Thursday, 27 April 2017

Scattered Scenery


A short ‘utility’ post today – just some scatter scenery to block line of sight and, er, scatter about!


First off some crates and boxes courtesy of Fenris Games. I’ve had these for ages and they’ve made an appearance on my VBCW blog as I use them in my VBCW games, but now they’ve also been co-opted for Frostgrave.

 It’s interesting to note how my painting style has changed. These are just primed white, given a base coat and then a quickshade wash. Whereas nowadays…


…I tend to prime scenery black and then drybrush successive shades of colour, like in these barrels and boxes (and cat) bought second hand from the genius chap behind Matakishi’s Tea House.



I also bought these trapdoors and gratings from him. They’re all seconds from his 3D printing efforts – one man’s rejects are another man’s scenery!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Club Night: The Silent Tower


Back at the Hereford Wargames Club for another game of Frostgrave! It’s really great that so many club members are willing to give the game a try and are keen to return for another bash. For this game, Liam and Chris returned with a Necromancer and Elementalist warband respectively, while Reece had his first game with a Witch warband. I took to the field with my Illusionist band.

With four players on a 3’x3’ mat, it was absolute mayhem! In between explaining the game, spell effects, double-checking rules etc. not to mention having a great laugh, I didn’t take many photos or make note of what was going on, so this batrep is mainly a series of impressions from my side of the table.


We drop two treasure tokens each and then I place a treasure in the main tower and the two connecting ones. All four warbands cautiously advanced towards the silent tower and it’s priceless treasure. Faces dropped when I explained that, in this game of magic and spellcasting, no spells could be cast at or in the towers!


Luckily I rolled high for my first casting – the beauty spell. Snipping off a couple of health points made it nigh-impossible for my illusionist to be attacked by the other warbands. I also tried the same with my apprentice, but he proved to be less than capable! Meanwhile treasure is located and grabbed – will it attract any wandering monsters?


Yes – a large golem! This massive stone brute clumped onto the table behind Liam’s Necromancer band, causing his wizard to hurriedly leap out of the way, leaving his minions to dodge it’s huge fists.


This blurry photo shows the pack of rats that appeared behind my warband. They ignore my treasure-laden thug, who had been rendered invisible, and headed for my wizard. Luckily Liam sent in one of his thugs in an attempt to outflank me, so the rats pounced on him instead. My warhound engaged the rat pack, but for some reason I turned it invisible, making my wizard the prime target (rats don’t appreciate beauty)! The warhound must attack, making it visible again!


My invisible thug continued to lug away treasure as my warhound and archer, hurriedly pulled back, dealt with the rats. The warhound succumbed to the furry tide, forcing me to pull back another thug. Thankfully the other warbands seemed content to attack each other and leave me alone, give or take the occasional ranged shot.


We’re all nabbing treasure, but the precious stuff at the top of the main tower was still unclaimed. Much hilarity ensued as we all fluffed spells and groaned as more creatures wandered into the fray behind us. Chris is faced with a pair of ice spiders and later a boar, Reece got menaced by some wolves while Liam, still battling the golem, also had to fend off a bear.


On my left, Chris’ Elementalist could have caused a lot more trouble for me with his elemental bolts. After blasting one of my archers into crispy pieces, he targeted many more of my band as they moved up, but luckily for me rolled low each time.


Liam’s shadowy Necromancer leaped onto a connecting walkway to the main tower – would he go for the treasure? This made him a great target for my remaining archer. He hits, but didn’t kill the wizard, but it’s enough to persuade him to teleport away from such an exposed position.


Opposite me, Reece’s Witch was battling with warbands on both flanks and occasionally taking pot shots at my band. He managed to secure some treasure and caused quite a few casualties, despite the wolves snapping at his heels.



But it’s my man-at-arms that scaled the ladder of the main tower to claim the treasure within! By now it’s getting late, so we call it a night. Each warband took casualties, but more importantly each had a share of the treasure. Shots were missed, attacks went in cack-handed, spells were miscast and we only seemed to roll high when we didn't want to - all good fun!

Behold the Bone Wheel!


It was no good; the ropes that bound his body were too tight. Garant stopped struggling and, trying not to let the stinking cloth that smothered his face panic him, attempted to take stock.

The warband had been ambushed by ghouls as they returned from a treasure hunting expedition. Already battered and bruised they were easily overcome by superior numbers. The last thing Garant remembered was the screams of his employer before everything went black.

He awoke to find himself trussed up like a parcel – knees lashed up to his chest and arms pinned behind his back, all encased in some filthy bloodstained sacking. He was also swinging in mid-air, no doubt hoisted up somehow.


Was he on a ship? He could hear the creaking of wooden beams and the flap of sails. A pale light shone through the sack. There! A hole! Small, but, if he craned his neck, enough to see through maybe. He shifted, squinting through the hole as best he could.

Yes, he was definitely suspended off the ground judging by the angle of the ruins around him. Not a ship then. What else? From what he could make out the wooden beams, from which hung tatters of cloth, were horizontal. Was that another sack dangling from one? He tried to focus, but the sack swung as whatever it was that held him moved.


All he could see now was sky: dark storm clouds and flickering green light - not unusual in these parts but with a greater intensity than he had previously witnessed. Shapes moved unnaturally below him and then the chanting started…

Garant strained to catch what they were saying in their strange, dry croaking voices, but the language was beyond his ken. Murmuring low at first the chant rose in pitch and volume. The green flashes lit up the entire sky and the world shook as something booming replied. Garant screamed.


Behold the Bone Wheel! (Though admittedly there’s nothing particularly bony about it).

All painted up now for your delectation. In the end I decided not to glue the top nut in place, so it can be taken apart for ease of storage. The banners are just weird symbols I got off the internet, pasted onto a sackcloth background and printed out onto paper.


I must say I’m pretty pleased with it!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Bone Wheel WIP part 2

...in which I discover I'm not very good at sculpting.

"The victims? Oh I'll just sculpt some burial shrouds," I blithely stated.



Well, er, no. My attempts at sculpting such things failed dismally, so I went with the backup plan: large bulbous sacks - the type of thing Inca mummies are found in, tied up in the foetus position.

Meh, they'll do - hopefully they'll look ok painted (they better had do - it took me ages to get the string tied onto them and looped.)

On a happier note, the main assembly is now finished and painted! I'll leave the big reveal for later, but here are some teasers...

 



Friday, 21 April 2017

Bone Wheel WIP part 1

I hope you enjoyed my teaser pics – now all is revealed!

Alongside the shipwrecks of the Battle on the River scenario, the eponymous Bone Wheel is perhaps one of the most contentious pieces of scenario-specific scenery in the whole Thaw of the Lich Lord supplement.

I’ve seen some great versions on the web, plus some good improvisation (the 6” circle surrounding a tree in a Magic Murder Mice video batrep springs to mind), but I’ve been wracking my brains for ages to come up with a solution that not only functions as per the scenario, but also looks good and most importantly doesn’t cost me anything!

Seeing as I dislike spending money on scenery that I’ll probably only use in one or two games, I started to poke around the bins to see what I could find…


Strips of balsa wood, donated by Giles
Empty Rendera bases sprue
2” base hacked off a D&D Pathfinder model
Nylon bolt, nuts and washers found in the bin at work
Some string
MDF offcuts from my Dark Ops cemetery set
Bits from various plastic mini sprues
The plastic ring-pull thing found inside Ribena bottles
Lots of No More Nails glue (henceforth abbreviated to NMN) and Superglue!


I started off by making the hub and spokes of the wheel by gluing lengths of sprue onto a nylon washer (using a 6-sided nut as a guide for the angles). I then glued another washer on top and filled in the gaps with NMN.

I then threaded a nylon nut onto the bolt, got it to the height I wanted and then fixed it with Superglue. Once this had dried I worked out how high I wanted the wheel to stand and sawed off the remainder of the bolt. It was then glued onto the base, upon which I also glued the MDF offcuts. Once all was dry I then smeared NMN onto the base and bottom half of the bolt.


Back to the wheel. I stuck some balsa wood strips onto the flat side of the spokes and, once the glue had dried, snipped the long edges to make them look more worn. I then tied string around the edge to act as a rim, and also tied bits around each spoke to hopefully make it look like they were lashed on. Each knot was held in place with Superglue if necessary and soaked in PVA to help them stay on. I then glued a hand onto the end of each spoke. More NMN was dabbed on to rough it all up a bit.

Again reaching for spare plastic sprues I hacked up some heads and glued them on the flats of the other nut, once more dabbing liberally with NMN to add texture.

The whole thing goes together like this:


The wheel sits, and spins freely, on the bottom nut. The second nut screws on above the wheel to hold it in place. When I’ve finished this nut will be glued on, leaving just enough room for the wheel to spin. The plastic ring-pull thing will be glued upside-down (making it a conical ‘coolie hat’ shape) to cap off the top.

What I decide to do with it next will be the subject of another post, so stay tuned.

Now on to the victims…

Devourers


A quick post to start off the day - jumping forward to the Breeding Pits expansion by way of these two big 'n' beefy Devourers.

These are a pair of Ankhrav Drones from the plastic D&D Pathfinder Deadly Foes range. I've only repainted their faces - the rest of the models are left in the prepainted colour scheme. 


I didn't even bother re-basing them but simply added some of my usual mixture to the original bases. Nice, quick and easy. (Edit: I've just noticed that I haven't tidied up the base edges. Rest assured this will be rectified by the time this post is published.)

Oh, and here's another WIP teaser shot - any guesses now?


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Undead Trials


“Fascinating…”

The collection of bones and armour that was once, according to the carvings on the tomb, Sir Bagnold Mortshield, stood impassively as Thaddeus Daemoncall peered into it’s empty eye sockets.

He looked at the small tome in his hands once more and uttered a short incantation. The armoured skeleton before him shifted a little, flakes of rust falling off as it stiffly moved into a defensive stance. The Summoner nodded with satisfaction as it raised a shattered sword over what remained of it’s shield.

“Y’know boy, it’s really not so different from raising a zombie – just a sight change in the wording of the spell. I can understand why that necromancer fellow was after this book. Go on, you have a try.”

His apprentice shivered; the freezing wind which howled through the old graveyard cutting through him. Trying to ignore the cold, he took the book from his master and focused on the eldritch symbols.

After a few false starts, what was once a great Dwarven lord jerked out of it’s grave, thick skull rattling in a bronze helmet stained with corrosion.


“Hmm… Yeah, it’s not so difficult is it? Perhaps we-” he stopped. “Oh, I see you’ve manged to raise two more – well done master.”

Thaddeus paused studying his handiwork and looked up at the two armoured skeletons – long dead temple guards by the look of them – approaching between the gravestones. “Eh? Um, they aren’t mine…” Suddenly he grinned. “A perfect opportunity to test out the fighting abilities of our new friends though!”

A wave of his hand sent the two armoured cadavers shambling towards the undead interlopers, who readied their weapons with surprising swiftness. Thaddeus sat himself on a slanting tombstone and was just settling himself to watch the fight when an eerie green light attracted his attention.

“Oh…”

His heart sank as a glowing ethereal shape floated across the graveyard. It turned it’s once beautiful face towards them and opened it’s mouth.

“You know the best way to deal with banshees boy? Put your fingers in your ears and run!”


Some more undead for the Lich Lord campaign – some armoured skeletons and a banshee.

The banshee is a Reaper Bones mini in translucent plastic. By way of an experiment I’ve simply drybrushed over this. Not sure if it works to my satisfaction, and I made a pig's ear of the eyes, but she’ll do.

The two ‘temple guard’ skeletons are from Northstar’s official Frostgrave range. I really like the design of these figures, but was disappointed by the amount of flash on them. One of them had so much flash under it’s arms that if it had flapped them it would have taken off!

The other skeleton is another Reaper Bones one, with the sword cut short as I couldn’t get the bend out of it. The dwarf is simply a Mantic plastic figure, knocked about a bit to make it look more undead. This one nearly went in the bin as I put the turquoise wash on it’s armour too thickly and it ended up looking like a Smurf. Luckily I was able to rescue it with some drybrushing.

Enough of my trials and tribulations - here's a teaser shot for a future post. Can you tell what it is yet?


Thursday, 6 April 2017

Null and Voids


Remember the post where I mooted an idea for some 2D shadowcreature Nullmen? Well that excellent chap Gaz Robertson of FigurebitzWargaming Accessories very kindly cut some out of MDF for me! Figurebitz make some great kits, including a dungeon set that's great for the Breeding Pits - please check out their wares!


I sprayed them black and then drybrushed around the edges with grey (doesn’t show up very well on the photos) as Nullmen are described as glowing with a faint grey light in the Sellsword supplement.


Well I've also knocked up some Pits of Null for the eponymous scenario – just circles of plasticard, ringed with some No More Nails glue. Once this had dried I also sprayed them black and then drybrushed around the edges. The Pits of Null is one of those scenarios where you can spend a lot of money on specific models just for one game, so this is a cheap and easy solution!


Monday, 3 April 2017

Thaddeus the Looter


Thaddeus’ eyes narrowed, watching as the skull-faced figures wearily dropped the shafts of the cart they had been pulling. It's jerry built frame groaned as it leaned awkwardly to one side.

“They’ve stopped – fortuitous for us I think…”

Oddleigh nodded. They had heard rumours of these sinister folk and their necromantic master for some days now, and had finally tracked down one of their supply carts.

“Indeed,” whispered the apprentice. “Do you think they’d mind us having a quick word to see what they’re about?”

Suddenly the figures, who had stationed themselves around the cart, raised their weapons and turned their painted faces away from the Summoner’s hiding place. From the other side of the square, figures raced forward.

Thaddeus sighed.

“Not unless that damned Sigilist gets there first – c’mon!”


With my regular Frostgrave buddy Giles in the process of moving house, I was lucky enough to snag him for a game the other day. We continued the Thaw of the Lich Lord campaign with the Loot the Cart scenario.

The cart, surrounded by four treasure tokens and four cultists determined to protect them, was placed in the centre of the table. Two other treasures are also placed.


Toddlebrew’s men waste no time in getting to their target. Alas the USB stick on which Giles keeps his warband details refused to work, so he had to wing it. His first task is to cast draining word on the bone dart spell.


Thaddeus and his warband spread out along the opposite table edge. He had managed to brew a couple of potions but failed to summon any demons pre-game. This was somewhat balanced out by raising a zombie instead.


As usual, Thaddeus keeps himself in cover, but he opens proceedings by casting beauty upon himself, making it difficult for the opposition to harm them should they step out from behind the ruins.


Oddleigh also beautifies himself and then urges the men forward to claim a nearby treasure. It’s a start, but they’re still some way from the cultists’ cart.


Unlike Toddlebrew’s men, who are nearly on top of it! The Sigilist’s rangers open fire on the cultists as they stoically protect the cart. It’s almost as if they’re waiting for something…


A push spell from Toddlebrew sends a cultist flying towards Sir Pierre the knight. Both have no option but to fight! The crazed follower of death swings his club.


However he knight easily dispatches the crazed minion. A clever move from Toddlebrew – have your opponent deal with the threats while you grab the treasure.


One of the remaining cultists is set upon by an enemy treasure hunter and felled as the other cultists begin to stir. Toddlebrew is doing all he can to keep Thaddeus away from the cart so he can keep the treasure for himself.


Toddlebrew urges the rest of his warband forward as they begin to pull away some of the treasure. A ranger attacks another cultist and soon they are battling it out.


He is assisted by Thaddeus’ crossbowman, who, hiding behind some railings, fires into the combat and strikes down the cultist. Meanwhile the summoner brings forth a minor demon and orders his warband towards the cart.


This leaves them somewhat exposed, and allows an archer to pick off one of my infantrymen who had broken cover to pick up one of the cultists’ treasures that had been pulled towards him via telekinesis.


Franck the treasure hunter swigs down his potion of invisibility, allowing him to approach the cart without being bothered. His fellow treasure hunter Goldtooth and Gog the barbarian follow behind and strike down an enemy soldier.


All this noise attracts a nearby ice toad, which hops onto the stage directly behind Thaddeus’ crew. He dispatches the zombie to deal with it.


The demon screeches forward to attack Toddlebrew’s band, which are now swarming over the cart and heading for the remaining cultist. Franck is grateful for his invisibility potion!


However Gog and Goldtooth reach the last cultist and splatter him to the ground. An enemy knight looks on as they nab the final treasure.


However this action attracts a wraith onto the scene. The shadowy fiend appears on Thaddeus’ left flank, making the summoner the nearest target in sight…


Behind Thaddeus’ lines, the zombie is making a meal of fighting the toad. He manages to push it back, but it still keeps on coming.


Thaddeus is sent flying backwards with a push spell as his crossbowman races forward somewhat reluctantly to occupy the wraith. Meanwhile Uluk the marksman, having done little to earn that status all game, runs along a walkway to get a good line of sight. His new Soulseeker Quiver sure would come in handy right now.


The demon and Fluffy the warhound attack the opposition. The demon is dispatched by a knight and ranger combination.


An outnumbered Fluffy is also sent back to the nether realms by a triumvirate of ranger, warhound and captain. Being so close together, they make a great target for an elemental ball spell. Sadly, while the spell is successfully cast, it does no damage to anyone.


More casualties (although in this case it could be argued that he became a casualty a long time ago) as the zombie succumbs to the ice toad’s powerful jaws.


Yet more death! The crossbowman is unable to resist the soul-sucking touch of the wraith and sinks to the ground a wizened husk.


Suddenly an unhuman howling rends the chilly air! Four ghouls, reinforcements for the slain cultists, appear on the scene. Their nearest target? Oddleigh and his comrades…


Never mind! Oddleigh casts a trusty wall spell to hide his men behind. Unable to see any prey, the ghouls wander around in confusion. Meanwhile the warband are pulling away treasure chests whilst avoiding the slow ice toad.


Sir Pierre knocks back his potion of invulnerability and is leapt into the midst of Toddlebrew’s band. The sigilist is beginning to pull back, so can the knight steal a cheeky treasure from him?


Gog the barbarian races to engage the wraith and protect his master. Swinging his magic sword he efficiently reduces the creature to dust. “I name you Ghost Slayer!” he roars as he brandishes his weapon.


Sir Pierre is not so fortunate, as Toddlebrew enchants his minions’ weapons, negating the knight’s invulnerability. The enchanted soldiers make short work of the gallant warrior.


The sigilist is now making an exit, but Thaddeus decides to encourage them to withdraw quicker by sending Goldtooth and a freshly summoned imp to see them off.


Meanwhile the ghouls continue to mill around the wall. Before they can properly catch the scent of fresh meat it is already fading away.


Another fun game, which proved quite a challenge for me despite the fact that Giles was unsure of his wizard’s capabilities and played accordingly. Luckily the threat of the ghoul reinforcements didn’t amount to anything thanks to the wall spell.

As far as treasure and experience are concerned it was honours even with one ordinary treasure, two cultist treasures (worth an extra 20 gold each) and two cultist kills apiece, although Giles pipped me to the win by the amount of soldiers killed (two of whom had to be replaced as they were either killed or wounded).

Oddleigh watched as the wounded crossbowman limped back towards civilisation after the band returned to the Cloven Hoof. Dispensing of his services was a tough decision maybe, but one that chimed in with the tribesmen's hard-living way of life. Other tribesmen were eager to take his place and take a shot at fame and fortune.

As such, none of the warriors shed any tears for the slain warhound either, knowing full well that their master would simply pay the small amount of gold needed to bring her back into this plane of existence (or something – such matters were beyond their comprehension).

Leaving his apprentice to his thoughts, the summoner eagerly rooted through the mouldering treasure chests they had managed to steal from the noisome cart.

“Ah… what’s this…?”

From among the detritus he pulled out a small black book, it’s cover inlaid with a grinning ivory skull.

“My my…. I never thought I’d see the like... I wonder what this necromancer fellow wants with one of these...?”