Monday, 22 May 2017

Home made furniture

hi all

I've been busy making all sorts of furniture for my daughter's summer D&D campaign. As has been the case for the majority of this project I've recorded and uploaded these efforts onto Youtube. So if you want to see how I got from here.....

To there......

Then click on here....


and here....


Hope you enjoy

Friday, 19 May 2017


Ariniel crept stealthily along the length of the slender branch, high in the boughs of the ancient oak he was nigh on invisible to the creatures that violated the woodland clearing below. “Not that they would notice me if I was on the lowest branches” he snorted to himself, the filthy Orc scum couldn't see beyond the length of their porcine snouts, besides the noise they made was astonishingly loud given that there was only five of the beasts. Oddly the quietest of the whole group was the solitary prisoner, sitting sullenly with her back to the huge oak in which the elf was now hiding. The diminutive gnome had at first been raging as she was dragged into the clearing and despite her small size it had still taken three orcs to subdue her. As soon as she had entered the sacred grove however, she had stopped struggling and become almost compliant, allowing herself to be bound to the trunk of the tree and not even flinching as the spiteful orcs discussed grisly methods of killing their prisoner. 

His bare feet made hardly a whisper as he traversed the clearing, 20 feet above the clamouring monsters until he reached the optimal position. Rage boiled within the young elf, his hatred of the foul greenskins was more than just a reaction to the desecration of the goddesses sacred places, no this was a visceral hate deep within his core. He could still picture his mother’s face as she buried him under thick undergrowth, tears filling her huge blue eyes begging him to be still, be quiet as the rampaging Orcs tore through the handful of elvish villagers. He had watched from his hiding place as she drew a small belt knife and turned as a pair of brutish warriors charged at herslicing the first from ear to ear before his partner drove a filthy, ragged blade through her ethereal form. 

Taking a deep cleansing breath, then another Ariniel fought to sublimate the roiling emotion within his soul as he sought the serenity which would aid him in the fight to come. Drawing on the power of Mielikki ‘s sanctuary, he gradually found the sense of calm he'd been looking for and slowly smoothed his furrowed brow, a slight crooked smile formed and the storm had passed.  With one last deep breath, pushed all the way out he was ready. With an almost playful flick of the wrist, he cast his long bladed spear at his chosen target. Aided by gravity, the weapon sped across the twenty feet like a lightning bolt before boring through the back of the Orc that had been looming threateningly over the gnome and bursting through its chest in a shower of gore As the spear left his hand, Ariniel dropped casually from the overhanging branches, landing lightly in the middle of the four remaining monsters. Despite the height of the fall, the elf did not break stride as he immediately launched a pair of throwing stars at the biggest Orc.  The razor sharp discs, stamped with the symbol of his goddess and blessed by Andraste, the ancient head of his order thudded into the face of the ugly beast, tearing into the right orbit and cheek and destroying the eye. With a squeal the creature fell to the floor, clawing at it’s face trying to dislodge the missiles, before crawling out of the clearing on hands and knees. 

The remaining three orcs had barely time to react to the sudden loss of their companion and the felling of their leader before the elf was on the move. With the speed of a striking serpent, Ariniel launched into a series of kicks that pushed the flustered creatures backwards, causing one to fall to its knees and the others to reel away. Drawing his simple belt knife - his mother’s simple belt knife, the blade - good elvish steel, worn but still keen despite the near century of use flashing in the filtered sunlight pouring through the canopy, Ariniel rolled across the back of the kneeling orc trailing the razor sharp blade almost lazily behind him and across the creature's hamstrings.  With a roar of pain the beast collapsed to the floor, unable to regain it's feet.  Nimbly the elf  darted between his final standing opponents, an open palm strike stunning one and a sweeping kick flooring the other.  Past the greenskinsAriniel reached the corpse of his first victim ripping his polearm from the body of the foul creature and causing the awestruck gnome that had been pinned under the body (and had been using the blade of the spear to cut her bonds) to wriggle free 

Now rearmed with his favoured weapon, he began the deadly dance of death in earnest.   With an exquisite grace the wood elf ghosted around the bewildered pair of greenskins, who desperately tried to block and parry the thrusts of the long bladed spearhead to little effect. The tempo of the dance grew faster and faster as Ariniel weaved an increasingly complex pattern of strikes that the brutal beasts had no chance of stopping.  First one then the other took fatal thrusts to the heart as the monk penetrated their defenses with a practised ease.  Finally all that was left was the hamstrung orc still howling its pain to an uncaring world,  Ariniel strolled casually over to the beast and with only a hint of the anger that lived below the surface, thrust his spear through the beady bloodshot eye of the filthy creature, ending it's howls in an instant. 

Looking around for the fallen leader of the foul band of orcs, his eyes grew narrow as he spotted it's trail.  Hefting his spear he was about to follow the path of broken foliage when the pitiful cries of the gnome bought him to his senses.  Trotting over to the gore covered female, he vowed to catch the escaping beast, he did not want to let even one get away....

Hi all

When I decided to ask my daughter to run a summer campaign for D&D, I started to think about what type of character I would run.  Loads of things crossed my mind - did I want a burly Dragonborn fighter? or maybe a Tiefling sorcerer? my favourites are normally Halfling rogues, but I fancied something different.

As most of you know I love me some Bushido, I love the game, the miniatures but mostly I love the background to the game - the Jwar Islands are a fusion of Eastern cultures that just sets my imagination racing and my absolute favourite faction is the Temple of Ro-Kan.  The Temple is a band of warrior monks and Yokai dedicated to maintaining "the Balance" in the Isles, i love the idea of these Shaolin type monks and their "airbender" type control of the elements.  What has this got to do with D&D? I hear you ask, well one of the class types is monk - SOLD!! At first I wanted a Halfling monk, but finding a miniature was nigh on impossible, I was even tempted to pay a lot of money and get a figure purpose built but it was too prohibitive in the end.

So I went to Salute! and scoured the stalls for a suitable miniature, I didn't find a Halfling but I did find this chap....

HFMASTER E100 Resin Master - Ariniel

Ariniel, the wood elf - perfect!!

Sculpted by Kev at Hasslefree Miniatures, he is absolutely perfect for what I want - no armour, simple weapons and a kind of simple look.  Just what was needed for that monk like feel.  I bought the metal version for just under a fiver. So here is the background I devised for him...

Ariniel Galenodel is a young elf, barely a century old or at least he thinks so. He was found as a young child wandering in the  burnt out remains of his dwelling after his small wood elf village was destroyed by Orcs, by a passing band of elvish monks.  The devout followers of Mielikki took in the raggedy orphan and raised him in the ways of their “Temple” – a vague term only as the temple usually consisted of any woodland clearing deep in the heart of the forests, places sacred to the goddess.  

A keen student, Ariniel drank in the lessons taught to him by the monks particularly the spectacular martial arts sessions. The brothers (and sisters) of the glade were especially skilled in the way of the open hand and were considered the defenders of the goddess, blessed with preternatural speed, senses and balance. With a will, the boy took to the path of the monk and mastered simple weapons, particularly the spear which became an extension of his own body. Athletic and acrobatic, the boy was grace incarnate as he “danced” to the blade song, determined to excel and always pushing himself further and further, this has only become even more ingrained as he has become an adult. 

 He has struggled often with the deaths of his parents and the destruction of his village and harbours a hatred for greenskins of all kinds, but particularly Orcs. Despite this he fights with a serenity that belies the underlying darkness that plagues him, a serenity that allows a clear sense of the battle around and gauge the flow of the fight. This clarity of thought has seen him through many hard fought conflicts with those who would ravage the forests of Mielikki and pollute the natural world. 

In contrast to his serious nature on the battlefield, off it he is quick to laugh, sings often and is fiercely loyal to his order and in particular Andraste, the ancient monk who first found him.  Andraste has now set Ariniel on a new path, one that has led him away from the secluded clearings of the temple, one that has driven him out into “civilisation” and amongst the other races of Faerun, one that will lead to many adventures and new challenges and one that Ariniel hopes will allow him to slaughter Orcs…

Paint wise I stuck with neutral, earthy colours to reflect the wood elf and monkish look.

base colours

I was going to add one of Ben Calvert-Lee's eagles onto the end of the haft of his polearm but it might be just a touch too big and in consultation with the Nerd Herd I left it off.

So there we have Ariniel...

Ariniel drops in on the Orcs

its about to get nasty!!

one down, four to go

hope you enjoy

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

How to create a Bushido warband

Bushido banner

Hi all

despite the grandiose nature of the title, I haven't really got a great deal of insight to impart.  An average player at best, I still struggle to come up with winning combos but it did strike me that every time I showcase a new addition to my factions no matter which one, I do so in a kind of isolation and not really how that model would fight alongside his/her mates.

So I thought why not talk through my thoughts on how I've put together a 50 Rice (points) warband that I would happily take to a competition and my reasons for including them.  For this I thought I would take my most favoured of factions - The Temple of Ro-Kan.

Temple of Ro-KanI think the best place to start is to try to understand the nature of the faction.  What are the defining characteristics that create the unique nature of your chosen faction.

This is the official line from GCT Studios....

The serene martial artist masters of the Ro-Kan have long viewed themselves as above all mortal and mundane conflicts. Now, following the Han civil war, the rise of the Cult of Yurei, and the incursion of the Savage Wave, the monks of Ro-Kan are being dragged into the clandestine wars of universal balance – a war in which they will reluctantly turn out to be key players. The monks follow an age-old path and know the secrets of Ki better than any others, but they are few and divided – will they be able to unite and join forces before it is too late?

so what we have are a bunch of spiritual warrior monks with access to a boat load of Ki.  It sounds like you're never going to outnumber your foe but you should be able to outfight them.  They should be able to perform Ki feats every turn and stretch an opponent's resources while maximising their own.  There isn't going to be a lot of armoured samurai (or any in fact....) but there will be a certain "Airbender" type monkish action going on.

So onto the selection criteria and I've kinda broken it down into the following categories.

  • Themes
  • Master Monks
  • Monks
  • Support
  • Kami
  • Peasants
  • Yokai
  • Special Cards
I suppose the important thing to decide is what you're looking for in your warband? what appeals to you most?  do you want a shooty warband (in which case pick another faction as the Temple like to be hands on!) do you want a heavy fighter based warband, do you want a special Ki feat heavy warband?  do you want a mix of these things?  which models appeal to you the most? does this matter much to you?  this leads us very much to my first selection - Themes

The type of warband you want will often determine whether you choose a certain theme over another or whether you want a balanced theme.  Themes are found in the special card packs that you buy for your faction and give bonuses to your warband based on your chosen theme, this comes however with restrictions on the type of models you can select. With the Temple for example, they have two faction specific themes and a generic theme available to all factions and used in tournament gaming (which I will get into at another time), of course you can always go "themeless" which allows you access to all types of characters with no restrictions only rice (points) cost. The first faction specific one is called "Bastions of the Mountains" and gives extra special cards to the warband as well as other effects but you are restricted in your model selection and cannot take "Monk" types.  As I love the idea of a monk based warband I'm going to go with the second theme "Righteous Warriors".  The restrictions for this theme are models chosen from -

  • Monks
  • Kami
  • Animals
  • constructs
this means no Peasants and no Yokai, which is a real pity as I lose access to the Kitsune!  But I do get some of my favourite miniatures.  The bonus elements of the theme more than compensate me for the loss of the Yokai and the Ki boosting effects of the peasant models. These are:

Nominate one model in the warband, they gain "Channel/Leech (3)" this means they can distribute Ki from one model (Leech) to another (Channel) within 3" of the named mini. This ability enables you to boost the abilities of the monks who really need it!

Choose a Kami worth 4 rice and add it to your warband at no cost. SCORE! - free Kami, I was going to pick one anyway and now I don't have to pay for it!

All monks that are within 3" of another gain "Iron Mind (1) or +1"

So Theme chosen now to move onto our Master Monks - These are the deFacto leaders of the Temple order and some of the most powerful monks in the faction, arguably some of the most powerful in the game!  They also come with a corresponding high points cost and each of them offer something a bit different from the others.  Due to the cost I can only justify putting one in the band although you can technically take the lot and they will fit into the 50 rice maximum with a little to spare.....

Master Po is a melee monster, Enos is an elemental manipulator, Ekusa is a Ki battery but by far my favourite is Master Akari.  His speed, vitality and defensive expertise is absolutely essential to my warband.  I use him to frustrate my opponents, running rings around them in melee before disengaging and dashing for objectives.  He is an ideal ViM, evading the enemy with ease before breaking for their deployment zone and scoring VPs.  I'm not expecting him to damage many people but that's not what he's for.

That brings me onto the next bit really,  I'm going to need a couple of heavy hitters in order to cause that damage, to reduce the enemy model count or just to distract my opponent while my other guys score VPs and generally get on with the scenario.  I also need some people to hold control zones, create a nuisance and protect my support element.  Bring on the bulk of my warband - the Monks.

These are gonna form the core of the warband, the guys that get stuff done.  First up I need some guys that are gonna hit folk and make sure they stay hit! I've got just the fellas for the job.  To this end I will call upon Kuma, I recently showcased Kuma on this blog and went through his profile card, suffice to say that this Kung Fu Panda is gonna be shouldering a lot of the melee burden.  Not quite as skilled as some of the others, he more than makes up for it with his brutality, power and animal nature.  I expect him to be in combat for the majority of the game, particularly against those opponents who have already been exhausted from other fights.  His "Fear (4)", stun marker combined with the exhausted status of the enemy could mean them rolling single dice in melee and Kuma rolling a handful!  He also can use his animal token to become "Aware", handy for smoking out those pesky ninjas!

I'm gonna pair Kuma up with another bruiser - the Guardian.  This giant gorilla can only be taken with Aiko, who I'm very happy to include and will explain why later on.  The Guardian is also not a monk (but he is an animal and therefore allowed in the theme) but I had to have him, he is one of my favourite models in the range and finds his way into most of my lists.  Not only is he cool looking, he ain't too shabby in a scrap either - average MS of 3 but he has "Brutal (1)" meaning he adds +1 to his highest attack dice.  He has +2 damage which means when he hits you, you damn well know about it!  He's also very decent at throwing his opponents around, meaning they end up in a heap far away from where they want to be....

I always upgrade him using the Special Card - "Silverback" meaning that he causes "Fear (5)" and often causes enemies to lose dice in melee, if they pluck up the courage to charge him at all!

So those are my big, scary beasts, designed just to get in and tear it up a little (well alright then, a lot!!)  Who else needs to make the roster,  well that would be Yuuki.  Yuuki is a little like a cheaper version of Akari so you may wonder why I need another? Well why have one, when you can have two....  but actually she has a few differences that make her an include.  I recently showcased Yuuki as well so I won't go through the profile card but the highlights are her "Vitality", like Akari, this gives her an extra activation, although she doesn't have as much Ki as the little Tanuki Master so doesn't fire it off as often.  However she is also a bit tougher than Akari and can actually deal a little bit of damage too so she can cover quite a few spots in the roster - she can run and she can fight!  She can even take on the ViM role if I want to release Master Akari back into the mix.

A couple of monk choices to go then, next up is a bit of a quandry, there are a couple of choices for the spot of auxillary monk, one that I need to fulfill those tasks that need to get done, to compliment my fighters or fend off the enemy, exhaust them and waste their activations.  Both choice that I have in mind cost the same  but work in totally different ways, the first is Riku.

Riku is a great utility monk, one that hasn't featured regularly in my lists for some reason.  He has a high melee score which is obviously useful, he can trade a dice in for "Counter Attack Defence" and go all defensive and still cause damage.  Talking of damage he adds +1 to his damage rolls.  He can push people out of control zones or off scenario objectives but by far his best attributes has to be his manipulation of water.  His Ki feat "Wall of Water" is useful to cover the advance of my monks from ranged attacks and "tsunami" has the chance of pushing weaker models away and proning them.

Alternatively I could take Koji and his Pack.  Individually much weaker than Riku but their strength comes in their unity.  Group attacks wear down the opponent before the coup de grace from a more powerful fighter - Kuma or Gorilla.  Alternatively you can use their animal senses to bodyguard another character from the sneakiness of ninjas or bakemono who use camouflage to hide from my monks.  They are also useful as "ablative monkeys" at 1 rice each you can afford to let them take a hit instead of your more expensive monks.....hmm something to ponder then....

Their group activation is a bit of a drag, meaning they all have to act at  the same time but this can be an advantage when they all pile in on a hapless minor character!  As for Koji himself, his Ki feat is good, "Order" will give your exhausted monkeys another activation, but what I use him for is a Ki battery for my next choice - Aiko.

Aiko is my last monk and also my only real Support model.  She will also be my main "Leech/Channel" model (taking Ki from Koji primarily) and either supplying Ki to my other monks or buffing them using her amazing Ki feat "Blessing of the Kami".  This, apart from granting use of the Guardian, is why I pick her because in every other sense she is useless.  She's slow, cowardly, weak and she can't fight....but what she can do is -

Heal 2 wounds - herself or another mini within 12"
Speed up - she can add +1 to a move and "light footed" (ignores terrain) to a mini within 12"
Armour- she can add +2 armour to a mini within 12"
Flame on - she can add +1 dam to a melee attack and cause fire damage to a friendly in melee within 12"

for the princely sum of 4 rice, this stuff is priceless and she gets included everytime.

Lastly I get to add my free Kami and this is the really tough pick because Kamis can buff your monks and fight in their own way and the type of Kami defines the kinds of buffs you can get.  The Temple has access to all types of Kami, unlike other factions so I umm and ahh and never make a decision.  Here's the choices:

Water - can heal your warriors in base to base (btb) contact at the beginning of the turn
Fire - can grant +1 melee strength and cause fire damage for one of your warriors in btb.
Earth - grants armour to one of your warriors in btb
Air - can grant +1 move and "lightfooted" to a warrior in btb
Reflection (void?) - can protect your warriors from psychic intrusion within 6"

Personally I'm torn so I'll give all of them a go at some point, although I have used Fire and Earth to good effect all of them have merit!

So thats it then.  the provisional line up and the reasons why I chose them (initially).  All of them subject to change but I thought you might appreciate the reasoning behind certain choices and how their expected to link up with the rest of the team and fulfill certain roles.  So all that remains is a team pic of the first incarnation with a couple of guys waiting in the wings to see if they can't claim a spot.  Of course I haven't even considered the reserve, reserve chaps, yoou know the chaps who are awesome but haven't had their moment to shine like Shisha, Master Po, other themes etc - its a long time till next years Masters and only time will tell.

initial line up from left to right - Riku, Kami of reflection, Kuma, Master Akari, The Guardian, Aiko and Yuuki
hope you enjoy