As someone who digs into games based on their lore, I was thrilled when Privateer Press started Skull Island Expeditions, breathing further life into a setting that I already loved. When it comes to depth of lore, though, it’s tough to beat Games Workshop’s immense library of tales of the Warhammer world and the Warhammer 40K universe. In the grim darkness of their future, there is only enough novels to choke a Leviadon.
With the Horus Heresy being essentially the Big Bang of the 40K setting, the insurrection that set brother against brother in a cataclysmic conflict that threatened the stars themselves and established the eternal war between the defenders of humanity and the legions of Chaos, it’s no surprise that the setting has been very successful. With a series of novels and an entire variant on Warhammer 40K supported by Forge World models, players and fans have been able to enjoy a more retro design to familiar model concepts (you know, as retro as something set in the 31st Millenium can be), but more notably, they can field the Primarchs of their chapters themsellves.
When pal 49 scored the models for Lemun Russ, Primarch of the Space Wolves, and two enormous Wolf-Kin to run with him, clearly it’s an opportunity to crack open the boxes and look at the components.
Imagine. There you are, one of the most recognizable trollkin in the Iron Kingdoms. Not just by other trollkin, no, your name is known by human, dwarf, ogrun and elf alike. You are Greygore Boomhowler, of the bloodline of Bragg. You are a Fell Caller with magic vocal chords, and your mercenary band are one of the most sought after in the known world.
Then came the Reckoning.
The Infernals tore through the kingdoms of man like a dracodile through gobbers. Heroes and legends became corpses and wormfood. The souls of humanity were reaped, and you were left standing in the shattered remnants of the world you know. Oddly enough, this was a world you were well suited for. Survival of the toughest? You were well ‘ard long before the Infernals came along.
At first, you picked up a chain gun, and you sought to collect what little wealth and power in the post-apocalyptic remains. As a mercenary you’d been driven by a love of coin, so what was the difference now, other than treasure being a little more dangerous to collect. While the Iron Kingdoms were broken down, coin was still the other of the day. You banded together with others of a similar mind and came into conflict with the same. Sometimes you won the day and scored the loot, other days you went home and licked your wounds.
As the cold winds settled in you lay down the chain gun. You’d seen one too many casualties, and the song of revenge ran through your veins. Things were getting more personal, and sometimes the only solution when someone has an axe to grind, is to be the one holding the bigger axe. Conveniently, you’d come across the remains of Khadoran warjack that no longer needed its axe. It was big, it was heavy, but then, no more so than the burdens that you already carried.
Boomhowler the Destroyer – the second iteration of the trollkin for Riot Quest and his third version for Warmachine/Hordes – is a Fighter class hero for Riot Quest. Already one of the more resilient characters in the game, he’s decided that he’s going to add some obnoxious damage output in close combat as well. As with all Fighters, Boomhowler comes with the Charge ability, adding a red power die to his attacks on a turn where he rungs. This stacks nicely with his weapon, Massive Jack Axe, which already tolls two power die, along an action die and a boost die. Note that if you happen to roll a Super Strike on your power die you automatically to Super Damage, stacking the pain on your poor vicitms.
A nod to his origins as a Fell Caller, Boomhowler also has a handy movement buff for his allies with Hoof It, allowing another nearby ally to move up to 3 spaces.
For Warmachine/Hordes, I’ll confess I’m a little disappointed that I can’t bring him with my Protectorate, but that’s mainly because he’s packing a serious whallop with that axe. He’s not cheap, his 8pt cost putting him on par with the Archons as one of the most expensive Mercenary solos in the game. He’ll play for Cygnar, Cryx, Khador, Crucible Guard, and Trollbloods. Then the card gets long and more than a little bloodthirsty. Literally.
Bloodthirst pushes his charge threat range to 12” against a living model. End your movement within 6” of an unengaged Boomhowler? You’re getting Countercharge’d. If you’re a warjack or a warbeast? Amputation on the ace means you’re losing a column or branch, even if he only scratches through your armor. Oh, and Knockdown as a bonus.
Here’s where it gets obnoxious:
Boomhowler declares a *Thresher attack. Everything within 2” of his 40mm base’s front arc stares down a base MAT7 attack doing P+S13 damage.
• Knockdown means every hit model is now on their butt, no longer obscuring line of sight, regardless of whether or not they were damaged.
Thrasher – not to be confused with Thresher – means he get swing for a second Thresher attack, automatically hitting all those knocked down targets (and giving him a second shot at anyone he missed).
Trash says all of his damage rolls against knocked down targets get an extra damage dice.
In case that isn’t enough, remember, he’s a Fell Caller, so he brings his dulcet tones to the table as well, with three options.
Dinner Time grants friendly warbeasts +2” movement when charging the target. Note that this will only be of use with warbeasts in a Mercenary, Minion or Trollblood force, as it is Faction stamped.
Hoof It grants a friendly Mercenary, Minion or Trollblood a free advance, ignoring free strikes. Positioning much?
Shout Down targets an enemy model/unit. Boomhowler and all friendly Mercenary, Minion or Trollblood warrior models starting in his 9” command range gain +2 to all attack rolls against the affected enemy models.
So Hoof It to get Boomhowler into position, Shout Down the target so he’s functionally MAT9 against them, and go in Threshing (and Thrashing and Trashing).
I won’t lie, painting Boomhowler the Destroyer was a bit of a chore after some of the other models I’ve been working on recently… maybe because he’s wearing Severius’s faceplate as a vanity belt buckle… but he’s a solid addition to a Riot Quest roster, and packs a heck of a punch (heck of a chop?) for the Warmachine and Hordes lists that can field him. My Protectorate can’t, so I’ll just have to figure out how I’m going to cut him down to size before he gets in range of my Flameguard with that bloody axe…
Boomhowler the Destroyer is one of the five Riot Quest heroes you’ll find in the Wintertime Wasteland box, available now through your FLGS, your preferred online retail, and directly from Privateer press.
Ah, another month scratched off, and we’re this much closer to National No Housework Day. Now, granted, I celebrate on a more frequent basis, but I understand that not everyone has to the freedom to do so. Instead, let’s take a look at what entrants painted for February’s target, which was twofold. Well, technically onefold, but dual in nature. February’s target was Two. Whether this meant painting paired models, models that were dual-wielding, or perhaps Pokemon #2 (seriously, no-one painted an Ivysaur?), its’ time to double up. Behold yon gallery of entries, and as usual, the new month’s target will be posted – along with February’s winner – at the end.
Prophaniti1978 painted a single model with two beings. Do you think the little dragon Shang gets upset with Kyria for wearing its grandmother’s skull as a pauldron? Okay, okay, it’s not a dragon skull, but what if it was….
You stroll down the cobblestones, a variety of vendors hawking their wares from the broad windows of their shops and stall. It was a fairly busy marketplace, but it was clear to the discerning eye that the assorted shopkeeps and merchants saw each other as a community. No two stalls with similar offerings were close to each other, one vendor would watch a street urchin out of the corner of their eye at their neighbor’s stall, mindful of any light fingers… a pleasant enough corner of the city – not too opulent so as to make the common adventurer feel out of place, but not so seedy as to inspire a tighter than normal grip on one’s purse. Then, next to the dwarven potter’s stall, you spot an oddity.
No-one is outside the establishment beckoning passersby, just a simple wooden storefront, round windows with embroidered curtains masking the interior. A simple wooden sign hangs above the door. No words, just a painted depiction of a golden bowl with flowers floating in it. Curiosity takes you, and you step across the threshold to discover what looks more like a museum than a store, each item displayed individually on cushions and pedestals, in alcoves and display cases. A woman steps through a curtain at the rear of the store, and welcomes you to her humble establishment…
With D&D on my mind, I thought it was time to deal some more cards from SkeletonKey’s Dossier Decks. Creating NPC’s can be a challenge, but it’s amazing what you can do with a little inspiration. The Dossier Decks make it easy – you can see how far my brain rambled in my earlier posts, such as with Barl Moonsblood, professional nap wizard.
We flipped for appearance, traits and a story hook from the Merchants deck for today’s NPC and came up with…
Alternate historical settings are my jam. Okay, High and Low Fantasy, Steampunk and Deiselpunk are also my jam, but they’re not pertinent to today’s bloggery. I received a little heads up from the powers that be, and had a giddy thrill to learn that there’s some new reading for Achtung! Cthulhu – the roleplaying game set during World War II, but blended with H P Lovecraft’s mythos. Imagine if the Third Reich’s occultists went fishing at Innsmouth…
There’s been a few fictional properties that take the Weird War II concept and run with it – Mike Mignola used it for Hellboy’s origins, and Dust USA has unleashed elder things for miniature tabletop gaming – but when it comes to roleplaying games, Modiphius has the setting dialed in.
The new Quickstart rules have just been released on DriveThruRPG, and provide an introduction to the 2d20 system and an adventure set in rural France, where Master Hans Stöller of the Black Sun has uncovered an ancient tome and is set to summon an avatar of Nyarlathotep into the sleepy little village of Saint Sulac.
I’ve relied on a number of dice systems in the past – from D&D’s roll- a-d20-beat-a-target-number to Shadowrun’s throw-enough-d6-to-bludgeon-a-goat-into-unconsciousness – but the 2d20 system took me a few minutes to wrap my head around.
You add your stat and skill to give you a target number – the higher your stat and skill, the higher that number. You roll 2d20 as a base, and each dice that rolls under your target number is a success. 1’s translate as crits, 20’s as crit fails. There’s a number of things you can do to roll extra dice, from trading in previous extra successes to bribing the GM for extra dice now, at the price of additional challenges later on.
The particular mechanic that caught my eye most though, was Truths. Each character, be they pc or npc, each item or encounter or effect, has some codified truths about themselves. These truths can make a roll easier or harder. For example:
A room is on fire. A truth about this could be Smoke – it’s harder to see, your eyes sting, it’s harder to focus as your throat seizes. Accordingly, it’s more difficult to see your target across the room, and the difficulty goes up.
Our hero’s truth is that he was a sailor before joining the effort. While it may not be codified on their character sheet, they picked up some basic navigation or ropework skills, which could make their lives a little easier as they try to find their way on a cloudless night, or need to secure a prisoner.
The thing I like about this idea is the freedom it allows for roleplaying opportunities. Our hero doesn’t have a defined statistic for animal husbandry, but a rural background could mean that it’s reasonable that they have some familiarity with livestock, and could lean on that to make things a little easier for the team as they tried to sneak through a paddock avoiding riling up the cattle. It could also mean a potential familiarity with tractors, so while operating the rusty old beat-up machinery they found in the shed may still require everyone teaming up and combining their efforts to get the number of successes needed, our hero’s ability to interpret some of the controls may lower the difficulty just a little.
There’s a little more math involved and the whole “It’s better to roll lower” concept always throws my dinosaur math brain for a loop, but I’d be selling the system short if I didn’t note that the potential for roleplaying based on concepts rather than stats is pretty bloody huge.
The scenario that comes with the Quickstart rules – A Quick Trip to France– is neatly laid out so as to be easily accessible to the nascent GM running their first game. The story is broken down into a series of named Scenes, and each scene has its own objectives clearly stated.
For example, the first scene is the group jumping out of their plane into rural France after HQ received a garbled message from the Resistance. The scene’s objectives:
Parachute into France
Locate the village of Saint Sulac
The players will have an opportunity to mess up their jump, finding themselves tangled in a tree or worse, and will then have to figure out how to find (and get to) the village. It’s a nice introduction to the 2d20 mechanics, gives the players the opportunity to bank some Momentum (if you do really good at X, you can use that to help you succeed at Y) or the GM the chance to bank some Threat (players trading future challenges for extra dice) or Complications (players mess up their rolls, GM gets to make life more difficult).
The story continues with the party trying to find their contact, sneaking into the Black Sun base, and – with any luck – thwarting Stöller’s plan. There are opportunities to roleplay, opportunities to shoot Black Sun operatives, opportunities to gaze upon things-wot-man-t’weren’t-meant-to-see, and the creeping shadow of doom. You do know that Servitors of Nyarlathotep look like giant tongues, right? (*shudders*)
The Quickstart rules are available to download free – Are you ready to stare into the abyss while your GM, who was never any good at languages, tries to pronounce Maschinengewehr? Swing by DriveThruRPG and take a peek beyond the veil.
There’s been some debate about who the cutest hero is from the new Wintertime Wasteland block for Riot Quest, and while I can agree that there’s some argument to be made for Bumbles the armored polar bear, I honestly think there’s a stronger one for the tiny whirlwind of destruction that is Shivers, the infant Gorax.
One of the most notable warbeasts among the Circle Orboros, the Gorax is synonymous with the unleashing of a primal fury, a berserk rage that can only end with the (literally) bone-crushing demise of whatever it’s pointed at. To take that wrath and pack it into something the size of a small human child is at the same time entertaining and, to anyone who actually -has- a small human child, utterly terrifying. The net result is adorable mayhem, which may well what was intended all along.
The Warhammer Underworlds box games have been one of my favourite developments from GW in the last few years. I’ve really enjoyed the small unit sizes for painting projects to try out new colour schemes and to paint models I’d never normally buy for an army otherwise. With the pandemic, I’ve not played any in-person games recently but the notorious OAG, my girlfriend, has never played a miniature game in her life. She expressed interest in my wargaming addiction and since I didn’t have a lot of experience with actually playing the Underworlds game, it was time for a new experience for both of us!
We’ve been playing a Zoom-based D&D campaign geared to noobs with a fantastic DM and have been enjoying it immensely, so adding models and boards to dice wasn’t a big stretch. Going over the warbands and models available, she instantly fell in love with squigs, calling them ‘Angry Grapes”. Accordingly, Zarbag’s Gits were procured. Painting took a bit of time with some false starts, but now that they were fully done, it was time to teach her how to play. I chose the Godsworn Hunt, purely because I love the models. We took the cards straight out of the packages, and didn’t get too involved in deck building to keep things slightly simple.
Rather than leaping directly into the game, OAG sat down with the Nightvault rule book. Many confused noises where made, and quizzical expressions directed towards me. After a short while, we set up the kitchen table with our chosen boards, placed objectives and rolled for initiative!
The world changed when the Infernals came. The kingdoms of men succumbed to The Claiming and the souls of humanity were harvested like so much wheat. Age-old enemies cast aside their enmity and fought as allies against the horrors that came from realms beyond, but it was to no avail. The Infernals… won. The races of men, of elves and dwarves, the Trollkin and more – in the wake of The Claiming, the inheritors of the shattered world left behind were left to scrabble and scavenge, to hunt for treasures of the time before in a quest to ensure their own survival.
This is the world of Riot Quest, where you forge a team of… heroes, for lack of a better term, all seeking to find remnants of wealth and power from the golden age of humanity. They fight to claim these treasures for themselves that they may ensure their own survival, and to rise above those struggling to live in the devastated remnants of the Iron Kingdoms.
Riot Quest kicked down the doors of the Iron Kingdoms in 2019, giving us a fast-paced, interactive board game set in the same world as Warmachine & Hordes, but in a timeline where mankind lost the war for their own souls. The Mayhem block introduced us to over thirty heroes, all of whom can be used in Warmachine & Hordes as well as in Riot Quest.
Now, after a successful kickstarter, the Wintertime Wasteland block shifts us North, away from Thunderhead Fortress and into the Castle of the Dark Prince. Ice and snow are the order of the day, with a bitter chill biting to the bone as our heroes quest for loot and treasure on a new map. Bring all your heroes from the Mayhem block, or recruit a roster of chilly treasure hunters.
The new Wintertime Wasteland starter has dropped, giving new players a great place to launch into the game (Mayhem block not required), and established players a new map, a new squad, new loot and more. Let’s unbox this darn thing!
In the (concrete) jungle, the quiet (concrete) jungle, the lion sleeps tonight… well, not quite. Cassander roars and unleashes feline fury on the Destroyers. What’s the point of being the king of beasts if you’re not willing to defend your throne? The Monsterpocalypse is affects us all, so why not sign up for genetic alteration. One day you’re a normal human, possibly a chartered accountant, and the next? You’re an enormous lion hybrid and by golly, you’re gonna make sure the Zerkalo Bloc are filing their taxes on time! The Legion of Mutates has entered the fray.
As a roleplayer, it’s often a challenge finding a miniature that’s -just right- to represent my characters. That somewhat changed a few years back when Heroforge started producing customizable miniatures, taking advantage of advances in 3-D printing and designing a fairly robust website that let clients choose just what components they wanted for their figures. Different races, different poses, different equipment loadouts; it quickly became a quick and easy way to design character visuals, and most of my D&D Beyond character sheets have a Heroforge headshot.
Last year, Heroforge kicked it up a notch by adding custom colorization of your figure, and the option to have your model printed in glorious technicolor. As someone who enjoys the act of painting, this feature didn’t immediately appeal to me personally, but I totally get that there’s a lot of gamers out there who don’t enjoy painting, so for them it as an amazing opportunity.
Roll it forward to the recent holiday season and early January, and I got older, and my stepson decided he’d like to buy me a Heroforge model. This presented what we in the blogging world call an opportunity. I’m always keen to have more minis in my collection, and now we had a chance to not only get a mini for another of my PC’s, but also to see what Heroforge‘s colored models come out like!
Enter: Lago Ratburgher, Halfling Rogue drafted into the Ratburgh constabulary to serve as an archer.
Let’s be clear, this isn’t my first Heroforge model, so I knew to expect possible layer lines from the printer, and we got them. The graininess hasn’t been evident on all of the Heroforge models I’ve painted in the past, but it’s not unknown. The point of all this, though, was to look at the color.
Realistically I knew not to expect the same lustre and vibrancy that we got on the 3-D render, but I’ll confess I expected a little more than we actually got. The coins on the base are a dull yellow, the arrowhead and helm are greys – it may just be that metallics aren’t really dialed in yet – and the three gemstones on the base are all quite dull.
Conversely, I was impressed by the precision. Each quilted diamond of the armor has a darker center and lighter edges as portrayed in the render; the blue trim is spot on, as is the trim around the kneepads. There’s even color variation in the skin under his cheekbones.
What made me smile, oddly enough, was the shiny spot on the helmet. That white spot near the front right of the helm’s crown is present both in the render and on the model – they’ve got color gradation doing a pretty good job of presenting reflective surfaces on steel, even if the coins in the sack do look a little like ravioli. I mean, he -is- a halfling, it’s totally understandable if he’s been looting pasta.
As someone who enjoys painting, I will likely not be relying on Heroforge for color printed models. I’ll happily use Heroforge for custom figures, but I’ll tackle the color chores myself – both because painting is a big part of the hobby for me, and because I like my models to have stronger saturation. For a non-painter, though, someone who may not be into painting ? The color service provides a simple, straightforward way to put your favorite character on the tabletop.