Dungeons and Dragons Things

In addition to the dungeons tiles I got together the other week, I also painted some Bones miniatures from Reaper and made some dungeon props. For the most part I have not been particularly flattering towards Reaper’s Bones range, and I somewhat maintain that position. I will say, however, that the simpler miniatures are (in my opinion) better and much more suited to the polymer medium that Reaper are using for the range than the more complicated or fancy miniatures. This is especially the case for someone like me who uses more basic techniques and goes for a more straight forward look. As for the dungeon props, I drew much inspiration and ideas from DMG and DM Scotty and all turned out very nice. So, without further delay.

Crates and Ladder

The first things I made were these three crates and ladder. I used them in my first session with my second group who were attacking goblins holed up in a barn. To make the creates I modified the method showcased by DMG, which you can find here (opens new tab). What I did not like about his method was how fiddly it was. Instead of gluing the cardboard panels on the inside of the matchstick frame one by one, I first made some 20mm cardboard cubes. I then glued the matchsticks on around the cube. It was not perfect, and there are gaps where the matchsticks that are glued on later in the process don’t quite sit flush with parts of the box (because they’re aligned with the matchsticks that are glued earlier in the frame making process). I think the effect still works well though and you could avoid gaps by being a little more careful and precise without adding too much time to the construction. Painting was a breeze: Raw Umber and then Mud Puddle dry brush. Easy stuff.

Doors

I made six wooden doors and a stone door. Of the props I made, these are my favourite and I am particularly pleased with the wooden doors. They are made from balsa wood sticks cut down to 40mm lengths. After three sticks are glued together to form the door I made some door handles out of copper wire. To do this I wound the copper wire (.7mm I think it is, I use it for pinning my Infinity models when pinning is required) around a paint brush. I then used wire cutters to take a single circle worth off the resulting spring one cut at a time. To afix the handle to the door I used some green stuff modelling putty and then pressed the top part of the handle in and smoothed it down a bit to look like the handle looped thrown a metal holder. There are handles on both sides of the door. Once the handles were affixed I glued the door to a 25mm base. The stone door is just a piece of cardboard with cardstock around it to make it look like a single solid piece. I used cardstock for the bracing on the doors.

Painting again was easy. The wood is Raw Umber then Mud Puddle, the bracing and handle backing is Black and the handle itself is Brassy Brass (I think). The stone door has Terracotta bracing. The stone door and bases are Shadow Grey dry brushed with Stonewall Grey. The bases then have black lines hand painted in to mimic stone flooring.

Furniture

Next we have some beds and tables. It’s all simple stuff constructed from balsa wood and matchsticks. Not much to say here, they’re painted up the same as everything else wooden.

Bones Miniatures

Here we have a wolf and a badger. I miss animal companions in 5th 😦

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Next we have some goblins. These are an example of simple models that look great. Exactly the sort of thing the Bones range should be focused on. Their hoods and leather armour are Charred Brown, skin is Desert Yellow, metal parts are Gunmetal Grey, Brown Leather and Beasty Brown are also used on wooden and leather parts variously.

And here are some female heroes. They are ok, but they aren’t my favourite models. The only hero model I’ve painted up in the Bones range that I have really liked was gay pride mage. He turned out fantastic. Why? He was a simpler model.

And here are the best examples of why simple models in the Bones range are fantastic. Sorry the images aren’t better but I can assure you these models look great. They are straight forward, basic, but they look superb. Aprons are Bonewhite, the woman has a Charred Brown dress and Stonewall Grey shirt. The innkeeper has Shadowgrey pants and a German Camo Beige shirt. These are my favourite Bones minis that I have painted, excepting gay pride mage.

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I’m Not Dead! I Was Just Resting!

So almost three months have gone since my last post. Woops. My Bad. I have painted a little bit for Infinity over that time – though I forget what, except the Traktor MULs sitting on my painting table still awaiting varnish and flock – and I did some Bones miniatures for D&D over the past fortnight. Which is what today’s post is all about: D&D. Or more specifically, modular dungeon tiles for D&D.

2.5d Modular Dungeon Tiles

I think it was late last year that I discovered the 2.5d system of making dungeon tiles for tabletop RPGs. If you’re not familiar with it, the system was created by DM Scotty and you should mos def check out his channel on Youtube (here, opens new tab). He utilises cardboard tiles with thin strips to simulate walls to construct cheap and easy dungeon tiles. From his channel I found DM G (view his channel here, again, opens a new tab). His tiles are a little different, designed for constant reuse and have a painted stone texture rather than the stone texture spray DM Scotty uses.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I started constructing a set of tiles. Today I finished them off.

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I made 41 tiles in total – I’d like to double that number though. The tiles are based on a 7cm “grid” (see DM G’s channel) and the “walls” are 7mm wide.

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The tiles are undercoated in black and then given a basecoat of grey. I decided to do as DM G does and mix my own grey, which means the basecoat did vary a little from some tiles to others.

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The stone tile pattern is then applied with a square of sponge cut out to be roughly 25mm square. White and black are again used, but this time they aren’t mixed. You stamp the white and black and twist a little, then apply to the tile. Finally you get plain black and paint on the tile outlines. I also painted the shadows for the walls – this probably should have been done with watered down black, buuuut I was lazy.

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I think the result looks great and I’m looking forward to using the tiles next weekend when my second group heads to the old tower on the outskirts of the village Bland to exterminate the goblins that have taken up residence there and are harassing the village.

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They stack up nicely. The pile is about 21cm cubed.

Next Time

There are a number of things I’ve done over the past two months that I would like to post up. There are some Infinity models to showcase, Bones models to do likewise, props for D&D to discuss and then I might write up our D&D sessions too. So hopefully my next post won’t be as long coming as this one has been!

This Post is Just a Wall of Text

I am afraid there will be no pretty pictures in this post. It is just a general update and some random musings. Things covered are what I did today, thoughts on Flames of War and thoughts on D&D 5e.

Things I Did Today

I finished drawing up my North Africa buildings, walls, another shipping container and four tech crates. The latter two items are all cut out and ready for assembly and painting too. In addition, I cut out three bits of MDF for some scrub patches for my North Africa battlefield.

The bad news is, none of these things are likely to get done this weekend, because I’m at my parent’s for lunch tomorrow (my uncle is over from Victoria). This is somewhat disappointing, but I’ve been going pretty hard on the hobby things, so an easy weekend is not unwelcome.

Other things to report here are that now that I have finally acquired a hot wire cutter, I hope to get some hills going soon. With this now in my possession, I think I might focus on getting the scrub, some rocky ground and a few hills done. That will be the quickest route to a small North Africa battlefield – I’ve really wanted to see my DAK in action 😀

Some Thoughts on Flames of War/WWII Gaming

I like Flames of War, but I haven’t played many games – only about half a dozen in the (over) three and a half years I have been building FoW forces. This disappoints me, I’d like to play more and get a better feel for the game. Luckily a mate who lives nearby is doing a North Africa force with me, so once I’ve the terrain together I’m hoping we can play often enough (i’d be happy with a game every 4-8weeks.

There are, however, some things I’ve noticed in the few games of FoW I’ve played, things that I didn’t have at the forefront of my mind, but when I stumbled on a couple of “Why I don’t like FoW” blog posts the other day, lept into my conscious. The primary criticisms focus on the game being a too much “Napoleonics but WWII”, the issue with distances (those arty pieces you have on the field realistically could be shooting from two-three tables away) and the wheel-to-wheel tanks issue (something I especially had noticed having Soviet forces).

All of these criticisms resonated with me. The first is interesting, because that is certainly what I consider Warhammer 40k to be – Napoleonics in spaaaaaace(!). I feel that it is less the case in FoW, but personally I fear it is really a systemic issue with “you go, I go” wargames. The “always your turn” mechanic that Infinity employs, or the order dice system of Bolt Action are excellent developments for tabletop gaming and, personally, I think greater deployment of these mechanisms or new incarnations of these sorts of ideas will really enrich wargaming further. As for the other two points, well, they are what they are. That all said, I’ve still had very enjoyable games of FoW, but it has left me wanting something more.

The result of this is that I hope to, in the new year, give I Ain’t Been Shot Mum! a go. The ideas behind the rules really intrigue me and I read good things, so I’d love to test it out myself. The best part is, of course, they don’t cost an arm and a leg!

Thoughts on Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

Although my WordPress is a dedication to my passion for wargaming, I also enjoy tabletop RPGs – as you can see from an earlier post with our Pathfinder character models. Next year I will be running a D&D 5e campaign, and mate of mine might do the same. I’ve only just got the books and read through the first part of the Player’s Handbook, but I’ve some thoughts and observations I want to share.

The overarching comment is that I am really impressed with what Wizards of the Coast have produced. I think it really streamlines the game (bear in mind I am coming from 3.5e/Pathfinder and have no experience of 4e) and puts a great emphasis on roleplay.

Compared with 3.5e I notice a couple of quite significant changes that could be considered to cut down your choice and the customisation options for your character (this isn’t quite accurate, but I’ll get to that). The first is that prestige classes are now built into classes as “archetypes”. So instead of getting the feats you need, putting the necessary points into the right skills and getting to whatever level for the base attack bonus and saving throws you might need, it is all something that is unlocked normally through class progression. The good thing is this makes things a lot more straightforward and creates an inbuilt mechanism through which players decide how they want to specialise their character’s class. The bad, I feel, is that you can’t do whacky things where you’re playing a class that wouldn’t ordinarily prestige into something, but you do it anyway because you’re a high speed, low drag, T1 operator.

The second thing is that feats are now an optional thing. At the DM’s discretion players can take a feat when normally they would get +1 on an ability score (these are now built into the class tables and vary from class to class). The feat list is significantly shorter now too – although this is just the PBH, I’m sure more will pop up. So feats take a much, much less prominent place in character customisation and will force players’ to make the choice between a better stat, or a feat.

Balancing this out, players can now take backgrounds at character creation that give players an excellent guides on how their character manifests itself in the game – this is a great benefit for new players, unfamiliar with tabletop RPGs, but also handy for more experienced players. These backgrounds also have real ingame impact through bonuses on particular skills and so forth. Through this mechanism, and a much more detailed description chapter, the character creation system now has an inbuilt system of backstory creation and roleplay prompts, great for players of all levels of experience to guide their roleplay to ensure continuity.

The simplification of the class system, while a the same time adding much greater depth within each class (choices are often involved, e.g. fighter combat styles), set starting gear (starting gold and purchasing gear is opitional) and the greatly improved description chapter all mean that getting into the game, regardless of experience, is quicker and easier than ever. The focus also shifts to roleplay and interactions, rather than pouring over tomes to min/max your feat and skill combinations and so on. Oh, also, multiclassing no longer makes you a god. This a very welcome change.

The End

Anyway, this has been a bit of scatter brain post, but I hope you found something interesting in it. I’ll make sure to have lots of nice pictures next post (which may not be Friday because work Christmas lunch, which might turn into drinking to more than I usually do these days, i.e. more than a glass or two of wine).

Gay Pride Adventuring Inc

A quick update on my farming commune for Bolt Action: it goes very well. the painting is done and tonight I hope get through the process of adding flock, static grass and other greenery bits to complete the set. In the meantime, however, I’ve finished off the remaining character for the Pathfinder campaign my mate is currently running.

“It’s ok to be Gay”

The above is the motto for our campaign, which I nominated in response to our GM putting up six backstory selections in our Facebook group. Each player was required to choose one backstory, which set their purpose at the outset of the campaign. In addition, the backstories provided different benefits (bonuses to two or three particular skills). I selected “the lover”, a selection which meant that my character was in love with the missing princess or prince (both are AWOL). I thought I would throw my mate a curve ball by having my character being male and in love with the prince, hence the origins of the motto (which everyone else has got behind). (Other side note: not the best pictures below, how take picture of miniature? lulz, who knows!)

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Beginning with our wizard, I decided to incorporate the gay pride rainbow into each character. In addition, purple would be the major over colour and pink the major under colour. The results are great, especially the wizard, though my cleric turned out a lot better than expected too. The wizard and cleric are both from Reaper Miniatures “Bones” range while the fighter is from the Pathfinder miniature series and the druid is from Dark Legends (I think). My painting is not the sort that will cause you to reach a state of pleasurable relaxation, but I hope to show that even if you can’t be a painting god, you can still paint good looking miniatures using basic colours and straight forward painting.

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As mentioned, the wizard was done first and his rainbow is a little different becuase of this. The rainbow is present on his hat and hood. The colours (Vallejo Game colour) from top to bottom are: bloody red, hot orange, sunburst yellow, foul green (I think), electric blue (the additional colour, not sure how this ended up in there), magic blue and warlord purple. His robes have Royal purple in the recesses over which I have painted Hexed Lichen. His underrobes are Squid Pink over Warlord Purple. His beard is Wolf Grey (I think, it could also be Ghost Grey or Stonewall Grey, can’t remember, point is; a light grey) over Shaowgrey. I’ve used Glorious Gold for trim.

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Next was the fighter. His armour and blade are Gunmetal Grey, pants Squid Pink over Warlord Purple, shirt Hexed Hichen over Royal Purple and his shield carries the rainbow, which is done the same as the wizard except that it does not have Electric Blue in there. His hair was Charred Brown with a Black Wash (Games Workshop, aka G Dubs). The yellow in the rainbow is a little thin, but that’s difficult to fix without repriming the middle section of the shield to redo it.

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The druid was the most complicated and I am still not sure whether I like the outcome. Again the rainbow is preset on his shield, which is slung on his back. His sword is Gunmental Grey, his armour contains Dark Green and Charred Brown, the cloth dangling around his waste is Squid Pink, his sleeves are Hexed Lichen and his pants Scarlet Red. His boots and gloves are Beasty Brown with straps of Leather Brown. The animal pelt over his shoulder is Souflulous Brown (I think). Finally his water canteen (on his back) is German Camo Beige (Vallejo Model Colour).

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Finally my cleric. The rainbow is present on the front again, which I much prefer than being hidden on the back. His armour and warhammer are Gunmetal Grey highlighted with Silver, the haft of the warhammer is Foul Brown (I think?). His cloak is Royal Purple in the recesses and Hexed Lichen as the main. His hair and beard are just straight charred brown.

All in all, pretty pleased with the outcomes and for the first time in a long time every character in one of our campaigns will have their own model!