Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fighting Fire With Fire

Sometimes it takes a dragon to beat a dragon.  The toughest character in our party running the Tyranny of Dragons gauntlet is the dragonborn warrior, Karran.  This paladin is a white-dragon blooded tank of a hero.  Unlike the three previous characters in the party, the guy playing this character didn't go with a dark color palette.

He went with white on white.

All right to make this work, I tried a bluish undertone for the 'skin' portions of the figure, and a yellowish undertone for the armor.  In retrospect, those would have looked better reversed.  This guy looks more like a blue dragon to me.

Once again, the shield served as a way to provide an additional splash of color.  No idea what the player wanted for the shield, but a nice tribal dragon emblem seemed appropriate.
That weird looking axe is an artifact of an ill conceived weapon swap.  The character wields a big old axe, and the figure comes with a couple of sword options and a mace option.  I stole an axe from a dwarf (see tomorrow's post), and tacked it onto the swords' dragon wing hilt.  It's bulky, but it seems to work.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sic Semper Tyrannis Draconis

Aramis, cleric of Helm, tank-slash-healbot extraordinaire, and all around good guy.  He has been instrumental in cracking the tyranny of dragons campaign.  

Fifth edition clerics seem like a hard class to play.  They have so many options at every level of the game, there's a lot to track at every stage of the game.  The guy who runs our cleric is very good at his job, he saves the buffs for the right time, and always seems to have heal slots available when needed.

His color choice?  Not so much.  He asked for black and silver, which is fine and all, but the party already has a black archer, a dark mage, and now a dark cleric - we're seriously running the risk of looking like the bad guys here.  This figure also needed something to break up the monochrome, and that's where the shield saved me.

For those not in the know, that's the symbol of the Forgotten Realms' deity, Helm.  A splash of blue background helps provide a nice contrast with the rest of the figure.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Tyranny of Dragons - Zero Dark Thirty, FR Style

We got bin Laden Frulahm Mondath!

I think that's his name.  He's one of the high ranking priests of the Cult of the Dragon that's been causing such trouble in northern Faerun of late.  Let me back up to the middle...

When last we left our plucky band of heroes (a band that really needs a name) , they had just infiltrated a large cave complex being used by the cult as...well, no one really knew, that's why the band was in there in the first place.

Having dealt with the door guards, our resident archer felt ill and elected to stay behind and guard our backs by watching the cave mouth.  (Read: Dan couldn't make the game.)  His loss would be sorely felt.  Just around the first corner of the cave, we knew there was a patch of shrooms that, if mixed properly, would give the human and dragon-born darkvision.  Alas, said shroom garden was being tended by two flying kobolds and a big bastard of a lizard beast.

Henry St. John barged right on down a slippery slope rather than take the stairs and proceeded to beat the holy living nine hells out of the lizard beast, while the rest of the party variously shot down the kobolds, and fell face first into the mushroom patch, which stirred up poison spores.  The resultant hallucinations knocked the dragon born tank right out of the fight.  Which would have proven disastrous in the face of kobold reinforcements, except for a well placed shatter spell cast by the death mage - that one spell knocked every last one of the little blighters dead.

Bumper sticker often seen on the
wagons of Forgotten Realms hippies!
Time for some stealth.  Not our fortay.  Our party located a large temple, and opted not to disrupt the ongoing ceremony (Coexist!), the midnight meat locker, and the meat delivery service.  Valuable intel all, but we decided to retreat to a secondary tunnel near the entrance rather than follow the meat delivery wagon - whatever they are delivering the meat to looks like it punches out of our weight class.  Perhaps some other time.

The side tunnel proved to be a guard barracks.  One ambush, fortified by a very useful bless spell from the good cleric Aramis, stopped all but one of the guards from alerting the big bossman.  Unfortunately, one was all it took.  We chased that cowardly bugger right into the lair of Frulah Mondath himself.

Frulah was well prepared, having healed up the tattle-tale guard, and also having cast some weird protection spell that summoned four ghostly cavorting demons - each of which stood as the corner of a spell of protection that caused heavy damage to all who approached the slavering and ranting cleric.  A decent archer sure would have come in handy right about then.

That crazy cleric wound up putting two members of the nameless party down hard before the dwarf could konk him on the head hard enough to put him out of action.  If the party didn't have two healers, somebody could have gotten killed in the encounter.  As it was, the party tied up the fanatic, looted the room, naturally, and high-tailed it out of the cave with valuable intel and a high ranking prisoner to boot.

All in all, it was a good day of dungeon delving.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Grim, The Party Continues

Grim, a serious archer style rogue with a strong mercenary streak is second in the lineup of the heroes blundering their way through WotC's Tyranny of Dragons campaign.  No idea if I got the colors right on this guy - his player missed the session where I asked for suggestions.  This characters seems to be a brooding type, hence the darker palette. I added a couple splashes of color to his undershirt and bow, just to keep things interesting.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Mele Kalikimaka Loot!

Here's hoping your celebration of the birth of our savior was a smashing success.  (As I type this, Hawaii is still in the midst of the throes of the birthday celebration.)  This year the lovely and long suffering wife fed my addiction with a copy of Neil Thomas' latest tome, One Hour Wargames.  This is the perfect book for those of us looking for quick and compact games to fiddle with in the evenings.  Expect a longer and in depth review once it has been read and fully digested.

28mm figure for scale.
Also up for your consideration today, a truly massive miniature (by my 15mm standards), a 28mm fantasy figure.  I know what you're thinking: look at Warren switching up and starting a new scale - that old wargamer ADD finally bit him good and hard.  Guilty as charged, your honor, but there are a few mitigating factors involved here.

Gilgamesh - a tiefling death mage
For one thing, this Reaper mini was painted for my son for use in our on-going D&D campaign.  For a second thing, the second golden rule of miniature wargaming is "build and play what your friends build and play".  Our DM goes to great lengths to draw up elaborate full color maps in 28mm scale, as shown previously.  The effort that goes into painting a few large figures for the campaign pales in comparison.

And yes, that last sentence was a teaser for future posts - you can expect to see the rest of the party in miniature over the coming days (and probably weeks, if recent history is any guide.)  My Christmas gift to the D&D group is a figure representing their character, with a book handling wizard for the DM (who as you know doesn't have a character of his own.)

Merry Christmas everybody!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Five Parsecs, First Time

This past weekend the boy and I played our first legit game of FiveCore.  His ragtag spaceship crew was hired by the local authorities to escort a key witness across town to the safety of a waiting armored vehicle.  My gangster and his hired goons, triplets in heavy armor, had been hired by the local crime syndicate to make sure that witness met with an unfortunate accident on the way to safety.

The battlefield - we rolled for random entry points.  The escape
vehicle is hiding just behind the red-topped building in the upper
center of the battlefield.
The crew huddles for safety at the start of the game.
First encounter - his second in command gets charged by
the leader of the goons and meets a grisly end.
She is avenged by the crew's snakeman who uses a mental
block on the goon to sneak in and stab him in the back.

The game results in a pyrhhic victory for the goons.  They managed to kill the witness, but two of the three brothers died, and the leader of the goons suffered crippling injuries.  Hope the crime syndicate paid him well, because he's going to have to retire to a quiet life of drudgery doing something really boring for a living, like geology or something.

I'm still trying to decide if I like Five Parsecs from Home.  The game takes a "no stats, but lots of special rules" approach to wargames, and in many ways feels more complicated than its "lots of stats, no special rules" counterparts.  With stats everything you need is right there on one line in numbers.  With special rules, you've got to remember which ones apply at which time, and that means a lot more to remember on the fly.

Our first game led to frequent stops and head slaps when I realized that guy had this skill which should have negated that event.  It felt like the late stages of a Necromunda campaign where you've got too many guys with too many skills to remember them all at once.

Note that this isn't necessarily a criticism of the game.  As I said, I'm still trying to decide if I prefer this style.  I definitely want to take it for a few more spins around the block before committing one way or the other.  The crew still has five active members, and the crime syndicate is likely looking for revenge for the deaths of two of their finest hitmen...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sci-Fi Skirmish Documented Aliens

Look at all this personality.  These guys are great.  Brutal beasts, galumphing stocky blobs, and thin mysterious snakemen.  We truly live in a golden age of 15mm figures.  So many choices, I could could paint nothing but random aliens for a year and never run out.
Khurasan on the left, on the center and left

That big boy on the left is clearly an orange class alien, in Five Parsecs from Home parlance, so it only made sense to paint up a bright orange.  The scheme for the snakeman is taken from a snake native to Arizona called the spotted leaf-nosed snake (phyllorhyncus decutatus).  There are so many brilliantly colored snakes out there in the world, you can pretty much make up your own colors and it's better than even odds you just duplicated something in the earth wilds.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sci-fi Skirmish Robot Pals

I've seen a lot of guys paint up this Khurasan robot (left) in a more colored ceramic style, as opposed to steel and chrome.  My effort just wound up looking garish.  Lesson learned - paint up the chrome underneath and then pick out the ceramic plates later.

If you ever paint up the short bot on the right (from, I'd suggest using a small disc to elevate the figure off the base.  He has a sort of hovercraft blower style balloon base, you can't see it in these photos, that would look great hovering a mm or two off the figure base.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sci-Fi Heroines and Adventuresses

Just a pair of ladies up for today.  One flashy and one gritty.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sci-fi Skirmish Heroes and Adventurers adventurer, Khurasan starship crew, and Rim Mercenary
Wow, did I screw up the face on that mercenary or what?  My starship crewman is painted up in a more flamboyant space pirate style...

...he's also a bit of a Deadhead, as you can see.  The adventurer on the left's cape is supposed to look like an alien tiger or zebra stripe.  Not sure it works, but it looks flashy on the table.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Never Too Early

Win their minds when they are young, and you'll have them for a lifetime...

Choosing a starting figure.

Time for flocking.

I'm really more of a historical wargamer, Dad.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sci-Fi Figure Comparison

As above, so below.  In life there are svelte and petite people and there are big ol' chunky people.  So why should life on the tabletop battleground be any different?  

That's the question for today's comparison between Khurasan and figures. On the one hand, there is a clear difference in style between the two figures.  Khurasan's figures utilize realistic proportions and teeny little details. Figures from exaggerate features, the better to read at arms length. Putting both figures next to each other results in the exact sort of difference in body types that you see in the real world.

Left: Khurasan Xenobiologist.
Right: Rim Mercenary (HOF54)
To answer one of the questions that is always on the lips of wargamers everywhere - yes, these figures work well together.

Having said that, the more I paint blockier figures, the more I appreciate figures cast with an eye towards painting.  That xenobiologist is a great scuplt - she's got belt loops for cripe's sake - that should challenge the best eyes and brush for detail.

But for gaming in 15mm scale?  Do I really need belt loops on my figures?  Nope.  All that extraneous detail does is slow down painting, and like all wargamers my lead mountain doesn't need the extra time and challenge of sussing out belt buckles let alone loops.  That Rim Mercenary on the other hand...he took a third the time to paint and looks just as good on the battlefield.  More and more these days, I'm losing patience with the hyper-realistic casts and enjoying figures that are fun and fast to paint.

Is that a sign of an aging wargamer?  I wonder...