Tag Archives: Reaper

Owen’s Miniatures: Part 2

Last time I lamented that two years ago, my friend Owen decided with finality that he was done with painting miniatures and gave me his sizable collection, amassed over the span of decades, to do with as I see fit. Up until now, all I have done is hold them in safekeeping for the last couple of years in the vain hope that he would leap headlong back into the hobby, eager and excited, his passion rekindled for all things paint and lead themed.

That has not happened.

So, I decided to start painting some of his unpainted lead, the hope being that my efforts will reignite in him that which lies dormant. Then, he will graciously thank me for keeping his miniatures and politely ask for their return, which I, of course, will expeditiously grant. Then we will rule the galaxy together as father and son (figuratively speaking, pardon the pun), gleefully painting miniatures until our fingers bleed.

That’s my hope, anyway.

Over the years, I have created many characters for role-playing games, many of which I have never actually played. I don’t consider that wasted time, as creating characters is by far my favorite part of gaming. I thought it would be fun to come up with some fluff for these guys, so while painting them up, I thought about a backstory for each one.

Karl Rost, master-at-arms, served Baron Graf of Zondergeld as military advisor, as his own father had served the Baron’s father before him. But this Baron was a fool. Baron Graf was obsessed with games, and to him, Karl Rost was merely another pawn to be used–or sacrificed. Thus when the Baron lost a wager to Duke Danius of neighboring Cyndar, a wager he could not cover, he paid his debt with Karl Rost. Baron Graf sent his master-at-arms to work like a common tradesman for a rival kingdom without a second thought, oblivious to the man’s true worth.

The term of Rost’s service was to be a year and one day, after which he would return to the service of Baron Graf. Humiliated and betrayed, Rost performed his assigned duties for Duke Danius as he was bound. With Rost’s guidance, the forces of Cyndar easily swept through the Baron’s defenses and subjugated Zondergeld within two months. The Baron was beheaded and his line ended; thus when Rost’s term of service was up, he had no place to return. He rejected Duke Danius’s offer of position and wealth in his new realm, and instead now wanders the land as a masterless adventurer and sellsword, making his way as he can.

Rost is Reaper’s Damian Helthorne, Bandit; sculpted by Tre Manor. I was aware of this miniature through my frequent browsing of Reaper’s site, but until Owen gave it to me (along with all his other miniatures) I had never seen it “in the flesh”, so to speak. It’s a terrific miniature (albeit a bit heavily-armed for a “bandit”), and I quickly fell in love with it. I think he’s a perfect representation of a lawless mercenary like Karl Rost. I’m not thrilled by my freehand shield design, but I’m also not motivated enough to fix it for what would be the third time, so this is what he’s stuck with.

The Red Wolf of Thord was born in that frozen wasteland as Lorm Einarsson, the youngest of four. Before he was twenty he had killed his three older brothers, none of them quickly, for motives unknown. Some say they bullied him as a youth, others claim he just didn’t like them very much. He usurped his eldest brother as cyng upon his death and took over his band of thegns, sailing with them southward into the fertile lands of Mornellorn and Evaleaux. There his cruel path of destruction, pillage and rapine quickly tore those kingdoms asunder. Centuries later, his name is still whispered to children to encourage compliance and good behavior, lest the Red Wolf appear.

In the frozen lands of Thord, there are only white wolves. During one of Einarsson’s prolonged “stays” in Evaleaux, he hunted and slew a huge red wolf that had been attacking cattle he had pillaged from nearby villages, splitting its head with his great axe, Skuffe. From that day on he wore its pelt as a cloak, and thus the legend of the “Red Wolf of Thord” was born.

Another Reaper Tre Manor sculpt, the Red Wolf is represented by the hirsute Olaf, Viking Chieftain. Unlike the previous model, I likely never would have purchased this guy. Not because the sculpt is bad (I don’t think Tre Manor is capable of bad sculpting), but because I hate double-bladed axes. I just think they look really stupid. Coming from a guy who loves dwarfs and has many dwarf miniatures, you can assume I have to deal with them more often than I would like, and you would be right. Typically, I remove one of the axe blades, and the model usually looks a lot better. But because of the way Olaf here is holding his axe, it wouldn’t look right if I modified it. (Besides, this is Owen’s miniature. I’m just working with what I have.) I should probably fix his eyes a little bit, as they look too wide.

I have made Owen aware of this post and the previous one, so hopefully my effrontery will work: he’ll demand all his miniatures back and start painting them again. (Fingers crossed.) If not, I will continue to do so myself in the hopes he will one day return to the dark side…

Owen’s Miniatures: Part 1

I first met my friend Owen when we were in college, almost 30 years ago (Christ, that’s depressing as hell.) We quickly found we had much in common. Some examples: we both had a brother with the same name. We both played role-playing games. We both worked at a (now) defunct electronics retailer, albeit at different stores (at first). We both took the same hellish philosophy class taught by a crazed Jesuit who was banned from practicing mass because…well, because he was batshit crazy, among other things. We had a mutual friend that neither of us knew about until the first time I joined Owen for a gaming session and found him at the table.

Most significantly, we discovered that we both collected and painted miniatures. Prior to meeting Owen, I didn’t know anyone else who was the slightest bit interested in miniatures at all. Neither of us played wargames; we collected and painted miniatures purely because of our interest in rpgs. We bought mostly Ral Partha and Grenadier miniatures, as these were the ones commonly available at the time. We even bought them at the same store, but we didn’t know that until later.

I got into Warhammer in the mid-90’s, but Owen never did. Eventually, we both stopped painting for a while here and there over the years. I took a hiatus for about 5-6 years between 2002-2008, and I think he may have done the same, only sooner. I jumped right back into the hobby, whereas Owen never really did.

Two years ago or so, Owen gave me all his miniatures; hundreds of them, possibly more. Most of them are in various stages of paint; many complete, many primed or dabbed with color here and there, all stored in Plano tackle boxes. As I remembered, they’re mostly Ral Partha and Grenadier. In fact, I already own many of them already. But Owen’s miniatures also include many Reaper miniatures purchased in the early years of that company, as well as some impulse buys over time (as is any miniatures enthusiast’s wont). Owen told me he just doesn’t have the interest to paint them any more, and he would rather have the space than hold onto the lead. He knew I would give them a good home (and I have).

It broke my fucking heart.

This may surprise readers of this blog for several reasons. First, that I have a heart at all may come as a shock. Second, it may be surprising to some that I would be sad at the gift of so much lead. But both are true.

I offered to pay him for them. We have yet to discuss this in any meaningful way. This is because he’s not in a hurry to get paid, and also because I’m not in any hurry to pay him. In fact, I have been hoping very much that he would come to his senses and take them back. But that hasn’t happened.

I have a problem assigning value to any miniatures I have painted, as to me their value goes far beyond money. If I were to ever sell my miniatures (I can’t see how), I would likely overvalue them. Even though I may never again play the games they were designed for or use them for what was intended, the fact remains that I spent time, effort and money (obviously), on them; and I can’t easily part with them for those reasons.

I suspect many gamers feel the same way, although I know a significant number do not. (Our mutual friend, for example, had no problem painting and playing any number of Warhammer armies, only to sell them off at a significant loss whenever he got bored. He would then buy another army and repeat the process, only to eventually end up back where he started, with his original army that he needed to repurchase and repaint.)

Which is why, as I look at Owen’s miniatures, many of which he affixed to cardboard hexes that he lovingly cut out by hand (the better to fit on a combat map; unlike me, Owen actually USED his miniatures when he ran a game), I feel defeated. I want him to want his miniatures back. I want him to want to paint them again. I want him to be a miniatures nut like me, looking at painting tutorials online, geeking out over new releases, and planning and playing games. But it seems unlikely.

So, after a couple of years of ignoring his boxes, hoping he’ll ask for them back, I have decided to take a new strategy. I’m gonna start painting some of them. I don’t have the heart to strip his paint jobs and repaint any of his miniatures, but Owen was kind enough to supply me with some primed figures he never got around to. I’m hoping he will look at my work (on HIS miniatures) and get inspired.

Up next: the first two “Owen” miniatures, painted by yours truly.

A Hound, A Mound, and a…uh… a Carrion Crawler

Monster month was a bit underwhelming this year. The first half of the month was taken up with work problems that, to put it bluntly, fucked up my hobby focus.  After that, I took a much-needed week off, during which you would think I would double down on my painting. However, when I paint, my mind wanders, tending to fixate upon things that vex me (like work). So instead, I played Spider-Man on PS4, which allowed me to “check out”, and not think of anything not related to being Spider-Man for a few hours every day.

Nevertheless, I managed to paint a few more monsters to finish out the month. I’m considering making this an annual event over here at Dead Dick’s Tavern, and perhaps soliciting participation from other hobbyists, much like the imminent Forgotten Heroes challenge hosted by Carrion Crow, starting in just a few days!

First: a Reaper Bones Hell Hound. In AD&D, Hell Hounds are the dogs from the plane of the Nine Hells. They’re emaciated, rust-brown dogs that breathe fire, and they’re often summoned by sorcerers with less-than-good intentions. (This miniature was an impulse buy; I saw him and realized I didn’t own any Hell Hound miniatures.) My first cursory look at the unpainted miniature made me think his back was on fire, but upon closer inspection it’s fur and spines, not flames. I painted him mostly in Vallejo Red Black and Reaper Rusty Red. Not much else to say about him except I’m not thrilled with his base. Oh, well…

Next, this big fellow is a Shambling Mound, from Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures. You get a pretty hefty chunk of plastic for his $4.99 price tag; a real bargain! You can get a sense of his scale compared to the human-sized skeleton in the foreground.

From the AD&D 3.5 SRD: Shambling mounds, also called shamblers, appear to be heaps of rotting vegetation. They are actually intelligent, carnivorous plants. A shambler’s body has an 8-foot girth and is about 6 feet tall when the creature stands erect. It weighs about 3,800 pounds. This miniature is scaled much bigger than it’s description would indicate. Despite its AD&D origins, I will most likely get more use out of the Shambling Mound as a minion for either Plant Man or Poison Ivy. I’m pretty happy with how he turned out. I basically used a ton of green and brown paints and washes before finally highlighting with some yellow wash.

And finally, another classic AD&D monster: the Carrion Crawler. From the Forgotten Realms Wiki: carrion crawler was a burrowing aberration that scavenged the dead and occasionally preyed on living creatures.  Carrion crawlers were large, pale yellow, and greenish aberrations whose appearance was akin to a three- to four-foot-long centipede. Crawlers possessed eight long tentacles protruding from the sides of their heads, allowing them to stun prey.

This is another Nolzur’s miniature that I bought specifically for Monster Month. I based the carapace in Coat D’Arms Goblin Green, then highlighted up to Vallejo Green Sky, washing him with Citadel’s Agrax Earthshade. His underbelly was based in Army Painter Necrotic Flesh, washed with Citadel Seraphim Sepia, then highlighted with Reaper’s Moldy Skin. The base was given a layer of Citadel’s Stirland Mud for texture.

Here’s a picture of him with a 28mm Privateer Press Cygnar guardsman for scale. Once again, Nolzur’s doesn’t seem too bound by the descriptions of these monsters, as, much like the Shambling Mound, this particular Carrion Crawler is a lot bigger than the standard size given in the description.

That about does it for Monster Month this year, although I may have a few stragglers still to come. Next month is Forgotten Heroes, over at Carrion Crow’s Buffet. This will be my third year participating and I’m very happy to take part!

Insanity Pile Progress:

Miniatures Purchased: 58

Miniatures Painted: 120

Total: +62

Behold! The Eye-Beast!

May is Monster Month, and I’m getting a bit of a late start because I’ve had a hellish few weeks at work. (I had to finish painting some more cowboys, too.)

But enough about that. I bring you…the hideous BEHO-uh…the EYE BEAST!

Ah, who am I kidding? Anyone with even a passing familiarity with Dungeons and Dragons can identify this handsome fellow as a beholder, no matter what Reaper calls him. (At least I assume it’s a him. I don’t claim to understand the gender identity of beholders.)

From Wikipedia: The beholder is a fictional monster in the Dungeons and Dragons fantasy role-playing game. Its appearance is that of a floating orb of flesh with a large mouth, single central eye, and many smaller eyestalks on top with powerful magical abilities.

I was going to paint him last May, but I didn’t get around to it in time. After priming him black, I added a layer of Vallejo Red-Black, followed by highlights of Privateer Press’s Skorne Red and Citadel’s Wild Rider Red before applying a glaze of Citadel’s Bloodletter. The eyes were undercoated in Reaper Vampiric Skin, with various colors for the irises.

The focal point of the model is its mouth and big, pointy teeth. The mouth was painted with Citadel Daemonette Hide and highlighted with Bugman’s Glow, then a final highlight of bright pink. The teeth were undercoated with Citadel’s Steel Legion Drab before getting the full Reaper Ivory triad treatment. The main eye’s iris was done with yellow ink. I’m not really thrilled with how it turned out; I feel like something’s missing.

I gave the teeth, mouth and eyeballs a coat of gloss varnish to look wet, and that’s about it.

Insanity Pile Progress

Miniatures Purchased: 58

Miniatures Painted: 117

Total: +59

Saddle Up, Boys! (and Girls, if applicable)

One of my 2019 Resolutions was to finally play GW’s Legends of the Old West, an out-of-print Old West skirmish game using the Warhammer engine. Despite using a variation of the IGO/UGO mechanic, it remains pretty popular among Old West gamers, as it’s easy to pick up and play, particularly if you’re familiar with Warhammer.

I’ve been wanting to play some Old West skirmish for years now, and even started making a Mexican border town, Mescalero, several years ago. Like many projects of mine, this got sidelined in favor of whatever else struck my fancy; but not before I also bought, assembled and painted some Plastcraft Western Buildings. I now have the beginnings of two towns; a traditional Mexican adobe village and a clapboard boom-town. (I also meant to make some Badlands scenery (and I still will), but, you know…sidelined.)

Recently I managed to get my hands on the holy grail of 28mm Western gaming, the OOP 1/64 scale ERTL Cow Town playset. It contains a Hotel/Saloon, a Sherriff’s Office, a Blacksmith, and an outbuilding and outhouse, along with lots of other scenic knick-knacks (like bar tables and desks). Between the Cow Town set, the Plastcraft buildings, and a couple of MDF buildings I bought from Knuckleduster, I have no excuse not to move forward with this project.

For Old West miniatures, I have a mixture from Blue Moon, Old Glory, Foundry, Knuckleduster and Reaper. Before the whole thing got sidelined, I painted up the Blue Moon cowboys that I got from Scale Creep. I really like this line a lot. The Old Glory and Foundry stuff looks a little small compared to the others (especially the Reaper Chronoscope stuff), but I’m hoping it won’t bother me too much when I actually start playing.

First up, the Blue Moon miniatures. The Earp brothers: Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan, along with Doc Holliday.

The Clantons: Ike, Billy and Johnny Ringo.

Frank and Billy McClaury; Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett.

The Daltons: Emmett, Bob and Grat. (Yes, Grat.)

A few Reaper Chronoscope miniatures: Stone (who I think is an undead gunslinger, although I didn’t paint him that way); Deadeye Slim; and a U.S. Agent (not to be confused with the guy who replaced Captain America). Both Stone and Slim are Bones miniatures. I bought the Agent because he has a pepperbox pistol, and that’s kinda cool.

Some Reaper fantasy townsfolk can serve double duty as Old West civilian miniatures, as seen here. The bartender and strumpet both work well as Old West miniatures.

Same can be said for the blacksmith (what moron parked a wagon full of hay near the forge?!)…

And this RAFM Call of Cthulhu doctor.

None of these miniatures count towards my painting queue progress, sadly; most were painted years ago. But THIS is my big project for this year; in lieu of starting a new army, I’ll get my Old West scenery and miniatures all done instead.

In between other stuff, of course…

A Little Something on the Side…

Or perhaps, “Some Side Action”.  Either “double entendre” title would work.

For my last post of 2018, I thought I’d share what I did in December, which is clean up “the side pile”: that group of partially-painted/assembled  miniatures that collects in the corner of my workspace over time; things I plan on getting to, but for whatever reason shunt them aside in favor of other projects. These sad miniatures collect dust and stare at me in silent accusation, wondering why they are neglected. Not having any other project slated for December, I decided to devote my entire month’s efforts to these orphaned miniatures.

A couple of these miniatures were supposed to be painted for my failed AD&D campaign, which ended back in 2012. Some of them have languished in the side pile for longer than that!

First, an old-school fantasy ogre, made by RAFM. I’ve had this guy for decades. RAFM still makes a variation of this miniature, but this particular guy is out-of-production. He was originally supposed to return as a member of the Cudgel Gang, that group of highwaymen that plagued my gaming group throughout the campaign. Length of time in side pile: 8+ years.

Another miniature intended for the AD&D campaign, this is Finari, from Reaper. This is the metal version; she’s since been reissued as a Bones miniature. Length of time in side pile: 10 years or so. Yes, 10 years. Easily.

Next is Kjell Bloodbear, another metal Reaper miniature. I really had no idea how I was going to paint him, and I have to say I’m pretty pleased with the end result. It was a long time coming, but he’s finally done. Length of time in the side pile: 7 years or so.

This is Duke Gerard, yet another Reaper miniature, this time a Bones version I got from a guy who bought into the Kickstarter. Apparently, he has a weird back banner-thingy that I didn’t get, which is ok, as I like him better without it.  Length of time in side pile: 4+ years.

This is Herryk Aesir, a dwarf that has a back banner-thingy I actually like. He’s another metal Reaper miniature (they make a Bones version, too). He’s been in the side pile the least amount of time; I intended to paint him for Dwarvember two years ago, but didn’t get around to it. Length in side pile: 2+years.

These snipers are from Demonblade Games for their Shockforce post-apocalyptic skirmish game. I didn’t play the game, but I liked the snipers. They’ve been primed and ready for a long time. Length of time in side pile: 7+ years.

Last but not least, some Reaper Toolbots, from their Chronoscope line. I don’t remember why I bought these guys. I think I wanted to use them for some Retro sci-fi gaming I never really pursued. They’ve been primed and based with a gunmetal silver for years. Once I decided to change them to this yellow color, I painted them in no time at all. I just couldn’t get motivated to paint them until I made that switch…strange how our minds work. Length of time in side pile: 6+ years.

That’s closes out the year. I thought I’d have one more side pile miniature done before the ball drops, but it’s not happening. As it is, I cleared out a fair bit of space and put paint on some figures that have been waiting far too long for it, so all’s well that ends well.

Bring on 2019!

Griffon and Land Shark

My latest two “monster month” projects have arrived! Presenting: the Griffon and the Bulette (Land Shark).

(Astute observers may notice that the model in the middle of these two monsters has changed since the last post. That’s because I couldn’t seem to find that human fighter who found himself between an Umber Hulk and a Purple Worm, and then between a hungry Troll and a Basilisk. Perhaps his luck finally ran out…)

The Bulette, also known as a land shark, is a terrifying predator that lives only to eat (much like a regular shark). It burrows beneath the ground and bursts to the surface whenever it detects the vibrations of movement. A bulette has a territory of about 30 square miles, and will attack anything it comes across, completely consuming its prey (clothing, armor, weapons, etc.). When it has eaten everything in its territory, it will move on to another area.

Bulettes are not usually smart; however there is a famous case of one land shark ringing the doorbells of unsuspecting victims, fooling them into opening the door by pretending to have a delivery of something (flowers, candy, etc.). Once the victim opened the door, the land shark would strike!

This bulette is a Reaper Bones “land shark” (appropriate, no?).

A griffon, as everyone knows, is a majestic beast with the body of a lion and the head, wings and front legs of a great eagle. Griffons are fierce predators and enjoy eating horses most of all. Griffons are semi-intelligent and are much prized as mounts for heroic characters, as they are capable of being trained by those with enough daring and skill.

This griffon is yet another of Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures.  I used the hot water/cold water bath method to reshape its wings somewhat, but that’s about it. In all my years of painting, I have never painted a griffon before. I really like this miniature (score another for Nolzur’s); therefore I have named him Merv.

You see what I did there?

 

 

Insanity Pile Progress

Miniatures Painted Thus Far: 6

Miniatures Purchased: 0

Total: +6

Aryllus Thenra

A brief intermission, if you will permit me, from all things Gaslands.

If you’re a longtime role-playing gamer like me, then you probably have a character or two somewhere that you would have liked to play more often than you were able to. This is one of mine.

When my friend Chris decided he wanted to run an AD&D 3.5 campaign about 10 years ago, I decided I would play a standard (non-specialist) wizard. (Prior to this, my only real experience playing a magic-user was a 2nd ed. AD&D campaign back in college, when I played a shameless Raistlin ripoff; and a MERP game where I played an acrobatic Dunedán mage. Please don’t ask.) Chris’s campaign was called Jamestown, and it involved the political intrigues of rival brothers against a backdrop of standard monster-slaying and fantasy ass-kickery that you would expect from an AD&D game. Like many games and campaigns I have played in over the years, it was over too fast, as lack of time and the responsibilities of real life soon got in the way.

In Chris’s world, mages are rare and mysterious, and command a certain respect simply by virtue of their profession. Aryllus was a young and talented wizard with a calculating and detached manner. He was soft-spoken and carefully considered his words and actions. Although he was certainly capable of laying down offensive magics, Aryllus was more of a support player in the party. I chose a wide variety of spells for him that would enhance allies and hinder enemies, rather than having him go full Tiltowait (kudos if you get that reference!) all the time. Aryllus was content to let the fighters fight and the cleric heal. His job was to make their jobs easier.

Sometimes he forgot that. Like when he tried to blast the gates of a fortress open with a Fireball spell. Since the fireball wasn’t explosive, all it did was light the gate on fire. Dumb.

Aryllus had a raven familiar named Corax (original, I know). Corax was useful as a scrying tool; Aryllus could see through Corax’s eyes and could instantly communicate with his familiar over a respectable distance. Corax had his own personality and was essentially a second character. I found the interplay between the two to be a lot of fun.

I’m not sure why, but I had a lot of trouble painting this figure. I couldn’t settle on a color scheme that I liked and I just kept putting it off. Since I’ve been painting up my favorite RPG characters lately, I decided it was high time for me to finish Aryllus. This miniature has been in my side pile for around ten years, with only a basecoat of blue paint on his jacket. He is Reaper’s Piers, Young Mage (02836), sculpted by one of my favorite artists, the great Sandra Garrity. He shares an Armorcast gallery base with Corax (a Reaper familiar from Familiar Pack VIII). I bought the miniature long before I created the character. When I decided to play a mage I used this figure for inspiration.

For whatever reason (perhaps my failing eyesight), this miniature looks much better in person, away from the unforgiving high-resolution camera lens. I must admit that in the pictures, he looks kind of sloppy in some places, but the flaws are not as glaring to the naked eye. Anyway, he’s done now, and out of the side pile. And he’s not going back.

Up next: more Gaslands! Vrrrrrooooooooommmmm!!!!!

 

 

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy has become one of my favorite Batman villains, although it wasn’t always so. (Take the movie Batman and Robin, for example; like Arnold Shwarzenegger’s Mister Freeze, the less said about Uma Thurman’s portrayal of Ivy, the better.) I didn’t really start to like her until the Batman: The Animated Series episode “Harley and Ivy”, in which the two ladies team up to take over Gotham’s crime scene, at least until Batman and the Joker find out about it.

Ivy appears in all but one of the Rocksteady Batman: Arkham series of video games, of which I am a huge, obsessed fanboy. And now, with a particularly cold-blooded version of Poison Ivy running amok on the current season of TV’s Gotham, I thought it was a good time to feature her here.

This repainted Heroclix Ivy is from the DC Cosmic Justice set. It’s the classic, early version of Ivy, before she got chlorophyll for blood and became more plant than human. I based her on a small piece of Spanish moss. Behind her are some of her pets: the big monster plants are Dragon Plants, new from Reaper’s Bones collection. The pod plants are also from Reaper Bones; they’re Death Star Lilies.  The big Man-eating Plant in the middle is from Armorcast.

 

The little plant people are Vardu Sprouts, from Hydra Miniatures’ Primal Dawn range. When I ordered them I thought they would be bigger than they are, but they’re sprouts, after all. I just based them two to a base. I plan on having the pod plants spit them out as a renewable source of plant henchmen.

Lastly, the big guy is an old version of Reaper’s Swamp Shambler. I painted him years ago, and he looks a lot like a certain…bayou-dwelling…Plant Elemental…known for…punctuating…his speech…with lots…of…elipses…but in this context he’s Ivy’s bodyguard, should Batman ever get too close. He’s better than that horrible version of Bane in Batman & Robin, anyway.

Man, was ANYTHING in that movie any good? No. Not a thing.

Anyway, here is my Super Mission Force build for Poison Ivy:

Poison Ivy (Wild Card) Minor: Barrier, Entangle, Summoning, Telekinesis

I can hear some of you already: “Now hold on a second, Angry Piper! Barrier and Entangle, I can see. But since when does Poison Ivy have Summoning and Telekinesis?”

To that, my friends, I would say you must think outside the box a bit. What is Poison Ivy’s main power? Plant control. Unfortunately, there is no plant control power in SMF. Ivy can get plants to do a lot of stuff, like entangle enemies or form barriers…or grapple enemies at range with super strength, bear herself aloft to higher elevations (a’ la Jack and the Beanstalk), or manipulate objects at a distance using plant-y tendrils. (In other words: Telekinesis, only using the plants instead of her mind.) She can will plants to fight for her and pretty much instantly mutate normal plants into killing machines. Kind of sounds like Summoning, no?

Of course, if you don’t like my version of Poison Ivy, you could substitute some or all of these powers with others you may find more thematically appropriate, like Armor, Damage Field, or Enhanced Senses, to name a few. When using Ivy in a scenario, I would let her have a few plant guardians and/or henchmen in place at the start of the game. She’s really not that tough, otherwise; and she would likely be defeated before she could use her powers to summon reinforcements. Just my 2 pesos.

 

 

Khelden Josek, Dwarf Brewer

Today, I present to my readers my favorite role-playing character of all time: Khelden.

Khelden is an Ultangen Dwarf, a race from my good friend Owen’s fantasy setting, Gandaria. (Owen used to have a whole website dedicated to this setting and some of his other gaming and writing endeavors, but he took it down a couple of years back, which is a real shame.) Like many dwarfs, Khelden was a soldier for decades, a veteran of countless battles and a formidable warrior. But Khelden left the Dwarflands to start a life elsewhere. A brewer by trade, Khelden set up a prosperous business in the large, mostly human city of Brimshire. His wealth and character allowed him to achieve some status among the merchant class and the nobility.

Khelden is immensely strong; and while he is no deep thinker, he possesses the canniness of one who has lived by his wits and skills for many long years. He is an exceptional fighter, but he considers brewing his profession. While he excels at brewing (it’s his highest GURPS skill, in fact), he is constantly being called away from his brewery to battle monsters or deal with the intrigues of evil beings. Khelden wields Arshavir, a dwarven mace of great power and a relic from many centuries past, long thought to be lost. The mace has an adverse and dangerous effect on the weather the longer it is used in battle. Luckily, Khelden finishes most fights quickly.

This miniature is a perfect representation of Khelden as a Master Brewer in his later years, assuming he ever got to live that long (unlikely, considering the lethality of Owen’s campaign). He has finally settled down and retired, enjoying the fruits and rewards of a life well-lived. At long last, he has perfected his recipe for his dwarven stout, better known as Khelden’s Black. Unfortunately, this miniature does not have a mace, but a hammer instead. Khelden used a hammer in his early years. I imagine that since he is now old, Khelden has passed Arshavir on to a younger, worthy dwarf; and is content to take up the hammer again.

The miniature is the Dwarf Brewer from the Reaper Bones line. The ale casks on the right of the picture are from Deep Cuts, part of the Pathfinder scenics they’re putting out nowadays. Both Bones and Deep Cuts claim they do not need primer and that paint can be applied directly to the model, but I primed everything with Vallejo surface primer and I’m glad I did. I like the ale casks. At $3.99 for the three pack they’re priced nicely, but they don’t sit levelly. It’s a minor quibble, but it’s there. The Reaper dwarf miniature was only $2.50! I’m starting to find a new appreciation for Reaper Bones…

If you’re interested in yet another of my old characters, I posted a short write-up of my monk, Brother Jerrod, way back in March 2015.