Saturday, May 23, 2015
Greetings from the Mazes! We are currently getting pounded here in Oklahoma with record rainfall, flooding, and even a few tornadoes today but as yet we have not floated away!
I am pleased with the way this section of my model turned out.
The figures pictured are actually twice the scale of standard D&D minis (I really like these figures and wish I had an entire collection of such pieces for gaming) so this platform actually has plenty or room for a good sized battle with many combatants.
I found out that if you prime a styrofoam model with cheap black spraypaint the solvent will erode and pit the material, giving it a much more ruinous and weathered look.
You can then drybrush on gray acrylic and repeat the process a few times.
I use joint compound to fill in any unwanted depressions and this actually ends up lending a nice variation of texture as well which is random but looks planned in the final appearance.
A couple coats of clear, brush on varnish has yet to be applied, but when this is done it will seal the piece and also make it a little sturdier.
I may carve a flight of steps going up to the crumbling arch--this piece will be embedded in paper mache mountain side with some perilous walkways and ledges leading to it.
Now I need a story as to why this European swordsman has come to this forlorn ruin and how he came to encounter Pegasus....
Monday, May 18, 2015
Pyschotic Flying Stuffed Animals, Cigar Chomping Buddhist Gods, and Dungeons and Dragons/Video Game Trope Lampoonage; "The Hero Yoshihiko"
I was recently introduced to this nutty but somewhat amusing "Low Budget Gamer Fantasy Drama" (this description of the show is actually contained in the opening credits) by a family member who likes to watch Asian cinema and television.
Video gamer and table top role playing culture are the mine from which this show's writers (????) draw enough satire, absurd gags, and goofy LARP like action to give any seasoned gaming nut a few chuckles and the occasional outright belly laugh.
The plot is simple: the old trope of the questing party sent on a mission by a god to defeat monsters, gather relics, save towns and indeed the world in an ongoing campaign which, of course, never ends because, well, it's D&D. Or something like it.
The main hero is a hapless, naive and totally sincere knucklehead named Yoshihiko who is on a quest to bring peace to the world equipped with a magic sword which does not kill it's victims but sleeps them instead. He is accompanied by an old grizzled fighter named Danjou who seems to be a parody of the samurai trilogy hero, a strange silly wizard who is part charlatan, part real magic user named Merebu always inventing really cornball spells, and a female fighter/rogue/druid of some sort named Murasuki who is always discovering dumb skills she has like Big Eye, where she stares at her opponents with a vacant goofball stare that is sufficiently dumb enough to throw them off their guard so she can attack them.
Together they encounter paper mache monsters animated by strings or stop motion, goofy bandits who usually end up doing themselves in in one stupid fashion or another, crazy spirits, buxom celestial maidens, and live video game characters who don't know they are in a video game...
It's not ingenious by any means but if you can appreciate Japanese humor its free on the Internet.
Look, the less you know about this one going into the better, so I'm not going to comment on anymore of the show, except to say that every DM who has ever BullShat his way through explaining his game devices or why a quest hasn't really ended will get a kick out of Hokote, the god who is forever sending them on missions that are supposedly life and death world struggles but which sound as if he is making them up as he goes...
You can watch the series at www.gooddrama.net .....
Here are a couple of scenes uploaded to You Tube that should tell you right away whether or not this kind of comedy is for you. I am not responsible for any loss of productivity that results from watching this show...but I will state that it was worth watching just to see the episode wit the scene where they fight a proud bandit who slips as he is about to deliver his death blow because he steps in....never mind.
Last night I was privileged to make a photocopy of the Greyhawk Supplement from my father-in-law's OD&D books.
I already have the LuLu reprint of the LBB's. I also have a Chainmail reprint and a photocopy of the original Chainmail rules.
The books pictured here are not Scott's original set ,which has long been lost--they are copies picked up at a yard sale in Tulsa Oklahoma about five years ago for thirty dollars.
Scott was a longtime gamer and all five of his kids, including my lovely wife, are avid gamers along with their spouses...and a few wargamers in the lot to boot.
He bought Chainmail new at the store when it came out--and said they always played with paper chits because none of them owned miniatures!
When the White Box D&D game was released, Scott and his brothers bought it and became D&D freaks for long, long time. It's one of the activities my mother-in-law did with him when they started dating. I've met Scott's mother and she related to me how she would come home and find a throng of young men encamped in the living room floor or at the kitchen table playing D&D for hours.
Those early games apparently were full of the same humorous streak hinted at in the original books--my wife told me how when they were kids and played D&D with the family every dungeon came equipped with a magic item vending machine that had every magic item in the book if you but had the gold.
There were also Land Sharks....and these tried to fool you by knocking politely at dungeon doors, hoping you would open so they could eat you.
The Greyhawk Supplement has some water stain and a bit of mold damage and is unattached from the cover but otherwise sound, all pages legible. The LBB's are in perfect condition. Lisa has said she might sell them if Scot doesn't care, so if anyone wants to make an offer, message me.
I told her she ought to hang onto them, though.
I would buy them if I had the change-- as it is, I get a little thrill each time I thumb through them!
As a side note, one illustrious member of their gaming group was a player who would later achieve fame as a writer--she was none other than author Laura K. Hamilton, whom my wife remembers from the gaming table at her house. Apparently Mrs. Hamilton played a Cleric with a powerful warhammer!
Friday, May 15, 2015
Here are portions of a map I fashioned of the locale of the campaign we ran for about a year and a half. The map is one portion of a wilderness, town and dungeon expanse within the greater world of Rysanthis. Its strange how the stories of the gaming table remain--I have so many good memories of the hours spent with my friends exploring the shores and depths of the Mistwater.
Our first party was Thaddeus, a fighter who became a Paladin of Illuvion, Phantom Fireborn, a thief who was raised from the dead after being burned by dragon's fire, Gerta the Priestess of Illuvion who was basically Joan of Arc, Perseus, a warrior from the Merling sea people who joined Thaddeus in the Order of Illuvion, a hill giantess of the Tol Myr race, and a one handed warrior NPC named Daag Mahn. There was also a cowardly retainer named Gort who will forever be infamous to the players for his acts of treachery and his untimely end....
The campaign ended with the party at 10th and 11th levels using 1st Edition AD&D. It has been over a year since we held that game--the party had solved many secrets of the locale and was right at the epic conclusion with a war brewing when life intervened...I still hope to run that battle with the group as a Chainmail wargame!
I am taking other friends through the Mistwater, and yes, I am running the exact same campaign and encounters. They are at fourth level now and are taking an entirely different course...and they have agreed to help playtest the Chainmail OD&D system I want to try.
I am in the process of hammering out a module and campaign setting based upon the Mistwater games and promise it will be available soon!
When I can, I want to share some of the funny, touching, tragic and scary tales that happened along the way. You know you've done an NPC right when the party mourns his death--Daag Mahn died bravely and became a song of the heroes. I will get some of these tales on the blog.
The green portions of the Map are of course deep coniferous forests with some deciduous growth--this is the Forest of Wyr, also known as the Wraithwood. Once an elven kingdom, since the Elves abandoned Rysanthis it has become a haunt of ghosts, goblins, and unsavory men...except for the portions of the King's Road which are kept up by the lords of Carrhoene.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Some painted Temple sections. I rushed things a bit, and as a result I did not get the realism I envisioned for this model. There were a few serendipitous accidents though, and overall, I am happy with the pieces for table top gaming. My errors will be obvious to anyone--let's just say I did not plan for such a weathered and pitted look, but fortunately I am pleased with it for the purpose hand. Hope to finish the remaining pieces as quickly and run some Chainmail battles in this desolate and forlorn ruin...
Monday, May 11, 2015
This weekend was busy as it was Mother's Day. Besides my wonderful wife and my awesome mother, I have a very nice new mom-in-law as well, so it was a full day. Also had time to work on a zine of song lyrics for the band.
I worked for an hour and a half on the Temple, and I'm getting excited because the inner sanctuary is almost ready to paint.
I have a huge bag of old game pieces and little toys and decided to sacrifice a couple of my knight figurines to provide statues of the Temple guardians flanking the arch.
I also glued down my "dragon head" statues by the main altar, carved some wall reliefs with a pop bottle lid and a marker pen cap, and used joint compound to fill in the circular impressions in the chamber floor. I added cornices to the pillars by carving them and then using the compound to fill in the gouges and round the pillars out. They have a slight rough appearance but its fine because this is after all an ancient ruined temple.
I decided to leave one impression in the corner near the arch as an ancient sacred pool of Illuvion which will likely be made into a fountain. I realize that the compound will have a different texture than the rest of the walls and floor but again, being a ruin, even this might not compromise the realism when I paint, though if any experts out there have suggestions on a step before painting or with paint to unify the texture, I would love to hear from you.
I will be spraypainting the model completely matte black and then a somewhat heavy dry brushing of a gray over this (black will leave shadows in the cracks and crevices) and then mottle it a bit with an even lighter gray.
I must also cannibalize a suitable dragon head from a toy or carve one for the altar-part of the Quest is that the Dragon Cult has set up their images upon the altar of the Ineffable Flame, so the head must be removable should the heroes complete their mission!
Hopefully will have a pic of the painted and finished sanctuary to show soon, though I still have to construct my mountains for the exterior ruins.
|A thief stands in the mystic arch, perhaps frustrated at the ancient locks and wards within the sanctuary, as the impassive stone sentinels keep their ancient watch.|
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
So...although in the midst of preparing to move and working on musical projects with friends, I am working almost nightly on the models of the Temple Complex.
Went to get moving boxes and I know lots of places that toss boxes with interesting styrofoam
forms--this one was almost nearly the perfect shape and architecture for a dungeon room as is.
I have decided this room will be the Sanctuary or Chapel of the Temple of the Winds.
The ancient altars of Illuvion have been desecrated and Dragon Cult images have been erected.
I am waiting to paint until I bevel some of the pillars, add some embossed faces and cornices, and
get statues in place. Wooden Knights from a very stylized wooden chess set work great for carved
In the encounter pictured below, heroes storm the sanctuary to try and rescue their companion from
the sacrificial rites of a Lich...undead attempt to defend the desecrated Temple.
I do find in sculpting the model and seeing it in 3D and placing figures that it is helping immensely to
plan the encounter. I will not be using the one pictured and that will all be kept under wraps until I
run the Temple as an adventure. I just placed the figures to get a feel for the scale of battle that could
take place in the Chapel.
I am debating if I want to try and sculpt a dragon head for the central altar or saw one off a toy...the
dollar store and garage sales sometimes supply the neatest little figurines and statues that would lend
themselves so well to a dungeon model.
I'm thinking of using Cheerios for the column decorations....
I am getting anxious to paint but I am making myself wait until it's constructed!