Monday, 19 June 2017

The Warrior and the Maidens

Phew! It's too hot to be creative today, so here are some miniatures I recently finished without, alas, the usual nonsense I would usually write to go with them.

First off a Mystic Warrior, kitbashed from a Fireforge man-at-arms body and Mongol head, with arms from the Northstar barbarian kit. He's about to unleash the dreaded two-finger eye poke, a move that took years to master at a secret monastery hidden within the triple peaks of the Three Stuges Mountains. I'm not sure I pulled off the glowing hands look, but hey ho.

Next a pair of Sigilists, which came as an extra in the Forgotten Pacts 'Nickstarter'. I was originally put off painting these, especially the detail on the wizard figure, but I'm actually really pleased with how they came out. I knew I wanted to go for a black and white nun's habit look, and am pleased how the whites don't look dirty and the blacks don't look dusty, which they normally do when I paint them.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know!

No-one knows from whence the mighty Kornovik, scourge of the barbarian tribes, came – in fact it did not really matter, for all one had to know was that the huge lumbering brute was danger and evil personified.

The powerfully-built outcast lived for carnage, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake as he raged his way across the Northern Wastes. Some tribes knew him as the’ hurricane’, others the ‘earthquake’. To many he was the ‘rhino’, after his penchant for lowering his spiked skull and charging into battle head-first.

It was said that no man could withstand this assault, or a sweep of his mighty club, and the best way to survive an encounter with this oft-cursed brute was to clamber up as high as possible, for Kornovik’s only weak spot was his inability to climb. However even this was no guarantee of safety, for his aim was sure and although the bow he used may have looked comically small in his massive paws, his shooting was deadly.

Shudder then at the mention of his name, for he has ceased whatever dark deeds he has been perpetrating up north and has arrived in the frozen city. Be afraid my friends, be afraid.

Here’s my take on barbarian outcast and all-round bad guy, Kornovik. Now Northstar sells a fantastic model of this guy, riding his bad-tempered woolly rhino, but I had this plastic Battle Masters ogre knocking around (another find from the LAF sprue exchange – I donated plenty of stuff in return, honest!)

So I decided that my version of Kornovik would be an outcast ogre. He fits most of the brief – his horned helm giving him the ‘horned’ trait of the character and his bulk accounting for the ‘limited climb’. As Kornovik is also armed with a bow, I quickly glued one into his fist. It looks stupidly small, but I quite like the idea of him carefully selecting an arrow before daintily drawing back the bowstring with his thumb and little finger! (and if nothing else it saves me twenty five quid!)

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Game of Throne (or Dais ex Machina)

Sir Gwyllaim the Virtuous gripped his two handed axe as he edged into the dark chamber. Judging by the deep echoes created by his metal sabatons clicking on the flagstones, the room must have been huge. He cursed the noise his armour was making, for it would not be long before the shadowy creatures he had so far managed to evade would zero in on the sound.

Undeterred, the templar stalked out of the passageway and into the chamber. Strange luminous fungi plastered the walls, giving off just enough light to see by – and be seen… He strained his eyes: what was that in the distance? Something large and white? Could it be…? The hairs on the back of Sir Gwyllaim’s neck stood on end as something skittered behind him. It was now or never.

He raced forward as fast as his armour would allow, careless of the clatters that shattered the eerie silence. He squinted… yes! It was the thing he sought – Gods be praised! Before him, raised on a circular stone dais, was the legendary Pale Throne of Jogdusu, said to imbue it’s incumbent with the power of teleportation. In short it was his only ticket out of this hellish place.

He reached the dais just as the creatures poured forth from numerous dark portals that ringed the chamber. Screeching and howling they bounded towards the platform just as Sir Gwyllaim reached the throne, grasping the foul smelling cloth that had been placed on it’s seat. Part of his mind, separate from the bit currently calculating the likelihood of his demise, wondered what kind of creature had claimed the throne as it’s own.

His query was answered in short order as a huge bulk fell roaring from the dark recesses of the ceiling and landed next to the noble warrior, sending him sprawling back off the dais. He struggled to his feet, groping for his axe as the filthy tide of inhumanity engulfed him…

I’ve been looking for a suitable model throne for the Lair of the Ghoul King scenario – one of the next games in our Thaw of the Lich Lord campaign. As luck would have it I found some sort of plastic clip or bracket lying broken on the floor at work which I thought looked vaguely throne-shaped. I also knew that some circular bits of plastic had recently been thrown away, so I salvaged one of these too.

A quick bit of filling, distressing and painting later and I now have a throne and dais for the scenario and of course for general scatter terrain. I tried to scratch some runic shapes on the dais but they haven’t come out very well, and I’ve not been very successful in painting the pink marble look I wanted for the throne, but for a bit of trash-bashing they’re ok.

The figure is a GW High Elf White Lions warrior that I took from the LAF sprue exchange programme, so thanks to whoever donated him!

Monday, 12 June 2017


With a drunken roar and stagger they blundered into the throng. Otherwise brave and hardened warriors stood back in awe, for they were infamous, dangerous and unpredictable. They were the berserkers.

While others contented tested their mettle in the unending cycle of tribal squabbling, these restless warriors of renown had gone south as soon as the spires of the ancient city began to peek forth from the ice. Such was their love of battle that they had hired themselves out to the foreign bands that ventured into the frozen ruins.

While their paymasters desired gold and treasure, they fought for glory and adventure. However they had now returned to the tribal lands, for even the most manic berserker, blood-crazed and gore-ridden, had heard the call through the red mist.

And so the barbarian clans had gathered, sharpening their weapons and boasting of great deeds to come as the shamen sang songs of the promises they must keep and the gods they must honour. Now they were ready and so, by instinct rather than by command, the horde went south to the frozen city.

Some more barbarians from the Northstar plastic box set (give or take the occasional piece from other sprues) in the form of berserkers (the barbarian version of the barbarian troop type, if that makes sense!)

I’ve had more fun painting these than other plastics, which says a lot for the kits, and have plans to knock up some archers in the future. However for now I have all the barbarians I need for the Forgotten Pacts supplement, when I eventually get around to playing it!

Monday, 22 May 2017

Barbaric Splendour!

As tribe after barbarian tribe congregated in the sacred space, a blast of horns heralded the arrival of the next group. Swaggering into the meeting place, came the nobility: the self-styled knights and templars who had risen through the ranks by feat of arms, cunning or sheer bloody mindedness. They could afford better armour and weapons than their peers and walked haughtily, ignoring their inferiors as they barged their way into the centre of the hollow.

Flanking these noble fighters and keeping the rabble at arm’s length from their masters were their kinsmen. Trusted soldiers and retainers, they had fought at their bosses’ sides since childhood and as such enjoyed some of the favours brought by being blood brothers of such men. The nobles knew them as men-at-arms and infantrymen, although those without the inner circle may have had less charitable names for them.

And so they came, each barbaric prince settling on a stool hurriedly provided by a lackey. They faced each other with scorn, for many a grudge existed between them, as their clansmen glared at each other whilst simultaneously watching their master’s backs. With hands tightening around weapons and fingers drumming shields they waited, impatient to be off and fighting…

More barbarians now – knights, templars, men-at-arms and an infantryman. Once again these are for the most part from the Northstar plastic barbarian box set, with the occasional arm, head or torso from other sets (including the helmeted head and mace hand from the last ‘Nickstarter’ deal).

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

By Crom! The Barbarian Clans Gather

The call blew through the frozen wastes on the north wind, carried along with the sleet and snow. ‘Gather’ it said, ‘for promises must be kept and pacts must be honoured…’

Through the mountain passes they came, streaming over barely trodden paths through valleys and ravines until they arrived at the Great Meeting Place. Surrounded by ancient totems and tattered prayer flags, this low depression among the snowy peaks had been a neutral gathering spot since time immemorial: a place for warring clans to negotiate peace, for dynastic claims to be settled and for disparate tribes to gather for invasion.

And it was for the latter that they now came, for the Hallowed was calling...

First came the warriors. Softer, more ‘civilised’ folk may have denigrated them as thugs, but in their own hearts these barbarian fighters knew themselves as the mainstay of their tribes: the rank and file, if such things existed in their savage battle tactics. They came first, eager to show off their prowess and perhaps gain the patronage of a powerful lord through valour in battle.

Next a smaller group slunk down the slopes. Faster and more agile than their kin, these thieves and treasure hunters had had time to scout around the meeting place before revealing themselves. Clever and cunning: if they had chanced to pounce upon the stragglers and relieve them of a knickknack or two, then where was the harm in that?

I’ve made a start on the plastic barbarian models from the Northstar box set (give or take the odd piece from my other kits) and lovely miniatures they are too. This first lot are thugs, thieves and treasure hunters.

As per my Gnolls, I started off by looking at the scenarios and barbarian encounter table in the Forgotten Pacts supplement, and worked out the minimum requirement (assuming two players) as follows:-

2 treasure hunters
4 thugs
1 infantryman
1 thief
2 men at arms
2 knights
2 templars
Approx 7 berserkers (this is to cover the 'Enemies Without Number' scenario, where I intend to make up the numbers with infantrymen and templars as berserker stand-ins).

I already have a couple of wizard miniatures that will do for Balkren, the barbarian summoner, so that just leaves Kornovik the outcast. Northstar are releasing a lovely miniature for him (and his rhino), but it will remain to be seen if I can afford it!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Running With Rangifers


Goldtooth the treasure hunter fell from the top of the ruined archway and thudded into a snowdrift. Seconds later he emerged, unhurt, his wide grin gleaming brightly in the cold daylight.

“Sorry my lord, I haven’t quite got the hang of these Boots of Leaping yet.”

Thaddeus Daemoncall sighed. “Well, if they didn’t know we were here before, they do now. What did you see up there?”

“Oh it’s a gathering alright. I’m not sure what of though – some sort of men-beasts.” The treasure hunter frowned. “They’re guarding treasure though…”

The Summoner and his warband had been following the strange tracks for hours, wary of any ambush from the necromancer and his ever-growing legion of minions.

“Man-beasts?” Thaddeus stroked his beard. “Has the necromancer found his way into the fabled breeding pits perchance? Hmm…”

“Er, master, is this really wise?” Oddleigh the apprentice helped the treasure hunter to his feet as he spoke. “I mean, this place is crackling with a magic far more potent and evil than we can ever hope to muster. Legions of cultists, ghouls and undead - should we add beastmen to our list of woes as well?”

“Tsk tsk! You call yourself a spellcaster? Beast-crafting is an art that has been lost for centuries! If we are to defeat this undead lord, for I’m certain he’s no ordinary wizard, then perhaps it’s an art worth acquiring.” He cracked his knuckles. “Even if it means fighting for it…”

And so Thaddeus and his warband discover the bestial Rangifers (or, in this case, Gnolls from the Northstar plastic box set). Placed on the table are six Rangifers, each guarding a treasure token.

They may not know it, but Thaddeus and his adversary Hobron would be best advised to let these creatures live, for they are potential allies in the fight against the mysterious necromancer, and as such he has sent one of his most powerful servants to eliminate them.

Thaddeus’ band move forward, attracting the attention of the nearby Rangifers. Somehow sensing that it is important, the Summoner stations a magically-armed henchman on either flank, namely Sir Pierre the Knight on the left, and a summoned demon with magical attack trait on the right.

Hobron’s crew deploy opposite, also attracting Rangifers. Once again a draining word spell is deployed to take the edge of Thaddeus’ spells.

Whether it’s advisable or not, Goldtooth the treasure hunter wishes to live up to his calling and slays a Rangifer, after a telekinesis spell deprives it of it’s treasure. Meanwhile Hobron's crew are having to deal with an ice spider that has scuttled into the fray behind them.

Hobron has a great idea: pin the Rangifers down with blinding light. However even with this handicap, one of them still manages to defeat a luckless archer (I rolled a 20). The next two rounds see each side dancing around these creatures, drawing them into the attack but pushing them away rather than kill them.

However the sky suddenly grows ominously dark and a chilling wind rips through the field. On the left flank a terrifying figure appears. Thaddeus recognises it’s supernatural form anywhere – it’s a Wraith Knight!

Oddleigh casts a wall spell to screen off a treasure token he has his eye on as the undead warrior approaches. It heads straight for the nearest Rangifer (currently in combat with an infantryman), clearly uninterested in the battling warbands.

In the centre, Thaddeus’ men climb (or leap) onto a ruined building in order to distract a Rangifer and steal it’s treasure. On the right flank Fluffy races forwards, but is killed by Hobron’s rangers.

Oddleigh raises a zombie to halt the Wraith Knight’s advance. With it’s ability to deal double damage, the creature easily defeats the zombie, but is slowed down in the process.

This allows Sir Pierre, supported by the infantryman that had managed to disengage from the Rangifer, to pounce on the evil warrior. With a slash of his magical sword, the knight vanquishes his undead foe!

On the right flank, the magical demon joins fluffy in the netherhells as it is ganged up on by enemy warband and Rangifer alike. In the centre, the treasure is being pulled this way and that as the apprentices play tug-of-war via telekinesis.

Oddleigh finally wins the game and pulls the treasure towards his men. However a dashing treasure huntress leaps cinematically from the ruins (she too coincidentally being given Boots of Leaping) and lands on a stack of barrels, intent on winning the loot for her master.

Meanwhile Hobron’s men dispatch their temporary Rangifer ally. By now all thoughts of protecting these creatures has gone out of the window as both warbands succumb to a lust for treasure.

The Rangifers do not help their cause by insisting on attacking the plunderers. An enemy thug is soon dispatched by such a creature after it manages to shake off a blinding light spell.

Standing proud on the barrel stack, the treasure huntress is a prime target for Thaddeus who, skulking behind cover, sends her sprawling with a bone dart.

His victory is short-lived however, for a shot from an enemy ranger flies straight through the ruins and thuds into the Summoner! Oddleigh can only look on in horror as Giles rolls a 20 and crits my wizard!

Gog the barbarian is pounced upon as the now wizard-less warband battles against the Rangifers. It’s up to Oddleigh the apprentice to lead the charge and, to his credit, he manages to let off quite a few spells.

Working their way along the left flank, Sir Pierre and infantryman support take out a Rangifer and then bear down on the enemy warhound. Further to the left my archer is also moving up.

Franck the treasure hunter also reluctantly puts down a Rangifer, as do the opposing warband. Trying to lure them away from their treasure only works for so long and eventually we are both forced to fight them.

Sir Pierre and chum continue to work their way along the flank by slaying the warhound. Now they must get around the magical wall that blocks their path.

Goldtooth almost makes it off the board with the much-fought over treasure that caused such a scrap in the centre, but a wandering skeleton gets in the way. Not for long though.

The archer that had worked his way up the left flank takes up position behind a ruin and, after a couple of missed shots, draws a bead on Hobron. Will he take revenge on his master…? Yes! In a twist of fate it’s my turn to roll a 20 and crit the opposing wizard!

By way of celebration, Franck skewers a giant rat. Serves the blighter for wandering onto a battlefield doesn’t it? Rat kebabs all round tonight!

Both warbands have secured three treasures apiece and, with the Rangifers all dead, Hobron’s band starts to withdraw. However Thaddeus’ men are still full of fight and begin the pursuit.

One last kill as an infantryman downs an enemy ranger - that'll teach him to shoot my wizard! Another fantastic game with both wizards going down to critical hit bowshots and indeed more 20s rolled than is decent! Both bands nabbed three treasures and, while we failed to spare any Rangifers (it was an interesting experience trying not to kill them), I did at least manage to dispatch a Wraith Knight, and gain 50 XP as a result. The Lich Lord was fortunate to have potential enemies slain for him, yet had also lost a valuable and deadly servant.

Giles' report can be read on his blog - part 1 and part 2.

The storm that howled over the Cloven Hoof Inn that night was as dark and surly as the mood within it’s walls. Oddleigh nervously bit his fingernails as Halfinch the Hobbit thief, the nearest thing they had to an apothecary, directed the men to carry Thaddeus’ limp form to his chambers upstairs.

A short while later the apprentice was called up to his master’s room. Full of foreboding he closed the door on the others and peered into the gloom.

“Er, master?”

“Come in boy…”

Oddleigh felt a surge of relief at the sound of his master’s voice. He stepped into the ring of candlelight that surrounded Thaddeus’ bed to find the Summoner sitting propped up, arm in a sling.

“How are you faring my lord?”

“Oh, well enough…” The wizard shrugged the shoulder of his bandaged arm and winced. “Though I suspect this blasted arm will never be the same again…” There was a pause before Thaddeus spoke again.

“That was a near thing my boy - such a thing that brings the question of mortality sharply into focus.”

“Yes my lord.” Oddleigh whispered, not knowing where this train of thought was going to go.

“But what if we could slip off the chains of mortality eh?” His master shifted awkwardly, revealing the dusty grimoire on the lectern beside him. It looked, and indeed somehow felt, wrong – decidedly evil in fact.

“I don’t understand master…”

“Perhaps it is for the better that you do not my boy. You see this book is what those beastmen were guarding. This book is what, through his servant the Wraith Knight, our necromancer friend was after. This book contains the spell of Lichdom!”

Oddleigh gasped.

“But such a thing does not exist! C-cannot exist!”

“Oh but it does boy… I think it’s plain to see that our real adversary is not a piffling Sigilists or silly Enchantresses but that most evil of beings, the fabled Lich Lord! The question is, do we dare use it’s power against it…?”