Sunday, September 30, 2018

Space Hulk

Space Hulk, 3rd Edition
Space Hulk,  3rd Edition (2009)

9+ years ago??  I got this for my birthday as a present from the Lady...and I let it sit unplayed for almost a decade.  Despite constant urging from club members I refused to play it until it was fully painted...which never happened.  Shameful display.

Ok...well I guess nine years happened.  Anyway, in true fashion I am finally ready to begin this project since 4th Edition was published in 2014.  There were a few rule tweaks and extra missions in that version, but I'm quite fine with the box I have.  It's almost pristine, with only some of the card punched.  I am really looking forward to finally puttin this on the table.

I do remember Space Hulk in the 90's.  The two middle-aged guys who were the only other Warhammer players in town were all about it, and I got to dive into Deathwing quite properly.  I had Vengeance of the Blood Angels on Playstation (1).  That was my jam.  It was creepy and scary in a way I really had never encountered before.  Warhammer 40k today doesn't have that weird background music, it's all orchestral fanfare and Gregorian-style chanting.


I don't know why I never got around to finishing it, as I had started once or twice.  With the breakneck pace of the old club, I just never found time to do this one justice like I wanted to and kept putting the project off.

Painting back on schedule, even though it's all different and it's going to be like 3 distinct tones / colors.  As I said, I started once or twice and you can really tell with the set.  I'm just going to have to eat it in the upcoming galleries.  I'll have genestealers with slightly different colors, and that's just how it is.

Campaigns!  Yes!  We're going to be doing the main campaign as soon as the set is finished, which shouldn't take that long.  After that, we're going to start exploring what we can do with Space Hulk, and what's out there we can obtain and adapt.  This is going to be cool.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Adventuring Party: Storm King's Thunder

Storm King's Thunder Adventuring Party Miniatures
"Nary a human in sight.  We get discounts for diversity?" - Berry Blessedhammer
So, I've been running Storm King's Thunder for a little over a year.  It's been weekly / bi-weekly to even monthly sessions over that time, as adults our free time waxes and wanes.  In that time I've really gotten into the D&D 5e system and I'm not unhappy with it as a storytelling game.  The game has been fun and light (most of the time) and I decided that since I have three cases of models labeled "Adventurers I-III" I should probably paint some of them.

Some of those cases have painted miniatures already in there, but we'll get to them - eventually.  Since this was an actual adventure party I got to paint, of course it will go in with the Adventurers as a set.  So this will be the first adventure party of what I'm sure will be many - even though historically most player characters don't live very long.  I'll probably take to doing this toward the middle / end of campaigns rather than at the outset!

We'll eventually gallery all the adventurers I've painted, as I'm sure I'll paint a few here and there just to paint them.  Sometimes it will be bands representing actual parties we've got in game and on the table, but sometimes they'll just be a collection of random miniatures that somehow got painted.  They may not all be Player Characters at first, but certainly someday they may be!

For now, check out Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition on RAW RPG to find out more about the journeys of the ragtag group of adventurers we are about to meet!

Heroquest Wizard Miniature
"Don't worry about all that fire." - Ikki Popp, to his compatriots.
The Investigator Ikki Popp, Chaotic Good Air Genasi Stone Sorcerer

Hailing from the isles of far Maztica, this intrepid explorer joined the group after seeking out his cousin,  Starman, shortly after arriving in Faerun.  Ikki can control the flow of his spells with incredible magical dexterity, affecting friend and foe only as he desires.  The genasi is also a shapechanger, his form fleeting like the wind.
  • I'm always polite and respectful.
  • Live and Let Live. Ideals aren't worth killing or going to war for.
  • I would still lay down my life for the people I serve with.
  • I have little respect for anyone who is not a proven warrior.
A lot of you will recognize this legendary sculpt.  I wound up with several Heroquest miniatures over the years, even though I don't currently own a copy of the actual game.  This Wizard is literally the first one I've ever painted, and tried to get the feel of the player's character with a grey skin and blue hair...even though the hair isn't quite right...

Balto Burrowell, Gnome Wizard
"ARE YOU MY DAD?!" - Nivesil, to random silver dragons.
The Sage Nivesil, Lawful Good Lightfoot Halfling Dragon-blood Sorcerer

A strange looking halfing, not much is known about Niv other than his name.  A powerful sorcerer with an affinity for cold, he has helped the party out of several bad spots.  Nivesil is currently concerned with finding his father, and his quest takes him in and out of the party's travels.  He's not always around and comes and goes as he is wont, but he is a trusted party member whose raw spellpower is always a welcome asset.
  • There's nothing I like more than a good mystery.
  • Emotions must not cloud our logical thinking.
  • I've been searching my whole life to find the answer to who my father is.
  • I am easily distracted by the promise of information about my father.
Even though I'm the DM, I was under the impression that this character was a gnome for a long time.  I don't know why.  The miniature is a Reaper Bones Balto Burrowell, Gnome Wizard.  Pro-Tip - You can tell gnomes and halfling sculpts apart pretty much only by looking at their feet.

Chainmail Dwarf Legionnaire
"Yo.  I need some ale.  You got some ale?" - Berry Blessedhammer, at every tavern and pub on the road.
The Noble Berry Blessedhammer, Neutral Good Shield Dwarf Paladin of the Ancients

Berry was an esteemed warrior paladin of the Peacekeepers of Icewind Dale. After the deaths of his 2 sons and wife by a sect of demon cultists, he set off south to find the path laid before him by his god Gorm, which apparently includes being heroically drunk almost all the time.  Berry is known through out the Trade Way for his unique brew of ale and a mean left hook.  If you listen, he will tell you that the true power of the Blessedhammers is the unbreakable faith they use to heal and protect the innocent.
  • This world is dark.  Have a pint and pray to the light.
  • I must prove that I can handle myself without the coddling of a temple.
  • I will face any challenge for the greater good of my people.
  • Drunk AF
I enjoyed painting this model.  It's the first Chainmail model I've painted, this one being the Dwarf Legionnaire from Set 1.  Even though it's old it was easy and fun to paint.  The face is probably my favorite, and as I don't really do faces (I usually cheat) it might be the best I've managed to paint of all far.

Reaper Warlord Templar Hospitalier
"I'm going to sing a song about a dear departed friend of mine..." - Starman
The Entertainer Starman, Neutral Air Genasi Cleric of Life

A strange native of Maztica, perhaps it is better to let this servant of the wind goddess Eha speak for himself.

"My tribe of white skinned natives resides on a small island far away. I was born a Genasi, as every three generations of my families House of Eha is to be born. 

My birth was in itself magical. 

I flowed out of my mother like a breeze, an easy and painless birth, I floated out of her womb the size of a teenager with the mentality of an adult. I grew quickly upon the white shores, playing in the ocean using my natural ability to hold my breath indefinitely to search the depths and using my gift of levitation to return easily to the waters surface." 

- Starman on Starman
  • I’ll settle for nothing less than perfection.
  • People. I like seeing the smiles on people’s faces when I perform. That’s all that matters. 
  • I will do anything to prove myself superior to my hated rival.
  • I’ll do anything to win fame and renown.
This model is a Reaper Warlord Crusader Hospitalier.  I got a three pack of these, all different sculpts, and they've all migrated to different projects.  I didn't notice the imperfection in the sculpt of the face until I took pictures of the WIP to show the D&D group, and you can't really see it on the table.  Thumbs up if you see what I'm talking about.

Golan, Male Barbarian
"Are we going to do this the hard way, then?" - Softhands
The Bounty Hunter Softhands, Chaotic Good Tiefling Barbarian Berserker

Originally from the unkind north, by way of Luskan, the tiefling known as Softhands became known as the guy to go to when you need to get things done.  His nickname came about because he let his reputation and subtle intimidation do a lot of the work, once it became known what the alternatives were.  It wasn't long after he met the elf Briar Silverleaf that they left Luskan for the southern Sword Coast, where he continues to ply his trade.
  • Pain is an old friend of mine; I am not afraid of a little suffering.
  • Mind your own affairs and don't boss other people around.
  • The poor and downtrodden are my people. They deserve respect.
  • I find it hard to let someone throw their weight around unchallenged
This is the second model I painted to represent Softhands, the first one being in armor and having a shield.  Like the mix-up with gnomes and halflings earlier, I don't know WHY I thought Softhands must have armor...probably because no monsters could hit him.  The model is a Goldar, Male Barbarian from Reaper Bones with a little green stuff on his head.

Callie, Female Rogue
"We're rich." - Briar Silverleaf, when asked how much hard
currency the party has available at any given time.
The Charlatan Briar Silverleaf, Chaotic Good Wood Elf Arcane Trickster

Originally, this cunning elf-maiden was from the High Forest.  Briar was a successful con-artist in a city of con-artists (Luskan) when she met the bounty hunter Softhands.  They decided to abandon Luskan, which was probably getting a little hot anyway, and as they went south Briar and Softhands met others, and the group formed as they fell into the adventure that is the tale of the Storm King's Thunder.
  • I'm a born gambler and can't resist taking a risk for a potential pay-off.
  • I'm a free spirit - no one tells me what to do.
  • I owe everything to my mentor, who is a horrible person.
  • I'm convinced no one could fool me the way I fool them.
This model, painted by my Lady (the player herself) is Callie, Female Rogue from the Reaper Bones line.  The muted tones look good, and this is one of her first models.  She's painted only a few up until now, and is a lot better than I was when I had a handful of finished models to my name.

Storm King's Thunder Adventuring Party Miniatures 2
Check out the Storm King's Thunder Adventure Log here!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Narrative Combats & the Buckets o' Blood Syndrome

Combat: Before & After
It's going to be very messy.  Very, very messy.
Combat.  It's what's for dinner. 

It's what you're going to get where we are going, in one shape or another.

Today's beef stew has to do with narrative description in combat...namely, the practice of giving every loss of hit points a bleeding wound.  A nick, gouge, slash here...characters really come out of the fracas feeling it, if only for a moment before the healer makes it all better and you don't have to worry about it anymore.  Every time you roll a hit, there seems to be blood.

That works for some games, yeah, fine.  D&D you'll be changing the HP register so many times you'll erase through your paper before your 5e character finally dies.  You don't really have to worry about your ACTUAL wounds as the system of damage is abstracted.  You don't track how many fingers a character has, or if they can even use their gimped up, arrow-transfixed hand again.

Every day you must love your fists.
Inspirobot will get your training underway.
Gallons of blood are fine, you know...for that kind of thing.

However, in some scenarios you WILL have to worry about things like losing fingers and eyes.  Toes and hands.  You'll be wearing peg-legs and waving hook hands about in no time, and most likely there won't be any socialized medicine to help you.  In those games, sometimes the give and take of "hit points" or "health nuggets" or what-have-you tends to be a lot slower, especially on the mending side of that.

Losing your footing in combat can lead to all sorts of permanent consequences.  This is how it is in real-life, in my experience.  Little nicks and gouges that hardly bring the blood are going to be rare, especially between two experienced warriors.  Rather, it will go back and forth until someone gets knocked off their game or misses an attack or defense leaving them vulnerable.

So I lean more toward an "action movie" style narrative description of combat.  The only time you'll see me describe a hit that brings the blood will be critical hits and death strokes.  Maybe a significant flesh wound by half-hit points, but unless the health track is specific (like World of Darkness or Shadowrun) hit points don't represent your actual blood.

To me, they represent the general footing and combat demeanor of the warrior in question.  He dodges, he blocks, he parries, he ripostes.  He gets knocked around though...even if he himself is doing the moving, eventually the combat will catch up to him if his defenses don't hold up and he takes damage.

As he is hit, his ability to defend himself wanes.  A slight bit of damage from a laser pistol hits the cover you're hiding behind, but makes you shrink back and sizzles your face a little.  A lot of damage from a laser cannon takes out the block of cover you were hiding behind, knocking you back and causing a mad scrabble to regain footing.

Our target's physical body hasn't actually been hurt, so he can retain agency in the scenario.  However, he has less hit descriptive terms he can't block as easily, or dive for cover as fast, he gets dazed or loses his footing.  Eventually, all those HP are gone and he gets clocked proper...however that goes down, it usually ends with death.

And let's not forget how gruesome death by hand weapon is, folks.  You gotta be close, and it's pretty violent.  Once an combatant's defenses (HP) are down, striking a death blow doesn't take much...but it will almost always get blood on the victor.  On the battlefield, you can end up with a lot of blood on the some cases so much it doesn't even make sense. 

Remember what kinds of weapons are causing the death around you, especially if those weapons are sword and sorcery.  You're kinda walking around covered in gore if you've killed a lot of ...creatures.  Especially if any of those creatures were big and you killed it with a melee weapon.  You're gonna have to hire camp followers who carry washing water if you want to stay presentable...or something.

That's just not socially acceptable in most scenarios.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Reaper Bones: A Few Years On

'I forgive you' is what you're saying, but what you're thinking is 'you're my favorite customer'.
Inspirobot will pick the Bones.
I've been painting a lot of Bones in the last weeks, and well I should because I have more than I can count.  Or rather I gave up counting.  Every single Bones Kickstarter is represented in my collection, even though I've been giving a lot of them away because I will literally never have the time.  Bones IV is on the way in a few months as well, so I've been rearranging storage space getting ready.  I think I netted an extra 25 slots just from jangling the shelves...but many cases will have to be relabeled on their side.  I digress.

I thought about making this a gallery of random Bones miniatures, but I'd rather organize the collection a little better than that this time.  So, no pics of Bones here...this time.  Soon though, I promise.

I did want to talk a moment about Bones and how I've grown to be comfortable with them.  I actually had issues like a lot of folks in the beginning, and I've paid for it with many hours dealing with such problems.  I've found one simple trick to avoid most of this crap - paint that first layer on.

Several types of spray paint just doesn't work on them.  Army Painter and Krylon flat primer is now the only thing I'll use if I need to spray them, although I like to avoid that.  Among the other fails in the beginning, I've had an entire clutch of rats shed their entire paint job nearly a year later after remaining tacky for that long.  The entire paint, primer and all, just slid off them by squeezing the mini out like an evil zit.

The good news is they were easy to recover.

Not all recoveries have gone well.  In fact, that's literally the only one.

For example, if the paint DOES bond to the Bones, good luck getting that off.  Don't try to strip them.  I've had a couple given to me that I still don't know if it's going to work out.  Lots of material bonds strongly to the pvc, and can actually cake up on the surface in a bad way.  Just get another one.

I've found that all of that is avoided simply by brush-priming the mini.  Get a good even coat of whatever you'd like to have sprayed it.  It takes longer, yeah...Bones actually take me more time to paint than plastic or metal models, where the paint seems to just fly onto the model from the brush of it's own volition.  Bones are hydrophobic, and painting up from the direct skin of the model can take a long time.  Or at least, what seems to me to be a long time.

All this leaves aside other issues with Bones, but honestly anyone griping about quality can skitch somewhere.  Some casts aren't great on detail, and that's ok.  Honestly, that's not what you get Bones for.  You get Bones by the crate.

Yet I'm only cautioning you on what I like to avoid when painting Bones, not against you collecting them.  Even with another crate of Bones coming in, there are some I'd like to grab up I missed the first time around.  A lot of the bigger ones are really nice on the detail, unlike some of the smaller sculpts.  Some of the IMEF sculpts managed to slip past me somehow..and I almost always need more rifle troopers.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Journey to Wildspace Campaign Material

Journey to Wildspace is now go!

If we all work together, we can make creatures on other planets go to prison.
Inspirobot is our Counsel for Interplanetary Action.
What follows is specific information on Scenarios and Campaign Bonuses for our Armada campaign.  All Journey to Wild Space scenarios utilize the Complete Setup procedure in the main Armada rulebook.  However, there are a few twists to each specific scenario.  In addition, all these scenarios will have a variable Fleet Point range.  Players must adhere to the maximum Fleet Size unless they are unable, at which point they can field a smaller fleet or concede and head to Refit.

If at any point a Fleet decides to "jump to lightspeed" i.e. concede DURING a game, that player loses the game regardless of current Victory Points / Fleet Points.


Maximum Fleet Points: 200 + (1d6x50) (250-500 Fleet Points)

Battle Line

Complete Setup as in the main Armada book.

Fleet Assault

Complete Setup as in the main Armada book, except that players deploy in corners, up to half the table edge in each direction.


Players may only deploy one ship on the board at the beginning of the game, and 1 to 3 fighter squadrons.  Players deploy in corners, up to half the table edge in each direction.  At the end of every turn, players may place a new ship from their fleet touching one of their board edge sections and up to three fighter squadrons at Range 1 from that ship.  The ship will act normally from then on.


The Second Player designates one ship as their VIP.  If that ship exits the board on the opponent's board edge, the Second Player gets the cost of that ship added to his score at the end of the game.


Complete Setup as in the main Armada book except there is no turn limit.

Campaign Bonuses

With the exception of the Fleet Points bonus, these are retained and can be spent at the beginning of any game, before setup is started.  One of each bonus can be spent on a single game, giving you all available bonuses in one game.


Your maximum allowable Fleet Points increase by 20% for the next game.

Hyperspace Assault

Deploy all your ships after your opponent has placed his entire force.  If both players declare Hyperspace Assault, they are both spent and there is no effect.

Fleet Command

Once this game, at the beginning of any turn, you can use your Fleet Command to assign any Command Token to all your ships.  All ships receive the same Command.

Fleet Points

This bonus is not retained to be spent, but takes effect immediately.  Gain 1d6 x 100 Fleet Points.

Fighter Deployment

Once this game, you may activate all your fighter squadrons without having to use a Squadron Command.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Nether War: Strongholds of Evil

Dungeons & Dragons: The Nether War
Don't think too much about your orders
...a Harper may hear what you're thinking.
Nether Warriors!

Only the foolish march against the Morueme!

Still, the foolhardy push toward our centers of command.  If you value your lives, you will halt them here!  The war grinds their pathetic armies to dust, so keep these Strongholds defended and functioning in order to avoid...disciplinary action.

Soon the Northern alliance will break, and our armies will overrun the fertile lands they cling to.  A tyranny of dragons will hold sway over the north!  Succeed in holding off their feckless attacks, and you shall be richly rewarded.  Fail and...well, you would do well to not consider the alternative.

Tier 3 - Strongholds of Evil

Estuary Cavern
Estuary Cavern
A Zhentarim operation in the mountains, these caverns provide a convenient barracks to house many soldiers near the base of the Morueme's power.
  1. Scenario 1 - Forward Patrol
    • D&D Attack Wing, 150 Legion Points
      • Setup: Divide the board into four quarters.  The Good player decides which corner he wants to deploy from.  Players may deploy up to range 1 on either edge of the table in their corner. Each player chooses 1 unit to deploy on the board at the start of the game.  At the end of each round after the first, each player may place a new model / unit touching one of their board edges that will act as normal the next round.
      • Objectives: Destroy the enemy's Legion.
      • Resolution: When either player's last miniature is destroyed the game is over.  For each remaining model / unit in the Good player's Legion, the Good Player gets an Momentum Token in Scenario 3.  The Good player must secure at least 2 Momentum tokens in order to win, as well as wiping out the enemy Legion.
  2. Scenario 2 - Blood in the Wood
    • D&D Miniatures, 120 Point Skirmish
      • Stragglers
  3. Scenario 3 - Hold the Line!
    • D&D Attack Wing, 200 Legion Points
      • Setup: Place one Objective Token in the center of the board, and another at Range 1 from the Evil player's board edge.  The Evil player may deploy half his units up to Range 3, while the rest of his units and the Good player may only deploy up to Range 1.  The Good player will have a number of Momentum Tokens allocated from Scenario 1.
      • Objectives: The Evil force must be routed so the Good Legions may secure the area and push them back.  To do this, players earn victory points for each model / unit within Range 2 of the Objectives at the end of the game.
      • Resolution:  Each player receives 1 Victory Point at the end of the game for each model / unit contesting the Objective closest to their board edge and 2 Victory Points for each model / unit contesting the Objective closest to their opponent's board edge.
        • Momentum Tokens:  The Good player will have Momentum Tokens granted from Scenario 1. 
          • A Momentum Token can be spent immediately after a model moves to move an additional [1] Maneuver.  This is a continuance of the model's normal movement.
  4. Scenario 4 - Estuary Cavern
    • D&D Miniatures, 150 Point Skirmish
      • Shattered Ruins
When this base is cleared, the following boons are granted in the next scenarios:
  • D&D Attack Wing - Each model / unit the Good player deployed on the board at the start of the game can make a [1] or [2] Maneuver before the first turn.
  • D&D Miniatures - The Good Player receives 3 Onslaught Tokens at the beginning of the game.  An Onslaught Token can be used during a models' activation to generate a normal attack in addition to any other actions taken by that model.  Only one Onslaught Token can be used by any single model in a turn. 

Dragon's Lair
Dragon's Lair
The Cult of the Dragon maintain a large command camp at the base of the mountain near one of the Morueme's lairs in the foothills.
  1. Scenario 1 - Interlopers!
    • D&D Attack Wing, 150 Legion Points
      • Setup: The Good Legion has been outmaneuvered.  Place an Objective Token in the Center of the Board.  The Good player must deploy his units within Range 2 of this marker.  The Evil player deploys his army in two halves, up to Range 1 from two opposite board edges.
      • Objectives: Destroy the Enemy Legion.
      • Resolution: The battle is over when one side loses models / units equal to 150 Legion Points.  For each unit within Range 1 of the Objective Token at the end of the game, the Good Player gains 1 Conviction Token in Scenario 3.
  2. Scenario 2 - The Dragon's Gate
    • D&D Miniatures, 120 Point Skirmish
      • Tide of Battle
    • Scenario 3 - Fury in the Skies
      • D&D Attack Wing, 200 Legion Points
        • Setup:  Only ground units can be deployed on the table at the beginning of the game, and each Legion must contain at least 1 ground unit.  At the end of the 2nd turn and every turn thereafter, players can place 2 models / units from their Legion touching any board edge they like.  Both of these units will move normally in the next turn.  Players can't deploy again on the same edge in subsequent turns until all their units have deployed, and can't deploy on the same edge an opponent has units touching in this fashion.
        • Objectives: Destroy enemy flying units.  Ground units attacking flying units add 1 Attack Die.
        • Resolution: A player loses the game when they lose all their units capable of flight.
          • Conviction Tokens:  The Good player will have Conviction Tokens granted from Scenario 1.  
            • A Conviction Token may be spent to re-roll any number of Attack Dice when Attacking.  Only ONE Conviction Token can be spent in this manner per turn.
    • Scenario 4 - The Dragon's Lair
      • D&D Miniatures, 150 Point Skirmish
        • Split Warbands
        • The Evil player must include at least one Blue Dragon of any type in his warband.
    When this base is cleared, the following boons are granted in the next scenarios:
    • D&D Attack Wing - At the beginning of the next scenario, the Good Player can choose one type of upgrade category.  For the next game, that category's upgrades cost half the listed price (rounded down) for the Good player's Legion.
    • D&D Miniatures - Dragons have a 20% points cost reduction in the Good Player's Warband for the next scenario.