No, it's not a yellow submarine, just a little steampunkship.
I had started this some time ago and finally finished it this long weekend. The main body is made from a plastic Mott's applesauce container, cut in half. The nose and tail pieces are made bits of plasticard cut and filed/sanded to shape. The periscope is made from some plastic tubing from an old ballpoint pen. I sculpted the elbow bend with sculpting putty since I couldn't find any useful bits for that part. A bit of paint, and all that's left is varnish to finish it off.
Not having much time or energy for gaming lately one thing I have managed is playing through the introductory pdfs for The Lost City of the Dwarves. These are "choose your own adventure"/solo dungeon types of books/games. You can read more about them at Lost City of the Dwarves
The introductory pdfs are free, and a good full adventure in their own right. You create a character and play through the 3 pdfs, level up your character (if they survive), gain items that you can use as you go, etc. I love dwarves, and these pdfs/books give a nice background and history, lots of flavor, as well as humor and tense or more dramatic moments as well. Some very good artwork, too. I would definitely recommend trying out the free pdfs, which you can get from DriveThruRPG. I loved it enough that I went ahead and purchased the printed version of the main adventure. That's the first part of a new adventure in the Lost City.
(not sure what the word for a large group of orcs is; like murder of crows, pride of lions, etc. Horde of orcs? Mess seems kind of appropriate).
These are more old Foundry orcs. I made a few conversions, swapping in the hand holding the horn and another hand holding a sword on the orc with the horn in the lower left, a hand with a big cleaver chopper weapon on the orc in the front, a couple of spiky metal shoulder pads on a couple of other orcs, and removal of extra weapons from a few. I may add shields to some or many of these "lads" if I come up with shields I think would be suitable. 25 orcs in one big mass! I think that's the most figures I've painted in one batch in a long time, if ever. There was enough variety and I switched colors around so it wasn't tedious.
A few figures fresh off the painting table. Some old GW so-called "black orcs" - I think these are really tough orcs, sort of like uruk hai. Unfortunately, for some reason I only ever got around to buying the command group, so they have no more orcs or their ilk to command. I guess they'll have to settle for bossing around lesser orcs.
A few regular orc archers, an old purchase from Foundry.
And some sort of plague-ridden mangy dog-like creature from Reaper's Bones line (I think it could be a Pathfinder goblin dog, which are not canines but more like large carnivorous rat creatures), and a dungeon mimic from Otherworld Miniatures.
Like Inigo Montoya and Fezzik I'm looking at going "back to the beginning". In this case it means I've been looking into Tunnels & Trolls, the rpg rules I started out with back in the mid to late 70s. The advantage they had over D&D was their simplicity and several solo "dungeons". A huge plus for those like me who lacked fellow gamers to play with. I have fuzzy but fond memories of Buffalo Castle and several other solo dungeons, and artwork by Liz Danforth, Carver, et al.
So I have been perusing the Lone Delver blog and have also downloaded free basic T&T rules made available by Flying Buffalo, some 'zines (notably, Trollszine) and solo dungeons/adventures and such from rpgnow. So much free content available and so many creative people involved in T&T! I rolled up a goblin and played the Goblin Lake solo dungeon included in the free rules. Although he was very dextrous luck wasn't with him. It was a fun re-intro though.
While browsing around on rpgnow I also came across a solo adventure called Lost City of the Dwarves. As a long-time fan of dwarves, from my early days of reading Tolkien, the solo adventure sounded like something I might be interested in. They have a free intro, called a Prologue, so I also grabbed that. I love the artwork in it. The artwork used in the Prologue is cool, it's the preliminary sketches, which I always find interesting and fun to look at. The story itself is a good intro to the premise of the adventure, the world in which it takes place, and the mechanics of the game. These are basically "choose your own adventure" solo dungeons, but the story and the art are very well done and captured my interest and imagination. I would definitely recommend the Prologue to anyone who is a fan of dwarves or Tolkien or fantasy. And you can't beat the price!
It seems like ages ago that a number of unfortunate halflings were taken captive by a pack of gnolls. Well, finally a brave hero or 2 has come along to try to rescue the captive halflings. Today, using the Very Simple Generic Miniatures Rules that I used previously, with a few "house rules" for scenario-specific flavor, I had a dwarf hero armed with a crossbow and ax attempt a rescue. He went in alone and didn't get off to a very good start (lots of poor dice rolls!). First shot missed, and then he got knocked down by the first gnoll he acme in contact with.
Eventually he killed that gnoll. The dwarf made it to the rocky area where most of the halflings were being held by several of the gnolls (the rest of the gnolls and halflings were scattered a bit). After some back and forth fighting the dwarf was overcome and captured by several gnolls ganging up on him. Well, that wouldn't do! Enter an heroic wood elf archer, friend of the dwarf hero. Again I created a few "house rules"/stats for the wood elf and the scenario. The gnolls were now on alert, in defensive positions among various rocky outcrops, and keeping watch on their captives. The wood elf entered the area, promptly shot one gnoll and freed a couple of halflings. Moving along, the wood elf shot another gnoll and freed another halfling. Then the wood elf moved towards the main group of hostages. Shooting more gnolls. The previously freed halflings had moved up to the rocky area and were able to knock down some of the gnolls and eventually free up more halflings and the dwarf. In the end the elf, dwarf and halflings dispatched the last of the gnolls. Another triumph for the forces of niceness.
One thing I like about simple rules like the ones mentioned above is it's easy to learn the base rules and then add a few variations as desired for specific scenarios. In this game the main differences between the dwarf and elf were the dwarf was better at hand to hand combat (hitting/killing on a roll of 3-6), while the elf was better at missile combat (hitting on a roll or 3-6 at close range), and the dwarf got armor protection (canceling hits against him on a roll of 4-6).
I finished off a few assorted fantasy miniatures.
An old GW halfling and a Reaper elf
An owlbear and a mimic from Otherworld Miniatures, which seems to have good range of 25-28mm miniatures that hark back to some of the old artwork for D&D. I like the style of the figures. Otherworld's service was good, too. They added in a few figures I hadn't ordered, at no extra cost.
I also have some kobolds from Otherworld. The kobolds look great, but they are small figures, about halfling size, and many of them come with separate hands or arms that I haven't been able to attach solidly yet. I wish they were all cast in one piece. I dislike trying to assmble small figures.
And some snow goons from Reaper. When I placed an order with them in December the snow goons were included free as the "perk" for ordering that day. Reaper was doing a sort of "12 days of Christmas" promotion where they included a free figure or so depending on which day you placed your order.
These are metal bugbears from Reaper - all of the metal bugbears I could get from them without duplicating figures. I swapped out the bashing weapons most of them had for edged weapons, swords, cleaver, and thrusting spears. The weapons are mostly plastic, from old GW plastic orc sprues, and one metal sword blade from the leader in one of those sets. I did this to make the bugbears more different from the gnolls I painted previously, who are mostly armed with maces and other bashing weapons.
For the gnoll raid on the halfling settlement of Duckweed described in my previous post I used a combination of rules. Probably cobbled together more like Frankenstein than like a good robust hybrid.
For starters I found a set of rules online called Very Simple Generic Miniatures Rules. You can probably find them by using a search engine or you can go to http://www.dominowriting.com/games.html and scroll down to the rules in question. Mostly I used the combat rules from this set. For movement, I borrowed some ideas from The Song of Blades and Heroes series of rules sets. Additionally, I made up some "house rules" for the scenario I devised.
I decided all of the halflings had some sort of missile weapons (whether bows and arrows, slings, slingshots, thrown rocks, guns, thrown flagons or steins, whatever) and treated them all the same. 5 or 6 on 1D6 to hit. The only effect they would have on the gnolls would be to discombobulate them temporarily. For each gnoll thus affected in any given turn another halfling would appear on the halfling's baseline. In addition, if many gnolls were knocked down/back, distracted, etc., I would roll to see if the gnolls called off their attack, thus ending the game. For this I would roll 1D6, if the result was less than or equal to the number of gnolls still active at that point the attack would continue. So, with 9 gnolls in the raiding party the halflings would have to hit at least 4 of them to have any chance of driving them off.
The gnolls were only armed with hand to hand weapons, but they were fiercer in hand-to-hand fighting. For hand-to-hand fighting I rolled 1D6 for the halflings and the dog and donkey, and 2D6 for the gnolls, with an additional D6 for the gnoll chieftan. I then took the highest roll for each participant in each hand-to-hand combat. If a gnoll won they captured their opponent. If a halfling or animal won they only fended off their opponent, same as hitting them with a missile.
So, the halflings couldn't ever kill or knock any gnolls completely out of the fight, but the gnolls could take halflings and animals out. The halflings only chance was to discomfort enough gnolls to drive them off.
For movement, and for missile ranges, I used some measuring sticks I had created. I made a few lengths, short (3 inches), medium (5 inches), long (8 inches), and extra long (13 inches). Halflings and animals could move 2 short; gnolls, 1 long. Missile range was 1 extra long. Movement had to be in a straight line and could not pass through any obstacles or features (like trees, walls, hedges, barrels, etc.). That meant the halflings and animals were more maneuverable through areas with lots of obstacles, but gnolls could move quickly across open areas. A halfling could dodge around and evade a gnoll in amongst some trees or other obstacles, but a gnoll could outrun a halfling on open ground. I also made the opening in the hedge at the upper right of the cow pasture too small for a gnoll, but large enough for a halfling. A halfling could duck through there if need be; or defend across it, but gnolls had to go around to the larger opening near the halfling baseline.
I didn't set any victory conditions. This scenario was not so much about winning or losing, but rather about setting things up for another scenario after the raid. More on that later (once I work it out and play more games).
I ruled that the gnolls would always have initiative and the halflings couldn't move or fire missiles until contacted, unless they had been alerted. They would be alerted the first time any halfling got a hit on a gnoll, which would have to be in hand-to-hand combat by the above conditions. Luckily, the woodsman got a hit in the very first combat. That horn came in handy!
I tried to keep things pretty simple for this game. of course, it's always easy to make things more complicated, adding variations, exceptions, etc. For example, I could've rated different missile weapons differently; maybe some should have shorter ranges, for example, or do more permanent damage. But KISS is a good motto, in my opinion.
In the actual game there were some good and unexpected moments. Like when the dog rushed to attacked the gnoll chieftan after the dog's master was captured, and manged to beat the chieftan, rolling one 6 to the chieftain's 3 dice with lower scores.
It was a quiet day in the shire. Cattle browsing under the watchful eye of dog and halfling; a woodsman seeking wood for fires; a goatherd drowsing after second breakfast; a farmer and his donkey tending to a field of potatoes and carrots.
Little did they know, a raiding pack of gnolls were coming over the hills to the north, intent on gathering food and captives.
The gnolls swept down to attack the woodsman, but he fought back valiantly, escaping from the gnolls and blowing his horn to alert the other halflings.
The hunter by the pond fired his bow, striking one gnoll. The woodsman and hunter retreat back towards the walls and hedges of the farms around the halfling village, pursued closely by the raiding gnolls. The gnoll chieftan captures the cowherd in spite of having to fight over the hedge. Meanwhile, the goatherd strikes another gnoll.
The gnolls press their attack and capture the woodsman and the hunter. The halflings hit a couple of gnolls, while the herders start herding the cows and goats to safety.
The gnolls surge forward, but don't quite make it into contact with any of the halflings. The dog rushes in to attack the gnoll chieftan, managing to get in a good nip and hold her off for a little while. The halflings fire off various missiles, knocking 5 gnolls off balance. This leaves only 3 gnolls on their feet and ready for action, but the gnolls hold their ground. The goatherd sees his animals off to safety.
The gnoll chieftan captures the dog, while the halfling barmaid knocks one gnoll back with a flagon to the kneecap, but the gnolls capture one of the town guards, the old potato farmer, and the halfling slinger.
More halflings join the defense. In a flurry of assorted missiles the halflings discomfort 4 gnolls, but the gnolls hold their ground again, and in return capture the halfling lad with his slingshot (or catapult) and Littlejack, Robyn Hood's sidekick.
More halflings, four adventurous fellows, join the fray. The gnolls press the attack. The halflings fight off 2 of the gnolls, but the donkey and 5 halflings are taken captive. The remaining halflings fire off another flurry of missiles, tankards, rocks, arrows, etc., and knock down, knock back, distract, etc., 5 more gnolls. The gnolls decide they have had enough (and have enough captives) and retreat back the way they came.
In the aftermath of the raid the remaining halflings ponder what to do about their captured friends and family.
Thus endeth the gnoll raid on the halfling settlement of Duckweed.
In a further post I will write a bit about how this raid was conducted.