Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Turning the Tables

Continuing in my attempt to get myself back into the modelling groove, I’ve cobbled together some more easy-build scenery in the form of these tables.

The second scenario in the Maze of Malcor expansion is set in a huge feasting hall and calls for three ‘long dining tables’. The scenario doesn’t specify how long, so that gives me plenty of scope.

The tables are simply offcuts of MDF or plastic disks with either bits of plastic sprue or more MDF off-cuts for the table legs. In retrospect the longer tables may be too narrow, but I went with what off-cuts I had lying around, so hey-ho.

The tables were lightly sprinkled with pieces of rubbish and stuff from the bits box to make them look ‘well-used’. The plates were largely neutered drawing pins and the cups were snippets of cable insulation. Not bad for a few hours work!

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The Furnace

It was not for treasure that Gog the Mighty; Stalker of the Frozen Waste;, cleaved his way through the great Collegium of Artistry. Neither was it for glory, nor fame, nor the need to best himself against the rumoured phantom of the sinister Malcor.

No, it was none of these, for Gog the Mighty; Slayer of Frost Giants; sought only one thing…

Wiping the ichor off his greatsword, he stepped over the corpse of the giant insect and pushed open the great iron doors that stood between him and his goal. Bare torso glistening, he stepped warily through the doorway and smiled as he beheld the great black thing squatting in the middle of the huge chamber.

Dark hulking shapes moved slowly around it, but a barbarian warrior such as Gog the Mighty; Hunter of Snow Leopards; made short work of those. Soon he was facing the thing itself, with it’s smoke-stained pipes, blackened chimneys and fire-rimmed circular hatches.

His smile growing wider, he turned his near-naked body so that his loincloth-clad rear was as close to the intense heat that emanated from the thing as he dared.


No, it wasn’t treasure, glory or fame that Gog the Mighty; Crusher of Ice Demon; sought… it was warmth.

In an effort to get myself back into the groove again, I’ve made a start on some scenery for the Maze of Malcor expansion – namely the furnace from the eponymous fourth scenario in the book.

This scenario calls for a giant furnace room, in the middle of which stands said furnace: a 6” square model with a hatch on each side (wherein the Coalmen constructs will try to drag the unwary).

As luck would have it, I had a plastic bowl from a recent takeaway which was exactly 6” in diameter. I glued some old paint pot lids for the hatches and stuck some bits on top for chimneys. I also poked the inside of the bowl with a compass point to make rivets.

A quick going over with some black primer and an indifferent paintjob in an attempt to make it look hot produced this model. It’s a simple build for a one-off piece that’s only needed for a single scenario, so it’ll do.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

New Year's Nan

I'm starting the new year not with a Frostgrave mini, but something for my Very British Civil War collection.

(As I mentioned in my pre-Xmas post, my VBCW blog went kaput, when Photobucket tried to screw me over.)

A while ago I approached Mark 'TinShedGamer' Fuller, who I knew was sculpting some character figures for 1st Corps' interwar 'Twentieth Century Follies' range.

I told him the story of my Nan, who got into trouble during WW2. You see my Grandad was in the local Home Guard, and Nan would habitually welcome his unit back from manoeuvres by playing 'Come to the Cookhouse Door Boys', full blast on my uncle's Boys' Brigade bugle. This became something of an annoyance and eventually she was told firmly to stop!

And thus, after supplying him with some reference photos, the following standard bearer mini was born, complete with bugle!

Thanks Mark, and Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, 17 December 2018

The Silent Blogger

It’s been a while hasn’t it?

Which is odd, because there is so much I could be writing about right now – to wit:-

  • My Maze of Malcor ‘Nickstarter’ has arrived, so I have loads of monsters to assemble and paint up.
  • The new supplement also calls for lots of unusual scenery just crying out to be scratchbuilt.
  • My pals Giles and Alan are still actively playing Frostgrave.
  • The Hereford Wargames Club is still going strong, just down the road from me.
  • I have received my print-on-demand copy of Rangers of Shadow Deep, so even if I couldn’t get together with my gaming buddies, I could still be doing some solo gaming.
  • I have a new and currently exclusive and unreleased miniature courtesy of sculptor and builder extraordinaire Mark ‘Tin Shed Gamer’ Fuller to paint up for my VBCW collection.

So why haven’t I been busy painting, modelling and blogging?

Well the answer is basically ‘meh’.

Yep, I’m in one of those wargaming doldrums that everyone gets from time to time.

Of course the whole Photobucket debacle killed off my Herefordshire 1938 VBCW blog, but I’ve also not felt like doing anything Frostgrave-wise either.

The lead up to Christmas is a contributing factor. Anyone with young kids will know how busy this time of year can be, with it’s nativity plays, carol services, concerts and visits to Father Christmas.
The not-so-great priming weather has also been unhelpful.

My creative energies have also been diverted somewhat, as I’ve gotten into role playing games – the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition RPG to be exact. I’ve played a number of sessions with some of the chaps from the Hereford Board Gamers Club and so far my character is still alive and relatively sane.

I’ve also joined Play@YSDC – a Call of Cthulhu play-by-post forum, where I’m RPG’ing in a number of games, including a WW2 Doctor Who spin-off, a groovy 1960’s adventure and the epic Call of Cthulhu campaign Masks of Nyralathotep.

So not much on the wargaming front I’m afraid.

That said – that exclusive and unreleased figure? I’ve just painted her base…

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Rangers of Shadow Deep Mission 2: The Beacon Tower (Scenario 2: Tor Varden, The Lower Level)

Annok growled as the weary warriors approached the imposing structure of Tor Varden.

“Those bastards gnolls got the jump on us and slaughtered the whole garrison but me,” he turned to the ranger Grey Leopard. “Will you help me get my revenge and clear out this nest of evil?”

The ranger peered up at the top of the tower and then down to the stout wooden door on the ground floor.

“Aye, that is my mission, but we cannot scale the walls and battering that door down will bring them running in their droves – we’d be outnumbered within minutes.”

The old soldier grinned and fished the key out of his haversack.

“Oh, no need to knock my lord, we can let ourselves in…”

Suddenly an all-to human scream of pain came from behind the stone walls.

“Someone lives!” Gasped Annok. “But not for long I’ll wager – we must hurry!”

(Note: This is a playtest of the draft document. Rules and scenarios in the finished publication may differ)

Time then to enter the watchtower of Tor Varden! Our heroes would have to be quick, for the longer they tarry, the greater number of gnoll defenders they must face. As well as working against the clock, this scenario is interesting in that you must roll for the type of room you go into each time you go through a doorway. Our heroes turned the key in the lock – what would the first room be?

A storage room. After passing the pick lock test (auto pass due to the key) and stealth test, only four gnolls inhabited this room. Two fighters and two archers, they looked up in surprise as the warband burst in.

Group activating, Grey Leopard ordered his men to attack. Ulf and Annok soon dispatched one fighter, but the others were still standing. One was downed by a shot from Grey Leopard, but Ned the archer missed his quarry. Our heroes had to act fast, lest reinforcements piled into the next room, making it harder for them to advance.

Another gnoll was attacked, but despite being outnumbered it managed to get the better of Ulf before succumbing to the onslaught. All the time the clock was ticking…

Ned the archer was also attacked and was wounded before Ungarra and Blackwing stepped up to defeat the evil gnoll. With the storeroom cleared of gnolls it was time to head through the door into the second room. What would our heroes find?

A torture chamber! Grey Leopard and his two men-at-arms stumbled through the door to discover a gruesome scene. On the far wall, two emaciated prisoners (I used ghoul models) were hanging in chains. In the centre, a surviving soldier was being tormented by a gnoll sergeant while two fighters looked up, gibbering encouragement.

Luckily the element of surprise was still with our heroes. Grey Leopard shot and wounded a gnoll before it attacked him. He easily dispatched the creature as Annok ran to attack and wound the sergeant. In the meantime the unfortunate torture victim was forced to fight another gnoll barehanded.

But where are the rest of the warband? The two rogues were doing what they do best; looting the gnolls’ treasure in the first room; while the others were making their way into the torture chamber as quickly as they could. Luckily Blackwing arrived just in the nick of time to help defeat the sergeant and it’s pal.

As everyone gathered in the now liberated torture chamber, a wounded Ned was left to release the two prisoners, while, grabbing one of the gnoll’s weapons, the rescued soldier joined the warband. Grey Leopard raced to the next door before the occupants could react to the noise of battle, bursting into…

…an armoury! Once again the room was sparsely populated as the surviving gnolls remained oblivious to our heroes’ presence. However the three creatures in the armoury quickly attacked the lone ranger and his plucky avian sidekick Blackwing.

Grey Leopard shot at an advancing gnoll but missed, allowing it to launch it’s attack and bring Blackwing down. The ranger was forced to face the gnolls alone until his remaining band could get into the room.

Luckily he managed just that, buying enough time for the others to pile in and launch a counterattack. Soon the armoury was filled with the sound of battle and the guttural howls of dying gnolls.

The final gnoll was easily dispatched, leaving the lower level of Tor Varden to our heroes. Ulf the swordsman quickly recovered from his injuries, but blackwing suffered a smashed beak.

As the dust settled the room searched for clues. In addition to the gold and jewels looted from the storeroom, our heroes discovered a philtre of fairy dust and a hidden note, scrawled by the captain of the tower before he was dragged off to his doom. In it, he warned of a terrible danger, for leading this band of gnolls was none other than an evil Shadow Knight…

To be continued...

Friday, 2 November 2018

Rangers of Shadow Deep Mission 2: The Beacon Tower (Scenario 1: The Bridge Guards)

Rangers of Shadow Deep is available to download now! Here is the first scenario from the second mission...

Hunter whined, pawing the bare soil as his master, Grey Leopard, reached down to calm the bloodhound. He too was tense, for ‘The Scree’; the drab, rocky landscape around Tor Varden; was far removed from their forest home.

And yet it was to Tor Varden that they must travel, for nothing had been heard from the watchtower for several days. With beacons along the whole border mysteriously snuffing out, it was imperative to discover what had happened.

The ranger led his companions through the winding maze of ravines towards the river he knew they had to cross to reach the tower. It took all of is navigational skills to find his way to the Enthel valley and he was heartened to hear the sound of rushing water up ahead.

But there was another sound. No wonder Hunter was so on edge, for a few yards ahead, as if someone had taught a dog to talk, things were grunting and yapping in a mockery of language. Ned, the ranger’s old archer friend, stiffened.

“By the Gods I thought I’d never hear that accursed tongue again!” he whispered. “Gnolls, and plenty of them!”

(Note: This is a playtest of the draft document. Rules and scenarios in the finished publication may differ)

And so on to the first scenario of the next mission. To reach Tor Varden our hero must cross the Enthel River, but a party of evil gnolls from the Shadow Deep had set up camp at the only crossing point. Luckily, the labyrinth of rocks and boulders that borders the river offered plenty of cover for our heroes to approach unseen.

Patrolling along the river, the gnolls were led by a formidable sergeant, who commanded a number of warriors and archers. Their camp contained a clue marker and a treasure token. The initial objective was to use the cover of the rocky landscape to pick off as many of the gnolls as possible (thus gaining +4 to any attack roll) without alerting their comrades and raising the general alarm (after which the bonus was lost).

The warband cautiously approached the crossing, using the rocky walls to stay out of sight, Initial navigation and stealth tests were passed, allowing me to move our heroes into an advantageous position and have a lone gnoll wander into an ambush. Out of sight, the creature was peppered with arrows while his fellows stood guard unawares.

A random event card brought some reinforcements in the form of a member of the garrison at Tor Varden. Appearing on the other side of the river, this man-at-arms wisely decided to stay out of sight, lest he raise the alarm.

The gnolls continued their patrol, with one of them inadvertently moving into view of our heroes, but out of sight of his comrades (another successful stealth roll). Grey Leopard aimed his bow and fired, cutting it down.

Our heroes slowly moved forward, trying to maintain the element of surprise. However the powerful gnoll sergeant, no doubt wondering where his mates had got to, decided to poke around the rocks (random movement during the creature phase) and stumbled upon our gallant band! Wasting no time, Grey Leopard and his friends launched a group attack.

The alarm was finally raised! The gnolls scrambled for their weapons as behind their camp on the other side of the river, the surviving soldier decided to launch a diversionary attack.

The battle ebbed and flowed along the approaches to the river. The gnoll sergeant was quickly overpowered by Grey Leopard and his friends, but further along the riverbank, his faithful man-at-arms Ulf was having difficulty in defeating a gnoll fighter, which had dodged an arrow from Ned the archer.

Suddenly another survivor from Tor Varden appeared and joined the fray! (A slight mistake here, as I should have discarded the random event card, as it had already spawned one survivor). However he was quickly slain by a gnoll fighter.

Now organised, the gnolls began to close in and the element of surprise had been lost, forfeiting the +4 attack bonus. A gnoll archer was dispatched by the combined efforts of Ungarra the swordswoman, Blackwing and Hunter. However Hunter was taken out in the process.

Another gnoll bowman was lurking nearby – it took aim and poor Blackwing was shot out of the sky in a cloud of feathers. Meanwhile Grey Leopard was directing proceedings and shooting at any gnoll he could see. In doing so he stumbled upon a booby trap hidden among the rocks (a random event card). Luckily he was perceptive enough to spot the danger and avoided setting it off (perception test passed).

Our heroic ranger advanced towards the bridge, shooting one of the gnolls guarding the camp on the other side. Meanwhile the two rogues, Sneaks and Stabbs, had been working their way unnoticed along the right flank, and seizing their moment, attacked a gnoll by the riverbank.

Our heroes converged on the bridge, slaying gnolls left, right and centre. Having seen off several of the creatures, the surviving Tor Varden soldier made his way to their camp, digging through their filthy belongings to locate the clue marker. A clink of metal alerted him to something and, after passing an armament test; he recognised the keys to Tor Varden watchtower!

By now the entire gnoll patrol had been destroyed by our brave warband, allowing Grey Leopard to reach the treasure token. Hidden among the gnolls’ rags was a glittering magical two-handed weapon! Alas no-one in the party was trained to use such a thing, and so it was reluctantly discarded.

Our gallant warband had forced passage over the river and gained the keys to Tor Varden to boot. Alas hunter the hound was badly injured and would have to miss the next game, but taking his place was the grizzled survivor of Tor Varden – and it was this tower that now loomed before them, ominously silent in the swirling mist…

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Rangers of Shadow Deep Mission 1: The Missing (Scenario 2: The Infected Trees)

Pale wisps floated through the group as Grey Leopard led his companions through the trees. The tracks discovered by the adventurers had confirmed Grey Leopard’s worse fears: giant spiders were scuttling out of the darkness to infect the living, turning them into… something unholy…

Following the tracks into the forest brought the heroes to an area of woodland draped with cobwebs. Bloated cocoons littered the forest floor and gnarled and twisted trees, where the foul things made their nests, lurked in the shadows.

Grim faced he turned to his companions.

“Burn them.”

(Note: This is a playtest of the draft document of Rangers of Shadow Deep. Rules and scenarios in the finished publication may differ)

Despite not being well versed in ancient lore, Grey Leopard knew enough to find one nest tree and destroy it immediately (pre-game lore skill roll passed). Aided by Hunter he was also able to locate and kill one giant spider (pre-game tracking skill roll passed) and also discover a patch of Farlight Leaf growing nearby (pre-game survival skill roll passed). This gave him an extra +1 to his shooting stat, at the expense of other abilities.

As the heroes moved cautiously through the woods, they came upon an evil spider (well, ladybird – I didn’t have enough spiders!) As they battled this creature, Grey Leopard stumbled upon a nest tree (random event card that happened to spawn one right next to him). Fumbling for his tinder box he immediately set it alight.

Spiders came skittering through the undergrowth at alarming speed, but the adventurers managed to fight them off. In the meantime the two rogues managed to creep along the spider-free left flank and towards the nest trees at the other side of the table.

Pressing forward, Ungarra slew another spider and investigated a cocoon, finding it to contain the corpse of some poor individual. Grey Leopard did his best to cover his companions, but, as with the first scenario, he was missing every shot, despite the Farlight Leaf.

Ulf waded into the undergrowth to slay another spider, as more were emerging from the nest trees. Luckily, on the flank, Stabbs the rogue had reached one unmolested and quickly set fire to it. The others poked their swords through more cocoons, only to find more dead bodies.

However Ungarra noticed something struggling among the cobwebs – a survivor! The swordswoman quickly cut the villager free and sent the grateful girl on her way. Meanwhile the rogues continued to set the nest trees alight while the others chopped up cocoons.

One cocoon however yielded a zombie! Ned the archer fired, but missed. Behind him, Grey Leopard drew his bow and concentrated. With Farlight Leaf coursing through is veins he fired… and hit! Finally a kill for the ranger!

Ulf the swordsman was not so lucky: sluggish from a poisoned spider bite, he was too slow to react as a spider leapt from the undergrowth and tore a chunk out of his neck. A critical hit, which is not as critical as in Frostgrave, but still critical enough to down him!

Hunter and Ungarra quickly ganged up on this final spider and tore it into a foul-smelling mess, finally clearing the area of the evil stain of infection.

Another fast, furious and fun game, made a little easier by the initial run of successful skill rolls and the lucky placing of a nest tree next to the Ranger.

Over the two scenarios Grey Leopard earned enough experience to advance to level 2, gaining an extra ability (‘Focus’) and an improvement to one of his skills. He was also the proud owner of a Fishglass.

That concluded the first mission. It was obvious that the unpleasant things sneaking out of the Shadow Deep’s miasma were merely the vanguard of a wider invasion. Could the line be held, or would the kingdom fall to the greater evils about to be unleashed?