Friday, February 22, 2013

Mouse's Oldhammer Day Chaos Warband Part 1

Now, that's assuming that I can actually make it to Oldhammer Day, which is a pretty big assumption. 

So...all's quiet in the old homestead.  Wife asleep on the couch.  Dog curled up on the floor, lights low, idiot box off, fire galloping in the old wood stove on this snowy February evening.  I creep into the man cave, crack open my ancient, weather-beaten copy of Slaves to Darkness, and see what sort of force the Chaos Gods intend for me to take to Robin Hood country, assuming I can get there at all...

The dice plop and mutter on the book.

For my Champion's basic profile, I roll Chaos Dwarf and level 5 hero.  Hmm.  Not what I'd hoped for.  I wanted a big, imposing human champion.  Plus, at level 5, he's not exactly a tank, but that's Ok, I can work with it.

I roll for my champion's personal attribute:  Bestial Face.  Ok, will require a little conversion work, but it might be fun.

Sub-Roll:  Rabbit.
...Oh, Come on...
...A bunny...?

Really funny, Chaos Gods, Really funny.  Some guys, I know, could have fun with a bunny headed Chaos Dwarf champion, but I won't stand for it.  I know when you're mocking me, Chaos Gods.  I'm going to roll again.  You all can call me a cheater if you want to...I'll find a way to make up for it later. 

This time I get Lion.  Actually, that's pretty cool, because I have some strange old lion head buttons in my bits box that I can work into the warband as standards and shields, so that could be fun and visually interesting.  Shouldn't be too hard to find a lion mini or toy and swap out the head. This mutation adds +1 to my champion's attack.  A bunny head just adds +1 to my own demoralization.

Moving on,  I need to choose a patron.  I leave it up to fate and put it on a d4.  I roll Khorne.  Possibly the most boring Chaos God, but OK, I'll go with it, it gives me Chaos Armor, which will toughen up my rather weak champion.

For my Chaos reward, I roll on the general chart for some reason and roll chaos armor.  This just spiffs up the chaos armor my champion already has by adding +1 to his armor save, which is just fine.

Moving on to the really fun part, I roll for my retinue.  It looks like the standard for Oldhammer Day is 5 rolls on the retinue chart for a level 5 champion...(someone correct me if I'm wrong) I roll...

#1:  I roll an 88, which gives me 2d4 Skaven.  I roll a total of 7, so I get 7 Skaven with light armor and hand weapon, and optional spears, although I'm not sure what use those are in a skirmish battle.  That's fine, because I like Skaven, and I have a few old models that have been gathering dust in a box for many years.  I'm sure they'll be happy to see the light of day once more.

#2:  6 Chaos Dwarves.  Appropriate for a warband with a Chaos Dwarf champion, but I only own 2 Chaos Dwarf models, so I'll have to buy the others.  They have light armor, shields, and hand weapons, and I can give them crossbows, if I want.

#3: 2 Chaos Goblins.  They have light armor, shields, hand weapons and bows.  I get to roll a d6-4 for their attributes.  To my surprise, I roll a 5!  I get an attribute for them!  I roll a 52-manic fighter.  They hate any enemy within 12 inches.  Be afraid, Chaos Warlords!  My goblins, all 2 of them, won't quit the fight so easily!  I was hoping for something cool like extra heads or arms, but it is what it is. 

#4:  A warrior of Chaos.  Sounds good, but my sub-roll is lousy, so he turns out to only be a Chaos thug.  He has heavy armor, shield and hand weapon.

 One last roll.

#5: I roll a 20.  2d6 beastmen. For my subroll, I get an 8.  They have light armor and shield and hand weapon or 2-handed weapon.

Well, that's it.  No Cockatrices, no Jabberwocks, no Gorgons, no towering, mega-level Chaos heroes, no sorcerers, nothing really all that fun.  Not even so much as a levitating troll, like ZHU got.

Well, it is what it is, I salute the flag and go upstairs to rifle through boxes in search of usable figures.
Sometime later, I return with...

The Champion...
An interesting figure, but also very compact...fitting a lion face onto him may well be challenging.  Also, he's been rattling around in boxes for many years, so he's had some of his detail rubbed off, and his helmet is all sort of squashed and pathetic-looking...he might work out and he might not...we'll see...
The Skaven.  Terrible old paint jobs from about 20 years ago.   A dip in the strip jar, a few minor conversions, some nice shields, and they should be ready to go.  Not that it matters...At the first sign of trouble, they will surely run away.

The Chaos Goblins?  Undoubtedly, he most lethal component of my warband.  You know you're afraid of them...the weapons configurations and period hair-styles are right...

...but I think these two have more style...I might go with them instead.  Again, not that it matters much, as they will be surely be stamped out of existence in the first few seconds of action...

The armored Thug...I bought 2 of these in a lot, one with the scythe intact, and one not...the other one is now a handler for one of Buzzgobb Phesterlick's chaos hound packs.  This guy was probably just going to get tossed into an ebay junk lot, but now I think I may make this model my champion's standard bearer.  The standard won't have any effect on game play, but it might look nice, and give this lonely thug a raison d'etre...

2 curious old buttons which have been rattling around in my bits boxes for years...always meant to do something with them...a lion-faced Chaos champion may be just the thing to help me finally get some use out of them as standards or shields.  Nice motif to tie the warband together.

I rolled for 8 Beastmen, but I am dropping 1 to make up for cheating on the stupid, intolerable bunny head roll for my champion's Bestial Face mutation.  Since the lion face mutation gives my champion an extra attack he wouldn't otherwise have had, I think that's fair.  These seven lads bravely volunteered to join the warband.  As you can see two of them are already partly painted; they are members of the beastman hero Echunga Gorozgun's regiment, which I am in the process of painting right now for Buzzgobb's Chaos horde.

So, other than the Chaos Dwarves, which I still have to buy, that's it.  Not a particularly fearsome warband, but we'll put up the best fight we can, by the Gods! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shamblin' Man

Shambling Mounds!  Muck encrusted monsters from the Fens Fens of...The ...The Black Fens of Ultimate Blackness!  Actually I don't know where these fellows live yet, as most of my meager brain power has been expended in developing my Rogue Trader Campaign setting over the last few months.  I do, however, plan to start a tabletop D&D campaign someday, perhaps using the Battlesystem Skirmish rules, or, if that fails, maybe converting the old Warhammer 2nd edition rules to my needs.  

I've had my old, crumbling copy of The Keep on the Borderlands lying in the bedside book pile for some time. I find myself savoring the simplicity and improvisational character of the Ultra-Old School.  When I eventually put together my little Campaign setting, It will likely be heavily influenced by Keep, but all of that's in the far future.  

And let's face it, the Campaign is mostly just an excuse to do what I really want to do, which is to re-collect and paint all the funky old Grenadier and Ral Partha D&D minis I had when I was a kid.  The old Shamblers are simple creatures, being just great, semi-sentient heaps of  swamp juice and leaf-mould, and easy to paint, so I'm starting with them.

The original monster manual illustration for Gygax's creature...

...which was probably heavily influenced by early 70's horror comics characters like Man-Thing, here.

Looks familiar, doesn't he?

Shamble on!

Monday, February 4, 2013


Some of you may be familiar with this already.  I first discovered it a couple of months ago while burrowing into the archives of  Cyclopeatron's engrossing RPG blog.  I was so stunned, amazed and somewhat slightly frightened by what I was seeing that I immediately had to share the experience with my wife. But it wasn't enough so I had to share it with some other folks I knew who could also appreciate its magnificent stupidity.  But I still haven't quite been able to get over it, so now I'm sharing it with you..
Spoiler Alert:  David Coverdale death scene at 1:38!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ulfgrimm Strang's Khornate Chaos Marauders

 "It is cold, that place where I lived in my youth.  The long black nights that would last for weeks, and winter snows lingered all through the Spring.  But the Golden hall was warm.  In The Hall there was always a red roaring fire, and meat and mead and long-limbed women were never scarce, for I had a good Lord, and generous.  To him I gave oaths, in the heat of my youth, and in battle I was always before him, clearing the enemy from his path, eager to die for him, so great was my love for him.  But I didn't die...more's the pity.

"It happened one winter that my Lord was called to a feast at the house of an old enemy, that their feud, long standing should be forgot and buried in evenings of oath-taking and gift giving, and feasting and drink in the arms of friendly girls.  I and nine others my Lord left behind, the care of all his halls and treasure and folk to us entrusting, and as he departed, we assured him that we would not fail him, and that he had naught to fear, and he smiled, and said he knew it, and rode away under a fast-greying sky, and that was the last time I saw my Lord living.
 "For ere my Lord reached the home of his enemy, he and his warriors were caught in a great storm, and in the blinding snow that devil-prince who had feigned friendship to us came upon my Lord with all his people, armed to the very knife, and my fair Lord and all his brave fighters, brothers in arms to me, were taken unawares and outnumbered, and all were slain.  That we learned from the boy, my Lord's helmet bearer, who pretended death and lay amoung the freezing, stiffening bodies for a time, ere he slipped away and returned through the rising blizzard to tell to us his dire tale.
 "Oh, great was the grief in my Lord's house, and for the first time I could remember, his halls were dark, and his hearth was cold.  The bondsmen, all faithless and forgetting the many gifts our Lord had given them in his life all fled.  The girls, all once so friendly to us, wailed in dark corners, or looked on us with eyes like the cold ashes, saying we should have gone too, had we been men, and died with our Lord as oath-takers should.  Others wept, saying that soon the betrayer and his men would be upon us...that as soon as the buffeting, shrieking storm should lift, they should come there in great numbers, to rape and slay and despoil the house of our lord, and some opened up their veins, and let out their blood upon the flagstones.

And we ten looked at each other, and we said that it would not stand.
 "Hahl was my friend, a great berserker, he.  He knew how to cast the runes that would give us the ear of the God of vengeance and of murder and of blood.  And in the darkness of the cold and empty hall he sent them rattling across the stones, and the sound made me think of the clicking of a dying man's teeth.  We called upon the berserker God, praised him and spoke new oaths to him, and asked that his oath-gift be the strength we would need to carry us through the terrible storm that now held our enemies for a little while at bay.  The rest, we would do.  We would not wait for them to come for us on the storm's heels, but meant to set upon them unexpectedly as they drowsed at their tables.  Of we ten, only Heinrich balked, and we gave his blood to the blood God, and our souls with it, that our Lord and our honor, too, should be avenged.
 "Ten we were still, when we set out, for though Heinrich was dead, the boy came with us, for he would fain pledge himself to Khorne as well.  Through the howling gale we rode, and soon we walked, for ere long all our horses died under us.  But The Blood God's strength ran like fire and metal and mercury in our veins, Ai, Khorne!  Ay-Ai Khorne!!  We waded through the great drifts and through rivers filled with mighty spinning isles of ice, and in the white darkness, with the great wind wailing at our backs we came at last upon the house of that dog who'd slain our beloved Lord.
 "All was still within.  Bloated on wine and wassail, happy in the dreams of the rape and plunder they'd have in my Lord's house after the storm, the warriors snored under their benches.  The sentries drowsed at their posts.  All about the house and under the eaves we ten stacked what wood and brush we could find.  It was all damp from snow and our fires guttered and struggled in the wind, but we called upon Khorne and with his power he gave  a devil-life to our little sparks and sent the red fire racing all up the posts and along the eaves and soon we were basking in the heat of it.  And we stood hard by the doors and waited for them to feel the heat of it, too.  Soon, out they came, shrieking in their terror, all naked, some wounded from the battle with our comrades.  Some came with sword in hand, but they were too few.  With axe and hammer we knocked them into the snow and let out their blood and brains.  Ay, Khorne!!  Ay-Ai Khorne!!!  Man and woman, brat and dog, we spared not one.  That night we wrought the wreck and ruin of my Lord's betrayer, of all he owned, and of all his folk.  Long, let them in the north sing of it!
"For a long time my comrades and I wandered in the North after the taking of our vengeance.  We strayed far into the places where the land twists and moans to itself, and where the sky throbs with broken light.  Many battles we fought against the war-bands of the other Gods.  And always I was victorious.  Khorne gave to me a wolf-head helmet, a ward against the magic of the servants of the weakling Gods.  Khorne gave to me a hammer with which to slay in his name.  In the hammer, there is a devil.  It tries to talk to me sometimes.  I don't listen.  

"At whiles, a comrade would fall in battle.  Khorne would guide another to me to take his place.  With me I will keep only nine fighters.  For it must be as it was in the beginning.  We ten who rode out in the service of Khorne, we will always ride out, again and again.  I cannot now recall who amoung my band was with me in the beginning, and who came after.  All the helmets begin to look the same to me.  Maybe all my old comrades are gone now.  It makes no difference.  There will always be ten. 

"I don't know what became of my Lord's lands, his women, or the great hall.  It's still there, I imagine.  Perhaps some other man calls it home now.  To me it means nothing.  I paid my debt to my old Lord, and I have pledged my oath to a new one now, mighty Khorne, God of Battles.  It is he I serve, and I go where he bids.  He has guided my steps to the warm lands of the south, there to seek out the horde of the Chaos Lord Buzzgobb Phesterlick, follower of weakling God Slaanesh, in the city of Lost Veghuz, which rots between the Smoking Mountain and the Black River.  He has work for me here.  And I shall accomplish that work."

The experience of painting this wretched unit was so frustrating that before I'd  finished with it I was nearly ready to turn to chaos myself.  Painting colored armor is not something that came easily to me, and I gave up on the unit more than once.  I also made poor choices on choosing colors for individual warriors.  For instance, I think Ulfgrimm's red helmet makes a nice enough contrast with his steel-colored armor, and on his own, he looks reasonably acceptable, but when I put him in with his buddies, he fades into the unit.  I should have colored him all red instead, as a leader model should 'pop' out from the others, but by the time I'd finished him, I'd laid down so many washes and highlights on him, and put so much work into him, that I just wasn't prepared to consign him to the strip jar.  I had some other problem figures that I just couldn't get to look right, but eventually I had to tell myself that these guys just weren't going to come out as well as I'd wanted, and I pushed on and finished the unit, just for the sake of getting it done.
There are some things that I think came out ok...I tried to make the brass-armored fellow look as if his helmet is actually a part of his face, so that the helmet has gums and teeth, and I think that came out alright, but on the whole, I was hoping for more.  Hopefully I've learned something here that will be of help when I start on my Tzeentchi marauder unit, which I should be getting around to in the next couple of months....

Anyway, Blood for the Blood God and all that.  These fellows should be a potent addition to Buzzgob's chaos horde...