Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Miniatures Monday Retrospective (and some questions)

As 2016 draws to a close, I thought that I would do a short Miniatures Monday retrospective.  This year, I finished 36 miniatures, which while being far below my intended output of 52, isn't anything to sneeze about.  Of course I started far more in 2016, many of which hopefully will be completed in the coming year.  Overall I was pretty happy with most of the painting that I did this year, but there are a few more that I wish I could have finished.  This brings us to what I've started referring to as the "Eternally Incomplete Miniature".  The Santa Dwarf pictured above has been partially painted for nearly four years.  Every holiday season, I intend to finish him and post him during the holidays, but I can't seem to ever actually finish him.  I'm not sure why, as he isn't that complex, but somehow he never quite gets finished.  Perhaps 2017 will be the year.  So how about the rest of you?  How did your 2016 miniatures painting efforts go?  Did you complete a miniature in 2016 that you were particularly proud of?  Do you have any miniatures that you just can't quite seem to ever finish?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Holidays to All!

Wishing all of you a happy holiday season, free from killer trees and such!  :-)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Solstice Sunset

This was the sunset as seen from my back yard last night.  This blog has been rather quiet lately with all of the hustle and bustle of the season, but last night's sunset reminded me that this can be a quiet season too.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Miniatures Monday

For this week's Miniatures Monday we hop into the wayback machines to a lead Citadel pre-slotta orc.  I always loved this guy's skull shield.  I got this as part of an order my friends and I made from the 1985 Ral Partha Catalog.  I has sent away for the catalog from an add in a copy of Dragon Magazine, and Ral Partha handled some catalog orders for Citadel in the U.S. back in those days.  Many people these days are to young to remember ordering from a catalog by mailing an order sheet in and waiting 6-8 weeks for delivery, but wait we did, and it was worth it.  Ahh the memories!  In any case, after 31 years, I finally got around to painting him. :-)

And here is an image of that wondrous catalog.  It opened up a whole new world of miniatures that had otherwise been unavailable to those of us living in rural southwestern Pennsylvania back in those days.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Miniatures Monday

This week, we have another woodsman, but this fellow is wielding a sword rather than a spear. Perhaps he is a friend or traveling companion of last week's miniature?  Both this miniature and the one from last Monday are from Casting Room Miniatures in the U.K. and are part of their Scout Warriors set.  Casting Room has a nice variety of miniatures ranging from ancient and fantasy to Victorian adventurers, and they are reasonably priced.  On a side note, I'm quite pleases with the clump foliage on the base.  I think that it's easier to work with and seemingly more durable than Citadel grass.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Hobbits Invade the Museum!

Last night, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History held one of their After Dark events, and the theme was the Lord of the Rings.  There were cocktails, games, sword fighting demonstrations, a costume contest, and a showing of the 1977 Rankin and Bass animated Hobbit film.  It was a lot of fun, and I feel very lucky to have a museum that does this sort o thing.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Miniatures Monday

This week, we leave the night-haunted crypts behind and step out into the fresh air of the autumn forest.  Here we have a doughty woodsman with a spear tracking some unseen prey.  Is it a wild board or something more sinister?  This wasn't an overly complicated miniature to paint, but I decided to try a bit of clump foliage on the base to spice it up.  I was pretty pleased with the results, and I think that I will keep using his on future outdoor themed bases.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving or Thursday: Whichever you celebrate :-)

While it is a specific U.S. holiday, my wish to all of my readers is the same.  May your food not fight back, and may your travel plans not be thwarted by gigantic, mutant bird-monsters.  I realize that this is just a re-colored version of last year's picture, so I apologize for not having anything original this year.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Miniatures Monday

Well, the Silent Sorcerer hasn't yet managed to eradicate the undead infestation welling up from the crypts beneath the Tower, so this week we have a couple of photos of another skeleton.  This fellow has a pretty hefty axe, so normal doors aren't going to be much help!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Time is running out to back Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea!

There are only 56 hours left to back the Kickstarter for Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea by +Jeff Talanian!  For just $59, you can get a hardcover edition plus a map and a PDF.  For just $99, you can get the foil stamped special edition.  If you're into Wwords & Sorcery, what are you waiting for, a sign from the Elder Gods?  If so, consider this your sign!  If you would like to know even more about the game, check out the official website.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Miniatures Monday

Well, Halloween may be past, but the restless dead continue to infest the Tower of the Silent Sorcerer.  Here we have two views of an animated skeleton wielding a corroded greatsword.  Sadly, I can't remember who made the miniature, so I can't point you in the direction of getting one of your own.  Overall, it's a simple paint job, but I'm quite pleased with how the corrosion on the sword turned out.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Miniatures: Works in Progress

I've really been neglecting this blog lately.  No Weird Adventure Wednesdays, no crappy illustrations, and not too many miniatures.  This doesn't mean that I haven't been working on anything, just that I've been too lazy to post much.  My plan is to get back into drawing and other things, but in the mean time, here are some works in progress.  I've been using a lot of green paint lately. :-)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Miniatures Monday

With Halloween now past, it's time to return to some more corporeal miniatures.  I've always been a fan or orcs and goblins, and I've always felt that spears get short shrift in roleplaying games.  So this week, we have an orc warrior with a spear.  The miniature is from Reaper Miniatures, and you can get one of your own here for $4.99.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Kickstarter Ennui

So, my Conan board game Kickstarter rewards arrived on 26 October, and I have yet to open it.  I should be exited, but 20 months after pledging, I just really don't care.  I backed it for the miniatures, but even those fail to excite me anymore.  Given that the rulebook is by the creators' own admission, a mess, I'm unlikely to even try to play it until I have a printed copy of the new version in my hands.  This is my trouble with Kickstarter.  Many of them look cool and lure me in, but past a certain point, I lose interest.  Oh, well.  At least I have a bunch of new sword and sorcery miniatures (221 to be exact).   Does anyone else find themselves generally feeling blah about Kickstarters once they arrive?

Two Boxes.  I don't have room for this stuff.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Miniatures Monday: Beware the Barrow Downs!

Since it's Halloween, we will continue with the undead theme and also with a figure from Mithril Miniatures.  This one is a barrow wight, which sadly no longer appears to be available.  I bought this back when I was in college, but I just never got around to painting it.  The paint job was fairly easy, being mostly black with progressively lighter shades of grey as highlights.  I was hoping to make the sword look a bit eerie with a light coating of Nihilak Oxide, but that really didn't work out.  Overall though, I'm fairly happy with the results.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Jack Chick Joins Black Leaf.

Jack Chick, fundamentalist cartoonist and RPG hater seems to have died at the age of 92.  For those of you who might not be familiar, Chick wrote cartoon pamphlets known as Chick Tracts designed to be handed out by evangelist folks.  They cast dispersion on what he viewed as the evils of many thing.  One of his most famous (for the RPG Community) was Dark Dungeons, which focused on the evils of fantasy roleplaying games, however it is far from his most infamous.  I'd link to his site, but I have a rather strict no hate speech policy on my blog.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Miniatures Monday

This week, we keep with the Halloween theme for Miniatures Monday.  Here we have a restless spirit rising from its rocky tomb to haunt the living.  The miniature is quite an old one and is by Mithril Miniatures.  Back in the late 80s/ early 90s, Mithril Miniatures started producing a great line of Tolkien themed miniatures, and at the time, they were some of the best miniatures around.  Of course, back then I was in college, so I couldn't afford to buy very many, but I did snag a few and have decided to finally paint some of them.  Imagine my surprise to find that Mithril still seems to be in business!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Oh, Hell yeah!

Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea 2nd. Edition Kickstarter is live!

The Kickstarter for Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea by +Jeff Talanian is now live.  For just $59, you can get a hardcover edition plus a map and a PDF.  For just $99, you can get the foil stamped special edition.  If you're into swords & Sorcery, you really owe it to yourself to check this one out!  If you would like to know even more about the game, check out the official website.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Wandering in Mirkwood (Photos)

Well not Mirkwood exactly, but perhaps as close as one can get in western Pennsylvania.  Something about the autumn always makes me want to walk in the woods.  Partly it's the chance to experience the fall foliage, but it also stems from my childhood love of the Hobbit.  I always feel a bit like Bilbo when I'm out walking, and the autumn always awakens within me a desire to see far-off places and to sing dwarvish songs.  So, on Saturday my wife and I packed a picnic lunch and headed up to McConnells Mill State Park to walk the trail to the falls.  It was a lovely day, and one could perhaps be forgiven for half expecting to meet some elves along the trail.

Following the stream deep into the forest
The water has carved a path deep into the rock
Sunlight on a calm pool
I think there may be a barrow wight in here...
The falls
Mysterious toadstools...
No elves yet... 
The stream disappears around a bend.
Perhaps that is where the elves are waiting?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Hobbit at 79

On this day 79 years ago, the Hobbit was released.  The year that I was born, it had just celebrated its 32nd anniversary, and professor Tolkien was still alive.  My, my, how time flies.  I still feel that the Hobbit is the best of Tolkien's work.  Not as epic as The Lord of the Rings or as grandiose as The Silmarillion, nevertheless I think it's a better story, but then I'm a sucker for fairy tales. :-)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Miniatures Monday

This week, Miniatures Monday continues its undead theme with yet another incorporeal undead creature!  The miniature is 02148: Guardian Wraith sculpted by Bob Ridolfi from Reaper Miniatures, and you can get your own for only $5.49.  Once again, I'm pretty happy with the result given  the simplicity of the paint job.  My collection of painted undead continues to grow!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sword & Sorcery World Map (W.I.P)

This blog has been pretty quiet lately, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been doing things. ;-) I've been wanting to run a Sword & Sorcery style game for quite some time now.  One of my biggest impediments though has been that I haven't had a map.  I did this one in Campaign Cartographer back in 2015, but I just wasn't quite happy with it.  So here is another attempt.  This map was hand drawn and then colored using GIMP, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  It has only some generic sea an place names on it so far, and while the cities are there, they have yet to be named.  Now of course the next big question would be what system do I use for the game?  Savage Worlds seems to be my best bet for ease and flexibility, but a strong case could be made for Barbarians of Lemuria, being that it's, well, a Sword & Sorcery Game.  I'v also toyed with the idea of Trying Fate Core/Accelerated because of its incredible flexibility, but I haven't come across many folks who have used it for S&S.  Decisions, decisions, and yet one more reason to delay running a game. :-)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Kickstarter: Holy Crap: The Great Sects Change Operation (Only 24 hours left!)

There are only 24 hours left in +Andy Hopp 's Low Life RPG Kickstarter!  For those of you not familiar with Low Life, it's an awesome Savage Worlds setting, the post-apocalyptic world of Oith which is populated by the mutated descendants of snack cakes, worms, roaches, smelfs, and other assorted wacky creatures.  I really can't do it justice, so check out if you'd like to learn about the world.  I've been a big fan since the first edition, and I was really excited when the new edition came out last year (I bought 2 copies).  Now there is a new Kickstarter for a book exploring Oith's religions.  Come on, you know that you want to know what sort of gods mutated intelligent twinkies worship, don't you?  If you like gonzo, you really owe it to yourself to check this one out!

Monday, September 12, 2016


High On Fire "The Black Plot" from Hey Beautiful Jerk on Vimeo.

Sometime I have a tough time explaining the type of campaign that I would like to run.  I usually end up describing it as Thundarr meets Heavy Metal by way of Conan.  However after seeing this, I no longer need to describe it.  THIS is the campaign that I want to run!  :-)

Miniatures Monday

Miniature's Monday returns after a late summer vacation hiatus!  This week, in preparation for Halloween, we have a vengeful undead spirit.  The miniature is 02281: Crypt Wraith from Reaper Miniatures, and you can get your own for only $5.49.  I think that it turned out pretty well for being such a simple paint job.  I really need to paint more undead.  :-)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom! Miniatures Kickstarter

There are less than 48 hours to go in the Kickstarter for Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom! by  +Darcy Perry .  It's fully funded and a great opportunity to get some really cool looking miniatures.  So if you haven't looked into this one yet, check it out!  Seriously, what are you waiting for?  :-)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Weird Adventure Wednesday

This week's weird adventure idea:

On a raw night you are accosted by a chatty cutthroat in a forest clearing.  The cutthroat tells you a rumor that 9 days hike to the northeast, deep within The Ice Swamp of Visions is hidden The Flooded Crypt of the Phantasmal Fish.  Legends hold that there is hidden The Irregular Spidersilk Hairpiece of Dread Voices.  But beware, for the cutthroat warns you that The Pustular Brain Insect of The Unholy stands guard there!

If you enjoy Weird Adventure Idea Wednesday, be sure to check out these free resources:

1,001 Weird and Wacky Adventure Ideas


Monday, August 15, 2016

Miniatures Monday

Deep In a forbidding dungeon, this scaly horror coils itself around the remnants of a shattered obelisk and prepares to strike!  This is another on of those miniatures that I started painting well over a year ago and then let fall by the wayside.  I wasn't sure whether to go with a desert color or with stripes, so in the end I just went with greenish scales.  Nothing earth shattering, but I'm pretty pleased with the end result.  The miniature is from Reaper Miniatures and was sculpted by Julie Guthrie.  It's 03676: Giant Snake, and you can get your own from reaper for $9.99.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

R.I.P. Kenny Baker

Kenny Baker, known to many as the fellow inside of R2 D2 in the star wars films has died at the age of 81.  However, I don't think of him as R2 D2 as much as I think of him as Fidgit from Time Bandits (front row: Second from left).  I remember my parents taking me to see that film in the theater in 1981, and it's still a favorite of mine.  With him gone, only two of the bandits remain, Malcolm Dixon, who played Strutter (second row: left) and Mike Edmonds, who played Og (front row: left)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Savage Worlds Pulp Era Firearms

So I've fallen a bit behind on Random Table Tuesday, but I came across a pulp era firearms table for Savage Worlds that I started a number of years ago.  I still haven't put strength minimums or pulp era prices in yet, but I think it gives a nice variety of weapons from the early 20th century.  Hopefully I'll find the time to finish it soon.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Scheider Man

Scheider Man
Roy Scheider Man
Does whatever
Roy Scheider can
Kills a shark
With a gun
Flies Blue Thunder
Just for fun
Look out
Here comes the Scheider Man!

...Yeah, so lyrics aren't my strong suit.

Miniatures Monday

Last week we had a simple well which made for some nice dungeon dressing.  As I said then though, rarely are dungeon wells just sources of water, and of course this one is no different.  Here we have the water weird that lurks beneath the cool and refreshing waters of that seemingly innocuous well.  I drilled holes in the the well and the creature and then pinned the creature with a short piece of paperclip so that I can remove it at will.  I'm pretty pleased with the result.  For those interested in getting one of their own, this miniature can be purchased from from Reaper Miniatures for $9.99 and is number 03768: Water Weird.  Reaper also sells a translucent blue plastic version for $2.79, but it doesn't come apart.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Gen Con

For the 46th year in a row, I'm missing Gen Con.  Quite the record I've got going. :-(

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Hound of the Baskervilles

For anyone who is in Pittsburgh between now and Sunday 7 August, Kinetic Theater Company is doing a hysterical spoof of Arthur Conan Doyle's: The Hound of the Baskervilles, starring David Whalen as Sherlock Holmes.  We saw it on Saturday and it was a fantastic show.  As always, David Whalen does a marvelous job as Holmes.  James FitzGerlad as Doctor John Watson and Connor McCanlus as Sir Henry Baskerville also turn in splendid performances.  The show runs through this Sunday at the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater downtown.

Miniatures Monday

All's well in the dungeon? 
Sometimes I like to take a break from painting sentient creatures to paint dungeon scenery.  Here we have an innocuous looking well.  Good for a cool drink perhaps?  Honestly, how many times have wells found in caves or dungeons been just boring old drinking wells? ;-)