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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

WiP Build Day: Augusta the Mother Superior (SF), Survivors after the Butcher, and a murder of Vampires!

My habit of not opening things until I'm ready to work on them means that when I'm on a roll I end up outrunning my prepped projects. It feels great really!  Even if I have to stop painting and do some building.... when I'm really into the brush thing.

This week's builds include Augusta the Mother Superior from Raging Heroes and the next iteration of Survivors from our current Kingdom Death Monster campaign.

 Augusta is a massive terminator style armored sci-fi warrior nun.  Her retinue is in the assembly queue as well.  I'm low on 40mm bevel bases, having accidentally stocked up on the round lip variety, and think that these might be a good target for a set of 3D printed bases as I'm expecting the new printer to arrive in the next couple of weeks and bases seem like a good first project for it.

She comes in 4 parts and, due to the detailed baroque style, requires more cleanup than most Raging Heroes models. Once cleaned the model goes together well and RH has made clever use of the details to hide the joins.
 Speaking of Kingdom Death Monster... I've been anticipating the arrival of the Expansions of Death and was very excited to see a HUGE box on my doorstep!

I opened the box to find...

The Order of Vampire Hunters Kickstarter!

Not what I was expecting but still very cool!

Apparently I don't read my e-mail... they sent notice and tracking info .. etc..

I was still living in Transylvania when this Kisckstater launched and was really feeling the theme so... I bit for the whole set with the thought that it would be so fun to run a spooky Vampire Hunting game in Transylvania... and then promptly learned I was moving to Alaska... still a fun place to be and the extended day/night cycles would be interesting for vampires...

 Unlike Kingdom Death I'm hoping that this is a little more easy to run for community game night and to recruit new gaming blood... so to speak...  I love Kingdom Death but its a game for gamers and isn't as easy to grasp for new players as a good, old school,vampire hunt.

Here you see the regular production sets... the core game, three expansions, and four character or adversary mini packs.

... and here you see the thing about kickstarters that is so attractive... the freebies, extra loot, and exclusives that won't make it to retail.

In this case the extras pile is pretty huge and includes additional playing tiles, new Hunters and Adversaries, extra dice and some fang embellished dice bags.

So now, while prepping for the next KDM campaign session and finishing up the Star Saga core set, I need to learn this game and paint up the starter set to take to the monthly game night... and then there is Twisted calling... oh ... and Daughters of Khaine...  zoom zoom zoom!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Kingdom Death Monster: Getting ready for The Butcher

Continuing the Kingdom Death Monster story... which is timely because I just got notice that Kingdom Death... The Expansions of Death... has shipped!

After a couple of hunts... including a disastrous attempt on a Level 2 White Lion... it's Cunning Mood allows the Monster to kite the party unless they have long, or ranged, weapons... the Lantern year is indicating our first Nemesis Encounter... The Butcher!

Under D'lenn's leadership we've spent our resources as best we could trying to strike a balance between research, gear, and growing the settlement... although there were a couple of glaring inefficiencies that were really the result of our inexperience... which actually is very RPG-esque!  Like... we let the White Lion cub we found during a hunt live... missed out on a pile of resources and ended up getting ambushed by the White Lion anyway... plus the little monster is soon to be a BIG monster and certainly won't extend us the same courtesy!

Dlenn's wardrobe has evolved a bit and she's picked up some bits of Rawhide armor, a drum, and a bone dagger.

My main complaint with the game is the lack of handy reference charts which results in a lot of page flipping through, the admittedly beautiful, rule-book... which does't have much in the way of an index.  But the game is otherwise proving to be highly engaging and has triggered a lot of creativity so, on the whole, it gets an A+.

Rost the Elder... now sometimes known as Rost the Barking Mad due to his insanity level of 26... far, far higher than most of the group which tends fluctuate between 0 and 3, and Dlenn have become a couple and have two children whose eyes are free of ink.

One of the best things this game has done is refresh my pool of ideas for painting.  Because of the way the Survivors grow their technology and gear over the course of the campaign there are a lot of opportunities to represent the growth of the settlement on the models.  For example the endeavor: Pictographs got me to writing some on the various cloth items in the party and the ink that encrusts the eyes of the survivors seems to be a recurring thing even after the first rub of the eyes.  Natives, people born in the settlement. are free of the ink... so there is room for both types of eye treatment.

Insanity is a big deal, and mostly a positive thing no less, so I've taken to making the ink color around the eyes red for the more insane of the group... and am beginning to have the survivors adjust their ink in artistic ways... kind of like variable tattoos around the eyes and elsewhere on the face.

As we are still in the early lantern years the clothing and equipment of the survivors is very limited, and they haven't developed paint yet, so they are recycling the grave shrouds they arrived in and modifying them without getting into dying them yet.  Bone based weapons and rawhide armor are scattered throughout the group.  They've actually got some White Lion based Gear but that will show up on the next batch of minis.

The Butcher is the first nemesis encounter and seems to be some psycho that collects faces, wraps them round the victim's lantern and hangs them on his gear as he travels round from settlement to settlement collecting his grisly toll.  But... since this guy comes back from time to time even if you kill him... he is either some kind of immortal or there is a Butcher tribe out there somewhere.

 The Butcher isn't my favorite Kingdom Death model, and is a bit fussy to assemble, but it does have some very interesting details that might illuminate some of the mysteries of the setting.

 For example... the lanterns he carries are of several different designs while the survivors only seem to have one design... this implies that the lantern design is either unique to to a settlement region or that the Butchers are hunting things other than the Survivors we know about that also carry lanterns and have humanoid faces... The butcher also has a much higher tech level than the survivors and is sporting some sort of metallic armor and weapons.  I've treated this as blued steel (to my mind meteoric iron).  I'm curious to see what this guy's loot deck looks like... assuming that we beat the monster!

 This batch of Survivors is mounted on the stone face inserts.  The stone faces are interesting because they seem to be renewed from time to time and the Survivors have caught glimpses of some kind of creature that seems to be doing that.

Fam is an example of a full unarmored kit build.
 The bases were painted with Secret Weapon washes (Sewer Water, Algae, and Green Black) over Dirty Bone (Reaper) and then brushed up with Graveyard Bone (Reaper).  Some mild OSL was done based around a mix of Pale Saffron and Splintered Bone.

Mara is an example of the full Rawhide kit... sans the shoulder cover which does not accommodate some of the hair styles.  Dlenn  is wearing the Rawhide body with the shoulder and an unarmored leg.

 The kits mix and match fairly well.  Titus is a mix of Unarmored and Rawhide... as well as the optional Bone Helm.  The bone weapons and gear are part of the Rawhide Kit.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Kingdom Death Monster: Playing the Prologue

 We played our first Game of Kingdom Death Monster and it was a lot of fun! 

The game components and the treatment of the Monsters is, in a word, lavish.

After getting set up for the first game, which took a while due to a plethora of one time only tasks like setting up the absolutely essential components organizer, we dove into the first showdown: The White Lion.
We named our starting survivors: Jahira (curly red head), Dlenn (ash blonde), Rost the Elder (Old guy with beard), and Samael (suave guy with blue/black hair).

Having awakened into a strange reality, on a floor of stone faces with nothing but a bit of cloth and a mysterious lantern, the survivors are immediately set upon by the monstrous White Lion. They scramble for position and acquire weapons in the form of broken bits of the ubiquitous stone faces... this is the Founding Stone.
Our survivors set up in two groups with the idea that the monster would attack one and the second group would come to their aid.  Great in theory but tricky in practice.

The monster headed over to the women and attacked Jahira.  She was extraordinarily lucky that the monster missed one attack and the second attack landed on the only area that she had any protection.

It turned out that the men were out of position and could not make it to the monster to help so the women moved toward them after Jahira made a desperate, but vain, stab at the beast.
 The men moved up and the monster engaged them. The women came to the aid of the men and Jahira scores first blood on the beast.

This is when we began to understand the combat mechanisms.

 The game's AI works really well.  The AI deck for each encounter is constructed from a large pool of cards.  The number of cards varies with the difficulty of the encounter, is unique to the monster, insures that each encounter is different (sometimes radically so) and serves simultaneously as the action and health pools.  Basically as the monster takes woulds its available actions are also reduced.

 The combat is very dynamic and there is a lot of movement of miniatures.  Tactically its very interesting and requires the players to learn how the monster is likely to react and coordinate their attacks to take advantage of the monster and predict its movements to bring numbers to bear.  The monster itself is very powerful and the survivors must make good choices to fight it.

Luck helps as well!
 Here Dlenn sets up the White Lion by anticipating the AI targeting priority.  She stabs the White Lion in the face, getting a crit which allows her to shear off the White Lion's "Glorious Mane" (a valuable resource as well as a chance to permanently increase the strength of the survivor... Dlenn was not insane at this point and missed out on the strength upgrade) and then runs away... toward the other survivors... getting isolated by the monster is very... very ... bad.

Unfortunately the AI knows this as well...
Samael moves to the rear of the monster and lands an attack... except that its actually a ploy by the monster... who now has Samael right where he wants him!

The "Clever Ploy" is in the hit location deck and also reshuffles the Hit location deck once played... to include the Clever Ploy itself.  Shuffle the deck well... nothing is quite as frustrating as having that evil card popping right back up!
 As a result of the Clever Ploy the White Lion grasps Samael and drags him away from the group to isolate him... doing grave damage to him in the process.  He is permanently made unable to use "survival" which is an essential skill to ... well.. surviving...

The White Lion Enrages on its activation... which does not bode well for our survivors.
With the mauled Samael down for the moment the White Lion returns to the fray and the damage begins to pile up on the survivors. They don't really have any protection to speak of and, fortunately, the damage tended to be broadly distributed.

The survivors are also beginning to understand that many attacks, if unsuccessful, cause the monster to move away from the attacker making unresolved hits null.  Its important to resolve attacks in a smart order and anticipate the results of failure.
 The turning point for our survivors... Jahira attacks the monster getting the "Fuzzy Groin" hit location... as the card describes it..."you hit the monster right in the ding dong."

She also rolls a lantern (crit) for damage!  This gives the monster the persistent injury "Lost Ding Dong" which really... really... really.. gets it angry.  The monster is livid, gains +1 damage which hurts a lot) and Jahira permanently gains the "Priority Target" token... the White Lion will attack her until she is dead!

The angry and enrage stack... which means the monster's hits are doing severer damage with every successful strike... with the monster needing 2+ on a d10 to hit... this fight needs to end soon. 

Dishing this kind of damage the monster quickly kills Jahira... the primary focus of it's ire and briefly loses its enraged status. 

Fortunately the monster is really beat up by this point and has few AI options remaining. This also means that it re-enrages immediately an remains in that state until the bitter end.

After a furious chase around the table Dlenn wounds the monster removing its last AI card.
The monster responds with its basic behavior which slaps Dlenn in the head for severe damage...  blinding her in one eye and leaving her prone before the beast...

Samael then sacrifices his founding stone and flings it at the monster scoring the killing blow and saving Dlenn!

What a fight!

The survivors then wander about and find a strange glowing column called "The Lantern Hoard". They understand it to be a safe area and, with with the other survivors that have also found their way to this spot, found their settlement here.

We entered into the settlement phase and determined the population, gender mix, spent resources building a Skinnery, a Bonesmith, and an Organ Grinder.  Dlenn emerges as the leader of the settlement and gains +1 Courage. They spent Innovations established some of their moral codes.. the first one is the Death Principle where they must decide what to do with their dead.  Do they Cannibalize or Bury? We chose Burial but that may have some long term complications given the limited food supply... we'll see.  They also developed Language and Consequences of Language which generates the core of the Innovations deck.  They then crafted armor and weapons and , with resources running low prepared to depart to hunt another White Lion.

It was late by this time so we called it a night.  I've got some reading to do and some idea what I need to paint up next for the campaign.  I expect some alternate survivors, some survivors in hide armor, and a Butcher.

There is still a lot to learn about the game but it seems like it'll be fun along the way.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Kingdom Death Monster Prologue

We're getting ready for our first game of Kingdom Death Monster 1.5!

The presentation of the rules is very cool.. lots of space devoted to art and stories.  I'm treating this project as an exploration and haven't done my usual research on the game.  The plan is to treat it as a story and just see how it unfolds... learning the game and the lore as we go.
 The opening is called the Prologue and, conveniently, the miniature sprue was labeled as such... although there appears to be another model on the sprue that looks like some kind of barbarian butcher... but I'll sort that as we come to it.

The group of four survivors is very elegant.  Simple designs with great lines and character.  Toward the end of painting this group I realized that the rock each of them are holding (The Founding Stone) is actually a fragment of, what appears to be, a floor of stone faces.
In retrospect I probably should have used those stone face floor inserts for the starting group.  I actually painted up one to use with The Kingsman but treated the faces as though they were living... or recently deceased.

The shrouds remind me of funerary shrouds and, so far, the game seems to be a survival action RPG set in Purgatory... that is just a guess but I decided to treat the clothing as coarse linen shrouds.

Each starting survivor has the bit of cloth, a Founding Stone, and a Lantern.  The Lantern seems to be a big deal, and a major theme throughout the game,  which further leads me to suspect the setting to be Purgatory.

We'll see soon enough... I may be completely wrong but its a great new adventure!

The White Lion is the adversary for the first encounter.  Even though this White Lion isn't anatomically a terrestrial lion I took some advice and had a look at some photos and paintings of actual lions before painting.  It was a great idea and reminded me to include some details about the face markings, nose shape and color, and maine colors etc...

This lead to one of the first challenges... Lions tend to have a white mask, almost beard shaped, which I really wanted to include.  The trick was I also wanted the lion to be "white" as its name implied.  I went with the Menoth White Base (P3) for the main body and face (spot shaded with Seraphim Sepia (GW)) and Splintered Bone (Reaper) for the mask.

The shark-like teeth were and oddly hand-like paws underscores that this is not only a powerful predator... but an actual, and quite unnatural, monster!

Anyway... I'm off to set-up for the game!
I'll let you know how it turns out.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Star Saga Corporate Space Marines

 The regular corp troopers from Star Saga.

I with "The Color of Money Green" for the group which will make them easy to differentiate from the "Law Enforcement Blue" Security Guards and the "Mishima Red" Rangers... which I seem to have forgotten to include in the group picture... DoH!

 The Scientists and Tech Crew being in  "Sacewalk White" overalls and poorly armed are pretty easy to pick out as are the Plague Victims in "Prison Orange".

 I figure that a lot of the people I introduce to Star Saga won't have a firm grip on the Mantic universe so I wanted the different sorts of adversaries to be easy to tell apart with no working knowledge of Mantic's armies and factions.

To make this even easier I went with color schemes that have a modern association with the role of the model... except for the red rangers but they'll stand out because of the lack of a modern equivalent.

The bases are abstract facility representations where guiding lines are painted on the floor to help navigate.  The early versions of this were more abstract and not a focused on this theme but as the project progressed the theme became a bit more refined and consistent.  Both early and late bases are shown here.

 A couple of mines crept into the pile.  I put them on painter's tape to make them easier to paint.
The Corporate marines color scheme works for this project but I'm unlikely to use it for Deadzone or Warpath... and certainly will use a different theme for the bases. 
Looks like I need to hit these guys with a shot of dull coat.

That wraps up the main enemies for the Kickstarter Core set.  Next for this project will be mercenaries and exotic or unique adversaries.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dark Souls: Executioner Smough, Winged Knight, and Boreal Outrider Knight

This wraps up the painting of the core set of Dark Souls the Board Game. 

Executioner Smough is part of the Boss Pair with Dragon Slayer Ornstein.  Ornstein was covered in a previous post so I'll not say much about him.  Executioner Smough however....

This is the model that convinced me to join the Kickstarter even though I wasn't a huge fan of the video game.  The Bell Hammer is just awesome! 

 I didn't look at any reference material for this project.  Mostly it was because I always thought I'd farm the minis out for other purposes but keep them together so I could play the game if it turned out to be good.  We're going to give the game a few more tries before we make a call on it.

Since I didn't know what my final use would be for the figures I just played around and experimented.  They look like they'd make great Daemon Princes for Warhammer Chaos or exotic giant types for an RPG.  When I setle on a regular use for them I'll add some heraldic details and possibly some themed patterning.

The big experiment here was the primer.  I used a metallic bronze primer and am pretty comfortable with the way it worked out for the armor.  It has a kind of hammered look before you do anything to it so I was able to do some shading and highlighting with thin glazes and retain most of the hammered look.  Some sepia glazes actually enhanced the hammered appearance which was an unexpected, but pleasant, surprise.

There is a lot of fiddling with shades of green and yellow in the big Jade-esque areas as well as on the legs.  These were dry brushed in and softened with a Green wash from Secret Weapon.

This guy is massive seen with both Dragon Slayer Ornstein... a pretty large fellow in his own right... and the Warrior player character... that hammer bell thing is gonna really hurt!

The Boreal Outrider Knight and the Winged Knight are Mini Bosses.  They are less massive than the Main Bosses but are still large models.

The ancient bronze metal look worked out really well on these and really sped up the painting process.  These two have significantly more shading and highlighting on the bronze than Executioner Smough does.  I did that with the Boreal Outrider Knight because the model is almost entirely armor and I wanted it to be visually engaging even if its a bit monochrome.

Shown here with the player character Assassin the Boreal Outrider Knight looks a bit weedy and almost insectoid.  That lanky look is shared with the Dancer of the Boreal Forest.

The winged Knight has more color, being largely covered by a tabard, I worked up the tabard with Reaper Bone triad and some touches of the P3 Menoth White set.  The tabard is left free of heraldic designs so I can update it when I find a regular use for it.

The two Mini Bosses together.

I *think* the next thing I'll do is finish up the Star Saga core set... but other stuff mmmaaaaayyy insert itself into that process.

Looks like the queue currently is:

Star Saga
Twisted Dickensians
Lust Elves
The Ynnari Triumvirate
Necromunda Bounty Hunter
Undertown Street lights and Barrier walls
Brugelburg Street people

Back to the desk!