• Reinforcements have arrived

    Some days you go to the mailbox and there’s nothing but flyers and an electricity bill. Other times there’s a mysterious box containing a bounty of paints! Since the closing of my old FLGS, it’s been a challenge getting new P3 paints without driving to neighboring cities, and we’re not supposed to be sojourning on pigment quests. Many of the newly released paints have been absent from my palette simply because there was nowhere immediately local I could nab them. This travesty has now been remedied.

    The following have been added to the arsenal:

    • Amethyst Rose – Looks like it’ll pair beautiful for shading Skorne Red
    • Asheth Grey – Will it betray me? Do I need to paint with one arm when using it?
    • Bad Bruise – A beautiful deep indigo that reminds me of bruise makeup I wore in high school for a play
    • Bogrin Brown – A great base tone for yellow-brown leathers
    • Boiler Black – Pig Iron has been demoted as my dark metal go-to
    • Bog Moss – A lovely bilious green
    • Beaten Purple – This I already had a pot of, but the new one seems lighter? Did the recipe change?
    • Deathless Metal – Dark yet lustrous
    • Eldritch – A greener tone that will share space with Meredius and Arcane Blue
    • Galvanized Steel – I’ll experiment with this. Looks like a light grey, but it’s a metallic?
    • Gravedigger Denim – The core of any good set of dungarees
    • Mage Hunter Green – I dropped this paint pot twice in a 5 minute span. It clearly boosts its dodge rolls
    • Meaty Ochre – Hands down the best name for a yellow paint I’ve seen in yonks
    • Orgoth Bronze – The third dark metallic in the mix
    • Inferno Orange – … a Menite named this, didn’t they
    • Sickly Skin – A very pale green-grey, perfect for the pallid dead

    And then there’s a selection of inks. I am very interested in comparing Caspian and Kossite flesh wash. To date I’ve mainly relied on washes from Citadel’s range, but working with different skin tones is a thing, and I can’t just use Citadel’s flesh wash on every tone. Our hobby is very heavily dominated by the same basic skin tone. P3 paints have given us several tonal variants, and Idrian Flesh is very much a favorite of mine to work with,

    I don’t see myself pulling a Lonelymonk and spending 20 hours transferring my collection to dropper bottles, but I really am quite chuffed to have new colors to work with, and excited to be able to show you the end results as I work through my painting goals this year.

    What painting projects to you have on your docket? What paint lines are you leaning into?

  • Dossier Decks: Ombarr Ruthnok, Orc on the Run

    Creating NPC’s for a roleplaying campaign can be a fun mental exercise. You never know when the NPC you breathe life into will inspire a future PC, a campaign, or even an entire setting – all built off the concept of one character. I thought today we’d do our first Dossier Deck character of 2021 by opening the fourth and final deck from the original kickstarter: Orcs & Goblins. For those unfamiliar, SkeletonKey produced four Dossier decks – Commoners, Merchants, Mages and Orcs & Goblins. Each deck has appearance, story hook and trait cards. You shuffle each card type, draw one of each, and bam, you get your NPC. While each deck is fully fleshed out in itself, you can mix all four decks together for maximum versatility, and they can be easily resorted thanks to the deck icons in the bottom corner of each card.

    Today we’re solely using cards from the  Orcs & Goblins deck. Our shuffle has yielded:

    • Appearance: Ombarr Ruthnok – a senior orc in good health, with solvered hair
    • Traits: Nervous tics and a touch of pyromania – my kinda guy.
    • Story Hook: Family Jewel/All-Seeing Eye. Ombarr has been charged with the safekeeping of an orb that’s being sought for its magical properties.

    So let’s start with the appearance. Orcs are often portrayed as a more barbaric culture, but Ombarr’s silver hair suggests that he’s already lived much longer than the stereotypical lifespan. The card state that he’s still healthy and strong, so we’ve got a senior orc who can still brawler. I’m put in mind of the Silver Horde from the Discworld books – a character who, by all rights, should have died a dozen times over but has instead defeated all-comers and, despite the ravages of time, can still hold his own. Ombarr was likely one hell of a brawler, and thus commands the respect and admiration of his clan…

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  • Games should be fun

    “At  the center of skorne society are unpleasant concepts like suffering, servitude and torture. Some players might not want such concepts expressed openly or in great detail, if at all. It is important everyone at the table is comfortable and having fun, and this might require a Game Master to let some elements of skorne culture take a back seat or be glossed over – or even to omit them entirely. Every group is different, so it is up to a Game Master to respect the players’ tolerances and preferences before showcasing such elements in a game. One group might not have any problem with playing a skorne campaign replete with dark themes, while another group might strongly prefer to omit careers like the Tormentor and the practices they represent. Overall, skorne society is more focused on earning honor and glory than on simply inflicting pain, and a campaign could easily be steered to focus players on achieving greatness for their houses without exploring the darker aspects of skorne culture and philosophy.”

    This passage is in the Skorne Empire supplement for the Iron Kingdoms Unleashed RPG. It was written by one of my favourite RPG writers, though I didn’t know that when I read it. It contains what is, for me, one of the most important concepts a Dungeon Master, Game Master, Storyteller needs to understand.

    A little background for those unfamiliar:

    The Skorne are a race of humanoids from the Warmachine/Hordes setting, whose culture could loosely be described as combining elements reminiscent of Feudal Japan, the Roman Empire, and an omnipresent death cult. They have a rigorous caste system, warring houses actively enslave those they defeat, and much of their culture is built around the desire to have their souls captured and stored in crystalline prisons when they die, rather than having them sucked into the void and destroyed. They are masters of mortitheurgy – death magic – and there are very powerful elements of their society that are built up around the sorcerous power that can be siphoned from the victims of torture and agonizing death.

    Frankly, an awful lot of skorne culture is built around practices that are ethically and morally abhorrent. I’ll freely admit that I love the Iron Kingdoms setting and I’m fascinated by the life breathed into the setting by the writing team. The setting has so much depth and character, for so many different factions and cultures, it boggles my mind just how rich the world of the Iron Kingdoms has become over the years. That said, some cultures depicted are, to my mind, much more suited to being antagonists rather than protagonists. There’s little heroic about the Blindwater Congregation, the Cryxian nation is mired in undeath and sinister blood magicks, and we all know how I feel about those filthy Morrowans in Cygnar.

    The Skorne Empire supplement is the most comprehensive look into the peoples who marched across the abyss to wage war on the fertile lands of Western Immoren, and while it can certainly be used as a “Here be bad guys” resource, it also presents the rules for a group of players to don the crimson and brass armour of the Empire and play in the streets of Halaak in their own quest for eternal glory (ie, to earn honour and glory sufficient to have their spirit placed in a soulstone upon death). That’s where the above quote comes in.

    Every group is different, so it is up to a Game Master to respect the players’ tolerances and preferences before showcasing such elements in a game.”

    Roleplaying groups are often bound by an unspoken social contract. The most recent D&D sourcebook, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, lists the following:

    • You will respect the players by running a game that is fun, fair, and tailored for them. You will allow every player to contribute to the ongoing story and give every character moments to shine. When a player is talking, you are listening.
    • The players will respect you and the effort it takes to create a fun game for everyone. The players will allow you to direct the campaign, arbitrate the rules, and settle arguments. When you are talking, the players are listening.
    • The players will respect one another, listen to one another, support one another, and do their utmost to preserve the cohesion of the adventuring party.
    • Should you or a player disrespect each other or violate the social contract in some other way, the group may dismiss that person from the table.

    If you’re doing something that actively makes a player uncomfortable, you’re in breach of the social contract. An exception may be possible if it’s tied to a critical plot point, but you’d best be prepared to deal with any fallout, which could be anything up to and including dissolution of the campaign.

    I’m currently running a D&D game set in Barovia, home of Count Strahd Von Zarovich. This is the gothic horror setting for D&D otherwise known as Ravenloft. It’s dark. I mean, it’s one thing to go strolling through a dungeon and thwarting skeletons and goblins. It’s another thing to burst into a puppet theatre where the audience is ceramic dolls that all turn to stare at you, and one of the villagers is up on the stage strung up like a marionette with meat hooks through his joints.

    In playing through the  campaign there have been multiple times where I’ve seen my players pale or be taken aback by some of the descriptions I’m firing at them. They’ve been troopers, but you can bet that I’ve checked in with them multiple times to make sure they’re okay with the tone of the campaign, because – and here’s the crux – games are meant to be fun. I want them to end the sessions feeling like they’ve accomplished something, learned something, or even just done something cool. I want them to have experiences that can have them thinking “Hey, remember when…” some time down the line.

    They’re the protagonists. If you’re having fun, but they’re not, you’re doing it wrong. You need to consider your approach, how things are portrayed, how much agency they have as players, so on and so forth. Conversely, if they’re having fun but you’re not, that needs to be addressed too.

    D&D, IKRPG and other RPGs are all about collaborative storytelling. While the DM may have the index and the major plot points, it’s the players who are filling in the minutiae. Everyone should be able to enjoy the experience.

  • Lines in the sand: Challenge yourself.

    As we stare down the barrel of 2021, we’ve all got a lot on our minds. Dare we hope that we’ll pull out of the pandemic? Will we be able to gather with our nerd pals and get our game on? Is it finally time to learn to crochet? No matter how you’re approaching the coming year, one’s thing for sure: 2021 has promise… but only as much promise as you give it. 2021 isn’t going to be ‘better’ than 2020 all on its lonesome. With commitment and effort on our part, though, we can make it something special.

    While 2020 was certainly challenging in a number of aspects of my life, it was a decent year for getting things painted. After 20 years, I finally have a fully painted Warhammer Fantasy Battles Age of Sigmar army again, after selling my old ones off when I left Australia. My Monsterpocalypse models have seen love, there’s a bunch of Marvel Crisis Protocol and Riot Quest models in the display cabinets, and I managed to paint up some minis for D&D too. I even managed to start painting models for a 40K army, though there’s still a lot to be done there. Running Paint The Target every month has helped keep me motivated and painting as I get to see the models you’ve been working on, dear readers.

    But it’s a new year now, and time for new project planning.

    As a member of the Brush Wielder’s Union, setting painting goals for the year can lead to getting a sweet pin at the end of the year, if you can meet them. The BWU Discord community works to encourage and support everyone throughout the year. As much as I’m needing to keep room on the painting table for models to be painted for blog articles and the like, goals have been set.

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  • He Blasts! He Kuts! He juliennes fries

    While the Monsterpocalypse continues to develop on a global scale, with the Elemental Champions joining the Legion of Mutates to fight off the Savage Swarm and the Masters of the Eighth Dimension (new starters coming!), one could be forgiven for forgetting that the true lords of Terra have been here all along, dwelling beneath the surface and waiting for the right time to emerge. Like a beautiful butterfly metamorphosing in its cocoon, but with dirty great drill bits and the like, the Subterran Uprising broke the crust with Hammerklak and his Mollock attendants, but he wasn’t alone. The masterminds of the underground empire sent reinforcements.

    Blastikutter is … an odd little duck. Unlike Hammerklak, Blastikutter strides forth on long legs, ending in enormous tunneling claws. Drills are mounted on his shoulders and midriff, allowing for some seriously impressive shoulder charges and an utterly terminal belly bump (you do NOT want this guy at your kegger), while his arms end in a huge saw for carving choice cuts from hit… their… opponents, and a cannon. The weirdness comes from the mad underearth science that allowed two beings to be bolted together, giving Blastikutter two heads and allowing each control different attacks simultaneously.

    That said, the bolts run up the center of the torso, over the shoulders and down the back, with no indication of incisions around or below the waistline. This would suggest that both upper portions are part of the same being as the lower, rather than different creatures frankensteined together.

    From this I can think of two options. One, the upper portions were originally two independent upper torsos that were bolted together, or two, there was originally a third head between the remaining two that was excised for being a disagreeable git. I’m not sure which option is more disconcerting.

    Blastikutter is the last of the Subterran models to be painted in my collection (until I get my hands on another Mollock blister, or PP releases a second minion blister and the new iteration of Drillcon-Vorionik) so now I need to decide if they should be paired with my Lords of Cthul or Planet Eaters… at least, until that Savage Swarm starter drops…

  • New Year, New Campaign, New Warband. All the WARCRY!

    When it comes to finding a distraction in these times, most of us find a reprieve in our tabletop gaming, regardless of if it is roleplaying, strategy, board games, or war games.  Finding the time and partnering up with a group of friends for our social interactions is difficult at the best of times and just by or very nature of being gamers, we are not always the most reliable individuals.  Some are more punctual than others and my group is no exception.  I have a mixed bag of gamers in my group, with myself being the most punctual.  Now take on the reality that is COVID and the restrictions that have been put in pace and getting together for any sort of gaming has become even harder to accomplish. I have been lucky enough to have a small group of friends that fall well below the threshold put in place by the state of Virginia (five, including myself).  We meet up every other weekend if we can, for a round of some sort of war game before launching into our RPG night.  I hope that during your time under these restrictions that you have been able to ‘scratch the itch’ of gaming in some way, shape, or form.  Please stay safe and observe the regional guidelines put in place for the safety of you, your family, and your friends.

    Enough of the obligatory check in on reality, lets head into the realm of the fantastic.

    I love Warcry.  I can’t stress this enough.  I…LOVE…WARCRY!\

    It is simple to learn, cheap to get into (Relatively speaking), fun and fast to play.  I have bought into the game of Warcry…just about all of it actually.  Remember that ‘relatively speaking’ thing I said in the previous sentence?  Yeah, I left that behind, waaaaay behind, and blew past ‘relatively speaking’ in no time flat.  I dove in whole hog, all in, hook, line, and singer.  Totally okay with that too.

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  • Paint The Target – January 2021

    Welcome, Gentlelosties, to 2021. A year foretold in the mists of the past to be the one – THE VERY ONE! – that follows 2020. Remarkably, the world didn’t implode upon itself. I attribute this to the tribute made to the great world spirit by the painters that sent in their submissions for this, the very first Paint The Target of 2021.  You may be interested to know that the dinosaur of a PC that warms the Gdaycave with its blinky lights has Target entries dating all the way back to June 2014, when the old Gday’puter was upgraded. We may need to do a retrospective some day…

    Back to the matter at hand! Behold yon gallery of submissions, holding off the destruction of the world by their very presence! The theme for December’s attack on your piles of silver shame was Seasonal

    Aaaad out of the gate we have support for the way we run the themes for these challenges. The themes – usually a word or short phrase – are completely open to interpretation. The point is to encourage you to paint, not to crush your creativity. Prophaniti1978 pulled out his Iron Chef from Relic Knights. A master in the kitchen, everything he touches is perfectly seasoned.

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  • Happy Holidays

    For many of us Christmas is looking very different this year, with less family gatherings and more silent nights. Nevertheless we wish every one of our Losties the very best of the season, while still respecting COVID protocols.

    Lost Hemisphere will be taking a break, and will return on January 1st with our first Paint The Target post of 2021. We’ll still be sharing stuff on social media, but it’s been a long year and my brain is tired and I figure a week long nap is in order.

    To tide you over, please enjoy our favourite piece of LH holiday art, by the ever-amazing CaptainSpud.

    Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
    See you in the new year.

  • MonPoc: Recycling The Zerkalo Way! – Zavod 075

    Hello, Citizens! I can’t help but notice how you’ve managed to do significant damage to your Earth’s ecosystem through pollution! I would like to introduce to you the superior recycling techniques we have developed in our home dimension, that you too might benefit from a planet covered in less discarded G.U.A.R.D. tank husks and the like. I am Kommander Yuri, and this is the pride of the Zerkalo recycling and reclamation program, Zavod 075!

    Zavod 075 comes in quite a few pieces, anchored on the two resin components that form the upper and lower body. Both arms are metal, with an upper arm, lower arm, and one single claw for each hand. The remaining pieces are the cannon and three separate chimney stacks. 

    More than just an enormous machine on treads with plenty of smokestacks and a dirty great cannon (purely for self defense, I assure you), the Zavod 075 is equipped with a bloody gigantic scoop to collect that scrap metal that G.U.A.R.D. has seen fit to issue ostensibly as weapons of war, and after dumping them into its hopper, this wonderful device can break down and reassemble the components, creating actually useful things like Spar rockets and Vorota Walkers!

    Zavod 075 can produce new units via a Summon action, or as part of a Brawl attack against an enemy unit, replacing the downed unit with a Zerkalo Bloc unit from your reserves. Once he goes Hyper, he loses the Summon action, but instead gains Salvage, turning debris from destroyed buildings into Power Dice. 

    Future generations of your dimension’s human children will be so glad you decided to embrace this recycling technology, so that you could leave behind a planet with far fewer G-Tank hulls. Reach out to your local Zerkalo Bloc agency and make your pledge to making a better world for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.

    Zavod 075, as well as the Vorota Walkers (mobile spawning points) and SPAR (single use rocket launchers), are available through your FLGS or preferred online retailer. Have YOU pledged your allegiance yet?

  • Gunnbjorn2 and the Barrage Team

    The Trollkin are one of the sturdiest, toughest people in the Iron Kingdoms. They’re renowned for being after to take a punch square on their craggy chins and responding with a very mean punch of their own. Their attrition game is one of the best, and conversely, their ability to set up a viable gunline is recognized as one of their week points. This, naturally, is why my my Trollbloods back Hordes MkII were most often led by Grim Angus, and packed  a full unit of Pyg Bushwhackers. The release of Captain Gunnbjorn made me ridiculously happy, because it opened up the door for the third subsect of Trollbloods to get some love. The first was the traditionalists, centered on the Krielstone, Fennblades and Champions. The second was the Northkin, with their polar bears and all that beer. The third – the “modern” army – with their firearms and military training – finally had a poster boy.

    Brigadier General Gunnbjorn has put aside his trademark bazooka, and I won’t lie – that makes me very sad. However, there’s a lot to be said for a boostable armor-piercing POW12 rifle, and while Gunnbjorn may no longer be risking permanent damage to his own hearing, the Trollkin Barrage Team has stepped in to fill the gap.

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