Friday, May 20, 2016

Musings on Dunjon of Death

I've been busy busy busy.

I'm still collating my notes for the MEST 2.0 rules; lots of stuff for campaign games, and optional rules are being groomed for inclusion. To help inform me about how to present the campaign rules, I had been writing genre documents for various efforts. Sometimes its just settings information, and at other times its actually pondering the rules and the playability aspects.

Campaign Time
This is a key example of a problem with how the campaign rules need to work.  I've scoured many rules sets to figure out what is cool and what is playable.  I'm finding that many campaign rules for genres that are not World War II, which focus on small skirmish games within 5-12 heroes, all seem to be very fluid with how time is treated. 

To allow for character progression in the real world there needs to be ample time. Maybe to increase the proficiency of fighting ability (MEST "Fight X") may take 3 months for novice, but maybe 6 months for a trained individual, and then maybe even longer for a master; years? I remember being told that mastery of Tai Chi is about like 25 years. Wing-chun about 15 years.  I dunno; maybe the MMA stuff because it is more raw is something like 5 years.  Years.

I suppose simpler things like shooting (MEST "Shoot X") could take less time.  I remember USMC rifleman training got me from zero proficiency to per se "sharp-shooter" in a mere 3 months give or take a few weeks of marching drills and scrubbing toilets.  Maybe combat archery (as shown in this video by Lars Andersen) could take six months of dedicated training. Months.

Did you know that in most of the campaign rules I've seen there is no sense of time? It's just session followed by session. Maybe a few in-game days or in-game weeks could pass between the sessions. Or maybe just hours.  It is up to the players to decide. 

This is a problem for the Dunjon of Death genre.  The setting is a vast underground empire which the players will explore and raid using their heroes.  Presumably a campaign is a string of delves into the dungeon.  If the heroes end each mission at some resting point in that underground empire, the next mission begins where they've left off last.  Maybe it continues after an in-game rest period of 8 hours or 1 day or something.  Or maybe they exit the dungeon and revisit it in a few days. But this is thematically still in-game days instead of in-game weeks, in-game months, or in-game years.

So I'm thinking that character progression in Dunjon of Death needs to come from the overland travel period. You know; like between dungeon conquests when characters travel to the next infested kingdom to conquer yet-another portion of that vast underground empire from some other entry way.  If I do this, it lends to the amount of time that could pass ... probably months in some cases ... and allows the players to consider more keenly that the dungeon is quite huge.

Battlefield Size
This is another problem. Of the available "dungeon bash" or "dungeon crawl" games out there in whichever form; minis or boardgame; the dungeons are actually quite small. Just a few rooms per adventure.  There is no concept of a mega dungeon except via role-playing games (RPGs) like Dungeons and Dragons.  And most of that stuff is from the early days.

If a battlefield map for a given mission foray into a dungeon is with multiple doors, locks, traps, and rooms the game sort of starts bogging down for time.  The pace of the game changes. This is okay and is to be expected.  However, unlike an RPG which could take a 6-hour session to resolve one foray; a tabletop minis game session is meant to be resolved within 60 or 90 minutes.  That's the sweet-spot for tactical game-play.  After that the brain-burn starts causing fatigue.

A related issue is the size of the battlefield.  Characters in MEST cover about 8-inches (8 MUs) per game-turn.  One game-turn in MEST is somewhat flexible and measures from 5 to 30 seconds in length.  Crossing a 48-inch wide battlefield is going to take 6 game-turns.  If that battlefield has several doors, each one takes probably half a turn (one "action point"), or a full turn (two "action points") if it is locked.  And if there are corridors which fold into dead-ends or into trapped areas, about one game-turn for each of those could be wasted.  So, just to pass through a quiet area of the dungeon might take 6-12 game-turns.  Add in some combat, and it may take another 3-6 game-turns.

All of that just adds to length of real-world time to resolve a mission. You can imagine how this plays out; 30 minutes to set up a dungeon map for the battlefield, 30 minutes to traverse it with little interaction between the players until combat arrives. Then 30 minutes of terror to resolve combat.  It could be fun as a co-op thing. It could be fun as heroes versus "dungeon master".  I think it would be kind of difficult to make it fun across multiple sessions for heroes versus "dungeon denizens".

Magical Trinkets
This and spells are the big time sucks.  I mean; in a genre like "Pulp Heroics" or "Afghanistan Now" you just need to list out some common weapons, armor, maybe a couple of odds-and-ends like robots or vehicles, and you're basically done.  This is not the case for something like a dungeon crawl; players will expect "power-ups" and other sundries.  I mean; I myself want to be able to find that Vorpal Sword +5 versus Undead. It'd be nice.  Or maybe just some healing potion or Boots of Very Rapid (but not silly) Walking.

Furthermore, I'd want to have access to spell scrolls, magic wands, and other stuff.  All of a sudden a small genre document balloons from 48-pages into 216-pages. I think this is what happens when a designer decides to do the dungeon crawl the right way ... they inevitably come close to writing enough supporting material to create a role-playing game.  And like in real RPGs, most of that support material is rarely ever used. And like in real RPGs, even if the list of things to find were to be written, most players would want to add their own "home-brew" stuff. And so that'd be another section of crafting that I'd need to write. It's tricky to give just enough.
.
.
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Any how, that's one of the channels of my musings. I've got more.

Notes

Here's the vision I had for Dunjon of Death which I started about a year or so ago.  I've since created three or four variations of this. You can see some of my reference assets in PDF here:


CONCEPT
This is a game for two or more players played as a tactical miniatures battle upon a large play area ("battlefield") that is at least 36"x36" in size.  The terrain elements upon this battlefield are placed upon exploration of the dungeon.

One player becomes the Games Master (GM) and controls the exploration of a dungeon and the opposition forces against all of the other players. The remaining players are the Heroes and control one or more characters each to explore an unknown dungeon in order to loot its treasures.

Dunjon of Death is essentially a series of connected battles within the rooms that are discovered during exploration.  This series of battles forms a campaign that continues until all of the Heroes have given up, have lost all of their characters, or until they have left the dungeon itself.

The size of the dungeon is agreed to be Small, Medium, or Large in order to control game length.  This represents an area of exploration that ranges from 3x3, 4x4, or 5x5 tiles.

The structure of the dungeon is unknown to the GM and to the Heroes at the start of the game.  To assist the construction of the dungeon, the GM receives a Tile deck of cards each representing a configuration of corridors and rooms for which he has matching physical terrain assets.  As such, the GM will need to perform an inventory of his available assets.

The GM tracks the construction of the dungeon upon a grid map of 3x3, 4x4, or 5x5 tiles.  As soon as a Tile card is drawn, the GM notes its shape up the grid map and places the physical terrain board equivalent upon the battlefield rotating it as desired.  If there are not enough physical assets, or if the battlefield doesn't have enough space; all of the players should do their best to reposition and reuse previously deployed elements to ensure fidelity to the map.

ENVIRONMENT
Lighting throughout the dungeon is very poor and will have OR 1" unless Torches and Lanterns are brought into play which then increase to OR 8" or higher depending on the source.  Torches and Lanterns burn out.  

These players begin in an entry room at the center of the dungeon's grid map with a single stairwell exit to the outside world.  The entry room will have one or more Portals (doors, gates, passageways) that lead into the unknown interior of the dungeon.

Portals can be unlocked or locked, and perhaps guarded or trapped.  These are meant to slow-down the speed of the Heroes.  All Portals can be destroyed by attacks as well as blocked to prevent crossing.  These are tactical decisions allowed to the players.

When a Portal is opened or looked through, the next adjacent tile's contents are placed upon the battlefield and any contents are placed as well. If there are traps or opposing forces, they will be introduced and resolved using the MEST rules.

Treasure will be represented by a location within any room with a treasure chest, cache, or hoard terrain element.  All treasure is heavy and bulky.  Unless the Heroes brought pack animals or porters with them, most of the discovered treasure will not be something to be kept.  Treasure should contain wealth as well as artifacts which can be potions of healing, magic swords, cloaks of invisibility, boots of sprinting, belts of teleportation, etc.  

All of the artifacts should come with risks of usage such a poison, incidental illumination, exhaustion for use, lowering attributes like INT or REF, etc.  These make for interesting and thematic play and are assigned at random upon first usage.  Any scholars present will receive lore benefits to assess risks.

Traps will be represented by various physical assets.  Common traps are arrow, spike floors, mines, drop-hatches, boulder drops, etc.  Unless the Heroes are careful, traps will be triggered usually resulting in death, poisoning, Wounds, or at least a Morale Test.  Traps can be assigned to Treasure, Portals, and specific locations upon the floor of a room or corridor.

Due to the nature of how MEST is currently written, traps unless they cause death (elimination from play) anything else is a pure narrative element because the Revive trait removes Wounds and the Rally trait removes Fear.  And with each Turn becoming 1-6 minutes each we can presume that any wounds or fear tokens go away nearly instantaneously.  

That is because we have no rules for permanent simulation for long-term effects of wounds like becoming blinded, losing an arm, sucking chest wounds, or diarrhea.  We should introduce those otherwise we make all traps auto-elimination.

Movement within the dungeon areas follows the MEST rules.  However, it is presumed that the floors of dungeons are rife with traps and so there needs to be a modification.  Movement outside of battle is presumed to be slower and so each Turn is 1-6 minutes long instead of 5-30 seconds.  This also allows Torches and Lanterns to burn out quickly providing for "burn out" whenever Initiative Tests (single-sided) show dice with 1s in the same way we handle Out-of-Ammo tests; re-roll 1's as 4+ or lose a Torch or Lantern each failure.

Opposing forces available are dependent upon what the players together have available for models.  These are to be assigned to a Monster deck to be used by the GM.  When a tile is rendered to the battlefield, all adjacent tiles are noted on the grid map as well as any Monsters drawn and identified by the Monster deck.  This allows the GM to plan encounters with the opposing forces in a more natural, narrative manner.

HERO GOALS
  1. Build characters for exploration.  Divide between all Hero players 250-375-500 BP and up to 4-6-8 characters depending on the agreed game size of Small-Medium-Large.  We will need to introduce new Commons such as porters, thieves, guides, scholars, and fantasy archetypes.  This may be a good place to introduce the templating rules as well.
  2. Enter the dungeon from the entry room.  Explore Portals into adjacent Rooms and Connectors (corridors, turns, and tunnels).
  3. Look for treasure.  Assign good things to characters, other things to porters.
  4. Heroes must physically exit the dungeon voluntarily in order to keep what was found.
  5. Characters that are Eliminated from play because of Fear should instead be given to the GM for control.  This is a good time to introduce the Terror rules as well.  Essentially those that run away could instead be hiding in the dungeon.

GM GOALS
  1. Maintain the grid map.
  2. Build the battlefield.
  3. Play all of the opposing forces.  
  4. Play the 'system' for traps and movement of opposing forces upon the grid map.
  5. Kill all Heroes' characters.

OPPORTUNITIES
  • Introduce Magic Users and a large spell book.
  • Bring in a lot of the Advanced Traits.
  • Bring in a lot of the equipment lists including poison, torches, prayer books, etc.
  • Introduce the templating system for archetypes.

OVERVIEW
-- Presume this is a dynamic GM vs. player game.  Semi co-op.
   It is GM vs. Heroes.  There are various decks of cards (or tables);
   Room, Decoration, Monster, Boss, and Treasure.

-- Heroes start at the middle of the grid (attached) with a stairs up to exit.

-- The size of each Dungeon is agreed at the start to be Small, Medium, or
   Large; this allows 3+, 6+, or 9+ encounters to be drawn which is somewhat
   unpredictable.  The position of the rooms, the alert level, the security
   rating, and the dungeon level all factor into how much difficulty is
   encountered.

-- Pick a direction.  Note the security rating.  The further you are from an
   exit the higher the rating.  Security rating sets the encounter difficulty
   and the treasure reward.

-- Draw a Room card.  This card will be a set of possible room and corridor
   tile shapes.  The Heroes are expected to build a deck using just those cards
   for which they actually have 3D terrain.  Each tile card will note obvious
   exits and doors. Any traps will be noted as well.

-- Check the security rating for an encounter.  Draw from the Monster deck.
   Note the Lair type (if any) drawn.  Resolve combat.  If Heroes flee, and the
   encounter is intelligent, it will pursue the Heroes. In all cases, raise the
   Alert level (begins at 0).  The alert level increases the number of
   intelligent monsters in the encounter that will appear, as well as bring
   out the boss.

-- Whenever the Alert level is high, and sometimes depending on the Security
   rating and also if the number of rooms has been explored is maximized; the
   Boss deck is drawn in addition to any Monster cards drawn. The Boss deck
   contains custom characters armed with magic weapons or extra traits.

-- All Monster, Boss, and Treasure cards will have scaling factors noted so
   that it will balance out the Heroes' party composition.  It will note range
   fighters if the party has range fighters.  For example; if Heroes has 100 BP
   (5 models) then the encounters will adjust to match 100 BP (5 models +/-).

-- All empty and revisited tiles allow for wandering monsters.  These will be
   few in number but are resolved using "cinematic" play.  Heroes get a subset
   of their models to fight against the wandering monster.  Combat is extended
   during combat resolution; ties award nothing.  If the monster survives it
   will escape and increase the Alert rating.

-- If there is a possibility of Treasure, it is checked against the security
   rating and noted on the map.  Same with traps and other things such that the
   section can be revisited.

-- If there is a stairwell down, it will lead to a second or third dungeon
   level.  This is for campaign play.  More monsters, treasure, danger, etc.

-- Heroes can check walls for secret doors.  These appear randomly, but may
   also be designated on the Room card.  The GM needs to note this.

-- Heroes can decide to take a break. GM is allowed to perform yet another
   wandering monster check.

-- After a dungeon level has been cleared, players can return to the Town
   (above ground) for spending Treasure. If they are not near the start stairs
   going up they must move through the map and risk further wandering monsters.

-- In Town, there is basically just a pick list of things that can be done.
   We could follow Mage-knight or Runebound and have even that become an
   adventure with its own maps and cities.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Spray Bar with Magnetic Mounting Posts

Overview

A "spray box" is basically a large cardboard box which is used to place unpainted figurines while coating them with primer spray paint. The idea is that the box will isolate how much spray paint travels around during the process.

One of the things I've learned since I've first started this hobby is that a "spray box" is really messy. And so I've discovered that if I create a "spray bar" I can minimize my messiness. It also helps to conserve primer spray paint, and allows me to have my figurines neatly organized. This might not work for everyone, but for those people that have mounted their figures upon fender washers this will help. The fender washers are magnetic and will

Things to Get

A pencil.
A screwdriver
A matt-knife with sharp blade
E-6000 or general-purpose glue.
1 x 36-inch wood strip (36" x 2" x 1"). Maybe a heavy wood like walnut.
1 x 12-inch wood strip (12" x 2" x 1/4-inch). A light wood like pine.
16 x 1/2-inch cylindrical spacers such as "compression adaptors"
16 x 3/4-inch ceramic disc magnets (the cheap stuff)
16 x 1-inch fender washers with 1/8-inch holes
16 x 1/2-inch flat washers with 5/16-inch holes

The Steps

1/2-inch cylindrical spacers.

1/2-inch flat washers with 5/16-inch holes

1-inch fender washers with 1/8-inch holes

2-inch bugle-head construction screws

Some wood bars.

Same wood bars at a distance. One bar will be cut into smaller pieces.

Score 2-inch marks evenly spaced upon the thicker wood bar.
  
Here are those ceramic magnets. I'm using mine from an older project and so I'll need to clean up the glue.

Each of the mounts will use these bits. On a 36-inch wood bar with 2-inch spaces there will be enough room for about 16 mounts.

Good ol' E-6000. Sticky. Dries fast.

This is what the screws do.

Assembled for a dry-run. The smaller flat-washer goes upon the larger fender washer to allow the bugle-head screw to be flush.
And upon the flat-washer and screw head we place the magnetic disc.

We affix the mount. The warping here is slight enough to allow the screw to recess a bit. Don't drill them in too tight or the head of the screw will break away.

Here's with the flat-washer affixed and the disc affixed; both with lots of glue.

Cut the thinner pine-wood board into 3-inch sections. I have a sander and so I make the rough edges go away.

Again more E-6000 glue. I place paper beneath the end joints to catch any glue run-off.

Here's what it looks like with a figure upon the mount.

My figure bases are zinc metal and so they stick to the mounts against the magnets even when I tilt the entire bar. The bar therefore can be tilted during application of primer spray as well. And then I can keep the bar and figures neatly in a row near my painting table. Should I ever need to move the entire lot, I just pick up the bar and relocate.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

MEST 2.0 :: Recent updates Again


version 2.45 as of 2016.02.20 [link]

Overview

  1. Expanded the Table of Contents into two columns to make room for more of the content. Missions are listed now.
  2. Expanded the section on how to build an assembly.
  3. Game sizes are "Small", "Medium", and "Large". The term "Standard" game is now a "Medium" size game.
  4. Introduced Variant Common Archetypes. These are trait-based variations of the Common Archetypes which allow for quick comprehension because their stats don't vary from the base-line archetypes.
  5. More properly craft the phrasing for how "hands" are used during game-play when assigning weapons or when using certain actions.
  6. Rephrase the "Hindrance" entry yet again to make it explicitly more clear.
  7. Break out the "Playing the Game" sequence into smaller digestible sections by adding headers to each section.

Actions

  1. Made the new action "Overreach" be an Advanced Rule. It is still a very interesting action which will be used a lot during game-play but it has too many exceptions to be included as a Basic Game rule.
  2. Clarified the use of Bonus Actions and detailed especially how the use of some Bonus Actions might affect multiple Passive characters beyond just the target model.

Advanced Rules

  1. I began a small expansion of the Magic System so that I can begin to add some MEST-specific flavor text. This is in preparation for some of the genres which would use Magic and allows me to build out the spells lists a bit more.
  2. Finally added Lighting to allow players more control of the environment depending on the Mission, and perhaps any Tactics cards brought into play. Lighting can be Atmospheric (external to the battlefield) or Point-light (via Torches or Lamps).
  3. Introduced Gas and Fire rules.  Gas in general can be Smoke, Mustard, or Knock-out. The genre books will likely introduce new types of Gas ... Nerve, Acid, Sarin, etc. Fire itself is interesting but in the scope of the game, the time-scale is too small for Fire to spread unless it is a feature of a particular Scenario.

Optional Rules

  1. The concept of "Optional Rules" is that they are interesting to use but probably more trouble than they are worth or that they are too-specific or limited in their application for most game-play session.  I scrubbed through my years of emails and notes to pull these out. I think the entries are about as complete as I can make it.  Once I bring in the rules for Factions, Champions, and Campaigns I may need to tweak the phrasing here but it probably is near final. I tried to make the phrasing as clear as possible.
  2. Low-light Effects are an interesting addition for some Missions. These rules regulate movement within pitch-black and other night-time environments.
  3. Shadow-casting is sort of a variation on Low-light Effects. Basically useful during Twilight lighting, or in Night environments with Point-lights. Essentially targets in the shadow-area behind an obstacle which blocks LOS to a light source should be treated with lower Visibility.
  4. Facing. I buckled and added this, but it is very light-weight and much different that what other game-systems do because it relies upon the status effects; whether a character is Distracted, Disordered, or Outnumbered.
  5. Wind. I'll be adding Wind as a factor for the Advanced Missions, and Wind can be introduced when using Tactics Cards.  I think it is an intuitive addition though it will probably be rare. It is mostly used to move around Gas markers.
  6. I've added several new actions which will help me build out some Advanced Missions as follows:
  7. "Drag-Carry" action is introduced to be able to move KO'd models about the field. I couldn't determine any way to write it simpler and still be able to be general enough for use by non-standard archetypes. So a Hero could carry a Horse, or four Dogs could drag a Human. 
  8. "Disarm" action is useful for some Missions and for some genres.
  9. "Take" action is useful for some Missions as well. Taking a Gas mask or a Grenade from your opponent for example.
  10. "Grapple". This is also for some Missions to subdue instead of kill a character.
  11. "Yield!". Again this is useful for some genres. This will also be beneficial during Campaign play as it will mess with Glory.
  12. "Knock-back". Primarily used for some genres. I think it is more cinematic than realistic.

Traits

  1. Keyword traits added; Fizzle, Electronic, and Energy. These will be referenced by certain Tactics cards and Missions.
  2. Altered [Coward] and also [Beast] to prevent use of Overreach. Makes sense, right?
  3. [Signature X]. This is an Optional Rule and is useful for Night fighting missions. Essentially it should be easier to target a model which used a Firearm with full-auto at night.
  4. [Upgrade:Item] to assign behaviors to existing items. This is because I've added a generic Equipment list. An example would be to Upgrade:Ammo for armor-piercing bullets to a Firearm.
  5. Boxer X. Added to round out the Fight trait. Used by a Variant Brawler archetype.
  6. Burn X. Works with the Gas and Fire rules. 
  7. Expendable. Used by some Variant archetypes, and as an optional trait for use by Custom Archetypes. Expendable characters don't count and are not used for determining Bottle Tests.
  8. Fire X. Used with the Gas and Fire rules.
  9. Flicker X. A variation on Light X. Assigned to Torches and Lanterns of Ye Olde Wurld to make Point-light sources not behave consistently.
  10. Fume X > Type. Generates Gas:Type. So a Smoke Grenade will generate Gas:Smoke for example.
  11. Gas:Mustard, Gas:Smoke, Gas:Knockout. These three basic Gas types I think cross most genres
  12. Immune X:Trait. Primarily assigned to Gas masks, but this establishes a base-line for future traits.
  13. Light X. For use by Point-light sources like Candles, Torches, Flashlights, etc.
  14. Machine. For assignment to Cyber-kin or Constructs. Makes them ignore Morale for all purposes.
  15. Radio. I added this for the Comm-link equipment item. Right now it is generic. I've also added the Radio traits to the Archaic Hardsuit so that Near Future genres can be prepped.

Miscellaneous

  1. I refactored the ones I've used for the Retropocalypse scenario we did at the various gaming conventions. These revised ones use more of the Faction concepts that I've been working on. Basically if your Agenda matches the needs of your Faction, then it will reward more Resource Points.
  2.  I added the Variant Common Archetypes. These are intended for Advanced game play.  There are about 50 of them. So, an Average Cultist is just an Average Common with the Insane trait added to it.  There are others and now I can purchase a Brawny Brawler, or Archer Marksman, or even a Mystic Cult Leader.
  3. There are now two types of Dogs; "Hound" and "War". Hounds are smaller, cheaper, but have Detect 3 instead of Detect 2. With the introduction of "Dog, Hound" players can now field a huge pack of them.
  4. The Weapons table introduces the new grenades (Knockout, Mustard, Smoke) and also a Fire-bomb ("Molotov Cocktail"). These can be used for many Modern, Post Modern, Near Future, or Ultra Modern genres.


Follow-up

I've got a bunch of more technical writing to accomplish to add the rules for Campaigns, Factions, and Champions. These will be done soon enough and I get to solidify all of my notes. I've reminded myself to generate some AARs and also posts for using many of the new features.

And then I need to paint and build.  This hobby sure requires a lot of effort. Whew!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Pegasus Gothic City Ruins 1 - What's in the Box?

I have been seeing more and more of these Pegasus Gothic sets lately, so for about $20.00 USD I thought I'd check one out. I decided on the the Gothic City Ruins 1 set which ordered online.

The box with a Chaos Thug Archer for scale.

The open box

Simple directions

All of the pieces laid out.

After a few minutes I snapped the pieces together with no glue. I wanted to throw them together without any filing or trimming as a test, so there are some visible gaps. This should be a simple enough fix though.

All and all not a bad buy at around $20.00 USD. I can see why these sets are so popular.

Pretty good up close details. These should paint up nice and easy.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Repurposing Clix III (and D&D Minis, and also those G-uys W-ho should not be named)

These are continuing from an earlier post.  I finished up a few more figures from my collection of HeroClix and some D&D Miniatures.  I really like my Hellbeasts ... er ... Wargs ... er ... Dirgehounds. Yeah. Dirgehounds.

Front. I added a different color ink wash to make the
 three distinguishable from each other.  Actually, I think these
are part of the old Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures line.

The backs. The spikes really stand out with a dry brush technique.

Front of the pack leader for the Dirgehounds. The little red dot is the exact front of the figure; I'm in process of play-testing some facing rules for MEST.

There's a total of 10 Dirgehounds.  The pack leader and
the second are the only two with horns or tusks.

This is one of the many low-detail D&D Minis pieces and
so I tried to build
up some of the niceties using layers of paint.  

Another low-detail piece from D&D Minis.

Elf Princess.  Another cheap-o figure. I really should consider
getting higher-quality figures.   Nah. Wargaming on a budget.

Ah! One of my favorite pieces. A Formorian Giant from
D&D Minis. A standard 28MM figure is in the foreground.
I think the giant is about 3.5-inches tall.

Here it is again. The bases is still wet and I'll need to dry-bush
it to bring out the pebble details. I added lots of paint
layers to build up the surface of the giant.

I haven't yet mastered the technique for eyes yet, but this
giant has lop-sided everything including eyes.  Everything
else I brushed in fine details. The skin is like four layers
of different paint going from medium to lighter. I then
added a Gryphon Sepia wash and then dry-brush Elf Flesh.

Another look at the kind of details I added like at the
palm of the hand holding the petrified tree trunk mace.

Final picture; this one for scale. The human-sized Hero Clix sword-elf
at the front, left is a Reaper Bathalien, then the D&D Minis
"thingamajiga" followed by a D&D Minis Flesh Golem.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Shadows of Brimstone - Speed Painting WIP

I bought the Shadows of Brimstone swamp set a few months ago but never got around to painting any of them. The game itself seems like a great buy with tons of minis, cards, tiles and tokens but I have yet to play.
Be warned though, assembling the plastic minis was mind numbing. I have put together other plastic minis before, but for some reason these were pretty rough.
I used multiple layers of watered down white glue as an easy way to fill in the numerous gaps. 
My approach to painting these was sort of a rough sketch concept, quick and dirty but with (hopefully) interesting blended colors. I quickly got the paint down and added highlights inks and powders.
For the effort I made, I'm pretty happy with the results so far.

These things were orange at one point. Now they look more green and purple.

Tentacles!

Old west zombies!!!!

Bat Things! (these didn't photo very well)

The lot so far.

I still have the heroes and a huge night gaunt looking creature to go!
Hopefully I'll get them done sooner than later.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Reaper Bones Skeletons

I got some more time to paint, and my allergies have subsided a bit.  And so ... in preparation for the Dungeon of Death genre for MEST, I've purchased some Reaper Bones Skeletons and painted them up! Here's my journey from start to finish.

I purchased these from Game Kastle Fremont.  They were
in process being received and I snagged them.

I started collecting and playing miniatures games with Aggro,
and so he uses the UK style of basing 28MM figures upon 1.25-inch fender
washers.  The white stuff here is E-6000  glue that I purchased
from Michael's.

Afterwards I start flocking the base with fine-grit after
swabbing it profusely with Elmer's Glue

I add various granularities of grit to make the bases look
interesting.  All of this can be had from most hobby stores.

Once the glue beneath the grit dries, I seal the grit in with
a film layer of more Elmer's Glue. In this case I used the
clear glue type, but its not that important.

These wooden sprues are very useful for mass-painting.
Essentially they are spaced about 3-inches apart and I fitted
with a magnetic disc. I can have about 6 figures on each
stick. Because my bases are metal washers, they hold into
place so that I can swing the stick around when spray-painting
primer coat, or sealant.

This is the primer coat; my first step of each painting sequence.
The dark color is black and helps me cheat during the painting process
because that sort of sets the crevasses within each figure
so that I won't have to paint them.

After the primer coat dries, I do a dry-brush technique using
a yellowish off-white color to make the details pop. This
step serves to help me identify where to paint as well as allow
later coats of color to appear brighter.

I then dry-brush pure-white in less places than the yellowish
off-white. This is to make the later coats of color stand-out
even more. I'll eventually add a wash to the color so that
they'll not look so cartoonish.

By the way, this thimble-type thingy is something I recommend.
With the magnetic base, I can place a figure upon it while painting.

Here's what I mean; by having the thimble I can paint the
figure with more control and less risk of dirtying my fingers
or even smudging my paint job. Quite important for when
I start painting the base of the figurines.

I'm starting to add color to the archers. The first color laid upon
all of your figures should be as dark as possible. 

Here's what it looks like upon the thimble. It's not that important
at this point to use the thimble; it's more for later when I do
the bases really.

Here's the axe-guard back. It's hard to see, but I've used a light-green dry-brush
against that darker green. It looks nice up close but I'm realizing
that I need either a better camera, a dolly for the camera, or steadier hands.
I'm not very good at this; the pictures are a bit blurry. Sorry.

Front of the sword warrior. I've begun to add color to the shield
and to the weapons. Here's brick red. The bloody effect on the
blades is to paint it with a light coat of red and then pulling
the color off with my fingers by cleaning it. When I used a
tissue to do that, too much color got cleaned away.

The haft of the axe is medium brown followed by a brown ink
wash to give it interesting detail. I did the same for all of the wood
elements such as the bows and the shields. The helmet is a light
coat of metallic copper. I hate working with the metallic
stuff; it always seems to either clump, be too dense, or go on too thin.

Here I've begun to add metallic gold for spots of color.
The pauldron is copper, as is the scale-armor kilt. The
bandaged feet is just brown ink wash.

Front of the sword warrior with brown ink wash on the shield
and the hilt. The shield straps are brick red. With washes,
be sure to add enough water and be sure that the figure
is dry in the areas where the wash will be applied. After
the wash dries, you can always add more in case it is too light.

Here's the same figure after I started adding a very very light
brown ink wash to the whites of the skeleton bones. The ink
settles into the crevasses and it gives a nice effect with the
black from the primer coat applied earlier.

More of the brown ink wash is applied to the other figures.
On these shields I first painted then chainmail silver metallic.
The boots are medium brown with the brown ink wash for detail.

Top view of the archer. I've already added that gold dry-brush
to the pauldron. The white band on the bow is the distinguish
it from the other two models with the same design.

At this point, the skeletons are essentially done, and so I
begin work on the bases. It's five steps; #1 flat light-gray everywhere
on the base, #2 add brown ink wash dabbles on some parts ...

#3 add light green paint wash dabbles on some parts, #4 when
everything dries, add a black ink wash over the entire base. This
makes the other colors much more clear.

#5 the final step is to use the light-gray to lightly dry-bush
parts of the base to make the black ink wash looks less shiny.

As a flourish, I paint the edges of the base pure black. I also add a 1.2-inch label sticker at the bottom
of my figure bases so that when the models are KO'd
during game-play it looks pretty. A secondary benefit
could be to label the bottom of the bases so that they
can be uniquely identified. Anyhow, the labels can be
replaced whenever necessary. 

Final result; ta da! In total, 18 figures with 6 variations so
three figures each. This took about 2 hours a day for 4 days,
which is an average of  about 30 minutes per figure.