Wednesday 31 August 2022

Character a Day Challenge


I've decided to set myself a bit of a challenge over September with the aim to create a character a day using my Amazing Story Generator and Story Cubes.

I've picked up a pack of 15x10cm card to draw my characters onto and will be getting the ball running tomorrow so watch this space!

Until then, All the best!

Tuesday 23 August 2022

Retro Warmachine


With all the excitement over the new 4th edition of Warmachine, I found myself perusing some of the rather fantastic Guerrilla Miniature Games battle reports over on Youtube. Ash has an uncanny ability to prove enthusiastic and engaging with a lot of games I'd not really thought of before and I've picked up several rulesets over the last year or so and following the urgings of one or two of my blog followers I've decided to dip my toe in the water.

I had originally thought of picking up the original Warmachine Prime as its readily available cheaply on ebay but I decided to do a bit of research first and it looks like the 2nd edition of the game is generally seen in the most favourable of lights so with a bit of a search, I found a copy of Warmachine Prime MkII for the princely sum of £2.00.

The copy I picked up is the hardback edition and is pretty much in mint condition which was a nice surprise and I'll be having a bit of a peruse through it for inspiration.

I must admit that I picked up the original 4 boxes for Warmachine when it first came out back in 2003 from Artemis Blacks and as my painting skills back then were decidedly mediocre, I ended up selling most of the miniatures, other than a couple of the Warcasters who made their way into my Rogue Trader collection after having sat unpainted for almost twenty years.

I'm presently unsure how I want to advance with the whole thing as while the figures are really pretty cheap at the moment, apparently the game kind of died the death during its last version and folks seem to be selling off collections for very reasonable sums, I really don't need more miniatures at the moment as I mentioned in my previous post we are going to be moving soon so more figures might not be a good idea...

Saying that, I may end up co-opting the setting and forces into Brutal Quest, try out building a small warband or even sculpting my own stuff but its definitely one for the back burner for the moment. As with all my projects, this is liable to change on a whim but we shall see. 

I doubt I'll pick up the new edition of the rules as I'm awkward like that and prefer pootling around with old editions or out of production stuff that nobody plays anymore but I may end up picking up the odd book or figure for a bit of a mini project once we're settled in our new place.

If nothing else, I will have a fresh source of background to peruse and may end up porting the whole lot into a skirmish setting ala Mordheim but with stompy steampowered robots...

In the meantime, All the best! 

Monday 22 August 2022

A Trio of Adventurers


I've finally got round to getting my current adventurers illustrated, despite the campaign having been going for about three weeks now!

Fael is a northern barbarian who was exiled for her ability to summon elementals, something the tribal druids greatly disapproved of. She has since moved south where she has been inhabiting the Whispering Arch, a ruin that lies deep in the ancient forest that lies to the north and east of the Axeblade mountains.

Modwen the goat. Modwen is Fael's companion who followed her into exile and is usually the first into the fray, bowling over foes with his mighty horns. 

Arud is the latest addition to the party and is a golem, an artificial being who Fael encountered outside the Dwarven settlement of Crucible. He's desperately trying to track down his master but his cortex has been badly damaged so he has very little in the way of memory.

I'm really enjoying playing out the campaign as the trio move further into the wild regions of Aeroth and it's been great fun to see how they develop using Brutal Quest as the basis for their encounters as well as my trusty story cubes to move things forward. 

Fael is proving to be an outstanding ranger type of character who has repeatedly spotted potentially hazardous situations as well as a surprisingly decent summoner. Modwen is turning into a bit of a beast in close combat but has been seriously wounded in an encounter with an Elven Golem and the trio is currently hiding out in a cave to avoid a search party that an as yet unknown antagonist has sent out from the Iron Spire to hunt them down.

Arud is proving to be a bit of a fire magnet having been reduced to his last few points of damage in pretty much every encounter he has but he still keeps on going (he's been set on fire twice, pincered by giant insects and mauled by a mutant bear as well as speared by a crazed Goblin!)

Hopefully I'll get chance to get some figures sculpted for the three in the not too distant future as I suspect they're going to be making regular appearances in my games going forward but it may be a while as I've potentially got a house move coming up in the next few months as I'm moving from Dundee to Perth Waterstones to take on a new role which is exciting but also mildly terrifying when it comes to the prospect of packing up all our tat and finding a new home for the first time in six years.

We shall see how things go and hopefully a move will be relatively straight forward and I'll be able to get back to proper gaming soon but in the short term I suspect most of my hobby related content will be pen and paper only as everything is going to be packed up and put into storage until we can sell our place and find somewhere new.

In the meantime, I will keep posting as regularly as I can and All the best!


Thursday 18 August 2022

Creating Original Characters Part 1


I've been pootling away with more terrain for my tiny gaming board but I'm finding myself in need of some characters to populate my setting so I've had a rummage through my bookshelves to see if I can find some inspiration.

My first port of call is my Rory's Story Cubes, a resource I am becoming ever more enamoured with but I also have my wife's copy of The Amazing Story Generator, a really handy book that allows you to create literally thousands of different characters and their motivations.

Essentially the Amazing Story Generator gives you a scene or motivation, the character or personality and then something to get the story going. It's a really simple idea that uses three different stacks of ringbound cards that allow you to flip to different sections to get the story going.

Now for a fantasy game, having the above sample may result in a bit of head scratching but with a bit of work, it can be made to fit in. For example the first section is fine but by using elements of the following two, it is possible to create a character that belongs in any setting. In my setting of Aeroth, the most reclusive peoples are the Grey Elves who live deep in the Western Axeblade mountains. Also as JFK never existed in Aeroth, he can be replaced by any leader, in this case the spire's ruler has been slain, supposedly by some external villains but the character has discovered that the true killers are actually much closer to home...

So here we have some really interesting ideas for the characters motivations and surroundings but with the use of Rory's Story Cubes, I want to develop the character more so I rolled three random dice to see what caused the hottest summer and got the following:

So the key to what is causing the hot summer is held by aquatic creatures. Again turning to Aeroth, there are several aquatic races who inhabit the world, primarily the Sea Demons but also the Daughters of Leviathan who are both villainous types so my as yet unidentified character will need to venture to the West to the lost coastal cities or even the secret Leviathan lab which lies deep in the Sea of Storms.

Next up, we roll another three dice to see if we can find out more about the characters motivation.

With the above dice, I decided that the character has discovered documents which has drawn them from their home in search of answers.

Finally, we have another three dice to give my character a goal to work towards:

The character then is revealed to be exploring the world in search of something and there's also a bee come up so I decided to incorporate it into my characters gear so they will be using summoned elemental bees to defend themselves and furthermore will have bee themed elements to their design.

So we have a Grey Elf scientist who has discovered that the ruler of their spire has been murdered by shadowy forces within the community, possibly at the behest of his successor. They've left the supposed safety of the spire and are now searching for a way to bring the assassins to justice whilst heading towards the dangers of the coastal regions.

Are they going to be tracked by the shadowy figure behind the assassination or will they fall afoul of the dangers of the wastelands and its marauding gangs. How will they reach the fabled coastline? Will they hire a group of adventurers to protect them on their journey or do they have retainers of their own? Only time will tell!

With the characters background developing nicely and heading towards a region of Aeroth that I've not really explored before it's time to decide on a gender (1-3 male and 4-6 female) and I ended up with Ara Qinlar of Grey Spire.

Ara Qinlar of Grey Spire

The next step will be to delve into Brutal Quest to put together her stats and abilities but I've put together a bit of a concept sketch to give me an idea of what I want her to look like and in my next update I'll go through making her stat profile before I go on to sculpting a figure to represent her in game.

I've been finding the process of using different tools and methods to create characters and settings really enjoyable and think I'm going to set myself a challenge for September to create a character a day and see how I get on!

In the meantime, All the best!

Tuesday 16 August 2022

Tiny Gaming Board Terrain


Happily I've got a weeks holiday so I've been working on getting my tiny gaming board terrain made for my ongoing solo RPG campaign.

The board itself is made of EVA foam and measures 180mm x 270mm and was quickly painted with lots of different green stippling to give a grassy sort of a finish to it. I also scored it before painting with a pencil to mark out 30mm squares which my models can move around in.

The scenery is a mixture of EVA foam for the rock piles which came from some play mats I picked up a while back and I probably have enough left to make all my terrain needs for the foreseeable future. The cacti are made from sculpey and quickly shaped before cooking and painting and then mounted on some 30mm MDF bases I grabbed at Claymore.

I still use Brutal Quest for the rules of my solo RPG sessions as it's got a satisfying amount of detail whilst being endlessly bodgeable, not to mention that I'm a big fan of the Brutality points system as it really adds a cinematic element to the game!

I did alter things a bit so movement for an average character is two squares whilst ranged combat is now also measured per square with a shortbow having a 5 square reach for example. Also the rock mounds can be climbed up requiring a successful Agility check to make sure you don't fall and the cacti count as either impassable or dangerous depending on the mood.

I've tried out the simple set up with a few encounters thus far and it's worked out pretty well with 2-3 figures a side but I think I may use a second mat if I'm running a larger encounter.

Thus far I've got some desert or mesa themed terrain built but I plan on expanding this into more temperate with trees and stuff as well as alpine, volcanic and cursed wastelands too, not to mention fungal forests and all manner of other interesting gubbins. The best thing about working on this limited sized board is that with a handful of terrain items, it is remarkably easy to lay out a nice little encounter and store all the supplies in a small box.

I'm working on putting some trees together at the moment and will be making some more base mats to suit the terrain my characters are fighting in but as a proof of concept, I'm really pleased with how it's turned out.

I'm also planning on making some more encounters for my characters to fight as my choices are at present a bit limited but expect to see Goblins, Orcs, mutants and beastkin soon as this little project seems to be really getting the creative juices flowing!

Hopefully I'll have a few more bits and bobs finished tomorrow to share but until then, All the best!

Thursday 11 August 2022

Colostle Adventures


I've been working away at my ongoing Colostle solo RPG campaign and am really getting into the swing of things with my adventurer Edmond of Brokhill continuing on his quest to find the cause of the Rook attacks on his home village.

Following the last episode, Edmond found himself being chased through the ruined streets of the Abandoned City by a Colossal Rook.


Following an epic struggle, Edmond defeated the great stone construct which crashes to the ground outside the ancient temple he was investigating when the Rook first arrived. 

In the destruction caused by the battle, he finds the slumped form of a white haired girl and discovers she is a Cog Elf named Lana Moonshadow who hails from a small settlement to the north of the ruined metropolis they currently find themselves in. 

Lana explains that she has fled the destruction of her own village, called Greendell by marauding rooks. Fearing her kin slain, she has backtracked the Rooks trail to the ancient city and was exploring the ruins trying to find some way to deal with the Rooks when she was forced to hide because of the presence of the Colossal Temple Guardian.

Edmond agrees to accompany her north to see if he can help battle the Rooks which have caused her so much grief and find some sort of clue that will help with dealing with the constructs that menace his own home.

Following several days of travel through a silent and brooding forest, Edmond and Lana reach the valley that holds the remains of the Cog Elf settlement but they are set upon by a rag tag group of survivors of the Rooks attack.

Following a great deal of shaking of spears and threats, Lana is able to convince the Elves that Edmond is an ally who will aid them in their attempts to wrest control of the valley from the marauding Rooks.

No sooner do they move towards the survivors camp, a crashing begins in the depths of the wood and a Rook lumbers out of the trees. It carries a large shield and wields a hammer that crackles with energy.

The Elves freeze but Edmond and Lana exchange glances and then rush to meet the lumbering menace!

It's fascinating how much fun Colostle can be once you get into the swing of how to journal your adventurers travels and I do love the way that the story is developing. Once I settled on drawing events from the exploits of Edmond on little scraps of paper to act as inspiration and then writing out the corresponding events, it seems to have all clicked into place and I'm thoroughly enjoying the whole project, not least as its allowing me to be creative while I play a rather simple little game.

I highly recommend folks give Colostle a try and have a bash at writing up a mini adventure! Hopefully I'll continue the posts here of Edmond's continuing journey and hope to start adding some more finished illustrations too so watch this space!

Until then, All the best!

Wednesday 10 August 2022

Taking Commissions


I've decided to see if anyone is interested in some of my portraits so am offering a commission illustration service.

If you would like a character portrait of your favourite model or current RPG character, do feel free to give me a shout and I'll produce an original full colour illustration for a small fee.

The above images are examples of what I do and are A5 in size which would cost £25 but I can produce more involved illustrations with multiple characters or a custom request so do feel free to ask for what you'd like and I'll get a quote put together.

The final artwork will be produced using artists markers and acrylic paint and I can also provide a high resolution scan of it if folks want.

If you are interested, message me here or drop me an email at and we can get started!

All the best!

Saturday 6 August 2022

Claymore 2022, or Why I Don't Do Conventions


Well we trundled down to Edinburgh today for Claymore 2022 and I had pennies in my pocket to spend and was quite excited to visit my first wargaming show in a few years.

Sadly following spending a fiver to get in and walking around confused for a while as the show seems to have been split into three different halls with little direction as to what was where, I ended up leaving having bought 2 packs of MDF bases which cost about £3.00.

Coupled with just how packed it was, I ended up leaving after about half an hour incredibly disappointed. I'd made three attempts at reaching the bring and buy but having to fight through a scrum of largely potato shaped men (of which I hasten to add, am one) to reach the stand, I gave up entirely and left. I made three tours of the halls and still didn't find some of the stalls I'd been looking for. 

My wife suggested we vacate Edinburgh and head back north by way of Culross Palace. We left the capitol in heavy traffic and were soon north of the Firth of Forth and cruising into Culross, and I'm really glad that we did.

The palace itself is a National Trust for Scotland property and it was just the balm I needed as it felt like we stepped back in time and ended up spending about two hours peeping through rooms and wandering the gardens.

It's absolutely chock full of inspiring stuff, be it beautifully painted ceilings, carved details or possibly the best garden I've been in ever but after all the stress and disappointment of the convention, the Palace was the perfect way to unwind and relax and was far more conducive to my hobby than being elbowed in a crowded hall or trying to find some reason to pick up some random figures. 

We ended up taking the scenic route home through several glens, a smattering of tiny villages and got home in time for tea.

I used to really enjoy wargames shows and have been to quite a few over the years but I think this will be my last as I found absolutely no enjoyment in visiting this one and would far rather sculpt my own stuff or order the odds and ends I want online. I know that for the vast majority of folks visiting a convention is a highlight of the year, for me it turned into if not quite a nightmare, then at least troublingly stressful and unrewarding.

But enough of my gurning! I got home and retreated to my man cave and pootled around with both Brutal Quest and Colostle, wrote new entries, drew new illustrations and played a couple of quick encounters and even got a bit of sculpting done so it all ended up well, despite the start to the day!

I'll be updating some more Colostle whatnots tomorrow but until then, All the best!

Wednesday 3 August 2022

Vor the Maelstrom Interlude


Last year I set up a bit of a plan to paint my way through the Vor the Maelstrom using the old starter set to get the ball rolling but discovered to my disappointment that Ral Partha Europe had run out of stock and couldn't get any more.

Skip forward to 2022 and I found a mint condition starter set on Ebay for £10!

I'm waiting for its arrival but as is always the case it is due on Saturday, when we're off out for the day so no doubt I'll need to wait until some point next week to actually get my hands on it.

This will actually be the third box starter for Vor I'll have owned in the last 20 or so years and while I've managed to previously paint up the complete Growler portion of the set, I've never managed more than one or two of the troopers before selling the whole lot off or trading them for something else.

Growler Bull and Onehorns

This time I plan on approaching it like my Havok or Deadloque sets where I slowly worked my way through the set until it is all completed and using it as is without any additions, at least for the foreseeable as I plan on using the setting and background material as well as the rather brilliant charts and tables which will come in very handy for adding all manner of unexpected encounters and environmental effects into my games.

Rules wise, I do want to play some more Vor as it is actually a really good system and the core rule book gives you everything you need to play including a custom force generator so you can introduce all manner of interesting units and armies into the pocket dimension but primarily I think I'll be using it as an opportunity to play more Planet 28 as a solo RPG with my intrepid, and quite possibly hapless team exploring strange new worlds and getting eaten by alien monstrocities.

Union Troopers and Growler Pups

I will have two extra rulebooks in my collection and will be offering them up as a prize to folks who want to investigate the frankly fascinating setting and try out the game but more on that later!

Now I doubt I'll be buying a ton more stuff for Vor miniatures wise as while some figures in the range are really nice, quite a lot of them are frankly pretty poor, either wonkily sculpted or just not fitting the aesthetic of the game and quite a few of the forces in the book don't even have more than a handful of figures actually available. With that said, I do want to create a bit of a dark sci-fi sort of adventure game where small teams are exploring new worlds, nebulae or asteroids and figure it would be fun to try and create some really interesting encounters for my adventurers to deal with.

I'll be having a bit of a rummage through my rulebook and forcebook collection to re-familiarise myself with the setting but think it could make for a really interesting figure light sort of game that I'm becoming increasingly fond of, especially when I add in lots of RPG elements to create a real narrative for a campaign.

I'll post a bit of a review of the boxed set when it arrives and my initial thoughts on the contents and hope to post fairly regular updates when I can of the work in progress until I have the full set painted and play out the Rygis Encounter, the introductory mini campaign included in the box.

I'm also off to Claymore on Saturday so we shall see if I can find anything interesting at the assorted booths and bring and buy stands to add to my random assortment of projects but until then, All the best!

Monday 1 August 2022

Further Travels With Colostle


I've been continuing my solo rpg using Colostle with my character Edmond having set off to find the cause of the increase in Rook activity that is threatening the village of Brokhill. 

The first session saw him leaving Brokhill and meeting Gaspode the hunter who led him into an ambush in an abandoned bandit camp which saw Edmond wounded and left for dead by the dastardly villain. Edmond has recovered his senses, bound his wounds and tried to find out why Gaspode tried to kill him here and track down the cad whilst continuing his mission.

First he explores the abandoned camp and finds a massive stone door set into the side of a hill. It is covered in pictographs of an unknown but obviously ancient language and may lead to another roomland but it is securely locked with mighty cog locks and several of the pieces of the mechanism to open it are missing. 

Nearby he finds the slumped figure of a dead man, a crossbow bolt stuck out of his back. Examining the corpse, Edmond discovers that the bolt matches the one that Gaspode struck him with and clutched in the mans hand is a piece of parchment with what appears to be a partial translation of some of the pictographs. Nearby in the grass is a copper token bearing a mans face and unknown text.

This search saw Edmond find a clue that will aid him in his quest and the disturbance of the ancient doorway by persons unknown must have something to do with the Rooks becoming restless and attacking his home village.

Edmond finds a trail that appears to have been used recently and sets off intent on tracking down Gaspode and dealing with the murderer and hoping to find out more of the mans motives for drawing him to the site, only to try and kill him.

The trail leads Edmond further into Rook Country and eventually it enters a narrow gully between two hills. The gully is dark and cluttered with rubble, rusted junk and is quite possibly the perfect place to lay an ambush. Drawing his sword Edmond cautiously enters the gully, ears straining for any hint of an enemy and eyes scanning the gloomy passage. 

As Edmond nears the end of the gully, something gives under his foot and he dives forward just in time to avoid losing his head as a massive cog flies out of the wall and smashes into the other side of the passage, narrowly missing Edmond but showering him with pieces of stone and metal. Pulling himself to his feet he carefully examines the trap and finds it is intended to bring down a Rook rather than a human but who made it? Was it Gaspode and did he lead Edmond into a trap knowingly or is this the work of an unknown party? Edmond presses on out into Rook Country proper.

The trail he is following continues East and Edmond sees ruins cropping up amid the grass and scrubby trees that line the path and scattered here and there lie the unmoving forms of wrecked Rooks slowly being reclaimed by nature. Is this where Rooks come from or merely the site of some ancient battle?

Edmond presses on until he approaches a large archway that spans the road. The archway is obviously ancient and is slowly crumbling but it makes a suitable campsite as Edmond can see in the distance the ruins of some large and now forgotten city. Maybe in the morning he can explore it to see if he can find either Gaspode or some further clue to who lived here and an answer to the Rook assault.

The next morning Edmond approaches the city, its once great buildings largely tumbled and decaying but still oddly beautiful. There are no sign of its inhabitants who must have abandoned it aeons ago judging by the state of the structures but Edmond presses on until he reaches the cities centre. 

Here he finds a great marble temple in the shape of a great cog, its columns and facades decorated with countless pictographs which resemble those on the door he found at the site of the ambush.

Cautiously Edmond enters the temple and at its centre he finds a room bathed in sunlight and oddly untouched by the passing of untold centuries. Here he finds a small statue of a Rook. It is made from some sort of turquoise stone that he doesn't recognise but he decides to take it with him as The Order of the White Tower may be able to decipher the pictographs on it and he suspects that an expedition to the city will be made by the Order once he brings news of its discovery back to them.

As he leaves the temple, he freezes as in the distance he hears thunderous steps heading in his direction, the ruins surrounding him shake and the white birds which seem the cities only inhabitants rise shrieking from their perches to fly to safety above the city. 

What has Edmond done by removing the statue from the temple? Find out next week!

I must admit that following my initial post on Colostle I wasn't too enthused as it felt like it didn't have the sort of gaming experience that I was looking for but I've persevered and am starting to get into the swing of things and am really enjoying the experience.

Rather than being a more hack and slash affair that my Brutal Quest inspired RPG is, Colostle is turning into a slower moving exploration of the world by my adventurer who is trying to solve a mystery so there's not as much fighting going on but its still a really rewarding game to play once you get the hang of how it works and the process of putting together the journal with the little illustrations has been thoroughly enjoyable.

I'm now five encounters into the campaign and the next one will be interesting as I'm going to be meeting someone who will help me with my quest and have to deal with a colossal Rook to boot. Do I decide to fight it or hide?

Either which way, I'm looking forward to the next session and will post an update in a week or so once the journal entries have been completed and we shall see what Edmond gets up to. In the meantime, All the best!