Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Farsetter Holds - Terrain Interlude

Game 2 is happening this weekend, but before that I got some special terrain made for it. Jarom and I decided that the next game should take place within one of the great holds of the mountain range. So I went out with the goal of making enough terrain to fill a 6'x4' table and simulate one of the great halls or interior of a grand dwarven hold. If you remember the Mines of Moria from Lord of the Rings, and Orzammar from Dragon Age: Origins, you get the idea.
One caveat to this, is I had to make it as cheap as possible, and as fast as possible. So I am not making any sort of award winning terrain here. The main build source material here is the really cheap dollar store foamcore. I have already given my review of sorts on dollar store foamcore, but it works here because this terrain really isn't meant to last very long.
I didn't chronicle the exact process and steps I went into for building this, but it really starts with something like this sketch I made in Publisher, then with some simple maths, and ideas sketched and penciled down on it. It becomes a work in progress as you make the terrain pieces.
Going for the build it fast theme, everything is pretty much held together with hot glue. This all took me a couple days to build. The blue stairs are made of course with 1/4" extruded foam board. What took a couple more days was the painting.
All the white foam in the foamcore had to be painted over with a thick layer of cheap black craft paint. Then I spray painted with my trusty Rustoleum grey primer, but in a splotchy pattern, I wanted to create some texture. After that I sprayed with a texture paint, which didn't really do much, honestly. This was a test to see if texture paint could work for terrain, and it really only adds a touch texture, not much of a visual one. I could have gone without it completely. Finally I did edge highlighting with a light gray cheap craft paint. That really brought it all together and proudly showed the details. Another note is I drybrushed a bronze craft paint within the doorways to help them stand out slightly.
The nice thing about these pieces is how modular they can be to represent different layouts with the holds. This is an alternate layout, still for the 4'x6' table.

We look forward to Game 2 this weekend, so stay tuned for that.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Forthammer Clan Throng - Hammer Co. (Hammerers)

Nobody smashes your foe like Hammer Co.
Catchy mottos aside, this is my newest addition to my Forthammer Clan Throng. Ever since seeing the new blood bowl dwarf team, I wanted to use them in my army somehow. A conversion to fit them in. I love their dynamic action poses, so instead of using them for a defense line unit (like longbeards, warriors, or ironbreakers), I should go more for the damage dealing assault type troop. This really only left Hammerers, and I took the challenge. And these guys did prove to be a challenge.
The most difficult part was getting them to hold hammers 2 handed. All the models are posed with a really wide open stance, meaning I was going to have to do a lot of cutting and reposing to get their arms close enough for holding the hammers. Of course the easy route would have been to let them just hold the hammer in one hand, leaving the other open, but after doing 5 of them like that, I realized I wanted the remaining 5 to properly hold their hammers. I figured the best way to show the effort put into these guys is to show them side-by-side with the original models, using pictures from the Warhammer Community site.
This is the tanker of the unit. A lot of my duardin units have some sort of tanker. There is a keg on his back, and I tried converting the dwarf football into a smaller backup keg. It works quite well. As you can see, the heads tops were lopped off and I stuck on Hammerer helmets, which were lopped off their original pieces as well. Most of the model have at least had this done.
Some of these bloodbowl figures had alternate heads/beards. I want to make sure each and every figure in this unit is unique in a way, so having that helped on some. Again, replacing the helmet top with the Hammerer one helps convince the look that these guys are Hammerers.
This is the Standard Bearer. The original banner is too big and unwieldy to be used by a dwarf in such a pose, so I opted just for the topper. It conveys what he is well enough. The football in the original model is attached to his arm, so I had to carefully shave it off and have him hold his hammer higher up on the haft to create a better balance.
The Keeper of the Gate, or unit champion. I wanted him to stand out from the difference of the pose. I shaved off the slayer mohawk to give him a bald head (what is it with me and bald heads?), and it took quite a lot of effort to get his arms to hold the very ornate hammer above his head like that. One thing I challenge myself to do is never let a mono-pose model prevent me from reposing it.
I would have to say this is the most difficult one of the batch to do. Rather than having another dwarf held up in a leaping pose with his beard, I wanted to convey the sense of 'smash' with these guys by actually having a hammer smash down into the ground, feet raised in the air. I cut this guy to pieces, swapped parts with spares, greenstuffed a lot of weird space, it was quite extensive and I was really doubting it would work the whole time I was doing it. I am really proud however of how he finally turned out! Because of the nature of the pose, there is a single pin running throughout the entire model, from the hammer head all the way into his beard and torso. So really his arms are not holding the hammer in place, but his beard. Very dwarfy. The base is also weighted, it had to be.
One of the more simple conversions. Just replaced the helmet top and used one of the open hands to hold the hammer.
Another easy one. But this time he his holding the hammer low on the shaft so it looks like this one has just taken a really long wide swing.
The Throng Musician, using the original Hammerers horn. With this model I took advantage of its head posed more to the side so it would be easier to position the horn in front of it. This model did not have an alternate head, and since I needed the right arm free to hold something, I went ahead and just used the original hammerer head. A few of them are using that. Again I tried not to use the same heads twice if I could avoid it.
This guy took a lot more posing effort because it's not easy to hold the hammer like that, especially since the original Hammerer kit doesn't have the hands that far apart. Most of this model's arms and hammer parts are pinned together because the glue joints would be too fragile otherwise. Again I didn't want a repeat of beards, I used a hammerer beard/head, and the next model used the original model's beard.
To get this one to do a 2-handed hold, I had to cut into his beard so the shaft looked like it fit more closer to him, otherwise he would have held it out too far. Sometimes those beards really get in the way.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Tempest Eye Rangers - Freeguild General

For narrative purposes I knew I wanted a Hero to lead my Handgunners. Looking through all the warscrolls, I found one that I could bring and actually buff them without being the general, as these guys are only meant to be a minor addition to a mixed Order army. That is the Freeguild General, but only if he has the Stately War Banner.
Obviously he is made from the Excelsior Warpriest, but the banner is from the Black Ark Corsairs with the banner top from some of my random Brettonian bits I had lying around. The arms and pistol are from the Arkanaut Company kit. He has shoulder armor from the Longbeards kit. Finally he has a sword on his left hip that is from the Shadow Warriors. I think this creates a cool blend of all the races' contributions, which is what the free cities are all about.
Here he is with the whole unit. He will fit in better when they are all painted the same.
I really like this addition to my Order forces, in fact, I have already started thinking about a possible aelven unit and hero to add, to cover the main races of a free city. Likely something also from Tempest's Eye.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Tempest's Eye Rangers - Freeguild Handgunners

I came across a cool piece of artwork along my adventures in the internet.
Credit to Blazbaros. Careful, some of his work is NSFW
Any AoS player would think that this is some cool AoS fan-art. I mean, that is clearly a Freeguild Handgunner with a Kharadron Arkanaut. However it is not. Some guy commissioned him to do some D&D characters, but that did not get me to stop thinking about this image in AoS context. I really liked the look of the human character.

So I wanted creates something inspired by him in a way. Using some super MS Paint skills, I made a mock-up:
Sometimes this is what you need to do in order to get an idea going for a conversion. First is the body and legs. These are from the Shadow Warriors kit. I like the look of the cloak, tunic, and even legs. I especially like the cloak that comes up in front of the heads. Next are the arms and guns. These are from the Grundstok Thunderers kit. They are held aloft in a way like a heavy weapon, so I knew I was going to have to do some arm and hand reposing, to make them look like they are held like normal rifles. I wasn't sure what to use for a head, but once by chance I tried on the Warrior Priest head image, I fell in love. This screaming bald devotee just screamed veteran to me. I had an easy 2 components from what to order for parts: legs+torso, and arms+guns. But the heads would be a little more difficult. I wasn't going to buy 10 of the warrior priests and cut off their metal heads, so I looked to 3rd party.

Luckily I found Mad Robot Miniatures. They make bits mostly for 28mm heroic scale human miniatures. A lot of stuff for making your own Astra Militarum regiments (for those of you excited about their new Codex!). I like the choice of heads they had, and as a bonus, they are based here in the US! Most 3rd party bits makers are UK or EU based, which makes shipping troublesome.
I settled on the bald heads and the bandaged heads. The latter especially excited me because that would help to convey battle hardened veterans. Ordering those 2 sets got me 10 heads. Perfect.

Gathering the parts I need, and some greenstuff and cutting, I made them. My Tempest's Eye Rangers (counts as Freeguild Handgunners).
Banner on the left will be painted with the Tempest's Eye symbol from the latest Firestorm supplement, and the Marksman in the center has the long rifle. The barrel bit is actually from a can of air that you use for cleaning things like computer insides. I didn't have any plasticard tubing the right size.
A closer view of some of the conversion. The hands and arms were twisted and applied to do more of a rifle pose. I also removed the cables and the large trigger mechanism to slim them down.
Comparison to the original Grundstok Thunderers kit holding the gun.
I really don't plan on making a Free Peoples army, I just wanted a human unit to sometimes accompany a mixed Order army. I chose them to be from the Tempest's Eye free city, because I like the lore I read about it, and I can have the benefits with my Stormcast Eternals, and Dispossessed, and Ironweld Arsenal. That covers everything I already have for Order, so bonus. As for the painting color, I do like the original art I posted above, so I am going to try a deep yellow with some silver. More of an Averland Sunset yellow instead of a Flash Gitz yellow.

I do want to expand on these guys a little bit by making a hero that will accompany them. I do have a Excelsior Warpriest sprue lying around, and I think I can convert him to be a Freeguild General that leads the Rangers. More on that soon.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Farsetter Holds - Game 1

My brother and I have officially started our 4 game campaign using the Realms of Glory rules. This will focus on an overarching narrative that will be dictated by the games we end up playing, and their outcomes. I will be doing a blogpost for each game, with the story and a summarized battle report covering it.

The Farsetter Holds - Chapter 1
   Dunhill Forthammer, lord and king of the Forthammer Clan Throng, took a long deep breath. It had been centuries since he had seen the great Silver mountains of Chamon in the distance, and the smell brought back memories of nostalgia of an age past. He was but a beardling when his father, Grundi, lead the clans out of their ancestral holds when the Age of Chaos was at its worst. Grundi's father fought to the last and died so the entire family line would not perish that day. The human god-king, Sigmar, was providing a refuge that so few came to. None of the neighboring holds that Dunhill recognized made it. While they kept themselves occupied in Azyrheim, helping to build a home for all the refugees, the Forthammer Clan knew it was only temporary. Then Sigmar opened the gates again to unleash his champions, the Stormcast Eternals, Dunhill knew the time to strike and reclaim their ancestral holds was at hand.
   "Grobi." cursed Behrun, breaking Dunhill out of his trance. He used a term Dunhill had only recognized from ancient texts, but he remembered it was an old term for grot. Behrun was named after his great grand-uncle, Behrun Farsetter, Dunhill's great great grandfather. Behrun was the Old Guard, veteran of Longbeards. And a title he deserved well. He was among the oldest beards in the throng. His insults and stubbornness were legendary.
   It hasn't been a pilgrimage without incident or battle, and it looked like that was not going to let up. Dunhill looked in the direction Behrun pointed, and noticed the moving green horde in the distance. It was hard to miss between the snow laden mountain and its barren base. Dunhill didn't think these were grots, as they looked too big, but he also suspected Behrun already knew that, and that didn't matter. Greenskins were greenskins.
   "Gather the throng." he commanded without looking. Behrun turns and nods "My king." before marching off.
   "Drake!" Dunhill called out to his eldest son. The boy was not far behind.
   "Yes my King." he snapped in reply. Drake was among the new generations born in Azyrheim, and unfortunately had no memory of the Farsetter Holds, but his passion to take back the family birthright was no less ardent. Like his father he has a proclivity for engineering, developing marvelous devices, almost rivaling his father, almost. He counted himself among the Ironweld Arsenal, a Cogsmith of Order.  Drake's armor was bulky, but housed the powerful generator for his arsenal of weapons.
   "Help me in my steamsuit. We march to face greenskin."
   Drake spat. Not at his father's command, but at the mention of orruks. Even during the Age of Myth when Sigmar had his pantheon, the duardin were never completely comfortable with the minions of Gorkamorka, but never quite sure why. He hoisted the mechanical steamsuit from the cart that housed it. The machine stood on its own. The front opened up where he helped his father climb in and insert his limbs into the machine's legs and arms. With a kickstart from Drake's own back generator, the steamsuit whirred to life, and Dunhill was given motion. The steamsuit gave him increased strength and protection. It impressed him everytime he donned it. Another testament to the ingenuity of his son. Dunhill had started the steamsuit project long ago in Azyrheim, but abandoned it after many failed attempts to make it work in a quality manner. It was until his son, with his Cogsmith career taking off, finished the project for him.
   Dunhill gave a slight grunt in approval, which was all Drake ever needs to know he pleased his father. The machine is well maintained. Frequent tune-ups and repairs between battles keep it in working order.
   He snatched the massive mechanical hammer from the charging mount. The rune covered gear laden weapon is a head taller than him, even in the suit. He abruptly stamped the pommel on the ground, and a horn blared behind him. The throng is now in an impressive disciplined line, eyes affixed on their king. Dunhill was determined. After such a long costly journey, the goal was in sight. He was not going to flee or let it get away. "Reclaim our holds!" he shouted.
   "Reclaim our grudges!" the throng rang in reply.
   "Stunties!" the orruk snarled. He is called Grox the tall, Grox the tyrant, Grox the longstrider, or Grox the skinny, though you would never call him that last one to his face, lest you risk dismemberment from his great gutgouger. The hook-blade at the end of the chain and haft rattled with every motion. Many a orruk has been cut in half when he overhears the insult, forgetting the deadly weapon's reach. Grox was very tall, even for an orruk, and fat, with an impressive gut that happens to be a side effect of his overeating and constant drinking. The reason for the undesired nickname is he has a fairly narrow set of shoulders for his species, even though none of the other boys rival his sheer mass. He is part of a unique breed of orruk, that were it not for their green skin, they would be commonly mistaken for Ogors. They call his kind Da Fat'uns. Though that is not an insult for them.
   "OY BOYS! WE GOT STUNTIES!" He called out to the camp, bringing life to the unusually subdued gathering of orruk. You didn't act like anything Grox said was unimportant, you reacted. That's why he's the warboss. It's been long enough since they had a good fight. Though there were those spikey humies that gave them a skirmish a few days ago, but an eternity to Grox.
   A crazed looking weirdnob approached Grox, his red cloak mounted on a stick across his back flailed under the mountain breeze. The heavy fetished staff attributes to his awkward gait. The weirdnob shaman staves are usually not that big, but Profut Big'un never did anything small. "I am up for a good foight as much as any proper orruk, Grox da tall, but da Big'un is close. I can feels 'im. We musn't be distracted."
   "SHUT YER GOB, wez gonna get to yer Big'un soon enough." Grox was beginning to grow tired of "da Big'un". The legendary giant orruk, or something that is supposed to be the destiny of all greenskins. This shaman was called Profut Big'un because he's always going on about the Big'un; always seeking the Big'un; being lead to the biggest fight under the gaze of Gorkamorka by the Big'un; going on like a prophet of sorts, hence the name. Grox never really believed it, but the shaman gets the boyz properly riled up about it, and this quest does quite well in getting them into plenty of fights, so he really can't complain much. Fights like these stunties he sees marching down the valley. The shiny glint of their armor on the small bodies is unmistakable, other than the much larger shiny armor lightning humies.
   "Allroight, boss. Jus' don't lose this'n, the 'ardboys will fight for ya."
   Grox ignored the Profut's comment. The boys had begun to gather in greater numbers. Most numerous were the 'two choppa' boys. They would always chant "Two choppas all da way!", which they had already started. It was a trend that caught on quickly among new boys and yoofs.

   Grox began swinging the gutgouger above his head, the chain rattling loudly. He bellowed: "DA STUNTIES IS LOOKIN' FOR A FOIGHT! LES GIVE 'EM ONE! LES GIVE 'EM A TASTE OF GROX- er... WAAAGH BIG'UN!" The gathering of greenskins roars a reply. He nearly slipped up the name of the Waaagh!, he had to remember the main reason why they were all here was for that blasted Big'un. But no matter, it was time for fighting. What proper orruks were mean to do, were meant to strive for.
   "WAAAAAAAAGH!" The horde followed his charge down the valley.

Jarom's 1,000 point Destruction army faces off against my 1,000 points of Dispossessed with Ironweld Arsenal allies. The objective is a simple 2 marker objective mission, with one in each deployment zone. Holding both during an opponent's turn grants you a major victory. Otherwise victory just goes to kill-points. The Twist card drawn for this battle was Grudge Match, meaning no battleshock tests would be taken during the entirety of the battle. Both were itching for a fight, and neither were willing to run from it.

The destruction force is lead by Grox with many names. An Ogor Tyrant. We decided to allow Jarom to initially permanently pick one of the big names on the warscroll (choosing Longstrider), and later he can, if he wants, roll on the table again to get additional names instead of using the normal rewards table. He took the Bellowing Tyrant command trait to keep permanently through the campaign, as well as the Battle Brew artifact. He leads an army of 'Ardboys, a huge squad of Boys with two choppas, a unit of Ogors, and the Weirdnob Shaman, Profut Big'un.

The Disposssed army is lead by Dunhill Forthammer, a Warden King. He took Resolute for his warlord trait from the Dispossessed allegiance, and the Piledriver Gauntlet for his artifact (represented by his huge steam hammer). The force consisted of a unit of Warriors, Longbeards, Irondrakes, Hammerers, and Bree Dunsdottir (a Runelord, or Runemaid I should say). Along with them Drake Dunsson (the Cogsmith), and a gyrocpter for Ironweld Arsenal allies.
The game was pretty brutal, with the entire orruk Boys and 'Ardboys battle line reaching my duardin by turn 2. Things were looking pretty dire at first with very few Boyz dying initially and no battleshock tests, and Grox charging into Dunhill and killing him in one hit. However the Hammerers got their vengeance by completely surrounding Grox and taking him out in one combat. After that it was a sludge of fighting, but the Irondrakes ended up being MVP when they don't move and fire their devastating guns twice and taking out swathes of Boys. That's when the battle began to turn.

It nearly came down to just a combat of Longbeards vs 'Ardboys, when the Weirdnob shaman got in range and made a phenomenal casting roll for the Foot of Gork, which completely wiped out the 8 man unit of Longbeards in one magic phase. Bree was in range, but failed to roll an 11 to dispel. The unit of Ogors pretty much did nothing the entire game as Jarom couldn't risk letting them leave the objective so my flanking Gyrocpter could take it and potentially get me an instant major victory.

Evidently the greenskins weren't able to take my objective and were shot off the board by the Irondrakes. The Objective card stated that a major victory was only possible if one took both objectives, otherwise it went to kill-points, in which I took the minor victory.

A game loss grants 1 renown to Jarom, and a minor win grants D3 renown. I rolled a 1 on it as well. We are both tied for renown after game 1. Jarom rolled on the Destruction followers table in the Path to Glory supplement and got Smashing and Bashing for his Boys with two-choppas. They are going to be brutal. I rolled for my Longbeards and got Punishers from the Order followers rewards table, giving them a grudge of their own.
   The Irondrakes breathed a sigh of relief under their gromril masks when their drakeguns stopped belching flames, and the orruks didn't get back up behind the rubble. The truth was they were retreating under the cover of the smoke. Profut Big'un had called for a retreat, and to retrieve the unconscious body of their warboss, Grox. Profut Big'un could have dispatched the orruk right then and there, free to accomplish his quest for the Big'un, but he knew he needed Grox. The boys always followed the bigger ones, and Profut Big'un couldn't compete in size. He wasn't going to be happy when he woke up, and the shaman wasn't pleased either. Some of the boys were still out hunting when Grox decided to charge in. However, it was a good fight. Lot's of stunties died, or got smashed under the fantastic Foot of Gork, the most potent spell in his arsenal.
   Other orruks were joining the retreat. Afterall, a good fight and retreat often meant you could come back and fight again later. Besides, the Big'un was close. He could feel it.

   The battlefield fell eerily silent. Drake holstered his pistols as he watched the disappearing greenskins. It seemed like mere seconds ago the air was filled with the cacophonous din of battle, now it was filled with dust and smoke.
   Bree, his sister, approached him. "How's father?" asked Drake.
   "He's well. The orruk smashed the suit and trapped him inside. Right now he's cussing like a cornered gryph-hound."
   Drake chuckled at the visual image, but grimaced at the thought of his father's attitude and the coming repair job. They approached the wreck of the steamsuit, half buried into the soft soil. It took one hit to take him down. It will be a few centuries before anyone would be able to bring up this story during drinks. Several clansmen were trying to help him upright as he spouted insults. Insults at both the greenskins and the 'beardlings' trying to lift a measly piece of machinery. "Well fought, my king."
   Dunhill shot Drake a glare at the tone of sarcasm. "It would have been better if weren't for this umgak-grobkaz!" The insult referred to the steamsuit as shoddy grot work.

   Drake ignored the hasty slight. "Worry not, father. I'll have it up and running again before the next battle."
   The front finally opened and Dunhill spilled out onto the ground. He shot back up. "Right then! Gather the throng, make camp. We march at dawn. Get me a full report on the losses. There are still plenty of blank pages in the book of grudges."

NOTE: We realized later that Jarom had accidentally only brought 900 points to the battle. A regrettable mistake that won't happen again. Stay tuned for Chapter 2 of this campaign!

(Game 2 here)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Realms of Glory Campaign - Alpha

Here is an alpha build of a campaign system I wrote for Age of Sigmar. My brother and I are planning on doing a short narrative campaign. So I mocked this up last night and today.

It is a short campaign system (4 games long) that uses the General's Handbook matched play rules, Open War cards to set up the campaign tree, and Path to Glory for the rewards tables to progress the story of your army.

Basically it started when I saw the Open War cards used to make a tree campaign from the General's Handbook. After picking them up at the Harvester of Souls, my brother and I played 2 games with them. The games were really good fun. They can be easily used with matched play rules and create some interesting scenarios.

We got excited to try the tree campaign idea, but with some added bonuses. Bring on the Path to Glory campaign book. I will be honest I never tried Path to Glory, nor do I ever want to. The biggest problem with campaigning I found is an effect called snowballing. It is where one player gains an early boost from luck or playing well, and the advantage helps to compound as the game goes along, creating a clear winner early that becomes harder and harder to stop. Hence snowballing. Path to Glory is very guilty of this. There are ways to curb snowballing I have found, and one of them is a points limit on all games.

Anyway, never wanting to try Path to Glory, I do like the Rewards tables because they are useful and flavorful for upgrades and things like XP rewards you may find in other games.

So we got 3 parts culminating into Realms of Glory: Path to Glory rewards tables, Open War cards for a campaign Tree, and the General's Handbook for matched play rules. We are excited to try this out, then I will likely come back and edit the document until I get some semblance of readability.

Let me know what you guys think!