Isle of Dread, Chapter 3: Big trouble, small bridge

After having raided the pygmy village Malcon and his party continued in a northbound direction, following the trail which ultimately should lead them to a large lake of tar called Kukos by the natives in Tanaroa. The dense jungle surrounding the party was gradually beginning to change character, becoming more open and giving way to some hills and cliffs, however, no tar lake in sight. Continuing northward the group suddenly could hear the sound of running water, followed shortly after by some very odd bird calls. Clearly something was amiss and when the travelers beheld a stream of muddy water running through the jungle, across which someone had put a cloven bole, Malcom and his fellow knew they were approaching a trap.

Slowly they started approaching the stream and as soon as Daff, one of the henchmen, began walking across the water on the toppled tree, foul reptile men charged.

Malcon’s travel route and position (the X) after three sessions of play

In this third chapter of our Isle of Dread-campaign Malcon and his party are being attacked by a mixed warband of lizardmen and troglodytes led by the nefarious snakeman Zzifth. Three lizardmen guards were hiding by the tree bridge while the remainder of the attackers entered the table from the flank. The scenario was a classic bottleneck situation made extra difficult by the fact that the two packmules had next to no inclination to cross the stream.

The rules for the scenario were simple; the main part of Zzifth’s warband, including Ziffth himself, would arrive on the table edge at a 6+ roll – the target number being lowered by one each turn. Malcon and his party would thus have some time to attempt to cross the water and get off the table before the majority of the reptile warband arrived on the scene. Fighting from the bridge was difficult (-1 to hit) and if hit, the model should make an Initiative-test or be pushed into the stream.

Moving through the stream was difficult, reducing movement to 1”. This applied for everyone except the small lizardmen, who could move freely in the muddy water. To get the packmules across the improvised bridge a Leadership-roll was needed. Something which worked fine for the first mule, but the second mule absolutely refused to move and blocked the bridge for several turns. Moving the mules trough the muddy stream would demand a Leadership-test for each 1” and the bridge was accordingly the preferred way across. The aim of the two forces was fairly simple; Malcon had to cross the table with as many men alive as possible, while Ziffth had to prevent this and kill as many as possible.

The game was great fun and ended in a big, bloody fight around the bridge. Two of Malcon’s henchmen succeeded in holding of the lizards for a while and thereby giving the rest of the party time to come across the stream. Sadly this heroic sacrifice led to the death of Henk, who did not make his recovery roll after the game. May he rest in peace.

It is funny to note how the crossbows really were a major force in the previous game, while they did absolutely nothing this game. Then again, our halfling thief Jolly Drake, suddenly did surprisingly well with his sling, killing several lizardmen in a series of surprisingly lucky dice rolls. Good times! Our next game in the campaign is schedules to mid-September.

This is what the game looked like.

The 4×4 table lay-out.

Malcon’s party enters the table edge carefully scouting for enemies

Malcon’s party of jungle explorers

Kenza, the warhound, was the first to run across the cloven bole

Once Daff stepped out on the bridge lizardmen came forth from their hiding place and attacked

Daff was quickly downed due to the restrictions imposed on him for fighting from the bridge. The rest of the reptile warband was now entering the table

More of the party began to cross the bridge while being attacked by the small, fast lizaardmen

In the last scenario the party rescued the barbarian Ghimar and he was now leading the party across the bridge. Sadly Ghimar proved completely worthless in this scenario where he went down facing the first lizardman he faced

Lizardmen and troglodytes approaching

Kenza bravely started chasing the advancing reptile creatures

Charging enemies

The first mule across thanks to the efforts of Peter the Melancholic. The rest still had to cross, while the reptiles came closer and closer

Without much help on his side of the river, Peter was soon charged by a fast lizard warrior

Enemies getting still closer

The champion of the reptile warband, the vile Zzifth, was now out in the open

Henk charged down to hold off the lizards while Malcon attempted to drag a stubborn mule across the bridge

Henk outnumbered

Ricco coming to Peter’s rescue. In the two previous games Ricco has been fairly incompetent and this game proved nu different!

Finally Malcon got the mule across the bridge

Fighting was going on at both sides of the bridge now

Jolly Drake fired his sling from the bridge with great effect

Zzifth leaving his men for greater prey

Malcon joins the fight on the other side of the bridge

Malcon’s party prepares for another lizard charge

A lumbering troglodyte approaching through the underbrush

Killing all around

A brave trog trying his dexterity on the bridge

Foolish Panna charged Zzifth but was quickly downed by the hideous snake creature

Peter the Melancholic succeeded in gathering his magic and wounding Zzifth with a fireball. The snakeman was now angry

The party was slowly backing away in order to leave the table with the precious mules carrying all the supplies

Zzifth by the bridge

Zzifth succeeded in using his hypnotic gaze on Ricco, paralyzing him on the spot. Malcon thus had to run back and rescue his friend from the approaching lizards

Fierce Mulio killing a lizard

Malcon fighting the last troglodyte

Finally Malcon reaches the paralyzed Ricco and shakes him free from the hypnotic spell of Zzifth

Malcon and his party leave the table, effectively winning the combat and leaving the very angry Zzifth behind. “We will meet again,” he shouted in his dark, reptile tongue

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Hoowee! Off to find the rest of the pack

These two goblin wolf riders are off to join the rest at the pack I painted a few years ago. Now there is 12 of them. I had forgotten how time-consuming these minis are. At least I have a tendency to underestimate the time it takes to paint mounted minis – even such simply models as these wolves. But then again, I know that I am a sloooow painter. I cheated a bit this time though and went with some slightly boring, generic shields. Usually I prefer to do a bit more impulsive stuff on shields, but I guess I just wanted to be done with these two guys and get on with the rest of the greenskins still on my to do-list.

As I am writing this I still have six goblins and one orc to go, which should be fairly manageable given the fact that I need them to be done by October. However, I am really looking forward to paint other stuff and hopefully I will have these last minis finished soon so that I can focus on other things.

I will be back with the next instalment in our Isle of Dread-campaign soon.

Orcs once again

As mentioned previously I am all about painting greenskins at the moment for a scenario we are playing later this year. So, as said, be prepared for a number of posts about orcs and goblins on the blog. Hopefully you won’t find it too dull. While I usually get bored when having to paint large numbers (more than four or five really) of the same type of minis in a row, the greenskins do a lot to help prevent burnout due to their fun, diverse nature. The orcs or goblin of the Perry’s and Adams are really an eclectic bunch when it comes to physiognomy and general look. Thus all one has to do is to vary the skin tone in order not having to paint the same green again and again and each orc and goblin by this really turns into a little world of its own; a quality which is lost in lost more recent greenskin models, I think.  

What we have here in this post is troopers from two Citadel speciality sets. First up is an archer from the Harboth’s Orc Archers box, released in that golden year of ´87. I really love this set and always had a thing for bow units.

The second orc is of course from Ruglud’s Armoured Orcs, also produced in 87. I like the armour and iconic, weird helmet on this one, but his face is definitely not, at least to my mind, Kev Adam’s best work. Nevertheless, I think the troopers from this set work very well as a special unit. Their heavy armour does make them stand apart from most others orcs produced during the same era, making them really useful when one wants to portray a special, hard hitting unit, veteran troops or such things. Good stuff.

Isle of Dread, Chapter 2: To the rescue

Last week we played the second chapter in our Isle of Dread campaign, which I have been telling you about in previous posts. Those of you who have followed the posts will know that our group of adventurers, led by the fighter Malcon deWitt, has entered into the jungles of the Isle of Dread in search for a fabled black pearl invested with magical powers.

In the first chapter Malcon and his party were ambushed on a northbound trail through the jungle. They were attacked by zombies animated by a wicked pygmy shaman. After the fight we rolled for random encounters and the dice determined that Malcom would encounter more pygmies. We thus decided to build the next scenario around Malcon and his party discovering a small settlement belonging to the same tribe as the shaman who had attacked them. Being a revengeful and greedy chap, Malcom persuaded his party to attack the settlement and grab what plunder might be found.

Instigating the attack would give Malcon an advantage and we decided to replicate a similar scene from Island of the Lizard King (a source from where we have pulled several of the encounters for this campaign), where the nameless hero also stumbles upon a small settlement in the jungle. A soon by tribesmen to be sacrificed man is here discovered. In the Fighting Fantasy book the hero has the option of setting fire to some of the huts in the settlement in order to create a decoy, allowing him to sneak into the village and free the prisoner.

Paperback, Puffin Books 1984, with the tremendously cool cover by Ian McCaig

This we transferred to our scenario. Looking in on the pygmy village, Malcon and his men saw a prisoner bound to a pole in the centre of what looked like some sort of shrine. They soon agreed to free the man and at the same time to plunder the place. Malcon’s three henchmen, armed with crossbows, thus fired burning arrows into the huts and then the charge began. The objective for Malcon was clear: Free the prisoner and transport him safely off the table. The defending pygmies had the objective to prevent this.

Some quickly defined rules concerning the sight of burning huts determined that pygmies had to take a Cool-test in order to move freely at the sight of a burning hut. If failed, the pygmy would either stop in his tracks or run towards the burning hut. However, if enemies were in sight, this rule was cancelled. Malcon only succeeded in lighting one hut, but this certainly was enough create a fair amount of chaos in the village.

As it turned out the combat proved to be an almost massacre. Rasmus, who played the pygmies, had an incredible unlucky streak, making most of his actions futile and rendering Malcon’s attack on the village a rather one-sided and very bloody affair. The scenario was fun to play, but lacked the tension our first combat in this campaign had.

Three of Malcon’s men were downed during the combat, but none of them died, and he is thus back at full strength in the next chapter. Oh, and the prisoner his group freed, is a barbarian named Ghimar, who a few weeks ago shipwrecked off the coast of the island and swam to shore with his beloved Iola. Sadly they were separated by the reefs and Ghimar is now searching for Iola. He agreed to join Malcon’s party if he in turn agreed to help find and perhaps free Iola, if this should be needed. Ghimar thus joined Malcon’s group.

If interested, this is Malcon’s roster (Malcon deWitt.docx) and this is the pygmy roster (Tonki-To Tribe_roster).

And this is what the game looked like.

The set-up of the 4″x4″ table.

Having surrounded the village Malcon and his men approach the village carefully. One hut is burning and the village is slowly realizing that they are under attack.

Peter the Melancholic, priest of Manann, and a henchmen appraoch the village

Huza-Ki, a giant pet hyena of the villagers, is gnawing bones peacefully but suddenly senses trouble

Malcon’s war hound Kenza and Huza-Ki see each other and immediately charge into a fierce dogfight

Young Ricco di Leonora enters the village and is met be poison arrows from a blowgun

Malcon, the halfling Jolly and one of his soldiers prepare to attack a pygmy defending his village from the invaders

Jolly, the halfling thief, makes for the temple area in order to attempt to rescue the bound man hanging from the large effigy

Rather surprisingly Kenza managed to chase the much more powerful Huza-KJi off the table!

Poison arrows from blowguns rain down on Jolly as he runs for the temple.

The temple area where the divine white apeman Offa is resting and guarding the soon to be sacrificed prisoner.

Malcon’s men are slowly closing in on the temple while fighting off the defending pygmies.

Proud pygmy warriors prepare to charge one of the men-at-arms.

The temple with the grand effigy where the barbarian Ghimar is held prisoner.

Kenza, in blood rage, really had a feast during this attack on the village. He charged from pygmy to pygmy and did serious damage to his victims.

One of Malcon’s men surviving a charge with a little help from crossbow support from behind the pygmies.

A view from the slowly approaching crossbow men who proved to be killing machines in this combat.

Malcon leads the attack on the temple, fighting Offa the white ape. Jolly climbed the palisade, planning to run rescue the prisoner, but a pygmy intervenes.

Kenza continues his wild rampage through the village.

All action is gradually centered around the temple area.

The last action. The pygmies have all but lost their village to the invading Malcon.

The conclusion – Malcon succeeded in dispersing the villagers with very few loses and freeing Ghimar from the sacrificial pole.

 

 

The last drifting orcs

This is my take on the orc minis known Bagrash and Magar Ironfist made famous through the Orc’s Drift campaign. You will find numerous examples of those two painted on the web and my take on them does not differ widely from what you will otherwise find. Nevertheless they were great fun to paint and prime examples of the wonderful orcs, sculpted by the Perry’s I believe, before the wacky Kev Adams-style took over.

Painting wise I would point out that the skin colour on both orcs was the same, but I gave the Bagrash model a yellow glaze for the sake of variation, which changed the hue of the skin tone completely. For some reason I really like the idea of my orcs and goblins having rather diverse green skin colours.

Both orcs have a ton of character and I’m not sure which one I like the best. However, when looking at third Orc’s Drift scenario, where they make their appearance, the choice of model to represent Bagrash is a bit odd as he is a shaman. The mini hardly screams sorcerer or tribal mage and I guess whoever selected the models for the campaign just liked the figure or simply picked a random orc to be Bagrash. Does anyone know the story behind the selection process?

Unless I at some stage get my hands on the fabled Hagar Sheol miniature and I get inspired to paint my Guthrum Mane giant, those were the last minis from the Orc’s Drift campaign I had to paint and thus my little endeavor has come to an end. Nice. Now I will have to see if I could not getting around to playing the campaign. In my group we have so far played the two first scenarios twice but never gotten around to playing the last two parts.

 

Dungeon crawling with The Hippaes

Perhaps this is already old news and if so, I’m sorry to repeat what is already common knowledge. If not, you can here see a little music video by the melodic punk band The Hippaes, who recently released the single “You Let Me Be” from their soon to be available album Hip! Hip!! Hippaes!!! The music is not really my thing, but in they based the video for the song on a little story, where they used our beloved HeroQuest game animated by stop motion. Fun stuff, and the paint-job on the minis in the video is very, very vintage. It certainly looks much like most of our games back in the day!

So, give The Hippaes a look and see how they repurposed the classic dungeon crawl game.

 

A cool, classic barbarian

Another quick post today. Here is a Citadel barbarian I finished recently. It’s a great mini, I think, full of Frazetta-style barbarian vigor. Citadel produced a substantial number of these barbarians during the 80’s and I guess they are close to the heart of many fans of pulp fantasy along the lines of Conan, Kothar and all of their ilk. I certainly am. In fact I would love to do a whole warband and scenario around the barbarians.

The photos are from the same photo session as the previous two posts on the blog and somehow the camera did not really work with me that day. Everything seems a bit flat or muddy in the images. In the ‘flesh’ the barbarian looks a lot better, if I should say so myself, but then again, this is quite often the case with our minis, is it not?

Well, up next images of orcs and more orcs.

Cheers

Martin