Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What's Ahead in 2017?

So I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to see happen in the next year of miniature painting.  In the last year, I didn't really have any sort of solid plan to my purchasing and painting; for 2017 I'd like to have dedicated projects I'm working towards.  I want to focus on just a couple things and try to really accomplish something with them.  My list, in order of importance, is as follows:


My game tonight didn't end up taking place, as Tom was feeling under the weather, but this is the big one.  I have three finished warbands (Summoner, Necromancer and Elementalist), two that are assembled and primed, but unpainted (Witch and Sigilist), and have purchased a couple figures towards two more (Illusionist and Thaumaturge).  I'm thinking about trying to encourage some sort of league-play at Just Games; we've got a number of people who've bought the book and shown interest and I'd like to see more of those people at the table, pushing figures around.

I may eventually finish building warbands for every school of magic in Frostgrave, but seven might be enough for now.  I want to finish assembling and painting the four warbands that I have that are unfinished and build more terrain for the tabletop.

I'm also looking towards building up a bestiary of monsters for Frostgrave's wandering monster rules, for which I think Reaper Bones are probably the best suited.

Lion/Dragon Rampant

I've had the rulebook for this game for almost a year.  I've thought about building generic medieval forces out of 1/72 scale plastics, but I'm starting to reconsider; 28mm seems to be the scale gamers locally go for, and I think my chances of getting someone to play against will go up in 28mm.  I'm still probably going to end up building two armies for this.  I think it's probably worthwhile to pick a conflict to model on a small scale with Lion Rampant and do just the belligerents of that conflict.

I've always liked the look of the Knights of the Teutonic Order, so maybe the Baltic Crusades are in order.  Fireforge has some really beautiful Teutonic Order plastic sets, and they recently released a line of Medieval Russians, who would provide a nice splash of color against the monochrome of the Germans.

EDIT: Adam reminded me that a fantasy version, Dragon Rampant, exists, which might be an easier sell at the local gaming store than a strictly historical game.  For fantasy races, I think I'd look first to Mantic Games' Kings of War line, especially their Orcs and "Abyssal Dwarves."

Rogue Stars

This is kind of the lowest priority for the moment, especially as the book isn't actually out yet, but I like what I'm reading about this sci-fi skirmish game from Osprey.  I have a couple alien figures from Reaper's Chronoscope line to use as the beginning of a sci-fi gang; I may pick up some packs from Copplestone's "Future Wars" line for use with this at some point.

Terrain will also be something to look at with Rogue Stars, and for that I'm looking at Pegasus Hobbies' "Hexagon" snap-together terrain pieces.

So this is where I think my wish-list stands:
I should note that I am taking part in Ian's annual "Secret Santa" exchange this year, and so this list isn't *strictly* for my own use.  I have a pretty good idea what I'm getting for my target wargamer, and I'm pretty excited to be a part of this.  

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Paint Table Saturday: Black Phillip of Frostgrave

So this Wednesday I've got a Frostgrave match scheduled against my friend Tom, and I've decided to bring out my Goetia-style Summoner warband, the Diabolists of Belphegor to try and best him.  Tom has years of wargaming experience on me, but as I'm just looking for a friendly game, it doesn't faze me.  I did, however, try to reflect on what I'd learned from my last match-up with Tom, and adjust my merry band of hellions appropriately.

As I played around with different combinations of figures, weighing my options based on what I had painted, I kept coming up with a deficit - two slots left in my available ten, and enough gold to make filling those slots a matter of honest debate.  I had a couple options, including going with a smaller force composed of higher-value troops or buying and painting more figures to fill in the gaps.

I decided to pay a visit to my Friendly Local Gaming Store, Just Games, last night, and peruse the racks of Reaper figures and see if anything jumped out at me.  And jump out at me something did!

I've gone with a very traditionally occult/Satanic look for my Summoners (and in my repeat use of this warband, and especially while painting this figure, I've had to repeatedly reassure my girlfriend that I'm not some secret Satanist), and a Reaper Bones "Beastman" popped out at me as having a very Baphomet/Goat of Mendes sort of look to him.  And thus "Black Phillip" joined the Diabolists!

He looks a bit more blue here than he does in person - I basecoated the areas of fur and bare skin with black, then highlighted with drybrushes of Reaper "Stormy Gray" and "Cloudy Gray," then drybrushed the horns and picked out the belt and arm bands in "Lonestar Leather."  The loincloth is Reaper "Blood Red" to tie him in with the clothing worn by the rest of the warband, as are his eyes.  His lips and gums are "Dusty Rose", his teeth "Yellow Bone" and the axe handle "Leather Brown," matching the crossbows and weapon hafts used by other members of the warband.  The base is coated with "Army Painter" medium grit, then a layer of their snow flock.

The last coat of varnish is drying on him now, and on Wednesday he'll be ready to follow the wizard Belphegor into glorious battle.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Frostgrave Fiction: The Diabolists March

Belphegor, Wizard of the Black Ring, sighed and waved a thin, bony hand.  Uttering a few words in a language most men would blanch to hear, he tore open a small hole in the Material Plane, from which emerged a small, unctuous demon of the variety commonly called "imps."

"Hail, Belphegor, Master of -" the imp began, before being cut off with a wheezing gasp as it was impaled through the back, gigged like a frog by Oriax, Belphegor's apprentice.  The younger man smiled behind his cowl, and held the still-squirming demon over the glowing coals of their fire.  Foraging for supplies amidst the ruins of Felstad had proved fruitless, and Belphegor was forced to rely on sorcery to conjure meat for his band of mercenaries and cut-throats.  Eating the flesh of demons seemed to have done the men little harm, though the knight Barbatos' skin had turned an unearthly shade of red and he had grown horns and a tail; likewise, the warhounds Belphegor had purchased now sported horns and tusks, their skin red and hot to the touch.  But it was of little matter.

The crunch of booted feet on the snow outside sent every hand to a sword-hilt; when the wool blanket strung up as a curtain over the ruined wall pulled aside to reveal the florid face of Big George, one of the tavern-brawlers, the crew of mercenaries relaxed as one.

"What news from your scouting trip, George?" Belphegor said quietly, drawing his cloak more tightly around himself and, instinctively, feeling for the weight of the iron-bound grimoire at his hip.

"A new warband enters Felstad," Big George said, catching his breath.  "Dwarves.  Big beards, smelled of lager. Not more than ten of them."

Belphegor stroked his chin.  While he wasn't certain Big George could count higher than ten, he liked the idea of being able to get the drop on an unprepared, untested warband.  Maybe they had supplies he could help himself to.  He surveyed the motley crew of hellions in front of him, mentally calculating the strengths and weaknesses of each.

"Mademoiselle Zenith, Black Phillip, Big George, Johnny Seven-Fingers, Bull and Ace.  You will accompany Oriax and myself into Felstad.  We're going to give those dwarves a proper welcome to Frostgrave."

The shaven-headed albino woman looked up from polishing her sword and grinned wordlessly, her teeth glinting red in the firelight, and the goat-headed half-man bleated greedily, eager to gorge himself on the steaming entrails of fallen foes.

Belphegor stood, stretched, and winced; the bitter cold of Felstad did his rheumatism no favors; why couldn't it have been the sand-swallowed city, bleached under an unforgiving sun?


I have a Frostgrave match coming up next week - a rematch against Tom, who I played with awhile back using two warbands I'd painted.  Tom's got his band of dwarves ready and the free time in his schedule to devote an evening to gaming, so we made plans for Wednesday night.

When I got home from work, I took a look at my warbands, thinking about which to bring to bear, and I decided I'd take the Diabolists of Belphegor out for another spin.  I'd tweaked the army list a little bit since Tom and I's last go, and I tweaked it a little bit more tonight.  I think I've got a fairly well-balanced force that can deliver a beating to Tom's dwarves.

Famous last words, right?

I've got one new figure to paint this weekend, and I'll be sure to take pictures at Wednesday's match.

Kickstarter Notice: Forge of Ice's "Sleepy Sentries and Sleazy Merchant"

I figured I should give this one a plug here, since I am backing it (and doing so a bit higher than I had originally planned for), so here goes:

Forge of Ice, a small miniatures company based out of Alaska, is running a Kickstarter to fund a production run of their latest figures, a set of six guards (two alert, four asleep at their posts) suitable for various "Lost World" and "Sword & Sorcery" settings, along with the fat, sleazy merchant they work for.  Various other figures from Forge of Ice are available as add-ons.

I'm currently backing it for the four sleepy guards, with the two Snake Priestesses as my add-ons.  I say currently because I believe some stretch goals are still to be added as well as additional add-ons.  So I may be adding more to my pledge before the Kickstarter ends (just two weeks left!) and adding more figures to my order.  We shall see.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Samurai Archers Rebased

I recently picked up a pack of Reaper Samurai figures from their Dark Heaven line of metal miniatures - I saw them on the rack at Just Games and couldn't say no.  And I immediately began planning *yet another* Frostgrave army.  I haven't decided yet if I want to go with Sigilist (for the calligraphy connection) or Enchanter (for the almost mystical amount of work that went into forging a katana) as my wizard's school, but I do have an army list drawn up, one composed of, appropriately, Seven Samurai.  Just about the only thing I needed to track down was a pair of appropriate archers.  Nothing I was turning up on Google appealed to me, so I put out a call on the Frostgrave Facebook group, and a kindly gentleman offered me a pair of samurai archers, from the "Legend of the Five Rings: Clan Wars" miniatures game, now long out-of-production, for $3 apiece plus shipping.  I swiftly took him up on this, and they arrived yesterday.

Today, I trimmed away their metal tabs (I'm not a fan of slotta-bases), cleaned up the flash and mold lines that I could find/access with my X-acto, and glued them down to my preferred bases, 25mm Renedra flat rounds.

I can't keep the cat away long enough to open the porch door (our apartment has a screened-in porch where I do my priming) and prime these fellows, so hopefully tomorrow morning I'll get them out there and get a quick coat of primer on them.

I think with this I'll have all the Frostgrave warbands I intend to paint - I have a primed-but-unpainted Witch warband based on the 1982 CONAN THE BARBARIAN, these samurai, the Choosers of the Slain, the Undying Host of Sutekh-Ra and the Diabolists of Belphegor.  How many more warbands do I need?

Don't answer that.

I might hold on to the Seven Samurai and the Cult of Set warbands until the Painting Challenge begins this year.  I think that might be a good beginning to my participation this time around.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Frostgrave Warband: The Choosers of the Slain

I've had these ladies primed and ready to go for almost a year now, and I'm very glad to have finally settled on a color scheme and gotten them painted.  I picked up the two packs of Valkyries from Wargames Foundry at their Christmas sale last year.  I was a little disappointed to find a couple of the figures miscast, but I had enough to build a warband, using Reaper's Ice Queen as a Wizard, and if I need to I can pin new swords to the hands of a couple of the miscast ones - it looks like in all cases not enough metal made it into the mold, and so I've got two holding just hilts, and the figure I've chosen for my Apprentice was originally holding a spear, which in this case has become a staff.

Left to Right: Brunhilda (Apprentice), the Ice Queen, Sigrun (either Knight or Templar)

Hildr and Gunnr, a pair of Infantrymen

Hlokk, Olrun and Herja, three Thugs

Geidriful and Goll, two Thieves
I normally don't do eyes, but I think I want to go back and try to do a couple of them, and I definitely want to give Brunhilda and Sigrun's lips a touch up.  Same with Geidriful and Goll's nipples, I suppose.

I should probably do another layer of snow on the bases as well.

Cthuesday: Consumption

It occurred to me that I haven't posted the write-up of last week's game.  We ended up having a few last minute withdrawals, and so we ran with only two players.  Which was a new situation for me - I don't remember the last time I ran for a table smaller than three players.  Possibly never.  The scenario did not exactly go as I, or author Brian Sammons, intended, but everyone had fun nonetheless so that's what matters.

Dramatis Personae:

  • Roxanne Bennett (played by Kai), an African-American stage magician
  • Janet Whitley-Rose (played by Julie), a widowed woman using her money to hunt ghosts

While driving on the Aylesbury Pike, sometime after their investigation of the Corbitt House, Janet hit a woman who stumbled out of the fog with her car.  Investigating, they found the woman dead - of blood loss; one of her legs had been sawn off, with a belt in place as a tourniquet, which had loosened during her flight.  The woman had been using a broken broom handle as a crutch.  Her tongue had been removed, the stump cauterized.  

They decided to wrap the woman's body in a blanket and stash it in the backseat of the car for now.  

Following the woman's bloody trail through the melting snow and mud, they found the burned out shell of an old two-story house, and behind it, a shack built of reclaimed wood.  Inside the shack, a horror show; a pyramid of ten skulls, their eye-sockets stuffed with mementos of the corpses they'd been taken from.  A bloody bed, ropes hanging from the bedposts.  A grisly hacksaw on the ground, a flayed torso hanging on the wall.  Finding some bloodstained luggage, tattered but once-nice, Roxanne piled the skulls inside, along with the hacksaw.  Checking outside, they found a still-wet bloody knife in the snow and a man's booted footprints, which they followed in the direction of Arkham before losing the trail in drier ground.

Returning to the car, Janet and Roxanne decided the best course of action would be to drop the body and the bag of evidence at the police station as discreetly possible and leave.  

This is where things began to go wrong.  

Pulling up the curb in front of the police station, Roxanne tried to kick the three bags and the corpse out of the car without attracting any attention - and failed, bringing the police running.  She tried to casually throw her registered handgun into the gutter discreetly, and failed, the gun discharging and shooting out one of the tires on the car.  

I've never seen players roll so many 95s and up in such quick succession in Call of Cthulhu before.  

The two women were brought into the station and questioned separately about how they came to be in possession of a woman's corpse, minus one leg, and a bag of human skulls, by detective Michael Cooper.  He assured them that he believed their story, and was calling in a local doctor to give them a once over before they were released to go home.  

Dr. James Bell, a black-bearded gentleman, gave Roxanne a once-over and suggested giving her a mild sedative to help calm her nerves.  Roxanne recognized this as a line of BS and the "sedative" he mentioned as a paralytic.  She jumped him, trying to strangle him with his own stethoscope.  Bell threw her off and made for the door, but was caught blind-sided when Roxanne threw a chair at him.  Bell stunned, Roxanne picked up the syringe of paralytic, shook it up real good to ensure the presence of plenty of air bubbles, and emptied the syringe into Bell's thigh.  

Cooper and Janet burst into the room almost simultaneously.  Roxanne explained that Bell must have had a stroke, quietly kicking the empty syringe into a corner of the room.  Cooper tersely asked the two women to wait in a cell while another medical examiner was called.  

Janet and Roxanne eventually dozed off in the cell, at which time Cooper entered the cell quietly (both players failing their Listen rolls by drastic amounts once more) and casually murdered both of them, caving their skulls with a nightstick wielded with superhuman strength.  He quietly moved the bodies to a waiting hearse, where the local undertaker delivered the two bodies back to the shack for rendering by the cannibal secret society's sociopathic chef.