Friday, October 12, 2012

Gamers are the best

This week has reminded me how lucky I am to have a hobby in which the participants are friendly, generous and just downright ace. I am intent on collecting a dark eldar army, and to this end purchased an Archon at Games Day, along with the Codex. For my birthday, yep dear friends bought me the Razorwing Jetfighter, and I have just agreed a trade with a chap to receive the incubi box. To top it all, an old school friend is sending me Rogue Trader! Thank you all!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Games Day 2012

Here's where I am at the moment: I've decided to get back into Games Workshop stuff.

OK, let that sink in for a moment.

Yes, I, who have been championing alternative mini manufacturers for ages, will now be courting the evil empire of Nottamun Town. The release of 6th Ed 40K has created a huge buzz at the games club in town, and I like a lot of what I have heard about this edition (I haven't played since 2nd Ed/Necromunda/Gorkamorka). To this end I have a new obsession (don't we all?) and it's collecting a Dark Eldar army. I've made a small start in buying the Codex and an Archon (generalissimo guy), and I've started making some terrain pieces.

The capstone of this new derangement was going to Games Day for the first time (hey, it's only taken me 20 years...). I had a great time with some of the chaps from the games club, and we oohed and ahhed at the new releases, Eavy Metal paint jobs, and display games just like every other loon there. We enjoyed ourselves but came away with plenty of thoughts on how the layout could have been better in the sales area. I splurged out (in my terms) on the aforementioned Codex, Finecast Autarch (what an interesting medium that is for minis!), some Purity Seal, and Liquid Green Stuff. Fascinating, I know. Oh, and the new White Dwarf.

So, wish me luck on my dark spiral into the grim warfare of the far future etc etc

Herewith pretty pictures:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Decisions, decisions...

It's the time of year when a young man's thoughts turn to a far future in which there is only war. For a while now, I've been contemplating collecting an army for Warhammer. I know, I know... that way lies madness, but it's been something I've wanted to do for years, ever since reading the mighty tome that is the Warhammer Fantasy Battle 3rd Edition rulebook. I already have the basis for a wood elf army with a unit painted up and several characters in various stages of prep, but I'm also drawn to high elves and the knights of Bretonnia. But why the far future? Well, the local games club seems to be all fired up with the release of 40K 6th Ed. Photos of wonderfully painted armies clashing across the coffee shop's tables have been very inspiring. The largest force I've ever collected for 40K was 2 Necromunda gangs, so I'd have a steep learning curve in regards to painting in bulk. Mind you the first and last time I painted a unit of anything was in preparation for Salute, where I took 4 days to paint 20 Wood Elves. A way to go, methinks.

Am I insane? I really want to get back into playing some sort of rpg or wargame regularly, and 40K is the only game in town really. Although, I have garnered a lot of interest in the Dungeons and Dragons board game (the one released by Parker Bros) and Kill Doctor Lucky, so who knows? Maybe I can try out Song of Blades and Heroes or somesuch with the club.

Contest Time! The Super Secret Happy Birthday Gary Gygax Giveaway Bundle Extravapalooza!

Please go to the Secret DM's blog and enter this amazing contest!

Submit your old school feel room descriptions and get the chance to have them professionally produced by a stellar line-up.

Good luck!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Pain in the Neck

Grand painting plans scuppered by torticollis.

Have instead created a painting schedule. How organised.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Serried Ranks

I have completely reorganised my miniature painting set-up, to physically and mentally de-clutter. Previously the paints were sorted into inks; metallics; everything else in two other boxes. Now everything is in 3 boxes, sorted by manufacturer. All tools (previously in 2 drawers) are now in 1, along with all glues, basing materials etc. Instead of being mixed in together, unpainted minis and loose bits have been separated, so "complete" minis live in one box and I now have a dedicated "bitz box". All the painted minis now live in 1 box, and their semi-painted brethren are now lined up on a shelf as a visual indicator of my progress.

In a fit of determination, my goal is to join the 52 Miniatures in 52 Weeks blog, and set that as a target. Yes, well...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Back in the leaden saddle

I have a small painting area back at home, and have brought out the paints, brushes, minis etc. I've reorganised my paints, and am about to embark on an inventory of the miniatures; then I can sort out what I can finish off painting and what I need to paint for the next D&D adventure and potential skirmish wargames.

So, that's where I am.

Friday, June 01, 2012


Following the lead of TimBrannan of The Other Side, I've added a Dropbox link at the side here. Currently it has some free OSR stuff from other people, including Small But Vicious Dog, as well as a pdf I put together as an experiment and also to let people see the awesomeness that is Limited Wish. Let me know if you like what you see!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Conjunction of the Million Spheres

A while ago (ok, 6 months ago), I crowdsourced some alternate worlds for world-hopping characters to visit, somewhat in a Moorcockian vein. Several luminaries contributed and here are the results in no particular order and with no attempt to put them into a random table or any suchlike thing.


Waterloo just before it goes completely pear-shaped for Messr. Bonaparte.

A frozen, vampire-haunted asteroid circling an ancient, dying star.

The Rainbow Realm of the Sky Lords

The Adamantine Pyramid of the Last Pharaoh of Universe X

The Treasury of the Gnome King

Mars back when it was green and filled with dinosaurs

The two-dimensional realm of shadow beasts.

The remnants of a caste culture in underground tunnels that are recognized by the color of their clothes.

The inside of a Genie's bottle. 95% of the Genie being around and pissed.

The river Styx. Someone pushes two golden coins into your hand and demands to be taken over.
The Glittering Disco Sphere of the Ten Thousand Funk Angels

Jah Funk's frug a-go-go beer keller, Saigon.


The Green Dragon in Bywater, just after last orders, but before chucking out time.

Tyburn, the day they hang Sam Hall.

Planet Nauga, were the hyde comes from.

A house party in Romford hosted by some crazy woman called Abigail. You'd better have some canapes...

A two dimensional place whose inhabitants are made of flock wallpaper.

The saffron tinted Empire of Madhur Jaffrey.

An alternate world with near identical duplicates of everyone where good is evil and all males have van Dykes.
Celtic myth but everything is based on cyber-tech and Kirby-esque armour. Balor's evil eye fires a laser beam, Nuada has an adamantium hand etc.

Teg-zaz aka "Planet BBQ". This entire planet is built of BBQ's randomly teleporting in from the multiverse. The few sentient beings there attempt to utilize every part of the BBQ when scavenging. Food left in the grill is a particular treat, and Brick BBQ's are considered the holy grill. Hibachis? not so much. New folks may be enslaved and sent to mine BBQ's for useful parts.

The Earth of the [British] Avengers, the prisoner, and Danger Man, transitioning into what will become a bifurcated UFO and Space:1999 -- Pre-Chilani expedition to Planet Ultra [1].

[1] First Season, Episode 16. Dragon's Domain
Into the passenger seat of Burt Reynold's camaro in Smokey and the Bandit.

The Fortress of Ultimate Darkness (with some dwarven thieves).

Loompaland, where the players get attacked by Whangdoodles, Hornswogglers and Snozzywangers. Killing or allying Oompa Loompas is purely the players' choice.

Crawling backwards through a window in Blackmoor's multidimensional Comeback Inn

Onto that ship getting sucked into the red whirlpool with the dragon circling around it. You know the illustration I'm talking about. I'm pretty sure it was a Jeff Easley. [Dragonlance]

The inner workings of Big Ben.

A branch halfway up Yggdrasil. Deer instead of squirrels.

The City of Brass


That room on the cover of the PHB, just as one of the thieves pops that gem out of the statue's eye. Hijinx ensue.

On the lowest level of the temple of elemental evil.

Onto the Flying City of Serraine, as gnomish biplanes buzz your interplanar vehicle.


You find yourself inside a glitterboy suit in the world of Rifts. Don't kill everything at once!
Berlin underground; with posters of upcoming 'Zowie' concert "Iggy Moonmudd & the Githyanki's out of Aether!"
In the Frazetta Death Dealer painting.

In an M. John Harrison landscape with multicolored toxic pools, a poisoned dwarf, and a lacquered horse skull with pomegranates for eyes.

Hawkwind "Spaceritual" event at Stonehenge with 'Aleister Crowley, Ozzy Ozbourne & Witches of Courtmarsh' in attendance.
Alternate Earth, Vietnam, Massacre at Ruế; "Sons of Set" face off against the "Lions of Mitra”   

You are with the Filipino army at the Battle of Reykjavik.
The five who would be one, dance the night away at Studio 51 ;"Elric, Corum, Hawkmoon, Erekosë & J Cornelius" combine into a five-faced Shiva too save all the many spheres of reality from 'Yrag Xagyg'

Don't you mean 'Agag Ydal', daemon servitor of Xiombarg?
Rara oohlala, want your wizardry and wild romance.

Breakfast in the Ruins?

The PCs must rescue Audrey Hepburn from post-apoc New York?

Either way you must follow the golden barge...

that is sounding more like save Audrey Hepburn from the Hill Cantons.

An idyllic Greek island with the catch that it's inhabited by Bacchic devotees singing ABBA music.

Invited to tea & torture with the Overlord; "Hygelak XI" in the sanctumus secretus of the Cryptic Citadel, 'City of Roglarodune'. (CSIO){Wilderlands}
The genie cities of D&D (if you can think of something to do there):
The Great Dismal Delve
The City of Brass
The Palace(?) of Glass & Steel
The Coral & Seaweed Cave (I can't remember. Marids - yawn.)

The realms of the Foxes and the Snakes from Wheel of Time

The Night World - the Last City of Man is under siege from the Tarrasque and Cthulhu. You get there through an abandoned House on the Borderlands that travels through time. Pig-orc-ghouls ambush you.

You find yourself on a broom in a game of Quidditch with Stuka dive bombers attacking you! Your only hope is to get to a covered bluff on the ridge of the Dragon Pass... PS : The other team are all anthropomorphic DUCKS.

A massive sprawling city, the bigger the better. Everyone in the city was frozen in time. Just the PC's, and the few hundred or so other non-frozen people who have been around for a couple generations. Maybe some of the "others" are monsters that use the frozen people as food stuffs.


The City (Trey Causey)



Dark Country


The Young Kingdoms

Tragic Millenium



Vats of Mazarin

Castle Nicodemus



Everyday life in a world overtaken by devils

The non-gilled are outcasts

Lake Geneva during Byron’s summer holiday

Emerging from the wine cellar of Baron Munchausen

The Eternal City of Tanelorn - City of the Balance, where heroes find peace, free from strife. Until your PCs turn up, and then there’s a bloody great invasion force of Chaos, or dinosaur-men.

The Pit - a city built around a black hole of intersecting realities that pulls people and things from those dying timelines. Ruled by the Lords of the Pit, once-human technologist-sorcerers.

Sky-Pirates realm

Gamma World/Mutant Future/Omega World

Metamorphosis Alpha/Non-Stop

Zothique/Dying Earth

etc etc ad infinitum worlds without end

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

D&D Next - Old School Art

For showing the players what the denizens of the Caves of Chaos look like.

Sometimes Jim Holloway hits it out of the park. I'm not a fan of his depiction of adventurers as hapless Three Stooges doofuses (much as I know this to be something that many OSR bloggers love as a characterisation of same), but he is great at showing humanoids as brutish and, above all, practical. Their armour and weapons are cobbled together but do the job. Nice work, Jim.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Consider the rule-book, how it blossoms in its time

Be not ashamed of mistakes, and thus make them crimes - Confucius

So, long time, no post about Kitsune & Kensei, the updating/revision of 1E Oriental Adventures for Labyrinth Lord and its Advanced Edition Companion. I posted a brief thought about it all on G+, to whit that I was tempted to just run OA "as is" either in PbP or real-life. Just to see how it would run. That got me thinking about some aspects that I hadn't really considered before.

e.g. We all know about 1gp = 1xp and about how this becomes the primary motivator for the adventurer aka thieving scumbags, and how monsters become the roadblocks to be avoided or circumvented to achieve this. Where does this leave the humble shukenja and indeed most of the character classes, who (if played true to the mileu) would disdain to loot tombs and rob the dead?

(Mike D in Ruins & Ronin brilliantly avoids this problem by stating outright that his game emulates the historical/fantastic cinema of Japan, and thus the characters are every bit as ahistorical as their western paladin, magic-user equivalents.)

Also, with the whole new monetary system of OA, do we still keep the 1gp = 1xp standard, converting across each time, or do we need to rejig it to reflect the different distribution of money? That is, if we accept that the PCs are looters or that the DM will reward them with treasure/goods from their lord/monastery. It's the sort of thing that I should do a close analysis of, much as Chris K has done with the AD&D Name Level warbands and wandering "monsters" of berserkers, bandits etc.

My time is rather curtailed with a baby and performing with the local amateur dramatic society (and DMing 4E again), but I hope to have a bit more to say about this soon.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

People of the Pines - a coniferous creature for Labyrinth Lord

The People of the Pines lurk in dark woodlands, a curious perversion of the animal and plant kingdoms. Their origin remains mysterious at this time; perhaps they are the product of some twisted druidic cult, or a demonic infestation, or something wholly unknown to this particular facet of the multiverse...

These mysterious beings partake both of undead and plant natures, being the remains of humans (generally warriors) whose bodies have been drained of blood, with pine resin filling their veins in its place. The soul of such an unfortunate has departed but the individual's anima remains, investing the foul creature with the memories of its former self. Its new personality is curiously cold and distant, but encouraging of others to join them in the unfeeling serenity of their new state.

Labyrinth Lord stats 

No Enc: 1d10 (10d10)

Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
AC: 5
HD: 3 
Attacks: 1 (weapon)
Damage: Sword 1d8 or Crossbow 1d6
SQ: Immune to non-magic weapons and cold, half damage from lightning, double damage from fire. Affected by plant-based spells.
Save: Fighter 3

For every 20 People encountered one will be a leader of 4HD, who will also have the powers and spellcasting ability of a 4th Level Druid. For every 60 encountered one will be a leader of 6HD with commensurate Druid abilities. People of the Pines are turned as shadows.

In battle, these creatures can emit a piercing scream which will cause enemy hirelings, retainers etc to check morale or flee for 1d8 rounds.

Adapted from Julian Lawrence's Brotherhood of the Pines in The Best of White Dwarf Scenarios III, themselves derived from Michael Moorcock's Corum series.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Zoat - Guardians of the Woods

Image from Here Lives Goblins
The elves speak of a race that was old when they themselves were but new arrivals to the forests of creation. These wise reptilians resembled centauroid lizards, but had a charisma that far outweighed their deceptively lumbering form. Known as zoats or so-uts, the ancient ones may also have been the founders of the druidical faith, as they held a reverance and respect for the natural world and displayed great supernatural affinity with it.

It is said that some of the zoat race still linger in the primeval forests, slow to wrath but fearsome in battle.

Labyrinth Lord stats

No. Enc.: 1 (1d4)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 7
Attacks: 1 (weapon or trample)
Damage: by weapon or 2d8)
Save: Druid 7
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: VIII
XP: 1,400

Zoats cast spells as a Druid of 7th Level. Ones with greater spell-casting ability undoubtedly exist. A zoat's great size (bigger than a rhino) allows it to wield two-handed weapons in one hand. Zoats deal double damage after a charge.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Brain Collectors - Predacious Scholar, Scholastic Predator

Abaldo staggered away in horror as the immense bulk of the abomination became clear, skittering towards him slowly on crab-like legs. Its unblinking eyes regarded him as one might regard an insect on a pin as tentacles around its face writhed and strange mounds on its body pulsated. To the swordsman's amazement, he heard a voice, or more precisely a chorus of differently pitched voices speaking as one, "Cease thy confusion, small one, this body seeks knowledge. Before thou dost become one with us, utter thy emotional state. 'Tis for the purposes of research."

Brain-collectors is what they have been dubbed by the adventurous souls who have encountered them and lived, and by the more down-to-earth scholars. In their own language (utterly untranslateable) they are neh-thalggu.

Research and experience has shown that the personality (if it can be called that) of a collector seems to vary with each telling. Some survivors describe them as ravenous beasts, desperate for cranial sustenance, whereas some texts speak of them in terms that depict them more as explorers and investigators, a perverse mirror perhaps for the human adventurers they encounter.

It has been theorised that the more bestial specimens are juveniles, whereas the more erudite are elder individuals. The truth is unknown.

Into the Odd stats

STR 20 , DEX 16, WIL 19, hp 5d6+10, Armour 1

Attacks for 2d6 damage.

Brain-collectors have a terrifying power; they are able to use the brains they hold as Arcana. Each brain grants the neh-thalggu a random Arcana power of no greater level than the number of brains plus 10.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Jeff's 20 Campaign Questions

  1. What is the deal with my cleric's religion? - The gods are in the PHB, but the details can be worked out between us.
  2. Where can we go to buy standard equipment? Fallcrest is the biggest town, but a guy in Winterhaven has some good stuff.
  3. Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended? Thunderspire Labyrinth
  4. Who is the mightiest wizard in the land? Currently Stefalin of Fallcrest.
  5. Who is the greatest warrior in the land? Close tie between Donaar, Paladin of Bahamut and his close friend Fargrim.
  6. Who is the richest person in the land? Lord Markelhay of Fallcrest.
  7. Where can we go to get some magical healing? The Temple of Avandra in Winterhaven or any of the temples in Fallcrest.
  8. Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath? You're going to have to hope that the temples have the right scrolls or rituals, or that your party ritual caster does.
  9. Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells? Yep, sure is, Stefalin of Fallcrest has recently become its head and the guild has... 2 members.
  10. Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC? Valthrun the Prescient of Winterhaven is the foremost sage in the Vale.
  11. Where can I hire mercenaries? Fallcrest.
  12. Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law? Nah.
  13. Which way to the nearest tavern? Fallcrest, Winterhaven.
  14. What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous? How long have you got? The green dragon currently harassing the barony to the south is a good one.
  15. Are there any wars brewing I could go fight? Wars? No. Skirmishes? Yes.
  16. How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes? Not in the Vale. Maybe in the Free City far to the south.
  17. Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight? Orcus worshippers?
  18. What is there to eat around here? Iron rations.
  19. Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for? The Jade Chalice is reputed to lie in a ruined fort in the mountains.
  20. Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure? See above for the dragon.

Alabast - Unwilling Exiles

They were like men but with hair and skin of purest white, and their eyes were pale,shimmering orbs of hate. Their leader addressed us, his tone one of curt disgust, "You are not wanted here, beasts. Leave or die"

The alabast appear to be kin to the elves and eladrin of other worlds but these mysterious beings take the isolationist tendancies of the fey to an extreme. On their shadowy homeworld, they dwelt in great ziggurat cities, the only sentient species on the planet; now, one of those cities lies on a strange and hostile world filled with bizarre, unwholesome species like and unlike the alabast.

It is unknown even if "alabast" is their name for themselves or one coined by the natives of their new world (i.e. the PC races). The alabast view all other sentient life-forms with at least distaste, and in some cases, hatred. Like the more familiar elves, alabast have a strong cultural tradition of blending swordplay and spellcasting, but this reaches its pinnacle in the warrior-mage caste of each alabast city state.

Labyrinth Lord stats

No Enc: 1d4+1 (1d10+10)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40')
AC: 5
HD 1
Attacks: 1 (weapon)
Damage: Sword 1d8 or Crossbow 1d6
SQ: Alabast are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d6
Save: Elf

These stats are for a typical NPC alabast warrior. For every 10 alabast encountered, one will be of higher HD of the iladan, teladan or koradan castes. Iladan ("Mage-warriors) are able to reflect magic back on the caster using their sword blades by making an attack roll as if attacking the caster in melee. Teladan ("Dancing-warriors") are able to make a riposte attack if their opponent misses them in melee. Koradan ("Shell-warriors") are more heavily armed and armoured than the other alabast one will encounter, usually wielding sword and shield or a two-handed weapon and wearing plate armour (but with no reduction in speed).

Alabast originally appeared in The Diamond Throne (Malhavoc Publishing)and the cultural terms used are from that work. My only original contribution is the LL stats and the abilities for the various types encountered.

Brendan's 20 questions

  1. Ability scores generation method? - Point buy. Considering 4d6, arrange as desired, with 1 16 and 1 18 handed out automatically, as per Gamma World 4E if I run 4E D&D again.
  2. How are death and dying handled?0 and below is Unconscious, roll 1d20 each round, if you get 1-9 you have failed a death save. Three strikes and you're out. get to half you HP expressed as a negative number and you're dead straight away. RAW 4E.
  3. What about raising the dead? Heroic Tier PC - 500gp, Paragon - 5000gp, Epic -
  4. How are replacement PCs handled? Create a new character, usually with some tangental connection to the group; we've had cousin, work buddy, half-brother etc
  5. Initiative: individual, group, or something else? Individual
  6. Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work? 20 - crit if it would hit the target. If it wouldn't ordinarily hit the target, normal damage.
  7. Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?Only if it's magical
  8. Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?Not with firing into melee, but with area effect attacks, yes
  9. Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything? You would be advised to choose your battles carefully in some locations
  10. Level-draining monsters: yes or no? No
  11. Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death? - yes (see death saves above)
  12. How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked? - not very strict most of the time
  13. What's required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time?Level up after Extended Rest. Training nor required. New powers acquired automatically. It can occur in the middle of an adventure (only if you rest).
  14. What do I get experience for? - Succeeding in quests, defeating foes,passing skill challenges
  15. How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination? - either/or
  16. Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work? The PCs have shown no inclination to gain outside aid, and their is no morale system. I might add in the one from LL.
  17. How do I identify magic items?In most cases, you discover the item's powers after a short rest.
  18. Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions? Sometimes.
  19. Can I create magic items? When and how? Yes, using the appropriate ritual.
  20. What about splitting the party? - go for it.

Friday, March 09, 2012

By the Power of Greyskull!

Ah, He-Man, archetypal '80s cartoon hero, with a terrible hair-cut, a plethora of one-liners, and social education along the lines of picking up one's litter.

For a run-down of the Eternian muscleman's various incarnations, take a look at the WIKI which details the different media that he appeared in. In brief, the familiar cartoon series was actually He-Man's second version (or continuity, if you like), his first being in the mini comic books that came with the action figures. The first incarnation was a barbarian who lived in the jungle with his tribe in the post-apocalyptic world of Eternia after the Great Wars had left mysterious technology and sorcery behind. That sounds way cooler than the Saturday morning version already. Right?

A Module for 4-6 5th Level Characters?
And, yes, it's totally a rip-off of Thundarr in that respect. Blond barbarian with special sword fights sorcerer-technologists. Hmm, spot the resemblance? If I was going to launch into a game to emulate the mini-comics, then I'd go for Savage Worlds or True20 as both provide tool-kits to mix magic and science. Or Barbarians of Lemuria, which is more swords & sorcery.

It occurs to me though that is a good time to promote Into the Odd again, which would fit well with the mysterious arcane and technological artifacts aspect as well as preventing the PCs from being the ones who use magic, that being reserved for powers beyond their ken, or indeed their barbie.

So, here's a little something inspired by the He-Man mini-comics:

Etarna is a world wherein mankind is beginning to rise back from the barbarism it was thrown into in the aftermath of the Great Wars, in which technological weapons of great power  ravaged the world, leaving mutants and strange energies in their wake.

Great artifacts are being rediscovered in secret locations, and maybe your advernturesome characters will come into possession of them, and use them to prevent the evil mutant warriors of the skull-faced sorcerer Skalador from gaining dominion.

The most powerful of these are the Swords of Power...

Etarnan Swords of Power

This strangely crafted sword seems to be entirely made of silvery metal, and is lighter than its size would indicate

Although wielded in one hand, these swords act as Great Weapons (Power Attacks for +2 damage and enemy save) and each is an Arcanum. Typically, a Sword of Power has the following spells: Spell Turning, and Heat Ray. Some may have other or additional abilities.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Living in Electric Dreams

There's a vogue right now (or over the last 5 years) for revisiting the '80s, and for those of us who grew up then, we can once again enjoy The Transformers, Thundercats, He-Man etc in new, revamped forms. On G+, there's also been a "Transformers elements in D&D" meme going round as well. The font of '80s cartoons is one that can be drunk of deeply to provide GMs and players with some science-fantasy inspiration.

I'll be looking at the original series, spin-off comics, re-boots and fan imaginings to showcase these childhood wonders. Lined up, I have the following in mind:

He-Man (yes, and She-Ra)
Ulysses 31
Mysterious Cities of Gold

Anything else you'd like to see?

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Hamlet, Zombie Killer of Denmark

Shakespeare + Zombies = my next theatre directing gig. The harsh life of an artist... :D

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

[Barbarians of Lemuria] Vandis the Huntsman

Do you want an rpg that just sweats swords and sorcery from its very pores?

Do you want an rpg wherein you actually feel like the main character in one of those tales?

Barbarians of Lemuria, baby. Every time.

What riches shall we uncover? First Attributes, four of 'em. I get 4 points to distribute between them. I'll go for the barbaric warrior methinks but with a dash of quickness and smarts a la REH Conan. He comes from the northern climes of Valgard and is a warrior who is best at the offensive rather defensive tactics. As a Valgardian he gets to pick from a list of traits.

Vandis the Huntsman

Origin: Valgard

Attributes: Strength 2; Agility 1; Mind 1; Appeal 0
Combat: Brawl 1; Melee 2; Ranged 1; Defense 0
Careers: Barbarian 2; Blacksmith 0; Hunter 1; Thief 1
Lifeblood 12; Hero Points 3; Armour 2
Traits: Valgardian Blade, Snow Tracker
Flaws: Illiterate
Equipment: Valgardian Long sword (Damage D6+2, use an extra die), Dagger (Damage D3), Hand Axe (Damage D6), Boots (1 Armour), Greaves (1 Armour) 
 Languages – Spoken: Lemurian and Valgardish
Languages – Written: N/A (Illiterate)

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Cittarovina - the City of Ruins

Cittarovina, the City of Ruins draws artists, intellectuals, and fortune-seekers like gulls to trash. The relatively recent return of the Pontifex to the ancient seat of the Church of the Unconquered Sun has further spurred the opportunistic to flock to this most vibrant of cities.

The various noble families are involved in political and personal intrigues (although the lines get blurred), and their various underlings are often the game pieces. More and more, these powerful men and women are becoming interested in the treasures that can be unearthed from the ruins of the ancient pagan empire. Previously, such artifacts were regarded as wonderful art to be displayed or studied for its aesthetic value, but in recent years, this study has turned to the unexpected (and inexplicable) power that can be unleashed from these items, or "Arcana" as some scholars have dubbed them.

So, now, the race is on to uncover the lost treasures of the gods...

The Rules

We'll be using Into the Odd (from the blog

Everything is as the rules, and if you start with an Arcanum I will generate it.

Although the game is FLAILSNAILS, all characters will be native to begin with. Cittarovina uses Italianate naming conventions, so please bear this in mind.

If you'd like to play, drop me a line.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Creating a new world of odd

I posted on G+ recently about being in a world-building funk. I was casting around for a rules-set that would inspire me, and I found it in Into the Odd (from the blog It's based on OD&D but is thematically and mechanically streamlined. There are no spellcasters; all magic that PCs can use comes from Arcana (mysterious items left by the equally mysterious Astrals).

I've also been playing a couple of video games from 2 well known series recently and they were added to the stew of elements I'd want in a game I ran or world I made.

Two possible ideas came to mind strongly: the Young Kingdoms of Moorcock's Elric stories, or a city-state modelled after those of Renaissance Italy. For the truly unique experience I decided to go with the latter, firstly because it means actually creating something, and secondly FLAILSNAILS, man.

Now, it's not going to be historically accurate or a love-letter to the Medicis. It's probably going to be as historically precise and as serious as Warhammer FRP 1E's version of Europe. So, now to create our city-state: I want something that combines the artistic culture of Florence (Firenze) with the ruins of Rome. (Yes I've been playing Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, can you tell?)

Time to hunt for a map to steal... er... be inspired by,

Miniature Painting - What I Do

Before launching into this, I'll just make clear that this is what I do, and not necessarily what everyone does or would recommend.

Tools and Materials

A good modelling knife ( I use an X-Acto). Modelling files - available in packs. Fast-acting Superglue (preferably with a way to apply it in small amounts (I use Zap-a-gap). Polystyrene cement (preferably with a brush applicator) if you are putting together plastic minis. PVA Glue - for applying basing. Flock/sand/rubble - your taste as to how you want the base to look.


Don't buy GW's brushes - you can get similar brushes from an art shop. Look for sable brushes; you could use synthetic, but I find sable gives more "feedback" to my hands and eye than synthetic brushes do, allowing me to control the brush better. If you want to be fancy, you can look at Windsor & Newton Series 7 brushes, but you don't need them to start off with. They are excellent though.


Acrylics all the way. They are just much easier than oils and enamels. They dry faster (not always a good thing but see later), are water soluble when wet, and are (in the main) non-toxic. A large variety of manufacturers produce paint these days, and it's one of the few areas in which I go for GW/Citadel. Their Wash range and range are suberb. In fact, you could get away with just buying those two box sets.


ALWAYS prep - I can't emphasise this enough. The difference it makes to the finished model is aesthetically huge. For plastic minis use your knife to gently scrape away the mould lines. Plastic minis these days have come on leaps and bounds from even 5 years ago, so you still need to take care not to get rid of detail. For metal minis, you can use your knife and a file. I can't speak for the new-fangled plastic-resin or whatever that Mantic and GW are using, but I should imagine that the old techniques still work but you may need to fill in the moulding bubbles with green stuff.


There is so much variation in how people go about doing this stage. It really depends on what effect you are after, how much time you want to take, and how many models you're painting (see below). There are three main colours for undercoating (well there are lots but to begin with we'll say 3): black, white, grey. I have used all 3 and like the effects they all give.

Black - Pro - gives strong definition of areas of the mini and adds depth of shading (no need to blackline). Con - you need to carefully layer colours on top thinly in order to get strong colours. Suitable for any mini but works well for dark colourschemes or 'sinister' minis.

White - Pro - good strong colours. Con - areas you miss are really obvious! Suitable for any mini but most suitable for colourful ones or 'goodies'.

Grey - Pro - Provides a good base for either type of scheme, especially in combination with a dark wash (black/brown) either before or after applying base colours to areas. Con - I haven't really found any.

Applying the Undercoat

A matter of time/preference. You can either apply by brush or spray. If you're spraying, you need to be seen by a vet. OK, seriously, on the matter of spray - don't buy GW/Citadel's (notice a theme?), get car-body spray. I get all of mine that way and they are cheaper, contain more and give better coverage. Spray outside in low humidity when possible.

Single/Multiple models

Are you wanting to paint an individual model as best you can or are you looking to paint batches of models at the same time to acceptable standard? The same disciplines apply but they require different mindsets. More in another post, perhaps.


A base completes the model. If you leave the base blank, to me it looks unfinished and ruins the overall effect. Even if it's a coating of flock, at least it's something.


Like undercoating, varnish can either be brushed or sprayed. It comes in gloss or matt and most people recommend a first coat of gloss (protects well) followed by a coat of matt (makes it less shiny). You can then either leave the metallic parts and gems shiny or redo them with gloss if you've hit them with matt. Or just leave them matt if you like that effect.

This is a really basic overview, but if people want more information on something, I can post further on specific topics...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Playtest - By This Axe I Rule

By This Axe I Rule!

Playtest 15/01/11


Donaar's Alliance
Wood Elves 1
Wood Elves 2
Elrose the Axe, Wood Elf SuperHero
Halfling Riflemen
Friar Duquesne, Priest-Hero
Donaar K'baab, Dragonman Champion

Forces of Orcus
Madskyllz, Troll
Ho-pe-teh, Giant Toad
Dark Elves 1
Dark Elves 2
Daphid Powy, Dark Elf Champion
Dark Karolina, Vampire Hero

Table set-up: 3ft by 3ft table. Chris placed the terrain, and Jonathan chose which table edge to set-up on. Chris set-up on opposite side. Decided that forces could set up in an area 6” from each table edge on their side. Rolled dice to see who would set up first, and then alternated placing units. If a character was separate to a unit, they counted as a unit for placement.

Time of day: As the dark elves had the darkvision quality, we used a day/night determination method from the game Fantasy Warriors. This came up with the first segment of daytime, so no night-fighting advantage for the drow.

Backstory: In an alternate future of our D&D campaign, only one member of the Heroes of Winterhaven survives, Donaar K’baab, dragonborn paladin of Bahamut. His companions have fallen or in the case of Karolina the bard, been subverted to the cause of the Heroes’ enemy, Orcus, Demon Lord of Undeath. With a ragtag band of followers, and some cross-planar aid from some halflings armed with curious flame rods, Donaar goes to battle Karolina and her warband.

Turn 1
No missile fire (out of range). Moving forward in most cases. Wood Elves stayed in woods but changed facing. Turn phases were met with approval, especially the simultaneous nature of missile fire.

Turn 2
Dark Elves and Wood Elves fire upon one another. Dark Elves eliminate the Dwarves, but Donaar is unscathed (too bad I only had 3 dwarf minis...). Ghouls take casualties. to missile fire. Hobbits move to cut off the Toad and Troll, who are hidden behind the tower. Friar Duquesne hangs at the back, forgetting to use his save power. (Doh)

Turn 3
Hobbits gun down Madskylz, as he emerges from behind the ruined tower. Ho-pe-teh also emerges. Wood Elf Unit 1 loses 3 members and their morale holds. Wood Elf Unit 2 loses 3 members, and fails morale test. Starts to flee. Elrose engages the ghoul unit and destroys them with his mighty axe, before he too is killed.

Turn 4
The hobbits shoot at Ho-pe-teh, but the toad survives, slowly plodding towards the small riflemen. Donaar K’baab, Daphid Powy, Karolina, and Friar Duquesne enter into melee. Daphid and Donaar trade blow for blow (we both kept guessing one another’s moves very accurately), but finally Donaar is felled. Friar Duquesne smashes Karolina round the head and she too is slain. The fleeing Wood Elves are unable to be rallied, as Friar Duquesne is too far away, and thus flee off the table. A victory for the forces of Orcus.