Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Company of the Severed Head

I've finally gotten around to starting the blog which will be the chronicle of my current player's adventures in my realms in short story form.

We have a Yahoo Group for limited role playing between sessions, and hammering out the details of play times, mechanics, and other issues.

Our primary scribe also posts his session notes there, along with additional notes from the other players.

I will be compiling those combined notes and putting them down in a narrative using my primary NPC voice, that of Shandar the Ashen One.

You can find those posts here:

The Company of the Severed Head.

All posts there will be in character, though comments need not necessarily be. Nothing will be posted there that is DM only information, though this blog might frequently present information on monsters and other items which the player characters would not be aware of.

So, if you are reading there and are familiar with the modules through which the players are adventuring, please don't give spoilers in your comments or questions. It might be better to ask a question on this blog about an inconsistent date, mechanics, or problems with continuity of canon between my realms and the official Realms rather than over where my players will be reading about themselves.

I hope you enjoy their travels as much as I am.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Devil: Martinet

Constable to Asmodeus

This is the WOTC Half-Fiend Ogre. Whatever a half-fiend ogre is. I realize that the description for Martinet is more of a diplomat than this armored sword holding guy, but most fiends are naked or nearly naked so I'm taking his wearing armor as a sign of the fact that he is "not greatly powerful himself" and that even with the backing of Asmodeus fiends will want a modicum of physical threat present in order to take the diplomat seriously.

At any rate, this is the best use I could find for this particular mini.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Devil: Geryon, Lord of the Fifth


This is a wholly scratch built mini. I took the snake body of a WOTC Fienish Snake and cut off the head. (Don't tell the wife I used her best and sharpest carving knife) Then I took a DC Heroclix Wendigo and cut off his legs. (Don't tell the wife I did it again)

Next, I found a small screw which I used to bore into the torso of the wendigo to about the right length of additional snake body needed. Once I did that, I plugged up the empty space with green stuff. I added some detail, put the wings from the succubus I used for Fierna, and then painted the whole thing to come as close as I could to the illustration in the Book of Vile Darkness.

It isn't a particularly skillful sculpt, but it makes a servicable mini.

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Devil: Glasya, Consort to Mammon

Princess of Hell

This is a composite of a Reaper demoness. Glasya is described as having a fluked tail, which is here made from a Reaper phase cat's tentacles and some green stuff. A little more green stuff rolled out and glued to her forehead became her horns.

I wasn't sure about how I'd feel about the copper skin, but the description is very specific about the end I liked it a lot more than I thought I would.

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Devil: Fierna, Daughter of Belial

Princess of Hell

Actually, after the Reckoning, she co-rules with her father Belial, but none of that has probably happened yet in my world, which is in 1368 DR.

She is another Reaper mini, a succubus, but I took off her wings and filled in the holes in her hair with green stuff. It was her hooves that made me decide to use the Reaper Belial for her father.

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Devil: Titvilus, Duke of Hell

Duke of Hell

This is a good representation of the devil named Titvilus. It is actually a Reaper faun or satyr, but I added wings from an old lead Ral Partha demon.

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Devil: Hutijin, Duke of Hell

Duke of Hell

This is another Reaper mini that works pretty well as a hellish personality.

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Devil: Bael, Duke of Hell

Duke of Hell

This is a Reaper Mini of a Water Buffalo minotaur. Again, it isn't a perfect representation, but it comes pretty close to the 1st edition desctiption.

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Devil: Amon, Vassal of Geryon

Duke of Hell

This is a Ral Partha wolfwere, and the "Winter Wolf of greatest size" is a Grenadier worg, I think.

It certainly isn't an ideal representation of Amon, but it will do until something better comes along.

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Devils: Moloch, Lord of the Sixth


I can't remember where this mini comes from originally, possibly RAFM. Because he was nekkid, I added some anatomy and some horns with green stuff.

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Devils: Dispater, Lord of the Second


This is a Star Wars mini, Mas Amedda, which I admit is somewhat cheesey for an arch devil, but I don't have anything else even close to working for Dispator. Just think of one goat foot under that robe.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Reckoning of Hell?

As is obvious, I'm working on mini representations of the denizens of Hell, but a stumbling block for me is trying to determine when in Dale Reckoning the Reckoning of Hell (as described in A Player's Guide to Hell) took place.

I might want to incorporate A Paladin in Hell into my campaign, but want to know when in DR it would be appropriate. This has major consequences as to the form some of the transformed Devils would have if encountered, who the rulers of the different planes are and so forth.

I'm currently in DR 1368. Can any one tell me if the Reckoning has already happened, and if so, when? If it hasn't happened, when will it? I know that a fair rule of thumb is to check the release date of the product against the year in DR the product is set in...but does that work with non-Realms products?

For example, 1368 given as the "present day" for the revised campaign setting release and Prince of Lies and other products released in Real World Reckoning 1993.

A Paladin in Hell came out in 1998, and A Player's Guide to Hell came out in 1999, followed by The Apocolypse Stone in 2000.

Does that mean that the Reckoning of Hell begins with A Paladin in Hell in roughly 1373?

What's the buzz, tell me whats a happenin'--

Is Mammon a fat and bloated pit fiend or is he a Geryon impersonator in 1368?

Is Baazebul a bug eyed demon or a giant slime drooling slug in 1373?

Iquiring minds want to know. If possible, cite me a source if you have the information.


Though I hate Wikipedia when my students cite it as a source in their papers, it is pretty much the only source for collected information on RPG game settings.

Wiki Entry on The Reckoning

Unfortunately, it doesn't give a Forgotten Realms approximate date for any of the events.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Devils: Bel, Lord of Avernus

Pit Fiend, Lord of the First

Bel is a bit of a success story in hell, an infernal Rags to Riches saga of a lowly Lemure who picked itself up by its own damned bootstraps and rose to become lord of an entire layer of Hell.

Normally I tend to use the WOTC minis for unique characters in my world, since as a collectible that will go out of produciton in a few months, it makes sense to use minis in regular production for monsters of which there are more than one. The WOTC Pit Fiend just isn't as awe inspiring as the Reaper Mini Agramon: pit fiend, though, so I had to make this guy out of one of those.

Bel has a flaming sword which is described as "curved" and "odd" but I couldn't find any curved and odd swords large enough to look remotely OK in his hand, so I went with a good sized greatsword from one of the Reaper weapons packs and added flames with brown stuff. I also ended up having to use brown stuff to adhere the weapon to his fist, with a little ball on the bottom for the pommel.

Then I painted it with Reaper Master Series paints (plug plug plug)using the WOTC figure as a painting guide.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Volt Found!!!

I've been emailing with Richard Scott, whose collection of Citadel Miniatures I've been admiring here. I've been searching for months now trying to find someone who remembers a volt miniature based on the artwork from the Fiend Folio (p. 94-95)

I thought that the line of minis in Richard's collection looked similar, and so I asked him if he knew anything about it. Within hours he had sent me a link to where, sure enough, there is a pic of the volt of my memories. Citadel Miniatures FF8-1.

There are a fair number of minis on this page that I have, but there are a few that I'd love to get.

Here are more additions to my wish list, drawn from this wonderful resource:

FF4-1 Crabman
FF5-1 Phantom Stalker
FF6-1 Giant Blood Worm (I have one, but would like a few more)
FF8-1 Volt Version 1
FF8-1 Volt Version 2
FF12-1 Assassin Bug

FF31-1 Satanic Angel (this is pretty close to the Styx Devil from the Fiend Folio pg. 25)
FF53 Ogre (I use these for Beastmen)
FF71 Gnome Assassin (this looks like it would work well for a Dark Creeper)

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Devil: Mephistopheles


This is also a Reaper Miniatures figure. In fact, Mephisto here is sort of responsible for my reconnecting with Matt Clark. I was searching for a miniature of Mephistopheles and found it on eBay, but too late to bid on it. I discovered it was a Reaper Miniature and from that found the Reaper website. Along with my order for the miniature I included a note asking if my friend Matt still worked there, and the rest of the sgtory is a very full basement.

I like how this one turned out, though it was frustrating to have painted really cool coral and brick red wings only to re-read the description and be reminded that his wings and horns are blue. Durn it.

I went over the wings with blue ink and all was well again.

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Aboleth is finished!

Well, it is done. The aboleth green I posted yesterday all painted and ready for someone to stumble into its underground lake.


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Devils: Belial

Lord of the Fourth

This miniature is by Reaper, and is a representation of Belial, but originally I didn't think it fit the description of Belial in the 1st Edition Monster Manual II (p. 46) very well. He's supposed to have a military fork and there is nothing to indicate hooves in the description. I had thought about using him (and even originally posted this as) Titivilus, who is supposed to look like a demonic faun. That seemed to fit this guy perfectly.

I changed my mind, though, when I picked a figure to represent his daughter, Fierna. She is described as being succubus-like, but without wings. I picked a Reaper mini of a succubus that had faun legs and curving ram's horns as Fierna (I'll post her later this week). Since she had goat legs, I decided this was a trait she inherited from Belial, her father, and have switched back to using the Reaper Belial as that arch-devil.

I don't know what I'll do if WOTC ever comes out with more Lords of Hell minis. I suspect they plan to, since Mephistopholese is pictured in the Miniatures Handbook, but who knows. I have both the WOTC Orcus and Demogorgon, but am using the Reaper mini versions of them in my game world instead because they are so much more demonic looking, so if WOTC stays true to form, I'll probably continue to use the minis I'm using now for those hellish personalities and see if I can find some other use for the WOTC statues or new devils and demons.

This paint job was also a lot more orange red until I did a red ink wash on it. I didn't do as good a job on the wings as I'd like, but I'm still re-learning my painting skills.

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Devils: Asmodeus


This is a recast from a vintage mold, done by the guy over at Classic Miniatures. I don't know who the original manufacturer was.

I am very new to painting with the methods described for use with the Master Series paints. I am fairly pleased with the results, though. I was never the best painter in the world, but I do think I'm improving a little with each figure.

Thanks, Matt, for helping me get back into the hobby of painting the minis I've been collecting. And you are right, the Master Series paints are fantastic. I'm still not very confident with washes or the inks, but I'm working on learning how to use them from scratch. This guy had a lot more yellow tones until I gave the whole thing a wash with the red inks to play up the infernal quality I was looking for. It evened everything out and I like how it looks even if it isn't what I had in mind before applying the wash.

Also, as I am sure is not a suprise to anyone, I am old school with the overcoats too. In the 70's and 80's everyone used gloss varnish and now all you can find at hobby stores now is flat overcoat. That's all they stock from Games Workshop.

I really can't get used to the flat overcoat so I have gotten some gloss varnish from a craft store and use it. If they don't shine, it just doesn't feel like AD&D to me.

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Devils: Baazebul


This is one of the monsters from the Birthright boxed set of miniatures put out by Ral Partha. I've always wanted to build a collection of the named devils and demons from the old TSR books. This mini was pretty close to the description of Baazebul on page 21 of the Monster Manual for 1st edition. I took some brown stuff and made the big compound eyes in the description and then painted it.

My friend Matt at Reaper has helped me build a really nice assortment of the Master Series paints. I've got a retail display rack for them that he sent me and I've been painting away for about 24 hours straight.

I think the results are worth the effort. Oh, while I've been painting I've been watching the entire DVD collection of Stargate SG 1 loaned to me by a friend while my wife is out of town at a conference.

My big question is how the heck did they get the SG 1 team out of those gliders and into the shuttle at the end of the season 2 opener? There is no way two gliders would fit in the cargo bay of the shuttle and opening the canopies would be fatal in sapce.

Of course, all it takes on TV is a jump cut to save them. Kind of spoiled it for me.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Otheworld Miniatures

I got a really nice email from Richard Scott, the guy who runs Otherworld Miniatures, and he let me know about his website showcasing his collection of Citadel official AD&D miniatures from the 1980's.

Follow the link and be amazed, drool, gnash your teeth and wail over his having what you desperately want.

That's what I'm doing.

If you find any of these miniatures let me know...especially if you find those on his wants list so that I can get them from you and trade with him for a handful of stirges!

Here's my wish list from the line:
ADD01 - Magic-User - p1
ADD8 - Assassin (3)
ADD9 - Druid (3)
ADD11 Female Magic User (3)
ADD31 Dwarf Fighter with Axe (3)
ADD59 Troll (1)*
ADD60 Norkers (3)*
ADD61 Giant Rats (4)
ADD72 Carrion Crawler (1)
ADD76 Stirges (4)
ADD79 Mind Flayers (3)*
ADD80 - Set of 4 Blink Dogs

ADD84 Beholder (1) (with its nearly closed mouth, this would be a great gas spore!)
ADD87 Snyad, Meazel, Xvart & Mite (4)* (I have some of the Mites, am mostly interested in Meazels.)


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Lolth, as she is supposed to look...

Well, if you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I have a burr up my butt about current deptictions of Lolth as a drider.

It ain't right, because driders are the unfavored of Lolth, so she would not logically transform her unfavored ones into her likeness. You can read the long rant about that in the other post.

I'd been using the head you see here on a Ral Partha Giant Black Widow miniature for years as my "proper" Lolth, but the body was too small and it wasn't very scary.

I recently got a second Reaper Miniatures Labith: Female Spider Centaur and used the body from that for my Lolth body. I didn't think the legs looked scary enough for Lolth, though, because they were very thick and not enough like a black widow.

Since I had legs left over from the Giant Scorpion I'd used to make the Aboleth, I tried using them. They worked really well, but I had to do some clipping, bending and filling in with green stuff to get them to both fit in the leg sockets and support the weight of the miniature. Then I broke the Frost Giantess head off the old Lolth and glued it on the new body. I think it looks fantastic. Very evil, very cruel, and very Lolth-like.

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An Aboleth brought my camera back!

This is my best sculpt to date. I realize it is still pretty much in the "formless blob" genus that I've been working in, but I do think I'm crawling up a little further out of the ooze.

It is a composite sculpt, using the Reaper Giant Scorpion as a base. I laid the scorpion body out on the one inch grid battle mat I have and got a sense of proper proportions from the monster description. I was using the illustration from the Night Below monster supplement, and when I paint I will probably use the color card illustrations as a guide...though they are a tad on the pink side for me. The savant is distinguished from the normal aboleth by size and by the bony ridges on its top.

I was very careful with this one to build only a little at a time rather than my newbie "do it all at once" method from before. On the scorpion body I built up the front and eyes of the aboleth, using brown and green stuff to keep the parts clearly identified.

I used the same technique on building up and attaching the scorpion tail, after using toenail clippers to lop off the stinger.For the flukes I broke off the ends of the scorpion claws and glued them together, reinforcing with green stuff, then attached to the rest of the tail.

For the four big tentacles I used four tentacles I clipped off the Reaper Miniatures Stone Lurker (their version of a Roper, which I use for a Yochlol). Although my skill level is not particularly skillful, I think this is a reasonable enough sculpt of an aboleth and I'm excited to find a way to use it in my campaign. I don't know that it is sculpted in a way that would allow casting--you'd certainly have to remove the tentacles--but I'm not in the manufacturing business so this is likely to remain a one of a kind. I'm going to prime it and paint it later today and will add those images when it is finished.

I think it would be easy enough to do another, if I did want to do a casting of it, but next time I'd do a regular aboleth. Afterall, too many Savants and not enough aboleths would be a real problem.As this post demonstrates, I have my good camera back. The theatre department I used to work at doesn't use this camera very often--which is how I was able to borrow it for six months last time--so I proposed that I'd buy it from them for about half what a new one would cost and the promise that they could borrow it from me whenever they have occaision to use it.

I'm really pleased to return to the photographing and sharing of my miniature collection

Also, if you have comments on the greens, so long is it is constructive because I alredy know that I'm not really very good, I'm eager to hear them. Without feedback and suggestions I'm not likely to get any better and I'd really like to.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Shandar's Spell Books

As I'm working my way through the Publisher 2000 Monstrous Manual with my minis as illustrations, the Tome of Villains and Book of Heroes, I have also started doing a compiled series of Spellbooks for my character.

The image I'm using for the cover of each book is taken from a Wiccan website selling a spellbook: The Wytch Shoppe. It is a great illustration. Hopefully driving traffic to their site from this link will keep them from hexing me for using the image for my own private home use without permission.

On the inside pages I used a free illustration from WOTC they offer from their downloads page of archived Map a Weeks.

One of the great things about the old Core Rules CD Rom was that it included text files of all the TSR rule books. Using those text files I took all the spells from the PH, Tome of Magic, Wizards Handbook, and others and then put each of them on a page over top of the parchment image in Lucinda Caligraphy, trying to use a 14 point font for the text and a 25 point font for the spell names.

This is going to be an excellent DM's tool, because each time a PC discovers a new spell scroll or buys one in the game, I can go to Shandar's Spellbook, print it out, and the PC gets a handout that looks like scroll. If they keep a 3-ring binder for their own spell book, all they have to is use a 3-hole punch to "write" the spell into their spell book.

It is a fun, easy way to enhance the feeling of role playing.

I exepct that I will eventually do something similar with a listing of magic items as they come into and go out of Shandar's Magic Shop.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Demonic Idol from Otherworld Miniatures

I first saw this miniature on the Fantasy-Mini Blog site listed in my side bar that is in French. From the mail link there I've connected with the person selling them out of the UK. That person is Richard Scott, and he also painted the idol. I'm really impressed by the warm quality of the reflected fire. I won't be able to reproduce it but maybe I can convince my friend Matt at Reaper to paint it for me.

Here is the description of the idol from Richard's store.

"This is the first miniature produced by Otherworld Miniatures. It is a 'Demon Idol', inspired by the iconic cover artwork of the AD&D Players Handbook of the late 1970s. The model was sculpted by the very talented hands of Paul Muller and cast in high quality resin by Model Design Construction. Gemstone eyes are also provided. The model is 80mm tall and supplied unpainted. The 28mm figure shown in the 2nd photo is for scale only, and is not included."

Visit his eBay store to reserve yours today!

Otherworld Miniatures Demonic Idol

Follow the link in the side bar to see the rest of his Dwarven Forge and other dungeon terrain items.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Personalities I wish WOTC would make

Since WOTC are the copyright holders on the official Realms personalities, this is my wish list of miniatures I wish they'd make from that line:

  • Cadderly: Heroes Lorebook, pages 27-30
  • Caledan Caldorien: Heroes Lorebook, page 31
  • Danica: Heroes Lorebook, pages 33-35
  • Danilo Than: Heroes Lorebook, pages 35-37
  • Durnan of the Yawning Portal: Heroes Lorebook, page 47
  • Giogi Wyvernspur: Heroes Lorebook, pages 54-55
  • Lander: Heroes Lorebook, pages 66-67
  • Myrmeen Lhal: Heroes Lorebook, pages 90-91
  • Piergeiron: Heroes Lorebook, page 96
  • Qilue Veladorn: Heroes Lorebook, pages 97-99

This is the list so far of personalities I'd like to run in my campaign, but have been unable to find a suitable miniature for. WOTC, if you take hints or suggestions...and I really hope you do..these are mine. I'll update as I go through my inventory compiling character sheets for NPCs.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Personalities: Alias

Alias (Wanders)
8th Level Human (F) Fighter

Sources: Azure Bonds, Song of the Saurials, Masquerades.

This miniature is from the Official Ral Partha boxed set of Forgotten Realms Personalities and is designed to be Alias. The product number is 10-550-i.

I don't know if I'll ever have her bump into the PCs in my world, but I'm still kicking around the idea of having a chronomancer's artifact which might pop my PCs around in time so that they could continue to advance in level, but play vintage Realms modules like Curse of the Azure Bonds without trying to update the module to the current date in the Realms that I'm playing in (DR 1368).

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Personalities: Adon

Adon (Realms)
9th Level Human (M) Priest (Sune)

This miniature seems to make a good representation of Adon, and is from Grenadier, dated 1981.

Sources: Heroes Lorebook (6-8); Hall of Heroes (3-4); FRE3:43, Shadowdale; Tantras; Waterdeep; The Curse of Tegea; Prince of Lies.

Full stats for the character can be found in the Heroes Lorebook. Though out of print, it can be downloaded from RPGnow (see link in sidebar) for under $5.

In addition to making a catalog of all my monster miniatures in Publisher 2000 using a compendium format and the image of the miniature to illustrate the monster I am doing the same thing for other categories of miniatures in my collection and for use in my campaign.

I'm doing one for the avatars of deities, one for official Forgotten Realms Personalities, and one for personalities unique to my own specific Realms campaign. There will also be similar tomes for each adventuring company and probably another one for "The Fallen" that would include all the personalities who have died.

No small undertaking, but it will make life simpler when it is all finished.

I thought it might be fun to show the miniatures I am using for specific characters, and if you can suggest a better miniature than the one I am currently using, please let me know in the comments section.

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