Friday, August 31, 2012


While I normally write about Rules Cyclopedia D&D (from 1991 for those keeping track), it's about time I talked about something way more current.. 2004 to be exact...

As I’ve mentioned before, I share my life/house/dogs with a WoW and Diablo 3 player. In spite of this I’ve managed for years to avoid games like Everquest, EVE, Star Wars, Star Trek, Final Fantasy, Guild Wars, etc. and even WoW. I have spent a fair amount of time watching her play, and even have helped her out by looking up stuff for her while she played, but I managed to avoid getting roped in myself.

This changed Friday when I finally joined the ranks of the MMORPG players. Above you can see the picture of my first character - Alveste the Frost Mage. Short in stature, tall in power, narrow of purpose and wide of vision!* Well, not really. You see, I've only played for maybe 8-10 hours total. I’d give you an exact total, but I couldn’t find anywhere that actually logged it. In that time I’ve managed to hit level 21. I haven’t been pushing my leveling quite as quickly as I might since I’ve been playing with the professions and doing a bit of exploring beyond what’s needed to gain XP.

So what got me to play? A special mount. No, not for me, but for my S.O. Plus there are some things that are just easier to do with a couple of people in-game.

So far I’m enjoying it, though of course just after I start, Blizzard does a big patch that changes the whole game in preparation for the Mists of Kung Fu Panda. I expect to see lots of Panda and monk characters running around in about a month.

*I actually didn’t much care for Krull when I first watched it. The sci-fi fantasy overlap bothered me, as did the fact that the soundtrack sounded exactly like Star Trek II. While the soundtrack thing still bothers me, I think my other issue has been addressed through my exposure to the OSR and the more classic pulp sci-fi and fantasy

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Magical Lei

"Quick! Natives! put on those garlands." Nimble whispered.

"They're called leis" Feris corrected.

"Does it matter?" Rathgar asked as he put the string of flowers around his neck.

"It does if we want to keep from insulting them." Feris answered. His own lei of wooden beads and nut salready around his neck.

"But why do I have to wear the one with flowers? Can't we swap?"

"It's the one that the villagers gave you." Allianora smiled. "Plus I like my shells."

Magical Lei
These temporary magical items will provide one of the following effects for up to 12 hours after being donned. In addition, if the majority of the members of a party are all wearing leis, they will receive a +1 bonus to their reaction rolls.

1. Gain +1 bonus to all saving throws
2. Reaction rolls indicating attack will be rerolled
3. Enchanted creatures will be at -1 to hit the wearer
4. Require half the usual amount of rest
5. Grant a basic and temporary understanding of the lei creator's language
6. Allow the wearer to see in total darkness as if it was low-light.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Gnip & Copperbeard

"Which way?" a nasally voice drifted down the dwarven tunnel.

"To the right... I think" replied a gravely baritone.

"You think?" came the incredulous reply "this is a dawrven vault isn't it?"

"It is."

"And you procured the map from your mothers own personal treasury?"

"I did."

"And the map not only was from the time this vault was constructed, but was in fact a part of the original construction notes of its building?"

"That's correct."

"In that case I must ask; why do you, a noble heir to an ancient dwarven line, in possession of an accurate map of an equally ancient dwarven vault, not know if we should turn right?"

"Because my sweat has caused the ink to run and I can no longer read the map."


"We're lost."

3rd level goblin warrior

2nd level dwarf

These two came free with a White Dwarf magazine as part of the release of the 6th edition Battle for Skull Pass intro box set. It only took me 6 years to get around to painting them... The only reason that I can figure that these two were sent all around the world together as part of the release is because they're actually friends, even though none of their respective clans would approve.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Reaper Bones Final Hours

Since I posted yesterday 8 new minis have been added to that same $100 - 4 golems, and 4 half-sized heroes.

In about another hour 4 necromancers will join them. I have no idea what will come after that.

Plus you'll also get the Swords and Wizardry Complete old school RPG PDF.

These are the options that backers at the $100 vampire level can add on.

And these are options that backers at any level can add on.

Are you convinced yet? Yes! Click here to back it, and get the best deal in miniatures you'll likely ever see!

Friday, August 24, 2012

36 hours left to get some Bones

Back when I first posted about the Bones Kickstarter for $100 you got 85 minis and the option to pick up some nice extras on top of that. At that point it was a great deal.

Then it hit 100 minis for $100.

Then it was 150...

Now it's more than 200 minis for the same $100, and more keep coming!

Seriously, I had to write most of this post this morning because the amount of pledges and backers kept growing so quickly that this post would be incorrect by the time it goes live at 6am. As it is it's only going to be accurate for a little bit.Yesterday there were over $400,000 in pledges. Today will probably be over $500k. Saturday? Who knows, but either way, this is too good a deal not to shake a paintbrush at!

But time is running out. At 6pm on Saturday, 36 hours from the moment this goes live, it's over, and you'll have missed what is perhaps the best deal on miniatures. Ever.

So what are you waiting for? Go get in on it!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What’s in *your* backpack?

Today’s post is a part of the RPG Blog Carnival*, hosted this month by Game Knight Reviews. The topic is What’s in *your* backpack?

This is my backpack

In the front flap there are 2 pockets. One holds a selection of pens, pencils, and usually a sharpie and highlighter. The other pocket holds my eyeglasses case that usually has my sunglasses in it.

In the little zipper pouch I have a small bottle of advil.

In the middle pouch is a box of colored pencils, a deck of playing cards, a set of dice, a zip tie, and earbuds from the flight home from vacation.

The main pouch has my lunch box, a book of graph paper, and the most recent D+D Next playtest materials.

Attached to the zipper pull of the main pouch is a compass. On the side is a net pouch designed to hold a drink bottle.

*Nevermet Press, the former ringmaster of the Blog Carnival has passed the big hat to the RPG Blog Alliance.

Also, there's a new poll off to the right - Are you backing the Reaper Bones Kickstarter?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ice Paraelemental

I took some time this weekend to get back to one of my favorite aspects of the gaming hobby: painting minis.

I decided to tackle a mini that has been mocking me with it's poor design. The old Wizards of the Coast Ice Paraelemental from the chainmail game. A tall and thin mini with really skinny arms that don't connect to the body except for a very small spot. It isn't even a socket, just a dimple.

Here it is from Saturday night, finally assembled, and base coated with dark blue. I probably should have primed it, but I didn't...

These are a few WiP cell phone pics. You can also see in the background some of the reaper bones kobolds I did in the background.

Still need to finish the base and apply a clear coat, but I'm happy with it. Anyone know a good way to do snow on a mini base?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

D&D Next Playtest v0.02

I’ve downloaded the next D+D Next playtest packet, and started skimming it. I don’t have any strong initial impressions yet, but I’ll be posting them when I do. I find it interesting that the playtest is expected to run for 2 years... and during that time 4e will be left to wither and die, and aside from books, it looks like the only product will be some reprints and the new miniature game.

I’m glad in one way, because I’m in the middle of DMing a 4e campaign. On that front, my players are considering switching to new characters for the Prestige levels so they can try out some different options. I actually think this is a good idea for everyone. It’ll keep me on my toes, and force them to consider new options and tactics, especially if I force them to play all new classes and races. It should make the party very interesting looking...

One thing that bums me out though, is that WotC is using the Forgotten Realms as their flagship setting... Can’t we be done with Drizzt, Elminster, and the rest? At least with 4e they advanced the timeline and killed off lots of people with the spellplague. It would have been nice if they went back to Mystera or Grayhawk. I guess I’d probably milk the cash cow if I had one too.

Sorry for the slow week. While inspired by vacation, I haven't had much desire to sit in front of a computer... More soon!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back from vacation!

I'm back from vacation! Hawaii was awesome, and very inspirational, and you can expect some tropical themed posts in the near future. However I've also got about a thousand blog posts still to read (not an exaggeration), a bunch of e-mail to catch up on, and a bit of jet lag to recover from.

And for those lucky sods off to Gen Con, have fun, and I hope to be there next year!

Friday, August 10, 2012


Here are two maps of Hawaii. Definitely worth the click through to see the full sized versions!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Imperial Assassins and a Warlock

This is a post from my old livejournal from 9/13/07.

So as I mentioned before I got some painting time in recently. First up is the Culexus Assassin.

I like how his body suit came out. The highlighting was stronger then I generally go for, but it works on this guy.

Kind of a cute butt for a miniature.

I was going for a light effect from the eye piece. I don't quite have that technique down yet.

Next up is the Eversor Assassin. This guy is a melee monster. Totally pumped up with combat drugs, he will literally explode when he gets killed.

His mask came out significantly better then the other one. But that severed head I could have spent more time on.

That gun does some nasty damage, and it hides a less cute butt.

Lastly we have the Mordheim Warlock/Necromancer. He's a characterful little fellow, but probably not one you'd want to invite over for dinner.

And in case his magic fails, he can still shoot you. I'm really pleased with this guys face. And I think the dirt on his clothing came out well too.

Not a whole lot going on back here. Robes hide butts so well. Oh, but I can see I need to clean up his bracer a bit. The hem of the robe worked pretty well too.

See? Dark magics! I told you!

He really does look like an old man doesn't he?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Reaper Bones Kickstarter

A while back I picked up a couple of Reaper miniatures from their new Bones line, the werewolf and the purple worm. I was really pleased with them, and waited anxiously for more to be released.

Initially there were a total of 12 minis in the bones line, and over the weeks, nothing was added. It turns out that the molds to make them are really expensive, and so Reaper decided to give the Bones line a serious kickstart.

Their initial goal was $30k, with which they would release 30 new miniatures. I'm not sure it took them more than a day to reach that goal. They're now working their way through stretch goals. At this point, they've gone from 30 new miniatures to 38, and if you pledge at the Vampire level you'll also get 36 low level creatures (goblins, kobolds, and rats), 10 minor undead, and their kickstarter Sophie on a motorcycle.That's 85 minis for $100.

For an extra pledge you can also add 2 fire giant royals, 2 frost giant royals, and Ebonwrath the dragon.

Now, chances are that by the time this goes live (days after being written), the next 2+ stretch goals will have been met, and there will be even more goodies to drool over.

The current stretch goals are 4 elves added to Vampire level+ and the two paint sets add-ons available to all levels.

Now, if it turns out that the Vampire level is a little too expensive or you're looking for even more, there are a wide variety of pledge levels. Plus all of the minis created out of the kickstarter will be available to everyone eventually (sometime in 2013 most likely) except for the Sophie, so you can still get the ones you want.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 7** (M)
Move: 90’ (30’)
Attacks: 5 vines or seed pods
Damage: 1d4 + Special
No. Appearing: 0 (2d4)
Save As: D5
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: E (Garden only)
Intelligence: 9
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 1250

Monster Type: Plant Monster, Enchanted
Papetongu appear as a giant bright tropical flower with humanoid arms and legs. In the center of the flower is a great toothed maw filled with whipping vines. These creatures are created from tropical flesh-eating flowers, and are extremely aggressive toward all animal life. While they have no interest in treasure themselves, they tend to accumulate it from their victims in their gardens where the bodies are fed upon.

They attack by shooting out up to 5 barb-tipped vines up to 20' away. On a successful hit the vines will wrap around their target, entangling them, and causing 1d4 points of damage every round. Entangled targets may make a saving throw every round vs. Paralysis to escape the vines. Vines may also be attacked (AC6, 8 hp) and severed.

Twice a day the Papetongu can launch seed pods that explode on contact (20' diameter) and cause 3d6 points of poison damage (save vs poison for half damage).

Friday, August 3, 2012


“Computer, activate the Emergency Blogger Hologram.”

“Please state the nature of the blogging emergency.”

“I’m going on vacation, and I need you to make sure that the Tower doesn’t burn down while I’m away.”

“Was a suitable blogger not requested to fill in while you take your leave?”

“Requested, and denied, leaving me with you. Look, I don’t expect you to reply to comments or anything, just make sure the posts go live when they’re supposed to.”

“You are aware that blogger has a scheduling feature, aren’t you?”

“Of course I am. Do you think I’m sitting at my computer almost every day at 6am? Just make sure nothing goes wrong. I’m not totally unreachable, just trying to disconnect for a bit.”

“When will you return?”

“I’ll be back on the 12th.”

“Very well. Have a safe journey.”

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Kal-Gon's Salve of Revitalization & Salts of Soothing

Allianora rubbed the ointment over Feris’ bruised arms and legs. Nimble sat against the shattered remains of a column, his head resting on his chest, eyes closed. Rathgar’s body was laid out on the far side of the room, and covered with his cloak.

“We need to get back to Zurkarta” Allianora said quietly. “The temple priest should be able to bring Rathgar back, but we need to be there in the next three days.”

“It’s a hard three day journey, and none of us are in any condition for a hard journey right now. Hell, none of use are ready for an easy journey right now. Nimble can’t even keep his eyes open!” Feris hissed. “How do you expect us to make it to Zurkarta?”

“You’ll be ready to go within the hour.”

“I thought you were out of healing magic?”

“Spells, yes. Magic, no. This ointment is an ancient secret from the east.”

“It’s doing a good job taking the pain away.”

“Take a nap. I’ll get everything packed up. We’ll leave in an hour.”

Kal-Gon’s Salve of Revitalization

This ointment is capable of providing the equivalent of 8 hours of rest 30 minutes after being applied to the body.

Kal-Gon’s Salts of Soothing

A character bathing with these salts will have a +2 bonus to all saving throws involving fear or confusion type effects. Anyone suffering from such an effect is considered to automatically save if immersed in a bath with these salts.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


This post contains spoilers

At the heart of Brave is the conflict between a wild daughter and her proper mother. When Merida (the daughter) decides that the life her mother has laid out for her isn’t the fate she wants for herself, she takes matters into her own hands. Fleeing from her fate, she ends up visiting the local witch, where she receives a cake that will change her mother’s mind about the upcoming betrothal.

The cake transforms much more than her mother’s mind, it turns her into a bear!

What follows is a race to undo the spell before it becomes permanent. Various complications inevitably ensue, including Merida’s brothers (triplets) also eating the enchanted cake, the witch going on a trip, and her father (who hunts bears with a Ahab-like devotion) thinking that a bear ate his wife, plus the 3 clans that arrived to fight for Merida’s hand.

Combined with all of the story elements are the stunning visuals of a fantastic 10th century Scotland, complete with a demonic bear, standing stones, and will o’ wisps. Wonderful and evocative character design and voice acting bring all of the film’s personalities to life.

Brave was almost everything that you can expect from a Pixar film; a solid story, beautiful animation, good acting all wrapped up in under 2 hours. It isn’t one of Pixar’s best, but even Pixar’s worst is still heads and shoulders above most everyone elses best.

For Your Game:
Merida wanted a spell from the witch. The witch gave her what she asked for, but not like she expected. As a DM you need to do the same thing with your players! Give them what they want... and then some!

If you show your players a cool location, come back to it, and have stuff happen there!

It’s ok to make NPC’s real characters! Play with stereotypes. Use them, twist them, subvert them, and sometimes play it straight. Merida’s dad Fergus was played pretty straight, but he still was a blast to watch.

Consequences happen. Sometimes that means a cart full of bear wood carvings show up at the castle gate.