Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Blackhawk + Bard Class

What's your favourite bard class from any edition of D&D, or other RPG? I'm a musician. If you want to check out my music just google my name. However, after a lifetime of music and gaming... I haven't played a game where what I know about music matches what the rules convey. That's cool. It is just a game. That being said, Music is such a big part of culture. It deserves something special, even magical, as part of a fantasy world.

So, help me out. I may have missed a game or you may have some houserules that will inspire me.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Blackhawk + Dragon Warriors

This is on my DM screen!
As I continue to work on The Known World of Blackhawk, I fondly recall other worlds of fantasy gaming from my youth. In particular, a certain RPG that came out in paperback during the 80s. Dragon Warriors was set in the world of Legend, a medieval fantasy setting that resembles our own history, with plenty of magic and mystery.

It has a feel that is earthy, gritty, dare I say realistic? The books have everything you need to game including eloquent rules, a plethora of fantastic creatures and plenty of superb scenarios, some of which I have used straight from the book over the last few years. Dragon Warriors will no doubt continue to inspire my gaming for years to come.

Roscoe's Emporium + Blackhawk

In Brym's Towne there is one place to go for magic potions, ointments, nostrums and nicknacks. Roscoe's Emporium is an unassuming little shop squashed between larger, grander buildings amongst the hustle and bustle of Fleet Street. If you were looking for it, you might just miss the small green door with an ancient toad-like brass knocker.

Once inside, the shop appears somewhat larger than without. Shelves adorn every wall, of which there are more than four, packed with all manner of paraphernalia. Smells both familiar and exotic assault the nostrils. At a simple workbench sits a gnome, stroking a scruffy black cat.

Roscoe's nephew has not returned from a visit to his mother in Gloomy Wood. Gnomes can get distracted and Roscoe hopes young Waylon is safe. He offers a generous reward for his return.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Caryth Darkelf + Borax Bloodaxe + Green Stuff

Caryth the Darkelf (Freebooter) and Borax Bloodaxe, one of the eight Dwarf Lords of Legend! These are the last two miniatures painted in 2013. More next year. Happy holidays!

An unlikely duo!

The detail on this miniature is amazing.
Caryth came in three parts and has plenty of detail on such a tiny frame. I developed a new technique for her blades: blue steel. The original base was square, so I borrowed an old idea from another Dwarf Lord of Legend and gave her an Orc's head to rest her foot on. First time using Green Stuff. I usually Tamiya Epoxy Putty. A little different in texture but it came out just fine.

Original base and new one with Green Stuff.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Old School Gaming Shelf + HeroQuest + Meme

Apparently there is a club going on. Entry requires posting a photo of your book shelf. Well, feast your eyes on some old school glory!

Lots of D&D and a few treasured tomes besides. Some books are on loan. That's how I roll.
Also, my kids love playing this:

The kids next door have borrowed the other box.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Skull Mountains + Orcs of the Severed Hand

All I got for Christmas... was this awesome Mountain of Skulls! Thanks Lewis!

Orc Skull Mountains!
Also in the photo shoot are my Orcs of the Severed Hand (Dragon Lords Grenadier Box Set).

Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Men + Citadel + Merry Christmas

The Merry Men of Sherwood Forest. Robin Hood and his merry fellows, Friar Tuck and Little John.

Friar Tuck, Robin Hood and Little John.

It's Christmas Eve here in New Zealand. Merry Christmas and I hope there is plenty of good cheer for you tomorrow. God bless and goodnight!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Known World of Blackhawk

I am busy working on The Known World of Blackhawk, combining elements of the current campaign and over thirty years of fantasy gaming. I will be posting details of the world and house rules as the adventure continues.

Tune in to find out more about Star Hat University, The Order of The Axe, personalities, magic items and perhaps a map or two.

Artwork by Ivan Bilibin.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Asterix + Obelix + Dogmatix

The heroes of that village of indomitable Gauls; Asterix, Obelix and Dogmatix. I enjoyed reading many of their adventures as a child. There were even a few movies! The humour of the comic books still tickles my funny bone.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Blackhawk + Tower of Skulls + The Necromancer

Tower of Skulls
The Necromancer. Not a popular fellow. He has the sort of personality that leaves you cold. Thousands of years old, he has been defeated by many legendary heroes, only to return with vengeance a century or so later.

It is rumoured he has a fortress, the Tower of Skulls, hidden deep in the World's Edge Mountains, beyond the Borderlands and the Caves of Chaos. Certainly not where you might take a pleasant stroll for an afternoon picnic.

In the world of Blackhawk, this foreboding mountain fortress is only sought by those who have clearly lost their minds (or are about to). The Necromancer is not one to be trifled with. Although the ruins appear abandoned, in his service are legions of creatures dark and foul, living and undead.

Inspired by this awesome new piece of terrain that Lewis found in a pet shop. It's far too good to decorate a fish tank!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Playing at The Green Dragon

The Green Dragon Inn is located at the (real) Middle-Earth at the Hobbiton™ (gotta love those TM's, eh?) Movie Set near Matamata, New Zealand. It's a half hour drive from my house. As it's the fictional pub in JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth, the Inn at Bywater has long been the favoured watering hole of many a thisty hobbit.

As a fan of The Hobbit since childhood, I've had a special and fantastic experience. Last night I played at The Green Dragon Inn with harmonica master Derek 'Haggis' Maguiness for a Christmas party. My good friend Lewis was also there telling stories. He's a professional storyteller. I think he summed it up best, in one word. Epic.

I saw the sign!
The mill.

Trouble at the mill.

Barrel load of fun.

Home sweet home.

Bilbo's house is in the hill behind us.
The Green Dragon Inn.

The stables.

Beautiful December weather. For those in the Northern hemisphere, Christmas in New Zealand is summertime fun.

Street lamp.

"A place to drink, a place to meet, a place to rest your hairy feet."

Closing time. After an awesome evening on entertaining the guests, we relax at the bar.

Cameron, from Scotland, gives us the thumbs up!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


I'm off to the movies tonight with some friends to experience the second film in Peter's The Hobbit trilogy. Or, more importantly, to see Smaug!

"My armour is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail is a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!"

 Ah, he's such a charmer, eh?

Oh, then there's this elf, who will undoubtedly be a favourite for my kids!

Chronopia Miniatures

Here are a few Chronopia miniatures from the 90s. They are from the Firstborn army lists and look fantastic on the gaming table. They just scream 'eavy Metal. The checks are the kind of detail I rarely paint these days.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Grenadier + Dragon Lords + Magic Users

The first miniatures I ever painted were made by Grenadier. They were available from the local (Te Kuiti) book shop in small blister packs or boxed sets. The following miniatures are from one of the latter, Dragon Lords - Fantasy Boxed Sets: Magic Users™ (TM, yes indeed), Advanced Level Adventurers. Except for the Magic User, who is from another Dragon Lords boxed set: Specialists - The Skilled Ones.

Magician (A44) and Sorcerer (A38).

Magic User and Enchanter (A40).

They were 25mm, made of lead, and also came with some heavy-weight endorsement:

 "I endorse Grenadier's DRAGON LORDS™ and FANTASY LORDS™ miniatures because they capture the spirit and imagination of fantasy role playing." ~ Dave Arneson.✞

The Enchanter was originally painted by my friend Alex. I recently gave it a repaint, keeping his masterful robe lining. The others have also been given some love with a gentle brush within the last year or so. I have given away a lot of my Grenadier miniatures over the years but still have plenty left to paint. Because of the fine detail, they are very rewarding. These miniatures have really stood the test of time. Almost 30 years!

It's probably worth mentioning that (way back then) during a game of D&D we didn't tend to use miniatures except to represent our character in party order.

✞David L. Arneson, Co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, the original adventure fantasy roleplaying game.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Mordheim Miniatures + Johann + Bertha + Aenur

Mordheim... remember that damned city? Well, the rulebook may be sitting on the shelf for the moment but here are some of the special character miniatures that came out with the game. To be honest, although I thoroughly enjoyed painting them (back in the 90s), I've never used them in a game of Mordheim. From left to right: Johann the Knife, Bertha Bestraufrung, High Matriarch of the Sisterhood and Aenur, the Sword of Twilight.

Johann the Knife, Bertha Bestraufrung,
High Matriarch of the Sisterhood and Aenur, the Sword of Twilight.

Just as deadly from behind.

We halted play on a Mordheim campaign a couple of years ago. My treasure hunters were nailing any opposition to the proverbial wall with their crossbows. A dwarf will never be fast but with chain shirts, iron helmets and shields, they are bloody tough to knock down! Between them and the Norse warband, Chaos was having a miserable time of it to be sure!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Blackhawk + The Campaign

The Campaign now has a name! In honour of Dave Arneson's Blackmoor and Gary Gygax's Greyhawk, The Campaign is now called Blackhawk. I even whipped up a logo:

The number of players has grown also! Well, it's time for some gaming... and perhaps a new character or two...

Barbarian Libby + Sabre-tooth Tigress

A lovely miniature from Hasslefree; Barbarian Libby & Sabre-tooth Tigress. I spent some time admiring this one before putting her together and applying paint.

Libby the Barbarian Queen comes in bits as white metal (her right arm/axe arm and helmet wings on a separate sprue). Her mount is resin (blue/grey) in four pieces, with a superbly sculpted resin base.

Painting this pair was a joy. I went for bright, warm tones with subtle washes. The stripes involved some research, including a visit with the kids to the local zoo.


This brings to mind a wonderful poem...

The Tiger

By William Blake (1757–1827)
TIGER, tiger, burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry? 
In what distant deeps or skies 
Burnt the fire of thine eyes? 
On what wings dare he aspire? 
What the hand dare seize the fire? 
And what shoulder and what art 
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat, 
What dread hand and what dread feet? 
What the hammer? what the chain? 
In what furnace was thy brain? 
What the anvil? What dread grasp 
Dare its deadly terrors clasp? 
When the stars threw down their spears, 
And water'd heaven with their tears, 
Did He smile His work to see? 
Did He who made the lamb make thee?
Tiger, tiger, burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?