3 October 2018

Averaigne royal family

Every kingdom has a royal family. In the case of my campaign setting of Averaigne, it's a fairly young kingdom but they are still on their eleventh king in the 250 or so years since the joining of the crowns.

Perhaps not that easy to read, but I now have nine generations of the direct line of Averaignian royalty safely included in my Family Echo account. There's death in childbirth, infertility, plague, a shipwreck, a loyal uncle during a minority regency, and a rebellion so far. I need to squeeze in at least one death in battle or jousting accident, and develop a bloodline that will have a reasonable claim on the throne to spice things up, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with having fleshed it out thus far.

Amazing what can be achieved while a bunch of fifteen year olds are doing a test!

11 September 2018

Meet Emrim

Meet Emrim. For a dwarf (and a thief*) he's a good sort, and a fine shot to have alongside you in a fight. Not behind you, mind, he's not a perfect shot by any means.

This lovely old figure (not sure where he's in production now; Viking Forge? Alternative Armies?) will be my ten year old's character in our Western Lands campaign using the early D&D retroclone ruleset, Basic Fantasy RPG, which is my go-to set for this kind of thing. So far we've gamed solely with paper, pencil, eraser, and imagination, but I think it might respark their interest to have some representational figures and a gridded mat for key encounters.

I'm not planning on handing the figure over yet. Apart from anything else he needs varnishing and a couple of foliage bits on the base. The main reason is that I have a vague plan to make one if those "deluxe" gaming boxes that look like a book but contain a dice box with pencil, dice, and figure storage. We'll see.

Thirty-one figures painted this year now, if you include 10mm figures; seventeen of them since late August!

*He prefers "investigator"

5 September 2018


Blogging has been the thing that has continued to feel like a drag since more-or-less recovering my mojo after a slump in pretty much everything last Spring. It has felt like a chore; like something I ought to be doing and it has hung over me somewhat.

Utterly daft, considering this hobby is my escapism from real-world responsibilities!

So, I've gone down the micro-blogging route for now. Maybe that's where I'll stay, maybe I'll run them side-by-side (certainly Averaigne reports won't work anywhere but here), maybe I'll end up back solely here. We'll see.

In the meantime, if you're interested in keeping an eye on what I'm up to (including my newly added interest of gaming the English Civil War in 10mm), I can be found on Instagram as @rabsgeekly.

Maybe I'll see you there?

6 July 2018

Lego Talisman

While I do get enthusiastic about things pretty easily (I like to think of it as a childlike sense of wonder), it's not often that I'm reduced to gibbering excitement. This is one of those times.

Just. Look. At. This!

Yes, that's a full Talisman 2nd Edition board made out of Lego!!!!

Michael Christiansen is the genius behind it and you can see all 104 photos he's posted at this album over on flickr.

A. Ma. Zing!

27 June 2018

Time passes 01

Time passes 01
We've now reached the stage where all the players have dispersed to university etc. so our gaming is likely to be far more spread out, with maybe only a single game session per year. This is the first such gap, but on Friday we're getting the band back together (including a boyfriend and girlfriend who will be exposed to the full oddness of the Averaigne Adventurers en masse). 

So what's been happening since the last session? Well...

26 June 2018

Averaigne campaign - session 40

Session 40 - in which there are trolls, a sad end, bandits, guile, guilt, vengeance, and promotion
The adventurers, including new recruit Gern, head after Lord Montfort to force him to explain his role in the lizardyness of his wife.

NOTE: in order to keep a complete record, but not put off posting these any longer, I'm just transcribing my DM notes. Short and sweet, but this was a monster session to round off our regular gaming. And it happened about a year ago (bad Mr Rab!), but we've the opportunity for a game on Friday so I'm getting things up to date again.

17 June 2018

Workbench Rampant

After a few months in which I've been using my desk for non-gaming creativity, I've has a burst of mojo. Geeking hasn't been abandoned in the interim, however, and my two sons and I are nearly half way through a 2-teams-each Bloodbowl league.

Fortunately I can fit two pitches side by side so the little Rablings can fluke their way to victory over me simultaneously... I am actually a little miffed that I've taught the older one to play skaven so effectively!

25 March 2018

RaBBL season 1

Good afternoon, sports fans, and welcome to round two of the inaugural RaBBL league!

Last week saw a fantastic double-header with the Vantius Villains from the Northern wastes beating the pre-season favourites Moloch's Malefactors 3-1, although taking a pummeling in doing so. Meanwhile, the chaotic Beastly Bonecrunchers edged to a 2-1 win over the World's Edge Wyverns orc team.

And now we get the winners of those two matches competing to take an early lead in the championship. The weather is beautiful, the crowd of 18,000 are ugly as sin, the two teams (and their coaches!) are slavering psychopaths... perfect!

26 February 2018

Orc archers 1

He was sitting with his back to a great tree, as if he was resting. But Aragorn saw that he was pierced with many black-feathered arrows; his sword was still in his hand, but it was broken near the hilt; his horn cloven in two was at his side. Many Orcs lay slain, piled all about him and at his feet.

One of the arguments I regularly trot out to the incomparable Mrs Rab about why I'm painting "horrible, ugly monsters" is that without such horrible, ugly monsters, how are the heroes to prove themselves? Tolkien (of whom she is sensibly an admirer) understood this and so, while he further understood that the worst monsters could be apparently fair or only temporarily wicked (Boromir himself...), I picked half a dozen older Citadel orcs as the next victims of my brush, of whom the first three are now complete.

17 February 2018

Double figures

With a grunt of "It'll do!" I put down my brush and reached double figures of completed miniatures for 2018 and also completed the set of current characters (seven, plus a dog and a choice of two characters to replace the latest one Ed killed) for my currently-paused old-school D&D campaign, Averaigne.

The latest two figures are the (previously unknown to me) adventurer variant of Mimbrin from the Dwarf King's Court boxed set from 1982 - exactly the same figure but with a great big pack slung across his back - and a masked wizard that caused me much irritation to paint. Still, no regrets and no do-overs this year, so he'll have to face eldritch what-nots and delve into long forgotten dungeons just as he is!

Assuming that "Mimbrin" will take on an NPC role, the photo below shows the party at full strength.

28 January 2018

Ain't no party like a D&D party...

... 'cos a D&D party don't stop until they're out of healing potions and all the clerics are dead!

If that's the case, this party should keep going for a little while as they have not one, but two fully-fledged clerics, as well as a fighter who has a newfound devotion to the god of safe passage to the afterlife and is seeking holy orders.

Still phone photos, but this is what I've painted this month...

20 January 2018

D&D party - WIP 2

Those of you who lie awake at night, worrying over my ability to finish painting any figures to completion need fret no longer. At the end of week three of 2018 I have finished three figures, and am probably only one session away from finishing three more. I've amazed even myself!

Here are the current three WIP figures (two Ral Partha, and I think the dog is one of Farmer Maggot's hounds from GW's film tie-in range). I'll save showing the finished miniatures until the whole adventuring party is complete and, if I'm feeling brave, varnished.

These figures represent Dumnorix (cleric of Alathea and righteous smiter), dog (who hasn't appeared in our adventures yet; he's one of the two additional pieces that got lifted from the shelf of shame to join this project), and Nausicaa (elf of great diplomacy, great hair, and great boots).

15 January 2018

D&D party - WIP 1

I'm enjoying painting up these Ral Partha figures for the current characters in my Averaigne campaign which we're playing using the BFRPG rules for a retro-D&D experience. All are WIP, and just snapped with my phone - proper photographs will happen when I finish a batch of them. There are eight characters in total, and two extra pieces if I get round to it. The plan is to complete them all by the end of February.

Gwen Smoll
A tough little fighter who will, when the situation demands, "just whack it with [her] axe".

Oiseau Nouriture
Lights his sword on fire to receive divine guidance.

The man with no name
The next character that Ed O will doubtless get killed in highly characterful but entertainingly idiotic ways.

10 January 2018

Dungeon delving

Regular readers will know that I've overcome my teenage/early-adulthood disdain for roleplaying and have been enthusiastically dungeoneering with retroclone Dungeons and Dragons with my sons and, separately, a group of students (sadly on hiatus while they're off at university). We've been using the excellent opensource Basic Fantasy Roleplaying Game (BFRPG) rules by Chris Gonnerman (Solomariah on several forums), and doing so purely with dice, pencil and paper in full "theatre of the mind" style.

But I got some new toys over Christmas, so I think there's going to be a little more of a half-way approach for encounters from now on. Think props and clarifications, representative rather than millimeter perfect, and absolutely no counting of squares or arguing line of sight! But I still get to use a few figures when I want to. Anyway, the new toys:

A Chessex Battlemat:

Some of the great dry-wipe monster tokens from Billiam Babble of Inked Adventures:

And an impulse purchase of some adventurer miniatures in Autumn last year yielded what I needed to provide suitable figures for the Averaigne crew. Last night I started blocking out metals and a first layer of flesh in front of McMafia:

It feels good to be painting again and starting the new year with a new project feels fresh and appropriate. There's also the chance of a get-together game in mid Spring, so I have a target.

8 January 2018

Deadcember 2017 - a champion is crowned

It has been both an absolute pleasure, and a cause for mounting panic, for me throughout December as excellent entry after excellent entry arrived in my inbox for the Deadcember competition (sponsored this year by Ral Partha Europe - thanks chaps!). The pleasure came from the well-planned conversions, clever colour combinations, nostalgia-made-lead model choices, and the evident satisfaction from both completing a figure(s) and from taking part that came across in the submission emails.

But the panic.

Oh yes, the panic. How on Earth was I supposed to pick a winner from this array? Should productivity be rewarded - Alex painted a whole army, and there were other multiple-entrants. Should keeping it hardcore Oldhammer miniatures be a guide? That only leads to the rabbit-hole of "what is Oldhammer?" all over again, and gnomes have only just saved us from that!

It's a cliché of any competition to say that any contributor could have won, but I genuinely mean it when I say I'd have been happy to reward any one of them. In the end I listed them all and picked between two at a time, like in a knock-out competition, using some excel jiggery-pokery to randomise the list. I did it several times and the same winner came out each time, although the final choice was really, really, really hard each time.