Thursday, November 28, 2013

A fleet to dread

I’m aware this is somewhat a “trying to remedy something that’s long overdue” post, seeing as how the entire painting process has been put on halt ever since I got a girlfriend. Damn those women.

I suppose the positive aspect is that I’ve been put to paint her Dreadfleet.

I’ve never really cared that much for the game, expect when it comes to the miniature-department. Not surprisingly, GW has a way for making me drool about their minis, and just as easily turn me off with their rules and systems. From what I’ve heard about Dreadfleet, it doesn’t sound much like a game I would enjoy. 
 My biggest concern being that you can be well in the lead and then, out of the blue, you will roll poorly or draw a certain card that will just screw you over and allow your opponent to trump your well prepared plan. 

It’s something I’ve never seen the appeal in - and one of the reasons why I’ve been away from WFB for so long - sometimes it feels as if we might just save time by rolling a dice instead and let the one with the highest win the entire game instead of just setting up.

But I digress.

Here’s a picture of the dwarven ship. For a first-time-project I believe it went okay.


So, if you like metal-paint this ship is your wet dream (SEE WHAT I DID THERE????) - it's straight down the road with boltgun metal, black wash, rehighlight, and chainmail drybrush all the way up. Mithril silver it too, if you want to be the sparkle of the sea. It's one of those minis that's kind of hard to get wrong, if you just take your time, seeing as how there are sooo many details. My girlfriend undertook the Heltenhammer as her first project, and I frankly don't envy her.

I went with a more dim gold here. You could go for the classic burnished gold+mithril silver as the extreme highlight, but I thought it was too shiny, so I settled for brown+shining gold+flesh wash+shining gold+burnished gold and done. For the waves I just did as they told me to in WD (regal blue+enchanted blue drybrush+heavy wash of 1:1 black/thrakagreen+iceblue edge highlight+thinned skullwhite extreme highlight.)

Goodbye, Grid

This week, a great era came to an end.

My group completed their second (two of them their third) Paizo campaign; Skull and Shackles. While my updates about said campaign have been scarce, to say the least, I do have a few thoughts to share on the matter. But first things first:

It was time to put away a dear old friend of mine. My battle grid.
Those of you who’ve owned and used a BG for an extended amount of time will nod in recognition when I say that you’ll be amazed at how many memories can be cramped down into a flat piece of canvas. Or whatever this stuff is made from. I’ll just go with ‘dreams and fairytales’.

I bought my BG back in 2004, which was kind of a huge thing for me, seeing as how it was my first time to ever use miniatures in my D&D games. Before that, I was so used to the AD&D “I move up and hit it with my sword” mentality. It was a very smooth conversion, however, especially once I started getting my hands on some nifty minis (you know, back when you could by those oblong boosters with minis - I loved those!) and the grid had its virgin trip in my first serious campaign “The Records of the Sembia Wars” - a 3.5 campaign for five of my friends that went from level 1 to 18 in the span of four years. In between he was dragged to play with strangers on a monthly basis, with the odd weekend here and there for our various other sessions, and then we started the “Savage Tide” campaign. All the way from 1-20 over 1½ year, he just took it every Wednesday evening; having rooms, corridors, halls, arenas and various (sometimes rather immature) drawn on him. Session after session. Night after night.

He was brought along into “Carrion Crown” when we started Pathfinder for real in 2011, and completed the entire campaign with my players. Once again did he endure the shouting, drawing and spilling of various liquids on him without a complaint. We pressed on, firing up Skull and Shackles in august, 2012 and after so much time we’re finally here at the end where the players became the pirates of the day and went home.
But Grid had started showing signs up his age. Like an old dog, his heart still beating with kindness and joy, in a body that just can’t keep up anymore, it almost felt as if he was quite ready for another adventure. Only time had taken its toll on him, along with enough spirit-washes, that his lines were barely there anymore. The colors faded, the texture stiff and dented. I remember we all looked at him, laughing about how hard it was in the end to figure out exactly how long you had to move your mini in order to show a 5-foot step.

And I made a decision. Grid had lived to serve his share and deserved peace now. Throughout nine years, this Christmas, has he served me and I can’t even imagine how many stories he knows and how much pain, fumbles, wipes, glory, and joy he witnessed. You could say I’m making a huge fuss out of this; but then again - I don’t think I am. In all respects, dice come and go (and get lost or hurled through the window), minis break and players grow older. But battle grids are eternal.

There are still imprints on it, showing some of the very old rooms that just didn’t want to come off because we used a killer-pen. Some of them I remember and some are lost in the past. The interesting thing was, when I posted it on facebook, that a lot of my friends chimed in to show their respect, remembering they too had seen their share of adventures.

So there you have it, Grid. Thanks for all the adventures. Your successor stands ready, in awe of your stories. You have indeed deserved a place on my wall, in a frame, along with the last room ever drawn - the boss fight of “Skull and Shackles”. I couldn’t think of any better way to go out in style.

Hug your battle grid today. They love you and they should have all the respect they deserve.