Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Quick Conversion Piece

I've seen a lot of wargamers lately taking those Christmas villages that pop up every season in Walmart and converting them to useful battlefield terrain. They are inexpensive, pretty solid, and easy to find in any Walmart, K-Mart, or even a dollar store. I wanted to give one a shot so I headed over to eBay and began browsing some of the cheaper ones that could really fit into any 28mm game from medieval up to perhaps even modern. The "2004 Cobblestone Corners Windham Heights Angel Domed Gazebo" fit the bill exactly and right away I was picturing how to convert it to something useful.

As purchased from eBay.
The seller packaged it in order to survive just about any scenario including a nuclear holocaust as it took me well over 6 hours to cut through the packaging and requiring me to sharpen my knife at least 10 times in between layers. (Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, it was more like 5 hours and 8 times to sharpen.) I started by applying a layer of black primer and paint in one.

Reaper Bones figures for size comparison.
I was afraid the 'glittering snow' would be a pain to cover but in actuality the glitter added a more graveled look to the steps. I then used a layer of craft store dark grey for the stone work and the dome in a German grey-green. I was originally thinking of doing an oxidized copper jade over the grey-green but I really liked the way it turned out so I kept it.

The last step was to dry brush on some light grey and then a mixture of olive drab green, dirt brown, and mustard yellow on the spots that looked like they could be a good source of moss and dirt. Finally, I flocked where necessary to cover up the clumps of snow.

The final product.
I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out in the end. I truly love how it looks and I am looking forward to utilizing it on a 28mm game. I could see this on an early war Belgian battlefield or at the heart of a battle between orcs and elves.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pathfinder: or How I Learned to Stop Grimacing and Love "Big Bang Theory"

After watching a recent episode of "The Big Bang Theory" with my wife (her favorite show), I noticed that the guys on the show seem to really enjoy Dungeons & Dragons. The show was never my favorite as I always thought it gave a negative stereotype of geeks but I see it does have its moments and I think it makes my wife appreciate my nerdiness at times. D&D is one of those tabletop games that I just never tried because, as a history geek, I always have my plate full with thousands of years worth of warfare. In idle boredom, I began to read about the D&D rules but found a lot of people were more satisfied with a game called "Pathfinder" which is essentially a modified version of D&D. I then ended up spending an hour and twenty minutes on YouTube watching The Dice Stormers from Britain play a full game of it...

I was hooked!

The laughter alone from watching them play was worth it. I grew up with the old school MUDs, AOL Role Play, and then the later MMOs like Asheron's Call so role play is not a foreign concept to me. (Though when I first told my wife that I used to role play she thought I was into some kind of kinky costume stuff.) The only difference seems to be is that there are a hell of a lot more rules to learn, the math is all on you, and the role play is done in person with a lot more humor rolled in.

After doing my research, I headed over to Paizo and purchased the PDF version of the Core Rules as well as the Beginner Box. I already had taken advantage of some Black Friday sales and purchased some Reaper Bones figures. At Meetup.com, I found a local group that games Pathfinder every 2 weeks and attended my first game on Monday night. Funny thing was I ran into someone I met through mutual friends in historical wargaming years ago. He made my transition from historical gaming to Pathfinder very easy as he helped me create my first character: Thorvald, an Ulfen Ranger. Though I couldn't play Thorvald that night, I played a pregenerated Dwarf Ranger for a Pathfinder Society game.


The scenario (is that the correct term?) was called "Amongst the Gods." We (a Dwarf Ranger, Elven rogue, Human Paladin, and Human Mage) adventured into the land known as Taldor where we were tasked with seeking out a magical scepter in the mountains. After narrowly avoiding a few poorly placed traps, we began to bed down for the night at an abandoned camp site only to be attacked by a vicious manticore! Our 4 adventurers narrowly defeated the manticore and after much healing, headed to bed. In the morning, my dwarf successfully woke up his fellowship with an apparently magnificent dwarven song with backup from the elf. (I rolled a 20 and he a 19!) In traveling higher up into the mountains, a rock slide nearly killed my compatriots but my dwarf's axe warded off any of those blasted stones that tried to crush him.

Then, at a corrupted temple, we were attacked by ghasts which infected me, disabled the Elf and mage, and left only the Paladin to battle them. He did his job and bravely defeated them thankfully or our journey would had come to an end right there. Sadly, my dwarf was infected and had to fight off becoming a ghast for another day. Finally, we reached the summit and entered the Crypt of House Tulwin. A flesh golem stood no chance against us as my dwarf brutally hacked away at the ugly creature with the assistance of the elf rogue and some fire from our paladin. The scepter was ours!

Outside the crypt, we were met by an evil cleric wearing a skull mask named Harvestmaster Quint as well as his minions. A battle ensued and victory came at great effort! (Actually, it was getting late and we needed to wrap up the game.) For my efforts in this game, my character was richly rewarded with 500 gold, 1 xp (it seems Society games only give 1 xp per mission but 3 xp raises a level?) as well as 1 Prestige point. I still haven't figured everything out in the game but I have a list of questions for the guys on the next Monday that we meet.

There you have it! My first adventure in the Pathfinder universe. I'll let you know if the next game is as interesting as this one was. I also have a few Reaper figures to get painted up!


An awesome wizard and female paladin.
Fighter, alchemist and dwarf.