Saturday, August 27, 2016

My workbench: Part 1/ 2 Scratchbuilding/ Kitbashing mostly fantasy terrain (25-28mm)

I've been going to the dollar and craft store this week, browsing and picking up junk that I feel can be used for terrain. I am starting to get into the swing of Frostgrave, and am always looking to spice things up as once you've seen a ruined corner building, you've seen them all.

I enjoy kitbashing for some reason. I am often surprised as I start off with one idea, but then I add a little of this and a little of that, some trial and error and before you know it, I've finished with something completely different.

In this part 1, I will show how I put things together and in part 2, I will paint them up.

1. The Great Eye..

This idea made me laugh. I bought these styrofoam spheres the other day and didn't know what to do with them.. but it came to me all of a sudden last night walking home when the idea of Sauron came to me.. lidless and all seeing..

What if in the Frostgrave (or whatever fantasy I will play in the future), there is an eye monument.

First, I drew out the eye lid on the styrofoam ball..

Then, I cut out the top of a coke bottle to make a pedestal.

Then I put on some "tiles" using clay put into a template and glued them on to the base on this cookie-cutter template that I've used before.

I stuck the "eye" on top after it dried and then used milliput to make the iris and did my best to sculpt the inner eye..

I had the eye look up at the players when we play..

I put a comparison figure so you can see the size of this "monument."

For some reason, this monument pleases me the most and makes me chuckle when I see it. I hope my paint job in stone colour does a good job..

I haven't decided if I will put this on it's own base or not.


2. The Fantasy Hero of long ago..

I bought this Schleich model the other day I think for like $8 on special..

I cut it in half, which was a bit hard as the plastic was harder than I thought..

I mounted it on this cone styrofoam I bought after cutting it in half and using the bottom part..

I added clay tiles and also a plaque in green stuff and etched in fantastical writing.

It's a shame that I have to paint over the heraldry in a stone colour, but it is a monument after all.

I like it. Very fantasy-ish.

 3. The Broken Eagle..

  At the same time I bought the Schleich hero, I got this eagle.

I like the idea of weird LOS blockers and thought those statue wings will be good to block instead of the usual corner of a building..

I broke it off and added the top of the cone I didn't use for the fantasy hero statue as the base statue for the eagle..

I was too tired after tiling the eye and the fantasy hero to do it again, so I just put down some rough groundwork with milliput and clay. It helped to solidify the broken statue in place once it hardened. 

I also put in a plaque in fantastical writing..

I'll paint the statue grey of course and maybe put in sand on the base.

4. The Concentric Rings

This idea is more sci-fi or modern art type than fantasy, but it could work.

I bought this at a Psychic Fair last year as it's shape intrigues me. It's supposed to do something for you, but I can't remember what. It wasn't that expense; I think I bought it for under $10..

At the dollar store, I bought this 4 foot styrofoam thingie I think kids use to play in the water. For a $1 or 2, this thing can give me lots of kitbashing material. It looks like it could be a pedestal or a barrier, etc.

I cut out a top part.. 

and cut out trenches or lines so my whatever-it-is would fit .

I mounted it and added green stuff to hold it in place and then painted it a bit of primer for now.

I am okay with this one, but it's not as interesting as the others for some reason.

I haven't decided if I will put this on it's own base or not.

5. The Snake and Cat Ruin

For awhile now, I've had this large sabertooth tiger action figure that I bought somewhere in a bargain bin. Too big for 28mm play, but I now have a use for it as a statue figure head, which was always my original intention.

 I cut off it's head..

and pinned it with a wooden dowel to insert into a styrofoam ball..

Also bought for like $3 these snake rubbery toys..

I then combined the two into a ruin..

I had to spray those two pieces black before putting it on the styrofoam as something chemically happens to the foam if I spray paint it.. I'll hand prime the styrofoam later.

I did put some crazy glue on the ball though to make it look even more pockmarked.

So, I have a big cat and snake theme to start with, and lucky me, I found a Halloween cat mask this week at the dollar store for $2 to make into a building facade..

The dollar store had this kneepad foam I bought months ago, and now decided to use it by cutting out the outline of the "building facade."

I glued on the foam to the mask..

and made a little snake and cat ruin with part of a building facade for our gallant Frostgrave heroes to fight and hide.. Note that I left some room free between the two areas for easy movement.

6. The Raven Ruin..

I was starting to feel tired but kept going on. 

The dollar star is starting to stock up on Halloween stuff and I thought it's a great opportunity to buy lots of cheap skeletons and such for kit-bashing later on. 

I saw this Halloween Raven and had a thought and bought it for $2.

I sawed off the head and legs quickly and made a mini-ruin. This one is making me laugh and I look forward to having my Frostgrave minis fight between the legs of this bird "statue."

A closer shot of the Raven head "statue."

The rubble is positioned so minis can climb on top.


7. The Nose ruin..

On my seventh kitbash in 24 hours, I was starting to get tired and had energy for one more minor job. 

I saw this Halloween rubber mask for $3 and bought it. .

In a crazy thought, I cut out the nose and stuffed it with clay, and then mounted it on small board and put in two slabs of rubble. The rubble of course, is positioned so miniatures can climb on them.

I don't know how my buddies will react to fighting near the "nose" of a huge statue ruin, but for $3, you can't go wrong.  

Hey, of course the Frostgrave city has this.. like totally. :-)

I am tired..
Please see part 2 for the paintjob. Thanks. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

More Gimmicky dice... another sign that tabletop gaming has "peaked" ?

I have commented before about the fact that ornate dice is possibly signalling that our tabletop gaming hobby may be at it's peak, as discussed here and here.

Decadence is the word that comes into mind. One doesn't need ornate stuff to maintain interest and could be a sign of a beginning ennui in the hobby among us old farts, or gimmicks to keep app-obsessed millenials interested in old school play. 

Well, a buddy just sent me this link.. Self rolling dice..

I kid you not.. Clap your hands, and they roll themselves.

That's how lazy we're getting..

I'll just leave this video here...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Frostgrave cooperative Dark Alchemy campaign.. Part the First & Part the Second.

Despite my disastrous first tryout of Frostgrave (as discussed here), I was still game to play.

I recreated my warband a couple of weeks ago, this time making him a warlock and adding more thugs to absorb what cannon-fodder do best..

My friend Jeff suggested we retry it first with official cooperative scenarios in order to get our feet wet and level  up. We thus played today scenario 1 and 2 of the 3 scenario Dark Alchemy cooperative campaign, which is available by ebook.

The potion rules were revamped in Dark Alchemy, so we decided to roll on the new potion tables even when we go back to competitive.

Scenario 1 was called the Alchemical Monstrosity and my warband teamed up with Jeff's warband to go in and grab some treasure, but in a part of the city where an Alchemical Monstrosity, a leftover from some horrible experiment had gone wrong (I believe) was still roaming the streets.

That and giant rats as well who spawn every turn.. 

I teamed up with Jeff's warband, and we were each allowed to bring 3 troopers total (including your wizard) to the table. I brought my wizard, my crossbowman Crawford, and my treasure hunter Samson, along..

The scenario called for nabbing 6 treasure tokens, and getting points for killing rats and the monstrosity if you can, then exit by one of two magical doors. One of the doors is the correct one, the other is not. You need to make a roll when you get to the door to see if it's the right one.

The rats and monstrosities, if not in sight and range of anyone, will gravitate toward those doors and defend them.

Scenarios 1, 2 and 3 were supposed to happen one after the other, so I couldn't go back and buy stuff until after scenario 3. Any pre-game spell rolls I made will have to be for all three scenarios.

I successfully rolled on my Brew Potion spell, and concocted an Explosive Cocktail, which acts like the grenade spell. I gave it to my treasure hunter, Samson.

I failed my Animal Companion spell, but made my Animate Construct spell, I could thus bring in my Book Golum sculpt, which I decided will do for scenario 2.

It wasn't clear to us in the campaign if we needed to roll for additional monsters whenever you nabbed treasure, but we said yes for scenario 1 but then changed our minds for scenario 2 (and 3 I guess).

It wasn't until we got to the middle of the table that things got interesting..

The Monstrosity and rats retreated toward the doors as they didn't see us, so we were untouched until the middle. My crossbowman picked up my first treasure, and we rolled a Werewolf encounter who showed up in our rear and could see us. He made a beeline right for us, threatening Crawford.

I had to get my treasure hunter to cover him and used my Explosive Cocktail on the big bad wolf, damaging him severely (10 hit points) but not killing him.

When he engaged Crawford, it was a tense roll as these werewolves are tough, but my guy killed him. I used an action to extract a werewolf pelt that I can later on sell for 20 gold.

We continued on north and then I made a slight tactical mistake. My wizard entered the ruined building greedily going after some treasure... I was a bit isolated from everyone though when I did it...

The Monstrosity went after him..

In HTH combat, I couldn't use my bone dart spell (or any magic), and the thing inflicted 12 points of damage on me. My wizard only had 14 health, so I was in trouble.

Even worse, a rat that spawned nearby got beside my wizard as well. I only had 2 health remaining and it would not take much anymore with all this D20 swinginess to knock me out of the scenario.

Both me and Jeff immediately ran to cover my wizard with everything we got and everybody piled on to the monstrosity, luckily killing it and the rat.

I had my guys put a protective shield at the entrance to cover my hurting Wizard..

Jeff's Wizard came up and successfully used a healing spell of his (has be to be touching) to give me back five health points.

My wizard went over the wall to avoid that rat spawn point near by.

We found out the door we were all near was not the door needed, so we wasted some time around there with a rat spawn point near by. My guys headed to the other door along the north edge of that ruined building..

We still had a hard time breaking off to go to the other door as we were right beside the rat spawn point, so every turn we were in HTH with rats..My treasure hunter killed something like five rats in five turns and took some damage..

However, my crossbowman was knocked out of the scenario by those dirty rats, but my wizard and treasure hunter made it through the door.

Jeff, who took up the rear, had some difficulty breaking off around that spawn point...

but he eventually managed to make it through..

The scenario was kinda okay, and did not pose too much of a tactical challenge. It was okay to get one's feet wet with Frostgrave, but after my baptism of fire the first time I played it, it was not necessary. It was still alright though.

Post-scenario, I got 170 points of experience, which means I leveled up so I decided to lower my Bone Dart Skill roll requirement to 9.

I rolled successfully on the injury and death table and revived my crossbowman without a scratch.

On the treasure table, I rolled the spell eater scroll, some gold and 3 potions: The Potion of Preservation, Elixir of the Chameleon and the Bottle of Darkness.

We soldiered on to the second scenario, the Skeleton Run, which I later on found a lot tougher.

This time, I volunteered my Wizard again, but one of my thugs, Stuggo and my small construct, the Book Golum.

Jeff had these D&D fire skeletons (on the left)  that we used this time. These things were a lot more tough than the rats in scenario 1. In scenario 3, we plan to use even the tougher fire-flinging skeletons (on the right in yellow).

Even tougher were these slow-moving Zombies as well that spawned.

The scenario called for us to exit on the north side and nab treasure along the way. Like scenario 1, there were points for killing the monsters and for your wizard to escape.

Scenario 2 was a bit harder than scenario 1 and a bit see-saw as there were a lot more of the skeletons respawning every turn.

We made it through the middle again before we encountered the skeletons and man, they were like wave after wave coming after my guys.

I again had to do an undignified (for a Wizard) climb over walls to hide in a building as my guys covered for him and fought off the skeletons continously.

My construct was pretty soon surrounded by 2 skeletons, and a Zombie to his rear. He went down pretty quick.

I was near two spawn points and found myself getting overwhelmed while Jeff on the other side seemed to have a cakewalk, nabbing treasure.

Gondor calls for aid Jeff!

Jeff came, but had a Zombie hot on his trail..

Pretty soon, my thug was taken out as well and my Wizard was all alone. Great, just great.. my Wizard was surrounded in a building by lots of skeletons and a zombie.

Jeff helped killing one of the skeletons at the door, and I climbed up on to the wall to bone dart the other one, with the treasure token right below me.

My erstwhile ally Jeff, his work done, then headed into the ruin in the centre as there was treasure there, leaving me to my own devices to handle that one remaining skeleton and that slow moving Zombie to the West.

All I had to do was kill that Skeleton, jump down and nab my first treasure..

No problem I thought, but the spawning rolls again found me overwhelmed the very next turn.

The Skeleton went right on top of the treasure token, denying me it.. so I immediately got out of sight of him by jumping back into the building.

The Skeleton couldn't see me, but the Zombie could, so he climbed over to get after my poor wizard.

Luckily, the Zombie burned a lot of movement points climbing that wall, so he was just out of the 1 inch automatic combat rule.

I exited through the door and hid behind a wall near the statue with 2 tantalizing treasures nearby. Meanwhile, Jeff nabbed all 3 of the treasures on his side, while I had nothing to show for it apart from 2 knocked-out guys. Luckily, in cooperative play, we decided earlier to splt the points on treasure taken (but not for spells and killed monsters of course).

The Zombie couldn't see me and one of the skeletons was behind some ice, so he also couldn't see me either..

I climbed over the wall again to nab that treasure greedily enough (hey, it's for the team!) but soon found myself surrounded by skeletons and a persistent Zombie.

When monsters can't see you and out of range, we rolled a d12 to see which o'clock direction they would go.. I found the Zombie somehow always getting near me despite the random direction. The Zombie could have easily stayed in the building but noooo, he randomly gets behind me.

I fought them off, nabbed the treasure and again, undignified for  a wizard, climbed over the wall just as the skeleton from the northern spawn point made it into the ruins I was just in.

The Zombie couldn't see me, so we rolled randomly and by a bit of damn luck, went toward my direction. Since he was within an inch of me, we had to enter combat.

The Zombie and I traded blows and we damaged each other in HTH.

Meanwhile, Jeff, who seemed to be having a vacation and a cakewalk with little opposition, had to come back to help.

I fought off the Zombie, and Jeff killed that Skeleton in the ruin, so I greedily went back to get that treasure in the ruin corner that was denied to me earlier on.

Jeff went to get the last treasure token, up in the Northern corner just as another skeleton spawned near him (again on my side of the board).

Jeff killed it, but I found myself again surrounded by Skeletons spawning near me.

Jeff meanwhile said he was exiting off the board, ending his part in the scenario since there was no more treasure to take.

He said later on that I said okay with him leaving, but if so, I quickly regretted it, as again, I found all the spawning rolls were happening near me.

It felt like half the spawning army was hot on my tail and this time, Jeff and his band were long gone...

I killed some but for something like the fifth or sixth time, I found myself climbing walls to hide in buildings. If only my fellow classmates at the Warlock School of Magic could see me now.

I headed north to the building, hiding out of sight and then exited the board on the northern edge per the rules and made it.

Scenario 2 was a lot tougher than scenario 1.

Post game, I earned 235 points, bringing my wizard up to Level 4 at 405 points. I improved my health and fight stats, and lowered my bone dart skill to 8.

I got the usual gold rolls and five more potions, though no grimoire yet to learn new skills; another Elixir of the Chameleon, the Elixir of Speed, some Poison, the Cordial of Clearsight and the Philtre of Fury.

On the injury table, my construct was damaged and out the next scenario, but my thug Stuggo was dead. He served me well, the gutter rat thug that he was.

We set up scenario 3 and called it a night. For Scenario 3, I decided to use my apprentice on that one.

All in all, this session of Frostgrave was much more enjoyable. Cooperative is not bad.

We finished off this campaign in scenario 3, as discussed here.