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.

30 August 2016

[The Stronghold 'Zine] That Moment When...

That moment when you've wrapped up layout for the 'zine, working on the Foreword and the final map...and your brain starts planning information and articles for the next issue?

Yeah. That's me last night.

But hey! Layout is done, the final map is percolating, and the Foreword is taking shape. Issue #3 is chock-full of goodness, including some contributions by friends of the Stronghold. Also some amazing artwork.

Getting psyched for a release date. I was shooting for September 1st, but I don't think that's going to happen. Hoping for next week.

22 August 2016


Game night last Friday.

I was really excited about it; new DM sitting behind the screen, new campaign. Well, technically an old campaign...call it a new old campaign. And I was juiced.

I started playing in '81. But would you believe I've never played through—or DM'd —The Tomb of Horrors?

That was the DM's choice for the new campaign, and I was really excited. Did I say I was excited?

And then, 2 hours before our only chance at a game this month...one of the guys got sick. Really sick.  We were at risk of having to wait yet another month to march to our doom. I—as propmaster—and the DM put our heads together...and he said he had something. A little side quest to get us all to know each other, or at least 3 of us. And then came the request: instead of the previous list of miniatures, he needed a druid, some piercers, and some Myconids.

Myconids? Where the Hell was I going to get Myconids? And on short notice, too....

So I loaded the car with all my other gear and headed out with a little bit of inspiration. A quick stop at Hobby Lobby...and I had my myconids.
As you can see, they look pretty good. They're cast of a heavy resin, fair amount of detail with the stems (at least they're not smooth), and the bottoms are flat and stable enough that they don't really need basing...unless I want to go through the effort.

Even the scale is about correct, at least in our campaign.The small ones are just barely above the top of the human miniature's head, so they're about 6'–6.5' tall. The big ones are about twice that. Both sizes have bases that fit in the 1" squares.

Each package held four small ones and one big one; with a coupon, it was actually quite economical.  It was certainly cheaper than doing it myself.

Hobby Lobby was actually my second stop because the local Michael's was closer. All they had was some tiny ones (scaled at about 2'-3') with floral wire coming from the bottom that were more for wreaths or "fairy garden" use. I actually stopped at Hobby Lobby to grab a pin vise because Michael's didn't have one. I only asked about the mushrooms at Hobby Lobby on a whim. After a pack of those tiny mushrooms, several packages of 1" discs, and some quick-drying epoxy...well, I would have spent more—especially with conversion/prep time—than I did on the packs of the big ones.

Come to think of it, I could base the bigger ones, and use these tiny ones to add detail to the bases. I was going to return them...but.... Hmm.... I'd need some bases bigger than 1". Dang it. I should have stopped thinking while I was ahead.

The big ones represented a series of shrieker guardians in the lair of an anti-druid. The small ones saw double-use as some smaller guardian 'shrooms as well as a group of Myconid warriors captured, caged, and used as a food source for the anti-druid's Beholder companion. None of the characters had any idea what these things were; I was actually the only player at the table that, in meta-game, knew what Myconids were. They didn't register as "evil" to my character, so he risked life and limb to release these things that were speaking to him telepathically. As a result, the three PCs were named "clan brothers" to this group of Myconids. The photos were taken as we returned to the cave from a quick jaunt back to town, post-Myconid rescue but pre-anti-druid confrontation. (A dozen of them returned from their cave to aid us in our quest to destroy the anti-druid.)

The DM actually ran several test-runs of this scenario—both the beholder fight and the anti-druid fight—and it ended in TPK Every. Single. Time. Somehow we pulled both off; the only casualty was, of course, our elf, who was turned to stone. [Aside: I say "of course" because in our group, somehow, the elf is always the first to die. It has been that way for 16 years. The player who routinely plays our elf has had at least as many characters over this time as the rest of us have had...put together. No joke. We go through elves like they're made of Mountain Dew and Doritos. End aside.] My trap-finding and lock-picking skills and rolls were STELLAR and the DM kept rolling Critical 1s...so the dice were falling in our favor on every side. All in all it was a good night.We found the Crown of the Gods where the anti-druid had hidden it and returned it to the local temple, only to be offered the chance to go on several more quests to find teh powerful gemstones that accompany the crown.

So now we're left with the choice: go after the gems? or head to the Tomb of Horrors?

Choices...choices...choices.... Either way, the next month won't go fast enough!
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