Friday, May 19, 2017

Wraiths and Trolls

Just a real quick post to show what I've been painting lately.

First up, I finished those Reaper Grave Wraiths in a single painting session.  I've since flocked the bases, just waiting for the humidity to come down to varnish them.

The Wraiths were basecoated black, then given a heavy drybrush of "Midnight Blue," followed by a lighter drybrush of "Twilight Blue." The glowing sword blades and lighting effect are done with Reaper "Moth Green."

Second, my friend Jess got me a pair of the new Wizards' pre-primed Dungeons and Dragons miniatures for my birthday, a giant "Phase Spider" and a leering, groping Troll. I always forget that trolls in D&D have long, pointy noses.  He's had his skin basecoated in "Olive Drab" and given a wash of Citadel "Nuln Oil" here, and will be highlighted with "Worn Olive" before I move on to his dreadlocks and loincloth.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Happy Birthday to Me

Today marks 30 years so far on this funny little world.  And my mother beginning to introduce me as "my husband's son from his first marriage" - technically correct, as they've only ever been married to each other, but since she doesn't feel old enough to have a 30 year old son...

I'm not going to wax on about getting older or any such stuff and nonsense, I will merely note that I had a very nice day today, including donating blood to the Red Cross and eating a great dinner with Gina.  After dinner we swung by Just Games, I had some nice conversation with good friends, and picked up a few new figures to paint.

I figure I could use a break from the blues and golds of my Age of Sigmar army, and I've been reading over my copy of Osprey's Dragon Rampant again lately.  I'd love to play it but I suspect I'll need to provide demo armies to make that happen.  I've got several packs of Reaper Bones skeletons, courtesy of Thomas of Learning By Doing, from last year's Secret Santa exchange, so an undead army is a no-brainer of a side project.  And not just because there's a lot of empty skulls rattling around!

I know I want skeletons to be the bulk of the army, but not for it to be exclusively skeletons.  So when I saw three Reaper "Grave Wraiths," cast in translucent blue-green plastic, I knew I had a reduced model unit for Dragon Rampant on my hands.

Got them home, got them cleaned, and got them glued to some spare 40mm square bases I had laying around:

I'm thinking these will be a unit of Bellicose Foot with the Flyer and Undead (No Feelings) Fantastical rules added on.  What do you think?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Space Madness

Last night, I ran a game of Alpha Blue for some friends to mark my 30th birthday (occurring this coming Tuesday).  Those who want to continue to respect me as a mature individual are advised to stop reading here, and come back for a future post.

Alpha Blue is a game by Venger Satanis, parodying 1970s and 1980s science fiction films and TV shows, with the sexiness, silliness and sleaziness cranked up to about 14.  Born, as I understand it, out of Venger questioning why RPG characters aren't given rich and fulfilling sex lives, Alpha Blue as written incentivizes characters getting high and laid in the course of their adventures through space, with the titular Alpha Blue itself being a city-sized intergalactic brothel.

I toned down the game a little bit to suit my own tastes and my uncertainty as to how my players would take rolling on a "what's my character's kink" chart during character creation.  As play showed, I probably shouldn't have worried.

Dramatis Personae:

  • RoBoBot: a robot made out of an old typewriter and trained in the ways of the Zedi Knights, following the path of balance and becoming a Knight in Blue Satin.  
  • Arden, about 80kg of psychic alien fluid, poured into a wife-beater and a pair of tightey-whiteys.  He'll kill you with his brain if you're wearing the wrong colors.  
  • Ajax, a mutant space-pirate resembling a skeletal human with a giant toucan's beak instead of teeth.  With a phased plasma rifle in the 40-megawatt range slung over his shoulder, he's unconcerned with the full-scale manhunt on his tail.  
  • Zora, a human mutant with iridescent, hologram-patterned skin who fades from view when not directly looked at, and an acolyte of the Sect of the Glass Spider, an order of Space Templars of the Left-Hand Path.  Much of her family is in deep with the Wyrmslorr Criminal Syndicate.
  • "Trusty" Davey Johnson, a robot made out of an old gumball machine, employed as a drug mule by the Terra Nostra.  Will try to get high off anything he can stuff up his access port and dressed like an old timey soda jerk.  

We find our heroes in a lounge bar on Alpha Blue, tossing back drinks and enjoying the musical stylings of a clone of David Bowie, backed by clones of the original Spiders from Mars.  As the final guitar solo of "Moonage Daydream" dies down, an alien at another table - a creature resembling a tarantula the size of a pick-up truck - flips the table and screams, "You can't call yourselves Spiders from Mars! That's our word!"

Drawing a gun, the alien fires, David Bowie exploding into a cloud of red and gold ash that coats Ajax.  Arden moves to tangle the alien in his pseudopods, Ajax fires a shot at it, RoBoBot cautions the alien that it's upset the balance in the room, and Trusty Davey Johnson finds a shady alien in a trench coat standing outside the bathroom, trading a bag of LS-Triple-D for a baggie of little orange pills the alien identifies as "Thunderfuck Uranus."

Attempting to flow into the alien's airways and drown it, Arden shoves his pseudopod in a little too forcefully, exploding the alien spider's head and showering the room in skull shrapnel and chunks of brain.  

As they surveyed the carnage they'd wrought, the characters' attention was taken by a tall human in black polyester robes and a big cylindrical hat with eight projecting flanges.  Most of the group can identify him as one of the Templars of the Left-Hand Path, with Zora recognizing him as Father Azaxyr, a member of her own order.  Ajax mistakes him for the Pope of All Space, and begins to dance for his Space-Holiness' pleasure.  

Ordering the group a round of Ultra-Grenadine Apple Martini-Hurricanes, Azaxyr thanks them for dealing with the alien spider, noting that he had a price on his head from the Sect of the Glass Spider, and writing the group a check for 1300 Blue Bucks.  "You know," he continues, sipping his drink, "the Sect has a job it needs done right now, by a discreet group of trouble-shooters...if you're interested."

Pulling out his MCCPhone, he texts the characters a link to a job listing on, and urges them to think about it.  Checking the job listing, they find that the Sect is looking for individuals to steal an experimental hyperdrive engine, and the prototype ship it's built into, from a shipyard on the planet Morganthus, in the red giant star cluster known as the Haunted Stars.  The offered pay is 11,000 credits (or about 8,800 Blue Bucks, given the current exchange rate on Alpha Blue).  

Seeing two other listings in their area, they take a quick look - the Egyptologists of Galactica are looking for a team to guard a dig-site from land developers (quickly rejected by Arden's distaste for sand), and the Robot Development Cartel wants a derelict ship orbiting a dead moon investigated.  After considering the second job, they decide to go with the Sect's offer.

Now they just need a ship to get to Morganthus.  

Trusty Davey Johnson puts in a call to his regular fuck-buddy in the Terra Nostra, a human named Jimmy Gay-Legs, offering to split the baggie of Thunderfuck Uranus and the use of a new, ahem, "attachment." Three hours later, Jimmy shows up in a space-limousine, looking like Joe Pesci wearing a Zardoz-style mankini and an orange polyester dinner jacket, his slender, shapely legs encased in thigh-high argyle socks with sock garters.  Davey takes him right there in the hallway, RoBoBot watching and typing encouragement into his own chest, a crowd soon gathering to bet on the outcome of the tryst.  An hour later, Davey rose triumphant, leaving Jimmy passed out in a pool of miscellaneous fluids.  

Piling into the space-limousine, Zora got behind the wheel and set a course for Morganthus.  In between the second and third hyperspace jump, Zora noticed the accelerator getting less responsive, the limo slowing down, and then moving backwards.  Looking in the rear-view, the group can see a trio of Squigs, vacuum-dwelling animals, have tagged the limo with lines of sticky silk, and are hauling the limo in to eat.  

Without space suits, the group can't disembark to fight the Squigs.  RoBoBot pops the trunk and climbs through the fold-down back seat into a gunner's compartment, picking up the limo's only shipboard weapon - resembling a giant tommy gun made by Apple, all white plastic and brushed chrome.  Firing, he blows one Squig off the chunk of meteor it was clinging to, sending it tumbling end over end and knocking into the second Squig, sending it tumbling as well.  Squeezing into the gunner's compartment, Davey awkwardly throws his Ultra-Glaive, lodging the five-pointed throwing star into the remaining Squig's face.  

The limo now slowly moving forward, the last Squig is using its line to pull itself in closer, rather than pull the ship to it.  Waiting until it gets real close, RoBoBot pulls the trigger at the last moment, evaporating the creature's head in a hail of bullets, the Ultra-Glaive returning to Davey's robot-claw.  

Arriving at Morganthus without further delay, they find the planet's atmosphere to be one giant, constant thunderstorm.  Zora maneuvers deftly through the clouds, dodging lightning bolts and looking cool while doing so.  Arden, with his psychic powers, and RoBoBot, with his Zedi training, reach out and find the location of the spaceyard, with RoBoBot even being able to determine that there's five guards watching over the prototype they're here to steal.  

Debating different methods of acquiring the prototype (including backing the limo into the yard at top speed and roasting the guards with the thruster exhaust), they settle on having Davey, Ajax and RoBoBot create a diversion while Arden and Zora, both of whom can make themselves functionally invisible in the pouring rain of Morganthus, sneak into the hangar bay.  

The "diversion" involves flying into the yard blasting techno rave music, and when a guard comes to investigate, Davey affects a Swedish accent and announces that they're lost on their way to a party, and would you like the party with us? Even the robots have to choke back bile as they see how unbearably hideous the natives of Morganthus are - camel spider heads on Wilt Chamberlain's body, dressed in blood-orange coveralls unzipped to reveal their massive pelts of matted chest hair.  Considering the offer, the first guard asks to buy 60 credits' worth of "Pink Floyd" off them.  Davey slips him a few grams of "Peter Frampton" instead - similar enough to Pink Floyd but with a soporific effect.  The guard snorts all three lines off a copy of "Frampton Comes Alive" on vinyl in one go, promptly overdosing, blue foam spilling from between his mandibles.  He struggles to pull his pistol from its holster and, failing, fires a blaster bolt through the bottom of the holster, disabling one of the limo's thruster pods before keeling over.  

Meanwhile, Zora strips naked to be able to go unseen, and Arden slithers across the ground in a flattened puddle.  Slipping under the hangar door, Arden sees the ship they're stealing for the first time - it looks like a chrome-plated velociraptor claw, fifty feet long and hovering in midair, point-down.  Four more guards stand around it, guns drawn.  Trying to telekinetically press the "open door" button to let Zora inside, he instead activates a nearby construction droid, essentially a bulldozer on legs.  As the guards try to keep the droid from walking straight into the ship, Arden trips the guard who races to the control panel to turn off the droid.  Opening the door, Zora sees the dazed guard on his knees and blows his brains out with her pulse rifle.  

The remaining guards, now realizing that the hangar is under attack, race towards the door to defend the ship.  Arden uses his telekinesis to disable the construction droid's Asimov Circuit, turning it into a Killdozer (the orange flashing light on its head now flashing a sinister red and a chainsaw arm emerging from a side panel).  The droid stomps purposefully after the guards.

RoBoBot hurls laser shuriken into two of the guards, and Davey puts on a terrifying display, screaming, whirling his head-dome around and almost erupting in various sexual attachments and mechanical aids.  Seeing this, the three guards turn around and run, blinded by panic to the Killdozer behind them.  Ajax screams and fires his phased plasma rifle, catching one guard right between the shoulder blades, the force of the blast hurling him bodily into the Killdozer's chainsaw.  The chainsaw makes short work of the second guard but jams, the chain clogged with guts and bits of exoskeleton.  Unperturbed, the Killdozer proceeds to stomp the remaining guard into paste.  

Arden goes to reflip the switch and turn off the Killdozer's homicidal tendencies, but hits the wrong button.  Everyone hears the Killdozer intone, "NITRO - INJECTORS - ENGAGED." The Killdozer runs towards the disabled space-limo, sending the characters scattering, Arden tackling a petrified Zora to the safety.  Trying to race past the Killdozer, Davey falls and breaks the single caster-wheel he's been rolling around on and starts pulling himself towards the prototype ship via his robot fingers.  Ajax slides under the Killdozer on his knees, firing up into its undercarriage ineffectively.  

Fortunately, the Killdozer trips as it slams into the limo, toppling over the now-crushed vehicle and kicking ineffectively, unable to get up on its own.  Seeing fuel dripping from the limo's cracked tank, RoBoBot throws a laser shuriken to try and ignite it...but misses, the shuriken embedding in the pavement a foot shy of the pooling space-gas.  

Everyone boards the new ship, with Arden and Zora barely making it aboard before the limo and Killdozer explode.  Zora plants her wet, bare ass on the vinyl pilot's seat, missing the clothes she left behind in the limo.  Getting a text on her MCCPhone (we won't question where she was carrying it), she discovers that Father Azaxyr expects her to kill her compatriots and bring the ship to the Citadel Planet of Arachne Prime.  There, her superiors will take the ship and use it to enter the black hole known as the Eye of S'syrah and commune with the Glass Spider in person.  

Realizing that the Templars of the Glass Spider are less Spider-Jesus and more Spider-ISIS, she makes the decision to defect, informing her compatriots of the intended double-cross.  They make the decision, based on claims in the owner's manual of this new ship being the single fastest in the universe, to set out on their own with it and forge their own destinies.  Feeling lost without the faith she was raised in, Zora finds a new power to believe in when Ajax, sponging the last of the David Bowie ashes off himself, feeds them into the ship's replicator and a perfect copy of David Bowie's genitalia flops out of the dispenser.  

As they're discussing how best to promote the Church of David Bowie's Penis to the masses, Ajax gets a text on his MCCPhone - his ex girlfriend, Satara Jo, has sent a photo of an ugly-ass koala looking baby with a toucan beak and a demand for child support payments.


So I have never laughed as hard as I did while running this session, and I've never had so much success with so little prep work; I planned out the job listings (using a Star Wars RPG mission generator), the opening scene in the lounge, and pre-rolled the features of the aliens guarding the prototype ship.  That was it.  Everything else was improvised and spun off of things the players said and did.  This was one of the best tables I've ever run for as well - everyone was engaged, everyone was in on the premise, and everyone got along, nobody felt the need to make the game about themselves or bring drama to the table.  The players had so much fun and enjoyed the atmosphere at the table so much that they've requested this become an ongoing campaign.  

Friday, May 5, 2017

Chaos Knights WIP

Just a quick update with some WIP shots of a unit of five Chaos Knights I'm working on for Age of Sigmar.  I'm keeping a limited color palette through this army with an emphasis on blue - sapphire blue armor, navy blue cloaks and banners, ashy gray-blue skin where exposed.  However, while my Chaos Warriors on foot had silver helmets and silver imagery on their shields, the helmets, trim and shield designs for the Knights are being done in gold to suggest that these fellows are a higher status within the army than their foot-slogging brethren.

The blue of their armor is completed; two coats of Reaper Sapphire Blue painted over a black undercoat, then each plate was edged in Sky Blue.  Once this was dry I went over and painted a glaze of Sapphire Blue carefully over each plate to blend the edging in a little bit and make it less jarring.

I think the blue came out best on this fellow.

Chainmail on the horses and riders were painted in Reaper True Silver, then given a wash of Citadel Nuln Oil to shade.

The golden areas have been picked out in a mix of Reaper Antique Gold and Leather Brown, which is the closest I've found to the old Games Workshop Bubonic Brown from when I first started painting miniatures.  Next, they'll receive a wash of Nuln Oil, then a highlight of straight Antique Gold before receiving a final delicate highlight of a mix of Antique Gold and True Silver.

The Champion showing his gold.  Shield still to be added.

I'm looking forward to painting the "Ensorcelled Weapons" carried by these riders - in keeping with the limited palette I've been using, I intend to paint the blades in shades of bright, vibrant green.  The method I used on the feathers worn by my Gaunt Summoner and Pink Horrors has been a base coat of Reaper Peacock Green, highlighted with Brilliant Green, then Viper Green, with a final highlight of Moth Green before glazing with Viper Green.  For these blades, however, I'm going to use the Moth Green to trace lightning bolts over the blades, and then go back over them with white before glazing with Viper Green.  Hopefully this will leave me with incredible, bright green lightning bolts against an emerald background.

Up next, I have a Chaos Warshrine that has been built up into sub-assemblies and primed, and I bought a box of Blue and Brimstone Horrors today to go with my Pink Horrors.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Age of Sigmar

I have been neglecting this blog horrendously, and I apologize for the radio silence.  Much of what I've been working on lately on the RPG front is under a non-disclosure agreement for the time being, and I haven't been taking nearly enough pictures of my wargaming and painting.

Games Workshop's "Age of Sigmar" has pretty much consumed all my time at the painting table and the wargaming table; having now four games under my belt, AoS is my most-played wargame, period, which is perhaps something of a sad state of affairs given that I've been enthusiastic about wargaming for hmm, fifteen years now? Lots of years where I didn't have anybody else to play games with.

I've been building a "Chaos" army since February, organized around the god Tzeentch; for those unfamiliar, Tzeentch is all about magic and mutation, a god of secrets, deception, lies and trickery.  And birds, for some reason, Tzeentch likes giving people beaks and feathers.  It's not the most straightforward army to play, but I like the new models that were being released around the time I started - models that I have somehow not bought yet, funnily enough.

everything so far.

Gaunt Summoner, picture taken while WIP.
Thus far I've built, painted and based two units of ten Chaos Warriors, painted in blues and pale shades to give them a "cold" feel that I've somewhat abandoned in subsequent models; a Chaos Sorcerer Lord, his armor trimmed in gold instead of silver, and a Gaunt Summoner, a many-eyed spellcaster who more than earned his price point this past weekend - he took down an entire 30-man unit of Bloodletter demons, as well as the enemy general, by himself at the escalation league match at the FLGS.  I've finished a trio of "Screamers," big flying demonic manta rays, and I'm most of the way done with a unit of Pink Horrors - just bases left to do on these capering demons.  And I've begun painting a unit of five Chaos Knights which will hopefully prove a good bruiser of a unit.

Tomorrow night Tom and I are meeting for a rematch, his Nurgle demons against my Tzeentch boys.  We're both bored with simple pitched battles so we're going to try out playing a scenario with victory objectives instead of just killing each other.  For fun, I converted the "Sausages and Mustard" scenario out of Lion Rampant over to AoS; one of us is going to be trying to set fire to the other's supply depots.

Finished Screamers

Pink Horror Iconbearer WIP

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Painting Contests

I've been utterly neglecting this blog; not intentionally, it's just sort of happened.  I'm going to try my best to pick things back up here.  The biggest news is that the 7th Analogue Hobbies Annual Painting Challenge has concluded, and I met my goal of 500 points (scoring 507) despite a bout of painter's block and dealing with some medical concerns of Atticus'.  Additionally, Just Games, my FLGS, has begun a series of monthly painting contests, and the March contest was judged today.  I had decided to participate, and my entry (and the entry of most other people; it was a choice between this and some sort of Pathfinder goblin dog-rider) was Reaper's "D'kuhl M'Broon," a "Bathalian" (to differentiate from the legally-protected "Mind Flayer" of Dungeons and Dragons).  I had painted a copy of this figure years ago for my friend Rachael, and was excited to give it another go now that my skills have matured some.

I entered him in the Intermediate category (the guys in the Advanced category are using airbrushes to highlight their figures, and I'm just not there) and came in second place, scoring myself a set of ultrafine tip brushes as my prize!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Catching Up

Haven't done a whole lot on the gaming or painting front lately; a couple weeks of painter's block kept me from putting brush to figure.

I did finally break through and painted Reaper's Griffon, from their Bones line:

Tom and I have played two games of Kings of War now, with my half-finished Teutonic Knights serving as a Kingdoms of Men army.  Last night we played a 1000-point game, with my Men barely eking out a victory over his Dwarves.  His Brock Riders (dwarves mounted on giant badgers) were brutal, and his Organ Gun could have dealt out a lot more damage if the Griffon (the "Winged Beast" part of my "General on Winged Beast") hadn't taken it out on the second turn.

Finally, I've checked out another hobby shop in my area - we have four that I've been in now, which stay in business through careful niche specialization - this time the Warhammer store in Victor, NY, an official Games Workshop outlet and, heaven help me, I've bought into Age of Sigmar.  There seems to be a thriving population playing it so I should have no shortage of games ahead of me.  I picked up the "Start Collecting: Slaves to Darkness" box and an additional box of Chaos Warriors (8th edition packaging, so 12 to a box instead of 16).

The store is running an escalation league, with monthly meets and each month the point total of our armies goes up by 250 points; so for March we're playing with 500-point forces, then in April it'll be 750, in May 1000, etc.  I've assembled a 500 point force (two squads of Chaos Warriors and a Chaos Sorcerer Lord make 500 exactly) and got them primed.  Painting begins tomorrow, and I'm thinking I can probably have them done in time for the league to begin on the 19th.