Saturday, 27 December 2014

Painting Table Saturday 60 + Sheila the Thief

Lenore, the Enchantress of Evermore.
Painting Table Saturday #60. Hasslefree miniatures have brought back memories of my youth once again. Here is Shiela the Thief from the 80s animated series Dungeons and Dragons. When I was a child this was one of my favourite cartoons.

A co-production of Marvel Productions and TSR, it was based on the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. It came on TV around the same time as the fabled D&D Red Box hit the stores here in New Zealand. 

Sheila the Thief.
A group of six kids are transported into a magic realm and have many adventures as they try to find a way home. They are joined by a baby unicorn and occasionally guided by an unhelpful cryptic fellow called the Dungeon Master.

The cautious and reserved Sheila would find courage when her friends needed her and was protective of her younger brother Bobby the Barbarian. Sheila has a magical cloak of invisibility, which reminds me of another burglar that I was fond of in my younger days.

Apparently Sheila wasn't a thief in the Spanish version of Dungeons & Dragons. She was a mage or illusionist. This makes the Hasslefree renaming of her as Lenore, a mysterious sorceress, a fitting tribute.

This is my last PTS post of 2014. God bless you and Happy New Year! 

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas + DMG5 + Munchkin Adventure Time

Adventure Time!
So, what did you get for Christmas? Well, there was family, fun and feasting! I also had the pleasure of introducing the kids to Steve Jackson's Munchkin in the form of Adventure Time, one of their favourite cartoons.

Christmas day, celebrating the birth of Jesus with family, food and Adventure Time!

Oh, there was also this under the tree. The 5th Edition Dungeon Masters Guide. Or, as I will now name it: #DMG5.

D&D Dungeon Master's Guide 5th Edition.

God bless you and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

SAGA + Lord of the Rings + Warhammer Fantasy Battle

This was a four player game of SAGA and my first introduction to what I would describe as a fun skirmish tactical battle rules set for dark ages warfare.

Adding to the fun, we gave it a fantasy twist. Instead of Normans, Anglo-Danes and Vikings... the miniatures were Orcs, Chaos Warriors & Beastmen, Celts and a selection of Lord of the Rings (Grey Company, Dwarves, Elves and Riders of Rohan) from my collection.

A few lessons were learnt. Because we were all keen to use our dice, attacking the player on your left was a good idea. Blair was last each round and won with his Viking Chaos Beastmen. My LotR Anglo-Danes held up well against attacks from Lewis and his archers and cavalry. Thanks mainly to my use of the shield wall.

In the end it came down to Greg's Orc raiders and the Beastmen, with the warlord of each force locked in epic mortal combat. Blair's Chaos Champion took the Orc head and raised it high, issuing a challenge to Gandalf the Grey.

Against my better judgement but egged on by the defeated Lewis and Greg, I force marched my leader halfway across the battlefield to die ignominiously and hand victory to Blair. Poor Gandalf!

An excellent game with many glorious last ditch charges, howls of anguish and laughter and splintered shields!

Perhaps next time I will field Gandalf the White.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Painting Table Saturday 59 + Erkenbrand + Vikings

Painting Table Saturday #59. I have a book from an old friend that has beautiful photos of Norway. A suitable backdrop for these miniatures.

Erkenbrand will lead my Lord of the Rings inspired SAGA army. The ranks will include classic Citadel Vikings and rare Grenadier and Metal Magic miniatures like the ones below.

Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Petty Gods Artwork + Verlore + Petty God of the Lost

Velore, Petty God of the lost.
Here is my latest artwork for the Petty Gods project.

petty god of lost people and lost things

Verlore is a minor deity who deals with the lost, be they people or things. Though a very minor power, his influence on dungeon explorers and his nature is such that he’s placated with offerings at crossroads or cast overboard on boats. Verlore’s appearance varies but often manifests as a human male with a worn-looking staff, often a beggar or traveller. He will often be seen walking with the calm surety of someone who appears to know exactly where he’s going (which is untrue) or resting on a broken signpost or milestone.

Thanks to Richard LeBlanc at New Big Dragon for keeping this project alive and kicking.

I was surprised to get this commission for Petty Gods because my good friend +Rom Brown had already drawn (masterfully, I might add) another minor deity of the lost, Feloren, Astrayed Patron of the Lost and The Idol of Misdirection. However, +Richard LeBlanc cleared this up for me:

Superb artwork by Rom Brown.
"Because a lot of people submitted similar, but slightly different listings, +Greg Gorgonmilk  suggested we make them "competing" gods. For example, there are several gods of darkness or underground passages. It's not unlike the Romans adapting the greek gods and making their own versions. Or different mythologies all having gods of love, war, mischief, etc."

+Jens D. (The Disorientated Ranger) submitted Feloren "...a lost god, only worshipped by a very small congregate of daoist cultists that describe him as The-One-That-Is-Lost-But-Everywhere and apply a twisted logic to explain how he exists because he doesn't (or the other way around). Just like the wrong path one takes still is a path nonetheless. Finding him is, paradoxically, taking a wrong turn. And being lost in a paradox, he is a lonely petty god indeed."

Despite Verlore and (the trinity of) Feloren sharing similar attributes, their powers are different and it's highly unlikely they'll ever find themselves at the same crossroads! Although, that could be an amusing encounter. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Review

This scene ain't in the movie.
I watched The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies today. Fantastic movie in so many ways. If there was a cinematic effect created since the beginning of filmmaking that was missing from this movie, I would be surprised. It had all the high-powered wizardry Weta digital has at its fingertips, brought to bear on an original interpretation of Tolkien's works. Epic. Nothing like the book really. 

At times I wondered whether the video game elements were necessary but at the same time, those moments were superbly rendered and incredibly (often eye-poppingly so) imaginative. Of course, I would give away too much to provide further details. Suffice to say, I got my 3D ticket worth. Then again, it may be fun to write some of this down while I'm still recovering from the heavy retina burn of final installment of The Hobbit.

Now there is bound to be some criticism of this movie. Especially when comparing it to the other two in this trilogy, or the Lord of the Rings trilogy, or the books which I'm sure weren't read by most of the folks commenting on the movies anyway. I read the book when I was a kid. I've read it to my kids. Now I've taken my kids to the movies. They like Tauriel and I'm glad she's in there. With that in mind, here is my review.

Gandalf admonishes Elric... Er, the Elf King, Dad of Legolas.
Does anybody bother with SPOILER alerts? I'm sure you'll read on anyway, like those players who read the Dungeon Masters Only section of a D&D module.

So, here is the DM section of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. 

Gold, Gold, Gold!
Thorin II Oakenshield, son of Thráin, son of Thrór, King under the Mountain has a problem. A bad case of Dragon Sickness. Characters may get this when spending too much time searching the treasure hoard for a heart stone. Make sure your players roll for their character every 10 minute turn to see if they finally hit rock bottom and snap out of it.

Love Triangle
Two elves, one dwarf. You know it will end in tears. Surprisingly, this helps keep this film from being all about Thorin. I'd say every D&D game has had players that have experimented beyond this mild level of awkwardness. One of them will die but it won't be Legolas. He's the DM's pet.

Purple Worms
Did you read Dune? Or see the movie? Or any other movie with big worms in it, like Beetlejuice? Well, there are some huge worms in this one. They make an entrance like giant alien earth diggers and leave just as quickly, supplying the film with an hommage to the Keep of the Borderlands jacket cover, allowing the goblins and orcs spew forth from these newly made caves of chaos.

Scottish Dwarves
Dain turns up on a Kune Kune, which kiwi's may also know as a Captain Cooker. This character is played by Billy Connolly, to drive home the gaming stereotype of dwarves with scottish accents. He looks somewhat like a Trollslayer from the Warhammer universe. Ironically, he also wields a warhammer. Dain has the Hard To Kill advantage from GURPS. He also has a lot of Billy Connolly comic one liners, like "Come on!" and "Bugger!".

Use The Force Luke
In a reworking of William Tell, the currently more famous (and fabulous) Bard the Bowman uses his son to take down the Death Star Smaug in a rather interesting fashion. The black arrow is literally the chip on his shoulder. One of the many times I thought "Hey, who cares if this is realistic. That's cool!"

Hats off to you, Sir Peter Jackson!
Elves Kick Ass
Whether they're decapitating four orcs in one blow (to clear the windscreen wipers of their battle-moose), or banishing Sauron with a bottle of perfume, the elves kick ass. They leap from falling debris, stone by stone, and kill, kill, kill. Mario has nothing on these guys and girls. Cheat Mode On.

Orcs Rock
Let's face it. These guys get the raw end of the deal. They are in the movie to die, sooner or later. Despite this, they're still the reason the fight scenes are great. I mean, you end up rooting for them. Is he dead yet? No! Ha! 

Gandalf and Bilbo Save This Film
I will watch this again and again, no doubt, as part of future movie watching marathons. It will be because of Ian and Martin. Even with all the special computer graphics and super resolution unreal action, it's these two actors that make my favourite characters real. Oh, yes, they both survive to play in the previous trilogy. Hoorah!

I could write more. Then again, I'll save my breath weapon for the comments that may follow this post.