep through this to find things to send to commission painters to make this go away, but there's a bit of mental effort needed to achieve this...

I also did a pass through my unassembled Infinity to send another batch of things away to be assembled, on the grounds that felt like a sensible and productive thing to do.

There's plenty of things I can be getting on with in the meantime, I just need to decide which one to do first...

Friday 15 September 2023

Deathwatch Bikers

I got these bikers for my Deathwatch back from Squiggle's Studio recently. While the bikes are discontinued and won't have a direct profile any more, they're apparently going to be acceptable proxies for the Primaris bikes.

I really have no idea how Deathwatch and Space Marines are working in the new edition. I'm also aware that Space Marines usually have a pretty early Codex so I'm not going to be rushing to change a lot of my Marines just yet. Still, I should probably get a game in.

Wednesday 13 September 2023

D&D Minis: Critical Role and Other Monsters

I picked up a few large Wizkids monsters recently, and thought I'd share a few of my thoughts on them. Some of these monsters are at the higher end of the challenge rating scale, so are likely to be encounters for the latter end of campaigns...

First up, the Androsphinx is a terrifying opponent which won't really be a suitable challenge for players until their highest levels. However, its entirely possible that it could be sought out as an ally or sponsor. The idea that it's locked to a particular location and thus may need assistance from those who can travel from location to location makes it quite a good option as a quest giver.

The Gem Stalker is the weaker of the monsters here, suitable for low to middle level characters. It's a weird creature made by gem dragons to act as their servants. The white circle shows its mechanical base size - a tendency I'm really not fond of in the Wizkids miniatures, but I guess I'll have to live with.

Moving on to some Critical Role miniatures, the Adranach is a huge construct made by magicians. It's a mid to high level threat, and has lots of the weird mechanics that Matt Mercer has a tendency of coming up with. It's another great option for being an ally's companion or employed by an enemies.

Continuing my recent trend for creepy tree monsters, the Wraithroot Tree is a high level threat, infused with necromantic magic to act as a guard for an area or item. It gives me a different look of tree to my recent Runewars miniatures so I have some options.

Monday 11 September 2023

Last of the Oathsworn Dwarves and Endsong

I finished up the last of the Oathsworn Dwarves. She's ended up a little pale skinned, but I reckon it still works for her. It is just a tabletop quality paint job, but getting the last few bits and pieces finished up was a really good feeling.

Meanwhile, "Endsong", the latest Infinity book, has arrived. Infinity books these days are just background books, updating the lore and future history of the setting. They're paired with new miniature releases and new free rules released online. The pre-order bundle this time around included Maximus and a Caskuda, an Exrah and a Bakunin HVT. I'll be selling off Maximus as none of my factions use him, but the rest will be seeing service with my Combined Army or Nomads...

Wednesday 6 September 2023

Tanares Heroes - Fantasy RPG Miniatures

A while back, I backed a Kickstarter for an RPG extension to a board game called "Tanares" to pick up a whole bunch of cheap D&D miniatures. I sent the first "Hero Pack" off to Blood Medusa Paints to get them painted up.

There were a good variation of miniatures in the set. The variety gives a good bunch of generic fantasy miniatures. The generic nature of the miniatures means that they won't suit a setting with a strong established aesthetic - but that's always going to be a problem that requires shopping around and specific purchases rather than generic ones.

I feel the best use of these characters, if not happening to match a description of a player character in an RPG, are as inspirations for friendly NPCs or dangerous antagonists for your PCs. Some are more generic - our rams head wizard here would make an excellent bandit mage, while the gold robed character could be a good cult leader or priest.

The samurai is a bit of an odd one, and I don't expect to be running a game that wholesale lifts the aesthetic of medieval Japan without any changes. On the other hand, the winged character or the lady with the snake and the raven could be a good inspiration for an unusual character your players could meet.

There's also some pretty generic options that can easily fit into any campaign - a werewolf, orc barbarian or swashbuckler holding a gem could easily slip into any campaign, though the idea of some kind of swashbuckling villain fighting with a magical jewel or spell focus could work really nicely. Jumpy lady is a bit weirdly niche too, but I'm not sure when I'd want to use her.

Finally, not part of the hero pack, there was a medusa who was a free gift with the original Kickstarter. I felt given my painter's business is called "Blood Medusa Paints", I was kind of obliged to send her this one...

Monday 4 September 2023

Putting lessons into practice - and fixing a couple of things

While I was putting away some finished miniatures, I spotted a couple of them had some spots I'd missed. The Urbanmech had a scrape on one of the armour plates at the back. I'm not going to bother taking a photo to show it fixed, but it's now fixed. Still needs varnishing again, though.

I also spotted that a bit of the dwarf shieldmaiden's cloak lining wasn't washed. There were a couple of spots where I'd over-painted, and I'd based coated it again ready for an Agrax wash . . . and then forgotten to do it. So, now washed again, and put in the pile for varnishing. I just wanted to chronicle that I'd spent a bunch of time putting things right that I'd thought of as "finished".

I've been painting with contrast quite a lot in the past couple of years. When I went to Roman's Beginner paint course I learned a lot more about using colour and mixing paint. With a few other pieces finishing up, I got my wet palette out to start painting the Dungeon Fiends Starter Set 1 by Creative Sculpt Studio.

Starting with the greens, I dropped some base coats down for this humanoid ooze person. This is all the same green - with more red added to the green used on the bottom half than on the top half. I'll layer him up from there.

For this troll, I wanted him to be much grimier, so I started with a camo green, with a little more red added as well. This has left his skin looking incredibly dark, but the plan is to build him up from here.

These two simple bits of base coat made me disproportionately cheerful. I've been wanting to try the new techniques and approach I learned at this course, and this is the first time I've had the decks clear enough to start using them.

I'm not stopping using Contrast, though. These Mutant Marshes scenery pieces are mostly contrast work. They're about 80% done already. I need to add the colour for some sores, do a little more work on the fingernails, and then do a little more detailing and highlighting to finish them up.

Friday 1 September 2023

Some thoughts on my plans for Games Workshop games

With more than half the year gone, I thought I'd have a bit of a ponder about my plans for the rest of the year. For September, I thought it would be a good idea to try and get in a game of That There Warhammer 40,000 New Edition. I've got a Deathwatch force that I might need to fiddle about with to make work, but I'll put together an army and find someone to play down at the club.

I do have quite a few commitments in September already - so there's a small chance I won't manage to fit this in. If so, I'll do it in October and everything else can slip to the right by a month in turn . . .

I've still not played Age of Sigmar. This is completely daft, as I really like the look of it. October shall be the month of Age of Sigmar (except if it isn't), and I shall finally play a game of that there fantasy game, and see if I like it.

I had a learning game of Warhammer Underworlds a few years ago. I own a couple of painted Stormcast warbands courtesy of Squiggle's Studio. I have a big pile of unpainted warbands on top of that. Let November be the month I get in a game of Warhammer Underworlds with my own models and a Rivals deck.

As I mentioned, September is a busy month, so everything may slip a month. If it doesn't, I do have December free. So lets have a suitably "stealthy" bonus objective. The club has a Boarding Action terrain set, and I should be able to put together a boarding action team really easily. I'm keen on the idea of Boarding Action sized painting projects, so I'd like to see if it's as much my jam as I suspect it is.