Thursday, 28 January 2016

Petrified Trees

“I wonder what they’re petrified of? Woodcutters? Bark Weevils? Incontinent dogs…?”

“Shut up Halfinch.”

One of the members of the Frostgrave Facebook group had 3D printed some gnarled trees from Printable Scenery. Luckily he had some spare, so one PayPal transaction later and four of them grew through my letterbox (thanks David!).

In retrospect I shouldn't have drybrushed straight onto the black undercoat, but gone for a dark basecoat first – hey ho…

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Keep-sakes: Part 2

My attempts to make transportation disks for the ‘Keep’ scenario attracted the attention of David from Iron Mammoth Design.

Being a handy sort, David laser-cut the disks and added a couple of layers of steps before giving them a quick paintjob.

Then - generous chap that he is - he sent me a set! Here they are, with a little extra highlighting and a sprinkling of snow.

Thanks very much Iron Mammoth!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Captain Scarlet

“Quick, she’s coming!”

The normally raucous din at the Pig’s Ear Tavern was hushed into silence as Red Sandra, aka the Scarlet Wolf, strode into the room. Hitherto unkempt and surly men surreptitiously checked their reflections in the steins of ale they held carefully still: brushing a lock of greasy hair rakishly across their remaining eye, working out which knavish grin best showed off their gold teeth or simply practising their scowl, before slinging their drinks down their gullets in an attempt to look suitably nonchalant yet exciting.

Red Sandra sighed inwardly – it was always the same. Any minute now one of the fools would ‘accidentally’ knock into her and, sweating from effort and embarrassment, try to impress her.

“Oh, I beg your pardon my lovely…”

Here we go…

“You must excuse me, only I’ve been fighting zombie trolls all day and my balance is a little off. You see I managed to kill, oh, about twenty of them before one of them finally managed to-“

“Yes, yes, I’m sure you were very impressive…” She shoved the bumbling fool aside, tossed her red hair in what she hoped was an intimidating manner, and made her way to the bar. “Now, it’s taken me three days to get to this accursed place and I’m gasping for a drink.”

The barman was nearly crushed by the horde of suddenly generous patrons.

Sandra stepped aside as, as is the nature of things, the rush to buy her a drink began to degenerate into a brawl. In one deft movement she picked up a foaming tankard and flipped a coin at the barman, hitting him squarely on the forehead. Weaving effortlessly through the maelstrom, she made her way to a shadowy corner, palming off staggering lummoxes and ducking under flailing limbs before gracefully sitting down, ale unspilled.

She smiled at the half-hidden wizard next to her, who nodded politely in return.

“So, where’s a girl gotta go to find work in these parts?”

Like every other Frostgrave fan I downloaded the new Sellsword expansion almost as soon as it was released, having painted (amid much cursing and swearing) this Reaper Bones figure in anticipation.

Sellsword allows you to hire a Captain – a more skilled and experienced soldier than your more run-of-the-mill hirelings. Captains bridge the gap between PC spellcasters and NPC soldiers, being able to earn experience and learn new skills (termed ‘tricks of the trade’). They can also carry a number of items and group activate with at least one other model. However they also require a cut of the loot in addition to their initial retainer.

Hopefully the Captains of Sellsword will help to ease the pain of those players who’d like to see more progression in their warbands!

Monday, 25 January 2016

Thaddeus Daemoncall: Tomb Raider!

An eerie, fell mist swirled around the feet of the warband as their master led them through the gates of the necropolis; ghostly tendrils curling around their legs like the tentacles of some long-dead phantom creature.

Thaddeus squinted at the faded parchment clutched in his hand.
“If this if correct, then the spell I seek lies buried in that mausoleum yonder…”

Oddleigh shuddered.
“Must we go in? I-I feel as if we’re being watched… or maybe stalked…”

Thaddeus nodded towards the crumbling tombs, gravestone and statues ahead of them, about which strange figures appeared to stagger in unnaturally disjointed movements.
“Oh we are by no means alone boy… The treasures we seek will be guarded…”

He turned to Sir Pierre the knight as an animated skeleton began to jerk towards them.
“You – take Fluffy and deal with that.”

The knight nodded and, clanking forward with the demonic hyena alongside him, reduced the skeleton into shards of bone with a single cleave of his sword.

“Master, there’s another one over there!” Oddleigh cried.

Thaddeus calmly raised a finger and flicked. The skeleton at the far end of the graveyard collapsed into a heap. The wizard grunted with satisfaction.

“Now we can contin-“

Suddenly the sepulchral silence was shattered by a yelp of agony as Fluffy somersaulted to the ground, an arrow thudding into her flank. There was a clatter of stone as another warband began to manoeuvre around the graves and an all-too familiar voice calls out orders.

“You again…” growled the wizard.

Another game of Frostgrave last week – this time the Mausoleum scenario. Once again Thaddeus Daemoncall squares up against Sigilist Holbon Toddlebrew.

With the two guardians destroyed, both parties quickly advance towards the treasures – Thaddeus’ thief and ranger aiming for the more valuable ‘special’ treasures in the central mausoleum, leaving the ‘normal’ treasure to one of the thugs.

Leaving a wounded Fluffy to limp back to her master for healing, Sir Pierre strides forward to engage the enemy, whilst the two archers clamber up the ruins to gain good vantage points.

While Halfinch the thief quickly secures a special treasure, Hakim the ranger is not so lucky, being pushed back by one of Toddlebrew’s spells. One of the thugs gamely moves forward to take his place. Meanwhile a pair of thugs sneaks along the graveyard fence, ignoring the treasures in an attempt to outflank the enemy. However they are soon spotted and the Sigilist sends an archer to deal with them.

Having grabbed an ordinary treasure, Toddlebrew’s henchmen move up to snatch some special treasure.

One of Thaddeus’ thugs, lugging an ordinary treasure back to base, is hit by an arrow and falls to the ground. Thaddeus, Oddleigh and their archers return fire with bone darts and arrows, but fail to do any damage.

Sir Pierre dispatches an enemy warhound, while Hakim the ranger clashes with an enemy thug and treasure hunter over a special treasure.

As Toddlebrew’s men haul away a special treasure, fighting around the central mausoleum intensifies. Sir Pierre, striding to the aid of Hakim, is delayed as another skeleton crawls from out of the tomb.

It is easily dealt with, but the delay is not good news for a weakening Hakim.

Bereft of support, Hakim falls.

The enemy treasure hunter leaves his comrade in order to shore up Toddlebrew’s flank. However another skeleton erupts from the soil to deny the thug his prize.

One of Toddlebrew’s troublesome archers is finally eliminated.

Thaddeus’ flank attack is met by the enemy treasure hunter and archer. A thug goes down, leaving his fellow tribesman to fight both defenders.

The skeletons converge on Toddlebrew’s unfortunate hireling, while Sir Pierre, his sword now glowing with magical energy thanks to a timely spell, hangs back to engage the victor.

Although outnumbered, the flanking thug holds his own, despite the fact that his opponents are now magically shielded.

The enemy thug falls beneath the bony tide. Can Sir Pierre nab the treasure? By now Toddlebrew was beginning to cut his losses, but before he can do much else, a bone dart from Thaddeus sends him sprawling!

An enemy archer is knocked out of the fray! Perhaps this flanking move will work after all… The Sigilist apprentice orders a general withdrawal. He is just about to leave the field when a lucky bone dart shot from Oddleigh zips through the ruins and brings him down!

Yet another skeleton arrives to defend the last treasure.

Sir Pierre smashes one back into the grave, but cannot prevail against the others.

A wounded treasure hunter finally deals with the flanking thug…

…while a recovered Fluffy, having raced along the other flank and into the Sigilist’s rear, is put down by a retreating archer.

With the Sigilists leaving the table carrying one ordinary and one special treasure, the field, and the remaining special treasure, should belong to Thaddeus. However the warband is sorely depleted and more skeletons are rising from the grave. Discretion is the better part of valour and the band withdraws with the other ordinary treasure and two special ones.

The mood was sombre at the inn that night, as the warband, battered and bruised, gathered around the funeral pyre. One of the tribal thugs that had accompanied the spellcasters all the way from the Steppes lay dead upon it, while two of his comrades lay wounded nearby.

“Our first death…” Oddleigh mused as the tribesmen began a guttural lament.

“And not the last,” grunted Thaddeus. “See that the two wounded ones are paid off and get me someone else. That treasure hunter we met on the way here, and maybe one of those barbarians. Also ensure that there's nothing left of the body - we don't want to attract blood crows, or ghouls. Now... I have work to do…”

His eyes gleamed in the glow of the pyre as he prised open the mouldering treasure chest. He had already found a pleasing amount of gold, some scrolls and  potions, but this was his most eagerly-awaited prize…

“Yes…” he hissed, easing out the fragile grimoire.

Another great game of Frostgrave! Giles initially held the upper hand, with his archers far outmatching my own and his spellcasting going flawlessly while I had to empower most spells. The first two skeletons were easily removed, but once they began to appear in greater numbers, all plans had to be put on hold while they were dealt with. When I eventually managed to batter Giles’ warband out of the ring, the skeletons were still growing in number, and it wouldn't have been feasible for what was left of my warband to claim the final treasure.

It was also a very bloody game, with a significant proportion of both warbands going down. I had one thug die, and another two wounded, but luckily gained enough gold to replace and upgrade them. Thaddeus, skulking under cover at the back as usual, emerged without a scratch, but his bone dart wounded Toddlebrew, who had to spend gold on treatment.

Good fun! Here’s to the next game…

Monday, 18 January 2016

Fall of the House of (Drybr)usher

My quest for Frostgrave scenery continues by spending the last of my Christmas money on a box of Gothic ruins from Pegasus Hobbies.

The kit gives you enough bits to build two corner ruins, which can be combined with other Pegasus kits to create all sorts of buildings. The bits snap-fit together (although I also employed glue to help strengthen them) and required only a small amount of filing and filling.

These two corner pieces painted up very quickly - a spray of black undercoat and then drybrushing the bejesus out of them with progressively lighter greys, courtesy of some B&Q tester pots. Quick and easy, yet rather effective!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Showing My Wight Bits

They glided silently over the rubble and through the trees: strange, misshapen figures that seemed to blur in and out of existence. What their purpose was, nobody living could say, and no-one was prepared to enter that unholy quarter to find out…

I’ve had a very quiet Christmas season wargaming-wise, and Santa has not been very forthcoming in the gaming presents department.
He did however leave me a copy of the Thaw of the Lich Lord expansion. I’ll hold off writing a review of this until I’ve started that campaign, which will take a while as I’ve only played one scenario from the main book so far.

One thing is for sure though – I’ll need a lot more undead, so here are a couple of wights/wraiths.
I had already painted these figures from Blind Beggar Miniatures before I got into Frostgrave, as they were included in some VBCW stuff I’d ordered from them, but now they’ve been re-based, ready to haunt the ruins...

A few weeks before Christmas I caught the tail-end of a successful Kickstarter to produce 3’x3’ felt gaming mats by Ceri Design and mine arrived during the break. It’s a nice, flexible felt mat with a wintry design (design 22 from Ceri’s catalogue). Apparently it’s washable and can be ironed, and at £19 inc. p&p it’s pretty good value.

Just after the festive season I hit the sales – well, I went over to my local garden centre – and bought some cheap model fir trees. I did the same last year for my VBCW stuff, but this time I didn’t spray over the ‘snow’ or greenify the bases (a simple wash and white drybrush sufficed).

So a modest haul (must’ve rolled low on the treasure table) but something to report at least!

Oh, one more thing - the guys at The Battlehammer, who's gameplay videos helped get me into Frostgrave in the first place, have been royally stiffed by Youtube. Mystifyingly, one of their videos supposedly breached Youtube's T&Cs and as such they've pulled their entire channel - basically everything they've filmed - with no explanation or, so far, response to their entreaties. Very shabby Youtube... 
Please check them out at and show them some love - #freethebattlehammer2 !