Sunday, 24 December 2017

Monster Manual (barely) Advent Calendar - Day 24

Cambion (...but's Venger)

Sticking with my theme today finale is the Cambion.  The Cambion is the offspring of a humanoid and a fiend.  Basically the demonic version of a half-elf. a Monster Manual context this figure is a Cambion but for purposes of my gaming; he's Venger.

Back in the 80's during one of the first rises in popularity of D&D an animated show aired in which the recurring  villain was a demonic sorcerer named Venger.  The show only aired for a single season but managed to roll out a lot of classic D&D tropes and monsters all with Venger standing in the  background.  Interesting bit of trivia (that I may have mentioned in another post); the voice actor for Venger was Peter Cullen who is far better known as the voice of Optimus Prime.

This miniature is from Antediluvian Miniatures, a company any fan of classic fantasy rpgs should look to for miniatures.  I made one minor change, the original figure had 2 horns on his head but the character I am using him as has only 1 horn so I removed one.


Saturday, 23 December 2017

Monster Manual Advent Calendar - Day 23

Yet another Owlbear!

You know how sometimes you can be very descriptive and specific about why you like something, and sometimes you just like it because you like it?  For me since my earliest days in D&D I've just liked the Owlbear because I like it. 

The Owlbear is exactly what it sounds like.  A hybrid creature that is part owl, part bear.  Over the years the Owlbear has appeared as a wilderness encounter in almost every non-horror campaign I've run.

This particular Owlbear is something slightly new for me.  I've painted  a number of Owlbears over the years but they have always been posed up on their hind legs poised to attack.  This Owlbear is in a more  bear-like pose and in spite of being my fourth or fifth Owlbear model feels unique and different.

The Owlbear is definitely my personal favourite D&D monster, what's yours?


Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Monster Manual Advent Calendar - Day 20


Oops.  I definitely hit a wall and missed a few days there, sorry about that.

Today's addition feels a bit like it straddles the line between the Lich and the Demi-Lich.  The Lich is an ancient wizard who has used magic to grant himself a sort of immortality but in comparison to many other immortal creatures the Lich's immortality is a bit cheap and second-rate.  Although Liches are extremely powerful spell-casters they are also undead and not even vaguely human anymore. 

Liches have long been a staple high-level boss monster in D&D due to the fact that even if they are completely destroyed, if the vessel they have placed their soul in is still intact they can remake themselves and return to torment their 'destroyers'.  They are an easy go to for a recurring villain in any campaign.

For my Lich I've gone a bit outside the box and used Games Workshop's new Wraith model.  Truthfully this model is a bit more ghosty and insubstantial than a traditional Lich but I really like the skull and general feeling of malevolence this figure  projects.


Saturday, 16 December 2017

Monster Manual Advent Calendar - Day 16

The Peryton

Now we're getting into strange mythological hybrids.  The Peryton is a beast with the body and wings of a bird and the head of a stag.

When I originally got into D&D the first two things I got were the red box D&D Basic Set and a copy of Dragon Magazine #80.  I was immediately hooked on Dragon as in those pre-internet days the magazine's content was a window into games and worlds beyond my immediate game group.  One of the regular features was "Ecology Of ........" a series of articles where in game academics such as wizards and alchemists would discuss various creatures inhabiting the worlds of (at the time) Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms.  If I recall correctly that first issue featured the Doppelganger but the a few issues later I got a creature I'd never heard of before  but became instantly fascinated with; The Peryton.  First of all the Peryton got in my head because it was the first fully developed fantasy creature I had read about that I didn't already have some sort of passing familiarity with from books or movies.  In addition two of the Peryton's special features struck then 12 year old me as so alien and terrifying that I immediately felt like it was one of the most malign and evil things in Dungeons & Dragons.  The first feature  was that it's diet was not the flesh of its enemies but specifically their hearts, that just weirded me out.  But the second feature (to me anyway) was pure nightmare fuel; the Peryton casts the shadow of an average man.  I don't know why but something about that relatively minor detail struck me as the most actively deceptive and evil idea I'd been exposed to to that point in my life.  To this day 30+ years later the idea that anything can cast the shadow of something else remains my most Lovecraftian nightmare.

This particular Peryton is from the Reaper Bones line and painting it has made me realise two things:
1.  I am 100% certainly going to use this monster in a game sooner rather than later.
2.  I need to contact the retailer I purchased this from and see if I can get the metal version to replace this guy.
This is unfortunately one of those cases where the Bones medium did not yield a great result on the finished product.   I LOVE this creature and this model  is certainly serviceable but I would really like to have a much crisper cast of this model to bring out ALL the detail.


Friday, 15 December 2017

Monster Manual Advent Calendar - Day 15


The Troll is one of those classic D&D monsters that many players will remember as their first encounter with something that could heal and regenerate damage, which could ultimately be incredibly frustrating.  When I first started playing D&D and none of us were very meta or rules-savvy I remember our group defeating a Troll and then carrying on only to get ambushed from behind by the Troll we thought we had killed while fighting other monsters.

This particular Troll is the WizKids  model for the D&D unpainted miniature line.  I choose it because the look of it is a great throwback to the original Troll artwork.  Having said  that Trolls are one of those miniature where I feel like we're spoiled for good choices.  Games Workshop's current Trolls for Warhammer as well as Lord Of The Rings are all great models.


Thursday, 14 December 2017

Monster Manual Advent Calendar - Day 14


When I plotted this advent calendar idea out my initial plan was to bookend the series with the Orc and the Goblin, but I've since decided to finish with a different model so the goblin is showing up today.
Goblins are one of the most classic-stock low-level monsters in any fantasy RPG or miniature game.  Over the years a lot of companies have done a lot of different visual takes on goblins.  As much as I like Games Workshop's Night Goblins my favourite look for goblins over the years has been Paizo's take on goblins for Pathfinder.

The Pathfinder goblin is simultaneously menacing with a giant mouth full of teeth while also being sort of comical looking with it's Stewie Griffin style head.  In regular Dungeons & Dragons the goblin is a simple low level monster that doesn't really do anything fancy.  If however you're playing Pathfinder goblins do pick up some extra abilities and even had a supplement dedicated to making full proper characters of them.


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Monster Manual Advent Calendar - Day 13


The Banshee is one of the classic old school monsters that I have actually used in a fair number of games.
They were background characters in any adventure/story involving our good friend Lord Soth as well as being featured in one of the first third party D20 adventures I ever purchased and ran (the name escapes me at the moment).

The Banshee's key ability beyond its ghostly touch and terrifying presence is that its wail can outright drop a PC to 0 hit points with one failed saving throw.  Its yet another potentially instantly lethal monster.

This Banshee model is by Games Workshop and I have to say I really like it.  Its got some rotting clothes and a gaunt face to highlight its undead nature in addition to being posed like its floating rather than walking.  I can't help but feel there some inspiration from Galadriel here which is why I choose most of the colours I did.  My only break with that was red hair to both give the model some contrast and because there's a certain 'forlorn' castle I might want to use this fig with for a D&D game down the road.