Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Hi folks,

I am going to start adding some pages to the blog, so that I can have a record of completed painting projects. The projects will be split up into genres, such as Dark Angels 3rd Company, Deathwing, Ravenwing, Hive Fleet Numereji, Jade Falcons, Ghost Bears, 8th Sword of Light, D&D etc. I will add new pictures as work gets finished and give everyone a heads-up when I update something.

The first page is for my 3rd Company Dark Angels, which is going to be a massive project. I have a few pieces finished already that I will endeavour to take photos of during the week. To get things started, I have put up a picture of the Company Master and a Techmarine (who also doubles as my Deathwatch character! Check out the old school combat knife...). Now, I know Techmarines are technically from the armoury, not any single company. I am planning on putting all of the armoury support on this page, so here he will stay!

See you across the table,


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Game Review: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game


Our gaming group doesn’t have much time to run D&D campaigns anymore, so we have looked for alternative gaming experiences to scratch that itch. Pathfinder Adventure Card Game alters the scenario format and character creation/management, allowing scenarios to be played in an hour or so. I have judged it based on my experiences and in light of the things that I enjoy most about roleplaying: the way it showcases the skills of diverse characters and develops camaraderie amongst people in the real world.

The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is basically a deck building game which draws mechanics from a variety of sources. The “loot the room” method of exploration is very similar to Munchkin, without all the silliness. Munchkin is a hilarious game that I love playing, but it scratches the same comic itch as Zombies!!! Not D&D. The “your deck is your health” is very Star Wars CCG, you heal by returning discarded cards to your active deck (library for all you MtG fans) and if that deck runs out your character is dead. It throws in some old school probability from any number of standard card games, e.g. “there are four cards left in this pile, what are the chances I will randomly pick up the satyr I can’t possibly hope to beat?”. It has some Warcraft Boardgame dice generation thing going on, e.g. “This skill allows me to roll a d8, this sword gives me a d6 and all 1s I roll are actually 3s.”

Roleplaying-wise, you get to choose a character with a race and class. Each character has special abilities that reflect their specialisation quite well, within the limits of the game mechanics. For example, I had a wizard that could draw a card whenever a spell was cast. That card can be retained if it happens to be another spell, so I never really had a situation where I had nothing useful to cast. He could also easily return spells from the discard pile into the deck. You have some say over what goes into your deck so, again, you can specialise your character to an extent. Each class has proficiencies that guide your choices and limits the number of items you can have from any one category. The wizard only gets one weapon, so the chances of picking it up in your opening hand and rocking it the whole game are reduced. As you progress through the adventure you pick up new equipment, which you have the choice of assimilating into your deck at the end should you wish.

Players take turns exploring locations that are represented by their own card and a deck of encounters/loot/traps that you draw from. Each location can be closed by performing a specific task, which may be easier for some characters than others. The number of enemies at each location is provided, so you have a good idea going in how many monsters you will be up against. What you don’t know is where the main bad guy is. Stumbling on him/her/it early on is a real pain because, even if you win, they just move on to another open location. You need to work together as a team to corner the bastard then get your strong characters in place to put the nail in the coffin. This is where the teamwork kicks in, as you all manoeuvre around the locations, using your character’s skills where they will have the greatest affect, to close locations, locate the enemy and put it to the sword (or lightning bolt…).
The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is perfectly suited for those roleplayers who like to excruciate over the right combination of gear, spells and skills. The teamwork aspect is there as well; you are all working together towards the same goal, unlike Munchkin. It is fun picking up new equipment that you haven’t seen before (it is a bit like getting a cool new card in an MtG booster pack!), and the format of the game is perfect for rolling out expansions. The bad news is that it fails to harness the intimate connection you can develop with your character when you actually engage in roleplaying. As such, it is not a great replacement for proper D&D sessions. As a card game, though, there is plenty of fun to be had. It has that wonderful quality of producing stories that you repeat with your friends for days after the game. A solid 3/5.
See you across the table,


Friday, 18 July 2014

Dark Heresy: Genesis


The girl who walked in from the street was known to them, but unrecognisable. Rain billowed through the entrance of the kwan and plastered grimy strings of hair to her face and back. Old blood, black with coagulation, ran down her chest and soaked her shift. She held the stained and torn rags close to her body, preserving whatever dignity she had left. She could not reach the great slash in the fabric across her back, where the las-round had creased her skin, but the agony of rain dribbling onto the wound told her it was there.

Kane did not stop her as she approached the threshold, where the wooden panels of the entranceway met the reed mats. Perhaps others would have, but he knew that many of their star recruits came off the street looking this way. At least the first time. He did nothing as she slipped off the tattered remains of her shoes, spattering blood on the wooden floor. She bowed to the open space before her, then dropped to one knee and bowed to the master, before prostrating herself completely before the shrine of the God Emperor. She stood on shaky legs as Kane watched, nonplussed. But as she stepped onto the mat he began to move, instinctively.

“Why are you here?” said Sojiro, from his kneeled position in the main shrine.
“I couldn’t save her.”
“No, that is not the reason.”
Kane drew his Fenwood stave and stepped onto the mat behind her, guard high. She sensed this; a small turn of the head. He did not stop, the advantage was his.
“I could not kill them.”

“This is truth.” Sojiro made a chopping gesture with his hand and Kane struck. The girl dropped, rolling. Kane took a sliding step backwards, then lifted his front foot as she swept at it. He stepped in and stomped viciously, but she scissored his back leg and pitched him forwards onto his knees. In desperation he cast the stave aside and fell towards her, seeking to crush the life from her in his arms. She moved like quicksilver; extracting her legs from the grapple, gaining her footing, pulling him off balance and pivoting away from him. He felt her emaciated shoulders against his as she spun past. He could not turn fast enough to see her scoop the wooden stave off the reed mat with her foot. She spun it around and brought the blade down on his exposed neck. “TRAITOR!”

“ENOUGH!” The authority in Sojiro’s voice was absolute, reaching beyond the depth of thought to the very synapses of the combatants. “A killing blow. Struck cleanly and without hesitation.” He stood in a single fluid motion, crossing the floor to her in an instant and slipping the blade from her nerveless grasp. Her body folded as she knelt before him, head in hands. “Whatever weakness you perceived is gone, child. Next time, you will be ready.” Her body heaved with a great sob of grief. He cupped her bruised face in his other hand and she closed her eyes.

Kane rose to his feet gingerly. He was not accustomed to being bested. “Take her to the clinic. They have broken her in ways that are difficult to mend, but we have to try.” Kane hesitated, perhaps remembering the brush of Death’s fingers on the nape of his neck. His hand stole there unconsciously. “What if she wakes up?” Sojiro resumed his sitting position in the main shrine. “She will not. Not for a long time.”

 Kane slipped an arm under her knees and another beneath her shoulders. She seemed smaller now. Fragile. He lifted her up with very little effort and walked towards the entrance of the kwan. “Be gentle with her Kane. It is Hana.” Kane searched her face and finally saw her. Shocked and ashamed, he clutched her more tightly to himself.


A shadow detached itself from the rafters and dropped to the floor like molasses. “Contact Mathias. I think I have found a person that will interest him.” The shadow sheathed a vicious spatha behind her back. Its fractal edge abraded the reality around it, creating twisting eddies and prominences of darkness in the air; utterly inimical to life. “You were hard on her.”

"She must believe that everyone she meets is one step away from treachery and act accordingly. Mathias will expect this. The Emperor demands it.”

 “The Emperor protects.” Sojiro watched her melt into the shadows of the alleyway.  “Not everyone. Not always.”


The artwork above was derived from an original work by sakimichan called Red Haired Samurai. I used this artwork as inspiration for painting my miniature of Hana and wanted to acknowledge that here. Please follow the link and have a look at the original, it is awesome. 

Hana is my fictional roleplaying character in a Dark Heresy Campaign. Her story is not intended to reflect that of any real person, past or present. This series of short stories is an exploration of her a character that can't be achieved in-game. Violence against women is unacceptable. If you are a victim of violence, or know of someone at risk, I implore you to contact relevant authorities and services (WhiteRibbon and ReachOut may be useful).

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Dark Angels 3rd Company: Company Champion Valefor


Hi folks,

I had a couple of hours this morning to do some painting; a surprise gift from my wonderful wifey after a horror week. I chose to spend time on my Dark Angels 3rd Company Command Squad, which is about 50% complete. This is the first unit in my 3rd Company project, in which I am aiming to collect and paint the entire company. I have all the bits, just not the time...

The Company Champion is armed with a Blade of Caliban, bolt pistol and combat shield. Rules-wise, the blade is a deadweight. It provides a +1 strength bonus but hits at initiative 1. I would much prefer the thunder hammer/storm shield combo available to the other Chapters, which is a lot scarier to characters the champion may face. What would be really interesting is to bend the rules a little and give him the relic Monster Slayer of Caliban sword. It would provide a random bonus to strength and hit on initiative, with the chance of causing instant death. The expense on such a fragile character would balance this alone, so I am keen to give it a go.

Valefor is named after a fallen angel, just like the rest of the Dark Angels characters. The name refers to an angel with the head of a lion. The pics below show a few different angles, including some detail on the shield. Enjoy!

See you across the table,


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Luthien Campaign Update

Scenario 10: The Cat and the Dragon

Having smashed their way through all the defences thrown at them, the Nova Cats finally succeeded breaking into the Kado-Guchi Valley. They were expecting stiff resistance, but got more than they bargained for in the form of the Dragon’s Claws, a unit of veteran Mechwarriors commanded by Coordinator Takashi Kurita. Knowing that his father may opt for a suicidal charge reminiscent of the ancient Terran Samurai, Theodore Kurita entrusted his aid, Sho-sa Shin Yodama, with the responsibility of holding Takashi and his warriors in check. To help him, explosives were hidden beneath Takashi’s cockpit. Yodama had the triggering mechanism in his Phoenix Hawk, providing him with some measure of leverage over the cantankerous old warrior. Historically, Yodama was successful in reining Takashi and his warriors in, providing an unwavering defensive line that ultimately held back the invading Clans.

The Nova Cats were represented by a Mad Dog Primary and a Summoner Primary. The Mad Dog happens to be KuriboGoombas favourite Mech (dyed in the wool Ghost Bear, that one) and I love Summoners. The Draconis force consisted of a Phoenix Hawk piloted by Sho-sa Shin Yodama, a Grand Dragon piloted by Coordinator Takashi Kurita, a Hatamato Chi and a Hatchetman.

Every turn Yodama and Takashi had to make an opposed piloting skill roll to prevent Takashi from going berserk and charging the nearest enemy Mech, trying to take it down in physical combat. His Genyosha bodyguards would follow him into close combat, which would be an absolute riot.
One way to win this game is to destroy the Phoenix Hawk first, then lead the rest on a merry chase. The hard part is nailing the Phoenix Hawk, which can jump around out of sight pretty easily. Goomba and I didn’t really talk about tactics. To be honest, we have been playing Battletech together for that long, we don’t really need to talk anymore, tactics just happen.

Or… Goomba just charges into the teeth of the enemy and my new objective is “rescue Goomba”.

Goomba charged his Mad Dog forward in an attempt to split the Draconis forces with the forest in between. This would prevent them all from focusing on a single Clan Mech. Wade took advantage of the Mad Dog’s proximity to jump the Phoenix Hawk behind and unleash fire into the weak rear armour, gunning for a cheap kill. The Pho-hawk managed to score a critical hit but didn’t make a significant impact. It did, however, leave the Mad Dog unable to turn its back on any enemy Mechs for the rest of the game. I covered him, taking off the Phoenix Hawks arm, which would usually trigger it to withdraw. We weren’t using withdrawal rules this time around though, to represent the utterly cutthroat nature of the battle. The Mad Dog pounded the Hatamato Chi, but also took some serious damage in return.

Interestingly, Takashi beat Yodama’s piloting skill roll early on, despite heavy modifiers. I jumped my Summoner in and drew the Genyosha Mechs away to take the heat off Goomba. We focused fire on the Hatamato Chi for several turns whilst avoiding the worst of the physical attack whirlwind we had unleased.

Unfortunately, the Mad Dog took a hip and lower leg actuator hit which slowed it down. The Hatchetman, which we had blocked out of the equation by keeping it perpetually on the wrong side of the forest, closed in and began hacking into the Mad Dog. Goomba did everything he could to keep pressure on the Hatamato Chi, which really should have gone down by now… After several turns of punishing close combat the Mad Dog lost its leg and took a critical hit to its LRM 20 ammo bin. With its other arm required to prop itself up, the Mech had no way of taking shots. It was effectively dead.

With the rest of the Lance focusing on me, I spread solid LB-10X AC and ER PPC shots between the weakened Phoenix Hawk and the Hatamato Chi. I stripped both of their armour and switched to cluster munitions for the kill. But. They. Just. Wouldn’t. Die.

After turn after turn of trading fire, I had one last shot to take them both down. The ER PPC missed and the LB 10X AC only hit with 3 cluster shots (I was banking on the average, 6). I still managed to score 3 critical hits on the centre torso, but couldn’t pull off the kill. In return, concentrated (lucky) fire took out one of the Summoners legs and we called it a night.

As the smoke cleared we had a close look at the record sheets and found that the Hatamato Chi had sustained a staggering 259 points of damage. It will forever be known as the Zombie Chi! The Draconis Combine force was awarded a minor victory, bumping the campaign VP's in favour of the defenders (+15 VP). In addition to this, Takashi had broken his leash and dragged the whole Draconis defensive line down with him. This will have huge repercussions in terms of the campaign, as it will now diverge from the canon history quite radically. Fantastic!
Stay posted for the next scenario: A Samurai’s Death.
See you across the table,