Z:BP The Abominotaur!

I finished this figure last weekend, which is much too long after I started it. I could have finished it to a better standard, but after all this time I just wanted it done!

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Originally, I base coated the figure with burnt sienna, but that looked rather more orange than mid brown. After putting some different colour on various parts (mouth, horns, claws, etc) I went over the skin with a better brown, did a bit of highlighting to claws, horns and the tumors/lumps on his back and arm. I inked it next to get some dark shading in skin folds, etc, but it didn’t work as planned – the overall brown darkened more than I’d expected and I ended up with very little ink sitting where I wanted it.

This meant a lot more highlighting to lighten raised skin/ridges. Then I did more detail/highlighting, particularly on the swollen arm. Finally teeth, eyes, some touch ups to claws and hooves, and copper on the chain belt. Gun metal on the metal/armour plates and a little black ink on most of those. Some darker brown in grooves or behind other pieces that stuck out to hide bits of the base coat that hadn’t been covered, etc. Fluoro yellow in the eye sockets and some bright red on the eyes over that.

Abominotaur – left side

Abominotaur – right side

The weather was good today, so he got spray varnished this morning and left out to dry. I’ll probably give him another quick spray coat tomorrow.

There’s nice detail on the figure and it wasn’t a hard paint… just time consuming when my ideas didn’t match what actually happened during painting. I’m very pleased to have finally finished all my Zombicide Abominations now!

 

Zombicide BP: The Abominalpha

I finished painting the Abominalpha about three weeks ago and had hoped to finish the minotaur as well and post both of them. The minotaur is nearly done, but light was good this morning so I finally got some pics of the Alpha! The photos came up really well and show the colour and detail as I see the figure, with the only exception being that the claws are slightly darker (and flecked with black) in RL.

A long, hot and humid summer in Melbourne meant I really didn’t feel like painting for most of Feb/March and only got back to the last two Abominations in April. I really like the Alpha figure – good sculpting and lots of detail. It wasn’t until I started painting and paying a lot of attention to the box pamphlet image that I realised he’s wearing human skin – there’s two feet hanging down at the front!

 

Abominalpha – front

I started with a mid grey base coat, rather like my Wolf Abominations, and a dark blue-grey on the arms and back of the head with the longer ‘fur’. A little dark brown ink (or black – I can’t remember now) for shading. A mix of yellows and light browns for the skins, and some brown ink for detail. Then lots of white dry brushing all over – I like the white fur of the original image – and over the grey I feel the shading/highlight has worked really well. I wanted a dark constrast with the horns and thought black wouldn’t show the detail there, and tried red over the gray base-coat. This looked good and got some black paint that sits in most of the grooves. I’d had a few ideas for the claws that didn’t seem to work and after the way the horns worked, decided to do all the claws the same way.

 

Abominalpha – rear

I could have done some more work on the skins, but I’m happy with the look I have. I would have liked to do more with the shrunken heads, but anything better is beyond my current ability. Look at this site to see what someone has produced – I don’t know if their heads had better detail, or they have steadier hands to create the detail and better painting skills! (Probably the latter from looking at the claws.)

I might take him out this afternoon for another coat of spray varnish while the weather’s nice!

 

A tree, a cactus and an android walk into a bar…

No, it’s not a joke – this is my new Gamma World campaign. Not only did I finish writing my conversion to Pathfinder rules, but also my gaming group rolled up characters and we’ve played about six sessions.

Three play test sessions (mostly last year) had helped me to establish what skills I wanted, and tweak my races, classes and feats. My mutation system seems fine, but the mutations themselves have had small adjustments, even into our first two gaming sessions, as both my players and I realised what wasn’t defined or could be refined – especially things like range for powers and whether something needed an attack roll or saving throw.

My full GM Rulebook is 90 pages long (so far) and I’m now converting GW creatures to the Pathfinder system. I’ve even built the basics of the system in Hero Lab – Races, Classes, Skills, Talents, Feats, basic weapons and all armour working properly. I still have to code the mutations and artefact equipment/weapons.

So this is what I have now:

5 Genotypes (Races, with 15 Animal subtypes, and 6 plant subtypes)
10 Classes
30 base Skills (8 Crafts, and 8 Knowledge expanding those)
78 Talents (Class abilities)
101 Feats
120 Positive Mutations
25 Mutation Defects
A heap of armour, weapons and misc equipment
7 Prestige Classes
1 NPC Class
32 Creatures

An abridged PDF of my rules is available on my Resources page.

 

The Campaign so far has been converted 2nd edition adventures. We started with GW2 “Famine at Far-Go”, then the mini-adventure “The Albuquerque Starport”. The group is currently halfway through GW1 “The Legion of Gold”. They have reached second level and have an assortment of the ancients equipment – mostly “Pre-war” stuff, but a couple of “advanced” items. Most of them can’t wait to level up to 3rd so that they can get a Tech Familiarity feat (so they don’t use things like guns and lasers with penalties), or to get a new mutation! I have a theme that I introduced in the first adventure (“Have you heard the words of the Electron Prophet?”) that will reveal itself again soon, and steadily build up to something I’ll have to write myself later. My next blog post should be about this group and gameplay.

Gamma World is a weird blend of crazy, humorous role-play that can suddenly turn deadly serious. Our last session has good examples. A huge bright orange lion flew down out of the sky yelling at the group. It landed and looked the group’s main warrior up and down. “It’s awesome, I’ve got to have it. It looks just like the one I ate last week – what do you want for it?” Tense concern melted into laughter when they realised that Yexil’s eat cloth, especially synthetics and it wanted Hack’s pre-war armour, less the ceramic plates. They managed to trade some fabric they recovered from a clothing store (on a space station!) for two photon grenades. The very happy Yexil flew off looking for Elvis – it had seen an image and wanted his jacket. A few hours later the players were fleeing in a panic because the four screaming mutants they’d just encountered in a bunker all had life-leech – a mutation power that drains hit points from living things within 30 feet and heals the mutant. The android in the party keeps proving a valuable choice.

 

Apart from Gamma World – I haven’t done much this year (more reading and playing computer games than usual). I’m determined to finish painting my Zombicide abominations over the next week or two. I also have plans for a new painting project. I undercoated 20 Star Wars figures from Ral Partha this morning – with the expectation to use many of them for GW. More detail on that as it comes.

2016: The Year of Zombicide!

Looking back over 2016, I note that I painted from scratch about half as many figures as the year before (27 compared to 60). But it’s easy to see what I did spend a lot of time on – Zombicide: Black Plague! I spent more time playing Zombicide than any of my usual RPGs, or any other game. My game review of Z:BP was my most seen post, with 771 views (8 times as popular as the 2nd place comer) Of the figures I did paint – 12 were from Zombicide.

On New Year’s Eve, I ran my third playtest of Gamma World 4.5 (my d20 rule set is pretty much complete now) and played two games of Zombicide!

2016 was a pretty good year for the blog. Compared to 2015, I tripled my number of visitors (3041 views, 2045 visitors from 67 countries!) I had a lot of fun – revisiting old game systems that I hadn’t looked at for a decade or more (MERP, Gamma World), finishing a major part of the D&D campaign I run, and starting a Greyhawk/Pathfinder project for Hero Lab.

This year has started off with me enjoying my annual leave break (but I go back to work tomorrow) and I’ve spent a lot of it playing World of Warcraft, some more Zombicide, and a lot of sleeping in. I’ve been reading through the “Sword of Truth” series by Terry Goodking (in book four now) and had a couple of sessions of Pathfinder.

 

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Yesterday I finished my first miniature painting of the year – the Abominatroll from Zombicide: Black Plague.

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He was enjoyable to paint. Mostly a dark green base coat, some brown paint and dark tone ink for give some depth and shading, then a lighter “field grey” (more dull green than any grey) for highlighting. Touches of yellow, pink, red, white etc for various detail. Mostly flesh and white, then brown ink for finger & toe nails, with a distict “light olive” for the lumps. It’s a bit brighter in colour than the images make it look.

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I still have the minotaur and wolf alpha to go – then I hope to get onto painting heroes/survivors!

 

A Brave New World…

…complete with people like a four-eyed flying monkey, a three-armed cat-man, an ambulatory vine that throws exploding seeds, a dark-skinned female human with gills who stands over eight feet tall, a normal looking man who levitates and controls the actions of those he touches, and a small rusty-looking cyborg who enjoys taunting computers and lesser robots. Maybe they need to recover healing fruit from an ancient building with an overgrown arboretum, or maybe they are helping a farmer learn what’s killing his six-legged blue sheep.

 

This is the Gamma World – a futuristic RPG set on earth after the ravages of nuclear and biological war. Mutants (creatures changed by radiation, genetic modification or biological effects) are common, as are the artefacts of the pre-war society – some undamaged and functional, others ruined, broken or decayed. Humans are either the descendants of those who lived through the worst in bunkers, were frozen embryos or clones (Pure Strain), or “altered” – those who survived, but aren’t entirely human any more. Larger, sentient animals exist, many with mutations or defects. Robots and AI’s, some functional, others with damaged programming and memory loss can be encountered, along with mobile intelligent plants.

Gamma World, first produced by TSR in 1978 is now into its seventh edition. I was first entranced by the idea of this game from three pages in my 1979 Advanced D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide which described converting D&D characters to and from the “Boot Hill” and “Gamma World” game systems. I didn’t get to play until the late 1980’s, when at University I started a short 1st edition game. One of the guys in my gaming group ran a short 3rd edition campaign in that time too. I bought the 4th edition when it came out (TSR 1992) – loved it, but never played it. (It’s mostly based on 2nd edition D&D rules, but looking back it’s obviously a precursor to 3rd edition, with defined class skills, DC’s, three saving throws, etc.) A friend gave me a copy of the Player’s Handbook for the sixth edition of Gamma World (2003) and this got me interested again. This is a d20 version produced by ‘Sword & Sorcery’ with three hardback rulebooks and three supplements, mostly based on d20 Modern and requiring that rulebook. It’s very good at defining the world and background, but has a lot less mutations and equipment than earlier versions.

The “people” of the Gamma World mentioned at the beginning are sample characters I created with my new system for play testing with my gaming group. Both sessions have been a lot of fun, and helped my tweak my rules and tidy up skills and abilities. I’m nearly at the stage where players could create their own characters with the rules.

I’ve considered merging the rules presented in both the 4th and 6th editions for a long, long time… this year I actually started doing it. The fourth edition allows plants as character races, has 102 mutations and 18 defects, and about 40 pages of equipment, weapons and artefacts. The sixth edition has no plants, but allows “synthetics” – robot player characters, 45 mutations (about half are defects), about 20 Cybernetic/Psionic powers, and only 18 pages of equipment. My system – I’m calling it 4.5 – is based mostly on the 4th edition material converted to d20 (3.5 D&D), drawing from Pathfinder, d20 Modern and of course the parts I like from GW 6th edition.

One thing I never liked about early GW versions was the randomness of mutations. You could have one character who was really powerful (laser eyes, immunities, regeneration) and another with bad eyesight, three legs and ability to levitate small rocks. No balance. Unless it was a campaign where you expected to die quickly and make up another character, it could be really annoying. My system gives most genotypes a number of points to buy mutations. Each mutation costs one to three points. You roll on a table, if you can afford the mutation you take it, or you roll again. If you choose to take a 1 or 2-point defect, you get extra points for good mutations. During game-play, radiation exposure may randomly grant 1 or 2 points of good or bad mutations. At character creation, it’s a choice.

I have five Genotypes – Pure Strain Humans, Altered Humans, New Animals (15 subtypes), Green Folk (6 plant subtypes) and Live Metal. There are ten base classes: six from d20 Modern (Strong, Fast, Tough, Smart, Dedicated, Charismatic) and four from 4th/6th edition – Enforcer, Esper, Examiner and Scout. All of these have been adjusted to balance out more evenly than their d20 originals. My skills list is mostly based on Pathfinder with some GW/d20 Modern additions, with revised or new descriptions when required. I have 30 fully detailed skill descriptions, 78 Class Abilities, and 100 Feats.

I’m currently converting all the 4th edition mutations to my d20 version, and then I’ll add in some of the powers from 6th edition. Equipment will be predominantly from the 4th edition and I mostly need to make range adjustments (from metres to feet), and “monsters” from the 6th edition almost as is.

Once it gets a bit further along, I’ll put detail up on my Resources page.

Have you ever played Gamma World?   What edition did you play and would you play again?

 

Zombicide: Black Plague – Painting Necromancers

I have two of the standard Necromancers, plus four specials (two of which are also player survivors). That’s six figures done and they were fun to paint and look good on the board – in particular it’s great having the standard necromancers stand out from the regular zombies. I’ve followed the standard images as a colour guide with small variations for all but one figure.

Standard Necromancers – front

Back when I painted my dark elves (Drow), I’d been reading about how black doesn’t always come out well when painting figures – its hard to shade and highlight to pick out detail. The necromancer cloaks are painted with black mixed with some grey, making a very dark grey. Red for the cloak sash and arm bandages. Silver over the dark grey with the armoured legs and boots, brown then copper for chains, brown rods, dagger hilt and beards. Straps/bindings on the bottles and raised skull proved a nuisance – I need a new brush for fine lines. Some ink to shade the face, skulls and bandages, and a then white highlighting on skulls.

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Necromancers – rear

I may come back to these later. They could do with a little more shading and highlighting on back on the cloaks.

Now the special necromancers – Evil Troy, Grin, Ostokar the Pale and Queen Medea.

 

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Evil Troy – front

Evil Troy – better known to many as “Evil Ash” (Bruce Campbell) from Army of Darkness. The figure wears a breastplate (rather than armour banding over his shirt as shown on the card and in the movie) so I went a dull gun-metal with silvered edging. I choose a red cloak to match the movie rather than blue-black on the card. I don’t believe the eye sockets are well formed on the figure and were very difficult to paint. My final result is mostly black with a bright orange pupil in the middle – which hadn’t come out in the image above. Light reflection makes the skull helmet look silver rather than the white it actually is. Gameplay: When killed, put him back in his spawn zone, unless killed with a 3 damage attack/Dragon Fire.

 

Evil Troy – rear

Grin – or more commonly known as a medieval “Joker”, from the Batman comics. I pretty much ignored the card colours. The Joker usually wears a purple jacket and pants, yellow vest and green shirt – so this became the basis for the clothes on the figure. I liked the blood effect across the chin on the Z:BP image, rather than just red lips, so kept that. I don’t like the jawbone on the end of the staff – at some time in the future I may cut of the end and replace it with a standard human skull (with red mouth?). Gameplay: When he moves, he moves up to two zones instead of one.

 

Grin – front

 

Grin – rear

Ostokar the Pale – a “Naiade” special guest figure from french artist Xavier Gueniffey Durin. You can look at more of his stuff here. Originally I was planning on grey rags that got darker with each lower “layer”, and ended up with a bit of both green and brown over the grey and shaded that. Mostly gun-metal on the chains with some silver highlight and various colours to detail belts, sheath, straps, etc. Gameplay: Each time he gets an extra activation, all zombies in his zone also get an extra activation.

 

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Ostokar – front

Ostokar has been used as a survivor in one of our games so far (I enjoyed using Zombie-link), but not as a necromancer. I like the look of the figure and there’s some flexibility in the chains, which means they are less likely to break through handling or being packed in with other minis.

 

Ostokar – rear

Queen Medea – or “Queen Ravenna” (Charlize Theron) from the movies Snow White and the Huntsman and The Huntsman: Winter’s War. There’s some debate that CMON should have used the pose on the card rather than the final sculpt (dagger held in front not over the head) and I agree – although it’s still a nice figure. The red lips look a bit too bold in the image here, but don’t stand out so much on the actual figure. I found an online image where someone painted her in dark blue (rather than the black from card/movie) and liked the shading to almost black in the dress folds. I’ve used a lighter blue for the bodice than the image I saw, and managed a better effect with shading/highlighting than I usually try for or achieve. Gameplay: Cannot be eliminated if there are other zombies in her zone except with Dragon Fire.

 

Queen Medea – front

 

Queen Medea – rear

That’s all for now… I’ve got wolfz and abominations I can start on, but I might spend a week on something else before I come back to Zombicide. I hope you enjoy the pictures and have fun if your playing Zombicide!

Zombicide: Black Plague – Painting Abominations (Part two)

The regular abominations seems pretty minor in gameplay now (we have the wolf abominations, two rat cards and two blob cards in our regular spawn deck), except when they show up very early in a game!

 

Two standard abominations ready for use.

Painting these guys was fairly straight forward – pale flesh, coloured in the rope & bits of clothing, and light brown ink for shading. I did try something different in the middle of this, after the initial flesh base-coat.  I mixed a little green and grey with my flesh and mottled patches of the skin. It looked a bit too strong and overdone, so I went back over most of the exposed skin with a paler skin colour (called “fair maiden” – I use it mostly for pale ‘elf skin’, or highlighting) and that blended the skin tones nicely. The ink then darkened everything to a nice finish and I spent a little bit of time highlighting muscles and then teeth, eyes and blood on the fists and arms.

 

Abominations – Rear and slightly out of focus

 

Abominations – side view

The Ablobination has been the most annoying figure to paint of all the Zombicide miniatures.

Originally, I wanted to copy the appearance from the leaflet – a greyish flesh with purple tinges. I started painting this right at the beginning alongside the ‘rat, and it was the very last to finish (even after necromancers).

 

Ablobination – front

I looked at a few online versions and didn’t like the look of the one purple toned figure I did see. I didn’t like an all green one I’d seen either, but wondered if I could get something between the two that would look okay. I started with a light grey base coat and then some green shading – not happy. I repainted most of the skin in flesh tones and only felt that was a slight improvement. I could have gone the same style as the Abominarat (flesh, browns, etc – there’s spikes and warts!) but I wanted something with its own distinct colours. At this stage I was only happy with my brown leather/clothing scraps on the figure. My next thought was to go with a more fleshy style so I used a red ink over the entire figure. This replaced all the remaining green and gave me a dark shading which I didn’t mind. I then spent time going lightening the flesh and adding some dark pinks and red/browns to emphasise shading or detail the markings on the skin. The claw got a bit more red to suggest muscle rather than just stretched skin and my fair maiden on claws and the head. Some ink darkened the claws and helped pick out head detail, with a little white highlighting – trying to make the head as skull-like as I could. Black spikes, hints of yellow on some of the lumps/warts, and orange in the eye sockets with yellow pupils.

 

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Ablobination – rear

That only leaves two Abominations to paint – the troll and the minotaur. Like the rat, these are very large figures, so they should be easier to paint, and I expect to have a lot of fun with the minotaur – probably something between my existing minotaur figures and the leaflet picture. They have been undercoated and I’ll probably start them during the week unless I get stuck into another project.

Next – assorted Necromancers!