Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Dungeons of Dread Case #3

Well...this is it!

First Pull: Nothing new

Second Pull: Nothing new

Third Pull: Nothing new

Fourth Pull: Spectral Magelord. Another clear plastic mini that you doesn't get painted and is presumed "cool". Meh.

Fifth Pull: Death Knight. Not that impressive a mini, but will work very well for that guy who guards Darkhold.

Sixth Pull: Nothing new

Seventh Pull: Ettin, not crazy about it. It would be fine, if there weren't so many other really nice ettin miniatures out there.

Eighth Pull: Emerald Orb Wizard--this is a very nice miniature, very good paint job.

Ninth Pull: Angel of Valor. Hate the new agels concept. Having fits trying to figure out how to use them in my world.

Tenth Pull: Nothing new

Eleventh Pull: Fen Hydra, nice.

Twelfth Pull: Vampire Vizier--very nice miniature

So, after three cases, the only two I'm missing are:

5 Young Silver Dragon 62 C Good 8 R
40 Griffon 22 B/W -- 7 R

I might try to get the YSD, but don't really care if I get the griffon, it doesn't look great from the gallery images and I've got a bunch of griffons from other sources. Maybe I'll luck into one if I do a tournament play thingy.


Dungeons of Dread Case #2

First Pull: Nothing new

Second Pull: Nothing new

Third Pull: Lamia...poorly painted and relatively useless for gaming purposes.

Fourth Pull: Balhannoth is a strange creature, but I can probably find use for it. My Underdark needs some populating. It will fit in well with my Great Old Ones.

Fifth Pull: Champion of Baphomet is not the best minotaur we've seen from WOTC, but it isn't bad.

Sixth Pull: Nothing new

Seventh Pull: Nothing new

Eighth Pull: Nothing new

Ninth Pull: Nothing new

Tenth Pull: Nothing new

Eleventh Pull: Nothing new

Sniff....counting down:
2 Angel of Valor 30 B/C Good 8 R
5 Young Silver Dragon 62 C Good 8 R
7 Death Knight 65 B Evil 13 R
28 Vampire Vizier 51 U Evil 11 R
38 Ettin Jack-of-Irons 71 B/C -- 10 R
40 Griffon 22 B/W -- 7 R
44 Emerald Orb Wizard 33 C/U -- 9 R
46 Spectral Magelord 26 C/U -- 7 R
55 Fen Hydra 93 U/W -- 12 R


Dungeons of Dread Case #1

OK, the new boosters are strange....unfamiliar...dare I say it? Less phallic.

In the first pull I got an Oni. Very nice, and a much better paint job than the one in the gallery. The Elf Archer was a terrible paint job. If I keep a bunch of these, they will all have to be repainted, but I can't tell if there is no detail on the face or if all detail is obscurred by the paint they used. The Drow Spiderguard is good, but mostly because there is almost no paint on it at all. The Iron Defender looks a lot more like a dog in armor than a mechanical dog. Meh. The Magma Brute...well, its hard to get excited about a miniature that even I could sculpt. The Troglodyte Bonecrusher is worthless. It is stupid, ugly, and the only thing that keeps it from being considered a poor paint job is the almost complete lack of paint. If I use this at all, it will be as some form of evolved rock lizard, certainly not as a troglodyte. Ick. The Chillborn, however, is extremely nicely painted for a common. I'm glad this is a common, I'll be using these frosty undead in my campaign for certain. The Defiant Rake might be a nice figure if it had any real detail and wasn't painted with Testor's Model Paint.

Second Pull: Deathjump Spider is excellent, but partially because they didn't bother to do more than put a light wash on it. I will be using these for Retrievers, as they are in an almost identical pose to the 1st Edition artwork. The Shadow Demon is nice, but I'm starting to get a little bored with the clear plastic minis. Runecarved Eidolon...Worst Rare Ever. Cleric of Pelor is good, nice pose, shiny armor. Goblin Picador is alright, for a goblin, but the paint is awful and very thick, obscuring most of the detail on the face. Spectral Panther is dumb. And strangely metallic. Giant Centipede is cool, but what is with these weird paints? I know it is a common, but how much time and effort would it have taken to do the legs in black so they stand out against the bright orange belly? Make the time up with the time you saved by not really painting the Troglodyte Bonecrusher. Which I now have two of and don't even want one.

Third Pull: Grick sucks, not to put too fine a point on it, especially compared to the old one. The colors used are too bright and the pose is awful. I guess I will use these blue ones as males, and have them be much fewer in number than the more common green females. Meaning, this is the only one I'm going to keep. The rest go to eBay. The Hook Horror is kind of nice, though now I have to find a reason for my existing Ral Parthas and the Hook Horror from the previous edition. I am not crazy about the metallic paints in this set. Warforged Infiltrator is an interesting mini, and also interesting concept. Shadowhunter Bat is nice, but I don't really care for the tail...why would any creature, especially a flying one, have a tail that is thicker and more massive than it's own body? Vampire Spawn is another example of what seems to be the hallmark of this set...miminal paint jobs without detail. The Orc Raider is even less impressive than the image in the gallery. It has little detail, sloppy paint job, and the sculpt is uninspired. With so many orcs already done in previous sets, why offer something so...Meh? Mind Flayer Scourge is another unimpressive Rare. Hardly any paint, what paint there is is sloppy, and one of the points on his collar is broken. This is going to take some cleaning up and repair before I use him. The Kobold Archer is the tallest kobold yet, and not very well painted.

Fourth Pull: The Warrior Wight is really a nice miniature. Eye of Flame is a nice variation on the Beholder. The Dwarf Warlord is a nice sculpt, ruined by the paint job...why does he look like a Duergar? Halfling Paladin is OK, but again, not a great sculpt and bigger than we've seen halflings before, with little detail on the paint.

Fifth Pull: More metalic paint on the Bralani...whatever a Bralani is. I think the Archons are about as dumb as the new concept for the Angels. The Ice Archon isn't going to change my mind. I was very pleasantly suprised by the Bugbear Headreaver. Nice detail and very well painted. The Drow Wand Mage is a nice sculpt, but will need to have some paint to touch it up.

Sixth Pull: Tiefling Warlock is a nice mini, but terrible paint job. The Gargoyle is a good miniature, and I'll probably use it as a Malebranche. The Immolith is good, if weird. I think I will use him for Kossuth...I think that is the name...one of the Forgotten Realms dieties of fire. I had been using the giant fire elemental, but this thing looks more "god-like" to me. The Bulette is probably my least favorite version of the Bulette. I much prefer the Ral Partha one of old, which is about half the size. So, I guess, now I have a Medium, Large, and Huge version of the Bulette. One question, though...why is this bulette metallic gold wherever it doesn't look like an elephant? The Gnoll Marauder is an OK sculpt, but why do we need a new gnoll, and why do we need one painted this poorly? Even so, I might end up keeping all the ones I pull, because this gnoll sculpt works the best for gnoll guards out of all the sets so far.

Seventh Pull: The Wyvern...This is so similar to the previous wyvern in pose that I'm at a loss to explain why they would resculpt it...or why the would paint it metallic olive drab. Shadeknight is interesting, and it might be cool to take a second one and paint it up so that you could have both a visible and invisible version of this as a character. Dwarf Sheildmaiden is a prtty good sculpt, except for the impression that she is has a pretty severe hump...but the paint is just as bad as the rest of the set. Why does her red hair turn to gold where it is braided? The Rakshasa Baron is really nice. No complaints at all, here. Everfrost Ranger is also very good, no complaints only compliments.

Eighth Pull: Dire Wolf...like we need another Dire Wolf...I guess dire creatures in 2.0 no longer have spiked bones sticking out of their bodies and lack the "prehistoric" cast that the old sets had. What can I say, another black mini they didn't have to paint anything on but eyes and teeth. Meh.

Ninth Pull: The Vrock is a great sculpt, so much better than the one in Archfiends. Also well painted.

Tenth Pull: Young Red Dragon is not as impressive as previous red dragons, but there isn't much wrong with it, other than the wings extending further than the base so it doesn't sit flat on the table. I'm glad to see that dragons are going by age category rather than size, that's how we did it back in 2E.

Eleventh Pull: Skeletal Tomb Guardian is a nice sculpt, but this would have been a much better Uncommon than a Rare.

Twelfth Pull: Howling Hag is interesting, if a little cartoony. The Human Fighter is also a pretty nice sculpt, but the paint is again uninspired. Might be nice to do up several variations on the paint job. Glad I don't care about collecting any more, so I don't have to preserve the original paint jobs on any of these things. The Ascendant Hellsword is also nice, but I don't like the Darth Maul double bladed sword.

So, that's it, my first case.

Still hoping for:
2 Angel of Valor 30 B/C Good 8 R
5 Young Silver Dragon 62 C Good 8 R
7 Death Knight 65 B Evil 13 R
24 Champion of Baphomet 66 C/W Evil 13 R
25 Balhannoth 53 U Evil 13 R
28 Vampire Vizier 51 U Evil 11 R
30 Lamia 98 U/W Evil 12 R
38 Ettin Jack-of-Irons 71 B/C -- 10 R
40 Griffon 22 B/W -- 7 R
44 Emerald Orb Wizard 33 C/U -- 9 R
46 Spectral Magelord 26 C/U -- 7 R
55 Fen Hydra 93 U/W -- 12 R


New Minis Day

The new miniatures set from WTOC was released last week on April 4th, but around here we don't get things into our FLGS for nearly a weekk after the release date.

I broke my boycot and ordered three cases, which should arrive late this afternoon by FedEx.

The boycot after the last set was because the quality was so horrible in the minis, and the miniatures themselves seemed to have taken a much bigger step toward "toy" than "miniature" in the sculpting. It was not over the transition to DDM 2.0, since I never played DDM anyway. I used them to support my 2nd Edition RPG sessions.

I'd been looking at the previews of the new set on the WOTC website and decied I would give it another try. You can see the gallery here: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/mg/dxd

Judging by the gallery images, there is less detail, poorer paint jobs and a more cartoonish feel to the miniatures than previous sets. Still, there are some interesting miniatures that I know I can immediately find uses for in my game. I am done worrying about collecting complete sets, but there are some minis in this set that I'm very eager to have on my shelf and then incorporate into play.

These include:

  • Ascendant Hellsword
  • Balhannoth
  • Deathjump Spider
  • Dwarf Warlord
  • Eye of Flame
  • Giant Centipede
  • Gargoyle
  • Oni
  • Young Red Dragon
  • Vrock
  • Young Silver Dragon

These, in spite of their paint jobs, are all interesting minis. I am also very glad that the centipede and the spider are commons, and hope I get a pile of them. I think that I will use the deathjump spider as a Retriever.

I should probably wait to see the minis in hand, but judging from the gallery, the following minis from the new set look terrible. I am at a loss as to what goes into the decision making in terms of what miniatures to make in each set, these are either ones that we've already seen, and seen done better, or will require me to spend hours inventing a reason to have them in my monstrous ecology.

  • Angel of Valor
  • Bulette
  • Champion of Baphomet (how many minotaurs do we need????)
  • Dire Wolf
  • Grick
  • Griffon
  • Hook Horror
  • Ice Archon
  • Runecarved Eidolon (this piece of crap is a RARE??? Hopefully I won't get one.)
  • Spectral Magelord
  • Troglodyte Bonecrusher
  • Wyvern

So, there you have it, more WTFs than WOWs, and the rest are yawns. I didn't mention the orc, the bugbear, the gnoll, and the mind flayer because I can find use for them and might repaint them...but man, they suck. I just can't get over how much they feel like toys instead of game pieces...meaning, made for a demographic who doesn't care about detail, quality, or artistry. These are a lot closer to Marx playsets than Ral Partha figures.

I know, I'm so hard to please. And the days of highly detailed renderings of 2E artwork are gone, gone, gone.

Still and all, I'm actually excited about the delivery of the cases, and with a modicum of luck, I'll be thrilled rather than disappointed.

I'm also planning to pick up a starter set and actually learn how to play DDM 2.0. I think that having a non-randomized set of miniatures exclusive to the DDM 2.0 starter sets was a brilliant idea. Since I never played the first DDM game, I don't have a problem with transition, and since I have to buy the starter set anyway, I might as well try out the game system. That was never something that occured to me with the original game, because I never had any motivation whatsoever to buy a starter set.