April Challenge Painting

I started the month with good intentions, but the last few weeks (and sudden cold and wet weather) have found me preparing stuff for Shadowrun and not painting. As well as finishing off a nearly done figure, I got four more (that were only undercoated) completed, and started a sixth.

This is only five figures done out of the ten I hoped to complete for Ann’s April painting challenge, but it is more painting than I’ve achieved any other month this year!

From left to right:

Reaper 03893 “Mal” Catfolk Warrior, SW76 Mon Calamari, SW26 Bossk (trandoshan bounty hunter), SW77 Engineer, & SW27 Weequay

The Reaper figure was a recent purchase (by comparison) to be used in my d20 Gamma World game as one of the player characters. The four Star Wars figures are by West End Games/Grenadier 1988/89 from boxed sets I bought way back then. I chose colours for the Mon Cal based on typical images available online for the race, and while I checked images of Bossk himself, I decided to go with something different for his scaly skin and jumpsuit. The others were whatever appealed to me when I sat down. The “frill” around the engineers neck is a light metallic silver-blue and his face is more even in RL. My camera has lightened/darkened the front/side in the image inaccurately.

I put a lot of work into the catfolk mini – lots of dry-brushing fur to bring out the texture and detail that the figure has. The others I wasn’t as concerned with, and I’m happy with the way they look.

April Challenge: “Paint the crap you already own!”

While I have made a considerable effort over the last few years to paint the figures I own, there’s always more unpainted. I’ve done more writing over the last 12 months than painting. With my gaming on hold (due to Covid-19), and some more free time at home I decided to get painting again as well as write. I’m not working from home (not possible with my position), but by the end of the month my work may close down regardless. It’s nice being a bit lazier than usual and catching up on some computer games, but I can paint as well as do all the other things.

 

2020-04-02 Figures

 

Ann (Ann’s Immaterium) has just announced an April painting challenge that’s perfect for this. I have 9 Star Wars figures (West End Games/Grenadier 1988/89) that have been on my desk since some time in 2017. (That’s when I painted the storm troopers – it’s really been too long.)

Last week I started to look at these again – and dusted them off. The cat man in the picture hasn’t been on the desk for years (only months, I think), and he just qualifies. I did a lot of painting on him over the last week and he’s almost but not quite finished.

There is absolutely no reason I can’t finish painting ten miniatures in one month. Let’s see how I go!

Fals’Krag Session 40 – Stoned!

The main combat at the beginning of this session didn’t go the way I’d expected. I had thought the party might back off, but they just pushed harder to kill their opponents. This may not have worked if they didn’t have a monk with excellent saving throws in the middle of things.

This is was a good game session, but will be our last for some time. With the coronavirus embedding itself in Australia, I decided getting together again wasn’t in the best interest of our health or that of our families. Going online to continue playing could possibly be arranged for most of us, but wouldn’t be easy to implement. I will have time to write more material for the game, and paint miniatures, etc.

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(4th Sunsebb): The group head east to search the buildings the group have missed. One large triangular building has two entrances from the main road. Morlocks are sighted through a window. Lanliss and Hardaz move in while Winter shoots through the window. A larger Grimlock is noted on the other side of the building. A voice calls out asking for coins and jewellery to be left in the bowl. Bacon and Seldrel move to the other entrance and engage the grimlock. Behind him is a muscular human dressed in a simple kilt. He looks human and is surprised to see them. Bacon observes his stance and movement and believe him to have monk training. A wide metal bowl rests on a stone block and has some coins. Behind it stands a damaged statue of a bugbear with missing arms. A female voice calls out to the man concerning problem visitors. The grimlock is quickly defeated once Bacon flips around it to engage the other monk. A woman enters the room and the group realise with horror that she has snakes not hair – a medusa. While most of the group avert their gaze, Merxif is unlucky and is petrified. The morlocks are killed, with spells and blows bringing down the medusa and her companion. Seldrel, in the middle of firing a magic missile is also petrified. Lanliss quickly scouts the rest of the building while invisible and finds rubble, life-like statues, simple furnishing and a locked door. He picks the lock and recovers treasure. Bacon and Hardaz have checked the front rooms. While most of the group ready the statues of their companions for travel, Lanliss scouts another section of the building accessible from another entrance, finding nothing of interest. They make their way out of the cavern and up to the crafting halls. Boris aids them in hauling the statues up the great stair shaft and comments that Seldrel should stone shape the wall of the shaft into grips or steps so that they aren’t flying or using rope to climb up and down every few days. With considerable effort and a few rests, they reach the hold and come down the mountain to Falsford. They quickly learn that neither the High Priest of Rao, or their mage friend Kevelli can help them. There are comments about selling a garden gnome.

5th: With the aid of a handcart, they travel to Falsridge. This takes all day and they locate an inn to stay in and have a quiet evening meal.

6th: The party inquire at the temples of Rao and Saint Cuthbert. Reorxen, the High Priest of St Cuthbert has scrolls of stone to flesh and is able to restore Merxif and Seldrel. Hardaz asks around the town for dwarven armor smiths or anyone with dwarven plate mail for sale. He eventually tracks down Dalain, a middle-aged hill dwarf who agrees to craft a suit of masterwork full plate. Dalain knows a mage in town who can enchant it and he will then have it sent to Kevelli in Falsford. Winter locates Liranion, one of the towns more powerful wizards (a female High Elf) and negotiates creation of a collar of the true companion for Summer. She arranges to have this sent to Kevelli when finished. Seldrel believes the male with the medusa was a maedar – a rare male form of medusa immune to petrification and strong enough to shatter stone. The group identify new items and sell some of their treasure.

7th: Everyone returns to Falsford. Kevelli is told that there will be some items coming from Falsridge, and Hardaz asks that his armour be made impervious when it arrives. Winter asks the mage to craft an amulet of mighty fists for her owl. Rodar resupplies the group with alchemists fire.

8th: Return to the Hold. The group head down to the Hall of the Gods and activate the statue of Heironeous. (LG Oeridean god of Chivalry, Justice, Honour, War & Valor.) They receive a wand (cloak of bravery). They set themselves up in the crafting halls again. Seldrel begins to work on some minor items. Bacon and Lanliss use the time to reforge the shaft of Avarrath’s broken spear.

9th: Activate the statue of Hextor. (LE Oeridean god of War, Discord, Conflict, & Tyranny) The wand they receive (Magic circle against good) is of little use to them. Avar’s spear is completed; now revealed as a +2 returning spear that can sense reptiles.

10th: Activate the statue of Zagyg. (CN demigod of Humour, Eccentricity, Magic & Unpredictability) They receive a wand of dispel magic and each of them are blessed with the ability to cast a single unknown spell. Leaving Boris at the crafting halls, they head down to the cavern and back into the ruins. There are two buildings unexplored in the northern block of ruins. The first has some snakes, and normal vermin. Much of the upper rooms have cobwebs. From one of the upper chambers Winter sights three bugbears entering the adjacent building. The group head downstairs and searches the basement where they find a pair of gricks.

Fals’Krag Session 39 – Stars and constellations

A busy session with many encounters. Many thanks to the Oerth Journal #22 for the background in this part of Fals’Krag. I’d looked up Greyhawk info on stars and constellations before, noting some that had been referenced in published work, but the journal goes a step further than that. We had fun with skill checks and what each character thought the answers would be. (Suggestion – don’t ask a dwarf about stars!)

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(3rd Sunsebb): Moving around the edge of cavern then in towards the ziggurat, they can hear humanoids yelling and approaching from two directions. They hide in a building near large t-junction of roads, with Lanliss invisible. Four morlocks approach at a jog, and both Lanliss and Bacon attack as they pass by. The Morlocks run around the corner. The party emerge, and two small groups of morlocks run past them, leaving a giant slug in the road near the group. Seldrel fires a beam of fire/magic missile. The slug spits acid back at him, and them the fight involves everyone. The slug strike solidly at Lanliss, Bacon and Hardaz. Merxif and Seldrel use fire against it. It badly wounds a few of the group before being killed. During the fight a zombie emerged from another building near where they had hidden and attacks Winter. There are more noises of movement from the building and the group starts to enter and look around. They encounter some fast zombies, a wight and a mohrg – a strong intelligent skeletal undead that tries to paralyse its victims. Winter is drained by the wight before it is killed, and the mohrg hurts a few of the group but not seriously. It runs out of room to manoeuvre and is destroyed.

Ziggurat – explore around and examine the statues and pyramid. Note damaged Yuan-ti script on parts of a structure and carved reptilian heads. The headless remains of a Yuan-ti halfblood lie on the steps. Bacon realises that the main flagstone on top of the pyramid shows a feathered snake and can be lifted. Lanliss and the dwarves reposition the stone block revealing a shaft down deep below the ziggurat. Lanliss descends with rope with Bacon close behind. His light reveals a large chamber with many bones, some pits and a giant animated snake skeleton. Lanliss misjudges his drop to the group, and lands in a shallow spiked pit. The snake promptly bites him and he is unable move – paralysed! Bacon drops to the ground in a feat of acrobatics, Winter levitates down and Seldrel flies in. They are able to defeat the skeleton construct and keep it from hitting Lanliss again.

A damaged building nearby is suspected to be a temple of Xan Yae – Baklunish goddess of shadow and stealth. Bacon notes small lotus flowers carved near the entrance and there are falchion carving inside. A pair of altars also have falchion carvings. Much of the building is in bad condition, inhabited by normal bats, rats and spiders. A centipede swarm attacks them and is dispersed by most of the group throwing alchemists fire into its midst. A Yuan-ti halfblood (a big snake with arms) is found in some repaired and cleaned rooms, and a hidden compartment hides coins, scrolls and a magical belt.

Another damaged building appears to be empty. There are recent prints (likely morlocks and bugbears) near the entrance, and much rubble in the rear chambers. Beyond a secret door are two more doors in a short passage. One door is stuck, the other locked. Lanliss cannot pick the lock and a voice tells them to leave. Lanliss and Hardaz ready a battering ram and start pounding at the door. The voice begins to threaten them and suddenly all their lights go out. When Seldrel uses a magical daylight pellet to restore light, they see a shadowy figure – the upper torso of a skeletal humanoid floating in the air. It attacks Lanliss then retreats into the shadows and disappears. Lanliss is blind, and the others observe that his skin is paler, and his clothing and gear is bleached of colour. They retreat out of the building and Merxif casts remove blindness, and then remove curse on Lanliss, but neither are successful. They head up out of the cavern, leading Lanliss up through the dungeons and back to Falsford. The Priest of Rao is able to restore his vision.

4th: The group restock on alchemist fire. On returning to the Hold they stop at the Hall of the Gods and as expected find the statues have all changed – most are human deities, though three are halfling. They activate the statue of Zodal, the Flan god of Mercy, Hope and Benevolence. They receive a wand of cure serious wounds, while Boris, Merxif, and Winter feel more healthy. {Temporary HPs}

They return to the cavern and the building with the voice and locked door. Again, they hear threats as they try to break down the door. Their lights go out, and they again use a daylight pellet. When the door opens they see a room with urns, chests and the skeletal creature that Seldrel thinks is an Owb – a thing with links to the plane of shadow that prefers darkness to light. It throws a ball of cold fire at Lanliss, then everyone rushes into the room. They use fire spells in addition to their usual attacks and strike it down before it does much more damage to them.

A building to the west has a dome on top. They check through the buildings on the way, destroying a few zombies. A hall around the inner wall of the domed building is painted with images they recognise as the animals of the 12 zodiac constellations. There is no detectable entry to the interior of the building, and a few of the group get up on the roof to examine the dome. While appearing to be stone, the metal hemisphere is marked with the constellations, but this time the actual star patterns. Seldrel realises that the positions of the Tiger are wrong, He any Lanliss depress that section of the dome, and it retracts and slides aside. Through the open segment they can see a ladder down, shelves, bookcases and a huge telescope assembly. Some of the group enter and begin to look around. There is rubbish and rotting paper scattered around, and the telescope is magical. A wheel and gears can be used to rotate, raise or lower it. While Seldrel looks it over, a translucent figure of a man in robes appears and tells them to leave it alone. “If you answer two questions, then you can look around. Otherwise, please go away. The observatory isn’t for anyone who just walks in…” They agree and ‘Nargan’ gives them two questions – “Name two of the wandering stars” and “How else is Venificus called?” While most of the party have an opinion, Seldrel and Winter are considered the more reliable sources on the stars and give the answers “the sisters, Ginsel, and Vecna.” Nargun is happy to meet others with a knowledge of astronomy and fades away. Many well known constellations are carved on the walls, and search provides the group with an astrolabe, a repairable spyglass, and a number of astronomical papers than can likely be sold. Looking through the telescope shows the night sky outside the hold. It could be disassembled, but would be difficult to transport and the magic may be negated by doing so.

FalsKrag Session 38 – Goblins and Gargoyles

Not a long session. Lanliss wasn’t the centre of attention (or damage) for a change. Seldrel nearly got torn to pieces, Bacon thought he was going to drown in the marsh and Merxif learned to fly… While he doesn’t weigh much, Merxif does wear heavy armour and has no skill at climbing. The group usually ties a rope around him and pulls him up anything vertical. A short discussion on character weight, led us to realising that the owl (small size like the gnome) is quite strong and could lift Merxif without difficulty. This may lead to some special shoulder pads, and simple leather harness for Merxif to wear to make this easier.

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(26th Ready’reat) There are caves in the cliff walls to the north west. A number of entrances exist to the same small cave system. It seems mostly occupied by goblins, with a some morlocks, two ogres and a pair of worgs. Once these are defeated, the caves are searched and some basic treasure recovered. There are signs that other humanoids (likely females and young) escaped the caves during the fighting. As they exit, they are attacked by two gargoyles.

Another cave mouth exists higher up in the cliff. Lanliss and Bacon begin to climb up the wall, while Hardaz digs a spider climb potion out of his bag and Seldrel flies up to the cave. Two gargoyles waiting at the entrance claw and bite him. He flies back off the ledge, badly wounded. Winter backs up to be able to shoot arrows, and the other three reach the ledge and attack. Seldrel drops a rope for Merxif and the group realise that Summer can actually carry the gnome over short distances with little trouble. The gargoyle cave is small and quickly looted.

Gargoyle cave on cliff, with a bat standing in for the second gargoyle.

Once back on the ground, they decide to head back to the crafting halls to rest for the evening. Crossing the northern edge of the marsh, Bacon suddenly falls over and flounders around in a foot of water. Lanliss pulls him up, but after a few steps he is prone again and acting like he is drowning. Bacon describes the “deep murky water” as pulling him down. They move him away and he feels better. Seldrel detects no unusual magical auras and they discuss mind-effects, poison, and disease. They suspect something in that part of the marsh has an unusual effect on some of them (since this sort of hallucination has occurred before), though the source is not anything that stands out. They make their way up the stairs and passages to safety.

27 – 28th: While Seldrel begins crafting a magical haversack, Hardaz and Lanliss gather some of their treasure to take into Falsford. They sell off what they can and Hardaz leaves his warhammer with Kevilli to make it stronger and rust-proof. Lanliss learns that his ring of invisibility is nearly finished and could be collected in a few days.

1 – 2nd Sunsebb: Seldrel continues crafting minor items that are quickly made. The group regularly check on the statues in the Hall of the Gods, expecting that they will change very soon with the new moon of Luna. Lanliss heads back into town to collect his ring, while Hardaz buys alchemists fire and Winter gets more arrows.

3rd: The group feels the pull to explore and heads back down toward the cavern. Near the end of the stairs out, Lanliss realises that something blocks the passage. Range enables them to destroy the gelatinous cube before it can reach any of them.

FalsKrag Session 37 – Vermin and a bloody mist

The group has now explored almost the entire northern edge of the cavern, maybe a fifth of the total cavern and ruins. The previous encounter with the vampire in the dungeon didn’t go very well and I found it extremely amusing when Seldrel’s player decided the small direction-changing mist moving towards them was a vampire and warned everyone accordingly. Everyone else’s reactions were also fun – Hardaz’ player was confident with his ghost-touch axe, Merxif has seen how effective his moon-bolt gloves are against undead and Bacon (who is usually the last to retreat) quickly got out of the way. The first round of combat wasn’t good for Hardaz, and Seldrel’s Knowledge check only gave him the name and very basic information. By the time Merxif noted that it was actually alive and not undead, it didn’t really matter. I missed with a second attack, and a typical mist isn’t going to stand up to lots of hits without continually healing itself by feeding. It could have been nastier if they hadn’t seen it coming.

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(25th Ready’reat) Seldrel and Winter have noted that the lights in the cavern ceiling had been getting slightly brighter and are now dimming. Seldrel thinks they match the daylight cycle above-ground.

A mostly intact building with a second storey is investigated. There are tracks of humanoids outside and Lanliss hears movement within. The building appears to have been a temple, and two snakes attack the group as they explore. A defaced altar has some script that Seldrel recognises as Tlaman (used by the Yuan-ti) but not enough remains to translate. Upstairs a number of spiders attack them. After clearing out their webs some coins are recovered. A step-pyramid flanked by huge snake statues can be seen in a walled area south. Movement of humanoids is also seen to the west. Heading out of the building they are ambushed by bugbears and morlocks.

Moving further west, the ruins explored have more bugbears and morlocks. A few short combats result, and one group of attackers includes a bugbear cleric. The group retrieve some worthwhile equipment and scout the buildings for treasure – mostly coins and scrolls. The group is almost out of spells and elect to retreat. The cavern lights have darkened but still provide a dim light. Returning across the marsh, both Bacon and Winter have an odd feeling that quickly passes. There is no sign of anything else nearby in the marsh and they reach the stairs out safely. They head up to rest at the crafting halls.

26th Winter is able to cut some of the rough gems found and improves their value a little. The party returns to the cavern and into the marsh. As they head towards the closer ruins, a mist is sighted, drifting from the north. Seldrel suspects a vampire following them. It changes direction towards them when they pick-up their pace, then suddenly flies across the uneven ground, attacking Hardaz and draining his blood. The slightly pinkish mist flushes red and Seldrel decides that it is a vampiric mist – a strange creature that drains blood from living creatures to strengthen itself. Bacon retreats to the ruin, Merxif fires a moon bolt thinking it is undead. His spell barely weakens it, and his goggles show the creature as living. Summer claws at the creature once but cannot harm it. Thankfully, Winter’s magical arrows have a much greater effect and it suddenly bursts in a rain of blood.

Into the north-western section of the ruins they encounter larger numbers of morlocks and bugbears. A cleric and tougher warriors accompany the two waves that emerge from rebuilt homes within the mostly ruined shells of older structures. They are defeated after a long and tough fight.

 

FalsKrag Session 36 – Ruin Dwellers

We played a standard session but had five separate combats, with only one of those really being quick. (In addition to exploration and some strategic planning.) I felt that the players got more done this session than is usual. The fight with the ghoul-stirges and ghouls got a bit nasty, but Merxif’s player has got some quite useful equipment now (in addition to channelling positive energy) and can be very nasty against undead when he gets in the right position.

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(25th Ready’reat): Stronger and fully healed they return to the cavern. Crossing the marsh to the ruins they are attacked by a mass of vegetation. The shambling mound is quite tough, grabbing hold of Hardaz and battering him. Once killed they have to cut the creature off of him. Into the ruins, they elect to go after the shadow – this time prepared with Hardaz’ axe, and other magic. (Mage armour on Seldrel, displacement on Hardaz and Merxif wears his magical moon-bolt gloves.) The shadow comes out to attack Hardaz but misses a number of strikes. Hardz though hits, while Merxif and Seldrel use searing light spells. Merxif fires a bolt from his gloves, disabling the undead for long enough that the rest of them can destroy it. There is only one room in here that they had not been able to reach – it turns out to be another tomb for Gregern Falshandren. Seldrel notes that the date on it is similar to the others encountered. There is some minor treasure and a magical helmet with mind shielding, but Seldrel notes with disappointment that it is cursed. He cannot determine how, but no-one is game to wear it.

Moving north, Lanliss and Winter note movement within a building. They enter carefully, and sight a small group of stirges. As they begin melee, they realise the creatures are undead, and the noise of the fight attracts some ghouls. Lanliss is paralysed when a stirge attaches itself to him and begins to drain his blood. Hardaz and Summer are also paralysed, but from ghoul attacks. Merxif again uses moon bolt on 2 stirges, and channel energy against the undead. Hardaz takes considerable damage before the active members of the party can defeat all their opponents.

Further west, most of the buildings are little more than broken walls and piles of rubble. Some repair has taken place, and they soon learn why. They encounter a few morlocks and bugbears. The fight attracts more bugbears and spreads through a fair section of the ruins. Some of the latter bugbears are stronger, leaders and more advanced warriors. Prayer, haste, fireball, and acid breath are used against them. It looks like small groups of both humanoids are living in this part of the buildings – the morlocks in burrows under the rubble and the bugbears in reconstructed rooms and shelters.