A couple of years back, Bill Maher had a segment on his show called “I don’t know it for a fact; I just know it’s true.” He would say amusing things like “I don’t know for a fact that Justin Trudeau moonlights as a tantric yoga instructor; I just know it’s true.” See? That’s a joke, because Justin Trudeau is a good-looking youngish guy who probably gets laid a lot; but he’s also the Prime Minister of Canada.
I don’t know for a fact that Jeremy, a.k.a. Carrion Crow, sounds exactly like Lenny Mclean, a.k.a. Barry the Baptist from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; I just know it’s true. That’s a joke, too, because lest there be any confusion, I’ve never actually heard Carrion Crow speak. Still, I find it amusing to imagine him saying things like “If you don’t wanna be countin’ the fingers you ‘aven’t got, I suggest you get those guns! Quick!”
I don’t know for a fact that Forgotten Heroes is the greatest painting challenge in the history of painting challenges, I just know it’s true; because this year it gave me the opportunity to create one of my favorite all-time villains: the Hypno-Hustler!
From Wikipedia: Antoine Desloin is the lead singer of the Mercy Killers, going by the name of Hypno-Hustler. He and his band were scheduled to perform at a nightclub called “Beyond Forever”. When the club’s manager catches Hypno-Hustler robbing his safe, Hypno-Hustler used his hypnotic equipment on the manager. When it came time to perform, Hypno-Hustler and his band used their hypnotizing equipment on the audience in a plan to rob them as well. Peter Parker was at the club at the time and changed into Spider-Man. During the fight, Spider-Man discovered that Hypno-Hustler’s headphones protected him from his own hypnotic music. Spider-Man managed to remove them from Hypno-Hustler causing him to become a victim of his own hypnosis. When the audience was free of the hypnosis, Hypno-Hustler and his Mercy Killers were webbed up and left for the police.
So: Hypno-Hustler can hypnotize people with his music; but, failing that, he can resort to the toe-spikes and knockout gas he has hidden in his big platform heels. He also plays the guitar.
Hypno-Hustler made his debut in November, 1978 in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #24; and then promptly vanished from comics for 24 years, until Spider-Man: Tangled Web #16 (released in November of 2002). He was created by the great Bill Mantlo; who sadly has been dealing with long-term injuries from a hit-and-run accident in the early 90’s. Bill Mantlo worked on a ton of incredible comics in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, and created some great characters; like Cloak and Dagger, Jack of Hearts, Rom: Spaceknight and (most famous nowadays) Rocket Raccoon; the royalties of which allowed him to finally leave the nursing facility he’d been living in for 25 years and return to home care.
Before we dive in to the miniature conversion process, please feel free to get in the mood with this sketch from Key and Peele, which still cracks me up every time I watch it.
To make Hypno-Hustler, I used this DC Hypertime Booster Gold Heroclix miniature as the base. I trimmed him off his flight disc, but kept the plastic under his feet to give him some height afforded by his KISS-esque boots.
From there it wasn’t too hard to add green stuff and Magic Sculpt to make his afro, chest speaker/amp, belt and shoulder trim. I also added his headphones and tried to define his goggles a bit. Then I gave him a microphone so he wasn’t empty-handed.
But something was conspicuously absent (and no, it wasn’t the Mercy Killers). Hypno-Hustler needed a guitar, and, not surprisingly, Booster Gold didn’t come with one. I looked for a suitable guitar I could cannibalize amongst my many miniatures and bitz. No luck.
My next step was to find a 28mm scale guitar bit somewhere else. I looked at silver charms (for charm bracelets), and found something perfect, except that it was just too big enough to look wrong. I finally looked for manufacturers that make musical instrument conversion bits. I thought for sure Reaper did, but nope. All Fantasy themed instruments, no electric guitars. Eventually, PaulCollins at The Miniatures Page pointed me to two British companies: Spellcrow and Zealot miniatures, respectively.
Although available in the USA through Amazon and Noble Knight, the Spellcrow guitars are a bit too Slaanesh Noise Marine for me (and certainly for the Hypno-Hustler). They weren’t the right shape, either.
In contrast, the Zealot miniatures guitars were awesome. Just what I needed. Unfortunately, they are only available from the company in the UK, and I’m not going to pay that much shipping for one little guitar sprue.
Which means I had to make my own. I know it sucks, but it’s for the Hypno-Hustler; so who cares? I put it on his back, anyway. I was going to sculpt the guitar strap, but it would clutter up the front of the miniature if I did, so I left it out.
And here he is, ready to funk up the place: The Hypno-Hustler! Painting him was pretty easy, as Hypno-Hustler has a limited color palette: white with purple acoutrements. I listened to a lot of Earth, Wind and Fire and Parliament-Funkadelic while I did.
I’m least happy with his base. I didn’t know what to do, so I just painted it like a spotlight. I considered adding glitter to it; but as anyone who’s ever been to a strip club knows (so I hear), glitter gets everywhere.
With Spider-man’s greatest (I said greatest, damn you!) nemesis now complete, I have no excuse not to break out the Super Mission Force any longer. It’s been way too long!
Thanks as always to Carrion Crow for hosting Forgotten Heroes. He did a member of Spidey’s Rogues Gallery himself this year: The Spot! Go check it out, along with a link to everyone else’s fun contributions!
No one ever enjoyed playing games with Braska Triskelion; but everyone hated playing against him. That’s because no matter how much grace one may possess, no one likes to lose all the time, especially to the same opponent. Braska had a hard time keeping friends, but he acquired enemies easily; or as he preferred to call them, “sore losers”. Easy enough for him to say, because he didn’t really know what it meant. He didn’t understand how it felt to lose, sore or otherwise; because Braska Triskelion never lost at anything.
From early childhood, Braska Triskelion had an obsession with games. He preternaturally grasped and mastered the rules of any puzzle, riddle, contest or match; whether of skill, wit or cunning. Though possessed of extraordinary agility and coordination, Braska was not robust. Despite this, he occasionally played at sports and other physical pursuits, though he did not enjoy them. He was nevertheless always able, through his disciplined mind, to employ superior tactics or devise some winning strategy for his team.
Vast wealth came quickly and easily to him. With his abilities, he was able to make a killing in both the gambling houses and in professional contest circuits around the world, all in record time. By the age of twenty, Braska Triskelion was fabulously rich, with more wealth than any one of the sovereign rulers of the land; and more than many of them combined. But, as is the case with those who breathe the rarified air of being the undisputed best at what they do, Braska Triskelion was bored. He decided to get a job.
He hired himself out as a gamester and puzzle-solver extraordinaire. No opponent was too skilled for him to lay low, no riddle or conundrum was above his talents, no trap beyond his ability to defeat. He charged exorbitant prices to those who could afford them, but he was known to apply his skills and wits to any problem or challenge, free of charge, if it interested him enough.
In Evalaux, he negotiated the Puzzle Maze of Durwald D’Orsay, a trap-filled abattoir of mythic renown responsible for the deaths of countless daring adventurers; and claimed the fabled Ruby of Carmina from within. It took him less than one hour. In Mornellorn, he bested the Gynosphinx Volira in a riddle battle that lasted two days, most of which were spent in silence as the monster contemplated (with increasing frustration) the solution to Braska’s opening (and only) riddle. She guessed wrong. In Isoq, Braska stunned the Sultan and his entire court when, after a sumptuous welcoming feast, he opened the fabled Tomb of Ab-Vorath after gazing at the complex diagrams on the door for less than five minutes. The tomb had defied the wisest of Isoq’s viziers, the most determined tomb-robbers and the bravest of adventurers for centuries. In Thord, Braska Triskelion played Hnefatafl with the Storm Giant Gymir, rumored to be the most cunning and skilled ever to play the game, and defeated him five times.
In a row.
By the age of forty, Braska Triskelion had enough quatloos in his treasure hoard to be the envy of dragons everywhere. His name and fortune were known across the Ten Kingdoms, and naturally, there were attempts to take what Braska Triskelion had won for himself fair and square. Although he didn’t care much for his fortune (how much can one man spend, really?), Braska did care about fair play. He never cheated at any game or contest he took part in, and he felt that if anyone was going to take his treasure, they would have to get it the same way he did. By winning it.
Thus, he took measures to protect his hoard.
Braska’s private Island, Windisle, was an early prize he had won by betting the famously-dour Duke of Cornedayl that he could urinate all over his throne room and make the Duke thank him for it afterward. There is no record as to how Braska accomplished this; but his ownership of Windisle, long a territory held by the Royal Family of Cornedayl, proves that he did. Windisle is an inhospitable place encircled by the Reef of Shattered Ships. There, high upon the Cliffs of Vexation, Braska constructed a vault which he named the Toy Box; a multi-level dungeon filled with traps and deadly monsters, summoned guardians and magical wards. He hired the best guards: veteran warriors, mighty magic-users and cunning assassins, and paid them handsomely. And he placed his treasure within its walls.
Now, any who want the fabled wealth of Braska Triskelion have only to take it; either by braving the death trap that is the Toy Box, or, if one doesn’t wish to risk almost-certain death, by beating Braska in a fair contest. Any game will do, but you only get one try.
Take your shot. Braska Triskelion hopes you succeed.
He’s genuinely curious to know how it feels to lose.
For my final Character of the Month for 2021, I chose to do a Rogue. Of course, I didn’t have much of a choice, as it was the only character class I hadn’t done yet. Braska Triskelion is, of course named after the classic Star Trek episode, The Gamesters of Triskelion, in which Kirk, Chekov and Uhura are forced into gladiatorial combat for the amusement of a trio of disembodied brains, who wager quatloos on the outcome of the contests. It is unclear (and never explained) how disembodied brains would enjoy winning (and presumably spending) money.
Angelique Pettyjohn is also in the episode.
“Braska Triskelion” is the Deadly Gamesman from Black Scorpion Miniatures. I’ve had this miniature for almost 12 years. I was going to use him as a crazed, game-obsessed nobleman in my D&D 3.5 campaign; then I was thinking he’d make a cool supervillain for Super Mission Force. Either way, I never got around to painting him until now.
That’s it for my Character of the Month challenge, and that’s it for 2021! Up next, my 2022 Resolutions.
Note: for the first part, including the scenario rules and character builds, check the previous post here!
The Crimson Hound crept stealthily along the wall to the old courtyard. He could hear the sounds of strange activity from within. He knew that Santa Claus had likely already made use of the stolen blasphemous tome known as the Malificarium Infernus to summon some otherworldly horror to Glumengrad, but nothing could prepare him for what he saw when he rounded the wall and gazed fully upon the hideous, writhing form of Savirax the Unclean.
“The promised sacrifice has arrived,” said Savirax the Unclean, in a voice like screeching fingernails on a hellish chalkboard. So much for stealth, thought The Crimson Hound.
“HO HO HO!” laughed Santa. “Right on time!” Santa stood, surrounded by some rough-looking men, all of whom were casting nervous glances at the undulating, viscous thing that was Savirax the Unclean. “I knew you’d show up,” said Santa. “Counted on it, in fact! Now, I can sacrifice you like I promised, and get my reward!”
The Crimson Hound’s eyes narrowed. Something didn’t make sense. This sounded personal, and The Crimson Hound couldn’t recall ever running afoul of Santa Claus before. He was pretty sure he would have remembered.
“Why me?” asked The Crimson Hound.
“Because,” answered Santa, “I promised Savirax the Unclean the soul of a supernatural creature in exchange for my heart’s desire. Isn’t that right, Savirax the Unclean?”
“Yes,” said Savirax the Unclean, because it would have been rude not to answer.
“And what’s that?” asked The Crimson Hound. “Your heart’s desire, I mean.” He was genuinely curious.
“Finally, someone asks!” yelled Santa, opening his arms theatrically wide. He glared at his henchmen. “Not one of you assholes ever gave a shit enough to even ask. This guy,” Santa pointed at The Crimson Hound, “THIS GUY asks, and he’s the one who’s going to die!” One by one, Santa’s henchmen muttered and looked at the ground sheepishly. “Fine!” Santa bellowed. “I’ll tell you. I want to live out the rest of my days on a tropical island in the sun, some place like Tahiti!”
“That’s it?” The Crimson Hound blinked in confusion. “That’s all you want? Why not just go to Tahiti? You have a flying sleigh!”
“Fuck you!” yelled Santa. “It’s not about Tahiti! I want to have a new island full of naked, voluptuous women, all for me! My island is gonna look like a fucking never-ending Russ Meyer movie! That’s what I want! And I’ve earned it, damn it!”
The Crimson Hound thought that Santa’s heart’s desire lacked imagination and was kind of sexist, but he didn’t say anything. He just stared at Santa Claus while Savirax the Unclean writhed and twisted nearby.
“Screw this,” yelled Santa, pointing at The Crimson Hound with a green-mittened hand. “Get him!”
Turn 1: Cue the Wilhelm scream!! The first henchman, Bob, is grabbed by the slimy tentacles of Savirax the Unclean and swallowed whole! (In fact, this AAR may be best enjoyed by playing the Wilhelm scream effect at the start of every round. You can find it here.)
Poor Bob. He was a henchman by necessity, not choice. Until recently, he was the manager at a national auto parts chain store; but he was the victim of corporate layoffs. Although he’d laugh to hear anyone say so, Bob apparently made too much money for the company’s bean counters. The company was looking to hire some millennial at half the salary. You try to do what’s best for your kids, but you’re not made of money, you know? Bob had saved and saved to send his daughter Candace to college, and he had enough for the tuition and room and board. But it’s the books, man. The cost of books fucking kill you. Bob was only working for Santa for the book money for Candace to go to school and realize her lifelong dream of becoming a marine biologist; something she vowed to do at the age of six, when one of her pet goldfish met an untimely end due to incorrect fishbowl ph.
Anyway, Bob’s dead now; which makes Candace’s marine biologist aspirations a bit unrealistic to say the least.
On the first turn, nothing much happens. The Crimson Hound wins initiative and bolts over to the stack of presents on the lower right, using his action to hide. The henchmen group closest to him (minus poor Bob) fails to spot him; but the other henchmen group and Santa both see him and open fire! The henchmen shoot like henchmen and fail to hit, but Santa’s big shotgun blows a hole in the presents, clipping the Crimson Hound for 1 damage!
Turn 2: (Wilhelm scream) Savirax the Unclean helps itself to another henchman. This time it’s poor Moe! Moe ran a successful insurance business; but then had a mid-life crisis, bought a motorcycle, got an earring and decided he missed his calling as a tough guy, so he joined Santa’s crew for kicks. Bet he regrets it now!
The Crimson Hound wins initiative again, and he wastes no time. He leaps atop the stack of presents, bares his fangs and charges into the group of four henchmen, dealing swift death!
The Hound drops in their midst, landing atop one thug with a sickening crunch as his rib cage shatters beneath the Hound’s weight! Another goes down fountaining blood as the Hound swiftly drags his razor-sharp, magical shortsword across his throat in a vicious backhanded slash!
The remaining two thugs attack the Hound, but they are severely outclassed! The Hound snatches a baseball bat from one and breaks it over the man’s head, splintering the wood; then drives the splintered end through the remaining goon’s throat for good measure. Don’t fuck with the Crimson Hound!
(In game terms, the Hound dealt two damage on the charge, dropping two henchmen. The remaining two thugs responded but failed to do any damage, which activated the Hound’s “Reflection” power. As part of his “Scrapper” major power, the Hound has a chance to inflict 2 damage on any attacker who misses a melee attack against him. He succeeded, and did two more damage, dropping the remaining henchmen!)
Unfortunately, this leaves the Crimson Hound out in the open. In response to his brutal assault, both Santa and the remaining henchmen group open fire! The henchmen, perhaps distracted by the amorphous, otherworldly thing that just devoured two of them, miss horribly. But Santa’s shotgun nails the Crimson Hound squarely in the chest for a whopping 4 damage! This drops the Crimson Hound’s Body to 2! The Hound is hurt!
“YEEEARRRGH!”, screamed the Crimson Hound as he took the full blast of Santa’s shotgun. He ducked behind the stack of presents, gasping for air. “HO HO HO!” laughed Santa. “Hurts,doesn’t it? Remember, I’m Saint Nick, bitch! All my weapons are holy! HO HO HO!”
“I’m coming for you, asshole,” cursed the Crimson Hound through gritted teeth.But he received only more mocking, jolly laughter in return.
Turn 3: (Wilhelm scream) Say goodbye to Linus. Savirax the Unclean devours him, and he seems oddly resigned to it. That’s because four years ago Linus decided to do something about his perpetual loneliness by procuring a mail-order bride from Belarus. She looked nothing like her picture, gave him chlamydia on their wedding night, immediately started cheating on him and then proceeded to bankrupt him through her frivolous spending and terrible gambling habit. Linus has been working as a goon just to make money to keep the loan sharks at bay. He’s better off this way. Trust me.
The Crimson Hound retains initiative, and it’s a good thing. He runs away, trying to gain enough ground to put some cover between him and that cannon Santa is wielding. He ducks behind a cement planter and hopes for the best. The henchman group and Santa pursue him, opening fire on his position; but the hard cover afforded by the concrete manages to save the Crimson Hound from any further damage!
Turn 4: (Wilhelm scream) Savirax the Unclean snatches up Phil in its slimy pseudopods and drags him screaming into its mouth. Phil has managed to lead a life completely devoid of anything even remotely significant; getting devoured by Savirax the Unclean is the single noteworthy thing that Phil has ever had happen to him in all his 43 years. Rest in peace, Phil.
The bad guys get initiative, and the henchmen group sends another ineffectual volley of fire at the Crimson Hound. The Hound vaults the planter and charges the group, shredding them like tissue paper on Christmas morning (or so he’s heard; no one has ever given the Crimson Hound a Christmas present to open). He rams his sword through the first goon’s sternum and slices downward, slitting him open like an envelope; then grabs the second and, using his dreadful fangs, tears the man’s throat out in a bloody, tattered mess. Then, the Crimson Hound does what he does best (and what he does best isn’t very nice). In a few seconds, both men are completely drained of blood. The Crimson Hound feels invigorated as his wounds began to knit together!
In game terms, the Crimson Hound scored a whopping 9 goals on his attack, which was impossible for the remaining two henchmen to ever resist. He effectively obliterated them. Then he rolled his vampiric healing power, and this is what he got:
That’s six goals, enough to heal 3 boxes of damage. The Crimson Hound is back up to 5 Body. He’s still in the fight!
Santa moves into position and opens fire. Although he scores 3 goals of damage, The Crimson Hound resists it all! His mouth still dripping the blood of his victims, the Crimson Hound smiles and prepares to charge…
Turn 5: There are no more henchmen left! Savirax the Unclean turns his attention to his promised sacrifice, The Crimson Hound! It attacks with a snaky tentacle, attempting to grapple the Crimson Hound; but the Hound easily evades it. He gains initiative, and charges Santa Claus, moving too fast for Santa to bring his shotgun to bear. The two men crash together and the Crimson Hound deals a savage blow to jolly old St. Nick, slicing through red suit, skin and fat into the muscle beneath! Despite his natural armor, Santa is hurt badly; but he’s not helpless! Santa swings his shotgun like a club, intent on crushing the Crimson Hound’s skull like an egg; but the Hound ducks at the last second and it smashes against his shoulder. The Hound, still enjoying the euphoric effects of the blood he drank, barely feels a thing!
In game terms, The Crimson Hound dealt a respectable 4 goals of damage to Santa, and Santa rolled like absolute shit and failed to resist any damage. HIs Armor power lets him soak 1 box of damage, though, which means he only took 3. That’s still enough to drop Santa to half his Body in one shot. The Crimson Hound could have knocked Santa back 3″, too; but he wanted to keep him close. That would have given Santa the opportunity to fire his shotgun or to make a return charge, and that doesn’t make tactical sense! Santa attacked back, but the Crimson Hound was able to resist the damage.
Turn 6: Savirax the Unclean is officially hangry! It attacks the Crimson Hound again, trying to grab him and hold him so that Santa can make good on his sacrifice. The Crimson Hound is once again able to avoid the tentacles of the monstrous entity!
Santa seizes the initiative and attacks the Crimson Hound once again. This time, he misses horribly, but manages to avoid the Hound’s reflexive counterattack. The Crimson Hound scores a hit, and although Santa shrugs some of it off, he manages to inflict 1 more box of damage on the jolly old elf! This drops Santa down to 2 Body!
Turn 7: Savirax the Unclean has decided it’s going to try one more time; then fuck it, it’s just going to destroy the world. It attacks the Crimson Hound again, trying to flatten him against the ground. The Crimson Hound tries to roll out of the way, but gets clipped for another box of damage, dropping him to 4!
The Crimson Hound gets initiative. It’s all or nothing! The Hound leaps on Santa and buries his fangs into Santa’s shoulder, doing a net 1 goal of damage! Not enough to put down Santa for good! Santa still has 1 Body left!
Santa attacks back, but fails to do any damage. The Crimson Hound desperately ripostes with a flurry of bites, causing 2 goals of damage! Santa manages to soak one, but the last bite drops Santa to the ground as his blood sprays skyward!
In game terms, Santa fell to the Hound’s Reflection ability! After failing to damage the Hound in melee, the Crimson Hound was able to make his roll to reflect, causing 2 damage. Although Santa’s Armor reduced it to 1, that was all he had left! Santa failed his KO roll and was out; just in time to stop Savirax the Unclean from destroying the world!
The Crimson Hound lifted Santa by the fluffy, white trim of his red suit, grinning at him through bloodstained teeth. “You know what?” asked the Crimson Hound. “I just realized something. You visit every kid in the world in one night. You can make reindeer fly. And, fat as you are, you can squeeze up and down chimneys with no problem. If that’s not supernatural, I don’t know what is.” And with that, the Crimson Hound lifted Santa over his head and hurled him straight at the gaping, ravenous maw of Savirax the Unclean.With a mighty gulp and a horrid (Wilhelm) scream, his offering was accepted. Santa Claus was no more!
Savirax the Unclean spit out a shiny, black boot. The Crimson Hound wondered if there was still a foot in it. “You have earned your heart’s desire,” said Savirax the Unclean. “Do you want the same thing?”
The Crimson Hound considered the offer. Sexism aside, there wasn’t much not to like about it. An island paradise surrounded by women of generous proportions was definitely not the worst place to spend some time. He had to admit that as retirement plans went, it was pretty fucking sweet.
But no. He had responsibilities here. Besides, if he accepted, nothing was stopping Savirax the Unclean from sticking around and eating everyone in Glumengrad, then destroying the world. Demons were dicks like that.
“I don’t like the sun much,” saidThe Crimson Hound, “so how about for my heart’s desire, you just fuck off back to wherever you came from, and take that book with you so no one else can use it again?”
Savirax the Unclean looked disappointed, inasmuch as it is possible for amorphous, squamous, blasphemous, unholy entities to look disappointed. “Very well,” it said, coiling one pseudopod around the Maleficarium Infernus. “I’ll leave, I guess.” It hesitated for a moment.
“Well?” asked the Crimson Hound. “Forget something?”
“Uh…Merry Christmas, ” said Savirax the Unclean. Then it disappeared, taking the book with it.
The Crimson Hound smiled. He was touched. No one had ever wished him a Merry Christmas before. “Merry Christmas to you, too, Savirax the Unclean,” he said. Then he turned and disappeared into the night.
God bless us, every one!
Analysis: This AAR reminded me how much I love Super Mission Force. It’s such an easy and fun rules system and I can’t recommend it enough. Not sure if Scott Pyle still drops by the Tavern; but if so, Scott, thanks again for creating such a fun game! This was an absolute treat to play, and it really flew by. The game took only 15 minutes from the first roll to the last; and it really DID come down to the wire. Technically, if Santa hadn’t attacked the Hound at the end, he wouldn’t have gotten killed by the Hound’s Reflection ability; but then again, Savirax the Unclean would have destroyed the world at the start of the next turn, so Santa didn’t have a choice. He had to take the shot if he wanted his heart’s desire!
The Crimson Hound’s Fear power didn’t really come into play because things happened too quickly and too far away from any of the other models. Santa’s Super Strength likewise never saw any use, mainly because Santa never did any damage to the Hound in melee. If he had, the Crimson Hound would have gone flying!
At the end of the game I had the idea that rather than just defeating Santa and saving the day, why not have the Hound sacrifice Santa instead? So, I went back and re-wrote the prose accordingly. Hope you liked it!
To Bruno (the Crimson Hound himself) and to all the readers and visitors to Dead Dick’s Tavern, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (And if you don’t celebrate those holidays, then just have a nice couple of weeks.)
Up next…can I get my December Character of the Month up by the end of the year? guess we’ll see!
From a gargoyle-encrusted rooftop, The Crimson Hound looked out over the neon, gothic city of Glumengrad. At his feet, facing the short wall that ran the length of the roof’s edge, knelt three diminutive forms dressed in bright green, hands bound behind their backs. The Crimson Hound stood behind them, his heavy pistol in one hand, his magical blade in the other. The rooftop was freezing, but the three small men quaked more from fear than cold.
The Crimson Hound took a deep breath, watching as it clouded in the freezing air. “I’m only going to ask this once,” he said, his gravelly voice cutting through the sound of the wind, “and the only thing I want to hear back from you is an answer to my question. Why did Santa steal the book?”
The first elf, for that is what the three men were, began to giggle. “You’ll see! Hee hee hee! Oh, you’ll see! You’re going to die, Hound! Santa has plans for you…urrrghhhh!!” The elf’s voice choked off as The Crimson Hound casually inserted the magical blade into his back, slicing through the elf’s ribcage and bisecting his heart with ease. HIs lifeless body slid off the point of the sword to flop unceremoniously onto the cold rooftop.
The Crimson Hound sighed, stepping behind the second elf. “Please follow my instructions,” he said.
“Wait!” begged the elf, “Don’t kill me! I…” The gun kicked in the Crimson Hound’s fist. Blood and brain matter exploded onto the roof like a Pollock painting, adding to the already-considerable pool still leaving the corpse of the first elf. Blue blood, the Hound noticed with curiosity. Perhaps that was why he had no desire to taste it. Interesting.
The Hound moved behind the final elf. “I’m sorry,” he said. “It seems I have been unclear. Please respond only to the question that was askedof you.”
The third elf straightened up as much as he could, staring directly ahead and trying to ignore the bloody mess his friends had recently become. “Santa wants to destroy the world,” he said.
The Crimson Hound did not expect this answer. He raised the barrel of his gun, aiming it away from the back of the elf’s head. “Explain,” he said.
“I don’t know, man,” the elf said. “Santa just fucking lost it a couple of weeks back. We were all working our asses off in the workshop, as usual, and he was sitting in his big chair, reading a pile of letters. You know, the ones kids send him telling him what they want for Christmas.”
The Crimson Hound nodded. He did not understand children overmuch; but he had heard of this custom. “And?”
“And I guess Santa read something he didn’t like. Some kid bitching that he didn’t get what he wanted last year, telling Santa to get it right this time. Santa just folded up the letter, took off his glasses, and said, ‘Fuck these ungrateful little shitbags! I quit! I’m done with this entitled, piece-of-shit world! I think I’ll destroy it! Christmas is cancelled, assholes!’ Well, we were all pretty shocked, but we weren’t exactly sad about it. Our job sucks, you know.”
“Hmm,” The Crimson Hound said. It is unlikely that anyone could mistake it for a sound of sympathy.
“One thing’s for sure: there’s gonna be a lot of kids on the nice list who will be disappointed this year,” said the elf.
Never in his entire life had The Crimson Hound ever been on a “nice list” of any kind. The Crimson Hound considered that. He realized he didn’t care.One thing was certain, though. If Santa stole the Maleficarium Infernus, he wasn’t doing it to spread holiday cheer. Whatever Santa was planning, he had to be stopped. He had to know The Crimson Hound would come looking for him, though…so what was his game?
“So, uh…can I go now?” asked the elf.
“Hmm? Oh, yeah. Sure,” said The Crimson Hound. He sheathed his weapons, picked up the elf, and tossed him over the side of the roof. The elf screamed all the way down.
It was a long way.
It’s been a long time since I played some Super Mission Force, and I thought that Christmas is the perfect occasion for a Battle Report. Longtime visitors to Dead Dick’s Tavern may recall The Terror of the Toyman a few years back, in which Superman was beset by diabolical toys. It was a lot of fun, so go check it out if you are so inclined.
This time, though; I wanted to do something different. I converted and painted the Crimson Hound for Forgotten Heroes, back in June, and I thought he’d be perfect for a quick game using my favorite Supers rules. The Crimson Hound is, of course, the eponymous star character of the Chronicles of the Crimson Hound YouTube Channel, and the creation of my friend Bruno. You should absolutely check out the Crimson Hound’s adventures if you get a chance.
That being said, I hold no legal rights to the Crimson Hound and I haven’t told Bruno I’m doing this; so I sincerely hope he receives this AAR in the spirit it was intended: written in fun, with good-natured bonhomie and strictly platonic affection. (Please don’t sue me, Bruno.) It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that this particular Crimson Hound adventure is certainly not canon; you should check out the Crimson Hound’s adventures on YouTube and on The Chronicles of the Crimson Hound Blog for that. This is just my (somewhat twisted) interpretation of Bruno’s character, and it is almost certainly different in many ways from the character as “officially” written so far.
So, without further ado: The Crimson Hound in…Dreaming of a RED Christmas!
Scenario: Santa Claus is coming to town…and he wants to sacrifice the Crimson Hound to an antediluvian, bilious, chaotic, dreadful, effusive, festering, gibbous, hellish, incongruous, jellified, Kafkaesque, loathsome, membranous, non-Euclidean, odious, pseudopodal, querulous, rugose, sepulchral, tentacled, unspeakable, vaporous, wailing, xenophobic, yammering and zymotic monstrosity called Savirax the Unclean.
Why? Because if he does so, Savirax the Unclean has promised Santa his heart’s desire. Santa has lured the Crimson Hound to this very spot, where he has summoned Savirax the Unclean in preparation for the sacrifice!
What is Santa’s heart’s desire? Who the hell knows? No one, including you, has ever bothered to ask Santa what HE wants for Christmas; and he’s fed up with your selfish entitlement!
Victory Conditions: Santa must defeat the Crimson Hound and sacrifice him to Savirax the Unclean in order to claim his reward: his heart’s desire! The Crimson Hound must defeat Santa and banish Savirax the Unclean before he is sacrificed. If time runs out before either Santa or the Crimson Hound can achieve their goals, then Savirax the Unclean destroys the world in a horrid, blasphemous, squamous orgy of Lovecraftian adjectives, and they both lose!
Forces: The Hero player controls The Crimson Hound, vampiric vigilante and stalker of the night! The villain player controls Santa Claus and two groups of five street-level henchmen each.
Setup: Play is on a 24”x24” surface, representing a courtyard in Glumengrad that some poor, deluded soul has taken the time to decorate for the Christmas holiday. It would normally be a pale light in the darkness of despair that is Glumengrad; but Santa has seized it and corrupted it for his summoning ritual. There is a large Christmas tree in the courtyard, surrounded by Christmas decorations. There are stacks of containers stacked around the yard, painted and decorated as Christmas presents, providing cover and spots to hide.
Savirax the Unclean is deployed in the center of the courtyard, having just been summoned by the evil Santa Claus. Santa is deployed on one side of the courtyard; the Crimson Hound on the other. Scattered loosely throughout the courtyard are ten henchmen models forming two groups of five each.
The Endless Hunger: Savirax the Unclean is not known for its patience. While waiting for its promised sacrifice, Savirax the Unclean will help itself to one hapless henchman at the start of each turn. Simply remove the model as Savirax the Unclean snatches the closest henchman model with one of its snaking pseudopods and deposits the screaming henchman in its stinking hole of a gullet. Over time, this will thin the herd a bit for the Crimson Hound, but it will also hasten the end of the game. If Savirax the unclean has no henchmen left at the start of the a turn, it starts attacking the Crimson Hound directly, instead (see below).
The Thing that Should Not Be: Savirax the Unclean cannot be attacked and/or damaged. Thus it has no statistics. It can (and will), however, attack the Crimson Hound if it has no henchmen left to devour. Savirax the Unclean attacks with a 6D attack at the start of each round if there are no henchmen left. It’s pseudopods can reach anywhere on the board and are unaffected by cover. (There is no hiding from Savirax the Unclean!) Note that Savirax the Unclean will not wait for its promised sacrifice forever. It will only attack the Crimson Hound for three rounds before it gets annoyed and destroys the world.
The Red Thirst: Although he’s a “good guy”, the Crimson Hound is, at heart, a bloodsucking vampire. If he defeats a model in melee combat, the Hound may take his next action to feed on the blood of his opponent. This allows him to roll 4D, and for every 2 goals scored, he heals one box of Body box damage as he sucks the poor soul dry. It also has the additional effect of causing fear to any enemy model within 6″, as they look on in horror at the Hound’s monstrous predations. On the following turn, any affected model must win an opposed Psyche roll or be unable to attack the Crimson Hound for one turn. (Note: this is a variation on both the Parasite and Healing minor powers.)
Here are my Super Mission Force builds for the characters:
The Crimson Hound (Brawler) Major: Scrapper Minor: Melee Specialist, Resistance (Special: Vampire, Cause Fear); Move 7, Body 7, Psyche 6
Santa Claus (Wild Card) Minor: Armor, Power Blasts, Super Strength, Resistance; Move 6 Body 6 Psyche 6
Henchmen (10) Firearms, Close Combat Weapons; Move 6
Be here in a couple of days, when I post the full After Action Report!
Not quite a week into Monster May(hem), and I have finally completed my first submission. I present: the Scourge of Planet X: The Ripper Beast!
This miniature from Rattrap Productions has been primed and sitting on my desk since last year’s Monster May(hem). I never got a chance to get to him and moved on to other projects; so I made him my first priority this year. Partially, this is because I’m sick of looking at him; but it’s also because he has been so patient and understanding; two traits not normally associated with Ripper Beasts of Planet X.
The Ripper Beast, as the lore goes, is the most feared predator on Planet X. It loves nothing more than to live up to its name by ripping things, usually into bloody chunks. The Ripper Beast is doubly feared because it seems to regenerate as soon as it is wounded, making it nigh-impossible to put down for good.
Despite its renowned savagery, this Ripper Beast seems to be wearing clothing. It has two spiked wristbands and no dangly unmentionables to speak of. This either makes it smarter than you would think, able to clothe itself and perhaps forge weapons; or just oddly modest. The only picture of the Ripper Beast I could find was the one on the cover, there; so I couldn’t verify this. The only example of a painted Ripper Beast miniature I was able to find was the one inside the book, which doesn’t help because it’s black and white.
So I went with the clothing look, and I tried to get it as close to the cover as possible. It’s a retro sci-fi creature, so perhaps some space-spandex is appropriate after all. While I may never use this miniature as intended, it can sure get some use as a super-villain for games of Super Mission Force!
I have at least two more projects for Monster May(hem) I’m trying to get done by month’s end. Both require a lot of base work, so they’re taking longer than usual. Check back soon, but in the meantime, be sure to stop by and see what everyone else has been up to!
Of all heroes, I didn’t set out to repaint and rebase Aquaman. It came about quite by accident. Recently I had a quick rummage through the bitz box on an unrelated project, and I discovered this Aquaman Heroclix left over from a Forgotten Heroes conversion I did back in 2018. I had popped him off his dial and used the water spout to make the Water Wizard.
(I never throw anything away. That Water Wizard was also made from a Quicksilver body and a Weather Wizard head; the Weather Wizard’s body was used to make the Aquarian. along with a head from a different Aquaman miniature, the hook of which was used on this Pulp Figures conversion. Finally, the Quicklsilver head was used the year before to make Jack Frost, along with a body from a Heroclix Scorpion. As for Scorpion’s head, I have no idea where that ended up.)
The entire time I worked on this conversion, this song was running through my head. It will run through your head too, if you listen to it. It’s insidious, and you will grow to like it. It drove me so nuts I looked up the video on YouTube. It reminded me how much I love this movie, because…Julie Adams. I know, right? What is it with girls named Julie? Adams, Newmar, Christie…it’s a good name, is what I’m saying.
Anyway, I had some “seaweed” and some shells left over from my Under the Sea diorama last month, so that got me thinking of making another underwater base. Since Aquaman is at his coolest in his element (as cool as he can be, anyway), it seemed appropriate to base him underwater. Again, credit to Eons of Battle for the base tutorial.
And here he is. I painted his stupid water hand to look like flesh so he would better resemble the classic, lame-ass Aquaman we all know and mock. (“Go talk to some fish!”)
Here’s my attempt at making Aquaman cool; although if Jason Momoa can’t do it, who am I to think I can? He was a fun little project in the midst of some others, and it’s been a while since repainted some ‘Clix. It’s a bit of an amuse-bouche for June…when Forgotten Heroes comes around again!
The source? Not an unfaithful wife. Not another’s success, wealth or good looks. Not even another’s superior painting skill or bagpiping prowess. None of these. Yet my particular jealousy was a daily, unwelcome guest for many months. It would arrive when unexpected and stay far too long, like an irritating relative, or an annoying ghost. It consumed me and I could think of little else.
Put simply, I coveted the Knight Models Hulk miniature possessed by frequent Dead Dick’s visitor and owner of Cheaphammer, Kieron, and wanted it for my own.
I’m not proud of this. Although I nursed my envy closely and didn’t let Kieron know how hotly it burned, it remains that jealousy is unbecoming. It diminished me as a person. And over what? It’s just a miniature. A MINIATURE.
Well, I am happy to report that all that is past, and that I am no longer consumed with burning jealousy. I would like to say that is because I have evolved as a person. That I have now realized that jealousy is a base, toxic emotion that is an obstacle on my path to self-actualization. I would like to say that, but I can’t.
Because the real reason I am no longer jealous of Kieron’s Knight Models Incredible Hulk miniature IS ‘CUZ I GOT MY OWN!
I finally managed to snag one off of eBay! The price? More than I would typically pay for any miniature, but certainly nowhere near what the “standard” starting point is for this particular model on the secondary market. With shipping, it was still less than almost everything on Games Workshop’s site.
And I love it so.
This model is HUGE, and it’s all metal. It’s also an asshole of a miniature. It’s seven pieces (not counting the base), and because it’s a Knight Models miniature, it was a pain in the ass to put together, requiring much in the way of gap-filling green stuff and Magic Sculpt.
I knew right away I wanted my Hulk to be darker in hue than the Knight Models version. I was never a big fan of the neon green Hulk. (I have a Hallmark Hulk Christmas ornament that’s particularly egregious; he might as well be yellow. If it wasn’t stored away in my attic with all my other Christmas decorations, I’d show you.)
To achieve this, I first primed him black. Then I painted his skin Citadel Caliban Green, followed by Vallejo Uniform Green, and finally Coat D’arms Goblin Green. Then I applied a wash of Citadel Waywatcher Green, followed by a final application of Yellow Wash. The pants were painted Citadel Naggaroth Night, followed by Vallejo Royal Purple, highlighted with Citadel Screamer Pink. The final highlight was a thinned-down wash of Vallejo Warlord Purple. The shirt (what’s left of it) was based with Reaper’s Bone Shadow, highlighted with Reaper’s Polished Bone and Vampiric Skin. I applied two coats of Citadel Stirland Mud to the base before I drybrushed it with Reaper Stained Ivory and added all the grass and tufts.
To give you a better idea of how enormous the KM Hulk is, here he is between a Reaper Hill Giant (also all metal) and a Heroclix Hulk. Most impressive, n’est ce-pas?
Last year I played a Super Mission Force scenario based on Hulk #300, in which pretty much every Marvel hero in New York tries to stop the rampaging Hulk from destroying the city. One of my friends who is a lifelong Hulk fan controlled the Hulk, while the rest of us took teams of various heroes. For that, I used the Heroclix Hulk shown above. Nice, but…
You see what I’m saying?
Above: The Leader is using his super-brain to calculate to the nearest power just how exponentially fucked he is.
With the release of SMF 2nd Edition and my acquisition of this model, I think it might be time to fire up that scenario once again, to prove once and for all that “HULK IS STRONGEST ONE THERE IS!”
This is the first miniature I’ve painted in a while, as Terrain Time had been my focus last month. The insanity pile has suffered a bit, as in addition to the Hulk I bought a box of Modiphius Klingons, too…
A couple of weeks back I was pleasantly surprised to receive a PM on Lead Adventure Forum from Scott Pyle, creator of Super Mission Force. Visitors to this site probably know that I am a huge fan of this game, so I was very happy to find that he wanted to send me a copy of the new second edition in appreciation for my support!
I certainly don’t trumpet my love for SMF in the hopes of getting freebies, but I’m not about to say no to one, either. I’m very grateful for the gift, which arrived today. I chose the coil binding, so the booklet can lay flat if I’m referencing something during play.
Although I didn’t have any problems with the first edition, it looks like Scott has expanded the archetypes, powers and team composition rules quite a bit. The inclusion of a blank hero sheet is a welcome addition, too. I’m sure there are other changes I have yet to discover, and I will be giving it a good look-through this weekend.
As if getting a copy for free wasn’t cool enough, there’s also this:
Another surprise! I am happy that I could contribute in any way.
Once again, a heartfelt thanks to Scott Pyle both for his generosity and for creating one of my favorite games of all time. I can’t wait to try out the new edition!
I never heard, or even knew of, the Solomon Grundy nursery rhyme as a child. I think perhaps this is a more common nursery rhyme overseas than here in the States. It wasn’t until I got older, fell in love with Celtic music and started listening to the Pogues that I heard it for the first time, at the very, very end of Billy’s Bones.
As a comic book fan, though, I knew who Solomon Grundy was very early on. The guy was in the Legion of Doom on Superfriends (a cartoon that absolutely does NOT hold up). Later, I remember seeing a Bernie Wrightson portfolio with a couple of plates depicting Solomon Grundy, but that was about the extent of my exposure to him.
Now, of course, EVERYONE knows that Solomon Grundy was born on a Monday… et cetera, et cetera. He was a significant character on TV’s Gotham, and I remember cackling with glee the first time I realized that…
…Butch’s real name turned out to be Cyrus Gold.
Anyway…Grundy has about 12 different origin stories (look it up if you don’t believe me), but a common thread throughout all of them was that he was once a man named Cyrus Gold, who was murdered and dumped in Slaughter Swamp, the location of which changes but is usually outside of Gotham City. Something in the water reanimates him, so he is basically an indestructible zombie. He’s super strong (he can go toe-to-toe with Superman), nigh-invulnerable and impossible to permanently put down. He doesn’t have to breathe and he doesn’t bleed. He’s also usually, but not always, really dumb.
He started out as a villain for Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, but now he’s more of a Batman villain. The thing is, I can’t figure out why he’s a villain at all. Most villains have schemes and plans, things they wish to accomplish. Grundy just usually shows up and fights whoever happens to be around until he gets beat up or killed. Then he rises again some time later and starts all over. Not really a “big picture” kind of guy.
I bought this Knight Models Solomon Grundy because it’s AWESOME, and the Heroclix Grundy looks laughably small next to him.
I primed him black and drybrushed some Citadel Celestra Grey on him to pick out the details. Then I painted his skin using Citadel’s Rakarth Flesh, followed by a wash of Agrax Earthshade, then highlighted with Flayed One Flesh and finally, Pallid Wych Flesh. For the suit, I did a thin layer of Coat D’Arms Deadly NIghtshade, followed by an even lighter coat of Army Painter Dark Sky. This covered the Celestra Grey and provided some nice highlights to the clothing. His shirt was based in Citadel Tau Light Ochre, washed with Agrax Earthshade and highlighted up to Dorn Yellow. I used GW’s Stirland Mud to texture the base and stuck an old Armorcast broken tombstone on it before flocking the whole thing.
And that was the end of Solomon Grundy, and of Supers Month here at Dead Dick’s Tavern.
I must thank my friend Carrion Crow for coming up with Forgotten Heroes. It is a challenge in more ways than one. For example, last year I converted my very own Wundarr the Aquarian, who I consider to be one of the worst Marvel characters ever. Even though my results weren’t great, I was pretty proud of myself for converting such a terrible character. The Aquarian was met with much amusement, and I thought I would never find another character so lame.
Until now, that is. May I present: La Bandera!
Some background. Once upon a time, Wolverine (along with the rest of the X-Men) was supposed to be dead, so he ditched the superhero life to open a bar in seedy Madripoor. He took the identity of “Patch” (Logan with an eyepatch, get it?) which shouldn’t have fooled anyone with vision better than Mr. Magoo, considering he kept popping his claws all the time. To make matters worse, Wolverine soon started dressing up as fucking WOLVERINE, and everyone sat around scratching their heads at the strange short guy in the Wolverine costume. No one seemed able to put two and two together and come up with “Hey…that guy is Wolverine.”
Anyway, at one point, Wolverine travels to the South American dictatorship Tierra Verde, hot on the trail of Roughhouse, a Madripoor-based bad guy he beat the shit out of a few times. Roughhouse was kidnapped by a guy named Geist, who was a Nazi “scientist” who was working for Caridad, the mustachioed dictator of Tierra Verde. Geist was experimenting on people in the hope of creating a superhero for Tierra Verde at Caridad’s request.
Sigh. Enter La Bandera, a teenage girl who was born in Cuba to Castro revolutionary parents, who then moved to Miami, where her father became a drug addict and died of a drug overdose. When she got to be a teenager, she manifested her mutant power, inspiration. She can influence the emotions of others, so she used this to inspire the common folk to fight drug dealers in Miami. Oh, and she can also shoot power blasts through a stick she carries, but these seem to be dependent on how may people she is currently inspiring. When their morale tanks, she loses this ability.
Yawn. Moving on, La Bandera pissed off the Kingpin, because her rabble-rousing started fucking with his bottom line: his Miami drug profits. So he hired Tiger Shark to kill her. But before Tiger Shark could, she traced the drugs to Tierra Verde, and traveled there to inspire the populace to overthrow their evil dictator, Caridad. Wolverine saved her from Tiger Shark, who was in the process of removing La Bandera’s head from her shoulders. Then he saved her from Geist, who, in addition to a Nazi scientist and expert barber, turned out to be a giant, evil fungus. Then they overthrew the dictator together and saved Roughhouse.
This all took a very long seven issues of Wolverine. There was more to the story (Caridad suffers from migraines and his ex-wife, a nun named “Sister Salvation”, is the only one who can soothe his pain) but just forget it. If you’ve never heard of La Bandera, you have missed nothing. But the reason is because she, and the story she rode in on, sucks out loud.
La Bandera is one of those annoying, purposeless characters that festooned the X-books throughout the late eighties and nineties. She’s a stereotype (a Cuban-born revolutionary), but at least we are spared the “Claremont-ization” of her speech patterns (a la Black Tom Cassidy, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Moira MacTaggart, Gambit and countless others…) because she was created by Archie Goodwin, not Chris Claremont; but although there’s nary a “Madre de Dios!” to be found, she’s still pretty damn lame.
Perfect for Forgotten Heroes. Although her national allegiance isn’t clear, she’s definitely a patriotic character, as she inspires feelings of nationalism in others. so, she’s kind of a patriotic everyman. And she has a colorful costume. That’s about all I got.
As my base figure, I used a Heroclix Nikki. I have no idea who the hell Nikki is, but she’s apparently affiliated with the Defenders. She’ll do.
I removed her from her dial and took her arm off at the shoulder. I considered just clipping off the gun, but her arms are so thin I was worried about attaching a staff to both sides of her hand. So I opted to just remove the hand and replace it with this GW skink spear hand. I removed the spear head and hoped no one would notice that La Bandera has a freakishly-large right hand, and that it only has three fingers.
Then I started applying green stuff and magic sculpt to build up her poofy sleeves. Although I suck at sculpting, I took my time. I built it up in several sessions rather than trying to get it all done at once.
Finally, I sculpted her mask and her flowing belt and mask ties. This took a while. I rolled out the magic sculpt in a long ribbon, flattened it out, twisted it and let it dry. Then I clipped it and super-glued it to the miniature. A final dab of putty secured both belt and mask tie in place.
Finally, all that was left was to paint her. You may notice that my paint job doesn’t match the artwork above. That’s because throughout that excruciating seven-issue run, La Bandera’s costume lacked a consistent color scheme, which may have been a printing error, or may have just been indicative of how much anyone working on her story gave a fuck. I went with the one that was shown the most. I’m not happy with her mask. Perhaps I should have just painted her face instead of sculpting a mask, as it looks a little weird. But I take comfort in the fact that although I’m probably one of the only people in the world with a La Bandera miniature, I will, in all likelihood, never have to use her in a game.
Unless she teams up with the Aquarian. Damn. Now I’m thinking about it.
That brings my Forgotten Heroes submissions to an end for this year. I really wanted to do General Glory from the post-Legends JLI, but I didn’t have the time. Maybe next year, although I’m pretty sure the Crow will have a new challenge by then…