Frostgrave – Enemies Without Number
Well, we continued our Forgotten Pacts campaign last week, and it was *insane*.
Three of us again (Chris and I, plus Alex joined us for his first game of Frostgrave!), so we settled from the corners.
Three of us meant 9 treasures, so the board started with 9 barbarian berserkers. Every dead berserker spawned two more, and they started to add up fast. My warband killed about 10, and while Chris and Alex were less overwhelmed by barbarians than I was, they still took out a few each. Never mind appropriately armed miniatures, I had to use almost the entire bestiary I’d brought with me (we had boars and dogs counting as barbarian berserkers by the end).
Katie the Wolf was trying to get into this watchtower (there was a treasure on the top floor) when fresh barbarians started spawning on the nearby board edge. It was probably the most ‘popular’ spawning edge by a significant margin, and it meant she never made it to the tower door. She did manage to stem the tide for a few turns, though, and was responsible for about half the berserkers taken out by my warband.
My early game is often about sending a few fast soldiers to grab the treasures nearest my opponents. Playing this scenario again, I’d probably worry less about grabbing those treasures and instead focus on getting to those in the middle of the board. I definitely underestimated how quickly the berserkers would pile up (9 to start plus 16-18 double respawns means over 40 barbarian berserkers even *without* random occurrences), and I’d be pretty wary of those board edges in the future; every barbarian you take out near a spawn edge has basically a 50/50 chance of putting another one right on you.
Oh, and I lost another dog.
Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago – Occepa by Freebooter
Back in late November, I painted a Freebooter’s Fate amazon and promised another would follow. Perhaps this looks familiar?
Occepa’s on the right…
I actually got Occepa almost done, but then got sidetracked with other projects. She’s been sitting, partly finished, at the edge of my workspace. Taunting me a little. So tonight I finished her up. We’ll start at the beginning, though.
Occepa is a brilliant if awfully fidgety miniature. Lots of individual bits and pieces takes in a very cool model, but also lots of tiny crevasses and hard to reach surfaces.
She also looks gloriously sturdy. This is a woman you could imagine donning crocodile armour and washing into a melee. I did a lot of paint mixing for this one, so I don’t remember what all of the various painted were that I used, but that’s my old standby Vallejo Red Leather.
Try to imagine the process of painting the underside of that tail and the back of her ‘skirt’. Ugh.
Getting to the mouth and hair here. Finally very little primer showing (mostly in this aforementioned nooks and crannies).
That crocodile head ‘helm’ is huge, and definitely limits the angles from which you can even see her face. This is the point at which I’d left off before. I suspect I had a way and some drybrushing done, but it’s not very clear where I’ve started and the other begins, so I did those aspects all over again tonight.
You see? From the wrong (or right?) angle, she looks more like an anthropomorphic croc. This time around I drybrushed in a few, progressively lighter tones and I feel like it served as a nice halfway point between basic drybrushing and highlighting (still not a big fan of highlighting, especially where my own miniatures are concerned).
I did a tiny bit of highlighting after this, but this is pretty much the finished product. Occepa is finished, and will now be entered into the local shop’s monthly painting contest, where she’ll remain on display for the next couple months convincing people (I hope) to check out these Frostgrave games.
Until next time! (I have a bunch of half finished entries here so hopefully it shouldn’t take too long!
Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago – Atl-Atl #1 by Freebooter
First two Freebooter Amazons to be painted will be one of the Atl-Atl pair, and Occepa; today I’ll be focusing on the former. I expect Occepa’s crocodile armour will take a bit more time and energy and I wanted to get one of these finished for this month’s Paint the Thunder painting competition, so Atl-Atl #1 will be painted first.
Initially I was thinking I’d work on them simultaneously, so the base flesh coat can be seen here on both of them.
I’m making use of Vallejo’s Red Leather quite a bit for the armour on this one; I’m a big fan of the colour and use it a lot, which I like to think has the unintended side-effect of bringing my warbands together. Like they all shop at the same armourer, haha. My minor focus on Frostgrave over the last year or so has resulted in me having more varieties of blue than in most other colours, so I’ll be making use of those as well. I also just really like using the blues; they generally look pretty good on most models, and seem like a colour set that’s not impossible in a fantasy setting. Of course, in a fantasy setting, I suppose *any* colour is reasonable… you just need to tailor the setting to provide the dyes. Grin. Still…
Skin tone is a Vallejo Medium Flesh (it generally feels darker to me than the Dark Flesh does, but maybe that’s just me), with Vallejo Charcoal grey for the hair. I’ve been liking it as an alternative to black, because it darkens well with a wash, while still retaining some depth, which avoids me having to try and build depth with drybrushing and/or highlights, which I don’t feel very strong at (especially where hair is concerned).
My initial washing effort involved a Vallejo Skin Wash, which seemed insanely dark. I always think I’m going to like it, and maybe if I did a lot more highlighting as part of my process I would, but it was just so much darker than expected. Even then, it would probably have worked just fine, but it’s also redder than I think I expected. I might try it with one of my other Amazons – like I said, I feel like it should work for them – but it just looked too much like the Red Leather (oh, that left foot!), which sort of muddled the entire paint scheme. Ended up going with the old standby, Citadel Reikland Fleshshade, and I feel good about the result. I did make use of the Skin Wash for the armour, and I really liked the result I got there. The Vallejo washes are significantly more intense, and I’m never quite prepared for what I get when brush first hits model. What I probably really need to do is just sit down with some miniatures I *don’t* care so much about and get in some practice.
The base is Citadel Stormvermin Grey, I think, washed with Citadel Agrax Earthshade and drybrushed with Citadel Flayed One Flesh. I used some Vallejo Dark Green (I think?) wash to add a bit of colour and depth afterward.
Close enough for my first Freebooter Amazon, I think. I’m not very good at taking pictures of the process, am I? Once I get painting I just don’t really think about it, and there are way better painters than me out there providing tutorials. Ha. Nonetheless, I am writing a blog so I’m trying to provide a little more detail in case something I’ve done actually does grab you. No reason to make it impossible to suss out. Next time: Occepa!
Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago – Freebooter’s Fate Amazons
In anticipation of Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago, I’ve been browsing around for fun and appropriate miniatures I wouldn’t generally have a use for. Freebooter’s Fate came up in one of my searches; I was leaning pretty hard into the Amazons. Shipping them was going to be a pricey option and the shop I’m at doesn’t have any easier access than I do, so I did some research and lined up a couple destinations to hit up while I was in Toronto a couple weeks ago. They had most of what appealed to me in stock, so I spent some moneydollars and got me some Amazons.
First off, they come with interesting bases. Square plastic bases with a recess that holds a molded metal piece. I was originally planning to put these minis on round bases, but these looked interesting enough that I decided to give them a shot. Annoyingly, they stick out significantly as is, as they’re a little taller and wider than really fits in the recess. This might be intentional (I suppose I could have glued them in place and then used green stuff to bevel/fill the base edges), but I opted to trim and file them until they fit in nicely, generating a little more of a defined edge.
The first one I put together was Canita, who stands on one leg and has a sizable headdress of sorts. The mounting hole in the molded metal base piece was a little on the large side, so I had to green stuff her into place. Unfortunately she’s pretty top heavy, so I had to get creative to keep her aligned (she kept falling over when left vertical).
Next up was a paired set which went pretty smoothly. I pinned the limbs (most of these Amazons are pretty slender, so the majority of these minis were pinned with staples) and the feet fit much more snugly into the base piece. Chicomeh and Matqueh complete.
The Atl-Atl pair is what things got frustrating again. The miniatures themselves are very clean, super minimal moldlines and almost zero flash. Unfortunately, every time a piece is attached to the ‘sprue’, it’s attached at a joint (you can see this in the initial Canita image as well). This means a whole mess of garbage metal in all the spots you desperately need to fit together cleanly. By the time I’d trimmed, filed, and cleaned a given part, I was left with some annoying gaps.
Given how many parts these are (Occepa is a *7 piece* miniature), this got old fast. Fortunately a lot of the pieces were arms, hair, and other forgiving joints, but it would have been far nicer to see the flash/sprue on the actual part, where I can clean and file it without obliterating crucial surfaces.
The end results generally looked great, but required a little more work to make fit properly than I think they should have. The arms had bumps and divots at the joints to allow for solid non-pinned connections, but then there’d be so much garbage metal burying the ‘bumps’ that it served zero real purpose anyway. I always ended up filing and pinning anyway.
Occepa is my personal favourite. She’s big and powerful, and wears armour made from a crocodile. But 7 pieces! Arrgh! Torso/legs, left arm (shield), right arm (hand weapon), hair, upper croc jaw, lower croc jaw, and croc tail.
Part of me was pretty tempted to paint some parts before assembling, but I ended up deciding that with this many finicky parts, I’d be better off putting everything together first, so I could be a little rougher during the process.
Painting is going to be a pain, but I’ll figure it out, no doubt. Lots of the trouble spots are going to be pretty hard to see, anyway. The tail and loincloth covers a lot, and the shield blocks much of her left side. Frustrating as I expect all aspects of this to be, though, I am super excited about it. I never realized I needed this miniature until I put it together, and now I want a dozen like it. It’s going to look great!
Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago – Qadira
This miniature has been sitting on the shelf for a while now, waiting for me to be ready for it.
Each arm was a separate piece, with the join being just under the bangle – looking item on each upper arm. I knew I was going to want to pin them in place, but I’ve never had a small enough drill bit for the task. I’ve used a coworker’s on occasion, but I wanted to be able to work on this one at home. A while back my last micro bit finally broke, and I found myself ordering more. I bought a whole pile of them at once, and when they finally arrived a few months later (ah, international shipping), I decided it was finally time to tackle this model.
I used a 0.6mm bit and a piece of a staple for the task, and I’m very happy with the results.
I painted this one at the same time as I was working on the viking Bondi and Shaggy. I was originally planning to base it for use in regular Frostgrave, but in the end I decided that was probably pushing the ‘insufficiently dressed for the weather’ thing a bit too far (I already have a bunch of those, haha), and decided she’d make a pretty great Heritor or Warden for F:GA.
I definitely ran into some hiccups applying the washes, and had to repaint/rewash a couple of flesh areas, but came out pretty decently. Used a lot of different shades on this one, which is something I’ve been making an effort to do; I used to just wash the whole miniature in a single shade, and with a few exceptions, this is well worth the effort.
The water ended up drying a little further (and hence more clear), but I definitely should have kept the matte clear coat off of it. Something to keep in mind for next time.
Frostgrave – Thaw of the Lich Lord at Thunder
Fired up a Thaw of the Lich Lord campaign at Thunder Games and Gifts the last week. ‘Total Eclipse’ was a blast, with a pair of necromancers going head to head.
Guile Malmortus and his Death Defiers had barely begun their most recent foray into the frozen ruins of Felstad when Damnation Allie’s HeartTakers arrived from the north. Guile had his soldiers dig in and prepare for a fight, but Allie’s soldiers were particularly aggressive today and surged across the battered cobblestones to engage their competitors. Multiple zombie trolls burst onto the western edge of the battlefield, interfering with Guile Malmortus and his personal cohort, and while Guile managed to lead his men in vanquishing the zombie trolls, the Death-Defiers had rougher luck in their dealings with the HeartTakers, struggling against the savage onslaught. Striking terror into the hearts of her enemies, an infantryman named Ursa led the bloody charge, cleaving both air and foe alike with her deadly axe and advancing so quickly that only the hounds could keep up.
By the time the total eclipse occurred, the battle was largely over, with the HeartTakers grabbing anything that looked to be of value and the Death Defiers hauling their wounded from the scene of the confrontation. Spike was the only member of the HeartTakers (one of two warhounds) knocked down during the fight, and he fully recovered. The Death Defiers recovered their luck, and all 8 injured parties made full recoveries! They truly earned their name on this day!
Battle on the River is next, and is scheduled for Thursday November 24th!
Frostgrave – Balance and Faking Games
Not everybody in our Frostgrave group can make it to every game, and some guys are only able to make it out once or twice in several games. This generally means that they are doomed to some degree (eventually if not right away). To combat our inconsistent availability, I developed the Frostgrave Faker, a quick chart that stimulates game results from a Warband Development perspective. Experience, money, and gear, randomly generated using the same d20 you use for your game.
So far it seems to work pretty well; the d20 gives it that familiar Frostgrave swing and the results seem slightly low average (obviously we don’t want missing a game to be more beneficial than playing it, grin). We mostly play 3-player games, so this might have more of less swing built in than some groups of different sizes. Averages should theoretically be similar, though.
Feel free to try it out and leave some feedback, I didn’t have as much raw data as would have been useful so hearing back from other players would be very helpful!
Frostgrave – Meet the Headtakers: Wren the Unseen
Name: Wren the Unseen
Soldier Type: Human Ranger
Miniature: GW Wood Elves Waywatcher
Backstory: A hunter from a small village near Felstad. In the early days of the thaw, the village was overrun by the undead and almost everybody was killed or turned. Wren, then a lowly archer, held out in a loft, where he was eventually discovered/rescued by a Barbarian named Anja. Anja would eventually introduce Wren to mercenary work. Since then he’s worked primarily with Beatrice and Tannhauser.
He met Alistair more recently at an archery competition held shortly after a sudden change in local government. Since they are both recruited by She (Who Will Not be Named), Wren has been training Alistair in the use of his view, while simultaneously training with Anja in close combat techniques.
Frostgrave – Meet the Headtakers: Morrigan
Soldier Type: Apprentice Necromancer
Miniature: old Reaper miniature, necromancer?
Backstory: The eldest child of a shaman from one of the prominent barbarian tribes to the Southwest of Felstad, Morrigan was expected to do great things. She has real talent for magic and wizardry, but is a bit obsessed with the darker aspects of the Art, aspects *not* embraced by her tribe. Her less talented brother was named the shaman’s apprentice because of this obsession, leaving Morrigan without further training. When She (Who Will Not be Named) traveled through the region, Morrigan thought she sensed a bit of a kindred spirit and latched on immediately. While Morrigan is a little on the intense side, she is a devoted follower with an almost desperate need to learn.
Anja’s cousin, Morrigan also had previous dealings with Rikkits, who she occasionally hired to obtain items she couldn’t get her hands on through normal channels.
Frostgrave – Meet the Headtakers: Skrixx Aeon’k
Name: Skrixx Aeon’k
Soldier Type: Scaled Folk Knight
Miniature: GW Skink Chief
Backstory: A mercenary from the Southlands lying beyond the Hellstorm Seas, Skrixx is an oddity in the North. In the Southlands, Skrixx Aeon’k was a promising young warrior, the direct scion of a prominent tribal elder. He was skilled in combat, if a bit reckless, his greatest weakness being a steadfast refusal to think before he acted. As one might expect, this flaw would inevitably be his downfall.
Cursed by a shaman in his homelands in a twisted act of vengeance, Skrixx’s blood runs hot throughout his body. He came North to cool his body and prevent his imminent death, preferring the exile of his own design over the slow death planned for him by the shaman. He’s worked previously with both Beatrice and Jaeger in the regions immediately surrounding Felstad.