Tuesday, October 23, 2007

NPC: Unroch Rexohi, Quotspa, and Zerlina

Unroch Rexohi is a mighty young warrior of the Lost Tribe of the Great Worm. The Lost Tribe arrived in Archwood almost 25 years ago through a one way gate. At that time a hunting expedition came upon an ancient ruin in Lurkwood. They were examining the area and all passed through an archway. The stone archway suddenly blazed with blue fire and transported them across the vast distance to archwood. Here, the tribe essentially re-invented itself and waits for a sign that will take its people home.
Unroch has a brother named Quotspa, who is a priest of Tempus. The two brothers have recently begun adventuring together, joined in their company by a female human ranger named Zerlina.

Zerlina was born in the small Cormyr frontier town of Thunderstone. She was the daughter of two adventurers who were members of the Company of the Flaming Falcon. This company had been employed by a Cormyte merchant to clear a large area of the Hullack Forest for lumbering, and they headquartered in a log fort just inside the treeline. One night black orcs radied the fort and killed all the members of the company, and the young Zerlina was taken by the orcs and placed in a slave pen.

She was rescued by a very old druid named Tildeth and her friend, the ranger Abdenthar. These two women would raise the child, and train her in the ways of Meillikki. Zerlina became a ranger as well, and when it came time to take a follower, she was honored by a fire falcon, a fitting tribute to her murdered parents.

I lived for a very short time in Chicago, and while I was there I started a campaign with Jeff Goode (who played Quotspa), my now ex (Zerlina) and a good friend of ours named Brett (Unroch). We played once a week, but the short story is that I didn't live in Chicago very long, so it was a very short campaign. I think we played through one complete adventure--the Fountain of Health side trip in an issue of Dungeon Magazine. The real lesson here is not to invest mountains of prep and detailed backstory into your campaign...the characters could get killed off quickly or the players could move out of town...or, in this case, the DM could.

The other lesson, I suppose, is that if you are the DM, its nice if you own all the miniatures--including the PCs. I'm glad to still have these on my shelf, and will likely include them as NPCs in my campaign.

Unroch is a Ral Partha figure, I think he came with some sort of animal, Quotspa was from the Heroe Quest game set. I actually thought that was a pretty decent game, though I never played by the rules. You got some decent plastic minis and some stand up things like a fireplace and table...both of which I still use. It was fun painting him up like a priest of Tempus, because their vestments are the dried blood of their foes. To be a priest of Tempus is never to have to wash, I guess.

Zerlina is a Rafm mini, as are the lesiban duo who resuced her. These were my ex-wife's characters and she painted them herself. She seemed to give the whole D&D thing an honest roll. Didn't make my save, though.

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NPC: Alzador

Alzador is a wizard of moderate level who will provide training to lower level magicians and offer magical assistance when needed, for a price. He lives in the tower on the uppermost level, along with whatever student he is currently tutoring.

Alzador has quite a few powerful magical items, one of which is his enchanted crown--but no one knows what the enchantments are. He likes to wear it while walking on the roof of his tower, but never wears it outside the building. The locals refer to him as the King of Bug Tussle, and Alzador actually thinks this is a complimentary remark!

Alzador joined the Hopeful Seven after Shandar was cast out from the group when it was still operating out of Epping, in the Kindom of Ool, on the far side of the Anauroch desert.

This miniature is another one that I got from that hobby store in San Francisco. It is stamped Ral Partha 1977 on the bottom. I bought it because it reminded me of a character I played in a play in High School, which was written (I think) by my High School speech teacher, Harvey Green. The play was Alzador and the Enchanted Crown. I had a blue robe and a big staff and a long grey beard. This miniature looked pretty close to what I imagined the character to be like. I see him pop up in hobby stores and on eBay a lot, and in almost every case the top of the staff is broken off and missing...just like what happened to mine some years back. I took a staff from the Reaper Warlord accessories and cut it to size and glued it on the hand. I think this is a nicer staff than the original, which was just a long cudgel. I just finished painting him yesterday...he's been in my collection for nearly two decades and I never finished painting him because I didn't want to paint it without fixing the staff and I just couldn't find the right piece until recently when I went through my Reaper spare parts.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the Ringo Starr who made Shandar the Pete Best of the Hopeful Seven.

I decided that I will photograph the mini the first time before I put the varnish on it, that should be a fair compromise.

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NPC: Ransom

Ransom the Thief was an adventuring partner of Too Bad Jim before joining The Hopeful Seven.

Ransom was a very accomplished thief before settling down in Bug Tussle. At one point he was captain of a great flying ship, and he has traveled further over the Realms than most have dreamed of going.

His two great failings are that he easily falls into unrequited love and then he turns to drink for comfort. Too Bad likes him, but disdainfully refers to Ransom as an "accidental worshipper of Sharess."

Ransom still has retains all of his thief abilities, but when he is drunk they are at 1/2. It would take a good long drying out period to get them back to full strength and Ransom would be constantly in danger of falling off the wagon if he undertook any adventuring these days--in particular if he is around Too Bad Jim, who takes delight in the fellow off the wagon and baiting him with questions about his love life or taunting him with tales of the objects of his affection (both past and present) visiting him in his temple.

Ransom rarely leaves his house, which is fashioned like a small castle. It is in a poor state of repair however, and a bit of an eyesore. Ransom will provide training if he is sober, otherwise he will make any sort of promise necessary in order to get a drink, and promptly forget that promise as soon as he has the drink in hand.

Although he has drunk away a vast portion of his adventuring fortune he still has enough that his house is well stocked with drinks and pipeweed, one of the primary reasons you can find Putnam, the Captain of the Guard from Fort Aumry, there on most evenings. Ransom and Aumry dress up in various ancient uniforms they have collected and sing songs from armies both ancient and modern, human and demi-human.

This miniature and somewhat sorry character were the ones I used in Goode's world. When Ransom was adventuring, he was quite a clever and charismatic thief. Once he wished for a flying ship and it fell on him out of the sky...smashing into kindling. Too clever by half. I think Jeff took pity on me and rewound time until I could get the wording of the wish exactly right. Once we had the flying ship, Too Bad, Ransom, and Snod's dwarf character...whose name escapes me...all went flying around being Wind Pirates with Too Bad creating a barrel of gin a day.

At any rate, Ransom is the final original member of the Hopeful Seven. I left him in this sorry state to remind me of the bad end I might have come to had I not left my wind pirate days behind me and reformed.

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NPC: Too Bad Jim

Too Bad claims to hold the office of Exalted Grand High Priest of Sharess—and does, in fact, maintain one of the few remaining "temples" to that diminishing power. Sharess is a Lesser Power whose worship is waning in the Realms as more people lean toward Sune and Lliira.

While Sharess worshipers appreciate beauty and parties, Sharess is the god of the idle rich and decadents of any stripe, catering to less socially acceptable pleasures and outright hedonism. Her portfolio includes lust, free love, sensual fulfillment, drunkenness, and excess of all kinds. The local farmers wives would not call this a temple, but are more inclined to refer to it as the "shameless whore house" run by that "degenerate little man".

In addition to the "clergy" or prostitutes, if you will, Too Bad Jim also has a mighty fine tonic he calls “Holier Water” that is really nothing but gin. This gin is magically created by Too Bad himself, who was granted a wish on one of his adventures and which gave him the ability to create gin at will.

Regardless of anyone’s opinion of his religion, he is a fully qualified priest and will pray, cast spells, heal, and provide other services for a "donation". The "temple" does rent rooms, but only by the hour.

Too Bad Jim also has a small shop called "Priest in a Poke" where he sells items which might be needed by travelling clergy of all faiths.

When we played in high school, each player had a party of 5 members. You've met the original 5 already...Galen, Groot Hairfoot, Thom the One Armed Bandit, Christo Lackey, and Shandar the Ashen One. I used a different mini back then for Shandar, but I don't think I still have it. It was a very tiny wizard leaning on a staff. I like the Heritage Gandalf mini much better, it is closer in scale to the others.

At any rate...how did the Hopeful Seven become 7 in number?

Well, in college I started playing in another campaign, this one run by Jeff Goode. He was a really amazing DM, and I had a lot of fun. One of the other players in that game was Stan Ruth, who was in the theatre program at Iowa with me. His character in the game was Too Bad Jim, and this is the miniature he used. I've done a minor repaint on it because the enamal paint has really chipped away. I tried to keep the flavor of his original paint job, though. Too Bad was a priest, but I don't think Jeff was using a specific campaign world or mythos. I remember that Too Bad got a wish, and he wished for the "Create Gin" spell-like ability.

Stan gave the mini to me after Jeff moved to go to grad school and we stopped playing. I incorporated the character into the Hopeful seven...because we didn't have a priest.

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NPC: Galen

Galen, in his day, was one of the greatest fighters in the Realms. He often had terrible tangles with his brother Morgan (LG hm Paladin 18), but it has been quite some time since the two have locked horns. Morgan is not a frequent visitor to Bug Tussle.

Galen was the leader of the Hopeful Seven, and a dual classed fighter/bard. He is currently retired and living in Bug Tussel, the town he helped found after he and his companions destroyed a giant insect infestation. He owns and operates a tavern called The Fighter’s Own.

Despite the tavern’s name, it is a haven for all travelers, not just warriors, although fighters are certainly are the target demographic. This is a favorite haunt of sword swingers of all levels who come to drink and to boast of their exploits or to meet with other adventurerers to plot new ones.

This miniature is the one that represented me when we played in high school. I know the paint job is horrible and the colors look like Mike Grell tried to sculpt Santa Claus, but back in those days when all you had was Testor's model paint, there weren't nearly so many colors to choose from.The mini had a lute on his back, which I scraped out the sides and painted like my own Hoefner Beatle Bass--left handed, of course. I really liked the mini for use as my game alter ego, because it was left handed, had a guitar of sorts, and did look like Mike Grell's Warlord. I was a very big Travis Morgan fan in those days. Still am, actually. I could repaint him to improve the look a little, but I think I'll keep him exactly as is...because the paint is also part of my personal gaming history.

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NPC: Thom, the One Armed Bandit

Thom is another member of the original Hopeful Seven. Before he lost his arm he was a brigand who waylaid travellers on the highways outside of Epping, in the kingdom of Ool. Early in their career, the band that would become the Hopeful Seven were set upon by Thom and his bandit boys. In the fight, Galen severed Thom's sword arm. The rest of the unlucky bandit's compatriots fled and left him for dead. Pleading for mercy, Too Bad Jim healed him, but could not reattach the arm. Thom now asked them to kill him outright, for he had few prospects as a one armed man in a very dangerous world.

Moved to pity, Galen spared him his life and determined to show him that he could be useful, in spite of his lost arm. He was accepted into the company and proved himself invaluable on a number of occaisions due to his wealth of accumulated experience and the lockpicking skills of his remaining fingers. He remained with the company until they retired in Bugtussle, where he opened a shop and became a merchant. He named the store after his infirmity, and the nickname he'd had since that meeting on the road so many years before.

Thom mis the proprietor of The One Armed Bandit, an outfitters where many items for the road are bought and sold. Thom still has some less than savory connections, in spite of a gradual alignment shift over the years.

The shop has just about anything (non-weapon) you need for long journeys and if it hasn't got it, Thom can get it for you in less than 7 days. Every item on the Miscellaneous Equipment Table on page 67 of the PHB can be bought here, at twice the price listed.

This is another of the minis from that Heritage Paint 'n Play set. His arm was broken when I opened the box, and I could never get it to glue back on and stay, so I just left it that way and started calling him "the one armed bandit" which I still think is pretty funny.

Because of Thom’s handicap, he only earns 15 skill points per level, as it is harder to learn to do the skill with only one hand. He also suffered a penalty to his base wall climbing ability, so 30 points were taken from his starting 60 and placed in other skill areas.

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NPC: Christo Lackey

Christo Lackey is another core member of the Hopeful Seven, and lives in Bug Tussle. He is a sturdy fighter and excellent horseman. Now retired from adventuring, he runs My Father's Blade, a pawn shop for weapons. is a cruel joke. Many who come to get money in time of need do indeed pawn their father's swords and armor. This is the best shop of its kind in the area, and things pawned are often sold long before the money is raised to retrieve it. Many a fine family heirloom has changed hands here. Of course, it is a convenient place to unload all those extra weapons picked up after a fight or scouting mission to the catacombs. Christo will pay 25% of the value of any weapon, and then sells them for three times cost. As a result you can find real bargains here. He admanantly reprimands people who call his wares "used." He prefers to call them “proven” weapons.

Christo is also adamant about not being a fence for stolen goods, and will accept no weapon without a signed piece of paper assuring him that you are the sole and rightful owner, all these papers are then kept on file. A used version of most any weapon in the Arms and Equipment Guide can be bought here (75% chance in stock and 10% chance of a defect. If one is present, roll on the weapons defects table and then haggle for a price).

In addition to the normal fare, Christo has a fine collection of more valuable weapons and is quite proud of them--many worth thousands of gold pieces. Theft is infrequent as it is also widely known that some of the magical shields hanging from the walls are actually imprisoned monsters that can be released to fight as an ally of the shield owner. Also one of the items in the shop, no one knows exactly which one, is an ever vigilant sentinel.

This is another of the very first miniatures I ever owned, and it came in the same Heritage Paint 'n Play set.

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NPC: Groot Hairfoot

Groot Hairfoot is one of the original members of The Hopeful Seven. He is an excellent sneak thief and very skilled with the bow. His particular specialty is finding and removing traps.

Now retired, Groot runs Hairfoot's Barefoot Inn in Bug Tussle and trains novice rogues as a sideline.

This miniature is one of the oldest in my collection. It came in the Heritage Dungeon Dwellers Paint 'n Play set I got when I was still in High School. The little feller's been on more adventures than you can shake a shortbow at.

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The equines are a race of beings with a human body but horse's heads. They are the invention of my friend Matt Clark at Reaper. He took some horse heads and attached them to the bodies of some of their Warlord line and the results are pretty impressive.

I haven't quite figured out what to do with them in my world, but he cast a bunch of them for me, so I have to do something. Perhaps they were an experiment by a wizard to see if creatures similarly polymorphed would breed true.

I really do like the way these creatures look, but they must have extremely muscular necks and backs to support the wieght of those heads.

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NPC: Dwarf with No Name

The Dwarf with No Name is a gruff and mysterious ranger who arrived in Bug Tussle with a frail and injured young woman two years ago. The woman was Ada Janko and she'd come to study magic under the instruction of Alzador the Mage of Hopeful Seven.

The dwarf never says anything, to anyone, for any reason. Many believe that his tongue was cut out, but that isn't true. You can sometimes see him licking his cigar butt and he will stick it out to scare children away from him. No one knows who he is or where he comes from, except that he knows the trail through the Dagger Hills like an expert and has been known to frequent the Broken Dagger in Dagger Falls. Some people say they have seen him in the company of a beautiful elven woman in tattered chain mail on the edge of the Border Forest, but nobody much believes this.

In any event, he has taken on the role of guardian of the young wizardess, and she has grown very fond of him, feeling as though he is almost a father figure. He never lacks for golden coin, and there are many rumors of a vast horde hiden in a secret cache out in the wilds of the Dagger Hills.

I got this miniature on that same mystery trip to California. I have always loved the sculpt. Unfortunately, over the years, mine has been dropped or something, because his cigar broke off and his hat is crushed down over his eyes. I could proably get another one on eBay, but this one has been in my collection so long, it just wouldn't feel right. I can probably make a new cigar for him out of brown stuff.

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NPC: Corwyn Leafsong

Corwyn Leafsong is a very young High Elf who has made a home in the Dalelands. She was born into a small group of Sun Elves who had not left for Evermeet, but instead elected to remain in a settlement in the Border Forest north of Dagger Falls. They did not interfere in the affairs of humans in the dale, but did watch them closely and monitored the trade route along the River Tesh. She is currently 153 years old. When she was only 53, her family was wiped out in a drow attack on her settlement. Her mother hid her, and so she escaped the ruthless, murderous dark elves. She has lived alone since then, but vows to one day track the drow that killed her family. She believes that Colderan Morn, the Mage Lord at the time, was partly responsible if not directly. He was known to have had dealings with the drow, and may have ordered them to eliminate any elven threat to his authority in the dale.

Corwyn has searched the surrounding lands and as yet has found no passage to the underdark. She suspects that the tunnels might be inside the town walls, but she has never yet been inside the town gate. She prefers to keep her existence a secret.

She wears the armor of her father, and the sword he weilded. The armor was somewhat damaged in his fight for the survival of the elven settlement, but still affords a great deal of protection. The sword, Trollsbane, was created to slay regenerating creatures. She also found and kept the dagger of throwing owned by her mother.

Some 15 years ago, she met and befriended a strange and silent dwarven ranger in the Border Forest. Together they have spent many years searching for tunnels, each for their own, unspoken reason.

This miniature is a Ral Partha piece from a Dragonlance boxed set. I don't know that setting at all, and couldn't tell you a thing about the original character she was supposed to represent. I think she was supposed to have black hair, but I wanted a traditional elf in my little No Name Group.

One thing that is difficult about having elves in your party is that their base starting age is 100 +5d6. What did they do for 150 years or so before they started racking up experience points? To me, it is a head scratcher, so I just had Corwyn hunting tunnels for a century or so. Not many XPs in walking around looking for secret doors and not finding any, but you'd think she'd be bored out of her elven skull by that point.

If any of you who run elves in your campaigns have figured out a good way to deal with the huge age differences in party members when you start including elves and how you account for their great age but paltry experience/lack of levels, please let me know how you handle it in your campaigns.

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NPC: Costa Janko

Costa is the brother of Ada Janko. He has a home in Dagger Falls, which was inherited from their parents. He works as a bartender in the Broken Dagger. Like his employer, Tharwin One Eye, Costa lost an eye and wears a patch. Recently, however, Costa lost his job at the tavern due to taking ill with the sleeping sickness. Tharwin can't afford to keep him on if he can't work and because of the fear of the illness is unlikely to let him return to work if he recovers. Lack of employment will force the novice rogue to take to adventuring to meet expenses, and he will join his sister in the No Name Band

I really like this miniature a lot. It is stamped Ral Partha, 1982. He's quite detailed, including the eyepatch, and I love his stance. I named him after a friend of a friend I met in New York many years ago, but recently that friend of a friend discovered this blog and asked me not to use his name, so I've changed it. If you remember the previous name, please forget it.

I think I picked up the miniature during a trip to San Francisco one summer. I remember staying with another friend of a friend there for a month or so, in an apartment on the corner of Taraval and Great Highway. I think I took a series of busses to an amazing hobby store way across town, where I bought a large number of individual miniatures. But it could be that I'm conflating that trip with one of several business trips I took when I was doing some commission work for Kaiser Permanente. At any rate, he's been on my shelf for a very long time...maybe since 1982.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

NPC: Ada Janko

Ada was the apprentice to Alzador in the town of Bug Tussle. She was born in Daggerdale and often visits her brother, Costa, who lives in a house in Dagger Falls. When she first left Daggerdale to go to Bug Tussle to seek to study under Alzador, she foolishly tried to cross the Dagger Hills by herself and was beset by brigands. She surely would have died were it not for the intervention of a gruff and silent dwarf who is very handy with a crossbow. The dwarf has remained her companion ever since, but has never said a word to anyone, anywhere, so far as we know.

She studied for over a year with Alzador and left his tower when her brother fell ill with the Sleeping Sickness in Eleasias, 1368.

In my current campaign, Ada was originally going to be used as a hook to get the PCs to Dagger Falls and into the Doom of Daggerdale module...but it turned out that it wasn't necessary. They were sent there by Shandar as part of the quests undertaken for him. Still, it will be a comfort to the PCs to have a few friends they knew from home in the strange town, so the details of the hook I'd planned on using were left in place...Ada's brother still came down with the sleeping sickness. The Janko house is near the burned Lathanderite temple and so could provide limited background information and a potential haven inside the town. Ada could also provide needed healing for the party if they had to scramble up due to taking a beating from the hook horror or something else equally nasty.

I got this miniature ages ago. She was made by Ral Partha. The No Name Band are a little NPC group that I toyed with using as my own party to play test areas I'd send the regular PCs through or to play on my own using randomly generated dungeons with the random dungeon generation system in the 1E DMG. Never seemed to have time for that though. They've managed to remain useful low level NPCs to have around, though. You don't want high level NPCs like Randal Morn rushing in to save the day all the time. Low level NPCs keep the focus on the heroes.

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Clawborn Sorrow

In the Night Below set, WOTC came out with a new monster called the Clawborn Sorrow. I didn't really know what to do with it because it is an Eberron monster. It looks like a cross between a drow and a giant scorpion.

WOTC has really made driders seem like being punished by Lolth for failing her test is more of a blessing than a curse, and then they come out with this thing. I don't really think Lolth's touch is going to bestow scorpion traits when she is the spider queen.

A few couple months before Night Below came out I picked up two minis from ages back (can't remember the company) that I thought I was going to use for Tlincali...but the Tlincali, the Scorpion Man, and the Clawborn Sorrow are all three very distinctly different variations on the same scorpion theme. Tlincali don't have the fore claws, but have human hands. Scorpion Men have human arms and scorption claws. Clawborn Sorrows have no arms, do have scorpion claws, and have drow features instead of human.
These guys were clearly more like the clawborn sorrow than the other scorpion-ish creatures, though they are bald. I painted them up like the clawborn sorrow put out by WOTC.

What is their ecology in my Realms? Good question. I looked at this site, Descent into Darkness, which has developed a lot of information on drow religion.

I've made Lolth's son, Vhaeraun, the patron not only of drow males, but also all those whom Lolth has cast out. In my world there are three types of driders--I won't go into my rant about that--because there are three types of drider minis available. In the original materials, all driders became warriors and lacked any secondary sex characteristics as part of their punishment by Lolth. Because D&D is marketed primarily to teen-age boys and they like nothing so much as boobs, driders started being made with breasts. So, in my world warriors, wizards, and priestesses can all fail Lolth's test and retain their secondary sex characteristics.

Priestesses of Lolth are no longer in her favor, so she wouldn't grant them their spells...but loving the delicious irony of it all, Vhaeraun grants the spells to the fallen priestess and forces them to worship him if they wish to continue casting spells.

The warriors who fail become traditional driders. When they have shown exemplary service to Vhaeraun, he rewards them by transforming them into Clawborn Sorrows. Further exemplary service will result in complete restoration to drow male form and these drow males are his most elite followers.

Or, anyway, that's how it works in my world.

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The alu-demon or alu-fiend is the offspring of a succubus and a human, they are always female.

In the official description they appear as beautiful human women, except for their very small bat wings. In my world they are black-skinned...mostly because I forgot that they looked like human women when I was painting this one and decided she'd look great with black skin, purple hair and red eyes. Which, she does. I will compensate for the discrepency by saying that in my world they are capable of creating an illusion which makes them appear as human women when they are not on the Lower Planes, but for some reason they are unable to disguise their wings.

This is a scratchbuild figure, but I can't recall what I used to make her. I think the base mini is a Reaper miniature and the wings are from some really old lead miniature I had. Again, I can't remember what it was.

Pleased, however, with the results.

When I was at ReaperCon, everyone laughed at me for using glossy varnish instead of matte on my miniatures. I realize that matte photographs much better, which is probably why the industry switched to that...it is very difficult to even find glossy varnish in a hobby store these days...but remember that I harken back to an earlier age.

When we were painting minis in the 70's and early 80's almost all of us used Testor's enamal paints, because that is what you painted metal with. That was a very glossy paint. Then, when we discovered acrylic paints and how much easier they were to work with than the enamals, almost all the companies providing paints for the purpose of miniautures had glossy varnish. I was using Polly S acrylic paints and the spray primer and varnish I used were by a company called Armory, I think. If you wanted to have a flat finish, you generally hat to get a spray can of dullcote, made by Testor.

As a result...a miniature that doesn't shine a little on my gaming table doesn't look finished to me. So, pardon the glossy, shiny monsters here. Blame it on my unwillingness to change...which, given the name of the blog, is the whole point.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Reaper Reviews

I don't think I'll live long enough to do a review for every Reaper Mini that came in on my last wish list from the online store, so I'm going to review them as I paint them or include them in the game so that this blog isn't completely dominated only by the reviews.

Sorry, Matt.

There will be more...just not all at once and all this month.

03225 : Eilluvasheth, Succubus Queen

I really love this miniature, which is sculpted by Patrick Keith. I'm not always crazy about minis based on things that include terrain features, because she will have to drag that railing with her wherever she appears. But, Patrick has thought of that, and the basing is actually in two pieces so you don't have to glue her to the railing if you don't want to. You could rebase her on something else very easily.

The detail on this figure is wonderful and I think I can probably use her in two different ways. In fact, I suspect that Patrick had this in mind. The mini is designed to be flexible and comes with two different hand options. One holds a sword and the other a long whip.

I'll use it as intended and swell the ranks of my succubus swarm, putting her together exactly as the illustration.

The place on the back where her wings come through her hair will be very easy to fill with epoxy and repaint her not as a succubus but a powerful drow matron mother. She'll get the whip and I'll probably rebase her with epoxy cavern floor details.


I can also always find uses for the spare wings and horns from the second model. Great idea to make a mini that automatically makes you want to by several more of them because of the kitbashing variety they inspire.

Patrick Keith is a great guy, by the way. I met him at ReaperCon this year and his website is really nice too. He's a very talented sculptor and I'm glad that Reaper is going to be presenting more of his work. Kudos!

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03185: Bergun Sunblaze, Sun Priest

One thing that I wish WOTC would do is put out more mythoi specific priests in their mini line, but since they are geared toward the rpg improbably tabletop skirmish game, there isn't a lot of point to it for them from a business model. If they do one, they do one. Not much sense from their point of view of having 6 different poses for priests of Lathander.

Reaper really helps fill in the gaps. They can't do exact representations of mythoi specific priests from the trademarked Forgotten Realms, but each of the gods in that setting have portfolios that can't be trademarked...like the sun, for example.

This sculpt by Bobby Jackson will make a nice addition to the priests of Lathander in my world. Right now, my PCs are exploring the ruins of a temple to Lathander in Dagger Falls. If they end up taking the relics from that church, soon to be dedicated to Cyric, to a temple of Lathander for safe keeping, I'll need some Lathanderites to accept them and bestow blessings. Bergun Sunblaze will likely be there.

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World Works Games

I'm joing the terrain revolution. In my quest for good ship models I blundered across this company which produces amazing PDFs of terrain features, including inns, castles, dungeons...pretty much everything.

World Works Games

The artwork is fantastic and it actually looks more like what I'd like Dwarven Forge stuff to look like...at least in the pictures. Since I planned to use my Dwarven Forge stuff mostly for taking pictures to depict the adventures, this might be a better route for me to go. Certainly less expensive, though more time consuming in the contruction.

Way back in the day I had a lot of the TSR cut out and glue together village and castle things. They worked fine, but these go the extra mile and are fantastic in every respect. The one downside of the cardstock terrain is that they don't store easily. I think that if I mounted them on coreboard, they'd be sturdier and have more realistic thickness. At anyrate, they are so cheap that it can't hurt me to buy a few and try them out. I suppose Kinkos would print them for me, and they might even have the ability to print them directly onto something sturdy like coreboard or very stiff posterboard.

This is exciting. I just wish I had a bigger basement. I've been worrying my wife because I keep telling her the ideal would be for us to buy a nice farmhouse somewhere that had a mobile home parked on the property and I could keep all my gaming stuff in the game trailer...then it would be out of the house.

Her response..."Wait, so you're telling me your hobby needs its own house now? We really need to talk about this...but I don't think you're going to like where the discussion goes..."

Paper Boats

Hokey Smokes, but this is cool!

SeaWorks: Maiden of the High Seas

This company has amazing pdfs for sale of all sorts of cool game accessories. The PDFs are very inexpensive for the quality. It probably takes a bit of skill and access to a very high quality color laser printer with bright white cardstock, but man, these are nice models.

Check them out!


Resin Boats

Not giving up my quest. I found an excellent site for resin boats.

Shifting Lands has some amazing pieces.

In particular, the Buccaneer Ship is a fantastic piece of modeling and he gives you a complete and detailed history of its creation. He doesn't exactly have a retail operation, however, and when he puts things up on ebay I'm sure they are very expensive...and if they aren't, they should be.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

25mm Pirate Ships

I found a few pirate ships, and they aren't as expensive as I thought.

Old Glory Miniatures has some nice ones...though this would force me to make a decision about cannons. I'm still sticking to the no smoke powder rule in my Realms and would prefer catapults on my pirate ships.

Probably the best value is going to be GameMastery Ship: The Ravaged Pride Ship with Mast Kit from Paizo Publishing.

The layers look good and you could have simultaneous action on all decks, but it lacks the pazazz of a resin model on your game table. Afterall, the whole point is for adults to justify playing with toys.

Here you see it with all of the layers stacked on each other and the dowel rod masts stuck in place.
If you got long enough masts, though, you could glue the layers to the masts spaced far enough apart that miniatures could be placed below deck and above deck at the same time. Sort of like a 3D chess set or a a ship with invisible sides.

That might be sort of cool. Also, if you consider the middle deck to be the water line, you could include underwater threats to the ship such as an approaching sahuagin swarm or an aboleth or weresharks or mermen or lotcatha, or any number of marine nasties. I'm definitely warming to the idea.

At $80 each, I could get three of them for what my budget for one ship is at the moment, and then both Razig and Sophie could fight over the ship that my PCs are on. That might be the best way to go, after all.

Thinking about it...there are probably 25mm deck plans out there, or deck plans from real ships that could be scaled to a 5' grid and then printed out and glued on coreboard for even cheaper.

I knew all those Spelljammer deck plans would come in handy some day!

I wish I could remember who made that resin pirate ship. It was really cool and I want to say was around $300 or a little less.


01420 : Pirate Sophie

Speak of the devil...or in this case, the succubus, and there she is.

I mentioned in the previous post the collection of pirates by Reaper that I've been amassing. I got this mini in a boxed set of pirate monsters, but Reaper has started selling them seperately in blisters. If you don't want the boxed set, I really recommend this miniature, sculpted by Julie Guthrie. The sculpt is magnificent in fantastic detail and a really nice pose.

As I said, I'm getting a particularly nasty mixed race pirate crew together which will be captained by Sophie here. I haven't decided if she'll have Razig's undead pirates incorporated into her crew, or if Razig and his undead pirates will be a seperate menace on the high seas. Probably the latter.

I remember seeing, some years ago at a hobby store in Staunton, Virginia, a 25mm resin pirate galleon. At the time it was outrageously expensive. I'm sure it is even more expensive now, if I could track it down, but I've got a little more disposable "hobby money" than I did 5 years ago.

Maybe I'll do a little web searching and see what I can find. If anyone out there knows of a 25mm-30mm pirate ship that is made of wood or resin or even plastic (no Playmobil, please!) then post a comment with a url or product name to search, would you?

Help Sophie and Razig get their boats floated.

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02144: Eric Swiftblade, Swashbuckler

Back to reviewing Reaper Minis from my most recent shipment so that I can delete them from my wishlist at the online Reaper store.

This pirate is sculpted by Sandy Garrity and is in a really nice, dynamic pose. He's got a puffy poet shirt with some sort of amulet swinging on his neck. I love the cutlass and his pirate boots. He could just as easily be a vistani/gypsy as a pirate.

I can't really tell if he has a bit of an overbite or if that is a moustache, though. I think I might go with moustache when I get to painting him.

I don't know if my players will ever spend any time crossing the Sea of Fallen Stars, but I've started getting a pretty nice collection of pirates, so they better watch out. First time they put to sea, they're likely to get set upon by a nasty crew of pirates both living and undead all commanded by that really great Sophie the Pirate succubus mini. Arrrr.

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Two new old books for my shelf.

I haven't posted in a while, real life has its intrusions. I was out shopping with my wife today and we went to a used bookstore and someone had unloaded a large collection of their 2nd Edition hanbooks.

I couldn't remember if I had the Priest's Handbook on my shelf or not, so I didn't get that one...and rats, I didn't, so I'll have to go back.

I did get the Ninja's handbook though, and that is going to be a useful addition to my game materials. We had a player in our group who was running an updated version of a 1E Monk character. I have a lot of DC comics and Heroclix minis and have been wanting to incorporate them into the game somehow. The backstory I had for the monk character was that she had been trained in a secret academy run by my Forgotten Realms version of Ras al Ghul. I've got a version of Batman who is training there at the same time, and a really nice backstory for both. Anyway, Ras will now offer training to both monks and ninjas in my world, so that westerners don't have to travel all the way to or from Kara-tur for those character classes. Monks will be related to the priesthoods, of course, and ninjas will be related to rogues.

I also picked up the Warriors and Priests of the Realms handbook. This also is a really nice resource volume filled not just with useful information on these two character classes as they relate to the geography and dieites of the Realms, but also on those geographic areas and dieties themselves.

All at wonderfully low used book prices and without having to print off the pdfs at work. My concience is clear on every level.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Points of Light

Fourth Edition Sneak Peaks.

It's been pointed out to me by the Prussian Gamer that another aspect of the transition to 4E will be the concept of Points of Light. (This is an article by Rick Baker on the new WOTC website, and you need to register in order to read it. Registering, signing a usage agreement and eventually paying a subscription fee are also part of the concept of 4E.)

What Points of Light boils down to is that they want to make the worlds a lot more wild with fewer city states and their politics to deal with. The focus will be on making the PCs heroic and getting them out of the shadow of major NPCs who populate the worlds the PCs live in.

Now, on Rick Baker's blog has a post where he reacts to the strong negative reaction to this change. He says:

One quick point of clarification I'd like to make... Don't assume that we're going to apply the 'Points of Light' conceit to existing campaign worlds. I think Realms and Eberron would prosper if they got just a little more points-of-lightish, but we're not going to overthrow worlds with that much breadth and history.

That might be just a little bit reassuring if WOTC hadn't been denying that they were even working on a fourth edition right up to the moment they announced they were launching it.

Hi, Liar. Here's my lunch money.

Anyway, Points of Light is perfect for straight and pure D&D where the DM is making up his or her own campaign world, and would make it easy peasy to drop in modules as you go along and the PCs explore a little bit further into the wild world. That's pretty much what the original concept was for D&D and it makes a lot of sense...but if you are playing in a published campaign setting you have already chosen not to do that work and are relying on the game company to provide richly detailed material.

Based on past history, here is what I think...they know that the only way to keep people playing is to emphasize "home brew" inclusions even in the published campaign worlds, but they can't keep their hands out of it and are so addicted to proprietary protection of their published material that it won't be long before the points of light concept is defeated by their own R&D team....because they know a home brew DM isn't addicted to their published material.

And so, I remain firm in my satisfaction at having stuck with second edition all along. My Realms isn't run by Hasbro, and that's a very good thing. Oh, and it is plenty wild, thank you very much.

But, even I am an addict that will probably drop the e-version of the monthly dime bag from my pusher by signing up for the $9.95 D&D Insider membership, and continue to drop $300 for three cases of minis every time a new set is released...and out of curiosity will buy the new campaign setting just to see what they've done to my world.

If they can count on every single D&D player out there to do at least that much, they've done a lot better than break even on their little experiment.

I guess if what they want to prove is that we are dumb enough to keep buying their schemes, then it makes sense to want to dumb down the game system for us dumbies.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Spellplague, 4th Edition, and the Realms

I don't know why it didn't occur to me, but it didn't, and it took me as much by surprise as when Azrael became Batman. Or even further back, the Crisis on the Infinite Earths.

If Hasbro is making WOTC dumb down and streamline the D&D game by creating another version of it...and this one is going to have a completely re-worked magic system, new versions of the monsters, new rules for fighters that make them as "fun" to play as clerics and wizards...then there will be major consequences for the different campaign worlds.

I guess it shouldn't be a surprise at all...with each new campaign setting there has been a RSE. (Realms Shattering Event) This is sort of like what happened with the Time of Troubles when 2nd Edition came out.

What is the "it" that I keep talking about? Let me explain....

I picked up my copy of "The Orc King" yesterday and in the prologue there was Drizzt talking about events 100 years in the future...there was an uneasy peace with the orc tribes, and talk of Luskan being levelled...there was also a mention of something called the Spellplague.

I was mystified. So, I looked it up...and basically Mystra is going to die, again, and the whole of the Realms is going to be re-imagined.

1385 DR Year of Blue Fire

Unthinkable catastrophe ensues when Cyric, aided and abetted by Shar, murders Mystra in Dweomerheart. The plane itself disintegrates at once, destroying Savras and sending the gods Azuth and Velsharoon reeling into the endless Astral Plane. Without Mystra to govern the Weave, magic bursts its bonds all across Faerun and the surrounding planes and runs wild. In Faerun, this event is known as the Spellplague. Thousands of mages are driven insane or destroyed, and the very substance of the world becomes mutable beneath veils of azure fire that dance across the skies by night or by day.

Many planes are shifted or destroyed as well. Only greater deities prove strong enough to maintain their realms against the resultant chaos. Tyr, Lathander, and Sune move against Cyric and successfully imprison the Black Sun in his Supreme Throne, under a sentence of house arrest to last one thousand years.

Sages in centuries to come mark the Weave's destruction in the Year of Blue Fire as the end of the old world, and the terrible beginning of the new.

That ain't going to happen in my world. In my world, we never switched to 3rd edition, so completely destroying and rebuilding my Forgotten Realms to accomodate some coporate pin-head who wants to wring the last few dollars out of the franchise by creating 4th edition would be pretty stupid.

Besides....I'm not sure that my players are ever going to get to 1369 DR, so something that isn't going to happen until after 1385 probably won't impact me much anyway.

But it sucks to know that my break with official timelines now has to be just as official.

More Reading:


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Reaper 03239 : Krug, Hil Giant Chieftain

One thing Reaper really does right are giants. I've almost got enough of the big buggers to run the Giants series of 1E modules, and I'm really looking foward to it. This sculpt by Tre Manor is not as massive as the earlier hill giant done by Jason Weibe (14205), but they might be brothers. The club is huge and deadly looking. All the parts fit well together, but you might want to reinforce the joints with greenstuff after the glue dries. There are gaps that could use filling, especially under the right arm. I noticed very little flash, only a small bit under his fur dress.

With these really big arms, the mini is fairly top heavy and if he falls over, the arms are going to pop right off (yes, that just happened to me, which is why I mention it). You'll definitely want to reinforce with green or brown stuff, and possibly rebase him on something wider.

I just can't say enough about how cool this miniature is though, even with the minor problems mentioned above. Can't wait to use him on the game table.

At $35 he's got a fairly gigantic price tag, though. I'd strongly suggest this be one of the future plastic releases. I'd probably buy several of them if they were a $10 plastic that was pre-painted.

Man, could this guy kick Billidum's butt.

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Reaper 03221 : Barrow Warden Keeper

I love this guy! Kevin Wiliams has really created a spooky contrast between the huge and powerful set of armor and the tiny skeleton wearing it. I think that this miniature would make a great centerpiece to a side bar adventure. If you knew that down the road your PCs would be facing some awful dragon or an extra-planar creature and they needed a little extra help in the form of a magic weapon and enchanted armor--instead of just letting them find it, have them kill the beastie wearing it!

Normally, I'm not that big a fan of expressive skeleton heads...bones don't move around to have facial expressions...but I don't mind that this guy has a brow ridge that makes him look really evil. It's only a hint, and mostly conveyed by shadow. To anticipate how the shadow will play on your sculpt is the mark of extraordinary talent. Kevin Wiliams, hats off!

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03173 : Lirris, Female Demon

Another in the Jim Johnson demon series. Lirris is very similar to Vareesh, but with fewer clothes. They have the same thigh high boots and exactly the same wings. I found the fit of the wings on Lirris to be a little more difficult than Vareesh, which makes me think they might have been originally sculpted for the other demon. This same set of wings is in the demonic wings pack by Reaper.

At any rate, she's still a fine sculpt and I like the heads tied to her staff. The detail is very good.

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Reaper 03167 : Kazael, Male Demon

This sculpt by Jim Johnson is interesting. I like the strange weapon and the pose he's in. I'll have to think a while in order to come up with a new type of demon for him to represent. Kazael doesn't look much like any of the established 2E demons already on the books.

A nice problem to have, though, too many demons. I've got a real soft spot for the Lower Planes and its denizens.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Reaper 03184: Vareesh, Female Demon

Can you ever have too many succubi? Probably not, judging by the sheer number of sexy bat-winged demonesses out there on the market. This sculpt by Jim Johnson is a little lackluster when you compare her to the many poses we've seen Reaper's Sophie in over the years.

She isn't bad, but the fact that I toyed with the idea of leaving her wings off and just making her a female fighter tells you a little something about how little this particular sculpt inspires. In the end, I decided to leave the wings on her because I didn't want to deal with a female fighter doing a Janet Jackson with the one bare breast. I have enough to explain to a feminist wife and my one female player.

Somewhere, deep in my dungeon Errtu's succubi harem are getting tired of waiting for the PCs to find the door to their room. I just hope the Pit Fiend is enjoying the delights these sultry mavens have to offer when the theif picks that particular lock and the door swings wide.

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Reaper 03208 : Brass Bull

Reaper's version of the Gorgon is a joint scuplt by Bob Olley and Kevin Williams. I don't think I've ever actually run one of these monsters in a game. It might be time. They certainly are a scary looking beast. While the WOTC Gorgon from Night Below has a nice fluidity of motion implied in the sculpt, Reaper's goes for sheer bulky power and in that fight, it wins hands down. The big loser in the battle of the gorgons would be the old Ral Partha sculpt which is puny by comparison to either of the others.

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Reaper 02544 : Barrow Rats

These nasty specimens were sculpted by Jason Wiebe. They are really excellent giant rats, and compare very favorably to the WOTC dire rats...I don't have a lot of use for dire creatures. In my world, dire creatures all have the same basic ecology:

While no one is certain how dire creatures come to be, whether they emerge from some extra-planer existence, are created by some kind of conjuration or alteration magic, the prevailing theory is that they were once, in fact, normal creatures of their kind but were unusually susceptible to the emanations of evil. This theory has weight given that these types of creatures are almost always encountered in areas where evil rites and magic has been practiced for many years, although it is possible that these creatures are simply drawn to such evil and not created by it. If the theory is true, it is suspected that their solitary nature is a result of having driven off or eaten the other creatures of its kind as the changes were taking place.

Regardless of how these creatures come to be, they are always a sign that not only is there evil in the area in which they are encountered, but that evil is deeply rooted and long-standing, of at least 5 years duration. The greater the number and variety of creatures in an area, correspondingly, the greater the power and scope of the evil.

As a result, I only need one dire creature of any given type.

Giant rats, on the other hand, my sewers need lots and lots of those. These guys are pretty good. The nice thing about them is that their tails are easily bended into a variety of shapes, so although the two basic bodies are going to be the same no matter how many I have, when you see them swarming, and all those tails going every which way...it is truly unsettling.

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Reaper 03204 : Battleguard Golem

Sometimes I think Reaper likes to see just how close they can get to WOTC's product line without a Cease and Desist order. This is what Iron Man would look like on Eberron. Ben Seins has done a very nice and very dynamic pose for an iron or steel golem, but the head is very much influenced by the Warforged in the Eberron campaign setting.

The sculpt is not a golem in the traditional sense. This guy doesn't stand around waiting to be activated, kick butt, and go back to sleep until needed again. This miniature is designed to be some kind of player character, and not a monster. Again, as the Eberron Warforged are. You can tell because not only does it have a sword and strike a heroic pose, on the back he's got a chain belt with pouch and a little bag for loot. Only Player Characters accessorize with pockets for change...your average golem doesn't collect treasure or a paycheck, they are the perfect night watchman.

Nice miniature, all around, excellent detail--though I am not sure what I'll use it for. I think I'll have to put him in with my Warforged, and I suspect that most other people who buy him will do the same thing. Get them now if you think they might not be available later.

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Reaper 02751 : Stone Golem

This figure was scuplted by James Van Schaik and runs $7.99.

It is a very solid piece of metal and looks like Frankenstein's Monster on steroids after losing a blinking contest with a medusa. There isn't a lot of detail on it, nor should a golem be a particularly detailed mini. These guys are built for their ability to guard, not aesthetic beauty. I've never understood, though, why you'd bother building a golem with a skirt. It makes little sense to me, as the mobility of the golem would be drastically reduced as a result of that solid hunk of scuplted "clothing". It seems to me it would be better to sculpt the golem nude and put some sort of ceremonial garb on it after the fact.

I'm glad to have the figure, but the more I think about it only being able to walk by swiveling at the hips and bending at the knee, the less attractive it is to me. Although, the Ral Partha Stone Golem was also wearing a skirt. What is it with these kilt wearing statues? Maybe when they activate the stone skirt becomes flexible. Weird.

Here's a question which came up in my most recent gaming session, though. If golems don't actually have eyes...are they affected by illusions? What about illusions cast through a Wand of Perfect Illusion?

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Reaper 02657: Lardgulp, Two-Headed Troll

Of the two-headed trolls that are available, this Reaper miniature (sculpted by Sandra Garrity) is probably the best of the lot. I wish it looked more trollish than ettinish, but I decided that once I get it painted it will probably look ok. For me, the only true troll is the Ral Partha one from the Official AD&D collection.

The old 1E Fiend Folio describes the giant two-headed troll as a ferocious troll/ettin crossbreed. It is possible that the giant two-headed troll maintains more trollish appearance but gains the ettin's height, while an alternate outcome is that the standard sized two-headed troll doesn't get the height but has more ettinish appearance in the heads. Why these things mate in the first place, that's another mystery.

This item is no longer sold through traditional distribution channels, though it is still available online at the Reaper Asylum, and by special order from your favorite local gaming store.

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Reaper 02917: Bird Man

The Reaper Bird Man by Geoff Valley, is an excellent mini to use for the Aarakocra. The 2E Monstrous Compendium entry describes the wings of the monster as being more like a bat, but I've always seen them as being feathered, so this is the miniature I use for them.

Again, one of the things that I love about Reaper is that the parts fit together so snugly. You don't need any filler on the wing that you glue to the body. It fits so snugly that you almost can't see the seam.

They are a really nice sculpt, and the metal is just pliable enough that you can actually get the wings in a variety of positions without breaking them. I've got four of them, and wouldn't mind a few more for the flock.

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Reaper 02644: Boar Demon

Bob Olley's other demonic offering is the Boar Demon, which is Reaper's answer to the Nalfeshnee. I really love this sculpt. Someday, I might find a good figure of a kangaroo and use the head from this miniature to replace the head of Skippy to make the male version of a Catoblepas. Didn't know that the male catoblepas looked like a kangaroo with a warthog head? Well, its true. There was a Dragon magazine with an ecology of the catoblepas in it and I have to say...if the male looked that silly and the female looked that ugly...no wonder they are so rare.

One of the best things about the reaper figure is how well the wings fit into the back of it. The slots fit perfectly with no need for filing or filling. There was a little bit of a gap where the head glued on, but that wasn't much of a much. I have two of these, so for a little variety, I cut the sword off and replaced it with a diffferent weapon from one of the Warlord Weapon packs Reaper puts out. A really nasty mace. I had to clip the pommel off as well, but it looks nice. I'll post pics when I get it painted....sometime in 2044.

I've talked about the nalfeshnee in the past, and told you that I think that Reaper's version is hands down the most frighteningly demonic you can get, although I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Minifigs Dungeons & Dragons line Type IV demon.

Minifigs was the 1st company to have the official TSR license to make minis for D&D & call them as such. They went out of poduction at the beginning of the 80s. Their Nalfeshnee looks nearly identical to the old 1st edition illustration...except that it has batwings instead of feathered wings. I'm not changing mine, though. These minifig versions are super rare. They are very fragile and if you find one, 9 times out of 10 the legs will be broken. This one is a really prized gem in my collection...even if he is more silly than scary compared to the Reaper Boar Demon.

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Reaper 02532: Skalathrix Vulture Demon

Bob Olley's version of a vrock is about the best one there is. I'll be embarrassed to ever put the WOTC one up on my shelf, partially because their vrock is so awful and partially because of what I'll have to pay for it since I didn't get one in the Archfiends case I bought. Oh, the woes of being a collector as well as a gamer...

On most things, the Official AD&D Ral Partha line is my gold standard for what monsters should look like, but Olley's vrock is so much more demonic looking than the Planescape one done by Ral Partha.

The only thing that is a little tricky about this mini is that the wings don't go on the way you expect them to...they lean back at a steep angle and don't go straigh up like a lot of the batwing demons Repaper puts out. If you try to put them on the way you intuitively think they should, you'll think the piece doesn't fit and you need to clip and fill in with putty. Don't. Play around with it before you put the glue on until you see the way it should actually fit, and then you'll probably need to bend the base a bit to get it to balance correctly.

I liked it so much I got two. They are a little pricey at $12.99 each, but, man, are they worth it. They are super cool, super detailed, and super scary.

I offer the other two choices for comparison.

The Ral Partha Vrock. I remember when I got my vrok in the Planescape boxed set. It was missing the tail feathers, so I wrote to Ral Partha and told them I was missing the part...and they sent me both the tail feathers and another vrock...which was great, but now I still have a vrok on my shelf with no tail feathers. As my friend Scott Taylor used to say, "Aw, you'd cry with two loaves of bread under each arm."

DDM Archfiends Vrock

There is no comparison. It would be nice if the Rreaper one were holding the kind of weapon (what is that thing? Scythe?) described in the Monstrous Compendium on the Outer Planes, but you can't have everything...and you might be able to cut the sword off and replace it without too much trouble.

I"m not going to bother, I think they look pretty freaking cool as is.

Save yourself a lot of dough, take what you'd spend on eBay trying to get an Archfiends vrock and just download the stat card and use this fig. There won't be any official DDM 1.0 tournaments anymore anyway, so if the game is what you enjoy, why bother getting the official figs?

And yes, I said "fig".


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Reaper 03190: Blacktongue, Gnoll Ranger

This is an interesting sculpt by John Manor. This gnoll is dangerous, and that bow looks like it takes an 18 strength or better just to try to get a shot off. It is a very dynamic pose and it is easy to understand why this is one of the minis that they chose to be in the next edition of Legendary Encounters pre-painted plastics.

I glued my bow so that it crossed in front of the body rather than along the side. Either way, the pieces fit easily.

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Reaper 02961 : Angel of Darkness

This miniature is sculpted by Julie Guthrie, is rich in both beauty and detail. I really love this miniature. It is listed as Angel of Darkness on the Online Catalogue, but the package I have says Angel of Shadow. If pressed, go with the product number, that's the same either way.

I plan to use her as a Lantern Archon in my world. I realize that Lantern Archons are just balls of light, but I already have a will-o-wisp figure and the trumpet archon isn't just a trumpet floating around, right? If the trumpet archon can be a green skinned bald angel with a trumpet, then in my world lantern archons are going to be some sort of angel carrying a magical lantern. All the lantern archon powers will be the same, except the rays of light will come from the lantern, and though they will shun combat, my lantern archons will be able to swing a sword when they need to.

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Reaper 03233: Townsfolk: Children

What good are monsters and villains without someone to kidnap, torment, and generally be evil to? Reaper understands this, and so they give us their really wonderful Townsfolk series.

With this set we have the little children...and their chickens. I wasn't sure why they went together, but after seeing the first episode of Kid Nation, it all makes sense now. This is a great set, sculpted by Bobby Jackson. A perfect setup to a nice adventure...children captured by goblins, will trade for chickens.

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Reaper 02871 : Wererats (2)

I'm not sure who the scupltor is on these, if Reaper Matt reads this blog, maybe he can post a comment and tell us.

This item is no longer sold through traditional distribution channels, though it is still available at the Reaper online store and by special order from your favorite local gaming store.

I like wererats, though I don't run them very often. My players haven't encountered a great many sewers or cities where they tend to thrive. These are good sculpts, but I have to say I actually prefer the WOTC version in Dragoneye better. Still, even WOTC didn't keep that look, the next wererat they released had big beefy arms and the Reaper version is much better than the War of the Dragon Queen wererat put out by WOTC.

Actually, when you put the reaper wererats side by side with the old ones put out by Heritage (I think the other ones I have are from the Dungeon Dweller series) they look very similar, just more "modern" and detailed. I guess I'm starting to like these more and more....

So, if you can't get your hands on a swarm of Dragoneye wererats and want your sewer to be really dangerous...I recommend stocking up on the Reaper version. They are only $6.99 for two of them, so that is pretty reasonable.

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