Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Back to the Ludus

Tonight I got out the remaining gladiators I'd bought for Sons of Mars, a mixture of figures from Crusader Miniatures and Wargames Foundry, and got the figures cleaned up, trimmed any remaining flash off of them, and glued them down to bases.

All told, it's 30 gladiators of varying types, including a number of convicts still in their shackles, a lion, and the Emperor Nero himself - who has been glued to a 50mm round base, and set back towards one edge because I'm going to make him part of a turn-counter. 

considering the state he's in, maybe it's only 29 1/2 gladiators...
I need to figure out how I'm going to prime them, given that it's reached the point in the year where it's going to be too cold and damp to use the rattle can outdoors and I don't have an airbrush.  But getting these done is my number one priority on the miniatures and wargaming front. 

I had ordered an "Arena" battle mat almost two months ago, which has not arrived yet, and the company has not responded to now two emails I've sent asking if it's been shipped (and to supply me with a tracking number if it has) or if there have been delays in production.  I'm going to give it a couple more days and then, if I don't hear from them, put in a Paypal dispute and request a refund.  I'm not happy about it coming to that, but so it goes. 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Green Sun, Black Moon - Session 2

Dramatis Personae:

  • Antonio, Portuguese Fighter 1 (played by Rick)
  • Akenzae, Nigerian Cleric 1 (played by Johnathan)
  • Abdallah, Moroccan Specialist 1 (NPC'd for this session)
  • Raal Mogaz, Elf 1 (played by Kai)
We last left our heroes climbing a ladder into the stilt-house of "The Speaker of the Moon," the leader of the Green Men of Womar.  They had accepted a deal to assassinate the Speaker in exchange for being released from the slave-caravan of Boshek.  While they climbed into the house, their employer, Dara, one of the Speaker's slave-wives, retrieved mounts for them to ride to freedom on.  

Inside the house, they found the Speaker and Boshek seemingly passed out drunk; Raal positioned himself over Boshek, knife in hand, and Abdallah, carrying a poisoned blade from Dara, raised it high over the Speaker.

They both missed.  Boshek snapped awake, having been feigning drunkenness.  He made a grab for his scimitar, but Antonio dove across the room, seizing both the scimitar and the Speaker's heavy mace.  The Speaker, actually drunk, started to stagger towards a standing position.  Boshek, seeing himself outnumbered and unarmed, dashed to the veranda and the ladder, announcing that they hadn't seen the last of him.  Antonio tried to tackle him and throw him off the veranda, while the Speaker threw a drunken (but armored) punch at Raal. A good stab with Abdallah's poison dagger finished off the Speaker.  Akenzae made a dive for the ladder, trying to untie it and deny Boshek an exit, but only got his hands stomped on for his trouble.  Taking a breather, Raal found the Speaker's secret cache of money, two flasks of some sort of potion (a taste-test revealed it to be some sort of healing potion), and two vials of jale-colored powder, along with a spell-book.  

Meanwhile, Yilana, the White witch that had been in the slave caravan with them, summoned a demon to cover her own escape; a 40-foot "squid" made of coiled entrails with scorpion tails for arms.  Soon the entire village of Womar is in an uproar.

Antonio threw Boshek off the veranda and then tried to jump down on top of him but missed; the rest of the party took the elevator down, just as Dara was arriving with eight-legged, horse-like steeds for them.  

Desperate for his holy symbol, and recognizing that it was likely in Boshek's saddlebags, Akenzae mounted one of the riding-animals and took off in the direction of the caravan-camp, despite riding straight for the squid.  Two stingers struck the old priest, killing him instantly even as the venom locked his muscles rock-solid.  

"We are not waiting around!" Dara screamed, circling her steed and heading for the south.  Abdallah rode with her, though Antonio and Raal decided to stick around a few minutes longer; about ten minutes after it was summoned, the squid blinked out of existence, though Womar was now on fire and in ruins.  Antonio went back in looking for Boshek, but found both the slaver and his mount missing.  Raal, having claimed the Speaker's mace for himself, also looted himself a pair of silk pantaloons, some riding boots and a cloak.  

Shortly before dawn, Antonio and Raal arrived at the ruined city of Korok, a hard ride south of Womar, where Dara had directed them to meet them.  The Womarians held some superstitious dread of the ruins, and Dara anticipated being safe there.  

As the green sun rose, a forest of fungal growths bloomed around the ruins, 4-12' tall tubes of gray-green tissue that stank of ammonia and dripped clear fluid.  They realized these growths bloomed during the day and withered and died when the sun set, so unless they wanted to cut their way free, they were stuck until nightfall.  Raal worked over the spellbook he'd stolen, trying to decipher it, when they heard a skittering noise of dislodged pebbles.  

Looking up, the party realized a monstrous insect, like a giant mantis with muscular hind-limbs and club-tipped arms, had been trying to sneak up on them.  With glowing orange eyes and a grin like a rotten jack-o-lantern, it swung one bony club at Abdallah, missing and impacting the wall hard enough to shatter stone.  "Oh fuck this," Raal thought, and swung his newly-acquired mace full force into the creature's back, shattering its exoskeleton in a spray of pus-like viscera and killing the creature instantly.  

Applause echoed through the ruins.  Standing atop a nearby building was a man in blue-tinted armor with some sort of incorporated backpack, his face seemingly a bare skull.  He jumped down, floating softly to a delicate landing.  Introducing himself as "the Wielder of the Mighty Scepter," he inquired as to whether the PCs were going to use the creature they'd just killed, offering to trade them a slave for its carcass.  When the party agreed, the strange skull-faced man was delighted, calling forth "The Keeper of the Frozen Lightning," a purple-skinned man wearing a furry jock and boots with a metallic harness strapped over his chest, and transferring ownership of him to Raal, who immediately freed the purple-skinned man.  

Staring intently at the PCs after having removed and pocketed the mantis-creature's brain, the Wielder deduced that they were not native to "the World of the Green Sun." After further questioning, he determined to his satisfaction that they'd been swept up in a dimensional storm and deposited here; explaining that waiting for another dimensional storm would not likely return them to their homeworld, he offered another trade; if they would perform a task for him, he would provide them with information on where they might find a way home.  

Six days south-east of their current position, he explained, is the village of Ix Nur.  In the temple there was a statue, depicting a god whose name was long forgotten, worshiped by a people that the Ix Nurians had exterminated centuries ago.  Temples of this god still existed in isolated regions of the world, and the Wielder of the Mighty Scepter wished to take this statue to one of them, in the hopes of being granted access to ancient sorcerous secrets.  

The party agreed, though Dara, disgusted at the thought of working for a "Bone Man," as she called him, decided to separate from the party, returning to her home village of Arnur.  The Wielder of the Mighty Scepter answered a few more questions about the world for the PCs - including explaining that, as a Bone Man, he wasn't an animated skeleton, but of a race of men whose soft tissue was invisible.  

He showed the party a holographic map of the region, outlining their route to Ix Nur.  Asked about three ruins on the map, the Wielder identified them as the Dead Keep (formerly a bandit palace, now haunted), the Bones of the World-Crab (a giant petrified crustacean that was at one point hollowed out and fortified as a village) and the Shrine of the Star-Brothers (a crashed flying saucer that was discovered by a primitive tribe, its mummified crew worshiped as gods).  The party's route to Ix Nur would take them right past the Dead Keep, and directly between the Bones of the World-Crab and the Shrine of the Star-Brothers.  

The Wielder of the Mighty Scepter, satisfied that a deal had been struck, fired up his antigravity belt and floated up and away to parts unknown; the party agreed to strike out on this new adventure just before dawn tomorrow, and that they would stop at the Shrine of the Star-Brothers on their way to Ix Nur.  

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Golgoth the Eradicator - Olleytoberfest

I think this is the only piece I'm going to get done before Olleytoberfest ends on the 31st.  This is Reaper Miniatures' #02270, "Golgoth, Eradicator," an armored skeleton or wight sculpted by Bob Olley in the 1990s.  The other figures I started this month - "Dragoth the Defiler" and "Carnessa" - I'm not sure I'm inspired enough by the finish.  "Dragoth" is a little bit frustrating because I can't always tell what's armor and what's wrappings on him, and Carnessa is just...not an exciting sculpt, much as I tend to love Bob Ridolfi's undead.  But anyways, back to Golgoth. 

I love this sculpt - I love the flow of the ragged cloak, the way the tattered tunic falls open, the fall of the leather neck-guard attached to the helmet.  There's such a sense of energy and motion in this sculpt that's just wonderful.  He feels like he should be menacing Conan in a Frazetta painting. 

The cloak got a base coat of Reaper's Deep Red over a coat of black primer, followed by a heavy drybrushing of Blood Red to highlight, concluding with a wash of Citadel "Carroburg Crimson" to tone the brightness down and deepen the shadows.  The tunic was base coated with Midnight Blue, highlighted with Twilight Blue, and then given a light wash of "Drakenhof Nightshade."

Bones were given a base coat of Sandy Brown, highlighted with Stained Ivory, washed with Seraphim Sepia and then given a final highlight of thinned down Creamy Ivory. 

The helmet was painted with Ancient Bronze and washed with "Nuln Oil," while the sword and armor plates were drybrushed "Tarnished Steel" and given a wash of Seraphim Sepia to give them a rusty appearance.  Leather bits were picked out in Reaper's Lonestar Leather and washed with "Seraphim Sepia."  Finally, the wooden back of the shield was painted "Shield Brown" and washed with Seraphim Sepia to bring out the wood grain, and the base was painted "Earth Brown" in preparation for flocking. 

Overall I'm really pleased with how he came out and I look forward to (slowly, perhaps) working through the rest of the undead I bought. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Green Sun, Black Moon - Session 1

The last thing you remember of your world was a storm of unimaginable fury, waves crashing over the bow of your ship as timbers cracked and splintered. You woke up, half-drowned, on a beach under a baleful green sun, a huge black moon hurtling through the sky. Rough hands heaved you up, stripped you of anything you had managed to hold on to through the storm, and tossed you in a cage. 

Today we started a new home game, using the "Lamentations of the Flame Princess" rules.  I decided to run a "Sword and Planet" style game, in the vein of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom, with some of Lamentations' darkness thrown in and especially utilizing some of the gonzo science-fantasy of Geoffrey McKinney's "Carcosa" supplement. 

So we rolled up a set of characters hailing from a slightly fantastic 16th century Earth:

  • Antonio, a Portuguese Fighter (played by Rick)
  • Abdallah, a Morrocan Specialist (played by Olga)
  • Akenzae, a Nigerian Cleric of the Edo faith (played by Johnathan)
  • Raal Mogaz, an Elf (played by Kai)

The adventurers, when they'd gotten their bearings, realized they were in a cage-wagon being drawn by an elephantine reptile with a huge nasal horn.  In the cage with them were eight other captives, all seemingly human except for their skin-tone - a woman with skin as black as ink, a woman with skin bleach-white, two yellow-skinned men, a purple-skinned woman, and two men and a woman with skin-tones in colors the adventurers had never seen before.  Outside the cage, their captors - a band of 37 in all; a plate-armored leader mounted on a nimble dome-skulled reptile, six chainmail-clad bodyguards, and thirty men in brigantine leather jerkins - were men with tomato-red skin.  The adventurers, and their fellow captives, had all been stripped down to their undergarments.  

Abdallah picked up on the native language quickly, soon able to tell a nearby guard that he was an asshole.  Antonio and Akenzae soon learned it as well and finally Raal did as well.  Abdallah quickly made friends with Ksildar and Larsorm, a pair of brothers who were identified to him as "Dolm Men" and who hoped to be sold to the same gladiator school once the caravan arrived in the city of Yithorium.  Phosada, the Black Woman, derided their dreams and predicted they'd both be dead within a month.  For her part, Phosada was counting on her membership in a group she called the Mercenary Brotherhood to save her once they got to Yithorium - the caravan would have to pass their guild hall on its way to the slave markets.  

One of the Yellow Men, named Yq, proved to be a cleric of a god of unquiet slumber and restless nights, and as night fell, he began to bang on the bars of the cage and pray loudly for the slavers to sleep poorly.  Raal, irritated at this interruption to his own rest, soon smothered Yq with his own loincloth.  Doing so caught the attention of the White Woman, Yilana, who revealed herself to be a spellcaster - the slavers had smashed her hands with a mace to prevent her from casting any spells, but she had one memorized that she was willing to teach to Raal: "Summon."

Under Yilana's guidance, Raal opened a gate between this universe and another, pulling forth a serpentine demon.  Beating it in a battle of wills, Raal directed the creature to kill Boshek, the captain of the slavers.  The demon tried to crush the slaver in its coils, but the slaver overpowered and killed it quickly.  When questioned, Raal and the rest of the party pointed at the corpse of Yq, and claimed that he'd been casting a spell and they'd killed him for it.  Suspicious but unable to prove anything, Boshek left it at that.  

Akenzae managed to perform some healing on Yilana's hands.

On the third day of travel, the caravan turned towards the northeast and entered swampy territory, where three of the guards were killed by a pale, featherless, penguin-like creature with five eyes and a lamprey-like mouth, and while making camp for the night, an enormous black-scaled reptile with a huge, fang-filled mouth and tiny arms came close to camp.  Seeing an opportunity to thin the ranks of the guards, Antonio threw the slave-cart's communal toilet bucket on to Gorpak, the guard they'd dubbed "asshole," and got him to yell and draw the creature's attention.  Nine men died before the creature was driven off, and the beast was only driven away when Boshek pulled some sort of firearm from his saddle and fired a shimmering, invisible ray of energy at the creature.  

The next day, day four since the adventurers had been captured, the ground turned drier, even desert-like, dotted with sparse, tough grasses and stubby cacti.  The caravan stopped early, as it arrived in the village of Womar.  The village consists of 20-foot tall stilt houses, in which the citizenry lived, and beehive-shaped adobe huts on the ground, in which their slaves lived.  The citizenry had brilliant green skin, while the slaves were of many colors, and about 10% of the citizens had big obsidian labrets pierced through their lower lips.  Curiously, there were no women of any color to be seen.  

Boshek began shouting that he had goods and slaves for sale, and the adventurers began feigning sickness to try and ruin any chance of a sale.  "The Speaker of the Moon," the village headman (dressed in chrome-plated armor, with a samurai helmet and jade mask, a huge spiked mace clipped to his belt), was intrigued by the "exotic" adventurers and invited Boshek back to his home to discuss prices over wine.  

Biting his tongue to draw blood, Raal feigned tuberculosis and spat blood into the crowd, causing a small riot.  In the ensuing chaos, Akballah managed to lift the dagger off the guard Gorpak's belt and tried to cut the man's mouth with it - accidentally taking off a good-sized chunk of the man's face.  Akballah tried throwing the knife away to hide the evidence and fumbled the throw, landing the knife just outside the wagon.  

When Boshek's bodyguards came to investigate the situation and found the guard bleeding and screaming, the adventurers tried to convince them that the blood that had sprayed the crowd was that of Gorpak.  While they could not convince the bodyguards that Gorpak had sliced his own lower lip off and then threw the dagger behind the wagon, Akenzae did successfully point out that if Gorpak had been less incompetent then they wouldn't be able to take his knife and cut him with it.  

The bodyguard concurred, and drew his mace and bashed in what was left of Gorpak's face.  Incompetence would not be tolerated in Boshek's organization.  Night fell, and the capybara-sized native rats made short work of Gorpak's body.  Not long after Gorpak had been reduced to gnawed bones, a cloaked figure approached the wagon, paying off the guards with small pouches of clinking coins.  

Throwing back their hood, the figured revealed themselves to be a beautiful blue-skinned woman who introduced herself as Dara, one of the wives of the Speaker of the Moon.  She explained that her husband and Boshek were passed out drunk, but that the Speaker had offered her, and three vials of Jale Lotus Powder, to Boshek in exchange for one of the "exotic" slaves. Unhappy with being used as a bargaining chip, she poisoned a dagger and offered the adventurers their freedom if they would kill her husband and take her with them when they left the village.  They agreed, and she threw the bolt on the cage door, setting all the captives free.  

The party rooted through the trade goods piled on top of the wagon, with Antonio retrieving his basket-hilted sword and breastplate and Akenzae retrieved a set of robes.  Abdallah gave Gorpak's dagger to Raal, keeping the poisoned dagger for himself.  There was some discussion of trying to find a pistol, which Dara responded to by noting there was one pistol in the village, and the party would have to contend with the Keepers of the Flame to steal it.  Abdallah couldn't understand why there was only one pistol in the village, but it was explained that the secrets of creating these weapons had been lost, and all examples of firearms -for example, the ray gun Boshek carried - are relics of an earlier era.  

With Dara urging them to make haste, she led them to the Speaker's house, where the rope ladder was already lowered.  "Kill him," she hissed, "I'll go retrieve some steeds for our escape."

With that, the party began to climb the ladder - Raal in front, followed by Abdallah, then Antonio, and finally Akenzae bringing up the rear.  


That's where we left off for the first session; all in all we got about three hours of play in, plus character creation and time spent eating pizza.  Everyone had a good time (the remark was made, "it's amazing how much we accomplished for being locked in a cage the whole time") and we're looking forward to reconvening in two weeks.  

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Thursday WIP: Olleytoberfest Undead (and bonus Carnessa)

So I've now got not only the figures I showcased in my last post for Olleytoberfest (Sean's celebration of Bob Olley's sculpting work) but a stack of older undead from Reaper Miniatures sculpted by Bob Ridolfi, who is my go-to sculptor for awesome undead figures.  Reaper's having a promotion for the month of October, spend $40 and get a "Ghoulie Bag" of candy, limited edition paints, and a translucent "smoke" tinted wraith miniature. 

I got a bunch of figures primed, and initially selected DHL #02270, "Golgoth the Eradicator" and #02310 "St. Tarkus, Dire-Dead" (aka the Zombie Bishop) for my painting table.  Well, when I squeezed out a little bit of "Deep Red" onto my palette for Golgoth's cloak, I ended up getting a lot more than I'd bargained for.  Knowing I wanted St. Tarkus' cloak to be a deep, Tyrean purple, I put him back on the shelf and selected two more that I thought would look good with some dark red on them; #02077 "Carnessa the Terrible," sculpted by Bob Ridolfi and closer to true 25mm than the other figures, and #02367, "Dragoth the Defiler."

Dragoth the Defiler
For Dragoth, with his heavy armor and ornate helmet, I got to thinking of an ancient warlord raised from the dead.  His armor's been basecoated in Reaper "Ancient Bronze" and will get a wash of Citadel "Reikland Flesh Shade" before being highlighted with "Antique Gold" and a touch of "True Silver" on the very edges.  Bones have been basecoated in "Sandy Brown" and I'll be picking out the wrappings on his left arm and legs in "Yellowed Bone" before giving them a wash of "Seraphim Sepia" and highlighting the wrappings with "Creamy Ivory" and the bones with "Stained Ivory."

Golgoth the Eradicator
Golgoth, by comparison, comes off as much more utilitarian.  He's wearing a tunic with a few small plates strung together covering his abdomen and groin, and there's some hints of chainmail under the tunic, especially under his right arm (in shadow in this picture).  He's got a shield with a big spiked boss, a spiked and horned helmet in proper Frazetta fashion, and an absolutely amazing, flowing ragged cloak.  Once again the bones have been basecoated with "Sandy Brown," the tunic has been basecoated with "Midnight Blue" and the wood of the shield is, appropriately, "Shield Brown." The helmet is, again, "Ancient Bronze."

Carnessa the Terrible
Carnessa, sculpted by Bob Ridolfi, is a much flatter figure compared to the other two, with a smaller cloak that's less folded and draped.  Her sword blade was originally folded over double against her back, though I've straightened it as best I can.  Armor and bones are as per the other two, and I'm considering repainting her loincloth to be a different color than the cloak.  Maybe blue like Golgoth's tunic? I'm not sure.  I originally mistook the folded-down cuffs of her boots as heavy metal anklets or greaves, so those need to be repainted. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Olleytoberfest (and possibly Zomtober as well!)

Sean over at Sean's Wargames Corner has proposed a fun little project for the month of October - honoring sculptor Bob Olley by showcasing figures he's sculpted that we've painted, and painting new figures that he's sculpted.  Now, sadly, I don't have any painted Bob Olley sculpts in my collection at the moment, though I've admired his dwarves and ogre sculpts for years.  So I decided I would try to mark this occasion by painting a small collection of Bob Olley sculpts - and, since it is October and it's time to get spooky, I opted for a half-dozen undead figures Olley sculpted for Reaper Miniatures.  Placed my order this morning, they should be arriving sometime early next week and then I can get crackalackin' on them. 

Here are the figures I ordered, presented unpainted, from Reaper's site:

As you can see, lots of tattered cloaks and flowing robes to work on my blending with, some armor, and a good mix of bare skulls and rotten flesh to keep things interesting.  If I wanted to, I could field these six as a unit with my Dragon Rampant undead army, should I ever get a game going of that.  Either way, I'm looking forward to them being an enjoyable project for the month.