Tuesday 25 June 2019

A ten-year-old's take on At the Mountains of Madness

For the past four months, my son's been working on his first RPG scenario. He based it on Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness after reading first the graphic novel and then the story itself.

Using Fimo, tin foil, cocktail sticks and hot glue, he made all the monsters himself. He also painted up miniatures for the player-characters (in a single afternoon after school!) and made floorplans from cardboard, white glue and loo roll. He drew designs on index cards to show the carvings on the complex's walls.

This Sunday, he ran the game for four friends. It seems to have been a hit, and he's planning to repeat it with a couple of other groups of friends. The giant penguin - in lieu of the group of merely large sightless albino penguins in the story - was my sole contribution to the set-up. It's a Hobbycraft papier-mache shape with some added extras in Milliput.

I'm sure we'll find ways of recycling the monsters in other games. There are three Elder Things:

The Whistler in the Darkness (an original creation):

A captive Mi-go:

And - of course - Shoggoths:

My son also drew this to encapsulate the scenario:

All in all, it somewhat outstrips my efforts at a similar age; those were largely confined to graph paper.

Monday 10 June 2019

Chronicle kobolds!

I've had some of these ugly little fellows since I was in primary school. A couple of years back, I based them on pennies for our 15mm RPG campaign.

They work pretty well at that scale as gnolls or Gloranthan dark trolls. Nick Lund's creations tend to be quite tough and aggressive-looking regardless of size, so they might actually work best as big, burly beasties in 15mm. 

The big one, Gnar, is supposedly a 'mutant goblin' - or at least that's how he was described on box of Eeza Ugezod's Death Commandos. But he's very clearly a kobold.

These were very quick to paint. I was playing around with Citadel's Nighthaunt Gloom on the skin; one coat of that and then just a few dabs of Vallejo silver grey to highlight. Nighthaunt Gloom was apparently a prototype of the new and much-hyped contrast paints. I was pleased with how it worked - it gave much better shading, etc., than a normal wash.

These are rather different from my other kobolds, so I saw no point in attempting to match them up colour-wise. They're also singularly lacking in missile weapons, though I do have a wizard for them (indeed, several: he's one of those miniatures that crops up all the time in eBay job lots). I'll have to get him painted up shortly.

Friday 7 June 2019

More Heroquest orcs

Another couple of these Stygian fiends to add to the one I did earlier in the week. Their swords make no concession to gravity!

Wednesday 5 June 2019

A Heroquest Orc

This is roughly how I'd have painted this orc when I was a kid. Then, my impression from Tolkien (and from dodgy 'secondary' sources like the Tolkien Bestiary and the Bakshi film) was that orcs had black skin. In fact, only one small one is explicitly "black-skinned" in LotR, which implies that most are not - although they are described in several places as "black" and "swart".

A closer reading of LotR (noting the references to the half-orcs in Bree, Isengard and the Shire) indicates that most orcs are "sallow" - and Tolkien confirms this in a letter. That suggests that the "black" in "black Uruks of Mordor" probably refers to livery (predominantly black for Mordor, Isengard and the North), to armour (as in "clad from head to foot in black mail" like the big chieftain in Moria) or to a generally dark countenance (as in "Black Irish").

So, with his sallow jerkin and sable skin, this fellow's a sort of negative of a Middle Earth uruk. Incidentally, there's nothing in Tolkien to suggest that orcs had the glowing red eyes that are so often associated with them except the description of the Moria orc-chieftain's eyes that "burned like coals". That could suggest glowing eyes, but it could equally just mean that the eyes looked fierce. But hey-ho - this fellow's got the Bakshi glow.