lunedì 6 dicembre 2021

D&D with an 8-years old

 Following the earlier post on HeroQuest, here I report my first real game of D&D with my son, now eight. It was massive fun.

The rules are the classic, 1st edition D&D, those from the Red Box.

The first causal game, just to explain how the system works, was a bit hit and miss. My son generated a Fighter which the named "The Viking". Armed with an axe and a shield, the Viking single-handedly assaulted a dungeon butchering the goblin guard, which was fun.

Scared by the commotion, the other goblins started barricading the only access door, but the Viking started happily axing the entrance, bent to bloodshed.

As terrified as the goblins were, they had enough presence to shoot him with their bows through the gaps of the door, and wounding him, then they ran to call their boss, an orc.

The Viking paid no heed to his wounds: he charged through the door at the orc but, lamentably, missed him and was dispatched with a single blow. Thus endeth the story of the murderous Viking. 

That wasn't fun, but it taught my son the value of assessing the power of an enemy and never underestimating a wound.

For the second game, I forced him to reroll a new character, which he named the Avenging Viking. He was, of course, the Viking's son.

The rolls were abysmal, since this Fighter has Str 8, Con 10, Int 7 and Wis 6. On the plus, he was nimble (Dex 13) and had decent outlooks (Chr 12).

The Avenging Viking (AV) was smarter than his late father. He killed the goblin guard but, being armed with a sword, had no means of bashing the barricaded door open, so the first day he left the goblins alone.

On the second day, the AV returned but failed to catch the goblin guard by surprise. He killed it but found the main door barricaded again.

On the third day again the AV assauled the dungeon: this time the goblin guard sounded the alarm and all the denizens of the dungeon ran out to face their besieger. The AV ran away, and the monsters decided not to pursue him since they had no love for the light of day. Realizing he lacked a ranged weapon, the AV returned to the village and sold the dead goblins' gear and his remaining money to buy a short bow and ten arrows.

On the fourth day the AV was unable to sneak on the goblin guard, and as the alarm sounded and all the monsters rushed off, the AV and them exchanged rounds of shooting, wounded each other lightly, but eventually came to a standoff. The AV left and, upon returning to the village, found he had become a the subject of local interest, with local elders offering unwanted advice and generally making good-humoured fun of his numerous attempts at killing the monsters. One of them suggested that the dungeon might have a backdoor, easier to attack.

On the fifth day, the AV looked for a backdoor but only found the den of a wormlike monster, which he managed to wound but not to kill. Then he assaulted again the main entrance, alarmed the monsters, ran away, exchanged volleys of arrows with them until they decided to pursue him. Luckily for him, the AV managed to distance them. That night, at the village, he learned that the creature he had found was a Carrion Crawler, a dangerous monster better left alone because he could paralyze victims with his tentacles.

On the sixth day, the AV manufactured himself a spear, which he used to attack the Carrion Crawler while keeping out of reach. The worm retreated into its hole, but the AV wisely decided not to crawl into it and follow suit. Again he disturbed the monsters, was chased, and eventually returned home with a couple of arrows sticking off his back. That night, the elders suggested that it was dangerous to go alone, and the AV should look for an adventuring companion at the tavern. This is where the AV met Banedon the Cleric, who wanted to fight evil monsters in the name of the Gods.

On the sixth day, the AV and Banedon approached the dungeon and were able to sneak on the goblin guard. Then they set up an ambush: while Banedon distracted the monsters, the AV would hide and attack their rear. Everything seemed to go well, when the AV fell on the orc and plunged his sword into its black heart, avenging the death of his father. But then the remaining two goblins decided to fight like cornered beasts: one killed Banedon and the other wounded badly the AV. Just before the killing blow that would have ended the Fighter's life, Banedon's warhammer shone of a divine light, distracting the goblins and allowing the AV to escape (yes, GM intervention, that's ok I guess, the player needs encouragement). The AV made his way back to the village, grieving his friend's death at the hands of the goblins.

This time the AV took a few days to heal from his wounds. Again, he looked at the tavern for a companion but only found a magician girl named Ghiscar, who was very keen to join him. At first the AV would not hear her pleas - he didn't like girl adventurers, thank you - but at last he was convinced by the lack of other options.

Three days later, the AV and Ghiscar made their way to the dungeon and found it abandoned: the surviving goblins had left, taking with them all the food and valuables they could. Exploring the ruins, the two adventurers avoided a pit trap and found a secret door that the orc might have known, but the goblins didn't. In a secret room they found a chest which they pried open: it contained, among other treasures, the axe of the Viking and a red sword. Overjoyed, the AV felt closure for his quest for vengeance. The heavy chest leaned on a door, also locked, as if the orc had tried to block it. The AV insisted on opening it but Ghiscar would not hear any of it (she was a lot more sensible than the AV and Banedon, it turns out).

Instead they explored the rest of the dungeon. In the main room they found human bones, which could have belonged to Banedon: they gave them a burial. In a side corridor, they discovered an entrance that led to the den of the Carrion Crawler, which they attacked from behind. Among bones and dirt they found many valuable gems, and returned to the village significantly richer than before. But most of all, the AV had avenged his father, retrieved his axe and a red sword which looked very much magical...

My son had massive fun, but I also admit that I had a good time. Red Box's rules are easy and fast paced enough to allow narrative gaming with minimum effort on number crunching. Next time, the AV is going back to open the sealed door... what will he find behind it? Since I have no idea yet, suggestions to the GM are welcome!

martedì 9 novembre 2021

Gandalf casting spell - Mithril M289 (1993)

There's not much to say about this miniature. It's simply great. Great, great, great. Plus, it's Gandalf, one of the coolest characters in fiction.


This is the second Gandalf miniature I paint, at least from Mithril. The first one is lost in the mists of time. See for yourself, if you think my skills have improved:


2021 vs 1997-ish

I am actually pretty happy with this one. Definitely one of my ten best so far. I am learning to play with that grey.

sabato 26 giugno 2021

Slann Renegade with looted weapons (1984)

This mini comes from the Magnificent Sven scenario, published in 1984, and it is classified as "Slann warrior". The sculpt is from the Perry Twins. What I love about this Slann are the details that make it special: the crest over the head, making it look special and "punk"; the interesting mix of traditional Slann and metal weapons, which gives it the look of a deserter with looted equipment. The slightly crouched, defensive position, as if about to ambush an enemy.

Besides Imperial Slann and Savage Slann, an interesting and often overlooked faction of Lustria are the Renegade Slann. Those born within the Empire who, for practical or ideological reasons, forsake it and live as outlaws. They may be deserters from the Imperial Army, religious or political dissidents, escaped criminals. Sometimes simply followers of the Forbidden Gods.

They survive on the outskirts of the Slann Empire as bandits, smugglers or mercenaries. They are generally nomadic, always on the run from their foes, but sometimes they may form permanent communities. Unlike Imperial Slann, they have no qualms about adopting foreign customs - they are fond of iron and steel weaponry and they are ready to learn the lore of the ghanazil (non-Lustrians) - if those serve their purpose.


mercoledì 2 giugno 2021

Sea Elf Bolt-thrower - converted from a Dark Elf one (1991)

I've been looking hard to find a Sea Elf (slash High Elf) Bolt-thrower from WFB 3rd editions, and I was lucky. More than lucky, in fact, as fellow
Oldhammer Elf fan Tim Welch was so gallant to let me have some bits in need of love - a Dark Elf Bolt-thrower missing its original wheels and its crew. They had earlier been painted up but probably disassembled at some point. I stripped them and set myself to sculpt some new wheels with copper wire and greenstuff, which turned out okay-ish. Well, here they are.

They don't look too abysmal, I hope, as members of the Lustrian Sea Elf clan of the Silverpearl, inhabiting the Elf island off the coast of the Imperial Slann city of Osshual. Known for their craftiness in trade and diplomacy, the Silverpearls have a long history in Lustria, which they credit to their habit of not entering melee. They let other, smaller, younger and less important clans join the fray for them. The Silverpearls man the bolt-throwers.

The original crew sculpts looks like a proper militia, none of them having similar armour or equipment. I painted them accordingly, tying them together by the use of similar colours: a garish cyan, off-white and black. They all have a similar, pale shell on the base.

martedì 13 aprile 2021

Skaven Clanrats from Warhammer Island of Blood Box (2010)

 I'll keep it extra-short this time. I've been having fun painting a bunch of Skaven pawns. Originally they're from WFB 8th edition box Island of Blood (dated  2010), the one with the High Elves too, but these are great for any game from WFRP to HeroQuest. Enjoy.

Mithril Mordor Orcs - M151, M310

I have been quite hyped with Middle-earth lately, possibly as a consequence of the new TOR RPG Kickstarter, and I decided to dig up some baddies from the Mithril leadpile. So here we are with these Mordor Orcs: M151 from 1990 ("Mordor Orcs") and M310 from 1993 ("Mordor Orc Standard Bearer").

I went for a simple paint-job: dark brown skin-tone, black and tan clothes, black leather and iron armour and weapons. I added a bit of bronze/brass here and there, and a red eye painted on the standard. Overall I am pretty pleased with the result, considering the effort - Orcs do not require too much detail after all.

lunedì 12 aprile 2021

Mithril M132 Bard of Esgaroth (1990)

Bard of Esgaroth. First sculpt of this character by Mithril, in 1990. Solid figure, in quite a theatrical pose: not really suited to be used as a playing piece, but easily associated with the topical moment of Bard's life - when he shoots the Dragon.

I always liked Bard, since my first reading of the Hobbit. There is something fresh with him, that being essentially an anti-hero, a stern man with a coarse voice, whose grim advice goes unheeded by the people until the moment of need, when he turns into a real hero, a Dragonslayer and then a true king, not only by blood but also by merit. Like Bilbo, he was underestimated by all, and possibly by the reader too, which makes his rise even more surprising.

He's been variously portrayed in graphic arts: 

A perpetually angry archer by M. Belomlinsky (1976)

A scruffy looking man from the animated Rankin/Bass animated movie (1977)

A determined warrior in the Dixon graphic novel (1998)
A bewildered vagrant by Denis Gordeev (200?)
A handsome single father in PJ's movie trilogy (2012-2014)
Say what you want, Belomlinsky's Bard is my absolute favourite, by far. Here's mine, a sand-blonde fellow with yellow, black and brown clothing, aiming his longbow high to shoot the Dragon.