Thursday, 31 December 2020

The Encounter Ramp Goes Both Ways

The Encounter Ramp is a concept from scenario design which tries to match your parties experience with the strength of the monsters they are facing.  In D&D this is often referred to as the Challenge Rating.  As PCs gain more experience and become more powerful the strength of their opponents must increase to maintain the feeling of challenge.

Sometimes the stars align but more often than not they are never in the right bloody place at the right bloody time.  As a GM it is your job to make the adventure a heroic challenge.

I thought I had unwittingly led my players into an encounter that was going to result in a Total Party Kill (TPK) and an early bath for the GM. In my current campaign the party is relatively low level comprising of  

  • 3 x Level 1, 
  • 1 x Level 2, 
  • 1 x Level 3 and 
  • 1 x Level 4 PC

That's a total of 12 levels of experience between them but the scenario is designed for 5 to 8 Characters of Levels 7 to 9 (between 45 and 56 Levels). 

OK, I admit it, I fell in love with the scenario and didn't really worry too much about how the PCs were going to fare. I mean it's never supposed to be easy right?

To cut a long story short, their first big battle finds them fighting some pretty big guys, a Troll and 3 Bugbears, with a second wave in the room above being 1 Ogre and 5 Gnolls. As individual encounters these would be manageable, difficult but manageable. However, as a second wave these are not one hit minions, they are going to descend on the PCs like a hammer.

Oh and did I forget to mention that this is just the start. If I were playing this by the book they will still have to fight their way past 12 bugbears, 1 giant 2 headed troll, 2 hill giants, 2 giant trolls, 4 trolls, 8 ogres, 11 gnolls. That's a lot of hit dice they have to overcome.

The Solution?

Ramp it down a little. I always knew I was going to have to reduce the number of monsters to make it manageable for them.

Hit Point Reduction - make a few of them one hit wonders.  Give your PCs a free perception check to spot the ones that are limping or carrying a few fresh wounds from some recent war band pissing match.

The Call of Nature - There's always one bad guy who is in the middle of something else when they hear the battle cry or the bugle.  Having a Bugbear otherwise detained sitting on the khazi, asleep or drunk is perfectly legitimate and offers that added advantage of potential information gathering once the battle has ended.

Morale Fail - Often overlooked, but a perfectly legitimate excuse for a GM is to make the monsters flee rather than fight it out to the death. 

Take Two Bites - PCs often overlook the adage "Run away and live to fight another day" or in otherwords run away and have a short rest, drink some healing potions and try again.  Dead bad guys are still going to be dead whereas PCs often have heroic recoveries.  Tactics can be re-evaluated, strategies can be re-examined and knowledge gained during the fight can be exploited.

Sisyphus
Zach Kanin (The New Yorker)


 

RPGs and Inclusivity

First post of the New Year and it's time to say that I'm glad to see the back of 2014.

For a while I've been worried that the hobby (and to some degree popular media) was descending  into a a pit of bile and hatred. 

So I'm going to start off this year by reminding everyone that:


By this I mean that they are a framework around which you hang your shared experience with your friends.  They don't tell you:

Who can or can't play the game - Yes, the artwork contained inside the books may give off the same sort of vibe as 1980s Heavy Metal albums, but to be honest they're just visualisations to give you ideas of what one possible world may look like.  Frankly, I don't care if you're female, black or transgendered, I want to give you the opportunity to be part of my world and through the various challenges I set, collectively explore and change it.

What characters they can play or how they play them - Yes there are classes and races, but these are just framework suggestions.  As a DM with 30+ years of experience I don't want you to slavishly follow those, I've seen them a thousand times already.  I want you to choose what you want to be and add flavour to my world.

How to play the game - Yes, every rulebook contains an example of play demonstrating a game in progress, but you only learn how to play by interacting with the other players and DM.  There is no right or wrong way to play an RPG, but there are plenty of player behaviours which can make playing a game a horrible experience.  If you're a new player you might want to consider "rules" but the DM and players ultimately choose which ones to follow and which to ignore.  I've yet to play in a group that hasn't had at least a handful of house rules.  My own preference is that as long as things appear consistent then any rule can be chopped in favour of cinematic style.  

Thursday, 17 December 2020

When the Bad Guys Win

When the Bad Guys Win is the December 2020 RPG Blog Carnival theme kindly hosted by Rising Phoenix Games.

Losing is a quintessential part of Joseph Campbell's The Hero's Journey in fiction. 

It's right there at the bottom of the circle.  Our hero must enter the Abyss or face a challenge in which he metaphorically is destroyed and reborn a hero.  It's something that every hero must go through. 


Some Cinematic Bad Guy Wins Scenarios

Judge Dredd (1995) - The bad guys win when Dredd is framed for the murder of journalist Vartis Hammond and his wife Lilly.  Incontravercial forensic evidence in the form of DNA encoded bullets is presented giving Dredd the death penalty.  Judge Fargo steps down and in his final act as Chief Justice commutes the sentence to life imprisonment in the Aspen Penal Colony.  He is on his way to the Abyss before a chain of events is set in motion by the notorious cursed earth cannibals the Angel Gang.  

The Lord of The Rings - There are quite a few moments during LoTR that are bad guy win scenarios but the one that always springs to mind is when Boromir falls to the

The Empire Strikes Back (1982) - Things look pretty bleak at the end of Empire.  Han is frozen in carbonite and on his way to Jabba the Hutt.  Luke has lost a hand and found out that his father is Darth Vader.  Lando has lost Cloud City and the rebel fleet are on the run.  Does it get any worse?

Rookie GM Mistakes

One of the worst mistakes you can make as a GM is to reveal your bad guy too soon.  Your heroes need to get a few wins under their belts against minions, they need to foil some minor schemes to bring them to the attention of the big bad.  They need to be filled with a false sense of their own abilities and greatness before you drop the hammer on them.

The hero's journey circle above is divided into two halves, the upper being the known world, the world that the heroes have familiarity and can exert some control over.  The second half is the unknown representing the world that the big bad has demense over.  The conflict with the threshold guardians is a pivotal moment in this crossing over to the unknown world where things are not in their control.

But hold on we aren't ready just yet.  You need to put their backs up against the wall, you need to take them to the edge.

NPCs are Destined to Die for a Reason

I always recommend having at least one NPC in a party for a number of reasons such as channeling DM hints, filling skills gaps or for introducing plot or story knowledge.  I particularly like using the NPC as a patron or leader who joins the party on their quest. 

However, one of their greatest uses is to be a casualty of war.  Having a beloved NPC die can be a pivotal moment in a story which makes it real for the players.  This is particularly effective if the NPC performed a vital function in the group, such as the healer or their guide.  Making the players genuinely feel a sense of loss is just one of the ways you can ramp up their stress levels and make their futures seem genuinely uncertain and perilous.

Death and Rebirth 

We've all been there rolling our death saves whilst the rest of the party finish off the ork horde.  How many times have you been healed from near death and just carried on as normal?

This is a great opportunity for the GM to impart some wisdom or knowledge to the "dead" player which will give them an advantage in the final battle.  How many times have you watched a death dream sequence?  It's a popular trope for a reason.  


Thanks of course go to Of Dice and Dragons for continuing to promote the RPG Blog Carnival.  This is my 6th entry and you can read the rest by clicking the RPG Blog Carnival tag below.


 

 

       

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

3 Things You Need When Collecting Vintage Board Games

Sometimes a bargain vintage boardgame comes incomplete.  Sometimes you can only afford to buy the incomplete ones.  

Don't fret, you can probably fix that game up and replace those missing components with some hand made ones.


  The three tools I have found indispensible for this are:

  1.  A Printer Scanner Copier - even a cheap and cheerful budget version will produce more than acceptable results.

  2. GIMP - the free image editor takes a bit of getting used to but is essential for manipulating your scanned card fronts and backs into printable files.

  3. A Laminator - inkjet printed cards soon disintegrate so running them through a laminator will make them a bit more substantial and resistant to cheeto fingers.

 


Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Vintage Miniatures - Ral Partha Arabian Wizard

Another vintage Ral Partha mini this week.

Unfortunately, I can find no information on this mini.  I think this is from one of the AD&D lines but I cannot be sure.  I have hunted through the Lost Minis Wiki and DnDLead with no luck.

If anyone out there can find a listing for this mini please leave a comment.
 
UPDATE: Thanks to the members of the lostminiswiki reddit group this mini was correctly identified as being from the All American range and specifically their 12-020 Wizards collection. 

Ral Partha Arabian Wizard with Turban Staff and Scroll
Ral Partha Arabian Wizard
with Turban Staff and Scroll - RP-aa-12-020b


Thursday, 16 July 2020

The Cat With an Arseload of Diamonds

It's no secret that I am a big fan of Jason Morningstar's FIASCO RPG, so when my regular Friday game was postponed, I jumped at the chance to run my favourite indie RPG.


I chose the Gangster London playset by Graham Walmsley which takes its inspiration from the mockney gangster movies of Mr Guy Richie.

The Cast

Dan H - Gold Top the milkman and small time drug dealer who is a bit tasty.
Dan C - Sniffy friend and associate of Gold Top who likes to sample his own product a bit too much.
Tony B - Razor an old style gangster, uncle to Sniffy and into everything but drugs.
Steve T - Stir a disgraced former MP who shared a cell in Wormwood Scrubs with Razor.

Act One

Razor and Stir are in the Admiral Benbow pub discussing their next job, a heist of stolen diamonds from one of the Ukranian boys Frank the Wank.  Sniffy joins them from the bar with his associate Gold Top.  Stir says that Frank has some diamonds coming into the country in a couple of weeks from Amsterdam.  They are being smuggled inside a cat.  Gold Top is the only driver in the group as Stir's Rolls is in the garage, Sniffy is too young and Razor lost his years ago.  "Top of the line milk float, all the bells and whistles" says Gold Top beaming with pride.  Razor and Stir agree to make a visit to Frank's cats home to set up the deal.

Flash back to Sniffy and Gold Top out on their round.  First call of the day is Dodgy Greg an out of work actor who likes to spend his leisure time with Charlie.  Greg lives on the Jasmine Allen Estate, one of the rougher parts of the manor.  Whilst Greg pours out the milk revealing the bag of coke stuffed in the bottle, Sniffy spots a couple of young scrotes trying to nick some milk from the back of the float. They give chase and catch the two kids and give them a kicking.  Some passing cops spot the pair and arrest them.

Gold Top's story is that he's just an honest milkman and the two little milk stealing shits needed to be taught a lesson otherwise they'll end up a pair of right proper Krays.  Call it "preventative justice", you could say they were doing the Old Bill a favour.  The cops let them off with a caution and the pair are released from custody.  As they walk back to the milk float they spot an old lady stapling a picture of her lost cat to the tree.  Gold Top notices the REWARD GIVEN line and asks her how much?  The old lady says that Mr Tiddles is her only companion and means the world to her.  She would give them her life savings to have him returned.  Intrigued by the thought of a few grand in reward money the pair follow the old lady back to her bungalow.

Flash back to Stir in his car driving down the A11 after a Conservative party rally.  He's smashed out of his skull on cheap bubbly and it's 3am.  He barely notices the impact as his Azure Blue 1969 Silver Shadow ploughs into a Citroen 2CV running it off the road, through a fence, down an embankment and into a tree.  He pulls over to inspect the damage to his pride and joy.  Through the cloud of steam billowing out of the radiator a young wideboy looms. 

"Oi mate, ain't ya gonna see if the other car's alright?" says the man. "What other car?" says Stir.  The woman's cries of help can clearly be heard from the roadside.  The man starts down the embankment.  Stir pulls out his phone and calls his mechanic Double Bore Billy. 

"I'm in a spot of bother Billy, I've pranged the Rolls and run someone off the road.  Some stranger has called the rozzers on me, what should I do?".  Billy replies "get the car back to mine and we'll hide it whilst I can fix it but be quick about it."

Razor and Stir leave the pub and head over to The Princess Eugenie Home for Cats.  Frank opens the door.  "We've come about a cat Frank" says Razor.  Frank lets them in and they explain that they heard he was coming into posession of a rare cat.  A "Dutch Diamond" to be exact.  As a cat lover Razor is prepared to pay hansomely for a rare exotic breed like that.  The big Ukranian tells Razor that the cat will be here in two weeks and he better have the money or he will "chop off his balls".  As they leave the cat home Razor comments "Frank always did like his knives.  We better go over to Billy's and get some shooters"

Sniffy and Gold Top are invited into the old ladies house and she explains that Mr. Tiddles went out through the catflap in the kitchen a couple of days ago and she hasn't seen him since.  The kitchen door opens out onto a jungle of a garden with piles of old furniture and trash stacked haphazardly  throughout.  Barely visible at the bottom of the garden is a fence and behind it a row of cat cages.  Sniffy pops a pill and gives one to Gold Top.  The halucinogen kicks in fast and from the corner of his eye Gold Top sees a human sized Mr.Tiddles beckoning at him from the fence.  The mancat wears a top hat and slinks through a broken slat into the fence.  The pair follow and find themselves behind a row of cages stacked 3 high at the back of a cats home.  Creeping round the corner they spy a hairy brute in a butchers apron wielding a cleaver.  He brings the blade down onto a chopping block and a cats head rolls off onto the floor.  At that moment the trip wears off and Gold Top instantly recognises the head as that of the real Mr.Tiddles. They bolt back through the hole in the fence, back through the garden and kitchen and out into the street screaming "He's fucking dead!". 

The Tilt - Something precious is on fire

Act One

Flashback a few years Stir and Razor, known then as simply Jim McTavish, are enjoying one of life's few luxuries when in residence at HMP Wormwood Scrubs, a haircut from the prison barber "fingers" Mario.  Suddenly the top dog Grouty walks in and shouts at McTavish to get the hell out of his chair.  Two of Grouty's heavies start roughing up Mario.  Stir swiftly gets out of his chair and throws a few puches in Mario's defence.  Jim calmly tells Grouty to wait his turn.  As the ageing gangster rushes towards him, Jim leans forward looking for Mario's cut throat razor but all his hands can grab is an electric trimmer.  He launches himself at Grouty from the barbers chair like an olympic diver.  The razor's curly cord stretches to it's limit until, with a pop, the plug lets go and shoots across the room hitting Grouty between the eyes prongs first.  The big man slips and Jim lands on top of him, the cord wrapped around Grouty's neck.  Never one to miss an opportunity when it arises, Jim pulls on the cord with all his might until Grouty breathes his last.  The two thugs run out of the barbers and alert the screws.  Hearing the wardens rushing to give him a beating, Jim looks at Stir and says "I guess that makes me the Top Dog now?"  Stir says well you'll need a Top Dog nickname "how about Razor?"  They both laugh as the first of the truncheons comes smashing down on their faces.

Flash forward to the day before the job.  The gang of four meet in The Admiral Benbow and discuss the plan for the next day.  Razor and Stir will get the cat from Frank and hand off to Sniffy and Gold Top in the milk float in case they get chased.  They'll all meet up back at Razor's.

Sniffy looks at Gold Top with a smile, they will have plenty of time to get the diamonds out of the cat and give it to the little old lady.  Everybody wins.

After the meeting Stir takes a walk over to Billy's garage to check on the Rolls.  As he turns the corner he lurches back into cover.  Outside are 3 police cars and a van.  Billy is being led out of the garage in cuffs.  DCI Reagan confronts him saying:

"Billy, you've been a very naughty boy.  I don't like shooters on my manor and I especially don't like people who run old ladies off the road in their expensive motors.  Don't worry we'll find out who's car it is.  Carter lock em up, It's 3 in the afternoon and I need a pint!" 

Razor and Stir ring the bell at the Princess Eugenie Home for Cats.  The door is answered by Frank's right hand man a hulking hairy butcher known as Sergei.  He shows them into the waiting room and Frank walks in carrying a cat box containing a black and white cat and places it on the coffee table.  Stir puts a briefcase onto the table.  Frank tells Sergei to check the case.  Razor pulls out a double barrelled shortened shotgun from inside his jacket and tells Frank there's been a change of plan. 

Frank laughs and reveals a remote controlled hand trigger. "I said no funny business put the gun down or the cat goes boom!"

Razor pulls a trigger and Franks head dissapears, the trigger drops to the floor.  Sergei lunges for the trigger and Razor shoots his last round blowing Sergei's hand off.  Grabbing the cat Razor and Stir swiftly exit the cats home as Gold Top and Sniffy trundle past in the milk float.

Sniffy grabs the cat box from his uncle and the pair speed off down the road.  Looking at the cat he can't believe their luck.  The cat in the box looks just like Mr Tiddles.  This deserves a celebratory snort so he cuts a couple of lines of coke, one for him and one for Gold Top.

Gold Top should have heeded the warnings on the TV.  Never snort and drive at the same time.  As the coke hits the spot a little old lady walks out of the road in front of him.  He swerves left and mounts the pavement hitting a pile of earth from an ongoing street repair.  The milk float is launched into the air and crashes through the front door of the police station.  The catbox flies out of Sniffy's lap its door pings open sending the cat flying through the air.

DCI Reagan looks down at the scene of destruction that is the foyer of the Police Station.  Picking up a milk soaked baggie of coke he says

"Well if it ain't the honest milkmen and their cargo of contraband.  Carter, book these boys in.  It's 9:30 and I haven't had any breakfast!"

Outside, the old lady exclaims "Mr.Tiddles, I thought I'd lost you!" and picks up the cat who is licking up the torrent of milk flowing down the Police Station steps. 
 
The Aftermath

Things don't go too well for Sniffy and Gold Top.  It's their first time in prison and Gold Top is still haunted by the memory of the Mr Tiddles beheading.  They both descend into a pit of despair and despondency.

Razor returns to The Scrubs, his violent reputation preceding him and quickly resumes his position as Top Dog without any bloodshed.

The long arm of the law catches up with Stir and he goes down for a 5 year stretch for causing death by dangerous driving.  Whilst inside he discovers he has a talent for writing.  His first true crime novel is published a few years later.  The Cat With an Arseload of Diamonds.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Reaper Bones #23 - Vermin!

Can you believe that only 8 weeks ago I was patting myself on the back after painting my 50th Bones mini.  This weeks offering of some tiny critters pushes me past the 100 mark!

Reaper Bones Giant Spider, Scorpion and Beetles

Every DM needs a selection of menacing critters to up the threat level when the party are getting that little bit blasé when casually clearing dungeon rooms.





Bones Progress

Reaper Bones: 245 - Painted: 108

Related Posts


Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Birthday Wishes and Resin Printers

As regular readers of this blog will know I am a 3D Printer owner, hobbyist maker and novice designer. 

I've owned my cheap as chips FDM Printer (a CTC i3 Pro B) for over 2 years and it has served me exceptionally well given the limitations of the technology.  With my birthday coming up I am feeling like I should take the next step and buy a Resin 3D Printer so I can printer higher definition and smaller scale objects.

What budget Resin Printers Can I Buy?

There are 3 main models that seem to be popular at the moment and are within my price range:


Creality SLD-002R
Buy it on Amazon


Anycubic Photon S
Buy it on Amazon

Elegoo Mars
Buy it on Amazon

SPECS
Vol: 120 x 65 x 165mm
XY Res: 2560 x 1600px
Z Res: 20-50 microns
Speed: 50-70mm/h
Price: £253
SPECS
Vol: 115 x 65 x 165mm
XY Res: 2560 x 1440px
Z Res: 25-100 microns
Speed: 20mm/h
Price: £280

SPECS
Vol: 120 x 68 x 155 mm
XY Res:
2560 x 1440px
Z Res: 10 microns 
Speed: 22.2mm/h
Price: £230


I am leaning towards the Creality SLD-002R on the basis of the print speed and the print volume so if anyone has any real world experience of this printer please drop me a comment below.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Reaper Bones #22 - A Flurry of Familiars

Probably the tiniest bones I have yet to paint.  Unfortunately I seem to have lost my dog mini from Pack 1 but I'm sure he'll find his way home.

Familiars 1 - (Various Sculptors SKU: 77176)

LtoR: Bat, Hawk, Dragonnewt, Weasel and Cat

Familiars 2
- (Various Sculptors SKU: 77196)

LtoR: Fairy, Coatl, Red Hood, Fire Sprite, Ragdoll and Tree Sprite


Bones Progress

Reaper Bones: 245 - Painted: 95

Related Posts

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Vintage Miniatures - Ral Partha AD&D Ogre Mage

Last week I shared the oddity that is the Ral Partha AD&D 3 Stage Miniature Illusionist.

Ral Partha made some absolutely beautiful miniatures back in the day and one such mini is...


This is a hefty beast standing an impressive 50mm tall.  He is a multi-part mini with a seperate katana and  optional left hand with dagger or holding a female prisoner.  Lost Minis Wiki has a great archive of all the AD&D range and photos of both A & B configurations of this mini.   

Ral Partha AD&D Ogre Mage - Buy it on eBay

The Ogre Mage was lifted from Japanese mythology (along with the Oni) and appeared in Greyhawk supplement (1975) hence the attire. 

I decided to go a non traditional route with this mini and paint his face red as he has a very devlish grin.


Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Jessie's Prints Episode 11 - Earth Elemental

This week, I are mostly been printing...


Schlossbauer is one of my favourite designers on Thingiverse.  He manages to make his prints just detailed enough and yet not too detailed that they print awesome on my budget FDM Printer.  If you are into RPGs, Fantasy Miniatures or just want something different to print then check him/her out.

Schlossbauer Earth Elemental - (Reaper Miniatures Hellborn Rogue for scale)

I printed my Earth Elemental at 200% scale as I wanted him to be double as both a large and a huge creature.  He came out at a nicely sized 85mm high with a 62mm diameter base.

The model prints in 4 parts (2 x arms, 1 x torso and 1 x legs) and I made sure that I laid the arms down on the print bed with the palms facing down so that any stubble left over from the support structures are on the inside and less visible.  The parts went together like a dream.  Schlossbauer's designs are well sliced and have simple keys so there gap filling is always minimal.


Monday, 15 June 2020

Reaper Bones #21 - Nova Corps & IMEF Soldiers

Every Sci-fi RPG needs a squad of tooled up bad hombres to either be the villains or to take them down.  Be it a bughunt or a hostile corporate takeover the Nova Corps and IMEF are just the boys and girls you can rely upon.

My Nova Corps / IMEF squad came came as a 15 mini set in the original Bones Kickstarter.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Vintage Mini Ral Partha 3 Stage Illusionist

Back in the day Ral Partha had a line of PC Minis which depicted your character at 3 stages of levelling up.   This was a really neat, if a bit niche, concept and the full list of these minis can be found on the Lost Mini Wiki.  

In today's world of bespoke 3D printed minis from Hero Forge, this sounds incredibly antiquated, but remember kids, 40 years ago, there wasn't a thing called a 3D Printer unless you worked at Area 51!

01-331 Illusionist

He's a weird one.  I guess you have to be weird to want to play an Illusionist as they are "all show and no go".  Ral Partha captured that essence of weird perfectly in this mini with his stupid Fez, his stupid wand, the magic orb and his particularly stupid parachute pants.

Ral Partha - 3 Stage AD&D Illusionist
Left to Right: Low, Mid and High Level Illusionist before repainting

I never liked the higher level version in this particular set and lord knows how I came to own it, I was probably thinking the low level character would make a good NPC mage in my Al-Qadim games.  The other 2 just look plain ridiculous.  As you can see stage one boy got a bit of a paint job courtesy of my step daughter when she was about 8 (many years ago).  Sadly she never completed it and I don't think she'll be too upset if I repaint it. 

These minis (and Ral Partha in general) don't command a particularly high price when you search for 3 Stage minis on eBay.  I'm not too gutted about repainting them and it's high time they got a refresh.

Primer and Zenithal Highlight

As with any mini I paint these days I prime in black and then a zenithal highight with white, both out of the rattlecan.  I find that even if I am not airbrushing the mini a zenithal highight serves a great purpose of both pre-shading and helping me to delineate areas of colour. 

3 Stage Illusionists Zenithal Highlighted

Glazing with the Wet Palette Technique

The wet palette is an often talked about next level painting technique which essentially is about using highly dilluted translucent layers of paint to gradually build up areas of colour and shading.  The preshading from the zenithal highlight is your biggest friend as it has already laid down the areas of deepest shadow and your translucent glases simply add the colour.

Blocking out the colours with glazes

Finished Paintjob

Ral Partha 3 Stage Illusionists Final (front view)
Ral Partha 3 Stage Illusionists Final (front view)

I think I have captured theabsurdity of this particular set.  The colour choices were intentionally very bold and ostentatious which only increases with level.  I also wanted to capture the ageing process in his beard and eyebrows. I'm happy with this sow's ear to silk purse transformation.

I am concious that I have never shown the back of these minis so here you go.

Ral Partha 3 Stage Illusionists Final (back view)
Ral Partha 3 Stage Illusionists Final (back view)

I could have spent much more time on these minis, but to be honest I got a bit bored with them.  As I mentioned earlier, I am not in love with them, I painted them out of morbid curiosity and I never expect them to see any tabletime. 

I might use the high level dude as some Grand Vizier in an Al-Qadim style game.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Father's Day Gifts for the D&D Dad

Father's Day is on Sunday 21st June 2020 which is only 10 days away but there is still time to get that special something for your D&D Dad.

Here are 9 special gift ideas you can buy on Amazon.




Under £10


A Dice Rolling Tray

Frankly I think these are an essential accessory to keep your dice rolling under control. 

I have one of these and it folds flat for easy storage and carriage.  The larger size is especially welcome when you are rolling a fistfull of those damage dice.
A New Set of Dice

It doesn't matter how many dice us D&D Dads have we can always do with some more.  I particularly like the wild colours on this set which make it look like they are on fire with magical flames.

Which is basically how I roll...
A New Notebook

Every Dungeon Dad needs a new notebook so he can fill it with campaign ideas or adventure journal entries. 

£10 to £20


A New T-Shirt


What better way for your Dad to say it loud and proud with a classy new T-Shirt. 

I particularly like the Dragon's head artwork on this one and lets face it Dragons are always found at the heart of a Dungeon which is right where this gift will get your Dad.
A New Pint Glass

What better way for your Dad to celebrate a particularly fraught campaign but to toast to fallen heroes from the skulls of their enemy.

Also a great icebreaker at BBQs.

"Could you bring me a drink in the head of Alfredo Garcia darling?"
An Area of Effect Template

This is one of the best I've seen yet.  Made of transparent acrylic with clear marked areas of effect for all the popular spells.

With this your Dad can finally end the argument of exactly who is getting hit by his fireball.

I particularly like the additional random direction feature on the outer ring because there are just those times when a spell bounces and you don't want it to come towards you.

Over £20


A Big 3 Level Pirate Ship

I was gobsmacked when I saw this.  I have been running games for over 35 years and have never found anything quite as practical as this 3 level pirate ship. 

Made from laser cut plywood this is the perfect accessory for the Dungeon Dad who likes to make his players walk the plank.  It also doubles as an impressive display stand for the man cave.

I'm just hoping that my step daughter sees this page and buys me one... fingers crossed.
Acrylic Condition Rings 72 Piece Set

If your Dad is a dungeon master he has probably encountered this problem on many an occasion.  How to track the various states that your PCs and Monsters can get themselves into during the course of a frenetic xombat.

Look no further because this set of clear acrylic condition rings puts an end to all that.  Colour coded for every one of 18 different combat conditions (4 rings of each type), these rings will help your dearest dad keep up with the upkeep of even the biggest skirmishes.
A Dice Tower

Sometimes your Dad needs all the help he can get and that means taking the human element out of rolling those pesky polyhedrons.

This is one of the tallest towers on the market and will cast an impressive shadow on everyone around the table.  It is made of cool blue transparent acrylic and is sure to mesmerise and randomise to equal effect.
Priceless

What every dad really wants is to spend some quality time with their kids.  So why not sit your dad down at the table and ask him to play a game.  He'll have memories of that special father's day forever.


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Jessie's Prints Episode 10 - Soda Bottle Stacking Planters

This week, I are mostly been printing...

Soda Bottle Stacking Planters - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4437199

Living in an apartment I have very limited garden space, basically it is my kitchen window ledge.  I was challenged by my 80 year old Dad (who has an alllotment channel on YouTube) to start growing some microgreens.

I used to have a ramshackle mix of pots and planters which did not take advantage of the one thing I do have which is ample amounts of vertical space and a chance encounter with an image on Pinterest made me think "I can do that with my printer". 

Minutes later, the Soda Bottle Stacking Planter was born.

Soda Bottle Stacking Planter
Soda Bottle Stacking Planter

Just print twice, glue the halves together and combine with your favourite 2 Litre bottle of soda.

"But this is a gaming blog! What the heck has this to do with gaming?" I hear you say. 

Well this is a perfect example of a crossover print.  With the addition of this ladder from Thingiverse designer Cheng Huat Wan it becomes a multi-purpose Bulk Liquid Storage Tank for use in all your Sci-Fi miniature wargames and RPGs.

I know that I'll be using mine in my Gaslands and Judge Dredd RPG games.

Bulk Liquid Storage Tank

Sci-Fi Bulk Liquid Storage Tank
Sci-Fi Bulk Liquid Storage Tank



 

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Arena - Futuristic Boxing in Space

Browsing through YouTube can be a dangerous game, particularly when you find a trove of old Sci-Fi and Fantasy B Movies

Arena (1989)

Arena (1989) VHS Cover
I distinctly remember the cover of this B-movie budget space Rocky calling to me from the shelves of Blockbuster video back in the day.  It wasn't a contender for my attention then, but in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown, frankly I can't think of any good excuse to not watch it.

The story is a simple one our hero Steve Armstrong, (Paul Satterfield) is a young kid with a talent for boxing had dreams of becoming a professional fighter and bought a one way ticket to starstation the home of the biggest fights in the Galaxy, The Arena.  A year later his dream is shattered and he spends his days as a short order cook in a fast food joint run by his boss the four armed alien Shorty (Hamilton Camp).

A chance brawl with a customer turns into a job offer from promoter Quinn (Claudia Christian) and a trial in the Arena.  However, Steve is the only human in 50 years to fight in the Arena against aliens and he is hopelessly outmatched.  Can he face impossible odds and become a contender?

Aliens, so many Aliens

The budget on this movie was pretty slim but they spent it wisely on a cavalcade of monster makeup.  It makes the cantena scene in Star Wars look like 2 men and a dog.  There is so much variety it really makes you feel like the Galaxy is teeming with alien species of all shapes and sizes.

The downside of this is of course that they spent all the money on monster makeup and next to nothing on writers, special effects, models etc.  The list goes on. 

The Director in me says "what the hell if I'm making Rocky in Space how much script do I need and this is pretty much what director Peter Manoogian must have though too.  He does his best and to be honest there are some great moments, in particular when they do an inventive visual gag based on Shorty's four arms.

Claudia Christian (Ivanova in Bablylon 5) is her usual classy self and Armin Shimerman (Quark in DS9) also does a respectable turn as the henchman Weezil who is aided in his master plan by the duplicitous alien cyborg skull (William Butler).  It's worth sticking this one out to see what happens to this guy.

It was Acceptable in the 80s

To be honest this wasn't as bad as the terrible video cover art had me believe.  The only truly excrutiating part was having to listen to the truly awful songs of futuristic cabaret star Jade (Shari Shattuck).  It's a relatively engaging story if a little cliched as we follow Steve's career reach its climax with the big fight against six time champion Horn (Michael Deak), a drug fuelled half robot half horned devil beast.

Give it a go, there are honestly worse things you can with 90 minutes of your life.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Reaper Bones #20 - Devil Women

In the 80s, Sir Cliff Richard sang:
"She's just a devil woman, With evil on her mind..."
and these two Hellborn beauties are not the sorts of ladies you might take home to meet your mum.

Tiviel, Hellborn Rogue (Derek Schubert SKU: 77118)

Reaper Bones - Triviel, Hellborn Rogue
Triviel, Hellborn Rogue - Buy it on eBay

Sinessa, Hellborn Sorceress (Bob Ridolfi SKU: 77119)

Reaper Bones - Sinessa, Hellborn Sorceress
Sinessa, Hellborn Sorceress - Buy it on eBay

Bones Progress

Reaper Bones: 245 - Painted: 69

Related Posts

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Vintage Vampire - Citadel C18 Night Horrors


I've had this mini hiding in an old tin in shame for years. 


The original paintjob was a horrible early experiment using artists inks.  I had given him a wash of blue ink over a white primer basecoat.  He was more Blue Man Group than Bela Lugosi and so it was time this scary dude got a spooky repaint.

Citadel C18 Night Horrors - Vampire
Buy it on eBay

The repaint was an experiment in glazing over a zenithal highlight with a single colour.  In my case this was Vallejo Game Colour Dark Green and I reinforced the highlights by mixing in some Vallejo Game Colour Dead White.  I picked out his eyes in Vallejo Game Air Scarlett Red and stuck a pin in him, he's done.

Like all of my recently painted minis this one got a protective coat of Windsor & Newton Matte Varnish from the airbrush thinned down with Vallejo Airbrush Flow Improver.

The C18 Night Horrors range is a particularly interesting series of minis and no doubt was designed to accompany the Gothic Horror Floorplans and GW licensed edition of Call of Cthulhu which were released about the same time. 

They were excellent value as you got 5 "classic horror" minis in a blister pack for only £2.50 which if GW used the Bank of Englands inflation calculator would be under £10 in today's money.  Well I guess it's true what they say...

"There are only two certainties in life.  Death and Games Workshop price gouging!!"