'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

Corrupt Cliffs

Corrupt Cliffs
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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Forest Huts

Simple to build forest huts! Hope you find it useful.

Gift Idea 2016!

Need a last minute gift for that gamer in your life? THERE IS STILL TIME!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


While following and participating in discussions on the new 2d20 system, and the concept of the DOOM mechanic, it was brought up that it could be used to build tension. As the players are adding to the doom pool and using it to build successes it is always in the back of their mind that the GM has this resource and it will eventually come back and haunt the PCs.

It is a cool mechanic.

While playing the system I found that while using a screen it prevented the players from seeing just how much DOOM that had accumulated. I had tossed around ideas in my head including a drawer like system that you could pull to your side, add doom, and push back to the PC side of the screen.

My final solution, which has not been used in a game yet, but I think has some cool potential.

It is a simple solution. 3x5 note card. Divide into 4 segments, draw skulls on them, fold them over. PCs add to the doom pool? Now that can clearly see how many skulls they have accumulated that may bite them in the ass.

What do you think? leave a comment below and let me know!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

28mm Horses for RPGs (and other games)

Horses are important in a medieval fantasy world. They allow your PCs to travel fairly quickly and provide a way to transport goods from town to town.  However if you use miniatures they can be on the expensive side.

You can go this route from litko: http://www.litko.net/products/Horse,-Character-Mount-Marker-kit.html#.WFLq2v7n_uo

Mounted characters from Reaper run around $10+ https://www.reapermini.com/Miniatures/horse/

A Pre-painted horse might run you $6 or $7+  http://www.miniaturemarket.com/pbrdi-025.html


If you swing by your local Dollar Store you might find something like I found in the party favour section.

I found this bag of 10 horses for $4 CAD.  They are of course un-based, and I wasn't 100% sure about their size. 

But for the price I had to give them a shot. I have a few Mongol rifle guys and they have slightly smaller mounts, but next to a regular 28mm figure they were not unbelievable.   They have an ok selection of colors, and with the exception of one of the poses (2 horses) they all stand very well without bases.

And next to a Paizo pre-painted? Pretty much exactly the same size. $4CAD for 10 horses. Enough for a party of 4 adventurers, with 6 left to pull carts or work as pack animals. Great deal for horse figs!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Conan 2d20 play aids

After playing the first run through of Modiphius's new offering to the Hyborian Age, with Conan 2d20 I thought I would share some tools I used.  Mainly a simple and I do mean SIMPLE momentum pool and using note cards to track a mob as well as a Nemesis.  And how I use note cards to equip NPCs on the fly if needed.

Our hero in this example is attacked by a mob of 5 skeletons.   It's not the most complicated thing to record, but this is how I go about it.
I start with a blank note card and write the creature across the top.  "Skeleton Mob".  Next to that I write in the Armor Soak, and Shield Cover Soak if it is relevant.  You can place a spot for courage if that matters. I then write the total vigor for each mob member on the next line.  Finally I write down the numbers from 1-5 for each of the creatures in the mob.  
Hero rolls to hit!
Rolls Damage! 7!
Skeleton rolls shield.  3 cover +2 soak = 5 total soak.  Suffers 7-5 = 2 damage
Mark 2 'X's under the first member of the mob.  If you use Xs and Os you can track physical and mental damage.

And I use a similar card to track a Nemesis.  Although I would suggest having this prepped before hand as it is a little more time consuming to prepare, although not that much

As you are running a game and you need to be able to create an NPC with some weapon, armor and shield you can delay your game by looking through the manuals finding the relevant stats.  Instead I keep a generic human set of stats and a set of weapon, armor and shield cards handy so I can spend a few seconds getting the stats together vs digging through the book.

Finally the method I use to track momentum for the players involves a somewhat decorative bowl, some markers and a notecard.

Momentum markers and the pool.  I put notes on there for the players as well.  Max 6.  -1 end of round/scene.
The pool with 5 momentum

At the end of the day, anything we can use to help track and move the game along smoother should help to make the session more enjoyable.  I hope you find some good ideas or inspiration to help you run your game sessions.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Gibbering Darkness: Conan 2D20

He stepped lightly into the stone chamber, his sword gleaming in the light of his torch.   His small party of explorers seeking treasure and knowledge in the dark places of the earth.

His eyes took in the room, and the unnatural darkness that hung there, darker than the torchlight would penetrate causing the hairs on the back of his neck to stand.  "What do you see?", came a voice from behind him.

"Nothing....", he replied uneasily as he moved further into the room, "There is a darkness here......"

The rest of the party moved in, all proven warriors in there own right, all had seen more than most human eyes could comprehend.   Now they all saw the darkness hanging a dozen or so feet in front of them, obscuring the rest of the room.

Then they heard it, unintelligible noises, voices, non-sense.  Bjartur, whispered a prayer to himself as he saw the first of the shapeless forms slide out of the void towards him, before he could react he was beset on all sides by blackness, ethereal cold clawing at him.  He screamed even as he swung his sword.  The steel blade passed through several of them as if they were smoke, but even as it passed into the formless shapes they vanished back to the void.

Birta, muttered, "by Mitra", under her breath as her sword cut an arc through the black formless things, sending the remainder of them back to whatever darkness had spawned them.

Bjartur's arms and body ached with the cold of unnatural wounds, he gasped in agony, looking up at the unnatural darkness, the gulf to another place flickered and vanished.  The room was silent beyond the sounds of their own breath.......


In Conan, monsters and NPCs die quickly.  Without players feeding into the DOOM pool, a GM may find it difficult to provide challenges to the players.  A brand new fighter may have the ability to add to the momentum pool while maintain swift actions most rounds.  It is possible this fighter could kill a Toughened opponent in the beginning of combat.

What to do?

I give you an idea for a creature from beyond.  Small formless demonoid beings that spew forth from a tear, or portal opened by a dark sorcerer, or perhaps a natural occurrence?

They are minions and spring forth from the void in a mob.
They are Dread Creatures starting with 1 doom, so they can gain initiative.
They excel in melee with an Agility of 14 and a combat focus of 2, with dark ethereal claws, reach 2, 8CD and Vicious 1 and Piercing 2. 
They have no armor soak.

They won't last long in a fight, but they will probably put the fear of Crom into your heroes.

This is untested at this time, but I wanted to get the idea down, they may end up doing too much damage.  The general idea is something small, easily killable that can generate doom and actually make the characters realize that they are also pretty fragile.

Slightly modified version after some dice rolling.  Damage reduced.  Agility and Focus updated.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Tomb of Fehim Khan, play through: Part 1.

I ran the first part of the adventure tonight. It ended up taking a little longer than we had, but the players all stayed an extra hour to get further into it. I will take that as a win.

The Thea, Celemont, Tolmos, and Tibus all came to know each other sitting in a tavern on the norther segment of Agruphur, sharing stories of past exploits and simply not being Turanin.  After hearing the name of a local Turanin boogey man they set out to find the local hermit who might know something. On the way to the Hermit the party was attacked by a mob of hyenas which they quickly dispatched.

Hyenas attack!
Once they had finished off the hyenas they made there way to the hermit who would not come out of his hut and kept yelling for the players to go away. They finally did, but not before learning that the Tomb was indeed in the area and nearby on the top of a large mountain in the area. The players arrived at the base of the mountain at dusk and chose to camp out, this went by without incident and they were able to find a quick way up the mountain.
Camped at the base of the mountain.

At the top of the mountain in a clearing the came across an ancient oblesik. After searching it and applying lore they determined the carvings were Stygian, or at least proto-stygian, probably from before a time there was a Stygia. Just past this obelisk was a cave.....in short order that were faced with a cave lion!
Attacked by a cave lion.

Death of the cave lion.
After some minor exploration and the removal of the lion pelt, and hiding of the corpse to prevent wild animals from being attracted to the area, they tied of their horses and made their way into the cavern. After a short distance they found a shaft leading down further, and after a short climb found themselves in a short corridor opening into a long room. Either side lined with armed skeleton statues.
The first corridor.
Predictably when investigated the skeletons drew steel and attacked the party. Apart from a few minor injuries the skeletons were defeated and our heros moved on to the next corridor of the tomb. This next room had a vaulted ceiling a few doors out of it and was lined with columns.

The columned chamber
Finding nothing of interest they moved through the door and found a room full of crates! Treasure! In his haste Celemont entered the room and barely avoided a spear dropping from the ceiling. Despite the dangers of this room they found little of interest here.

The annex

Finally they moved down the long hallway at the end of the columned hall and opened the door. They found a long room here, either side flanked by stone coffins and set against the far wall on a dais on ornate sarcophagus. After investigating and trying to open the smaller coffins and failing the party advanced and upon trying to open one of the coffins closer to the sarcophagus, they were confronted with a scraping as it opened and Fehím Khan stepped out and admonished them for coming to his tomb, he then called forth his mummy guards and attacked!

Entering the tomb chamber.
This ended up going poorly for Fehím Khan, quickly Celemont drew steel and attacked him, meanwhile Thea and Tolmos dropped back and fired arrows, and finally dispatching 2 mummies. Tibus throwing an orb of exploding fire damage one mummy and lit it on fire. Finally Celemont turned and dispatched the remaining mummies. After searching the bodies they found an amulet around Fehím Khan's neck which Celemont took.........
The death of Fehím Khan
To be continued......

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Name Inspiration for Conan Games

This isn't a blog post trying to organize all the names in Conan, but instead provide some links to websites that contain various cultural names from our modern world that can help provide a basis for names from the Hyborian Age for RPG or other games.

I am also including my version of Howard's original map sketch super imposed over Europe so we can more easily see the countries and cultures that were founded on top of Howard's world.


Turkic Names

Persian Names

Spanish Names

Celtic Names

Norse Names

French Names

German Names

Eastern European Names

Mongolian Names

Chinese Names

Indian Names


Monday, December 5, 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Jungle Vegetation: Aquarium plants revisited.

Another look at aquarium plants.

This is my first attempt at a tutorial video hopefully people find it useful....

Blog happenings

It also seems that the name I have chosen for a blog is in use in several other places.  So I am contemplating a new name, although I will want to keep the general idea of alliteration as a nod to Dungeons and Dragons and still descriptive having both elements of fantasy and sci-fi.

I am working on a list of ideas.....

Starships & Steel
Ramparts & Rayguns
Lasers & Lances
Portcullis & Plasma

Starships & Steel is the most obvious and would allow for the use of the current logo and video intro.

If anyone reading this has any ideas, drop me a line.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lights! Camera! ACTION!

I watch a fair bit of YouTube.  There is a lot of cool crafters and terrain builders out there with all kinds of ideas.  I try and share mine here as best I can.  Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to communicate the ideas and the builds via YouTube like some of the others?

I am tossing around the idea of a companion channel to see how it might work and if it might find an audience.  I still have a few things to iron out, but I have started a channel and made an intro video using free assets on the web.

With the new youtube channel, I also created a new banner for this site as well.  I hope people think it's cool.

Do we need another YouTube channel on terrain and miniature gaming?  Maybe not, but as of right now I have my favorites and those channels plus the others I am subscribed to often don't put out enough content.

Hopefully a little more won't be a big deal.

Anyhow, the fledging channel is available here.  I hope to have some content up soon....after I get a microphone.  :)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hither Came Conan. Monolith's Conan Boardgame.

After much anticipation and waiting Conan has finally come to trod my home under his sandaled feet.  This weekend there was gigantic mirth as I rolled out my first games of Conan with some of my friends. 

We played two of the scenarios: In the Clutches of the Picts and Hunting the Tigress.  We had a few growing pains in the first scenario, but were off to a roaring start by the second.  In retrospect part of the issue is Monolith referring to a model as a unit.

My brain sees 3 guys moving together as a unit.  They see it as 3 units in a group.  Other than that most of it was simply looking a few things up and then heroic killing and rescuing.


Hadrathus opens the hut door and unleashes a lightning storm into the hut killing the 3 Picts inside.  Conan and Belit advance and Shevatas advances and unleashes hell with his throwing knives. 
The giant snake slithers out of the hut and attempts to end Conan and fails horribly, likewise the Pict hunter also fails to damage Conan.  In one fell slash of Conan's sword the snake falls lifeless.  Belit moves in and kills the Picts inside the hut.  Hadrathus and Belit open the chests in their rooms acquiring treasures
Hyenas race out and attack Hadarthus and inflict a grevious wound before being cut down by Shevatas.  More Picts erupt from the huts to kill the Heros.
Hadrathus and Conan move into the Snake hut to find the unconscious Princess.  Shevatas is confronted by Zogar Sag and a Pict.
Conan drops most of his equipment, picks up the unconscious Princess and makes his escape.  Belit and Shevatas make short work of Zogar Sag and his Pict guard, but with his last force of will Zogar summons 4 more hyenas that burst out of the forest to attack Belit and Shevatas.  It is too little too late though, with Zogar's head already in the possession of Shevatas, he easily flees the field with the head.

Our Heros are victorious.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Building Fronts: Part 2

Once we have the building fronts constructed the next thing we need to do is build doors, prime them black and paint them.
Cutting stir sticks to size and using white glue to build them.

Once the doors are glued I reinforce them with some matchsticks.

The wooden doors are glued to a bamboo skewer and once dried inserted into the front and the base,  Cut them off flush with the bottom of the base.  They should be able to open inwards.

Once you have the fronts assembled, hit them with spray paint or brush them black.

Once painted black, choose your basic colors and paint the walls like plaster and wood or stone or a combination.

Once you have the building fronts built and some corner stones you can assemble them into a city street for your campaigns.

Adventurers are engaged by a a group of city guard,

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Building Fronts: Corner stones.

One of the issues when building these fronts is gaps when you place them next to each other.  Not a deal breaker.....BUT...could be cooler.

My first thought was pillars.  I placed round pillars in the gaps and it was ok, but I thought square ones might be cooler.   The bases are 1 1/2 inches wide so I attempted to build a stone column that size.  I decided it was too large.

I have decided to make the columns at .75 of an inch to fit in tighter to the wall.
Scored along the lines and folded into a column.
I decided to base these on a 1 1/2" base so they matched the height of the building fronts.

Test fitting into the wall sections to see how it fits.

Primed black and sponge painted with grey and light grey.

Walls with painted corner section added in to fill the gap.

Building Fronts. Part 1

As I continue to prepare for the start of my adventures in the Hyborian Age, I realized I would probably want to start in a city.  Further to that I know I didn't want to craft whole buildings.

1) It would be a monumental undertaking.
2) I felt they might get in the way of the actual play.

I went over to DM Scotty's Facebook group and made an inquiry about what other people do to handle this.  I had an idea from DM scotty already, but wanted to see what else people had come up with.  In the end I decided to go with a building front system.  False fronts to give the impression of buildings without the bulk allowing the layout of streets and other city features. Scotty's original youtube video on these is located here: Tilescapes: Building fronts.

I have now begun working on these so I can make a few simple and interesting layouts.

In addition to the pieces I am working on below I have completed 3 test fronts, and have 2 blank walls ready to be painted (assembled and primed).

Going forward I am going to use a measured base so I can make some uniformly size pillars to place as corners or building divisions to tie the fronts together.

Started laying out 6 fronts.  In this case 5 full size ones and 2 1/2 size ones to add a little variation and interest when they are set up.  As well I have made some sketches on the front to remind me what I am doing with each.

Pieces cut out with a sharp knife and beginning to cut out doors and windows.

Cutting some texture and depth elements for a stone/wood building.

Texture pieces glued down with a combination of hot glue and white glue.

Adding some detail to one of the end caps.

A selection of the building fronts.  Still two more basic walls to do from this set.  One will be a wall with windows and one a solid wall. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Lost in the Jungle: Ruined Huts

And so our brave band, after being shipwrecked on some lost coast of the Black Kingdoms and fighting their way past hostile tribes have come to a once open settlement that is now overgrown with jungle and in ruins.

The village huts, once likely thatched, only remain as rings of rough hewn stone.

Cut out a piece of foam core larger than you want the stone hut to be.

Shave the edges down to create a nice slope.

Draw a circle approximately where you would like the hut to sit.

Cut polystyrene blocks for the structure.  These blocks are about 1" x 1/2" x 1/2".

Begin fitting the stones to your circle by cutting corners at appropriate so they fit together.

Glue the blocks into place.  I used hot glue, but the high temperatures melted the foam in some places.  Next use your x-acto knife to distress the first level of stones.

Repeat with the second layer of blocks: fit, glue and distress.

Base coat the entire project in black.

Roughly paint the stones with a dark grey.

Add a lighter grey over the dark a little heavier than a dry brush.

Use a white to hit the edges of the stones.
Cover the base in white glue to prepare it for a covering of sand
Base covered in sand.  Once it is dry add more watered down white glue to cement it in place.
Paint base sand with a dark brown.
Dry brush with a lighter brown to bring out detail.
Add some moss flock to the edges.
Completed ruin.