Wednesday, 25 May 2016

They Might be Giants


K’rag growled, the sound rattling in his throat like clacking stones. The mountain had been his home since childhood. It’s rocks and crevices had shaped his mind – sharp and unyielding, and body – tough and sinewy.

While he still towered over the little folk that now infested the once-silent city below, he was small for a giant; unlike the brutish bull male that was swaggering up the slopes towards his cave, nostrils flaring as he followed the smell of roasting meat.

Perfectly camouflaged, the smaller giant studied the intruder – a hill giant judging by his hulking build and savage attire, yet comparatively well-dressed with huge skull shoulder armour, leather sandals and gold lip piercing. A noble then – as much as any hill giant could be called noble – cast out in some dynastic feud and left to fend for himself.


All well and good, but, noble or not, he would have to fend for himself elsewhere… K’rag tensed as the hill giant struggled up onto the ledge. Quick as a flash the smaller giant darted out and brought his stone club crashing onto the larger giant’s foot.

Howling, more with surprise and bewilderment than pain, the intruder clutched his foot, hopping around as he sought to find his invisible attacker, who had retreated back into the rocks. K’rag couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight, as the hill giant pogoed about the ledge before slipping on some loose stones.

With a yell he disappeared over the edge and tumbled down the steep slope, bouncing off boulders. K’rag peered over the ledge and watched the battered giant pick himself up, roaring empty defiance at whatever it was that had attacked him before limping off with as much savage dignity he could muster.

K’rag shook his head – it was always the same with these young bulls… He returned to his cave – his meal was just about cooked as he liked his meat rare. It had taken him hours to prise the armour off this one, and he was determined to enjoy it in peace.


Deciding to add a giant to my Frostgrave bestiary, I had already bought the Reaper Bones Stone Giant before coming across the other one whilst mooching around my local Poundland. It’s an action figure from a range called ‘Journey to Creation’ or somesuch – worth a punt for a quid!

The original paintwork was frankly shocking, but a spray of undercoat revealed quite a lot of nice detail. It also came with a huge club, but I decided that this would make storing the figure problematic, so I cut off one of the spikes, which he now uses as a dagger. Both 'minis' painted up really well, so now I have two giants!

Monday, 23 May 2016

WraithbloodyKnights


Long story short, I found these an absolute bugger to paint.

It’s a shame, because they’re the first official Frostgrave figures I’ve bought – brand new and with my own money. Not swapped, cadged or got second-hand, but fresh in their blisters from Annie.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re cool miniatures and, while I had to take off more flash than expected, they didn’t take much prep work. But for some reason I just couldn’t get on with painting them.

Maybe it’s my technique – I’m pretty old-fashioned when it comes to painting minis: I still like to drybrush on highlights for example – so despite them having lots of nice texture, perhaps they suited a different approach… Dunno.

It took me three attempts to get the glowing eyes effect somewhere near right and... eurgh... in the end I gave up and drybrushed a dusting of white over everything – maybe they’re related to Frost Wraiths or something.

For the sake of completeness, here they are anyway.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Aarooooooooooo...


Some more creatures for my Frostgrave menagerie: a pack of wolves.

These are Northstar minis - the first Northstar figures I've bought for Frostgrave! Once again great service from Annie at Bad Squiddo Games.


I tried my best to paint them in a realistic, wolfie colour scheme - not sure if I was 100% successful but I don't think they look too bad. I was surprised at how small they were, expecting the huge warg-style beasts that you normally get in fantasy ranges, but I think these ones portray the smaller, half-starved and dangerous types you'd probably find skulking around a frozen city.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Ten Schools of Magic in Miniature


As part of my plan to build a generic warband for introductory games, I decided to have a wizard from each school of magic. This will give prospective players some flexibility in the style they want to play.

You’ve already met Thaddeus Daemoncall (Summoner) and Friedrichvon Unaussprechlichen (Necromancer, natch), so here are the others…

Aeon Flixx (Chronomancer)

Aeon Flixx hails from a dying civilisation centuries in the future of the Frostgrave world. While her contemporaries excelled in advanced science, technology and engineering, she is was of the few archaeologists to have studied and mastered the ancient art of sorcery.

At the zenith of it’s achievements, the perfect society into which she was born faced (or will face) utter destruction by a rediscovered ancient artefact. With their sciences failing them, Aeon is sent back in time in a desperate attempt to prevent the apocalypse by finding and destroying this mysterious device.

Miniature is a plastic D&D Battle Medic





Vym Fuego (Elementalist)

Court magician to one of the many city states lapped by the warm waters of the Middle Sea, Vym was used to a life of honour and majesty. With his all-important social standing akin to that of the dukes and duchesses that squabbled for his services, he spent a fortune in fine clothes, wines and such in order to keep up appearances.

Alas all this expenditure could not be sustained for long, and after years of opulent living, Vym’s finances began to run out. Proud and arrogant, he chose self-exile over the ignominy of bankruptcy and now heads towards the fabled frozen city in search of riches and treasures. He vows to regain his former wealth one way or another so that he can return home with a chest full of gold and many a tale to dazzle the wealthy ladies at court.

Figure is a slightly converted Advanced Heroquest wizard


Orri Gelthammer (Enchanter)

One of the greatest Hammerlords of the Underhalls, Orri Gelthammer has practiced the Dwarven magic of enchantment for decades, rising from a lowly apprentice in the smelting chambers to managing the vast engineering workshops that honeycomb the Great Grouch.

However something has been lacking in Orri’s life these last few years. He has grown restless, his existence trundling along like a well-oiled excavating construct with no real goal or purpose. That was, however, until news of the great thaw reached the Dwarven holds. Now he seeks a life of adventure, taking on whatever Frostgrave can throw at him with a well-timed blow of his magical hammer.

Figure is a slightly converted Warhammer Quest Dwarf




Mazement (Illusionist)

As is befitting any truly great illusionist, Mazement’s background, and indeed real name, is shrouded in mystery and conjecture. She once claimed to be an exile from the Great Citadel, deep in the heart of the Faewold, while another time she proclaimed herself the reincarnation of the last Princess of the Glass River. Others would have you believe that she is merely a lowly street magician with ideas above her station.

Whatever her history, Mazement has come to the frozen city in search of who-knows-what? Bringing bedazzlement and misdirection, smoke and mirrors, she hunts for something. What that something is though, she will not tell – or possibly has changed her story so many times that she no longer knows…

Figure is a Heroclix 'Cloak'




Azul Azulzul (Sigilist)

Azul Azulzul; scholar, author and bibliophile; has spent most of his life in the musty atmosphere of the Great Library of Al-Zandrya – greatest of all the cities of the Southlands, jewel of the Parched Kindoms and seat of that mighty patron of learning, Sultan Ozman the Curious.

Content with a lifetime of studying, dissertating and cataloguing, he was dismayed to learn that he had been chosen by the Sultan to lead an expedition north, after tales of the frozen city began to filter down through the caravan routes. Unwilling to disobey his master’s command and secretly keen to get his hands on some rare tomes and esoteric texts; he has made the long journey northwards.

Figure is a Midlam Miniatures Scholar




Om (Soothsayer)

Clad in the once brilliant vermilion robes of an eastern holy man, Om has crossed the oceans from the mysterious vastness of the Orient to the less civilised lands of the Old Empire. Of his life before this adventure he says little, preferring to smile benignly before returning his gaze to the stars (or his navel).

All that is known is that Om received a series of visions and portents that led him to embark upon his quest. Though obviously hailing from warmer climes, this barely-dressed seer remains curiously unaffected by the chill. Perhaps the fact that he perpetually hovers several inches in the air, thus keeping him off the cold ground, has something to do with it.

Figure is a Heroclix 'Dr. Druid'




Dumbledelf the Staid (Thaumaturge)

Pious, charitable and selfless, Dumbledelf the Staid lives his life in accordance with the Umpteen Commandments, as set in stone by his god (and then reinterpreted, mistranslated and edited by centuries of conclaves, edicts and parish meetings) in ages past.

As such, he has embarked on a sacred mission to spread his deity’s love and mercy (by which he means slaying anyone who doesn’t subscribe to his religion), spreading the Holy Message (by slaying anyone who doesn’t subscribe to his religion), converting unbelievers (ditto) and confronting evil (you get the idea).

Figure is a slightly converted Heroclix Gandalf





Cave Bear (Witch)

As a shaman of the mightiest tribe to dwell on the fringes of the Great Blasphemy, Cave Bear combines the witch’s gentle study of nature with the crazed bloodlust of the barbarian. He reached the pinnacle of tribal society after brutally bludgeoning his successor to death with a rock, as is the custom, and has led his tribe in spiritual matters ever since.

However he now grows old by barbarian standards, having reached a whopping forty-seven summers. With younger witches beginning to size up suitable rocks, Cave Bear has decided it is time to embark on a mighty trial of strength. His journey to Frostgrave is but the first step in this ordeal and now he must survive the frozen city before returning triumphantly to his tribe with riches beyond compare, and a much bigger rock.

Figure is a converted Warhammer Quest Barbarian

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Turns Counter

...so I had these Heroclix bases knocking around...


In some Frostgrave scenarios, stuff happens after a certain turn, so it's useful to mark how many have passed (and I know that some players limit the amount of turns in a game anyway).

On the hacking/modelling/painting table I have some Heroclix models that I am turning into wizards (more of which next time). I've levered them off their bases, one of which I've made into this natty turns counter.

All I did was prise the base into two halves, covered the original values with white paint, put it back together and glued on a pair of feet (that I had in the bits box) to make it look like a broken statue. I then slapped a stone effect onto the outer casing and scrawled on the numbers (1-12, which should be long enough for most games.)

Quick and easy!

Broken Band


Snow Leopard crouched down behind a snow covered log and listened.

“No! You can’t leave us! What are you doing?”

He breathed a sigh of relief. Not The Voice then. Just an argument: ordinary human voices raised in argument and not that insidious Voice that had stalked them ever since they had become lost in this dark frozen forest.

“What is it?” whispered Grazzok gruffly.

Snow Leopard turned to the old warrior, whose deafness, or maybe the Orcish blood that reputedly ran in his veins, kept him immune from the whispering and luring in their heads. “Some kind of old ruin. There’s a camp fire and about five people – they’re not happy…”

“Should we go around?”

The ranger thought for a second. Back in his old life as Herbert the gamekeeper, knights, even time-expired veterans like Grazzok, wouldn’t have given him the time of day, but now, reinvented as Snow Leopard, they hung on his every word. Maybe that’s why he hadn’t succumbed to the Voice – it spoke to his former self, not his new persona.

“No… I think the Voice is stalking them too… and besides…”he blew into his cold hands, “there’s a fire…”

“Oh yes, do let’s go, those folks ahead I’d like to know.”

The third surviving member of their party scrambled through the undergrowth, singing to himself as usual. His constant humming and strumming, not to mention his brightly coloured clothes and weird false arm, would normally have been an anathema to Snow Leopard, and as such Morten the bard had joined the group on sufferance, but now, with the Voice calling people away to their doom each night, his music did much to drown it out.

“Very well, let’s go.”

They carefully approached the old ruin – the remains of a watchtower within which five figures struggled, silhouetted in the firelight.


“Don’t listen to it Roderick! Stay with us!”

“No! He calls and we answer! Let us go!”

With a violent shove, two figures detached themselves from the melee – the light revealing the manic expressions on their painted faces. “Just like the others…” thought Snow Leopard.

With a bound they leapt from the tower and crashed through the trees into the darkness, leaving their fellows staring dumbly at their disappearing forms.

“Ahem.”

They turned, instinctively grabbing and drawing their bows in one swift motion as Snow Leopard coughed. Their posture, taut, pained and suspicious, sagged with relief as Morten the bard stepped into view.

“Oh thank the Lords!”

Morten plucked a few strings on his fiddle and gave an extravagant bow.

“So the Voice has been speaking to you too eh?” said Snow Leopard as he made his way to the fire. “Well perhaps together we will make it to the frozen city with our minds intact.”

“Let us hope so,” said one of the archers. “It lies a day’s walk hence - if we can survive the night that is. I’m told there’s riches beyond compare in Frosgrave, and nothing can be worse than what we’ve put up with in the accursed wood… can it..?”


Another batch from my swapsies haul – some archers and other sundry warband members. The old warrior and the bard both had missing arms and so a little conversion work was required.

My aim is to paint enough figures to field a couple of warbands in addition to Thaddeus’ Mongol themed band and von Unaussprechlichen’s cultists, enabling me to host some introductory games at my local wargames club.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Hereford Wargames Website


The new Hereford Wargames Website can be found at https://herefordwargamers.wordpress.com/ - please check it out!

This website is intended as a hub for all wargamers (and indeed boardgamers, card gamers etc.) in and around Hereford.

Our aim is to connect individuals, gaming clubs and groups – allowing like-minded gamers to get in touch and get some good games going!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The Assassin - A Scenario


Introduction


Successful expeditions into the frozen city have earned you much knowledge and treasure; however there are those back home who grow afraid of your increasing power and jealous of your growing reputation.

Safe and warm in their studies and laboratories, your old rivals may lack the courage to face you themselves, but they are not above hiring others to do their dirty work…

Set-Up


Set up the table as per a standard game of Frostgrave. Place warbands as normal.

The highest level wizard is the ‘target’ wizard (if wizards are at the same level, the one with the most pre-game gold is the target. If wizards hold the same amount of gold, then roll a d20 and nominate the lowest roll as target.

Once all warbands are placed, the non-target player (or player with the lowest level wizard if more than two players) places an assassin figure up to 9” from the centre of the board. The assassin must be placed so that no member of the target wizard’s warband can make line of sight to the figure.

The Assassin


The Assassin will stop at (almost) nothing to kill his target. He is a crack-shot who uses poisoned bolts to slow down his prey before moving in for the kill.

Assassin
M
F
S
A
W
H
Special Rules
7
See ‘Marksman’ in main rulebook
Poisoned bolts
Camouflaged
Susceptible to bribery
Professional Hit
Separate phase

Poisoned bolts
All of the assassin’s bolts are treated with poison (see Dark Alchemy supplement)

Camouflaged
The Assassin has taken an Elixir of the Chameleon (see Dark Alchemy supplement)
Additionally, he must stay behind cover whenever possible.

Susceptible to Bribery
During his wizard phase, the target wizard can attempt to bribe the assassin if within 6” and line of sight - this takes one action.
Pay three treasure tokens (which must already have been carried off the board by a member of the warband) and the Assassin will target a wizard of the target wizard’s choice.
Pay 1,000GC and the Assassin will leave the board.

Professional Hit
If the Assassin successfully executes his contract, the target wizard must roll for survival post-game with a -1 modifier.

Separate Phase
The Assassin acts in his own phase, after the last soldier phase but before the creature phase.
The Assassin has the standard two actions and follows this priority:-

  • Move to within range and line of sight of the target (staying in cover if possible)
  • Reload crossbow
  • Shoot at target (if within range and line of sight) until target is down to 4 health
  • Engage the target in combat if within 5" and target is down to 4 health

The Assassin will not enter combat with any other figure unless attacked by it.
If the Assassin successfully kills his target or is bribed to leave the board, he will not act as above but will head for the nearest edge as quickly/directly as possible and will only enter combat in self-defence.

Treasure and Experience


Treasure is treated as per a standard game.
Do not roll for any treasure tokens used in bribing the Assassin.
If the Assassin is killed, an action may be spent looting his poisoned bolts - one action per bolt with a maximum of 5. These may be used in the next game only by a crossbow-using warband member, or may be sold for 20GC each.

Experience is calculated as per standard game, in addition to the following:-
+50 Experience for the target wizard if he kills the Assassin.
+25 Experience for the target wizard if he survives the game.
+10 Experience for each non-target wizard if the target wizard (new target if the Assassin has been bribed) is 'killed' in-game by the Assassin.


Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Thaddeus and the Well


“I think we are here… or hereabouts…”

Thaddeus Daemoncall fished the mouldering scroll from beneath his robes and squinted at the faded hieroglyphs.

“Yes, the Well of Dreams and Sorrows lies just ahead…”

His apprentice Oddleigh clambered over some fallen masonry to join his master and surveyed the view before them. The ruined residential buildings they had been exploring had given way to some sort of religious centre. Bare columns poked at the pale sky whilst icy winds howled through jagged blocks of stone – the collapsed remnants of huge roof beams. What remained of the walls were held up by large piles of frozen detritus, which also lay in tumps on the ground.

“There seems to be some sort of avenue ahead my lord.”

“Indeed, and I’ll wager that the well lies along it. I hope it is not dry, for it is written that whoever drinks from it can see the future… That is why we are here…”

Beside the pair another figure appeared, seemingly emerging from a cracked statue. Oddleigh jumped.

“By the Lords, why don’t you make a noise or something?”

“Then I would be an extremely poor ranger my lord,” said Hakim. “I have taken a look and the well indeed lies ahead. But Toddlebrew and his band are also here.”

“Hmph!” grunted the wizard, “I thought he had taken his leave of this place… Never mind, we have bested him before, we can do it again. Forward!”


Time for another game! This time we rolled the Well of Dreams and Sorrows scenario, where the eponymous well is placed at the centre of the board. Any wizard who spends an action drinking from it will receive a whopping 100 XP.

This would prove interesting, for it would mean bringing Thaddeus into the centre of the action, instead of lurking behind cover at the rear like he usually does. Time to practice that wall spell…


Both sides deployed and advanced towards the well. Thaddeus took the centre, guarded by Sir Pierre the knight and Gog, the newly-hired barbarian. Oddleigh took most of the warband with him on the left, whilst Hakim the ranger, with a view to climbing up onto a higher vantage point, went with an archer and a thug to the right.


Toddlebrew had also split his band into three groups and moved forward toward the well. As Thaddeus’ band spread out, Toddlebrew sent his men, with warhound as vanguard, straight at the centre. There was a danger that they would bar all access to the well before I could arrange my band to my liking.


Time then to slow them down with an imp spell, landing a small yet vicious creature in their midst. Toddlebrew used a push spell to keep it at arm’s length, allowing one of his thugs to finish it off. The delay was enough however to allow Thaddeus to leap his knight forward and contest ownership of the middle ground.


On the left, Oddleigh’s group split up, some to grab some treasure, others to move up to flank the well. With Toddlebrew’s archers lurking up ahead, a timely wall spell was cast to screen this manoeuvre.


Sir Pierre the knight squared up to the enemy warhound as Thaddeus and his barbarian bodyguard headed towards the well. However Toddlebrew’s men were also moving forward.


Thaddeus reached the well first! While Sir Pierre felled a treasure hunter, the wizard leant forward to drink. However in his haste he had forgotten to cast the protective wall spell he had planned, leaving him vulnerable…


Weak from spellcasting, reeling from the surge of foresight endowed by the well and exposed to Toddlebrew’s archers, Thaddeus was in trouble. To aid him, the barbarian charged into the fray alongside the knight.


With Fluffy the warhound coming in from the flank, these two warriors finished off the enemy threat. They are aided by an explosive cocktail thrown by Hakim from his elevated position, which winged Toddlebrew.


Still low on health, Thaddeus leaped back behind cover to heal himself whilst a thug dragged some treasure back from the right flank.


With Oddleigh and an archer covering the centre on one side, and Hakim and an archer on the other, Sir Pierre and Gog the barbarian secured the well. Toddlebrew, deciding that he wasn't so thirsty after all, began pulling back his followers.


Attracted by the noise, a demonic serpent (minor demon) appeared on the right flank. It headed for the nearest possible meal; a pair of Toddlebrew’s men, which hastened their departure.


Hidden in shadow, Toddlebrew and his remaining men left the field with two pieces of treasure, leaving the remaining four pieces in Thaddeus’ possession.


Thaddeus’ eye shone with rapture as he stumbled almost drunkenly into his apprentice.

“Oh the things I have seen!”

“Er, it’s getting dark my lord, perhaps we had better get back to-“

“No, we must press on! The well has told me that an item of immense value is nearby – onwards I say!”

Reluctantly the band followed the staggering wizard, coming to a halt in a strangely familiar place…

“What trickery is this?” growled Sir Pierre. “Have we not just left this place?”

“No, there is no well here – see…” Hakim pointed to the empty centre. “Though everything else is indeed the same…”

“Well I don’t like it… It’s getting too dark…”

Suddenly torchlight flickered through the ruins opposite them.

“I don’t think Toddlebrew and his men agree with you…”


If we left the scenery as it was, but simply shifted the entry sides, maybe we could squeeze in the Genie scenario…


Both sides moved up once more. Hoping to dominate the battlefield from above, Thaddeus and the two archers climbed up onto the first floor of a ruin, but found their line of sight largely blocked by the high pillars in front of them. Oddleigh and the bulk of the warband took to the right, hoping to outflank the enemy and take the lion’s share of the treasure. Meanwhile two thugs covered the left flank.


Both sides exchanged fire, but Toddlebrew’s men had the better shooting and soon downed Hakim the ranger. On the left, a thug had acquired a treasure and was dragging it away. However his comrade had to deal with the enemy warhound and treasure hunter. Outnumbered and wounded, it did not look good. Could he delay them long enough for his mate to escape?


Yes! The gods smiled upon him that day, for he managed to down the treasure hunter and push back the warhound, putting the beast in line of sight for one of the archers to finish off.


Using the leap spell and again behind a protective wall, Oddleigh sent the heavy hitters forward along the right flank.

However by now Toddlebrew’s band had grabbed three pieces of treasure and, with night drawing in and strange noises echoing through the darkness, were content to withdraw, leaving the field and the remaining treasure for Thaddeus.


Back at the inn, Thaddeus inspected the haul. Drinking from the well had increased his experience considerably, whilst also netting him a goodly amount of gold and some useful scrolls. His hurried search for the fabled lamp had not yielded the artefact, but had resulted in more gold and three new spells to learn.

“I think,” he mused, looking at the pile of gold before him, “we can afford to hire some more expensive fighters…”

Two great games (one albeit very quick). The Well of Dreams and Sorrows went very well for me, despite forgetting to protect my wizard with a wall spell before he drank from it. The dice gods were extremely kind (and very nasty to Giles!)

The next game failed to conjure up the Genie, and was over very quickly (appointments had to be kept). Swapping dice, Giles rolled a lot better - I think I was lucky that we ran out of time on that one!

Thaddeus Daemoncall is now at level 17 and, in addition to beefing up his warband, has invested in a summoning circle and an arcane candle for the inn – perhaps next time he will live up to his name…