30 May 2014

A hatred for goblins

Last time, John Trollsbane and his as-yet-unnamed co-captain saw off the marauding forces of naughtiness from their pillaging of the village of... let's call it Frith (old Norman French for "forest", btw - I spent my school years commuting by train through a village called Chapel en le Frith up in Derbyshire and I always liked the name) on the edge of the deep forest. News soon got back to the Duke of their proficiency and bravery; as a reward they got sent to respond to news of further stirrings along the narrow but deep and swift-flowing river Guernotte, the official boundary of the Duke's land and often under the very shade of the forest. Some reward! Never trust a smiling nobleman...

This time I actually got a bit more terrain out, along with a balding GW grassmat - the munchkins were particularly keen to use the river and the tower, although the tower played no role whatsoever in the game except during pack-up when I dropped the heavy lump on two roofs and chipped a great lump out of each of them, dammit! Containing the vehement bad language that wanted to spew forth at that moment was a great effort of will!

Goblins to the left of me, skellies to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you...

The brief for the newly confident captains was simple: no fiend was to be allowed to set foot across the river, at any cost! This was a matter of pride (and probably political necessity) for the Duke.

29 May 2014

Stuff from the interwebz #2 - Sergey Yuhinov

Sergey Yuhinov? Who he? Yes, he's completely new to me as well, but it turns out he's responsible for some truly extraordinary illustrations for The Lord of the Rings - and if you don't know what that is, this probably isn't the blog for you!

I was entranced by the Orthodox-style illuminations, reminiscent of both medieval manuscripts and proper devotional icon painting. Here are just four of his illustrations of well known sections from the books as a taster:

The Ents march on Isengard

27 May 2014

John the Troll-slayer

Towards the end of the second day of solid rain in my little part of damp old Blighty, the natives (aged 4 and 6) were getting more than a little restless. Even Lego had lost its appeal! Something Had To Be Done...

As luck would have it, the little village on the edge of the ash-grey plains of Fron'Troom had been overrun by goblins, a troll, and several nameless beasts from the dark recesses of the forest of So-Faa. Time for knights to be knightly and see off those monsters to allow the innocent villagers to return to their life of feudal servitude and drudgery in peace.

With no thoughts for points, balance, or anything more than a cursory scenario (kill or drive off the monsters) and the need for a quick start, I grabbed a handful of gribblies to face off against the combined might of my sons' First Painted Figures. I thought I might need to take it a little easy on them as their first couple of moves were a bit like primary school football - everyone charge in the same direction - it turned out that my abysmal activation rolls (we used the excellent Song of Blades and Heroes rules), their natural understanding of enfilading fire and more sixes than I've ever seen on unloaded dice meant I was soon fighting for survival. A survival that was nasty, brutish and short. There was much rejoicing on the side of the multi-coloured forces of order when a fallen knight leapt to his feet and tripped the troll in time for his comrade in arms (the eponymous John) to stride in and despatch the beast with nonchalant ease. Bah humbug! After that it was just a matter of a couple of turns before all my outnumbered minions were similarly slain; the one surviving goblin fleeing ignominiously back into the dark places as far afield as Cell'Ar.

"You shoot him from that side and I'll get him from this side!"

23 May 2014

BOYLing goats

Not much in the way of hobby activity for me in the last week or so, so my apologies to those of you whose lives have been empty without a blog update from me. What can I say? There've been reports to write, exams to prep students for, and the sun has been shining so I've been in the garden building a raised bed (for soft fruits, if you're interested) and a chicken run.

This afternoon, though, I had an unexpected little while to myself and had a splash of inspiration - a possible design for one face of a d6 that could be a fun little memento of the Oldhammer weekend in August, BOYL 2014. For some reason, goats seem to have become the totem animal of the Oldhammer forum (I think Chico may be a were-goat), so that had to go in. As for the typeface, I turned to the font of all knowledge (see what I did there? Eh? Geddit?), Zhu, and used Bocklin for a proper old-school feel. He was quite right to suggest that I should use all capitals so here is my second attempt:

14 May 2014

Fetchez le vache!

Apparently I have to have plenty of stock phrases ready for maximum geekage at Bring Out Your Lead 2014 (BOYL14 from now on) at Foundry's new HQ in August. I shall therefore have this on loop while I'm painting and practise my pronunciation of "elderrrrrbehreeeez"

11 May 2014

Les arquebusiers de Thierry

If you're a nobleman, you can do as you like as long as you can afford it and it's not treason. Even then, if you've got the money you can probably get away with treason as well. For most, though, it means indulging one's whims. Les arquebusiers de Thierry is one such whim. Inspired by the troubadours' tales of Thierry l'Arquebus, the minor noble Vicomte Lincolne raised a band of skirmishers armed and dressed as the literary figure; an arquebus and the green cloth for which the area of Lincolne is famed. The Vicomte seems to have missed the point that, although green is a good colour for a woodsman, poacher or skirmisher, as soon as they start shooting the noise and smoke will give them away instantly. Nevertheless, the greencoats are good shots and (for peasants) fairly stalwart.

Knowing that I'd better raise some troops (read: paint!) fairly sharpish, I knocked these first six out this week. They still need their bases finishing but I'll do them all in one go at the end. Here they are bravely hiding in the lee of a village headman's house. I was going to pick a francophone rendering of "Robin" but found that there's been a 1960s French series called "Thierry le Fronde" about a Loxley-esque character who used a sling rather than a bow. Fun fact!

"Look busy, mes braves, here comes the Vicomte!"

8 May 2014

"Orcs, sir, fahsands of 'em"

I defy any gamer of any period that can possibly include a castle or fortified structure to honestly say they've never wished to game a siege properly. Look at the medieval manuscript below: bows, crossbows, defenders heroically sallying forth (or perhaps desperately holding the breach against a forlorn hope), even the kitchen sink! Well, ok, it's a big pot, but you get the idea.

6 May 2014

Liebst Du mich?

Well, it appears that some of you do, and Whiskey Priest has shared a bit of that love by Liebstering me. Quite a few blogs are getting that nice little pat on the back of approval, and rightly so; blogging can be a terribly draining activity, all that me-me-me..... ;)

Anyway, it seems to have changed a bit since the last time I was nominated, and there are apparently Questions To Be Answered.

1. Where would you rather be right now.