Tuesday, 10 December 2019

A Forlorn Hope Part 1 of ?

I've begun work on my series of Ravenloft one-shots kicking off on YouTube in 2020.

In my case "work" means writing, mapping, and plotting but also painting and building.

The adventures will kick off with our characters freshly escaped from the lands of Barovia and seeking a way through or out of the mists of Ravenloft.  This should allow for a variety of quests looking for key items and clues to help the characters move through various locations with the eventual goal of escaping from the domains of dread.  (Think Quantum Leap if it was directed by George Romero).

For our first of three planned adventures the group will find itself in the haunted lands of Forfar, the Ravenloft domain originally detailed in the outstanding Castles Forlorn by Lisa Smedman.

I've gotten my models done for 2 NPCs the group might meet in their first adventure, as well as 2 NPCs they will definitely meet.  Also some monsters, because; what's D&D without monsters?

The guide.

Bondi is survivor living off the lands in Forfar that the group will definitely encounter early on.  Her primary role will be to set the group on their path as well as potentially providing some knowledge about the area and depending on how the group relates to her being a useful ally further down the road.

The mysterious stranger.

This fellow will have yet more information for the PCs but the group will likely be left wondering what master he serves.  The stranger may or may not have a larger role to play as the narrative develops but regardless will not lose interest in the PCs.  He will also somehow seem to have eyes and ears throughout the land.

The warrior.

Michael is engaged on a quest of his own, unrelated but potentially running parallel to the group's goals.  Whether he will be an ally or an enemy will depend highly on the choices the group makes.

The knight.

Sir Donnegal will be encountered by the group near the end of the first session.  Is he a stranger, or have they met before?  Sir Donnegal may be the answer to some of the players' questions, but he will likewise be the starting point for many new questions.

The Goblyns.

I needed some Ravenloft Goblyns for this and my third adventure and once more my Escape From Goblintown goblins seemed fit for the job!

That's my first batch of hobbying for this project.  Another batch of scenery making lies ahead and then in January I'll update with DMsGuild and YouTube links for where you can find more Forlorn Hope content.


Saturday, 7 December 2019

A sudden odd realization about the Wardlings line

As part of my 'catch-up' on sharing what I've been working on I have another batch of the awesome Wardlings minis by WizKids I wanted to share.

I've spoken about the Wardlings in the past and my opinion on the many things that make them great has not changed in any way but apparently while prepping and basing up these figures I became slightly more aware of something.  As awesome as the character models are, I'm clearly buying these figures for the little animals and familiars.  I have historically struggled to paint extremely small figures and maintain the same quality of paint jobs that I've been able to get on larger figures so some of these tiny creatures have remained out of my collection for decades.  The Wardlings line has provided some excellent small companions and familiars at a high level of detail for (in my opinion) a really reasonable price.

I can always use another properly scaled dog miniature (those are harder to come by then you may think), and the tiny genie is great, but the best model in this grouping for me is the winged snake.  This has long been one of those 'I wish I had...' models for me so I'm stoked to add one to my collection.

In addition I got a few more of the PC models based up.

The young fighter feels like the EXACT model I wish I had when I was 11-12 and first got into D&D to use as my own character model.  The chainmail and sword and shield combo would have been perfect for the first hundred or so characters I played in D&D.  Two more young girl figures fill out the mix and are ready to support a game if my daughter ever wants to jump in. I particularly like the Druid as the spell effect and the antlers make her look pretty bad-ass in my opinion.

Tomorrow, it's time to reveal the first batches of models for my up coming Forlorn Hope campaign!


Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Bugbears and some odds and ends

Over the past couple of weeks I've been steadily getting some models done for two upcoming games.  In that same time however I've been fairly poor at posting those models.  Over the remainder of this week I'm hoping to show off some of what I've gotten done.

First up; Bugbears!

Bugbears are a classic and iconic D&D humanoid species that looking back I've barely ever used in my home games.  I had wanted to add some to my collection for a long time and when I saw the two different packs WizKids had available the time was now.  There's two options I particularly like about these figures, both of which were featured on the same model.  First up, there is a female.  Most RPG miniature companies currently offer a good selection of female PC models but there tend to be very few female monster options.  Secondly; there is a spell-caster.  Most humanoid NPC models tend to be fighty characters so it's nice when a caster gets thrown into the mix.  I'm really happy to have these in my collection and I hope WizKids does another pack or two of Bugbears down the road.


Another WizKids pack.  I'm currently playing in a game set in the Margreve setting by Kobold Press and the Warlock character I started off playing needed a familiar miniature.  A Pixie felt like the right choice.  I initially painted the Pixie with the earth and grass base as I felt that worked best for the setting, but then realised the basing didn't match my character model who I had used cobblestones on.  I did a second Pixie with matching basing but ironically ended up switching to a new character before the model ever hit the table.  I have enough wilderness adventures planned that I'm sure my Pixies will still get some use in the near future.

The goodest boy!

Quite awhile back (over a year ago?) I backed the Dungeons & Doggos kickstarter thinking that those were models my daughter might be excited about painting.  I was wrong but that doesn't detract from the fact that they are really cool models.  I painted this dog up to be a companion animal for my Saltmarsh campaign character Garkas.

That's the first few new additions, check back tomorrow for more!


Thursday, 14 November 2019

Review - Circle Of Balance Druid Subclass

Most of my experiences with DMsGuild to date have been with adventures and encounters, today I'll be going a slightly different route looking at a new and unique subclass of the Druid designed specifically for urban adventure.

The Circle Of Balance is by author Beth Ball of Grove Guardian Press (the design team behind D&D Duets) and is a great example of the kind of content that can really add new content to a D&D 5e game.  In brief the core notion of The Circle Of Balance is that civilization is a part of nature, and as protectors and/or shepherds the city can and is part of a Druid's responsibilities.

The subclass itself seems extremely well balanced adding some martial strengths at lower levels, which make for a good trade off for some of a Druid's basic spells which may be of dubious use in a city.  In addition the Circle spells that have been added give the Druid some additional typically non-druidic utility powers that play off the people and materials that make up a typical urban environment in a fantasy world.  For any fans of the comic The Authority (or later runs of Stormwatch) this subclass and its Circle spells are a great starting point to make a character similar to Jack Hawksmoor (minus the suit and tie).  In addition to the mechanical additions that serve balancing a Druid in a new environment there are a number of features that really tie to the theme of operating in the packed terrain of the city.  "Wildly Compact" which allows more compact versions of Wild Shape animal forms to be adopted.

In addition to the subclass rules themselves the supplement also adds rules for 2 new creatures; The Fey Pug and The Jewel Fox as well as formatting The Fey Pug as a D&D Sidekick.  I know in my home game this has the potential to be right up my daughter's alley.

Overall Circle Of Balance is  a unique and worthwhile addition to the existing player options in D&D and is well balanced enough to drop into an existing campaign without upsetting the power balance of existing classes. 

I strongly recommend Circle Of Balance to both players looking for a new option for their Waterdeep campaigns as well as DMs potentially looking for a new template for sage NPCs in an urban setting.

Circle Of Balance is currently available from DMsGuild at https://www.dmsguild.com/product/294719/Circle-of-Balance-druid-subclass?term=circle+of+bal for $1


Monday, 4 November 2019

Wardlings Female Rogue with multiple animal companions

I'm about to go on a string or painting monsters for some D&D games I'll be running over the next few months so I thought I'd take one last chance to show off a player character model before Christmas.

Full disclosure I didn't 'paint' this miniature.  This is one of the awesome Wardlings pre-painted models by WizKids, but I did touch it up and do some basing so here we are.

In my seemingly endless half-baked plans to get my daughter Zoe to play D&D I've gotten her to paint an assortment of miniatures but I've also picked out some cool looking models that I thought might appeal to her as a character.  This is one of those models.

The female rogue with badger is from the first release of Wardlings and in my opinion still holds up as one of the nicest models.

The studded leather armour, knives and crossbow are a great example of what I've referred to before about how I like the fact that the Wardlings models are children and pre-teens but they look like serious adventurers.  These are exactly the kind of miniatures 12 year old me would have been really excited about if they had existed when I first got into D&D back in the dark ages. 

A book of animal companion rules was just released on DMsGuild so I'm also thinking this is going to be the perfect time to use these miniatures with my daughter to draw inspiration from the Spirit Animals series of books by Scholastic.  Having said all that I know a badger wouldn't be her first choice of 'cool' animal to go on an adventure with so I grabbed one of the animals more up her alley from another pack to partner with the rogue; a lynx.

I also thought I'd snap a quick pick of the rogue standing next to an adult-sized model (Fergal from my last post) to highlight how well these models blend into existing fantasy figure lines. 

The Wardlings are smaller while very much remaining in scale with existing miniatures.

That's it for my for PC models for 2019 I think.  Time to dig out the Monster Manual and a notebook and start planning for the bad guys!


Friday, 11 October 2019

A new warrior!

A fiend of mine is getting ready to run a Dungeon Crawl Classics one-shot for Halloween and I needed to create a new 3rd level character.  I think as far as Dungeon Crawl Classics is concerned I've only ever had one character legitimately 'earn' his way up to 3rd level so a one-shot is my best chance to play a mid to high level character.

Oddly enough even though in D&D I regularly play fairly vanilla human fighters I've never played a simple warrior in DCC.  That is until now.  Meet Fergal:

Fergal is a Reaper Bones human paladin miniature that I got to try something new on.  Originally I planned to go with the same blue shield and tabbard as my last few fantasy figures again with an eye towards eventually re-purposing them as a warband but then I took a slight turn.  I've always liked the idea of white clothes for fantasy holy warriors but I've never been able to do an even passable job painting white on miniatures.  This time out I decided to try the new Citadel Contrast Apothecary White paint.  I'm fairly happy with how it turned out and I may try it again on another model soon.

Anyway Fergal's got; his sword, his board and he's ready to lay waste to some monsters.  Either that or meet the fate of most DCC characters and go to the graveyard or ripped up character sheets.


Sunday, 6 October 2019

Pseudo Dragon

While exploring the good ship Sea Ghost (I still want to rename it 'The Fiend') during the second half of Sinister Secret Of Saltmarsh our party liberated a Pseudo Dragon!  In our next game the Pseudo Dragon will be added to our adventuring party so I was really excited to find out that WizKids had released a model for it.

I think the two things I like most about this model are the fact that the pose (including the books the dragon is perched on) is a perfect reproduction of the actual image from the Monster Manual along with the fact that although the model is quite small it's not so tiny that its details can't be distinguished.  Truthfully before I got this miniature I had another Pseudo Dragon model from a different miniature company that was closer in correct scale to a 28mm adventurer model and that made it so tiny that it really just looked like a blob with minuscule wings.  This is definitely one of those times where taking liberties with scale and/or proportions was the right choice.

I'm looking forward to the Pseudo Dragon joining our group and if I can find a suitable figure for Oceanus we may cross the point where we have as many NPCs as PCs in our adventuring party.