Tabletop Games for the “holidays”.

Not much painting over the last few weeks. Lots of writing, reading and playing board games!

My work has only been closed on public holidays, but that’s still given me two long weekends with chances to catch up with friends and do stuff at home. My wife and I spent one week playing Kingdom Builder (2011+), and another playing Alhambra (2003+). Both of these are great games where its hard to be sure of who’s winning till the end, and every game plays very differently. Sadly to say, when it’s just the two of us, she wins about 3 of 4 games! When we have played these with 3+ players, wins are more evenly distributed.

For the New Years weekend I dug up some of my older board games: RISK Lord of the Rings (2003, Trilogy addition), The Lonely Mountain (1984) and Talisman (1985, 2nd Edn). I think she’s played Talisman with a larger group of us once before, but not the others.

We set up RISK yesterday and ran one long game. Long, because I’d completely forgotten all the rules and so both of us were learning. Turns mostly became a case of each of us assembling one or two concentrations of forces and claimed a lot of territory, then losing parts of it when the other player did the same thing. Our biggest mistake was not defending some areas enough and over-extending our forces in attacks. My wife got a slight advantage in territories (individual areas) early on, and then regions (a group of territories) which gave her more reinforcements. I realised about halfway through that I wasn’t likely to fight my way back.

This shows the board after seven turns at the main turning point. My wife (Yellow) has reinforced her troops and is about to sweep straight down through Rhovian (yellow area on right) and take 1/2 of Mordor. With only minor reinforcements for me (and lots for her) from here on, the game only lasted about four more turns.

We swapped sides for another game today, and had a very similar game. I only held her off in Eastern Gondor for an extra turn before being wiped out.

This is quite fun, with the LotR cards adding movie stuff into the game to give bonus reinforcements, or affect battles, and scoring. I’m hoping for a three player game next weekend, which should be very different. Tonight we play Talisman.

There are 400+ figures for the game, which is far too many to paint. They are also smaller than my usual 25-30mm figures, and not so detailed. I did decide to paint the shield tokens – each represents a leader. (Gives bonus to a dice roll.) Elven shields for the good armies, and orc shields for the evil armies. All were single colour plastic tokens, that will stand out a lot more on the board now that they are painted. It was easy to miss the detail on the front (particularly on the elf shields) when they were plain colours.

Starting another year…

I haven’t started painting for 2018 yet.

I thought I’d post a group shot of all my painted figures for Zombicide: Black Plague. They did make up 80% of what I painted in 2017 and it’s really nice looking at them all set out.


Three of us played yesterday – making this my first game of anything for 2018 – and it was great that everyone had painted survivors.

Here’s a few slightly closer shots:



In the same theme of completed sets, here’s a group that were finished in 2016. There were individual posts at the time, but I meant to take a group shot once all had been finished. They have all been on a side desk collecting dust for too long. Now I can put them away in cases or on my bookshelf for display.


These figures are meant to be (with one exception) 1985 Citadel figures, “Lord of the Rings” series.

ME-1 Fellowship Heroes – Aragon, Frodo with ring, Gandalf. (Front centre)

ME-2 Fellowship Heroes – Legolas, & Gimli with axe. (Centre)

ME-11 Gandalf and Shadowfax. (Left. I didn’t keep the Gandalf rider, only the horse.)

ME-13 Frodo and horse. (Front right)

ME-15 Gimli with axe, shield, and horse. (Front)

ME-21 Boromir and horse. (Front left.)

ME-35 Beorn, Werebear. (Rear left)

ME-51 Orcs of the Red Eye. (Rear rightish)

ME-55 Mouth of Sauron and skeletal horse.

ME-61 Sauron and throne. (Only the throne remains!)

ME-62 Saruman the White and horse. (Right)

ME-74 Snagga, Goblins. (Front right)

ME-83 Tom Bombadil & Fatty Lumpkin. (Left. I didn’t keep Tom)

The exception is M049, “Angmar Troll with cleaver”, a Mithril Miniatures (1988), Witchking of Angmar series. (Rear leftish)

I can’t remember which of the three horses/ponies on the right are which any more.

Interesting note: The base for “Boromir’s horse” was actually marked ‘Aragorn’.

Thanks to Azazel for painting Sauron’s Throne! (The rest I did myself.)

One-shot games (or “What to do when players aren’t free?”)

Long gone are the days when my gaming group played some sort of game multiple times a week. Work, partners and/or family, and life in general means my group now averages a gaming day/night twice a month. My main D&D game has six players, and I generally don’t feel like running it if two people can’t make it. The Pathfinder game I play in came about in part for this reason – so that we could still role-play when the two busier people in our larger group weren’t free.

Sometimes a player can drop out at last minute, or you may have a few people who still want to get together. Occasionally, we’ll still play and one player runs two PC’s. We have also ended up playing board games (like Dungeon Quest, Talisman, Minion Hunter), card games (Munchkin, Flux, Unexploded Cow) or I’ve run a one session RPG. In the past we have played two Call of Cthulhu games (I’ve got “Blood Brothers” – designed with this in mind) and last year we did three separate one-shot (/playtest) Gamma World games. I’ve still got another CoC adventure ready to run if required.

Earlier this year, one of the blogs I read – Dungeon Fantastic – detailed two sessions where he ran S2 “White Plume Mountain” (AD&D) as a change from his normal GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. It sounded like a lot of fun, both as an alternative from normal gaming and a chance to play a few adventures from early D&D versions without converting them to d20/PF (which is what I mostly do now) and/or having to make changes to suit my player’s character levels. It inspired me to look at the rule books on my gaming shelves and produce a couple of single-session adventures to have ready for one of those days when someone can’t make a game or we just feel like something different.

Over the last two months I started working on two One-Shot adventures – one for Star Wars and another for Middle Earth. This gave me a theme – Movie/TV – that I’ve been expanding to nearly every RPG I own. Generally I’m taking a part of a movie (or the general idea from the film/TV program) and building something for 4-5 players. I enjoy coming up with adventure ideas and I love making characters, so two ideas have grown into six – so far!

Here’s the adventures I’m working on; titles are subject to change.

Star Wars (d6 W.E.G.) – “The Pit of Carkoon”

Middle Earth Role Playing – “Dol Guldar: The Necromancer”

Gamma World (d20 Pathfinder) – “We’re not in Kansas anymore”

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay – “Inconceivable!” (Or “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya…”)

Shadowrun (3rd Edition) – “Asgard has fallen.”

Oriental Adventures (D&D 3.5) – “Gandhara/Journey to the West”

Now, it’s possible that the titles don’t mean anything to you, or only sound a little familiar. If so, here’s some more detail:

  1. The “Pit of Carkoon” is the resting place of the Sarlaac from “Return of the Jedi”. Six minutes in the movie makes a great set-up for a major combat on two skiffs and Jabba’s Sail Barge. For five PC’s, with an optional sixth being Boba Fett, fighting against the rest of the players. The session could be expanded with something in Mos Eisley where the players have to get back to the Millennium Falcon.
  2. Dol Guldar is a fortress in southern Mirkwood forest, where the White Council drive out Sauron – “the Necromancer”. There’s a scene that interprets the events from “The Lord of the Rings” in the movie “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”. The LotR book lists the “White Council” as being “the Wizards, Elrond, Cirdan, Galadriel, and other lords of the Eldar” so I’ve made nine characters that can be chosen from by Players, and I’ll modify Dol Guldar from the MERP sourcebook “Mirkwood”.
  3. The classic movie “The Wizard of Oz” converted to Gamma World. Five PC’s (including Toto) are sent by the “Tech Wizard from Oz” to remove the threat of the “Wicked Witch” (an Esper) and her flying monkeys.
  4. Another classic movie – “The Princess Bride”. Westley, Buttercup, Inigo Montoya, Fezzik and Miracle Max have to defeat Prince Humperdink, Count Rugen and maybe Vizzini. This adventure will draw on the characters more than the actual story in the movie.
  5. I’ve done little work on this so far. The idea is to have a Shadowrun session where the PC’s are all off-duty military/security named after characters (or actors?) from the “Olympus has fallen” movies who have to rescue the President and his son from terrorists. My big change is to relocate this to Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. Downloading basic maps/floor-plans was easy. I mostly need to make-up the PC’s and NPC’s.
  6. The novel “Journey to the West” is the fictional story of an actual Chinese monk who traveled to India to bring back Buddhist scriptures. Most people are more familiar with the 1978 Japanese TV series “Monkey”. The five main characters (including Horse) recreated in d20 and doing something similar to an episode of the series.

For most of these I’ve completed the PC’s and thought about NPC’s and creatures. Specific adventure detail comes next. Once finished, I’ll probably add the adventures to the blog.


MERP Campaign & Resources

My MERP Campaign work is pretty much finished. I’ve customised the 2nd edition MERP rules to suit the way I’d like the game to run, and completed my tables for character creation and campaign play. I’m now in the process of converting ICE’s LOR (Lord of the Rings Adventure Game) adventures into MERP adventures. My aim would be to use the first two LOR modules as the start of my MERP Campaign.

Here’s my campaign adventure plan so far – leading from Bree to Rivendell, then around most of Rhudaur:

LR-0 Dawn Comes Early, LR-1 Darker Than Darkness, <Rivendell>, The Loons of Long Fell (1st level), Hillmen of the Trollshaws – The Trolls Watch-Tower (Low level), Trolls of the Misty Mountains – The Dwarves of Duildin Hill (1st – 2nd), Trolls of the Misty Mountains – The Village of Garkash Hill (2nd – 3rd), Phantom of the Northern Marshes – The Phantom of the Woods (1st – 2nd), Phantom of the Northern Marshes – The Riddle of Ridorthu (2nd – 3rd), Dark Mage of Rhudaur – Before the Snow Falls & Beseiged, Hillmen of the Trollshaws – The Tale of Mong-Finn & Miffli (Mdm level), Hillmen of the Trollshaws – The Rescue of Alquawen (Mdm level).

The LOR system is like a simpler version of MERP – it uses a smaller set of skills than MERP (LOR skills are like the MERP skill categories), a simpler set of races/classes and rolls are all using 2d6. Most MERP products come with a guide for converting LOR Characters to MERP, but it’s mostly along the lines of “work out what level your character would be and assign DP’s for each level to the skill categories determined by the LOR bonuses”. What I really like about the LOR modules is the way they are written – lots of detail about what the characters see, or can learn/interact with through skill rolls. The first adventure is designed for players who haven’t played LOR (or many RPGs) before and is great for the GM to lead them through the basics of skill use, combat and general role-playing.

Most of my conversion requires converting the LOR skill roll results to MERP Static Maneuver results. When it comes to creatures/NPCs, I’m just making my own NPC’s using MERP rules, or adding the relevant MERP creature stats. The adventures also have a lot of maps and visual aids and I’ve been able to use a lot of them to make floor-plans or game play maps. (I recently learned that one of my graphics programs can overlay a grid on an image, and I found another program that takes large images and break them up into A4 sheets for printing!) I made up four new characters using my rules and I’m play-testing my conversions – going nicely so far!

I also decided that with all these things that I’ve developed, it would be worth adding a new page to my blog that lists internet resources that I’ve found helpful and also made some of my RPG files available to others who may find them useful. So far it’s mostly MERP materials – character sheets, tables, etc – but I’ll add Greyhawk material (D&D and Hero Lab) as I find it or finish it.


Middle-Earth Role Playing – Returning to an old favourite


What I read, and the movies I watch, often influence what game system I pay attention to. For example, last year over a weekend my wife and I watched all three Hobbit films. Since then I’ve been wanting to go back to my M.E.R.P. (Middle-Earth Role Playing) material. At that time I did little more than collecting some more RPG material and sketching out a basic outline for a new campaign.

Over the last few weeks I’ve actually sat down and fleshed out my ideas, building a folder with some well developed information for starting characters and GM reference material to guide the campaign the way I want. I’m not actually expecting to run a game any time soon (the last MERP campaign I ran was 20 years ago), but my version of OCD means that I enjoy the planning and preparation; even if there’s no sign I’m going to use it. (I’m playing in a Pathfinder D&D campaign currently that shows no sign of ending, but I’ve already detailed what would be my next character up to 15th level – race, class, feats, etc.)

If you aren’t familiar with MERP, then here are the basics of the RPG:

ICE (Iron Crown Enterprises) released the game in 1984, as simplified version of their Rolemaster RPG. Players choose from Dwarves, Elves (Noldor, Sindar, Silvan), Half-Elves, Humans (15 ethnicities) and Hobbits, as races, with six base professions – Warrior, Scout, Ranger, Mage, Animist, Bard. It’s a skill-based 1-100 (or percentile) system. Your race gives you a number of points in specific skills, and each level in your profession gives points in skill categories. Each player chooses how to assign their skill points, and can transfer them to other categories under certain restrictions, which allows for considerable customisation. Most classes have access to spells. Actions are made as a d% roll, adding the appropriate skill bonus, subtracting any penalty for difficulty (if say, picking locks or moving stealthily) or deducting an opponents DB (defensive bonus) in combat. The final result is checked against the relevant table and damage, or the measure of success/failure is determined. Most actions (especially combat) have critical success and fumble tables – well detailed and lots of fun to use. Creatures and other campaign detail is based on the wealth of J.J.R. Tolkien’s works, and there are dozens of source books, campaign guides, and adventure modules to cover the length and breadth of Middle Earth. The material references different time periods, allowing games to be run in pretty much any part of the Third Age.

Most of a MERP Character Sheet (1st level Dunedain Ranger)

It’s also very easy to use the Rolemaster material to expand or enhance the game. For example – MERP has nine combat tables – for weapon types, spell and creature attacks. My Rolemaster “Arms Law” book has forty-two tables for individual weapons/attacks, as well as expanded critical and fumble tables.

My new “campaign guide” is 18 pages long (so far) – mostly giving the required info for the races and professions I’ll use. I’ve decided to restrict player races to a subset; only using six of the human ethnicities (Beorning, Dunedain, Dunlending, Eriadoran, Gondorian, Rohirrim), but all of the non-human. They will begin as 0-level adolescents or apprentices – only gaining the skills that their race assigns and no profession level skills (for 1st level) until the end of the first adventure. I’m allowing all six base classes, and also six of the optional classes (Burglar, Conjurer, Explorer, Rogue, Shape-changer, Wizard) – I’d love to see someone run a character that turns into a bear! I’ve created my own tables for starting ages, and height/weight for each race. (Based on the d20 tables, customised with the detail given in MERP.) I’ve tweaked Ability/Stat bonuses, the experience/level table and how characters gained XP. The MERP way of characters individually gaining experience from taking damage, casting spells, succeeding in manoeuvres, dealing criticals and defeating opponents gets quite messy to track and I greatly simplified things. I’ve got longer and more detailed equipment/goods & services tables – expanded using some Rolemaster material. I drew on both the Core Rulebook and “Creatures of Middle Earth” to make a two-page creature table with all the detail that I would require for combats, focussing on lower level creatures/monsters, and using the rules to detail a large variety of 1st to 5th level Orc opponents. (Building Orcs and Trolls in MERP is similar to adding Class levels to monsters in d20, so I’m much more comfortable mucking around with NPC’s/creatures than 20 years ago!)

My campaign will start in Bree, probably about 3015 Third Age. This is after the events of the Hobbit (2941 TA), and Bilbo’s 111th birthday party (3001 TA), when Gandalf has been regularly checking on Frodo, and he and Aragorn are searching for Gollum. If you have only seen the LotR movies, you won’t know that 17 years pass between Bilbo’s famous birthday party and when Frodo leaves the Shire with the Ring (3018 TA). The characters will meet Gandalf, and go to Rivendell early in the campaign. I plan to have them spend most of their early levels in Arnor (Rhudaur and Arthedain), and then probably bring them across the Misty Mountains. I’d like to get them involved indirectly with the happenings from LotR – following events in the background rather than the main story – eventually bringing them south to Rohan and Gondor to fight against Sauron’s forces.

I’ve still got some playing around to do with this – detailing encounters and creature stats for the initial Bree adventure (a player Scout character, or a friendly NPC, has been wrongfully accused of theft and jailed). Then I plan to list a number of published adventures I have in a suitable order to get the campaign progressing. After that… I should go back to some painting, convert some more 2nd ed Greyhawk monsters to PF Hero Lab, and I have a Gamma World RPG to do some work on. There’s always another project and not enough time!


Painting: Goblins at last!

My last set of Citadel “Lord of the Rings” figures has been completed! Back in the middle of last year I started to clean these six figures in preparation for a complete repaint. They didn’t get much further than that until last week.


“Orcs of the Red Eye” and “Snagga: Goblins”

They will primarily be used in D&D games so I wanted to change their skin tones from green (Warhammer influence back when I first started painting) to a yellow/orange more in keeping with D&D goblins. They were in such poor shape that repainting them entire seemed better than touch-ups. The three on the left are “Orcs” and the three to the right are “Goblins”. Two of the “orcs” have slightly thinner bodies, and the “goblins” seem to show more teeth. Apart from that, size, clothes/gear are all alike, and they are obviously sculpted in the same style. If I didn’t have a visual reference for the original sets, I’d never pick which were from which set.


Rear view

Their skin colour is oriental flesh which came out well after a second coat and some brown ink at the end. Their chainmail is antique copper and clothes mostly in browns, greens and a touch of red. Weapons, helmets and (metal) shields mostly gunmetal and black ink. I tried bright bronze on a small shield and a helmet. The shield has been dulled to suggest wear and the helmet looked so out of place it was redone with silver and then also dulled down. Two of the “orcs” have small eyes (of Sauron) on the front of their helms and the third (left-most archer) has an eye-outline marked on his shield – half covered by his cloak and not very visible in my photo. I found a “eye” decal in my warhammer bits and a touch of red paint on that has made a nice shield decoration for one of the sword weilders, in keeping with their LotR origin.


“Capture those hobbits!”

I’ll use them as elite goblins for D&D – they are a bit small for orcs. They are slightly bigger and bulkier than a typical WH goblin and a little smaller than a WH orc. Here’s a size comparison. An orc and a goblin from Warhammer, one of my Citadel “goblins”, and Frodo and Boromir from the same range.


That’s all of my Citadel LotR collection painted, except for one piece. When I first posted my idea to work through them all, I didn’t know what to do with Sauron’s throne. Azazel gave me some suggestions, then stated “Damn. I want to paint it myself now.” So gave it to him. Considering how much he complains about what is already on his painting desk, this was probably a mistake – so I think it’s time I got it back. With his suggestions and a site I found on painting marble effects, I should come up with something worthwhile.

Painting – Horse bones with eyes aplenty.

No soft white plastic here! This metal Citadel figure is the mount for my Mouth of Sauron figure that I painted quite a while back. This is a great, well detailed miniature that really deserved the work that I’ve put into it over the last two weeks. I’ve also been watching a lot of Grimm (Season Four), and producing floor plans for D&D (final stage of Expedition to the Demonweb Pits).

Yellow Ochre for a base colour all over, then some careful white paint over the bones. AP ink (Strong tone) over that to darken the gaps, holes, lines, etc… then white again, with a touch of flesh in some spots, and another run of ink. More white highlighting, and a bit of black paint in the eye sockets. Burnt Sienna on the reins with black ink (AP Dark Tone) to detail the eyes on those. A light grey (Field Stone) on the hooves, followed by black ink.

The horse got re-based about this stage – glued to a 40mm round base, then some moulding paste, sand and a couple of small stones. Once dry, painted mostly with Burnt Sienna, and touches of Hull Red and black. A little brown ink to make sure the gaps were “filled in”.

I wasn’t sure what to do with the barding, and I’d initially painted all of that black. I went over it later with a dark grey, then (as I started to have some ideas) used AP Green Tone ink and a hint of silver. This gave me a nice dark metallic green look to the armour. Some black ink shaped the eyes and I wasn’t sure about colouring them like I’d done on the Mouth of Sauron. Then I decided to try gold instead of yellow – found an Antique Gold that came up nicely, then a bit of crimson in the middle of the eye. Black ink over that has filled the lines and makes the eyes stand out a little more than otherwise.

The weather was great this morning, so as well as putting out washing to dry, I was able to take the horse out for a coat of spray varnish. You may look at the pictures and wonder what is going on with the horse’s tail – after curving down to the back legs, it widens a little and ends in a barb or sting just between the rear hooves.

One finished horse

Tonight (after a few more episodes of Grimm), I should be back to the goblins and orcs (that are my remaining creatures in the Lord of the Rings figures to paint) in between a game of Talisman!

From the other side


Not quite eyes in the back of the head…

Painting – Frodo, Frodo, Allies and Enemies!

“If you must know more, his name is Beorn. He is very strong, and he is a skin-changer. He changes his skin: sometimes he is a huge black bear, sometimes he is a great strong black-haired man with huge arms and a great beard. I cannot tell you much more, though that ought to be enough.”

– Gandalf, from “Queer Lodgings” in The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Lord of the Rings – Frodo, Frodo, Beorn, Beorn and only one Troll.

I didn’t check the book before painting any of these. Most (if not all) of my Lord of the Rings figures are likely to be used as non-specific heroes and not as the characters that they are meant to portray. I painted Beorn’s bear form in dark brown without considering other colours. I can get more visible “texture” to show the detail on the figure with a range of browns. I can’t do this with black, although I’m sure other painters can use highlighting to bring out the fur. I probably would have done the man-form with black hair, but I’m not going to repaint it now.

Both hobbits are Frodo. The one holding the One Ring and wearing a mithril shirt, is the more distinct Frodo figure, although I feel this is more like my idea of Bilbo than Frodo. The other is a more general hobbit figure (more like Sam), although I really like the hair on the bare feet!

I’ve been very impressed by the (Angmar) “Troll with Cleaver”. I really like the figure – nice pose, clean moulding and good detail, although I think the face could have been done a little better. I’m watching out for the second Angmar Troll (with morning star) from this series now – I’d love to have the pair of them! Most of my figures are used for D&D games, and I’m looking forward to using this one as an “enlarged” Orc (or half-Orc), or as a half-Ogre. (Does anyone remember Ogrillons?)

I had all of these finished last weekend – but Melbourne has been so cold and damp that I wasn’t going to spray them. Today is cool, but sunny and so they were out and spray varnished this morning.

I’ve nearly finished the skeletal horse – I’m hoping to base it this afternoon – but probably won’t get final details done as I’m expecting a bunch of friends over in a couple of hours to play D&D/Pathfinder!

Painting – My Kingdom for a Horse…

My painting has been slow over the last two weeks. Most nights after work I’ve done bits of painting while playing Talisman. I collected some sand during the week to add to my modelling materials and have found that tea leaves (from a unused tea-bag) make very good flock. Unpainted they look like dry leaves, with some green they do a good grass/moss impersonation!

Citadel Horses – Lord of the Rings

I’ve finished six of the “Lord of the Rings” horses and have made progress with my Angmar Troll, two Frodo figures and Beorn. I’ve retouched a bear (also Beorn) and I’ve got three goblins and three orcs to do some re-painting with too. I was very happy to get a mostly sunny morning today, to put the horses out and spray them! I think I need to buy another can of clear acrylic when I next go near a Bunnings store.

I’ll put up more pictures of the horses when I’ve got the whole series done!

Painting – “Lord of the Rings” project

I’ve been focussed on painting heroes and adventurers over the last few months and I’ve nearly done every such unpainted figure! This is quite an accomplishment in itself, considering how many figures I’ve collected for gaming over the decades.

I’ve got seven figures (mostly Citadel Warhammer) undercoated and ready to paint, but because so many of the figures that I’ve painted or repainted recently included Citadel Lord of the Rings figures – I decided to try and paint ALL of the LotR miniatures that I have. The standard hero figures can wait.

Yesterday I sprayed seven horses and a throne. I’ve never painted horses before, so this will be something new and different. I’m sure that part of today will be looking around the internet at photo’s of real horses. I also have a large oil painting on the wall in the lounge (painted by my father) with pre-WW1 cavalry – that’s a nice inspiration for colours and shading.

These miniatures are, with one exception, from Citadel’s 1985 range. The horses each came with one of the main characters from either the “Fellowship” or another notable figure. The single-piece throne also came with a two-part “Sauron” – basically a empty hooded and cloaked humanoid figure who sat on the throne – very unimpressive. I don’t like multi-part figures now (although I’m better at dealing with them) and a few decades ago I hated them. Sauron was lost (or thrown out) long ago, but I’ve always liked the throne – it’s an imposing, detailed piece of furniture. Painted and based (or “dias”-ed) it should even more worthwhile. The one figure that isn’t Citadel is a 1988 Mithril Miniatures “Angmar troll”. (I note that Mithril is still producing 32mm figures for LotR.)

Suggestions for painting the throne are very welcome! The bulk of it is covered in heads and torsos, interwoven with vines or tendrils. I’m not sure whether to go with shades of grey, or a more fleshly pink/red. Tendrils could be black or green. At the top is a huge eyeball, and what could be a dragon’s head. The rear is bones in a spine-like arrangement.

Throne of Sauron - front

Throne of Sauron – front

Throne – rear