Advent Die Geburt Krampuskind

Just noticed my #shamelesscommerce in the last few posts is being frustrated by the fact that the publisher’s site is down (though you can still cop a pdf at DTRP). Anyway here’s another seasonal repost.

nat-der-kra-2

In just eighteen days we’ll be celebrating the nativity of the Krampuskind!

Left to right we see a manger animal (Reaper Miniatures), an angel (Ral Partha), Krampusjoseph (Heritage Models), the Krampuskind (Dollar Tree),  Krampusmary and two magi (all Metal Magic), and a third magi (Grenadier).

Krampus gloriam in excelsis!

Amen!

Click the image below to embiggen…

nativity der krampuskind

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Published in: on December 7, 2017 at 2:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Happy feast day, Saint Nicholas, wherever you are (or, This is clearly not a repost to remind people buy The Poor Pilgrim’s Almanack, but now that you mention it, it makes a great gift!)

Readers of my book will know that St. Nicholas has a grave in Myrna, Turkey, a tomb in Kilkenny, Ireland, and shrines in Bari and Venice, Italy — each of the Italian shrines containing fully one half of his skeleton. He also has a sacred cave near Bethlehem and an island named after him which is known for its ever-sharp tools. I assume there are suitable festivities going on in all those places right now, December 6th, his feast day. Among his miracles are saving ships from storms and raising three boys who had been mummified* from the dead.

Image result for st nicholas

*or pickled, in some versions of the story.

#shamelesscommerce

 

Published in: on December 6, 2017 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Maybe you’re on the market for a piece of the True Cross?

Well then you’re in luck. (Link to catalog listing where you can request a quote.)

But wouldn’t you rather get your relics the old-fashioned way — plundering catacombs?

If so, you should buy The Poor Pilgrim’s Alamanck. Tons of information to help you add relics, miracles, pilgrimage, and catacombs to your D&D game.

Makes a great gift for Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, birthdays, Hanukkah (buy eight!), or Decemberween.

 

Published in: on December 2, 2017 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

No elf rangers or druids

I could probably develop this into a more detailed and nuanced argument, but here goes with some thoughts as I kill ten minutes at my desk, when I should be on my way home but have an after-hours union meeting to wait around for.

Just a contrarian thought. Elves always seem to be a go-to choice for rangers because most versions of D&D give rangers some extra skill with bows, and elves have bonuses to hit with long bows at least in AD&D. Rangers are also associated with the outdoors, and elves love nature, right?

Going back to the first instance of rangers in a D&D manual (the AD&D PHB), we just have this laconic description before jumping into their abilities and powers: “Rangers are a sub-class of fighter who are adept at woodcraft, tracking, scouting, and infiltration and spying.” Their powers revolve around killing “giant class” monsters (generally speaking, humanoids/goblinoids, and not including giants but including ogres and trolls), tracking, and some spells. Their increased chance of surprise would make them pretty deadly with bows under first edition surprise rules. But apart from limited druid spells and attracting woodland followers, I’m not really seeing the nature-loving aspect to them. They look a lot more like Tolkien’s rangers, who protected mankind by patrolling the frontiers. Rambo more than Robin Hood.

Why would elves be protectors of mankind? The first edition restriction that elves can not be rangers makes sense in this light, especially if you mix in some of the Poul Anderson ideas about elves being not so friendly to humans.

D&D druids are fleshed out a bit more, but the basic idea is that they are throwbacks to Celtic druids (as described by Julius Caesar?), and worship trees, the sun, and moon. Bearing in mind that AD&D elf characters are always high elves, the shouldn’t be druids. Druids sound rather backward; a refined elven culture certainly wouldn’t be worshiping nature directly, but would have developed a pantheon of gods, as we see in Deities & Demigods. Even if wood elves are allowed per Unearthed Arcana and post-1st edition versions of D&D, wood elves don’t seem any wilder or more primitive than high elves, just different.

Druids are tied, minimally, to a certain kind of semi-barbaric human civilization. (OK, barbaric according to Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars, which was propaganda, but we’re buying the myth anyway by making them tree-worshipers). Elves are not Celts or Gauls. Rangers are also tied to human civilization, as a sort of frontier defender of humans. Again, not a role you would see taken by up non-humans.

In this light, half-elf rangers make a little more sense (and really half-orc rangers make more sense than elves, while we’re at it) — half-human outcasts might be deployed to the frontiers, hidden from prejudiced eyes and laboring to defend a wold they are not really accepted by.

So whenever I see people say it just “makes sense” to allow elves to be rangers and druids, I shake my head. It makes sense only if you divorce those classes from they actually represent and focus solely on the “nature” part of their roles. But both classes actually serve humanity; they simply do so on the fringes of civilization, in the wilds.

 

 

Published in: on December 1, 2017 at 4:27 pm  Comments (3)  
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Saurians

When I bought a bag of broken minis and assorted spare parts at a convention, among the bits were parts for five Games Workshop lizardmen (I think at one point they were called “Saurians” or “Saurus”?), and a bunch of the smaller lizardmen (“Skinks”). The skinks were mostly used as kobolds. It took me a while to get around to doing anything with most of the Saurians, though, because they were lacking arms and one had no head. When I picked up a couple of plastic GW kits, I figured out a plan. Using parts from the Chaos Marauders box (arms, standards, a shoulder pad, and a shield) and the flagellants box (another arm), as well as a spare arm from a Lionheart figure, I came up with these.

I’m not 100% happy with the feathers yet but I went ahead and sealed them knowing I am unlikely to do much more painting between now and Yule.

I think of the one with the standard as a shaman. I was quite pleased with the look of the other fellow with what is obviously part of the standard as his head/mask/helmet.

And here’s the whole set of lizard folk in my collection now.

Top row: kobolds (skinks, and Grenadier and Heritage, and a handful of plastic WOTC figures).

Second row: old Grenadier lizard men. Painted blue to be troglodytes.

Third row: later Grenadier lizardmen and the GW Saurians.

Bottom row: three WizKids recasts of a Ral Partha lizardman, a couple of WOTC plastic troglodytes, a Grenadier “Salamanewt,” and a Grenadier Champions supervillain/cobraman.

 

Published in: on November 30, 2017 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Rats!

I was inspired to paint most of my were-rats. Actually a couple were repainted — I decided that I’d like them all to look similar, and the paint jobs on two of them were pretty bad. I also have a few other were-rats, ratmen, or Skaven that were painted adequately, or at least didn’t need to be redone. They were completed in two sessions over Thanksgiving weekend, along with a few other figures that will appear later.

First up, the two oldest sculpts, which are also the least equipped. On the left, a Heritage Dungeon Dweller. I’m not sure if his sword is broken or miscast; I have never seen an example with a longer sword but based on the hilt it look like it must have been longer; possibly the sculpt was intended to represent a broken sword? On the right, a Grenadier were-rat dating from the Wizzards and Warriors line. I didn’t risk straightening out his sword, because those old Grenadiers break a lot. He came in the “Dungeon Monsters” box which was also sold as part of the AD&D line.

Next up, some slightly later Grenadier were-rats, from the AD&D line. There are two poses in the original blister I don’t have, and the leftmost is the were-rat leader is from the boxed “Action Art” set that came with paints and various monsters designed by TSR staff.

I especially like the one with a falchion. The kitchen knife in his belt and small keg, and especially the tassel on his cap, all give him a lot of character. Both the leftmost figures have giant rats at their feet, and the leader has another on his shoulder, which is a great touch. He originally had a separate scimitar to glue on, which seems excessive given that he already has a warhammer in his belt, but since he was sculpted with a flattened area to attach the sword to, I gave him a replacement gladius. The spearman’s spear was also broken, so he’s got a bill now. All three of the figures from the blister pack were sent in by blog readers. Some time back a couple of guys sent me a bunch of old minis they were not going to use, and a few others also traded some figures to me for books I was done with. The Heritage were-rat was one I got in trade, I think.

Finally, a Skaven assassin of some kind. He’s a Games Workshop plastic and was in a bag of spare parts and broken figures I picked up as Origins one year.

Like many GW Skaven, he has a mace head on his tail, which is kind of silly since rats don’t have a lot of control of their tails. Maybe Skaven tails are more prehensile.

And here’s the lot, ready to go back on the shelf. There are ten plastic Skaven from the old GW “Regiments” box that had ten each of wood elves, orcs, goblins, Skaven, dark elves, and dwarves. There are also two more metal Skaven (top row), and a Ral Partha rat man (middle row far left), and a later Grenadier were-rat (far left bottom row). 20 were-rats ready for battle!

Published in: on November 29, 2017 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sea monsters

When I was painting up all those pirates and swashbucklers over the summer, I also tried to pull together all the aquatic monsters in my colleciton. It turns out there weren’t all that many unless I count plastic and rubber animals which could be giant crabs, octopodes, sharks, and that sort of thing. Here’s what I did have to paint.

A Reaper marsh troll, a TSR scrag, and Grenadier sahuagin. I spent the most time on the sahuagin, since he’s got a lot of gear, and the Monster Manual description mentions that they are lighter in front, and dark in the back, which makes sense for a fish-man; really almost all animals are lighter on their bellies/undersides and darker on top, as camouflage in the water. I think land animals might retain that as a leftover from evolution. The eyes are described as shiny and black (dead eyes like a doll?) so I just put a couple of dots of white to suggest a glint. The troll I painted similarly.  I believe I read that sahuagin leaders are larger, so the marsh troll is especially suitable on that count, though he should maybe have some equipment.

Before doing those guys, I also painted a pair of mermaids (clear plastic drink hangers), a merman (some kind of rubbery gumball machine toy) and another scrag.

Not sea-related but I also repainted a MageKnight figure that I assume is some kind of night hag on a nightmare. I think that’s some kind of organ she’s hurling. A little big for a heart … maybe it was supposed to be a fireball?

 

Published in: on November 28, 2017 at 5:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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Minotaur, ettins, more sneaky hobbitses (We hates them forever!)

On the left, an Asgard halfling; right, a Reaper minotaur by Sandra Garrity. The only thing these two have in common (apart from being painted the same night) is that both were purchased at conventions. The halfling was purchased at Neovention, a fairly big convention that used to be mostly held at the University of Akron. I went to it once or twice in the late 1980s with my brother and some friends, and vaguely recall buying some loose miniatures including this halfling and some furniture that might have been old Citadel stuff. The minotaur I picked up for a buck (!) at Origins maybe ten years ago. The same vendor had some old TSR miniatures (I bought a bunch of them) and various other clearances figures.

Here’s another view of the minotaur next to a Heritage man-at-arms for scale.

Next up two Grenadier ettins. I painted the green one maybe 10-15 years ago. Green because he’s a bit short for an ettin but reasonable for a two-headed troll. He’s also one of the few figures I tried stippling on, to increase the depth of his relatively smooth limbs. The other one I painted more recently. He looks a lot more stooped because I never tried to straighten him out — the green one has had his ankles broken and reglued many times because I tried bending him and the leas just snapped. A lot of Grenadier castings were fairly brittle. I’ve read that they used lead from a lot of sources, including printer’s type, and maybe that had something to do with it.

Finally, two more sneaky hobbits! On the left, a halfing from the Kenzer & Co.’s Hackmaster line (now produced by Ral Partha/Iron Wind). On the right, a halfling sniper from the Grenadier Woodland Adventurers box.

Almost all of the Hackmaster minis I have I bought another time at Origins. The Kenzer booth had loose minis relatively cheaply (I bought one of every type of PC they had; no monsters at that time). The guys also gave me and my brother free copies of the Hackmaster PHB; I think Tom bought the DMG.

The Woodland Adventurers were a Christmas gift in 1981 or 82. There were a few repeats of figures in other sets, I think, but overall a great variety of elves, gnomes, and similar.

Published in: on November 21, 2017 at 5:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Two Beowolves and sneaky hobbitses

I’m getting closer on finishing up all my barbarians (excluding a bunch of plastics), and I think this one is the oldest — the Ral Partha Beowulf, which dates back to 1978 I think. Mine had some filing on the base so I’m not positive; the Lost Minis Wiki also shows a version with a separate axe, which might be earlier or might be a conversion.

Here he is side-by-side with another Beowulf, the Asgard/Viking Forge figure.

Asgard’s figure certainly looks more like an historical Viking type, maybe from a bit later than the Beowulf story. Apart from the horned helmet, Ral Partha’s is pretty convincing for the dark ages.

I’ve been working some more on halflings, and this batch is all from the Grenadier AD&D set, except for the chubbier thief who was in the Thieves set. Not pictured are an archer who has been missing for decades, the lookouts who I posted long ago, and the lancer on a pack mule who is still not painted — I have a lot of mounted adventurers to get to some day. These guys are a little close to being finished that the Ral Partha figures posted last time, and mostly just need their bases finished and their eyes fixed. The first batch are especially bug-eyed.

 

The thief (center right) always struck me as Frodo, and the swordsman next to him as Bilbo decked out for the Battle of Five Armies. This particular one needed some reconstruction as he’d lost his sword. Because I have another of the same, I also moved his arm to different position. (I just realized I painted them both in reds and greens!)

 

I always liked the guy in the middle, relaxing against a tree stump. Painting him, I realized his pipe stem was miscast, missing partly. I just filled in the gap with some white glue, which seems to have worked. The “spear chucker” (as he’s labeled in one insert) needed repairs too — the front of his javelin had broken off. I see that his atl-atl was miscast as well, partly missing.

I’m pretty sure the halflings set was the first box of miniatures my brother & I ever purchased, probably in 1980 or 1981.

 

Published in: on November 15, 2017 at 8:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Barbarians, halflings, and some monsters

Here’s a real grab bag.

A few barbarians I hadn’t posted yet. Two from Asgard (Viking Forge recasts):

This one sort of replaces a figure I lost … not really sure when. But at one point I had this and a similar unarmored and beardless dude which is no longer in production. Both originally came with a selection of weapons (hand axes, swords, shield, bow and arrows maybe?) but I got mine second hand so I’m not positive what was originally theirs. Anyway I had to give him a different sword than the rather chunky one that he came with, because his hands are tiny, almost Trump-like.

Next up is another Asgard/VF barbarian, fairly traditional.

This guy is a MageKnight figure, and honestly not the best in terms of pose, detail, and proportions. But he’ll work as Chaos Thug or something.

TSR’s Conan the king. The axe is a replacement. He’s probably the worst figure in the set — he came with a neat Thak the Ape (which probably was the main reason my brother bought the set) and a decent Thoth-Amon, as well as an excellent  vampiress and a couple of serpent things.

 

A couple of random monsters, both Grenadier. On the left, a Vegetation Beast, from the Fragon Lords “Horrors of the Marsh” set. This was a rather odd set — it had great work by John Dennett, but for whatever reason he must have been ordered to partly replicate the original AD&D “Denizens of the Swamp”. Both sets had lizard men, a giant snake, a troll, and plant-based monster, though they diverged from there. Anyway he’s a great and unique monstrosity. The gargoyle next to him is a bit of a cheat. The wings are not original — I got the figure second-hand with no wings, but also acquired the wings separately in a trade. I think they are Reaper — I remember them making a blister of spare bird and bat wings to customize your own angels and devils or something.

FWIW here are all my fungus and plant monsters, including slimes but leaving out the treants (hah!), in their designated box.

Two more monsters — a HeroClix villian repainted as a beastman or satyr, and a hag (night hag?) from Metal Magic (a MegaMinis recast). I’m not 100% happy with the night hag. I kind of rushed the eyes and they look like bloody sockets rather than glowing red. I can’t remember anything about the superhero/villain except that he is an alien of some kind and exiled from his planet. I don’t even remember if he is a DC or Marvel character. But he makes a good beastman.

As a break from the barbarian horde, I started looking at my halflings, who have always been under-represented on my painting desk. Here are a bunch of Ral Partha halfling militia. Don’t look too close, really need to finish them up later. They unusually petite. Here’s a couple next to a Grenadier halfling. The rest of that set (barring the archer, which has been MIA for decades) will be coming soon…

Published in: on November 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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