It's taken 1 year, 6 months, and 11 days to reach, but today I can celebrate 100 posts at the Dwarven Stronghold!
I could have made it an even 1 year, 6 months if I hadn't suffered a couple bouts of the gomboo and some work-related issues, but that's beside the point. The point is we've reached 100 posts!
To commemorate this day, I've decided to dig into my miniatures and give a sneak peek at my namesake, Boric.
I won't waste time spinning tales about my character--I know that becomes all too dreary to outsiders. Suffice it to say that I had a DM who wanted to get a gaming group together years post-high school. I had been out of the gaming scene for roughly fifteen years and was eager to jump back in. I knew him through our wives; I wasn't a high school buddy.... He'd already gotten commitments from all his high school group and a co-worker and the group needed one more: the cleric. This was where Boric was born.
Yeah, I was shoe-horned into filling a party need. But I made the best of it and rolled up a dwarf. For one thing, I hadn't played in a LONG time, and certainly had never played 2nd Edition AD&D; I was a NOOB for all intents and purposes. The DM was willing to work with me, though. He and I had a killer backstory woven into the entire campaign. Yeah, it was full of the usual tropes: exiled royalty, stronghold-stolen-by-dragon, magic weapons, etc. You know the type.
But it was fun. This was in early 2000 and we jumped into 2nd Edition AD&D with both feet. Splat books and Player Options everywhere; the DM didn't care so long as everyone had fun. He ran a wicked-cool game. I became the "prop-master" for the campaign and painted nearly all of the miniatures used in the game. All was well with the world.
And then, shortly after we started the campaign, Wizards of the Coast came rudely into our lives. Third Edition was announced. We researched it, the DM and I (mostly through Dragon Magazine) and decided we didn't need it at this time.
We resisted "The Change" for about two years. Finally we started seeing some things we liked and picking up books. Slowly but surely we started figuring out ways of converting the still-ongoing campaign (we were playing, on average, twice per month so game-time hadn't been all that long). We took the plunge, bought the books, and started the conversion. There were some things that had to be changed on all of our characters. Some ret-conning took place; there was a bit of the same thing that the world of the Forgotten Realms would suffer in a few years with the Spell Plague and 4E. It was a convenient time in the campaign because our mage had just taken some steps that led to a royally pissed-off Mystra in our non-canon Realms. The result of those acts changed the landscape enough that Third Edition was possible.
Hey, let's be honest: it also gave me a chance to paint another miniature.
The change-over, as you could probably predict, was not that smooth or easy. The first problem came when we realized that we were running technically epic characters and that had its whole separate set of rules. The second problem came when we thought we could just use the Epic Level Handbook and call it good.
You see, to those who may not know, the Epic Level Handbook is widely considered to be the worst and most broken rulebook Wizards of the Coast ever produced. Those who don't consider it #1 surely have it in their top 5, possibly top 3. I consider it the worst, so I can't even offer 2 or 3 others that may be worse.
Our third problem? We had not waited quite long enough to make the switchover: here came 3.5E. And a whole new round of book-buying occurred. Once again we were retro-fitting characters and rules that simply were no longer possible under the existing ruleset. Yeah, we had that mindset, to my hindsight-induced dismay. We limped into a good place to end the campaign--or at least suspend it. Playing these characters, at the end, just wasn't fun any longer. Everyone agreed.
We rolled up new Third Edition--OK, 3.5E--characters. Life went on. Fast forward five years. Same group, but the old DM's departure from the group necessitated a new DM, and a new campaign. He needed some high-powered NPCs to help out as a shadow organization. He called me up and queried about the possibility of using my dwarf and his elf from the old campaign as these high-powered NPCs. We quickly statted up 23rd level characters, agreeing NOT to use the Epic Level Handbook this time. Problem was, we needed new miniatures for both of us.
Both Boric and the new DM's elf got a makeover (I'll post pics of the elf sometime soon). We added on to the backstories of our old characters, and by now were well-enough versed in Third/3.5 Edition that we made better choices with the characters. They made some great cameo appearances in the then-current campaign. In fact, it may have been the best use of DM NPCs I've ever seen: they were used for information sources and interaction. Nothing more. They weren't called upon to slay the mighty dragon while the PCs watched. They also didn't give away the answers sought--we had to work at it. Masterfully done, I still say to this day.
Now we're in 2011. The old DM came back. He had an idea to pick up threads of the original campaign, again epic level without the use of the "Epic" rules. The idea was to run a quick campaign to wrap up the original campaign once and for all. (The BBEG got away all those years ago, after all.)
This, of course, meant we had to update the miniatures. OK, we didn't need to, but I wanted to take another stab at Boric. This was the result.
I hadn't painted in about a year and I was a bit rusty. But I'd had this miniature sitting around for a while and he seemed to fit the new attitude. I now had a chance to use it. I also had a chance to play around with the figure itself and went out on a kit-bashing limb: I added magnets. I'd wanted to try it out for years since reading about it in White Dwarf in the early 2000s. I'd just never had a miniature that called for it. Now I did. Both his pack and his shield are, as shown below, removable.
I'm pleased with how it turned out. Both paint-wise and magnet-wise. [Although looking at these pictures tells me that I forgot to seal the figure. D'oh.]
The new DM allowed us to once again retro-fit all our old, original characters. I had several years' more experience with the rule system and started from scratch; I used none of the previous "updated" characters' information, except maybe the backstory.
Although there were some things that still could not be duplicated in 3.5, I'm fairly happy with the new incarnation. There is enough out there between WotC and third-party publishers that we got dang close.
How close, you ask? Close enough that he was able to stand toe-to-toe with a gargantuan black dragon and win (although the fact that my miniature was not, at the time, wearing his pack almost caused his demise).
How close? Frankly, he's close enough to make playing him fun once again. He's about as close as possible to the High Old one of Moradin, the Sonnlinor of old, that could call down the fires of heaven upon his foes, the dwarf that I first came to know and love. My namesake.
Happy 100th, my friends.