Thursday 31 March 2022

Oh rats

I’ve completed the first proper unit for my ‘Road to the Old World’ challenge (for those of you that haven’t heard about it, it’s a slow grow escalation challenge to paint and play some classic tank and flank Warhammer ahead of the release of The Old World - there’s a Facebook group and a Reddit, if you want to join in!), a Skaven rat dart:

Excuse the lack of natural light which is making the pictures look more terrible than they do in real life. Look at that lovely classic pack master sculpt though, beautiful.

Considering that I need to paint close to a hundred models to fill out my 500 point starter list, I probably shouldn’t have done 3-4 layers on the fur and 4-6 on the skin, but I guess a speed painter I am not.

I may come back and add some vegetation to their bases at a later date, I’m still undecided. But for now they’re done, and take me up to a mighty 25 points painted, only 475 to go!

Finishing these also takes the Tally to:

13 vs -4 = +17

Next? Some slightly more involved sculpts, in greater quantities is the plan. I intend to break up painting the units with single figures to try and keep motivation up between batch painting, as well as having some off-project figures for when my attention span wanders towards something else. Batch painting is slow going currently though, as post-covid my energy isn’t what it previously was, so I’m generally able to base coat one part of three or four figures an evening, if I don’t fall asleep putting the children to bed…

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Oh Captain my captain

Finished off while I was waiting for washes to dry on other things this week is this:

Another beautiful Westfalia sculpt from the Kickstarter I backed a couple of years back, who is going to be the Captain in my Frostgrave warband.

I love everything about this sculpt, from the poised sculpt with fingers outstretched for balance, to the knife ready to throw, just a lovely model all round.

Annoyingly I’ve seemingly only managed to photograph the back of her well, but hopefully you can extrapolate from that what the paint job actually looks like.

I plan on running her through the ‘Alone in the Crypt’ scenario from Spellcaster magazine before she joins the warband proper, so still need to paint a couple more monsters before I’m ready for that. If anyone has a sprue of those blobby looking goblins from the Hobbit game in their trade pile let me know, I think they’d make ideal ghouls but don’t fancy buying a whole box of 36 of them…

In other news, the postman has also dropped off a new friend:

A converted Skaven model that the seller presumably snapped the whip off of to fit into the envelope. I mean I’d planned on cannibalising it for parts anyway, but still…

So between one painted Captain and one purchase, the Tally now stands at:

7 vs -4 = +11

Next time: Skaven and enemies for Alone in the Crypt, barring distractions!

Saturday 19 March 2022

The adventures of Tim the Necromancer: Dark Alchemy 3

The one benefit to having a mild dose of the covid I’ve found is that I’ve been able to get a bunch of solo gaming in, as I managed to also complete the third and final scenario of the Dark Alchemy campaign this week.

I set up the 3x3 board with plenty of rubble and broken walls:

And selected some appropriate miniatures for the scenario specified foes, the Fire Flingers:

Normally, I’d want to make and paint a specific miniature for the required creatures for a scenario, potentially delaying getting to play for weeks, but this week I’ve just cracked on and played with what I’ve got. So, robots! The same can be said for the fire templates - after looking online, considering building some, I had my daughter colour me some instead:

This scenario started off much stronger than the previous two, as I was actually able to successfully Leap my Thief over to some treasure, but then normality resumed as I repeatedly failed to cast easy spells like Bone Dart throughout. Rather than standing there getting set on fire after another unsuccessful spell, Tim decided he’d rather get up close and personal with a robot, and promptly battered it:

On the other side of the board things were going much the same - the Thief ran to grab as much treasure as she could, dashing between two advancing defenders, while the Apprentice raised a zombie to draw the fire of the three robots bearing down on them:

Even using the gloves of casting he still had to cut to get the spell off, but if he hadn’t he and the Thief had just walked straight into a crossfire between three enemies…

Unfortunately things went less to plan when the first shot absolutely vaporised the zombie, but luckily ducking and diving prevents the Thief from taking any damage (while it turns out I can only roll low numbers for my gang when attacking, when defending I apparently am on fire this game).

As Tim reduces his opponent to a pile of scrap metal, he and his Apprentice resume their attempts to Bone Dart their foes. Unsuccessfully. I took Bone Dart because I had so much success with the first time I played at Salute, but given how little success I’m having with it now I wonder if it’s success was more nostalgia than memory!

Spurred on by his master’s success using martial rather than mystical arts, the Apprentice decided to try his hand at combat rather than getting blasted with fire:

Again, in a shocking turn of events he actually managed to land a mighty blow on the robot.
While all this is going on, the Thief is taking advantage of all of the enemies being distracted to hoover up treasure tokens:

Even if it was slightly hair-raising dodging between fire templates, hoping that we didn’t get unlucky enough for them to move and potentially hit the Thief, as if they got taken out I imagine the spill of Treasure Tokens would have been much like Sonic the Hedgehog spilling rings when he gets hit…

The Tracker at this point is now the main target for the robots’ ire, but much like the Thief seems to be successfully dodging every fireball (the dice were on my side this game when it came to defence - I think the only damage any of my models took all game was from unsuccessful spell casting). The Tracker continues to play hide and seek, popping out from behind walls to ineffectually plink arrows at the Fire Flingers.


Tim, not wanting to venture too far from the edge of the board for fear of being caught in the room when it exploded, goes to grab the second to last treasure. ‘Wait a second, I’m a wizard, I’ll raise a zombie to carry that for me’ he thinks, only to fail to do so on his first attempt. The next turn he succeeds though, and bravely (foolishly?) ventures towards the centre of the room to see if he can farm some more xp make the area safer by destroying some hazardous robots.

The Apprentice, seeing that time is running out, finally manages to blast the robot that he’s spent pretty much the whole game tangling with, and beats a hasty retreat out of the room, as do the Thief and Tracker, practically jingling with the amount of treasure that they have accrued. 

Tim attempts to destroy the last enemy at range, but unfortunately isn’t able to bring it down in one hit, and so has to leave the lone slightly confused robot as the room explodes.

So, much more successful than previous games, with no casualties and a decent haul of treasure! Alas no magic items or weapons this time, but I did get some more potions, and between the gold I found and what I made from selling a agrimonies that I found of a spell I already new (Control Undead) I have plenty of options for the future! 

So, what does the future hold? I’m a specialist down with the death of my Crossbow, and should probably hire an apothecary to get at least a little bit of healing into the warband, plus I want to hire a Captain, probably playing through the ‘Alone in the Crypt’ scenario with them before they can link up with the group…

Monday 14 March 2022

The adventures of Tim the Necromancer: Dark Alchemy 2

After getting a positive lateral flow test this morning, I found myself at home rather than work, so while my son napped I ventured back into the frozen city for the second scenario of Dark Alchemy: Skeletal Run.

I set up the board as usual:

I had initially intended to model and paint some teleportation pads to play this scenario, but went with coloured beads in order to be able to play straight away.

I think I’m going to need to make some multi storey terrain and walkways in the future, but for the scenarios set underground like this mini campaign is what I have currently works perfectly.

Before starting, I ummed and ahhhed over whether I should be able to pick a base after the first scenario. Rules as written it’s a yes, even though it doesn’t necessarily tally narratively with being trapped underground - if you can’t cast out of game spells as you’re so pressed for time, how are you supposed to be able to nip back to your base? I chose a treasury as my base, and think of it as them finding hidden caches in this underground lab, that once they escape they’ll clear out and use as their secret base moving forwards, continuing to explore it to find a scrap of something worth selling to generate a handful of gold, and the occasional treasure. Rolling for my first income from my base, I roll a 20!

This is a magic item, which turns out to be Gloves of Casting, which should come in very handy given my habit of rolling very poorly.

My intrepid band of heroes made their way boldly up the centre of the table (figuring that it would keep the furthest from any suddenly appearing skeletons)

For the first spell of the game, Tim attempts to cast Strength on my Thug, which would make him as capable in a fight as the Knight that is having to sit out the rest of the mini campaign after getting knocked out last game. He even used his brand new Gloves of Casting, to make getting the spell off almost a sure thing and free up future turns for raising zombies and impressive displays of necromantic pyrotechnics. And then I rolled a 1.

Ah well, better luck next time. Tim managed to enhance the Thug with Strength before getting leapt on by a burning skeleton, but he quickly bops it with his staff. Plan A for Tim is always raise zombie (because it’s fun and easy to make friends when you’re a Necromancer), when I realise that there are two skeletons close enough together to get blasted by a Grenade spell. Which fails to go off, inevitably. Then so remember that one action each turn has to be a move, you can’t fight then cast a spell, so I take it back, but the failure still stings. 

Tim then raises a zombie between himself and the encroaching skeleton:

Which bundles forwards to fight and is instantly cut down, leaving Tim looking a bit panicked. In hindsight, I should have just left the zombie stood between Tim and his foe to tie it up for at least a turn, but I think I got carried away after my zombie performed so well last game…

Speaking of things in hindsight, my Thug that I’d cast Strength on to make him as good in a fight as the Knight that was KO’d last game after throwing him into a combat that he should have easily won, when thrown into a combat that he should easily have won was immediately smacked down to one health:

And then taken out of action due to the skeleton being on fire:

It’s only of it happens one more time that it becomes a tradition right? 

Everyone else continued getting bundled by skeletons, with Crossbow managing to win a fight and push off their opponent long enough to make a dash for it (only to get caught by a new skeleton unluckily appearing on the pad nearest to her), and Tim continuing to stave in skills with his staff, which seems to be more effective than his magic so far.  

At this point I suddenly remember that I have the spell Control Undead, which could turn an enemy into a friend, and roll a 1 to cast it. The next attempt is more successful though, allowing me to send a skeleton to help the crossbow that has been bundled by two skeletons. On her lonesome she is able to take out a skeleton, but supported by a controlled skeleton and Tim, the controlled skeleton is destroyed, and the crossbow gets knocked out too.

Several fights later, after it looks like I might have to cut and run in order for Tim to escape with his life, I manage to whittle down the remaining skeletons to the point where I’m able to control one to haul a treasure off the board, and then Tim is able to raise a zombie to use as bait for the remaining skeletons while he and the Tracker sweep up the remaining treasure tokens and then leg it off the board…

In the after game sequence, I realise that I did it wrong after the previous game - if I’d done it in the correct order, I wouldn’t have been able to learn Strength until after this game, so I removed things to correct this (not that Strength made any difference at all to this game, so I don’t feel like I gained a huge advantage). 

Rolling for injuries, between my Thug (free to replace) and my Crossbow (expensive specialist, model painted specially for this) which one do you think survived and which one died? That’s right, looks like I need to raise some more funds for when we get out of this labyrinth and replace a specialist… I had plans to hire an Apothecary too, maybe I should have done that from the beginning! 

After that sad turn of events, it was on to my favourite part of the post game sequence, rolling for treasure. This time I found another handful of gold, as well as a couple of pricy potions that I’m likely to hold onto far longer than I should, and a Grimoire of Control Construct, as apparently I rolled the exact same random spell as I did for the scroll I found after the first game. All else failing, I can probably sell off some stuff to fund getting a Captain, Apothecary, and replacing my Crossbow - maybe with that nice Barbarian sculpt I have primed, but on the other hand my experience so far seems to be that getting up close and personal with my enemies isn’t working out too well for me…

Plans for the future did initially look like playing the next scenario tomorrow, but then both my children tested positive too…

Sunday 13 March 2022

The adventures of Tim the Necromancer: Dark Alchemy 1

So, after what feels like an age of prep, I finally had everything I needed to start playing Frostgrave! 

I’m starting with Dark Alchemy, the short solo campaign from the Frostgrave Folio, and set up a little board accordingly:

And thus began the adventures of Tim the Necromancer (named partly for the Monty Python character, but equally for another blogger). Not particularly strongly, to be fair, repeatedly failing to cast any spells at first, but my warband were handily plugging away with arrows and bolts to start whittling down the Alchemical Monstrosity’s health. Until it shambled towards them, at which point they decided discretion was the better part of valour and MGS style his praying that it would go away:

Tim finally managed to conjure up a zombie minion at this point, which was duly flung towards the horrible beast to lure it away from the squishy henchmen. This zombie was actually very briefly MVP, managing to win the first combat against the beast, and then hold it off for no loss of health in the next turn. 

Unfortunately, it went rapidly downhill for my zombie from there, as he was reduced to his component parts with little ceremony.

The rest of the warband continued to plunk away at the monster from a distance, reducing it to one health.

While all this was going on, Tim had made his way to one of the doors that was potentially the exit. With only a 30% chance of the first door you check being the correct one and my historically disastrous ability to roll dice, I’d sent the rest of the warband towards the second door, expecting to roll low, and then happily Leap Tim across the board to rejoin his companions and exit to safety. Obviously the one time I thought I’d roll low I did the exact opposite, meaning the rest of the gang had to bundle their way across the width of the board, past an angry monster…

Which is where I made my biggest mistake.
Figuring that as my knight and the monster had pretty much the same stats, with the exception of my knight having 12 health to the monster’s 1, I charged him into the beast to finish it off:

(You can just see Tim bravely hiding behind a wall in the top right of this picture)

Obviously, this was the time that the creature rolled a 20 in combat, knocking my knight down to a single remaining health. And at this point I realised that my knight was carrying two treasure tokens…

Not to worry, I thought, I’ll Leap my knight to safety and shoot the monster to death. On uttering these words, I rolled low enough on initiative for the first time all game to have a rat appear, but more importantly for the Alchemical Monstrosity to act before my wizard, at which point he duly smashed my knight into the ground.

The next three turns saw theee more rats spawning, but my wizard and crossbowman between them blasted them off the board as they appeared, and my Tracker snuck behind the monster to finish it off with an arrow to the face. Everyone then bundled through the exit door, dragging the knight behind them, and it was time to count XP and treasure!

My bad luck rolling initiative the last few turns did actually have a silver lining, as I was pretty much farming the rats for XP turn after turn, and my treasure tokens left me with 60 gold, a Control Construct scroll (handy if I play the Golem mini campaign), a potion of strength and a Construct Oil, plus a Grimoire with the spell Strength that I immediately learned and lowered the casting cost of. It would be handy to cast on a Knight to make a +6 fight wrecking ball, but unfortunately he has to sit out the rest of the mini campaign so I’ll be using it to try and make a Thug as tough as a Knight most likely. I’m still torn as to whether I should have spent a level to increase Tim’s Fight or Health rather than lowering the cost of Strength, but on the other hand without my Knight Strength could come in handy, and as I regularly fail to cast much easier spells, who knows…

This morning, I found something I’d missed while tidying up after the game last night:

Which does make my coffee seem a little more menacing. 
When planning the warband, I’d envisioned the crossbow spending every turn reloading then firing again, but in this scenario there was a lot more ‘getting the heck out of dodge’ than there was ‘raining down death from above’!

So what’s next? All I need to be able to play the next scenario is 5 teleportation tiles, which is very doable. But then again, I’ve also got these to be getting on with:

Sunday 6 March 2022


An adventuring party’s worst enemy, if Critical Role is to be believed…

So, as the last thing I need before starting solo Frostgrave was a pair of doors I painted up these four from Zealot miniatures:

Beautifully detailed, lightweight, economical; highly recommended!

I was originally going to just paint them all shades of brown, but thought a little splash of colour would be more interesting to look at, hence the red and green doors.

Next, as I’ve decided against building and painting the final Thug that is almost certainly going to be replaced before their miniature even hits the table, playing the game!

Or some more little bits of scatter. You always need more little bits of scatter…

Tuesday 1 March 2022

Gather the troops!

I’ve finished two more members of my Frostgrave warband, a thug and a crossbow man:

The thug was made using the Frostgrave soldiers kit, whereas the crossbowman is a lovely metal mini from a Westfalia Kickstarter, proving that Frostgrave is the perfect opportunity to use those odd minis that you didn’t really have a plan for!

Lovely stuff! She got a blue cloak at my wife’s suggestion, rather than something that would be better suited for a sneaky sniper. 

Much the same logic for the Thug’s yellow hat, I figured it would look snazzy more than anything else.

Finishing these two miniatures brings the Tally to:

6 vs -5 = +11

and leaves the warband so far looking like this:

So what’s next?

I’m a little torn currently - I’m having second thoughts about the last Thug which would complete the warband, as the miniature I selected (another lovely mini from Westfalia) is far too nice to just be a generic meat shield that will probably die after only one game! So, I either need to find a new mini for that, or dig out a suitable previously painted miniature, or even just do without, as I’m planning on playing through Dark Alchemy where you get to use only a handful of your warband, so I probably won’t need that third Thug, and anyway I’m most likely going to replace them at the earliest opportunity as soon as the good pieces start rolling in…

One thing I am sure of though, I need to paint some doors…