26 April 2017

Averaigne campaign - session 35

[The story so far]

Session 35 - Paddle power
After a surprisingly restful night in the little side-passage they'd found leading off from the main sewer, it was time to explore further, starting with the door ahead of them.

19 April 2017


I've been slowly getting my painting mojo back, and decided to get out my wet-palette and the matt-medium to have a go with thinner paints and intermediate tones. I use mostly Foundry triads, but the step between the shades on some colours (especially flesh) is too stark for my taste, so a little blending is needed alongside a touch more boldness with the brush, perhaps.

Anyway, this in-progress minotaur is the result of that fiddling about to date:

I think he's coming along nicely so far. One thing that surprised me with this sculpt was finding that he's wearing gloves,which I guess I'll paint black or very dark blue with the leather studded armour in black. Opinions are very welcome! The mechanical left hoof will get some classic black'n'white checks and some plain steel.

Let me know what you think,

15 April 2017

How a [boy] shall be armed for his ease when fighting on foot

Long time readers will know that I have two sons, the Rab-ble as it were. By nature, and certainly by nurture, they have a keen fantastical and chivalric interest - their wooden swords have slain many a fearsome foe and graced many a tournament field. All good stuff.

When we were at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge earlier in the week (absolutely fascinating exhibition on personal vs. public devotional items in 16th century Italy), they spotted these felt scabbard in the shop and, without nagging, made their admiration of them quite clear.

14 April 2017

Averaigne Inkarnate

Yay for bad puns as blog titles.

I can't find the post on FB which put me on to Inkarnate as a mapping app, but I'm glad they did. It's free to sign up, takes about fifteen minutes to learn all the controls, and then you're off. There are limitations (available stock art, how much you can scale it, lack of a good road texture), but it's pretty nifty. Apparently there's a proper commercial release on the way that will also allow city and dungeon mapping. Jolly good!

Here is my first attempt at mapping Averaigne with it. I need to work a bit on intermixing different scale trees, I think, and I need to rough out some more bits to fill in the map, but not bad for the time taken, imho.

13 April 2017

Holiday bits'n'bobs

I always have grand plans for the holidays - all those hours I won't be at work, all that time to get on and do some hobby stuff, rather than just doing it exhaustedly and vicariously in late night internet bursts.



Those "free" hours soon get filled. Some of it with pleasurable things (actually spending time with my family, going walking, reading, a museum or art gallery or two), and some of it with chores that have built up (I'm typing this with paint-flecked fingers, not from geeking, but from repainting what feels like half the house).

Nevertheless, some geeking has happened:

There has been a lot more Talisman from the boys (I've introduced the City expansion, next up, the Dungeon)

I made some tentative steps forward on my Chaos Army project which rather stalled for personal reasons over the last two months and needs to be radically accelerated if I'm going to get even close to completing it in 2017. I do have a backup plan involving a giant to reach the points target with less painting...

Actually, that minotaur lord on the left is nearly done now, and I'll post him when he's finished.


9 April 2017

Averaigne campaign - session 34

[The story so far]

Session 34 - Stone spears and eggs
The bats swirled around their heads, diving and biting at them. Tybalt was face down in the sewage and not moving but, despite his shield held above him, Dumnorix was struggling to force his way through the flock to get to his aid. It looked bleak as the party struggled to find an effective response.

4 April 2017

Averaigne campaign - session 33

[The story so far]

Sessions 33 - Friends of the Green Rose
So, in an underground store-room accessed from the sewers, with a teenage gang-member called JB who'd shot at them as their prisoner, and an unexpected noise getting closer. Perfect!

2 April 2017


Like several of you, I expect, I spent more hours than I care to count playing Talisman as a child. Rainy Bank Holiday Mondays (of which there seemed to be a never-ending supply in the Peak District) would be greeted with a chorus of "Talisman!" by yours truly and his slew of younger siblings, followed quickly by "Bagsy the [insert favourite character here]". After the inevitable tussle, parental involvement, and grudging apology, we'd get the game out and the next several hours (interrupted only for food) would be passed to the soundtrack of Meatloaf's Bat out of Hell and maybe a smidge of Iron Maiden if we were feeling edgy. All copied from cassettes borrowed from the library, of course.

One of the unexpected things about Dad's funeral was reminiscing about this with the mother of two kids who'd joined us on some of these adventurous indoor-play-days, so it felt right to raid the loft and set my two Rablings on their first quest for the Crown of Command.

"What's in the box, Daddy?"

1 April 2017

It's been a little quiet...

...around here for a while. Aside from some fairly significant developments at work (good, bad, and just time-consuming), the main reason is that I just haven't felt like doing much geeking in what spare time I've had. Why? Well, as a couple of you were kind enough to enquire, this is why.

My Dad
31/10/1952 - 06/02/2017

19 March 2017

Averaigne campaign - session 32

[The story so far]

Sessions 32 - Into the sewers
[Aaaaaand we're back! It's been over two months since I was in the GM's chair and both I an the players were itching to get on with our campaign; a good sign!]

Having been back in Corcelle for just one day, trouble seemed to have found the party as surely as pigs can rootle out truffles. Aurelius had managed to get access to the Library of the Learned and was hoping to sneakily copy out a few spells from their vast collection, but the rest were standing on the docks as night drew fully in with the threat of rain in the air, and the combined mystery of a murdered child and some posh lady's stolen jewellery to investigate

26 February 2017


As it's six nations season, a request for "monster rugby" from the Rablings was cheerfully accepted and, as they couldn't decide who would play first we played two games side-by-side while waiting for the England-Italy match to start.

On the left we have a vanilla Chaos versus Chaos Pact showdown (I was Pact), while on the right the lure of the snow troll from Impact miniatures was enough to ensure that my WIP Orc team would face a bunch of Norse. I ended up kicking to both and, with a little gentle support and reminders about TZs and assists, it wasn't long before...

...the younger boy had GFI twice to dive over in the corner. This was repeated in the chaos showdown, with older boy having an intuitive understanding that, when your ball carrier is in reach of the endzone but well out of reach of any opposition, it's the perfect time to gang-up on, and then gang-foul the big guys. That's my boy!

I tried to play a mix of overly risky to allow for failures to get them used to turnovers, and explaining the basics (TZs, assists, cages, screening the ball carrier, the order of moves) to get them thinking. It's still a little long for the younger one to concentrate so hard (I might try sevens with him), but the older boy carefully noted down the score, turn and dugouts so we can finish our game another day - it's currently one all and his turn to receive on the final turn of the first half to do some bashing to soften me up for the second half.

Funnily enough I showed him about "refusing a cage" and stepping back so I couldn't hit him, immediately before the game in which Italy did exactly that to England over the ruck. Life imitating gaming!


13 February 2017

Nostalgia! Huh! What is it good for?

Aah, the Beatles, the Fab Four themselves, settling down for another backstage session of their long-running Labyrinth Lord campaign as DM'ed by their arranger George Martin.

8 February 2017

First knight nerves

As the amount of time I have to actually sit down and get into the painting groove is so limited, I often am put off starting miniatures in case I make a balls-up of it. The thought of having to start again is so unappealing that I'd then be stuck with a figure that looks a bit poo. Or, more accurately, with a half-painted figure gathering dust that looks a bit poo.

However, if I'm going to complete my self-imposed challenge of completing this army this year, there's no time for (more) dithering. This is the result:

5 February 2017

Random results without tables

Now, I love a random table as much as the next nerd. Whether it is a simple d6 affair to select a scenario when you want a quick pick-up game that isn't just "line up and fight", or pre-battle weather effects, or the warped and contradictory glory that is the interlinked set of tables of GW's 1988/90 Realm of Chaos warband generator:

28 January 2017

Chaos kniggits

Keen eyes may notice that the header for this, and future, Chaos Army 2017 project posts is a quick cut'n'shunt job on the way that Dale Hurst's eye-catching warband was presented in White Dwarf 135.

Readers of previous posts, particularly from when I chopped about some bits to make a demon, will know how inspirational that article was for me, so it seemed only right to keep a touch of that as I expand the warband into a whole 3,000 point army over the course of this year.

So far I have units/individual characters painted to a total of 907 points. There are also several figures painted for other units, but I'll only count them when the whole unit is done, including bases, shields, and banners. I'm going to be strict!

The next unit up for sharing (although you'll soon see that they are bare metal/plastic/putty) are the most expensive, points-wise, and therefore I wanted to do something special with them - the knights. I have them as "chaos warriors" mounted on "chaos steeds" so my bitzbox was brought into play. In the end I left the riders as they came, but I didn't want a full unit mounted on normal horses, it didn't seem fitting.

16 January 2017

The start of something chaotic

This year, as you may have read in my plans for 2017 post, I aim to turn my motley collection of painted and unpainted lead into a fully functioning (i.e. painted, based, shielded and bannered) army of 3,000 points for 3rd edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I've decided to go for generic Chaos as per the main rulebook, although it will have a blue and yellow Tzeentchian theme, and a wizard on flying disc for flavour.

I own all the models needed to complete this task, and have assembled and/or converted almost all of them to the stage where they are ready for undercoating. This then, is The Plan, with a couple of old photos of models already done:

14 January 2017

Fantasy Warlord

About a week ago, a fellow Oldhammerer on the FB page enquired about the value of a copy of Gary Chalk and Ian Bailey's 1990 publication, Fantasy Warlord. Now, I'd been aware of this, vaguely, as being the source of some of Gary Chalk's fabulous illustrations alongside the first eight Lone Wolf books, Talisman, the Redwall books, etc, but never really looked into it.

Cue a 1p + postage purchase on Amazon, and I have a copy myself.

12 January 2017

Planning ahead

Assuming that the fallout from the more unexpected political events of 2016 isn't actual fallout, I've made some hobby-related plans. Although last year's Geekstarter worked quite well, I'm going to go for something even simpler, if no less grand in its aspiration. My plans are...

[drum roll]

Main Goal
Complete a 3,000 point Chaos army, as per the Big Orange Book*, but with the simplified equipment points costs (and centaurs) from Warhammer Armies. I'm going to give it its own Page tab at the top.

Optional Extras
I've various other bits and pieces I'd like to get sorted as well this year and will turn to when I want a break from my Main Goal.

  • finish my orc Blood Bowl team
  • add "water" to my terrain board dry rivers
  • trees for the terrain boards
  • finish the retinues for my medieval reskin of Space Hulk, Catacombs
  • get more gaming rules writing done, and shared

And that's it! I'm going to assist in maintaining my focus by also undertaking a Pledge

Not to buy any new miniatures for myself. Ok, I'll allow myself a couple of exceptions: bargains, if they won't be available again, or if I've sold a similar number already. Ideally, I'll end the year with no more miniatures than I started it.

There you go. That's it. Do you have plans? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

Happy new year,

* i.e. the 3rd Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle rulebook

10 January 2017

BFRPG character sheet

A while back I posted some sketches of a character sheet I'd made to put a handmade touch to my Basic Fantasy roleplaying campaign (click the Averaigne tab in the title bar for more on that), but I realised I never shared them. This was remiss of me given ho much I have cribbed, copied, and been inspired by others; you may detect a massive influence from Dyson Logos in my efforts.

If they are useful to you, please use them, improve them, whatever. Roll high!

The front is the same for all classes and the rucksack and hands are how we cover encumbrance (although I crossed out three sections of the rucksack for halflings) which has exercised me somewhat in the past.

For the reverse, I have different sheets for magic users:

8 January 2017

Deadcember 16 champion

I've thoroughly enjoyed curating Deadcember and will do so again at the end of 2017 - if the quality and variety matches 2016's entries then it will be a pleasure to do so once more!

First of all, I must congratulate all of those who completed the challenge and submitted an entry (or several more than one in some cases!), particularly as I didn't - I have five skeletal horsemen in need of about an hour or two to finish off bone highlights, saddles and bridles, remnants of hair, and basing. Hardly a way to lead by example, eh?

7 January 2017

"Now I am the (dungeon) master..."

Yesterday evening I got to play, rather then DM, in a game of retroclone D&D using the Basic Fantasy (BFRPG) ruleset. It was my first time as a player in any rpg! One of my usual players had volunteered to run a one-shot in a remote part of the kingdom our Averaigne campaign is set in using characters he'd pregenerated (he'd made ten and the six of us chose our favourites), and it was great. Not only had lots of effort clearly gone into preparing for the session (see the awesome character sheets below), but the level of inventiveness was pretty cool.

4 January 2017

Averaigne campaign - sessions 29, 30 and 31

[The story so far]

Sessions 29, 30 & 31 - The tomb of the iron god (ix), and back to Corcelle
NB - this uses Matt Finch's excellent Tomb of the Iron God module and may contain spoilers.

After a week or so recovering in the small village of Marcigny, the party was ready to head back to the Temple and the catacombs below; there was unfinished business they had to attend to and a spellbook to recover.

2 January 2017

2016? Least said...

Well, 2016 certainly seemed to be determined to cause as much damage as possible, didn't it? Still, this blog isn't the place for my thoughts on current affairs and/or politics, so let's get back to pretendy-elf-games.

I rather let my monthly review of spending/painting/gaming slip over the last couple of months but here is the full round-up, with Deadcember to follow soon in a separate post. Way back in January 2016 (when it was just Lemmy who'd left the stage), I posted my idea of "Geekstarting" my hobby year. While I've by no means fulfilled all the goals, it has kept me semi-focused in terms of my geeking.