Denn die Todten reiten Schnell

Admittedly one of the weirder miniatures now in my collection, this is a “Corpse Cart” from Games Workshop. I found the kit in a discount bin so how could I not? There were a few extra bits for alternative assemblies and customization. It’s not my neatest paint job, but I’m happy with it.

As you can see, it’s a cart pulled by a team of zombies who have apparently been nailed to, or impaled on, the yoke. The corpses in the cart don’t all look dead, and they are being munched on by a handful of giant rats (some of them are tunneling through the bodies).

The ghoulish driver might be a vampire, or some kind of necromancer. I have no idea how this thing functions in a game of Warhammer, but I imagine it either spreads terror through the opponents’ ranks, or rams into them like an Achaemenid Persian scythed chariot. Maybe your necromancers can use it to raise additional zombie forces. In that case it sort of goes with the Skeleton recruiting party.

I do like how the cart mimics a rib cage.

The blood splatter was accomplished by taking an old toothbrush, loading it with a bit of paint, and running my thumb across it so it splattered the model when I nearly finished painting it.

While I was waiting for various parts to dry, I worked on some vampires, which I’ll photograph eventually. Here’s a Grenadier “Blood giant,” which I suppose is what happens when a giant or ogre gets bitten.

I was still having fun with the gore effects. The fuzz near his feet is meant to suggest a cloud of fog or smoke. His left foor was not fully formed and there was a suggestion of liquid or gas welling up around him, so maybe he’s emerging from, or disappearing into, some fog.

Here a few other odds and ends I painted recently.

The first is one of John Dennett’s Grenadier figures from the Monster Manuscript series. Maybe inspired by the Mi-go of H.P. Lovecraft.

Next up, a Superior Models wizard. Very clearly based on the description of Gandalf from the Hobbit; his eyebrows really do come out to the brim of his hat! I like the face in the staff too.

Lastly, three serpent folk.

The oldest is a Grenadier “Wizzards & Warriors” medusa. It’s a rarity, being male. His expression makes me think of “Little” Steven van Zandt. The arms are very disproportionate. It’s obviously one of the very early monsters from that range, when Andrew Chernack was still developing his skills.

The other medusa is from German “Metal Magic” line. It’s pretty standard looking but nicely sculpted.

The last one I’m not sure about. His left arm probably had another “sword” originally, but it had been cut off when I got him. He’s holding a shield from the Zvedza “Orku” set. I got that figure in a lot with a bunch of broken or incomplete figures sold as scrap metal on ebay.

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Published in: on August 7, 2019 at 6:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Stonefoot’s revenge

The first D&D campaign I ever ran was only about seven years ago. I made a lot of mistakes but the best thing I did, I think, was to have a rival party of adventurers to annoy the players’ party.

It all started with one of the early adventures, where the party was exploring an “abandoned” mine. The party was attacked by some dwarves, and captured their leader. Under torture he refused to give up any information, and one character made good on a threat to hack off the dwarf’s foot. At that point the other characters intervened and called off the questioning, but I decided they’d made an enemy for life. As the adventure progressed the party discovered that the dwarves were under the influence of fungus that grew in the mines, and released the surviving dwarves from their derangement.

The dwarf leader would eventually have a stone replacement foot made, and went by the name “Stonefoot.” He gathered a party of adventurers, who naturally were largely caricatures of the PCs, just as Stonefoot was a tyrannical leader in parody of the player dwarf who often took charge of the party.

Stonefoot and his crew avoided any direct confrontations. They often looted areas of the dungeon after the PCs withdrew to recuperate, and always claimed credit for the party’s deeds when they could. Stonefoot hired several bards to compose ballads praising his group and casting aspersions on the PCs. The party returned to the main town after a wilderness adventure to find that statures of Stonefoot and his party were erected in the town square. And when the party lead a valiant defense of the town against attacking orcs, bugbears, and pirates, Stonefoot spread word that his group were the real heroes of the day.

After the campaign petered out, I rebooted the setting but taking place several hundred years later. The new PCs — mostly played by players who’d been in the first campaign — eventually got to fight Stonefoot and his party, who’d been sealed in a vault for centuries. The Elf and dwarf of the group were aged but otherwise fine (they did have access to Create Food and Water), while the humans in the party were undead — one was a berserker with a “Belt of Undeath,” and another was a cleric who’d preserved himself as a Mummy. It was great fun springing them on the party, who were attempting to break into the vault for other reasons, and a fairly epic fight. It brought about a nice resolution to a long-lasting vendetta.

<I may have planned a conclusion to this draft, which has been sitting for a couple of years in my drafts, but I have no idea what it was, so I’ll just stat out the Belt of Undeath>

 

Belt of Undeath (any class may use)

The Belt of Undeath is a potent item. The wearer gains 10 HP, and will regenerate 1 HP every other round (damage from blessed or holy weapons, holy water, and similar will bot regenerate). The wearer will also benefit from all the spell immunities normally conferred on the undead, such as immunity to Fear, Sleep, Charm, and Hold Person spells. The belt also provides protection as Leather Armor (-2 to AC), even though it covers only the waist, making it especially useful to those who cannot otherwise wear armor. This armor class bonus does not stack with conventional or magic armor, but does stack with shields, helms, or rings or cloaks of protection. The wearer also need not eat, drink, or breath, and is immune to all poisons and inhaled gasses. In fact the wearer also ignores the effects of age, because after one day per year of the character’s age when first donned, the wearer becomes undead, and can be turned (use the character’s level as a guide for the equivalent undead type). Holy water does d6 points of damage per vial to the character, and healing spells do not work. However, unholy water consumed by the character will heal as if they were healing potions. Once undead, the character will slowly decompose, although cold and/or extremely dry conditions will slow or halt the decomposition. Wearers generally end up with the appearance of a skeleton or mummy, giving a -4 Charisma when dealing with Lawful or Neutral creatures.

Published in: on July 16, 2019 at 2:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The relics of Notre Dame

As you will have heard, the fire at Notre Dame cathedral did not destroy two of its most famous relics: a, I mean the, Crown of Thorns sported by JC at his last public appearance, and the tunic of St Louis, supposedly worn by the king turned saint when he brought the crown back to France. It was given as a bribe to Louis IX in exchange for his support of king Baldwin, who had pawned the crown as security against a loan for 13,000 gold pieces from the Venetians.

The crown itself has no thorns, as these were distributed to other sites as important relics. But happily by the power of sympathetic magic, I mean Divine Grace, many more thorns were transformed into  relics (third class) by being touched to thcrown.

It’s kind of cool that human chains of the faithful rescued and other valuables from the fire this week. But technically they needn’t have bothered: any medieval theologian could have told them that real relics can’t be burned. But if you read Burgs & Bailiffs Trinity  you knew that.

Published in: on April 16, 2019 at 12:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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2019, minis painted to date

I’ve had a handful of productive days painting, in spite of everything.

On my birthday, I finally painted the infamous Ral Partha three-headed troll!

It is a bit of a testament to Tom Meier’s skill as a sculptor that when I uploaded a photo of this on Ye Faces Booke, I was asked to tag Curly and Larry!

I decided to also paint a Ral Partha AD&D ettin. I already had one from many years ago, so I painted this one red, after the fairy tale Red Ettin (which had three heads, but who’s counting?)

And here’s a group shot all the ettins I’ve painted to date. The tan ettin has the oldest paint job, though the green one (Grenadier) is my oldest and was repainted when I was in college some 25 years ago.

Next up, a Grenadier dragon. He came in a lot of old minis and needed a new passenger side front claw. A spare bit from a GW cold one sufficed. Because the color scheme is so simple he hardly took any time to finish.

That same lot had a bunch of really old dungeon dressing, mostly from Grenadier’s old Wizzards & Warriors line.

Two small statues that reminded me of Tikis:

A couple of thrones or chairs. I believe they’re from the same “temple” set, but have what I can only assume are Indic naga figures on the backs.

A pair of altars. Scale creep is real. On the left, a Reaper Bones altar; on the right, the Grenadier W&W altar. The demonic figure behind the small altar is a bit shorter than a typical man-sized 25mm miniature.

Next, a few piles of bullion from the Grenadier W&W treasure room set. I have a another pile that came as a “bonus” in a set of supervillian villains from Grenadier.

And these are pretty cool. On the right, an iron maiden (also Grenadier W&W) and on the left, a mystery figure that seems to have been a “bonus” mini in certain Grenadier “Encounter …” boxed sets. Several other pieces from the Encounter at Lloth-Komar were in the lot, and a FB group member asserts he got the same piece in his set, so maybe it’s just in that one.

This next piece is a hammer from the board game “Dark World” mounted as a Spiritual Hammer spell. That spell has often featured in our D&D games so it will be nice to have a way to keep track of it.

Another quickie paint job is this Reaper silver dragon. This too came it a big lot I bought online, and luckily with all its pieces.

Back to the scenery, here’s a Minifigs Valley of the Four Winds figure: man impaled on tree. The VFW line is pretty great, and this one — from 1978 — is pretty unsettling. The humans in that range tend to be either in baroque armor from an Ian Miller drawing or 19th century finery. This chap has a high collared jacket and spats!

Also from Lloth-Komar: a dragon statue.

Next up a couple of fun items scavenged from bits and parts. Inspired by the 1980s Michael Caine thriller “The Hand,” I took a bunch of spare hands from a plastic kit and made a swarm of hands.

I also found an unidentifiable pair of hands that probably go to a scale model. The other hand holds a gun. But the clenched fist screams Bigby’s Hand spells, so I painted it up as one.

For scale, next to the wizard form last update.

The greenish paint you may have noticed on the spells is a GW “technical” paint I bought on a lark. I decided to try it on some spirits I recently acquired. On the left, a Grenadier ghost. There is another version with a less fluttery cloak and base, and I have a few of those, so I decided to put this one on a wire like it’s floating. Next to it is a Minifigs Sword & Sorcery line ghoul.

On the far left, a Wizzards & Warriors wraith. The other two are later versions of the wraith/ghost. They don’t really lean to the side, that is an artifact of taking a photo close up with my phone. I have a lot of ghosts and wraiths painted various shades of grey, black, or white, so I figured I’d add a little color.

I was really pleased to find this tree man (“Tree with arms and face”) from the VFW line. His companions are a couple of tree stumps made out of polymer clay, and will naturally serve as casualty markers for ents.

These two were fun. On the left, a toilet mimic, made of soft rubber and probably from a gumball machine. I inserted a wire for stability and painted a few layers of Mod Podge on it to make it a bit more stable and keep the paint from flaking off. The chest is just a plastic piece from a Weapons and Warriors game. I keep finding components to the games I picked up on clearance when Kay Bee went under 10 or 12 years ago.

These are a couple of pillars from Citadel’s Fantasy Specials line. You never can have too many pillars.

Another mini that somehow took me about thirty-five years to paint is this table from the Grenadier AD&D “Wizard’s room” set. Next to it is a scratch-built flying carpet made form epoxy putty. There’s a 1″ x 1″ flat space on it for a mini to occupy. I meant to eventually make all the possible sizes of flying carpets from the DMG but never got inspired.

I especially like the little lizard behind the skull candle holder.

Lastly, a ballista which I am unsure of the origins of. The lot it came in had both Roman and Orc crew from Grenadier, and a catapult, so maybe Grenadier. It’s quite large though, so maybe some other company. I added the string (a bit of thread).

Published in: on March 9, 2019 at 9:34 am  Comments (1)  
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Quote of the day, perhaps applicable to current events

“If a man has character, he has also his typical experience, which always recurs.”

— Beyond good and evil,  Aphorism 70, F.W. Nietzsche.

Published in: on February 12, 2019 at 9:14 pm  Comments (1)  

Fantasy Wargaming : the audiobook

This is some very old news, but I’ve just noticed a DAISY version of the venerable early roleplaying game Fantasy Wargaming available for borrowing from the Internet Archive! DAISY, for those unfamiliar with it, is a “talking book” format developed for people with disabilities that prevent them from using printed books, such as blindness, dyslexia, and so forth. So really a DAISY book is much more than an audiobook (which would be a recording reading of a book). The DAISY format allows much more sophisticated manipulation of the text, both as audio (changing reading speeds, using searches or indexes, and so forth) as well as including image files for low-vision users needing larger displays. you will need to create an account to “borrow” it from the Internet Archive. I have not actually tested the DAISY file, and it is certainly easier for someone who can read a standard format book to obtain a copy (going for as little $5 on Amazon last I checked). But it’s pretty cool that someone took the time to make this book accessible to folks with disabilities.

Published in: on January 16, 2019 at 3:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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2019? Impossible

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything, and I’ve had a lot going on. I did manage to paint a few more miniatures. Some of the photos include a penny for scale since I posted the pics to social media where not everyone knows what the hell these are.

Click pix to embiggen.

First up, some undead rising. I had a bunch of spare parts from some kits so I cobbled them together with gravestones made of bits of matte board. I’ll need to flock the bases some day.

Next up, some barbarians. The two on the left are plastic, from board games, while the two on the right are metal. The big guy is a spoof of Thrudd the Barbarian (himself a spoof of Conan), while the little guy is a VERY old Ral Partha sculpt from when 25mm scale meant 1/72 scale. He’s now sold as a “young barbarian” and still in production! I had an older casting from a box set but it was one of the many lost in a tragic incident I’ve mentioned before.

Next up a couple of plant monsters from the TSR line of AD&D minis.  I don’t remember what they are called but they sure were easy to paint.

Nextly, some GW Horrors of Tzeentch. They should only be pink or blue per the Warhammer fluff but I thought I’d mix em up. A couple needed tails, which a cheap plastic dinosaur donated (one has the actual tail and the other has a leg as a tail). A WotC “ravening maw” is crashing their party too.

The “musician” is easily my favorite. Very Boschian.

Ole Birdy is cool too.

Gotta love Pinky and his asymmetrical eyes.

The maw was missing an arm, but a plastic dinosaur supplied a replacement.

Finally, some random minis — a Reaper succubus, yet another plastic barbarian, and a really old Ral Partha necromancer.

The ole Schnozzola!

 

Published in: on January 4, 2019 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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Bards and stuff

I’m still not painting as regularly as I’d like, but here’s a few I did in the past month. All still need their bases finished.

First, a bard that I’ve had for about 35 years. He came in the “Woodland adventurers” box.IMG_20181004_231821841

Here he is with the rest of the band. The harpist is another Grenadier AD&D bard (from the “Specialists” box) and the lute-player is from one of the MPC “Action Scenes” kits, which had hard plastic figures based on the Grenadier designs (her lead counterpart is a mirror image though and less ape-like in appearance).

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The two horn-players are (left) a plastic Zvedza musician and on the right a Ral Partha trumpeter. Not exactly bards but I kind of like the idea of bard with a huge horn like that.

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Here they are announcing a Chronopia bronze golem.

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The white orbs should probably be painted as gem stones, which I might do later.

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And two Reaper Bones selkies.

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Published in: on October 30, 2018 at 12:05 pm  Comments (1)  
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Ogres, ish

Three “ogres” I painted for my nephew. For his seventh birthday he wanted me to paint some ogres for him. How could I say no? So I finally got some painting done after a much too long hiatus!

I picked up some Reaper Bones minis that looked like they’d fit his idea of an ogre (green, big, & strong). The biggest guy is actually supposed to be a hill giant and the trollish guy a troll. I really like some of the details on the true ogre — his club has a screaming face on it, and his armor looks crudely thrown together from whatever he could scrounge.  Click pictures to embiggen. Sorry about the lack of focus, still figuring out my newish phone.

I’m hoping that being plastic they won’t break too easily. I decided not to go crazy with the detailing since he’ll probably smash them up playing anyway.

Published in: on September 28, 2018 at 4:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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Fuck cancer

Ns Olah passed away yesterday after a year with pancreatic cancer. (Ns is short for Nicholas, he had a bunch of other eccentric abbreviations for his name over the years, N’s, N’k, Nik, etc.) I met Ns in college, maybe 25 years ago, and last saw him in person about ten years ago at an Origins gaming convention, though we occasionally chatted by email or Facebook since then. Ns was always the kindest, funniest, most enthusiastic person in the room, and was joking right up until the end, signing off of Facebook to enter at-home hospice with “Smoke ’em if you got ’em folks.” His incredible attitude about what he knew full well was a terminal diagnosis gave a lot of us hope that he’d beat the odds. He’s been memorialized much more eloquently by people who got to spend more time with him and know him better than I did. He probably had hundreds of people who counted him as a friend. He treated everyone he met as one, and the world really needs more people like him. I knew him mainly through gaming but he had many passions, including bicycling, and he’s profiled and interviewed here on one of his last big rides. I can give him no better tribute than to ask others to listen to what he has to say.

 

Published in: on September 20, 2018 at 9:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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