10 GW models that need an update

1 Comment

Our D&D sessions are on hiatus at the moment as some of us (i.e. all of us) work extra hours to get plenty of tasty overtime money ready for the Christmas spending spree. That doesn’t mean we haven’t managed to get some gaming done; Pandemic, Coup and Palazzo are all new favourites at my table, and I recently picked up the Desolation of Smaug expansion for Cryptozoic’s Hobbit deckbuilding game, which has been great fun.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I still like occasionally checking out the main Games Workshop page to look at shiny new models. Most of these are really, really good…

99120207027_ArkhanBlack01

Comes with a teacup to drink your opponent’s tears.

And others… not so much.

99801463014_LegolasGreenleaf01

DADDY ARE I REAL ELF NOW :-(

 

But with all these new models for shiny new things, it seems like some stuff that sorely needs updating keeps getting pushed back and back. For example, Chaos players have been calling for a plastic Obliterator kit for years. And plastic Greater Daemons. And plastic Havocs. And plastic Cult Marines. And… well, look, Chaos players need a lot of love, okay?

So what models need new shiny updates in my opinion? Well I’d be happy to tell you…

10 – Chaos Furies 

furies10

Man, I remember a time when Furies were amazing. This was back in the heady days of the 3.5 edition Chaos Codex, before The Great Loss, when GW went “DURRR Chaos Marines and Daemons should be different armies!”. My old Word Bearers army ran a full pack of ten, and they were a cheap and surprisingly choppy suicide squad (WS 5, Initiative 5 and 2 Attacks if I recall). I loved ‘em. You know what I didn’t love? Gluing twenty chunky metal wings into tiny slots! I was/am a lazy modeller, and I had/have no patience for all this fiddly stuff like pinning, green stuffing, and so on. My Furies lost wings in transport, or even in mid-game. These guys are no longer popular, which is a shame. GW could easily relaunch these guys as a cool updated plastic kit with better rules.

9 – Fiends of Slaanesh

m1251510_99069915044_DaemonSlaaneshFiendDirect4Main_873x627

Another Daemon. That model is really old. The Fiends are models that have been around since the 90s, a trait shared with many of the models on this list. They’ve never been updated to plastic, which seems a shame for such cool, weird and creepy models. I’d love to see these guys be redesigned to look more dynamic and come as one of those “2-in-1″ kits that GW do these days, enabling you to make Fiends and some brand-new type of daemonic beast.

8 – Verminlord

m550074a_99060206051_SkavenVerminLord_445x319

Ah, the classic incarnation of the feral cunning of the Horned Rat. Tremble, mortals of the Old World, for your doom approaches! Oh, wait, he’s the same size as a normal Rat Ogre? Oh. Hmm. Yeah, like another entry further down this list, Vermy hasn’t aged too well when it comes to scale. He’s technically a Greater Daemon, he should be towering over everything! Forge World have make a badass Exalted version, but that’s like having to use An’Grath instead of a normal – and cheaper – Bloodthirster model. Nice new big impressive plastic kit please!

7 – Avatar of Khaine

Avatar_de_khaine_eldar_miniatura

Last daemon, I promise! Now, the Avatar is pure sex as a model (Jes Goodwin, go figure), but again, it doesn’t measure up to well to recent models. It’s hard to envision him as an incarnate space-elf god of war when his fancy hat is the only thing making him bigger than Chapter Master Smashface the Generic. Again, old Bloodyhand here is desperate for a nice new plastic kit similar in scale to the recent Wood Elf Treeman kit so that he can loom over all the puny mortals that are so eager to have some face-time with the Wailing Doom.

6 – Ork Warboss

Ork_Warboss

Aside from the plastic Warbosses in Black Reach and Stormclaw, these two are the only options Ork players have had for a Warboss for nearly 15 years now. That’s simply ridiculous. Where’s the big Ork Warboss kit with tons of weapon options and bits, like the Space Marine Commander or Chaos Lord set?

space marine commander

I must’ve bought about seven of these over the years. One of my absolute favourite kits, even if it only makes one model.

And while I’m on the subject of Orks…

5 – Ork Warbuggy

warbugg3

Look, GW, I’m happy you finally updated the Ork Trukk… but couldn’t you have updated the old Warbuggy and Wartrakk while you were at it? I mean… look at it. The Orks are 2nd edition, pre-Brian Nelson style, i.e. not what Orks look like anymore. Urgh. Thank Gork that Ork players are usually creative enough to find or make alternatives.

4 – Eldar Jetbikers

99120104002_EldarJetbikeNEW_01

Eldar and jetbikes are two of the coolest things in Warhammer 40,000. So why has that winning combination not been updated? Like the Warbuggy, this is a 2nd edition model that no longer matches the modern aesthetic of its faction. To be blunt, Eldar Guardians don’t look like that anymore, and haven’t for a significant amount of time. Plus, there’s the rider’s dull pose. He looks like he’s having a relaxed tootle around the block, not dodging bullets in a battle. That’s not a jetbiker. These are jetbikers.

m1420292a_99120112010_DEReavers1a_873x627

 

3 – Ragnar Blackmane

m1240645_99060101063_SWRagnarmain_873x627

Let’s talk special characters. A lot of 40k special character models are still the same as they’ve been since the 90s; Mephiston, Dante, Azrael, Ahriman, Eldrad… all sculpted by Jes Goodwin, I might add. For the most part, they’ve managed to stand the test of time. Unfortunately there are a few that haven’t.

I mean, Ragnar’s still a cool model, but he doesn’t exactly scream “bloody-handed slayer” does he? That pose – the Goodwin Slouch, as I’ve decided to name it – is the same pose used for a lot of 90s GW models. It works on Mephiston, because the guy is a regal, composed Chief Librarian with the mother of all popped collars. It works on Fabius Bile, because he’s a cunning, diabolical scientist who leaves the fisticuffs to his genetically-enhanced murdermachines. On Ragnar though? He’s meant to be a dynamic hothead, a guy who charges in, kicks ass, and takes names. His model is sterile and lifeless, and GW missed a chance to update him for the recent Space Wolf Codex. Of course, after seeing what they did to Logan, maybe it’s for the best.

Logan-Grimnar-on-Stormrider

Congrats GW, you turned one of the most badass Chapter Masters into fucking Santa Claus.

On the plus side, when Googling to get the above picture of Ragnar, I saw some amazing conversions using Kor’sarro Khan and Gabriel Seth as the base model, so something positive there.

2. Abaddon the Despoiler

m1241070_99060102026_Abaddonmain_873x627

 

Aaah, Abaddon. That model is glorious, but it falls into the same sort of trap that the Vermin Lord and Avatar do; compared to modern-day Terminators, Abaddon is just a wee bit on the short side! Plus his own proportions look a bit off; the funny thing is that if he took his hair out of that topknot, he could cosplay as grimdark red-haired Rapunzel. Dude needs a fresh sculpt; a fancy scenic base, a dead Marine in his clutches… I don’t know. It would nicely capitalise on the popular new Talon of Horus by Aaron Dembski-Bowden though.

And at the very top of my list…

1 – Battle Sisters. Just, like, all the Battle Sisters

Sob_squad_c

 

Yeah, technically that’s not one model. But hear me out!

For a long time, people were worried that the Sisters would go the way of the Squats, gradually falling further and further out of the spotlight until they could be quietly disposed of. It’s a shame, because the Sisters have a large and vocal fanbase. Why? Because they’re an army of pyromaniac warrior nuns!

I love the Sisters. One of the last armies I ran when I played 40k was a proxied Sisters army that ran Celestine, three Exorcists, and as many full-size Sister squads as I could manage. Did it win? Not really. Did I have fun with Acts of Faith? Absolutely!

I can see the problem why Sisters aren’t popular to the mainstream crowds; all the models are Finecast and thus expensive. No one buys them, so they’re not deemed popular enough for a reboot, so they don’t get new stuff and their models remain expensive and difficult to acquire. Then again, the Grey Knights exploded out of nowhere with a powerful new Codex and two excellent multipurpose plastic infantry kits and firmly established themselves as a “proper” faction, maybe the Sisters could do the same! You could have three really good kits for Celestians/Retributors, Seraphim, and normal Battle Sisters, and suddenly bam! The Sisters are back in the spotlight and getting attention and sales again! Sororitas players have been crying out for plastic Sisters (and a proper Codex) for years! Come on GW, give the Sisters some love! Do it, and I promise I may consider getting back into 40k…

That’s my thoughts, but what models do you think need updating?

- Gareth

M:tG Low Standards – Suns, Stars, and Cows

Leave a comment

A while ago, I mentioned the “Low Standards” challenge that my friend Adam and I chose to do as a springboard to get us back into Magic and ensure that we’d be on roughly the same sort of level after nearly five years of not playing; as much as I feared Adam’s elf deck back in the days of Lorwyn/Shadowmoor, it hasn’t been updated since then. I myself had become bored on my own “proper” decks (green-white flicker, blue-black artifacts, Gruul aggro, Grixis control and mono-black exalted) and wanted to make up some new decks.

So, a recap of “Low Standards”;

  • The deck must be Standard legal. As of today, that means Theros block, Magic 2015 Core Set, and Khans of Tarkir.
  • The deck’s contents (discounting basic land) must come to £15.00 or less, going by the prices on Magic Madhouse.

As an aside, I find Madhouse to be the best UK-based seller for MtG singles; the other big contender, Manaleak, is slightly more expensive, and though they’re better stocked (Madhouse always seems to be sold out of at least one card I want), Madhouse has better service; I’ll typically get an order within a few working days.

Last time I showed off the decklists for the first three of my Low Standards decks; Temur monsters, Sultai walls/sacrifice, and green-white Abzan heroes.

Well I’ve been brewing new decks, and have three new ones to share! As a disclaimer I haven’t used any of these in a game yet, so there may be eventual tweaks and amendments as I find out what works and what doesn’t.

Bad Stars

Decklist

Many many years ago, back when the trauma of Mirrodin block was still fresh, there came a set called Kamigawa. It was to Mirrodin as Masques was to Urza’s; that is to say, necessarily horrible and low-powered. When I wasn’t taking my pills to stop my Affinity flashbacks, I was using a terrible red-white samurai deck, and an incredibly fun green-black Spirit deck that focused on Zuberas, Death Denied, Consuming Greed, and this spooky dude.

thief

Ten years on and I still love this little guy.

Oh yeah, the deck’s win condition was really Devouring Greed + lots of little Spirits, but Thief was the superstar, bleeding my opponents dry with every spell I cast. So when I saw that he had a Greek cousin…

grim

… I knew that I had to build a similar deck.

This deck is a very straightforward control build; you’re stalling with stuff like Brain Maggot, Stab Wound, Pin to the Earth and Grimmy G until you get one of the pieces needed to give your opponent a slow, agonising defeat; you can either go with Grimmy G and Riptide Chimera, or Fate Unraveller and Dictate of Kruphix. Or both, if you’re so inclined. If things go perfectly, you never need to attack with your creatures; just hang back and sloooowly drain your opponent dry. Will I feel mean doing it? Yep. Will I still do it? Yep.

 

Heliod’s Army

Decklist

White weenie is one the simplest deck archetypes in the game, right next to green ramp and red burn; you play lots of little dudes, buff them up, turn them sideways, and repeat until you win.

I wanted to do a devotion deck of some type; common sense would be to try and do a budget version of the mono-black devotion archetype that floated around a while ago, which used Grey Merchant of Asphodel and Whip of Erebos for some truly disgusting swings in life. However I’m one of those people that likes having an even-ish distribution of colours among my decks, and I’d already used a lot of black, red, green and blue. Guess what that left me with?

Mana_W

urgh.

White is definitely my least favourite colour in Magic. I don’t hate it… I just find it a bit boring. However, the offerings for white in Standard are pretty decent, so I figured I could throw together a fun, simple white deck that played to that old strength of little dudes + buffs. The gimmick here is that we’re trying to get as many white mana symbols for Acolyte’s Reward (a mean combat trick) and Evangel of Heliod (instant army, just add mana).

There’s a few similarities to my Abzan Heroes deck; unfortunately that’s unavoidable when Theros block is your main resource. So yes, we have some heroes like Fabled Hero and Vanguard of Brimaz, and some cheap buffs like Ajani’s Presence and Gods Willing. However, we also have seven “anthem” effects; Paragon of New Dawns buffs the entire army and can give someone vigilance (always handy), and Dictate of Heliod is backbreaking when played in the middle of combat.

All that said, I have a feeling that this is the deck I’ll change the most; maybe switching out the Evangels and Rewards for Raise the Alarm and Devouring Light. Hmm. We’ll see.

 

Mad Cows

Decklist

Aah, Minotaurs. A nice janky tribe, perfect for a cheap janky deck! I’ve always been fond of the ‘taurs; consider it a soft spot for the underdog/bull. For years of Magic’s history, Minotaurs have been pretty terrible, with a few exceptions. Theros threw them the biggest of bones and turned them into a fairly fun aggressive archetype. Yeah, it still boils down to “turn creatures sideways, repeat”, but Minotaurs are one of the very few creature types in Standard at the moment with some decent tribal support; they have a good number of “lords” (Rageblood Shaman, Felhide Petrifier, and Kragma Warcaller) and a cost-reducer in Ragemonger.

The rest of the deck is fairly straightforward; Skullcleaver, Deathbellow and Brawler are cheap smashers, and Fanatic burns face and then sticks around as a decent-sized threat. The Underworld Ceberus is a bit of fun, if a near-unblockable 6/6 for five mana can be considered “fun” for your opponent. Some burn and buff rounds it out.

 

So that’s my next batch of decks which I’ll be using at the end of the month when Adam and I meet up for another “Low Standards” day. I also have plans for a green-blue morph deck and a Jeskai prowess/scry deck, but I’ll wait on the next instalment of Khans before I start putting together lists for those. And black-white Warriors is always very tempting, thanks to stuff like Chief of the Edge and Raiders’ Spoils… sigh. Too many cards, not enough time!

In the meantime, I hope this inspires you to try out “Low Standards” too! Remember, you don’t need to drop £100 or more on a deck to have fun. In fact, you’ll probably have more fun by spending that money on something else, and you’ll still get to play Magic; everyone wins!

- Gareth

 

November Catch Up

Leave a comment

Gah, how has it gotten to that time of year again already?

Right, quick update on things. Horribly aware that I haven’t written anything for a while.

The Phandelver chronicles are continuing; we have a session booked for next Monday. I am currently in a bit of a flap as I try and plan how to turn THIS…

p882188714-3

… into two or even three smaller maps and spread it over multiple sessions, because there is no way I’m drawing out that whole mess in one go. Also need to add a bit more bite to that final Black Spider encounter. Hrm.

Been playing a lot of fun board games recently; Catan, Palazzo and Coup especially. I have a boardgame evening planned for Saturday with Emma and another couple who are total gaming noobs, so I’ll be easing them into the wonderful world of boardgames with fun easy stuff like Dixit, King of Tokyo, and Labyrinth.

Been totally bitten by the Magic bug again thanks to my games with Adam last month, so I’m making more decks for our “Low Standards” challenge, and also going a bit retro and making Time Spiral-Lorwyn era decks, because that was a damn fun period of Magic for me.

I have the Silent Hill HD collection for my 360. I have had it for some time. Why the fuck haven’t I touched it yet!?

Oh, right, yeah, the nightmare fuel.

Oh, right, yeah, the nightmare fuel.

Been reading the D&D player’s handbook and making tweaks and homebrew stuff ready for a new campaign next year. Not sure whether to stick with traditional sword and sorcery D&D, or hack the ruleset into something like Weird West, sci-fi alien fighting action, modern-day psychic espionage/conspiracy, post-apocalyptic Gamma World-esque nitty gritty, or Other.

Re-reading a lot of the Horus Heresy series. Forgotten how much I loved Scars. Ploughing through Vulkan Lives again. I’m not exactly eager to try and plod through Angel Exterminatus again, because Graham McNeil. Need to refresh my memory on Gaunt’s Ghosts and Bequin trilogy stuff in the chance that more stuff gets added to those series. Also, think I might just read Talon of Horus again, because that book is pure nerdwank material.

We can never be together, Lheor. That is the *true* heresy :-(

We can never be together, Lheor. That is the *true* heresy :-(

Writing a lot as it’s NaNo (again). Hoping to get enough done by the end of the year to put together a proper decent-length anthology and submit to Real Actual Publishers.

Thinking of things to write articles about. Might have another bitch about GW. Or maybe Magic this time. Maybe both. Who knows, or dares to dream.

Turning 30 soon. Urgh.

Urrrrghhhh.

Right, back to it.

D&D Lost Mine of Phandelver Episode 8 – An ‘Arrowing Experience

2 Comments

Last session was pretty emotional; it was Joe’s last one with us as his new job will conflict with our normal Monday evenings, and it was time to say goodbye to Bosun Barry Arrers… would he die gloriously retaking his old hometown of Thundertree, or would his efforts be in vain?

In Attendance: Loki Fastfoot (Darryl), Bosun Barry Arrers (Joe), Grimdark Stonelock (Trev), Carick “Mouse” Silverfrost (Liam)

dungeons-dragons_L155And obviously myself, the DM.

Although Sildar and Gundren were eager for the group to make a move on the Forge of Spells, there was one last thing they needed to do before that; take back the town of Thundertree, which had been evacuated decades ago following a volcanic eruption, zombies, mutant plant monsters, blah blah. Also, Loki’s aunt had asked him to track down Reidoth the druid who was last known to be in Thundertree, plus there were promises of treasure from Mirna, whose family had owned a shop in the town and had hidden their valuables in the cellar. They loaded up Mr Redbrand, and they were set to go! But before that, we had a laugh piling on the cliches for Barry. Elsa approached him as they were about to head off.

wench

“Barry, don’t go! I have a bad feeling about this!”

2884773-Jeremy-Renner-as-Hawkeye-in-The-Avengers-jeremy-renner-32910680-3200-2000“Elsa, it’s fine! Not sure if you’ve noticed, but I do this sort of thing quite regularly.”

wench“Just promise me that when you’ve finished, you’ll settle down and run The Barrel Room with me! Also… I’m carrying your child!”

2884773-Jeremy-Renner-as-Hawkeye-in-The-Avengers-jeremy-renner-32910680-3200-2000

“In that case, I’ll do this one last job! Then we can get married and everything will be perfect and lovely forever!”

urchin

“And we’re going to go on that fishing trip when you get back, right Uncle Barry?”

2884773-Jeremy-Renner-as-Hawkeye-in-The-Avengers-jeremy-renner-32910680-3200-2000

“We sure are Timmy, we sure are!”

So off they toddle to Thundertree.

thundertree

Upon arrival to the town, Reidoth the druid spots them from his lookout, and recognising Loki, he approaches them and warns them of the dangers to the town. Aside from the zombies and some giant spiders, there’s also some cultists… and a dragon. A young one, but still… dragon. I’d decided to take the twig blights out of the Thundertree adventure; these monsters are annoying pests who would pose no threat to the heroes and would only slow down play if included.

Reidoth also mentions that he’s seen a strange one-eyed creature around the ruins of the town, but he’s given it a wide berth. Yeah, guess who’s back after escaping the Redbrand lair…

cartoons-disney_00341593

“Hello friends.”

Reidoth informs the heroes that the cultists are on the far side of the town, and the dragon has taken the old wizard’s tower as its lair. The group circles back round the town and approaches from the east side.

Upon arriving in the town square, Barry points out the grand statue of the legendary folk hero Palien, spear raised to the sky in triumph.

2884773-Jeremy-Renner-as-Hawkeye-in-The-Avengers-jeremy-renner-32910680-3200-2000

“That’ll be me up there one day.”

Oh, how cruel those words are in hindsight.

They break into the old barracks (the northern-most building) and easily dispatch the zombies inside. The zombie’s undead fortitude ability makes them tough to put down permanently with conventional weapons, but Grimdark’s sacred flame spell saves the day.

They then head south to the large farmhouse. Grimdark and Mouse head to the south door, while Barry and Loki take the north. Hoping to charm his way into the midst of the cultists, Barry knocks on the door and professes his urge to join the cult. He’s told to fuck off. Mouse immediately goes to Plan B, and uses thunderwave to smash down the back door (killing two cultists and KO’ing a third with the flying door), then steps inside and incinerates the rest with burning hands. Well, shit.

They question the remaining cultist, and he says that they were going to approach the dragon in the tower and offer tribute, because they’re the Cult of the Dragon and that’s sort of their whole deal. What they were going to do after that is kinda up in the air.

1. Make alliance with dragon.

2. ???

3. Profit!

Barry has the amazing/terrible (delete where appropriate) idea of masquerading as one of the cultists to try and trick the dragon. As he’s tugging on a set of dragon cosplay robes, the nothic shows up at the door. It remembers the group as the ones who gave it food and shinies, and they immediately start throwing silver coins to it to appease it. After a quick round of negotiation with their old acquaintance, they persuade it to help them in the fight against the dragon in return for the entire hoard.

cartoons-disney_00341593

“Oooo, lots of shinies for me! Fine, I help you. Call when you have need!”   And off it scampers.

Finished with the cultists (stopping to grab the tribute of diamonds and the potion of flight that the leader had), the gang take a quick detour to wreck the shit out of some giant spiders and find Mirna’s family treasure, before they decide to head towards the tower.

Barry, in his borrowed dragon cultist costume, swigs the potion of flight and takes to the air. The others hide in the undergrowth near the tower.

2884773-Jeremy-Renner-as-Hawkeye-in-The-Avengers-jeremy-renner-32910680-3200-2000

“Dragon! Show yourself, mighty one, so that I may offer you riches!”

Sure enough, the young green dragon Venomfang stirs from his slumber and flies to the top of the wrecked tower.

Lars-Grant-West-Green-Dragon-600x418

 

“Amusing. The mammals can fly, when they have a mind for it. I accept your riches, silly little flying monkey.”

Barry throws the dragon the diamonds, and it adds them to the hoard.

2884773-Jeremy-Renner-as-Hawkeye-in-The-Avengers-jeremy-renner-32910680-3200-2000

“Now that you have taken my riches, perhaps you could leave this town?”

Lars-Grant-West-Green-Dragon-600x418

“Hmm. No. No, I don’t think so. I’m rather fond of it here. Now off with you, little flying money, before I lose my temper.”

2884773-Jeremy-Renner-as-Hawkeye-in-The-Avengers-jeremy-renner-32910680-3200-2000

“Yeah… well… ummm… fuck your face!”  *fires bow*

And so we have a dragon fight!

This fight was amazing. They called on their nothic buddy who scampered in to pelt the dragon with its rotting gaze ability, Grimdark had his spiritual weapon flying around, Mouse was throwing out an almost endless salvo of magic missiles, and Loki was going all Matrix-style with his dual hand crossbows. On top of that, Barry was flying around and taking pot shots while Venomfang chased him in the air, trying to grab him with his jaws or claws, or blast him with his poisonous breath (I tweaked this down to 7d6 damage rather than the absurd 14d6 stated in the book; I wanted a fight, not a TPK!).

Grimdark and Loki rushed up the tower stairs so they could get closer to the dragon to chop it up. Barry lured Venomfang over, then doubled back and grabbed onto it, and starting stabbing it with his trident, Tested. Then Loki jumped on as well, and suddenly Venomfang had two heroes riding him! He managed to dislodge Loki, then took a swipe at Grimdark, who went flying onto the cottage roof, down to 0 HP. Barry broke off to stabilise the dying dwarf while Loki, Mouse and the nothic continued to bombard the dragon, whittling away its HP. However, Venomfang fought back, and sent the nothic tumbling down off the tower into its hoard. The nothic, mesmerised by all the gold, was out of the fight, despite the shouts from its “friends”.

Barry shouted to Mouse or Loki to get a healing potion down Grimdark’s throat, but the halfling was once again participating in a spot of dragon riding. With a shrug and no doubt a rueful shake of his head, Barry took to the skies again, trident and shield in hand. Mouse broke from cover and sprinted to the tower, getting halfway up the staircase. Unfortunately, Venomfang was also there, and recognising Mouse as the one who’d been pelting him with magic missiles, chomped the elf. A critical hit was a one-hit KO, and now there were two of the company down. Venomfang was wounded too, and enraged; common sense would’ve been to fly off and fight another day, but these mammals had hurt him badly, and now he had only murder on the mind.

The dragon knocked Loki off, and the halfling fell, but managed to grab the side of the tower. Venomfang, still with Barry on its back stabbing away, rose higher and higher into the air. Barry’s potion of flight had worn off, but he kept passing his saving throws to hang on, and kept plunging Tested over and over again into the dragon’s back, drawing roars of pain from it.

We put down the rulebooks and the dice, and got the wine out. Barry’s final act of heroism was approaching.

Venomfang managed to grab Barry in one of its claws, and held him in front of its face.

Lars-Grant-West-Green-Dragon-600x418

“You worm! You insect! After I have destroyed you and your pathetic friends, I will rain your torn corpses down upon the towns and villages of this land so that none may doubt my power! They will fear me! They will wail and plead for mercy, and I will show none, and it is all your doing! Now… die!”

With that, the dragon flung Barry to the earth. But Bosun Barry Arrers had one last shot left.

2884773-Jeremy-Renner-as-Hawkeye-in-The-Avengers-jeremy-renner-32910680-3200-2000“You first.”

As he fell, he hurled Tested, that stupid trident that he’d bought on a whim with the earnings of his first real adventuring job. Despite not being as trustworthy as his bow, and nowhere as glamorous as Talon, it was still his favoured weapon.

Tested flew straight and true, and went into Venomfang’s gaping, bleeding maw, and out the other side, taking fragments of bone and brain with it. The dragon ceased its tirade, and fell to the ground like a ton of bricks.

As for Barry? He landed right where he’d always wanted to be, in a manner of speaking.

Barry Bosun Arrers died, impaled, on the ascendant spear of the his childhood hero Palien.

His friends recovered from their wounds, and recovered his body. They slew the nothic in a moment of cold, righteous fury. If it had continued to fight rather than succumb to its greed, Barry may still have been alive. Loki took a fang from the dead dragon and an ear from the nothic (we all cope with loss in different ways after all), and Mouse took stock of the dragon’s hoard while Grimdark said last rites over Barry’s body. Reidoth the druid approached them, and said he’d seen the whole thing. He said that he’d let the others of his order know of Barry’s great sacrifice.

They laid Barry to rest in a small clearing not far from Thundertree, burying him with his bow. Talon would go to his unborn child. Tested would rest – along with the skull of the dragon Venomfang – above the hearth of their pub, now renamed Barry’s Barrel Room.

By this point, the wine bottle was nearly empty, and we felt that we’d said a fine farewell not only to Barry Arrers, but also to our good friend and gaming partner Joe.

The journey back to Phandalin passed uneventfully. As they arrived back in town, Elsa ran to them, tear-streaked. While the group had been away, Sildar, Gundren and Iarno had all been murdered, the map to Wave Echo Cave was missing, and the elven barmaid Aelya was nowhere to be found.

As they took stock of the news, she asked the question they’d all been dreading.

wench

“Where’s Barry?”

Completed Quests: Seek out Reidoth the druid in the ruined town of Thundertree, find Mirna’s family heirloom in Thundertree.

Ongoing Quests: Go to Wave Echo Cave, find the Forge of Spells, get vengeance for your friends, and kill the Black Spider.

Ears Collected: Nothic

Dragons Killed: 1

Heroes Slain: 1

Excuse me I have something in my eye.

- Gareth

 

Magic: the Gathering – Low Standards

1 Comment

Let’s just take a break from all this D&D malarkey to talk about another one of Wizards of the Coast’s franchises; their long-running cardboard crack, Magic: the Gathering!

I’ve recently mentioned that I’d been losing interest in Magic; I hadn’t played it properly for ages, or made new decks… it was kind of just withering on the vine, and this certainly wasn’t helped by my utterly god-awful time at the Khans of Tarkir pre-release, a day so completely without joy or satisfaction that I couldn’t even bring myself to write a tongue-in-cheek, oh-look-at-me-I’m-not-good-at-this-but-oh-well post; it was fucking atrocious, and put me in a shitty mood for a few weeks.

So when my friend Adam proposed a day of playing Magic, I was tentative. But then as I was browsing various MtG forums, I came across a budget Standard thread in which players were posting decks whose contents topped out at the $20 mark. And you know what? When you strip away all the fetchlands and planeswalkers and competitive Pro-Tour netdecking bullshit, and you’re given some constraints – in this case funds – you can be pretty creative and make some fun decks!

So that’s what Adam and I did. We set ourselves the “Low Standards” challenge, and started making decks whose contents added up to £15 or less, going by prices on Magic Madhouse. I made three decks (with four more in the works) and after a lot of games yesterday, I can absolutely 100% confirm that they were great fun to play!

Outlasting Heroes (Green-White +1/+1 counter shenanigans)

Decklist

Funny thing is that most of this deck’s budget went into the Phalanx Leader, aka Old Spice Spartan. This was just a great straight-forward Heroic deck; cast buff spells, get counters, get further benefits from the various Abzan “lords”. I must say, I never thought much of Reap What Is Sown, but after yesterday… Jesus, that thing’s brutal. I can just see myself tweaking this deck as we get more Abzan stuff as the Khans block progresses.

Sultai Munchies  (Blue-Green-Black walls/sacrifice)

Decklist

Not gonna lie; I saw this deck idea on the forum thread and loved it so much that it was pretty much my whole reason for proposing the “Low Standards” challenge, because I wanted to build it so much! I’ve made a few of own tweaks, such as the Edicts (glorious in a deck where you’re eating your own guys) and Reapers of the Wild (a card that I am quickly becoming incredibly fond of). To be honest I could’ve made the deck dual-colour as most of the key pieces are black and green, but I do love me some tri-colour…

Temur Monsters  (Red-Green-Blue fatties)

Decklist

More tri-colour, and in my favourite combination! I love red-blue, blue-green and red-green all separately, so I was an absolute shoe-in for the Temur Frontier! I really wanted to do a deck with some of the cool monstrosity and tribute creatures from Theros, and this deck seemed a perfect excuse for that. It honestly surprises me that great creatures like Ember Swallower and Nessian Wilds Ravager command prices as low as 50p! But what do I know? I guess I’d prefer to play for fun rather than treat the game as an elitist dick-measuring contest.

£120 for four bits of cardboard. Hahahaha fuck off.

£120 for a playset. I’d rather have *literally* anything else that money could buy.

Hopefully our Low Standards games will become a regular occurrence; I’m already threatening Adam with promises of blue-black constellation-control and some kind of red-blue prowess thing. And minotaurs. Absolutely minotaurs. I’m also trying to pitch the idea of “Low Standard 2013″ where we make decks for Innistrad-M13-Return to Ravnica Standard, aka The Absolute Best Combination Ever.

I can safely say that I’ve bitten by the Magic bug again, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

- Gareth

D&D Lost Mine of Phandelver Episode 7 – Broken Glass

Leave a comment

Finally.

Right, let’s get back on track. The group went to Cragmaw Castle, pretty much wiped out the Cragmaw gang, and rescued Gundren and we managed to get together to continue their wacky genocidal adventures. Except for Darryl. Damn you parents’ evening!

Well, Thundertree could wait. Iarno Albrek, aka Glasstaff, had escaped them weeks ago, and they were ready to track him down.

In Attendance: Bosun Barry Arrers (Joe), Grimdark Stonelock (Trev), Carick “Mouse” Silverfrost (Liam)

dungeons-dragons_L155

And obviously myself, the DM.

I should mention that this session is not one found in the starter set’s adventure book; this was all brand-new home brewed content.

The adventure started with Sildar approaching the group and asking to speak to them in private. That morning, he’d found a message left for him on his desk. The message was anonymous, but said that Iarno had been seen in Leilon, a town a day’s travel to the south (Leilon is yet *another* ruin according to the map, but I wanted an urban setting that wasn’t Neverwinter). Sildar was suspicious though as he had no idea who could’ve delivered the letter, and who could’ve known that they were looking for Iarno. Nevertheless, he didn’t want to waste the opportunity, and asked Barry, Grimdark and Mouse to go and check out Leilon. Loki opted to stay behind in the town to keep an eye on things, just in case their mysterious messenger decided to appear again. Mmm, convenient explanation for player absence.

So the trio loaded up Mr. Redbrand and headed south. They arrived in Leilon at dusk the next evening, and immediately made for the local inn to make inquiries about mysterious wizardy-looking men carrying around glass quarterstaffs. Iarno Albrek was known to the innkeeper, who knew him as “a proper gentleman and patron of the arts, and good friends with the mayor.” However the innkeeper couldn’t say if he’d seen Iarno in town.

Meanwhile, Grimdark had spotted a couple of soldiers from his old mercenary outfit, the Mintarns. He flashed his insignia, and they told him that they were in town on a job. Grimdark pressed them for details on the job, but unwilling to talk to their technically-suspended colleague, the mercs told him that they’d best direct any questions to their commander, Sergeant Pyke.

Eats lightning and craps thunder.

Eats lightning and craps thunder.

So by now, the trio pretty much suspect that Iarno has hired the Mintarns for some reason. With the unpleasant thought that they may soon be tangling with a squad of mercenaries, the three go to bed.

The next morning, the three first pay a visit to the mayor’s office. The mayor isn’t around, but the secretary is happy to tell them that Iarno Albrek is a respected and well-known member of the community, and makes frequent donations to the local museum. The group then go to said museum, and get a little bit more information from the curator, but the end result is basically the same; that no-one has seen Iarno for at least three months. While in the museum, Barry also notices a painting titled “Thundertree Resplendent”, a nice picture of his forsaken hometown, and immediately begins mentally hanging it somewhere in The Barrel Room. If only they had a thief with them to help acquire it! Oh well…

Finally, the group go to the town green, and find a dozen Mintarns doing laps. Grimdark approaches the one bellowing orders, and unsurprisingly finds out that he’s Sergeant Pyke. Pyke is friendly enough to his fellow sergeant, but remains tight-lipped about the job that he and his men have been hired for. All he says is that the client had hired Pyke and his squad at very short notice and at three times the normal cost.

With that avenue exhausted, the trio leave and start discussing the pros and cons of fighting twelve hardened mercenaries; at one point they consider abandoning the task entirely, given the inevitable crapstorm that they’re probably walking into. As they’re talking, a street urchin approaches them and tells them that Iarno will be in the garden at the Church of Oghma at eighth chime that evening, before scarpering off.

trio

“Trap.”

Well, at least they can sort of prepare for it. They go to the Church of Oghma, and Mouse ingratiates himself with the clergy there while Grimdark and Barry scope out the area. The garden is just an open space, with a high stone wall around it. On the north and east sides, two-story townhouses have balconies that overlook the garden. Sniff sniff, I smell snipers.

While Grimdark and Barry work on a plan, Mouse spends some time browsing the books in the church, and I finally throw Liam a bone and let him scribe down invisibility in his spellbook. Eager to use his new spell, Mouse suggests using the spell to hide Grimdark in the garden to await Iarno’s arrival, while Barry stakes out one of the balconies.

As it comes to seven, Mouse casts invisibility on Grimdark, who plans to stand very patiently in the garden. Barry parkours up to one of the balconies, and Mouse hides in plain sight amongst the clergy.

As Barry gets set up on the balcony, he hears a door opening in the room behind him. He ducks back just as two men in black cloaks and carrying crossbows open the doors and come out onto the balcony. A bodged Stealth roll to slide back into the room reveals him however!

Deathcult-Rogue*arms crossbow* “Who are you?”

2884773-Jeremy-Renner-as-Hawkeye-in-The-Avengers-jeremy-renner-32910680-3200-2000

“I’m… err… one of the Mintarns?”

Yep, another one of those infamous Barry Arrer bluffs. Well, it’s worked twice before…

Joe rolls decently on his Deception check for once, and the crossbowmen are convinced. I let him become proficient in Deception on the spot; it only seems fair. The crossbowmen tell him to get “downstairs with the others” and to “wait for the signal”. Barry leaves the balcony and the bedroom adjoining it and closes the door behind him, but only fakes going down the stairs; instead he waits just outside the door so he can overhear the crossbowmen’s conversation and get the drop on them if needs be.

Meanwhile, Grimdark has seen the whole thing. He’s also seen two more crossbowmen set up on the other balcony, but he can’t act as he can’t risk breaking his invisibility. Mouse is inside, reading.

Eventually, at eighth bell, Iarno shows up, walking into the garden with six hired thugs as bodyguard. The clery seem alarmed, but Iarno reassures them that everything is alright, and he’s just meeting a friend. Up on the balcony, Barry has heard the crossbowmen talking about waiting until “you can get them all”. It’s at this point that they realise that this all an elaborate set-up; the crossbowmen and the Mintarns have no doubt been hired by the Black Spider to kill Barry, Grimdark, Mouse, and Iarno all in one go and tie up all the loose ends!

Barry takes this as his chance to rush the crossbowmen from behind. He knocks both of them off the balcony, and the screams get everyone’s attention. Then it’s on. Grimdark drops his invisibility, yells a warning to Iarno about assassins, and summons his spiritual weapon up on the other balcony to attack the crossbowmen. Iarno and his henchmen are confused, and Iarno asks if the dwarf is his “contact that the letter mentioned.”  Grimdark quickly explains that they’ve all been tricked, enemy of my enemy, etc.

That’s when Pyke and the Mintarns show up, and the Massacre of Leilon truly gets going.

Six Mintarns, headed by Pyke, come in through the church’s main entrance, and the other six burst into the garden and immediately engage Iarno’s hired thugs. Barry and one of the crossbowmen on the other balcony trade a few shots, while the other crossbowmen lands a hit on Iarno. Mouse throws down a web that traps Pyke and three of the Mintarns in the church’s entrance; the others wiggle free and head round the other way.

It’s mayhem in the garden; Mintarns and Iarno’s henchmen are going back and forth, with the Mintarns quickly getting the advantage due to their numbers and superior training and equipment. Grimdark blesses Iarno’s henchmen to help them out, then with a heavy heart lays into the Mintarns. Iarno makes an escape from the garden, pausing to throw a panicked fire bolt at Barry. Barry is less than amused, and quickly lashes a rope to an arrow…

Meanwhile Mouse unleashes a burning hands at the mercenaries trapped in the sticky, flammable webbing. This goes less than spectacular as he rolls triple 1 for damage, giving them a bad case of sunburn and freeing them from the webs. Whoops.

elf mage“Not the face!” *flees*

Barry ties the other end of the rope to the balcony, and fires at Iarno. He hits, and the rope effectively anchors Iarno to the balcony, stopping him dead. Barry then makes a slightly-too-rapid descent and takes damage, and before he gets a chance to pounce on Iarno, one of the mage’s hired goons crits him with a shortbow, and he takes more damage.

2884773-Jeremy-Renner-as-Hawkeye-in-The-Avengers-jeremy-renner-32910680-3200-2000

*draws Talon* “Okay, so this is getting to be bullshit now.”

thug2

“Why won’t you die!?”

By now, Grimdark’s spiritual weapon has taken care of the crossbowmen on the balcony, and he’s fighting the Mintarns practically alone. Just like Mouse, who is dealing with an angry and barbecued Pyke and another Mintarn. Pyke lands a solid blow, and puts Mouse down to single-digit HP. The response? A second burning hands, followed by some more running away!

Barry gets his murder on by charging the henchman who injured him, and kills him in one hit with Talon. He then action surges, rampages into another, and drops him as well. That’s why you don’t mess with Barry. Seeing that Grimdark and his magic floating sword have got the situation under control, he runs back to Iarno and rugby tackles him to the ground.

varys

 

“Whhhhhyyyy.”

At this point, Mouse is in trouble. Luckily, he dodges another attack from Pyke, and fires off a third burning hands. Grimdark rushes to the rescue, and knocks Pyke unconscious with a solid smack with his warhammer. “We can question him later,” Grimdark explains calmly while forcing a healing potion down the elf’s throat.

There’s only a few Mintarns left, and Mouse staggers out into the blood soaked garden and finishes off another with a magic missile. The two remaining Mintarns decide that they like living more than being paid, and run for it.

The town guard is surely on the way, so the trio grab Iarno and the unconscious Pyke, and hightail it out of town. Barry wonders if there’s time to make a detour and take the painting of Thundertree, but sadly that isn’t the case.

Once they’re out of town, Iarno calms down and explains that he was looking to escape the Black Spider’s retribution for losing the grip on Phandalin. He becomes a model prisoner and willingly submits himself to any justice that Sildar or the group will mete out. Pyke regains consciousness, and confirms that the client was “an elf in a black cloak” who hired him and his squad to eliminate Iarno and “the others” who were lured to the garden; he hadn’t known it would be the guys he’d spoken to earlier that day. Pyke insists it was nothing personal, “just business”. He figures that the client won’t be too happy with the botched job, and offers his services to the group. They decide to take him on as a bouncer for The Barrel Room and promise to pay him well. Pyke seems content with that.

Upon return to Phandalin, Iarno is thrown into prison until Sildar can summon members of his guild to come and transport the treacherous wizard back to Neverwinter to face trial. He also advises that nothing eventful happened while they were gone (although their apprentice wizard/magic chef from Neverwinter has arrived in town, a young dwarf mage called Helga), but they still haven’t worked out who could’ve delivered the note that lured them to Leilon. Hmm, the plot thickens…

Level Up! More HP! Everyone’s stats go up, and Grimdark and Mouse get more spells. Loki just did lots of crunches instead of killing people I guess.

Completed Quests: Track down Glasstaff/Iarno.

Ongoing Quests: Seek out Reidoth the druid in the ruined town of Thundertree, find Mirna’s family heirloom in Thundertree.

Ears Collected: None!

Pub Staff Roster : Elsa (head barmaid/assistant manager), Mirna (barmaid), Aelya (barmaid), Pyke (security), Helga (catering), and Droop the goblin (janitor/stablehand).

All in all, an amusing adventure on the side before we get to very un-amusing expedition to Thundertree…

2884773-Jeremy-Renner-as-Hawkeye-in-The-Avengers-jeremy-renner-32910680-3200-2000

“I have a bad feeling about this…”

- Gareth

 

 

 

 

D&D Lost Mine of Phandelver Interlude – Unknown Heroes

1 Comment

You know that D&D session that I said was going to happen this week? Yeaaaah. Darryl and Liam couldn’t make it. Instead Trev, Joe and I had a blast playing Cryptozoic’s DC Heroes deckbuilding game Crisis expansion, so it all worked out in the end.

We’ve also found out that Joe will be unavailable for a while as he starts a new job. Rather than bring the whole thing crashing to a halt, he’s instead requested that in his final session that Barry has a heroic death, then Trev, Liam and Darryl can continue on and avenge his name. Seeing as that last session will be in Thundertree, a death shouldn’t be too hard to arrange…

"Heroic" may be trickier though...

Oh, you said “heroic”? I thought you said “horrific”. No, I’m not changing it.

Anyway, as I mentioned last week, I picked up the new PHB and had a good flick through, checking out class features and spells and whatnot. And, as I inevitably do, I’ve come up with concepts for characters that I would love to use in a game, but unfortunately never will, as I am doomed to eternally DM! Still, I thought it would be fun to share these concepts with you, dear readers.

I’m a big fan of atypical characters. The stereotypical dwarf fighter, halfling rogue, elf wizard, etc, are boring to me. I like weird background/race/class combinations. Although the actual game mechanics are terrible for a tabletop RPG, the career system in Iron Kingdoms RPG was a big draw for me as you make characters with interesting class combinations, like alchemist/investigator, sorcerer/duellist, or gunmage/spy; combinations that oozed personality.

The last time I played D&D – back when Heroes of the Feywild had just been released, and I was getting a barely-satisfactory fix from Encounters sessions at a gaming store – my character was Zagrim Brickbeard, a dwarf illusionist, who was great fun to use. Unfortunately Zaggy didn’t fit into the “OPTIMISE OR GTFO” mindset that dominated 4th edition (and especially 4th edition Encounters), but he lives on as a fond memory. At least he got to be a memory, unlike the following, who will never feel the sweet joy of a natural 20.

 

CAP’N TORGUN KRAKENSMASHER

longdrong

Mountain dwarf Barbarian (sailor background)

I mentioned a while ago when reminiscing about Warhammer Fantasy’s Dogs of War that Long Drong’s Slayer Pirates were pretty damn cool, and they serve as the inspiration for Cap’n Torgun; a crazy dwarf pirate.

Unlike normal barbarians who usually use two-handed weapons, Torgun would exclusively use big dirty cutlasses, or a mace (his peg leg). Maybe a brace of hand crossbows too, if the DM would let me re-fluff them as dwarven-made flintlock pistol. His rage would represent his reaction to any insult (real or imagined) towards his ship Dirty Serpent, or his credibility as a sailor. As he gains levels, I’d probably take frenzied barbarian as an archetype; it fits his personality better than the totem warrior. Of course, if I had a generous DM that would let me homebrew a sea serpent or shark as a totem animal…

Personality Trait : Foul-mouthed… you orc-banging queefguzzler.

Ideal : Respect. Any shipmate or landlubber can earn me respect, but that’s the key word; “earn”.

Bond : G’yarr, I’ll always remember me first ship, the Thirsty Serpent, which was wrecked by a sea monster (which I slew).

Flaw : Me pride, ‘twil be the death of me one day. G’yarr.

 

ARUK GOLGO

Katapeshi_half_orc

Half-orc Cleric (folk hero background)

Aruk nearly made it into a game once; it was a forum-based play-by-post game, which I pretty much bailed on instantly when I realised that I didn’t have the time to properly commit to it.

Aruk was essentially a civil rights leader for half-orcs; his backstory was that he was raised in the slums of a city where the nobles treated half-orcs as slave labour. Aruk was then taken under the wing of an elderly half-orc and discovered the teachings of the obscure goddess Hnae-Hnesha, She of Sundered Chains, a goddess of freedom and equality. Aruk became an evangelist, and fearing an uprising, the nobility sent in soldiers to massacre the half-orcs. Aruk proceeded to kick ass – because oh yeah, he’s a fucking half-orc – and escaped the city with over a hundred of his kindred.

More of a talker than a fighter, I’d give Aruk the Knowledge domain, and give him spells focusing on diplomacy and healing.

Defining Event : I stood up to tyrants so that my people’s children would no longer be born into slavery.

Personality Trait : Dedication. When I set my mind to something, it gets done.

Ideal : Freedom. I will not rest until every tyrant who seeks to toy with the lives of others is overthrown.

Bond : I am adorned with the tattoos of my goddess, the sacred broken chain motif. I cannot fail her.

Flaw : The nobility of my city will stop at nothing to kill me, which puts those closest to me at risk.

 

 

CYLENA

new-catwoman-featurette-from-the-dark-knight-rises-watch-now-122058-470-75

Wood elf Druid (criminal background)

Is it just me, or would a druid not make an excellent burglar or spy? They can turn into sneaky animals like cats, birds and mice, or they can speak with these animals and get them to perform acts of thievery or surveillance for them. Why pick a lock when you can turn into a spider and scuttle underneath the door? Why bother with grappling hooks and escape ropes when you can turn into a bird and fly away with your loot? And you aren’t going to alarm guards if you’ve taken the form of a house cat; they’d likely just shoo you away rather than stab you for trying to steal Lord Edwyr’s signet ring.

All these thoughts made me think of Cylena – obviously an homage to Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman. At first I thought she’d be Circle of the Moon, but Circle of the Land gives her access to the Grassland spells; namely invisibility and pass without trace. You know, those spells that would be massively useful to a thief or spy.

Criminal Specialty : Burglar.

Personality Trait : Slow to trust. People lie. Animals don’t.

Ideal : Charity. I’d give everything I steal to those who need it; I don’t need it. However…

Bond : I’m paying off an old debt. Who to? Like I’d tell you.

Flaw : I’ll run if things look bad. Cats may have nine lives, but I don’t.

 

TAD TINBOTTLE

halfling-chef

Stout halfling Fighter (guild artisan background)

Oh sure, everyone laughs at the idea of a halfling fighter. But think of Sam from Lord of the Rings. You know, that halfling who stabs the shit out of the demon-mother-queen of spiders and then fucking solos Cirith Ungol. Yeah.

What’s Tad’s story? Well, he was the head chef at the best tavern in his hometown; and to halflings, head chefs are like the Pope. One day, Tad’s niece went missing. He led the search for her, and found her just before bandits did some Bad Things to her. Tad went to town with his meat cleaver, and saved his niece. After that incident, he reassessed his life and decided to make the trip to the big city, where he could settle down, open his own restaurant, and maybe find a little bit of adventure on the way.

So, standard fighter. Probably would take the Champion archetype, though I sort of like the idea of going Battlemaster and fluffing all his maneuvers as very unorthodox attacks with cooking implements.

Guild Business: Cook/baker.

Personality Trait : A bit of a perfectionist. You wouldn’t ask an painter to rush a portrait, don’t ask me to half-arse this bulette terrine with mandrake and crownleaf jus!

Ideal : Community. Good food helps bring people together! The world needs more good food and I’m willing to provide.

Bond : My ma and pa, and my sister and her little ‘uns mean the world to me.

Flaw : I’ve never been a violent sort before… now I can’t help but go looking for a fight.

SISTER SABLE

Oh anime, you scamp.

Anime + nuns = what did you expect?

Human Warlock (acolyte background)

Oh, poor Sister Sabrina Sable! Not only were you cursed with an extravagantly alliterative name, but gosh darn it, you’ve gone and made friends with a cosmic abomination!

I like the idea of a devout follower of Standard-D&D-Judaeo-Christian-God-expy who has been “gifted” with the powers of a warlock and sees themself as “tainted” or “unclean”. Warlocks have never sat well with me in terms of fluff; their 5th ed mechanics are amazing, but I can never imagine other adventurers willing to buddy up with that guy who sold his soul to a demon for some rad-as-fuck laser eye-beams. I’m a big Warhammer 40k fan, so I’ve always liked the idea of sanctioned psykers, who have amazing powers but are kept under lock and key and who have to undergo rigorous mental and physical testing to ensure they don’t go snooker-loopy.

Sister Sable would definitely see her powers as a curse and try and keep them in check while being a good church-goer. Lots of moping and praying for guidance. But if the Mother Superior keeps insisting that she go out on these missions, then what’s she to do? Ideally, this would be a character I’d run if another player was happy to play a character who would be like an appointed bodyguard. Oh, and she’s definitely got Pact of the Tome (cunningly disguised as a holy text) and has the Great Old One as a patron. Always bet on Cthulhu.

Personality Trait : Sheltered and naive. I’ve never really left the convent. Everything is so scary! 0_0

Ideal : Charity. We should always help those in need! ^_^

Bond : The Mother Superior and my warden have kept my secret. No one else in the order can know… >_<

Flaw : I HEAR THE SONG OF ENDING IN MY DREAMS, HE WILL RISE CLAD IN THE DUST OF DEAD STARS IA IA IA FHTAGN … I mean, umm, I guess I’m a bit hard on myself….

 

CALLENDY VORMUND

gent

Human Wizard (entertainer background)

Mr Vormund (“call me Callendy, please, I insist!”) is one of the most friendly, charming, and polite wizards you’ll ever meet. He doesn’t much care for thecolleges of arcane academia; no, for him, his hall of magic is the stage! Specifically, the stage of his travelling show, Comedia Penumbra! A skilled practitioner of the magical arts, Callendy serves as ringmaster, and uses his various cantrips for breathtaking light shows (and you simply haven’t lived until you’ve tasted his prestidigitation-flavoured candy floss). The performers of Comedia Penumbra are the best though; their daring acrobatic feats are death-defying!

Or at least they would be, if the performers were alive. You see, Callendy is a necromancer. A very good one, in fact. His three undead performers – Sacchi, Firenze, and Rocanto –  aren’t shambling, mindless, rotting corpses, but the carefully preserved and animated bodies of three willing volunteers whose dying wish was to be in the circus. At Callendy’s command, they tumble, walk the high wire, and engage in physical slapstick. It’s all just a jolly good laugh, and boo to those stuffy clerics who says it’s an “affront to the gods”.

Entertainer Routine: Circus ringmaster.

Personality Trait : The thing is not to take yourself too seriously; then no one can get into a tiff with you, wot?

Ideal : People. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the smiles on the faces of my audience.

Bond : I’d do anything to keep Sacchi, Firenze and Rocanto safe; without them, Comedia Penumbra wouldn’t exist!

Flaw : I say, she’s rather stunning, isn’t she? I… I think I’m in love!

 

TREASURE

4e_tiefling

Tiefling Ranger (sage background)

I had a few ideas for a tiefling character; before I thought of Sister Sable, I was going to make a tiefling warlock called “Nothing-New”, who was aware that he was a stereotype, but I thought that was a bit of pretentious. Instead I went with tiefling Indiana Jones.

Treasure is a ranger who loves to explore and find new things and places, hence her “virtue” name (she has long since abandoned her Infernal name). While out in the wilds, she hopes to stumble upon some mysterious ruins, or an old tomb. She’s incredibly well-read, so if she found something, she would know what it was… it’s that she just can’t find anything! She keeps meaning to go further afield, but her duties to patrolling the borders of the kingdom keep her stuck where she is. She has a trained hawk called Turath, after the ancient tiefling empire. Naturally, lots of “normal” people are wary of her, afraid of her fiendish heritage, but she’s found a few firm friends in the libraries and academies, where she spends most of her time when she’s not outdoors.

Personality Trait : There’s nothing I love more than a good mystery. It would be boring to know everything!

Ideal : Self-Improvement. I don’t want to find something for the glory or riches; I just want to better myself.

Bond : I’ve been researching the location of an ancient tiefling temple for years; it’s my goal to find it.

Flaw : I’m painfully shy and awkward in social situations. Can you blame me?

 

Phew! That took ages! Still, I hope it was an enjoyable read, and maybe inspires you to come up with your own interesting D&D characters!

- Gareth

Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46 other followers