'Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,' the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. 'Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.'

-Robert E. Howard
Beyond The Black River

Showing posts with label miniatures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label miniatures. Show all posts

Friday, April 19, 2019

Friday's Forgotten Fiends: Giant Nassarius Snails

Welcome back to another installment of Friday's Forgotten Fiends! Custom monsters for your RPG table feature stat blocks for Conan 2d20 and Dungeons and Dragons 5e as well as paper 28mm miniatures and VTT tokens! It has been awhile since the last posting but I am back! Hopefully I can get these to be more regular again.

Awhile ago now someone posted a video on Facebook that featured a water tank and a fish body being dropped into it. As it lay there you watched as this empty tank slowly sprang to life as these tiny snails began popping out of the sand and devouring the fish. So the inspiration for the giant carnivorous snail was born and after some time, has finally come to fruition!

Conan 2d20

D&D 5e

in progress

VTT Tokens

Paper Minis!



If you would like a version on these with backs as well as fronts please check out my offering of this set on Drive Thru RPG. They are offered for the low cost of $1usd and and support is greatly appreciated. Thank you! If you liked this article then don't forget to subscribe to get the next exciting installment on pulp rpg gaming both Sci-Fi and Fantasy!

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Friday, March 8, 2019

Friday's Forgotten Fiends: Dweller of Nethuns

Welcome back to another installment of Friday's Forgotten Fiends! Custom monsters for your RPG table feature stat blocks for Conan 2d20 and Dungeons and Dragons 5e as well as paper 28mm miniatures and VTT tokens!

Aindal steped through the rickety door and began his descent. The stone steps reached down into darkess, partially illuminated by the light cascading through the door. After a few steps, the door slowly creaked closed behind him, cutting off what little light there was. After a moment in the darkness his eyes began to pick out small bits of light here and there creeping into this dark chamber from boarded up windows high above him.

After another moment he drew out a torch and struck flint to steel sending hit sparks onto the waiting torch. Soon after the dancing flame revealed the huge cellar to him, although it sat below a large warehouse on the docks he was not prepared for the shere size of this place. The stairs wound down a good thirty feet into the earth. Stone and wood pushed back the earth and in some places, surely held back the ocean as well. As his eyes took in the place it was clear no one had set foot into this ancient chamber in some time. The middle held a dark pool of water, steps surrounded the opening leading down into the pool like an inverted dais, and on one side a large stone slab that could be nothing but a large altar, used for sacrifice.

As Aindal made is way around the space, shining eyes watched him from below the surface of the pool. It had been a long time since any of the humans had come down into this place. It had been forced to subsist on rats, trapped in this infernal place. Now it sensed not only food, but escape. It remained nearly motionless within the pool, waiting.

Slowly the explorations of Aindal brought him closer to the pool, and then as his the hair on his arm stood on end he paused. Something was wrong. He surveyed the room and saw nothing, and as his eyes swung back to the darkness of the pool, he stepped closer raising his torch. There he saw it a small ripple, his eyes narrowed.

Suddenly a fury of water, tentacles and teeth came at him, with what was clearly the intent o make him food. But as It came at him, Aindal rolled like a jungle animal and in one swift motion drew his sword in a slashing arc into the beasts side as even as his torch was knocked to the ground. With a keening howl It spun and hissed some ancient long forgotten curse at him. Now Aindal saw his attacker clearly, more fish than man, it's body adorned with spiny fins and it's arms replaced by tentacles, and it's legs like some unholy mermaid. It let out a low keening as it raised up on it's body preparing to strike. The two circled each other warily as the torch began to die, casting the room back into darkness.....


Dweller of Nethuns


The Deep Ones are creatures in the Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft. The beings first appeared in Lovecraft's novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth (1931), but were already hinted at in the early short story "Dagon". The Deep Ones are a race of intelligent ocean-dwelling creatures, approximately human-shaped but with a fishy, froggy appearance. They regularly mate with humans along the coast, creating societies of hybrids. -- Wikipedia, Deep Ones

Being an invention of Lovecraft it is not surprising to see these show up in a Conan game based around the the works of Robert E Howard. The Conan 2d20 Core book on page 334 lists them as "Dwellers of the Deep", and I have certainly used them as is. I however thought it might be fun to morph them a little to be a different strain of Dweller that is specifically rooted to this particular incarnation of this unholy terror of the depths, Nethuns. And so I give to you the Dweller of Nethuns.

The Conan 2d20 stats are based are the dweller stats and the Dungeons and Dragons 5e stats are based around the Sahuagin, although tougher. I hope you enjoy and I would love to hear you experiences with them in either system.

Conan 2d20

D&D 5e

VTT Tokens

Paper Minis!



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Friday, March 1, 2019

Friday's Forgotten Fiends: The Hyborian Fossa

Welcome back to another installment of Friday's Forgotten Fiends! Custom monsters for your RPG table feature stat blocks for Conan 2d20 and Dungeons and Dragons 5e as well as paper 28mm miniatures and VTT tokens!

The group of men moved deeper into the jungle, a short while earlier they had spotted the first signs of the ruined city. Now they searched deeper into the jungles of the Black Kingdom seeking an entrance to this mythical place. Ruined stones emerged from the emerald colored foliage, serving as a kind of marker for the party of Stygians. Finally they stood on ancient flagstones, a road, leading between two ruined pillars and into the jungle.

Following this ancient road they came to a small clearing in the jungle and beyond lay an intact marble building, all but invisible in the dense foliage. The largest man of the group excitedly pointed at the low structure, "Come! The treasure awaits!", and move carelessly into the clearing before the building.

Before anyone could react the jungle around the clearing moved and in an instant several large, long, sleek, almost feline beasts sprang into the opening, their eyes and teeth flashing at what they clearly saw as prey. The big man, slowly drew his sword slowly, not making any sudden moves. As the blade barely cleared it's sheath the first of the beasts pounced, as if sensing the intent of the man. It's teeth and claws flashed in the sunlight as the sword as brought up barely fending off the first of these creatures, as the second one leaped onto his back sinking its teeth into his shoulder.......

You will have to bear with me for a moment as I discuss something pretty non-Hyborian age. Many years ago I watched a little movie called Madagascar. In it the bad guys are the FOSSA, something I had never heard of. I just assumed I was supposed to know about what they were trying to represent. As it turns out Madagascar is just a place with animals that don't exist elsewhere, it is something called "megadiverse", and I had no idea what these creatures were.

70% of species that inhabit these islands are totally unique in the world. Its great richness of biodiversity goes from lemurs, mongoose, chameleons, bats, foxes... Additionally, during the last decade 40 mammals, 69 amphibians, 61 reptiles, 42 invertebrates and 385 new plants were discovered within its territory.
-https://www.activesustainability.com/environment/top-10-countries-in-biodiversity/#4

Fast forward to now and I am looking for new and interesting creatures that once populated our world to be thrown in as savage beasts of the Hyborian Age. The fossa as depicted in that fun romp of a movie is fairly small at about 2.5 feet long and 20lbs, and so interesting but maybe not exactly what I am looking for. Now the Cryptoprocta Spelea is more what we are looking for, or at least more evidence for larger animals. This Giant Fossa is closer to 3.5 feet long, weighing in at twice that of it's smaller relative at about 40lbs.

Despite the depictions in the movie the modern fossa is generally thought of as solitary, although they have been observed to cooperate and share kills, which would make them a *LOT* more interesting. Going along with that our new species will be even larger, more like cougar sized and they will hunt in packs, so don't set these individually on your players!

These cat like predators are potentially awesome foes for your sword and sorcery game, realistic and less well known than other creatures such as sabertooth tigers.

Ok enough preamble and talk of children's cartoons.......Welcome to an Age Undreamed Of......

Cryptoprocta Hyborius. The Hyborian Fossa.

Conan 2d20

D&D 5e

VTT Tokens

Paper Minis!



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Till next time, don't forget to Keep it Weird!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Friday's Forgotten Fiends: The Boar of Nergal

Welcome back to another installment of Friday's Forgotten Fiends! Custom monsters for your RPG table feature stat blocks for Conan 2d20 and Dungeons and Dragons 5e as well as paper 28mm miniatures and VTT tokens!

The shepherd lounged under a large tree. The air was warm and clear and the sun shone down bright across the meadow lands. A small flock of sheep munched happily on the green grass emitting only the occasional bleating. Arvad was happy with things, predators had been few and far between and his flock grew fat providing wool and food for his family and money for his pockets.

In an instant everything had changed, the throng of sheep broken and running in all directions as a Boar or Nergal stalked into their midst killing what would surely be more than its fat belly could eat. It seemed to be killing for sport as much as anything, a keen intelligence in its eyes as it turned and spotted Arvad. With a low growl it stalked towards the small man, sitting shocked beneath the tree.

In a smooth action Arvad took up his spear and slid to his feet slowly as the monster continued its slow methodical approach. Leveling the spear, the shepherd planted the spear at his feet as he waited for the infernal creature to come for him. The beast continued its slow approach and as it did its true size began to show itself, easily as tall as a man at the shoulders, gleaming red eyes and yellowed teeth and tusks glistened in the sun, now stained with the blood of his sheep. With a slight pause the massive head is lowered and in a flash nearly one thousand pounds of predator charged towards him. Arvad could do nothing but grip the spear tighter, aim its point, close his eyes and pray to Mitra.......

The giant pig like creatures are some long forgotten remnant of a time best left forgotten, when giant beasts ruled over the lands. They generally favor the northern plains of Shem where the pastoral lands meet the low foothills of the Mountains of Khoraja. Although these creatures are generally solitary they live in small loose knit herd-like communities, coming across one means more are almost certainly nearby. Named for the dark god of death, Nergal, these creatures, although resembling boars are actually fierce predators. It is not uncommon to see them hunt the largest game.

This beast is based on the real life animal known as the "HELL PIG", but I didn't want to simply call it that, I wanted something more... Hyborian. So I went out onto the Internet and looked up gods, I found a nice list on Xoth.net. I did perhaps make a small error in ONLY using that site as it uses all sources for the Hyborian Age, not just REH. There is nothing wrong with that, but I would prefer to use REH as a first source and pastiches as a second source.

Do not worry though, as I found a story fragment on the Internet this morning, The Hand of Nergal, which makes me cheer a little in that the name I have chosen is both fairly fitting and REH.

Don't forget to scroll all the way to the end to see a new feature I am looking to add to these to supplement the stat blocks and VTT tokens!

Alright as Matt from Rogues in the House loves to say....

"ENOUGH TALK!"

Conan 2d20

D&D 5e

VTT Tokens

Paper Minis!

And finally paper minis!


If you liked this article then don't forget to subscribe to get the next exciting installment on pulp gaming both Sci-Fi and Fantasy!

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Make sure you don't miss a single post and subscribe by e-mail today!

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Till next time, don't forget to Keep it Weird!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Expanse RPG: The Zone, Part 1: The Basics.

I first encountered this idea in Conan 2d20, which isn't surprising since it was the RPG that brought me back to this hobby. I've seen it used a spatial idea in other games since then, which isn't to say Conan was the first, just the first to me.

When not playing theatre of the mind, games like Pathfinder use a grid or a measurement to move miniatures around and determine if they can attack. ie Thogar, my warrior can move 20' in a turn and a square is typically 5 feet, allowing my character to move 4 spaces in a turn.

Zones allow us to understand our spatial relationships but remove the idea of moving 4 squares or 5 squares. It gives up some granularity and some level of tactics, but gives us a fairly nice bridge between the boardgame/wargame feel of a grid/measurement based system and a theatre of the mind.

If you are unfamiliar with a zone, you can think of it as a spatial area where some action might take place. It's size isn't *THAT* important but should probably make some sense given the encounter. If we take a generic tavern we might have 4 or 5 zones.
  • The Bar.
  • The Front Entrance.
  • The Tables.
  • The Fireplace.
  • The Dark Corner.
Instead of measuring your 4 or 5 spaces a character can generally use their standard action/move to simply move from one zone into another. Moving around inside a zone is generally a simple/minor/half-move action depending on the game you are playing. Yes it removes the ability to do tactically think about where a character is moving and if they will trigger attacks of opportunity or similar. Yes it removes the ability of some players to be a little faster than others. What it does give you is a fairly simply way to spatially show about where players and their antagonists are located in an environment.

You can also fairly easily define areas that are slower to move through by simply making those zones a little smaller. Consider the following graphic showing a road flanked on either side by dense forests. Without specifically counting squares we can see that the road is a faster way to travel and in this case, twice as fast.

You can further make the environments interesting by adding skill tests or increased difficulties to the zones. In Conan 2d20 perhaps the forests add +1D to all skill tests including combat unless they are at home in the forest. In something like ICRPG where you set a TN for the room, you could now set it for each zone instead. Perhaps the zone is on a cliff edge and requires a dexterity test to not slip and another once slipped to not fall off the edge? As you can see it has the ability to add a lot of environmental factors in pretty easily.

You can define these zones with terrain as normal, although this is often the most challenging way to do it as terrain will often bleed together and where a zone is exactly can be difficult for a player to see, especially if they are used to a grid or measure based system. Another way to define a zone is with a set of simple index cards, and I would be remiss without mentioning Runehammer's collections of index cards that make excellent zone markers. Currently he is up to four collections of these cards, with volume 3 being sci-fi oriented.

Our next installment is going to look at how I am thinking of implanting this with Expanse given the full set of Modern Age rules. Things may change but it will give us a good starting place on how to implement this awesome and simple system in our games.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Expanse Rpg. Miniatures?

The quick start presents the rules from a "Theatre of the Mind" perspective. They do mention miniatures and how to convert speed onto a grid scale, but this isn't Savage Worlds. However if you are like me you like miniatures and an excuse to buy more is a good thing!

At present there are no official Expanse miniatures. There are of course various sci-fi and near sci-fi collections out there. I made an attempt to go out and find a few of those and categorize them into areas they might fit into the universe of The Expanse.

This is far from a definitive list and most links will take you to whole collections of similar figures. I also realize these might not be the most ideal miniatures for your vision.

If you have some others you think would make awesome Expanse figures drop me a comment!


The Executives and Politicians


These make up the higher end of government and business. Characters like Chrisjen Avasarala, Sadavir Errinwright and Jules-Pierre Mao.

Men in Black
Copplestone Castings
Francis
Hasslefree Miniatures


Star Helix and Other Security Firms


The private security of the belt and inner planets. Guys and gals with guns, also investigators like Miller

Cops and Paramilitary
Em4/Moonraker
Suits
em4/Moonraker
Gov't Types
Heresy Miniatures


MCRN/UN


The Military. Naval officers, Marines, etc. Bobbie Draper of the MCRN Marines is an example.

Nova Corp
Reaper Bones
Troopers
Em4/Moonraker
Inspectors
Heresy Miniatures
Admiral Edwards
Hasslefree Miniatures


OPA


Militia types representing the loose knit organization of freedom fighters and terrorists

Citizen Militia 1
Copplestone Castings
Scavengers
Copplestone Castings
Scavenger Heros
Copplestone Castings


Civilians

General people living and working on Mars or Earth

Newsteam
Copplestone Castings
Modern Civilians
Old Glory Miniatures


Player Characters

The Holdens, Nagatas, Burtons and Kamals of the universe

Anti-heros
Heresy Miniatures
Laran Jax
Hasslefree Miniatures
Danica
Hasslefree Miniatures


Company list

A list of the companies used in picking a few miniatures I felt might fir into the Expanse. I am sure there are others with these manufacturers as well as others. Let me know what you think!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Printable Miniatures. Part 2, Basing the figure.

In the first part of this series on paper miniatures I went over the various ways to get the paper miniatures with links to some kick ass guys on drivethrurpg as well as some links to a few custom tutorials. Today I want to continue this series with a short discussion on bases and the pros and cons of each type.

The easiest way to base the paper miniature is to grab a piece of foam core, put a slot in it and insert your figure. It may require a coin or similar on the bottom to give it a little heft. These are cheap, plentiful and with a little work, can look good. This isn't the method I use, but Wyloch goes over it in his video on creating the paper miniature.

The next option is also a DIY option with the caveat that it requires you to have access to a 3d printer. 3d printers can be fairly expensive, especially a genuine Prusa, however there are several models of inexpensive printer that are good for basic printing for a gamer.

I have an A-net A8 which is a decent machine, print quality wise, and gives you the ability to try getting your feet wet for not a lot of money. It is built with cheaper components which should be replaced if you are going to use it a lot though. It will be more than able to print up bases and other things that you might find at a website like thingiverse. These two links are some samples of thingiverse links you can use for basing paper miniatures. Sample 1 Sample 2

Moving away from the DIY option we start to move into some for of clip. The first and cheapest version of these is a binder clip. These are a pretty good solution being easily available, inexpensive and coming in multiple sizes and colors. I don't personally use them, and right now as I am typing this I am wondering why. The only real drawback I can see to these is they will be a little more fiddly when it comes to changing your figures over. You will have to re-insert the metal handles so you can easily open the clip to remove the figure. I think the pros may outweigh the cons here.

You can get a cheap acrylic base designed for boardgames as well. These are pretty good and give you a clear plastic base, and can be purchased in multiple colors. The downside to these is they require a fairly thick card as the clip is fairly wide. I have used these and need to use several layers of construction paper to make them work. Despite how inexpensive they are, I don't really recommend these ones unless your paper figs are quite thick.

The ones I have purchased and use the most are most similar to the binder clips, they can be found sold as "card holders". These are easy to use and replace the figure into. I have only found them in black, which is another strike against this style. The downside to these is they are among the more expensive option, that being said they are still going to run you less than $.50CAD cents each. As much as I like a lot about this style, I doubt I'll be buying more of them.

Litko makes a range of bases for paper figures, similar to the 3d printed model I talk about, these are square or circular and come with a curved slot to hold your figure. The downside to these are two fold. One, they are getting upwards in price, running about $.50CAD each. Two, I don't find litko to have especially friendly shipping options to Canada. If you are in the USA this might be a great option where they will be about $.40USD each and have better shipping options.

Over the past year of using paper miniatures in most of my games I have used several of the above purchaseable solutions. At this time I have not tried the binder clips or 3d printed models, but I think that the binder clips might be the best option being inexpensive, easy to get and in multiple colors. I have also not ordered from Litko. Another possible downside to some of these is that they represent non-standard bases sizes. I don't think it'll take much to make them work, but it's something to think about.

Now that we have our bases and figures, next week we will talk about the process I go through when I assemble these figures! Until next time, keep it weird out there!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Printable Miniatures. Part 1, Getting the Image.

In Part 2 we talk about basing options!

We all love miniatures, or at least I suspect you do if you are reading my blog. If you play a system that uses a lot of smaller level fodder type characters, such as a 2d20 system or Savage Worlds, you might find it hard to have 15 or 20 of a single figure type. Even for me, with the Conan board game to pull from, it can be hard to have enough bad guys.

Custom Minis from a Ghoul stock image I got from DriveThruRPG
Enter the paper miniature, sometimes refered to as flats. I first came across these when I was getting back into gaming and watching the various channels on youtube that exist. Check out Wyloch's tutorial on how to make your own.  He goes through how to make these props, step by step using images found images.  Please be respectful of copyright when you are building printable minis this way.

We also have Printable Heros over on Pateron. For a couple of bucks you can get access to the cool collection of figures he has produced. For me though, I often need something fairly specific and I am building them pretty close to the last minute. I don't have time to search the net for the image and cut and paste it, trim it up, size it and get it ready for play. Sometimes I just want to do a quick search, print out the figure and get it on my table. For this I go to DriveThruRPG.

I am sure you are all aware of DriveThruRPG. If you are not click the above link and it will take you to a wonderland of digital products, BUT back to printable miniatures.

These guys are probably my favorite shop creating printable miniatures. They are have a wonderful distinct style and he has a wide variety to fill many many different gaming roles! Get them here!
Another store that has an excellent selection of figures for use with your games. Like Okum arts there is a wide variety of figures from fantasy to sci-fi. Get them here!
The ICRPG Core set is more expensive but comes with a wealth of content, including a selection of printable miniatures for your table in Hankerin's distinctive black and white style. Get it here!
These guys have a wide selection of printable miniatures(some are even free!) as well as papercraft buildings. Get them here!
A later entry to this list, as I just found them recently is Trash Mob Minis. Like Okum Arts above these guys have an impressive collection of paper figs in a very distinctive style. I recommend checking them out!

There is a wealth of people creating these printable heros and monsters! Part 2 of the series will talk about the supplies I use to make mine, as well as some alternatives. Once we have all of our supplies together we will see about putting together some of these creations!

Until then, keep it weird!



The above post contains affiliate links, using them will give this blog a small commission on the sale.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Miniature Scale Comparisons.

"How well do they scale?"

When people talk about miniatures from board games(BG) this is one of the first things that comes up. It is probably second only to people wondering how good they are.

Scale is a common concern among miniature gamers, and it gets asked about different figures from different companies all the time, it is not just asked about BGs.

I recently got my pledge for "Mythic Battles: Pantheon" and let me say, that I love these figures.  I was asked almost immediately about how well they scaled with Conan.  This blog post will attempt to compare and contrast a fairly decent range of figures including Bones, Bronze Age, Conan, Mythic, Wizkids pre-paints and the new line of unpainted figures from Wizkids.

One last caveat.  We are not scale modelers in my opinion.  We use our miniatures and our terrain to make our battles or rpgs come alive with cool ideas.  The figures and terrain we use are seeds to our imagination and serve to keep each of us playing more or less in the same frame.

Starting with  a group shot of all the figures.
Bronze Age, Bronze Age, Pre-paint, Bones, Bones, Bones, Deepcuts, Conan, Conan, Mythic, Mythic.

The last Mythic figure I simply included for fun as it is the "god" scale for the game.


These two images show a Bones Conan-eque figure next to some Bronze Age figures, both are your pro-typical barbarian figs. I think they are pretty similar in scale, with the Bronze Age figs perhaps being more physically proportional. Either way they will work fine together on the table.

The two males next to each other show the proportional differences much clearer. Despite these I still think they will work fine on the table together.
Here we have that same Bones figure next to one of the pre-paint figures. I think she is from the "Rise of the Runelords" collection, but I can't recall for sure. Again the scale is pretty good. She stands at a human height next to our hulking barbarian. He might even look a little short if their bases were the same height. But again I have no issues using these two figures together on the table.
This is a scale comparison between one of the Conan BG figures and our Conan-eque Bones figure again. Again we see more of the same. Decent scale, easily useable on the same table, even thought the Conan BG figure is a little talled.


Same scale we saw in the Conan BG figure, this Mythic BG figure is slightly taller than this Bones figure, but still useable together on the same table. I would also like to take this time to point out the excellent detail on the Mythic figure.
Now lets look at a few non-Bones comparisons. We have seen these two before, Conan BG vs Bronze Age. I think they stack up pretty well together. If I had to make a critical note on the scale differences, the Conan BG fig makes the Bronze age fig look like he has a giant head. From a tabletop perspective though, I think they will be great together.


Comparing one of the new Deep Cuts figures (or Nolzurs I can't actually remember which) to the Bronze Age figure. I think these two are a pretty good fit. She is smaller, but generally in fantasy (and other generally heroic and idealized) art women are drawn with smaller frames.

Not surprisingly the Conan BG and Mythic BG figures both scale very well together. Probably the most similar sized strong dude to strong dude of the lot.


To be complete here is the Bronze Age figure next to the Mythic BG figure. Nothing new here, pretty much what we saw when comparing the Bronze Age to the Conan BG figure.






One final shot of a Bones, Mythic God and Mythic Warrior....



This Bones Paladin is in a pretty similar stance as the Mythic Warrior, and has a base of about the same height. He stands nearly a head shorter. This is getting to the point where they might start to look funny in my opinion, but then again, maybe the Paladin is just a short human or an elf?

Are you more of a scale perfectionist than I am? Do some of these figures not work for you when placed together? Why not let me know what you thin and drop me a comment below?