A quick look at the workbench right at the ragged end of the year! After not really painting anything for most of the second half of 2023 I rediscovered painting energy in November and have been plowing through a whole bunch of stuff.
The anklyosaur person is from Fenris Games and is massive – that’s a 60mm base and they hang over every edge. The baggage ogre and little robot are Reaper, as are most of the random humans over on the back left. The sea serpent and big frog are Footsore Miniatures.
I’ve shown off some WIP photos of the anklyo-person over on BlueSky but they were early, no weapons mounted and painting not quite finished. I’ve got a whole bunch of WIP photos of this figure and will also be taking some good closeups after I finish painting and basing, because I’m really, really pleased with how they’re turning out!
The baggage ogre is just a fun figure, much more interesting than yet another horse and wagon if you need a baggage element for a fantasy game!
Hope everyone had good holiday season, and an excellent 2024 as we roll into the New Year!
Sellswords & Spellslingers is a fantastic co-op fantasy skirmish game, but it does have one small challenge – it works well for games that take place outside or in large areas, but not so well for a classic dungeon crawl, where bits of the dungeon are revealed as the players explore. So I thought I would set out to design some basic rules for this.
What’s the challenge?
Sellswords biggest challenge comes with how it spawns the foe – continuously and in great volume. This means that if players are in a small space, that is going to get really deadly, really quickly.
Creating a dungeon that gets discovered as you go
Sellwords usually works where you lay the whole board out in the beginning, so I had to create a way to have the dungeon, some foes and a few lost adventurers show up. I used a standard deck of cards and split it up – you’ll see the cards in the shots below. We tried two different versions – the first with 10 terrain pieces + 10 foe cards and then a second version with 6 of each. The second worked much better
So how does it play?
Just as deadly as regular Sellswords. Our second game we took 7 PCs into in, found 2 lost adventurers and still finished the game with nobody alive.
It began quite well. Up until the photo below, we had killed most of the skeletons that had popped up, we’d recovered the lost friendly Goblin (metal figure furthest up the picture) and we’d discovered another lost adventurer (a friendly gnoll), but we has Out of Action behind a pillar in a far room.
And then it all started to go downhill. One little group of skeletons – one horde and one ambush, did for 3 characters – two dead outright.
After the massive death in the upper left room, death was soon to follow us into the next rooms. Quickly enough my first mousling archer and one of Brian’s were downed. All that remained were two. We did discover the NPC merchant, but he only watched as the skeletons slaughtered us.
And a few turns later, it was all over. Brian’s witch finder was able to revive the friendly Gnoll – Fur Face – but he quickly fell to an ambushing skeleton.
Not sure, I’ve got some rules, but I also know that the author Sellswords & Spellslingers has been working on some dungeon crawling, so likely going to wait for that.
As for my hell terrain, it will soon be much more colourful, but that’s a post for another time.
Conversion bits for strange projects can be hard to come by, even these days when high quality plastic figures make kitbashing and bits-finding easier. One of the staples of a certain flavour of folk horror, though, is folks with antlers, either on their helms or straight up growing out of their heads, and nobody has done horns, antlers, and such… yet.
Today we find ourselves on Halite, the namesake planet of the Halite Commonwealth and homeworld of two separate intelligent species – the related lizard-like Qoss and the snake-like Yishk. On Halite is the cliffside monastery of Sheksha-kah, a famous religious centre in the commonwealth and a common retreat location for the wealthy and powerful to avoid unwanted notice or rehabilitate their image.
The Myth of Othaos
Perched high above the seas below on a narrow ledge, the monastery was founded by famous Halite scholar and skeptic turned prophet Othaos. They (neuter gender Qoss) famously boasted that “The gods don’t exist” and lead a group of atheist scholars that were seeking to unseat the orthodoxy.
Legend says (as told by Othaos themselves) that they were on a small boat travelling to Scorzetti when a massive, unseasonable storm suddenly descended upon their little ship. Soon all hope for control was lost as the heavy waves and wind pounded them. For hours the storm raged, pushed them closer and closer to the menacing cliffs they were pushed. Othaos said they prayed to the Goddess Sheksha of the Light Moon (the larger of the two of Halite’s natural satellites) in his time of need.
Shortly after midnight , the Light Moon broke through the clouds and illuminated them, pointing them at a gap in the cliffs. Through that cliff was a small protected beach and stairs up to the ledge high above the seas. Through skillful navigation, the small ship found its way on the beach, nearly swamped.
Othaos promised then and there to build the grandest monastery on Halite, the building that now stands on the ledge to this day. How much of this tale is true is left up to the reader.
As the monastery often hosts the wealthy and powerful who are looking to avoid some public scrutiny or atone for a public failing, the possibilities for adventures include smuggling people or goods out of the monastery, a covert assassination or similar nefarious things. The monastery can only be reached by foot – either up Othaos’ cliffside route or the newer path alongside the cliff. Both are under easy view of the monastery staff at all times, so any party would need excellent skills and some luck to pull off an action. Conversely, if defending the monastery the powerful storms that whip up in the seas below it often prevent easy reinforcements, so if players are defending the monastery, they might need to hold for quite some time with limited resources.
Authors Note: The above is also being rolled into an upcoming Sellswords & Spellslingers source booked tentatively called The Free Cities of the Rift, a Venice-like city in the world of Norindaal
I tripped over this little Kickstarter earlier in 2022 for a dozen figures inspired by European folklore, Folk Horrors by Ana Polanšćak. They’re very much “things that go bump in the night” weird horror miniatures and I decided to grab them while the KS was still running.
Some of them might be humans in costumes (might be!) and some of them really definitely… aren’t. I think I’ll be using these as plot point markers or similar for Pulp Alley-powered weird horror games, either in the not-quite-17th-C gunpowder homebrew setting I’ve been gradually putting together or more conventional early-20th-C pulp horror games. A good creepy alternative to the Cthuloid fishmen and such I already have!
I’ll get this lot assembled, based, and primed over the next few weeks; painting should be pretty short and sweet if I follow the KS paint scheme!
The figures themselves are nice and clean, minimal mold lines and flash. I have some concerns about attaching the horns on some of the figures and the arms on the one “Bellman”, but thick gel superglue and tiny bit of greenstuff should work OK to keep everything in place!
Plague and megalomaniac idiot dictators waging unprovoked war on democracies and idiots honking in stupid pickup trucks… let us distract ourselves with some modelling instead, shall we?
The workbench this weekend. Based and mushrooms and plague monks and ECW and much else!
So what was, in fact, on the workbench this weekend? Starting on the lower left of the cutting mat, we have a batch of 25mm/1″ plastic bases with greenstuff cobbles added to the top, these eventually to have some “town watch” kitbashed figures on them – probably Warlord ECW pikemen bodies with Frostgrave parts for some arms.
Heading clockwise, we have some awesome Fenris Games mushrooms, the first I’ve finished from their massive Sporewood set from the 2021 Toadstool Brownie kickstarter. I’ve based four of them onto a chunk of scrap 1/8th plastic and will get that finished up soonish; the fifth mushroom painted is lying on the left there.
At the back of the cutting mat behind the Fenris-supplied “Love Miniatures Hate Fascism” stickers are sixteen Bloody Miniatures English Civil War chaps, their Company of Wolves bundle of their Wave One releases, also from early 2021. Really lovely figures, full of character. Bloody Miniatures has produced two more batches of sixteen since then and Wave Four is on the way; I’ve held off on buying Waves Two and Three because up until a few weeks ago Wave One was still all boxed up…
The five Fenris plague cultists, all set to lead ominous processions through a fantasy city.
Finally in the foreground we have five Fenris Games Plague Cultists all finished and ready to terrorize a table soon. Their bases were the test run for the urban bases off to the left there. I wanted grubby urban cobblestones and I think it worked. Nice simple figures full of character, too, and beautifully easy to paint up.
Hobby progress despite the state of the wider world, and that is never a bad thing. Stay safe, stay sane, and hobby onward!
A few days into January I had a fall that destroyed my glasses and injured my shoulder, both of which combined to cut down the amount of time I was able to spend on the computer. The upside of this, as I still needed something to do, was that I started a random construction project and completed it in about three weeks. (glasses have been replaced and shoulder is nicely on the mend, too)
Over the Christmas holidays I had painted up an entire village of really cool Toadstool Brownies from Fenris Games (they’ll get their own post soon) so I decided to trash bash a multi-story tower for them to cause trouble from, a sort of weird fantasy cross between a fortified tower house and a tenement apartment building.
I started with a medium size paper coffee cup from a widely available but deeply mediocre coffee chain, glued that to a scrap of 1/8th PVC sheet a bit bigger than my hand, then started adding details with scrap cardstock, wood coffee stir sticks, bits of styrofoam, paper, and Milliput.
Very early in construction.Very early construction, with Toadstool Brownie on 20mm wide base for scale.Details going on.Shutters in place.Textured with thin plaster and priming started.Paint started, roofs and chimney details done.The skinny chimney on the left is Milliput around a toothpick core, for strength. Nicely gamer-proof, I hope!More paint. I used all sorts of random washes and drybrushing to add texture and character.More paint. Lasercut window and plastic skull above it.Paint on the shutters.The big chimney.Finished tower, view of the main roof.Finished tower, skull window side/back.Finished tower to the right of the door and ramp.Finished tower, door, ramp, and garden.The “back garden”.The front garden, and yes those are skulls…The Toadstool Brownie Tower, construction and finished photos!
This hasn’t actually graced a table yet, but I’m sure it will soon, and I want to write up stats for the Toadstool Brownies as either playable characters or random on-table nuisances for the games we play!
I haven’t done a pure stratchbuild like this in a while, but really want to do more, and weird fantasy builds are SO much fun!
Each year Lead Adventure forum runs a Build Something Competition, each with a theme. Brian and I have participated 5 times at various points in the past years. So with 2022 here, I figured it was my time again.
These dead might be able to take themselves out, actually.
Basing still to be determined but painting finished on my first fifteen figures of 2022. These are North Star’s Oathmark skeletons; the other half of the pack is in Corey’s hands for painting and part of the reason the basing is unfinished is I’m waiting to see if we’re going to coordinate basing or just do our own thing individually.
Fifteen Oathmark skeletons, with some additions from other companies. Click for larger.
The big skull on their unit banner, and the bird and goat-ish skulls on two of the skeletons, are from GW’s Skulls pack, which is probably the most purely GW product GW has ever, it its long and illustrious history, produced. It’s also damn useful for kitbashing and scenery building and to date, the only GW product I’ve ever bought retail that wasn’t paint!
The painting was deliberately quick and simple. Grey primer with a white zenithal overspray, Reaper Stained Ivory mixed 1:1 with glaze medium for the base coat, Coal Black and Clotted Red for all the cloth and equipment, Intense Brown for leather strapping, Tarnished Steel or GW Dwarf Bronze for metal bits. After that was all dry, a fairly heavy coat of GW Seraphim Sepia over the whole figure, and then a quick highlight of the bone bits with Stained Ivory again.
This gave me a good looking hoard of dead folk to throw onto the table when we next face a necromancer in Sellswords or other games, and I have some good skeleton bits to throw into the kitbashing bits bin!
Personally and hobbywise, it’s not been a terrible year, although it’s been a bit low on the number of blog posts, overall. But for the rest… yeesh. Good bye and good riddance, 2021!
A bit of year end figure painting, with the faithful feline assistant in the foreground making things warmer but more awkward! Wargames Atlantic plastic skeletons for our fantasy skirmish stuff, whenever current circumstances allow us to resume in person gaming! Click, as usual, for larger.
With the surge in Omicron cases locally we’ve stopped in-person gaming again, out of an abundance of caution. We will probably resume sometime in January, but it’ll be back to webcam Gaslands for a bit in the first couple weeks of 2022.
A quick count shows 22 blog entries here in 2021, far more in the first half of the year than as the year wore on. Not bad, but I would like to get a bit more momentum going through 2022!
To that end, I’ve joined the PaintSlam community and their Discord channel; like a lot of wargaming social media it’s heavily GW-focussed but by no means exclusive to GW in any way. I’m “Vemundr” on most Discord channels, due to having started on Discord for Society for Creative Anachronism reasons, so if you’re on the PaintSlam Discord discussion group feel free to say hi!
Here’s to an improved 2022 for everyone over 2021! Stay safe, get your booster when you can, and try to get some gaming in!