giovedì 7 maggio 2020

Clan Crayfish Horn-blower and Sentinel - Foundry Sea Elf Command

Following an earlier test mini, I am now starting to paint a unit of Sea Elves from my homebrew Crayfish Clan from Lustria.

The first one is a musician, blowing a horn that could be a conch-shell or the horn from a sea-beast. The original miniature didn't have the sword, that comes from the GW High Elf Hero and Noble set.

The second one is a sentinel, apparently scanning the horizon and protecting his eyes from the bright Lustrian sun, looking for the enemy. Again, the sabre comes from a GW set, IIRC the Empire Militia set. 

This should turn into some nice unit, I reckon, if the Foundry scale doesn't make it awkward when mixing with Oldhammer minis.

lunedì 27 aprile 2020

Homemade Lustria Swamp Terrain

I've bought some aquarium plastic plants some time ago and wanted to use them as Lustrian terrain but wasn't so happy with the base, so I attempted to do my own. Here's the result.

I used a super-heavy cardboard base - it was the tray for a cake :P it was covered in a thin layer of Das clay to create an uneven surface, primed and dry-brushed with earth colours for the upper parts and darker, water colours for the hollow in the centre. 

After glueing the plant with a mix of superglue and vinylic glue, the hollow was filled with realistic water from Woodland Scenics and left to dry. When everything was done, the naked terrain was treated with sand (drybrushed again), static grass and grass tufts.

The final result is ok. I really need to find a solution for the edges, which are white and difficult to paint, and create an ugly contrast instead of blending with the table - any ideas are welcome. But the colours are nice. Can you spot the two Slann hiding in the picture above? They are about to face two Pygmies looking for water, in the picture below.

venerdì 24 aprile 2020

Citadel ME34 Merry Brandibuck (1986)

Between 1985 and 1987 Citadel developed a Lord of the Rings range, and this little fellow is Merry Brandybuck from the ME-34 Hobbits of The Shire blister. I am not sure about the sculptor - could be Perrys by the looks.

It's really a nice figure and I enjoyed very much painting it, until the last steps. After doing the eyes and the metal highlights, for some reason I started to hate it. It kind of lost its charm. Can't tell why - perhaps the bolts on the jerkin are too bright, perhaps the sword, which I tried to faithfully represent (metal sword with red and golden snakes damasqued on the blade), is not so great, perhaps the eyes look a bit dull. I just don't like it anymore - any suggestion to fix it is welcome. Maybe with just a little bit of detail I can improve him dramatically.

mercoledì 22 aprile 2020

HeroQuest with a 6 years old - Part 3

Follows from Part 2, where we left the Evil Knight escaping from the Magician and his Zombies.

So far my son had been all about exploring the Dungeon, but now something clicked in him and suddenly he felt an urge that we all experienced in the first days of our roleplaying game - the  desire to loot. So, leaving the Magician and his minions behind, he went to the Magician's apartments and started checking every piece of furniture, collecting everything he liked - namely gold and a couple of Healing potions that fixed his critical condition - and discarding things he deemed useless or dangerous - a short sword and a phial of holy water. He also found a black stone, shining of strange colours, and upon touching it he regained all his spells!
Now healed and recharged, the Evil Knights prepared for the final battle.

Eventually, the Magician came back to his quarters and, upon realizing his archenemy was there, unleashed his Undead minions on him. 

The Evil Knight was still missing one room to explore, a room strangely locked with a bolt from his side and a peephole. Watching through the latter, the Wight saw an Elf, who immediately shouted at him: "Let me go! Free me! Whoever you are, I'll help you fight the Magician!".

My son gave some consideration to the proposal - the Elf was good, while the Knight was evil, after all. Could he trust him? As the Skeletons neared, he opened the cell door and jumped inside. With the Elf on the right and the Evil Knight on the left, everything that came through that door was quickly cut down.

This turned out to be a good decision, because somehow the Knight managed to score zero skulls (damage) when attacking in three different turns. The Skeletons were all killed by the Elf, who now proceeded to charge the Magician, left alone (blue arrow). But the Magician was cunning, and cast a Pass through Rock on himself and escaped in the side corridor (purple arrow).

It looked like the Magician was escaping! But the Evil Knight had his own spell restored by the Black Stone and so he could also cast Pass through Rock and block the Magician's flight (green arrow). The evil spellcaster turned his back and ran the opposite way (purple arrow).

The Magician moved 6 squares, and the Evil Knight rolled more than that, reaching him on the second round of chase. The Elf, running to help, was intercepted by the last Zombie standing.

"I got you!" With a blow of his longsword to the back, the Evil Knight cut down the Magician! His reign of terror is over!

The Knight walked back to the Elf, who managed to get rid of the Zombie, and confronted him.
"So... can I go now?" asked the Elf.
"Yes, a deal is a deal" said the Evil Knight "and thank you for the help!"
"Thank you for freeing me!"
Off the Elf went, out of the dungeon. The Evil Knight look around in the silence that followed: he was now, once again, Master of the Dungeon and Boss of all Evil Things!

That was massively fun! My son loved it and I also enjoyed playing it, as if I was a kid myself. Sometimes, I must say, jaded player can bring your hype down, but green ones, to whom everything is new, makes a GM's job really fun.

We'll play again soon. I hope you enjoyed reading this and found some good ideas for your next Dungeon crawl with the little ones!

domenica 19 aprile 2020

HeroQuest with a 6 years old - Part 2

Follows from Part 1.

Here's how the game played. The Evil Knight descended into the Dungeon from the central staircase and went for the west door. As soon as he saw the Mummy he decided to go somewhere else, and walked around the room exploring the corridor. The Mummy, tasked with guarding the Western Section of the Dungeon, did not follow.

The Dungeon's Eastern Section hosted the Goblinoids, and a Goblin guard immediately charged the Evil Knight, and was easily dispatched.

The Knight opened one of the doors leading to the Goblins' Rooms and, upon finding two Goblins, he decided to escape and fight somewhere else. As one of the Goblins died, the other thought wiser to escape and warn the Magician, so he went straight to room H.

The Evil Knight followed into the Throne Room, where he saw his mortal enemy with the Goblin and his Skeleton guards. The Magician immediately escaped into room J, bringing his guards and leaving the lonely Goblin to delay the Evil Knight.

After slaying the Goblin, the Knight went to the study finding only the Skeleton guards; he cast Veil of Mist and walked past the Skeletons, reaching the Magician's bedroom. Unfortunately for him, the Magician was not to be found, but instead he had summoned two Fire Sprites.

Surrounded by enemies and with no Magician in sight, the Evil Knight decided to leave altogether, and cast Pass through Rock.  This brought him into the Treasure Room where the Magician was hiding, and again back into the Throne Room, from which he escaped into the corridor towards the Eastern Section. Frankly I don't know what my son was thinking, but I just played along. I assume he only wanted to explore the Dungeon at this point.

The thing is that now the Magician decided to gather all his minions and give chase. It was him, two Fire Sprites, two Skeletons and four Zombies from Room G. A fierce battle erupted in the corridor: luckily the Evil Knight could face one enemy at a time here.

But the enemies were many and he was alone, and wounded. At this point the Evil Knight cast Swift Wind, escaping out of sight of the enemy, who gave chase. However, although he apparently headed for the Eastern Section, he detoured and took a corridor back to the Western Section. The Zombies, not being particularly bright, just went east.

I thought funny that one of the Zombies, going to the end of the corridor, decided to enter the last room, which was of course the Spider Room. The critters jumped on him, not minding that his flesh was a bit stale, and quickly had the upper hand. My son thought this was massively funny and felt very smart that the monsters killed each other off.

While the Magician and his Zombies were looking for him, The Evil Knight quietly returned to the Magician's apartments. What happened will be told in Part 3.

HeroQuest with a 6 years old - Part 1

One of the best things about being a dad is to introduce your children to your hobbies, and enrich the bond between each other with the passion for nerdy things. This is how my elder son received a copy of HeroQuest for his sixth birthday.

For him it was love at first sight, but figuring out how the game actually works isn't that easy, especially since he can't read and count well yet. Under my guidance we played a number of solo games that were more role-play than board game, but he enjoyed it - still it was still an early phase where he would just explore rooms and run away from monsters, and fight only when he was cornered. I don't want to say that he was missing the point of the game, but in a way he did not understand yet the full range of possibilities available to him.

This was until the Covid19 quarantine - on an Easter weekend we managed to play an actual extended game that was really fun for both of us. For the benefit of other dads, I will record that here - hopefully it will give you some ideas on how to run a fun game with a child.

The Story

I asked my son to pick a character to play and give him a name. After some consideration, he picked a Wight and named him Evil Knight.

Then I asked him a story seed - why is the Evil Knight entering the dungeon. My son told me that he wants to be the boss of all the evil ones - again. When asked who is the current boss of the evil guys, my son picked the Necromancer, and named him Magician.

The story was clear now - the Evil Knight, once the Lord of Evil Things, had lost his position to the Magician. He wanted it back, so he entered the Dungeon to confront his nemesis.

In terms of Statistics, I had to generate a rather powerful character since the Dungeon is played solo, so here is it:

The Evil Knight
Movement 2 dice
Attack 3 dice
Defence 3 dice
Body Points 8 dice
Swift Wind (Doubles Movement)
Veil of Mist (May move through enemies)
Pass through Rock (May move through walls)

The Dungeon

I built an easy dungeon in my mind, defining details as I went along - the picture below was drawn with HeroScribe after the game was finished. The dungeon is very simple - my son rolled the starting room with 2d6, and it was the central room. On one side I decided that the Magician lived, surrounded by undead minions. On the other side, he lodged his Goblinoid mercenaries. In one corner of the dungeon I placed an abandoned room full of independent monsters - the spiders.

Here's the Legend:
A - This is a practice room for the Goblinoid mercenaries. A rack full of rusty weapons is the only element of furniture.
B - This room houses two Orcs, the leaders of the Goblinoids.
C - These three rooms house two Goblins each.
D - This abandoned room has become a den of spiders. They will attack anyone entering.
E - A large room houses a temple to the Gods of Death, guarded by a Skeleton.
F - The sacristy of the temple contains ceremonial vases and a chest containing two random treasures.
G - This room contains 4 Zombies. This is where the Magician keeps them when he doesn't need them.
H - The Magician's Throne room is where he meets with his Goblinoid minions. Two Skeletons stand guard to the door behind the throne.
I - The Magician's study holds a big desk full of scrolls and scribblings. If searched it yields a Potion of Healing
J - The Magician sleeps here: the room only contains a simple bed.
K - The Treasure Room is locked with a door that can only be opened with a key found on the body of the Magician. It contains two chests, each yielding two random treasures, a cabinet, yielding one treasure, and a Black Stone. The Black Stone is obviously magical and, if touched, will restore all the Spells of a Magic User.
L - A Cell, closed by a door that can only be opened from outside, holds a prisoner, an Elf who was captured in the Dungeon. The prisoner, upon hearing the sound of battle, will plead to be freed and will help the Player against the Magician.

In Part 2 we will see how the game played...

lunedì 13 aprile 2020

Kimril Giantslayer and WFRP's Trollslayer

I've painted my first Trollslayer. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!

Allow me a bit of hype. Not only it is a nice miniature, but it is also an iconic one - and thanks to Hobgoblin Orange blog for the mine of information about it.

This is not only a Trollslayer, but the very first Slayer in the history of Slayers. A first stub of the idea nehind Slayers already emerged in the Magnificent Sven scenario published in 1984, where in the infamous Packet Inn of Iquitos (in Lustria) one would find Juggo Joriksonn, a Dwarf Berserker covered in tattoos and affected by alcoholism and frenzy.
His most striking features are his sunken, bloodshot eyes and his awful complexion. He is in the habit of dyeing his hair torquiose [sic] and greasing it with pig fat. Its spiked and sticks out at surprising angles.
Juggo Joriksonn by Aly Morrison

In 1985 Citadel launched the Dwarf Lords of Legend Box which included, among others, a miniature obviously inspired to Juggo and Dwarf Bersekers: Kimril Giantslayer. The Perry Twins made an excellent job (as usual) with these miniatures, and Kimril somehow struck a chord.

Cover by John Blanche. Kimril second row left.

In 1986 WFRP was published, and here the concept of Slayer was first detailed with their belief in atoning shame with a honourable death:
Troll Slayers can be recognised easily by their hair, which is spiked and dyed orange, and by the many tattoos which cover their bodies. They also favour exotic jewellery, such as earrings and nose plugs. They spend a great deal of their time boasting of their exploits and showing off their many scars, and often indulge in bouts of overeating, fasting, and excessive consumption of stimulants.
Those who did not find death as Troll Slayers could eventually become Giant Slayers, or Slayers of whatever monster their obsessions would pick.

Troll Slayers became instant classics, thanks also to the cover made by John Sibbick for WFRP.

The rest, as they say, is History.

Charging here...
Charging there...