As if we didn’t have enough already with our delivery of our Bones, right? An awesome Kickstarter has just under two weeks left: Iron Mask Miniatures Dwarf Musketeers. We Skyland fellas are fond of dwarves, having our first home game be an all-dwarven (and one gnome bard who was raised by dwarves) adventuring party. If these miniatures had been available, I have no doubt we’d have one (or two) dwarfeteers shouting “One for all and all for one!”
If you missed out on the Dark Sword Miniatures Elmore Dragon diorama, you will be kicking yourself like I am. You could have gotten a good dozen quality Dark Sword Miniatures for your pledge with the diorama of Elmore’s famous dragon painting come to life. With the unlocked add-ons, another 20 or so miniatures. When it comes out for retail sales after GenCon, I’ll be first in line.
I got in at the last minute on the newest Bombshell Babes diorama, a special edition of their iconic Maelee fighting robots. Since my tastes run more towards fantasy, I passed on the diorama itself, but picked up some of the robots… because robots are cool! These have a “Robby the Robot gone amok” feel to them and I can’t wait to paint them… in a couple years after I am done with the Bones. Patrick Keith is a fantastic sculptor and the Bombshell line is a fantastic idea. I can’t wait to see what comes next from his studio.
I had convinced myself that out of all 17,744 backers of the Reaper Bones Kickstarter, I’d get mine last. Well, miracle of miracles, I was not. I was close though. All of the local people and the majority of our Asheville Pathfinder Lodge had already gotten theirs… and last I checked it was down to 4500 left to go on the Reaper Webpage Kickstarter Tracker-thing, and then I got home this last Thursday and a huge box had been dropped off.
With next to no recollection of what I had actually ordered, I was unprepared for what arrived. I got one figure case, a Cthulu, a Vampire-level, a Kaladrax, a tisket, a tasket, a barrel of bones in a basket. I got a passel of paints but realize that I’m going to need even more. Black primer? One bottle won’t cut it. One bottle of black anything won’t cut it. I’ve already put in another order for more. On the official Reaper forums there is some talk of missing pieces, but honestly… I wouldn’t even know it at this point. If I’m missing one or two figures, I still count myself lucky that I got in to this Kickstarter.
Ten years ago I would have considered myself an above-average painter. Now? Quite a bit less than that. With the amount of lead, err… plastic at my disposal I think I’ll get back to near-professional levels. I certainly have enough to practice on. As weeks go by, I’ll be showing some in-progress and some finalized pieces. I have great plans for some of the elementals and undead that I hope pan out. I have so many pieces that are favorites, they’ll also be spotlighted as I paint them. There’s a lot of ground still to cover. I’ll also have some tips and tricks on how to handle your Bones, how to straighten those pesky curved swords and show how remarkably easy it is to re-base them. I cannot wait. The arrival of this box has reawakened my passion for this hobby.
Reaper has done an amazing job in getting all this out (even if it is a few months past their anticipated delivery date). If they are crazy enough to ever do another Kickstarter, I will leap at the chance to pledge.
This month’s group of pregenerated characters are a cult dedicated to the evil snake god Ydersius that has taken their veneration in a much different direction. As young upstart adventurers, they have discovered Ydersius’ message of immortality and have long admired the snake’s power and charm. Since worship of Ydersius is not welcomed by all in the civilized world, they have tried to keep their true identities secret and adopted serpentine nicknames for themselves. They have also taken to wearing black hoods (to emulate Ydersius’ headlessness) and green hued clothing and armor (to emulate a snake’s green body).
Click on a name below to view their character sheet:
Cobra : As the unofficial leader of the cult, Cobra is tough, charismatic and wise. He believes that his devotion to Ydersius will bring the gift of immortality to him and his fellows. Using his contacts within the Sczarni, he wishes to get his fangs deep into the city to expand the cult’s power and reach. (Suggested Advancement: Versatile Channeling (3rd), Boon Companion (5th))
Python : While Cobra is the heart of the cult, Python is the muscle. Hailing from distant Qadira, this half-orc is more comfortable on the streets of civilization than in the wild. Wielding his spiked chain with a masterful prowess, he is more than capable of defending his fellow cultists from disapproving human society. (Suggested Advancement: Two-Handed Weapon Combat Style with Power Attack (2nd), Shield of Swings (3rd), Boon Companion (5th))
Sidewinder : From the dry wildernesses and deserts of Osirion, Sidewinder has long been connected to the serpentine and seems to be on the cusp of discovering how to morph into a snake. He enjoys control over others, whether it be in combat or everyday life. This half-elf seems more driven than the others and may vie for leadership of the cult if something were to happen to Cobra. (Suggested Advancement: Serpent’s Natural Weapons: Bite (2nd), Natural Spell (3rd), Boon Companion (5th))
Viper : As the smallest of the cult, the gnomish Viper has large coils to fill. Under the advice of his larger totem guide, he has sought out the Grand Lodge in Absalom with his fellows so that he may continue growth in the arcane and study his obsession with poison and snakes. In combat he tends to stay on the defensive; hidden from those who may hurt him. (Suggested Advancement: Boon Companion (3rd), Go Unnoticed (5th))
Anaconda : The only female in this otherwise masculine cult, the nobly-dressed Anaconda is possibly an aristocrat from Taldor temporarily stripped of her title and wealth by her family. Or at least that is what the rest of the cult has surmised. Cobra brought her into the fold after it was discovered that she could summon a creature that they all believe to be an aspect of Ydersius. (Suggested Advancement: Resilient Eidolon (3rd), Extra Evolution (5th))
Behind The Character Sheet : As you can see from the multiple Boon Companion feats, each character in the party will basically have a large-sized constrictor snake or medium-sized poisonous viper at 5th level. I recommend the constrictor because they will be large, have reach and can constrict. Do not forget to make them even more deadly by giving them feats such as Power Attack, Toughness, and Combat Reflexes.
Last Month’s Article : Eyes of Lamashtu – Cooperative Summoning
With the re-release of so much classic material from Wizards of the Coast like Dungeons of Dread S1-S4 and Against the Slave Lords A0-A4, as well as all the PDFs on DnDclassics.com it has never been easier to try your hand at classic adventures that helped establish the game and the hobby. My one issue with playing the classics is having to deal with all the quirks of 1e AD&D. I’d rather not have to deal with separate saves for Petrification, Spells, Wands, etc., descending AC, THAC0, and the like. It is no secret I’m a big fan of Dungeon Crawl Classics, which I feel combines the best of old school style with the benefit of picking and choosing the best mechanics of all the versions of D&D from the past 40 years.
My current mission is to convert S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth for DCC levels 4-5. I listened to the recent Spellburn Podcast (which you should definitely check out if you like DCC) and they mentioned that roughly 1 DCC level equals about 2 AD&D levels. Thus, with the original adventure for character levels 6-10, I think it should be a good match. My plan is to have the players start at 4th level, then level up to 5th when (if?) they reach the lower caverns. I also plan on having them start out with one +1 and one +2 item. Whether that item is a weapon/staff or armor is up to the player.
I can’t wait to use the very cool magic item creation tables in DCC for both wizard staffs and magic swords. To quote from the DCC RPG book for those unfamiliar, “There is no such thing as a ‘generic’ magic item. All magic items are unique.” When creating a magic item, you roll on a bunch of tables to determine its intelligence, alignment, motivations, banes, and special powers! I’ll also encourage the players to name their weapons and either create or roll back-stories (yes, there is a table for that) as to how they were created and previous owners, etc.
Here is a sample sword: Neutral Long Sword +2, Int 11, Empathic, 3 banes (Serpent – festering wound +1d6 dmg, +1d4 dmg next round, Undead – +1 Crit threat range, Giant – Unerring throw, can be thrown 60′, returns to hand, regular melee dmg) , Special purposes – bring balance to a specific place – Live alone as a warrior-hermit, sheds light 20′ at-will, detects gems within 30′. Now THAT is a magic sword!
I think most monster and save conversion will be fairly easy. For converting descending ACs to ascending, I plan on subtracting 20 from the current AC and making the result positive, i.e. AC 4 becomes AC 16 (4-20= -16). Most saves seem somewhat arbitrary in AD&D (Ah yes, a rockslide. Save vs…..SPELL!?!) So for those I’ll just use what has become common practice in 3.5, Pathfinder, and 4e: Poison vs. Fortitude, Charm/Sleep vs. Will, Lightening/Fire vs. Reflex.
I can’t imagine how this was a tournament module, as the scope just seems daunting to try and accomplish in even an all-day session. For publication, Gary added a very detailed and sprawling wilderness section that was not included at the original Con version, but even still, he does advise this will “likely take several gaming sessions.” It will be a few weeks before we gather our band of treasure seekers and take a delve. Be sure and check back to see how it went!