Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rules of the Road

Now that we're finally getting some lead on the table, it's time to decide on a ruleset.  I've been pumping the good guys over at the Lead Adventure Forums for advice and they've pointed me to a lot of nice little free rulesets available on the web.  But I'm having the same problem as everyone else - no miniature wargame ruleset gives me everything I need.  One is incomplete, one works great for solo play but not for play with a GM, one works great for multi-player but sucks for GM play, there's always something missing.

So why not go back to some seriously old school dungeon crawl rules?  I'm talking the original dungeon crawl rules for use with miniatures here.  Something old fashioned like Chainmail (see left).  These are the rules that evolved to become Dungeons and Dragons, after all.

But heck, why stop there?  Might as well go straight to D&D so I can use the wizards and everything.  But the OSR rules really were incomplete, so I might as well skip ahead and use the cleaned up and much more accessible Moldvay version.  But now we're drifting further away from miniatures, so you might as well go all the way up to AD&D, right?  That's the set that I have the most experience with, after all.

Oh but the organization of those rules - second edition would be so much easier to relearn, but now we're basically completely out of miniatures altogether.  That's no good.  I didn't drop all this money not use the little suckers.  That means moving up to 3rd edition which was designed to be easy to use with miniatures.  But oh, then I'll spend more time statting than painting, and they tell me that you can stat so much easier with 4th edition...

I've gone through 30 years of gaming evolution over the last week without opening up a book.  The key to this whole thing is that I'm building a game I can play with my son and his friends - a complex game that isn't too complicated.  So what I really need to do is find the middle ground between story games and miniature games.  And every dollar spent on books is a dollar less on miniatures.  At the same time, every hour spent building encounters in an hour less spent painting.

Right now I've got two complete systems, third edition and the Rules Cyclopedia.  In that case there's really no comparison.  The Rules Cyclopedia has everything I need.  And if I can't fudge the adventures into miniature heavy ones then I might as well turn in my 20-sided die right now.

But that won't stop me from trolling the net for more of those fun little free sets...

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Very Tiny Arbor Day

How's this for a slick little tree?

This creepy old tree was liberated from my son's Lego box. It started out life as a piece from a Lego knock off brand. It came in a giant orc head with a bunch of not-Lego orcs. It's the perfect size for the little mans, though. A quick base and a paint job covers up a few minor flaws. Specifically, the mold left a little circle at about head height. Looks like a good place for an owl den to me.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Three Flavors of Orcs

There's nothing too spectacular about these orcs.  They've got green skins just in case the Warmaster bug ever bites and a fire emblem that fits just about anywhere.  This latest load brings the orc population of my figure case up to a whopping 18,  including three spear-orcs, four bow-orcs (bowrcs?), and eleven swordsmen.  That's a big enough horde for any skirmish.  Now I just need to figure out how to turn that leftover banner-orc into a shaman...

That guy on the left looks like a bit of a gimp - I wanted a different look, so I bent his arm down like Orc #5 in the lineup.  Only Orc #1's arm busted off, and when it was glued back on, it looked like he dislocated his shoulder.  If he can live with it, so can I.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

If Ever A Wonderful Wiz There Was...

These wizards I've are them because, because, because, because, because...because of the wonderful paint job I does.

The guy on the right started out his life as a warrior monk, but his spear broke off, so he's now a wizard with a short staff.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Irregular Minis, Now With Added Paint

This first batch was ordered to add a few heavily armored figures to the player character options, but they just didn't have enough personality for it.  Instead I painted them as the local town guard NPCs.  That would be a black tower on a golden field on the shields.
TC27 - Crusader/Feudal Dismounted Knights 
The last dwarf I painted was dressed in blue, and I figured these guys might as well come from the same town.  Hence, the same colors.  Hopefully the beards and shields give them enough individual personality.
TFAN9 on the right, TFAN7 on the left.

About face.

Bonus Post! A One Page Adventure


While trolling the seas of the internet for a fish of rules worthy enough to grace my table, I've been drifting in and out of the role-playing game blog-community.  Today I discovered a little thing called the One Page Dungeon contest.

"I can do this," thinks I.  After dusting off the old records, (by which I mean dusting off a three year old hard drive with my last round of notes on it,) and stripping down the notes from an adventure never run, I have crafted a one page dungeon in which a goblin tribe vexes the countryside, and the only solution is to send in a band of plucky heroes to put a cork in the font of evil spewing forth the hateful little thugs.

Here's a little preview of a one page dungeon titled, Will No One Rid Me of These Troublesome Goblins?

One delicious page of cliched goblin tropes assembled for your use.
Here is the official entry form for your perusal.
Will No One Rid Me of These Troublesome Goblins?

By the way - that mouthy looking passage between the Foyer and the Main Hall?  Yeah - that's too narrow to squeeze through, but perfect for shooting arrows through.

And if any of you lot out there in internet-land ever run this thing, some feedback would be nice.  Like, a nice thank you, if you catch my drift.

Monday, March 26, 2012

An Irregular Order

First order of Irregular Miniatures came in today, and they look like a lot of fun.  These unpainted lead shots are for other people's reference.  One quirky thing about collecting 10mm figures is that very few manufacturers have their whole line photographed and available on their websites.  Personally, that makes it even more fun for me - I'll gamble a buck or two on figures sight unseen, and every time I get figures like that it feels like Christmas.  It can be frustrating when you're looking for just the right figure, though.  So as a service to others, here are some decent shots of a small portion of Irregular's line-up.

First up are a few selections from the Medieval Range.  I'll be using them as generic western fantasy warrior types of course, but they'll fit right in alongside my other figures.
TC24 - Crusader/Feudal Infantry Spearmen
They'll make fine henchmen and town guard.

TC27 - Crusader/Feudal Dismounted Knights
Heavy armored fighter types for characters.

TC29 - Crusader/Feudal Pilgrim Infantry
One of those sight unseen I'd hoped to turn into torchbearers.
Having seen them? I'm not sure what they'll wind up as.
One lone representative from the Samurai range is next.
TSAM10 - Warrior Monk
The hope was for an unarmed and unarmored shaolin
style monk.  This could be cool, though.

Here are a few from Irregular's fantasy line.  They don't look like any great shakes 'in the raw', but I once built a skeletal army out of Irregular's 6mm line, and they looked great once they were painted up.  No doubt these will follow the example set by their shorter undead forebears.
TFAN7 - Dwarf Axeman

TFAN9 - Dwarf Chieftan
Finally a dwarf with a hammer.  My collection sorely needed one.

TFAN41 - Wolves

TFAN45 - Wizard
Two different styles, one old beardy and one dark and mysterious.
Kinda wish I'd ordered more of these guys now.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Demi-Humans, Part the First

This is the last of the Copplestone Heroes pack TM10.  Each guy has so much character, they really were a joy to paint.  Here are two different dwarf styles - one rugged outdoor type and a more urban armored stunty.  The dwarf in blue is now the only heavily armored figure in my arsenal, a fact which begs remedy.  Those purplish dots on the elven bow were made with a toothpick.

My one complaint on the Copplestone pack is that there were no ladies among them.  Frankly, there's a dearth of decent female figures in 10mm.  Pendraken has one plus a bunch of amazons that won't see this family man's table any time soon, and that's about it.  Some of the elves can serve, but it'd be nice to see a few more blatantly feminine figures.  My daughter isn't going to want to have to use a guy with a beard to represent her warrior knight-ess.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Warriors, Come Out and Play-ay!

Three fierce warriors for your approval.  Once again, these are Copplestone figures.  The big warriors of TM10 all look fairly wild and uncultured.  You might go so far as to call them barbarians, but the modern university sensibilities prefer that you use the term 'blood thirsty brutes with poor impulse control'.  Yes, even the ones with leopard skin shields and tiger skin thongs, like the one on the left.

I've found a marked tendency to want to paint every figure with a beard as an old guy.  My subconscious may be trying to tell me something.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Short Update

Get it?  Because these are 100mm halfling figures.  It's a 'short' update!  Heh.

Hey, they can't all be winners, right?  For the record, the guy on the left is mis-cast.  He's missing his lower left arm.  On the table top you can't really tell.  It's only when you look at the bigger version of this picture that you can see that and all the teeny little places where I didn't get the paint.  So don't click on that picture, okay?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

First Heroes

From the excellent Copplestone Castings line, this is TM10, Heroes and Halflings.

The flame wizard on the right is a bit of a conversion on my part.  He looks to be Copplestone's not-Faramir, or at least a bow wielding assassin.  Thing is, wizards are in short supply in this scale, and younger non-beardy wizards even more so.  To rememdy this, I straightened out this figure's bow and glued a small bead-slash-crystal onto the end of it.  Then I hacked his sword down into a small torch.  Red cloak with yellow trim, and you've got a fire themed boom-boom mage.

The others are straight paint jobs.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stop the Presses

Remember that experiment where I'd try painting the first batch of figures in different ways to figure out which one works best?  Forget it.

Devlan Mud - ask for it by name.

Those look so sharp, and painted up so fast - one hour for the lot of them - that there's no need to risk wrecking the other figures.  All I've got to do to these guys is add some flocking to the bases, and they are ready for battle.

Hope you guys like shots of painted figures because I've got a big batch coming up over the next few days.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Remember two days ago when I said there was something off about the Tomb of the Tiny Pharoah?  I figure out what it was.  I wanted more contrast between the nice tile work and the dirty side halls, but couldn't quite figure out how to achieve that.  My wife was working on one of her crafts when it hit me.  The nice rooms should have bright polished floors.  Like this:
See how that back room reflects the bright summer sky?  That's the effect that this terrain needed.  Here's a shot of the full dungeon that really shows off the contrast.
That effect was done using a craft adhesive called Diamond glaze.  This stuff right here:

It worked so well on the floors that I couldn't pass up using it on the water portions of my outdoor tiles, too.

Now that's shiny in both the literal and Firefly senses of the word.

Monday, March 19, 2012

First Figures!

Copplestone Castings wins the big race.  I ordered figures from them, Irregular, and Pendraken all on the same day, and Copplestone got them to me first.  Being so remote, that's probably more a function of the post than the manufacturers, though.

I'm a pretty manly macho man, so I'm hardly the sort to squeal in excitement, but if I was, I totally would. Just look at these adorable little orcs.  
Don't you just want to squeeze their teeny tiny little cheeks?
These bad boys are cast in strips, but separating them is trivial if you have a sharp blade and steady hand.  This first batch of five based and primed orcs is an experiment.  I've got a bottle of liquid talent in the form of GW's Devlan Mud ink wash, but don't know how well it will treat these little guys.  I'm going to paint five with the wash and five with the standard three progressively lighter shades of drybrushing and see which looks best before diving head first into the bulk of the lot.  That way if one doesn't work well, I still have 25 orcs left over to get it right.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tomb of the Tiny Pharoah

With those new 10mm figures arriving from over Pond, the continent, and then halfway across another pond, I've had plenty of time to get a jump start on the dungeons.  Here's the second (or third if you count the wilderness area), in all it's complete glory.  This time around, we're going fully 3D.
As always, the tiles can be rearranged to make a lot of different floor plans.
The red tiles are elevated by a full 10mm, and the only access to them is the steps flanking the altar at the far side of the room.  The baddies can plug up the steps and rain arrows down on the heroes.  Those two movable columns can serve as cover.  There's something a bit off about this dungeon - one detail needs to be added, but I can't quite put my finger on it.
The !Egytian temple room.
The four columns are made of small wooden spools bought for 15 cents at the local craft store.  Card stock squares cut to the size of the tiles hides the spool holes.  Click on the images for a closer look at the hieroglyphics along the top of the columns.  They run the length of the interior walls of the back room as well.  Those were printed up, cut to size, and glued in place before the protective dull coat.  Nothing too fancy.
Four columns should do it - every column shrinks the dungeon
by one square, so you don't want too many.
I haven't even ordered the figures for this dungeon yet, but it made for a good project to tide me over until the first figures arrive.  Which they did.  I show you what they look like tomorrow.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish Megaliths

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, peeps.  How about some nice Irish standing stones to celebrate.

These are actual stones, based on 12mm steel washers and painted up in colors to match the river stones.  The steel washers secure the stones to magnets that line the transport box.  The bases were sanded and painted using the same techniques and colors as the boards, so that they'd blend right into the tile.

The sacred ring of standing stones.
It felt a bit silly painting black rocks black, but real rocks just don't have enough color and contrast for use on the table as is.  The extra effort to use similar colors and techniques in the painting helps the boards look like a unified whole.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Adventures in the Great (and Tiny) Outdoors

As promised, the outdoor tiles are complete.  The rivers don't line up nearly as well as hoped, but they do provide tactical, interest to each board.  Here you can see a 1-tile offset, hardly the end of the world.
No flocking on these boards - it would look HUGE!
If you need a wide open space, you can arrange the tiles like so:

Give me land, lots of land...
That would be a really boring battle, though, so the next stage of the project is to build trees, rocks, logs, fences(?), and other things to block movement and line of site.

Close up of the shallow ford.
This shot also shows what you get when you drybrush over shallow impressions in the boards.  In the first two photos, the grid lines disappear in the random ground cover pattern.  You need to look close to spot the grid, but when you look for the straight lines, they jump right out at you.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kid's Stuff Threedux

A good friend bailed me out of some personal drama (loaned me a spare car when my transmission went ker-chunk). Our kids are both into 40K, and after a recent battle, a couple of his terrain pieces wound up in our box.  As a partial thanks for the loaner, I spent an evening sprucing up his son's Imperial Bunker.  It started as a flimsy cut-out glued together scrap of printed cardstock. It wouldn't sit straight and tended to blow over in the slightest breeze.

First step was reinforcing the building with foamcore, followed by mounting on a decent base.  Hopefully, this is a pleasant surprise:


The individual steps for this mini-project took a few minutes each, so I was able to work on this while finishing off the outdoor terrain for 10mm skirmishes.  Pictures of the base tiles will be up tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lair of the Rat King

Construction ended on the sewers beneath Cornerstone Keep.  The last step is a thick spray of dull coat to protect the work.  Otherwise, these tiles are ready for the minions of the Rat King and the adventurers to slay them.  As promised, I'll spare you the details on the sewage and dirt; suffice it to say, I started dark and brushed my way lighter until it hit the desired shade.

The maze in one of its many permutations.

Close-up of some of the detail.

Movable bridges.
Those little bridges are made out of bamboo kabob skewers.  Cut to 15mm lengths and superglued together, they look just like rough logs at this scale.  They even work well with the outdoor tiles that are in progress, too.

I'm really looking forward to getting  those figures in the mail.  I feel like Ralphie waiting for his Little Orphan Annie decoder ring, only better - I know my figures aren't just an advertisement.