A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

20 November 2014

New Minis: Praise and Complaints

So, a couple months ago, the Magic-users on the Beach jumped back into the miniature business. I knew that they were releasing a new miniature aerial combat game, but hadn't heard about the new randomized pre-painted plastics line. So imagine my surprise when I walked in to my FLGS back then and found them. Tyranny of Dragons no less. I bought a couple boxes, of course. I mean, scientific research purposes and all that.

Hey, don't look at me like that...I can stop buying minis whenever I want. I'm not addicted.


So, upon opening the two boxes I learned a couple of things that I want to share with you, just in case there's any of my readers who have NOT yet picked up a box of these for themselves.

First, I was shocked to realize that they are produced by WizKids/NECA, just like the Pathfinder pre-painted plastics are. I say shocked because (a) they're rival companies and it just seemed a little odd and (b) the quality is significantly lower than on the Paizo Pathfinder miniatures. No, I'm serious, the paint jobs are, for the most part, simply terrible. Let me give an example (although my camera with the macro function isn't working, and my cell phone isn't so hot at small close-ups).

This little beastie is a new sculpt of a wraith. They've prepped him up with the nice see-through plastic, tinted grey of course. Mantle streaming out behind it, nice pose, full of motion. They even put him on a post so that he appears to be hovering or flying along. Nearly everything would be perfect with this sculpt and make it a great addition to my collection.

Nearly everything...except for one thing: THE FACE.

Look at that face. THIS is the face they choose to strike terror into the hearts of the adventurers. Really?

And I know that it's not just WizKids' production issues, because dang...their Pathfinder minis have come a LONG way and they've refined the process. In fact, just this morning I deleted a draft post from a couple years ago complaining about the paint jobs in the first Pathfinder minis release.

This wraith looks like it came from the PRE-PRODUCTION runs of that first release.

And the guy who said, "Y'know, I think it looks GOOD with the 'faux-glowing-eyes-and-mouth' effect. Let's run with that paint scheme"? I have to wonder if he still has his job.

In fact, this wraith looks like something off of which the Scooby Gang is about to rip the mask.

And do I even need to go into the paint scheme on this Hobgoblin Fighter? There's four colors. Green on his chest plate. Red for his armor. Black for his hair and facial features. Black with a little metallic added for his underarmor and sword. So, really, he has three colors. There's no distinguishing features, really. Oh, y'know what? On closer inspection his right eye has a yellowish-greenish pupil while his left eye has the same color serving as eye-shadow. Nice job, Mages of the Beach. Yeah, it's a little thing, and I'm sure I'll get someone telling me that limiting it to four colors reduces costs, etc. These were just the first two minis I pulled out of my backpack.

Second beef.
Take a look at this picture. These are representative bases of the miniatures. Pathfinder (on the left) and the new Mages of the Beach (center), with an older Mages of the Beach (on the right). You see anything? First gut reaction?

Well, it may be tough, because the camera is picking it up better than the naked eye. The names on the new Mages of the Beach minis are next to impossible to read? Now, you may tell me that's another cost-cutting measure, saving on white paint, or you can tell me that the old ones didn't need white paint. Well, it may just be my aging eyes, but I still say that the new names are really tough to read: smaller fonts, not as raised, not as much contrast. And then there's this: The BIG minis have the names painted in white.

It's a minor thing, and easily rectified. You can also consider it your Free Tip of the Day: I grabbed a white paint Sharpie and scribbled a bit. It's not perfect, but it works. It adds just enough contrast for my old eyes. Here's a look at the result. I just realized that I probably killed resale value, but I don't plan on getting rid of these any time soon. And who knows, someone may actually pay more to be able to read the names. (Yeah, wishful thinking, but it's all I have.)

My final beef (for now) is kind of a mixed bag. There are dragons. New dragons. I love dragons. One thing that I can't get enough of is dragons. For example: I'm pretty sure I have most if not all of the dracolich pre-painted minis, and a good number of metal ones of all sizes. One thing I DON'T have is any red dragons. Mostly because they're so sought after and therefore expensive.

Well, in these two boxes, I pulled--would you believe it--a red dragon. (Oh, wait. You CAN believe it; a picture of its base is right up there.) This new mini is a red dragon in flight. It's executed quite well, to be honest. I'm glad to have it and I was excited when I saw it in the box. However, I have a complaint about size. In this picture I've included an elf and a halfling for scale. As you can see, it doesn't seem as daunting as the old Mages of the Beach dragons used to be. Now, I'm not expecting a colossal red dragon, but this is on--what used to be considered, anyway--a large base. Now that I mention it, maybe it is to scale. I haven't measured it against any of my others. It just seems small.

Whew. That's enough beefing for a while, I suppose. Gotta go work some more on Issue #1 of the Stronghold. More soon.

19 November 2014

[From the Mailbag] Manor Micro-Adventure

Look what came in the mail today!

Yay me!

(Yeah, I actually said "Yay me"...so sue me.)

Gotta love them Patreon perks. Map goodness, micro-adventure goodness, and my friend Tim Shorts' warped mind-- all wrapped into one. And let's not forget the joys of getting something useful and fun in the mail instead of another overdue bill.

Guess work is on hold for a little while today while I read through the Hideout of the Long Dead Mardrid. That's OK. That foreclosure will hold off just a little while longer.

Oh, and if you want cool stuff like this in YOUR mailbox -- and who wouldn't -- head on over to Patreon and sign up to support Tim's work!

EDIT: I should note that the vertical lines in the pictures are a product of a bad camera and low lighting and not due to any defect in the actual product. Sorry, Tim.

16 November 2014

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

It's time to start getting a little excited. The Stronghold 'Zine is nearing completion. The articles are getting a few finishing touches. The artwork is nearly ready. The cover art has been commissioned. Layout is in the planning stages. Next step...finish up and find some poor suckers slaves editors to tighten the work up. Then it'll be up to you, my readers, to want to take a gander.

A word about the artwork: I've been blessed to obtain the help of a couple of FANTASTIC artists. First off, Jim Magnusson agreed to do some illustrations for the interior...and they look TERRIFIC. Then, I managed sneak in a request for a cover from Jay Penn  just before he closed his commission's calendar for the next year. I'm really excited to see what he comes up with.

More coming soon....

03 November 2014

Wherein the Effects of Unfortunate Pizza are Experienced

I have to admit that some of my best ideas are the fault of Tim Shorts over at Gothridge Manor. Today's is no exception. Over on Google+ he mentioned he'd had leftover pizza for lunch. It was good enough, apparently, to be "stat-worthy"...if he hadn't eaten it all. He followed that up with a list of XP awards, as follows.
I'm gonna go with 25xp per slice. And additional 50xp if you can eat the whole pizza in one setting. However you'll need to make a save vs. heartburn. [Aside: for my PF/3.x readers, I'd suggest a Fortitude Save, DC 16. End aside.] A failure means you'll have a -1 on your rolls when interacting with others.
Then Mr. Jason Zavoda (from Hall of the Mountain King) provided the kicker: If you fumble you have to roll on the flatulence table.

Well, how could I let that gauntlet lay untouched on the ground? Answer: I couldn't, not without bringing great shame to the OSR Blogging Community at large.

And so I present to you: The Flatulence Table: (Note: roll once on each table for each failed save.)

Flatulence Table 1: Severity

d20 Roll
Area of Effect
Silent But Deadly Completely silent, but oh, so potent.
Mousey Nothing but a little squeak. Sounds like a shoe with a bad sole.
FlapperThere’s some flapping cheekage. Sounds a little moist.
TrumpetProud, triumphant. Heraldic, even. Nothing to be ashamed of.
ElephantineTrumpet, but more so. Worthy of a grass-fed giant mammal.
Weapon of Mass DestructionThe truly epic, in all respects: sound, smell, and yes--taste.

Flatulence Table 2: Side Effect

d6 Roll
Side Effect
Gas only. No effect.
Shart. A little s**t, a little fart.
Total Trouser Betrayal.

For Area of Effect: roll 1d20 x 5' for each occurrence.

As usual, free for your use. Just drop me a note to let me if and how you used it, and to what effect.
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