2018 – Painting: 1, RPG Writing: Lots!

We are nearly halfway through 2018 and so far I’ve painted only ONE figure. After working through my Zombicide figures last year, I expected to make good progress on other painting projects this year, but it just hasn’t happened. My one week Christmas-New Year break was spent in Tasmania, and work has been increasingly busy since then. Most nights I’ve read, done some typing, watched some TV, and played some Lotro (Lord-of-the-Rings Online).

The single exception is a WotC D&D “Giant Scorpion” that I purchased through eBay, that came entirely in a disappointing black. It really didn’t look pre-painted at all. I spent an afternoon repainting it to something that you can actually see detail on.

Scorpion-3

What I’ve really spent time on this year is writing a Pathfinder D&D megadungeon – FalsKrag:

Early last year, when looking for Gamma World material, I found a blog with a player in a GURPS Gamma World Campaign. I got more interested in his blog as I started reading more of the megadungeon campaign that he runs – Felltower. The more I read on his campaign, the more interested I became in doing my own. (Thank you Peter for so much inspiration!) I decided to start with “Beginnings” a short adventure (written a year or two ago) for new 1st level characters that explains how they get together from different places around the world of Greyhawk and become an adventuring group. The main adversary and finale in that adventure provides a perfect lead-in to my megadungeon.

I looked for somewhere in the world of Greyhawk to place my ruins and mountain dungeon and by chance zoomed in on a map and found three places on a river close to the border of three countries – Falsford, Fals Keep and Falsridge. It’s also right next to a minor mountain range, with valleys, forested areas and a heap of humanoids. I didn’t intend to copy Felltower in name, but this seemed the perfect set-up for my adventure, and the more I read on the politics and history of the area, the more I knew I had a great location. So the ruin of Falshold, on the mountain of FalsKrag was born.

FalsKrag maps & handouts (Click for larger) – blurred to remove important detail.

I’ve now mapped and detailed about 12 areas (or levels), for the ruin and dungeon. I’ve got a family history for the ruin, a past timeline (covering 500 years), details on population of the three “towns” (numbers, types of classes/levels of inhabitants, shrines/temples, etc), a growing list of expanded rumours, and three detailed sections of legend/history that I’ve worked around established Greyhawk history of the area, that have an impact of the dungeon or a particular part of it. It’s been a lot of fun writing it, and it hasn’t mattered if I’ve got sidetracked looking up odd Greyhawk info in my many books and resources. I have a heap of player handouts, some colour maps, a growing set of Hero Lab portfolios with monsters and NPCs, notes on the different greyhawk races/cultures (complete with real-world language notes to offer a printed version of any text in Baklunish, Flan, Oeridean, or Suel), a new fully fleshed weapon of legacy (and plans to utilise and rewrite three from the book d20 3.5 ‘Weapons of Legacy’) and sets/groups of magical and mundane items in and around the dungeon (for example, an NPC group from 200 years ago had weapons made here) that may be found or be required for something. I’ve got notes for future levels/creatures/NPCs/legends that I’ll expand on as I feel I’ve reached an appropriate place to put them.

While this won’t be a full sandbox experience, it is distinctly not linear, nor static, in dungeon layout and with it’s multiple story-lines. There should be many choices (rumours, legend, exploration, locations, etc) that players can choose from to investigate in any session. My group of players are primarily hack’n’slash, but they don’t mind the occasional puzzle. There are things that shouldn’t be found or understood on the first “pass”, things that will happen as game-time passes, and consequences to party actions. I’ve got events/locations where what happens relates to particular days of the month, or how long before something happens after the party trigger a particular thing/event, detail on how creatures react to the players, whether some groups have friends or get reinforcements, etc.

Overall, I’ve put a lot of work into this (60-70 typed pages, plus maps and handouts, and lots of handwritten notes) and I’m having a lot of fun writing it. A week ago I wanted a fungus or lichen in a particular part of the dungeon – I now have 10 different “herbs” with type, preparation and effects to use, mostly drawn from MERP. I plan to expand this now that I’ve found that Paizo’s Ultimate Wilderness has more.

The second half of “level seven” awaits…

 

Advertisements

Zombicide: BP – Painting Survivors Completed

This will be my last post for 2017. Tonight my wife and I head to Tasmania for a week, so no more painting until the new year. In any case, these three figures are the last of my Zombicide: Black Plague survivors. They are also the last Zombicide figures that I had planned to paint. Walkers, Runners, Fatties and NPCs can stay as they are. (I did paint the runner bases red, to make them stand out from the walkers.)

 

William – Sean Bean as Boromir (Lord of the Rings) and possibly Eddard Stark (Game of Thrones)

Scowl – Batman!

Hitch – David Bowie as Jareth, the Goblin King from the movie “Labyrinth”

These three were all straightforward to paint except for the beard on William. The card clearly show a distinctly bearded Sean Bean, but there isn’t a sculpted beard on the figure, so I’ve painted this on free-hand. Its okay, but I did a better job with Paul in one of my earlier posts. I feel that ‘William’ matches the clothes of Boromir more than Ned Stark. He’s only missing a horn. There’s a lot of debate over this figure, but there’s no reason why both roles couldn’t be intended.

All three are basic melee characters. I feel ‘Hitch’ could have had at least one magic skill to fit with Labyrinth more, but Slippery and Taunt suit the role.

This brings my painted figures to 95 for the year, which I’m very happy with. I would have liked to hit 100, but that can be a goal for next year. After I finish the 14 Star Wars mini’s that sit undercoated on my desk, I have a strong temptation to paint all the figures from my ‘Space Crusade’ board game.

For my first post next year, I might get all the painted Zombicide figures out and take a group photo!

Best wishes all for Christmas and the New Year!

 

Zombicide: BP – Painting Survivors #12

Three more Zombicide: Black Plague survivors completed and only three more to paint.

This set are mostly guest artist figures:

– Morrigan, dark Elf bodyguard – Wulfsburg Expansion

– Antha, Human witch – by Mark Simonetti.

– Merieil, Elf magesmith – by Naiade.

 

These were all interesting to paint. Both Morrigan and Merieil have a considerable amount of detail, although the colours shown on the cards don’t make it stand out. Antha is the complete opposite – a fairly basic sculpt, but the colour is everything! I didn’t follow card colours exactly in each case.

I can’t look at Morrigan without thinking of a female version of Drizzt Do’Urden, and I can’t be the only one. I made slight variations with colours, mostly to give a bit more contrast in clothes and equipment. My dark elfs (D&D background) have almost black skin (and red eyes), not the pale grey of the card image. I messed things up doing this – I had just the right blend of really dark grey (almost black) painted, then decided to remove the strand of hair that hangs down over her face. It had been annoying me right since undercoating. This meant having to repaint the face again, and I didn’t get the colour quite right – too much black. I’ve managed to lighten the skin tone a little, but not quite back to my original plan. I stopped before I make things worse. I’m still thinking of a hint of detail on the boots, and the mask (maybe red not the black/grey on the card).

Antha’s sculpt really only has simple crossed sashes at the front and the “dangling strips” that define lines of colour. I’d thought that painting her with any accuracy was going to be very challenging – but once I got going, I was actually having fun. There’s more free-hand detail there than I would ever have expected to achieve, but with a really steady hand and a really fine brush more could still be done. I’m thrilled with the final look.

Merieil was a nice sculpt and fairly easy painting. There’s some detail sculpted that’s not on the card (elbow & knee pads) and I reversed the hair and skin coolours. I’m not used to elves with pink/purple skin, so I went with my “fair maiden” pale flesh and some “lavender” over white for the hair. The skin didn’t work out quite as smoothly as I’d have liked, but it’s not quite as bad as it looks in the photo.

 

I’ve got two survivors to go – three to show, but one already painted. I’m going away for the last week of December, so I don’t expect to get any more painting done except for the final Z:BP survivors this year.

Zombicide: BP – Painting Survivors #11

The weather in Melbourne (Aust) is extremely confused. November/December has gone from record breaking 30+ temperatures to cold and nearly flooded (a month’s rain in a day?). At least cooler weather means I’m happier to paint, and I look like finishing my Zombicide survivors before Christmas.

These three are all movie/TV characters:

Lady Faye – Snow White (Kirsten Stewart from the 2012 movie “Snow White & the Huntsman”)

Danton – William Wallace (Mel Gibson from the 1995 movie “Braveheart”)

Xuxa – Xena (Lucy Lawless from the 1995 TV series “Xena, Warrior Princess”)

These three were fairly good to paint – nice poses and sculpts. I looked at images on the web to get a better idea of details, which didn’t always help. For example, the Lady Faye figure has a rose emblem on her shield – but in the movie it’s a tree. I painted it red just to be simple. Mel gibson wore tartan in the movie, and I tracked more images (and the tartan) down. The card doesn’t show the tartan – its shows a plain dark brown cloth. The actual tartan is a pale grey/reddish-brown/darker brown pattern which I attempted to paint but didn’t do very well. I didn’t want to try and clean it all off and start again, and gives a bit of variety in the colours of the figure and looks (unintentionally) blood spattered. Xena is surprisingly quite accurate with colours and design (card vs TV series), but I may go back and touch up some detail with gold or bronze metallic, rather than leave the mostly silver detail.

All the survivor’s skills are pretty much straight forward melee. While the “Xuxa” figure holds a bow, she has no specifically ranged skills.

There’s only six survivors to go, and I have two painted already. I’ll keep painting and hopefully have two more sets of three to post over the next week or two.

Zombicide: BP – Painting Survivors #10

Painting started well during the week with me getting another set completed, then my enthusiasm died due to the continued hot weather.

This set includes:

Falstaff – Dracula (Gary Oldman from 1992 “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”)

Lucas – Godfrey de Ibelin (Liam Neeson from 2005 “Kingdom of Heaven”)

Sylvia – Black Plague Hero Box

Julian – Black Plague Hero Box

All four are fairly general melee hero’s, with two exceptions. Lucas has “Spellcaster” as a red skill, which I feel is a bit late to be considering magic, unless ‘Reaper: Combat’ if that was taken at orange. Sylvia has distinct melee skills until red – then she has three ‘Combat’ options, which I feel is great at that stage because it works with any equipment you’ve gained.

Falstaff was easy to paint; he’s basically red with black ink, though I did give him a brown base coat to ensure the red wasn’t going to be bright. Lucas has dark hair on the card, but it’s much more a light brown in the movie. I’ve painted his hair to match the movie, but it’s looking a bit lighter in the pictures than it actually is. I didn’t bother painting the “mask” on Sylvia’s face. Julian’s cloak looks to me (on the card) as if it has a purple hue near the top and more blue-grey at the bottom – I just used a dark purple I have all over with a little dark blue/gray and black for shading. I wasn’t concerned about highlighting these figures. They are board game figures, and I want them finished… so unless a particular figure makes me want to spend some extra effort I’m just happy to use ink for shading and leave it at that.

Zombicide: BP – Painting Survivors #9

More survivors! Most of these were fun to paint – mostly simple colour schemes and some different colours.

The four figures are:

Clovis – Original Black Plague

Theo – Wulfsburg Expansion

Gowan – “Connor McLeod” (Christopher Lambert, Highlander movie.)

Troy – “Ash” (Bruce Campbell, Army of Darkness movie.)

There’s quite a variety in “quality” when it comes to the movie characters – the cards are generally very close to the actors representation, but the actual figure faces aren’t always so good. Troy’s card certainly looks like Bruce Campbell, but I feel figure is close but not great. ‘Gowan’ is worse – with perhaps the exception of the shield, the pose and gear is accurate, but the face doesn’t look that much like Christopher Lambert to me. The tartan is wrong too.

 

“Everyone yell at the enemy!”

I like tartan and Highlander (Scottish ancestry), but I’ve dreaded painting it. I wouldn’t say my first attempt is great, but it came together better than I’d hoped. In future, I’d paint slightly differently – light background colour, darker colour, then fine stripes, rather than trying to darken ‘squares’ after the lines. I used movie stills for accurate tartan colours.

     Gowan/Connor McLeod close-up

 

I was pleased to get to ‘Ash’ – since I completed ‘Evil Ash’ (Survivor/Necromancer) a long time ago. I found a sculpting error with this figure too – there’s no sword hilt below the crossbar. The hilt should be visible between his hands – but there’s just an empty gap – and the very end of it should probably extend just below his left hand. I couldn’t be bothered trying to fill the gap, or manufacture a ‘repair’ – it’s not obvious unless you are looking very closely at his hands.

I also noticed after painting and getting ready to type that Theo’s base should be blue/green. His skill set is melee/ranged, so I’ve repainted half the base.

Zombicide: BP – Painting Survivors #8

I’ve actually completed 5 survivors over the past two weeks, but the fifth can wait until I’ve done a few more.

They are:

– Gregoire (Navarre, Rutger Hauer from “Ladyhawke”)

– Ann (Original ZBP)

– Paul (The Huntsman, Chris Hemsworth from “Snow White and the Huntsman”)

– Silas (Original ZBP)

 

I’ve thrown out three of my “fine” point brushes recently – two had lost too many bristles, and generally they were very scruffy and useless for detail. I was very happy to discover I have a Citadel ‘Detail Brush’ which didn’t look worthwhile until I actually put paint on it – it has a great point and is just what I’ve needed. Gregoire was good to paint – I like the pose and detail and I could happily get to everything. I found that the colours of his cloak on the card compared to the actual figure didn’t make sense. So I got some images from ‘Ladyhawke’ to get a good look at the costume… and painted the cloak to match the movie – black outside, red inside. I’m a little disappointed with the scabbard on the figure – it doesn’t “fold” into the cloak – it just stops – like there’s only the top quarter.

Ann was very straightforward. Very dark blue robes, and silvered plate mail. Probably the fastest painting of any Zombicide figure I’ve done.

 

Paul’s figure is slight and small compared to nearly every other survivor. I’ve never much liked this one because of the proportions. I’d expect a longer handle with that size axe blade, or a smaller blade like on the card. The colours – black, dark brown, red-brown and pale greenish/white – don’t stand out. I used a bit of grey on his wrist-guards, and there’s a bit more highlighting/shading than the pictures show. I probably should have just done either the pants or jacket in a completely different colour! Another failing – he has a short beard on the card (and in the movie) but it’s not sculpted on the figure! I’m not comfortable with fine free-hand painting of detail, but I am very proud of how this worked.

Silas has a lot more colour and variety. I really like the pose, but find it amusing that while there’s bow and quiver on his back, he has his sword out and swinging. Every skill this survivor has is ‘ranged’, not melee!

That’s 31 out of 50 survivors completed!