• Skittles of Death 2.0: The Untamed Beasts

    Let’s be honest, Games Workshop does a pretty solid job of marketing their new games and building up hype, generating FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out – for their boxed games. It really doesn’t help that their model production is top tier, and their designers somehow manage to pour some real variety into concepts when they put their minds to it. Case in point, Warcry – where they managed to create some beautifully distinct warbands for base level chaos cultists, along with a game that gives a taste of Age of Sigmar with a much smaller model commitment and some super sweet terrain.

    When Warcry was released I was lucky enough to get the Untamed Warbeasts from the core box thanks to pal Brandon, and the warband made it onto the to-do list for this year’s Brush Wielders Union goals.

    They’re still pending basing, but following the “Chris likes painting colours” rule that gave us my “Skittles of Death” version of Warhammer Underworlds’ Sepulchral Guard, the Untamed Beasts are ready to make their opponents taste the chaotic rainbow.

    Continue reading  Post ID 21019


  • Paint The Target

    Ah, May. The scent of Spring in the air. Smells like pollen and allergies. Thankfully, burritos are an all-year round thing. Are those two statements related? You’ll never know! it’s a mystery! What’s NOT a mystery, was April’s target. Participants were tasked with painting a model that fit with the theme “Precision”. A sniper rifle, a razor-fine blade, a needle carefully placed… Apothecaries and medics, blademasters and more. Let’s see what came rolling into the ol’ inbox.

    KrrNiGit’s Ogor (am I the only one irked by GW muddling the spelling of things?) delivers killshots from a distance with what can only be described as a personal ballista.

    Continue reading  Post ID 21019


  • Dossier Decks: Pippa Westbuck, History Bard… or is she?

    I’ll confess a fondness for the shorter races of the Forgotten Realms. Sure elves and dragonborn and the like are cool, but there’s something about dwarves, gnomes and halflings that just triggers my imagination. Halfling Barbarian Tunnel Fighter! Gnome Storm Cleric! Sitting in my stock of characters-to-use-when-I-get-the-chance are a Dwarf Monk with a drinking problem and a Halfling Rogue who got conscripted into the local militia. When I flipped the first card for today’s post I saw a halfling, and my mind went “Ooh!” and then I flipped the others and went “… huh…. iiiinteresting”.

    Normally when I pull cards from the Dossier Decks I’m looking to create an interesting NPC, though last time we switched gears and used the cards as inspiration for a character for Iron Kingdoms: Requiem. I pulled the cards for today’s article and I was torn. Are we making a character or an NPC today? We’re sticking with an NPC, but really, I feel like either is a solid option for Pippa Westbuck.

    So Pippa is clearly talented in the ways of magic, and isn’t bound to a stuffy library somewhere as indicated by her fine travelling clothes. She’s a little absent minded and constantly recalls moments from her youth and from days of yore. Her constant companion is a raven that speaks Dwarven, and occasionally utters portentious omens. As a lover of history myself, Pippa immediately struck a chord with me but it’s the raven that triggered some more sinister ideas.

    Halflings are long-lived, so she’d likely have a good depth of experience, but at the same time, the little folk tend to settle down wherever they’re comfortable. Even if we put Pippa in her later years, say, 200ish, she’ll have spent at least a century of that in a community of her peers rather than adventuring. What if she has a knack for history, but the personal experiences from her youth aren’t personal experiences from her youth?

    Suppose Pippa was of a scholarly bent, but not necessarily of magic. We know she likes history, so what if she leaned into her natural charm and began adventuring as a  bard, perhaps the College of Lore. She had a knack for the magical side of bardcraft, but it was the knowledge that drew her in. You could even argue that the Cutting Words ability Lore bards pick up manifests as  her confusing foes with anecdotes and historical tidbits.

    Let’s say Pippa and her adventuring buddies went underground, where they bravely fight their way through the catacombs before coming up against Thavis of the Eternal Stone, a dwarven sorcerer long since given over to the ravages of time refusing to yield to death’s grip. A short, bearded lich, if you will. Conflict ensues, and Pippa watches her teammates fall around her as they battle the master of knee-high necromancy. Pippa gives her all, firing everything at her disposal at the lich before darkness overwhelms her.

    After a time, Pippa regains consciousness to find herself alone before the lich’s throne. The bodies of her friends lay on the cold tile, while the lich’s own form lies broken and shattered on the steps leading to the throne’s dais. The only other movement in the room is that of a large raven perched on the throne itself, head cocked at our halfling hero. She hadn’t seen the bird before, but it seemed to bob its head at her as if acknowledging something.

    Dusting herself off, Pippa sets a pyre for her companions, knowing that there’s no way she can retrieve their remains and return them to the surface. The raven periodically mutters in a tongue unfamiliar to her, presumably dwarvish, and at one point settles on her shoulder. After paying her respects Pippa returns to the surface and, disenchanted with the heroic life after the deaths of her friends, retires from adventuring to focus on scholarly pursuits…

    … but she has lapses. Every once in awhile she realizes that she can’t remember what she did yesterday, or the day before. She finds notes that she didn’t write. She finds a dwarven runestone rolled under her desk. And this raven keeps muttering at her in what she’s told is dwarven. She never learned the language, but on more than one occasion she’s muttered what feels like an expletive. Surely she just picked it up from the raven, no? And then there was that time she debated with a runesmith about the nature of three specific dwarven runes. At least, she’d been told she’d debated with the runesmith. She couldn’t remember doing so, and knew nothing about the etymology of the runes.

    In truth, the raven is simply following its master, as all Familiars do. So what if the master is hiding inside a little halfling bookworm? From time to time the master surfaces, and tells the raven of his plans now that he can move freely among the still-living…

     

    SkeletonKey’s Dossier Decks are a great tool for creating NPCs or inspiring character creation or even a full campaign. What if Pippa was loose in Candlekeep? What would the evil Thavis be able to achieve with access to Faerun’s greatest repository of knowledge? Should the party befriend and ally with Pippa as they work to uncover whatever mysteries they’re … well, uncovering, how will they react to the unwitting traitor in their midst?  Will they realize that their foe was alongside them throughout the entire adventure before the lich’s machinations wreak havoc? Can Pippa be relieved of her incorporeal stowaway? More questions than answers… there’s an adventure here just waiting to unfold.


  • Colouring outside the lines

    When I started playing Warmachine, I marveled at Privateer’s models in their studio schemes, but I knew I had to paint my own models in a more unique palette. When I picked up my Flesh-Eater Courts for Age of Sigmar, same thing. Riot Quest, Necromunda, Guild Ball – I bypassed studio schemes for something of my own concoction wherever possible. The only exception was 40K, and even then I had to eschew the headliner marine chapters and go for a successor chapter so I’d be working with a slightly less common look. Then came Marvel Crisis Protocol, and the guys from Atomic Mass were all “You can paint them any scheme you want!” and something in me said “No, I can’t…”

    The models for Crisis Protocol represent some of my favourite fictional protagonists and antagonists, images burned into my brain over decades of comic reading. To paint them in schemes that didn’t at least approximate their traditional costumes would somehow be sacrilege, muddying and somehow despoiling the memories of laying in bed as a feckless youth, reading about the Armor Wars and the Dark Phoenix Saga and more… wouldn’t it?

    And then I was staring at the enormous face of MODOK, and I had an idea that I just couldn’t shake…

    What if MODOK wanted to rock and roll all night, and party every day?

    MODOKISS was made for lovin’ you, baby, setting heaven on fire as the tears are falling… and so far, Kingpin’s got his oversized mitts on at least one drumstick. I’ve giggled to myself many times, looking at that grimace, but now I’m left pondering who to use to fill the remaining two slots in the lineup.

    Venom’s the obvious choice for The Demon, but then, that’s -too- obvious. I’m thinking Toad will be much more entertaining, and the current front runner for the Star Child is Green Goblin, another model with an unobscured face suitable for makeup and, coincidentally, giving me three of the four band members sharing the Criminal Syndicate affiliation. Will they play well together on the table? Who cares, this is about having fun with a painting project 😉

    Fighting the befuddled voice of teenage Gdaybloke (and even 20’s and 30’s gdaybloke) to paint models with such iconic visuals in anything other than their traditional schemes is apparently really easy if I come up with a silly enough concept…

     

     


  • Vying for your coin: Kickstarter Confluence

    As we star down the barrel of the warmer months in the Northern hemisphere, we’d normally be planning adventures outside, but the vagaries of a global pandemic continue to have many of us staying inside for our own wellbeing, as well as for the good of our communities and loved ones. Thankfully, there’s some super groovy things out there to keep us occupied, and we’re in the middle of three Kickstarter campaigns that may pique your interest. Three contenders have been circling my wallet like hungry sharks…

    Marvel United: X-Men

    Anyone who’s follows Lost Hemisphere for any length of time knows I’m a fan of chibi models – there are plenty of Ninja Division products in the Gdaycave – and a lifelong love of comic books means I’m well familiar with every single model in this kickstarter. At the time of writing there are  49 models in the core pledge alone (including the Stretch Goal additions), and an additional 29 in the Additional Options, before you even consider that they’re also including all of the models from the original Marvel United kickstarter as optional buys.

    Is the game any good? I have no idea, I haven’t played the original though will note that it’s received some exceptionally good reviews, and if you scored the expansions there’s a *lot* of options and gameplay variants. It’s a co-op game, with the players all teaming up against whatever the mission parameters are, and each expansion introduces new concepts – such as Apocalypse being reinforced by any of his Horsemen you weren’t able to defeat, or the members of the Phoenix Five powering up as you defeat each one, culminating in the last opponent having the full power of the Phoenix Force.

    The appeal for me is, frankly, the amazing figures. I still low-key kick myself for not buying into the last one because it means there’s a Beta Ray Bill figure out there that I don’t own, but for this round the designers have done some super deep dives into X-lore. Hell, you can field the entire Peter David era X-Factor, with everyone except Havok in the right uniforms. I guess he didn’t like the puffy jacket…

    The models are gorgeous, it’s almost like they know that the punters won’t care about how good the game is if they’ve got an amazing collection of chibi models of beloved characters…

    Monster Hunter World

    In stark contract to the X-Men, I’ll confess to knowing nothing about Monster Hunter World other than (a) it’s popular, (b) there’s a movie in the works. While Pokemon made its mark on pop culture with Pocket Monsters, Monster Hunter World seems to be carving its way with Definitely Not Pocket Monsters. I mean, unless you’ve got some enormous pockets.

    This one’s produced by Steamforged, whose track record includes the very successful (albeit inexplicably abandoned) Guild Ball, and more recently, the Epic Encounters series of self-contained encounters and mini-campaigns for D&D. Monster Hunter World is a visually gorgeous adventure into a world of, well, hunting enormous beasties, armed with comically exaggerated weaponry, so the game is loaded with miniatures accordingly.

    The core game has you scouring the Ancient Forest, but you also have the option to fight your way through the Wildspire Waste, and there are several additional add-ons for more weapon options and three Elder Dragons – Kushala Daora, Nergigante and Teostra.

    Without having played the video game, the main appeal personally is the sweet looking minis. The hunters are 33mm scale, but the gribblies range from 75mm to 255mm in height, meaning if you’re looking for a stock of giant monsters to paint your way through, you’ll get your fill here. Gameplay wise, each hunter and each monster is unique in how they play. Hunters are defined by their weapon selection, so with 20 different heroes to choose from (potentially more to be unlocked by stretch goals), there’s going to be some decent replayability before you even consider that each monster will also have its own profile, attacks, and generally ruin your day. Monsters will spit venom at you, slam you around the board, try to drown you in putrescent sludge, bullrush past your teammates to pin you in a corner…

    I have no idea if it’s better to be melee-centric or focused more on ranged attacks, but I’ll take the Insect Glaive based on the name alone.

    Riot Quest: Chilly Con Carnage

    Ah, now here’s something I know a little about! Riot Quest is Privateer Press’ alternate timeline game where the more mercenarilly inclined survivors of The Claiming scavenge their way across the remnants of the Iron Kingdoms, fighting for money, power, and cool loot. The main game was kickstarted last year, and the Chilly Con Carnage kickstarter gives us an opportunity to get early access to the expansions that make up the second half of the Wintertime Wasteland block.

    From the Karchev/Deathjack boss fight expansion to the Heist expansion with Princess Delores, now’s your chance to add new depth to one of the most entertaining arena board game experiences out there, bringing the Warmachine/Hordes flavor with a dash of wackiness.

    Form your ranks with new heroes, including Widget: Mathlete Archaeologist and the combo hero Dreyfuss & Flubbin: Storm Patrol! Or of course you can add the Karchev/Deathjack hybrid monstrosity, but you know me, I’m all about the Living Covenant…

     

    The kickstarter also gives you a chance to pick up either of the Riot Quest starters and alternate sculpts of some of the earlier heroes (including the Blinged Out versions of Bamfist and Gubbin), not to mention Kommandog Barkevich, who I am told is a very good boy, and appreciates pats.

     

    Three very different kickstarters, no doubt appealing to different audiences, but I think it’s fair to say there’s something for everyone to help keep you busy once they deliver, even if it’s only staring at the pile of models you’ve just garnered and trying to figure out what to paint first. What’s tickling your fancy?

     


  • Burnination Incarnate: The Menite Archon

    We could start by quoting Meatloaf and talking about flying rodents launching out of the abyss, but the Menite Archon isn’t a bat and Urcaen doesn’t directly equate to Hell, so… Like a flaming manifestation of Law out of the shared afterlife of the Iron Kingdoms, I’ll be soaring across the battlefield burning heretics when the morning comes. Man, that really doesn’t roll of the tongue…

    After a hiatus while we upgraded some of the equipment in the Gdaycave (I can now type blog posts at the exact same speed on a computer that’s much faster than my old dinosaur!), we’re happy to be back with the model that kept me busy painting over the last while. You’d think that, as a long time Protectorate of Menoth player, I’d be more comfortable painting flame… but the Archon took it to a new level with its blazing pinions and the conflagration on which it rises, not to mention the adorable little burning head.

    While the Menite Archon was one of the first released, it’s no less potent than any of its counterparts. With sword and flail both limned with righteous flame, anything it strikes will soon be rendered naught but ashes. Convenient, since the Archon defends itself with an ashen veil, the burning haze blurring its outline from a distance, and choking opponents in close.

    The sword channels the essence of Menoth’s Law, denying those who would use magic to bend reality and dispelling their enchantments. Meanwhile the flail swings wide, threshing everything within range as the flames burn hotter. Divinely inspired, the Archon’s strikes are even more accurate and deadly than you would expect, and woe betide any who harm its charges, vengeance will be swiftly delivered, with righteous fury.

    There, I think I managed to sneak in an obscure reference to every rule on its card, except for Grievous Wounds on the flail. No matter how you want to look at it, the Menite Archon is a powerhouse of blazing destruction, and a perfect fit for flame-centric lists, with Fuel For the Flames making all damage rolls for the Fire continuous effect burn at +2 to the roll.

    Of course, the Menite Archon recognizes all who venerate the creator, not just those devout citizens of the Protectorate. The adherents of the Old Faith in Khador can welcome the divine manifestation of judgmental third degree burns into their lists as well.

    When you come up with a new paint scheme, it can be a challenge finding one that translates nicely across different model types. My old scheme of bright white and mid blues yielded to off-white armor and purple cloth, with blue menofixes as an accent. I wanted to have this model look almost like it had a ceramic feel, baked in the purifying kiln of Menoth’s love. The Archon is the second 50mm base model I’ve painted in the new scheme (the other being Hand of Silence), and by far the largest. Aside from being a shameful reminder of how few Menites I painted last year, it’s also an encouraging step forward as I work on my Brush Wielders Union goals. There’ll be a Brawlmachine list done by the end if the year, by hook or by crook!

    I figure I should prime some Paladins next time I’m prepping some models… need to get those Shield Sisters ready for war.


  • Brief hiatus

    Gentlelost, just a quick note to let you know that we’ll be taking a brief break.

    This normally happens a couple of times a year, we take a day or two off from the usual posting schedule while we’re away at conventions and the like to give us time to actually, you know, be present at such things. This time around, no such luck, the Gdayputer is going through the swamps of sadness, from whence Atreyu cannot drag its sorry horse butt. The clear solution is to recruit a racing snail to get us the rest of the way to the Ivory Tower.

    We’ll be back with you soon. I expect you all to be on your best behavior while we’re gone. Except Dave. That guy’s incorrigible.


  • From Russia With Love

    Some days you wake and fudge your way through routine, from your morning cruller to filing your TPS reports to reheating leftover pizza. Other days you find a box on your doorstep with the image of some sort of giant undead rat monster staring at you. Those are good days. I recently received a care package from Punga Miniatures, creators of some truly spectacular resin sculpts for a certain fantasy football game, along with some other truly odd artistic endeavors. Let me welcome you to the silliness.

    Continue reading  Post ID 21019


  • Paint The Target

    April showers may bring May flowers, but before that we get a new gallery of painted models and – as with every month – someone’s gonna get a prize mailed to them. For the month of March, participants were instructed to paint something big. No snotlings and gobbers here, I wanted to see titans of the battlefield, centerpiece models, things that dominate the landscape with their mere presence. Let’s see what we got!

    From the desk of Wallorspin, which I’m sure is perpetually dappled in golden sunlight, Aeternae!

    Continue reading  Post ID 21019


  • Dossier Decks/IKRPG: Faldor Goldgrim, sole survivor

    It’s the last post of the month. Know what that means? That’s right, it’s time to crack open the Dossier Decks and … wait, no, let’s not make an NPC this time. While we’re waiting on tenderhooks for the delivery of Requiem, the new RPG setting for the Warmachine/Hordes universe, we don’t have all the rules for character creation but there’s no reason we can’t pull the cards and see what sort of character we can create that just might work as a PC once we get to grips with the new rules.

    Making characters for Requiem is going to be interesting in that the Iron Kingdoms is not your typical high fantasy setting, and a number of the standard fantasy races and classes are going to need some tweaking to make them fit. For a start, spellcasting is nowhere near as common in the Iron Kingdoms, and you’re a lot more likely to see traditional magic items represented via alchemy, weird steampunk science and runes, than hand-waved enchantment. Thematically, this can lead in one of two directions: party makeup will be more proportionately reflective of the setting with martial classes dominating , or the party will be truly exceptional with spellcasters being near unheard of in some areas.

    As a DM I generally encourage players to play whatever strikes their fancy, roll the dice and come what may, but I think for Requiem a little additional consideration into the nature of the setting may be required. The stories we tell in the Forgotten Realms, Eberron, Wildemount, Theros and Ravnica all have their own distinct flavors, and I think the Iron Kingdoms deserve the same love. Some backstory and a decent Session Zero can go a long way.

    The cards have flipped! I drew from the Merchants deck, and we pulled a fancy-dressed dwarf with an eidetic memory, a distrust of elves, and a touch of survivors guilt, complete with a souvenir.

    Frankly, this lends itself beautifully to the iron Kingdoms. Rhul borders on Ios, and with the Iosans closing their borders even tighter after the events of Oblivion, anyone who was already even slightly xenophobic regarding the elves would find trust waning further. The Nyss tribes would North of Khador would also have potentially clashed with Rhulfolk as Everblight’s machinations unfolded, so we have potential reason to distrust both Iosan and Nyss elves.

    The eidetic memory and propensity to interject with infodumps are personality quirks, but our dwarf’s recent encounter with a horned gribbly gives us both potential character motivation and something for the DM to weave into the main story, or perhaps craft a personal side quest around.

    Since we’re looking to use Faldor as a PC, his personal backstory needs some good meat, but not too much, as we want his story to unfold through play. As a DM, however, let’s consider where that backstory might feed the narrative. The description states a gnarled horn, so a Gnarlhorn Satyr would be an easy fit, though more likely to lead dear Faldor into conflict with the Circle Orboros than the elves. This works for a campaign with the Circle featuring as primary antagonists, though it relegates Faldor’s anti-elf sentiments to being little more than a character quirk.

    Instead, the image brings to mind a number of agents of the dragon Everblight. I’m picturing a small merchant caravan, specializing in finer wares – Faldor’s garb doesn’t mark him as someone who spends a lot of time swinging a pickaxe – making its way through the North to a Khadoran city or settlement. Perhaps delivering some clockwork intricacies. The road is not used often, though it’s still clear and largely considered a safe route.

    Faldor is one of half a dozen Rhulfolk with the caravan. Three merchants, three trained guards – possibly Highshields – riding two per wagon; merchants at the reins, guards riding shotgun. As the sun starts to sink below the ridgeline, the temperature dips. The guard on the rear wagon suddenly goes stiff, raises his firearm to the temple of the surprised merchant beside him and pulls the trigger. The gunshot startles the dwarves on the forward two wagons, but the guard on the front wagon fires a lethal shot into the the chest of the merchant with him, eyes glazed over.

    Faldor dives from the wagon seat as his guard suddenly clutches at his head. Rolling under the wagon he hoists himself into the undercarriage. The guards are all yelling out now. Free of whatever influence had cased them to murder their charges, the front and rear guards move toward the center, barking at each other as they scan the roadside forest for threats.

    The three gather, guns pointing outward, as from nowhere snow swirls about them, bitter winds tearing at them, ice forming on their beards and brows. Bolts of dark energy slice through the blizzard, striking the guards as triggers are pulled, firing blindly. One guard drops, then another, then a piercing shriek is heard.

    Suddenly the wind stops howling, the snows dissipate, and the third guard, fallen to one knee, holds his firearm forward in a shaky grip. Smoke wafts lazily from the barrel as he falls forward, succumbing to his wounds, and there is silence.

    After a time, Faldor climbs out from under the wagon. His guards and fellow merchants are dead. Following the line of the last guard’s shot, Faldor cautiously moves to the side of the road. There, laying in the mud, is a wicked, gnarled horn. The base is shattered, a bullet having taken it from the head of its owner. Faldor is no tracker, but he can see the brush has been disturbed by somethign moving away with some haste. On a tree beside the trail, a single bloody handprint. Long, slender fingers extending from a delicate palm. Elf…

    Perhaps, thinks Faldor, it’s time to step away from the world of sales and merchandise, and into another line of work. He would take what he could from the wagons and complete as much of the delivery as he could, and then talk to the Khadorans about other opportunities…

    Meanwhile, deep in the forest, a Nyss Succubus tenderly places a poultice to the side of her head. The ragged, bleeding stump was all that remained of her horn. Her face twisted in anger, she pondered how her ambush had been undone. The dwarfs were dead… she had got them all, yes? While she had not recovered the device her mistress sought, she had at least stopped its delivery. She would rest, then return to the wagons to scour the contents. With the Rhulfolk all dead there should be no further concerts…

    Suddenly we have a reason for Faldor to be suspicious of elves, a backstory that gives him a nudge to start adventuring, a background, and a possible future nemesis, the one-horned succubus who was spurned by her mistress for her failure, and now seeks revenge against the one dwarf who survived…

    The Dossier Decks are available from SkeletonKey Games. Find your inspiration therein.