March 30, 2011

Trollkin Runeshapers

My first completed infantry unit! It took me about a week to get the three models painted. Standard tartan and basing (for me). I painted the arms and weapons separately and assembled the models after painting, taking some care to clean up or paint over the gloss finish left by excess glue.

The “leader”, the model with the circle of stones and his hands thrown up in the air, was a pain to assemble and paint. The stones are multi-part metal and heavy, which made getting them glued into position without falling over difficult. In addition, I couldn’t paint the leader with the stones in the way. After painting both separately, I lost a fair amount of the paint on his kilt and the stones trying to fit the model into its base. Despite the time and effort involved, I’m rather pleased with the results.

You can see my Dire Troll Mauler lurking, half-painted, in the background. He’s desperate to have his shading done, but my next goal (haven’t flipped the coin yet) is either a completed Krielstone Bearer and Stone Scribes or a completed Trollkin Fennblades unit (so much painting).

Use the force, Luke?

March 16, 2011

PAX East 2011

The new venue was bigger and better. Unfortunately, it is nowhere near any decent eating or drinking establishments; Harpoon brewery, which we checked out Thursday afternoon, notwithstanding. Meals were 15$ minimum at any establishment within a mile and weak coffee was available for an outrageous 3$ a cup. I am glad I purchased snacks and fruit for the weekend on Thursday.

I also skipped the concerts for the first time this year and was glad for it. The time I gained in not standing in line alone let me sneak in a few extra games with friends.


Tabletop free play. Nothing beats catching up with old friends over new (to me) board games. I played Race for the Galaxy, Carcassone, and Dixit for the first time. We also got in a round of Citadels.

Dungeons and Dragons. Steve, Tim and I joined 3 randoms for the Saturday night DM Challenge, a 4 hour adventure after which we rated our DM in various categories. Our DM was great and the game was a riot. My character ended the adventure at -9 and stabilized!

Console free play. Got a few rounds of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Mario Party in, and got to watch Bayonetta, Dead Space 2 and a couple of other interesting games.

New games. Really enjoyed the look and feel of Fez (Polytron), Battleblock Theater (Behemoth), and Dungeon Defenders (Trendy). There were more but names are eluding me right now.


Nintendo 3DS. I played Resident Evil Mercenaries and watched Street Fighter from a decent vantage. I wasn’t impressed with either offering, and after only 10 minutes in front of the 3DS my eyes were strained.

Privateer Press. I understand they like Seattle, but I was really disappointed with the lack of presence at PAX East. We saw some Warmachine games in the tabletop free play section on Saturday, but nothing particularly organized.

February 8, 2011

Lists At 15 And 25

Standard list sizes are 35 points, but Steve and I have been playing 11 point (warpack) matches and plan to graduate to 15 points in the next week and 25 points shortly after. After a sizable order on, I have 3 warlocks and several unit options; none popular with the tournament crowd, but suited for fun.

I am primarily interested in playing with Hoarluk Doomshaper (HD) at lower thresholds, particularly as my primary opponent is playing a 'jack heavy army. I have Calandra and Madrak, as well, but don’t have the units to support a strong composition with either at the lead.

Available Units
Earthborn Dire Troll (EBDT) @ 10pts
Dire Troll Mauler (DTM) @ 9pts
Troll Axer (TA) @ 6pts
Troll Impaler x2 (TI) @ 5pts
Trollkin Fennblades (TkF) @ 5/8pts
Krielstone Bearer and Stone Scribes (KBSS) @ 4pts
Runeshapers (RS) @ 4pts (3pts with Doomshaper’s Tier 1)
Janissa Stonetide (JS) @ 3pts

Thoughts @ 15pts

HD (-7), EBDT (+10), DTM (+9), RS (+4-1)
HD (-7), EBDT (+10), RS (+4-1), JS (+3), TA (+6)
If I had another DTM, this might be interesting: HD (-7), DTM x2 (+18), KBSS (+4)

Thoughts @ 25pts

HD (-7), EBDT (+10), DTM (+9), TA (+6), KBSS (+4), RS (+4-1)

February 6, 2011

Session 3: Dreams

Cormick (Summoner 3): Menoan transplant, scribe, and shopkeeper.
Erasmus Ghent (Abjurer 3): An apothecary from Rustidge.
Kheshef (Barbarian 3): An escaped slave turned mason.
Luka (Rogue 3): Vagrant follower of Kheshef.
Nicholai (Archer 3): A mercenary from Edelford.
Norben Fletcher (Cleric 3): Itinerant preacher.

The group lies in wait for the Menoans. The second scouting party enters Edelford and is ambushed, quickly succumbing to the group’s carefully laid trap. One of the scouts is captured alive and interrogated by Norben, who skillfully goads the arrogant captive into revealing Menoa’s motive for invading Syre; King Meno’s apprentice, Maldus, seeks an artifact hidden in the Cursed Forest. The Menoan fanatic is brutally slain by Kheshef once it is determined he is of no more use.

After some deliberation, the group decides to head north to Albrecht’s Vale in an attempt to capture the artifact before Maldus and his men. Pushing the horses they arrive in less than two days. While Nicholai warns an outlying farm of the Menoan force’s approach and the others search the abandoned town, Erasmus and Cormick use previously gathered materials to conjure a demon into a protective circle. The lust demon appears as a naked woman with snakes in lieu of hair and flirts with the pair until a deal is struck: information in exchange for a promise from Cormick.

Cormick and Erasmus learn that the wizard Temeris lived in Albrecht’s Vale roughly four hundred years prior and that the town’s barracks are built over the ruin of his home. Also, that Maldus seeks a relic reputed to empower enchantments involving sleep, but does not know precisely where in the Cursed Forest it is hidden. Hoping for a clue to its resting place, the group investigates the barracks. Luka finds a trapdoor during a thorough search of the ground floor and reveals an earthen passage beyond.

Temeris’s home is a warren of stone passageways and secret doors. Piles of moldering debris line the walls and rotting furniture fills otherwise empty rooms. The only room safe from the creeping mold is the library, which is trapped with a circle that magically animates objects that pass through it. The animated objects attack the group, but are put down quickly and with minimal injury. In fact, the weapons affected by the trap appear to have a lingering magical aura; a minor and unexpected boon.

In continued exploration of the ruins, the group finds an oubliette from which a strong breeze emanates, a rushing underground stream, a large mess hall, and a stunted tree. When Kheshef touches the tree he is knocked unconscious, and, when shaken awake, claims to have had a strange dream featuring an old man. He remembers only the words, “Nightmare Diamond”. Luka touches the tree next and claims a similar experience. All save Erasmus appear to be affected by the tree’s magic, and each visits a strange dream to return with vague memories. The group decides to have Erasmus watch over them as they touch the tree in tandem.

Launched into a dream world, the group finds themselves in the bodies of Temeris’s apprentices as they sit down to dinner with the aged wizard. The ruined mess hall found upstairs is the scene, now returned to habitable condition. The group grills Temeris about the Nightmare Diamond and its source, the Howling Mine; names remembered from previous interactions with the tree. The master denies his students any information about the Nightmare Diamond or the Howling Mine, assuring them that the mine is sealed forever and the Nightmare Diamond safely hidden.

Throughout the dreams, Temeris insists that he has been questioned time and time again about both objects, but remains adamant in his denials. No further information is gleaned on the whereabouts of the Nightmare Diamond or the contents of the chest in Temeris’s room.

Puzzled, but now more certain of the Nightmare Diamond’s resting place in the heart of the Cursed Forest, the group heads west. They tether their beleaguered horses in a meadow near the edge of the forest and continue following the river on foot. After a few hours of rough woodland terrain, including an avoided encounter with dire wolves sunning themselves on some large rocks, the group reaches a foot path running perpendicular to their own course. Intrigued, they follow the path to a stone bridge that crosses the river.

The smell of rotting meat is strong as they approach the bridge. Kheshef moves to investigate beneath while, in jest, wishing aloud that he hopes no troll is present. Unfortunately, one is, and a bloody combat ensues. Kheshef is brutally attacked and tossed aside, but Norben rescues Kheshef and the group subdues the troll as it attempts to climb up the bank. It wakes as it floats downstream but is quickly put down again and finally killed with a heroic, leaping attack by Luka. Its bag of rotting meat and treasure is pulled from beneath the bridge as the group recovers its strength.

January 23, 2011

Extra Padding

No, I am not talking about my waistline. I picked up a copy of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook on Saturday, a useful purchase considering that I am currently DM for two Pathfinder games. Among other subtle changes between 3.5 and Pathfinder, I noticed that death occurs at negative hit points equal to the character's Constitution score (e.g. -16 for a Constitution 16 character) rather than -10.

During the last game session of the Three Kingdoms campaign, Kheshef the "half-orc" Barbarian was brought to -7 by a troll. I actually did enough damage to bring Kheshef to -10 and "fudged" the roll because I felt it created a more interesting situation; the dying Kheshef was tossed into the river and the party needed to react immediately to save him from drowning or bleeding out, versus watching his lifeless, eviscerated corpse wash downstream. If we had been using the correct Pathfinder rule, rather than the 3.5 rule, Kheshef would still have had a few rounds to live at -10.

I like the change because it gives front line characters some extra time to be saved by comrades. In contrast, 4th edition gives all characters an enormous positive and negative health pool. A 3rd level Barbarian with attributes similar to Kheshef's would have something like 24 negative hit points, a 10th level Warden can easily hit -50. It's interesting that in 3.x, negative hit point pools are a scarce resource while 4th edition made them inconsequential (all healing begins at 0, effectively negating actions that target characters below 0 hit points that do not deal a killing blow). It feels like, once again, Pathfinder struck an excellent balance between 3.5 and 4.

January 14, 2011

Earthborn Dire Troll

The latest and largest addition to my Trollbloods force, the Earthborn Dire Troll. It took me 3 days of filing, gluing, green stuff and painting to get it to this point. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera on hand when I was putting it together last weekend or I would have taken step-by-step shots.

In these pictures you can see the right arm blocks most of the surface of his stomach, groin and right leg. I actually painted the right leg and arm before assembling the torso to the hips. There was a particularly large gap in the mold on its back (~4mm wide) which I had to remodel with green stuff. My work is a bit clumsy, but you can't really tell from these shots. I also ended up closing the gap between his right leg and hips, and his head and neck. The teeth were super easy to paint, and I still need to paint the eyes.

I was considering the purchase of a Dire Troll Mauler, but after the work I put into the Earthborn Dire Troll I am going to wait for a month or two before taking on another big project. Regardless, I am really happy with the results of my first Warbeast and 50mm project.

Cross posted at 25mmk.

January 2, 2011

New Year, New Paints, New Project

My reentry into Warmachine and first exposure to Hordes started this week with a box of Trollkin Fennblades. Not the wisest choice for army genesis, considering the unit is basically unplayable against the prefabricated starter sets, but the models look good and I am avoiding the Trollblood starter box until the plastic miniatures are released. It's not that I'm averse to working with metal miniatures, I just prefer plastic.

Emily gave me an awesome paint box, paints and paintbrushes for Christmas, so I was eager to crack them open and get started yesterday. Unfortunately, the Fennblade model I chose to paint had a ton of mold lines; about 30 minutes of scraping and filing later I was ready to base it. I don’t normally get too fancy with bases, but I really wanted this Fennblade standing with one foot up on a rock. I removed the plastic bar connecting the model's feet and created a more dynamic pose.

I primed black and was ready to go. The defining articles of Trollblood equipment are the sash and loincloth, traditionally painted with a pattern unique to your army. Having drooled jealously over the tartan designs on many Trollblood armies, I decided to try my hand at a simple tartan design which I think came out rather well.

This model is about 90% done. I'm going to repaint and possibly add some sculpting to the leg to have him "going commando". I've also got to highlight the dark green and red in the sash. The tartan design was simple: a base layer of dark green ("Green Meadow"); a broad cross pattern of dark red ("Brick Red") with brighter red ("Napthol Crimson") square intersections; lastly, thin yellow ("Lemon Custard") lines breaking the horizontal pattern.

Cross posted at 25mmk.