Sunday, May 09, 2010

Deep Rothe

I have always wanted a herd of Deep Rothe ever since I started reading the Drizzt books so long ago. The current NWN2 computer game shows them as really big cattle, and it is true that they are described in the back of the 2E book Drow of the Underdark as being like musk oxen, but they are also listed as being 4' tall. A four foot tall musk ox would look pretty silly. (I'm also re-reading the Drizzt books, and when he is on the Isle of Roethe, Salvatore describes them as coming up to between the knee and the waist.)

In my mind, they were always a little more like big horn sheep, so when a search for miniature musk oxen in any scale turned up zip, I did a web search for 25mm Big Horn Sheep. The best I found are an accessory for the Aegyptian line of War Gods minis from Crocodile Games. I got the minis six months ago...ordered them while I was in North Dakota over Christmas. I got six of them, two of each type available.

This is the conversion process:

First, take the mini and remove all flashing.

The next step in the conversion process is to roll out some brown stuff in a very small quantity and then spread it out thin like a pancake. Once you have a nice piece, press it to the side of the mini like you're putting a coat on it.

I want to say again how useful the 1.5x reading glasses are when working with minis. I got amazing detail as I pressed the Xacto blade into the brownstuff to furhter adhere it and also to create the thick hair of the creature.
The hardest part about working with brown or green stuff is cultivating patience. You really need to work with small sections and not mess around with it until it is hard. That is about 24 hours. When it is hard, you can add the next little section and sculpt detail without screwing up the work you did earlier. It takes a lot of time. I am not very patient, but I'm learning. Also, be very careful, but it is important to wet your xacto blade frequently so that the brown stuff does not stick to the blade and pull away from the mini. I've seen people use a small sponge in water, KY jelly, and other lubricants, but I think spit is the best and if you are careful, licking the blade is pretty good--it is what I do.
To encourage patience, it is a good idea to work on several miniatures at once. That way while one mini is hardening you can be distracting yourself by working on another one.

Or two.

Or six.

Finally, the minis are done and ready for painting. Again, I go back to the Compendium sheet to re-read the description and then get to work with my Reaper paints. These don't need a lot of detailed painting, so it goes pretty quickly. I used Woodstain Brown for the fur and Dove Gray for the horns. Black for the hooves and I also painted the snout like a cow's instead of like a goat, to make it seem a little more like the bovine aspects of the musk ox. Then the whole thing gets a thin black wash.

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In my never ending quest to have all the monsters, I was working on the Excel Spreadsheet I've been compiling of every monster reference in my home gaming library so that I can quickly find which book any given monster is described in.

I was going through the Creature Catalogue (TSR) and noticed the Ash Crawler, and thought that the Massiff Star Wars Mini might work as a proxy for it.
The description says the Ash Crawler needs a tail, and this mini looks like it needs one too, so I whipped out the brown stuff and added the tail.

This is not much of a sculpting job, I realize, but that's exactly why you look for proxies that are very close to what you're after so you don't need to do a lot of detailed sculpting. Once I had the tail on and patiently waited for it to harden, I read the descriptions for the creature in the Creature Catalogue, and then looked at the 2E version in the Mystara Monstrous Compendium Annual.
I painted a base coat of Reaper Pro Paint Dove Gray and let that dry. Then I gave it a light wash with watered down Reaper Master Series Woodstain Brown. I painted the eyes red, because that was handy and it looked nice and I had extra after I painted the tongue. When it was all dry, I put black dots on the eyes, painted the hight lights with more of the Dove Gray and then added a few Stormy Gray shadows (Reaper Master Series).

Lastly, I touched up the base with Reaper Master Series Pure Black.
I like a glossy varnish on the minis, rather than dullcote or matte. I think because when we were painting minis back when I was a kid, we all used Testor's Enamal so even though I'm painting in acrylics now, I still don't think they look right without the shiny top coat. Everyone says I'm crazy, which I do not contest, but I have started photographing my minis before I put the sealer on them, just to avoid reflecting the flash and deflecting the negative comments from my pro friends at Reaper.

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The Spriggan is an interesting monster that is a bit like a dwarf, but has the growth capabilities of the Duergar.

Here is my repaint creating that creature...because, I need to have all the monsters.

See MC Compendium 5: Greyhawk Adventures for full stats and info.

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Hellstinger Scorpion

CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Native to Third and Fourth layers of the Nine Hells, where it is common, but can be found in desert ruins on Prime Material
DIET: Carnivore
TREASURE: Nil or incidental in lair
ALIGNMENT: Neutral Evil
NO. APPEARING: 1-35 (1)
THAC0: 7
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2d6+4/2d6+4/1d8+4 (+fire damage from claw and venom)
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Hellish Sting, Fire Claw
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Immune to poison and heat/fire damage
MORALE: Steady (12)
XP VALUE: 8,000

Hellstinger scorpions are vicious predators that are native to the third and fourth layers of the Nine Hells, however at some point it is believed that an evil priest gated in hundreds of these creatures as part of an arcane ritual and the hellstingers flourished in Toril’s deserts, especially Anauroch. They look and behave very similarly to giant scorpions, but are immediately recognizable as extra-planar in origin by their searing heat radiating from their red-hot claws.

The hellstinger scorpion has a red carapace, legs and claws. The segmented tail is orange, with a vicious stinger on the end. There is a bitter smell associated with the scorpion, which probably comes from the venom. They make an unnerving scrabbling sound as they travel across rocky terrain.

Combat: The hellfire scorpion is 95% likely to attack any creature that approaches. Scorpions of any variety do not use visual or aural senses to detect prey. Instead they use the vibrations of the sand underneath them. Small sensors on their legs pick up and measure the strength of the vibrations, using the minute differences in the vibrations detected by each leg to locate the prey. Hence, the scorpion can detect your presence even if it isn’t looking at you or you are invisible. When it determines the location and distance of the prey, it calculates when the prey is within sufficient range to attack in a single rushed charge with pincers extended. It will remain motionless until this attack, and players must make a roll for surprise when it does. The scorpion can sense these vibrations up to a distance of 3 times that of its length. (Giant: 9’; Monstrous: 45’) Scorpions have the same limitations on attacking and moving that characters and NPCs do, in that they can not move more than 1/2 of their max movement in one round and still attack. Tunneling under a scorpion also does not protect from detection, unless the tunnel is so deep it is beyond the range of detectable vibration. Therefore, the scorpion is almost impossible to surprise by any attacker who travels on or below the ground.

An injured scorpion which is missing legs will suffer a 10% penalty on its detection roll for each leg that it is missing or crippled. If several adjacent legs are missing or damaged, the scorpion will not be able to detect motion in that quadrant.

The creature has a hellishly hard, chitinous carapace that gives it Armor Class –4. This monster attacks by grabbing prey with its two huge pincers, inflicting 2d6 points of damage each +4 points of heat damage, while it lashes forward with its tail to sting. Thus, it can fight three opponents at once. If a hellfire scorpion manages to grab a victim in a pincer, it will automatically inflict 2d6+4 points of damage each round until it releases the victim. If the sting is employed against an un-trapped victim, an attack roll is required for a successful attack, but a trapped character is automatically struck by any sting attack directed at him with no attack roll required. The victim has but one chance to escape. If he can make his bend bars/lift gates roll, he will escape the claw. However, this can be the character's only action that round and it can be tried only once per combat. If the victim escapes, however, it will automatically be stung without chance to miss by the reactive sting of the hellfire scorpion.

The sting inflicts 1d8 points of damage from the poison +4 points of heat damage and the victim must save versus poison or permanently lose one point of Strength. Neutralize Poison will stop the loss of strength and damage, and a point of Strength will be returned each time a full flask of Elixer of Health is imbibed.

Note that this scorpion type is immune to their own poison.

If a hellfire scorpion is reduced to 1 or 2 hit points, it will go into a stinging frenzy, stinging everything in sight, gaining two attempts to hit per round with only the tail. Slain creatures are dragged to the scorpion's burrow to be eaten.

Habitat/Society: Hellstinger scorpions live in underground burrows and ruins found in dry, arid climates. If found in a dungeon, or other subterranean location, the uncharacteristic dryness of the air created by the heat of the creature will be an early clue that something is amiss. Hence, they tend to favor climates where their natural ability to dehumidify does not alert potential prey to avoid them.

Each lair may (20%) have 5d4 scorpion eggs. These beasts eat any living creature that is unfortunate enough to stray too close to their lair. Any treasure found comes from the bodies of human or demi-human victims that have been dragged here to be consumed. Armor is rarely found intact, since the scorpion will surely have used its pincers to cut up its prey.

Ecology: These bizarre insects contribute little to any ecosystem. They themselves are seldom prey for other creatures and so where there is one, there are likely many.

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Reek (adapted from Star Wars)

DIET: Omnivore
INTELLIGENCE: Animal (2-4)
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Neutral
NO. APPEARING: 1-6 (3)
THAC0: 11
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1d10 (horn), 1d8 (bite), 1d6 (kick)
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Charge and trample
MORALE: 8-10
XP VALUE: 1,400

These immense creatures of the Underdark are similar to the surface rhino, but larger and more aggressive. They are primarily herbivores, but plant life in the depths of the Underdark is not abundant. They have adapted, however, to eat whatever food is available and are known to eat meat when no other food is at hand. They like to find mud pools near subterranean water sources, and will wallow for hours. Their horns, though fierce, are not primarily weapons, but are used to knock away stone and dirt to get at insects or plant life in hard to get crannies.

The meat of a Reek is not considered a delicacy, but is nourishing and one can acquire a taste for it, especially if there is little else available. The meat from a single Reek can feed a large number of creatures but they are difficult to capture or domesticate.

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Worm, Runespiral

DIET: Carnivore
TREASURE: Incidental
ALIGNMENT: Neutral Evil
NO. APPEARING: 1-25 (5)
THAC0: 11
MORALE: Steady (12)
XP VALUE: 6,000

These strange creatures of the deep Underdark live in colonies and seem to have a hive mind, meaning that they are telepathically linked and what one sees, all see. They communicate via this mental link, and so have no use for language. They seem to be able to understand languages of other races, but either do not have the ability to communicate their thoughts to other species or simply have no interest in doing so. Their name comes from their “shell” covering the top or back portion of the creature. It is not really a shell at all, but a semi-transparent sack filled with some sort of fluid that from a distance appears to be a constantly changing series of runes. In reality, they are not runes at all, but some sort of bodily fluids of different colors that are constantly shifting. Mammals find the changing patterns impossible to ignore, and if within 10 feet of the creatures any mammalian creature must save vs. spells or be transfixed for 1d4 rounds. At the end of the effect, another save vs. spell must be made to avoid one of 4 terrible mental effects:
Confusion, as per the spell cast by a 9th level wizard
Sleep as cast by a 9th level wizard
Fear as per the spell cause fear cast by a 9th level wizard
Permanent loss of 1d4 points of Intelligence

Obviously, the effects are negated if there is no light by which to see the runes, or if blinded. Monstrologists believe this is an added protection against creatures in the Underdark who use artificial or natural light. The Runespiral Worm has excellent night vision and are unaffected by their own runes.

Each Runespiral Worm has 6 bladelike appendages on their upper body near the head. These are as deadly as a fighter with 6 shortswords that can be used in a single round. Thus, the creature is as able to defend from the front as they are defended from behind.

Their other defense is a screeching howl which can be used to drown out all other sound (rendering spell casting as ineffective as a globe of silence) and causing actual physical pain to the ears. When one howls, any other worm within 125 feet will also take up the howl, thereby increasing the noise and the damage it causes. No sound but the screeching can be heard within 125 feet of the creatures howling, and those within range suffer deafness for 1d6 rounds per screeching worm, and 1d4 points of damage each round the howling continues. Screeching will continue for 1d12 rounds from the first screech. This defense can only be used once per day.

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Crypt Worm (Ghoul Worm)

CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Any burial ground
DIET: Carrion
NO. APPEARING: 1-2 (4)
THAC0: 17
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1d6+2 (bite)
MORALE: Elite (18)

This horrible worm is blind, but possesses an amazing sense of smell that allows it to detect dead flesh from hundreds of feet away. The creature has a stench cloud defense mechanism, which erupts when it first takes damage, causing an effect identical to the spell of the same name as though cast at 9th level. The creature can only emit a stench cloud once per day.

It also is coated in a slime which causes paralysis, similar to the ghoul touch spell. The creature has two bite attacks per round, but need only roll to hit once. If one hits, both attacks hit, because the mouths are so close together.

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Back to the Basement!

My wife went out of town for a long weekend, and I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to put on my hermit robes and head down to the basement to work on my D&D stuff.

I have spent two straight days working on monstrology and making new entries in the Monstrous Manual I'm making in Publisher--converting stats to AD&D 2E.

Lots of new photos of minis, and I'm going to try to make enough posts to this blog to move the YouTube videos off the page so that it loads faster. :)