Saturday, May 26, 2018

Simple Encounter Board

I've been kicking around the idea of doing a small encounter board for my D&D and other RPG games.  Most of my RPG encounters take place over a small area compared to the amount of space needed for a war game.  Most of the time I set up my RPG encounters on a 4x4 foot war game table or larger.  I wanted something smaller that I could place on my gaming table instead of off on another table.

I picked up a 33x50" Ready Grass Vinyl Mat from Woodland Scenics and a 20x30" poster frame from Walmart.  I think I spent about $20.00 U.S. on the project but I don't have the exact figures. 

 I laid the cardboard poster backing from the frame on the grass mat then traced the size.  After cutting the mat I was mostly done. 

I used some tacky glue to glue the mat down to the cardboard backing then placed some heavy books on and let it set for a couple hours.  I recommend against using a water based glue for this to prevent warping.  I did have some slight bubbling with this but that worked out okay because the board looked more natural with the slight rolling surface rather than if it was perfectly flat.   

Looks pretty good with terrain and figures on it.  Just exactly what I was hoping for.  The frame separates it nicely from the table and I think it might prevent dice from rolling onto the board so easily. 

I plan to make several more of this for different types of terrain including one with a flat black surface for laying down dungeon tiles.   

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Miniature Update 11-30-17

 Just posting some miniatures I've painted lately.  I'm trying to get some monsters painted up for my D&D games.  First up is this Reaper Bones large fire elemental.

A Reaper; Rust Monster, Clay Golem, and Efreet as well as a Dungeon Delvers Basalisk.  I'm hoping to get more done soon. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Random Miniature Update 11-9-17

I painted this Reaper Bones Griffin based on a Bateleur eagle.  

These Reaper Crusaders will be "The Drowned Templars" in an upcoming game.

Three Reaper Orcs I painted up to represent Half Ogres.

I painted this Reaper dark elf sorceress as a Drow.  She will be "The Twilight Queen" in my campaign.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Tree of Shame

I made this tree for an up coming Dungeons and Dragons game.  It's based on a tale from Arthurian legends.  The skeletons are shown for scale.  I was really happy with the way it turned out since it was fairly simple to make.

Years ago I made three wire frame trees from bailing wire.  They sat unfinished in a box for over a decade.  One of them was covered in green floral tape which is something I had used in the past on wire frame trees.  I mounted the tree on a cork board base then used Gorilla Glue hot glue to create texture on the structure.

I didn't want to use plastic shields for the tree because now that Games Workshop has stopped making Warhammer it's harder to find good shields cheap so I picked up a package of fake finger nails from the Dollar tree and cut them into shield shapes with a pair of scissors.  I had to mark the shield shapes by scoring into the nail with an Xacto knife because I could not draw on them. 

I dipped them in very hot water to help flatten them out.  This distorted some of them a bit but that was okay since they were suppose to look battered and distressed anyway.  I then mounted them on square dowels and painted them with black spray paint. 

I painted the shields with some quick and dirty heraldry.  I didn't get too precise with the painting since I planned to weather these.  It's handy to look up the rules of heraldry if you wish to depict it realistically.  I've studied it since I was very young.  My interest in medieval armor and knighthood led me into Dungeons and Dragons and the Society for Creative Anachronisms. 

If you have less knowledge of heraldry you should Google "Heraldic rolls" or "Rolls of Arms" which are medieval records of Coats of Arms.  These are a great reference not only for ideas but also the medieval style heraldry is easier to depict than modern versions that you might find if you just Google Heraldry. 

Here are the shields weathered up.  I wanted them to look pretty battered and a bit moldered from hanging on a tree for long periods of time.  

I can't wait to use this project in my next D&D game.  It should prove to be an interesting encounter.  


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Random miniature update.

I haven't really posted any painted miniatures lately so I thought I would post the last few miniature painting projects I have worked on. 

The three barrels are from WizKids new unpainted plastic miniature line.  They were very cheap and very nice to paint. 

The archer is from Reaper.  One of their army packs that have been around forever.  This is for my son's very first D&D game.  His character has leather armor so I painted the scale armor as leather scale.  I think it works pretty well.  He's got a bow, arrows, sword, and a shield.  The shield is an old GW shield from my bits box.  My son's favorite color is red so that is why he has a bright red tunic. 

The rat swarms are from Reaper bones line.  I basically dry brushed the entire swarm and base grey then used glazes of different colors to paint the rats.  I added flesh tone to the tails and a dot to their noses.  I think they turned out pretty nice.  I just need more of them. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

"Heroes of the Ghost Age" Book 1 The Reaving of Raven Hill: Chapter 1 To Catch a Rat. Part 1. A Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Campaign

Hero's of the Ghost Age

Book 1: The Reaving of Raven Hill

Chapter 1: To Catch a Rat
(Part 1)

It was already late September and just a few short weeks away from leiunium Cereris the fasting day honoring the goddess Ceres.  Tragedy had fallen the town of Raven Hill.  Not only was the town overrun by rats again but someone had stolen the idol of Ceres from her shrine.  

There was no doubt among the townspeople as to who was to blame.  During the spring Lord Roufus Ravenhill hired the rat catcher Gunther of Fellberg to rid the town of it's rat problem. In an amazingly short period of time Gunther had managed to rid the town of rats but when he went to Lord Ravenhill to receive his fee Lord Ravenhill tossed him a single coin and told him to get out of town.  Infuriated by this Gunther vowed that he would have his revenge on the town.

To make matters worse a particularly powerful goblin tribe had been southern farms under the protection of the town.  Lord Ravenhill and the town guard had been hard pressed to keep them at bay.  Melvin the Magnificent, a wizard who lived just outside the town, suggested that Lord Ravenhill entrust the recovery of the statue to his student and Lord Ravenhill's ward Lady Lydia Lydell and some other individuals from the town.  Melvin suggested; Efisio Battiatus a recently arrived paladin of Minerva, Flint Frostbeard the towns dwarven smith, the halfling Petunia Thistledown, and Falkrune a dwarf mercenary.  Lord Ravenhill was uncertain about Melvin's suggestions but he didn't have much of a choice.

The meeting was held at the town's keep.  The keep had one floor of stone but the remaining levels were constructed of wood.  Lord Ravenhill was suppose to complete the keep in stone but never had citing shortfalls of money though the townspeople largely agreed that this was just another example of Lord Ravenhill being a cheapskate.  

The individuals Melvin had suggested met with Lord Ravenhill around mid day at the keep.  Petunia had brought a pie along for the occasion. Lord Ravenhill, flanked by his two hounds, stood and said "A Tragedy has befallen us.  As you know the rat infestation has gotten out of hand.  No doubt the work of that no good rat catch Gunther of Fellberg.  He has been seen lurking around the town at night.  Some say he's been releasing the rats including some monstrously large specimens.  That however is not the worst of his crimes.  Last night the idol of Ceres was stolen from her shrine and eyewitness accounts point to Gunther as the perpetrator."  Lord Raven hill paused for a moment eyeing the assembled group with doubt.  He shook his head.  "Melvin the Magnificent suggested I gather you lot to deal with this problem.  I don't know why but I'm not one to argue with the wizard..... I'd do it myself of course but the town guard and I have been tied up chasing rats and dealing with the goblins who have been raiding the southern farms.  I need help and I suppose you will have to do."

Lord Ravenhill got up and moved towards the door calling his hounds to heel.  Before exiting though he picked up Petunia's pie inhaling the aroma "Ah still warm" he said with a slight smile.  Without another word he left.

Without much else to go on the party decided to visit the shrine of Ceres which was located outside of town in the farm lands.  There they found that the idol was indeed missing.  Some of the offerings seems to have been disturbed as well.  After searching about the structure for a little while Efisio found a set of boot tracks heading off into a field of grain.  

The followed the tracks across the field to the edge of the Raven Wood.  Just inside the forest the tracks came to a shallow stream but seemed to end abruptly.  On the opposite bank a single large rat track could be seen in the mud.  It was large enough to be a man's foot print.  The rest of the bank was too rocky to pick up the immediate trail.  After searching for some time they managed to pick up a trail of man sized foot tracks.  Strangely the tracks seemed to have been left by an individual walking on two legs instead of all fours.  It was getting late.  "This looks like a good place to camp" Flint said.  They set up a camp and divided watches.  Petunia climbed a large oak tree because she did not feel safe on the ground.  

"We're under attack!" shouted Efisio.  Three goblins had rushed out of the brush and attacked the paladin of Minerva while he was on guard.  Lydia, Flint, and Faulkrune awoke with goblins attacking them.  Flint took a nasty hit before he was able to get to his feet.  

The battle was hard fought especially since neither Flint nor Faulkrune had their armor on.  Efisio battled three of the goblins but he had help from Petunia who fired her short bow from the three she was in.  Eventually the goblins were dispatched and the party drug their corpses further from the camp.  During Lydia's watch the mage sent her owl familiar Luna to get a better view of the area.  What she saw disturbed her.  A large two headed dog was dragging a pair of goblin corpses away from the pile the party had made and headed off to the north with them.  

The party continued to follow the rat man trail to the north until they came to another stream with a very overgrown bridge.  Across the bridge was an overgrown paved road which continued north.  Though they couldn't find any more tracks the party continued to follow the road until they came upon some runes.

A man stepped out from a ruined door way.  He had a large sack over his shoulder that seemed to be writhing with a dozen or more small creatures.  The man spoke "Well I guess that cheap bastard Lord Ravenhill sent his finest to find me.  You can tell Lord Tightpants that he can have the statue back from a mere 200 gold coins."    

Efisio attempted to parlay with the man "Gunther, what if we could pay you what Lord Ravenhill promised you in the first place.  Will you return the statue and remove the rat infestation?".  "No deal!" shouted Gunther then he tossed the bag onto the ground.  Rats came swarming out of the bag.  

The paladin charge through the swarm and pinned Gunther to the ground.  The rest of the party came to Efisio's aid and they managed to kill the rats and capture Gunther. 

"We're taking you back to face some justice!" Efisio snarled.  Gunther just laughed.  As they were dragging Gunther back to town suddenly the rope went slack.  On the ground was nothing more than a pile of clothing.  "What's that!" Flint shouted.  A large rat scurried off into the underbrush carrying a small pouch in it's mouth.  Gunther had escaped.  

Uncertain about what Gunther was and concerned about the two headed dog the party decided to visit the home of Melvin the Magnificent, Lydia's instructor, to see if he could had any knowledge that could help them.  

Melvin lived in a small house just outside of town in the Raven wood.  Oddly his home seemed larger on the inside that the outside.  "I believe you are dealing with a Wererat" Melvin explained.  "What's a Wererat?" Falkrune asked.  "Well it's rather like a Werewolf but not quite so powerful.  A wererat is a human infected by a strain Lycanthropy that turns one into a rat man".  "How do we kill it?" Lydia asked.  "Well I'm afraid normal weapons will have no effect on such a creature.  You must use magic or enchanted weapons" the old wizard explained.  "Can't you come with us to help us catch Gunther?" Efisio asked.  "Oh no.  No, no, no.  I'm not much for adventures.  They make one late for tea" Melvin chuckled.  "Well do you know where we can get some enchanted weapons?" Falkrune asked.  "I do know of a tale.  There was a Knight named Balin who had a tower no far to the North.  He died more than fifty years ago.  He as said to have owned several enchanted weapons that he used to drive the undead from Raven Hill.  He was also said to have been buried in his tower.  It was frequently visited by pilgrims for some time until the undead returned to area.  No one has ventured there in some time." the wizard explained.  

Melvin turned and rummaged through a chest near the table he was sitting at.  " I do have this small dagger.  It's enchanted but not terribly powerful".  He placed it on the table "You may borrow it".  Petunia snatched the dagger off the table quicker that anyone could see.  "Oh it's beautiful!  Can I have it?" she asked.  The mage nodded "Very well".  Petunia drew the small blade and raised it above her head triumphantly.  "I shall call you Aculeus!" she said with glee.  

End Part 1

Notes:  This is the first part of my new Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition campaign "Heroes of the Ghost Age" set in my group's home brew setting of Tellus.  We've finished the first adventure and the party is almost third level but there were so many images I decided to split the report up into three parts to make it easier.  Also the game took three sessions to complete so this is roughly where the first session left off.  


Saturday, September 30, 2017

So what should Bards sound like? Three songs by Ayreheart

So I found these guys when I searched for the traditional Scottish ballad Twa Corbies.  There is probably a version of this song for every day of the year but this is by far the best and most evocative version I have ever heard.  They also didn't shy away from singing it in Scots which makes it rime better. 

Anyway I thought this was also an excellent example of what a masterful bardic performance would be like and just a great inspiration for many fantasy and historic games.